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Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"? - Dhamma Wheel

Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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pink_trike
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Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby pink_trike » Mon May 04, 2009 7:01 am

Last edited by pink_trike on Mon May 04, 2009 7:50 pm, edited 13 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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zavk
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Re: Human eusocial colony or targeted "individual"?

Postby zavk » Mon May 04, 2009 8:28 am

Hi PT and friends,

I too like the idea of 'collective kamma', which by implication is also to suggest 'collective rebirth'. But let me suspend this question of rebirth for now as I really don't wish to go down that track again.....

Buddhists like David Loy and Ken Jones, who employ Buddhist ideals for social theory, have suggested the idea of 'collective kamma'. This is the idea that the forces that impels us to enact again and again the Three Poisons of greed, ill-will and ignorance are not simply 'internal', 'individual' forces but also collective forces that can be identified in various institutional discourses and practices. It is these collective forces that generate 'collective dukkha'.

I like this idea of 'collective kamma' because it encourages a less individualistic outlook on one's Dhamma practice. As we all know, we cultivate the path to remove kilesas such as greed, hatred, ill-will, etc, etc. It is by the eradication of kilesas that we liberate ourselves from dukkha. And traditionally, kilesas have been explained as 'internal' proclivities that condition how we act, and hence, how we generate kamma.

Loy and Jones use the idea of 'collective kamma' to encourage engaged Buddhism. They formulate the term as a means to extend Dhamma practice beyond the confines of individual concern. According to this idea of 'collective kamma', what drives our actions towards greed, ill-will, etc, can be located 'externally' too. This suggests to me that if we want to eradicate kilesas, we need to also attend to how they are perpetuated 'externally' in various social discourses and practices. In other words, we need to become aware of our position in society, as a collective, to see that such kilesas are shared problems.

We talk about sankharas as the mental formations or dispositions that influence our actions. As I understand it, 'sankhara' also connotes any compounded phenomenon, from the most concrete objects such as mountains to the most abstract ideas such as Quantum Physics. So if Awakening is about understanding the nature of sankharas, shouldn't we also bring 'external' compounded phenomena (which might include anything, from our consumerist behaviour to attitudes about a particular gender/sexuality) within the scope of our practice, as our circumstances allow? Perhaps this is how we might come to really see the individual and society, self and others, as mutually constitutive?

So yes, I agree that it is fruitful to conceptualise Buddhist soteriology in a more collective fashion--this is not a subtle appeal to Mahayana ideals btw; as I have suggested above we can do this with the terms that are normally used in Theravada.
With metta,
zavk

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mikenz66
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 04, 2009 12:17 pm


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Dhammanando
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue May 05, 2009 7:06 am


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zavk
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby zavk » Wed May 06, 2009 12:27 am

With metta,
zavk

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Dhammanando
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby Dhammanando » Wed May 06, 2009 5:13 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 06, 2009 5:35 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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zavk
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby zavk » Wed May 06, 2009 6:26 am

Thanks for your response, Bhante. Your answers were most helpful.

In this context, I'm simply using 'self-present' as a kind of antonym for anatta, it's a phrase I borrowed from discussions about Husserlian phenomenology.
With metta,
zavk

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pink_trike
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 06, 2009 7:16 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 06, 2009 7:22 am

Greetings Pink_trike,

How would you then reconcile this perspective with the sutta quotations provided by venerable Dhammanando?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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pink_trike
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby pink_trike » Wed May 06, 2009 7:26 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Jechbi
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby Jechbi » Wed May 06, 2009 2:32 pm

That's all fine, Pink, and I find it interesting too. But the question in my mind is, how does all of that help you with your own suffering? From a purely practical standpoint, I don't see how it's helpful to try to engage the teachings broadly as a society. Ideally, it would be wonderful if that would occur. But practically speaking, the only opporutinity you have to truly engage is on an individual level, as Pink Trike.
:smile:

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed May 06, 2009 3:36 pm

It's an interesting theory presented in the OP. But to me it reads as another way to find a self, it's just more subtle. The "I" is replaced with multiple selves as a functioning unit, like an ant colony or a group of bees. It's still a form of selfing.

:anjali:


MMK23
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Re: Human eusocial colony, or targeted "individual"?

Postby MMK23 » Wed May 06, 2009 3:52 pm



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