John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Post Reply
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20122
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:53 am

Greetings,
Alex123 wrote:I take it to mean an unjustifiable set of beliefs or faith.
That's a pretty unfair description that I don't think anyone would sign up to.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Alex123 wrote:I take it to mean an unjustifiable set of beliefs or faith.
That's a pretty unfair description that I don't think anyone would sign up to.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What do you mean unfair? Religion is a set of beliefs on faith. It is not philosophy (where reason is used rather than blind faith) or when you yourself seek the truth.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20122
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:32 am

Greetings Alex,

It was the "unjustifiable" bit that I found problematic. Are Buddhist beliefs "unjustifiable", for example?

It seems you're taking an unnecessarily narrow and patronizing view of "religion".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
appicchato
Posts: 1603
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by appicchato » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:14 am

..."The Kingdom of heaven (nibbana)..."...(and which Gotama might also agree)...
To conflate 'The Kingdom of heaven' and Nibbana, and to suggest that the Buddha 'might' also agree is, well, very far removed from this wanderer's understanding of his (the Buddha's) teaching...

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:33 am

appicchato wrote:
..."The Kingdom of heaven (nibbana)..."...(and which Gotama might also agree)...
To conflate 'The Kingdom of heaven' and Nibbana, and to suggest that the Buddha 'might' also agree is, well, very far removed from this wanderer's understanding of his (the Buddha's) teaching...
But it feels good.
>> 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

User avatar
IanAnd
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by IanAnd » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:04 am

appicchato wrote:
..."The Kingdom of heaven (nibbana)..."...(and which Gotama might also agree)...
To conflate 'The Kingdom of heaven' and Nibbana, and to suggest that the Buddha 'might' also agree is, well, very far removed from this wanderer's understanding of his (the Buddha's) teaching...
Yes, I know what you mean, venerable.

However, if you can, for a moment, suspend your coarse definition of "Kingdom of heaven" and look at what might have been the subtle intended metaphorical meaning that Yeshua was pointing at, ergo the "peace which passes all understanding" or put more briefly, "peace of mind," I don't think you would have much room for disagreement given that context. The part of the quotation that you left out ("lies within you") points toward this very context (at least to my mind and way of viewing).

That is the context that I was aiming at, rather than the mentioned conflation of a mythical "kingdom of heaven" (a physical or spiritual place) with the refined concept of nibbana or "This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all mental formations, the relinquishment of all attachment, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana."
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Nyana » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:40 am

Alex123 wrote:Religion is a set of beliefs on faith. It is not philosophy (where reason is used rather than blind faith) or when you yourself seek the truth.
That still seems unnecessarily restrictive. In his paper Atheism and Religion, Michael Martin summarizes the defining factors of the concept of religion as philosophical, ethical, and soteriological responses to certain questions, as offered by Monroe and Elizabeth Beardsley in Philosophical Thinking: An Introduction:
  • Arguing that one cannot define “religion” in terms of a belief in god or in a soul because such beliefs are not found among all religions, they propose that “religion” be defined in terms of the attempt to answer basic religious questions. These are the following:
    • (1) What are the fundamental characteristics of human beings and the chief problems they face?
      (2) What are the characteristics of nonhuman reality that are of greatest significance for human life?
      (3) Given the nature of man and the universe, how should men try to live?
      (4) Given the answers to the first three questions, what practices will best develop and sustain in men an understanding of the nature of human and nonhuman reality and a dedication to the ideal of human life?
      (5) In seeking true answers to the first four questions, what method or methods should be used?

