Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:59 am

I also attended a Christian missionary school for six years. Up till my teenage years, I more or less regarded myself as a Christian. As to be expected, Christianity in where I come from is associated with ‘Western’ culture. So even though I grew up being fascinated by certain ‘Chinese’ folklore involving Buddhist themes, etc - not to mention my loving grandmother was a devotee of Guanyin who would seek blessings from the temple for her grandchildren - I was nevertheless taught to regard these customs with suspicion.

I was constantly being exposed to how I am ‘white’ and ‘non-white’ at the same time. How I am necessarily a ‘traitor’ on all sides.

Then I migrated to Australia where I have been living for the past 11-12 years. Throughout my university, work and social life, I have had to deal with the question: ‘Wow, your English is really good for a non-native speaker. Where do you come from?’ What do you mean ‘non-native’ speaker? I cannot think in any other language. What exactly is yours to possess and not ours to share?

It was in Australia where I discovered ‘Western’ translations of Buddhism, and felt a connection with it. I embraced it because it was very different to the sort of ‘cultural Buddhism’ I grew up with. I encountered the same criticisms I had encountered via Christianity: that the Buddhist customs of my ancestral heritage are to be viewed with suspicion. Once again, my inferiority is pointed out to me; once again I am asked to embrace 'whiteness' by disavowing my 'non-whiteness'. Yet, I very quickly began to see that even though ‘Western’ translations of Buddhism have a tendency to portray itself as a more ‘direct’ approach to the Dhamma, it is in fact thoroughly conditioned by certain cultural and historical forces – cultural and historical forces that I am intimately familiar with because these forces have been used to judge me as ‘inferior’ and at the same times have also worked to my advantage.


Cultural conditioning is inevitable, however as long as we are aware that feelings are fleeting, then the Dhamma is always there.

"You can never step in the same river twice" Heraclitus


The rest is just commentary to me and cultural accretions.


As for the rest of your post, I can sympathise with how you have been made to feel "other" and inferior, I get this myself quite a lot, it actually happened today with a passing comment from a colleague. However it is our reaction to these situations that defines us.


"inferior" and "superior" are mind made chains that we forge, no one else.
Last edited by clw_uk on Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:04 am

:goodpost:

The only origination is dependent, and is spawned from avijja and the subsequent sankharas it gives rise 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)

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:12 am

clw_uk wrote:
"inferior" and "superior" are mind made chains that we forge, no one else.
Ah, yep. However, to be able to "de-chain" oneself, it helps to understand that we may be chained, and then, if we are, to see the chains. Cannot free oneself from something we cannot see. Also, we simply cannot think our way out of such bondage. Cultural conditioning runs very deep and it is very often not even noticed, but yet it can have a profound influence on one's perceptions, how one sees things, and how one reacts to one's perceptions, and our perceptions can be so dependent upon it. And you simply cannot wish it, or think it, away.
>> 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

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:19 am

Cannot free oneself from something we cannot see. Also, we simply cannot think our way out of such bondage.
Isnt thinking "I cant think myself out of bondage" thinking oneself out of bondage?

Cultural conditioning runs very deep and it is very often not even noticed, but yet it can have a profound influence on one's perceptions, how one sees things, and how one reacts to one's perceptions, and our perceptions can be so dependent upon it. And you simply cannot wish it, or think it, away.

No but we can put it in its proper place, that is observe it and detach from it.

For example, I am conditioned to be negative to God concepts and the supernatural in general, yet Dhamma enables me to be aware of my reactions to such concepts and allows me to stop identifying with Atheism and philosophical materialism.


Some perceptions can be negated via awareness and full comprehension.
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:31 am

Greetings,

Untangling the Present: The Role of Appropriate Attention
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... gling.html
The Buddha gave prime importance to the ability to frame the issue of suffering in the proper way. He called this ability yoniso manasikara — appropriate attention — and taught that no other inner quality was more helpful for untangling suffering and gaining release (Iti 16).

