Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Dharmajim » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:52 pm

LisaMann wrote:Greetings and thanks for the invite! :D

As far as Tibetan vs Zen, this is nothing new... hey there've been issues for a millennium, and I guess some Tibetans still see Mo-ho-yen under every bed. "Ban the blasphemer!" Heck, back then we got the boot from the Tibetan plateau, now we just get the boot off a website.

It stinks, but we can choose to, or not to, participate. I'll leave my sandals behind, at least.


One of the most frustrating things for Zen, not just Soto Zen, practitioners is the way Tibetan Buddhism interprets their tradition through the lens of a single historical incident that took place over 1,000 years ago. As a former Zen practitioner I can attest to feeling like I was in some kind of strange surreal realm when talking to Tibetan Buddhists about Zen, unless they had previously practiced Zen. It is common, for example, for Tibetan Buddhists to state that Zen seeks to "eliminate" thoughts. The problem with this is that no Zen Master, no Zen Meditation manual, ever says this. I think this is one of the root sources for the kind of tension that people observe.

Please understand that I am not disparaging the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I am only pointing out how that tradition treats a non-Tibetan tradition in such a way that it gives rise to tensions that have been observed and commented on by posters here.

Best wishes,

Jim
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:19 pm

I am curious. What are the issues with Soto Zen?

When I google Soto Zen, I come up with Dogen. I was under the impression Dogen was a great teacher.

What are the specific issues the Tibetans have with Soto Zen?

I have noticed on other sites, so-called Zen practitioners appear to repudiate all 'form', clinging to a doctrine of nothingness.
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:36 pm

One of the most frustrating things for Zen, not just Soto Zen, practitioners is the way Tibetan Buddhism interprets their tradition through the lens of a single historical incident that took place over 1,000 years ago.


Having seen modern day Tibetan Buddhist polemists wannabes in action, trying to put Zen, Theravada and any everyone else in their proper place, I do not wonder why master Madhyamakin polemist Aryadeva (3rd cent CE) got himself assassinated for being any annoying git.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:56 pm

Element wrote:I am curious. What are the issues with Soto Zen?

When I google Soto Zen, I come up with Dogen. I was under the impression Dogen was a great teacher.

What are the specific issues the Tibetans have with Soto Zen?

I have noticed on other sites, so-called Zen practitioners appear to repudiate all 'form', clinging to a doctrine of nothingness.


theres a few lines of teachers that dont teach rebirth in soto zen, that see the buddha as more human than other schools etc.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:05 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:..theres a few lines of teachers that dont teach rebirth in soto zen, that see the buddha as more human than other schools etc.

Whilst studying little, I always gained the impression that classic Zen teachers like Bodhi Dharma, Dogen, Huang Po, etc, where mostly concerned about the here & now. This style of teaching is what I call 'minimalistic Zen'.

When I raised this once to a moderator from another site on another site who also drops into this site, that two-headed moderator stressed the Chinese sutras were the basis of his Zen or Chaan following. I simply replied he was a Tibetan in disguise. :spy: :spy:
Last edited by Element on Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:15 pm

Peter wrote:christopher:::,

I find tension arises when we assume we're all practicing the same religion. When we try to force things like that there is bound to be tension.

Conversely, when we assume we are practicing different religions we can talk civilly, compare similarities, contrast differences, and generally enjoy each other's company.

:goodpost:
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:28 pm

Peter wrote:christopher:::,

I find tension arises when we assume we're all practicing the same religion. When we try to force things like that there is bound to be tension.

Conversely, when we assume we are practicing different religions we can talk civilly, compare similarities, contrast differences, and generally enjoy each other's company.

To put it another way...

If I say "Buddha said this" and you say "No no no, Buddha said that" well then we've got a fight on our hands.
But if I say "In my tradition we learn this" and you say "That's interesting because in my tradition we learn that" then we have a civil and interesting discussion.


well it can happen even within the same tradition, especially when one thinks they are right and the other is wrong, even when the one who is believed to be always wrong is agreeing with the other they are wrong just by means of words used.
Dogma comes in many forms
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:46 pm

Greetings Manapa,

Yes, that is a good point, yet intra-tradition tensions of that kind are unavoidable, and probably to some extent productive. I do wonder though in all sincerity whether there is anything to be gained by one tradition critiquing another. Can such critiquing ever be fully detached from proselytization? Does it improve anyone's practice and help them learn more about their own tradition, or does it simply lead to agitation and fertile soil for Wrong Speech? I tend to get along well with people from other Buddhist traditions, but we usually don't go about critiquing each other's tradition... merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:31 am

HI Retro

retrofuturist wrote:merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.


sometimes we can try but it can be unavoidable even within the same "sect"

I don't generally say I am a buddhist more often say seeker of truth but more incommon with buddhism than another religion, or with buddhists say theravada, but have looked at each tradition, so don't get into the same trifles as others myself, but this too has its draw backs as it can lead or be a reason for misunderstanding, etc
the words we use can cause as much confusion as the language
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:39 am

Anders Honore,

[EDIT: Discussion on E-Sangha removed - Retro.]

We each belong to our little group, often thinking it is better than those other little groups, but what do we do with those thoughts? The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings. Always a choice.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:45 am

Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:48 am

Greetings,

clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"


Yes, this is mana, conceit.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings.

Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:17 am

I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown. This is where too much intellectual understanding or knowledge can become a burden for the practitioner, another wall inside of us, as genkaku put it.

