Too Much Debate?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Too Much Debate?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:01 pm

There are some who dispute
corrupted at heart,
and those who dispute
their hearts set on truth,
but a sage doesn't enter
a dispute that's arisen,
which is why he is
nowhere constrained.

Now, how would one
led on by desire,
entrenched in his likes,
forming his own conclusions,
overcome his own views?
He'd dispute in line
with the way that he knows.

Whoever boasts to others, unasked,
of his practices, precepts,
is, say the skilled,
ignoble by nature —
he who speaks of himself
of his own accord.

But a monk at peace,
fully unbound in himself,
who doesn't boast of his precepts
— "That's how I am" —
he, say the skilled,
is noble by nature —
he with no vanity
with regard to the world.

One whose doctrines aren't clean —
fabricated, formed, given preference
when he sees it to his own advantage —
relies on a peace
dependent
on what can be shaken.

Because entrenchments1 in views
aren't easily overcome
when considering what's grasped
among doctrines,
that's why
a person embraces or rejects a doctrine —
in light of these very
entrenchments.

Now, one who is cleansed2
has no preconceived view
about states of becoming
or not-
anywhere in the world.
Having abandoned conceit3 & illusion,
by what means would he go?4
He isn't involved.

For one who's involved
gets into disputes
over doctrines,
but how — in connection with what — 5
would you argue
with one uninvolved?
He has nothing
embraced or rejected,6
has sloughed off every view
right here — every one.



When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?


:anjali:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:09 pm

When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?


It is to be expected when you get people giving non-standard, not always well thought out points of view concerning the Buddha's teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?

Yes.

In my opinion, the only topics that are particularly useful begin with questions like this:
"I am having difficulty understanding X. Can someone please explain it?"

Statements such as:
"X is not important"
are basically a waste of bandwidth and effort as far as I am concerned. As Tilt indicates, they lead to wasted effort that could be more fruitfully used answering the first kind of question.

Metta
Mike
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:40 pm

Mike


I agree with you, asking for clarification leads to a deeper understanding for both the original questioner and all those involved rather than a blanket statement does about the inferiority/superiority etc of a certain teaching since most people tend to refute it from their own point of view and it becomes an argument with points raised in favour and points raised against with a tendency for neither side to learn much from the other



:anjali:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:26 am

clw_uk wrote:When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?

The sutta is irrelevant to what transpires on Buddhist forums. The sutta is comparing the awakened with the unawakened.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby thecap » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:52 am

clw_uk wrote:can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?


:anjali:


Hi dear friend CLW

For me, there is no "too much".

Whatever debate we may experience as superfluous or meet with favoring or aversion...

It is just a reflexion of the potential for discursiveness we still have in our minds.

And so I think it is a good barometer for our practise - there is no "too much talk", only too little practise.

Sunnata

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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:18 am

clw_uk wrote:I agree with you, asking for clarification leads to a deeper understanding for both the original questioner and all those involved rather than a blanket statement does about the inferiority/superiority etc of a certain teaching since most people tend to refute it from their own point of view and it becomes an argument with points raised in favour and points raised against with a tendency for neither side to learn much from the other

In my opinion my personal opinion is unimportant. Let alone the opinion of other members...

What I have found useful about forums such as Dhamma Wheel and E-Sangha is that there are knowledgeable people who can clarify what the standard Theravada interpretations are, and how they relate to other traditions and modern not-so-standard interpretations.

So, for example, where Ajhans Mun, Thanissaro, Buddhadasa, etc, differ from standard Theravada is a useful discussion. That someone agrees or disagrees with those Venerable Sangha members is of little interest to me. In particular, I have no interest in being told that one of these teachers has it right, and everyone else has it wrong.

Similarly with meditation teachers. It is of interest to me to know the differences and/or similarities between what is taught by teachers from the Mahasi Sayadaw school, other Burmese teachers such as Pa Auk Sayadaw, Goenka, Ajahn Maha Boowa, the various Ajahn Chah students, etc.... And how their methods fit with the Suttas and Commentaries. But though I'm happy to talk about it I have no interest in persuading others to adopt the practise I'm using. I'm also hesitant to say too much about what I experience --- I prefer to to say "I've experienced something similar to what Venerable X describes here: ..." I've had enough surprises to know how much I don't know, and how much I need reliable teachers...

The "problem" is that instead of congenial exchanges of information, what I find myself doing (and I see others doing) is spending a lot of time pointing out that such-and-such an idea does not appear to agree with any of the interpretations that I am familiar with. This can become tiresome...

Metta
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby Tex » Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:30 am

clw_uk wrote:
When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?



As a beginner, I benefitted greatly from reading such discussions. Still do.

But, as Mikenz66 pointed out, some outright statements like "X is not important" are contentious, argumentative, and not as helpful as simply posting "I'm wondering about the importance of X, here's why, thoughts?".

Some posters do seem more interested in being perceived as correct or knowledgeable, or even more interested in provoking a debate for its own sake. But, no matter, discussion (usually helpful to those of us less knowledgeable) ensues anyway.

Bring it all on, I say.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby sukhamanveti » Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:56 pm

Tex wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
When reflecting on this sutta, can it be said there is too much debate on Buddhist forums?



As a beginner, I benefitted greatly from reading such discussions. Still do.

But, as Mikenz66 pointed out, some outright statements like "X is not important" are contentious, argumentative, and not as helpful as simply posting "I'm wondering about the importance of X, here's why, thoughts?".

Some posters do seem more interested in being perceived as correct or knowledgeable, or even more interested in provoking a debate for its own sake. But, no matter, discussion (usually helpful to those of us less knowledgeable) ensues anyway.

Bring it all on, I say.



Hi Tex,

"Some posters do seem more interested in being perceived as correct or knowledgeable"

When someone is convinced that a post conflicts with the basic teachings of the Buddha and he responds to it, he may seem like someone of low motives from the outside. In his own mind, however, he may just want to defend the Dhamma. It may seem to him that the Dhamma that is important to him is is being corrupted or diluted. He may even have read in DN 16.3.7-8 that the Buddha trained monks, nuns, and lay followers until they were able "by means of the Dhamma to refute false teachings that have arisen." So it may seem to him that this is a task appropriate to a follower of the Buddha. He might be ill-equipped for such a task or the result might appear distasteful, yet he may have good intentions.

Ed
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:09 pm

Hi Tex,

"Some posters do seem more interested in being perceived as correct or knowledgeable"

When someone is convinced that a post conflicts with the basic teachings of the Buddha and he responds to it, he may seem like someone of low motives from the outside. In his own mind, however, he may just want to defend the Dhamma. It may seem to him that the Dhamma that is important to him is is being corrupted or diluted. He may even have read in DN 16.3.7-8 that the Buddha trained monks, nuns, and lay followers until they were able "by means of the Dhamma to refute false teachings that have arisen." So it may seem to him that this is a task appropriate to a follower of the Buddha. He might be ill-equipped for such a task or the result might appear distasteful, yet he may have good intentions.

Ed



I think thats very true
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Too Much Debate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:13 am

Greetings,

I would judge the merit of debate based on the criteria laid out in the Simsapa Sutta for his teachings(SN 56.31)

* connected with the goal
* relate to the rudiments of the holy life
* lead to disenchantment
* lead to dispassion
* lead to cessation
* lead to calm
* lead to direct knowledge
* lead to self-awakening
* lead to Unbinding.

It doesn't need to be a direct 1:1 immediate relationship to those outcomes, however. Debating about a sutta can help us understand the sutta which can "lead to" those things mentioned above.

See also related topic...

Making the most of online Dhamma discussions
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=693

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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