Australian Brahmic Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Vardali
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by Vardali » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:59 pm

PeterB wrote: He has gone from class clown ( which was tedious enough ) to renegade.
Well, either that is surely a matter of opinion :stirthepot: And it begs the question "renegade" regarding what? A specific branch of a specific tradition, a tradition, a culture, a school, ...
And no, I haven't noticed any disregard of AB for vipassana, pali canon etc. at all, but then I have little interest in scholastic arguments.

But either way, free world and ample teachers about etc. => I trust there is someone suitable for everyone. :reading:

If AB does't appeal to a person (me, for ex., I am not the biggest fan of his dhamma talks but I find his meditations teachings helpful as well as his overall positive and compassionate attitude), just give it a miss and go elsewhere that one can find something more suitable to your practice. Seems most straight forward to me.

What I don't get is the venom in his direction, tbh. :shrug:
No one has to listen to AB, really. So why waste one's time on it if one doesn't find him help- or useful?
And no, it is not a rhethorical question, I really don't get it. :?:

PeterB
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:11 pm

No one DOES have to listen to him. So why defend him ?
He has by a act of his own free will placed himself beyond Sanghic relations to the group of monks he trained with and sat with and ate with, and whose teacher was his teacher. I dont think renegade is too strong a word.
Describing this situation accurately is not "venomous." Its just the way it is...and its very sad.

I personally found his "cheeky Buddhist stand- up " persona very tedious indeed, and thought that it entailed a huge ego.

I dont know why he did not go the whole hog and buy a top hat and cane and sing " Puttin' On The Ritz" while tap dancing..

Subsequent events have rather confirmed my instincts. But that is another matter.

Jhana4
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by Jhana4 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:26 pm

PeterB wrote:This is either naif or disingenuous. It is not just "some group of monks" who have expelled Brahmavamso.
Peter;

In your quote above you are replying to a point that looks like it was made by appicchato.

I was thankful that yesterday you pointed out to me that A_Martin is a monk and such deserved a minimum of respect by being addressed with the honorific "Venerable" or "Bhante".

Appiccato is a monk as well.

Since a traditional level of respect for monks is a strong value you have, I thought you would like to know that so you can address appicchato as "Bhante" as well, perhaps in addition to not calling him disingenuous.

In regards to Ajahn Brahm, I think people disagreeing with his views is within the realm of traditional respect for Buddhist monks. I'm not sure that calling a Buddhist monk a class clown or a renegade is.
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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appicchato
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by appicchato » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:40 pm

Looking at Ajahn Brahm's numerous accolades, notoriety, popularity, large number of organizations he is spiritual advisor to, accomplishments, achievements, awards, longevity, inspiration, and all around demeanor, many do find him worthy of defense...not that it's needed...

Be well...

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adeh
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by adeh » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:53 pm

PeterB wrote:This is either naif or disingenuous. It is not just "some group of monks" who have expelled Brahmavamso.

He has been expelled from Luang Por Chah's line of teachers. And well overdue too.

He has gone from class clown ( which was tedious enough ) to renegade.




:hello:
We should remember that his ''expulsion'' was not because of his interpretation of certain doctrines or his rejection of the Abhidhamma etc., it was because he oversaw the ordination of a group of Bhikkhunis....

PeterB
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:02 pm

Of course Adeh, and my subjective reaction to his teaching style does not cause me to forget that. That makes it more , not less tragic. Its daft. It was unneccessary. There is a lot of evidence that if he had not declared UDI the ordinations would have been delayed but would have happened anyway. A lot of people were working towards a solution and he walked away from them.

darvki
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by darvki » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:11 pm

I'm going to leave the subject of the Bhikkhuni ordination alone since it isn't cited as part of "Australian Brahmic Buddhism" in the OP.

I think the attention brought to his differences in technical interpretation is a bit unsubstantiated. We might as well do it for every teacher within the Theravada whose interpretations differ from the majority.

Leaving aside the technical leaves the citation of the video as an indicator of his overall teaching style, which I find sort of amusing. Is it really such a big deal that he at least on principle endorsed the Bodhisatta ideal or the concept of buddha-nature?

As for the link to Ajahn Sujato's article on the Agamas, I don't see how subscribing to a different transmission of the Buddhavacana because one finds it to be more reliable brings one outside the Theravada.

PeterB
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 pm

Erm..... yes it is rather a big deal darvki. He's gone troppo.

Nyana
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by Nyana » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:00 pm

pilgrim wrote:Every teacher has his own style of teaching and his particular emphasis. I don't think it is fair or even accurate to say this constitutes a new tradition.
darvki wrote:As for the link to Ajahn Sujato's article on the Agamas, I don't see how subscribing to a different transmission of the Buddhavacana because one finds it to be more reliable brings one outside the Theravada.
Ven. Brahmavamso's explicit contradiction (and tacit rejection) of the doctrines contained in the Canonical Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and major parts of the Canonical Theravāda Khuddakanikāya, and Ven. Sujato's explicit rejection of the same doctrines, leaves very little "Theravāda" in what they are presenting. The doctrines contained in the Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and Theravāda Khuddakanikāya texts such as the Paṭisambhidāmagga are what constitute the Theravāda as a unique doctrinal school (vāda). These treatises are all specific to the Theravāda. They have no parallel counterparts even amongst the other Sthaviravāda schools such as the Sarvāstivāda. Therefore, whatever it is that Ven. Brahmavamso and and Ven. Sujato, et al, are teaching, it cannot be called Theravāda. To call it Theravāda renders the designation quite meaningless.

