Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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appicchato
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by appicchato »

We have all the hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers.”

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mikenz66
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by mikenz66 »

Thanks for the fascinating link, Bhante.

:anjali:
Mike

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion »

Hi all,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:All it is saying is since we are imperfect we are not in a position to accuse the Buddha of being imperfect, or of propagating an imperfect teaching.
If we're imperfect, we can't justifiably "accuse" the Buddha and the Buddha-Dhamma of being perfect, either. The best we can say is we don't know.

Besides, it's not an accusation, but an observation of the historical account. The Buddha made mistakes. The history of Buddhism illustrates one attempt after another to improve upon the Buddha-Dhamma. The emerging corpus of historical-critical scholarship, exemplified in the work of folks like Analayo, are neither flowery literature as Kusala would have it nor the "hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers" as gavesko, appichatto and mikenz66 would have it.

Buddhists, "Western" and "Eastern" alike, are much too inlcined to super-naturalize, super-humanize, perfectionize and consquently worship the Buddha and the Buddha-Dhamma far beyond not only what historical-critical scholarship indicates as necessary, but also past any necessitating implications found in the Pali suttas themselves.
Kindly,
dL

Jhana4
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Jhana4 »

David N. Snyder wrote:Actually, according to the Vinaya the rules were changed quite a bit as the need arose. I remember one in particular where the Buddha did not allow the monks and nuns to wear leather sandals but then allowed it when they were in a different province where it was the custom (as long as no being was killed to make the leather). So you could call this an "improvement" or you could say that is a built-in structure to allow for adjustments. The Buddha also allowed the minor rules to be abolished after his paranibbana, again showing his flexibility.
Was.

That was 2500 years ago David.

How many practical adadptions for temporary conditions have been reified and followed like a divine law since in the centuries since the Buddha's death?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Ceisiwr »

The Buddha did not intervene to prevent the suicide of some forest dwelling monks, because he knew that their past kamma was so severe that nothing could prevent it's bearing fruit. Likewise, he did not intervene when Moggallāna was being beaten to death by hired thugs. In the case of Angulimāla, the Buddha could and did intervene to prevent him committing the heinous crime of killing his own mother.

That's a convenient way to get around it, however it sounds like "God did it" or "he moves in mysterious ways".


From what I understand, the Buddha knew everything about the world (I.e. the senses and sense objects) and knew their nature, however I don't see him as knowing everything and being completely perfect in a divine/theistic/supernatural sense

The story of the monks suicide seems to show this. He made a mistake.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Ceisiwr »

gavesako wrote:Growing the Dharma: Buddhism’s Religious Spadework. Draft, July 2013.
“The individual or collective Western response has often much like that of the new landowner who discovers an overgrown but still potentially productive corn field on his property and with limited understanding of both corn and non-corn, dauntlessly hacks away with a machete only to destroy half of the corn and to leave half of the undergrowth, then plants one row of Monsanto super-corn and row of squash to make it look right. It looks pretty good, so we call it Western Buddhism and expect it to save Buddhism from centuries of Asian misunderstanding and cultural accretions. We have all the hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers.”

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/boo ... u-cintita/

:reading: :candle:

Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Kusala
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Kusala »

clw_uk wrote:
gavesako wrote:Growing the Dharma: Buddhism’s Religious Spadework. Draft, July 2013.
“The individual or collective Western response has often much like that of the new landowner who discovers an overgrown but still potentially productive corn field on his property and with limited understanding of both corn and non-corn, dauntlessly hacks away with a machete only to destroy half of the corn and to leave half of the undergrowth, then plants one row of Monsanto super-corn and row of squash to make it look right. It looks pretty good, so we call it Western Buddhism and expect it to save Buddhism from centuries of Asian misunderstanding and cultural accretions. We have all the hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers.”

