[Buddha-l] Watery dharma

Piya Tan dharmafarer at gmail.com
Tue Dec 18 19:23:47 MST 2007

I'm not sure if the Daoist-Buddhist amalgam is still common in mainland
today. In Singapore (and I suppose in Malaysia, too) there is clear osmosis
either direction, Both the Daoist and Buddhist "communities" are becoming
clearly defined, as the followers of the two religions grow in

I cannot help noticing that there is a close link between class and
religious sub-
groups here (of course not just here). For example, the Daoists tend to be
lower middle class traditional Chinese, while the Buddhists tend to be upper

middle class better schooled Chinese as well as English-speaking.

Almost all the affluent monks here stop talking to me after I told them I am

living on a village pastor's stipend from the Buddhist community. This makes
me feel like a coconut flung far from the tree. But the fresh open air is

Christians here comprise mostly of the more affluent urbanites, esp the new
Christian individual-led churches such as City Harvest. The Christian
here heavily evangelize on the campuses to keep their colonial grip on the
ruling echelons.

In fact, with area zoning, new Buddhist centres are effectively ghetto-ized
into the red-light Geylang area, growing like Lotuses: The Buddhist Library
that Richard Hayes graced is located there.

The Chinese temple where I regularly teach Suttas is the only Buddhist
temple in the Pasir Panjang (harbour) area peppered by over a dozen
churches, and largely populated by whites. The other smaller Buddhist
temple had to move out years back.

Interestingly, I get a cross-section of practically all the religions coming
for my
meditation and meditation therapy sessions, incl charismatic and pentecostal

Christians, and Muslims. This is probably because I present my approach as
"non-religious" Buddhist.

There are even Christian meditation groups (such as the one ministering to
gay and
lesbians) that have approached me for advice on how to teach meditation to

At the same time, the erstwhile mission schools (esp the prestigious Anglo
Schools system) have their officials and teachers open their arms
magnanimously in
public but consistently bash their Buddhist students in their classrooms on
the sinfulness
of Buddhism.


On Dec 19, 2007 7:23 AM, Richard Hayes <rhayes at unm.edu> wrote:

> On Tuesday 18 December 2007 15:59, SJZiobro at cs.com wrote:
> > Actually, one finds clear evidence of religious tolerance in the 11th
> > century relative to St. Bernard's advocacy for the Jews.  If one does
> not
> > fall into the trap of anachronism one will find other evidence even
> > earlier, for example, when Christians were themselves persecuted from
> > roughly 90 AD to 313 AD.  It is also important to distinguish polemic
> and
> > doctrines from actual practice.
> A bit later than that, Buddhists met strong resistance when they entered
> Japan. Much later, after Buddhists became the dominant force, Christians
> were
> persecuted in Japan. And if one seeks more contemporary instances of
> persecution, Myanmar has been cited by Amnesty International numerous
> times
> for condoning Buddhist persecution of Muslims.
> But talk of watery dharma has now turned into mudslinging dharma talk.
> It's
> time to get back to higher ground. If at all possible, I'd like to avoid
> more
> of these tedious sessions of recounting the past, present and possibly
> future
> sins of one group or another (except for Republicans, of course). That
> sort
> of discussion really gets no one any closer to either an understanding of
> Buddhist theory or solidity in Buddhist practice. Rather than promoting
> compassion, all this "They did this to us, and all we've ever been is
> sweet
> and reasonable" bullshit foments nothing but anti-compassion and therefore
> is
> anti-Buddhist. If anyone does it again, they will be chained in dungeons
> and
> forced to listen to the Lotus Sutra until their ears fall off.
> Thus have ye heard: a fatwa from a fat Buddhist.
> --
> Richard P. Hayes
> Department of Philosophy
> University of New Mexico
> http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes <http://www.unm.edu/%7Erhayes>
> _______________________________________________
> buddha-l mailing list
> buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
> http://mailman.swcp.com/mailman/listinfo/buddha-l

The Minding Centre
Blk 644 Bukit Batok Central #01-68 (2nd flr)
Singapore 650644
Website: dharmafarer.googlepages.com

More information about the buddha-l mailing list