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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 47 |summer 2005 Charles PreBish: All of the predictions I’ve seen over the last three decades or so, including my own, seem to have turned out to be wrong. They’re wrong because we have been, for the most part, expecting things that probably can’t happen for a long time. If we look at Buddhism’s move from one culture to another, it seems that the period of acculturation always takes at least half a mil- lennium. Perhaps we’ve seduced ourselves in this culture to think it will happen faster, because we’re Americans and because we have better communi- cation, and we have the Internet, and so forth. But we’re still just people. I imagine that I will not see a complete integration during my lifetime, but that it will happen more gradually over time. Paul haller: I don’t agree entirely. We create the future. I hope we will continue to approach it with the commitment we’re taking on right now. That’s essential. It might be possible, then, that in twenty to thirty years, in just the same way that issues regarding sexual preference or orientation have diminished as divisive issues within groups like ours, issues of ethnicity and race will also dimin- ish. We will have integrated communities. What we offer will not seem strange and distant to the average person, either. It is already moving rapidly into the mainstream. In Time magazine’s latest issue on health and spirit and mind, essen- tially they were talking about mindfulness and how it infiltrates into so many dimensions of our physical and mental condition. Guy mCCloskey: We will need to learn more and more from each other about how to translate Buddhism in a way that communicates to Americans gener- ally. I have no doubt, though, that if we apply the values of Buddhism, integrated groups will form. Chicago, where I was for many years, has been described as the most segregated city in America, and yet we developed many racially diverse groups. When people in those groups get together, they share similar experiences about how to apply the values and the practice of Buddhism to their daily lives. That is what brings them together, and I see that continuing to develop. I’ll let Chuck figure out when there are going to be as many Buddhist centers as there are Christian churches in the United States, but I think Buddhism definitely can be a strong force in decreasing rac- ism and discrimination. It has the ability to lead people into the future, as a way of life, as a way of living harmoniously with their environment and all living beings. photo:MichAeldAvidMurphy,reproducedwithperMissionofthediAArtfoundAtion,nyc