Buddhist Typologies


Buddhist typologies

Thomas Tweed, Author of The American Encounter with Buddhism, describes three types of Euro-American Buddhists: Esoterics, Rationalist, and Romantics. The esoteric type is characterized by an emphasis on a hidden source of religious truth and meaning. They believe in a spiritual or nonmaterial realm that is populated by a plurality of nonhuman or suprahuman reality that can be contacted through one or more practices or states of consciousness. A rationalist Buddhist focuses on rational-discursive means of attaining religious truth and meaning. Instead of relational or experiential means and emphasized the authority of the individual in religious matters rather than creeds, texts, officials, or institutions. They are sometimes characterized by uncritical affirmation of science and are fierce advocates of religious and political tolerance. Rationalist focus on anthropological and ethical issues opposed to theological and metaphysical ones. The final type, the romantic, the attraction to Buddhism is part of an immersion or attachment to Buddhistculture as a whole. This includes art, architecture, music, drama, customs, language, literature, and religion. They focus on aesthetic rather than esoteric or rational approaches to religious meaning. Their focus is centered on imagination more than reason.


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