This one is on the journey of Buddhism to South Africa by the “African Tulku” Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Regarding Samye Ling’s satellite centres in Harare, Joburg and Cape Town, which benefit from the guidance of the movement’s local representative, Rob Nairn, he says: “The development has been very good. The SA centres have been going for 38 years.
“Sometimes I lose patience, feeling we could do better, but then we realise that Tibetan Buddhism always has to start with zero – no capital, no foundations. Some of our achievements have exceeded my expectations. The Dharma is growing faster in Africa than it originally did in Tibet.”
Read the whole article for a better feel of the challenges. I respect the work done and attempts made but I am always concerned with the feeling of “doing better”. How is that measured? By converts? Size of monastic presence? Money? Charity and compassionate works? My humble opinion is that “starting with zero” or ending with that much is of small concern in comparison to extent of practice and effort made.
On a different note, Buddhism and Africa by Michel Clasquin and Kobus Kruger has mentioned that majority of Buddhist practitioners in South Africa are largely middle-class and white with one commentor in the book stating that
Buddhism does not fit all that naturally into the present black social or religious mentality
As well as it being…
too foreign to their accustomed ways of thinking: too intellectual, philosophical and introspective.
I quick word on the book “Buddhism in Africa” – It seems to me and to others that the statistics utilized can be vastly skewed when certain sects are discounted. It may be more accurate to state that most Tibetan and Zen groups are largely white-middle class while Nichiren sanghas have a greater number of black participants. Or something of that sort. I really have no knowledge of the statistics except to say that knowingly skewing the results to a prefered outcome is poor and immoral statistics work.
I would love some comments from those that may be practitioners (of any race) in Africa
The centre is a major initiative in the heart of Africa and intends to provide the first stable source of the original teachings of the Buddha in Uganda. It aims to create an enduring home for the preservation and transmission of the Buddha’s teachings by venerable and respectful masters established in Dhamma, and to continue to develop a landmark of Buddhist culture and teaching in Uganda and Africa as a whole.