Buddhism Under Stress? On the Modern Transmission of Buddhism – University of Copenhagen

Buddhism Under Stress? On the Modern Transmission of Buddhism

A talk by Andreas Doctor.

Over the last half century Buddhism has spread throughout the West, fuelled by the workings of globalization and the political upheavals in several Asian Buddhist countries. As part of this process a large number of Westerners now identify themselves as Buddhists and as such the Buddhist tradition seems to be spreading and flourishing.

However, in spite of the great impact that Buddhist thought and practice undeniably has had on Western society and culture over the past decades, Buddhism also faces a number of challenges to its successful, long-term integration with Western societies.

In this talk I look at some of these difficulties, in particular as they relate to the twofold transmission of scholarship and realization, which have often been described as the lifeblood of the Buddhist tradition. I argue that unless these two aspects of the tradition are adequately transmitted, Buddhism in the West risks becoming a stagnant religion lacking the ability to sufficiently address the needs of people in the target cultures.

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Andreas Doctor is a translator of Tibetan Buddhist literature. He is director at Dharmachakra Translation Committee, which works to translate the Tibetan Buddhist canon into English. He holds a PhD in Religious Studies from University of Calgary and has previously served as director of studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he lived for a number of years.

Andreas Doctor now lives in Denmark where he also volunteers at the local Dharma Center, Rangjung Yeshe Gomde.