Buddhist Futurism

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Buddhist Futurism

Postby Viscid » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:02 pm

Let us suppose that Buddhism, in particular Theravada Buddhism and what is taught therein is completely factual and will eventually be validated by science and academia. How will the world change to accomodate this paradigm shift in thought?

Would monasteries be state funded? Will monasticism change form to a more mainstream version? What would that look like?

What would be taught in schools? When a student asks what they are, would the teacher launch into a discourse about anatta?
Last edited by Viscid on Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby lojong1 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:20 pm

Viscid wrote:Let us suppose that Buddhism, in particular Theravada Buddhism and what is taught therein is completely factual...


Then the Buddha-Dhamma is disappearing.
He originally predicted 1000 year stages in the decline of his teachings until their eradication after 5000 years, but I think this was cut in half by the admission of women into the Sangha, hence at the 500 year mark the oral tradition was almost dead and the teachings were written down. It's almost over guys, so train hard!

Last paragraph p.32 of the link
http://books.google.ca/books?id=3QeSUSS ... rs&f=false
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:31 pm

Viscid wrote:Would monasteries be federally funded?

Which particular federation are you referring to?

We would say state funded.

In most countries religious organisations (and other charitable organisations) have state subsidies via tax rebates on donations and other concessions. I'm told religious organisations in China can apply for government subsidies proportional to their membership, but that information may not be accurate.

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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby Viscid » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:39 pm

lojong1 wrote:Then the Buddha-Dhamma is disappearing.


Good point. So, we would assume that whatever form Buddhism takes and becomes popular must be a significant deviation from the original Buddha-Dhamma.

If rebirth were somehow shown true by academia or science, and the belief widely adopted, I'd imagine the majority of people would take it as being consolary rather than threatening, and not see any reason to strive for liberation. Also, a significant amount of liberties would likely be taken when interpreting any Buddhist text to accomodate a westernized, or globalized point of view.

If any form of Buddhism is going to be widely adopted, it will be warped to be accessible and acceptable.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby Viscid » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:47 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Viscid wrote:Would monasteries be federally funded?


We would say state funded.


You're right. State funded.

mikenz66 wrote:In most countries religious organisations (and other charitable organisations) have state subsidies via tax rebates on donations and other concessions.
Mike


Right, but if Buddhist beliefs were accepted as fact, then Monasteries wouldn't be considered 'religious' organizations.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby OcTavO » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:05 pm

Viscid wrote:If any form of Buddhism is going to be widely adopted, it will be warped to be accessible and acceptable.


I suspect it already is. :thinking:
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby lojong1 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:55 pm

(Pāli: garu-dhamma; Skt.: guru-dharma). The eight additional ‘weighty rules’ that the Buddha imposed as a condition of allowing women to be ordained as nuns.

This is a preview of what "validation by science and academia" will look like, and it ain't pretty:

The Decline of the Sasana
http://bhikkhuni.net/library/kusuma-ina ... story.html

"The Cullavagga describes how the lifespan of the Buddha's dispensation would be reduced from one thousand to five hundred years, due to the ordination of women. It records a statement of the Buddha as follows: "Ananda, if only the women did not leave the household and become ordained in the Tathagata's sasana, this pure, chaste, holy life of the dispensation would have lasted longer. Ananda, however, now that the women have left the household and have been ordained, the lifespan of the sasana will be reduced from one thousand years to five hundred years."

Let us examine what the commentary of Cullavagga has to say. It actually contradicts this statement. The commentator, Buddhaghosa, leads us to a new world: "Like a great reservoir when bounded by a dam would retain water, in the same way these Garu Dhammas have been promulgated by the Buddha...So that through the going forth of women there will not be a decline to the dispensation. If not promulgated, the Saddharma would last only 500 years. Now, through garudhamma being promulgated the Saddharma will last another 500 years. Thus it will last a thousand years." The commentary is diametrically opposed to the text. While the Cullavagga reduces the lifespan from a thousand years to five hundred years, the commentary increases the lifespan from five hundred to a thousand years. Readers become perplexed, wondering whether they should believe the text or the commentary or neither. Today the Buddha's teachings have been in existence for well over twenty-five hundred years!

Buddhaghosa does not agree with the view held in the Cullavagga. There is a reason for this. Buddhaghosa wrote the commentary in the fourth century C.E., that is, ten centuries after the demise of the Buddha, and he saw a flourishing bhikkhun order existing then in Sri Lanka. That was well after the stipulated time of five hundred years or even a thousand years. Obviously he had to break away from the Cullavagga and report the current view.

