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Daily Connect: Buddhism in America and Rebel Buddha

I had the awesome opportunity to moderate the panel discussion at the kickoff of the Rebel Buddha tour with book author Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara, and Mitra Mark Power. The topic: “What is American Buddhism?” I liked the topic so much that I figured I’d address it again tomorrow night at the Shambhala Center here in New York. Here is a quote from Ponlop Rinpoche’s book on “Buddhism In America,” for the Daily Connect. Rinpoche gave a wonderful teaching, thoroughly and insightfully validating the rebellious spirit in all genuine spiritual seekers.

“We could say that Buddhism develops its mature cultural identity in a way that’s similar to the spiritual path of an individual. American Buddhism is going through that process now. First there was a period of basic training….During this period, everyone tended to follow closely the forms and practices of their particular school….Buddhist groups were somewhat isolated from the general community in the beginning….These days, it’s not easy to spot Buddhists on the street by what they are wearing.

“We seem to be at the point where our Buddhism and our Americanism can come together. Hopefully, as we take this step, we can go beyond cultural and spiritual sectarianism and become a voice of reason and compassion in our society. Traditional Buddhism and our youthful American Buddhism may not always look like they are on the same page. This may be the cause of occasional distress, but then parents always worry about their kids, and kids always think they know more and are cooler than their parents. But every generation is new and has to make its own discoveries about this journey. The further they go on their own path, the more proud and respectful they’ll be of family history. That’s life in any family, isn’t it?”

-Dzogchen Ponlop
Rebel Buddha

So what do you think the key features of a truly American Buddhism might be?

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How wonderful!

I hope you'll post a podcast of your talk at the Shambhala center! :)

rocked it

Nice analogy! And that was an excellent panel.

I liked Ponlop's bodhi-cheetah way too much. I'm just the speedy kind, I know.

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