Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

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Wizard in the Forest
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Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:27 am

I wish to express a bit of concern with regard to how the forum has been filled with a lot of quarreling of late. I think there is a very large culture clash hitting back and forth in the forums and I think a specific change or discussion might need to be had.

I feel like Skeptical Buddhists and Devout Buddhists are being disrespectful of each other in many of the various discussions. Whether it's about whether there are realms unseen "of course not that's superstition!", whether it's about how someone misrepresents the Buddha "It's just their interpretation!", superstitions "those silly X practice or Y doctrine aren't important" or what have you, I think it's becoming fairly toxic, and I think we need to have an honest talk about what Dhammawheel is meant to be.

Is it a forum for Theravada Buddhists to discuss Dhamma?

Is it a forum for everyone to discuss about Theravada Buddhism?

In either of these cases, it would make sense for Theravada Buddhists with whatever experience they have to receive a bit more authoritative power to describe and discuss things that are doctrinal and practical pertinent or in relation to Dhamma or Theravada Buddhism. I think this should be done without being given a dismissive or patronizing attitude I feel that comes from skeptics and likewise without the rancor coming from devout devotees. I do think if it is a site for anyone to discuss Dhamma based on the Canon of the Tipitaka, we should go through the forum in a friendly way.

There is however a misunderstanding that is going around the forum, and I think it needs to be discussed. I think it is important to remember that persons who are developed in faith are in fact those who should be respected. I understand why people who are skeptical and filled with doubt might think their practice is more elevated than those silly people with 'blind faith', but no, this isn't a good manner of conduct and we have to be realistic here and try and change the way we approach faithful Buddhists. To become faithful is to develop one's practice far enough that there is little to no doubt that the teachings are true. This is incredibly powerful and is not blind. I think it's impressive, and in all cases, beautiful. Skeptical Doubt does not make one wiser, it hinders wisdom, it hinders Samadhi, it hinders practice. It doesn't make one heedful, it makes one less heedful. I think that we need to make this clear. Inquiry is good, skepticism is not.

On the other hand I think devout Theravada Buddhists aren't showing enough compassion to the Skeptical Buddhists who have yet to establish a firm trust in the teachings. Should the Skeptical Buddhists be disrespectful of the teachings? Absolutely not, but are they trying to be? I don't think they are. I think they see the Buddha's teachings from a secular lens and just fit them into their skeptical worldview. And this is ok if they are not intending to be harmful. That makes up a huge amount of what it is to do a moral wrong. There has to be an intention to harm, and they aren't intending anything harmful even if we see that they're wrong. If they're practicing what the Buddha recommends and are still skeptical, I believe this is ok. They will eventually get a firm grasp on the Dhamma and maybe they will become as faithful and as confident as you are. I think so. Probably. For now, be compassionate. Skeptical Doubt is a very huge and difficult hindrance. Not all people can remove it easily.

The conflict here is between Faith and Doubt. I think this is where most people start seeing red. In my experience outside of Dhammawheel Devout Theravada Buddhists have faith and trust in the teachings and trust the teacher and his disciples. To misrepresent the teacher, the teachings and the disciples is incredibly offensive to one with faith in the tiratana. To try and change the teachings or the practice to fit a secular mindset can be considered to be offensive to some really devout Buddhists because it dilutes or diminishes what is a beautiful practice or beautiful doctrine. While I get that skeptical secular Buddhists seem to have a very hard time with faith and finding confidence in the teachings, other Theravada Buddhists don't have this problem, and in turn are upset when this very dismissive attitude is taken to write off the teachings or practice or even their experiences.

So to prevent that from happening here I think we need to be a bit more honest about how we intend to address this large chasm between those with faith, and those without it and I think we should try and approach this in a friendly way, but I think there really needs to be a standard for how to deal with this issue that fairly addresses the problems and I think we should discuss this openly and fairly.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:44 am

There have been clashes between the Ultra Devout and the Less Devout for centuries. It's not anything to worry about.
That's how different schools of Buddhism were created, and how they will be created in future... one bunch of Buddhists getting so annoyed with the others, so they go and start their own sect.

We have to be sure not to develop a "Culture of Offense", where the priority is to be fake-nice and not offend anyone, at the expense of truth, freedom, and openness. I've seen this rising up western culture in the last 10 years or so, and it's dumb.

Moderators do a good job of deleting outright insulting or very offensive posts, and nothing needs to change.

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:56 am

"Then the brahman Akkosaka[1] Bharadvaja heard that a brahman of the Bharadvaja clan had gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the presence of the Blessed One. Angered & displeased, he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, insulted & cursed him with rude, harsh words."
- SN 7.2

"Then the brahman Akkosaka Bharadvaja received the going forth & the admission in the Blessed One's presence. And not long after his admission — dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute — he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And so Ven. Bharadvaja became another one of the arahants."
same sutta

This just shows you how transformative the Dhamma is. I'd relish the opportunity to discuss Dhamma with anyone, regardless of their level of practice or their experience.