All the best,

Geoff

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mikenz66
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Hi Geoff, Thank you for the input.
Ñāṇa wrote: Ven. Brahmavamso tacit rejection of the doctrines contained in the Canonical Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and major parts of the Canonical Theravāda Khuddakanikāya, and Ven. Sujato's explicit rejection of the same doctrines, leaves very little "Theravāda" in what they are presenting. f
I believe I've heard Ven Sujato (on recording) explicitly state that he considers himself an "early Buddhist" (or some similar term), rather than "Theravada".

Of course,this is a possible approach (which seems to be popular among some members). I.e. considering all possible evidence to attempt to get a picture of what was actually taught by the Buddha by comparing surviving texts from all schools and gleaning information from other sources (Jain and Brahminic).

As I know from the extensive examples you've offered here, it's clearly not a trivial task to make sense of the consistency, or lack thereof, of the various parts of the Theravada Cannon, and the ancient and modern Theravada Commentaries. So this task of "figuring out exactly what the Buddha taught" by extending one's range to all possible sources seems to me to be extremely challenging. It's full-time PhD level stuff (which is what Ven Huifeng/Paññāsikhara, for example, is engaged in), and something I only have time to take a passing interest in.

I take it you are advocating picking a particular school (Theravada) and sticking with it? But do you see any reason (apart from difficulty) why the "early Buddhism" approach is not viable?

:anjali:
Mike

PeterB
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:33 pm

I think his doctrinal departure and his unilateral decision to ordain Bhikkhunis are all of a piece psychologically.
The latter is an acting out of the former.

darvki
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by darvki » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:30 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Ven. Brahmavamso's explicit contradiction (and tacit rejection) of the doctrines contained in the Canonical Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and major parts of the Canonical Theravāda Khuddakanikāya, and Ven. Sujato's explicit rejection of the same doctrines, leaves very little "Theravāda" in what they are presenting. The doctrines contained in the Theravāda Abhidhammapiṭaka and Theravāda Khuddakanikāya texts such as the Paṭisambhidāmagga are what constitute the Theravāda as a unique doctrinal school (vāda). These treatises are all specific to the Theravāda. They have no parallel counterparts even amongst the other Sthaviravāda schools such as the Sarvāstivāda. Therefore, whatever it is that Ven. Brahmavamso and and Ven. Sujato, et al, are teaching, it cannot be called Theravāda. To call it Theravāda renders the designation quite meaningless.
Now I must retract my statement: I do understand. Thank you, Geoff.
PeterB wrote:Erm..... yes it is rather a big deal darvki. He's gone troppo.
Oh, please. It's not like he said he subscribes to Tathagatagarbha teachings or quoted the Lotus Sutra. He used Mahayanist ideas as poetic devices.

Nyana
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by Nyana » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:10 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I believe I've heard Ven Sujato (on recording) explicitly state that he considers himself an "early Buddhist" (or some similar term), rather than "Theravada".

Of course,this is a possible approach (which seems to be popular among some members). I.e. considering all possible evidence to attempt to get a picture of what was actually taught by the Buddha by comparing surviving texts from all schools and gleaning information from other sources (Jain and Brahminic).

As I know from the extensive examples you've offered here, it's clearly not a trivial task to make sense of the consistency, or lack thereof, of the various parts of the Theravada Cannon, and the ancient and modern Theravada Commentaries. So this task of "figuring out exactly what the Buddha taught" by extending one's range to all possible sources seems to me to be extremely challenging. It's full-time PhD level stuff (which is what Ven Huifeng/Paññāsikhara, for example, is engaged in), and something I only have time to take a passing interest in.

I take it you are advocating picking a particular school (Theravada) and sticking with it? But do you see any reason (apart from difficulty) why the "early Buddhism" approach is not viable?
Well, the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka is the Theravāda Canon. And it's the Theravāda Canon for a reason. The treatises of the Khuddakanikāya and the Abhidhammapiṭaka present the parameters of the Theravāda as a unique doctrinal school (vāda). These are the "baseline" doctrines which distinguish the Theravāda from the other Sthaviravāda and non-Sthaviravāda schools. To dismiss most or all of these Canonical doctrinal teachings is to reject the Theravāda as a vāda. When this is done we often see the Suttapiṭaka -- usually without a comprehensive survey of the entire Suttapiṭaka -- being used to justify all sorts of pet theories. This creates a wild west situation where almost anything goes. Just find a sutta or two to justify one's pet theory and this makes one's interpretation is just as valid as any other.... This is quite an ill-conceived and unfortunate approach to Buddhist hermeneutics.

This isn't to say that text critical analysis is entirely unjustified. But to limit text critical analysis just to the sutta strata of received tradition and use this methodology to dismiss the abhidhamma strata of received tradition is problematic for a number of reasons. It fails to acknowledge just how indebted we all are to the entirety of the canonical, para-canonical, and commentarial texts for our understanding of Pāḷi as a language. It also implies (and is sometimes explicitly stated) that the compilers of the Abhidhammapiṭaka had already lost the realization of the dhamma within one or two hundred years of the Buddha's parinibbāna. These are just two of many faults and dubious assumptions which could be mentioned. IMO the bar should be set higher.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by Kenshou » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:21 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:It fails to acknowledge just how indebted we all are to the entirety of the canonical, para-canonical, and commentarial texts for our understanding of Pāḷi as a language.
That's a good point.

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mikenz66
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Re: Australian Brahmic Buddhism

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:02 am

Thanks Geoff,

As you have probably gathered, I agree with you, though I guess it is always prudent to be aware that the compilers and commentators of the Canon can make errors (which various modern commentators turn up from time to time).

:anjali:
Mike

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