A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
User avatar
Idappaccayata
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:54 pm

A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by Idappaccayata » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:29 pm

A new article by thanissaro that is a response to the criticism he's received by bhikkhu Analayo and Brahmali for denying the validity of bhikkhuni ordination.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/TrojanHorse.html
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1041
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:31 am

Oh boy that's looong. Is there a TLDR? (Too long didn't read) :tongue:

User avatar
Idappaccayata
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:54 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by Idappaccayata » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:07 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:31 am
Oh boy that's looong. Is there a TLDR? (Too long didn't read) :tongue:
Lol I thought the same thing. There's a summary of each of the main points (1-9) at the beginning. Im pretty open to both views in this debate. I don't really have an opinion. Though, thanissaro does make some very good points. At the very least, I don't believe even for a second that he's sexist, like certain monks try to insinuate.
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1041
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:13 am

Idappaccayata wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:07 am
...There's a summary of each of the main points (1-9) at the beginning...
Thanks, I'll go back and have a look. :namaste:

User avatar
Polar Bear
Posts: 1287
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:39 am
Location: Bear Republic

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by Polar Bear » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:51 am

A fascinating back and forth about a very serious set of issues in the Theravada Buddhist religion. Thanks for posting this latest installment.


:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by AgarikaJ » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:29 am

Idappaccayata wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:07 am
Im pretty open to both views in this debate. I don't really have an opinion.
I have read the book by Bhikkhu Analayo on the founding story of the Bikkhuni order and he goes into incredible detail in it.
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... nalayo.pdf

But so does Bikkhu Thanissaro.

As both are bound to interpret the sources as we have them, I can see clearly that both their opposing viewpoints do have merit. I think if one is not an expert in Sutta studies, having a decisive opinion on this is therefore just not possible.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

User avatar
Idappaccayata
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:54 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by Idappaccayata » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:43 pm

AgarikaJ wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:29 am
Idappaccayata wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:07 am
Im pretty open to both views in this debate. I don't really have an opinion.
I have read the book by Bhikkhu Analayo on the founding story of the Bikkhuni order and he goes into incredible detail in it.
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... nalayo.pdf

But so does Bikkhu Thanissaro.

As both are bound to interpret the sources as we have them, I can see clearly that both their opposing viewpoints do have merit. I think if one is not an expert in Sutta studies, having a decisive opinion on this is therefore just not possible.
My thoughts exactly. I shared the article on suttacentral as well, and a lot of the responses are unbelievable. Dismissing it as nothing but misogyny. Saying thanissaro has no compassion. Mostly from those with zero understanding or experience in the vinaya, who I have also never met him.

To see sujato dismiss it in the same manner makes me lose quite a bit of respect for him. He seems not to take the dhamma very seriously.
A dying man can only rely upon his wisdom, if he developed it. Wisdom is not dependent upon any phenomenon originated upon six senses. It is developed on the basis of the discernment of the same. That’s why when one’s senses start to wither and die, the knowledge of their nature remains unaffected. When there is no wisdom, there will be despair, in the face of death.

- Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by AgarikaJ » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:30 pm

Idappaccayata wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:43 pm
My thoughts exactly. I shared the article on suttacentral as well, and a lot of the responses are unbelievable. Dismissing it as nothing but misogyny. Saying thanissaro has no compassion.
I read that thread; very obviously, not all the respondents actually put in the effort to read Bikkhu Thanissaro's lengthy treatise and thought about his specific points. This actually should preclude them from offering any opinion.

I read Bikkhu Thanissaro's article and found his arguments well-rounded and 'sounding right' (as did the arguments of Bikkhu Analayo before, therefore the difficulty to decide either-or).
Misogyny was definitely not a part of them (in all fairness, not many on SuttaCentral brought that up) -- but he was of course also lacking the more egalitarian stance (which, from the aspect of general compassion, I actually find the most attractive), which Bikkhu Analayo reached due to his research on the parallels.

