Even today, comparisons of Buddhism and science are commonplace, with neuroscientists, psychologists, and physicists paying attention to Buddhist doctrines and practices, such as mindfulness. During the Victorian Era , the Buddha was viewed as an ethical reformer, comparable to Jesus, despite Western views on Asians and Buddhism more broadly.
Within the global network of colonialism, Asians used their religion to promote their own superiority in the face of being labelled inferior; they promoted Buddhism as superior to Western culture and religion, and as the very basis for scientific development. Meanwhile, Buddhists promoted meditation practice across the West.
Perhaps the most famous singular voices in this discussion begin with the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw and layman S. Goenka Ledi Sayadaw saw the incoming colonialism of the British as a way to promote meditation techniques to the laity, even though the practice was normally only undertaken by advanced monastics.
Sayadaw claimed that a nation of mindfulness could overcome colonial powers. Goenka has helped to fund over meditation centres across 94 countries, promoting a form of mindfulness for lay people that makes little to no mention of the Buddhist religion.
Modern meditation teachers commonly present mindfulness as being beyond even the Buddha himself, a spiritual-scientific technique beyond any one historical period or religion. The mystification of Buddhism in many ways becomes complete in modern mindfulness. Placing Buddhism within the marketplace of American religion, de-coupled from its own doctrines and practices, this process completes many of the foundational writings of Buddhists published in the early 20 th Century.
All accounts stress the extreme luxuries that surrounded Siddhartha while living in Kapilavastu. A general guide to all aspects of Buddhism. Not to mention, the Buddha's teachings emphasized personal practice and adhering to moral principles above any kind of dogma. They are not lasting. The Buddha devoted himself to teaching and attracted hundreds of followers. In India, by the Pala period ca. Calm, peaceful and shady gardens are important areas in monasteries.
Buddhism underwent a process of mysticization so it could become all things to all people and was justified by scientific comparisons, which is a process that continues in modern mindfulness today. Buddhism did not find success in America due to a singular figure or institution; in fact, with the success of mindfulness in American culture, practice is sometimes removed from the religion itself and placed directly into the marketplace.
Buddhists themselves once promoted their religion this way to counter the nationalism and xenophobia of America. They used the language of race sciences to promote Buddhism as superior, and mysticized the doctrines of the tradition to be applicable to American views, resulting in the de-coupling of meditation practice and the religion itself.
Mindfulness, as dispersed in American culture today, is sometimes regarded as a form of cultural appropriation, taking Buddhism outside of its cultural and religious context. In a certain way, this is very true; mindfulness for better sex is an obvious example of the removal of context from a meditation tradition associated with celibate religious monastics. At the same time, Asian Buddhists actively promoted this presentation of mindfulness dating back nearly a century, in order to prove that their own religious tradition was not the inferior corruption, as suggested by academics, popular culture, and even pseudo-science.
Skillful means upaya is an important concept in Buddhism, which means adjusting the teachings of Buddhism to suit the audience in a given situation, but by doing so, the student would be lead to the ultimate Truth of the religion. The idea of mysticizing doctrines and the reinterpretation of practices is written directly into the religious tradition.
In other words, although Buddhists of the early 20 th Century, and even today, may not recognize, or even necessarily agree with, all of the manifestations of modern mindfulness, and other Buddhist ideas, it is certainly true that Asian Buddhists played an active role in this promotion. However, it should be recognized that these developments took place in an area and time that was heavily racialized, and actively antagonistic to Asians and Buddhism.
The pieces offer concise depictions and analyses of particular aspects of Buddhist life, including temple architecture and iconography, the consecration of sacred objects, meditative practices, devotional expressions, exorcisms, and pilgrimage journeys. Topics discussed also include the construction of religio-political and religio-social hierarchies, gender roles, the management of asocial behavior, and confrontations with dying and death. Frank E. Jason A.
Books Digital Products Journals. Disciplines Religion Buddhism. The Life of Buddhism by Frank E. Reynolds Editor , Jason A.
About the Book Bringing together fifteen essays by outstanding Buddhist scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America, this book offers a distinctive portrayal of the "life of Buddhism. About the Author Frank E.
Reviews "At last an anthology that fills the need for a set of informed, authoritative descriptions of Buddhism as it is lived and practiced in the world today! Textbooks focussing on Buddhist ritual are few; this is easily the best and most usable of them. Carbine and Reynolds have done us all a great service.
Their selection of significant excerpts from the writings of a variety of anthropologists and historians of religion covers the gamut of Buddhist practice.
The examples come from a diversity of Buddhist traditions.