Zla'od wrote:For those who believe that Chinese Buddhism is really Buddhism, and that some parts but not others are worthwhile, how should it be reformed?
Or should we just call in the Red Guards and send them all to the camps?
A lot of reform is ongoing at the moment. The Buddhism of Taiwan in the present day is quite unlike how it was even two generations ago. The major Buddhist organizations of Taiwan operate with corporate models. That's why they have finance and staffing departments. Traditionally no such things existed. You had someone who acted as treasurer, but not professional accountants. This new development enables organizations to employ their capital assets as needed without having to rely on sponsors or volunteers. The master-disciple relationship system is also gone. It used to be that a young novice spent five years serving their master, learning the Vinaya and only then being allowed to be free. Now they have seminary programs that run basically like a college course complete with examinations and scheduled classes.
Again, a lot has changed already.
Personally, I think Humanistic Buddhism is lacking in discussions on suffering and death. You don't hear a lot about suffering, death and the lower realms. You see neat and tidy nuns, quaint temples and a lot of dharma talks reviewing much of the same ideas about how to live a relatively happy life, but not so much about the realities of samsara like death, the inevitability of death, the uncertainty of it, etc...
The other thing is that monks and nuns get assigned day jobs. This works well for the organization as they can direct their staff as needed, but a monk wouldn't be praised for just up and leaving for three years to go do meditation. Elsewhere in the Buddhist world this would be acceptable. However, here in Taiwan most monastics have jobs they are expected to do. They lose all freedom and are expected to obediently do as told. This is unlike the old Chinese tradition of wandering monks. Said tradition, as I hear, is sometimes thought of as a kind of social parasitism rather than being a spiritual practice.