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    On Zen and commercialism

    I subscribed to Tricycle magazine a while ago, and got the latest issue yesterday. I find that there's a lot of spiritual materialism in magazines like that, but the occasional nugget of wisdom. One thing I find interesting is all the ads for paraphernalia, books, retreats, etc. Interestingly, very few of these are for Zen; the majority seem to be for Tibetan Buddhism, with Vipassana coming in second.

    When you look at some of the sites that sell books and the like, it's the same; there aren't that many Zen books compared to Tibetan and Vipassana. (The one exception is Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a one-man industry, but I wouldn't exactly call his tradition Zen.) Even more interesting is the fact that, for Tibetan Buddism, there are tons of audio and video recordings, whereas for Zen there are hardly any.

    I've been wondering why this is so. Granted, much of Tibetan Buddhist teachings - at least those that are popular - lean toward the psychological self-help, and Zen doesn't seem to go in that direction. But even though Zen has a good following, there seems to be a very limited amount of content produced.

    I'm not criticizing these things. There are a lot of good recordings out there (I don't know about videos), especially on the Vipassana side. (I especially like the way Jack Kornfield teaches.) I'm just surprised that the Zen teachers don't make more of an effort to communicate.
    Last edited by kirkmc; 08-19-2012 at 06:46 PM.

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