using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
buddhadharma| 55 |summer 2007 we have here, to realize that I fit in a circle with lots of other people who hold different parts of the whole. People coming out of different traditions have different skills and emphases. Not everybody learns in the same way; not everybody practices in the same way. The kind of meditation I teach is not necessarily the answer to every question. At times I’ve suggested that someone do tonglen practice instead of meditation. They’ve benefited tremen- dously. I’m grateful for the cross-pollination and eager to see what will flower as a result. I don’t think of the dharma as a thing that we pass from person to person. It’s a living system all of us par- ticipate in. I love the risk of taking part in that kind of co-creation. buddhadharma: So the benefits of the diversity out- weigh any drawbacks? eido roShi: Everyone in the modern world is satu- rated with this idea of benefit, merit, or virtue. It’s all the same thing. I don’t think in terms of what is beneficial, but I do feel we are living in a most exciting period of time. But what is important for us now is not Western Buddhism or Modern Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha did not have any koan except life and death, and he did not use any artificial koans. Let’s return to what Shakyamuni Buddha did. Stephen batChelor: I completely agree. We need a reformation that goes back to about 500 BCE in India when the Buddha lived, as best as we can reconstruct it. The dhamma did not spring out of thin air. It was a response to a particular time and place. It was embedded in earthbound human and social concerns. That’s so often been lost sight of. There is so much Buddhism that is taught that was never mentioned by the Buddha, such as absolute and relative truth. When I trained as a Gelugpa monk, for example, or in a Zen monastery, all of the teachings were to a large extent formulated by commentators on commentators on commen- tators. Fine, but the phrase “the Buddha said” was used in a way that was not terribly rigorous. In fact, it was code for saying, “This is what our tradition says.” ponlop rinpoChe: Yes, we have to go back to the time of the Buddha and see how he lived, what he taught, and what his sangha did. We need to bring as much of the essential teachings from that original source as we can. I also encourage my students to go back to other periods of Indian Buddhism, to do sadhana practice as it was practiced at the time of Nagarjuna, for example, so we can bring some element of that tradition into our modern American Vajrayana Buddhism. Joan Sutherland: In Buddhist history, we also have examples of people jumping out of the old ways of doing things. Great Master Ma and Shitou Xiqian, two very innovative teachers, flourished in eighth-century China, a time of unimaginable catastrophe. As a result, they trained people so they could respond in a national crisis. That kind of approach to Buddhism would seem very valu- able for us as we face some pretty large crises on this planet. Stephen batChelor: What will help us most is a sec- ular Buddhism, but there’s a confusion around the term secularization. It generally means taking out ecclesiastical elements and reducing everything to a kind of lay authority. I take secular in its more orig- inal sense. In Latin it means “of this age” or “of this time.” I would seek a Buddhism that is of this time, a dhamma that is configured for this period. There have always been Buddhisms for particular times and places. That’s what Buddhism is. ponlop rinpoChe: I support secular dharma, particu- larly in the sense that Stephen is talking about: of this time. Buddhism is a philosophy about a par- ticular way of life, but I don’t feel it is necessary to reject any other element of Buddhism. For some people, it may be a religion. For other people, it’s not. We always say that the Buddha taught 84,000 dharmas for 84,000 different kinds of mentalities of beings. Buddhism can manifest differently for each person. eido roShi: We have a tendency to think that we are doing something good for the buddhadharma, but actually that is a most arrogant point of view, a misrepresentation. It is actually none of our busi- ness. We continue our own effort and practice; beyond that, we don’t have to worry about the dharmata. It will take care of itself. What happens when the dharma comes into the most self-absorbed, narcissistic culture in the galaxy? It’s a tough nut to crack. Yes, we have different relationships with religion and authority, but that’s just part of the complex ground we find ourselves on. — Joan Sutherland DeBorahBolDt