Thursday, 24 May 2012

Asking Tough Questions

It seems that a key aspect of Progressive Buddhism should be asking tough questions about Buddhism and its place in the world today. For each of us, those questions may be a bit different. I, for example, don't see the necessity of as much ritual as is found in much Buddhism. A bit is great, but beyond that I don't get much from it. Others, however, will find great benefit in elaborate rituals, from the Anglicised puja ceremony of the Triratna Buddhist Community to chanting in Tibetan or Pali (etc) with monks, lamas, rinpoches etc.

Some people like all of the titles and 'levels' of discipleship. Others find them fundamentally incompatible with Western, Progressive notions of equality and democracy.

Some people take on the belief system, wholeheartedly; while others strip down or eliminate doctrines that don't fit with their worldview.

What are the tough questions today? How can we, using this site as a potential forum, discuss these in a way that avoids both dogmatism and merely arguing to be argumentative?


For my part, I would like to continue to see posts and discussions focusing on what is good, helpful, and useful in our lives and what we come to know through our experience. I was moved, for instance, by this from Will Simpson:

I just finished Stephen Batchelor's "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" and am impressed by his writing style. Flipping back and forth between his life experience and the writings of the Pali Cannon, he presents a compelling narrative. I, like him, am compelled to acknowledge that I am certain about nothing. Really anything. My world view is dependent on my circumstances, the conditions that have already arisen. Given different circumstances, I would have a different world view. This is ennobling. I enjoyed the book and recommend it.