What homage is owed, and to whom?

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binocular
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What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:25 pm

Hello.


This has come up in another thread, I'll just use it as a cue to start this one:

SDC wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:41 pm
/.../
So maybe that is the line: Buddhism is access to the opportunity to understand the Dhamma.

I think another question that is being constantly addressed, yet never actually asked is, what homage is owed to the public aspects, once the access has been gained? What do the young people in SE Asia owe their elders for giving them access? What does SE Asia owe to Northern India? What do monks owe their abbots? What do westerners owe the east? What did the arahats owe the Buddha? What is required to be given back in order to develop understanding?
So:
What homage is owed to the public aspects of Buddhism, once the access to the Dhamma has been gained?

What do the young people in SE Asia owe their elders for giving them access?

What does SE Asia owe to Northern India?

What do monks owe their abbots?

What do westerners owe the east?

What did the arahats owe the Buddha?


And specifically:

What is required to be given back in order to develop understanding?


Please discuss.

Thank you.

budo
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by budo » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:35 pm

Find someone who you think is an Ariya, or appears to be in alignment with the teachings, and support them.

If there are no ariyas that can be found, then just do your best to be a good person (good mental, verbal and bodily conduct).

Velama sutta (AN 9.20) shows how the Buddha was a rich brahman in a past life who donated a lot of wealth but it didn't do much for him compared to helping out someone who has attained Right View. Feeding someone who has Right View is better than giving loads of treasure to non-Ariyas.
"Once, householder, there was a brahman named Velāma. And this was the nature of the gift, the great gift, he gave: He gave 84,000 gold trays filled with silver, 84,000 silver trays filled with gold, 84,000 copper trays filled with gems. He gave 84,000 elephants with gold ornaments, gold banners, covered with nets of gold thread. He gave 84,000 chariots spread with lion skins, tiger skins, leopard skins, saffron-colored blankets, with gold ornaments, gold banners, covered with nets of gold thread. He gave 84,000 milk cows with tethers of fine jute and copper milk pails. He gave 84,000 maidens adorned with jeweled earrings. He gave 84,000 couches spread with long-fleeced coverlets, white wool coverlets, embroidered coverlets, rugs of kadali-deer hide, each with a canopy above & red cushions on either side. He gave 84,000 lengths of cloth — of finest linen, of finest cotton, of finest silk.[2] To say nothing of the food & drink, staple & non-staple food, lotions & beddings: They flowed, as it were, like rivers.

"Now, householder, if the thought should occur to you, 'Perhaps it was someone else who at that time was Velāma the brahman, who gave that gift, that great gift,' that's not how it should be seen. I was Velāma the brahman at that time. I gave that gift, that great gift. But in that gift there was no one worthy of offerings; no one purified that gift.

"If one were to feed one person consummate in view, that would be more fruitful than the gift, the great gift, that Velāma the brahman gave.
In short, support the real sangha.

Furthermore, attaining right view yourself is better than helping others
"If one with a confident mind were to go to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha for refuge, that would be more fruitful than... if one were to have a dwelling built and dedicated to the Community of the four directions.

"If one with a confident mind were to undertake the training rules — refraining from taking life, refraining from taking what is not given, refraining from illicit sex, refraining from lying, refraining from distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness — that would be more fruitful than... if one with a confident mind were to go to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha for refuge.

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Bundokji
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:42 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:25 pm
What is required to be given back in order to develop understanding?
To give something back in order to gain anything in return (such as more understanding) seem to defeat the purpose in my opinion as it implies a hidden agenda driven by greed. Genuine gratitude happens by seeing the real value in something, and giving happens naturally and truthfully.

Suppose i go to the temple and make a donation, but with a list of demands and wishes from the Buddha (such as making merit to become enlightened), would that be real gratitude? would that lead to developing understanding?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

binocular
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:08 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:42 pm
To give something back in order to gain anything in return (such as more understanding) seem to defeat the purpose in my opinion as it implies a hidden agenda driven by greed. Genuine gratitude happens by seeing the real value in something, and giving happens naturally and truthfully.