While Bikkhu Thanissaro had an extremely strong point on the Garudhammas actually not being training rules, he completely ignored any of those parallels. Both sides seem unwilling or unable to engage with the full range of the respective arguments.

Therefore all the more I would have wished that Bikkhu Thanissaro would have brought his arguments forward in a less personal manner, or at least some of his formulations can be easily read, if so inclined, as being thinly veiled ad hominems (for example: "I will preface his objections to my position by noting that, instead of making an honest attempt to refute my central argument, he simply skirts around it.").
It is beyond my knowledge if before that, ad hominems flowed in the direction of Bikkhu Thanissaro -- even though it is likely -- but still one would have wished that this would not have necessitated to use such a discussional vehicle in return.

Presumably, the whole discussion is (and has been for a long, long time) poisoned to the point that none of the participants can keep from expressing personal attachment to their views. All the more it is wise counsel to not add probably less well rounded *opinions* to the cacophony and to try to keep any emotion as far as possible outside this discussion.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

dharmacorps
Posts: 1001
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:09 pm

Idappaccayata wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:43 pm

My thoughts exactly. I shared the article on suttacentral as well, and a lot of the responses are unbelievable. Dismissing it as nothing but misogyny. Saying thanissaro has no compassion. Mostly from those with zero understanding or experience in the vinaya, who I have also never met him.

To see sujato dismiss it in the same manner makes me lose quite a bit of respect for him.
Thanks for saying this. I just was reading the response on SC and felt the same way. Tan Geoff makes great points and brings up valid concerns even if you disagree with him. I am not sure I have the patience to try to get involved in the discussion over there though. Calling him sexist, misogynist, etc is preposterous and obviously they don't know Tan Geoff or understand him. I am sure for his part, Tan Geoff is not bothered by this. :anjali:

User avatar
dylanj
Posts: 904
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:48 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by dylanj » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:17 pm

this is the best argument on the topic i've read:

https://snfwrenms.wordpress.com/2011/09 ... e-revived/
Born, become, arisen – made, prepared, short-lived
Bonded by decay and death – a nest for sickness, perishable
Produced by seeking nutriment – not fit to take delight in


Departure from this is peaceful – beyond reasoning and enduring
Unborn, unarisen – free from sorrow and stain
Ceasing of all factors of suffering – stilling of all preparations is bliss

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by AgarikaJ » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:10 pm

dylanj wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:17 pm
this is the best argument on the topic i've read:
https://snfwrenms.wordpress.com/2011/09 ... e-revived/
I am not sure if you read Bikkhu Thanissaro's article, but it would be a direct refutation of exactly the point Mingun Jetawan Sayādaw was making... or said another way, Bikkhu Analayo's arguments followed along a similar line as those of this Burmese monk.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2488
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by Zom » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:27 pm

this is the best argument on the topic i've read:
Best Thai scholar monk Ven. Payutto disagrees here. This phrase was not a guideline for future - it was a temporary permission at very start of bhikkhuni Sangha, when there were no bhikkhunis yet. Someone had to ordian them - and so Buddha said: "Bhikkhus I allow you to ordain them". After Sangha was established, Buddha introduced more complicated rule - 4/4 from both Sanghas.

User avatar
StormBorn
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:31 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by StormBorn » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:46 am

Idappaccayata wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:29 pm
A new article by thanissaro that is a response to the criticism he's received by bhikkhu Analayo and Brahmali for denying the validity of bhikkhuni ordination.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/TrojanHorse.html
From the above link:
Part V contains what I feel are the most serious issues in this article. It concerns the question of how bhikkhunīs who have received unilateral ordination are to gain training, given that there are no qualified senior bhikkhunīs to train them. I consider Anālayo’s assertion that they are already getting adequate training, showing that his standards for “adequate” do not meet those set by the Vinaya.

