Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

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Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:18 am

http://pressblog.uchicago.edu/2013/05/0 ... ez-jr.html

According to a famous Chinese legend, in 60 CE (or thereabout), the Emperor Ming of China had a dream. He dreamed that he saw a golden man flying through the sky, rays of light streaming from his head. The next day, he summoned his ministers to interpret the dream. They told him that the golden man was a sage from the west called the Buddha. The emperor immediately dispatched a delegation to find this sage. After a long journey, they returned with a scripture and a statue. And this is how Buddhism first came to China.

In 1603, the famous Catholic missionary to China, Matteo Ricci, published a book, in Chinese, in which he explained that the golden man the emperor saw in his dream was not the Buddha; he was Jesus. If the emperor’s envoys had gone farther west, they would have arrived in the Holy Land, and would have returned with the Gospels. Bringing Buddhism to China had all been a terrible mistake.

Among the “founders” of the world religions—Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad—perhaps the best loved (or at least the best liked) is the Buddha. He is wise, he is compassionate, he is largely unobjectionable—but it was not always thus. For most of the long history of Europe’s contact with Asia, the Buddha was widely disparaged and despised.

European travelers to Asia, whether missionaries or merchants, beginning in the thirteenth century and continuing for the next five-hundred years, thought the Buddha was an idol. From one perspective, it was hard to blame them. At that time, Europeans divided the peoples of the world into four nations: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Idolaters. Because the Buddhists of Asia fell into the “none of the above” category, they were idolaters by default. And, indeed, Europeans in Asia observed Buddhists bowing down before large golden statues. To make matters worse, the Buddha was not one idol for the Europeans, he was many idols. As Buddhism had spread across Asia over the centuries—from India to modern Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, and Korea in the north; to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in the south—it took on its own character. Each culture developed its own artistic conventions for representing the Buddha in statues and paintings; each culture had its own local name for the Buddha: he was Fo in China, Hotoke in Japan, Sang-gye in Tibet, Gotama in Sri Lanka, and Phraphuttha in Thailand. Indeed, it would not be until the late seventeenth century that someone would figure out that all the Buddhists across Asia were worshiping the same god. Credit for this “discovery” often goes to Engelbert Kaempfer, a German physician in the employ of the Dutch East India Company. Kaempfer visited Japan shortly after visiting Thailand and was able to put two-and-two together. That did not cause Europeans to start liking the Buddha, however. Marco Polo knew the story of Emperor Ming and concluded from it that the Buddha had brought the practice of idolatry to Asia. Thus, the Buddha was not simply an idol, he was also a purveyor of idolatry.

As Europeans began to learn to speak the languages of Asia, they began to hear stories about the Buddha. Roman Catholic missionaries were among the first to do so, but even here, they often added their own sinister twist. According to traditional accounts, when the Buddha was born, he emerged miraculously from his mother’s right side, with neither mother nor child suffering the least pain. It was also said that the Buddha’s mother died (by some accounts, from joy) seven days after his birth. Certain Roman Catholic missionaries to Asia took these two elements and drew their own conclusion: the baby Buddha murdered his mother by gnawing his way out of her womb. That was just the first of his many sins.

Europeans would not really begin to love the Buddha until the early nineteenth century. But that, as they say, is another story.


If one looks into this other story of how the 'West' came to love the Buddha in the nineteenth century, one would find that it involved the same habit of accusing the natives of traditional Buddhist cultures of getting the Buddha's teachings 'wrong' or 'adulterating' it, etc

As someone who is a certain 'bastard offspring' born on the other side of the bed of colonial history, I have had to come to accept this strange plight of mine. If it were not for a longstanding bad habit of 'white' people pointing an accusatory finger at others, constantly yapping about the moral and/or intellectual faults of others in order to pat themselves on the back, I wouldn't have come to appreciate Buddhism - which has always been a part of my ancestral 'Chinese' heritage, yet I only felt a resonance with it after encountering 'Western' translations of it and the accompanying history of Eurocentric-Christocentric-colonialist attitudes (still persisting today in various guises, btw, including discourses that cloak themselves in the sheepskin of 'Reason') towards a genealogy I at once inherit and betray.

