Via Arun, I see the Washington Post is weighing in on the subject of "Western Buddhism" and the "future" of Buddhism in the West.
This article has so many issues, it's not even wrong, as the physicist said:
- Yes, William Wilson Quinn, there is a historic North American Buddhist tradition: it is compiled of the aggregate of Buddhist traditions that immigrants brought to North America. It includes nasty things that were done to the Chinese, the Japanese, etc. It includes the folks who first greeted and sheltered Soen Shaku, Nyogen Senzaki, and many others. It predates by decades many of the fundamentalist Christian sects in America, for example, the Foursquare Church, the Vineyard, and many other such sects.
- "Some North American authors have suggested that North Americans might consider foregoing any such wholesale adoptions of Eastern traditions in deference to gradually developing their own. " Others, including this author, have suggested that keeping the Eastern traditions is useful in the way that it's important to have a "skill set" developed around a form of cultivation, much as one learns to play a musical instrument.
- "Expansion of consciousness????" Really, who talks like that in Buddhist circles anywhere? Does the author think this is some kind of highest good or something?
- It's not all meditation. There's a whole 8-fold path that includes lots of other things too! And in the Zen tradition, most recorded accounts of enlightenment most assuredly do not recount it being achieved when in meditation. So there's that.
- "North American Buddhists are likely to create their own traditions and schools of thought, but they should do so with the awareness that they are forging a new Buddhist culture, not the ‘true’ Buddhist culture." I'm not sure what this sentence means. I'm not even sure the author knows what it means.