Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

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

Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:16 am

Retro, I think there is some consternation amongst some that wats in the west appear to be accommodating the social needs for certain groups of people.
In which case, is that really any different to Dhamma Wheel? I think that if most members were really honest, the principal reason why members join is to have a sense of community with other Buddhists.
Which is not a bad thing...

"And what is meant by admirable friendship? There is the case where a lay person, in whatever town or village he may dwell, spends time with householders or householders' sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction [in the principle of kamma] in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are consummate in discernment. This is called admirable friendship."

— AN 8.54

As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.
— SN 45.2

kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:20 am

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:Retro, I think there is some consternation amongst some that wats in the west appear to be accommodating the social needs for certain groups of people.
In which case, is that really any different to Dhamma Wheel? I think that if most members were really honest, the principal reason why members join is to have a sense of community with other Buddhists.

Sense of community with other Buddhists... indeed. You hit the nail on the head there - Buddhists and those who may be interested in becoming Buddhist.

That ought to be the criteria - not race, nationality, cultural heritage, the longitude and latitude of the piece of rock you were born on etc.

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:25 am

It would be nice had the Buddhist from directly after the timer of the Buddha's death till now all lived up to the highest standards set by the Buddha, but they certainly did not. We could run through the catalogue of things such as monasteries having slaves, owning land, and whatnot, but here is what Mike said:


Expecting Asian Buddhists to change the way they are organised to cater for Western ideas seems a bit far-fetched to me. If Westerners want their own version of Buddhism it's really up to them to organise it.

If you feel like you have the authority to tell Asian Buddhists how to best live their lives, conduct their affairs and how best understand the Dhamma, go for it, show us how it done. In the mean time, those Westerners who try to understand the Dhamma, both in terms of its historic contexts and by putting it into practice, will be in a better place to try to adapt the Dhamma to Western needs.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is shocking is the expectations that Thais, Burmese and others meet our Western expectations of how things should be done.

:strawman:

Sometimes Buddhavacana is awfully inconvenient to some.
The only starwman argument is coming from you and you utter cultural blindness.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:28 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:The only starwman argument iows coming from you and you utter cultural blindness.

"Culture" over Buddhavacana. As you like, Tilt.

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:32 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:The only starwman argument iows coming from you and you utter cultural blindness.

"Culture" over Buddhavacana. As you like, Tilt.

Metta,
Retro. :)
You really do not get it. The issue is not the Buddha-word. It is,rather, the Western arrogance that (some)Westerners think they have it all figured out well enough to tell the Thais, Burmese and others how do it.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:Retro, I think there is some consternation amongst some that wats in the west appear to be accommodating the social needs for certain groups of people.
In which case, is that really any different to Dhamma Wheel? I think that if most members were really honest, the principal reason why members join is to have a sense of community with other Buddhists.

Sense of community with other Buddhists... indeed. You hit the nail on the head there - Buddhists and those who may be interested in becoming Buddhist.

That ought to be the criteria - not race, nationality, cultural heritage, the longitude and latitude of the piece of rock you were born on etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I understand. However, I think Mike's experience of learning Dhamma from wats in New Zealand is instructive. I think that perhaps its also our responsibility as westerners in the west to request Dhamma from Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian or Burmese branch wats. Maybe then when a need has been demonstrated that Dhamma will be presented in language other than Thai, Sri Lankan, Cambodian or Burmese. We have a part too in the dissemination of the Dhamma - even by asking for Dhamma in English (or other western language).
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:35 am

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:I understand. However, I think Mike's experience of learning Dhamma from wats in New Zealand is instructive. I think that perhaps its also our responsibility as westerners in the west to request Dhamma from Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian or Burmese branch wats. Maybe then when a need has been demonstrated that Dhamma will be presented in language other than Thai, Sri Lankan, Cambodian or Burmese. We have a part too in the dissemination of the Dhamma - even by asking for Dhamma in English (or other western language).

Agreed.