I share this not to disparage 'Western Buddhism' as such, since I am participating in it too, but merely in hope of encouraging curiosity about the stories of other Buddhists that may be effaced/subjugated/denigrated, even if unwittingly, by the story 'Western Buddhism' narrates about itself.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:32 am

Greetings Ed,

zavk wrote:As someone who is a certain 'bastard offspring' born on the other side of the bed of colonial history, I have had to come to accept this strange plight of mine.

I don't want to be disrespectful, but doesn't all this identification (jati) hurt your head?

Just reading the extract and your accompanying words felt like swimming in a sea of abstracted concepts and relationships.

zavk wrote:in hope of encouraging curiosity about the stories of other Buddhists that may be effaced/subjugated/denigrated, even if unwittingly, by the story 'Western Buddhism' narrates about itself.

I don't see buying into any narrative as essential... rather than strike against (patigha) the narratives, I prefer to allow them to resonate (or not) as the case might be. Personal association with them seems needlessly limiting, like putting oneself in a box for no reason other than to be boxed in.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:37 am

I see where you are coming from about the problems and limitations of dwelling on certain narratives of hurt/injustice, etc. My investigation of these issues have not personally led to self-crippling doubts or hurt. Rather, they have been quite liberating.

Whilst I can see the dangers of needlessly dwelling over such issues, in recognition of my own privilege - not to mention I have absolutely NO lived experienced of their plight - I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest to marginalised groups like the Aborigines in Australia or African or Native Americans or whoever that they are dwelling needlessly on such issues or that they are drowning in needless abstraction, etc, when they seek apology, recompense, a rewriting of history, etc. This presumptuousness is precisely the problem to be addressed.
Last edited by zavk on Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:39 am

Thanks Ed,
That looks really interesting.
kind regards,

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:52 am

Greetings,

zavk wrote:Whilst I can see the dangers of needlessly dwelling over such issues, in recognition of my own privilege, I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest to marginalised groups like the Aborigines in Australia or African or Native Americans or whoever that they are dwelling needlessly on such issues when they seek apology, recompense, a rewriting of history, etc. This presumptuousness is precisely the problem to be addressed.

People are of course welcome to dwell on whatever issues they like, but if they were to follow the teachings of the Buddha, they would be inclined to focus on subjects which give rise to wisdom, non-greed, and non-aversion which are sukha, rather than subjects which give rise to ignorance, greed and aversion which are dukkha. People are of course welcome to ignore the Buddha's teachings if they like, too.

How a person is affected by a subject (i.e. within their own loka) is likely to differ from person to person - some may feel liberated, others may feel mired.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

zavk wrote:Whilst I can see the dangers of needlessly dwelling over such issues, in recognition of my own privilege, I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest to marginalised groups like the Aborigines in Australia or African or Native Americans or whoever that they are dwelling needlessly on such issues when they seek apology, recompense, a rewriting of history, etc. This presumptuousness is precisely the problem to be addressed.

People are of course welcome to dwell on whatever issues they like, but if they were to follow the teachings of the Buddha, they would be inclined to focus on subjects which give rise to wisdom, non-greed, and non-aversion which are sukha, rather than subjects which give rise to ignorance, greed and aversion which are dukkha. People are of course welcome to ignore the Buddha's teachings if they like, too.

How a person is affected by a subject (i.e. within their own loka) is likely to differ from person to person - some may feel liberated, others may feel mired.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes, and an equally strong case could be made that in order for wisdom, non-greed, non-aversion to arise is to first confront and accept the reality of dukkha - and this may involve encountering the stories of dukkha of others that one may or may not be aware of or be prepared to consider, otherwise where does empathy or compassion come from?

I think what emerges from this exchange is not the question of what is conducive to the easing of dukkha or not. We can more or less reach a general consensus on this in terms of Buddhist teachings. The difficult challenge, rather, is how does one go about ascertaining if the ways in which others choose to come to terms with dukkha is productive or not. This challenge of exposing and undercutting presumptuousness is important, since it has historically served to marginalise or efface the plight of others.

