Tag Archives: Buddhism in America

The “Maha Teacher’s Council” “Brad Warner””Rev.Danny Fisher” and my opinion


WARNING! My opinion to follow!  ;P As most of you know I do not think my opinion belongs on a blog aimed at promoting the true, pure Buddhadharma, however  being an American Buddhist , who has been very very lucky to have found wonderful, authentic teachers and didn’t have the burden of wadeing through “Neo-Buddhism” “Feel good Buddhism” “New age Buddhism” “Buddhism without conviction” “Self Serving Mindfulness  and Meditation without Right View ” and whatever else lends itself to this movement of “Feel good Buddhism” , I feel this whole Maha Teacher Council  is just as Brad Warner put it so accurately “Oh nice. A self-selected groüp of important Büddhists get together to decide what’s best for the rest of us.”

Is there really a such thing as “American Buddhism” anyway, or has a “Maha  Teacher Council” , materialism , and egotism created this thing called American Buddhism? Buddhism is Buddhism, the Doctrine is the Doctrine, any thing else falls short.

My only experience with Buddhism is in America, I do not know what it is like in other countries, but I do know when we have councils whose attendees ( where is the entire list of attendees anyway, still looking for it, won’t someone share?)  are less than authentic, ordained Masters of the Dharma what comes out of a council will be less then the entire complete Buddha’s Doctrine, in full, which is the same in Asia, India and America.  I am an American Buddhist, can you tell that from the content in my blog? The Doctrine is the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there were some authentic Master’s there , and I am  certain there were non-Buddhist discussing … well discussing what actually ?!?!? O.0 It still isn’t clear to me , even after reading Rev. Danny Fisher’s    interview with Lama Surya Das .  ( I assume Rev. Danny didn’t attend, was he invited? If not that says alot in itself, he’s an authentic American Buddhist Reverend )

Did they discuss how to raise funds for Dharma propagation in the America ? Fund books, Sutras and Sutta’s for free distribution?

Did they discuss how to raise funds to build good noble Monasteries in the America?

I really can’t think of anything else more important.

 **if you would like to fund books inquire at any noble Monastery or contact the B.A.U.S. ( Buddhist Association of America, NY ,USA ) . IBS ( International Bodhisattva Sangha  CA, USA ) is also collecting Dharma materials so they can build Buddhist libraries in prisons. Or Dharma Friends Prison Outreach Project   So many good places to fund Dharma propagation. How about supporting a new Monastery, Dong Hung Temple Buddhist Education center is building a new Monastery in Virginia USA, is also collecting books for their new libray and the last I heard Dong Hung also needed a new van as their’s was in an accident , Soshimsa Zen-Center in NJ USA is also needing a new van to be able to continue the many outreach programs planned for the future , or help support Monastics in America such as Dhammadharini “Women Upholding the Dhamma CA USA” and Alliance for Bhikkhunis CA USA and last but not least how can we forget to give back to one of our most noble Masters of the Dharma of our time, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s organization Buddhist Global Relief NY, USA &WORLDWIDE.  There are many noble efforts to donate to, I regret I can not post them all.


I invite anyone who was at the “Maha Teacher’s Council” to put to rest my concerns, please prove me wrong.

In the Dharma,

Melissa Upasika (just a plain old lay person devoted to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha)

I sincerely thank Brad Warner and MADHUSHALA for blogging their thoughts, concerns and insights  and keeping the rest of us who really wouldn’t know about this great “Maha  Teacher’s Council”  informed. I personally would not have known because I don’t read, subscribe, or give any thought to any person or publication that would have mentioned this great “Maha  Teacher’s Council”

Click for Brad Warner’s and MADHUSHALA’s original blogs on this.

Buddhism In America: What Is The Future?. written by Jaweed Kaleen of the HUFFPOST RELIGION

Now for the intent and purpose of me humiliating myself by sharing such strong opinions  I ask serious American Buddhist practitioners please read Teaching Buddhism in Americaby Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi “In my view one of the major errors that is being made in the teaching of Buddhism here in the U.S. (and more broadly in the West) is the fl at identifi cation of Buddhadhamma (the teachings of the Buddha) with meditation, especially with insight meditation. I see the Dhamma as having a much more extensive range. It involves at least three essential components, which I would call right faith, right understanding, and right practice. Th e practical side is also extensive, and might be summed up in the famous verse of the Dhammapada (183): “To abstain from all evil, to cultivate the wholesome, and to purify one’s mind: that is the instruction of the Buddhas.” Th ese three principles, stated so simply, are quite compressed. Th ey can be elaborated in diverse ways at great length. At the very root of all proper Dhamma practice, in my view, is proper faith, which is expressed by the act of going for refuge to the Triple Gem. By going for refuge, one reposes faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha as one’s supreme ideals. Th is expression of faith should be grounded in understanding what the Th ree Gems represent. Th us faith, understanding, and practice are intricately interwoven. “

Two styles of insight meditation by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi “On the basis of this choice, we find that meditators divide into two broad camps. One consists of those who focus exclusively upon the immediately tangible benefits of the practice, suspending all concern with what lies beyond the horizons of their own experience. The other consists of those who recognize that the practice flows from a source of wisdom much deeper and broader than their own. In order to follow this wisdom in the direction to which it points, such meditators are ready to subordinate their own understanding of the world to the disclosures of the teaching and embrace the Dhamma as an organic whole. These are the ones who adopt Buddhism in its religious and doctrinal sense as the framework for their practice.” Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi 

if you are new to Buddhism I suggest reading

What The Buddha Taught by Dr Walpola Rahula and go from there.

