August 17, 2011

A Common Thread: Responses to the Maha Teacher Council

In June, 230 Buddhist teachers gathered at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, for the Maha Teacher Council, a conference on the future of Buddhist practice in North America. Following the conference, we asked 11 participants the following question:

Buddhism is very diverse—some would even say that the different traditions represent different religions. What was the common Buddhist thread that brought you all together?

We feature their responses in "A Common Thread," from the current issue of Tricycle. Pat Enkyo O’Hara, abbot of The Village Zendo, had this to say about what held the conference together:

Impermanence: It was like we were all flowing down the river in a boat, pointing to the moving shoreline: youth, diversity, social responsibility, brain science, electronic dharma, Western wisdom. Then we noticed that the boat was moving, too.

Read 10 more teacher responses to the Maha Teacher Council here.

Image: from the Flickr photostream of fras1977

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Bonsai Doug's picture

Very many common threads, and commonality indeed. Mahayana. Hinayana. Vajrayana. Mantrayana. Guhyayana. Triguhyayana. "Yana" simply means "vehicle." The teachings of Buddha are like a vehicle in which we journey to enlightenment. Once the journey is over, we leave the vehicle behind. It does not matter what color or shape the vehicle is, as long as it carries us to journey's end.

The vehicle is the common thread.