Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

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Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby mfesmith » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:59 pm

Considering all the hand-wringing and angst that goes on over the term "hīnayāna" on Dharmawheel, I was suprised to see a great deal of unfettered sectarian remarks concerning Mahāyāna Buddhism and so on over here.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be suprised, because that seems to be the great curse of humans, sitting around congratulating themselves for having created a much better tribe than the other guys have.

But I think that this forum is in some serious need of no-soul-searching.

M
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:05 pm

mfesmith wrote:Considering all the hand-wringing and angst that goes on over the term "hīnayāna" on Dharmawheel, I was suprised to see a great deal of unfettered sectarian remarks concerning Mahāyāna Buddhism and so on over here.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be suprised, because that seems to be the great curse of humans, sitting around congratulating themselves for having created a much better tribe than the other guys have.

M
Hinayana is, of course, a singularly crappy term, but the overall point, you are making and with which I agree, is that dumb-assed, uninformed sectarianism is not the sole province of followers of any one school, and is it hardly a reflection of our better aspects.
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: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby whynotme » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:18 pm

If I make you so angry, I am sorry

Regards
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby mfesmith » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:29 pm

whynotme wrote:If I make you so angry, I am sorry

Regards



You don't make me angry at all. Though I appreciate your attempt at apology.

But I do think that people who make the kinds of remarks you, suttametta and others make about other traditions they choose not to follow need to take a good hard look at themselves, and understand that everything we have today that constitutes "Buddha Dharma" has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view.

And it seems, that no less than those who follow Tibetan Buddhism, for example, who unconciously adopt a set of projections and biases about other traditions than the one they follow, you and others like you are doing the same thing. It is pretty sad and I am sure NOT what the Buddha intended at all, whatever else he and the previous Buddhas, may have intended.

In other words, you are exemplifying the difference between "Buddhism", a sectarian identity, and Buddha Dharma, which is beyond that.

M
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Alobha » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:04 pm

mfesmith wrote:But I do think that people who make the kinds of remarks you, suttametta and others make about other traditions they choose not to follow need to take a good hard look at themselves, and understand that everything we have today that constitutes "Buddha Dharma" has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view.


Hi mfesmith,
could you provide the evidence that led you to the belief that the whole tipitaka "has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view." ?
That would be very interesting an helpful for me. :smile:

mfesmith wrote:But I think that this forum is in some serious need of no-soul-searching.

Apart from that, please don't lump together and stereotype people. It's of no use. People want to find out what the Buddha taught and what he didn't teach, ie. where the Dhamma is taught right in the beginning, right in the middle and right in the end. So they enquire about different schools and how they relate to Buddha Dhamma. This may not always be done in the most skillful manner by people, just like speech may not always be done in the most skillful manner by people. There are people who don't always act skillful. Everywhere. Thoughts imbued with ill-will will not help dealing with it.

Best wishes,
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby mfesmith » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:27 pm

Alobha wrote:
mfesmith wrote:But I do think that people who make the kinds of remarks you, suttametta and others make about other traditions they choose not to follow need to take a good hard look at themselves, and understand that everything we have today that constitutes "Buddha Dharma" has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view.


Hi mfesmith,
could you provide the evidence that led you to the belief that the whole tipitaka "has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view." ?
That would be very interesting an helpful for me. :smile:



The very fact that there are sutras present in the Agamas that are not present in the Nikayas and vice versa shows anonymous editorial hands at work. No one disputes, for example, that the Mahāparinibbanasutta is a later composition. Very few dispute that the Abhidhammapitika is a later composition. Most people agree that Sutta Nipatta represents the earliest strata of Nikaya texts.


People want to find out what the Buddha taught and what he didn't teach, ie. where the Dhamma is taught right in the beginning, right in the middle and right in the end.


The Dharma that the Buddha taught, good in the beginning, middle and end, results in the cessation of suffering. Any Dharma possessing that result is the Dharma that the Buddha taught, no matter what tradition, or name, etc., where it is found.

The idea that the Dharma that the Buddha taught lay entombed solely in some exclusive collection of books is pure foolishness. People who have that idea need to examine themselves for they have been taught incorrectly.

M
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Aloka » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:35 pm

mfesmith wrote:But I think that this forum is in some serious need of no-soul-searching.



Considering this forum has 5540 members, the old English saying about " not putting all your eggs in one basket" comes to mind !

