Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:47 pm

Platypus wrote:, York is no small place but I can't for the life of me find a theravada group, Zen groups and Tibetan groups abound however.


This might be of interest, it's the results for Yorkshire from the Buddhanet directory:

http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/search.ph ... =theravada

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby manas » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:34 pm

I'm one of the crowd who has been preached to so many times by Christians, some of whom acted like they were trying to befriend me, when actually they just wanted an opportunity to make another convert, that I find it very difficult indeed to try proactively go out and 'spread the dhamma'. This would make me feel just like all the others (ie Christians and various cult members) who were acting friendly, but really just wanted to change my point of view. (Is it just me, or do others find this very off-putting?)

I feel that as we grow in the dhamma, over a long period of time, certain good and noble qualities will naturally begin to shine forth, and this will be a much better advertisement than us talking at people. For example, thanks to dhamma practice, I'm gradually letting go of habitual nervous tension. One day, someone might meet me who used to know how tense I was, how nervous. They might meet a totally transformed person. Maybe one day, even in busy social situations, every bone and muscle in my body will be relaxed...that person would think, "wow what has happened to andrew? he's not the same person anymore!" Now if they were to enquire, I would have to give credit to anapanasati...and this could effortlessly lead into the dhamma, without me looking like a zealot. :P
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:25 pm

Platypus wrote:Even then its not always easy, York is no small place but I can't for the life of me find a theravada group, Zen groups and Tibetan groups abound however.

Hi, monotreme (and what are you doing so far from home?),
What you're finding is common almost everywhere in the West - including here. I see it as a result of historical processes -
1. Zen was enormously popularised (though often misunderstood) in the hippie culture, 1960s and a bit later.
2. The Chinese forced a Tibetan diaspora in the 1950s and beyond, which gave Tibetan Buddhism in the West an endless stream of sympathy, publicity and (not least) highly qualified teachers who had been thrown out of home and were willing to look almost anywhere for a new one.

These two overwhelmed the relatively tiny older Buddhist groups (largely Theravada in Europe, Zen in the US). The current wave of interest in Theravada in the West seems to be largely a result of people exploring outwards from (1) and (2) above. So it is a later development, and it has been hampered by the relative shortage of teachers from traditionally Theravadin countries.

:namaste:
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:28 am

manasikara wrote:I'm one of the crowd who has been preached to .....This would make me feel just like all the others (ie Christians and various cult members) who were acting friendly, but really just wanted to change my point of view. (Is it just me, or do others find this very off-putting?)


Hi Manasikara,

The only effective way that i have seen in getting friends into the dhamma is to openly join up with them for monthly 'fun' (relatively) dhamma discussions. The fun aspect is in that it is group of known friends more or less into the dhamma (mildly interested or curious to meditating) so it is meeting people who are alike- there is dinner involved- it is usually on a friday night when people are more or less free, we discuss a topic of interest to the group (we ask for topics)- then one person gathers all the dhamma around that particular topic and does a presentation, along with somewhat provoking questions in line with the dhamma- which makes it interesting and a little challenging at the same time, but not so much that it throws people off :jumping:. We have had a lot of success with this format we've had people having little faith at the begining, now going on retreat after 25 sessions (monthly). Others with curiosity now regularly reading the suttas. Those who did go on retreat now doing their own sessions etc. I think it is up to each of us to find fun innovative ways to engage friends with the dhamma, without being a pain!

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Dhammanucara » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:55 am

As to having a TV channel to speak about Buddhism, we already have it in Taiwan: the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Relief Foundation founded by Master Cheng Yen. This foundation has a TV channel that broadcasts over Taiwan as well as over the world, whoever subscribes it from the website. It starts off with having the Master speaks about some Dhamma passages in the dawn to inspire people to begin their days with Dhamma, with mindfulness and compassion, and throughout the day, the channel features programs concerning humanitarian projects carried out by its members and others, whatever thought to fit into nurturing people with compassion, humanity and wisdom. In this respect, I don't find this as 'evangelical' like Billy Graham or other Christian channels in the United States. I'm not sure about other Buddhist channels in other countries, but I generally find that such activity seems more human-based and pragmatic in human's life and not of evangelism - it serves to nurture certain beneficial values in humans so that we can all create a wonderful and better world to live in. Not so much of like persuading you to accept certain doctrinal truths - no offense to other religions though.

Somebody points out a very good point earlier that the best teacher should be a person who has been well-established in the practice himself, and I find this is what the Buddha preached himself too in Culasihanada Sutta: http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Culasihanada_Sutta
In addition to this (meaning the above criterion is the main determinant), my personal view is that a person who wishes to speak or propagate the Dhamma should also possess several characteristics so that the Dhamma-propagation effort would be somewhat fruitful or leading toward success - observant in people's responses toward the Dhamma, looking how Dhamma could be practiced in daily life and how Dhamma could be used to solve life problems (this is why a teacher should also be a practitioner) since generally people nowadays would only turn to things that they could find useful to solve their life dilemmas, ability to customize the different needs of people for different aspects of Dhamma, ability to speak the Dhamma efficaciously using certain terminology or examples to convey the ideas (this includes the person speaking from his experience of practice as well as his theoretical learning in order to use the correct terms), etc. These are just my general observations about great Dhamma teachers who have greatly impacted my life, so I hope these characters should be emulated in the Dhamma propagation efforts. Sadhu!

