John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:47 am

Dmytro wrote:On the other hand, the aspects mentioned - "noble truths, dependent origination, three characteristics" are the pillars of rationalistic and doctrinal Western Buddhism, and the expression "Noble Truth" a Western invention. These aspects were selected to represent a "doctrine" of the Buddha's Teaching, while there's really no doctrine.

The noble truths, dependent origination, three characteristics, etc. are common and pervasive in all the doctrinal schools: Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, etc. For example, the four noble truths are the objects of knowledge that are penetrated and understood when attaining the noble paths. The Sarvāstivāda developed a detailed framework on the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths which are to be sequentially understood in a cognitive series. (The Theravāda developed an alternate version of sixteen aspects, which they maintain are penetrated and understood at one time.)

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:01 am

tiltbillings wrote:And don't forget that the idea of a "canon" is also a Western "invention."


And somehow people find it diffucult to comprehend the semantic shifts that occured over the centuries.

It's relatively easy to understand that terms "Dhammavinaya"used during the Buddha's lifetime, "Tipitaka" as formed at the Third Buddhist Council, and "Canon" as a Western notion are altogether different things.

But when people see the same term, like "anicca", or "Buddha", used in the texts composed in different centuries, they often take it to mean the same thing, in some ephemeral unified "Buddhism".

Western Buddhism inevitably has its own semantic shifts, - as any transcultural transmission of Buddhism had, - and this is OK as long as these shifts are recognized and studied.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:03 am

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And don't forget that the idea of a "canon" is also a Western "invention."


And somehow people find it diffucult to comprehend the semantic shifts that occured over the centuries.

It's relatively easy to understand that terms "Dhammavinaya"used during the Buddha's lifetime, "Tipitaka" as formed at the Third Buddhist Council, and "Canon" as a Western notion are altogether different things.

But when people see the same term, like "anicca", or "Buddha", used in the texts composed in different centuries, they often take it to mean the same thing, in some ephemeral unified "Buddhism".

Western Buddhism inevitably has its own semantic shifts, - as any transcultural transmission of Buddhism had, - and this is OK as long as these shifts are recognized and studied.
No disagreement with you on that.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 14812
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:09 am

Greetings,

Dmytro wrote:Western Buddhism inevitably has its own semantic shifts, - as any transcultural transmission of Buddhism had, - and this is OK as long as these shifts are recognized and studied.

Well said.

Recognition allows a conscious decision to be made by the individual on whether "these shifts" are acceptable.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:36 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The noble truths, dependent origination, three characteristics, etc. are common and pervasive in all the doctrinal schools: Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, etc. For example, the four noble truths are the objects of knowledge that are penetrated and understood when attaining the noble paths. The Sarvāstivāda developed a detailed framework on the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths which are to be sequentially understood in a cognitive series. (The Theravāda developed an alternate version of sixteen aspects, which they maintain are penetrated and understood at one time.)


Would you give an example of "noble truth" in Theravadin texts? There's no such term. "Ariya-sacca" means something quite different, "realities fo the Noble Ones". As you wrote, 'ariya-sacca' are to be comprehended in the course of developing wisdom. The Western 'noble truths' "provide a conceptual framework for Buddhist thought", and are something to be studied analytically ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Truth ). The only Western teacher I know who calls for experiential exploration of four "ariya-sacca" as instructed, for example, in Nibbedhika sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#part-6 , is Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/truths.html

Or would you give an example of "three characteristics" (ti-lakkhana) in the Buddha's teaching?

IMHO, in addition to the general terms like "Theravada", it would be useful to specify the context. Otherwise people like John Peacock can indeed wonder - why there's no "tilakkhana" in the Sutta-pitaka?

For example, Theravada (Third Buddhist Council). Or Theravada (Buddhism of South-East Asia). Or Theravada (reconstruction by Pali Text Society). Otherwise people may get an impression of some kind of unified Buddhism that never changed.

Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:02 am

Dmytro wrote:Would you give an example of "noble truth" in Theravadin texts? There's no such term.

Given that these texts weren't composed in English, this is obvious.

Dmytro wrote:"Ariya-sacca" means something quite different, "realities fo the Noble Ones". As you wrote, 'ariya-sacca' are to be comprehended in the course of developing wisdom.

The cattāri ariyasaccāni don't exist as anything other than theoretical doctrinal statements apart from the minds that realize them. Thus, it seems accurate to emphasize that they are truths to be realized by cognitions rather than realities that exist independent of cognitions. (Also posted here.)

Dmytro wrote:Or would you give an example of "three characteristics" (ti-lakkhana) in the Buddha's teaching?

You know that tilakkhaṇa, sāmaññalakkhaṇa, etc., are commentarial terms not found in the suttas.

Dmytro wrote:IMHO, in addition to the general terms like "Theravada", it would be useful to specify the context. Otherwise people like John Peacock can indeed wonder - why there's no "tilakkhana" in the Sutta-pitaka?