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:37 am

Ben wrote: I understand. However, I think Mike's experience of learning Dhamma from wats in New Zealand is instructive. I think that perhaps its also our responsibility as westerners in the west to request Dhamma from Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian or Burmese branch wats. Maybe then when a need has been demonstrated that Dhamma will be presented in language other than Thai, Sri Lankan, Cambodian or Burmese. We have a part too in the dissemination of the Dhamma - even by asking for Dhamma in English (or other western language).
kind regards,

Ben
Yes. This is cultural stuff that needs to be understood and worked with. We cannot just tell it to go away or tell the Thais, etc,to act like us.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:39 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:You really do not get it. The issue is not the Buddha-word. It is,rather, the Western arrogance that (some)Westerners think they have it all figured out well enough to tell the Thais, Burmese and others how do it.

So we have the discussion framed as Tiltbillings would have it, or it's Western arrogance, is it?

Frankly, I'm quite happy for it to be about the Buddha-word... about the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

If you'd rather it be about "Thais", "Burmese", "Western(ers)" etc. then you may view things in such worldly ways, with such worldly delineations if you like.

:buddha1:

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:You really do not get it. The issue is not the Buddha-word. It is,rather, the Western arrogance that (some)Westerners think they have it all figured out well enough to tell the Thais, Burmese and others how do it.

So we have the discussion framed as Tiltbillings would have it, or it's Western arrogance, is it?

Frankly, I'm quite happy for it to be about the Buddha-word... about the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

If you'd rather it be about "Thais", "Burmese", "Western(ers)" etc. then you may view things in such worldly ways, with such worldly delineations if you like.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
I am responding to your grossly taking Mike's comment out of context. Ben has neatly stated Mikes point:


I understand. However, I think Mike's experience of learning Dhamma from wats in New Zealand is instructive. I think that perhaps its also our responsibility as westerners in the west to request Dhamma from Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian or Burmese branch wats. Maybe then when a need has been demonstrated that Dhamma will be presented in language other than Thai, Sri Lankan, Cambodian or Burmese. We have a part too in the dissemination of the Dhamma - even by asking for Dhamma in English (or other western language).
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:50 am

Greetings Tilt,

Right - householders requesting bhikkhus to teach the Dhamma.

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Right - householders requesting bhikkhus to teach the Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
You still don't get it, but C'est la vie.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:03 am

Greetings Tilt,

That's cool - I'm quite comfortable with where my allegiance lies.

:buddha1:

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

That's cool - I'm quite comfortable with where my allegiance lies.
That's an eye-roller. As i said, you simply do not get it. It is not a matter of allegiance. It is a matter trying to find common ground in trying to understand and work with other cultures whose response to things can be quite different than Western cultures.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:10 am

Greetings Tilt,

Or it's about Buddhavacana and the Triple Gem.

:buddha1:

Frame it as you see fit.

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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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby Mr Man » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:17 am

Onward Buddhist soldiars.
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Re: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Or it's about Buddhavacana and the Triple Gem.

:buddha1:

Frame it as you see fit.

Metta,
Retro. :)
My goodness. You still do not get it. Of course, it is about communication of the Buddha-word among cultures which have very different patterns of behavior. We cannot expect that Thais act like Steve Irwin in preaching the Dhamma, but we can try to understand the cultural differences and find ways of working with them so that we can all talk effectively with each other, so that the Dhamma can be effectively presented.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:19 am

Mr Man wrote:Onward Buddhist soldiars.
Oh, yeah.
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: Richard Gombrich - Comfort or Challenge?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:20 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:It is a matter trying to find common ground in trying to understand and work with other cultures whose response to things can be quite different than Western cultures.

I don't know where all Dhamma Wheel members live, but I know at least three participants in this topic to date who live in Asia...

So if this isn't about the Triple Gem, which "culture" are we actually dealing with here? The "pilgrim" culture that's excited about Gombrich's challenge and gives it the big thumbs up? The "chownah" culture whose first response was to take umbrage at the English imperialists? The "ven. Appicchato" culture who acknowledges that Gombrich makes a good point but is skeptical it will be heard by those who would do well to hear it? Just as there is no homogenised Western culture, there is no homogenised Asian culture either... we're dealing with people, individuals... many views.

What we do have in common though is our common Buddhist heritage - the Dhamma of the Buddha. That seems the most appropriate medium by which we could be "trying to find common ground". If that involves relinquishing some "comfort", we should not be surprised - the Dhamma does go against the grain, and always has.

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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