First off I must note that I am agnostic, athiest, totally irreligious — the 20th century man. The 21st seems to be relegated to wars and hatreds by one or another religious group; especially the Moslem fundamentalists with their insane jihads and the born again Christians with their evangelism and authoritarianism. I must say religion is not of great interest except that I am often incensed by the savage proclamations of the religious right in our own country.
That said, I will report on a fascinating phenomenon that is taking place in Judaism in the West. It is the movement of Jews to a melding of Judaism and Buddhism. Strange bedfellows these.
I assume this is a Western action of over-educated people looking for more meaning, more meditation and a new relationship to the control of one's own body, mind and destiny (or destinies).
This is not, I gather, orange robed Hare Krishnas chanting in airports, "Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna (American Airlines flight 105 is now departing) Hare Krishna, Krishna (Please put some dollars in the pot) Hare Krishna..."
These are people seriously looking for something new and satisfying for their spiritual needs.
The blogger, Terry Mattingly wrote at On Religion
"It was a logical question for the Dalai Lama to ask his Jewish visitors, yet it caught them completely off guard.
Poet Rodger Kamenetz has pondered his question for a decade: "Can you tell me the secret of Jewish spiritual survival in exile?"
"Notice that the Dalai Lama asked about spiritual survival, not cultural survival," said Kamenetz, author of "The Jew in the Lotus," a classic travelogue of uncharted terrain between two spiritual traditions. "What he was really asking was, 'How do you survive spiritually until you can return to your homeland?' "
He ends his post that postulates that so many Americans are seeking so much with the need for so little work that,
"It may take 300 years for a true Buddhism to come to America," said Kamenetz. "In the meantime, you're going to continue to see all of these hybrid forms. People are taking pieces of this faith and combining it with pieces of that faith...
"This is all so, so American."
Fifty years ago some Jews began to find Buddhism. Allen Ginsberg was one and wrote the lines, "Born in this world/ you got to suffer/ everything changes/ you got no soul." Later on there were enough Jews embracing the Eastern religion to consider the "Oy Vey School of Meditation". Now, it would appear, JuBus are the largest group of converts in the West.