In this wide-ranging discussion of the obstacles and opportunities of bringing a new religion into a culture-in this case, Buddhism into America-Surya Das covers a multitude of critical issues, issues that confront not merely Buddhism but spirituality in general as it encounters the modern and postmodern world.
One of the major difficulties is the reluctance of the older culture (such as Tibetan and Japanese) to release their teachings to "barbarians" (that would be us). Yet once the leap is made, the religion lands in a new culture where the obstacles can be even greater. Foremost among these include the dilution of the dharma; popularizing it to the extent that it no longer possesses any depth or liberating power; and "boomeritis Buddhism," which Ken covers in galvanizing detail.
Once the cultural transmission occurs, the question remains: and now what? In a concluding and very moving section, Surya Das challenges individuals to step into authentic power in order to carry enlightened awareness forward: we need to be those leaders if positive social change is ever to occur.
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