November 01, 2010
We're discussing the Lotus Sutra at Tricycle's Ning site:
Like similar Buddhist publications, Tricycle focuses on how contemporary exponents of Buddhism address contemporary issues facing a contemporary audience. But in the rush to relevance something of less immediate but no less significant value can easily get lost: a feeling for the density and gravity of tradition. The sociologist Robert Bellah observes that, living as we do at a time when our social institutions are in alarming decline, contemporary forms of spirituality that exalt individualism disencumbered by the claims of community and tradition—the personal journeys of individuals seeking spiritual self-interest—might well do more to contribute to our social pathology than to ameliorate it. Religious traditions—at least ones that are vital--anchor individuals in a meaningful collective life. They provide a framework that links individual spiritual aspirations to communities extending deep into the past, far into the future, and outward into the long present. The recalcitrance of tradition pulls against the innovative stirrings of the individual talent, setting up a creative tension. That point of tension, between the self and the community to which the self is bonded, is the place where religion happens.
Discuss the Lotus Sutra in the context of Buddhist history for Buddhist practitioners here.