On June 8, 230 Buddhist teachers gathered at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, for the Maha Teacher Council, a conference on the future of Buddhist practice in North America. Following the conference, we asked 11 participants the following question:
Buddhism is very diverse—some would even say that the different traditions represent different religions. What was the common Buddhist thread that brought you all together?
My teacher, Ajahn Buddhadasa, talked of “buddhayana.” We are all the sons and the daughters of the Buddha, carrying the teachings of awakening and compassion. In the West, we are getting to know one another, and we are getting beyond sectarianism. No one of us can do everything—monastic practice, social activism, environmental work—so we all have a place in the greater mandala that includes us all.
—Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Meditation Center
I think we came together, in part, to explore with each other how to find deeply grounded refuge in the buddhadharma in our modern world, how future generations will be able to do so, and how to come from that place of authentic refuge in responding creatively to the deep sufferings and needs of our time.
—John Makransky, Foundation for Active Compassion
The common Buddhist thread: an understanding of the law of cause and effect—that volitional actions bring results—and that cutting through our attachment to the concept of self is the basis of freedom and compassionate action.
—Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation Society
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