Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

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

Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby danieLion » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:49 am

Buddhists can't seem to agree on anything, including agreeing on what they agree and disagree about. Even within traditions, views are highly individualized (despite the efforts of traditionalists to keep and/or make orthodoxy and orthopraxy uniform).

On one end of the spectrum, interpretations of this situation include claiming that the Buddha did not intend strict uniformity and/or that he wasn't a traditionalist. On the other end of the spectrum, interpretations inlclude claiming the idea that the teachings of the Buddha are validated by the nature of their absoluteness and that preserving them as much as possible is important because otherwise it reflects poorly on their veracity.

So, does disunity among Buddhists reflect poorly on the Buddha Śāsana (religion, teachings). If so, why? If not, what does it say about the Śāsana?
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:53 am

I'd much rather have a community that argues over everything than one that argues over nothing, but I agree that it can get dramatic.

We're all full of defilements, what can I say?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:54 am

You are completely wrong I agree totally with you! :tongue:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:02 am

Hi Danial,
serious now :)
Can you expand what you mean here please. particularly the underlined words.
danieLion wrote:On one end of the spectrum, interpretations of this situation include claiming that the Buddha did not intend strict uniformity and/or that he wasn't a traditionalist. On the other end of the spectrum, interpretations inlclude claiming the idea that the teachings of the Buddha are validated by the nature of their absoluteness and that preserving them as much as possible is important because otherwise it reflects poorly on their veracity.


but If we agree on every detail it does not lead to expanding our tools. how we explain things may not refect in one persons understanding exactly what is meant yet something else said by another which is totally missing 90% of the meaning may fill in the blanks in understanding.
unfortunately the pill Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks about in the Boddhisatva talk where he says "under" and the audience says "stand" does not exist.

So, does disunity among Buddhists reflect poorly on the Buddha Śāsana (religion, teachings). If so, why? If not, what does it say about the Śāsana?

I think running off making new factions left right and centre reflects poorly. there isn't many people here I would not consider part of the Buddhas Dispensation.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Raksha » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:47 am

Hombre, lets agree to be agreeable (Apart from ten thousand other good reasons to be amicable, I understand now that you meant 'of the cow' rather than 'of greatness', which sounds odd anyway, if I'm honest :smile: ) As for the Dhamma, there are said to be 84000 versions, and there are probably as many interpretations as there are people. :anjali:
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby daverupa » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:18 am

Certain disagreements are over altogether useless matters, so at first blush I wonder which sorts of disagreements in particular are being found irksome. At the current level of generality, there is a danger of building castles in the sky.
    "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: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:35 am

Because an agrement is silent.
When peoples are agree they still silent.

Speak is totaly a-dhammic action, so we cant speak and be agree... anyway dont speak for long time. :toast:

Until peoples will comunicate, they will still disagree.

And when someone's mind is agree with The Dhamma, he dont exist anymore, silence take place.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby santa100 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:48 am

Until the day of enlightenment, guess we're still like the blind men of Savatthi (or at least partially blind) ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html )
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Dan74 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:05 am

danieLion wrote:Buddhists can't seem to agree on anything, including agreeing on what they agree and disagree about. Even within traditions, views are highly individualized (despite the efforts of traditionalists to keep and/or make orthodoxy and orthopraxy uniform).

On one end of the spectrum, interpretations of this situation include claiming that the Buddha did not intend strict uniformity and/or that he wasn't a traditionalist. On the other end of the spectrum, interpretations inlclude claiming the idea that the teachings of the Buddha are validated by the nature of their absoluteness and that preserving them as much as possible is important because otherwise it reflects poorly on their veracity.

So, does disunity among Buddhists reflect poorly on the Buddha Śāsana (religion, teachings). If so, why? If not, what does it say about the Śāsana?


I would like to agree with you, Daniel, but I can't because that would make your OP wrong...
_/|\_
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:13 am

danieLion wrote:Buddhists can't seem to agree on anything, including agreeing on what they agree and disagree about. Even within traditions, views are highly individualized (despite the efforts of traditionalists to keep and/or make orthodoxy and orthopraxy uniform).

Clearly the answer is for the traditionalists to be more effective in clamping down on those pesky non-traditionalists... :thinking:

Isn't this a bit of an on-line phenomenon? I don't often seem to come across people in "real life" arguing that so-and-so is rubbish because he/she has the wrong understanding of mindfulness/anatta/jhana/reality/whatever or is too traditional/not traditional enough/too much of a fence-sitter...

:anjali:
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby ground » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:57 am

danieLion wrote:Buddhists can't seem to agree on anything, including agreeing on what they agree and disagree about. Even within traditions, views are highly individualized (despite the efforts of traditionalists to keep and/or make orthodoxy and orthopraxy uniform).

Agreeing or not agreeing on ideas, where is the difference? The basis is taking aggregates as "I" or "mine".

In any case there is neither agreement nor non-agreement on no-thing. :sage:
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby SamKR » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:48 am

Hello danieLion,
danieLion wrote:Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?


In my experience, I cannot even agree on my own past views and have to change it from time to time. If a same person cannot always agree on his own views, how then the views of others?

danieLion wrote:So, does disunity among Buddhists reflect poorly on the Buddha Śāsana (religion, teachings). If so, why? If not, what does it say about the Śāsana?

