Why so few Western Buddhists?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Saengnapha
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:49 am

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:33 am
Now I understand why so few Western Buddhists.

I expected participants to share reasons based on their understanding of why so few.

But it turned to an argument!! Dhamma cannot be argued about. Realising the Dhamma is not an intellectual activity. It has to be understood not by the brain but heart.

Debating too much is unhealthy for the mind.

:namaste:
Hopefully, you are going to do just that and not worry about what west or east thinks of each other. :)

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No_Mind
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by No_Mind » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:55 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:49 am

Hopefully, you are going to do just that and not worry about what west or east thinks of each other. :)
I don't think I have ever worried what East and West thinks of each other. I was explaining possible causes of supposed Asian supremacism. If Binocular spent one evening in some of Bangkok's districts, she would understand why Asians do not think Westerners are quite capable of the Dhamma. I did not say I subscribe to that thought or else why would I be at a forum where 99.99% members are Westerners.

(later Binocular clarified she had never felt Asian supremacism from Asians but Western monks)

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Saengnapha
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:02 am

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:55 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:49 am

Hopefully, you are going to do just that and not worry about what west or east thinks of each other. :)
I don't think I have ever worried what East and West thinks of each other. I was explaining possible causes of supposed Asian supremacism. if Binocular spent one evening in Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road, she would understand why Asians do not think Westerners are quite capable of the Dhamma. I did not say I subscribe to that thought or else why would I be at a forum where 99.99% are Westerners

(later Binocular clarified she had never felt Asian supremacism from Asians but Western monks)

:namaste:
Generalizations are never going to lead to truth, or even success in practice. The whole idea of this line of thinking only leads to views which are not in line with Dhamma. It is the same for a westerner or an Asian. These views should be listed under current events and entertainment sections.

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No_Mind
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by No_Mind » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:21 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:02 am
Generalizations are never going to lead to truth, or even success in practice. The whole idea of this line of thinking only leads to views which are not in line with Dhamma. It is the same for a westerner or an Asian. These views should be listed under current events and entertainment sections.
I, the OP had created this thread in current events section and mods moved it here. Probably you should be little more aware/alert before your generalizations.

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Subharo
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Subharo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:31 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:54 am
Do you delight in presenting these "feisty" suttas? Do you delight in the buddha presenting "uncomfortable statements"?
Delight in? I try not to. Take an interest in? Definitely.

I feel there are vast piles of awesome, Canonical, EBT suttas that monks and laypeople are missing out on (and might otherwise never hear about, from any Buddhist monk), by not taking an interest in going directly to the source, and making some sort of regular habit out of reading the earliest collections (according to the general consensus of credible scholars, historians, linguists, archaeologists, etc), of the Word of the Buddha, that we can possibly get our hands on.

I must admit I find it amusing and entertaining in Suttas where the Buddha wins some (usually-gentlemanly) debate with a Wanderer of another sect, and that Wanderer of another sect sometimes takes a verbal, yet rather tasteful shellacking (who was a poor sport), sometimes from the audience. I plead guilty to enjoying reading the Suttas (for many other reasons as well). You also sometimes see Ad Hominem attacks (a logical fallacy) in the Suttas, used by the Buddha's opponents, and I'm starting to feel like this is one of those Ad Hominem attacks, being leveled against me (and Ad Hominem attacks seem to be extremely popular these days; i.e. attack and undermine the character of your opponent, not his message).

So by me speaking in support of such gentlemanly discussions and explorations of the truth (which were **highly uncomfortable** to leaders of other sects, who had so much riding on the line; one even vomited hot blood when he lost), I am merely pointing to something I see all over the place in the Suttas. My doing so perhaps looks crazy :rolleye: to some who cannot conceive of this as being some sort of realistic reality in modern Buddhism. But I would point out that the Suttas contain many lively, interesting debates (and nobody complains about those) to vividly imagine and recreate in one's mind. That sort of imagining helps me bring Buddhism alive in my mind, and make an emotional connection to the teachings.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

James Tan
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by James Tan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:51 am

Subharo wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:29 pm
James Tan wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:46 pm
How many people actually are Master of the Dhamma ?
How many people actually can Master the Dhamma ?
binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:10 pm

Except that it's not clear what the "original teachings of the Buddha" are. In fact, this is one of the controversial topics!
...
Except that it is the Buddha himself who does that, which I think is categorically different from anything anyone else can do. It's not clear that the situations described in the suttas can be meaningfully compared to present times when the Buddha isn't actually here anymore to take part in discussions.
James Tan and binocular, I think you are suffering from the logical fallacy called "black-or-white".

James Tan seems to imply that only an arahat deserves to speak on the Dhamma in a way that can be trusted, not any monk with an attainment level lower than that (or no attainment level at all).

Binocular seems to imply that since we can't know 100% what the Buddha actually said (or would say, if he were still alive today), then what's the point of investigating it whatsoever (in a rigorous, debate-like manner)?
Wrong assumption, that is the fallacy you suffered instead .
My meaning only saying that dhamma is something very profound not to mention to practise and mastered at it . How many people actually can mastered it like an arhat !
E.g. Schumacher , not many people can drive like him , a professional racing driver in the Formula One car race series .

Sure , you or anyone can join in on any debate , however that is not my point .
Anyway , just bring it on !
Just joking .