In short - and I don't pretend to have an easy answer to this - the challenge of when/how to give constructive advice or when/how to shut up and listen.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:05 am

zavk wrote:Whilst I can see the dangers of needlessly dwelling over such issues, in recognition of my own privilege - not to mention I have absolutely NO lived experienced of their plight - I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest to marginalised groups like the Aborigines in Australia or African or Native Americans or whoever that they are dwelling needlessly on such issues or that they are drowning in needless abstraction, etc, when they seek apology, recompense, a rewriting of history, etc. This presumptuousness is precisely the problem to be addressed.


Indeed. Often it is difficult to see beyond our own narratives and see the real injustices. I think for many of us it is much easier to see it in another culture than in our own.

Some people get the idea sooner than others...
Image

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTGS93pXA8Q

:anjali:
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:25 am

zavk wrote:European travellers to Asia, whether missionaries or merchants, beginning in the thirteenth century and continuing for the next five-hundred years, thought the Buddha was an idol. From one perspective, it was hard to blame them. At that time, Europeans divided the peoples of the world into four nations: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Idolaters. Because the Buddhists of Asia fell into the “none of the above” category, they were idolaters by default. And, indeed, Europeans in Asia observed Buddhists bowing down before large golden statues.

I remember being at a school reunion a few years ago and being slightly disturbed by Kipling's words:
Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat - jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,
An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,
An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:
Bloomin' idol made o' mud
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay...
http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_mandalay.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5_M9kTBmug


[Though, considering the closing message of the poem, where the ex-soldier longs to be rid of his life in the City and back in the East, perhaps Kipling understood better than the character he creates is letting on...]

:anjali:
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:32 am

Greetings,

Speaking of Peter Garrett, the Midnight Oil documentary "Black-feller White-feller tour" is very good in the context of the topic (to the extent that it's now deviated from exclusively Buddhism and Buddhist lands)

It's about seeing from the inside through listening, rather than imposing from the outside.

One mob. 8-)

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:01 am

zavk wrote:If one looks into this other story of how the 'West' came to love the Buddha in the nineteenth century, one would find that it involved the same habit of accusing the natives of traditional Buddhist cultures of getting the Buddha's teachings 'wrong' or 'adulterating' it, etc


I'm not denying this didn't happen, but who specifically? Henry Olcott, Helena Blavatsky?

zavk wrote:If it were not for a longstanding bad habit of 'white' people pointing an accusatory finger at others, constantly yapping about the moral and/or intellectual faults of others in order to pat themselves on the back,


My experience has been that most "Western" born Buddhists greatly admire and respect their teachers who predominantly come from Asia; be it Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan or Tibet. However, there are also some disgruntled Western Buddhists who do wave their fingers, but in almost all cases that I have seen it came after being rejected for ordination by an Asian monk or turned down at a predominantly Asian community, etc. Most of these went on to become "self-ordained" and are not generally accepted by Buddhists, of any race.

I share this not to disparage 'Western Buddhism' as such, since I am participating in it too, but merely in hope of encouraging curiosity about the stories of other Buddhists that may be effaced/subjugated/denigrated, even if unwittingly, by the story 'Western Buddhism' narrates about itself.


Tricycle? Stephen Batchelor? Ideas like "Dhamma without Buddha"? or "Dhamma without [ordained]Sangha"? or Batchelor's ideas?

None of these are my cup of tea. I prefer the Triple Gem and Triple Refuge and I'm white, well sort of. I was once accused of discriminating against a white person. When I asked the accuser what race he thought I was as I looked at my skin color, he responded, "you're not white, you're a Jew."

Can we have a post-racial Buddhism?
Similar topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-racial_America

I certainly hope so! What more appropriate religion than Buddhism for teachers and students to be judged on the content of their character rather than birth-identities.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:34 am

Greetings,

David N. Snyder wrote:What more appropriate religion than Buddhism for teachers and students to be judged on the content of their character rather than birth-identities.

Indeed.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:00 am

I'm not denying this didn't happen, but who specifically? Henry Olcott, Helena Blavatsky?


http://www.amazon.com/British-Discovery ... 0521033853

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Buddhist-M ... 0195183274

http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Science- ... 0226493199

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/boo ... 03417.html

http://www.amazon.com/The-White-Buddhis ... 0253222761

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Q11 ... &q&f=false

http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-6963.html

Can we have a post-racial Buddhism?
Similar topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-racial_America


It's certainly not helpful to insist on some fixed, essentialised racial or ethnic identity because this would simply repeat the problems that we have always grappled with. The notion of a 'post-racial' Buddhism or America or whatever, is worth pursuing. BUT, I think we need to be very careful what we mean by 'post'.

