Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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clw_uk
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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:45 am

Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:48 am

Greetings,
clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
Yes, this is mana, conceit.

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)

Element

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings.
Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:17 am

I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown. This is where too much intellectual understanding or knowledge can become a burden for the practitioner, another wall inside of us, as genkaku put it.

All we have is our perceptions. These we need to handle with care. Same goes for other people of course. We need to handle them with care. Where does one find wisdom in all of this, and how do we practice it?

IMHO, Buddha taught an eight-fold path that included right speech for a reason.

Retro put it very well...
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Manapa,

Yes, that is a good point, yet intra-tradition tensions of that kind are unavoidable, and probably to some extent productive. I do wonder though in all sincerity whether there is anything to be gained by one tradition critiquing another. Can such critiquing ever be fully detached from proselytization? Does it improve anyone's practice and help them learn more about their own tradition, or does it simply lead to agitation and fertile soil for Wrong Speech? I tend to get along well with people from other Buddhist traditions, but we usually don't go about critiquing each other's tradition... merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.

Metta,
Retro. :)
:goodpost:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:18 am

Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.
There bases for critquing the Mahayana, but I am not so sure the structure of Tibets government is one of them, but that is an argument for a different thread, please.

Also, the Mahayana does not stalk threads; it is some Mahayanists who may do that, and like anything, Mahayanists vary as to how they see these things. It is just when they do buy into the triumphalism and supersessionism, they have "divine" reason to do so.
>> 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

Element

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:26 am

christopher::: wrote:I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown.
Hi Chris

Why? Because one of their wrathful deities will attack us?

We spend our time discussing Buddhism. Further, the Buddha-Dhamma and its efficacy regarding ending dukkha is not unknown.

If dukkha and its cessation is a mystery to one, then one can consider practising more.

[EDIT: NKT protest pictures and images of Zombie survival kits removed... these are superfluous to the points being made - Retro.]

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:42 am

Greetings everyone,

Please remember that our Terms Of Service state....

Respect that this is intended to be a forum for Theravadin Buddhists to discuss Theravada Buddhism. Special forums have been created for special areas of interest so please respect these boundaries. Any subject matter that may be off-topic or is intended only to cause disruption or harm to others may be removed without notice. This includes the badmouthing of other Buddhist discussion forums.


We appreciate that some of these "tensions within Modern Buddhism" may be related to Internet discussion forums, but Dhamma Wheel is not the place to be discussing other forums, their personnel or their policies. There are other sites (BuddhaChat comes to mind as a prime candidate) that will allow you to publicly discuss these things more extensively should you wish to do so. If this cannot be followed, this thread may be shut down or posts within it removed without further notice.

Please keep in mind that Dhammawheel is "a discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Buddha"... not a venting station for discontent.

If there are issues with the way Dhammawheel itself is being run, please bring them to the attention of staff or post in the Suggestion Box.

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)

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:49 am

Thanks for the reminder, Retro.
Element wrote:
christopher::: wrote:I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown.
Hi Chris

Why? Because one of their wrathful deities will attack us?

We spend our time discussing Buddhism. Further, the Buddha-Dhamma and its efficacy regarding ending dukkha is not unknown.

If dukkha and its cessation is a mystery to one, then one can consider practising more.
I think you missed my point, which was also Retro's earlier point, imo. It's very easy to find faults with other people's religious beliefs. These are called religions because people hold certain beliefs which can not be proven. There is always an element of faith. For all those outside that religion there will be elements of dis-belief.

So in that sense I agree with your last point, it all comes down to practice. Which is the main reason I am here, a Zen Buddhist spending time in a Theravadan Buddhist forum. Many of the folks here, beginning with those in positions of authority, are people whom I have come to respect for the integrity of their practice.

They have shown in deed and word, through behavior and respectfulness towards others, that they know how to throw an office party where next door neighbors and guests from other organizations do not feel like "outsiders" and are instead made to feel welcome and comfortable.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:42 am

christopher::: wrote:How important within Buddhism is the value and practice of tolerance?
My impression from the scriptures is the Buddha himself was not tolerant of wrong view, especially if someone was claiming that wrong view was taught by the Buddha himself.

From MN 57:
Monk: "Venerable sir, there is this Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic; that ox duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"
Buddha: "Seniya, if his ox duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of oxen; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

I think many people would be upset by an exchange like this. They would want a Buddhist to say "Hey, if you like your ox-duty practice then go with it. We each have our own path."

From MN22:
Monk: "Lord, I understand the teaching of the Blessed One in this way that those things called 'obstructions' by the Blessed One, are not necessarily obstructive for him who pursues them."
Buddha: "Of whom do you know, foolish man, that I have taught to him the teaching in that manner?"

Again, I think many people would expect a Buddhist to say "Maybe you're right, maybe not. Go and pursue your own path and see what happens."

The fact is the Buddha tuaght what he tuaght and he didn't pussy-foot around. That said, he didn't go up to people uninvited and hit them over the head. "Hey you, what you're doing is wrong, what you believe is false." For example, he only told the ox-duty ascetic his practice would lead him to hell because the ascetic asked the Buddha three times. The first two times the Buddha said "Don't ask me that."

