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Sports stores that sell women's yoga pants looked at me like I was crazy when I asked about men's yoga pants. I found a pair of women's athletic pants at the thrift shop, which were tighter, but still flexible. But this introduced a new problem: an awkward bulge resulting from the fact that the pants aren't cut for men. So, the last time I was in Boston, I reluctantly went to the Lululemon shop to try on some custom men's yoga pants. I thought they looked awesome, but I wasn't willing to shell out the cost on the price tag... so I peruse ebay.
While the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,446 respondents has been criticized for under representing Buddhists, it indicates that Buddhists are certainly a minority group within the United States. Nonetheless, it gives us some indication of who Buddhists are, relative to other groups. For one thing, more Buddhist respondents (50%) identified as liberal than any other group. Furthermore, Buddhists are more likely to support stricter environmental protection than Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
As one article on the history of American Buddhism describes: “For those first Americans who took up Buddhism, it was not primarily a means of dropping out. As Sojun Mel Weitsman, abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center, told me, ‘The bohemians and flower children were already dropped out. Buddhism offered them a way to drop in. It allowed them to create a culture out of the counterculture. ’” (1) As seekers of not only spiritual alternatives, but social ones, it is no surprise that Western Buddhists developed their own style of “Socially Engaged Buddhism.” However, the adaptation of the Buddhist tradition to contemporary social issues has been neither automatic, simple nor rapid. It is an ongoing process that takes hard work.
believe it is possible to maintain close ties with one group while staying close with people outside the group. I do think it is dangerous and undesirable to be part of a group that insults other groups or discourages connection to them. While some Zen teachers require their students to forgo study with other teachers, my Zen teachers encourage us to study with other teachers, including teachers from other traditions. That works for me. That being said, our Zen family is fairly loose-knit and you can assume very little about the similarities between a Sangha in one part of the world with one in another part of the world.