[The Buddha:] Whence is there anger for one free from anger, tamed, living in tune — one released through right knowing, calmed & Such. You make things worse when you flare up at someone who's angry. Whoever doesn't flare up at someone who's angry wins a battle hard to win. You live for the good of both — your own, the other's — when, knowing the other's provoked, you mindfully grow calm. When you work the cure of both — your own, the other's — those who think you a fool know nothing of Dhamma.
several añjali's and a sādhu
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:57 am

:goodpost: :anjali:

I first confess that I am guilty of the problems you rightly point out among the antiskeptics on this forum. But more importantly I think this is a very discerning post & I hope the moderators look at it & take it very seriously. I think this hits the nail on the head with regard to nearly all of the contention & animosity on this forum. It has been a problem for months now & I think it's time something is done about it. I request that the moderators do not simply defer to reminding us of the terms of service & find a way to proactively promote concord & harmony on this forum, whether that involves changing the terms of service or working around them. If nothing is done, this problem will persist. It is great to remind those who are faithful to be compassionate & those who are skeptical to be respectful, & ideally this would be enough, but I think it's inevitable that the former group will feel like this forum is not for them & the latter will feel the need to criticize, unless there is some strict organization enacted. & I do agree that the former group should be deferred to in regard to authority, & I think this will inevitably be unpleasant for some, but it needs to be accepted. This is a "Buddhist forum about the Dhamma of Theravāda Buddhism", after all.

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susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:29 am

Mmm, I'd rather have a bit of quarreling, than strict enforcement of whatever.

If there's Strict Enforcement of whatever, that's a sure path to a stuffy, dull, uniform, uninteresting bland forum. On another thread there's a serious suggestion to suppress all non-Theravada content! Reminds me of some kind of totalitarian novel.

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:34 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:27 am
So to prevent that from happening here I think we need to be a bit more honest about how we intend to address this large chasm between those with faith, and those without it and I think we should try and approach this in a friendly way, but I think there really needs to be a standard for how to deal with this issue that fairly addresses the problems and I think we should discuss this openly and fairly.
There is no chasm, it is imaginary. If you are thinking in this way, the problem lies with you. You are right, I am wrong. This is good, that is bad. You understand, I don't. It's not so difficult to see

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:44 am

Except there *is* a chasm, and it *is* causing the very issues I discussed. We could claim this is a thing to do with ditthi, but we can't claim it isn't a thing affecting our board right now. It's important to understand some discussions about what exists in a conventional and ultimate level is descriptive, but what we need to do to resolve conflict is prescriptive, and I think Devout Buddhists need to be more compassionate, and Skeptical Buddhists need to be more respectful. I could add to this, I think Devout Buddhists need to be more patient, and Skeptical Buddhists need to slow their speculative views and abandon what is merely facile conjecture.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:46 am

Greetings,
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:44 am
We have to be sure not to develop a "Culture of Offense", where the priority is to be fake-nice and not offend anyone, at the expense of truth, freedom, and openness. I've seen this rising up western culture in the last 10 years or so, and it's dumb.
Well said...
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:44 am
Moderators do a good job of deleting outright insulting or very offensive posts, and nothing needs to change.
...and thank you.
TOS 4 wrote:At Dhamma Wheel, we respect your intellectual and spiritual autonomy. As such, the staff here will not enforce reverence to anyone or anything, nor censor speech gratuitously. In keeping with this respect for your autonomy, we expect you to be personally responsible for your own emotions and responses.
We deliberately do not take it upon ourselves to be social engineers. Our task is to provide members a place that they can discuss the Dhamma, within some pre-defined guard-rails. We curate the parameters of the discussion and violations of those parameters, we do not curate the discussion itself.
Wizard In The Forest wrote:I think Devout Buddhists need to be more compassionate, and Skeptical Buddhists need to be more respectful.

I think Devout Buddhists need to be more patient, and Skeptical Buddhists need to slow their speculative views and abandon what is merely facile conjecture.
I think you should respect (or at least tolerate) the intellectual and spiritual autonomy of both, rather than trying to bend them to your will and your personal preferences.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:49 am

Remember this is not about spiritual autonomy, it's about unprofitable quarreling. I gave why I think the reasons are.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:59 am

Greetings Wizard,
Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:49 am
Remember this is not about spiritual autonomy, it's about unprofitable quarreling. I gave why I think the reasons are.
OK, but if you're complaining that others are not how you'd like them to be (even if they're operating within the bounds of Terms of Service) then what do you believe should be done about the situation?