For example, Theravada (Third Buddhist Council). Or Theravada (Buddhism of South-East Asia). Or Theravada (reconstruction by Pali Text Society).

I think it's quite reasonable to use the designation "Theravāda" without further qualification to meaningfully refer to and include the teachings preserved in the Pāli Tipiṭaka, the Aṭṭhakathā, the Tīkā, etc.

Dmytro wrote:Otherwise people may get an impression of some kind of unified Buddhism that never changed.

Yes, this would likely be an inaccurate impression. What I was attempting to highlight in my previous reply was that paṭiccasamuppāda, the cattāri ariyasaccāni, etc., were already singled out and further developed as distinctive and important doctrines by Indian Buddhists 2000+ years ago -- long before the advent of modern Western Buddhology.

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:52 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The cattāri ariyasaccāni don't exist as anything other than theoretical doctrinal statements apart from the minds that realize them. Thus, it seems accurate to emphasize that they are truths to be realized by cognitions rather than realities that exist independent of cognitions. (Also posted here.)
.

I'm not entirely clear on what the distinction you draw amounts to. Is the following describing "truths realized by cognitions" or "realities that exist independent of cognitions"?
He discerns, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.' ... 'This is the origination of stress.' ... 'This is the cessation of stress.' ... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

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

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 4522
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:11 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The cattāri ariyasaccāni don't exist as anything other than theoretical doctrinal statements apart from the minds that realize them. Thus, it seems accurate to emphasize that they are truths to be realized by cognitions rather than realities that exist independent of cognitions. (Also posted here.)
.

I'm not entirely clear on what the distinction you draw amounts to. Is the following describing "truths realized by cognitions" or "realities that exist independent of cognitions"?
He discerns, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.' ... 'This is the origination of stress.' ... 'This is the cessation of stress.' ... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

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


I'm used to a distinction between metaphysical 'truth' and epistemological 'fact', but this distinction is not as strong in South Asian philosophy as it is in the Western tradition.
    "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]

Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:59 pm

kirk5a wrote:I'm not entirely clear on what the distinction you draw amounts to. Is the following describing "truths realized by cognitions" or "realities that exist independent of cognitions"?
He discerns, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.' ... 'This is the origination of stress.' ... 'This is the cessation of stress.' ... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'


The former, as in, "he discerns...." Cf. Paṭisambhidāmagga Abhisamayakathā which explains that direct realization (abhisameti) requires the presence of mind (citta) and knowledge (ñāṇa).

This is similar to the issue pertaining to translating dhammā. I would suggest that "phenomena" is a better translation than "realities."

Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:31 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm used to a distinction between metaphysical 'truth' and epistemological 'fact', but this distinction is not as strong in South Asian philosophy as it is in the Western tradition.

SN 56.20 Tatha Sutta:

    Cattārimāni, bhikkhave, tathāni avitathāni anaññathāni. Katamāni cattāri? ‘Idaṃ dukkha’nti, bhikkhave, tathametaṃ avitathametaṃ anaññathametaṃ ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti tathametaṃ avitathametaṃ anaññathametaṃ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti tathametaṃ avitathametaṃ anaññathametaṃ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti tathametaṃ avitathametaṃ anaññathametaṃ – imāni kho, bhikkhave, cattāri tathāni avitathāni anaññathāni.
Ven. Bodhi's translation:

    Bhikkhus, these four things are actual, unerring, not otherwise. What four? 'This is suffering': this, bhikkhus, is actual, unerring, not otherwise. 'This is the origin of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise. 'This is the cessation of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise. 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise. These four things, bhikkhus, are actual, unerring, not otherwise.

Thus, the cattāri ariyasaccāni are unerring and the knowledge that directly realizes the cattāri ariyasaccāni is unmistaken. IMO the only correspondence required is that between a liberating cognition (i.e. citta + ñāṇa) and a soteriologically useful mental object (i.e. ariyasaccā). This way, the problems of strong correspondence theories of truth entailing ontological realism are avoided as well as the undesirable consequences of coherence theories.

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Dmytro » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Dmytro wrote:Or would you give an example of "three characteristics" (ti-lakkhana) in the Buddha's teaching?

You know that tilakkhaṇa, sāmaññalakkhaṇa, etc., are commentarial terms not found in the suttas.


Yes, in the suttas there's anicca-sanna, and in commentaries - anicca-lakkhana. This change from experiential 'selective recognition', (when the mind is tuned to certain mode of perception), to the descriptive characteristic of reality, shifts the whole perspective.

What I was attempting to highlight in my previous reply was that paṭiccasamuppāda, the cattāri ariyasaccāni, etc., were already singled out and further developed as distinctive and important doctrines by Indian Buddhists 2000+ years ago -- long before the advent of modern Western Buddhology.