Suppose i go to the temple and make a donation, but with a list of demands and wishes from the Buddha (such as making merit to become enlightened), would that be real gratitude? would that lead to developing understanding?
The converse applies as well.

Westerners sometimes get criticized by Asian traditionalist Buddhists (Easterners and Westerners) for not being humble, grateful, or devoted enough and such, eg.
Dan74 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:34 pm
Homage.

Something very rarely heard in these parts.

The Homage to the Three Jewels Chant is one of the main chants in Zen liturgy. Homage to all the Dharma ancenstors and protectors. It's something that is quite difficult for the Western mindset to really digest, I think. A deep and profound sense of gratitide and indebtedness for the Dhamma.
No amount of faking it will make you make it.

If one doesn't actually feel grateful for what one has received, if one doesn't see value in it -- then what use are external expressions of gratitude, homage, and why force oneself to make those expressions?

While some Buddhists (like Bhikkhu Cintita here) say that such expressions are harmless, I don't think so at all. Perhaps if one is doing them ritualistically, perhaps then they are harmless. But why would one do them if one doesn't mean them? Those expressions of homage, of gratitude are supposed to mean something; one is supposed to do them because one means them, not the other way around, ie. doing them in order to make oneself mean them.



Of course, whether one expresses homage or not, there remains the (uneasy) feeling of epistemic dependence, simply because one has received some epistemic content from or through someone else.

Dan74
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:06 am

binocular wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:34 pm
Homage.

Something very rarely heard in these parts.

The Homage to the Three Jewels Chant is one of the main chants in Zen liturgy. Homage to all the Dharma ancenstors and protectors. It's something that is quite difficult for the Western mindset to really digest, I think. A deep and profound sense of gratitide and indebtedness for the Dhamma.
No amount of faking it will make you make it.

If one doesn't actually feel grateful for what one has received, if one doesn't see value in it -- then what use are external expressions of gratitude, homage, and why force oneself to make those expressions?

While some Buddhists (like Bhikkhu Cintita here) say that such expressions are harmless, I don't think so at all. Perhaps if one is doing them ritualistically, perhaps then they are harmless. But why would one do them if one doesn't mean them? Those expressions of homage, of gratitude are supposed to mean something; one is supposed to do them because one means them, not the other way around, ie. doing them in order to make oneself mean them.



Of course, whether one expresses homage or not, there remains the (uneasy) feeling of epistemic dependence, simply because one has received some epistemic content from or through someone else.
I am not a huge fan of fake it until you make it. When we contemplate the Dhamma and see how profound it is and especially when we experience it working in our lives, then a sense of gratitude is bound to arise. But this is also something to reflect on and not only in relation to the Dhamma of course. We are inextricably connected to so many people and benefit from so many people's labour. I find it a very worthwhile contemplation.
_/|\_

sunnat
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by sunnat » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:08 am

Try the path. That's homage. If you find the path beneficial then walking the path is homage. As realisation grows a debt of gratitude grows. That's expressed and that is homage.

binocular
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:06 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:25 pm
What is required to be given back in order to develop understanding?
Normally, the answer appears to be "trust" (or "respect", when it is taken to include trust).

However, on a general note, the more detailed the teacher's teaching, the more particular, the less trust is required of the student. That is, if a (prospective) teacher presents a matter in a way that the (prospective) student can readily relate to, the student doesn't need to generate much trust (or awe) for the teacher in order to understand the study matter.

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SDC
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by SDC » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:04 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:06 pm
However, on a general note, the more detailed the teacher's teaching, the more particular, the less trust is required of the student. That is, if a (prospective) teacher presents a matter in a way that the (prospective) student can readily relate to, the student doesn't need to generate much trust (or awe) for the teacher in order to understand the study matter.
Excellent point. Interestingly enough, such a teacher usually has little desire if any for praise. Think about it, you wouldn't need a pat on the back for something you *know* is true.

