Unfair Criticism?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:36 pm

:jumping: I present you the hats of the Portuguese band Blasted Mechanism:

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Image

:focus:

They make me think on how far we can go on our deluded task of building an Ego, deforming our views until reality is hidden by delusion ...

Which I associate with the text quoted on the OP. The author seems to be saying that Theravada is somehow stagnated and does not evolve because there is no space for debate, but in my opinion the efforts of the Sangha for maintaining the Teaching as close as possible to its original form, by protecting it from deviations, are meritorious and praise worthy.

Not going off-topic seems to me as a good thing, there were many things the Buddha knew but did not teach because they were not conductive to the end of suffering.
With Metta
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:51 am

since we're off topic, i'll have to go with psb's simply based on the fact that they had johnny marr play on some tracks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Marr

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สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:But it was The Clash...who really kicked *ss.
Metta
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Aloka » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:45 pm

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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby appicchato » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:15 pm

nathan wrote:Bob Dylan has the penthouse in the Tower of Song.

:thumbsup:
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings thecap,

thecap wrote:Isn't it more interesting to know what part of it is true and what is mere polemics?


Once you see that someone's assumptions / priorities / beliefs are so disparative and irreconcilable with your own, you realise it is more profitable to spend one's limited time investigating other matters.


Hi Paul!

I'd be interested in hearing you (and Ben) elaborate further on what you've said.

I was somewhat shell-shocked by this book. Reading this board, I am kind of forming the impression that people here are following the Pali canon rather than Theravada as described by Ven Dhammika. Maybe that's why you are finding it irrelevant, but I am only guessing here..

Your comments would be appreciated.

_/|\_
_/|\_
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:29 am

Greetings Dan,

I've only read the extract that was provided in the original post, but as I said, it was enough for me to see that the author prizes philosophy over liberation. As for me, I've got a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy, and whilst it's all very interesting, and it's all very good as a method of examining ethics and so on, it doesn't provide a path to liberation.

That liberation is what the Buddha achieved, and that is what he taught, and those teachings are recorded in the suttas.

It's a bit like how if you know that you're a vegetarian and you've got your reasons for it, and then Sam Kekovic comes on TV telling you its un-Australian not to eat lamb on Australia Day... well, you know it's just not worth listening to.... not worth stressing yourself about, because you don't need to resolve and combine every single bit of information that floods us... if it is of no value to you, it should be put down.

I hope that provided some extra detail.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,

I've only read the extract that was provided in the original post, but as I said, it was enough for me to see that the author prizes philosophy over liberation. As for me, I've got a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy, and whilst it's all very interesting, and it's all very good as a method of examining ethics and so on, it doesn't provide a path to liberation.

That liberation is what the Buddha achieved, and that is what he taught, and those teachings are recorded in the suttas.

It's a bit like how if you know that you're a vegetarian and you've got your reasons for it, and then Sam Kekovic comes on TV telling you its un-Australian not to eat lamb on Australia Day... well, you know it's just not worth listening to.... not worth stressing yourself about, because you don't need to resolve and combine every single bit of information that floods us... if it is of no value to you, it should be put down.

I hope that provided some extra detail.

Metta,
Retro. :)

i read the whole thing, i think it's worth reading, i've seen some of the problems he lists but he gives no real solution other than scraping theravada and starting some new "yana"

are there problems with the thai and sri lankan, burmese sanghas? yes, can they be solved w/o trashing theravada? i think so. however, it's not going to be easy.

the author does very briefly mention that there are monks out there who've been upstanding and deserving of respect (he mentions lp chah i think), but he focuses more on the negitive, which is easy to do. (i.e. he mentions the aids temple, and comends its efforts, but then turns around to critisize them over wasting money on a building that was never used)

he seems to be fasinated with some of the humaniarian efforts of some mahayana groups/teachers and i think he feels bad that we dont have a lot of that in our school. my solution would be to use his position to try to start something akin to the groups (like tzu chi) that he admires...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,

I've only read the extract that was provided in the original post, but as I said, it was enough for me to see that the author prizes philosophy over liberation. As for me, I've got a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy, and whilst it's all very interesting, and it's all very good as a method of examining ethics and so on, it doesn't provide a path to liberation.

