This is a nice little piece. It worries me how much superstition is creeping from Asian variations of “Buddhism” into western Buddhism. We did not go through years of history undoing superstition just to welcome it back in under the guise of our new religion. The Buddha said it all long ago: Don’t rely on “God”, don’t rely on Priests, don’t rely on rituals and superstition. Deal with what is. Theravada seems very much about gaining familiarity with what is, Mahayan, especially the Tibetain version is highly ritualised, authoritarian and full of myth and superstition. These are things that should be of concern to western Buddhists because if you are going to replace one set of dogma with another, you haven’t gotten very enlightened in the process. Having said all that, I am a Mahayana student with a Theravadin bent, so to speak. I like the direct teaching stule of the particular tibetan teacher under whom I have studied. The problem, I think, is that the exoteric Mahayana of lay Tibetains is often what seems to attract westerners. How many would survive or thrive under the regime of a Mahayna Monastery in Tibet? Not many.
Buddhism, like most religions, has changed since it’s founding, split into differing theories and such. I wonder what the Buddha would make of it today?