binocular
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:18 pm

SDC wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:04 pm
Interestingly enough, such a teacher usually has little desire if any for praise. Think about it, you wouldn't need a pat on the back for something you *know* is true.
I think there's something here that middle-class Americans and people from a proletariat background (or, generally, people from "socialist" countries) tend to have difficulty understanding. Namely, there appears to be particular kind of "expertise pride" or "expertise honor". It's when people who have expertise in a particular field will not discuss it with just anyone or in just any way; instead, they expect a measure of respect for their expertise, by default. I've seen this in doctors, hair dressers, gardeners, car mechanics, teachers, musicians ... and, of course, religous/spiritual people. It's like they have a boundary and they demand respect for their profession(alism), and they will not discuss it, at least not with someone who doesn't also have expertise in that field. That, "Who do you think you are to think you can talk about this with me?!"

To an extent, I can understand that -- maybe they are just bored, or they understand how much they would need to explain to the other person in order to answer their question, and they just don't feel like it. But sometimes, they really seem to have an air of "It's beneath my dignity to discuss my expertise with this person" and they seem to expect that the other person should understand that.
Or, they simply expect to be paid for giving their professional opinion.

To give a vivid example: In college, I once attended a lecture given by the then most relevant linguist in our country. At the end, the professor who hosted the lecture invited students to ask questions. She gave us about 2 seconds to raise our hands, and then she said, "Oh, no questions? The authority is too big!"
I've seen the same thing in regular lectures. We were not actually supposed to ask the professor any questions about the study matter.

In many social settings, status awareness and knowing one's place take precedence over the study matter and everything else. In my experience, there appears to be quite a bit of that in Buddhism as well. Personally, I think many of my problems with Buddhists and Buddhism have been due to not taking this into consideration, and instead I approached conversations as if they were just discussions about the study matter at hand.

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SDC
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by SDC » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:01 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:18 pm
...
It's like they have a boundary and they demand respect for their profession(alism), and they will not discuss it, at least not with someone who doesn't also have expertise in that field. That, "Who do you think you are to think you can talk about this with me?!"

...
Interestingly enough, it has been my experience that attitude you are describing is almost exclusively a defense mechanism. Think about it. What is the best way to feel the power and prestige when you don't actually have the knowledge and experience to back it up? Represent that you have it, but refuse to deliver it when you're asked for the details. Trust me, b, if the arrogance is truly as potent and blatant as you are describing, chances are they don't know squat. It may even be a case of delusion where they think they know.

Trying to access the Dhamma exposes weakness and pain - it is a humbling experience. Looking down at the person behind you is not likely to be the inclination. I suppose there are those cases of the rude arahats, but at least they could back it up. If the practical, potent and effective instruction doesn't immediately follow, it probably isn't there.

binocular
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:38 pm

SDC wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:01 pm
Interestingly enough, it has been my experience that attitude you are describing is almost exclusively a defense mechanism. Think about it. What is the best way to feel the power and prestige when you don't actually have the knowledge and experience to back it up? Represent that you have it, but refuse to deliver it when you're asked for the details. Trust me, b, if the arrogance is truly as potent and blatant as you are describing, chances are they don't know squat. It may even be a case of delusion where they think they know.
Heh. I'd like to believe what you're saying ...
I live in a culture that has traditionally been characteristically classist, as have been most cultures in Europe. There was a short "socialist" stint, but it seems to me it had no effect on the actual mentality and behavior of people. Officially, on paper, the country was "socialist", but in reality, it was as classist as ever.
What is the best way to feel the power and prestige when you don't actually have the knowledge and experience to back it up?
That is so American. :)
I once read of a study that found that in European countries, people have typically been raised to belong to a particular socio-economic class, to have a particular status, while in the US people have typically been raised to (do a particular type of) work.

For a long time, I find that knowledge and experience have not been all that important; having a formal education has always been important, but it's also been viewed as a formality. Here, people wouldn't go to school to actually learn something or train in something, but to obtain a degree, to "have a document". If they do retain something from their schooling, that's more a side-effect rather than the intended outcome.