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Terasi » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:44 am

I was in the hospital, got some visitors with religious messages. One of them was a group of Theravadins, and a Tibetan nun. I settled with Theravada.

I think if you'd like to form a dhammaduta group, please do not forget hospitals.
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby pilgrim » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Terasi wrote:I was in the hospital, got some visitors with religious messages. One of them was a group of Theravadins, and a Tibetan nun. I settled with Theravada.
I think if you'd like to form a dhammaduta group, please do not forget hospitals.

Interesting...Exactly what did they do when they visited you?
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Terasi » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:56 pm

Can't remember, probably chanting for me. That time I knew nothing about Buddhism, but I think they recited something in language that I didn't understand so it must be chanting.

After recovered, I visited the Theravadin group and the Tibetan nun's monastery. Probably one more thing in propagation is not to try to explain too much about suffering and attachment to someone who knows zero, the Tibetan nun tried to explain those to me, I became confused and never visited again.
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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby hanzze_ » Mon May 28, 2012 6:38 am

rowyourboat wrote:What's the most effective form of dhamma propagation, in your opinion?
With metta
Matheesha

To really live it. Things come within. And to come one day to the point by one self, to support those who actually live in accordance to it. That's the circle that does not skew.
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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby Sekha » Thu May 31, 2012 12:12 pm

:goodpost:

practice the Dhamma oneself genuinely to the best of one's abilities, without trying to be an example for others.

People naturally get inspired and they realize it is really possible to apply what's written in the scriptures, that it's not just beautiful literature or instructions everyone says "sadhu sadhu sadhu" to but no one follows.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby hanzze_ » Thu May 31, 2012 12:23 pm

And so we still sit here.
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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby Sekha » Thu May 31, 2012 12:28 pm

That might be the best thing to do in some cases. For example if you are surrounded only by people who are far from understanding the first bit of Dhamma and who might have a negative influence on you. It may help remaining focused while passing through "hostile" environments.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby hanzze_ » Thu May 31, 2012 12:43 pm

Yes, very good choice but sometimes we overlook that the door is already unlocked or we even had never tried.

Image

So do not miss to propagate in its most efficient and beneficial way.
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby SamKR » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:11 am

alan wrote:My famous blend of sarcasm and literalism [...]

alan wrote:How about taking full page adverts in all the major papers?
Or, we could put the Suttas in every hotel room.
Or, we could start a TV network. People could turn to channel 77 and hear the teachings!
That might work.


What's wrong with such adverts as long as the intention is right?
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:28 am

SamKR wrote:
alan wrote:My famous blend of sarcasm and literalism [...]

alan wrote:How about taking full page adverts in all the major papers?
Or, we could put the Suttas in every hotel room.
Or, we could start a TV network. People could turn to channel 77 and hear the teachings!
That might work.


What's wrong with such adverts as long as the intention is right?


He thought he was being sarcastic but actually those are good suggestions which are already put into practice. :tongue:
In my country Buddhist organisations ofter take out newspaper ads to publicise talks and events. In Japan, the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai places its compilation of Sutras in hotel rooms. Tzu Chi of Taiwan has its own TV station and many NGOs in Cambodia and Sri Lanka have radio stations. It takes quitea bit of financial and organisational resources to do all this .
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby SamKR » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:28 pm

pilgrim wrote:
SamKR wrote:
alan wrote:My famous blend of sarcasm and literalism [...]

alan wrote:How about taking full page adverts in all the major papers?
Or, we could put the Suttas in every hotel room.
Or, we could start a TV network. People could turn to channel 77 and hear the teachings!
That might work.


What's wrong with such adverts as long as the intention is right?


He thought he was being sarcastic but actually those are good suggestions which are already put into practice. :tongue:
In my country Buddhist organisations ofter take out newspaper ads to publicise talks and events. In Japan, the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai places its compilation of Sutras in hotel rooms. Tzu Chi of Taiwan has its own TV station and many NGOs in Cambodia and Sri Lanka have radio stations. It takes quitea bit of financial and organisational resources to do all this .

Thanks, pilgrim for this information. Yes, it takes a lot of financial resources. I was wondering if other religious groups (like Mormons/Christians) are being able to manage that in the US and also in the Eastern/South Asian countries why can't Buddhists do the same in the Western countries?
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Re: Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

Postby Buddhistboy » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:29 pm

When it comes to propagation of Buddhism there are two levels.

The first is at a personal / individual level. The latter is at a more organizational level. I have outlines certain strategies. The first three points are at a personal level. I am sure the strategies which I have mentioned are being used by Buddhists up to various degrees however it is important for all of us to be aware of this and learn how to make use of them appropriately.

1. Practice – Only through practice we can demonstrate our Buddhist qualities. The teachings of Buddhism ‘manifest’ in everyday life through our practice. Our behavior should be in line and consistent with Buddhist principles. Meditation is essential – it was this activity that gave birth to Buddhism. Meditation and ethical conduct have to be maintained so that concentration and wisdom can develop.

