Australian Brahmic Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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pilgrim
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby pilgrim » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:07 am

Aj Chah says that Samatha and Vipassana are like 2 ends of a stick. You can't pick one up without the other. I believe that Aj Brahm accepts the same principle. However in teaching, it is possible that the content of his talks would be influenced by his audience. The Theravada community to a large extent is skewed towards dry-insight practice. His talks may be designed to address this position.

Dmytro, not to press the point, but I was just trying to say that Aj Brahm's 5 or 6 bhikkhunis are no different from the thousands of other bhikkhunis today in terms of their lineage which descended from the Dharmagupta. It is not his peculiarity, but the accepted model.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Sylvester » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:58 am

Some quotes to substantiate the description of "Australian Brahmic Buddhism", and to put it in wider contexṭ.

rowyourboat wrote:
Does he seriuosly say that it is possible to get to nirodhasamapatti without breaking all of the lower fetters, through vipassana?

Yes, he never talks about practicing vipassana, saying that instead:

"For one who experiences samādhi there is no need to make resolutions, to choose, or decide, ‘Oh, may I see things as they truly are’ (yatā bhūta-ñā adassana): it’s a natural process, it happens as an automatic consequence, for one who achieves samādhi. You are seeing truly all the insights that come up from the process of meditation which produces jhāna."



What an odd objection. I thought Ajahn Brahm was simply quoting the Cetana Sutta, AN 11.2, wholesale -

"For a person experiencing pleasure, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my mind grow concentrated.' It is in the nature of things that the mind of a person experiencing pleasure grows concentrated.

"For a person whose mind is concentrated, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I know & see things as they actually are.' It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are.

"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment. etc etc


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Brahmavamso conflates "Nirodha" as the epithet of Nibbana with Nirodha-samapatti:


I'm not sure if the error was Ajahn Brahm's or yours, since you seem to have mistaken his statements about "nirodha" with Nirodha-samapatti. The contexts of his statements should be amply clear that he was speaking of the gradual cessation of contact with the kama (pl), of sankhapa, of the different types of vedana etc in each stage of progression through the Jhanas.

But in any event, if Nirodha-samapatti is nothing more a synonym for sanna-vedayita-nirodha samapatti, I thought Ven Sariputta praised Nibbana because the cessation of feelings is pleasant?

"I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

...

Furthermore, there is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And, having seen [that] with discernment, his mental fermentations are completely ended. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The problem with the Mahavihara Buddhists is simply this - the Commentarial insistence on lokiya/lokuttara attainments empowers them to say that Nirodha-samapatti is also subject to the lokiya/lokuttara distinction. According to the Commentaries, lokiya Nirodha-samapatti leads to rebirth as an asanna brahma. This is not in line with the plain sutta presentation about the inevitable result of experiencing Nirodha-samapatti.

As for the attachment to Jhana, I think we've discussed the plain meaning of MN 44, versus the Commentarial exegesis.

'Nuff said.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:04 am

I think Brahmavamso's schismatic behaviour does not lie in the interpretation of technicalities.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby appicchato » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:32 am

Ajahn Brahm hasn't been expelled from anything other than a group of Thai monks that call some shots in Thailand, and with Thai laypeople who follow those monks living abroad...he is, and will be fine (with more than 35 years in the robes, as well as a sheepskin, I'd say he's got a pretty good handle on (most all) matters...once again, if people don't agree with the way other people see matters, why muddy the water?...move on in the direction of those that share your beliefs...

Be well...

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:54 am

appicchato wrote:...he is, and will be fine (with more than 35 years in the robes, as well as a sheepskin, I'd say he's got a pretty good handle on (most all) matters...


Yes, this has got to count for something!

However, here he is accused of diverging from the Buddha's teaching and setting up a cult, a really serious accusation, and I am still unclear what the evidence is. Maybe this is just me but maybe мой земляк Dmytro will clarify what he sees to be the problem with Ajahn Brahm's teachings.

From what I've seen, as someone who attempts to reach wider audiences and motivate people, he simplifies matters and makes things sound too simple and easy sometimes. Basically he is a great Dhamma salesman and his monastery has a waiting list of people wanting to ordain, I hear!