The New Improved Buddhist Council [now with more enzymes, lather and added vitamins] written by MADHUSHALA // Another MUST READ for Western Practitioners


The author writes so well what my biggest gripe is within the American Buddhist community, which in my opinion *( and this is the first time ever my opinion is on my blog, I do not think MY OPINION belongs on a Blog aimed at promoting the BUDDHA’S DOCTRINE, opinions lead to such “committees” and erroneous thinking, such as “The New and Improved Buddhist Council”) This sort of ‘council’  adds to the commercialization of Buddhism,adds to the erroneous notion that the Buddhadharma as taught by The Blessed One is “a feel good philosophy” and the element of white/well to do/ elite shaping Buddhism in the West is disturbing and will only lead to the decline of the Buddha’s Doctrine as it should be practiced if one’s wishes is to break the cycle of birth and death**. I could go on and on, but won’t , just read her article , make your own judgement and check back often as I will post related links and updates.

Be well,

Melissa Upasika 
* Cycle of birth and death :I also must choose my words carefully as people love to debate that Buddhism is or isn’t a religion, that Buddhist practice can be practiced by any religion, philosophy and so forth, the answer is yes Buddhist concepts can be practiced by anyone, with or without the conviction of the truth that the Buddha expounds in his doctrine, HOWEVER, to break the cycle of birth and death, once must practice the Doctrine in it’s entirety, with conviction in the Triple Gem, anything else falls into the category of a “feel good, self help philosophy” and is not everlasting and will not lead the practitioner to Nirvana.

The New Improved Buddhist Council [now with more enzymes, lather and added vitamins] written by  MADHUSHALA

Just like in the old days…

From Buddhadharma News: Teachers gather to discuss the future of Western Buddhism:

The conference, known as the Maha Teacher Council, is by invitation only.

It also was not announced more than a week prior to the event and the participants are a secret.

How does that strike you?

It strikes me as very odd.

Why is this any of our business? Why not just ignore it?

Maha Teacher Council sounds like something official. Some of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and book authors are going to be present. It involves some of the big Buddhist magazines. They shape the message that the masses will receive regarding the Buddhadharma. They have authority in terms of lineage, Buddhist practice, ownership of Buddhist properties such as centers, mass production of English language Buddhist information and of course media reach.

This affects the atmosphere of Buddhist practice for many of us. It possibly affects the direction some future Buddhist endeavors take. It further consolidates a power base for a select group of individuals to determine the mainstream Buddhist message.

And there’s more.

Brad Warner wrote in the comments on a Facebook mention of this item:

Oh nice. A self-selected groüp of important Büddhists get together to decide what’s best for the rest of us.

Gatherings like this worry me a lot. It’s pretty obvious what their intentions are.

The intent is to create a unified sense of what Buddhism ought to be. It’s like trying to create a unified sense of what art ought to be. Very Soviet sounding to me.

And yes, I will even admit to being bothered at not being invited. Because someone needs to take a stand against that attitude, which is starting to take over Buddhism in the west and will, I believe, win in the end.

[a commenter pointed out that there was no list of attendees or agenda published] I can’t find a list either. Which is also intriguing.

But I do think someone needs to question this kind of thing openly. I’m only sorry (and annoyed) that has to be me.

[When Brad makes a blog post about this it will go here. 6.8.11 And here it is Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen: Uninvited to the Buddhist Party on Suicide Girls][In case he doesn’t you can always read mine]

Well Brad isn’t the only one with concerns about these conferences and self-appointed decision makers. Several other commenters had some issues with this though many dismissed it as rather unimportant in a self-important sort of way. I want to go through some of the issues that were brought up as well as some of the dismissals. READ MORE
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RELATED BLOGS and Discussions

Brad Warner vs. The Maha Teachers

Posted on June 9, 2011 by David Chapman

Brad Warner has just blogged about the Maha Teachers Council. He thinks it’s a problem that he was not invited—not because his ego’s offended, but because it means the conference organizers are actively excluding what he represents.

I think he’s right. In fact, I suspect the conference is all about what he represents, and that is why he wasn’t invited. But his piece doesn’t explain what that is and why they are excluding that. Here’s my theory. READ MORE HERE 

LATEST by MADHUSHALA

Brad’s Invitation was Lost in the Mail…or something like that.

Last update..maybe..  

APPOLOGIES TO THE GARRISON INSTITUTE

POSTED BY BRAD WARNER AT 7:46 PM

Last weekend I was contacted by Erin Koch of the Garrison Institute, the people who put on the Buddhist Maha Teacher Council I wrote about on Suicide Girls. She said:

“I respect and appreciate the teachers I have worked with for the past year I also respect difference and open communication. I am very sorry you did not receive your invitation. I have a record of your invitation (Dec. 9).

“I do wish you had corrected your blog and facebook page to reflect the truth. Criticism of the event aside, you were invited and your contributions would have been welcome. Noah Levine asked me to invite you which I did on Dec 9. I think of you as sangha and I want the dharma to be of benefit to us all.

“I feel that your post has given the Garrison Institute a negative appearance to many people who had not previously heard of us and this is upsetting to me. Critiquing the event would have been fair and interesting, but suggesting we are closed network that excluded you is just not correct. Even if you had not been invited, you could have contacted us. Many teachers that were unintentionally excluded from the invite list asked to come and none were turned down.

“I wish you and your students all the best and harbor no bad feeling.”

So first off, I apologize to Erin Koch and the Garrison Institute for unintentionally misrepresenting them. READ MORE HERE

 

While he apologizes we don’t forget the main reason why he and other’s posted in the first place.