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/boo ... u-cintita/

:reading: :candle:

Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.
Beyond Likes & Dislikes

"One of Ajahn Mun's favorite topics for a Dhamma talk was the theme of practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma - in other words, in accordance with what the Dhamma demands, not in accordance with what our likes and dislikes demand.

As the Dhamma comes to the West this is probably one of the hardest things for Westerners to appreciate. Everywhere you look, the Dhamma is being remade, recast, so that people will like it. Things that people don't like are quietly cut away; and if things that people like are missing, they're added on. And so the creature that comes out is like the old cartoon of a committee designing a bird: The bird looks pretty good to begin with, but then after the committee's done with it, it looks like an ostrich with no legs. It can't walk and it can't fly , but it sells. In this country of ours, where democracy and the marketplace are all-powerful, the question of what sells determines what's Dhamma, even if it can't walk or fly. And who loses out? We lose out.

The Dhamma doesn't lose out; it's always what it is. But we like to add a little here, take away a little there, and as a result we end up with nothing but things we already like and already dislike. The Buddha pointed out the four ways that people get led off course. Two of them are following your likes and dislikes; the other two are giving in to delusion and fear. These things pull people off the path. We go wandering into the underbrush and then off to who-knows-where simply because we like to follow what we like and to avoid what we dislike - even though the things we dislike are often the things we've got to really look at carefully."



http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... slikes.pdf
"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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DNS
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by DNS »

Ajahn Mun wrote: As the Dhamma comes to the West this is probably one of the hardest things for Westerners to appreciate. Everywhere you look, the Dhamma is being remade, recast, so that people will like it.
Why is the blame only put on the West? Perhaps it occurs more in the West? Not sure though. In Asia there are monasteries that have modified the rules quite a bit for example, regarding the handling of money, traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles; relaxing of the noon meal cut-off time. This has occured in both East & West.

How about the Dhammakaya movement (in Thailand)? The one with the temple that looks like a space ship? :alien: The Dhamma has been remade and recast both East & West.
clw_uk wrote: Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.
Yes, why not hear from all perspectives. It doesn't mean we should accept the views from all sources, but just because a Westerner gives an opinion, does not mean he or she is trying to remake Buddhism or trying to "take it over." If it is in accord with the Dhamma-Vinaya or the Great Standards, then it is okay, if not then discard.

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mikenz66
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by mikenz66 »

David N. Snyder wrote: Yes, why not hear from all perspectives. It doesn't mean we should accept the views from all sources, but just because a Westerner gives an opinion, does not mean he or she is trying to remake Buddhism or trying to "take it over." If it is in accord with the Dhamma-Vinaya or the Great Standards, then it is okay, if not then discard.
Yes, that's the point, isn't it? What exactly can be discarded?

Actually, Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 59#p259618

A key point in his thesis is that inevitably the majority of Buddhists anywhere will be Folk Buddhists, not Adepts. However, rather than seeing that as a problem we should recognise that the preservation of Buddhism has (at least so far) relied on having support from a large community of non-adepts.

:anjali:
Mike

daverupa
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by daverupa »

mikenz66 wrote:Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 59#p259618
It's here more directly: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12718 and is quite related, I think.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

dagon
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by dagon »

Hi All

You may find this article interesting as it seeks to document one, of what i suspect would have been many attempts to renew Buddhism over the last 2500 years.

http://sujato.files.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -trend.pdf

metta
paul

SarathW
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by SarathW »

Hi Clw


Buddha did not know every thing in the world!
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.
So Buddha will know something only if he pay attention to it.
Buddha is a super human but he is not a superman.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion »

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Actually, Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 59#p259618
This is a classic example of "the false choice dilemma" in which two options are presented as if they're the only ones available.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion »

Kusala,
I like the Buddha and his teachings. This in not about likes and dislikes for me.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion »

Hi SarathW,
SarathW wrote:Hi Clw


Buddha did not know every thing in the world!
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.
So Buddha will know something only if he pay attention to it.
Buddha is a super human but he is not a superman.
:)
Well put!
Kindly,
dL

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