Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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phil
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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by phil » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:35 am

In my opinion talking about Protestant and reformation and so on simply gives a sense of historical gravitas to what I would obnoxiously call consumer Buddhists who want to make the Dhamma fit their beliefs and lifestyles.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

davidbrainerd
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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by davidbrainerd » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:39 am

bodom wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:38 am
cappuccino wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:36 am
I must side with Buddha, not a particular monk.

That is all.
Even the Buddhas disciples had teachers as is evident from the opening of the anapanasati sutta.

:anjali:
But those disciples who were the teachers of the other disciples had learned directly from Buddha. At the risk of sounding Protestant here, to treat modern monks as equal to Sariputta, Mahakassapa, and Ananda would be like treating the modern priests/pastors as equal to Peter, James, and John.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by bodom » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:57 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:39 am
bodom wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:38 am
cappuccino wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:36 am
I must side with Buddha, not a particular monk.

That is all.
Even the Buddhas disciples had teachers as is evident from the opening of the anapanasati sutta.

:anjali:
But those disciples who were the teachers of the other disciples had learned directly from Buddha. At the risk of sounding Protestant here, to treat modern monks as equal to Sariputta, Mahakassapa, and Ananda would be like treating the modern priests/pastors as equal to Peter, James, and John.
Well i cant speak for anyone else on the board, but i certainly dont put my teachers on the same pedestal as the Buddhas great disciples. If they have awakened to the same insights though, then they certainly should be.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

Garrib
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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by Garrib » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:11 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:45 pm
Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:48 pm
One might, for example, draw up a list of ten or so features of traditional Buddhism that it is common for modernists, anti-clericals, secular Buddhists, etc., to reject. Those who score from 8 to 10 would definitely merit the monicker "protestant Buddhists"; those scoring 0 to 3 would definitely be traditional Buddhists; everyone in between would be a hybrid, showing tendencies in both directions, though in most cases one direction or the other is likely to be more pronounced.
Sorry, I can't write any more now as I'm occupied with the Devorohana festival and a fellow monk's funeral.
I like lists, so I'll take a shot at creating a list.

1. Monastics are an integral part of Buddhism.
2. Teachings should only be done by monastic members.
3. The Order of bhikkhunis cannot be revived by Dharmagupta or other Mahayana nuns, it is dead.
4. The current full ordinations of nuns going on are not valid.
5. Rebirth is literally real.
6. Devas are real.
7. The Abhidhamma was taught by the Buddha.
8. The Commentaries are very important to Buddhism and should not be dismissed or taken lightly.
9. Sila and Dana are integral parts of Buddhism.
10. D.O. includes the 3 life model.

That's just what I came up with off the top of my head. If we wanted to do a poll, we might modify some of the above.

Just for me personally, I would reject numbers 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 so that makes me a 5 right in the middle between traditionalist and modern.
I'm right with you! I hope you and yours are staying safe, and doing some healing down there in Vegas.

MettaKaruna,

Brad

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by form » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:40 am

Circle5 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:45 pm
davidbrainerd wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:30 pm

Maybe. Or maybe the insistance that there is a path with nobody walking it, karma with nobody doing it, rebirth with nobody being reborn, thoughts with nobody thinking them, and experience with no experiencer, creates needless distraction that prevents people from being able to practice...after all how does practice with nobody practicing even work?
What do you think about cumputers or cars or airplanes ? Metal, but the metal belongs to nobody. Plastic, but the plastic belongs to nobody. Information, knowledge (such as an antivirus being able to detect a virus, while with no antivirus installed no virus will be detected) - all of this with nobody knowing it, just knowledge by itself.

What do you think of animals or babies ? Only 5 animals have a sense of self, and babies don't have such a thing either. There is no-one that suffers, just suffering arising, same as a windows might pup up in a computer due to conditions, or the smoke eliminated by the car, etc.

