Ben wrote:Greetings Geoff,
An administrative decision was made early on to remove the link on suspicion of the member being a spammer, as the member suggests that we should purchase his book to provide him with feedback.
This exchange with the author (below) does raise the question if feedback is really what he wants. I popped three bucks for this effort.
Our author in the interview
characterizes his writing as: Light-hearted, fluffy and entertaining, but with a lot of bite.
Fluffy I can agree with. The book could stand a great deal of editing, re-doing, and proof-reading, which would then possibly give us something of some general interest. The criticism of the Mahayana, for example, leaves a great deal to be desired. Basically, if one is going to criticize something, the something should be accurately portrayed, so that what is being criticized is the real deal. Anything else lacks substance.
In Chapter IX: How To Recognize Fraudulent Buddhist Instructors
our author outlines what a genuine instructor (not teacher, for only the Buddha can be the teacher) looks like, which basically a portrait of a flawless arahant. Now, of course, the question is: is he telling us that as a matter of instruction? If so, does he fit the bill? If he does not fit the bill, why, then, is this a reliable statement by our author?
If you keep the above ten reminders describing authentic Buddhist instructors, you will never fall prey of many of the fraudulent impostors who are currently making rounds trying to convert the weak, the gullible, and the confused. (Bunardzic, Alex (2011-11-10). Difficult Points In Buddhism (Kindle Location 769). Kindle Edition.)
The reality is, of course, that there are very few arahants readily available as teachers. Now, certainly, no teacher should fall prey to any of the following:
1. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to ever experience lust toward their disciples.
2. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to crave sensual pleasures.
3. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to crave material comfort.
4. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to crave fame and recognition.
5. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to consider his or her body as being clean.
6. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to be afraid of his or her death.
7. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to strive to subdue his or her opponents.
8. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to indiscriminately protect his/her friends.
9. It is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to ask for money from his/her disciples.
10. Finally, it is not possible for an authentic Buddhist instructor to ever engage in any acts of violence.
(Bunardzic, Alex (2011-11-10). Difficult Points In Buddhism (Kindle Locations 763-764). Kindle Edition.)
But to be totally free of these things would require one to be an arahant. I think there are good teachers who, by virtue of their practice, keep these things in check.
In the preceding chapter he states:
Failing to meet the Buddha in person, what one can hope to encounter, though, is a fully qualified Buddhist instructor. A person who had followed the Buddha’s teaching very closely, who had applied that teaching to the fullest extent and had thus managed to self-restraint and to appease the obsessions, is a worthy Buddhist instructor. Such a person can show the way to the unskilled Buddhist followers. (Bunardzic, Alex (2011-11-10). Difficult Points In Buddhism (Kindle Locations 679-680). Kindle Edition.)
All very true; however, he does not really expand in any of this. Some practical advice concerning teachers might be a bit more helpful than spending several pages on fraudulent teachers. Far better advice and more practical advice can be found in Jack Kornfield's A PATH WITH HEART, chap 16.
So far, from what I have read of this book, I would not say don't buy it, but I would not say do buy it, either, even if it is only $2.99. This is something that should have been made available as a free PDF, in my opinion.
The table of contents:
Foreword. 3 Introduction. 4 Preamble: What Is Buddhism?. 5 How To Practice The Middle Way. 6 Chapter I: Buddhism Is A Critique Of The Sources Of Knowledge. 8 Chapter II: Why Is Buddhism Popular?. 11 Chapter III: Buddhism And Random Events. 14 Chapter V: Appeasing The Obsessions. 19 Chapter VI: Why Embellish The Buddha’s Teaching?. 22 Chapter VII: Buddhism Is Non-Sectarian. 24 Chapter VIII: Do You Need A Buddhist Teacher?. 26 Chapter IX: How To Recognize Fraudulent Buddhist Instructors. 28 Chapter X: Is Buddhism A Dogma?. 31 Chapter XI: Is Buddhism A Unique Teaching?. 33 Chapter XII: Is Dependent Origination A Unique Buddhist Teaching?. 35 Chapter XIII: Avoid Speculators And Non-Speculators. 37 Chapter XIV: Is Buddhism A Career?. 40 Chapter XV: Do Phenomena Exist?. 43 Chapter XVI: Buddhism And The Personality Cult 46 Chapter XVII: Selfish Vs. Altruistic Buddhism.. 49 Chapter XVIII: Confused Buddhism.. 52 Chapter XIX: The Curse Of Substantiality. 54 Chapter XX: Middle Way And Ethics. 58 Chapter XXI: Buddhism And Absolutism.. 62 Chapter XXII: Buddhism And Common Sense. 65 Chapter XXIII: Buddhist Armament Race. 67 Chapter XXIV: Likes And Dislikes In Buddhism.. 69 Chapter XXV: Buddhism And Science. 71 Chapter XXVI: The Problem Of Mahayana Buddhism.. 73 Chapter XXVII: Hankering For The World In The Buddhist Practice. 78 Chapter XXVIII: The Problem With Ultimate Reality. 83 Chapter XXIX: Buddhism And Emptiness. 86 Chapter XXX: Limits Of What Is Expressible And What Is Thinkable. 88 Chapter XXXI: Buddha’s Silence. 94 Chapter XXXII: Two Teachings: Provisional And Ultimate. 99 Chapter XXXIII: Two Truths. 102 Chapter XXXIV: The Bodhisattva Ideal 107 Chapter XXXV: The Nagarjuna Problem.. 110 Chapter XXXVI: Two Fruits. 115 Chapter XXXVII: The Friendly Way. 118 Chapter XXXVIII: The Buddha As A Physician. 120 Chapter XXXIX: Buddha’s Reliance On Words. 123 Conclusion. 127
alexbunardzic wrote: tilt wrote:
The seeds of the Mahayana movement were apparently planted by the Buddha himself, who had repeatedly refused to provide definitive answers to the two most burning questions that people were constantly asking him:
1. Who is the Buddha's chosen heir (i.e. who will get appointed by the Buddha as a rightful successor to continue the teaching after the Buddha's death)?
2. What happens to the Buddha/Tathagata after he dies?
To clarify: When I asked for your source, I was asking for your source for your claim that this is what drove the formation of the Mahayana.
Ah, gotcha! My source is some Gypsy woman (at least she looked like she could be Gypsy, but my sources on that are shaky, so let's just leave it at that for now). I ran into her many moons ago at a country fair and she ended up reading my palm (for a nominal fee, of course).
="Ben"does not fill me with any desire whatsoever to purchase his "book".