[Buddha-l] Question for academic teachers of Buddhism

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Thu Jun 26 11:00:33 MDT 2008

On Thursday 26 June 2008 09:21:05 Curt Steinmetz wrote:

> My guess would be
> that Theravadin monks who are primarily interested in meditation would
> have very little interest in living in the United States - and prefer to
> stay in Asia. Monks who come to the US from Asia are here, I would
> guess, primarily to serve the lay community - who probably provide all
> or most of their financial support.

The former abbot of a Thai temple in Denver told me that most Thai monks who 
come to America stay in robes for only a few months. The majority are snapped 
up by Thai women seeking husbands who have been monks. Thai women, the abbot 
said with a smile, prefer monks because they know they can control them 

> The real problem, in my opinion, is not that Asian Buddhists engage in
> devotional, ritualistic practices without "doing meditation" - but
> rather that so many westerners think they can do meditation while
> neglecting devotional practice.

Yet another issue on which Curt, Stephen Batchelor and I are in full 
agreement! I would add that for many Asians their main practice seems to be 
generosity (dana). Westerners tend to regard this as an advanced practice 
that only buddhas should attempt.

Richard P. Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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