I don't think so. Disunity is unavoidable, and in fact could be useful. I think the availability of various perspectives helps to understand the same thing in many ways. And, people of different mental tendencies have choices to practice different approaches.
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:38 am

Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?


I definately recommend listening to this talk from Ajahn Sumedho : "Who Needs Enlightenment When I Have My opinions"

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewTalk.php?id=639

Kind regards,

Aloka
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:30 pm

The psychologist Barry Sullivan (I believe that's his name; I may have to go check) has written extensively on our tendency to fall in love with our own theories about how things work. Because we become so very attached to our mental constructions, we defend them passionately, even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. This is why everyone knows what really happened concerning the Kennedy assassination, what's really behind the UFO phenomena, why my superstitions are better than your superstitions, why your take on the dhamma is superior to my take on it, etc. We defend the balustrades of our mental sandcastles like knights fighting for their king's honor. Even Buddhists, warned not to attach to rites, rituals, attitudes, beliefs, etc. aren't immune.

Oddly, according to research, the more irrational the belief, and the more compelling the argument against the belief, the more passionately the tendency tol defend it. Add to this that we seem to be hard-wired to NEED an element of supernatural to survive (another interesting line of research I stumbled upon in Scientific American) and no wonder the Internet is clogged with bitter--and in my opinion, fruitless--arguments over issues that can never be resolved. Like Evolution vs. Creationism, about which I could personally give a rolling doughnut. Wave those Bible and rattle those fossilized bones somewhere else; any dogs I had in that fight died long ago and rebirthed as devas. :P

Ludwik Fleck, a physician writing in response to the Logical Empiricist movement of the 30s and 40's, described the idea of "thought-styles," which are formed by training and socialization. He believed, and justifiably, that under the influence of a specific thought-style, it became virtually impossible to think or even SEE any other way. Groups of people sharing the same thought-styles Fleck called "thought-collectives." A thought collective is defined as "a community of persons mutually exchanging ideas or maintaining intellectual interaction." An extreme example would be the Nazis. I'm not evoking Godwin's Law here; Fleck was a Polish citizen who was detained at both Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and somehow managed to survive, so he had ample opportunity to observe his theories. Fleck's point, which he wrote about extensively in scientific journals, was that even with trained observers, two different observers looking at the same phenomenon could arrive at totally different conclusions, based on the influences of their respective thought-styles, which would exert irresistible biases on both the focus of, and the interpretation of their observations.

Since Buddhists are a thought-collective, and Theravada are a sub-collective, our thought-styles are going to overlap in certain ways, but since we also come from different generations, cultures and social groups, those thought-styles come into play as well. So although we're all studying the same body of knowledge, our thought styles will create personal biases which affect how we perceive and interpret this knowledge. Unless we're very, very careful. I don't see endless debate getting anyone anywhere; it's an illusion of activity in my opinion, like the salesman who comes to work, sharpens his pencils, organizes his desk, makes a list of all the people he's gonna call, and then hey--it's lunchtime. And not a single call made. :broke:

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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:06 pm

If we take absolute point of view, every body are reason, because the systhem have no begining and have no and, so all exist, all is true, everybody are reason.

It seems logic
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:01 pm

BubbaBuddhist
got any links?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:36 pm

Alas, I don't get my info from this newfangled interweb, so I don't. I don't trust its accuracy, I still rely on printed media and visit these ancient temples called libraries where bound scrolls of ancient lore are stored and attended by shamans. But some of you who've embraced the electronic media and actually trust specious sources like Wikipedia and such may be able to track down references. I read of the work of Barry SINGER --not Sullivan-- (the name came to me after I ate lunch) in a series of articles dealing with true-believer syndrome. Ludwik Fleck is very famous and represented in many textbooks, we read of him in some of my physics classes. Hope all this helps.

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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:45 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:Alas, I don't get my info from this newfangled interweb, so I don't. I don't trust its accuracy, I still rely on printed media and visit these ancient temples called libraries where bound scrolls of ancient lore are stored and attended by shamans. But some of you who've embraced the electronic media and actually trust specious sources like Wikipedia and such may be able to track down references. I read of the work of Barry SINGER --not Sullivan-- (the name came to me after I ate lunch) in a series of articles dealing with true-believer syndrome. Ludwik Fleck is very famous and represented in many textbooks, we read of him in some of my physics classes. Hope all this helps.

BB

Cheers for the correction. I have heard of these libraries, but thought them a myth of old! are you sure they sill exist? :P
I will have a look and see if I can find anything.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby daverupa » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:53 pm

Here is a summation of some true-believer research via Singer et al:

http://www.skepdic.com/truebeliever.html

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an entry for Fleck:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fleck/
    "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: Why Can't We Agree on ANYTHING?

Postby Nyana » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:53 pm

danieLion wrote:Buddhists can't seem to agree on anything, including agreeing on what they agree and disagree about. Even within traditions, views are highly individualized (despite the efforts of traditionalists to keep and/or make orthodoxy and orthopraxy uniform).

Consensus isn't necessary, and should definitely not be desired.

However, orthopraxy is terms of vinaya is to a certain degree required for the ordained sangha.
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