However, even though it has no basis in the texts, Anālayo’s interpretation of this issue shows what kind of training is being offered to new bhikkhunīs: a training that calls the whole Dhamma and Vinaya into question, and opens the way for bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs to reject any rule in the Vinaya that doesn’t fit in with their untrained ideas of wisdom or compassion. If this type of “training” is what is being offered to new bhikkhunīs, then they are getting worse than no training at all. They are getting a training that is actually opposed to the Dhamma and Vinaya.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 3248
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by robertk » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:10 am

StormBorn wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:46 am
Idappaccayata wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:29 pm
A new article by thanissaro that is a response to the criticism he's received by bhikkhu Analayo and Brahmali for denying the validity of bhikkhuni ordination.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/TrojanHorse.html
From the above link:
Part V contains what I feel are the most serious issues in this article. It concerns the question of how bhikkhunīs who have received unilateral ordination are to gain training, given that there are no qualified senior bhikkhunīs to train them. I consider Anālayo’s assertion that they are already getting adequate training, showing that his standards for “adequate” do not meet those set by the Vinaya.

However, even though it has no basis in the texts, Anālayo’s interpretation of this issue shows what kind of training is being offered to new bhikkhunīs: a training that calls the whole Dhamma and Vinaya into question, and opens the way for bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs to reject any rule in the Vinaya that doesn’t fit in with their untrained ideas of wisdom or compassion. If this type of “training” is what is being offered to new bhikkhunīs, then they are getting worse than no training at all. They are getting a training that is actually opposed to the Dhamma and Vinaya.
Great to see this article by the Venerable.
Is there a link to the discussion at suttacentral?

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: A Trojan horse: Thanissaro bhikkhus response to Bhikkhu Analayo

Post by AgarikaJ » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:30 am

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/a- ... layo/11354


For those who do not want to read the whole thread, this was the most interesting post in it for me:
#I think people will vary with respect to the importance they attach to the issue. I’m not a monk, and don’t live by the vinaya, so it has little direct relevance to me. I don’t live near a Bhikkuni sangha. But if I did, I would decide whether or not to help support them based on whether I thought they were doing good in the world, not whether they had been verified as 100% Vinaya Pure by some other authority figures.

I also think the fetishization of the idea of “lineage” in the tradition is a little weird. Over the years, I have read about many monks, both contemporary and ancient, who many people would agree had very weird, defective or lax ideas about the path, the discipline and practice. And yet, they were ordained and went on to ordain others. So somehow the teachings are stronger than they were, and their successful transmission across the generations doesn’t require absolute perfection by each successive teacher/trainer. The idea that each link in the chain of spiritual descendants has some special magic and training capacity that can only be passed down person to person is dubious. I’m sure there are by now so many books about living the holy life that anyone who wants to try to set up a community and try to do it can get on with it pretty well without the constant attentions of an official preceptor. And as they learn from experience and get better at it, they will be able to teach others.

My personal feeling is that there is no way to resolve these issues in any objective manner. Every interpretive principle, and every normative principle based on such interpretative principles, either relies logically on other principles, or must be accepted without justification as part of a tradition. Analayo and Thanissaro could debate for a hundred years, but it wouldn’t stop women who want to find a way of going forth, and people who want to support them in going forth, from doing so.
Now we do know that lineage is one of the most important aspects of early Buddhism, and people went to good lengths during the earliest times to track their lineage back to one of the Buddha's disciples; see this interesting Stele from Madhya Pradesh from around 200 BCE, that goes back 14 generations of teachers to link them directly to the Buddha's disciple Anuruddha.

'Observations on the Deorkothar Inscriptions and Their Significance for the Evaluation of Buddhist Historical Traditions'; full text here: https://www.academia.edu/13763245/Obser ... Traditions

Do we overvalue lineage? And, if a lineage had a teacher with defective Sila, would it invalidate his disciples to the point that the lineage would be invalid? Going even further, do any valid Theravada lineages still exist, or are they maybe all faulty?
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 37 guests