Three Threats to Buddhism in Asia

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Re: Three Threats to Buddhism in Asia

Post by SDC » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:17 pm

This topic is about threats to Buddhism in Asia.

In that context, and in that context only, discussion of Islam is relevant to this topic.

Off-topic referencing of Islam has been removed. As you know, this forum is no longer the place for such discussion...


Paul. :)
Just in case anyone missed it the first time.

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Re: Three Threats to Buddhism in Asia

Post by constellation » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:31 pm

Buddhist scholars attending the 1st Makhapuja International Conference on ‘The Future of Buddhism in Asia’ have warned that consumerist trends within the monastic order and aggressive proselytism by Islamic and Christian groups are a threat to the future of Buddhism in Asia.

The right approach is to confront and dissolve problematic psychological structures more effectively than by dealing with these in the ordinary waking state.

The understanding of the philosophy / ‘science of mind’ within the eastern tradition in comparison to the western approach contains a fundamental difference: In the West, scientific research is in general conducted through the conceptual mind and therefore the application of this knowledge stays within the conceptual realm as well, in as much as it is confined to some form of outer, material development. In the East however, philosophical knowledge does not just imply a conceptual understanding but is considered simultaneously under the aspect of personal transformation. In this way, the applications of the philosophical insights in the East are also not confined to conceptual goals, but are immediately applied to the subject’s inner exploration and development. Ultimately we could call the eastern approach to philosophy / science of mind an integral philosophical knowledge or understanding.

Nowadays many people in the West are interested in psychology and meditation, which indicates that a need is felt for inner transformation. This is why I believe it could be very useful to apply the universal knowledge that is there both in the East and in the West concretely towards personal and spiritual development.

With the ever growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things.

Buddhism and Religion

Generally seen Buddhism is in the West regarded as a religion. But it is useful to reflect upon the fact that religion is a purely Western concept. In the Tibetan language we do not have a term with the same meaning as religion. So later, when the concept religion was introduced to the Tibetan culture, it was difficult to find a translation. In the dictionary we can see that the word the missionaries chose to convey the meaning of religion within Tibetan language was chö. However, chö does not bear the same meaning as the western term religion. Chö is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit term dharma, which originally means: “what it is in itself”, i.e. what is the nature of reality or what is the nature of mind and phenomena. Later dharma / chö started to relate to many different meanings, all depending on the context. It could mean ‘phenomenon’, also it could mean ‘the deepest nature of reality’, nirvana. Dharma / chö can also be the name of Buddha’s teachings, which imply philosophical teachings including metaphysics and logic, as well as teachings in science of mind and meditation as well as yogic teachings and practice. Finally, as a later development, dharma / chö can also relate to the religious aspect of Buddhism as well as to connote the different religions. For instance, referring to Christianity one says Dharma of Jesus, Islam is called Dharma of Mohamed and Buddhism is called the Buddha Dharma. However, in this context dharma has the connotation of ‘teaching’ rather than ‘religion’: Jesus’ teachings, Mohamed’s teachings etc.

Thus, when you hear Buddha Dharma, it comprises all the aspects of Buddhism, which in the West would relate to most of the disciplines within the humanistic sciences, including religious studies in theory and practice as well as to some aspects of the natural sciences. Also it should be mentioned that Buddhism as a religious practice is never separated from the science of mind and phenomena, as the goal of the religious practice actually is to realize the deepest nature of mind and phenomena. So you can see that the term of chö or dharma in many respects differs from the term religion. We can maybe even say that the term religion could be misleading as a translation for dharma / chö.

Even though in the Tibetan language and in Sanskrit, as well as in any of the other languages related with Buddhist culture, there does not exist a term or concept that exclusively denotes the area of religion, because of the Western influence nowadays one can hear the term dharma / chö being used in this sense. When the term ‘religion’ is being used in this way, i.e. as an unreflected translation of dharma / chö, people in the West often come to think that Buddhism is only a religion.

On the other hand, since the conceptual reality both in the modern world of the West as well as in the East has a very strong impact on modern man, the reductionistic translation of dharma to ‘religion’ is causing a particular problem for modern Eastern people as well. When people that are living in a modern Eastern culture are exposed to modern Western materialistic beliefs and knowledge, they simultaneously get the conceptual information that Buddhism is only a religion, and nothing more than that. Because of the incapability of bringing together materialism and Buddhism as a religion, along with adopting a materialistic belief system these modern Eastern people lose their cultural heritage - not only the religious aspect, but likewise the whole field of humanistic and natural inner sciences that are fundamental to Buddhism.

Within the Buddhist Tantric tradition there is great emphasis on using the dream state of being for developmental ends. There exists a special practice called "dream yoga," which in the West has been presented as one of the "Six Doctrines of Naropa." The dream yoga is a high meditation practice which is performed by the practitioner within the so-called lucid dream state.

However, working directly and consciously in the lucid dream state is not accessible to very many people. As the dream yoga methods are very strong and direct methods for development, I have committed myself to developing ways of dealing with dreams, which on the one hand provide training towards actual dream yoga practice—the practicing within the lucid dream state—and on the other hand can fruitfully be used to confront and dissolve problematic psychological structures more effectively than by dealing with these in the ordinary waking state. Therefore, it is appropriate to talk about two different levels of purposes, a surface level of psychological observance, and a more subtle level of spiritual observance.

