Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

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Aloka
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by Aloka » Mon May 25, 2015 3:51 pm

SDC wrote:
Aloka wrote:If something isn't done by governments about climate change and the environment, and increasing loss of flora & fauna soon, then there won't be any future lifeforms on the planet, including "Buddhists" discussing their beliefs on the internet.


:anjali:
But where will this enthusiastic, noble rejection of nibbana by these leaders leave the practitioner once they realize this about the world?
SN 1.66 wrote:By what is the world afflicted?
By what is it enveloped?
By what dart has it been wounded?
With what is it always burning?”

“The world is afflicted with death,
Enveloped by old age;
Wounded by the dart of craving,
It is always burning with desire.
(emphasis added)
How is what you've said going to help the state of our planet with icecaps melting, massive flooding, fierce freak storms & skin melting temperatures/ deep freezes, animals nearing extinction etc etc ? It seems more like a case of fiddling while Rome burns.

I'm bowing out of this discussion. After all, its none of my business what a group of Buddhist teachers in the USA decide to try to do collectively for the benefit of future generations.

Its also all too easy to sit in front of a screen judgeing others and making grand pronouncements about how everyone else should or shouldn't practice.


:anjali:

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SDC
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by SDC » Mon May 25, 2015 4:20 pm

Aloka wrote:How is what you've said going to help the state of our planet with icecaps melting, massive flooding, fierce freak storms & skin melting temperatures/ deep freezes, animals nearing extinction etc etc ? It seems more like a case of fiddling while Rome burns.
Here is what I also said:
SDC wrote:...In that they will allow a practitioner to keep perspective while showing where engagement has a clear place within the practice instead of making it the crux of the practice...


The sutta quote was something for all to keep in mind when attempting to understand the turbulent world we live in.

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by mikenz66 » Mon May 25, 2015 8:09 pm

SDC wrote: But where will this enthusiastic, noble rejection of nibbana by these leaders leave the practitioner once they realize this about the world?
I don't see Bhikku Bodhi rejecting nibbana. That seems like huperbole to me. He's using some of his time to teach people outside of those of us who read his books and listen to his hundreds of hours of excellent Dhamma talks freely available on the Internet. He's clearly also done a lot of meditative development, but very humbly makes light of his achievements, as he makes light of his PhD in philosophy. Unfortunately, I think this is misinterpreted by some as a lack of skill or knowledge.

:anjali:
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by SarathW » Mon May 25, 2015 8:37 pm

SDC wrote:
waterchan wrote:As long as Bhikkhu Bodhi's visit to the White House do not necessarily detract from his practice or the practice of others, it is none of my business.
Agreed.

Though it is my hope that when ambassadors of the Dhamma enter the grand public eye that they do their best to promote the complete purpose of the path which they chose to follow instead of taking the low road by attempting to elevate worldly issues up to the level of that highest goal of the path. In that they will allow a practitioner to keep perspective while showing where engagement has a clear place within the practice instead of making it the crux of the practice. I do not believe this is what happened at this conference. Using the four noble truths as a model for the solution for climate change? That is hardly responsible nor is it a fair representation of what the teaching is clearly meant to used for. That so many here are either playing devil's advocate or actually agree with this position, apparently without any question, is indeed baffling.
Agreed.
There is a Sutta, that Buddha admonishing a monk for not delivering the full teaching to a dying man.
If Buddha was here, Ven. Bodhi would have been severely admonished.
:shrug:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by mikenz66 » Mon May 25, 2015 9:08 pm

SarathW wrote: There is a Sutta, that Buddha admonishing a monk for not delivering the full teaching to a dying man.
If Buddha was here, Ven. Bodhi would have been severely admonished.
:shrug:
I believe you are taking that statement completely out of context. The context in that sutta was that the dying man had the capability of more development than was taught.
"But why, Sariputta — when there was still more to be done, having established Dhanañjanin the brahman in the inferior Brahma world — did you get up from your seat and leave?"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The Buddha himself only gave the full teachings to those who were ready. There are plenty of cases of him only teaching metta, or only having a discussion, which never led to any detailed Dhamma teaching, but perhaps gave the person some faith, and the motivation to do meritorious deeds.

The insistence on this thread that any teaching or practice short of full liberation is worthless, that Bhikkhu Bodhi and others are wasting their time teaching or doing things that don't lead immediately to full awakening, therefore they are going against the Dhamma, seems to me to be a very narrow view of the Dhamma.

:anjali:
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waterchan
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by waterchan » Mon May 25, 2015 9:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:He's clearly also done a lot of meditative development...
What do you base this upon? I thought Bhikkhu Bodhi stated quite clearly that he cannot get into deep meditation because of a medical condition.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by tiltbillings » Mon May 25, 2015 9:11 pm

SDC wrote:
Aloka wrote:If something isn't done by governments about climate change and the environment, and increasing loss of flora & fauna soon, then there won't be any future lifeforms on the planet, including "Buddhists" discussing their beliefs on the internet.


