“I have received feedback on Twitter and other places that the term "ethnic Buddhist" is unskillful and possibly offensive to some. I also now understand that there is a lengthy history in Western anthropology of using the term "ethnic" with a subtext of Western & European culture as the standard or norm; one person characterized my use of the term as "cultural imperialism". And although no-one has yet mentioned it, I now notice that my characterization of meditation and retreat communities as "Caucasian" is inaccurate in today's scene (though an acccurate description of the Sokoji meditators 40 years ago) and disregarding of the many people of color who are meditators and the many outreach and diversity programs of meditation communities. I have asked my correspondents to help me come up with more skillful and appropriate terminology, so consider these matters as a work in progress. Part of the eight-fold path is "appropriate speech" which includes appropriate written language. I apologize to any who found the language of my post offensive and I hope to use these issues now as an opportunity for mutual exploration and awareness.”
khanti on May 4, 2012 at 04:54:35
“Humbleness and humility is the right step out of the state of delusion.”
buddhasoup on May 3, 2012 at 21:00:47
“Lewis, I understood what you meant, and understand why some people reacted. At the end of the day, the tern you used has fairly broad acceptance with other writers, so your use of it was not inappropriate, though perhaps the search for a new term is useful. There's the concept of "family of origin" to describe one's customs or traits derived from their birth family, so perhaps "origin Buddhist" could be considered as a term of use.”
“I believe Kabat-Zinn borrowed the phrase "full catastrophe" from Zorba the Greek. Zorba, describing his life, listed all the terrible things that had happened to him and then summed it up by saying, "the full catastrophe!"”
celtic on Jul 20, 2011 at 09:46:05
“The full quote from Zorba is "Am I not a man? And is a man not stupid? I'm a man, so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe."
I guess you could say one man's American dream is another man's full catastrophe.:)”
“If I could gently offer one further observation: The main point of my being on the radio show was to discuss brain injury. Other than the short interchange about God, the host and I did not discuss religion. It was not an issue. After the show I discovered that the host had a deeply personal interest in brain injury--that was why she invited me. That was what our conversation was about. Establishing trust and connecting to her as a one human being to another was the purpose of my comments. Did I accomplish that with her? I think I did.”
Erewhon7 on May 15, 2011 at 13:05:35
“"The main point of my being on the radio show was to discuss brain injury."
I am glad to hear it.
Perhaps you''d care to explain then why the above article is strictly about defense of the God conceptualization.”
spilkus on May 15, 2011 at 11:22:21
“Maybe telling the truth would have been a more helpful strategy. I'm sure there is something in buddhism which discourages telling white lies.”
“Thanks to all the people who took the time and interest to comment on my post. In reading through the many many comments I would just like to add a couple of thoughts. As to what the Buddha said or taught, nothing was written down for the first several centuries so we are not sure. But he seemed to teach various things to various people. As some commenters have pointed out, often he responded (as in "the Questions of Vacchagotra," with various questions with silence. To people who posited a belief in a self, he taught no abiding self. To those who believed in no self, he sometimes taught that there was a self. He seemed to respond and teach according to the situation and the person before him.
As to my response to the host, "Yes" is what I said at that moment and so I wrote about that. Could I have given a better or skillful response? Perhaps. Should I have made more of an effort to explain Buddhism in more detail? Perhaps. Life is full of as-ifs and shoulda saids. But i said what I said. I take responsibility for it, and for what I wrote here. Everyone who responded had something useful to contribute. The dialogue continues.”
“I didn't mean it as a dichotomy. Being inwardly pure and outwardly helping people are both beneficent. Being inwardly pure and being indifferent to the suffering of others is pathological. I agree though that this has sometimes been a historic problem for Buddhism.”
sonjasmom on Apr 30, 2011 at 10:26:00
“I don't know how you can be "inwardly pure" and not outwardly express compassion for others. If you hold others in contempt, and don't care about their suffering, I think your inner purity isn't quite as pristine as you think it is.”
sudhirpv on Apr 29, 2011 at 12:53:23
“If you look at the history of Sri Lanka, one really cannot find any compassion in the Buddhist Monks of that country. Those monks were clamoring for more blood of innocent Tamils every day of the war. The result is the biggest state charted pogrom in recent history.So much of being inwardly pure and helping others.
Happily Skeptic of all -isms,
kellygreen on Apr 29, 2011 at 07:42:19
“Only in certain cultures.”
Andrew Langerman on Apr 29, 2011 at 05:40:23
“The good news is that in the present moment it is not a problem.”
“Thanks to all who commented. It seems that this topic has generated a lot of discussion, as well it should. For what it's worth, I don't think the Buddha or Buddhism generally pushes for people to become rich--after all, greed is one of Buddhism's "three poisons"--especially not if it is on the backs of the poor. But I think the quote from the scripture indicates that laypeople are entitled to make an honest living--and to live in a compassion-based society that provides them an opportunity to do that.”
Manny Furious on Mar 21, 2011 at 13:10:06
“To me "right livelihood" is not taking more than you need. A colleague at work today loaned me a copy of "Zen and the Art of Happiness" and suggested I read it. I saw it was written by Chris Prentiss, the same guy who charges vulnerable people $50,000 a month to attend his substance abuse rehab facility in Malibu. Charging that kind of money to "help people" doesn't seem very Zen/Buddhist to me.