» » How the swans came to the lake: A narrative history of Buddhism in America

Download How the swans came to the lake: A narrative history of Buddhism in America epub

by Rick Fields

Download How the swans came to the lake: A narrative history of Buddhism in America epub
ISBN: 0877735832
ISBN13: 978-0877735830
Category: History
Subcategory: World
Author: Rick Fields
Language: English
Publisher: Shambhala Publications; 3rd edition (1992)
Pages: 434 pages
ePUB size: 1163 kb
FB2 size: 1335 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 985
Other Formats: txt docx mobi rtf

perhaps more detail than I was looking for - but one can always skim ahead to another chapter! Covers Buddhism from Buddha himself to the many ways that Buddhists arrived in the USA [or North American Continent] - and coming down quite close to the present [date of publication]. From the 1960s onward the "Asian Spirit" has become part of our American life, permeating contemporary culture -- with expressions as "It's so Zen!!" I plan on keeping this as a reference book; I'm sure that a re-read will provide new insights.
This is an amazing book! I can barely put it down. It will definitely hold your interest. It's a beautifully told history of Buddhism in the West as well as tracing Buddhism from it's beginnings.Well worth the read.
I'm a Russian Occupant
“How the Swans Came to the Lake” provides an tedious account of how Buddhism landed in the North America. Earliest Dhamma seekers seem to have been looking for mystiques, miracles, and magic in spite of looking for trustworthy teachers who have experienced some height after practicing the Noble Eight-fold-path diligently. Initial language of Tripitaka was either Pali or Sanskrit. Pali was the common language spoken in Nepal at the time of the Buddha while Sanskrit remained the sacred language of Hindu religion.
People who have followed religions find difficult to abandon adherence to mystical ideas as fantasies were instilled into their growing brains by shrewd preachers.
Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, & Laos’s people follow Pali Teaching. The rest of the Buddhists follow Sanskrit Teaching, and it may have been tainted with Hindu religion; this is a Dhamma older than over 2500 years. Various things added, for various reasons, by various individuals, with different motives, in different times, transferring the deshana (Teaching) from the line of descent from trainer to disciple, with the influence of various religions, various rituals, various offerings and worships, and cultural habits have entered the practice; the original pristine Dhamma declared by the Buddha is not seen in the prevailing system. It is not necessary to continue on dwelling in it, because it had happened that way. Sad to notice that some of the people especially women who followed the Sanskrit Teaching ended up being screwed up by the quasi teachers and some unfortunately ended up dying of Venereal diseases!
The dukkha (un-satisfactoriness) would never end by the worship of various things, by going after a range of things, worship of trees rocks, veneration of sun moon, or making offerings & rituals, and having devoutness to gods, or by undertaking vows or contract with deities. Dukkha (un-satisfactoriness) is within us positively. Reason for dukkha is tanha (desires). The Buddha had taught the five ascetics that dukkha will end at the destruction of tanha, and this was the second truth the Buddha had unveiled - It means the cause of dukkha is tanha.
Then, the development of Saddha leads one towards Nibbana. Saddha is not trust, devotion, or rituals! Saddha is the coherence, clarity, certainty that appears in the Citta. Lucidity, illumination, clearness that appears in Citta on practice is Saddha. That is why the word “Saddha” does not exist in other religions. Why? Because they are religions, they are devotions they are beliefs! They require acceptances cannot question. There is no place for belief in Buddhism. Buddhism advocates taking action only after careful investigation, questioning, and careful analysis with intelligence. That is the reason for calling it Saddha. Saddha is not trust. It is the clarity, sereneness, lucidity, and illumination.
Therefore, resolve to listen to this dhamma (Buddha's Teaching) a little better and obtain the benefit out of it. Remember this as an Indriya (Sense faculties) Dhamma, a Bala (power) Dhamma that needed to be developed, and no blessing will help us to experience Nibbana.

Author is wrong to blame Anagarika Dharmapala for his anger as he developed revulsion towards colonizing people after him-himself becoming a victim of Christian missionaries. I get the impression that the author seems to be dimly praising Sanskrit Teaching while condemning Pali Teaching by using words such as "no sense" in talking about the Teaching - recommend him to pay a visit to Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego, CA where many good American monks are practicing persistently.
This is an outstanding read. Very well written, researched and interesting throughout. I have waited for years for this to come out for Kindle and I am happy to own it electronically now as well as my treasured analog copy.
Rick Fields (1942-1999) has written several other books about Buddhism (e.g., Chop Wood, Carry Water,The Code of the Warrior in History, Myth, and Everyday Life), as well as served as editor of several Buddhist periodicals. In this book (the 3rd revised edition was published in 1992), he has revised and expanded what was already the finest one-volume history of Buddhism in America.

Fields begins with a very helpful survey of Buddhism (including the life of Siddhartha Gautama; the migration of Buddhism from India to China, Japan, etc.), to its early days in England and this country, led by men like Sir William Jones (1746-1794), the founder of the Asiatic Society. The influence of Buddhism upon the Transcendentalist thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott is covered in an entire chapter. The immigration of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to this country (to build the railroads, etc.)---along with the religion they brought with them---is covered in sympathetic detail. Then (perhaps somewhat surprisingly), Fields covers the rise of the Theosophical Society and its unique (and quite heterodox) version of "Esoteric Buddhism"; Theosophy, however, was a very influential factor if making Buddhism better-known in this country. Of course, the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is surveyed, along with figures such as Paul Carus and particularly the Zen authority D.T. Suzuki.

"Book Two" begins with the 1905-1945 period, covering the establishment of the first Zen Community in America, the London Buddhist Society and English expatriates like Alan Watts, the American Buddhist Brotherhood, etc. The "Beat Zen" period of the 1950s is covered in particular detail, as well as the more substantive movements of the 1960s (e.g., Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi, Philip Kapleau, Richard Baker and the San Francisco Zen Center). Another chapter is devoted to the forced emigration of the Dalal Lama from Tibet, and the emergence of Tibetan Buddhist scholars such as Chogyam Trungpa and Tarthang Tulku.

The final chapters cover more recent figures such as the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn, and the changes made as a result of the various sexual and financial scandals involving prominent figures in American Buddhism, as well as the rise of a more indigenous "American Buddhism," influenced by feminism, psychotherapy, and social action. Fields does not flinch from reporting "messy" details (such as the AIDS that Chogyam Trungpa's successor died of), to his credit.

If you are interested in Buddhism, American Buddhism, or contemporary spirituality in general, Fields' book is essential reading.