Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The Shin Buddhist sect, long uninterested in meditation, has become convinced that maybe it's not such a bad idea after all:
So what to do if you are part of an ancient Buddhist tradition that is huge in Asia but has failed to catch on in the United States, in part because it has no real place for meditation?

Change the tradition....

Spurred by a new reform-minded bishop, Koshin Ogui, a growing number of the movement's temples have abandoned their traditional lack of interest in meditation and are offering the practice as a way to survive by reaching out to non-Japanese adherents.

I have no issue with meditation per se, nor with being sensitive to the needs of one's congregants. But if a religion is forced to change one of its fundamental approaches and practices in order to survive, does that abandonment itself signal the end of that religion. Does survival of the name and the institutional structure alone constitute substantive survival?

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