Today we begin teacher and scholar Rita Gross’s Tricycle Retreat, Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners. In her opening talk Rita explains,

“Buddhist History for Buddhist Practitioners” is a project I have been working on for about five years now, in various locations and within different forms of Buddhism. I would describe it in one sentence as “an attempt to do an accurate and non-sectarian history of Buddhism.” By accurate, I mean that it’s historically accurate, that we actually work with history, and that when necessary we are very careful to distinguish history and story. By non-sectarian I mean a history of Buddhism that is not just from one lineage among the many, but a history of Buddhism that is accurate for all of them.

    I feel that too often in dharma courses in the Buddhist world we get just one version of Buddhist history. We don’t get an overarching version. As a practitioner I’m very troubled by the fact that Buddhists don’t seem to know a lot about each other, or don’t care to know a lot about each other. Each version of Buddhism tends to tell the story of Buddhism as if it is the only form of Buddhism in the world. As a historian, that of course is a problem because it’s inaccurate but as a practitioner it bothers me a lot more because I think it is important that we understand the totality of Buddhism and how our part of the Buddhist world fits into this totality.

To take part in this retreat, please become a Tricycle Community Supporting or Sustaining Member.

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