Can Westerners respectfully engage with Buddhism?

Western Buddhists have been criticised for distorting centuries old traditions and doctrines. Is there a way that they could engage more respectfully?

A collection of Buddhist sculptures in the British Museum. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A fresco in Alchi Monastery in Ladakh, India. The paintings contain influences from Turkey, Kashmir and Tibet. Photo: Bernard Gagnon via Wikimedia Commons.

“[h]e knew all the details of Tibetan, Chinese, Mahayana, Hinayana, Japanese and even Burmese Buddhism but I warned him at once I didn’t give a goddamn about the mythology and all the names and national flavors of Buddhism, but was just interested in the first of Sakyamuni’s four noble truths, All life is suffering. And to an extent interested in the third, The suppression of suffering can be achieved…”

A temple in Bagan, Myanmar. Credit: Adam Jones via Wikimedia Commons.

Lachlan is Sydney-based musician, writer and meditator. Buddhism / philosophy / literature.

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