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Buddhism as practiced in the west – needs a saint first!

http://www.tricycle.com/p/1806?page=2

What will it take to establish a truly Western dharma?

It Takes  A Saint comments of the Tai Situ were debated rudely and fiercly by western ppl that claim Buddhism without merit of a Sangha, monastic Sanghas, or even full on Buddhist practice.

After reading this lengthy discussion, I decided to join in an express my support for the Tai Situ’s reponse. I’m from Iowa born and raised there with totally midwestern outlook.   What direction Buddhism takes is not determined by the laity, it is determined by the Sangha. What people in the West no matter their cultural background or language as Buddhist scholars/academics/intellectuals/dabblers/fans versus the real backbone of Buddhism the laity (these ppl having taken 3 refuges and 5 precepts from monastic Sangha, joined an area temple as a regular practitioner and made friends there knowing a sense of community there and outside the temple). Those unfamiliar with monastic Sangha, temples, or met ethnic Buddhists and just lay claims to Buddhism or a fraction of it have to understand that the Sangha practices do not change to accord with the country they are residing in, what changes is the flavor of Buddhism. And perhaps what will not happen here in the USA at least for now is the average joe’s/jane’s understanding or abilty to undertake or willingness to explore Buddhism from a Buddhist laity viewpoint is limited to non-existent.  Until we Sangha have the support of the average person not the academic or intellectual we will not begin to stabilize or define our practice of Buddhism in the USA.

Tai Situ is right. Sangha members here in the USA are the pioneers and consider the USA and the Americas the edge of Dharma borders (temples and monasteries are the monastic borders for dharma practice and study thus are havens for Buddhists worldwide) or borderlands much like the wild west was with the same terms of being lawless (without dharma, morality, ethics), the trailblazers for the future generations that will come after us. We are the sand, water, and clay to form the bricks and mortor.  In fact, Buddhism has only been here for less than 200 years and came with the Chinese and YES there were monastic Sangha who gave dharma talks, conducted services in the early temples. It has not had time to stabilize yet in the USA or the rest of the Americas. We are patient, it’s on ‘monastic time’ which views this happening as generations of people existing, practicing, and supporting Buddhism.

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Author:

I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.