1. avatar Giustin says:

    The key ingredient seems to be continued non-violent thought, speech, and action, beginning, most importantly, with ourselves. Self-loathing and Buddhism are not compatible. It seems that we have an excellent opportunity as inheritors of the Dharma lineage in the United States if we can get over ourselves. The idea of a melting pot is an interesting idea. We are still trying to work that out culturally without even throwing Buddhism into the mix…but I think it is precisely the Buddhist science of mind that can work with this complex problem of creating one out of many. We don’t have one U.S. American culture. I think if we did, it would be more difficult for the Dharma to take root. An ancient fixed culture would be dead soil. It is our lack of this type of culture that makes such fertile soil.

    The process of building a new culture on old lands has only been underway for 200 years. U.S. culture was not firmly established when Trungpa Rinpoche came crashing in like a modern day Padmasambhava 40 years ago…and now we have Ponlop Rinpoche running around the globe and filling our cup with translations and teachings like Marpa himself. D.T. Suzuki was spreading Zen here 60 years ago in the heart of the civil rights movement era…so in the very small grand scheme of the United States, the Dharma is already an important part of our history. It is essential that we own that and glory in it—that we not be sheepish about our investigations of the mind or our rights to make such investigations.

    We cannot feel that we are borrowing the Dharma from ancient Tibet or China or Japan. Do we feel that they are borrowing it from India? I don’t think many of us do. We are not borrowing. We are continuing a lineage, clarifying and expanding. There really isn’t a Tibet anymore. There isn’t a Japan anymore. There isn’t really a China or India anymore. All of our identities are changing. We still have our minds though, so the most important ingredient, I think, is to keep looking at our minds and finding what is and isn’t there. Nalanda is now in the West, so it is essential to build on what is present rather than on what is not present.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Peter Feinstein, Shambhala Pubs. Shambhala Pubs said: Video: Dzogchen Ponlop's aspiration for American Buddhism […]

  3. avatar Champa Phalam says:

    I agree with all that Ponlop Rinpoche said in the brief video interview but would advise against using the notion of “melting pot”. In America, there are areas of commonality among cultural and ethnic groups and areas of diversity. The boundaries do not ever fully melt, and so much the better.

    Gustin’s identifying “the Buddhist science of mind” as a major contribution of the Dharma is well put. I have already found helpful what Ponlop Rinpoche has said on this topic in Rebel Buddha. For the first time, I am actually in “conversation” with my mind and can gently let it know where I don’t want to go in rehashing matters past.

    I support the idea of bringing the Buddhist traditions in America into closer proximities where sharing can take place across practice boundaries. This is what Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche demonstrated and which is advanced in publications such as Tricycle, notably, and Shambhala Sun. Let’s have more of such opportunities and perhaps a retreat and practice space devoted to fostering these connections and communications. Although all boundaries may not melt, some consolidation could emerge among the multifarous sanghas.

    • avatar Herb Cohen (Rigt'sal Dorje) says:

      I agree with both Giustin and Champa but would add that while publications such as Shambala and Tricycle do attempt to present an eclectic pie of tastes of various traditions, each is defined within in its silo. I don’t see melting pot as an intent of these publications, though I as an American have tried a “silo-ed” approach and find myself attracted to eclecticism: the many methods and ways of approaching practice. I think tradition holders feel a protective responsibility to preserve their particular tradition in its purist most undiluted form or risk losing it. This has benefits but it is the making and sustaining silos. We see this in many aspects of religions as well as within many other domains. One way out of a silo is to perhaps to begin with a new silo that embraces this concept of not necessarily eclecticism but inclusion and integration, grow this new silo and then blow its walls out.

  4. avatar Micheal Maitri says:

    As an atheist living in America I have no interest in upholding any particular lineage or following any specific tradition. I’m only interested in the training and purification of my mind. I do this by following my conscience and being able to distinguish right from wrong. Wrong being those thoughts and mental processes that are based on a selfish ego centric world view and right being thous thoughts and mental processes that are selfless in nature and stem from my sense of compassion for others. I don’t consider myself Buddhist but I have a great deal of respect for wisdom regardless of where it comes from.

  5. All of the options in America can certainly be confusing–whether it’s options for spiritual practice or for shampoo. It seems to me that as Americans, it is our peculiar task to allow ourselves to value and enjoy and learn from this banquet without using it to distract us and dilute the effectiveness of our practice. To ignore the banquet in order to stay “pure” about lineage seems a wasted opportunity. Has there been any other time in history when such intense cross-pollination was possible? This really is a juicy time of creative chaos.

  6. avatar mary tsering says:

