Hello, Online Spiritual Community!
My name is Jason. I am a first year M.Div. student in University of the West’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. I am Buddhist, as one might expect, but Buddhism is not the only religion or philosophy that informs my beliefs or practice. As such, my blog posts will probably contain elements of Taoism and Transhumanism as well. I do not claim to possess some grand ability that allows me to repair the areas of contention between these differing schools of thought. All I can say is that I deeply respect all three. With regard to facets of doctrine that thus far for me are still theoretical rather than experiential, I am quite comfortable admitting when I do not know. I also feel fine sitting on the fence, and I make it a point to avoid permanently shelving any of my viewpoints.
As a Buddhist, I have been involved in various sanghas over the last decade and half. They have ranged from Mahāyāna to Vajrayāna and from Chan to Won Buddhism. I am at a point where I find myself frequently defending the diversity of Buddhisms out there in the world. I vehemently resist the western tendency to present Buddhism as though it is a unified tradition.
In my opinion, the intellectually-satisfying high philosophies of Buddhism that survived into the current era were able to do so largely due to the efforts of various lay communities who, out of faith, supported their sanghas, and commissioned the production of both hand-written and printed sutras. As I see it, modern Buddhists owe a great debt to their Buddhist ancestors. When certain self-styled “rationalist” Buddhists in the modern world mock or trivialize faith elements in Buddhism, they do not succeed in making themselves seem more rational. They only succeed in harming Buddhism as a whole.
Throughout my travels in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, I have come to realize that being Buddhist does not lock a person into any one given personality or lifestyle. There are all types of Buddhists in the world, and tailoring to or anticipating just one personality-type alienates countless others. If Buddha-dharma exists to liberate all sentient beings, then how could it possibly be elitist?
As the previous paragraph alludes to, I am fairly well-traveled and am able to approach certain scriptures in the language in which they were originally composed. Unless otherwise noted, any translated passages I use later on in this blog will be my own translations.
This blog has been created, in part, to fulfill a requirement for one of my classes this semester. I do not have any previous experience blogging and have only dabbled a bit here and there in social media; so please bear with me.
Thank you for reading.
Palms together (_/\_)