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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
49 winter 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly rod meade Sperry: Is it important to you as a young person that the specifically Buddhist strain of that practice exists as opposed to just the general idea of people practic- ing insight and mindfulness? iriS BriLLiant: I’m really interested in learning more about the dharma itself, its history and its teachings, even in a scholarly fashion, per- haps. But I’m also excited when any group of young people wants to get together and learn just about the techniques of meditation. It’s great to know that people are tak- ing the initiative to become more clearheaded, even if they’re doing it in a secular and detached way. That’s immensely beneficial for them and those around them. Buddhadharma: Will the tension between the popular, sim- pler forms and the traditional forms continue into the next generations? norman FiScher: There is indeed a tension now, but it’s com- plex, and it will change over time. People at the so-called popular end of the spectrum—secular meditators, people with Buddhist tattoos, people who are merely turned on by some- thing they heard on Oprah—in my experience actually have respect for the tradition and an appreciation for the need for deeply committed practitioners. In addition, as you get older, your views generally change and you become more conservative. Many people who have nipped at the edges of the buddhadharma will see the need for a more coherent community and more committed prac- tice. It may turn out that the Buddhist movement is some- thing very broad, lively, and multifarious, but that as people who participate in the movement get older—into their fifties and sixties—they may find themselves having a more narrow focus and more conservative practice regimen, if they can find good teachers who will validate and understand the experience they’ve had over their lifetime. Sumi Loundon Kim: Yes, but there are a sizeable number of young people who start out wanting a very traditional approach, espe- cially among the Vajrayana people. They’re very inspired by the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa, and they really plunge into the smells and bells and Buddhism as a religion. They want to be as traditional as possible. norman FiScher: Of course, it’s not this or that. It’s about... Sumi Loundon Kim: ...the full spectrum. Buddhadharma: What do the Buddhists of today need to do to ensure that the Buddhism of tomorrow is more diverse, and therefore continues to grow, in spite of the eclipsing of the baby boom? iriS BriLLiant: We need to reach people in more places. There are people trying to get meditation taught in a secular way in middle schools and high schools. Reaching people at those ages and in the context of school is very powerful. I agree with Sumi that the focus on retreats is a little too heavy, so it would be good if it were easier for people to start their own sitting groups, maybe inviting one teacher to support them and give dharma talks. The Internet is another wonderful resource for people to connect with practice, including having more talks available for download. Young adult retreats are another great way of getting more young people involved. The people on my young adult retreat became very close-knit and have stayed in touch afterward. And I can’t say it enough: it’s critical that the dharma become more affordable. To: bren hey sat 20 min 2day! what about you? sending metta—nate