Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:03 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.

but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
Much worse.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby bodom » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:
legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.

but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
Much worse.


For as much criticism as he takes, he was my first real introduction to Buddhism. If it wasn't for him I would not be here. I would not have found my way to Therevadin Buddhism. For that, I owe him dearly.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:05 pm

As i said in the OP, Thich Nhat Hanh (along with Gil Fronsdal) are the only two popular Zen Buddhist teachers i've come across who present "Theravadan" ideas extensively to their students. The 7 factors of Awakening, 4 brahmaviharas, 4 foundations of mindfulness, etc. Most Zen Buddhists (that i've come in contact with) don't know what these are, and aren't even interested. Some of us are though, and TNH is one way we came to learn of these dhamma teachings.

But if he isn't presenting certain ideas accurately, that would be a problem. So, those of you with criticisms, i hope you will feel free to share. It's on topic i think to discuss this.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:24 pm

I dunno Chris. I think that one gets TNH or not, I think its less to do with logic and more to do with taste. You cant make someone love you, and I suspect you cant make people love a particular teacher or for matter, stop loving them.
If they help you fine. If they dont.... fine.
TNH is a teacher who tends to polarise opinion more than most. I know devout long term practitioners who have a lot of time for him. I also know similarly long term and devout people who dont consider that he represents the Buddha teaching at all and lump him in with the likes of Deepak Chopra.
I am not sure that a consensus view is either possible or particularly desirable. Horses for courses.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:41 pm

christopher::: wrote:


Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:
The Vietnamese translation for Order of Interbeing is "Dòng tu Tiếp Hiện" so "Dong tu" probably means "Order of."


If you follow the first external link on that Wiki page, you'll see it, in big bold letters!


Yes, thank you Venerable, that's where i found it as well.

Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...


Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?



Where Vietnam gets its Dharma from and where that one word has its origins are different questions. We'd need someone with knowledge of Vietnamese Buddhism to go further with these technical issues, i think.

Paññāsikhara wrote:


I am vietnamese but not expert in Vietnamese Buddhism. What I can say is that before I got to know Ven TNH, I had never heard the word Tiếp Hiện, and without reading its english version "inter-being", I'd had no clue what it means. My guess is that it's a word entirely invented by the Ven, translated from the word "inter-being" (and not the other way around- it seems that this Order was founded when he was in the US in 1966- though I am not 100% sure), which is used to convey the idea of "continue to be" instead of "individuals" , in case of his Order of inter-beings. Note that when talking about birthdays, he uses the expression "continuation of birth".

Inter-being, when used to talk about the emptiness nature of all things in his books in vietnamese, is Vô Ngã, which is the standard translation of selflessness, anatta or sunyata.

His elaboration of Vô Ngã (translated by him as Inter-being) is not found in other vietnamese Buddhist books (to my knowledge), and if he chooses to translate it as "inter-being" instead of selflessness or emptiness, it is most probably because it is how HE understands it and thinks it's easier to be understood and accepted by westerners.

just my 2 cents.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:55 pm

" continuation of birth " ????
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:31 pm

PeterB wrote:" continuation of birth " ????


From the Wikipedia article posted by Christopher - Tiếp means "being in touch with" and "continuing." Hiện means "realizing" and "making it here and now." So... "continuing to making it here and now"?

So, it follows that "birthday" can be seen as a "continuation of [the] birth." At least that's my take on it. This is the first time I've read anything about this "inter-being" stuff, really, and I suspect there is a lot of misunderstanding in here (mainly due to [fixating on] the language issues).

christopher::: wrote:Hi Venerable. I didn't see Chinese characters for the Vietnamese term Tiếp Hiện , perhaps we were looking at different links. This is the primary page, in English. On the left is a link to Vietnamese. What (and/or where) are the Chinese characters you found?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Interbeing


I think he means the characters on this link (the first "external link" from the wikipedia article). Unfortunately I don't know Chinese, so I can't help here.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:47 pm

I think that the reason why squaring this circle is not easy is in large part due to concepts that are axiomatic in the Mahayana , but which are absent or even dismissed in much Theravadin teaching.
The element that glues TNH's view of D.O. and " Inter-Being" is Buddhadhatu.
imo in terms of the Theravada this makes Inter-Being a non starter.
But I would be interested to see attempts to square it.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:41 pm

dhamma follower wrote:
I am vietnamese but not expert in Vietnamese Buddhism. What I can say is that before I got to know Ven TNH, I had never heard the word Tiếp Hiện, and without reading its english version "inter-being", I'd had no clue what it means. My guess is that it's a word entirely invented by the Ven, translated from the word "inter-being" (and not the other way around- it seems that this Order was founded when he was in the US in 1966- though I am not 100% sure), which is used to convey the idea of "continue to be" instead of "individuals" , in case of his Order of inter-beings. Note that when talking about birthdays, he uses the expression "continuation of birth".

Inter-being, when used to talk about the emptiness nature of all things in his books in vietnamese, is Vô Ngã, which is the standard translation of selflessness, anatta or sunyata.

His elaboration of Vô Ngã (translated by him as Inter-being) is not found in other vietnamese Buddhist books (to my knowledge), and if he chooses to translate it as "inter-being" instead of selflessness or emptiness, it is most probably because it is how HE understands it and thinks it's easier to be understood and accepted by westerners.

just my 2 cents.

D.F.


Thanks for sharing your understanding, D.F.

It sounds like "Inter-being" is not a direct translation of any specific phrase, but simply a new combination of English terms meant to draw attention to the interdependence of parts forming compounded things. It makes most sense when trying to explain sunyata to Westerners, as the idea doesn't translate well as simply "emptiness" in English. Many Western Zen Buddhists become confused (imo) when they have done that, simply translated sunyata as "emptiness." That's probably why TNH's contribution is appreciated in many Zen Circles, but not seen as relevant to others...

beeblebrox- i'm not familiar with those combinations of Chinese characters, they don't make sense in Japanese. Venerable Huifeng can probably translate then, but even then we run into the problem that D.F. has pointed out, that TNH may not have been trying to translate any one term, Vietnamese or Chinese.

