cooks...

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

cooks...

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:15 pm

too many cooks in the kitchen.

to clarify, too many master chefs in the kitchen.

when someone posts a question, many answer. these are frequently great answers from really knowledgeable people, chefs of great skill. however frequently they are chefs from different schools of cooking.

so someone asks: should tofu be spiced with salt and chiles?

four chefs say yes, they are all from the blue cooking school.

three say no, they are all from the green cooking school.

five say salt and no chiles, they are from the purple cooking school.

two say don't eat tofu at all, they are from the yellow cooking school.

all of these are master chefs, their advice is really great and important. however the person asking the question has no idea which one to pick. all of the advice has sources to back it up from the great cook books of the world, so none are wrong, but they are all conflicting.

one could say "try them all, see what works." okay so this is a good idea if you have lots of time. even if you do, you may be mixing other parts that make no sense, like you're using a recipe that calls for something that tastes terrible with chiles but since the complete recipe of yours and the complete recipe of the chefs is not known, no one knows that it won't come out of the oven right.




solution?



a minor fix that would at least help lessen some of the confusion would be for people to put what kind of school their advice comes from, or what teacher, what book etc. so if someone is telling the asker that jhana is not necessary they may also tell them they are from the mahasi sayadaw school. if someone is saying jhana is necessary and kasina practice is strongly advised, they could tell them they are from a school that takes the commentaries and visuddhimagga as authoritative. and so on.

a more solid frame work and complete ideas would make each answer to each question more useful.

one easy example is that we have people who are not even practicing theravada at all giving advice to people on theravada concepts. there is nothing wrong with this as it is VERY useful and dhammawheel would be a lesser place without this, but the asker should know not to be searching the suttas for an idea that's not even in them. i'm mainly stating that for the convenience of an obvious scenario, such as a chan practitioner telling a theravada newbie that actualization of buddha nature is the main goal. the newbie may believe them and then be very confused as to where this idea came from. the chan practitioner may even be 100% correct but without knowing that the culmination of the chan ideas is not found in the pali canon the newbie will be quite lost. however if the chan guy/gal said their two cents and told them they are chan concepts the newbie would be much better off.

this applies to everyone really, not just newbies, again that was just a convenient, easily contrasted example.


largely this is just spit balling, the issue of too many chefs is quite obvious and i just wanted to start a dialogue to help come up with ideas or at the very least to create some awareness.

my idea of school identification is grossly incomplete and does not at all fully solve the issue, it's just an idea. and probably even a bad idea to be completely rejected and ignored!

really i'm looking for others thoughts. i just posted that to get some dialogue moving.
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Re: cooks...

Postby SDC » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:10 pm

alan... wrote:really i'm looking for others thoughts.


Hit the books, alan..., and put your time in. Pick a school and go for it. The more you learn the easier it will be to pick out who is coming from where. It is the best protection from the pitfalls you have presented. Trust me if people start providing all the specifics you suggested than it will just be something more for people to argue about. I do not think it is necessary.
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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:14 pm

SDC wrote:
alan... wrote:really i'm looking for others thoughts.


Hit the books, alan..., and put your time in. Pick a school and go for it. The more you learn the easier it will be to pick out who is coming from where. It is the best protection from the pitfalls you have presented. Trust me if people start providing all the specifics you suggested than it will just be something more for people to argue about. I do not think it is necessary.


you're absolutely right, my idea is terrible. i'm just looking for ideas in general. i have put in years of time and own one three foot shelf of books, all of which i have read. as well as countless articles and forum posts. my authority is the pali canon. i'm just trying to hash out which school is the most true to it's contents. once i figure that out i'll pick a school. however that does not solve the issue on this forum.
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Re: cooks...

Postby SDC » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:19 pm

:smile:
alan... wrote:
SDC wrote:
alan... wrote:really i'm looking for others thoughts.


Hit the books, alan..., and put your time in. Pick a school and go for it. The more you learn the easier it will be to pick out who is coming from where. It is the best protection from the pitfalls you have presented. Trust me if people start providing all the specifics you suggested than it will just be something more for people to argue about. I do not think it is necessary.


you're absolutely right, my idea is terrible. i'm just looking for ideas in general.


I did not say it was terrible. Don't take it so personal. I was just giving my opinion.
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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:25 pm

SDC wrote:
I did not say it was terrible. Don't take it so personal. I was just giving my opinion.


oh lol! don't worry about it, i don't think it's a good idea and said so at the end of the OP. nothing taken personally.
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Re: cooks...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:27 pm

Greetings Alan...,

alan... wrote:my authority is the pali canon. i'm just trying to hash out which school is the most true to it's contents. once i figure that out i'll pick a school.

Well, why pick a "school" then?... the Buddha of the Pali Canon (which you take as authorative) didn't have different "schools".

