Dalai Lama quote

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:24 pm

mikenz66 wrote:...the first duty of teachers being to spread Buddhism. The Dalai Lama disagreed, the first duty was, he said, to encourage all people to be more kind and compassionate. :heart:

:anjali:
Mike
Are not these two goals one and the same? I dare say the goal is the same, but the approaches are different. One approach is focused on Buddhism, the other acknowledges the complexity of western culture. Should the Dalai Lama attempt conversion, or should he accept the fact that Christianity is a force to be respected by using terms any Christian should appreciate? It seems to me like the gradual teaching approach.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Kamran
Posts: 458
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by Kamran » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:18 pm

I think the Dalai Lama, and Buddhism in general, is against proselytizing. In many countries trying to convert people to Buddhism would cause a backlash from the clergy and/or religious community, so Dalai Lama is making it clear that that is not his intention.

Ajahn Sumedho also tries to diffuse this issue using a different tactic: he says people can't convert to Buddhism because Buddhism is not a belief system, its just a practice of meditating and learning how to stop your own destructive emotions.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16270
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:...the first duty of teachers being to spread Buddhism. The Dalai Lama disagreed, the first duty was, he said, to encourage all people to be more kind and compassionate. :heart:

:anjali:
Mike
Are not these two goals one and the same?
It's certainly a crucial part of Buddhism, but all (sensible) religions encourage kindness, compassion, etc.
Buckwheat wrote: I dare say the goal is the same, but the approaches are different. One approach is focused on Buddhism, the other acknowledges the complexity of western culture. Should the Dalai Lama attempt conversion, or should he accept the fact that Christianity is a force to be respected by using terms any Christian should appreciate? It seems to me like the gradual teaching approach.
Well, yes, I certainly agree with the gradual approach. When I've had to talk to groups of visitors at our Wat I try to find common ground (development of kindness, calm, etc.). Unless someone is really interested in Dhamma and asks specific questions I don't see much point in going into technicalities.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
m0rl0ck
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:23 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote: I'm honestly confused about what he is trying to accomplish.
Does he have to accomplish something? Its seems to me that him just being somewhere to remind people of whats really important is the accomplishment.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11675
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by DNS » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:55 pm

All very good points above, but I think some of the posters who are defending the Dalai Lama might be conflating two separate issues. It is good that the Dalai Lama is a great teacher and promoting niceness and compassion and all those good things and not trying to convert others to his religion. However, what if we take his statement literally?
Dalai Lama wrote:Here in the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessons over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.
If we take that literally none of us should be here. We should all be following the religion we were born into. We should have let our genes decide what to believe in. I don't think anyone here agrees with that. We should be allowed to examine all philosophies and religions and make our own choices.

If we take it figuratively, then perhaps he meant only those who have the conviction to follow it completely should change religions, but don't know if that was his real meaning. It would be nice if a reporter or someone else close to him asked him for more clarification.

User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 3012
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by Dan74 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:30 pm

I think he simply overstated his case a bit. If we replace "I don't think it is advisable" with "I don't think it is often advisable" then I think this statement can be defended even away from the context. But yes, I think he was moved to overstate his case because of the audience. Besides it sometimes prompts the audience to ponder the alternative rather than get all defensive if what he said had been leaning on the other side.
_/|\_

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16270
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:18 am

Hi David, if you look at the whole paragraph that I quoted above:
Dalai Lama wrote:"Whenever I give a large teaching, I always make clear that it is safer to follow your own traditions, rather than change to another tradition," he said. "There's less confusion. Here in the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessons over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.
and make allowances for him not being a native speaker, I think it's a reasonable thing to be saying to a large audience. If one does not have faith ("excitement" here), or loses it, then, clearly, one is not going to find the Buddhist path very effective.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16270
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:46 pm

Regarding teaching people with little or no exposure to Dhamma, here is a relevant sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Then the Blessed One, having encompassed the awareness of the entire assembly with his awareness, asked himself, "Now who here is capable of understanding the Dhamma?" He saw Suppabuddha the leper sitting in the assembly, and on seeing him the thought occurred to him, "This person here is capable of understanding the Dhamma." So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."
In suttas such as this, the Buddha, did not start beginners with the noble truths. He made sure they were properly prepared first.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:05 pm

Except the Dalai Lama isn't even doing that; he's starting them off with non-specific platitudes and actively discouraging people from going further!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16270
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:28 pm

Hi LY,

I would say that the DL is giving the:
he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven;
part in his general-public talks. In his other talks (as in the links I provided) he covers the other aspects.

I think all good Dhamma teachers do the same. For general audiences they speak generally, for those who are interested, and request it, they are more specific. Sometimes, like the Dalai Lama, they tend to do this in different talks, sometimes, like Ajahn Brahm, for example, they mix jokey "platitudes" with deep teachings in the same talk.

:anjali:
Mike

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Dalai Lama quote

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:44 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Except the Dalai Lama isn't even doing that; he's starting them off with non-specific platitudes and actively discouraging people from going further!
How is he actively discouraging people from going further?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Gszab and 48 guests