Yes, this was a gradual process.
What I was attempting to highlight is that the "three characteristics", "Noble Truths", etc. were made in Western Buddhism to represent the teaching of the Buddha as a set of descriptive doctrines.

As far as I have understood John Peacock's lectures, he considers that Buddha taught that all phenomena are impermanent, etc.
I found no trace of experiential investigation of rise and fall, leading to dispassion, as in Chachakka sutta.

Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:53 am

Dmytro wrote:Yes, in the suttas there's anicca-sanna, and in commentaries - anicca-lakkhana. This change from experiential 'selective recognition', (when the mind is tuned to certain mode of perception), to the descriptive characteristic of reality, shifts the whole perspective.

Yes, and my concern with translating saccāni as "realities" is that it can easily lead to a similar entanglement in thickets of philosophical realism.

Dmytro wrote:What I was attempting to highlight is that the "three characteristics", "Noble Truths", etc. were made in Western Buddhism to represent the teaching of the Buddha as a set of descriptive doctrines.

FWIW, the siddhānta genre outlining descriptive doctrines of philosophical systems does have Indian precedents. For example, the Tattvaratnāvalī by Maitrīpāda, the Saṃskṛtāsaṃskṛtaviniścaya by Daśabalaśrīmitra, or the Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha by Vidyāraṇya. Similar developments occurred in China with the various pan jiao doctrinal classification schemes. It seems that these kinds of expositions are a byproduct of societies endowed with the cultural richness of religious and philosophical pluralism. These same conditions give rise to the modern genre of Introductory books on Buddhism.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 10794
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: New Zealand

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:31 pm

The second instalment of the interview is here: http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/06/bg ... -the-past/

This part focuses more on how Peacock interprets the early suttas as instructions for practice. Those who have read or listened to other presentations by him will know that he interprets the Buddha-Dhamma as an encouragement to engage with life, rather than an escape from life (or death).

:anjali:
Mike

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby danieLion » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:39 pm

mikenz66 wrote:...This part focuses more on how Peacock interprets the early suttas as instructions for practice. Those who have read or listened to other presentations by him will know that he interprets the Buddha-Dhamma as an encouragement to engage with life, rather than an escape from life (or death).

:anjali:
Mike

(I'm very familiar with Mr. Peacock's theories.)

The part of your quote I've bolded smacks of Nietzche (a positive IMO) who said Western Philosophy and it main religious expression, X-ianity, encourages disengaging with life/escaping from life.

metta

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Dmytro » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:54 am

Hi danieLion,

This also reminds the critique of Sarvastivada in early Mahayana sutras.
Seems like wide social engagement is the typical step after the critique of excessive scholastism.
Certain developments in Zen and Nichiren Buddhism also come to mind.

:namaste:
Dmytro

Nyana
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Nyana » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:42 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Those who have read or listened to other presentations by him will know that he interprets the Buddha-Dhamma as an encouragement to engage with life, rather than an escape from life (or death).

The Buddhadhamma does encourage an engagement with life, of sorts. That is, if one considers explicit recommendations to take monastic ordination and dwell in seclusion as an engagement with life. And this recommendation also applies to both the Theravāda and Mahāyāna versions of the bodhisatta vehicle.

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2192
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby manas » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:46 am

Somehow Peacock, in the second half, feels that the 'secularization' of Buddhism will involve ridding it of 'consolations' such as rebirth, and even the idea of 'The Deathless'. I am now very curious as to which suttas he gets his notions from. I thought that, from the Buddha's point of view, having to endure repeated birth and death was essentially the main issue, that we are striving to be free of! But he is implying that the original Buddha did not emphasize the idea of rebirth. If anyone knows on what basis he justifies this view, I would appreciate an explanation, because either he is incorrect, or the vast majority of Buddhists have been incorrect, over about the last 2000 years or so!

:?:

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Q: What would you say, if we look at the early teachings, if we look at the work of the historical Buddha himself, is at the core of his training, what is the principle few features of his method, that he basically recommends and encourages his students to work with?


"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'

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

Peacock:
Even the consolation that there is, for example, a deathless. All of these, when they're misread, become religious. I think what we're getting in this reconfiguration is something that challenges all that.

It's a wholesale re-write that redacts everything which an unawakened person doesn't already understand. It is the "mundane-izing" of the Dhamma.
"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

User avatar
Dmytro
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact:

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:25 pm

manas wrote:If anyone knows on what basis he justifies this view, I would appreciate an explanation


The basis is obviously modern scientism, which, as a new implicit religion, denies the possibility of rebirth.

User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 687
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Cyberia

Re: John Peacock: Will the Real Buddha Please Stand Up?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:39 pm

Denial of rebirth is just as much a logical fallacy as claiming that it is true. The Secularists would embarrass themselves less by discussing the relevance of rebirth to ones life and practice; just as an agnostic would with reference to the relevance of god or heaven and hell.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves


Return to “Early Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests