Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

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Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby thornbush » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:38 pm

A twofold question:
Name 3 challenges in our present age/time that you think Buddhism is facing now and why.
Name 3 challenges that you face as a Buddhist in daily life and why.

Thank you in advance :anjali:

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:37 pm

thornbush wrote:A twofold question:
Name 3 challenges in our present age/time that you think Buddhism is facing now and why.
Name 3 challenges that you face as a Buddhist in daily life and why.

Thank you in advance :anjali:

Namo Amitabha Buddha!


Challenges Buddhism is facing

-- Challenges posed by brain science. Science, philosophy of mind and religion don't seem well lined up at the moment.
-- Institutional problems such as corruption, political interference, abusive or fraudulent teachers, etc.
-- Declining interest in Buddhism in some traditionally Buddhist countries...Korea, for instance. It's depressing.

Personal challenges

-- I'm skeptical by nature and wish I could develop more faith and trust in the teachings, or gain better insight into the doctrinal issues that give me headaches.
-- I don't have the opportunity right now to study with a teacher or attend a dharma center or temple. Too many other responsibilities...typical householder's problem...
-- Busy/wandering mind.

That's my take. Thanks for the question, Thornbush! Namo Amitabha!
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby nathan » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:48 pm

What could be the problem?

Buddhism can't have problems. Beings can have problems.
Beings can be human and can have buddhist thoughts and can still have problems with being.
Beings can be human and have buddhist thoughts and this can bring to an end all problems with being.
Same problems and same only valid solutions. Not much change in appearances of either.

Only knowledge of buddhism is going anywhere and in recent years an awareness of buddhism has been going all over the place. Is that a problem? Probably not for buddhism as a whole. Why would going out for a walk be a problem? Buddhism is taking a nice little walk in the park called the early 21st century global mindset. It looks to be about halfway through it's hike and thinking about going home again and sitting down. Does buddhism still contain solutions for the problems of human beings? If and when they sit down with it after their little hike together.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:25 pm

i dont have 3 and 3
but

i think buddhism's main challenge is that all sects are out actively competing for the same number of converts so there's bound to be conflicts (even if its just the silly internet stuff)

and my only problem is laziness, i like most everyone else have everything we need to practice this path, it's just a matter of getting the work done
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby pink_trike » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:32 am

thornbush wrote:A twofold question:

Name 3 challenges in our present age/time that you think Buddhism is facing now and why.

Name 3 challenges that you face as a Buddhist in daily life and why.


Buddhism:

- Mediatization and abstractification.

- Institutional and intellectual corruption

- Scientific and academic scrutiny.

Me:

- Finding time to practice
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby nathan » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:18 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
i think buddhism's main challenge is that all sects are out actively competing for the same number of converts so there's bound to be conflicts (even if its just the silly internet stuff)
Really? I haven't even noticed that. Seriously. What would make anyone else think they could change how I think about things, especially if their practice was doing them some good? People in every tradition seem to 'get it' or not. Whatever else they are arguing for or against is another thing but I would not be a buddhist at all if I had to argue that one kind was better than the others.

The idea of 'coverting' someone into a buddhist of one kind or another has never crossed my mind in my life. How would someone even go about doing that? Why? :shrug: As far as I can see, anyone who would want to convert me into anything doesn't have any buddhism to offer me.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby appicchato » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:50 am

pink_trike wrote:Me:

- Finding time to practice

Forgive the unsolicited view...practice starts when we wake up in the morning and stops (temporarily) when we knock out... :coffee:
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:55 am

um one need only read the history of buddhism in asia to see how the school fought over converts, chan vs indian buddhism in tibet, mahayana vs theravada in sri lanka, all the various school in japan have fought (sometimes via wars) with each other.

i've been told by teachers from various schools that other schools arent really buddhism etc...
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:07 am

Hi jc
jcsuperstar wrote:um one need only read the history of buddhism in asia to see how the school fought over converts, chan vs indian buddhism in tibet, mahayana vs theravada in sri lanka, all the various school in japan have fought (sometimes via wars) with each other.

i've been told by teachers from various schools that other schools arent really buddhism etc...

It doesn't mean that those historical fights are continuing, or have to continue now. What you may find is some of those conflicts were ethnic in origin or there was some other motivation such as access to resources. Historians like to get revisionist with the historical record and portray history with their own ideological agendas and understanding.
Kind regards

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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:15 am

Ben wrote:Hi jc
jcsuperstar wrote:um one need only read the history of buddhism in asia to see how the school fought over converts, chan vs indian buddhism in tibet, mahayana vs theravada in sri lanka, all the various school in japan have fought (sometimes via wars) with each other.

i've been told by teachers from various schools that other schools arent really buddhism etc...

It doesn't mean that those historical fights are continuing, or have to continue now. What you may find is some of those conflicts were ethnic in origin or there was some other motivation such as access to resources. Historians like to get revisionist with the historical record and portray history with their own ideological agendas and understanding.
Kind regards

Ben

no i dont think they are, but that doesnt mean there wont be "turf wars" in the west also. i highly doubt theyll be to the extent they were in asia though..
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:43 am

Greetings bhante, all,
appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Me:

- Finding time to practice

Forgive the unsolicited view...practice starts when we wake up in the morning and stops (temporarily) when we knock out... :coffee:

Well yes, I see it the same way but I suspect Pink Trike is referring to formal meditation sessions which I also find hard to schedule given my work and family commitments.

I think another challenge to "Buddhism" is surviving the transition to the West and the modernisation of its Asian homelands... there will be an insistence on ditching that which is not deemed relevant in the 21st century and hopefully those who are taking the knife to Buddhism know how to differentiate between what is Dhamma and what is cultural accretion.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby pink_trike » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:13 am

appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Me:

- Finding time to practice

Forgive the unsolicited view...practice starts when we wake up in the morning and stops (temporarily) when we knock out... :coffee:

Yes, you're right, Bhante A. Thanks for the reminder. :smile:
Last edited by pink_trike on Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby pink_trike » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante, all,
appicchato wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Me:

- Finding time to practice

Forgive the unsolicited view...practice starts when we wake up in the morning and stops (temporarily) when we knock out... :coffee:

...referring to formal meditation sessions which I also find hard to schedule given my work and family commitments.

...hopefully those who are taking the knife to Buddhism know how to differentiate between what is Dhamma and what is cultural accretion.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yup...my challenge is finding time for consistent, extended formal practice sessions (half day, day, weekend, and longer).

Not a knife...just a screen to filter out the big chunks of 2500ish years of culture add-on.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:00 am

buddhism as a group
1. New age teachers who cherry pick the "feel good" parts, and or claim enlightenment
2. Teachers who have no Dhamma training and pass themselves off as experts
3. The idea Buddhism has a pope and all Buddhists fall in line with them.

Personally
1/2/3. It can be easy to slip out of practice at times for various reasons
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:32 am

Greetings Pink_trike,

pink_trike wrote:Not a knife...just a screen to filter out the big chunks of 2500ish years of culture add-on.


Equally apt. I assure you I was thinking of a doctor's knife incisions... very delicate and precise - not a butcher's knife. :geek:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby appicchato » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:54 am

pink_trike wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante, all,

...referring to formal meditation sessions which I also find hard to schedule given my work and family commitments.

...hopefully those who are taking the knife to Buddhism know how to differentiate between what is Dhamma and what is cultural accretion.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yup...my challenge is finding time for consistent, extended formal practice sessions (half day, day, weekend, and longer).

Not a knife...just a screen to filter out the big chunks of 2500ish years of culture add-on.

Paul/ Pink,

Sorry fellas...sometimes I forget how 'easy' (comparatively speaking) I've got it...holding down a job, and holding up a family...and living in the West (I grew up in LA pink...) while practicing the Buddha's dispensation seems a monumental challenge...warm, sincere wishes for your peace and contentment...and progress on your paths... :namaste:
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Avery » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:21 pm

Institutional challenges:
1. Conflation with superstition, such as astrology, which makes rationalists wary
2. As Southeast Asians move to the cities, they decide they don't need Buddhism anymore
3. People who try to hijack Buddhism to match their own ideology, turning it into a branch of Western psychology or a new religious movement

Personal challenges:
1. When I first became a Buddhist, I thought reincarnation and karma were elements I could deal with later. After a study abroad in Japan which focused exclusively on Mahayana, I see them as part of the overall philosophy, and Buddhadasa et al. don't do much to persuade me. I had a talk with the famous Japanese monk Sumanasara in which he explained karma in a much different way, but I don't know enough Japanese to read his books...
2. The modern world wants to make me constantly distracted and ignore my own dukkha :computerproblem:
3. Based on personal experience I have a weird idea that meditation "works" for some people but not for me. Nevertheless I still practice twice a week.
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Dan74 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:12 pm

I think the biggest difficulty in lay life (as compared to monastic) is not all the daily challenges, but rather the absence of a supportive Sangha 24/7. This is what I really envy monastics for. Yes, practice never stops, if you really know how to practice, to pay attention. But for a layperson whose practice has not reached that level of insight and stability, it's more like a whirlwind of happenings with habitual responses and some self-control and occasional clarity and insight into the situation.

I used to have a friend who lived right next to the Uni when I was studying and I dropped in regularly for a sit (40-50mins) and discuss the dhamma/dharma (she is Theravadin, I am Zen) afterwards. That was great (it did do my knee in eventually, a small price to pay :smile: ) These kalyana mitras are so invaluable for a layperson like me.

So in answer to the original question:

Challenges to Buddhism:

1. Materialistic Culture translating to either disinterest and cynical approach to spirituality or acquisition mentality in relation to things spiritual and greed.
2. Addiction to information, external stimuli and thinking.
3. Big egos stroked from early age - "you are so special" mentality.

Personal Challenges.

1. Virtual absence of a supportive Sangha.
2. Laziness and force of habit.
3. Comfort-seeking rather than truth-seeking.

_/|\_
Last edited by Dan74 on Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:15 pm

Avery wrote:Personal challenges:
1. When I first became a Buddhist, I thought reincarnation and karma were elements I could deal with later. After a study abroad in Japan which focused exclusively on Mahayana, I see them as part of the overall philosophy, and Buddhadasa et al. don't do much to persuade me. I had a talk with the famous Japanese monk Sumanasara in which he explained karma in a much different way, but I don't know enough Japanese to read his books...
.


Avery,

So how did you end up resolving this issue? Or did you?

Metta,

LE
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Re: Challenges to Buddhism and as a Buddhist

Postby Avery » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:31 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Avery,

So how did you end up resolving this issue? Or did you?

Metta,

LE

I haven't yet resolved it. Sumanasara pointed out that it's not necessarily true that we can observe everything which affects the physical world. He said the Buddha taught that karma and rebirth are unobservable by human eyes. So the question for me is, how is reaching a state where you intuit karma any different from reaching a state where you intuit God or gods? This is probably a question for a different thread, but after seeing a country full of Mahayana practices in general (even though I was interviewing Theravada monks) I felt a sort of futility that I hadn't known when practicing Buddhism in the U.S. So, I am starting to approach Buddhism in a different way than before.
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