Discuss when Followers of the Buddha benefit from strong leadership and hands-off approach.

Writing

Discuss when Followers of the Buddha benefit from strong leadership and hands-off approach.

We have seen diverse examples of both the problems and potentials of leadership within the Buddhist tradition. On the one hand, strong structures of Buddhist leadership have led to problems such as sex scandals within the sangha, the imposition of patriarchal systems of authority, and even political instability in the case of Tibet. On the other hand, the lack of a central leader for all forms of Buddhism sometimes makes it difficult to determine which practices can truly benefit adherents of the religion or even outsiders to Buddhism. Using three of the following four examples, discuss when and how followers of the Buddha would benefit from having stronger leadership and when and how they would benefit from a more “hands-off” approach: a) the tree consecration movement in Thailand; b) the practice of Chan/Zen Buddhism; c) abortion rituals in Japan; and d) the Western-based “mindfulness” movement.

  • Reading: “Ordination of a Tree”
  • Reading: “The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch”
  • Reading: “Memorializing one’s Mizuko”
  • Reading: “The Mindfulness Conspiracy”