You must be very confused about computers. Knowledge that a virus is present, yet no computer-self knowing it. Just bare knowledge itself. A true wonder of the world.
A computer is enlightened? :mrgreen:

It has no suffering.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by davidbrainerd » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:27 am

Circle5 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:45 pm
What do you think about cumputers or cars or airplanes ?
That they're not alive.
Circle5 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:45 pm
What do you think of animals or babies ? Only 5 animals have a sense of self, and babies don't have such a thing either.
Whether they recognize their body in the mirror or not has nothing to do with knowing they exist.
Circle5 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:45 pm
There is no-one that suffers
Then stop seeking liberation from suffering, since you aren't suffering.
Circle5 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:45 pm
just suffering arising
Then let the suffering that's just arising seek liberation from itself. If I'm not suffering, its a waste of my time to seek liberation from suffering.

In other words, to say that nobody is suffering is a complete denial of the Dhamma, because it clearly says not only someone but everyone is suffering.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:22 pm

SDC wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:33 pm
This bid to end up on the right side of history is the exact sort of procrastination that prevents droves of people from putting interpretation into practice, and leaves them hovering around the business of scholars trying to find the Dhamma exclusively in other's musings instead of their own. The mere suggestion that an "ancient" view would actually strengthen the validity of that which you assert was colonially imposed, just goes to show a lack of concern and appreciation for both the timeless relevance of the Dhamma and the discernment necessary to confirm it.
Possibly most people act in bad faith (mala fides), especially when it comes to religion.
Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is double mindedness or double heartedness in duplicity, fraud, or deception.[1] It may involve intentional deceit of others, or self-deception.

The expression "bad faith" is associated with "double heartedness",[1] which is also translated as "double mindedness".[2][2][3] A bad faith belief may be formed through self-deception, being double minded, or "of two minds", which is associated with faith, belief, attitude, and loyalty. In the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary, bad faith was equated with being double hearted, "of two hearts", or "a sustained form of deception which consists in entertaining or pretending to entertain one set of feelings, and acting as if influenced by another".[1] The concept is similar to perfidy, or being "without faith", in which deception is achieved when one side in a conflict promises to act in good faith (e.g. by raising a flag of surrender) with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_faith
And how else could it be? How does one move forward in a direction when one feels insecure? In a manner that amounts to duplicity, ie., bad faith.

One could move forward swiftly in a religion if one would feel secure (in a physical, but especially in a metaphysical sense).
But it is precisely because one feels insecure that one turns to religion to begin with. And the insecurity doesn't somehow go away the instant one sees a religious figure or some such for the first time. And as long as there is insecurity, so long there is bad faith.

This bid to end up on the right side of history is the exact sort of procrastination that prevents droves of people from putting interpretation into practice, and leaves them hovering around the business of scholars trying to find the Dhamma exclusively in other's musings instead of their own.
People usually seem to fall for one of two epistemic extremes: they think that truth (worldly or religious) is entirely up to others to decide; or they think that they alone are the sole arbiters of truth. Neither position is viable in the long run. The former understates a person's individuality, the latter overstates it.

Logically, the solution would be in finding some actionable inbetween, or an entirely different way to conceptualize the whole situation. Both are difficult to do, to say the least.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:57 pm

SDC wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:48 pm
David, as I've said to you before, I find such notions of denial just as ridiculous as you do; and though they are prevalent in Theravada, they are not the only offering. This is why I am so quick to point out that any such generalization only serves to obscure the influence of points of view within the Theravadin vein that would directly counter these denialist inclinations.
Even just considering those other points of view requires some measure of security and confidence in religious matters.

I dare say you underestimate what your teachers, past and present have done for you, even if you have in the meantime distanced yourself from them or are open to doing so in the future. Namely, they have taught you a kind of self-reliance, confidence, safety, security in religious matters. They have done so by demonstrating those things to you, or by treating you in a way conducive to those things, or perhaps in some other manner. We are not born with self-reliance, confidence, safety, security in religious matters; if we would be, we would each pursue our paths and forums like this would not exist or be filled with fundamentalists talking past eachother. Instead, self-reliance, confidence, safety, security in religious matters are something that we need to learn from others. And many people just don't have anyone to learn them from or the opportunity to do so. It doesn't seem that one could meaningfully initiate learning this on one's own. Without a measure of acceptance from relevant others, one cannot make progress.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by Mr Man » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:51 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:56 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:35 am
Some names, please?
As I understand it the movement characterised as "Protestant Buddhism" came about for much the same reasons as protestant christianity, as a laypersons revival and freedom from the clergy as the only authority attitude that had built up over centuries. It is characterised by lay people engaging in the practice themselves, studying the teachings and coming to conclusions themselves rather than relying on the ordained clergy as spiritual professionals, the only authority, and the only people capable of enlightenment or understanding the teachings.

