[Buddha-l] demise in asia

Jayarava jayarava at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 1 14:17:22 MDT 2008

Gary Gach wrote:
>is it a matter of time only before evangelicals concertedly
> target gampo abbey, 

The FWBO now has 'mitras' in Beijing and Seoul, a few supportive contacts in Malaysia, and a sizeable presence in India which receives some support from Taiwanese Buddhists. I think there is quite a bit of enthusiasm for taking Buddhism (back) to the East, but not the resources or coordination. Buddhism is a great missionary religion... though we westerners tend to favour a fairly dry and rational approach, and who ever had their mind changed by reasoned argument? As I understand it the initial interest in Buddhism from China was that 2000 years ago the Buddhist monks had a better, stronger, kind of magic. The age of reason has relegated magic to the sidelines, and our marketing has not kept pace. Making Buddhism seem relevant is the problem. I suspect that traditional forms of Buddhism seem, and perhaps actually are, irrelevant.

We modern western Buddhists also seem to have an aberrant attitude to money not shared by our evangelical friends or by ancient Buddhist evangelists (even the monks if you believe Greg Schopen). If I had the kind of budget that those evangelicals (like my dear old Mum, currently spreading the gospel in Zambia) have, I could buy a loads converts too. Food has more or less replaced magic as the main tool for conversion, with medicine in a distant but not inconsequential second I would think. We just don't have the resources, and seem afraid to ask for them.

A lot of Buddhists are getting involved in climate-change issues and see that as the "new Buddhist magic" - we teach the interconnected ecologicality of all things, how not to be greedy and *still* be happy, and how to chill-out when things get heated. It's all good! It might work except that the climate-change zealots are so earnest and aggressively evangelical that they are almost as hateful as the Christian evangelists. (I already don't own a car, live communally, recycle religiously, am vegetarian, use green bulbs burning green electrickery, buy local, yadda yadda - get off my back!) 


P.S. My money is on Gampo Abbey as long as it's not decided by soft-ball game.


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