The Secular Buddhist

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

Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:20 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:If the instruction is proper, liking or disliking this or that approach or teacher is as frivolous as liking or disliking a given fireman when the house is on fire....it really doesnt matter.
Its our response and application that matters, nothing else.


I think you make a valid point that whomever saves you from the fire your going to be grateful. However, we are still in the burning building. How would you feel if the firefighter that comes into your bedroom to save you is a bumbing idiot? You would probably think,"We're never going to make it out of here." Similarly, we look for teachers we have confidence in. Do they seem to genuinely live the dhamma? Can they express it in a way that relates to your previous life experiences? These are very important questions in choosing a teacher.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:33 pm

If they were a " bumbling idiot "Then it wouldnt be " proper instruction "....would it ?
Likewise someone who does not live the Dhamma cannot, by definition, give proper instruction.
Relating to previous life experiences is neither here nor there imo.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:42 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Goofaholix wrote:It's not a big deal to believe that something you know and have experienced can be overcome and cease to arise, nibbana is defined in terms of the cessation of something very normal. Easier than believing in something you don't know and haven't experienced.

:twothumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Is believing in Nirvana really that easy? We are talking about the irreversible elimination of all greed, hate, and delusion. Going on witout a sense of self? The final end of suffering? Totally eradicated. That seems HUGE to me.

I hope the Buddha was right and most of the time have have conviction that he was, but there are times that Buddhism seems like just another elixer to ease our slug through this miserable life.

I will admit this doubt arises partly due to my disbelief in rebirth.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:51 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:If they were a " bumbling idiot "Then it wouldnt be " proper instruction "....would it ?
Likewise someone who does not live the Dhamma cannot, by definition, give proper instruction.
Relating to previous life experiences is neither here nor there imo.


By "relating to previous experiences" I simply mean teaching the dhamma in a way that you can understand it and that should be pretty important. Some teaching styles work better for different people.

And when somebody says, "I don't like this teacher" there are multiple reasons they might say as much. One is that this is nicer than saying the teacher is a bumbling idiot. Another is that the teaching style just doesn't resonate with the student. Those two are important considerations. The other motive is a petty dislike of the teacher and that is frivolus and should be overcome.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:55 pm

Good morning, all!

Buckwheat wrote:My question is do you think Nirvana is true, false, or "it's complicated"?

I don't have any "belief" in what *constitutes* nirvana one way or another. The Buddha indicates that it is a state beyond the comprehension of one who has yet to experience it, and I trust him. He teaches us not to waste time on things that are beyond our experience, so I don't. I believe there is such a thing because he describes it, but I don't expect that my opinions on the subject of what it is like are worth anything.

Do I have any theories about it? I suspect I would not be human if I didn't. My pet theory is this: No single explanation in the suttas will be adequate to understand nirvana. But what nirvana really is, is a waste of time to worry over.

And the reason I ask this is when doubt creeps up real strong for me it becomes tempting to dump the whole of Buddhism because without nirvana you don't have Buddhism.


Some traditions put nirvana in with the three marks and make the four something-or-others, with nirvana being "nirvana is bliss" and that's an article of faith. I notice the Buddha still suffered from backaches so I don't know about the definition of "bliss" there, but -- while I object to putting an article of faith in with the three marks (which are things we don't need faith to "get") -- I think it is the one thing we need to put into the faith category.

The buddha taught conviction/faith built on a trust in his teachings built on previous successes with subduing suffering. It is not a blind faith but it is still conviction. True unwaverin conviction only comes with stream entry (personal glimpse of nirvana). Do secular Buddhists see a role for conviction that nibbana is the final cessation of suffering?


I certainly do. I find nirvana provides me with a direction and a goal, but I also find that the effect of the practice is so excellent that I'd keep doing it even without the goal.

Without that I really don't think you are talking about Buddhism. There is nothing more central than nirvana and this is what moves Buddhism from "philosophy" to "religion". IMO


It really makes no difference whether we can justify calling Buddhism a philosophy or a religion or a way of life or whatever we want to call it. It is what it is regardless of labels, and it simply does what it does for us. As long as what it does for us is worthwhile to us, and can be seen by others ("by the wise" as the Buddha would put it) to be good for those around us, that's all that's really required for a driving force, at least for me.