I think we need to be careful that we don't evoke 'post-racial' as some kind of simplistic utopian rhetoric of "Let's not harp on these issues about racial discrimination, ethnocentricity, and what not. Leave it behind us, let's forget about it." It is very easy for those who have not historically been systematically marginalised and persecuted to just 'leave it all behind'.

But what if those who HAVE been systematically marginalised and persecuted respond by saying: "Wait, what? For the longest time, we have been silenced and ignored. Our plight effaced by a rhetoric of 'Oh we are doing this for your own good' We are all really the same. You just don't know how to see it'. No, screw that! Now that we finally have the means and opportunity to speak about injustice and participate in a history you have denied us, you want us to just forget about it? Whose interest is being served by 'leaving it all behind?' What if I tell you that 'forgetting about it' continues to silence us?" What if the privilege if you have accrued at our expense is precisely because you always tell yourself and force it down our throats that 'We are all the same?' We have never been 'the same'? Are you prepared to deal with that?"

A 'post-racial' horizon is worth pursuing if it involves not a simplistic 'leaving behind', but rather a pledge of commitment to the ceaseless work of interrogating the subtle habits of racial discrimination/ethnocentricism - and especially, how these habits are hidden by assumptions that we have 'gotten over it'. A 'post-racial' vision would accept the impossibility of securing a unified sociopolitical project without erasing difference. What do we really mean by 'unity' - in whose interest does 'unity' serve - if it refuses to accept incommensurable difference and all the discomfort (and hence the need for ongoing self-interrogation and mutual healing/transformation) that comes with it?
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:05 am

Greetings,

I don't know what's wrong with just regarding people as people... maybe I'm over-simplifying things, but it works for me and those I engage with.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:15 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I don't know what's wrong with just regarding people as people... maybe I'm over-simplifying things, but it works for me and those I engage with.

Metta,
Retro. :)


That's the thorny issue, the difficult challenge. What if others respond by saying that your inability to see what's wrong, your desire not to complicate things, is precisely a part of the problem?

I am not seeking a specific answer from you or anyone as such. But if one is committed to recognising and respecting people as people, others as others, then I think this question must posed and reposed as an open question.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:23 am

Greetings,

zavk wrote:What if others respond by saying that your inability to see what's wrong, your desire not to complicate things, is precisely a part of the problem?

If they did, I would tell them I can see plenty that's wrong, and that I do my best to ensure that I don't personally contribute to wrongdoing.

What I find is totally useless and counter-productive however is blaming the blameless, and that's what all too easily happens when people classify themselves and others into conceptual groups (whether they be minority or majority groups) and blame one "group" for the fortunes of another "group". That's not listening - that's papanca and bigotry, whichever direction it goes in.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

zavk wrote:What if others respond by saying that your inability to see what's wrong, your desire not to complicate things, is precisely a part of the problem?

If they did, I would tell them I can see plenty that's wrong, and that I do my best to ensure that I don't personally contribute to wrongdoing.

What I find is totally useless and counter-productive however is blaming the blameless, and that's what all too easily happens when people classify themselves and others into conceptual groups (whether they be minority or majority groups) and blame one "group" for the fortunes of another "group". That's not listening - that's papanca and bigotry, whichever direction it goes in.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes, and I don't know if I am not making myself clear enough, or if you don't want to get it or just cannot get it. But what I have been trying to highlight so far is the need to pay attention to how conceptual groupings still work today in various subtle ways - especially when this habit of conceptual grouping is hidden by the idea that one has 'gotten over' conceptual grouping - so that we can learn how to better defuse this habit of conceptual grouping. Or at least, recognise that conceptual grouping is necessary for certain strategic purposes, and that they are helpful only to the extent that we constantly allow them to change and transform.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby Doshin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:54 am

zavk wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:I don't know what's wrong with just regarding people as people... maybe I'm over-simplifying things, but it works for me and those I engage with.