:anjali:
But where will this enthusiastic, noble rejection of nibbana by these leaders leave the practitioner once they realize this about the world?
SN 1.66 wrote: . . .
So, following you, one is to do nothing. This "rejection of nibbana" notion looks to be your thinking, not theirs. These people look to be acting out of compassion, something the "naughty Ven Bodhi" participant seem not to understand. This condemnation of the actions of these 125 Buddhists makes the most a singularly sad thread on this forum.

"'I shall protect myself,' in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. 'I shall protect others,' in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself one protects others; protecting others one protects oneself. And how does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation. And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by compassion and loving kindness." -- S 52,8

"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.
Sn 705

I am a friend and helper to all,
I am sympathetic to all living beings.
I develop a mind full of love
and always delight in harmlessness.

I gladden my mind, fill it with joy,
make it immovable and unshakable.
I develop the divine states of mind
not cultivated by evil men.
Thag 648-9

Compassion is far more than a warm fuzzy feeling one gets doing meditation.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by tiltbillings » Mon May 25, 2015 9:18 pm

waterchan wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:He's clearly also done a lot of meditative development...
What do you base this upon? I thought Bhikkhu Bodhi stated quite clearly that he cannot get into deep meditation because of a medical condition.
I was waiting for this one to show up. That may be so about Ven Bodhi, but that does not mean that he does not meditate, nor does it mean that he is lacking in the fruits of bhāvanā. The last 3 month meditation retreat I attended Ven Bodhi was there for most of it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by DNS » Mon May 25, 2015 9:26 pm

Ven. Dhammika wrote:When we give or share we should, the Buddha advised, give with respect, thoughtfully, with our own hand if possible, give things that will benefit the recipient and after having considered how our gift might benefit them (A.III,172). With typical skill and insight, he asked us to see beyond the actual article we give to what it can actually do for others. So, for example, he pointed out that: ‘In giving food one also gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence and in giving these five things one also partakes in them, both now and later.’ (A.III,42). While seeing the value of providing others with their material needs, the Buddha reminded us that the highest, the most helpful and precious thing we can give to others is the Dhamma (Dhp.354).

However, one has to get things in perspective. Giving a sick person a book on Buddhism when they are in desperate need of medicine or a doctor is not only inappropriate, it is also void of wisdom and compassion. This point is highlighted by the incident in the traditional life of the Buddha. Once a man was so determined to hear the Dhamma that he came to where the Buddha was speaking straight after a long day’s work. He had not even given himself time to rest, bathe or eat. Having come to know of this, the Buddha asked the monks to give the man something to eat before the Dhamma talk began (Dhp-A. 262).
http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=151" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by tiltbillings » Mon May 25, 2015 9:29 pm

SDC wrote:
waterchan wrote:As long as Bhikkhu Bodhi's visit to the White House do not necessarily detract from his practice or the practice of others, it is none of my business.
Agreed.

. . . I do not believe this is what happened at this conference. Using the four noble truths as a model for the solution for climate change? That is hardly responsible nor is it a fair representation of what the teaching is clearly meant to used for. That so many here are either playing devil's advocate or actually agree with this position, apparently without any question, is indeed baffling.
The Four Noble Truths, as MN 9 makes quite clear, is a specific application of a general formula of causality.
Though it is my hope that when ambassadors of the Dhamma enter the grand public eye that they do their best to promote the complete purpose of the path which they chose to follow instead of taking the low road by attempting to elevate worldly issues up to the level of that highest goal of the path. In that they will allow a practitioner to keep perspective while showing where engagement has a clear place within the practice instead of making it the crux of the practice
This is not an unreasonable concern; however, I think we can, not uncritically, extend our trust to these people.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by tiltbillings » Mon May 25, 2015 9:33 pm

SarathW wrote:
SDC wrote:
waterchan wrote:As long as Bhikkhu Bodhi's visit to the White House do not necessarily detract from his practice or the practice of others, it is none of my business.
Agreed.

Though it is my hope that when ambassadors of the Dhamma enter the grand public eye that they do their best to promote the complete purpose of the path which they chose to follow instead of taking the low road by attempting to elevate worldly issues up to the level of that highest goal of the path. In that they will allow a practitioner to keep perspective while showing where engagement has a clear place within the practice instead of making it the crux of the practice. I do not believe this is what happened at this conference. Using the four noble truths as a model for the solution for climate change? That is hardly responsible nor is it a fair representation of what the teaching is clearly meant to used for. That so many here are either playing devil's advocate or actually agree with this position, apparently without any question, is indeed baffling.
Agreed.
There is a Sutta, that Buddha admonishing a monk for not delivering the full teaching to a dying man.
If Buddha was here, Ven. Bodhi would have been severely admonished.
Seriously? You might want to carefully rethink your comment.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by tiltbillings » Mon May 25, 2015 9:34 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Ven. Dhammika wrote:When we give or share we should, the Buddha advised, give with respect, thoughtfully, with our own hand if possible, give things that will benefit the recipient and after having considered how our gift might benefit them (A.III,172). With typical skill and insight, he asked us to see beyond the actual article we give to what it can actually do for others. So, for example, he pointed out that: ‘In giving food one also gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence and in giving these five things one also partakes in them, both now and later.’ (A.III,42). While seeing the value of providing others with their material needs, the Buddha reminded us that the highest, the most helpful and precious thing we can give to others is the Dhamma (Dhp.354).