Now I suppose I should read on and find out what everyone else had to say.

:namaste:
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:03 pm

Thanks nowheat. Good post. True that it doesn' matter what label we apply to Buddhism, even the title Buddhism isn't important. My primary motive with that sentence was to differentiate between Buddhism and some of the the many new age self help programs that only seem to prolong delusion and suffering.
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:14 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:On " it all comes out in the wash "
As far as I could see any major difference in what they experienced was pretty much down to effort ..effort put forth against a backdrop of Sila.
The qualitative difference in my experience is between those who regularly attend retreats and those who do not..this is not intended to offend. It is a much repeated and consistent observation.

I don't attend retreats, but as far as I can tell from here inside my practice, which bumps up against the practice of others, I don't think I'm lacking for effort. But I'm just one case.

I don't think it does all come out in the wash. I've met former Buddhists who were devout for years and then finally saw through (as far as they were concerned) all the levels of heavens and hells and the talk about rebirth and about how effective the path is for those who practice it (through observation of their teachers' less-than-stellar behaviors) and left the path behind. My theory is that clinging to unsupported views -- being taught to bend reality to fit "what the Buddha taught" (what we are told the Buddha taught) -- will prevent a practitioner from reaching liberation, foster clinging to self, and will ultimately derail not only their practice but be less than helpful to anyone who follows them in their practice.

It only "comes out in the wash" up to a certain point, and that is the point at which one begins to make very slow progress in one's practice and then either accepts that "it takes many lifetimes to become liberated" and accepts that they'll just have to keep working on it slowly and maybe not get there this time, or gives up altogether (as those I mention above did), or they look for meaning that applies to just this life and let go of all concerns for where the path will take them -- to nirvana or the next life -- and just focus on the here and now.

But that's just a theory, based on lots and lots of reading of the suttas, and on too few direct observations of too few people.

:namaste:
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:20 pm

If they left the path behind...then it all came out in the wash. :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:48 pm

kirk5a wrote:How would one go for refuge in the Buddha while thinking that much of what he said was false? Not just - "I don't personally know the truth on this point yet" but "what the Buddha is recorded saying there is false."


Perhaps you misunderstand how a secular Buddhist approaches what the Buddha is saying in the suttas. We don't think that "what the Buddha is recorded saying there is false" -- obviously not, or we wouldn't be practicing what he teaches.

(Here I must leave "we" behind and return to speaking for myself.)

What I see is that what the Buddha is recorded as saying is poorly understood by most of us. I also find that the Buddha's use of language overall (not the individual words, but the framework for the use of language) is not a very good match for the way we use language now, and this leads us astray in our understanding of what's being said. For quite some time, in studying the suttas, I was uncomfortable with the way he -- by modern standards -- plays fast and loose with concepts, but this was because so many people around me argued (against my understanding by saying) "If he says *this* but means *that* then he's LYING" and with their support it continued to feel uncomfortably close to lies to me, too.

But the more I understood that, first of all, the underlying assumptions were different from ours, and this causes a disconnect for us*, and, second, that the Buddha uses language as metaphorical pretty much all the time -- he more than anyone else would be aware how representative language is, and that it will never be an exact match for either "experience" or whatever we like to perceive as "truth" -- the more I was able to see that he was using "skillful means" by using the framework familiar to his listeners while not, himself, clinging to that framework, the more I was able to recognize that he was not lying at all -- unless we define all language as a lie that misrepresents and distorts "truth" and "reality" at least to some degree.

Or, as Sanghamitta put it:

Sanghamitta wrote:Interesting certainly, but hardly surprising. The Buddha knew what he was doing..
And it is quite clear I think that much/most of his teaching was sprats for mackerels. A holding operation while people get down to the real stuff of practice. A holding operation clothed of necessity in the cultural forms of the time..In other words the spiritual lingua franca of the Indian Subcontinent around 500 BC with its giants and devas and highly poetic cosmology and speculations about post mortem states .
The Buddha knew better than to engage in disputing all that.