We first see it in the late 19th century with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika_Dharmapala and also in Burma with the vipassana movement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassana_movement.
:thumbsup: :goodpost:
Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:56 pm
As most western Buddhists have grown up in liberal democracies, have an egalitarian ideal, and chose Buddhism because they wanted to practice it and it made sense to them rather than because a monk told them to we are all protestant to varying degrees.

We all chose to discuss Buddhism online rather than expect monks to do the thinking for us, so I'd say the membership of this forum is 100% protestant. Even western monks though they have a hierarchy, strict traditions, and are dependent on senior teachers are more egalitarian in attitudes. The only person I can think of in recent times expressing the opposite of protestant Buddhism is yourself.
My perception of theravada is that it if a path of practice and the epitome of the practice is the monastic (symbolically). The path of practice for the lay person is a path of action (dana, sila, bhavana) and relationship (with the monastic sangha).

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by SDC » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:22 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:57 pm
Even just considering those other points of view requires some measure of security and confidence in religious matters.
I disagree. I think the pursuit of Dhamma requires "some measure of security and confidence", but even before that point there are other things (not just one way) that can take one into the ground of experiential thinking. General dispassion towards life can lead a person to the point where they are willing to take a leap of faith regardless of whether or not that direction is sound or even logical. I think I am getting far too much credit from you in this particular instance - it was disgust, not confidence, that put me in the best position to be willing to listen far before I had any explicit knowledge of the Dhamma. Whatever security I had at the time was due to the confidence that I once had in "normal" things being completely broken, and I was left with a bit of an opening for something else.

When we have discussed this in the past, I think I was focusing too much on the saddha aspect whereby you would already be at the point where you are actively and specifically generating confidence in the words of the Buddha. I should have focused more on all the messiness that came before, and that still continues today to lessening degrees.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:03 pm

Garrib wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:11 am
I'm right with you! I hope you and yours are staying safe, and doing some healing down there in Vegas.
MettaKaruna,
Brad
:thumbsup: :thanks:

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by Goofaholix » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:04 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:51 pm
My perception of theravada is that it if a path of practice and the epitome of the practice is the monastic (symbolically). The path of practice for the lay person is a path of action (dana, sila, bhavana) and relationship (with the monastic sangha).
Take out the bhavana for the lay person and that is pretty good definition of the non-protestant view, at least as far as I was defining it, still common in asia but not so much in the west.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:30 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:56 pm
As I understand it the movement characterised as "Protestant Buddhism" came about for much the same reasons as protestant christianity, as a laypersons revival and freedom from the clergy as the only authority attitude that had built up over centuries. It is characterised by lay people engaging in the practice themselves, studying the teachings and coming to conclusions themselves rather than relying on the ordained clergy as spiritual professionals, the only authority, and the only people capable of enlightenment or understanding the teachings.
I'm not sure that the dynamics between Catholicism and Protestantism is all that helpful or can be used as a model to understand the dynamics between different schools or tendencies in Buddhism.

In Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant, there is no such thing as the Buddhist notion of enlightenment. In Christianity "knowing things for oneself" amounts to reading the primary texts for oneself (the Bible, the catechisms). A Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, whether lay or cleric, does not seek to verify for himself the religious tenets. So he doesn't try to verify for himself that Jesus is his Lord and Savior, he doesn't try to verify that the Roman Catholic Church is God's authoritative representative on Earth, he doesn't try to verify that Jesus resurrected, he doesn't try to verify that heaven and hell exist, and so on.

