“I Take Refuge in the…”
Or, “American Zen: Refuge for the Passive?”
When discussing Buddhism with Christians and other folks that are not familiar with the Dharma, I sometimes hear the criticism that Buddhism is passive, allowing practitioners to avoid responsibility for their lives, by saying things like, “it is what it is, and I accept it.”
I usually respond that this perspective is a misunderstanding of the Dharma, and Buddhism is actually a philosophy of action, requiring the practitioner to fully embrace and take responsibility not only for his or her own circumstance, but for everything that is experienced.
At least that’s the way I see it.
Or is American Buddhism different? Has it evolved into something uniquely American, like MTV, pop music, diet pills, and video on demand, with practitioners shopping for instant gratification of the senses through the latest pop Zen book or the latest blog that entertains and titillates?
Has American Buddhism become another form of American consumerism?