Psychologically-oriented practices are concerned mainly with changing our general psychological structures with the purpose of decreasing our everyday problems in relation to self and others. In contrast, the spiritual observance level is a practice level mainly concerned with changing our existential existence, with the purpose of decreasing the distance between, and thus uniting, our rational and non-rational abilities, or our feminine and masculine energies, or our body and mind or substance and consciousness. By healing the gaps and finally uniting subject and object we break the dualistic determination and entrapment of our existence, thus entering into the nature of existence, the essential nature of the universe.

It should be noted that distinguishing these two practice levels is provisional. The two levels follow each other sequentially. One must solve one’s major problems on a psychological level before being able to successfully enter the more subtle spiritual level where changing one’s existential structures in relation to reality occurs.

One of the main concerns on a psychological level is to obtain a balance between our ordinary coarse-rational contact with and/or interpretation of reality and a nonrational relation with reality.

From the Buddhist perspective emotions arise due to attraction and rejection. We are attracted to that which we need in order that our entity and the present identity/self-reference can survive and we reject anything, which seems to threaten the continuity of this identity/self-reference. This applies to everything, which has come into dual and samsaric existence.

The vast spectrum of emotions and feelings evolve and arise solely on the basis of our individual identities/self-references and it is only at the point of higher evolutionary development like ours this instinct for survival may develop into emotions.

Emotions are bound up with the three types of mind: Conceptual mind, Feeling mind and Image mind. Emotion itself is an expression of the feeling mind. But when we speak about emotions we often fail to differentiate between the feeling and the conceptual idea about, which projects conceptual reality of the “bad” other. And we often confuse our experience through the image mind with its conceptual projection of the “bad” object with what we actually perceive through our physical eyes.

When emotional it is the dynamic of these three functions of mind, based on a vulnerable feeling of myself, that makes the original feeling arise and develop into a fully blown emotional reaction. Conceptually telling the person is “bad” further establishes the bad experience/situation.

Normally every human being is afraid of death. We have a very strong drive of wanting to have a form-nature, a body. This is connected with our particular way of existing, which we share with animals and plants. But on top of that human beings, unlike animals or plants, are conscious of having to die.

Darkness is like an empty nothingness where the forms disappear. That is why many people are also afraid of the dark. We get afraid because we identify with the form-level of existence. So from this very strong connection to the form-level of existence comes our fear of dying: When we die we know for sure that we have to leave our body, as it stops functioning. When we are in the death process the normal conceptual mind as well as the sense abilities dissolve one after the other and we lose the connection with the physical body, and if we still at this stage of dying identify with the physical body we will therefore naturally encounter fear of disappearing. But as soon as reconnecting with the energy below, the fear disappears.

Many of our unpleasant dreams arise because our basic problematic mental pattern of vulnerable self-references appears in the dream state. So, if we can deal with these dream appearances as they arise in the dream state, we can contact and change the underlying patterns, which otherwise rule our lives. Therefore, the main practice I will introduce is how to work directly with problems in the dream state.

These are old shamanistic methods and methods deriving from the Dream Yoga, and presents a very deep way to work with one’s problems. Essentially you resolve problems by fighting, transformation by means of dual methods or by means of non-dual methods. Of course this is not as simple as it sounds. In the dream you must first attain lucid dream abilities, otherwise you cannot transform the basic mental patterns manifesting in this state.

However, if we have not yet attained lucid dreaming skills, I am suggesting that we can work in an imagery dream state. In this way we recreate and re-enter the dream, which is manifesting the problems you wish to transform. This imagery work is helpful, but the quality depends on how deep we can enter the imagery dream, how real it becomes to us. Particularly for transforming the mental patterns using non-dual methods, we need to attain a deep imagery dream state to unite with the adverse object.

Once a student is firmly established in lucid dreaming or in the imagery dream, I introduce transformation methods, which are methods drawn from the ancient shamanistic tradition. I do not actually introduce working with the spirit world, but some of the methods I use are based on the underlying knowledge of the ancient methods. The deeper non-dual methods of transformation are inspired by Tantric methods, which enables us to reach our essential, basic energy in order to free your-self from the problematic structures.

These non-dual methods of transformation are connected with the death process and the final state of death. These natural states of dream and death have an essential place within Tantric meditation, and in accordance with the higher Tantras, in the Dream Yoga practice, in the dream state, we are supposed to do death related practices too. These practices are connected with the methods.

There is a timeless universal wisdom concerning human existence and the existence of the universe. This wisdom is so old that it might even have been connected with ancient western knowledge long before it flowered in the eastern hemisphere in India and later on in Tibet. This wisdom encompasses the knowledge that our seemingly solid world in its deepest nature is subject to continuous becoming and cessation and that at its root anything is interconnected with everything else, in unity; and that everything which exists has a causal and interdependent nature. This means that each and every phenomenon only exists because of the coming together of countless causes and components in every moment – in duality. In Tibetan this knowledge, of the interdependent origination of everything that exists, is called “Tendrel”. Unity in Duality springs from the Buddhist Inner Science tradition’s expression of this universal knowledge.

The most thorough and fundamental national defense is Education.

If education is not done well,
then whatever national defense
you have is useless.

To be able to see Noble Ones.pdf

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