That liberation is what the Buddha achieved, and that is what he taught, and those teachings are recorded in the suttas.

It's a bit like how if you know that you're a vegetarian and you've got your reasons for it, and then Sam Kekovic comes on TV telling you its un-Australian not to eat lamb on Australia Day... well, you know it's just not worth listening to.... not worth stressing yourself about, because you don't need to resolve and combine every single bit of information that floods us... if it is of no value to you, it should be put down.

I hope that provided some extra detail.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Thanks, Retro!

I read the whole thing and I don't think that the comment "that the author prizes philosophy over liberation" applies to the entire piece. From what I've heard he is a very active monk, hands-on type of monk.

My feeling was that the author who had been a Theravada monk for some 25 years at the time of writing was deeply disenchanted with the way he saw Theravada develop and being practiced in the temples and countries where he'd lived.

Personally I felt that his heart must've been bleeding for the Buddhadhamma and it is out of that sentiment largely that he wrote what he did, rather than from a penchant for fault-finding. He has also written many non-critical dhamma texts.

But that extract too makes some interesting (if not completely valid points). Does one believe that the experiential exploration of the Buddhadhamma involves passing the stages as described in the Abhidhamma or a more creative personal adventure that results in brilliant investigations such as by Nagarjuna, Dogen, etc as mentioned?

Should the Dhamma when correctly applied bring about a vibrant and creative culture, rich in Arts, Science, Literature and Ethics? I realise that these are not the Dhamma, but do they not proceed from a sense of creativity which in turn goes with liberation (to some extent)?

But he makes many different points in the book, and I'd recommend it to any Buddhist, not just Theravada. Perhaps not at the start of the path, but certainly after a while!

_/|\_
_/|\_
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:18 am

Greetings Dan/JC,

Okey doke... I'll try to read it over the next day or two.

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:39 am

Dan74 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,


But that extract too makes some interesting (if not completely valid points). Does one believe that the experiential exploration of the Buddhadhamma involves passing the stages as described in the Abhidhamma or a more creative personal adventure that results in brilliant investigations such as by Nagarjuna, Dogen, etc as mentioned?

Should the Dhamma when correctly applied bring about a vibrant and creative culture, rich in Arts, Science, Literature and Ethics? I realise that these are not the Dhamma, but do they not proceed from a sense of creativity which in turn goes with liberation (to some extent)?


_/|\_

some of this is a bit unfair to theravada too, i think buddhadasa is up there with dogen or nagarjuna, and there are thai epic poems, and many many wall murals in temples. also monks used to do dramatic tellings of jataka tales in thailand, just because this wasnt recorded doesnt make it any less valid than other theatric art forms. there is also shadow puppetry. many different styles of buddha images, and temple design.

its could just be a matter of tastes? i'm not a fan of western poetry pre america in the late 1940s but i wouldnt say europe was a vast wasteland devoid of poetic talent.

also most buddhist arts in japan, china etc, are not really buddhist, the poetry styles are archaic and based in a chinese style that i believe predates any sort of buddhist influence, same with pretty much all "zen arts" which are just japanese arts (mostly based on chinese arts) applied in a zen setting. and we could ask why theravada never created warrior monks like the chinese and japanese did? monks who killed other monks for land and temples. monks who went to war side by side with soliders over political affairs of their nations leaders? is this the type of great mahayana buddhist ethics theravada monks are supposed to emulate?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:51 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,


But that extract too makes some interesting (if not completely valid points). Does one believe that the experiential exploration of the Buddhadhamma involves passing the stages as described in the Abhidhamma or a more creative personal adventure that results in brilliant investigations such as by Nagarjuna, Dogen, etc as mentioned?

Should the Dhamma when correctly applied bring about a vibrant and creative culture, rich in Arts, Science, Literature and Ethics? I realise that these are not the Dhamma, but do they not proceed from a sense of creativity which in turn goes with liberation (to some extent)?