I think the second example hits more to your question of modern Buddhism. I think the Buddha didn't tolerate novel interpretations of his teachings and I think that tradition carried forward. When differing interpretations took hold, councils were held to determine which one was correct.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:30 am

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
No, this is māna, conceit. Conceit and wrong view both arise with greed-rooted cittas, but never in one and the same citta. A stream-entrant has no wrong view, but is still capable of falling into the conceit of being better than, equal to, or inferior to another.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Element

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:56 am

christopher::: wrote:I think you missed my point, which was also Retro's earlier point, imo.
Chris,

I think you missed my point. When I and most Theravadins post on chatsite, we avoid the Mahayana forums like the plague (unless we have something supportive to offer). However, the Mahas take all kinds of liberties on the Theravada threads. Thus we smash them like the Buddha smashed those who disparaged him. Forum is the opportunity for discussion and straightforwardness. If the Mahas must ban us, so be it. We are free!

:coffee:
I do not see a recluse, or brahmin, a leader of a crowd, a teacher of a crowd or even one who acknowledges he is perfect and rightfully enlightened drawn into a dispute by me would not shiver tremble and sweat. Even a lifeless pillar drawn to a dispute by me would shiver and tremble, so what of a human being. As for you Aggivessana, there is sweat trickling down your forehead and some drops of sweat have pierced your over shawl and has fallen on the ground, on my body at the moment there is no sweat.

Saying that the Blessed One disclosed his golden hued body to that gathering. When this was said, Saccaka, the son of Nigantha became silent, confused, his form drooping, face turned down, unable to reply, sat down.

Then Dummukha the son of the Licchavis, saw Saccaka the son of Nigantha silent, confused, the form drooping, face turned down, unable to reply sitting. He said to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, a comparison comes to me."

The Blessed One said: "Say it Dummukha."

Venerable sir, close to a village or hamlet, there’s a pond, in it a crab lives. Then a lot of boys and girls approach the pond, descend it and pull out the crab on to dry land. Whenever the crab puts out a limb, a boy or a girl would cut it and destroy it, with a stick or a stone. Thus the crab with all his limbs destroyed, is unable to descend to the pond as before. In the same manner, the Blessed One has cut off, broken, destroyed and smashed all the distortions of views and the vacillations of Saccaka the son of Nigantha and it is not possible that he should approach the Blessed One with the intention of a dispute.


MN 35

Element

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:04 am

Peter wrote:My impression from the scriptures is the Buddha himself was not tolerant of wrong view, especially if someone was claiming that wrong view was taught by the Buddha himself.
Indeed. The Buddha did not look for dispute & debate. However, when misrepresented or attacked, he was straightforward in upholding his view.
"This Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty has been set rolling and cannot be stopped by any contemplative or priest or deva or Mara and Brahma or anyone at all in the world.

"If any priest or contemplative might think that this Great Forty Dhamma discourse should be censured & rejected, there are ten legitimate implications of his statement that would form grounds for censuring him here & now.

MN 117

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:20 am

christopher::: wrote: It's very easy to find faults with other people's religious beliefs. These are called religions because people hold certain beliefs which can not be proven. There is always an element of faith. For all those outside that religion there will be elements of dis-belief.
The Buddha's transcendent teachings are not at all a matter of speculative view, blind faith, or "beliefs that cannot be proven".

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:26 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
No, this is māna, conceit. Conceit and wrong view both arise with greed-rooted cittas, but never in one and the same citta. A stream-entrant has no wrong view, but is still capable of falling into the conceit of being better than, equal to, or inferior to another.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Thank you for that, Bhikku. :goodpost: Very important to keep in mind.

I don't want to get into an argument here with everyone about differences in beliefs and views. Some take what was written in texts over 2000 years ago as literal fact. Other see it as mythic and cultural in nature, but containing essential gems of dharma that must be recognized and then (most importantly) put into practice.

I'm more of the practice-focused sort, which is why I am comfortable learning from (and spending time with) people of different religions and traditions. I tend to view each individual's religious beliefs as something personal, not really my business. It's how we behave toward one another that matters most, for me.

Belief is internal, within a person. Behavior is interpersonal, it effects others. If your beliefs make you a helpful, compassionate, generous human being than there is value in what you believe, imo. Can't say my approach to life is better then anyone else's but it helps me to get along with people.

So, I'd rather not get into a debate about some of these issues.

What I'm most interested in is how do i reduce/dissolve clinging and stress in this life? How can I be a good role model for my sons? How can I learn to live and practice the dharma more deeply so as to be of assistance to myself and fellow beings I come in contact with?

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Post by Anders » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:Anders Honore,

[EDIT: Discussion on E-Sangha removed - Retro.]

We each belong to our little group, often thinking it is better than those other little groups, but what do we do with those thoughts? The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings. Always a choice.
Restraint I guess? My view of the superiority of the Mahayana is terribly different from how I view Buddhism as a superior path to others. And I have no compelling desire to tell non-buddhists I think so, even much for Buddhists for that matter, their choice after all. Partly because I think it's often unkind and partly because I think anyone looking to become liberated is already undertaking such a hugely praiseworthy job, there's really no reason to speak even a slightly negative word of it. And besides, I'm more of the 'you're either click with it or you don't' persuasion, so listing good reason for why one is better than the other doesn't seem that useful to me anyway.-
clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
Not necessarily. I mean, I think we can all acknowledge without much conceit that Buddhism is a superior path to happiness than being a drug prostitute. The trouble is, thinking we can do that doesn't change the fact that it is very easy to be conceited about such things if we invest value into it (and debating such topics too much strikes me as a good way of generating such things).

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