(Many people like to criticize "communism" etc. and how it lowered standards etc. But it didn't, just the opposite. The government back then introduced vocational training programs for people, in an effort to produce qualified workers. These programs were met with a lot of resistence because they went against the classist mentality, which eventually prevailed, again.)
Trying to access the Dhamma exposes weakness and pain - it is a humbling experience. Looking down at the person behind you is not likely to be the inclination. I suppose there are those cases of the rude arahats, but at least they could back it up. If the practical, potent and effective instruction doesn't immediately follow, it probably isn't there.
When I see classist mentality among Buddhists, I simply think it's "business as usual". It's not strange to me, and I'm not criticial of it. Even if people often ascribe to me that I'm critical.

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SDC
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by SDC » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:38 pm
...
When I see classist mentality among Buddhists, I simply think it's "business as usual". It's not strange to me, and I'm not criticial of it. Even if people often ascribe to me that I'm critical.
You should be critical of it. Condoning it maintains that classist structure. Of course it will always be there, but buying into it assumes two angles of the same problem. 1) That those people are actually the arbiters between Buddhism and Dhamma and that 2) you are qualified beforehand to know what sort of person holds that information based on behavior you deem appropriate for one who knows. You opt for that very narrow window of access. Have you ever seen Blazing Saddles? The toll booth in the middle of the desert?

https://youtu.be/SbWg-mozGsU

You can't use the same criteria you would for regular people. If you do, all you'll find are experts. Experts in this. Experts in that. "I am the foremost expert on berbfjxijdjxkx". All that means is you found a very intelligent person who has vast information about a subject. Possessing information is not the same as knowing how it applies. That is the key difference.

I'm not trying to disregard your experience with the classist structure in Buddhism, but I do want you to know it has trained you to uphold those who are not the most qualified.

2600htz
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by 2600htz » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:30 pm

Hello

What do arahants owe the Buddha?
"You are my children, my sons, born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, heirs to the Dhamma, not heirs in material things."

He is like a father who taught them, inspire them and show them the path. And they owe him the benefits of their release.

Pd: There is a story about i think Sariputta and Sakkha. Sariputta wanted that some poor person give him alms so they could get a lot of merit, but Sakkha wanted the merit, so he took the form of a poor person and deceived Sariputta in order to give him food. Sariputta found out about it, and Sakkha asked if he would get the good merit even if he did it in a deceiving way. The answer was Yes.

Regards.

binocular
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by binocular » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:42 pm

SDC wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:19 pm
You should be critical of it.
It's your word against theirs.
Condoning it maintains that classist structure.
I'm not condoning it; I opt out altogether. They can have their wars, I'm not going there. If they can't decide amongst themselves who is right, I'm not going to do it for them.
Of course it will always be there, but buying into it assumes two angles of the same problem. 1) That those people are actually the arbiters between Buddhism and Dhamma and that 2) you are qualified beforehand to know what sort of person holds that information based on behavior you deem appropriate for one who knows.
Had you read my posts, you'd see that this is not so. I go on and on and on about my confusion in regard to these matters ...
You can't use the same criteria you would for regular people. If you do, all you'll find are experts. Experts in this. Experts in that. "I am the foremost expert on berbfjxijdjxkx". All that means is you found a very intelligent person who has vast information about a subject. Possessing information is not the same as knowing how it applies. That is the key difference.
An expert is someone who has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expert
I'm not trying to disregard your experience with the classist structure in Buddhism, but I do want you to know it has trained you to uphold those who are not the most qualified.
*sigh*
This is like a game of whack-a-mole. I've been trying to get your attention to focus on at least two things, because I think they are both important, but you only focus on one.
Of course it will always be there, but buying into it assumes two angles of the same problem. 1) That those people are actually the arbiters between Buddhism and Dhamma and that 2) you are qualified beforehand to know what sort of person holds that information based on behavior you deem appropriate for one who knows.
You're doing that, by your standards.
I've been trying to avoid that altogether; although it seems such avoidance leads to confusion as well.

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SDC
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Re: What homage is owed, and to whom?

Post by SDC » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:50 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:42 pm
...
You're doing that, by your standards.
I've been trying to avoid that altogether; although it seems such avoidance leads to confusion as well.
And here I thought we were getting closer to the crux. :|

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