What is African Buddhism?

What is African Buddhism? more so, what is African Pureland Buddhism?

These two questions tackle a subtle subject that cannot be answered straight forwardly.

So it remains much of an open question...what we ask from the Blog viewers and participants is to give their opinion/stance/critique on:

- what African Buddhism is?
- what African Pureland is?
- is there such a thing as African Buddhism?
- should there be such a thing as African Buddhism?
- what does African Buddhism entail?
- who decides that 'this' is African Buddhism?
- where and how does the African cultural context fit in?
- more...?

It is important to keep an ethical principal in mind, Buddhism should not be propagated as a power structure but should be shared as a mutual means/guidance to help the ending of suffering.

What are your ideas on the topic? and what suggestions do you have that may encompass this large area of life, namely the bigger benefit of the African socio-spiritual-cultural continent?


Maxine said...

What is African Buddhism?
What Buddhists who live in Africa, do

what is African Pureland Buddhism?
What Pure Land Buddhists living in Africa, do

These two questions tackle a subtle subject that cannot be answered straight forwardly.
Lets just "do it". Why intellectualise? We know how to practice. Our vows guide and lead us.

- is there such a thing as African Buddhism?
Of course, there will be, one day. I don't think we need to, or should , force it.
- should there be such a thing as African Buddhism?
Why worry? Just help ourselves and those we can reach in a simple, open-hearted way.

To me these intellectual questions are not as important as just doing the practice. I believe they will all resolve themselves. We do not need to force the issue. It's like trying to intellectualise learning to drive. Just do the practice as you are shown. One day you will drive off free and easy. I believe Amitabha Buddha will guide us if we stop trying to control things too much.

David Crofts Munro said...

I suppose the best answer to such questions, for me, is found by asking oneself what Buddhism is, in general -and what it can do for the individual practitioner AND the world at large.

When we have answered that, we place our findings in the context of Africa (or wherever we may live) to provide the Dharma, as always, with an ever changing, developing background.

Andreas said...

When I think of Buddhism beyond ancient borders or even in itself being a 'beyond-border' philosophy of all-sorts it becomes, once again, a self-reflective phenomena.

African Buddhism can be as unique as Andreas Buddhism. This idea looks at the big and small of it.

The strength of buddhism today is certainly entrusted to the dedicated Sangha who lived the Dharma day to day.
Sure there was(in Buddhist history)/is propagation of the Dharma to other countries by monastic delegates but this was/is(hopefully) simply to present the Dharma freely to anyone who wishes to accept it. This obviously poses a question of motivation.

It is important to relfect on how we live and present the Dharma in our day to day living - I think it is in this way that we fill the bucket of large-scale Dharma living - such as Dharma in Africa.

We should also relflect on what is already in Africa. That is to say, what Dharma conepts are already alive in Africa. Probably the most well-suited and genuinely wholsome virtue is that of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu, roughly translated, is the cosmic unity of the African (Sentient) community. Some reading into African culture will show that traditionally there is little space for the concept of the individual - as in Western individualism - and more of inter-dividualism - that being of the collective community as a whole.

There are many impecable concepts that may inter-play between African Traditional Religious belief and Buddhist philosophy. I am certain that the Mind-only philosophy will meld well under an African Cosmic world-view but a Middle-way philosophy can just as easily fit probably due to a timelessness inherent in the African ontology.

Any comments would be accepted gladly - this is a young topic to ponder and certainly should not be left to the 'Western' scholar to deal with. My African Traditional Religion lecturer - Dr. E. Mahlangu - would say that the study of this field is best meditated upon by the traditional African scholar.

If there are any African philosophers out there who would like to share your view is most welcom and helpful.

Buddha Bless

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