All we have is our perceptions. These we need to handle with care. Same goes for other people of course. We need to handle them with care. Where does one find wisdom in all of this, and how do we practice it?

IMHO, Buddha taught an eight-fold path that included right speech for a reason.

Retro put it very well...

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Manapa,

Yes, that is a good point, yet intra-tradition tensions of that kind are unavoidable, and probably to some extent productive. I do wonder though in all sincerity whether there is anything to be gained by one tradition critiquing another. Can such critiquing ever be fully detached from proselytization? Does it improve anyone's practice and help them learn more about their own tradition, or does it simply lead to agitation and fertile soil for Wrong Speech? I tend to get along well with people from other Buddhist traditions, but we usually don't go about critiquing each other's tradition... merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.

Metta,
Retro. :)


:goodpost:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:18 am

Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.


There bases for critquing the Mahayana, but I am not so sure the structure of Tibets government is one of them, but that is an argument for a different thread, please.

Also, the Mahayana does not stalk threads; it is some Mahayanists who may do that, and like anything, Mahayanists vary as to how they see these things. It is just when they do buy into the triumphalism and supersessionism, they have "divine" reason to do so.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:26 am

christopher::: wrote:I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown.

Hi Chris

Why? Because one of their wrathful deities will attack us?

We spend our time discussing Buddhism. Further, the Buddha-Dhamma and its efficacy regarding ending dukkha is not unknown.

If dukkha and its cessation is a mystery to one, then one can consider practising more.

[EDIT: NKT protest pictures and images of Zombie survival kits removed... these are superfluous to the points being made - Retro.]
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:42 am

Greetings everyone,

Please remember that our Terms Of Service state....

Respect that this is intended to be a forum for Theravadin Buddhists to discuss Theravada Buddhism. Special forums have been created for special areas of interest so please respect these boundaries. Any subject matter that may be off-topic or is intended only to cause disruption or harm to others may be removed without notice. This includes the badmouthing of other Buddhist discussion forums.


We appreciate that some of these "tensions within Modern Buddhism" may be related to Internet discussion forums, but Dhamma Wheel is not the place to be discussing other forums, their personnel or their policies. There are other sites (BuddhaChat comes to mind as a prime candidate) that will allow you to publicly discuss these things more extensively should you wish to do so. If this cannot be followed, this thread may be shut down or posts within it removed without further notice.

Please keep in mind that Dhammawheel is "a discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Buddha"... not a venting station for discontent.

If there are issues with the way Dhammawheel itself is being run, please bring them to the attention of staff or post in the Suggestion Box.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:49 am

Thanks for the reminder, Retro.

Element wrote:
christopher::: wrote:I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown.

Hi Chris

Why? Because one of their wrathful deities will attack us?

We spend our time discussing Buddhism. Further, the Buddha-Dhamma and its efficacy regarding ending dukkha is not unknown.

If dukkha and its cessation is a mystery to one, then one can consider practising more.



I think you missed my point, which was also Retro's earlier point, imo. It's very easy to find faults with other people's religious beliefs. These are called religions because people hold certain beliefs which can not be proven. There is always an element of faith. For all those outside that religion there will be elements of dis-belief.

So in that sense I agree with your last point, it all comes down to practice. Which is the main reason I am here, a Zen Buddhist spending time in a Theravadan Buddhist forum. Many of the folks here, beginning with those in positions of authority, are people whom I have come to respect for the integrity of their practice.

They have shown in deed and word, through behavior and respectfulness towards others, that they know how to throw an office party where next door neighbors and guests from other organizations do not feel like "outsiders" and are instead made to feel welcome and comfortable.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:42 am

christopher::: wrote:How important within Buddhism is the value and practice of tolerance?

My impression from the scriptures is the Buddha himself was not tolerant of wrong view, especially if someone was claiming that wrong view was taught by the Buddha himself.

From MN 57:
Monk: "Venerable sir, there is this Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic; that ox duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"
Buddha: "Seniya, if his ox duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of oxen; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

I think many people would be upset by an exchange like this. They would want a Buddhist to say "Hey, if you like your ox-duty practice then go with it. We each have our own path."

From MN22:
Monk: "Lord, I understand the teaching of the Blessed One in this way that those things called 'obstructions' by the Blessed One, are not necessarily obstructive for him who pursues them."
Buddha: "Of whom do you know, foolish man, that I have taught to him the teaching in that manner?"

Again, I think many people would expect a Buddhist to say "Maybe you're right, maybe not. Go and pursue your own path and see what happens."

The fact is the Buddha tuaght what he tuaght and he didn't pussy-foot around. That said, he didn't go up to people uninvited and hit them over the head. "Hey you, what you're doing is wrong, what you believe is false." For example, he only told the ox-duty ascetic his practice would lead him to hell because the ascetic asked the Buddha three times. The first two times the Buddha said "Don't ask me that."

I think the second example hits more to your question of modern Buddhism. I think the Buddha didn't tolerate novel interpretations of his teachings and I think that tradition carried forward. When differing interpretations took hold, councils were held to determine which one was correct.
- Peter

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:30 am

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"


No, this is māna, conceit. Conceit and wrong view both arise with greed-rooted cittas, but never in one and the same citta. A stream-entrant has no wrong view, but is still capable of falling into the conceit of being better than, equal to, or inferior to another.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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