He does not claim to be.BlackBird wrote:I don't think Batchelor's enlightened.
The book I suggested is not a scholarly work. It is a book of practical consideration. A foothold in the Dhamma? You might be surprised.Maybe he has some interesting things to say Tilt, but really I have no great desire for spending time figuring him out. Scholastic works, are by and large (exceptions of course) superfluous on the path to enlightenment, and I have found in my own experience that less is best when it comes to listening to the views of those who have not gained a foothold in the Buddha's Dhamma.
Interestingly, that is what Batchelor says.My view is that the existence of a 'me' an 'I am' is an existential problem, that requires an existential solution.
I never said there's anything wrong with Buddha being atheist/agnostic. To be more specific, I never said anything about the Buddha's specific beliefs - I made statements about the religion of Buddhism.
The Buddha never called himself atheist, agnostic, non-theist, or anything else. He simply stated that gods and devas are impermanent and not all-powerful. The Buddha transcended labels. He was not attached to views, even if those views were in-line with his own teachings. That's the problem I have with Batchelor insisting Buddhism be atheist - it's completely contrived and self-imposed. While Batchelor is trying to cut away what he perceives to be cultural baggage, he is obviously caught up in his own thicket of views.
You're right - them being a minority doesn't make them elitist. But I don't see where I said this... My point is that their position comes off as elitist because they are insisting that everyone interpret religion and faith the way they do - with their own definitions, concepts and truths. If it's not elitist, it is at least selfish. They want to increase the number of non-believers who interpret religion the way they do - but there isn't one single type of atheist or non-theist. There are tons of non-believers with varying viewpoints, so who's to say Dawkins and his people are right?
Are they dialoguing with prominent religious members of various cultures (as opposed to just setting up debates organized by predominently white western universities where they yell at each other for an hour)? Are they having informal discussions with common everyday people who practice religious faiths? From the numerous videos I've watched and articles I've read on these guys, the answer is no, but I could be wrong. All I've seen is one pompous debate after another, one interview with a public radio station or a BBC anchor after another - all forums organized and controlled by white Westerners.
It's not just about relying on tradition or religion or creed - like I stated before, there are legitimate reasons why people cling to these things, and these reasons must be understood before we can have any meaningful discussion about them or their abolishment. To ask a person to give up a belief on the grounds of evidence or reason in this day and age is like asking them to give up a part of who they are (or who they believe they are). It obviously doesn't work, and oftentimes they end up holding onto the belief even stronger than before (as is the case with many reactionary militant fundamentalists in the States).
There isn't anything wrong with you having an opinion of certain behaviors. The problem comes in when we assume everyone must think like we do, or else we're somehow uneducated or unenlightened. This is what I get from Batchelor and the like. There are plenty of highly educated philosophers who take a more culturally relativistic approach to these issues. Just because they don't think like you, does that make them wrong?
You're right - it's not an unreasonable position at all. As a matter of fact, it is the most reasonable position to take in terms of evidence and observation. That doesn't mean everyone "should" believe it. If we approach discussions with religious followers based on what we want them to believe because we think they should, we will fail most everytime. Trust me, I've tried this numerous times. It doesn't work. We can't change anyone's mind - they have to change their own mind when they're ready to do so.
Batchelor is well-versed on the scriptures, maybe even one of the most versed. He's a former Zen and Tibetan monk, has translated numerous scriptures and written numerous books on Buddhist study. I have no doubt he is formulating his opinions based on his wealth of experience. However, it's obvious that not every highly educated Buddhist agrees on various points in the scriptures. The Venerable Bhikkhu Buddhadasa has much different views on rebirth than Ajahn Chah. Jack Kornfield has different views than Gil Fronsdal. Who's right?
Just because a person is highly versed on a particular topic doesn't mean they can't make mistakes and be plain wrong sometimes. In this case, Batchelor is just plain wrong when it comes to his idea that rebirth isn't a central element of the suttas. He may very well be right about the falsehood of rebirth, but the evidence suggests that rebirth was absolutely essential to the Buddha's teachings.
It is culturally insensitive to assume you have the answers to another culture's problem. It's culturally insensitive to assume another culture has a problem based on your own definitions, instead of the definitions relevant to that specific culture. The West is very good at doing this.