So, we find not only the Vinaya texts, but also the commentaries reporting inaccuracies.

I often ask scholars and monks what is meant by the statement that the dispensation would last only five hundred years, not a thousand. The answer I get is that it is because the arahant disciples lasted only five hundred years. That leaves me in another quandary.

In his commentary, Buddhaghosa finally increases the life of the sasana to five thousand years. The first thousand years, he says, there will be arahants having "four analytical knowledges." The next thousand years there will be bare "insight arahants." The next thousand years there will be sakadagami and the next thousand years will be sotpatti. In all, for five thousand years the pativedha, the penetration of the Dhamma, will be seen.

One begins to wonder whether the original statement that the sasana would last only five hundred years due to the ordination of women is really that of the All-Knowing Buddha. If it were, why did Buddhaghosa contradict the words of the Buddha? In many other instances the Buddha specifically mentioned that the causes for the decline of the dispensation are, for example, not keeping the Vinaya precepts, not practicing meditation, not gaining jhanas, not striving for sainthood, not practicing the seven factors of enlightenment, and so on. Nowhere else, except in the Cullavagga, is there a reference to the decline of the dispensation being due to the institution of the bhikkhun order. In my opinion, it is highly improbable that the Buddha would have instituted the bhikkhun order had it meant the decline of the dispensation."

Regardless of whether Buddha did or did not say anything about a Bhikkhuni-sangha reducing the sasana, or the time involved, this is the kind of 'logic' waiting to validate the Dhamma.

Mike, I'm surprised you find this kind of future speculation more useful than non-speculative repetition of wholesome meditation experiences.
Last edited by lojong1 on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:06 pm

lojong1 wrote:Mike, I'm surprised you find this kind of future speculation more useful than non-speculative repetition of wholesome meditation experiences.

Are you talking to me? Or some other Mike? (There are too many Mikes...). I didn't speculate about anything.

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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:08 pm

Viscid wrote:... but if Buddhist beliefs were accepted as fact, then Monasteries wouldn't be considered 'religious' organizations.

Leaving aside possible arguments over definitions of "religion", they would still be charitable organisations, so no problem...

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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby lojong1 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:16 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I didn't speculate about anything.

I didn't say you speculated. :stirthepot: :thumbsup:
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby SDC » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:18 pm

Viscid wrote:How will the world change to accomodate this paradigm shift in thought?


Not all would be capable of practicing. Not all will want to practice. Regardless of the proof.



Some that claim to be followers will have a strong and blind self-righteous contempt towards those that don't. Those that don't follow will claim to be oppressed by those that do follow. Tensions will always be present. Any changes will be met with opposition. In the middle, there will be those that follow the teachings.

In other words, the world will not change at all.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:59 pm

Viscid wrote:Let us suppose that Buddhism, in particular Theravada Buddhism and what is taught therein is completely factual and will eventually be validated by science and academia. How will the world change to accomodate this paradigm shift in thought?

Would monasteries be state funded? Will monasticism change form to a more mainstream version? What would that look like?

What would be taught in schools? When a student asks what they are, would the teacher launch into a discourse about anatta?

Well....the theory of evolution has been pretty much proven and validated by science and academia.......but there are still alot of people who don't believe it.....and in fact in some schools creationism is still taught and evolution is not.............so......
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby pariyatti » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:22 am

Did the Buddha teach 'consciousness is gendered?'
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby lojong1 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:53 am

pariyatti wrote:Did the Buddha teach 'consciousness is gendered?'
:?:
:|
:|
I can only guess the reason for this question.
The only way to settle arguments about the Bhikkhuni-sangha's effect on the Buddha-Sasana, or arguments surrounding MN 115 (Bahudhatuka Sutta), is for someone (male or female) to become themselves a samma-sambuddha and prove it to others. Until then it remains a "thus I have heard" of little practical value.
My focus in 'The Decline of the Sasana' was the strange logic [used to reach a desired conclusion], not the conclusion itself.
Gendered consciousness? I don't know what that means or who taught it. I don't know.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby samadhi_steve » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:56 pm

Viscid wrote: What would be taught in schools? When a student asks what they are, would the teacher launch into a discourse about anatta?


Hopefully schools will encourage the students to look inward to discover the answer themselves. To realize the dhamma rather than blindly following someone else's reality.
Buddho is something cool and calm. It's the path for giving rise to peace and contentment — the only path that will release us from the suffering and stress in this world.
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Re: Buddhist Futurism

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:33 am

what do schools say when children ask this question now?
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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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