Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:12 am

Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby ground » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:32 am

So you are asking for opinions based on individual experiences?

I find it just appropriate. :sage:
Last edited by ground on Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby James the Giant » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:34 am

I'm sure I remember a sutta about balancing intellect and experience, or study and practise... I can't remember what it was though.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:00 am

James the Giant wrote:I'm sure I remember a sutta about balancing intellect and experience, or study and practise...


"There are Dhamma-experts who praise only monks who are also Dhamma-experts but not
those who are meditators. And there are meditators who praise only those monks who are also
meditators but not those who are Dhamma-experts. Thereby neither of them will be pleased, and
they will not be practicing for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, for the good of the
multitude, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.
"
Anguttara Nikaya 4.46
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:06 am

ground wrote:So you are asking for opinions based on individual experiences?
Sure.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:08 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
James the Giant wrote:I'm sure I remember a sutta about balancing intellect and experience, or study and practise...


"There are Dhamma-experts who praise only monks who are also Dhamma-experts but not
those who are meditators. And there are meditators who praise only those monks who are also
meditators but not those who are Dhamma-experts. Thereby neither of them will be pleased, and
they will not be practicing for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, for the good of the
multitude, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.
"
Anguttara Nikaya 4.46

So the Buddha's recommeding "just intellectual enough"?
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:16 am

danieLion wrote:So the Buddha's recommeding "just intellectual enough"?


Whatever floats your boat . . . to get you to the other side. The teachings (especially enunciated in the Abhidhamma) recognize that there are different personalities / temperaments and it is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all. Bahiya was able to attain enlightenment with a simple instruction. For someone else it might be better through much study and analysis.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:33 am

danieLion wrote:Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?

I personally see Buddhism being intellectual enough.
But there is almost a snobbery among some who discount what someone says based on the perception as too how much they meditate, and I am sure there is a vice versa equality in snobbery with those who are eloquent & detailed in the was they can express a topic for those who are not.
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: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:42 am

Intellectual views are just like any other views. If you hold them tightly they will weigh you down. You have to take them for what they are, provisional constructs with limits. When you start mistaking them for reality or ultimate truth and when you cant give them up when needed, at least temporarily, they are a big problem.
For instance, many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual. In that case intellectualism is a problem and buddhism is just ideological cruft.
"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: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby James the Giant » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:08 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:For instance, many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual.

That's me, yep!
Except I don't carry on with business as usual. The game has changed.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby robertk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:49 pm

many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual

love it! :toast:
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:43 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:For instance, many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual.
And you know this how?
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: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:19 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
danieLion wrote:Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?

I personally see Buddhism being intellectual enough.
But there is almost a snobbery among some who discount what someone says based on the perception as too how much they meditate, and I am sure there is a vice versa equality in snobbery with those who are eloquent & detailed in the was they can express a topic for those who are not.

Some Buddhists, including some here at Dahmmawheel, come off to me as very anti-intellectual and at times even demonstrate some kind of ingrained provincialism. I don't think intellectualism is a wonderful thing, per se, and I've been labeled an intellectual all my life. Maybe I am, maybe I ain't. Like Thanissaro says, when you define yourself, you limit yourself. And like Albert Ellis and David D. Burns, following Korzybkski's "is of identity verb conjugation" thesis, point out, your do not equal your verbal identifications. Yet we find some Buddhists wanting to very much define themselves by partitioning themselves off into camps or clubs, all of which claim the most authentic or closest to "original" Buddhism. This only perpetuates clinging to views of self.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:40 pm

danieLion wrote:Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?

Personally, I have found it to be all three, according to how I felt and how my mind was working at the time, and which bits of Buddhism I was considering, and how I might have defined "intellectual". And it didn't stay any one of these for very long.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Mr Man » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:06 pm

danieLion wrote:Some Buddhists, including some here at Dahmmawheel, come off to me as very anti-intellectual and at times even demonstrate some kind of ingrained provincialism.
I think that is, genrally speaking, a misconception or a non-constructive view.
danieLion wrote:Yet we find some Buddhists wanting to very much define themselves by partitioning themselves off into camps or clubs.
Isn't this what you are doing?

My experience of Dhammawheel is that sometimes the level of intellectualism is very high, almost to the point of being intimidating.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby manas » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:08 pm

danieLion wrote:Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?


