Friday, January 29, 2010

Anti-Sectarianism: Transferring BuddhaDharma to the West

In light of tensions between the Dalai Lama and Shugden practitioners, I thought I would write a post about Buddhist sectarianism. To be honest, the topic of religious sectarianism is of very little interest to me, as I feel it needlessly divisive and therefore of little benefit. As someone who just randomly stumbled upon Buddhism, I see the great value of its main message as a way of life that can help people better themselves, and that's what I want to focus on. But I did find this article about the challenges and guidelines of bringing the Dharma to the West both helpful and interesting.

Here is an excerpt:
"In the West, where so many different Buddhist traditions exist side by side, one needs to be constantly on one's guard against the danger of sectarianism. Such a divisive attitude is often the result of failing to understand or appreciate anything outside one's own tradition. Teachers from all schools would therefore benefit greatly from studying and gaining some practical experience of the teachings of other traditions. "

Here is another, regarding choosing an appropriate teacher:
"Students should be warned against the dangers of falling prey to charisma, charlatans, or exoticism."

Ironically, the meeting about 'transmission of Buddhadharma to Western lands' was based upon discussion with the Dalai Lama, the alleged actions of whom Shugden practitioners have taken issue with. However many other spiritual leaders also attended the summit, and no doubt contributed to the discussion. Honestly, for such an event it does not matter who attended, but the content of their discourse, the quality of their conclusions, and most importantly, how well they have implemented them.

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