First of all, what does "faced with this culture mean?" Does it mean if you were a member of this culture and you disagreed with the practice? If that's what you mean, you just stated what I've been saying the whole time - it is up to MEMBERS of that culture to decide what is and is not best for them, not up to us who are not a part of the culture. It's different if that culture is trying to invade your culture's space and impose their practices onto to you. In that case, fight like hell. But if you're a dissenter in your own culture, you have every right to dissent.
We don't live the same everyday realities of other cultures because we aren't a part of their culture. How can we decide what is and is not good for them? What if someone from a dictatorship were to come to America and parade around espousing the death of democracy? And they were adamant that we have it wrong with this democracy nonsense? How would that make us feel?
Yep, you're absolutely right: the computer, the internet, central air and heating, and even the way we make buildings, are all completely unsustainable and are a direct result of human beings calling themselves scientist and engineers and insisting that nature is something to be controlled and dominated instead of it being the very lifeblood all life on the planet depends upon. A direct result of mainstream science's insistence that the planet and its ecosystems are lifeless, cold and without purpose, instead of it being a living, breathing organism to enter into a mutual relationship together.
This insistence that science only be materialistic goes against one of the most fundamental aspects of the scientific method
There are scientists testing the existence of sixth senses using modern technology http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/199 ... sense.html
The ancestors of humans may have communicated by a sixth sense, by detecting chemical signals given off by each other. They received these signals through a specialized organ in the nose, vestiges of which still exist.
testing a part of the brain for the function of spiritual experiences http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... =110997741
and even how near-death experiences induced spiritual experiences http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU
It is unskillful for a culture or government to kill off its own citizens and expect to last beyond an uprising or armed resistance from its own members. They make themselves susceptible to coups, overthrows and invastion from external threats. History proves this. We don't have to invoke their religious beliefs to see this is true. To invoke any type of moral measurement upon them is unnecessary. Right and wrong are relative and subject to redefinition with the rise of subsequent generations. But cause and effect are immutable.
We in the West aren't even able to curb our own atrocities against ourselves and others
As you can see from the links I provided above, there are obvious material connections to non-material phenomena. A person - let's say a meditator - is practicing the scientific method when testing the effectiveness of meditation and the Noble Eightfold Path. Their conclusions are based on their own experience, and can be duplicated by others. As a matter of fact, Buddhism necessitates the scientific method, or else the entire practice falls apart. This shows that science is not simply relegated to pure materialism.
But what about theoretical sciences? Are practitioners of these fields not scientists because they don't actually see what the theories say should exist? There are widespread discussions of the Higgs boson, string theory, and the existence of consciousness. As a matter of fact, some of the world's largest scientific instruments have been to find evidence of many of these phenomena.
This is true, but it has nothing to do with my argument. I'm arguing against the validity of members of one culture imposing their beliefs on members of another. Further along, I stressed the function of such beliefs, and how they cannot be easily divorced from cultural and ethnic traditions.
To criticize faith alone is to entirely miss the reasons for such beliefs.
Paññāsikhara wrote:Viz the "agnostic" question, the very word "buddha" and other terms used to describe him, such as "jnana" give the immediate and strong impression that, if anything, the buddha is "gnostic", and not at all "a-gnostic". Here, I do not mean "gnostic" in the sense of the early Christian idea, but in the sense of a "knower". All these terms, >gno, >jna, >kno and so on are obviously cognates or cognate roots. The other terms, such as >budh, >vid, and so on are from different roots, but mean the same thing more or less.
I find it difficult to even consider the idea that the Buddha was anything other than "gnostic", quite frankly.
clw_uk wrote: [ ... ] First of all he was atheist or agnostic in regards to the traditional monotheistic creator Gods, i dont think anyone can argue against that. On another point the remark you made about "devas" does really depend on interpretation. If you follow classical thervadas line of thought then you could make a case for Buddha being a kind of polytheist. However if you take an alternative view point, say that of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand or Buddhadasa then "deva" is a mind state, which of course would mean that Buddha was silent on any kind of celestial realm, gods etc and would make him an agnostic or atheist in these issues.
So, I think "non-theistic" might be a better word, since the Buddhism isn't centered on gods.
Just a hint--most people are going to glaze over when they see 20 column inches of text. It also appears somewhat indulgent.
Making your point in fewer words might be more effective.
I think you were the one who recommended "The making of Buddhist modernism" to me a while back. If so, I want to thank you. It is extremely interesting, and very helpful!
zavk wrote:... change and conditionality is embodied in the very thing we call 'Buddhism' (if we can call it the one thing)
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