Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yes, it seems June is now officially "American Buddhists" month...

There's yet another article on this topic, this time in the Mormon-connected Deseret News.  This one is actually a reproduction of the article in the Washington Post though, except for this paragraph:

Our take: Although surveys have found that the number of Americans who practice the Buddhist religion is rapidly growing, the practice of the Eastern faith doesn't necessarily reflect the traditional path. In fact, a "North American sacred tradition" has sprung up that is somewhat different from "wholesale" Buddhism, but, according to some Buddhists, this is possible because of the simplicity of the faith, its broad applicability to all cultures and types of people, and because it does not rely on the belief in any deity.

Naturally, I hardly ever look at the Deseret News - the last time I looked at it, it was to see if there had been any recent coverage of a couple of Mormon Fundamentalist murderers of late, who were the subject of a book I'd been reading on a plane ("Under the Banner of Heaven," by Jon Krakauer).

The Deseret News (or these days, the Washington Post) are not particularly reliable news sources to me, or perhaps I should say they are reliable to behave certain ways given their ownership and editorial policy.  

How the Deseret News can talk about a "traditional path" of Buddhism, a "North American sacred tradition" that is "somewhat different" than a "'wholesale' Buddhism" (as opposed to retail?) I just don't know.  I realize that news media is dying because its business model is collapsing, but to stick a paragraph like the above on top of a "Sally Quinn's brother who is a scholar of Buddhism" link-bait simply reveals the utter irresponsibility of some "religion" reporters, and, as Arun would note, the invisibility of Asian-connected Buddhists in the US.

To the Deseret News: Just because Genpo Merzel married someone well-connected to the Mormons doesn't mean we're at all like him. 

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