Of course this is bound to ruffle feathers of people with different dispositions but try doing a retreat with him and it will be a different story, I bet.
_/|\_

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby appicchato » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:19 pm

Dan74 wrote:...he simplifies matters and makes things sound too simple and easy...

Forgive me...I'm basically speechless...what's wrong with taking a simple approach?...we might not be as screwed up as most of us (myself included) are now...

Be well...

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Jack » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:45 pm

robertk wrote:I disagree with all the points that you say ven. Brahmavamso makes, however he is correct , according to theravada tradition, that there cannot be any perception of rupa while in any Jhana.

============
MN 119, Mindfulness of the Body, does say that perception of rupa is possible in the jhanas.

jack

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:24 pm

I've been enjoying the Dhammaloka's society youtube channel. Every week Ajahn Brahm gives an excellent hour long dhamma talk:

http://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhistSocietyWA

I've also been enjoying many of his writings.

I'm glad this thread exists so I know what he has to say is not 100% agreed upon in regards to the Pali Canon.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby adeh » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:15 pm

appicchato wrote:Ajahn Brahm hasn't been expelled from anything other than a group of Thai monks that call some shots in Thailand, and with Thai laypeople who follow those monks living abroad...he is, and will be fine (with more than 35 years in the robes, as well as a sheepskin, I'd say he's got a pretty good handle on (most all) matters...once again, if people don't agree with the way other people see matters, why muddy the water?...move on in the direction of those that share your beliefs...

Be well...


Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:25 pm

This is either naif or disingenuous. It is not just "some group of monks" who have expelled Brahmavamso.

He has been expelled from Luang Por Chah's line of teachers. And well overdue too.

He has gone from class clown ( which was tedious enough ) to renegade.




:hello:

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Vardali » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:59 pm

PeterB wrote:He has gone from class clown ( which was tedious enough ) to renegade.


Well, either that is surely a matter of opinion :stirthepot: And it begs the question "renegade" regarding what? A specific branch of a specific tradition, a tradition, a culture, a school, ...
And no, I haven't noticed any disregard of AB for vipassana, pali canon etc. at all, but then I have little interest in scholastic arguments.

But either way, free world and ample teachers about etc. => I trust there is someone suitable for everyone. :reading:

If AB does't appeal to a person (me, for ex., I am not the biggest fan of his dhamma talks but I find his meditations teachings helpful as well as his overall positive and compassionate attitude), just give it a miss and go elsewhere that one can find something more suitable to your practice. Seems most straight forward to me.

What I don't get is the venom in his direction, tbh. :shrug:
No one has to listen to AB, really. So why waste one's time on it if one doesn't find him help- or useful?
And no, it is not a rhethorical question, I really don't get it. :?:

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:11 pm

No one DOES have to listen to him. So why defend him ?
He has by a act of his own free will placed himself beyond Sanghic relations to the group of monks he trained with and sat with and ate with, and whose teacher was his teacher. I dont think renegade is too strong a word.
Describing this situation accurately is not "venomous." Its just the way it is...and its very sad.

I personally found his "cheeky Buddhist stand- up " persona very tedious indeed, and thought that it entailed a huge ego.

I dont know why he did not go the whole hog and buy a top hat and cane and sing " Puttin' On The Ritz" while tap dancing..

Subsequent events have rather confirmed my instincts. But that is another matter.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:26 pm

PeterB wrote:This is either naif or disingenuous. It is not just "some group of monks" who have expelled Brahmavamso.


Peter;

In your quote above you are replying to a point that looks like it was made by appicchato.

I was thankful that yesterday you pointed out to me that A_Martin is a monk and such deserved a minimum of respect by being addressed with the honorific "Venerable" or "Bhante".

Appiccato is a monk as well.

Since a traditional level of respect for monks is a strong value you have, I thought you would like to know that so you can address appicchato as "Bhante" as well, perhaps in addition to not calling him disingenuous.

In regards to Ajahn Brahm, I think people disagreeing with his views is within the realm of traditional respect for Buddhist monks. I'm not sure that calling a Buddhist monk a class clown or a renegade is.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby appicchato » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:40 pm

Looking at Ajahn Brahm's numerous accolades, notoriety, popularity, large number of organizations he is spiritual advisor to, accomplishments, achievements, awards, longevity, inspiration, and all around demeanor, many do find him worthy of defense...not that it's needed...