Is this an invitation for individuals to reflect on their behaviour, or is it a call to arms for interventionism and social engineering?

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:59 am

I don't think anyone is suggesting censorship. I think categorization is what's being suggested.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:04 am

Greetings Dylan,
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:59 am
I don't think anyone is suggesting censorship. I think categorization is what's being suggested.
Categorization of what, topics? That will be for the OP to do, via how they structure the topic, and which sub-forum they put it in.

I've referenced this guide a few times lately but I'll post the whole thing here as it seems pertinent to the discussion.
A guide on how to get the most out of your new topics

Often discussion topics start of full of promise, but rapidly deteriorate and drift off into irrelevant off-topic discussion. This guide contains a few recommendations for you on how to reduce the likelihood of that occurring when you create new topics here at Dhamma Wheel.

Take a few moments to identify the most appropriate sub-forum for your topic

Dhamma Wheel has a variety of sub-forums, carefully defined in order to facilitate different kinds of Dhamma discussion. As part of your topic, do you want to know about people's experiences? Do you want to know what the Suttas say about a particular issue? Do you want thoughts from the full spectrum of Buddhist thought? Are you challenging orthodoxy, or do you want to know what the orthodox view is?

The answers to such questions will determine which section of the forum is most appropriate for your question. Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the forum structure and descriptions.

Structure your comments and questions as clearly as possible

What is the point you are trying to communicate and/or what is the question you're asking? Don't be cryptic or lace your topics with insinuations about those you disagree with. The more precisely you are able to define your topic, the easier it is for people to determine what is on topic and what's not. Generally, people want to do the right thing by the original poster, so remember that your opening post may be referenced or quoted directly several times throughout the topic by other members.

The title topic should also be clear and unambiguous, so as to provide the best summary possible of what people might expect to find once they open the topic. Again, avoid being cryptic or sensationalist.

Be very clear on the parameters of the discussion

For example...

- Is this intended to be a serious and focused topic, or are you open to people having a bit of a joke, or tangential discussion along the way?

- Are there certain references that you consider either authoritative or are there sources you'd rather keep outside the scope of the discussion? Where do you want to draw the line? (e.g. Sutta, Vinaya, Abhidhamma, commentary, modern teachings, scholarship, teachings of other sects, comments from bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, personal opinion)

- Are you seeking personal advice, or do you just want people to talk about the issue independently of the fact it's your issue?

Why should I bother following these recommendations?

The clearer you are in framing your topic, the easier it is for moderators to moderate the topic in accordance with your intentions. If at any point you feel the topic is going awry, don't hesitate to report offending posts or contact a moderator to help get your topic back on track.

...and if it's not my topic?

Respect that it is someone's topic. Is the comment you're about to make a positive contribution to that topic or not?
Note that it's for the OP to define these things, and they are now even more enforceable than ever with the recently introduced provisions in ToS2i.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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mikenz66
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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:05 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:44 am
We have to be sure not to develop a "Culture of Offense", where the priority is to be fake-nice and not offend anyone, at the expense of truth, freedom, and openness. I've seen this rising up western culture in the last 10 years or so, and it's dumb.
I'm not sure what you mean by "fake nice". I hope you don't mean that being polite and being clear that one is expressing one's personal opinion, is fake-nice? I'm all for robust debate, but I don't believe robust debate is in any way enhanced by rudeness.

:heart:
Mike

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:05 am

Reflection of course. I'm saying for example if a person looks at their own actions before quarreling and a Devout Buddhist asks themselves "am I being compassionate to the skeptic?" And the answer is no, then they should exercise restraint, likewise for the skeptic, they prepare to quarrel and they should ask themselves, "am I being respectful?" And if they aren't, they should exercise restraint. It's a matter of holding up a clear issue and I present what I think is a good idea. Has there ever been a time when reflection on whether we're bring compassionate enough or respectful enough to another person and that it has been a bad idea?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Faith and Doubt: Why are we quarreling lately?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:12 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:05 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:44 am
We have to be sure not to develop a "Culture of Offense", where the priority is to be fake-nice and not offend anyone, at the expense of truth, freedom, and openness. I've seen this rising up western culture in the last 10 years or so, and it's dumb.
I'm not sure what you mean by "fake nice". I hope you don't mean that being polite and being clear that one is expressing one's personal opinion, is fake-nice? I'm all for robust debate, but I don't believe robust debate is in any way enhanced by rudeness.
James is welcome to correct me if I'm off-base here, but I think he's referring to any instance where we cannot adhere to this sutta guidance...
MN 41 wrote:"There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, 'Come and tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world.
... because to do so would upset someone else's personal preferences and proclivities. As I once asked in past...
retrofuturist wrote:Should we pretend we do not know what we do know in order to assuage the personal proclivities and requirements for faux-timidity from certain individuals?
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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