Kill the Buddha- save the world

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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retrofuturist
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:21 am

Greetings,

:goodpost:

I hear you, Dan.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by santa100 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:26 pm

It's important to see the real meaning of the quote. Since it was spoken by a Zen master, it'd best be explained by another master from the same tradition:

”According to Buddhism, knowledge is the greatest obstacle to awakening. If we are trapped by our knowledge we will not have the possibility of going beyond it and realizing awakening. When we believe something to be the absolute truth and cling to it, we cannot be open to new ideas. Even if truth itself is knocking at our door, we will not let it in. The Zen student must strive to be free of attachments to knowledge and be open so that truth may enter. The teacher must also help in these efforts. Zen master Lin Chi once said: “If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet the Patriarch, kill the Patriarch”. For one who only has devotion, this declaration is terribly confusing. But its effect depends on the mentality and capacity of the one who hears. If the student is strong, she will have the capacity to liberate herself from all authority and realize ulitmate reality in herself. Truth is not a concept. If we cling to our concepts, we lose reality. That is why it is necessary to “kill” our concepts so that reality can reveal itself. To kill the Buddha is the only way to see the Buddha. Any concept we have of the Buddha can impede us from seeing the Buddha in person”

~~ Thich Nhat Hanh - Excerpt from Zen Keys ~~

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by Nyana » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:17 pm

I doubt that Sam Harris takes either the Pāli dhammavinaya or Zen Buddhism very seriously.

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cooran
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by cooran » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:01 am

Hello all,

I asked Ven. Huifeng about this, and this is his response:

My first thoughts were the irony (or rather, hypocrisy) of the article. On one hand, there is the complaint that religions are responsible for so much intolerance, but then he is proposing that the people in Buddhism (at least) should drop their beliefs and follow his ideas, which is itself a deep kind of intolerance in my mind. A perhaps subconscious peek into this comes from his very use of the "Kill the Buddha" phrase. Misused here, in my opinion (I'll get to that, next), the imagery of "killing" can have it's metaphorical spiritual aspect, but can also hide - or be an excuse for - latent ill will and aggression. Someone who likes to argue, to provoke, to set the cat among the pigeons as it were. This has to be used very, very skillfully, otherwise it's just bluster and hot air. If he were really to take Linji's statement, he'd kill science too, and kill Linji too (and maybe some other "self"), while we're at it.

Dan's comments about the social and cultural context of Linji are apt, too. Very, very different from the present state of Buddhism in the west. In fact, almost the opposite. So, use with caution. One Dharma medicine may be a poison in the wrong hands.

There is also, perhaps, a feature of people who are dedicated to Buddhism as practitioners, but not as teachers. They feel that what worked for them must be the only correct way for others to practice, too, and so advocate that position exclusively and reject other means, even suggesting that others should change their means. A lot of people go through that. But, once one has the role of a teacher, it soon becomes very apparent that different people need different means. And a skillful teacher will use whatever means effectively. Not so much a matter of tolerance in this case, as practicality.


I hope this is of interest.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by Ben » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:25 am

Thanks Chris!
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by m0rl0ck » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:11 pm

For many buddhists buddhism isnt just a hindrance, its the hindrance.

Lin Chi said alot of interesting things. This is my favorite quote of his.
Those who have fulfilled the ten stages of bodhisattva practice are no better than hired field hands; those who have attained the enlightenment of the fifty-first and fifty-second stages are prisoners shackled and bound; arhats and pratyekabuddhas are so much filth in the latrine; bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by kirk5a » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:23 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:For many buddhists buddhism isnt just a hindrance, its the hindrance.
So someone studies Buddhism, learns the meaning of "hindrance" and decides that Buddhism is a hindrance according to it's own definition of "hindrance" ?

I think this is throwing away the raft before the flood has been crossed on account of not wanting to carrying it on one's back after having reached the other side.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by Viscid » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:25 pm

l0ck wrote:For many buddhists buddhism isnt just a hindrance, its the hindrance.
But when you call Buddhism a hindrance, are you not suggesting than an abandonment of Buddhism would then result in awakening? It wouldn't. People have to come to the realization that Buddhist practice is just another activity on their own accord.. and how they become able to do so is the million-dollar question.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:33 pm

As Ven Hiufeng commented (via Chris) Linji was speaking to particular people in a particular context:
Huifeng wrote:
Dan's comments about the social and cultural context of Linji are apt, too. Very, very different from the present state of Buddhism in the west. In fact, almost the opposite. So, use with caution. One Dharma medicine may be a poison in the wrong hands.
I wouldn't take one-liners from teachers such as Linji (or modern teachers such as Ajahn Chah, for that matter) as positions on anything in particular. One needs to consider exactly who they were addressing, and what problem in the addressee they were trying to correct with the specific pithy comment.

