Dhamma Ending Age

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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reflection
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by reflection » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:26 pm

There is no one single counterfeit Dhamma, I think there are quite a few. Just look at how people and teachers disagree even on central doctrinal points. Whatever way one sees it, one has to admit there is no one dhamma anymore, as it was in the time of the Buddha. And it seems the more rapidly its spreading, the more different ideas arise. So from that angle the recent spread of the dhamma may not have been a good thing. Of course there are many angles to it.

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Will
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Will » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:34 pm

One example of fake Dhamma, are the Dhamma lite followers. They classify rebirth & deva realms as cultural trappings and simply toss them aside. That makes them adherents of wrong view - but they probably will find a way rationalize their notions as correct and the tradition (which they also are not fond of) as wrong.

Reflection has a very strong case.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

binocular
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by binocular » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:48 pm

Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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mirco
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by mirco » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:42 pm

So, then we are at the very end...

Doesn't matter. Next Dhamma period will come for sure.

:alien:
"An important term for meditative absorption is samadhi. We often translate that as concentration, but that can suggest a certain stiffness. Perhaps unification is a better rendition, as samadhi means to bring together. Deep samadhi isn't at all stiff. It's a process of letting go of other things and coming to a unified experience." - Bhikkhu Anālayo

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BlackBird
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by BlackBird » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:42 pm

Will wrote:One example of fake Dhamma, are the Dhamma lite followers. They classify rebirth & deva realms as cultural trappings and simply toss them aside. That makes them adherents of wrong view - but they probably will find a way rationalize their notions as correct and the tradition (which they also are not fond of) as wrong.

Reflection has a very strong case.

Yes we've been dealing with that at length recently Will it has become quite a popular stance of late.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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reflection
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by reflection » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:10 pm

I myself am more 'concerned' with people neglecting the importance of things like renunciation, the precepts, the ordained sangha, samadhi. Disregarding parts of the training, rather than the Dhamma. Because I feel people who have a natural incentive to understand the Dhamma will quite easily pick out the teachings that are right and dismiss those that are not. But that will then be based upon their following the training.

However, my primary concern lies with the samadhi. I feel many teachers don't represent it well. The fact the sutta says it can be one of the reasons for the Dhamma to decline is quite remarkable in that it does not mention other path factors specifically.

:anjali:

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Will
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Will » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:25 pm

The 'people' upon which rests the burden of saving or purifying the dispensation are the monastics. We lay folk are mainly cheerleaders & dhamma protectors for them. (Yes, stipulation that there can be some very good practitioners who are not monastics.)
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Jason
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:30 am

Personally, I don't put too much stock in the whole 'we're living in a degenerate age' thing. One reason is that much of what forms the textual basis for this idea is of a fairly late date and/or commentarial literature. The Anagatavamsa, for example, is a relatively late text and isn't canonical. The Gandhavamsa ascribes authorship to the elder Kassapa, the author of the Mohavicchedani (12th -13th century CE). And the 500 year prophecy, which deals with both the brute survival of the teaching and the survival of the teaching unadulterated with 'synthetic Dhamma' (saddhamma-patirupa), isn't only somewhat controversial and considered by many to be a later addition these days, but also held by many who do accept it as being conditional (i.e., subject to change). Many hold, for example, that the acceptance of the additional rules on the part of the bhikkhunis and the subsequent council after the Buddha's death altered this, acting as conditions for the teachings' survival far into the future.

Whatever the case, one of the things I like about the Thai Forest Tradition, besides their focus on practicing, is their belief that awakening is still a possibility and open to all. There was a time not that long ago in Theravada when it was generally believed that it's no longer possible to become an arahant — that we're living in a 'degenerate age' full of false teachings and ineffectual practitioners — therefore monks usually spent most of their time studying the texts in order to preserve what's left of the 'true Dhamma' and try to become at least stream-enterers by intellectually understanding concepts such as not-self. Both monastics and non-monastics alike thought it was better to study the texts and to make merit than to practice meditation, hoping to eventually be reborn in a better time and place where the Dhamma and the ability to attain awakening will be restored by the next Buddha, Mettaya (hence the popularity of the Anagatavamsa). But thanks to monks like Ajahn Sao and Ajahn Mun in Thailand, as well as other contemporaries like Mingun Jetavana Sayadaw in Burma, who decided to start putting the Buddha's teachings on meditation back into practice and strive for liberation, that's changed.

