Busy schedule this week. Had another post planned for today, but it’s not quite ready. I was not intending to blog anymore about the Garrison Institute Teachers Council conference. I always sort of regret posts like that afterwards. For one thing, I start to feel that I am too opinionated and then I begin reflecting on Nagarjuna and the emptiness of views etc. Also I have a feeling that readers may not care that much to read about whatever it is that’s sticking in my craw. On the other hand, I remind myself that I am not blogging to please other people but really to give myself an outlet for expression.
I’m doing an update on the Garrison Institute situation since it is sticking in my craw. Why? Because I am Buddhist and I’m an American. American Buddhism matters to me.
So, without further ado, here’s the latest: James Ford, one of the attendees, posted a list of the participants. You can see it here. Ford seems to have a rather cavalier attitude about the whole thing.
Out of the 230 names, I am familiar with only about 28 or so. Some of their teachings resonate with me and some don’t. Nonetheless, they’re more or less the “usual suspects.” Most of them have been around for awhile and they know each other, which just makes it look more like a club than a council.
Conspicuously absent are any Nichiren folks. Regardless of what your opinion is of that tradition, they have played a major role in the development of Western Buddhism. Same goes for Pure Land. Personally, I don’t think much of Pure Land, but it was the first Buddhist tradition to come to America. There are probably other groups who have been excluded, but I can’t think of who they are right now.
Apparently this event has been in the planning stages for several years, so they can’t really blame it on an oversight. Not unless they want to look incompetent. I know some invitees declined the invitation. That may be a factor. At the same time, I think representatives from the SGI and Nichiren Shu would be eager to participate in a conference like this.
If you want a complete run down from A to Z, albeit a critical one, go here. Be prepared: it’s like way long. (I should talk.) The last two comments on that blog I found very interesting.
Anyway, I’m not being critical because I am jealous or resentful because I was not invited. I’m just a small fry. No, I am critical because I think – I know – we can do better. We talk a lot about no-self and having no attachments and so on, yet in my humble opinion, there is far too much ego involved. So many teachers want to be stars. Make a name for themselves. That’s why we have too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Elite. Aloof. They better start being more responsive to the people.
But the people, too, have to climb down from their high horses and realize that Buddha-dharma has no obligation to cater to their likes and dislikes.
We all need to just get over ourselves.