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan...,

alan... wrote:my authority is the pali canon. i'm just trying to hash out which school is the most true to it's contents. once i figure that out i'll pick a school.

Well, why pick a "school" then?... the Buddha of the Pali Canon (which you take as authorative) didn't have different "schools".

Metta,
Retro. :)


you're absolutely right, this is where i get confused. i find the suttas to be absolutely perfect but some need a little interpretation, so any time i go looking for interpretation i find it colored by whatever school the teacher is in. some seem closer to the suttas than others. i'm really torn on accepting commentary as authoritative or not, this makes the difference between accepting teachings from a lot of modern masters. what would you suggest?
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Re: cooks...

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:59 am

Alan,
I think you need to be a bit more relaxed about issues related to authenticity relating to the suttas and commentaries.
Keep in mind that the commentarial tradition began with the Buddha who would sometimes leave it to his senior monks to give an exposition on a statement or verse that he gave. There are also issues relating to the authorship of some suttas and the fact that any act of translation, particularly in relation to the Nikayas, is also an act of interpretation.

My advice to you is to pick an approach that is suitable for you and give it a go for at least a year. At the end of a year if you've found you have benefited by the approach - keep on going.
kind regards,

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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:50 am

Ben wrote:Alan,
I think you need to be a bit more relaxed about issues related to authenticity relating to the suttas and commentaries.
Keep in mind that the commentarial tradition began with the Buddha who would sometimes leave it to his senior monks to give an exposition on a statement or verse that he gave. There are also issues relating to the authorship of some suttas and the fact that any act of translation, particularly in relation to the Nikayas, is also an act of interpretation.

My advice to you is to pick an approach that is suitable for you and give it a go for at least a year. At the end of a year if you've found you have benefited by the approach - keep on going.
kind regards,

Ben


sound advice to be certain. i guess i'm just wary in general. i spent years on things that turned out to be a waste of time. i'm not going to spell it out so as not to offend anyone but let's just say it was versions of teaching that are so far from what's in the suttas that if not for the word "buddha" being thrown in from time to time one would have no clue that it was buddhism at all. now i'm noticing that there are similar things even in theravada, however it's much easier to spot them by comparing them to the canon. i have found a few teachers works that i liked a lot but then once i got deeper i found that they are not quite in right with the suttas. again i'm not going to specify for the above reason, but now that i'm checking everything i learn against the suttas it's taking time to find teachings that are in accord.

i think you're right about the commentaries. there is a lot i agree with in them, some i don't. i just need to find a "school" that uses them but doesn't accept them blindly but keeps the suttas in mind. know of one?
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Re: cooks...

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:09 am

alan... wrote:i think you're right about the commentaries. there is a lot i agree with in them, some i don't. i just need to find a "school" that uses them but doesn't accept them blindly but keeps the suttas in mind. know of one?


Theravada.

Personally, I like Bhikkhu Bodhi's position:

"To be brief, I would say there are two extreme attitudes one could take to the commentaries. One, often adopted by orthodox Theravadins, is to regard them as being absolutely authoritative almost on a par with the suttas. The other is to disregard them completely and claim they represent 'a different take on the Dhamma.' I find that a prudent middle ground is to consult the commentaries and use them, but without clinging to them. Their interpretations are often illuminating, but we should also recognize that they represent a specific systematization of the early teaching. They are by no means necessitated by the early teaching, and on some points even seem to be in tension with it."


from an interview with Inquiring Mind
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... kkhu_Bodhi
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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:12 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
alan... wrote:i think you're right about the commentaries. there is a lot i agree with in them, some i don't. i just need to find a "school" that uses them but doesn't accept them blindly but keeps the suttas in mind. know of one?


Theravada.

Personally, I like Bhikkhu Bodhi's position:

"To be brief, I would say there are two extreme attitudes one could take to the commentaries. One, often adopted by orthodox Theravadins, is to regard them as being absolutely authoritative almost on a par with the suttas. The other is to disregard them completely and claim they represent 'a different take on the Dhamma.' I find that a prudent middle ground is to consult the commentaries and use them, but without clinging to them. Their interpretations are often illuminating, but we should also recognize that they represent a specific systematization of the early teaching. They are by no means necessitated by the early teaching, and on some points even seem to be in tension with it."


from an interview with Inquiring Mind
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... kkhu_Bodhi


thanks. bodhi is one of my favorites! i only know of his work through notes in his wonderful translations though. does he have many stand alone teachings on direct practice?
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Re: cooks...

Postby cooran » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:47 am

Some shorter writings by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

with metta
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Re: cooks...

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:04 am

cooran wrote:Some shorter writings by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html

with metta
Chris


thanks much. we are so lucky to have accesstoinsight! seriously amazing site.
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