.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby santa100 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:27 pm

Want to know why martial artists are much more reserved when it comes to this "dissing other schools" business? Anyone who opens their mouth might not have any tooth left to reconfirm the claim 2 seconds later inside the ring! Unfortunately, there's no ring here at the forum so... We all know that saying: put your money where your mouth is..
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby matais » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:45 pm

santa100 wrote:Want to know why martial artists are much more reserved when it comes to this "dissing other schools" business? Anyone who opens their mouth might not have any tooth left to reconfirm the claim 2 seconds later inside the ring! Unfortunately, there's no ring here at the forum so... We all know that saying: put your money where your mouth is..

Let there be no fighting but victory through what is well spoken. ;)
SN11.5 wrote:On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Once in the past the devas & asuras were arrayed for battle. Then Vepacitti the asura-king said to Sakka the deva-king: 'Let there be victory through what is well spoken.'

"'Yes, Vepacitti, let there be victory through what is well spoken.'

"So the devas & asuras appointed a panel of judges, [thinking,] 'These will decide for us what is well spoken & poorly spoken.'

"Then Vepacitti the asura-king said to Sakka the deva-king, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka the deva-king said to Vepacitti the asura-king, 'But you are the senior deity here, Vepacitti. You say a verse.'

"When this was said, Vepacitti recited this verse:


'Fools would flare up even more
if there were no constraints.
Thus an enlightened one
should restrain the fool
with a heavy stick.'
"When Vepacitti had said this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. So Vepacitti said to Sakka, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka recited this verse:


'This, I think,
is the only constraint for a fool:
When, knowing the other's provoked,
you mindfully grow calm.'
"When Sakka had said this verse, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. So Sakka said to Vepacitti, 'Say a verse, Vepacitti!'

"When this was said, Vepacitti recited this verse:


'Vasava, I see a fault
in this very forbearance:
When the fool thinks,
"He's forbearing
out of fear of me,"
the idiot pursues you even more —
as a cow, someone who runs away.'
"When Vepacitti had said this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. So Vepacitti said to Sakka, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka recited this verse:


'It doesn't matter
whether he thinks,
"He's forbearing
out of fear of me."
One's own true good
is the foremost good.
Nothing better
than patience
is found.

Whoever, when strong,
is forbearing
to one who is weak:
that's the foremost patience.
The weak must constantly endure.

They call that strength
no strength at all:
whoever's strength
is the strength of a fool.
There's no reproach
for one who is strong,
guarding — guarded by — Dhamma.

You make things worse
when you flare up
at someone who's angry.
Whoever doesn't flare up
at someone who's angry
wins a battle
hard to win.

You live for the good of both
— your own, the other's —
when, knowing the other's provoked,
you mindfully grow calm.
When you work the cure of both
— your own, the other's —
those who think you a fool
know nothing of Dhamma.'
"When Sakka had said this verse, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. Then the deva & asura panel of judges said, 'The verses said by Vepacitti the asura-king lie in the sphere of swords & weapons — thence arguments, quarrels, & strife. Whereas the verses said by Sakka the deva-king lies outside the sphere of swords & weapons — thence no arguments, no quarrels, no strife. The victory through what is well spoken goes to Sakka the deva-king.'

"And that, monks, is how the victory through what was well spoken went to Sakka the deva-king."

(http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby santa100 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:33 pm

That would work. If not, maybe a yakkha ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ) carrying an iron thunderbolt ready to split one's head into seven pieces could help... :tongue:
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:36 pm

I think lately there have been a number of those Mahayana vs Theravada threads that could have given the impression of sectarianism, but by and large I find most folks on Dhamma Wheel amazingly thoughtful and respectful with regard to these issues especially considering this is an open forum, the mod team not least among them.

This is a Theravada forum and I am largely here reading about Theravada practice and sharing where it seems appropriate and naturally most people are not concerned with other paths.

What has been missing is someone learned in other schools too, especially since Ven Huifeng has stopped posting, for when the occasion arises. So I really hope Malcolm (mfesmith) will drop in from time to time and share some knowledge and experience.

Edit: That was silly of me - there are learned people around, perhaps just not as outspoken as Malcolm.
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:42 pm

The answer is in the thread title. Why would anyone say "Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes" and not just "Sectarian Attitudes" unless they had a sectarian attitude?
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:06 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The answer is in the thread title. Why would anyone say "Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes" and not just "Sectarian Attitudes" unless they had a sectarian attitude?

