First, to everyone: what an informative and entertaining thread this is. I have learned so much about a whole lotta stuff. Also, I am hoping this thread isn't dying out since I'm deciding to post. I am doing so because I saw the last post was made earlier today. But if you all are done discussing, then you can ignore my post
Please don't take this as harsh criticism, but rather as an observation. Judging from your first comment on personal experience:
I just wanted to make one more point, with regards to Mike's comment... yes, it may be true that this is a fairly common understanding. It may be something that slides off the tongue almost like a cliche, for many. But once in awhile you meet someone who speaks from the heart, instead of more exclusively from intellect. And you listen closely because their words are backed by experience, by having lived these words. They come across as genuine.. and not just someone full of a bunch of 'knowledge', that without experience to back it up, means very little. I'm not sure if you've experienced this difference, but to me it's something significant.
it seems you were arguing for
the supremacy of such over learned knowledge. That is why, I think (I could be wrong of course) Tilt made his
comment. So to say after his
comment you believe there should be a healthy balance of the two is to contradict what (we think, or maybe just what I think) you were trying to say in the first comment.
I could be wrong.
Some general statements:
I myself am unafraid to admit that I value personal experience over learned knowledge. But let's appropriately qualify such a statement - without Right View, your personal experience means
nothing. Adhamma is adhamma, regardless of what you think you experienced. Right View, for
the vast majority of us, arises from both learning Dhamma from teachers and scripture as well as proper meditation, concentration and insight. Those with credible personal experience are so because of lots of previous practice, in this and previous lives. To discount learned knowledge is to discount an integral part of Dhamma practice. Monks don't read, memorize and recite scripture for
Meditation is a tool by which our learned knowledge is penetrated and understood, thus allowing us to develop proper Right View.
In my experience, the discounting of learned knowledge usually comes from those afraid to admit the tenuous nature of their arguments, to which it is resorted after their ideas have been thoroughly refuted and they are looking to save face. (Either that or the learned knowledge in question is actually false.) This is usually followed by statements such as "aren't we just wasting time anyway?" (even though time obviously wasn't an issue while they were defending their points) and "I don't see what this has to do with our practice" (a discounting of the importance of the topic, even though that too was not an issue while they were defending their points).
these reasons, I found myself agreeing more with clw and Tilt. Hopefully that doesn't come off as a value judgment, but rather as a statement from an outsider who read the whole thread.