(Lama Surya Das’ presentation at The Global Buddhist Conference in New Delhi, November 2011)
What is the future of Buddhism and of enlightenment-oriented spirituality in the West and in this tumultuous world? What part shall we play as spiritual activists, visionary leaders, altruists and aspiring bodhisattva, as well as stewards and guardians of our world, the environment, and society? It has been pointed out that historically whenever Buddhism has entered a culture, it has not only changed the culture, but Buddhism has also been changed by that culture. This is the nature and reality of Dharma translation, teaching and transmission. The Dharma is always able to retain its vital, liberating essence while reinventing itself anew in order to remain applicable, accessible, potent and relevant, not to mention enlightening. So what are the fundamental opportunities and obstacles for Buddhism as a truly transformative and liberating force in the West today?