It's like meaningfully differentiating between lung cancer and skin cancer. Both are cancers, but they manifest in different locations and different ways. Similarly, there are different types of sectarian attitudes. That which manifests as Theravāda sectarianism is generally based on a different set of assumptions than, say, what manifests as Sōtō Zen sectarianism, etc.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:08 pm

mfesmith wrote:
whynotme wrote:If I make you so angry, I am sorry

Regards



You don't make me angry at all. Though I appreciate your attempt at apology.

But I do think that people who make the kinds of remarks you, suttametta and others make about other traditions they choose not to follow need to take a good hard look at themselves, and understand that everything we have today that constitutes "Buddha Dharma" has been heavily edited and massaged by editors with specific points of view.

And it seems, that no less than those who follow Tibetan Buddhism, for example, who unconciously adopt a set of projections and biases about other traditions than the one they follow, you and others like you are doing the same thing. It is pretty sad and I am sure NOT what the Buddha intended at all, whatever else he and the previous Buddhas, may have intended.

In other words, you are exemplifying the difference between "Buddhism", a sectarian identity, and Buddha Dharma, which is beyond that.

M


This, coming from the guy who says he's not Buddhist anymore and just claims Dzogchenpa. Funny, you still felt the need for this thread. For me, it's not about labels, but method. It's purely an objective matter. The aspersion of sectarianism comes from those who are attached to their order, lineage, guru, transmission, etc. That a dharma-man would have hurt feelings about these matters is odd. It's a sign of having a metastasized view and doubts. I have many criticisms of Theravada too. I don't side with anyone wholesale. So I haven't demonstrated a Theravada sectarianism. I will say that if my comments caused you distress, I am sorry.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:08 pm

This is one of my favorite comments related to the thread title. Teachers in other traditions have said similar things, but this is my current favorite phrasing.

"When you start practicing meditation, you can begin with any method at all, because they all lead to the same results. The reason there are so many methods is because people have different tendencies. This is why there have to be different images to focus on or words to repeat — such as "buddho" or "arahang" — as means of giving the mind a point around which to gather and settle down as the first step. When the mind has gathered and is still, the meditation word will fall away on its own, and that's where every method falls into the same track, with the same flavor. In other words, it has discernment as its surpassing state, and release as its essence."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

The gist of what i have read from the above and other sources seems to be that the less knowledge and experience one has of actual practice of the Way, the more the differences in approach tend to excite one.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:11 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:This is one of my favorite comments related to the thread title. Teachers in other traditions have said similar things, but this is my current favorite phrasing.

"When you start practicing meditation, you can begin with any method at all, because they all lead to the same results. The reason there are so many methods is because people have different tendencies. This is why there have to be different images to focus on or words to repeat — such as "buddho" or "arahang" — as means of giving the mind a point around which to gather and settle down as the first step. When the mind has gathered and is still, the meditation word will fall away on its own, and that's where every method falls into the same track, with the same flavor. In other words, it has discernment as its surpassing state, and release as its essence."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

The gist of what i have read from the above and other sources seems to be that the less knowledge and experience one has of actual practice of the Way, the more the differences in approach tend to excite one.


That's not what Buddha said.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:20 pm

suttametta wrote:That's not what Buddha said.

(i) No one knows what the Buddha said. All we have are different collections of records that are claimed to represent what the Buddha said.

(ii) In your attempts to lump nibbāna together with an eternal consciousness you haven't shown much knowledge of what the Buddha is claimed to have said in the Nikāyas.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby mfesmith » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:20 pm

suttametta wrote:It's purely an objective matter.


You are not objective, unless of course you are claiming to be an awakened person.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby mfesmith » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:22 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:(i) No one knows what the Buddha said. All we have are different collections of records that are claimed to represent what the Buddha said.


Yes, heavily edited records.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:28 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:That's not what Buddha said.

(i) No one knows what the Buddha said. All we have are different collections of records that are claimed to represent what the Buddha said.


Nowhere does it say all methods lead to the same result. Buddha seems to be pretty sure there are many methods that lead only to more samsara.

(ii) In your attempts to lump nibbāna together with an eternal consciousness you haven't shown much knowledge of what the Buddha is claimed to have said in the Nikāyas.


You ad hom is duly noted. It's a common tactic for you. You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?
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