Be well...

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby adeh » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:53 pm

PeterB wrote:This is either naif or disingenuous. It is not just "some group of monks" who have expelled Brahmavamso.

He has been expelled from Luang Por Chah's line of teachers. And well overdue too.

He has gone from class clown ( which was tedious enough ) to renegade.




:hello:


We should remember that his ''expulsion'' was not because of his interpretation of certain doctrines or his rejection of the Abhidhamma etc., it was because he oversaw the ordination of a group of Bhikkhunis....

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:02 pm

Of course Adeh, and my subjective reaction to his teaching style does not cause me to forget that. That makes it more , not less tragic. Its daft. It was unneccessary. There is a lot of evidence that if he had not declared UDI the ordinations would have been delayed but would have happened anyway. A lot of people were working towards a solution and he walked away from them.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby darvki » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:11 pm

I'm going to leave the subject of the Bhikkhuni ordination alone since it isn't cited as part of "Australian Brahmic Buddhism" in the OP.

I think the attention brought to his differences in technical interpretation is a bit unsubstantiated. We might as well do it for every teacher within the Theravada whose interpretations differ from the majority.

Leaving aside the technical leaves the citation of the video as an indicator of his overall teaching style, which I find sort of amusing. Is it really such a big deal that he at least on principle endorsed the Bodhisatta ideal or the concept of buddha-nature?

As for the link to Ajahn Sujato's article on the Agamas, I don't see how subscribing to a different transmission of the Buddhavacana because one finds it to be more reliable brings one outside the Theravada.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 pm

Erm..... yes it is rather a big deal darvki. He's gone troppo.

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:00 pm

pilgrim wrote:Every teacher has his own style of teaching and his particular emphasis. I don't think it is fair or even accurate to say this constitutes a new tradition.

darvki wrote:As for the link to Ajahn Sujato's article on the Agamas, I don't see how subscribing to a different transmission of the Buddhavacana because one finds it to be more reliable brings one outside the Theravada.


Ven. Brahmavamso's explicit contradiction (and tacit rejection) of the doctrines contained in the Canonical Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and major parts of the Canonical Theravāda Khuddakanikāya, and Ven. Sujato's explicit rejection of the same doctrines, leaves very little "Theravāda" in what they are presenting. The doctrines contained in the Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and Theravāda Khuddakanikāya texts such as the Paṭisambhidāmagga are what constitute the Theravāda as a unique doctrinal school (vāda). These treatises are all specific to the Theravāda. They have no parallel counterparts even amongst the other Sthaviravāda schools such as the Sarvāstivāda. Therefore, whatever it is that Ven. Brahmavamso and and Ven. Sujato, et al, are teaching, it cannot be called Theravāda. To call it Theravāda renders the designation quite meaningless.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Hi Geoff, Thank you for the input.
Ñāṇa wrote:Ven. Brahmavamso tacit rejection of the doctrines contained in the Canonical Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and major parts of the Canonical Theravāda Khuddakanikāya, and Ven. Sujato's explicit rejection of the same doctrines, leaves very little "Theravāda" in what they are presenting. f

I believe I've heard Ven Sujato (on recording) explicitly state that he considers himself an "early Buddhist" (or some similar term), rather than "Theravada".

Of course,this is a possible approach (which seems to be popular among some members). I.e. considering all possible evidence to attempt to get a picture of what was actually taught by the Buddha by comparing surviving texts from all schools and gleaning information from other sources (Jain and Brahminic).

As I know from the extensive examples you've offered here, it's clearly not a trivial task to make sense of the consistency, or lack thereof, of the various parts of the Theravada Cannon, and the ancient and modern Theravada Commentaries. So this task of "figuring out exactly what the Buddha taught" by extending one's range to all possible sources seems to me to be extremely challenging. It's full-time PhD level stuff (which is what Ven Huifeng/Paññāsikhara, for example, is engaged in), and something I only have time to take a passing interest in.

I take it you are advocating picking a particular school (Theravada) and sticking with it? But do you see any reason (apart from difficulty) why the "early Buddhism" approach is not viable?

:anjali:
Mike


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