I'll try to digest each paragraph, perhaps respond to each, and then see if it's even worth clicking "submit."
binocular wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:00 pm
I'm talking about fitting in as a matter of acculturation on which depends one's proper understanding of Buddhist terms. Similar as in mastering and being able to function in a language requires acculturation to the society that speaks that language. Without such acculturation, it's not possible to have meaningful communication with members of that culture; one is incomprehensible to them, and they are incomprehensible to one (or else, perceived as rude).
Okay, so at this point, Buddhist communication is just an instance of the processes and difficulties of any language community (especially when one is not born into it -- I'm imagining someone emigrating to a country where they do not speak the language).
If one isn't accultured to Buddhism, how can one be sure one understands any of the Buddhist terms correctly (such as "dukkha")? Heaven knows one can develop one's own idiosyncratic understanding of Buddhist terms (based on the reading of various texts), and even make this understanding internally consistent. But once faced with actual Buddhists, one might be incomprehensible to them, and the Buddhists be incomprehensible to one (or else, perceived as rude).
Okay, so this a further statement of the difficulties of not being born into a language community -- Buddhist or otherwise. All I might say at this point is that there may not be a single, shared, non-problematic language community of "actual Buddhists" as there are many different sub-groups (and sub-groups w/in sub-groups) -- that is, even actual Buddhists probably have some of the same difficulties you are pointing out. And most language communities don't have "acculturation programs" so all this happens haphazardly and implicitly.
In my experience, one such strong point of incomprehensibility for me are precisely matters of respect and offense.
This also sounds typical of such situations where offense may be taken by native speakers or by the learners due to the learner not fully understanding the new language and the subtleties of its use. One might expect Buddhists to be better than average at attempting to understand the situation and not "disrespect" the learner and not take offense at the learner's attempts to understand and even be helpful -- maybe this is part of what you are getting at here?
It's like the Buddhists and I are living in totally different worlds. It makes me doubt whether I have understood any of the terms correctly.
I don't know if there is something especially problematic about Buddhism in this regard or if it just a matter of the learning curve and seeking clarification. It does seem to me that participating in an online forum is not the best way to get acculturated into a language community -- especially when so few are actually "native speakers" (and there is a lot of disagreement about what terms mean and how to behave).
There appear to be numerous unwritten and mostly unspoken rules of communication and how to understand terms, rules that I didn't know and that I think go directly against what is said in the teachings, and discussing those unwritten, unspoken rules is tabooed. (For example, what I said just now is likely to be perceived as negative, critical, offensive by many Buddhists. I have no idea why.)
Again, all communities have "unspoken rules of communication,"and I suspect trying to make them "spoken" makes native speakers a bit uneasy (one reason being that they don't necessarily experience themselves as following any rules -- they are just taken for granted) -- attempting to unpack the unconscious of a person or community w/o being asked to can be perceived to be offensive (is there an expectation that Buddhists should be more open to that?).
Ah, I think the most potentially "specific to Buddhism" point you make is that you think the unspoken rules go against the teachings. This might be worth being more specific about.
Again though, I might be careful about taking the behavior of individuals on an online forum to represent some larger "Buddhist communication rules." It seems like the teachings on "right speech" are the place to start -- recognizing that "right speech" ain't easy and that individuals on a forum have different ways of dealing with that, have their own interpretations of what it looks like in action, and are at different stages of their training.
Now I'll click preview and see if I want to submit.
Okay, I'll submit.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.