Having given some thought off and on over the years about this, I have come to the probably belated realisation that this tricky thing called Western Buddhism has been sitting in front of my nose the whole time.
When seeking to find the soul and heart of any tradition, its often best to look to the most popular and beloved teachers. In the west, these are – in no particular order, the following.
1. Mr Miyagi (from Karate Kid)
2. Yoda (from the Star Wars movies and cartoon franchises)
3. Master Po and Master Kan (from the TV series Kung Fu)
Now, I’m sure there will be a bunch of Western Buddhists (if they see my posts) that might think I am being disrespectful here. But I am not. Most of these stuff they say is really cool and makes complete sense from a dharma perspective. For example, substitute the Dark Side with Samsara and see what you get.
It is from the introductory teachings of these great masters that many in the West have been inspired to explore and in many cases take up Buddhism seriously.
For for those who will scoff at the vehicle, consider the words of Yoda: “No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.”
And then he lifts a frickin Y fighter out of the swamp with his Buddhist super-powers. What other master have you seen with your own two eyes do that?