Saturday, June 05, 2010

Portland Buddhist Festival Today

Luckily the folks at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, the main organizers of the thing, have a blog.  A while back, they decided (correctly, in my view) that it was better for the Dharma not to be associated with the Frederick Lenz Foundation, and that's not why it's called "Change Your Mind Day."  As of today, (scroll to the bottom of the page) Tricycle's webpage on Change Your Mind Day  still says that Change Your Mind Day is co-sponsored by The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism.  As anyone who's read my blog knows, Frederick Lenz was a spiritual huckster using Buddhism as a pretense for some fairly unsavory activities, according to those who knew him.    He was not certified as particularly learned in Buddhist scriptures, activites etc. by any recognized teacher.  (Of course, neither am I but I don't put myself out there as an incarnation of Vishnu...and then call myself a Zen master!)  In fact, he did not hail from any established Buddhist tradition. His descriptions of the goals of meditation do not match in any way what the teachers in the Zen tradition have taught, and did not match the descriptions of the goals of  Zen practice as found in the Buddhist sutras such as the Lankavatara or Perfection of Wisdom sutras.

It is sad that Tricycle magazine, a major force in Western Buddhism, still associates itself, through its flagship event, with someone that is not very helpful in practicing and propagating the Dharma.  Perhaps Tricycle and his heirs view this as some kind of karmic penance (?) for Lenz...perhaps Tricycle needed the money at the time.  Perhaps the folks at Tricycle were not aware of the full extent of Lenz's follies.  Whatever, it's regrettable.

Then there's Dennis Genpo Merzel, but I think I've said enough for today.

I'll be at the Portland Buddhist Festival, and if there's something interesting, I'll post about it.  Tricycle's Change Your Mind Day, I would assume from the once or twice I attended in NYC back in the day really will have Buddhists at it.

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