That's the thorny issue, the difficult challenge. What if others respond by saying that your inability to see what's wrong, your desire not to complicate things, is precisely a part of the problem?


In general, what people say (about you) is just their words, it does not change who you are. If you react (with anger) on what other says, you could investigate the cause of your reaction.

But if I where to give my answer, my response would be: by being an example.

If you insist on a spoken response it would be "thats your opinion, and I think its your right to have that".

zavk wrote:I am not seeking a specific answer from you or anyone as such. But if one is committed to recognising and respecting people as people, others as others, then I think this question must posed and reposed as an open question.


If you aim to change other people(s point of view), I would claim that your chosen path is going up a very steep hill. People change by having their own insights, not others insights.

_/\_
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby sunyavadin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:58 am

zavk wrote:one would find that it involved the same habit of accusing the natives of traditional Buddhist cultures of getting the Buddha's teachings 'wrong' or 'adulterating' it, etc


I think the pivotal moment in the development of Buddhism in America was the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. Soyen Shaku and Anagarika Dharmaphala both spoke there, and were extremely well-received. Soyen Shaku's lectures became published as Semons of a Buddhist Abbott, which is still in print, and is still an excellent introductory text in my opinion. Furthermore after the Parliament, he spent time in San Francisco (after a brief sojourn back to Japan) where he left his student, Nyogen Senzaki, who went on to practically found Buddhism in California, first in San Francisco, then in Los Angeles.

Apart from the Buddhists, Swami Vivekananda was another hugely popular speaker at the Chicago event. He toured the states for a year thereafter, drawing big audiences. He was charismatic and an extremely capable debater. (A lot of this is covered in American Veda by Philip Goldberg and How the Swans Came to the Lake, Rick Fields.)

Whether it is 'the real dharma' or a syncretist amalgam of Buddhist and new-age ideas (which it might well be!) is not that important, in the overall scheme. Those teachers and centers really go back around 100 years now (along with the First Zen Institute in NYC which opened in 1930.)
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:00 am

Greetings Ed,
zavk wrote:Yes, and I don't know if I am not making myself clear enough, or if you don't want to get it or just cannot get it. But what I have been trying to highlight so far is the need to pay attention to how conceptual groupings still work today in various subtle ways - especially when this habit of conceptual grouping is hidden by the idea that one has 'gotten over' conceptual grouping - so that we can learn how to better defuse this habit of conceptual grouping. Or at least, recognise that conceptual grouping is necessary for certain strategic purposes, and that they are helpful only to the extent that we constantly allow them to change and transform.


As you know, we have exchanged communications on these themes for a number of years now. In fact, I can attest that as a result of some of our discussions that my understanding of the wider cultural, political and social contexts of the particular tradition in which I practice - has been of profound importance to me. The message within the Dhamma is infused with the invocation to "come and see [for oneself]", and "to see things as they really are". Part of that, I believe, is forms of self-reflexivity that includes untangling our own internal and those inherited explicit and implicit fabrications regarding the Dhamma and our relationship to it.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby Doshin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:11 am

zavk wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:What I find is totally useless and counter-productive however is blaming the blameless, and that's what all too easily happens when people classify themselves and others into conceptual groups (whether they be minority or majority groups) and blame one "group" for the fortunes of another "group". That's not listening - that's papanca and bigotry, whichever direction it goes in.


Yes, and I don't know if I am not making myself clear enough, or if you don't want to get it or just cannot get it. But what I have been trying to highlight so far is the need to pay attention to how conceptual groupings still work today in various subtle ways - especially when this habit of conceptual grouping is hidden by the idea that one has 'gotten over' conceptual grouping - so that we can learn how to better defuse this habit of conceptual grouping. Or at least, recognise that conceptual grouping is necessary for certain strategic purposes, and that they are helpful only to the extent that we constantly allow them to change and transform.


As soon you start comparing him/her/them with me/us/others, you spark a conflict by stating/implying that one is superior to the other. Therefore I don't see the overall benefit to put people in box's with the purpose of argumentation, as it would always lead to a comparison.

I find it unskillfull to form/define a group and state "we are better/worse/equal then ...", equally it is unskillfull to group others and state "they are better/worse/equal then ...".

_/\_
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