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Buddhism and Intellectualism - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Buddhism and Intellectualism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
danieLion
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:49 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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danieLion
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Mr Man
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Cittasanto
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:22 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Mr Man
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Mr Man
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:20 pm

(To generalize) many Zen traditions are seen as anti-intellectual and the Far East traditions are sometimes seen as anti-intellectual. Zen because of the use of art, work (wax-on, wax-off), koans, poetry, which is to go beyond thinking and studying, for a direct approach to enlightenment. The Far East schools such as Pure Land in the belief that enlightenment is too difficult in this era.

Theravada is probably one of the more intellectual schools of Buddhism, with our Abhidhamma, Visudhimagga, and veneration of the written Pali Canon. As Bhikkhu Pesala pointed out in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=16391 those who attained enlightenment rather quickly such as Bahiya had gained much mindfulness and advancement in previous lives. It is not likely any of us could gain enlightenment so quickly just by washing a cloth, repeating a mantra, or washing dishes. If intellectualism refers to reading and studying the Pali Canon, then there certainly can be no harm in that and only everything to gain. We don't need to be experts in Pali (although it doesn't hurt), nor do we need to memorize texts, but a good grasp of the material in the Pali Canon is very helpful, in my opinion.
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby rohana » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:42 pm

It can take a wide spectrum - from very little intellectualism to a lot, and you can pretty much choose material by teachers from anywhere in the spectrum. Ajahn Cha's teachings, for example, are very down-to-earth, whereas Venerable Ñānānanda's writings are towards the other end of the spectrum.

But for those of us who prefer the more intellectual end of the spectrum, I think there is a danger of pride ("my teachings are better than your teachings") and a danger of getting trapped in an intellectual thicket of papañca. I've also seen people saying they prefer Mahāyāna texts because the Pāli canon is "too simplistic" for them, and I think it's the same kind of sentiment that's behind it - i.e. an attraction to any text/teaching that seems 'intellectual' on the surface, and seeing any 'simple teaching' as not worthy of attention.
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:20 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:18 am

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

danieLion
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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danieLion
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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Anagarika
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

Postby Anagarika » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:57 am

On intellectualism in Buddhism...

I saw this today over at the sister site Dharma Wheel:

“Chiasmus in the Early Prajñāpāramitā: Literary Parallelism Connecting Criticism & Hermeneutics in an Early Mahāyāna Sūtra”

Submitted by Orsborn, Matthew Bryan (this is Ven. Huifeng) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong in January 2012

This study examines the early Prajñāpāramitā sūtras through the theory of “chiasmus”. Chiasmic methodology analyses a text into two parallel halves, identifying complementary “prologue” (A) and “conclusion” (A’), and highlighting the critical “central point” (X), with sub-themes paralleled in the two halves (A-B-C-D…X…D’-C’-B’-A’). Through chiasmus theory, many ancient texts formerly considered fragmentary and incoherent have been shown to be structurally sophisticated wholes.

I started to read the treatise, and my brain began to hurt. I'm glad for the level of scholarship in Buddhism, and the intellectuals that contribute to its complex fabric.

danieLion
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Re: Buddhism and Intellectualism

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