A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Buddhism Open Door

Debating monks at Sera Monastery, Tibet

Debating monks at Sera Monastery, Tibet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the principles of Buddhism that has always appealed to me is that we don’t stand on street corners attempting to convert people. If there is value in a system of beliefs, they should stand up to scrutiny. I think that when you have scientists such as Einstein saying that Buddhism is a religion for the cosmos, you have a logical fully supported belief system, especially one that has stood the test of over 2500 years

This being said, here in the west I think a slightly different approach needs to be considered. No I am not talking about bringing more Monks from other countries, or having monks approach people in public. The tradition of allowing those who are interested, is a worthwhile and effective one. Instead I am proposing that perhaps once or twice a year the Buddhist Temples, Churches and Wat‘s here in the west, co-ordinate an open door policy. Perhaps once in the spring and a second date in the fall, where all the Temples, Churches and Wat’s have a open tea day. Where we invite the general public to stop by, look around ask questions, enjoy some tea. No pressure, no recruitment, just hospitality with openness, and a willingness to answer questions. A large number of western people have a preconceived or filtered view of what Buddhism is. Some think you need to be a hippy, others think you have to be an environmental extremist, and yet others think you have to already have peace and be self centered before coming. So by opening the door, allowing them to feel welcome to explore and learn, perhaps we can provide a more accurate image of what we believe.

This is an idea that I present for discussion, it may or may not be applicable or feasible, or perhaps someone wiser will say, if we do it this way instead, and present a better idea.


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4 thoughts on “Buddhism Open Door

  1. Understanding comes through interaction. Not a bad idea. Have you suggested it to any of these places you mentioned?

  2. alsview on said:

    The Catholic Church has practiced this with dinners, feasts and coffee with snacks after service for years. Mostly it reaches those who already have experience with the church, or the most vulnerable of society.

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