_/|\_

some of this is a bit unfair to theravada too, i think buddhadasa is up there with dogen or nagarjuna, and there are thai epic poems, and many many wall murals in temples. also monks used to do dramatic tellings of jataka tales in thailand, just because this wasnt recorded doesnt make it any less valid than other theatric art forms. there is also shadow puppetry. many different styles of buddha images, and temple design.

its could just be a matter of tastes? i'm not a fan of western poetry pre america in the late 1940s but i wouldnt say europe was a vast wasteland devoid of poetic talent.

also most buddhist arts in japan, china etc, are not really buddhist, the poetry styles are archaic and based in a chinese style that i believe predates any sort of buddhist influence, same with pretty much all "zen arts" which are just japanese arts (mostly based on chinese arts) applied in a zen setting. and we could ask why theravada never created warrior monks like the chinese and japanese did? monks who killed other monks for land and temples. monks who went to war side by side with soliders over political affairs of their nations leaders? is this the type of great mahayana buddhist ethics theravada monks are supposed to emulate?


Thank you, JC. I haven't read Buddhadasa, so I can't judge for myself. Certainly Ven Dhammika doesn't paint him in the best of lights. As for the other points you've mentioned, thank you for that food for thought. I guess some of them are debatable, but I take your point - it is far from being an open and shut case as far as the supposedly barren Theravada culture is concerned as the author is trying to make out. I am happy to hear that.

_/|\_
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:30 am

Dan74 wrote:it is far from being an open and shut case as far as the supposedly barren Theravada culture is concerned as the author is trying to make out. I am happy to hear that.

_/|\_
I think it is evidently not so upon a thorough investigation. Energy in Theravada goes effectively into preserving a very old tradition and I am less confident about later and modern reinterpretations of that tradition. I like that about it. If that is integral to the rightful purpose of Theravada then I fully support that and the anonymity of that traditional support for this further supports that. Does that make sense?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby phil » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:[
Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!

Hey, I went to a Devo concert in about 1980 or 81. But it was The Clash and Ian Dury and the Blockheads who really kicked *ss.

May Joe and Ian have a good rebirth... :anjali:
ImageImage
Metta
Mike


Continuing off topic, but thanks for the reminder about Ian Dury, Mike. I had forgotten how much I loved him all those years ago, and youtubed him yesterday with great pleasure. Mind you "sex and drugs and rocks and roll/are all my brain and body need" is no longer the kind of creed that I consider "very good indeed" :smile:

Metta,

Phil
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(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Mexicali » Tue May 12, 2009 4:31 am

I didn't agree with all of his conclusions, but it's a very powerful and challenging indictment of what entrenched Buddhism can become. To dismiss it lightly would be, I think, a huge mistake. Like Brian Victoria's "Zen at War" or Michael Parenti's works on Tibet, it's an honest look at a side of Buddhism most would rather pretend has never existed, or explain away as an aberration.
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue May 12, 2009 7:03 am

I would like to know more of this 'positive' dependant origination, "the one showing the arising of liberation and freedom, as is mentioned in the book.

Metta
Jack
"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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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue May 12, 2009 7:14 am

    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Aloka » Tue May 12, 2009 7:58 am

Mexicali wrote:I didn't agree with all of his conclusions, but it's a very powerful and challenging indictment of what entrenched Buddhism can become. To dismiss it lightly would be, I think, a huge mistake. Like Brian Victoria's "Zen at War" or Michael Parenti's works on Tibet, it's an honest look at a side of Buddhism most would rather pretend has never existed, or explain away as an aberration.



Hi Mexicali,

Regarding Michael Parenti, its worthwhile knowing that he's an American historian and political analyst and is not a Buddhist or an expert on Tibet and has very probably never visited there or any Tibetan community. His conclusions in 'Friendly Feudalism the Tibet myth' are clearly taken from debateable secondary sources of information and do a great deal to support the very oppressive communist regime in Tibet. None of his information is from his own first hand experience nor from that of actual Tibetans. You might therefore like to also take the time to read this:

http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/article.php?id=425

Thank you.

Kind wishes,

Dazzle
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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue May 12, 2009 8:35 am



Thank you very much Venerable Sir :D

Metta
Jack
"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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Re: Unfair Criticism?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue May 12, 2009 9:52 pm

Hi Dan,

Dan74 wrote:Thank you, JC. I haven't read Buddhadasa, so I can't judge for myself. Certainly Ven Dhammika doesn't paint him in the best of lights.


He doesn't mention Buddhadasa at all. I think you may be confusing Buddhadasa (a 20th century Thai monk) with Buddhaghosa (the Pali commentator).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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