MisterRunon wrote:To those who think this topic ispointless: it is not.
I recently discovered Daniel. My curiosity was piqued when I'd heard that he was a self-proclaimed Arahant, which led me to google up "daniel ingram arahant." It landed me on this site. I'd say this issue has already been settled; it came out of Daniel's own mouth that he is not an Arahant in the Buddha-Dhamma context.
Discussion about this topic is important because Daniel claims to teach Buddhism, but he actually conflates it with some other practice that he has created himself. In that regard, I do think people of the Buddhist community have the right to bring his claims to the fore. If someone is using your reputation as a means for their credibility, then you have every right to respond.
U Pandita is still alive, right? Has anyone brought up Daniel's claims to him, and has he officially said anything? I'd think it would be an issue worth clarifying (for U Pandita), since Daniel has been building a following in the name of The Buddha.
It is a relevant discussion but maybe not in the setting of a strictly theravadin forum. But, this being the dhamma for all section, I'll try to say something more than before.
Theravada buddhism, zen buddhism, tibetan buddhism are different in their tendencies and statements. Wildly different versions of the truth _ at the surface. There are many buddhisms, but only one reality and thus, one truth. In my opinion, tibetan buddhism deviated from the original teachings in the direction of superstition and esoteric practices. Zen buddhism deviated from the original teachings by summarising it way too much and by becoming excentric. Theravada buddhism, in my opinion, deviated from the original teachings in the direction of idealistic purity.
Obviously there's no doubt to anyone who knows the history of buddhism that theravada is the most reliable version. But it is still a version. The teachings were written down 300 years after the Buddha died. The abidhamma was added and commentaries became the normative interpretation. And who knows what happened since the writing down? Some people feel offended by someone suggesting that the teachings of the suttas are not the almost perfect recording of the Buddha's word because it implies that the sangha didn't preserve the teachings in their perfection. I would say otherwise. The fact that the teachings in the suttas are so sound, coherent and clear is a testament of the fantastic quality
of the Buddha's disciples for centuries after.
So you're kind of right that Daniel Ingram doesn't teach strictly theravada. But do you claim that he does not teach the truth? That's an interesting road to take. Are you ready to claim that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche wasn't an arahat? And what about the Dalai Lama? Or Trulshik Rinpoche? Or Ajahn Chah? Or Ajahn Sumedho? Or Ajahn Brahm? Or Ayya Khema? What about zen teachers and recluses like the anonymous people on retreat in chinese mountains?
How many teachers are you going to say are not arahats because they express things in a different language? The teaching is "just" about eliminating suffering by destroying the illusion that there is a permanent and independent self. All these traditions, one way or another, teach this. And the other traditions have views in them at least as troublesome as Daniel Ingram's.
So, unless you are one of those people that would reject that a teacher is an arahat if that teacher would sit in a bench one inch taller than what is allowed by the vinaya/uposatta rules it's best if you can back up your statements without dogmatic arguments.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)