Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

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Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:08 am

Howdy Dhammawheelers,

In this Dhamma talk http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/2599.html by John Peacock, starting right around 128:50, he says:
Again we can go off into what I call the heavy-handed religious stuff.... From my reading of the texts that's not what the Buddha is doing at all. That goes back to Hindu asceticism...coming back in--Brahminization. The history of Buddhism...has been one of creeping Brahminization and Sanskritization.... It really has...! Everything that the Buddha tried to cut out, to stop, starts to creep back, slowly, throughout the history of Buddhism.... It's no accident...that one of the four great clingings is the clinging sīlabbata-parāmāsa, the clinging to rites and rituals.

The clinging to rites and rituals: What has Buddhism become full of?

Rites and rituals.


I want to agree with this, but compared to many here at Dhammawheel I don't know enough yet to answer the following:

Is Peacock accurately representing history?

Is he interpreting sīlabbata-parāmāsa right?

I hope for this to be a serious and focused topic. I scale sources from the most authoritative to the least authoritative like so: Sutta, scholarship, Vinaya, comments from bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, Abhidhamma, commentary, modern teachings.

Other, on-topic-question posing is welcome.

(I don't feel I'm challenging orthodoxy so much as questioning the place of/trying to understand the role of orthodoxy in Buddhism; and I'm not seeking "personal" advice [but will use the discussion to reflect on my own rites and rituals clinging]).
good-will
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:15 pm

Naga, Yaksini, Buddha: local deities and local Buddhism at Ajanta, by Richard S. Cohen

This article may be of interest where discussed is the “domestication” of the Saṅgha and Buddhism through the ritual exchange of gifts.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:30 pm

Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:01 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:Naga, Yaksini, Buddha: local deities and local Buddhism at Ajanta, by Richard S. Cohen

This article may be of interest where discussed is the “domestication” of the Saṅgha and Buddhism through the ritual exchange of gifts.


Related:

Virtuosity, Charisma and Social Order: A Comparative Sociological Study of Monasticism in Theravada Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism

This book is a comparative macrosociological study of the interaction between religious virtuosi and society in two civilizations: traditional Theravada Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism. Merging Weberian sociology with the Maussian tradition of gift-analysis, and criticizing the neglect of meaning in current comparative historical sociology, the author also argues the need for a multidimensional approach capable of addressing the part played by religious orientations in shaping the institutional strength and ideological power of religious elites in the historical framework of the Great Traditions.

---

danieLion wrote:Is he interpreting sīlabbata-parāmāsa right?


This thread touches on that topic. My understanding is that this "misapprehension of morality" has to do with the Vedic/Upanisadic idea that ritual action is the only properly efficacious action with respect to effecting liberation. This, of course, is overturned by the idea that kamma = cetana. It seems to me that this particular fetter is specifically related to kamma and morality, and not to (the general growth of) scholasticism within Buddhism.

danieLion wrote:Is Peacock accurately representing history?


It seems broadly correct; nothing leaps out at me as particularly wrongheaded, but it's quite general which makes a closer look rather difficult.

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:17 am

daverupa wrote: My understanding is that this "misapprehension of morality" has to do with the Vedic/Upanisadic idea that ritual action is the only properly efficacious action with respect to effecting liberation. This, of course, is overturned by the idea that kamma = cetana. It seems to me that this particular fetter is specifically related to kamma and morality, and not to (the general growth of) scholasticism within Buddhism.

Spot on, Dave. But I can't help wonder if the Buddha was trying to prevent the religionization of his Dhamma with teachings like sīlabbata-parāmāsa?
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby danieLion » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:53 am

daverupa wrote:

danieLion wrote:Is he interpreting sīlabbata-parāmāsa right?


daverupa wrote:This thread touches on that topic. My understanding is that this "misapprehension of morality" has to do with the Vedic/Upanisadic idea that ritual action is the only properly efficacious action with respect to effecting liberation. This, of course, is overturned by the idea that kamma = cetana. It seems to me that this particular fetter is specifically related to kamma and morality, and not to (the general growth of) scholasticism within Buddhism.

Hi Dave,
And the Buddha's kamma/cetana doctrine was a response to brahmin rituals. Peacock (no, I'm not a Peacock apologist) refers to it as a creeping back in of ritual because of the interaction of early Buddhists with brahmins. In other words, the heart the Buddha put a dagger in was slowly resuscitated through a co-opting process which Buddhagosa exemplifies (the Abhidhamma and commentarial traditions are suspect for the same reasons, too).