This question can only have a subjective answer, but for myself right now it's 'just enough'. This can change, however, depending on my state of mind. Sometimes I might feel as though it picks life and our experience to bits and analyzes everthing too much, and my mind chafes a bit as if under a yoke, thinking "(many) other people just live, they don't reflect so much about life, they know almost nothing of the Dhamma, and yet they seem to be generally happier than I am! Maybe I analyze experience too much, and am missing out on just 'living'... At other times, however, my mind can get irritated that the Blessed One would not go into more details regarding what he knew of the the Universe, it's origins etc, but would not teach such things because it would not be for our benefit. Then, my intellect wants more answers than just 'it's not important knowledge, don't ponder it'! So really, it's subjective, and the mind with craving will never really be satisfied anyway, it will always find something to complain about (or is that just in my case? :) )

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby danieLion » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:09 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:...many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual. In that case intellectualism is a problem and buddhism is just ideological cruft.

There are several good reasons why materialism is a poor if not entirely invalid world view besides the typical Buddhist critiques. For instance it was likely started by the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic ontological monists like Thales (It's all water!), Anaximander (It's all one, but we don't know what it is.), Heraclitus (It's all fire!) and Parmenides (Existence is a tautology.). Even modern atomic theory, which has been seriously challenged by quantum mechanics and quantum physics (a la Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger), has it's origins in the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosophers Leucippus and his pupil Democritus. Ontological monism was also perpetuated by Aristotle's elementalism, Neo-Platonisms and philosophical rationalists like Leibniz, Spinoza, Hegel, and Haeckel. Most recently, you will find a materialistic-monism in Francis Crick's molecular reductionism and his neuroscience colleague Patricia Churchland's eliminative materialism and physical reducitionism, a.k.a. physicalism.

The principal reason materialism is untenable, then, is because all of the above, while associated with some scientific discoveries, has not not been supported by ongoing experimental and empirical investigations into either microcosmic or macrocosmic realms. Part of the problem is the misunderstanding of some scientists about the purpose(s) of science (Einstein and Bohr debated this to point of almost despising each other). Paul K. Feyerabend (and to a lesser extent, Thomas Kuhn and Vladmir Lakatos) have outlined the reasons why methodological uniformity is not a valid basis for science and highlighted the problems scientists encounter when they bring assumptions to their experiments and analyses that someday science will arrive at Objective or Ultimate Truth.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:19 pm

danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
danieLion wrote:Is Buddhism anti-intellectual, under-intellectual, or just intellectual enough?

I personally see Buddhism being intellectual enough.
But there is almost a snobbery among some who discount what someone says based on the perception as too how much they meditate, and I am sure there is a vice versa equality in snobbery with those who are eloquent & detailed in the was they can express a topic for those who are not.

Some Buddhists, including some here at Dahmmawheel, come off to me as very anti-intellectual and at times even demonstrate some kind of ingrained provincialism. I don't think intellectualism is a wonderful thing, per se, and I've been labeled an intellectual all my life. Maybe I am, maybe I ain't. Like Thanissaro says, when you define yourself, you limit yourself. And like Albert Ellis and David D. Burns, following Korzybkski's "is of identity verb conjugation" thesis, point out, your do not equal your verbal identifications. Yet we find some Buddhists wanting to very much define themselves by partitioning themselves off into camps or clubs, all of which claim the most authentic or closest to "original" Buddhism. This only perpetuates clinging to views of self.

all these verbs are muscles we use, some are more developed than others. but maybe it is a case of not liking what they feel they lack and see another with; a learnt reaction; or a behaviour based on a preference toward what they see as practice Vs. non-practice? or maybe it is all or none of these?
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: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby manas » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:22 pm

Mr Man wrote:...
My experience of Dhammawheel is that sometimes the level of intellectualism is very high, almost to the point of being intimidating.


That's my experience also. In terms of my knowledge of the Buddha-Dhamma: amongst the folk in my local community I'm like a sage, but here, I'm like the village idiot :P

Yep...I thought I knew quite a bit about the Buddha Dhamma...and then, I found Dhamma Wheel. It's good, though, both for humility, and for making me realize that I really ought to study more; then some of the stuff I read here would not go 'whoosh' over my head.

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And you know this how?

Probably because he's encountered more than about three Western Buddhists; if you haven't heard such views expressed, then you either live in the most dedicated Buddhist community on Earth or in a hermitage.
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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