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4999
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Religion is a set of beliefs on faith. It is not philosophy (where reason is used rather than blind faith) or when you yourself seek the truth.
That still seems unnecessarily restrictive. In his paper Atheism and Religion, Michael Martin summarizes the defining factors of the concept of religion as philosophical, ethical, and soteriological responses to certain questions, as offered by Monroe and Elizabeth Beardsley in Philosophical Thinking: An Introduction:
  • Arguing that one cannot define “religion” in terms of a belief in god or in a soul because such beliefs are not found among all religions, they propose that “religion” be defined in terms of the attempt to answer basic religious questions. These are the following:
    • (1) What are the fundamental characteristics of human beings and the chief problems they face?
      (2) What are the characteristics of nonhuman reality that are of greatest significance for human life?
      (3) Given the nature of man and the universe, how should men try to live?
      (4) Given the answers to the first three questions, what practices will best develop and sustain in men an understanding of the nature of human and nonhuman reality and a dedication to the ideal of human life?
      (5) In seeking true answers to the first four questions, what method or methods should be used?
Buddhism doesn't fit neatly within any of the three categories which westerners most often try to squeeze it into - religion, philosophy or science - but rather covers a little of each of them. Michael Martin's definition of religion is broader than usual and makes it fit Buddhism much better than usual; that's probably good. However, I'm not totally sure that the definition is narrow enough to be useful. Wouldn't it describe Secular Humanism as a religion? Marxism? Psychotherapy?
:juggling:
Kim

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:54 am

Kim O'Hara wrote: Wouldn't it describe Secular Humanism as a religion? Marxism? Psychotherapy?
Yes, very much so, and sports.


Image
>> 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

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Nyana » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:28 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Buddhism doesn't fit neatly within any of the three categories which westerners most often try to squeeze it into - religion, philosophy or science - but rather covers a little of each of them. Michael Martin's definition of religion is broader than usual and makes it fit Buddhism much better than usual; that's probably good.
It's Monroe and Elizabeth Beardsley's criteria, paraphrased by Martin. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the Beardsley's text: Philosophical Thinking: An Introduction.
Kim O'Hara wrote:However, I'm not totally sure that the definition is narrow enough to be useful. Wouldn't it describe Secular Humanism as a religion? Marxism? Psychotherapy?
"Religion" is a slippery term. In the paper Atheism and Religion, Martin addresses this as follows:
  • Beardsley and Beardsley reject the objection that their definition is too broad in that there are sets of interrelated beliefs, attitudes, and practices that meet their specifications and are not recognized as world religions. On the one hand, they say that a restriction on the meaning of religion in terms of the content of beliefs, attitudes, or actions cannot be given. On the other hand, they point out that increased cultural and historical knowledge has tended to broaden what is counted as a religion and that their usage is in harmony with this trend. They also maintain that a term is needed to refer to all serious attempts to answer the basic religious questions and that “religion” is the appropriate one to use. And finally, they say that their definition is in harmony with common usage, in that it includes all those sets of beliefs, emotions, and actions that have been commonly called a “religion.”

    Beardsley and Beardsley admit that there are controversial cases of religion, and they put both humanism and Marxism in this category. Although their definition includes the disputed case of humanism, they leave open the question of whether Marxist communism is a religion.

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:06 pm

retrofuturist wrote: Are Buddhist beliefs "unjustifiable", for example?
Some, yes. And in fact no different than in some other religions.

Ex: Fish 5,000km in length. City existing for 100,000 of years... Rain being caused (always or sometimes?) by devas.

Also the idea of Kamma from past lives (some of them long time ago) , while being better than Theistic beliefs, is not much more provable/verifiable than God/Satan handing out the punishment.


Many people reject the Christian idea of hell with demons and boiling pots of water, etc, etc. And yet this is found in the suttas.

