Welcome new and old friends. This is the long running Orlando Buddhism Meetup Group, but with a new name of Americanayana, pronounced "Americana yana", and added that it is here in Florida. Americanayana IS the flavor of Buddhism for and by Americans. This lineage of Buddhism owes much to Hinayana and Mahayana and Vajrayana, but these have taken on the color of Americana. We American Buddhists can't awaken until we recognize our independence from the other forms of Buddhism while still realizing the interdependence of all. And at the same time we honor and wish to support any efforts made towards the preservation of traditional Buddhist lineages. We are simply here to practice, adapt, and re-imagine Buddhism for our world without having to tear our world down. So we don't need to become Buddhist monks, but we can study and meditate and be careful like them. So let's get together to meditate, chant, discuss, study wisdom literature from masters, and live joyfully.
So what is happening in American or Western Buddhism? And how does it come about?
Americanayana Buddhism actually started back with the soil tilled by the American Transcendentalists such as Thoreau and Emerson, and others, and planted by the seeds of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese forms of Buddhisms that have come to us by way of the Asian immigrant folks. And let us not forget the veterans who came back from far eastern countries with their interest to explore Buddhism. Also it is important to mention the "hippies" from the sixties who ventured to India and Tibet in search of wisdom and the sciences of enlightenment. More recently we have obtain powerful seeds from Tibetan Buddhism which has flourished due to the efforts of teachers such as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, since the Tibetans have had to escape from their lands of snow. Recent Hollywood movies have helped bring back meditation and other practices and ways of thinking through some thought provoking movies such as "What the Bleep Do We Know" and "The Secret", but even way back in the 70s there was the odd TV show "Kung Fu" with Buddhist Shaolin Priests and special profound moments with the student-master relationship of Kwai Chang Caine (or Grasshopper) and his teachers, and with that we got an introduction to Chinese philosophies and practices such as the Tao, Confuciusianism, Buddhism, mental and physical discipline and training, and sitting meditation.
The idea for the name Americanayana came from two thoughts. Bob Dylan and his band had been touring with the title of "Americanarama" and when there is a vehicle and a form of Buddhism, it is considered a vehicle towards enlightenment, and the title given ends with "ayana" so I replaced the "rama" with "yana", or, in other words, combined "Americana" with "ayana" to get the word "Americanayana" to suggest American Buddhism distinct from the other better known expressions such as "Vajrayana", "Mahayana", and "Hinayana". Well, actually "Maha" means "greater" or "larger", and "Hina" means "lesser" or "smaller", and so we may start off with "Hinayana" because we seek personal benefits right away from Buddhism. But when we do Buddhism for the benefit of others then we are doing "Mahayana" Buddhism. And I would say that Vajrayana is like an "esoteric" form of Mahayana Buddhism. Actually, Vajrayana means the Diamond Way or Vehicle, where the diamond refers to the indestructible nature of the mind [of enlightenment], or our true nature.
This meetup was most recently formerly known as 'Buddhism in Central Florida' and before that it went by the name 'The Orlando Buddhism Meetup Group: "American Beat" ' for some four years, and before that simply The Orlando Buddhism Meetup Group, probably since it started back in 2002, and it had an address of Buddhism-85. Previous great organizers and funders of this meetup have included Marc IronBuddha, Scott, Ani Chime, and way back in history, Ricc Bishop who started this meetup back in 2002 and handed it down to a lady who handed down to IronBuddha, who handed it down to me, then I dropped it and it was saved by Scott, but then he handed it to Ani Chime, who after a great run had to move away, so she handed it back to me. I have barely been able to come up with funds to keep it alive, and I occasionally publish some interesting meetups. So if you browse the photos and pages and discussions you will see that we have made some history for Buddha Dharma in Central Florida. May there have been some long lasting virtuous impressions made on the minds of our folks in the area. The meetups that have been announced here have benefited many in Central Florida. At least a few of us here met some great teachers such as Venerable Ani Konchok Chime (aka Angela Harkavy), Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche, and others. Recently we had several meetups or gatherings not as a result of this meetup but due to the organizational efforts of Diane Carty Bevis who helped to form a sangha and center of Tibetan Buddhism called Losel Rime Ling of Orlando with website at http://www.loselrimeling.org/ with a mission to "open a gateway to the Dharma (Buddhist teachings). By cultivating wisdom and compassion, we not only benefit ourselves and each other, but our community and the world at large. Inner transformation is the path to peace.It is our hope to connect like minded people who are interested in Buddhism, by sharing our knowledge and by hosting qualified teachers to the Central Florida area." Events organized through Losel Rime Ling were and are being promoted here.