The Central Pole of the ‘Big Tent’
My vision for the Shin Buddhist Sanghas is that of a “big tent” supported by the central pole that is Buddhist in nature. For the first hundred years of Shin Buddhism in North America, the nature of the central pole was largely ethnic. Common ethnicity kept the central pole strong and firm to hold up the tent. This meant that virtually everyone under the tent were Americans or Canadians of Japanese ancestry, who founded the temples to serve their religious but also their cultural and social needs.
So, what is needed is to change the center pole to be Shin Buddhist in nature. In this way, the pole will welcome people of any ethnicity to come under the tent, since, in my view, all true religions foster compassion, equality and interdependence. This will also permit people with varying interests, regardless of ethnicity, to join the temples to gather under the tent.
Numerous Types of ‘B-Buddhists’