In giving his most detailed explanation of appropriate attention (MN 2), he starts with examples of inappropriate attention, which center on questions of identity and existence: "Do I exist?" "Do I not?" "What am I?" "Did I exist in the past?" "Will I exist in the future?" These questions are inappropriate because they lead to "a wilderness of views, a thicket of views" such as "I have a self," or "I have no self," all of which lead to entanglement, and none to the end of suffering.

In contrast, the Buddha then depicts appropriate attention as the ability to identify that "This is suffering (the Pali word dukkha here covers stress and pain as well)," "This is the origination of suffering," "This is the cessation of suffering," and "This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of suffering." These are the four categories that the Buddha, in his first discourse, called the four noble truths. The ability to frame the issue of suffering in line with these categories is what enables you ultimately to put an end to the problem of suffering once and for all. This is why they're appropriate.

...

In practical terms, distinguishing among categories is worthwhile only if you have to treat each of the different categories in a different way. A doctor who formulates a theory of sixteen types of headaches only to treat them all with aspirin, for example, is wasting her time. But one who, noting that different types of headaches respond to different types of medications, devises an accurate test to differentiate among the headaches, makes a genuine contribution to medical science. The same principle applies to the categories of appropriate attention. As the Buddha stated in his first account of his Awakening, once he had identified each of the four categories, he saw that each had to be treated in a different way. Suffering had to be comprehended, its cause abandoned, its cessation realized, and the path to its cessation fully developed.
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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:32 am

"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:38 am

... and with that, the whole topic is summarized into a brief stanza of Dhamma.

Nice.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:41 am

clw_uk wrote:
Cannot free oneself from something we cannot see. Also, we simply cannot think our way out of such bondage.
Isnt thinking "I cant think myself out of bondage" thinking oneself out of bondage?
Are you seriously asking that question?

Cultural conditioning runs very deep and it is very often not even noticed, but yet it can have a profound influence on one's perceptions, how one sees things, and how one reacts to one's perceptions, and our perceptions can be so dependent upon it. And you simply cannot wish it, or think it, away.

No but we can put it in its proper place, that is observe it and detach from it.
That is the point, isn't it? And it may take some serious to be able to observe it.
>> 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

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:... and with that, the whole topic is summarized into a brief stanza of Dhamma.

Nice.

Metta,
Retro. :)
No, it is not. That is only one part of it. By the way, do you "think about" the Dhamma?
>> 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

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:07 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:By the way, do you "think about" the Dhamma?
Yes, I think it is good.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:By the way, do you "think about" the Dhamma?
Yes, I think it is good.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
>> 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

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:15 am

Greetings,

This is what the Buddha thought about...
SN 6.2 - Garava Sutta wrote:"What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"

Then, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart and said to him: "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, One-Well-Gone! Those who were Arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the past — they, too, dwelled in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. Those who will be Arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the future — they, too, will dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. And let the Blessed One, who is at present the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One, dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it."

That is what Brahma Sahampati said. Having said that, he further said this:

Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now,
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching
.
:heart:

:buddha1:

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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tiltbillings
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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:27 am

retrofuturist wrote: . . .
So, you are like Brahma, knowing the line of the Buddha's thinking? And how does this address the OP?
>> 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

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:29 am

Greetings Tilt,

It is about thinking about the Dhamma.

Your question to me was about thinking about the Dhamma.

If my response is off-topic, it will be simply because your question is off-topic.

Either way, it does have relevance to the extent that much of this topic has shown more respect and interest in papañca-sanna-sankha than it has to the Dhamma.

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: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

It is about thinking about the Dhamma.

Your question to me was about thinking about the Dhamma.

If my response is off-topic, it will be simply because your question is off-topic.
You quote texts without any comment as to what your point is via the text, which really opens the door for going off-topic. And your response to craig's quoting texts without comment certainly opened that door.
Either way, it does have relevance to the extent that much of this topic has shown more respect and interest in papañca-sanna-sankha than it has to the Dhamma.
Of course, that is your opinion, but then it seems, in my opinion, that you really have not understood the topic, at all.
>> 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

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