Mike wrote:Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point, but your argument, here and elsewhere, seems to be:
1. The Dhamma is best understood according to some particular philosophical point of view X.
2. Therefore interpretation Y is better than interpretation Z because it is in line with X.
This is probably more like it...
1. The Dhamma was taught from a certain mindset, perspective or disposition - let's call it y
2. The Dhamma cannot be approached from no mindset, perspective or disposition (no blank slate) - that is impossible
3. The Dhamma can be approached from numerous possible mindsets, perspectives or dispositions - let's call them x1, x2, x3, x4, x5... .
4. If x(n)=y, we will get maximum value from what is being taught if we approach the Dhamma with disposition x(n)
5. If x(n)<>y, we will get less than optimal benefit from what is being taught if we approach the Dhamma with disposition x(n)
6. Because of the above, it is worth questioning ourselves on the value of y, and working out which x is closest to, or equal to y, and adopting the best x we know of in order to bring them into harmony
I hope that shows there's nothing uniquely "modern" about it, other than the Western words used to facilitate the discussion to date, so please try not to get preoccupied with that particular aspect of it... they're just words that point to things. Buddhaghosa taught of different temperaments too, and the Buddha acknowledged different temperaments in relation to those who were easily trained, versus those who weren't.
Once the discrepancy between x(n) and y is identified, the following options are available.
A. Some people try to mould y on to their existing x - I'm sure you've seen that in some people, they change the Dhamma to fit their pre-dispositions.
B. Other people are so devoted to the Dhamma, that they will surrender their original ignorant disposition x in order to change to make it such that x(a)=y, whereby a equals whatever it has to such that x=y, and thereby surrender to the Dhamma and endeavour to make themselves easily trainable
I have followed Option B, but am acutely aware that someone else might unknowingly assume I've followed Option A, and become aghast or horrified at some of the things I say or the way I approach the Dhamma in general. That's because they are either unaware of the above, or choose to disregard it. I'm that introverted I know I have a particular mindset/disposition... someone less introverted may not even ask the questions in the first place. I have benefited significantly from the change in mindset (and I can't argue with my own experience!) so I'd like to offer the opportunity of this introspection and surrender to others. It is kind of ironic though to be perceived as arrogant when in fact you have surrendered to the Dhamma... eight worldly conditions.