Is Tibetan Culture essential for Non-Tibetan Buddhists?

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Posted by Shane on January 13, 19100 at 22:24:30:

In Reply to: Re: The natural wolf posted by Tony Page on January 13, 19100 at 12:56:18:

What wonderfully thought provoking comments! I think that in many respects the culture is intimately tied to the prevailing religion/philosophy. I feel that if we were to strip away the tibetan cultural aspects without adding some particularly "western" equivalents, then yes we would be left with a fairly dry, dusty philosophy. One which would be fairly difficult to identify with, due to the removal of those very elements that make it human, but none-the-less able to help the determined to reach enlightenment.

I deeply feel that it is up to us (almost first generation western buddhists) to adapt buddhism to make it more accessable for western students. This duty, whilst both exhilerating and daunting, bears with it a great responsibility; that off maintaining the integrity of the Lord Buddha's teachings. To be able to meet this challenge requires that those who propose, and those who verify, the changes be well versed in the cultural aspects of the original teachings otherwise the true meaning behind the language could be lost.

This is not a completely foriegn step. Many years ago great scholars (e.g. The Incomparable Atisha) learned the Indian Buddhist Method (including culture) and then they were able to take the teachings to new lands and new cultures. The fact that Tibetan Buddhism exsists and is a thriving, viable philosophy bodes well for the changes that are inevitable, and bodes particularly well for a thriving Western Buddhist Lineage 1000 years from now.

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