Peter- yes, we can go in that direction, but i fear that the deeper we travel into Mahayana territory the less likely there will be any satisfactory conclusions reached.

Which is fine.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:12 am

christopher::: wrote:and has blended them into his understanding of Zen Buddhism and the Madhyamaka view of emptiness.

i dont understand how what hes saying can be considered mahayana emptiness, especially madhyamaka emptiness which is very radical
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:32 am

5heaps wrote:
christopher::: wrote:and has blended them into his understanding of Zen Buddhism and the Madhyamaka view of emptiness.

i dont understand how what hes saying can be considered mahayana emptiness, especially madhyamaka emptiness which is very radical


Well, there was a discussion going on this topic recently over at ZFI... If you're interested check it out, Madhyamaka was discussed. As i just said though, i'm hesitant to wade too deeply into Mahayana territory here at DW....

emptiness and interdependent co-arising

One thing that has become clearer, for me (from this discussion), is how ideas from Theravadan teachings can be very helpful for Mahayana Buddhists, but the reverse is not as true.

:juggling:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Nyana » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:44 am

christopher::: wrote:One thing that has become clearer, for me (from this discussion), is how ideas from Theravadan teachings can be very helpful for Mahayana Buddhists, but the reverse is not as true.

Hi Christopher & all,

Paticcasamuppāda, a.k.a. pratītyasamutpāda, a.k.a. 緣起, a.k.a. rten cing 'brel bar 'byung ba is not a "Theravāda" teaching. It's a teaching common to all Buddhist schools that have any meaningful connection to the Indian traditions.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:53 am

christopher::: wrote:how ideas from Theravadan teachings can be very helpful for Mahayana Buddhists, but the reverse is not as true.

bah, there is noone more fit to understand emptiness than a real theravadin
and like nana says the more radical versions of emptiness are built on top of the versions shared in common (ie. functioning things are produced in dependence upon causes and conditions and are momentary, not unchanging etc)
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:10 am

One thing that has become clearer, for me (from this discussion), is how ideas from Theravadan teachings can be very helpful for Mahayana Buddhists, but the reverse is not as true.

:juggling:



Im not sure if I agree with this Christopher. I think that to quantify such a thing would be messy to say the least. Probably best to leave this kind of thing in the personally subjective realm. I find that forms of mediation developed within the Mahayana which are aimed at cultivating sympathy with and a desire for the transcendence of the suffering of all beings to be very helpful. I have found some Mahayana poetical references to meditative states helpful in shedding light on Pali sources which I think are pointing in the same direction. Also I have found quite a few Mahayana aphorisms quite memorable and effective while being as far as I can tell in line with the Nikayas.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:53 am

LOL, well, looks like it's probably best for little me to avoid making sweeping generalizations...

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Nyana » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:19 am

christopher::: wrote:LOL, well, looks like it's probably best for little me to avoid making sweeping generalizations...

:goodpost:

Interpenetration in action!... No impenetrable boundaries ... evah!

All the best,

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:14 am

PeterB wrote:" continuation of birth " ????


Sorry, my mistake ! The expression is "day of continuation". The idea is "never born, never died", so only continuation....

Since D.O is an excellent tool to understand anatta, TNH has combined sunyata and D.O into the term "inter-being".

In Vietnamese, D.O is Duyên Khởi
Duyên is condition(s)
Khởi is to arise
Duyên Khởi = arising upon conditions

It is the first ground for "inter-being" to come into being

IMO, what makes "inter-being" not so attractive (to be polite) to many Theravadins, and even Mahayanists, it's - as someone has pointed out earlier- that inter-being is in positive mode while the Buddha teaching is in negative mode. I personally don't see how inter-being as elaborated by the Venerable leads to dispassion.

Many of the people I know who are his disciples just turn away when we talk about dukkha with them.

However, it is true that Ven encourages people to practice the Satipathana, saying that at the Buddha's time, no one was reciting "the lotus sutta" or the "flower sutta", but everybody was practicing Satipathana. Nonetherless, TNH's followers practice Satipathana in the way their master explains it: walk and smile, breath and smile :smile: ....

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:24 am

dhamma follower wrote:
PeterB wrote:" TNH's followers practice Satipathana in the way their master explains it: walk and smile, breath and smile :smile: ....

D.F.

much like Bhante Vimalaramsi
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: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:20 am

Maybe it's also worth considering that Ven. Nhat Hanh is not only Mahayana, and not only Zen, but also part of the movement broadly known as "humanistic Buddhism". Ven. Paññāsikhara may have more to tell us about this. For now, let me just say that certain idiosyncracies (from a more traditionalist perspective) in TNH's approach might reflect humanistic Buddhism's emphasis on applying dharma to life in the world, and its de-emphasis -- comparatively speaking -- on the otherwordly or world-transcending aspects of dharma.

My impression is that, within this specific context, TNH is pretty mainstream -- though with a better-than-average ear for Western sensibilities.

I'd also guess the "positive mode" mentioned above reflects the broader movement, not just this one teacher. Again, we see it with other 人間佛教 schools -- Ven Hsing Yun has a book, for instance, titled "Humanistic Buddhism: A Blueprint for Life." Likewise, he teaches about cultivating "affinity" with others and the environment around us. Sounds not too far off from Interbeing.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:23 am

just to be anal, i'm gonna point out that TNH is not Zen, but rather Thien which has a totally different history and it's own concepts
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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