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Traditions and ideology - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Traditions and ideology

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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retrofuturist
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:01 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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Dan74
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:16 am

Yes, Councils and schisms (if even real) are not really relevant to me but Pali Buddhism is.

Tradition is also relevant, in my view, because it is the quality control, the reference point. There are the texts and the senior teachers that are meant to ensure that individual teachers don't go off track or if and when that happens to help them come back and also also warn their students. As an anecdote, a fellow teacher of Buddhist RE here is a student of a student of Geshe Michael Roach. She is a lovely lady who is now teaching my son, and though GMR appears to me to be a case in point, here we are...

Hmm... traditions are bigger than personality and no matter what traditions some thing will grate on you. I don't know. I suppose I could've easily been a student of Ajahn Sumedho or perhaps Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. It has a lot to do with circumstance or kamma, if you will.
Last edited by Dan74 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:23 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:51 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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Dan74
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:33 am

_/|\_

Cafael Dust
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Cafael Dust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:05 am

Could the Bodhisattva ideal have something to do with cultural differences between India and China? India has always had a tradition of holy wanderers, accepting the benefits to society of such a person as given and without need of outlining, whereas Chinese sages, e.g. Lao Tzu, Confucius, have always had to justify their existence and maintenance by reference to the needs of their community? So Mahayana became popular in China and the areas influenced by Chinese thought, since Mahayana Buddhism focuses on, for better or worse, how an enlightened person is useful to others. Whereas Theravada took root in those countries which were influenced by Indian thought; indeed, Thai Buddhism continues with the ideal of the forest dwelling, wandering contemplative, whereas Chan and Zen are more like Western church/monastic communities, with defined responsibilities to the laity.

We tend to characterise Western society as 'free' compared with other cultures, but actually, it is not so much that we are free as that the marketplace is free to assign us flexible roles. We are still expected to demonstrate measurable benefits to our community, hence the perceived threat that the influence of Indian culture posed to our society in the 1960s. This would explain the greater popularity of the Mahayana in the West.

The reason why India accepts the wandering monk as being useful without demanding spreadsheets and cost analysis, is perhaps because India historically has had so many contemplatives who did prove useful, so that confidence in the tradition has become ingrained and no longer requires justifying.
Last edited by Cafael Dust on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Dan74
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:12 am

There may be something to your theory, CD, I am not sure. The one thing to note is that Chinese Buddhism has also had a strong forest dwelling, wandering contemplative tradition, so this worldly Mahayana Buddhism notion is quite flawed I think, while Theravada monastics are in some sense more beholden to the community because they completely depend on their dana.
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Cafael Dust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:19 am

Well, China is a big place, so is India. My theory is necessarily a generalisation. Also, whatever one's ideology, the practical implications of Buddhist practice will often lead to temporary introversion and thus the traditions you refer to.

Dana is not a fixed wage, it's based on the acceptance by the public of supporting monks whose usefulness has not been demonstrated to them. Whereas a Zen priest is paid for specific duties.
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:40 am

_/|\_

Cafael Dust
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Cafael Dust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:01 am

Fair. I'm likely conflating a sketchy knowledge of history with my own cultural stereotypes. I do, however, see some societies as more attached to unambiguously quantifying the material usefulness of religion than others, and there does seem to be a difference between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism along these lines. Everything I've read about ancient and modern India suggests a deep respect and tolerance for wandering contemplatives as the focus for generosity, indeed as a life to aspire to. Russia has a similar tradition.
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Zom » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:52 pm


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kirk5a
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby kirk5a » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:01 pm

"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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Dan74
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:23 pm

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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Zom » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:12 pm


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Dan74
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Dan74 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:19 pm

It's off-topic because the focus of this thread is not which tradition is right and which is wrong. It is ill-conceived because I don't see any experience and understanding of what you are attempting to critique here or elsewhere when it comes to Mahayana.
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Zom » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:28 pm


Cafael Dust
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Re: Traditions and ideology

Postby Cafael Dust » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:22 pm

Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.


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