Certainly things aren't perfect, and there are many challenges facing sincere practitioners; but far from being in a 'degenerate age' here in the West, I think things are actually looking up. I attended the ordination of Tan Sudhiro's at Abhayagiri last month, for example, and the ceremony seemed especially auspicious as it had a full quorum of ten monks — double the number of monks needed to perform it outside of the Ganges valley (ten vs. five) — illustrating the growing strength of Buddhism in the West. On top of that, monks are going on tudong (we actually managed to time our trip down to Abhayagiri so that we could meet up with and offer a meal to the two tudong monks walking from Abhayagiri to the Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon, Washington), and new and dedicated lay-groups and monasteries are popping up everywhere. In addition, we have access to a vast storehouse of teachings, from ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts to those of many skilled teachers, helping point the way forward.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Arjan Dirkse
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Arjan Dirkse » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:40 pm

If getting rid of superstitious trappings you don't believe in, while embracing a Buddhist practice you feel is helpful and beneficial to yourself and others, is a sign of the dhamma ending age, then please let the dhamma end today. :tongue:

We get terribly hung up on definitions and doctrinal delineations on forums such as these. But Buddhism is spreading, is thriving, and it's definitely a force for good. If the interest of its followers is more about achieving happiness and doing good things, like safeguarding the environment, or helping people in difficult circumstances, fighting inequality or exploitation etc, than in "keeping the faith pure", then that is only a good thing.

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clw_uk
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by clw_uk » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:01 pm

Will wrote:In Mahayana there are teachings about the symptoms of the end of the Dharma dispensation. After reading some here about this Dhammakaya group, I thought that sure fits in with Dharma Ending Era that Mahayana sutras report.

But, aside from the fact that the Sasana of our Buddha is impermanent, are there any suttas that lay out the signs of degeneration of said Dhamma?

The Dhamma will always be there if people practice to let go, of everything


Since there are many people who still practice the path of complete non-attachment, we are not in in a "Dhamma ending age"
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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clw_uk
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by clw_uk » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:03 pm

Will wrote:One example of fake Dhamma, are the Dhamma lite followers. They classify rebirth & deva realms as cultural trappings and simply toss them aside. That makes them adherents of wrong view - but they probably will find a way rationalize their notions as correct and the tradition (which they also are not fond of) as wrong.

Reflection has a very strong case.

Dhamma lite, I wonder who decides what that is?


Why is not accepting or denying literal Hell realms after physical death "Dhamma Lite"?


Never seen how it is in the Suttas, or in Theravada tradition :reading:

"Dhamma lite" does seem to be a modern concept though, stemming from Vajrayana (as if Vajrayana wasnt watered down :? )
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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clw_uk
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by clw_uk » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:25 pm

Whatever the case, one of the things I like about the Thai Forest Tradition, besides their focus on practicing, is their belief that awakening is still a possibility and open to all.

Sadhu!


:anjali: :goodpost:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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reflection
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by reflection » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:30 am

I don't use the term "dhamma ending age", but I don't think the number of practitioners says anything about whether the dhamma is declining or not. What determines if the dhamma is still alive, is if there are enlightened beings, not the amount of total practitioners. You can have millions of practitioners, but if nobody gets to the end of the path, there is no dhamma. And these beings that are 'crossed over' I feel are rare, at least much rarer than they supposedly were in the time of the Buddha.

But it's not a thing to worry about because it is not really in our hands whether the dhamma will live or die, so it doesn't change anything for the practice itself. Not for me anyway.

:anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:20 am

Will wrote:One example of fake Dhamma, are the Dhamma lite followers. They classify rebirth & deva realms as cultural trappings and simply toss them aside. That makes them adherents of wrong view - but they probably will find a way rationalize their notions as correct and the tradition (which they also are not fond of) as wrong.
Good grief! I thought that the "Dharma Lite" expression which was invented by the Tibetan Buddhist Alexander Berzin, and promoted at places like E-Sangha had died a natural death - and here it is re-surfacing on the internet again!

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... _lite.html

:)
Last edited by Aloka on Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Aloka
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Re: Dhamma Ending Age

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:30 am

Jason wrote: Whatever the case, one of the things I like about the Thai Forest Tradition, besides their focus on practicing, is their belief that awakening is still a possibility and open to all
Absolutely, Jason. Personally, I have great confidence in the Thai Forest Tradition.

:anjali:

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