But I'm not saying anything too novel or that controversial, am I?
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:15 am

danieLion wrote: In other words, the heart the Buddha put a dagger in was slowly resuscitated through a co-opting process which Buddhagosa exemplifies (the Abhidhamma and commentarial traditions are suspect for the same reasons, too).
Easy targets, but I wonder if you be kind enough to draw out an example or three where Buyddhaghosa, the Abhidhamma and the commentaries advocate ritual actions as being liberating. Have you read the Visuddhimagga?
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby danieLion » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:51 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote: In other words, the heart the Buddha put a dagger in was slowly resuscitated through a co-opting process which Buddhagosa exemplifies (the Abhidhamma and commentarial traditions are suspect for the same reasons, too).
Easy targets, but I wonder if you be kind enough to draw out an example or three where Buyddhaghosa, the Abhidhamma and the commentaries advocate ritual actions as being liberating.

Tilt! Always glad to interact with you.
Sure, I'll get some citations prepared if you'll permit me some time to consult my collection.
D :heart:
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:59 am

danieLion wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote: In other words, the heart the Buddha put a dagger in was slowly resuscitated through a co-opting process which Buddhagosa exemplifies (the Abhidhamma and commentarial traditions are suspect for the same reasons, too).
Easy targets, but I wonder if you be kind enough to draw out an example or three where Buyddhaghosa, the Abhidhamma and the commentaries advocate ritual actions as being liberating.

Tilt! Always glad to interact with you.
Sure, I'll get some citations prepared if you'll permit me some time to consult my collection.
D :heart:
Take your time.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:42 pm

The two truth theory of sammuti-sacca and paramattha-sacca may represent some throwback to the Upaniṣadic notion of duality between māya (illusion) and ātman (Brahman Absolute).
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:04 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:The two truth theory of sammuti-sacca and paramattha-sacca may represent some throwback to the Upaniṣadic notion of duality between māya (illusion) and ātman (Brahman Absolute).
Or it may simply be that there is more than one way to talk about things.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:46 pm

Sílabbataparámása is overcome--its meaning only realized -- with the attainment of sotápanna. "Clinging to rites and rituals" might be a comprehensible rendering from our point of view, but it's also been rendered -- by Ñanamoli -- as "misapprehension of virtue and vows" which seems to make the term more worthy of deeper thought. Whatever the case, its meaning is transcendent and it's dubious to try to achieve an understanding of it through historical speculation.
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:56 pm

pulga wrote:Sílabbataparámása is overcome--its meaning only realized -- with the attainment of sotápanna. "Clinging to rites and rituals" might be a comprehensible rendering from our point of view, but it's also been rendered -- by Ñanamoli -- as "misapprehension of virtue and vows" which seems to make the term more worthy of deeper thought. Whatever the case, its meaning is transcendent and it's dubious to try to achieve an understanding of it through historical speculation.
I think you are corrct in what you are saying here, but I am wondering if you could expand a bit on: it's dubious to try to achieve an understanding of it through historical speculation.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:07 pm

Historical reasoning is always fallible: it's inherently so. Now how could a belief in what is fallible yield wisdom?
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:10 pm

pulga wrote:Historical reasoning is always fallible: it's inherently so. Now how could a belief in what is fallible yield wisdom?
Sorry for being so thick here, but just to make sure I am understanding what your point is, could you, would you, be so kind as to give me an example of what you mean.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:10 pm

The three fetters are a tandem –doubt itself being one of them - that are overcome with the arising of the dibbacakkhu. Any understanding of them – and particularly that of sakkayaditthi – based on some free-floating belief of what might have been going on in an Indian Brahmin’s head three thousand years ago is suspect, if not absurd. Belief entails doubt. An understanding of the Dhamma must be concrete, apophantic, verifiable here and now.
Last edited by pulga on Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:26 pm

pulga wrote:The three fetters are a tandem –doubt itself being one of them - that are overcome with the arising of the dibbacakkhu. Any understanding of them – and particularly that of sakkayaditthi – based on some free-floating belief of what was going on in an Indian Brahmin’s head three thousand years ago is suspect, if not absurd. Belief entails doubt. An understanding of the Dhamma must be concrete, apophantic, verifiable here and now.
Yes; however, the Dhamma was not taught in a vacuum. It can sometimes help to understand the the broader context.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:50 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Yes; however, the Dhamma was not taught in a vacuum. It can sometimes help to understand the the broader context.


I think you underestimate the futility of what you're up against: too many blind alleys to fathom. In the end none of them really lead you to where you want to be; at best they only provide you with trivia.
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Re: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:28 pm

pulga wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Yes; however, the Dhamma was not taught in a vacuum. It can sometimes help to understand the the broader context.


I think you underestimate the futility of what you're up against: too many blind alleys to fathom. In the end none of them really lead you to where you want to be; at best they only provide you with trivia.
A concrete example, please.
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: Brahminizing & Sanskritizing Buddhism & sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:19 am

pulga wrote:Historical reasoning is always fallible: it's inherently so. Now how could a belief in what is fallible yield wisdom?

Always?
May you grow fat with unbounded friendliness.
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