2. Knowledge – sometimes we may come across people who are interested to know about Buddhism and they may ask us various questions. It is not possible to predict exactly what questions will be asked from you, but there are basic questions that anyone would most likely ask. It is important to ‘pre-empt’ these questions in our mind in advance so that when the appropriate moment arrives we can ‘deliver’ the answer in the best possible way. Whoever is interested can read ‘Good Question, Good Answer’ by S.Dhammika as it lists questions from a non-Buddhist point of view and the answer is also given with each question. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/gqga-5ed.pdf

3. Be cool – If you make it obvious that you re trying to convert people, it can easily put people off. If people don’t ask you about Buddhism, then it is best not to bring up the topic of Buddhism by yourself. In day-to-day conversation it is best that Buddhism is explained when other people ask about it. Don’t struggle, be cool.

4. Translation – There are lots of literature on Buddhism that were/are translated to English. However there are other languages of the Western world such as Spanish, Portuguese and Russian where Buddhist educational material is not available up to the same extent as in English. Translation of Buddhist texts to English has been of great benefit to those in English speaking countries. Now it is important to expand even further by initiating and funding the translation of those same texts, books, eBooks into other Western languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Russian).
Apart from the Western world, we should not forget the Eastern world. Our Mahayana and Vajrayana friends would certainly benefit from incorporating some Theravada into their practice and one way to achieve this is by translation of Theravada texts, books and eBooks into Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Hindi etc.

5. Distribution of literature – in places where you are most likely to meet people who take part in Buddhist related activities (i.e meditation) it is good to have leaflets, pamphlets, booklets or books so that this can initiate people’s interest towards Buddhism. It is good to have web addresses of Buddhist websites so that people can obtain more information about Buddhism from the internet.
I have distributed USB pendrives with information on Buddhism which I collected online from different websites over many years. This is because in this Buddhist centre there were people who were new to Buddhism or non-Buddhists who are interested in exploring Buddhism.

6. Mass media – the internet has been of great benefit to the ‘voice of Buddhism’ so that it can be ‘heard’ over many nations. It is important to help the maintenance of these Buddhist websites by contributing to them by being active members as well as by giving monetary contributions. There are lots of Theravada websites in English. It would be nice to see more and more Buddhist websites in Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
Buddhist television channels (e.g The Buddhist http://www.thebuddhist.tv/) and Buddhist radio networks also help Buddhism to be available to the masses.
It is important to be active in social networking, video-sharing websites, blogs to help the message of Buddhism to be ‘heard’. Buddhism related groups and pages on facebook and other social networking sites, Buddhist related videos on YouTube and other video-sharing websites are all important. In comments sections under videos I used to check whether there are any questions asked by those who come across Buddhist videos and I answer them to the best of my knowledge.
Advertising on newspapers of Buddhist meditation retreats, courses on Buddhist teaching, seminars can be advertised so it will increase the chances of more people coming.

7. Temples, Centres and Organisations – In western countries it is important to have priests who can preach in English and other Western languages. It would be ideal if Buddhist monks from Buddhist majority countries living in the west can give sermons equally well in English (or other Western language) as well as their native language. Population studies will help to decide which areas to build what kind of temples (for example if there is a significant minority of Thais living in a particular area, then a Buddhist temple with Thai monks). In this example which I have given, the Thais can visit and make contributions to the temple to make sure the temple ‘runs smoothly’ whiles the monk being able to give sermons in English will attract English people to learn more about Buddhism.
Because of this it is important to teach monks in Buddhist majority countries a foreign language of a country where they will be sent to propagate Buddhism (eg. Teaching Spanish as a part of a training programme to monks/priests who will be sent to Spain or Latin American countries to propagate Buddhism).
In Buddhist monasticism the two components are the cenobitic and eremitic traditions. Both are essential for the development of the monastic order of Buddhism. In Western countries at present, it is the cenobitic monasticism (monks living in temples) which is far more popular. The eremitic tradition is almost non-existent in the west due to certain reasons. Firstly it is because of the changing seasons. Second is that there is not a significant Buddhist population in the Western world to support the eremitic tradition. Most people in the West are not accustomed to see hermit monks going from one door to another with an alms bowl.
One of our long term aims as a collective community should be to establish the Eremitic tradition (forest hermitage tradition) in the West. During the winter seasons the monks can stay and practice indoors whereas during the friendly seasons they can live their lives according to the forest tradition. The eremitic tradition is important as this is the way Siddhartha the ascetic lived his life on his journey to Enlightenment. Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Thera was a great example as a follower of this tradition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mun_Bhuridatta

8. Funding - the wheel of Dhamma is turning and we have to make our own effort and contribution to keep it turning. There are many different ingredients which help it to keep in motion and one of them is funding. There are lots of Buddhist related activities, websites that need running, Buddhist publishing groups etc and all of this can’t be done/maintained empty handed. Therefore it is essential to give donations to Buddhist organisations, websites, temples to make sure they run smoothly.
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