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News to share with my American followers
September 9th, 2013

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

News to share with my American followers

From the private messages I get, it is clear that many buddhists feel 'isolated' in the US. There are buddhist-friendly environments which are well-known, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York… but I receive many messages from "the South" where the 'practitioners' and even the 'curious' feel rejected by their (Christian) communities if they dare be interested in a form of spirituality not based on the Bible.

Without denying any difficulty experienced, I don't think there are many intrinsic difficulties in relation to being a lay buddhist with a Christian community. The difficulties only arise due to ignorance, thus things can be helped with patience, perseverance and sharing about what's common. There's no magic wand, but it would be a mistake to assume that difficulties will be permanent, if you do your best and respect others and have compassion for them.

As I previously wrote (, the five precepts for lay people (from the Pāli Canon) are:
• [1] refrain from killing
• [2] refrain from taking what is not given
• [3] refrain from sexual misconduct
• [4] refrain from false speech
• [5] refrain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness

The correspondence between the five precepts for lay people and e.g. Mark 10:19 is striking:
"you know the commandments:
• 'You must not murder [1].
• You must not commit adultery [3].
• You must not steal [2].
• You must not testify falsely [4].
• You must not cheat anyone [2,4].
• Honour your father and mother'."
Other passages from the Bible, e.g. Proverb 20:1 or Ephesians 5:18, cover the precept [5].

Surely the practical applications of our paths are compatible.

Now that +CircleCount's "follower map" is working again for my profile, I want to share the zoom attached.

I believe it questions the perception that any one is 'isolated'.

Not all people on the map are buddhist practitioners, but they're people who are open-minded enough to be happy with being told about Buddhism… people you can share with!
So do not build a narrative about some imaginary impossibility to communicate within your community. It might look this way, but it is not "reality as it is."
Some places are obviously more 'favourable' or 'easy' than others but, wherever you are, you're not alone.
There are of course several google communities and several valuable teachers online, around who you can share and exchange. The reality is: there also are people near you, who you can talk to. Keep your eyes open! Don't be the one closing down on others!

#american   #Buddhism