More than refraining from disputing all that, he used the framework of that "highly poetic cosmology and speculations about post mortem states" to make his own points, as (as stated above) a spiritual lingua franca.

So it is not that I (perhaps "we") go to refuge to someone who was speaking falsehoods -- that is a black&white oversimplification that misinterprets the complexity of what was actually going on. I go for refuge to someone who had terrific skill in speaking to others, skill I can only dream of matching.

* see the two posts on "Nutriment" on the Secular Buddhist Association blog for an example of the different framework: http://secularbuddhistassociation.com/tag/nutriment/

:namaste:
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Nyana » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:32 pm

nowheat wrote:My theory is that clinging to unsupported views -- being taught to bend reality to fit "what the Buddha taught" (what we are told the Buddha taught) -- will prevent a practitioner from reaching liberation, foster clinging to self, and will ultimately derail not only their practice but be less than helpful to anyone who follows them in their practice.

This sounds to me like a mouthful of presumptuous bullshit. Who are these poor, unfortunate Buddhists who are "clinging to unsupported views"?

nowheat wrote:What I see is that what the Buddha is recorded as saying is poorly understood by most of us.

Your argument entails that the dhammavinaya has been poorly understood by all Buddhists for approximately the past 2500 years, including all of the best Buddhist minds of India and Asia. Yet, somehow, you and your chosen circle of "secularists" have rediscovered the true meaning of the dhammavinaya all these many centuries after the fact. And even more astonishingly, this dhamma actually has very little in common with the worldview and epistemology presented in the suttas themselves, and a whole lot in common with the worldview of modern scientific materialism! Seems rather self-serving, to say the least.
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:41 pm

Re MN 117's wrong view, right view with taints, and supramundane right view:

tiltbillings wrote:This snippet got a lot of play in the "great rebirth" debate from the anti-rebirthers, but it has always puzzled me as to what those who quote this text think it is saying. So, what do think this text is saying? In reading this, what should I be getting from it, if you please?

"anti-rebirthers"? Is that defined as "people who don't believe in rebirth"? or "people who believe the Buddha did not teach that belief in rebirth is necessary to his path"?

retrofuturist wrote:The first directly supports white/good kamma, whereas the second directly supports the "kamma that ends kamma"... and if the starting point is putthujana, they both lead in the right direction (hence both being right view) even if only the second is "a factor of the (noble) path".

mikenz66 wrote:As has been discussed before, that part of the sutta is almost certainly a insertion from later Commentary. It does, however, seem consistent with the rest of the Canon.

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1814#p23845

mikenz66 wrote:As I said over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255 the idea of mundane/supermundane right view there seems to be directly from the Abhidhamma, and is the only Sutta I've read where that sort of exposition is presented. Are there others?



Chickens and eggs. Did the Abhidhamma pick up the terms because they were used in the suttas -- and run with them? Or were the terms invented later, and stuck into the sutta? If the concepts represented by the terms used in MN 117 are found throughout the canon, it doesn't seem to matter whether the terms are Abhidhammic or not -- the Buddha uses the same framework of the three levels of beliefs/actions in suttas, and he uses high (but worldly and self-involved) aspirations as compared to even higher (and not self-involved) aspirations too, just comparing mundane views to his view.

We're probably all familiar with the concept of bad kamma, good kamma, and the end of kamma; that's one example of the three. He describes in MN 78 what is unwholesome behavior, and how to end it, and what wholesome behavior is, and how to end IT -- by practicing the way he teaches. In MN 120's "Reappearance By Aspiration" he contrasts the mundane views of aiming one's practice at a good rebirth with simply focusing on realizing direct knowledge here and now.

If, in various suttas throughout the canon, the Buddha describes how there are bad ways/wrong views that produce bad kamma, and then there are better ways/better views that produce good kamma, and then there is a practice that leads to the end of kamma, then it doesn't matter of the terms for these practices are first introduced by the Buddha himself in MN 117 and later picked up by the Abhidhammists or first introduced by the later folk and inserted into the text -- the point is made in several ways by the Buddha.