There are many truths in the suttas. But just because someone was right 9/10, it doesn't make him/her right the 10th time.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:09 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Arguing that one cannot define “religion” in terms of a belief in god or in a soul because such beliefs are not found among all religions,
In suttas there is belief in Gods, hell beings, angels (devas). There is belief that death is not the end and one is reborn if one didn't follow Buddhist path and become an Arahant or a Buddha.
Ñāṇa wrote: (1) What are the fundamental characteristics of human beings and the chief problems they face?
Human being is made of 5 Khandhas... Chief problem is Dukkha caused by craving (taṇhā)...
Ñāṇa wrote: (2) What are the characteristics of nonhuman reality that are of greatest significance for human life?
If one does not get off samsara or becomes an Aryan, one can still be reborn in hell realms. So we are in very dangerous position.
Ñāṇa wrote: (3) Given the nature of man and the universe, how should men try to live?
Keep 5 (or more precepts), follow Noble Eightfold Path...
Ñāṇa wrote: (4) Given the answers to the first three questions, what practices will best develop and sustain in men an understanding of the nature of human and nonhuman reality and a dedication to the ideal of human life?
(5) In seeking true answers to the first four questions, what method or methods should be used?
Vipassana, Samatha... Sīla, dāna (especially to the Bhikkhus), samādhi...


So Buddhism fits ALL those categories. Just because it believes in many gods, and hell/heaven realms which are not eternal. it doesn't make it any less religious.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:56 pm

Will the Real Buddha Please stand up? Was there even a real historical Buddha?

I am not 100% sure that there even was a historical Buddha. I tend to believe, but I have no evidence.

Few things:
1) Do we have physical proof of his, his bones? How do we know that they belong to him and not some ascetic in those times?

2)We don't even know his name. Buddha is a title = Awakened one. Gotama is a clan name. Sakyamuni = Sakyan sage. None of them are first names.
The Buddha is on the whole an allegorical fiction these days, and we don't really know if he was ever anything more. Close attention to our earliest textual authorities reveals no recorded first name. The name Siddhartha appears only in later sources. His supposed surname was from one of the oldest and most prestigious Brahmin lineages mentioned in the Ṛgveda: Gotama (=most cows) from which we get the Surname Gautama (meaning ‘related to [the ancestor] Gotama). This is not a name that Kṣatriya can have been called, let alone someone who was most likely entirely outside the Brahmanical varṇa system. where I copied this
3) His biography is contradictory. We know the popular story about a rich prince who at age of 29 sneaked with the help of Channa the charioteer from the palace at night leaving his kingdom, wife and day old child.
  • Even in the prime of youth, with black hair, against the wish of mother and father, when they were crying with tearing eyes, I shaved head and beard, donned yellow robes leaving the household became homeless. mn36
Apparently in this story:
i) his mother was alive, she did not die when he was born.
ii) Buddha did not sneak out from palace at night. He became a monk in front of their eyes.
iii) No mention of wife and child
iv) He is describe to be in "prime of youth" a strange description of 29 year old in ancient world with much shorter life expectancy. Youth today, when lifespan is longer, means (16-24) if not teenager or even younger.
The text reinforces his young age with several terms: dahara, yobbana and paṭhama vaya. The word dahara means 'little, a young boy, a youth'. Buddhaghosa glosses it with taruṇa 'a tender young age, esp. a young calf'. The second word, yobbana, also means 'a youth'. The phrase paṭhama vaya means in 'the first stage of life', as opposed to middle age and old age. However the text also says he shaves off hair and beard (kesa-massuṃ ohāretvā) and this is common to all of the various narratives of the Buddha's going forth. Unless this is simply a stock phrase the youth must have passed puberty, and had a year or two to grow a beard. But not much more: if we were to describe a grown man as 'a boy' or 'a youth' it would seem awkward at best. I think we could say that this is describing a youth of 15 or 16. The tradition later made him 29, which is into middle-age by the standards of the day. link
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
gerard
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:13 am

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by gerard » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:48 am

.
Last edited by gerard on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2464
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Post by manas » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:59 am

Regarding this quote from earlier, not sure who originally said it:
In a sense, the modern Buddhist is trying to get at the more ancient and more traditional buddhism [or more correctly, Dhamma], and what we are finding is a Buddha who looks a lot more like a modern scientist.
- or could it rather be, that's what we want to find.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 11 guests