:anjali:
Mike

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reflection
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by reflection » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:51 pm

Whether or not Buddhism should be called Buddhism and whether it is a religion is something to doubt, however, that aside, I think it was never intended "to inform the development of civilization in the twenty-first century." The world is chaotic and it always will be. Despite of what Harris seems to want to convince us of, religion is not the cause of this. But anger and ill will is. And people in general will always have some anger, nobody is going to stop that. It would be wonderful, of course, but I personally think the Buddha didn't start to teach with the idea of a peaceful world in mind. Instead, he had a peaceful mind in the world...

This quote below also made me a bit sad to be honest. I consider Sam Harris to be a smart guy, but this is just non-sense:
Given the degree to which religion still inspires human conflict, and impedes genuine inquiry, I believe that merely being a self-described “Buddhist” is to be complicit in the world’s violence and ignorance to an unacceptable degree.
Atheïsts have also done many bad things in the past and still do. (I don't think I need to give examples) There will always be angry people fighting over something. But from all religious people I know and religious gatherings I've been through, all I know is all religions teach peace and compassion. Of course there are the exceptions, but they are called extremists for a reason. Also, when I say I'm Buddhist, people don't respond like I'm part of the world's violence and ignorance. Most -if not all- people know Buddhism is about peace & compassion. They can also think it is a religion, but luckily most people don't immediately make a link between religion and violence.

So I don't know where Harris got this idea from, other than a general fear of religion that more skeptics seem to have.. And than to reflect this general idea of religion being evil onto individual people who call themselves Buddhist.. I think I don't need to go into that to show how strange an idea that is.

To me the essay seems like an effort to strip Buddhism of it's religious aspects, which may not be bad per se, but could -on a sidenote- just as well turn into a simple everyday stress relief psychology instead of the teachings to end suffering. But mainly, the arguments used don't fit with the goal. If you want to change Buddhism, it should first of all be for Buddhism itself, not for how the outside world percieves it. Because I don't think there are a lot of problems with the latter.

Anyway, I sort of got dragged along here.

With metta,
Reflection

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by Dan74 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:19 am

mikenz66 wrote:As Ven Hiufeng commented (via Chris) Linji was speaking to particular people in a particular context:
Huifeng wrote:
Dan's comments about the social and cultural context of Linji are apt, too. Very, very different from the present state of Buddhism in the west. In fact, almost the opposite. So, use with caution. One Dharma medicine may be a poison in the wrong hands.
I wouldn't take one-liners from teachers such as Linji (or modern teachers such as Ajahn Chah, for that matter) as positions on anything in particular. One needs to consider exactly who they were addressing, and what problem in the addressee they were trying to correct with the specific pithy comment.

:anjali:
Mike
Not just that, but there is some doubt as to the authenticity of some of the material attributed to Linchi. If I recall correctly (from Heine) during Ming, the Ch'an school competed with the others and some new chronicles or new editions of old chronicles seem to have appeared to position the Ch'an school as the most radical and jaw-dropping. In any case, as Mike says these comments are not positions but more likely medicines for accomplished practitioners who nevertheless became attached to their attainments/ visions/ etc.
_/|\_

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:14 am

Viscid wrote:
l0ck wrote:For many buddhists buddhism isnt just a hindrance, its the hindrance.
But when you call Buddhism a hindrance, are you not suggesting than an abandonment of Buddhism would then result in awakening?
Thats right. I am specifically not suggesting that.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:22 am

Dan74 wrote:
Not just that, but there is some doubt as to the authenticity of some of the material attributed to Linchi. If I recall correctly (from Heine) during Ming, the Ch'an school competed with the others and some new chronicles or new editions of old chronicles seem to have appeared to position the Ch'an school as the most radical and jaw-dropping. In any case, as Mike says these comments are not positions but more likely medicines for accomplished practitioners who nevertheless became attached to their attainments/ visions/ etc.
Might seem radical or jaw dropping depending on your perspective, just seems like good sense to me. If you are trapped in a conceptual framework called "buddhism" its that much harder to see clearly. Its better to seek what the buddha and the patriarchs sought than to be a follower of the buddha.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Dan74
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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by Dan74 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:01 am

It may also inspire one with faith and diligence to listen and follow what they were saying.

To my way of seeing, no matter what the tradition, what matters the most at first is to generate sufficient momentum for practice to take root. Then we can be all critical, thinking about not getting attached to raft and even killing the Buddha eventually.
_/|\_

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Re: Kill the Buddha- save the world

Post by danieLion » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:39 am

Sam Harris thinks he's soooo cool....

"being a Buddist" is bhavatanha (craving for becoming)..."believing in Buddhism"is micha-ditthi (wrong view)...Huston Smith once said something like the Buddha didn't found a religion, he founded a civilization... (my introduction to the Buddha was in a History of Civilization class)... these are just stupid word games..."religion" "civilization," blah, blah blah.... religious theory postdates the Buddha...ditto on what Retro said about the the dassana...I DOUBT THE NOTION OF RELIGION EVER CROSSED THE BUDDHA'S MIND
goodwill

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