To answer Tilt's question as to what we/I think MN 117 says:

I see it as saying that the lower of the two right views is preferable to wrong view by a long shot. I think that when it says "There is what is offered, given, sacrificed" that these terms refer to literal sacrifices, dana given to officiating priests at the sacrifices, and oblations (not "offerings" in the soft sense of alms to bhikkhus). The Pali here and in other suttas supports this. And this is a clue to what he's talking about, which is *not his right view* (since he doesn't encourage oblations into fires, or dana to priests who perform sacrifices, or the efficacy of any of those things).

The right view in the middle of the three views represent a common view or views held in the time, the one he worked with most because the greatest number of the people of his day believed it. That he says, right there, that it is a tainted view tells us that it is not his view, and that it is not something we should be practicing. He does not say that the *people* who practice this view are tainted, he says *the view* is tainted.

He says, right there in the sutta, why it is tainted: it sides with merit (merit being something one concerns oneself with when aiming for good rebirth), and results in acquisitions (which are the pieces we put together to make our imagined lasting self). These are *not good things*. He then points -- repeatedly in the sutta -- to the difference between the two "right views" being the *attitude* of the person to the things they are doing (given the "sides with merit" and "results in acquisitions" the attitudinal difference is, again, about doing things for the sake of merit/good rebirth that results in further clinging to self/acquisitions) and whether or not they are *fully* on the path -- since the tainted right view is not listed as a factor of the path, but the Buddha's right view is, to be fully on the path one has to give up those tainted right views.

So what I find it to say is: rebirth views are way better than the views of those who deny rebirth views (the Buddha does not *deny* rebirth views, he remains agnostic), but we still need to let go of them to get all the way on to the Buddha's path.

:namaste:
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby kirk5a » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:56 pm

nowheat wrote:So it is not that I (perhaps "we") go to refuge to someone who was speaking falsehoods -- that is a black&white oversimplification that misinterprets the complexity of what was actually going on. I go for refuge to someone who had terrific skill in speaking to others, skill I can only dream of matching.

Ok thanks for sharing your perspective. Perhaps you can give an example of how this interpretive structure is supposed to work. Please consider the phrase

"at the breakup of the body, after death..."

Which is something that appears in quite a few places in the suttas, and explain how the secular Buddhist might go about reading that, as in the following example:

"Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is no next world,' he makes himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is no next world,' that is persuasion in what is not true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, he exalts himself and disparages others. Whatever good habituation he previously had is abandoned, while bad habituation is manifested. And this wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, exaltation of self, & disparagement of others: These many evil, unskillful activities come into play, in dependence on wrong view.

A3. "With regard to this, an observant person considers thus: 'If there is no next world, then — with the breakup of the body, after death — this venerable person has made himself safe. But if there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the breakup of the body, after death — will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable contemplatives & brahmans, this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of bad habits & wrong view: [2] one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence.' If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a bad throw twice: in that he is criticized by the observant here-&-now, and in that — with the breakup of the body, after death — he will reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when poorly grasped & poorly adopted by him, covers (only) one side, and leaves behind the possibility of the skillful.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby daverupa » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:17 pm

kirk5a wrote:..how the secular Buddhist might go about reading that


For example:

The Sutta is offering a version of what's more commonly known as Pascal's Wager, and the middle sections of each argument in that Sutta are obvious additions as they break the otherwise clear and simple structure of the discourse. Furthermore, that Sutta was spoken to brahmins, so the language and concepts are appropriate to that context.
    "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: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:23 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:I think most of the ordained monastics I know -- who have dedicated their lives to the dhammavinaya -- do accept the teachings on rebirth and take this view seriously and also practice contemplative recollections like recognition of the uncertainty of the time of death, and so on (although I've never conducted anything like a formal survey on the subject).


Interesting how they rarely (in my experience) mention it in Dhamma talks, other than in passing. From this I suspect one or two things; it's not central to the teaching like the four noble truths and noble eightfold path etc but a background to them, many of monks are actually agnostic on the topic.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:27 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Or do you believe that we just get a little more pure and happy and then a little more pure and happy and then we die? There would be nothing immoral with that but I'm not sure it would qualify as Buddhism.