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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:00 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:23 am
Surely this assumption by you is a self created reaction that can only lead to a wrong view. Even if the monk was out of his mind, (he probably is :tongue: ), your view of him would be in conflict with Dhamma as an emotional reaction that prevents you from Right View, the first stage of the 8FP. Why assume any position of elevation/inferiority? The orientation needs to be one of reasoning in light of the Dhamma, not our particular preferences or assumptions. This also goes for the monk, I might add.
That would be nice, but it's not my experience. Already because I am female, I am being placed in a different category or position, one of inferiority.
You do realize that some monks make a point of not even looking at a woman at all, and how weird it is for a woman to know this and to try to have a conversation with (such) a monk? Or to read a text written by a monk, knowing that the person who is saying those things would never even look at me? It's difficult not to feel despised or regarded as stupid (even more so when the monk is criticizing women, or putthujanas in general). There are rules for monks relevant for lay women, and as a woman, I have to keep this in mind. The differences between men and women are real; as are the differences between lay women and monks.
It's difficult for me to make sense of all this, and there doesn't really seem to be anyone whom I could talk to about this.
The unwritten, unspoken rule seems to be that I, as a woman, better bow my head and be quiet.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:06 am

Subharo wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:50 pm
I'd like to add to my list of interesting and relevant (at least I feel are relevant) Suttas, basically all of the AN 4's (which is a lot of Suttas, sorry for that). There are many fiesty suttas there (every bit as fiesty as anything I've ever said on this forum), where the Buddha makes very direct and uncomfortable statements to the effect of trying to maintain the integrity of his teachings.

If you might think that all of the Buddhas teachings are as gentle as a sullen-eyed, bleating lamb, then AN 4's (especially) livens up the Suttas a lot. There are spicy suttas all over the AN, BTW (a whole bunch more in AN 5's), but the 4's seems to have a particularly dense concentration.
You're preaching to the choir. Your objections would surely have a lot of traction somewhere else, but not here at this forum.
:stirthepot:
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:49 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:21 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:02 am
Generalizations are never going to lead to truth, or even success in practice. The whole idea of this line of thinking only leads to views which are not in line with Dhamma. It is the same for a westerner or an Asian. These views should be listed under current events and entertainment sections.
I, the OP had created this thread in current events section and mods moved it here. Probably you should be little more aware/alert before your generalizations.

:namaste:
I am not omniscient, No Mind. :smile:

Saengnapha
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:02 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:00 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:23 am
Surely this assumption by you is a self created reaction that can only lead to a wrong view. Even if the monk was out of his mind, (he probably is :tongue: ), your view of him would be in conflict with Dhamma as an emotional reaction that prevents you from Right View, the first stage of the 8FP. Why assume any position of elevation/inferiority? The orientation needs to be one of reasoning in light of the Dhamma, not our particular preferences or assumptions. This also goes for the monk, I might add.
That would be nice, but it's not my experience. Already because I am female, I am being placed in a different category or position, one of inferiority.
You do realize that some monks make a point of not even looking at a woman at all, and how weird it is for a woman to know this and to try to have a conversation with (such) a monk? Or to read a text written by a monk, knowing that the person who is saying those things would never even look at me? It's difficult not to feel despised or regarded as stupid (even more so when the monk is criticizing women, or putthujanas in general). There are rules for monks relevant for lay women, and as a woman, I have to keep this in mind. The differences between men and women are real; as are the differences between lay women and monks.
It's difficult for me to make sense of all this, and there doesn't really seem to be anyone whom I could talk to about this.
The unwritten, unspoken rule seems to be that I, as a woman, better bow my head and be quiet.
binocular, I concur and agree with you 100%. I have some familiarity with women. My wife is one. :D
You seem like a very observant person, aware of how others act and how they treat you. What I was suggesting was not to get caught up in these views of yourself(inferiority), or others (righteous behavior and attitude) when you do see these kinds of things happening because they can create dukkha. I think you are smart enough to recognize someone's limitations. All the years I spent around U.G., I never saw him treat women any differently than men. For him, there was no 'other', just activity going on. He didn't want anything from people so there was never a disappointment.

auto
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by auto » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:28 pm

Subharo wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:36 am
auto wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am
people who wear robes and staying in monasteries doesn't make them recluse.
Once you use your psychic powers to embrace my mind with your own, and catch me red-handed posting on this forum without any serenity or any Brahmavihara, it is at that time that I will take your complaints seriously. All I am saying here is that I try to make an effort to check in with the state of my heart before posting. This isn't a claim to attainments, which you might be tempted to conclude.
auto wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am
Do you have evidence that earth is round? For the sense organs it may be round.
Surely you jest.
i got my blood boil and made a post and seeing your response i had several different responses to it whilst some of them were against previous thoughts, what i didn't respond finally i come back to the senses. So i know that i can talk against my own one hour later.

binocular
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:13 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:02 pm
What I was suggesting was not to get caught up in these views of yourself(inferiority), or others (righteous behavior and attitude) when you do see these kinds of things happening because they can create dukkha.
I suppose it's because some (many?) Westerners (esp. women) don't know how to not get caught up in those views of superiority/inferiority that there aren't more Western Buddhists.

But how does one not get caught up in those views? This is a big challenge!
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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retrofuturist
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:20 pm

Greetings Binocular,
binocular wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:13 pm
But how does one not get caught up in those views? This is a big challenge!
SN 22.49

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)

binocular
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by binocular » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:09 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:20 pm
SN 22.49
And there are people who actually believe that and act accordingly?
And people who wouldn't shame or exploit those who believe that and act accordingly?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
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Re: Why so few Western Buddhists?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:34 am

binocular wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:09 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:20 pm
SN 22.49
And there are people who actually believe that and act accordingly?
And people who wouldn't shame or exploit those who believe that and act accordingly?
There will always be others that will exploit and shame people when the opportunity arises. If you don't think of yourself as inferior, how can it affect you? They are simply acting in a hurtful way to themselves. Keeping your own attention on your own reactions is the key to orienting them away from your habit of thinking badly about yourself. This is the only thing you can control, not the actions/reactions of others.

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