Author Topic: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?  (Read 3937 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« on: January 25, 2014, 03:02:59 pm »
As I get more familiar with Buddhist practice and teaching, I can't help but notice so much of it is geared towards monks and has to be reworked slightly to apply to householders. I think this is particularly true in the differences between traditions. In the west, lay people tend to follow one teacher and thus one sect. (Though I suppose plenty like one book here and one book there and there are people like that on this forum). But in traditional Buddhist countries and particularly historically, would a layperson identify with one sect or another (being Zen, pure land, ect?) or would they just consider themselves Buddhist and go to whichever temple was close by?  This could very well vary by individual, but I wonder if the Asian phenomena of melting together different religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Ancestor Worship) extended to even devout "lay" Buddhists?

In my own journey, I think it is important to remember I am a householder, have a family and career, and not pretend I'm a monk.

Any thoughts?

Gassho, Fred

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 03:45:05 pm »
But in traditional Buddhist countries and particularly historically, would a layperson identify with one sect or another (being Zen, pure land, ect?) or would they just consider themselves Buddhist and go to whichever temple was close by?

Historically speaking, they would idenitfy with the pervailing sect of the region they were born, where it would be perceived as an intergal part of their society, culture, and heritage --- for example, compare the form of Buddhism that took root in Sri Lanka to that of Tibet, or compare Thailand to that of Japan, one being Theravada and the other Mahayana.

They would certainly go to which ever temple was closer, but in most instances there was never an opportunity to select a sect that was unrelated to the established society, culture, and heritage where the person was born, other than possible variations within any particular sect itself.

Families would also became patrons of specific monasteries and temples, from generation to generation and to the exclusion of other monasteries and temples, such as in Japan.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 03:48:19 pm by Dharmakara »

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 03:59:35 pm »
The Pure Land school is Chinese.

The Dzogchen is Americanish. (Based in America)

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 04:19:55 pm »
Wesley, I might be misunderstanding your use of the word, but Dzogchen is hardly "Americanish" --- its history kind of speaks for itself:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/history_buddhism/buddhism_tibet/nyngma/brief_history_dzogchen.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzogchen

http://www.dzogchenlineage.org/index.html
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 04:48:40 pm by Dharmakara, Reason: added extra link »

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 04:25:35 pm »
Do you know how I can become a student of Tibetan-Ayurvedic medicine?..

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2014, 04:42:46 pm »
Naropa University in Colorado has courses, including a studying abroad program:

http://www.naropa.edu/academics/undergraduate-academics/study_abroad/study-abroad-himalayas.php

There's also the Sorig institute, but I don't know much about them:

http://www.soriginstitute.org/classes/tibetan-medicine-program

If you look around you might also find some suitable coorespondence courses, long-distance learning, ect.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 04:57:46 pm »
Thanks DK. Helps put things in perspective since in the West it is such a spiritual marketplace with 10 different Christian denominations in just my small city, and other groups galore.




Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2014, 05:08:12 pm »
You'll find the same thing occuring within Buddhism to some extant, such as in Singapore, where you'll find just about every sect represented:

http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/country.php?country_id=50

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 05:19:49 pm »
Whoa, there is a zen community really close to me I never knew about. Maybe 45 min drive, but I commute right past there everyday to go to school.

http://www.newriverzen.org/home.html

And these people are in my city, but I think they are more Tibetan, but that's okay
http://www.meditationinvirginia.org/
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 05:24:29 pm by ZenFred »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2014, 05:34:30 pm »
Yes, the second group you mentioned is related to the New Kadampa tradition founded by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso --- the Dharmapala Kadampa Buddhist Center.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2014, 05:40:44 pm »
Hmmm... I really like tree leaf so nothing wrong with sticking there I just might go to either place when I get a chance. (When my wife's out of town. She isn't totally keen on my Buddhism. She knows it's just best not to bring it up.  ;D)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 05:55:21 pm by ZenFred »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 06:47:07 am »
Hmmm... I really like tree leaf so nothing wrong with sticking there I just might go to either place when I get a chance. (When my wife's out of town. She isn't totally keen on my Buddhism. She knows it's just best not to bring it up.  ;D)

Hi, Fred.  Have you told her about Nagas yet?  I'm sure she will change her mind when she hears about them.
 :lmfao:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 05:56:30 am »
Giant magic using snakes?  I must be missing something there.

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2014, 11:05:12 am »
Giant magic using snakes?  I must be missing something there.

You must be talking about a powerful Naga.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 11:08:45 am by NepalianBuddhist »

Offline msmiitz19

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Re: Lay Buddhists in the East/Historically?
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2016, 09:53:10 am »
Check out Shambhala's Marpa biography, Tilopa biography, and Gesar of Ling. All are biographies of Buddhists who are not monks. Immensely fascinating and gave me a lot of ideas on how to lead my own life.

 


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