Listener questions: alternative approaches

This episode was inspired by a listener’s question about the relevance of a “Dharma Punx” model to Jodo Shinshu. We start off talking about how Shin Buddhism and the BCA in particular can be seen as “family Buddhism,” a double-edge sword in that it’s great for families but can be a little off-putting for folks without pre-existing family ties. But this raises the question of what is practice in Jodo Shinshu in the first place? This gets us into everything from the traditional dojo and myokonin stories to contemporary youth groups and bowling. (That’s right. We’re going Dharma Bowling.) All of this may or may not answer our listener’s question directly, but it started a great conversation about the ways that American Shin Buddhism is in transition and makes us think about new and alternative models to engage people in the Dharma.

4 thoughts on “Listener questions: alternative approaches”

  1. Dear Scott and Harry,

    I listened to the new podcast this morning, and a couple of other topics occurred to me that y’all might address at some point.

    First, what specific recommendations can you make for Buddhists who live far away from any temples, especially Shin Buddhists? Statistically, almost no one in America lives within 30 minutes of a BCA temple (most don’t live within five hours of one). That’s not at all your reality, but nonetheless perhaps you can figure out something for solo Buddhists to try.

    Second, and totally unrelated, it might be very interesting to speculate what Buddhism in America will look like in 2109. What groups will still be around, and how will they have changed? Who will have died out, and what interesting new groups on the scene will there be? How will Buddhism have affected wider American culture? How should we analyze the enormous pan-religious devotion to Her Holiness the 16th Dalai Lama? Etc.

  2. I really enjoyed this discussion. It helped deepen my appreciation of both the Shin and Dharma Punx approaches – which was exactly what I was hoping for. I had not considered how Jodo Shin Shu is so family focused, really. I’d always seen it as more of an issue of tradition and the inclusion of non-Japanese into an Issei organization. That’s likely because I’ve come to Jodo Shin Shu as an outsider to both. As always, great food for thought. Thanks!

  3. Todd, glad you appreciated the episode. We were certainly grateful for the question as it helped push our own thoughts in new directions. There’s probably more to this topic that we’ll touch on in the future, I’m sure.

    Jeff, thanks for the questions. Harry and I are mulling them over as head back to the recording booth — er, room where we set up the computer and hit record!

  4. Great, take a stab at them if they seem intriguing. If you’ve got better things to talk about don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings. Have fun ‘casting.

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