In contrast, in Buddhism, and not just in the modern variations for scientific skeptics, the situation is, at least on principle, quite different. A Buddhist, on principle, does try to know things for himself, does try to verify the religious tenets. But as Buddhism has teachings on kamma and on serial rebirth across different species, this, on the surface, contributes to a resemblance between the situation in Catholicism and the Buddhist laity relying on the clergy, as if in both cases, all there is for the laity is a reliance on the clergy and considering the clergy authoritative.
The Catholic lay indeed has nothing but the clergy to rely on. The Buddhist lay relies on the clergy only inasmuch that he himself may some day know and do what the clergy knows and does.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:16 am

SDC wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:22 pm
I disagree. I think the pursuit of Dhamma requires "some measure of security and confidence", but even before that point there are other things (not just one way) that can take one into the ground of experiential thinking. General dispassion towards life can lead a person to the point where they are willing to take a leap of faith regardless of whether or not that direction is sound or even logical. I think I am getting far too much credit from you in this particular instance - it was disgust, not confidence, that put me in the best position to be willing to listen far before I had any explicit knowledge of the Dhamma. Whatever security I had at the time was due to the confidence that I once had in "normal" things being completely broken, and I was left with a bit of an opening for something else.
Disgust alone makes one end up in the gutter.
However, disgust and confidence can go hand in hand -- that's what "righteous indignation" is.
General dispassion towards life can lead a person to the point where they are willing to take a leap of faith regardless of whether or not that direction is sound or even logical.
Many people who feel such general dispassion toward life kill themselves, or evenetually get their names written on bottles with heavy anti-depressants. A general dispassion toward life is neither a sufficient nor a necessary requirement for considering multiple solution options to one's predicament. As you know, there are two responses to suffering: bewilderment, and the noble search. Not rarely, for a particular person, the two are mixed, as the person, seeking nobly, can also be bewildered at times.

But I don't know any sutta that explains this dichotomy and how it comes about.
When we have discussed this in the past, I think I was focusing too much on the saddha aspect whereby you would already be at the point where you are actively and specifically generating confidence in the words of the Buddha. I should have focused more on all the messiness that came before, and that still continues today to lessening degrees
.
I wasn't talking about confidence in the words of the Buddha, specifically. But in a much more general sense: I'm talking about some measure of security and confidence in religious matters. Ie. feeling free and not condemned enough to ponder issues like which religion is the right one, or the possibility that there may be more explanations of the same thing. For example, I know former Catholics who implicitly still believe that Catholicism is the one and only right religion, and who don't have it in them to question that -- even as they have distanced themselves from Catholicism.
That measure of security and confidence in religious matters is far from being a given.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by SDC » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:04 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:16 am
Disgust alone makes one end up in the gutter.
However, disgust and confidence can go hand in hand -- that's what "righteous indignation" is.
Yes, it does take you to a very dark and heavy place.

If by confidence you mean I was free of any religious duty, then yes, I suppose I had confidence. Though I wasn't working with anything tangible in that regard, nor was I thrilled to be in that position. I had no idea the value in that freedom until after it began to pay off far down the line. So there was just as much uncertainty as ever, perhaps even more than ever. It was not streamlined by any means. It was a disaster.
binocular wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:16 am
Many people who feel such general dispassion toward life kill themselves, or eventually get their names written on bottles with heavy anti-depressants. A general dispassion toward life is neither a sufficient nor a necessary requirement for considering multiple solution options to one's predicament. As you know, there are two responses to suffering: bewilderment, and the noble search. Not rarely, for a particular person, the two are mixed, as the person, seeking nobly, can also be bewildered at times.
It was absolutely a mix of search and bewilderment (and still is to differing degrees), but, as I said above, it only had semblance as meaningful years later. And I did not say it was a requirement, but it was my experience. I'm not trying to advocate it, nor am I trying to justify it. In fact, I do not believe it is one's only option, so feel free to advocate for something else (you may end up helping someone along). I'm merely pointing out that the whole thing is not as clear cut as you seem to think it is. In retrospect, perhaps, but not while it is happening - and both aspects need to be considered. So if you see me describing it rather matter-of-factly, it is only because I can now tell you what it resulted in, but I surely didn't know then. How could I have known?

What you say allows me to have had more to consider back then than I actually did. In fact I think the whole thing was replete with recklessness and carelessness, perhaps even more so than security and confidence. And you seem to be discounting the possibility of an alternate balance of factors based on your comparison, despite your acceptance of the presence of differing degrees of bewilderment while searching for meaning. I don't think cleaning the whole thing up, into one explanation is necessary in order to make sense of the different ways people get to the position where they are ready to make use of the Dhamma. Each case is going to be different. Abstractly, and in retrospect, perhaps identical marks have been hit, but the manner in which those marks are gained and understood is likely to have been very unique, if only because we are all starting from different positions. Circumventing that gray area for clarity is likely to simply the whole thing to the point of confusion.

