I got the question if i wanted to write something about my view of Buddhism in Sweden.
Although I'm not an authority in the matter, after some discussion with some priest-friends of mine, I decided to go ahead.
First though, who am I?
An answer might be ”dont know”.
Another might be the one have on my blog, ”A nowadays single dad who spends most of my time taking care of my son. When not doing that I work at a school, a bookshop and as a zen priest in training, even though I don't consider any of them as work...”
I am also content to say that I was with part of the first online Shukke Tokudo in August 2010, where I received the Precepts from Jundo Cohen at Treeleaf Sangha.
Buddhism has had somewhat of an upswing here in Sweden, although there is much to work on. The upswing, I believe, has much to do with the introduction of mindfulness, and as we are more or less still in the starting blocks of this, it still remains to be seen where it will land.
A side effect to the introduction of mindfulness is that it has started to get people to realize what Buddhism is really about.
Buddhism has been depicted as a religion which is either all about escaping suffering through different means or baldheaded monks in robes doing strange ceremonies.
Now, I'm not saying Buddhism doesn't contain these things, just that it has a tendency to be depicted primarily as such.
While doing some research for this article I heard about people, in the 70's and 80's, having different contacts with Buddhism in all forms. Some stayed on, some didn't, but today, I think, we have about all the branches of the Buddhist tree represented in Sweden, with the emphasis on Tibetan Buddhism, Zen and the Theravadan Buddhism practiced by Thai men and women.
Aside from the Buddhists who has moved here from other countries, most ”large” Buddhist centres are centered in, or about, larger towns, with some ”small” Sanghas appearing in small towns all over Sweden.
As Buddhism starts to spread, this is about to change.
But in the end it's all good practice.
Thank you for your practice,
Fugen, Unsui Treeleaf Sangha