    i would like to possibly deflect the idea of the melting pot because i feel these words lean toward invoking some kitchen business where stuff is stirred up and loses its separate spice and zing . like i hope nobody finds the spoon to run that experiment ! melting pot american buddhism sounds like a quagmire fusion experiment rather than invoking something spacious and open and inviting ..however be the guest . this is america and the laboratory is open. and any artifact might be the path itself finding itself. possibly i think more of weaving of the shared prayer shawl we share both weaving and undermining simultaneously the g arment itself an open lattice and invite people to weave and undo places and colours in this lattice … and let us keep trying it on experimenting and feeling the fit letting a lot of things to happen . melting pot sounds like a strange idea, as many of us have lost so much in this melting pot idea blending our very blood and bones ethnicity and cultural leanings into an amalgam which is seldom discussed and may be covert. in doing so perhaps some treasure is lost with the melting pot ambrosia such as our ancestors implicit gemlike wisdoms . it might be better to use the words of a lattice or symphony invoking some lush congruence and allow also sparks of dissonance .
    like an orchestra that hears its spacious elements where people can play eachothers instruments and joyfully tumble into each others gem like practices frumpy or elegant .
    and could we open our mind to beholding eachothers practices without judgement
    think we need lots of space for unforseeable gem buddhas and radiant not yet blossom uncharted flowers thistles and mudra we think not quite
    what we thought might happen and let us give space for what might seem anacceptable
    Like invoking an open territory without symmetry or lip service to reference fortresses.
    walt whitman didnt know what his practice would becoome would be but that open heart the ink fresh and new gives blossoms
    i think we need lots of pure fresh paper and fresh idea and suspend judgements of eachother to begin composing practices within the perfume of eachother
    there are orthodox people who actually might not be at ease but ease itself is ease and peace is peace
    it is happening and i am thinking most of the iceberg is not being seen
    also khempo trinley and i wrote a little book that says
    dont start ANOTHER PROBLEM
    that is fabrication

    i hope actually to never meet again that friendly monster and am shy to elaborate

    i think we can do this because it is happening meek perky shy and ruthless beautiful prairie and mountain america . kindness is looking for a loom vast and fresh

    mary tsering

    • avatar Herb Cohen (Rigt'sal Dorje) says:

      We have many denominations of Buddhist lineage, practice, tradition,method etc. each with wonderful pathways via Lhamas, Daidos, Rinpoches etc. each lineage holders and protectors of their respective tradition and perspective. Their form is undiluted by the American melt, and some Americans devote and dedicate to that vital teacher and train in the ‘way’ as it has been presented or (as close to that) as history has presented such instruction. In America though we have access to Many of these from many diverse places of origin in the world. If we were to dedicate a little here, (Mary, I’m in the kitchen,now)and taste a book or article there, perhaps catch a retreat or special weekend over somewhere else,mix the influence or tools of American psychotherapy in for spice then we are engaging in the melting process. Isn’t Bhodi, Shambala Sun, Snowlion, Tricycle and others helping us melt by exposing us to many different new and exciting flavors?

      • avatar mary tsering says:

        i do not know if we are melting or surfing the possible forms of the buddha and tasting oceans from beneath the surfboard.
        or when we fall off the surboard maybe the fall,falling, we get a taste of the underlying oceans some sage may have been pointing to .
        or we are the ocean wearing a dry suit .

        i dont feel melting as so many edges and characters , tools, embelishments to touch and apply. maybe we need to swiftly snatch these technologies up and be ready to apply them . if they are melting i might have to get some lab equipment to find the one place in all of this, that fits nicely the particular problem , and that is perfect too.

        whatever you guys do… melting, filtering,weaving, amalgams or the mishmash of beauteous mush or carrying bushels of wisdoms on thy head! it sll the dream pleasure .

        sometimes i think this whole thing is serious enough to be considered a placenta . yes my dear it has come to this.
        like needs care of a hidden nature , sustained nutrients and when you are carrying a child you give the nutrients first to the child and somehow you know you will die as an individual yet this whole precious process will carry into the landscape .
        so who will carry the womb of the new buddhisms? who has the placenta ? and doesnt that mean only karma will have lent that precious activity?

        the more i have reflected on bringing evoking … cherishing the ancient fresh embryo… it looks like it is not so much a call to carry the lineage as individuals but perhaps place the womb or placenta . in a safe and gentle sun. Such that the new life itself will find nourishment and unfold its innate code .in safety and presence.

        lets keep mind open ,fluid ,in this languaging mumbling towards phase. it can be any garden any womb any kitchen as these places also have their own thinking cups .


        mary tsering

  7. avatar Champa Phalam says:

    I like Herb’s idea but I won’t call it a new silo, and Mary’s of a symphony instead of a melting pot.

    An opportunity exists to create a shared space which can be nurtured by practitioners of different traditions represented in American Buddhism. Ponlop Rinpoche and his collaborators have provided the framework and content
    in Rebel Buddha for such a process to truly begin.

  8. avatar Yeshe Gyalsten says:

    Regarding adapting the Buddhadharma to the West in 2011: what roles and forms does Rinpoche think the lay Sangha ought to take?

    • avatar mary tsering says:

      i am not so sure it is adapting buddhism to west. feels like and unleashing or unfolding . even buddhism seems to be uncovering itself . like a light lighting itself .
      being in the sangha is pretty fertile and ambiguous. it seems we are to be studying the nature of mind and establish certain ideas. studying is problematic as there is lot of words and inks on the paper. that paper contains the sun and trees and water. we even do not see the interbeing of the paper on which these words are written .
      i have come to trust the fact mostly that somebody loved us enough to write all the koans down even though it is not reasonable.
      “scholars do not agree on this point”
      recently we have done some of joanna macys work in the sangha . she asks a very interesting question. How did you let your heart get broken?
      we have also developing a process called authentic sangha meetings and it is both healing and threatening in its transparency
      transparent sea,we held a meeting where we told lies and truths about ourself exploring the narrative .
      id like to have more space to fumble round with images and ideas maybe that space is implicitely there id like a place to make the best mistake ever . and align the babapeel banana peeljust right.
      just that rinpoche has opened these fonts lends me to think the perfume of out mistakes might be tolerated another long little while .