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A Western Approach to Buddhism
How can Buddhism speak to Westerners?

How can we appropriately adapt Buddhism to Western culture?

  • Two pieces by James Ishmael Ford:
  • Good Medicine for This World - in a conversation about tonglen with Alice Walker and Judith Lief, Pema Chödrön mentions a couple of things Western Buddhist teachers do differently:
    • they "simply don't buy" the notion that homosexuality is an obstacle to spiritual growth (any more than they'll perpetuate judging women as inferior)
    • they have to take extra pains to address the strong tendency of Western Practitioners to hear dharma teaching "with a filter of turning it against themselves."
  • Sit Down and Shut Up! Brad Warner's approach to Zen is irreverent and debunking, but seems nevertheless authentic to me.
  • Being Creative with Tradition: Rooting Theravaada Buddhism in Britain- by Sandra Bell.
  • Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening, by Stephen Batchelor, is about using the methods of Buddhism without the mythology or metaphysics. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my shelf waiting. Here are two critiques of it:

What is the relationship between Buddhism & meditation, and psychology or psychotherapy?

What other aspects of Western culture resonate with Buddhism?

What other aspects of Western culture need greater development in Buddhism?

14 June 2003