Sure, why not

How is that different from the annihilationist view?

How would one go for refuge in the Buddha while thinking that much of what he said was false? Not just - "I don't personally know the truth on this point yet" but "what the Buddha is recorded saying there is false."


The "Sure, why not" was in answer to the question did I think that the complete cessation of suffering aka Nibbana is possible.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:35 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Is believing in Nirvana really that easy? We are talking about the irreversible elimination of all greed, hate, and delusion. Going on witout a sense of self? The final end of suffering? Totally eradicated. That seems HUGE to me.


The Metaphor for enlightenment is a candle going out, is it so hard to believe that a candle deprived of fuel will simply cease to burn?

I think the problem here is that we tend to mix our understanding of Nibbana with a kind of Hinduisitic ultimate celestial otherworldly experience, wheras in the Buddha's terms it was simply the candle of suffering going out.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:44 pm

kirk5a wrote:
nowheat wrote:So it is not that I (perhaps "we") go to refuge to someone who was speaking falsehoods -- that is a black&white oversimplification that misinterprets the complexity of what was actually going on. I go for refuge to someone who had terrific skill in speaking to others, skill I can only dream of matching.

Ok thanks for sharing your perspective. Perhaps you can give an example of how this interpretive structure is supposed to work. Please consider the phrase

"at the breakup of the body, after death..."

Which is something that appears in quite a few places in the suttas, and explain how the secular Buddhist might go about reading that, as in the following example:

"Because there actually is the next world,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I have already pointed out that this portion of MN 60 breaks the logic of the sutta -- there is no point in the sutta's explanation of how to approach the world non-dogmatically, if you then insert dogmatic belief in the middle of it. Even one of our foremost Theravadan translators has noticed it.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It is noteworthy that the arguments in A2 and B2 are not safe-bet arguments, for they assume that A is wrong and B is right. Whether these arguments date from the Buddha or were added at a later date, no one knows.


If you'd care to give me a different sutta, I'd be glad to have a look at it.

:namaste:
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Nyana » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:53 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:I think most of the ordained monastics I know -- who have dedicated their lives to the dhammavinaya -- do accept the teachings on rebirth and take this view seriously and also practice contemplative recollections like recognition of the uncertainty of the time of death, and so on (although I've never conducted anything like a formal survey on the subject).

Interesting how they rarely (in my experience) mention it in Dhamma talks, other than in passing. From this I suspect one or two things; it's not central to the teaching like the four noble truths and noble eightfold path etc but a background to them, many of monks are actually agnostic on the topic.

By "monastics" I also have in mind Thai, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, and Tibetan monastics (rebirth is a pan-Buddhist doctrine).
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Re: The Secular Buddhist

Postby daverupa » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:18 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:(rebirth is a pan-Buddhist doctrine).


So Bardo is pan-Buddhist, is it?

Of course not - therefore, "rebirth" isn't pan-Buddhist until "rebirth" is detailed, and when this happens innumerable differences emerge between the schools. They mostly seem to believe in a rebirth formulation, I would say, but these are not in accord one to the next. Rebirth/not-rebirth is a false dichotomy, as here again we can observe a graded shading of concepts and views about it, even within one school to say nothing of between schools.
    "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: The Secular Buddhist

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:32 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:By "monastics" I also have in mind Thai, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, and Tibetan monastics (rebirth is a pan-Buddhist doctrine).


I think it's no news that rebirth is just assumed as a given in SE Asian cultures. This view is probably closer to pre-Buddhist religion than it is to an understanding of Buddhavacana.

I get the feeling in SE Asian cultures most people are pretty relaxed about just believing whatever their parents and elders teach them, without questioning. The western mind is not like this, and I don't think the Buddha encouraged it.

I can't say I've heard asian teachers teach specifically about it much either, other than mentioning it in passing assuming this is just the way it is the way you might mention the weather, I suspect they do so more when teaching to their own people though.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

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