4NT little known in the East?

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4NT little known in the East?

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:31 pm

According to Wikipedia "The Four Noble Truths are little known in the Far East." source

Is this really true?
My philosophy is simple: saying 'yes' to the positive and 'no' to the negative; because the positive is so much better than the negative.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:35 pm

Sure.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:16 pm

Why is this so? Asians not knowing the most important doctrine of their religion?! Strange...
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:25 pm

most asians i've met, that claim to be buddhist, know little to nothing about buddhism. they just give dana to monks in hope of good merit, answered prayers etc.
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: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Clueless Git » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:36 am

Stefan wrote:According to Wikipedia "The Four Noble Truths are little known in the Far East." source

Is this really true?

By my limited experience, yes matey.

I have freinds who are Malaysian buddhists (their school translates as "one way path") and they know nowt of buddhism as it is mostly discussed here.

In other ways though they know more about being buddhist than 99 out of 100 of the more traditional type buddhists I've ever yet met.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:58 am

I thought the 4NT traditionally came at a somewhat advanced stage of practice -- don't they represent a gateway of sorts? So it would make sense that many people in East Asia (or anywhere really) aren't familiar with this teaching.

From a discussion many moons ago...

Peter wrote: In the gradual training of the Buddha, first one learns about giving and generosity, then virtue and keeping precepts, then the drawbacks of worldly pleasures and the drawbacks of heavenly rebirths, and THEN the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:07 am

Clueless Git wrote:In other ways though they know more about being buddhist than 99 out of 100 of the more traditional type buddhists I've ever yet met.

I agree with the first part, but I think it's your friends who are the "traditional type Buddhists"...

As opposed us newfangled "read about all the teachings straight away" types. ("Pigs at a trough", as Pink Trike would put it...).

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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:37 am

Stefan wrote:According to Wikipedia "The Four Noble Truths are little known in the Far East." source

Is this really true?


Actually, the article states:

"The Four Noble Truths are little known in the Far East.[citation needed]"


It shows 'citation needed' so I take that to mean there is no source for that statement. It seems to be a broad generalization made to about one billion people.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby zavk » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:33 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Actually, the article states:

"The Four Noble Truths are little known in the Far East.[citation needed]"


It shows 'citation needed' so I take that to mean there is no source for that statement. It seems to be a broad generalization made to about one billion people.


:thumbsup:


If you go far enough into the East you'll end up in the West. Where does ignorance end and illumination begin? :tongue: :popcorn:
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:57 am

zavk wrote:If you go far enough into the East you'll end up in the West.

You mean New Zealand? :thinking:

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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:53 am

Most of East Asian Buddhism is Mahayana. The basics of the Mahayana path are the six perfections.

Much of late East Asian Buddhism characterizes the "three vehicles" into three main doctrinal focuses:
1. Sravakayana = four noble truths
2. Pratyekabuddhayana = (twelve links of) dependent origination
3. Mahayana = six perfections (etc.)

The connections are clear when we consider that in this type of doxography, the "sravakayana" is largely Abhidharma based, which establishes the four aryan truths as it's core. Eg. see the whole layout of the Abhidharmakosa. Also, the common reading of "pratyeka" as derived from "pratyaya" and not "prati-eka", relates the Pratyekabuddhayana to dependent origination. The Mahayana sutras themselves state clearly that the perfections are the practice of the Bodhisattvas.

Moreover, these later traditions would assert that a bodhisattva "should not attain the nirvana of the sravakas", etc., which is another implicit move away from emphasis on the four noble truths.

Moreover, as East Asian Buddhism progressed into the late Tang and Song, and thereafter, each of the various schools had their own special emphasis. For instance, Chan had it's "direct pointing", the Pureland school it's "recitation of Amitabha", and so forth. In these systems, the four noble truths were very briefly touched on, and glossed as "sravakayana" / "hinayana" teachings, so relatively not important.

In the modern period, due to various influences, mainly the global village, there may be a greater move towards appreciation of the four noble truths within some Buddhist communities in East Asia. This is by no means universal, however.

Pre-emptive note:
Now, given that this is a Theravada Forum, no doubt a few people will have some serious problems with all this. Whatever the case, this is basically the situation in East Asian Buddhism. I don't think that these traditions are any the less "Buddhist" as a result. And, before commenting either way, it is first preferable to actually have some understanding of these traditions, rather than engaging in un-informed criticism.
End of pre-emptive note.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:02 am

mikenz66 wrote:
zavk wrote:If you go far enough into the East you'll end up in the West.

You mean New Zealand? :thinking:

Mike


More specifically, my dear friend, the Chatham Islands. :P
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby zavk » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:02 am

Thank you once again Venerable for clarifying things.
mikenz66 wrote:
zavk wrote:If you go far enough into the East you'll end up in the West.

You mean New Zealand? :thinking:

Mike


New Zealand? That's not a real place, is it? Oh you mean the place they tried to pass off as Middle Earth in the films? :pig:
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:11 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Much of late East Asian Buddhism characterizes the "three vehicles" into three main doctrinal focuses:
1. Sravakayana = four noble truths
2. Pratyekabuddhayana = (twelve links of) dependent origination
3. Mahayana = six perfections (etc.)



This notion appears, for example, in sutras such as the Lotus Sutra, late Prajnaparamita, the Mind Contemplation of Past Lives, and a huge host of popular Mahayana sutras, to say little of their various East Asian commentaries and later Chinese indigenous works.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:12 am

zavk wrote:Thank you once again Venerable for clarifying things.
mikenz66 wrote:
zavk wrote:If you go far enough into the East you'll end up in the West.

You mean New Zealand? :thinking:

Mike


New Zealand? That's not a real place, is it? Oh you mean the place they tried to pass off as Middle Earth in the films? :pig:


Aotearoa, te ika o Maui e waka o Maui, for those who understand.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby zavk » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:28 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Aotearoa, te ika o Maui e waka o Maui, for those who understand.


It's one helluva giant 'fish' innit? :smile:

http://www.e-village.jp/polygon/polmaui.htm
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Dmytro » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:13 am

Hi Stefan,

Stefan wrote:Why is this so? Asians not knowing the most important doctrine of their religion?! Strange...


"Four Noble Truths" is the most important doctrine of the Western 'doctrinal' Buddhism.

In the Pali Canon, 'ariya-saccani' are 'Four realities for the Noble Ones'.
And they are by no means a 'doctrine'.

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:49 am

zavk wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Aotearoa, te ika o Maui e waka o Maui, for those who understand.


It's one helluva giant 'fish' innit? :smile:

Not as big as the canoe we're living on down here on the "mainland"...

[Hmm, this is becoming rather sectarian...]
http://www.bioneural.net/2007/05/12/mau ... n-of-myth/

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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:06 am

oLuang Por Chah once said that one of the reasons that it was important for the Dhamma to be established in the west, was so that it could be reimported to those cultures where folk religion had replaced the Dhamma. He said that westerners were seeing the Dhamma with less cultural accretion. He added that westerners have their own limited vision too, an over reliance on philisophical approaches, and that perhaps between the west and Asia we could all see " with two eyes".
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4NT little known in the East?

Postby Clueless Git » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:In other ways though they know more about being buddhist than 99 out of 100 of the more traditional type buddhists I've ever yet met.

I agree with the first part, but I think it's your friends who are the "traditional type Buddhists"...

As opposed us newfangled "read about all the teachings straight away" types. ("Pigs at a trough", as Pink Trike would put it...).

Metta
Mike

Combined with the snippet Lazy Eye posted and Paññāsikhara's excellent explanations this topic is providing mucho food for thought Mike.
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