Episode 45: What Happens to the Dharma when the Boomers Die Out?
Diana Winston, insight meditation teacher and author, took a break from a busy day of work from the UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center to join us in a discussion on Buddhism and youth. After sharing some insight into what her most recent work at UCLA is aiming to accomplish, Diana explored the question of whether or not youth are flocking to Buddhism today, as they did in the 60s and 70s. In her experience, the number of people under age 30 has actually increased since she was a young meditator in the early 90s, but it is still remains a small percentage of the overall demographic of Western Buddhists.
We discuss why that might be the case, touching in on both historical and financial factors. We also hear from Diana about efforts that are being made at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, including teen and young-adult retreats as well as youth scholarships. She then asks the three younger participants (all of us in our 20s) what brought us to the teachings of the dharma. We finish the conversation sharing the personal reasons that we were drawn to the dharma in our late-teens and early 20s.
This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to Part 2: Marketing Mindfulness to the Youth.