However, one has to get things in perspective. Giving a sick person a book on Buddhism when they are in desperate need of medicine or a doctor is not only inappropriate, it is also void of wisdom and compassion. This point is highlighted by the incident in the traditional life of the Buddha. Once a man was so determined to hear the Dhamma that he came to where the Buddha was speaking straight after a long day’s work. He had not even given himself time to rest, bathe or eat. Having come to know of this, the Buddha asked the monks to give the man something to eat before the Dhamma talk began (Dhp-A. 262).
http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=151" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Brilliant.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by waterchan » Mon May 25, 2015 9:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote: That may be so about Ven Bodhi, but that does not mean that he does not meditate, nor does it mean that he is lacking in the fruits of bhāvanā.
He himself seems to admit that he is lacking in the fruits of bhavana:
Throughout my life as a monk I have made extensive use of these four meditation subjects. I have also done occasional extended retreats at hermitages in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Regretfully, though, because of my poor merits and the debilitating headache condition, I have not reached any attainments worthy of a true practitioner.
Not that it bothers me. Just pointing it out because of mikenz's comment above. In fact, I think this whole issue of Bhikkhu Bodhi's worldly involvement doesn't bother me because I view him as a highly esteemed authority on the Pali texts, and not as a great teacher for the development of bhavana. And judging by the way he presents himself as a teacher, I'm sure he'd be fine with that. I don't think people should expect more from Bhikkhu Bodhi than he's willing or able to give, and my, I'm sure he's given a whole lot more to Buddhism than anyone here on this forum.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

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Aloka
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by Aloka » Mon May 25, 2015 9:44 pm

From Jack Kornfield's website:
120 Buddhist leaders of every color and tradition joined together at last weeks’ White House Buddhist gathering. On a fine spring day there converged orange robed Lao and Taiwanese Abbots, well-known American born leaders, senior monks and nuns, lamas and Zen masters. Organized by a leadership group led by William Aiken of George Washington University, our purpose was to bring the Buddhist voice of wisdom and compassion to the policies of our government.

Compelling presentations showed how almost every Buddhist community there had developed compassionate projects, outreach and activism: serving from Haiti to Nepal, helping from prisons to impoverished city schools, working to support social justice and strengthen environmental care. We presented the White House and State Department staff with strong letters of concern on Climate Change, Racial Justice and spoke on the problems of the Rohingya, which I will write about more shortly. There was a joyful yet sober mood….daunting problems met with the camaraderie of brothers and sisters across the Dharma world … working together to offer our love and our resolve.

Giving the concluding address, I was able to remind the group of our history…that the Buddha regularly met with and taught Kings and Princes, ministers and wealthy leaders. He actively worked to stop wars and promoted social justice among all classes and races and castes. In fact, were he alive he would have visited the White House – and that he was there now in the Dharma that we all carried.

Sutras and texts recount many of Buddha’s teachings on Just Society: “As long as a society meets regularly in harmony and respect, follows the tradition of the wisest elders, protects women and children and other vulnerable members, cares for the natural world around them, fosters economic well-being and develops personal mindfulness and lovingkindness can they be expected to prosper and not decline.” These teachings were true 2,600 years ago and remain true today.

Often we have colluded in allowing Buddhism and ourselves to be misrepresented as meditative naval gazers primarily concerned with inner life. But Buddhist teachings are always expressed by Wisdom, Compassion and Right Action. This is a powerful and beautiful heritage and we are called to celebrate and embody it.

In Zen they say it simply: “There are only two things: You sit and you sweep the garden.”

The compassionate wisdom of interdependence, virtue and generosity we carry is not for Buddhists alone. It is part of the spiritual medicine needed to balance our wild outer technological development, which on its own will not end war, racism and ecological destruction. Humanity needs to balance the outer with an equal development of wisdom and compassion.

It is an honor to be a part of a broad community of beings who understand this and serve in so many forms, from gathering at the White House to sweeping the gardens across our whole sacred world.

http://www.jackkornfield.com/first-whit ... onference/

:anjali:

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist leaders convene at White House

Post by DNS » Mon May 25, 2015 10:02 pm

waterchan wrote: He himself seems to admit that he is lacking in the fruits of bhavana:
Throughout my life as a monk I have made extensive use of these four meditation subjects. I have also done occasional extended retreats at hermitages in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Regretfully, though, because of my poor merits and the debilitating headache condition, I have not reached any attainments worthy of a true practitioner.
IIRC, that was written a very long time ago. I don't believe Bhikkhu Bodhi has ever said that he will never attain the fruits of bhavana and it is a shame that this one instance of humility and honesty is interpreted to mean he has made no advancements -- ever. Bhikkhu Bodhi is very wise and knowledgeable.

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