But if you insist, all I can say is that any security or confidence was negatively manifest, and passively influential at best. It was the disgust and carelessness which were active and heavily dwelt upon, perhaps impeding progress, but nonetheless more significant to my contemplations at the time.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:23 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:30 am
In contrast, in Buddhism, and not just in the modern variations for scientific skeptics, the situation is, at least on principle, quite different. A Buddhist, on principle, does try to know things for himself, does try to verify the religious tenets.
I think you'll find that 150 years ago this wasn't commonly known or practiced among lay Buddhists, probably not much among monastics either. We know it now because lay Buddhists have access to scripture to read for ourselves and are encouraged to have a vital practice of our own. This is largely due to protestant Buddhism, just as protestant christianity led to lay people reading the bible for themselves for example.

I think you'll find for the average uneducated countyside Buddhist in asia their practice and attitude is generally unaffected by protestant Buddhism and not as you describe.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by aflatun » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:40 am

Verifying things for oneself is a "path" that is found in all the great religious traditions.

Further, 1) what goof said 2) the Buddha also taught a path that had nothing to do with the kind of verification we are talking about, to lay people

The buddhist tradition might be unique, but its not this that makes it unique.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:51 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:23 am
I think you'll find that 150 years ago this wasn't commonly known or practiced among lay Buddhists, probably not much among monastics either. We know it now because lay Buddhists have access to scripture to read for ourselves and are encouraged to have a vital practice of our own. This is largely due to protestant Buddhism, just as protestant christianity led to lay people reading the bible for themselves for example.

I think you'll find for the average uneducated countyside Buddhist in asia their practice and attitude is generally unaffected by protestant Buddhism and not as you describe.
Do they try to make merit and hope for a better rebirth?
Then, yes, they are in effect trying to verify things for themselves.

And if you think that making merit and hoping for a better rebirth isn't an example of having a vital practice of one's own -- then we are even further apart than I thought. It's common for Westerners to look down on practices such as making merit and hoping for a better rebirth. I think those Westerners are taking too much for granted.

- - -
aflatun wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:40 am
Verifying things for oneself is a "path" that is found in all the great religious traditions.
Then do list at least 3 things that one can verify for oneself in Roman Catholicism, or in Islam, for example.

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by aflatun » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:29 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:51 am

Do they try to make merit and hope for a better rebirth?
Then, yes, they are in effect trying to verify things for themselves.

And if you think that making merit and hoping for a better rebirth isn't an example of having a vital practice of one's own -- then we are even further apart than I thought. It's common for Westerners to look down on practices such as making merit and hoping for a better rebirth. I think those Westerners are taking too much for granted.
binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:51 am
aflatun wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:40 am
Verifying things for oneself is a "path" that is found in all the great religious traditions.
Then do list at least 3 things that one can verify for oneself in Roman Catholicism, or in Islam, for example.

First of all I'm not arguing the legitimacy or lack thereof of said verification. I'm saying the aspiration along with the path and supposed means to verify ultimate truths/truth for oneself is found in all the great religious traditions, and a fortiori in most traditional "philosophical" systems, just restricting ourselves to the "west": Parmenides, Empedocles, Plato, Aristotle, etc and all their inheritors.

Second, since you're setting your bar here:
Do they try to make merit and hope for a better rebirth?
Then, yes, they are in effect trying to verify things for themselves.
I prefer to match your standard for the purpose of this conversation. Christians and Muslims have always tried to purify conduct and intention while hoping for a better lot in the next life, and outside of contemporary times, this was never looked down upon as a path.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: Who are the (modern) protestant Buddhists?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:31 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:29 pm


First of all I'm not arguing the legitimacy or lack thereof of said verification. I'm saying the aspiration along with the path and supposed means to verify ultimate truths/truth for oneself is found in all the great religious traditions, and a fortiori in most traditional "philosophical" systems, just restricting ourselves to the "west": Parmenides, Empedocles, Plato, Aristotle, etc and all their inheritors.
Indeed. My wife (who is an Anglican priest) informs me that one can undertake a structured and sincere prayer life, and see for oneself that one's relationship with God becomes closer and more meaningful. Not all that different from "Ehipassiko", really.

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