Interdependence

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Interdependence

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:31 am

Hi Macavity,

My question was in response to this...

Macavity wrote:
...As for Thich Nhat Hanh, he is a fine example of a Buddhist teacher whose enthusiasm for Hua Yen has resulted in him completely losing the plot. His (and his disciples) obsession with Hua Yen ideas of interpenetration, interconnectedness and so on have led them to prioritize other things than what the Dhamma is centrally concerned with. For example, environmentalism, social activism, and the energetic popularization of Thich Nhat Hanh's crypto-Spinozoan pantheist ideology. But efforts aimed at the purification of mind and liberation from dukkha become only a secondary or tertiary concern. And so to this extent it seems to me that they have gone astray from the teachings of the man who said: "Both formerly, bhikkhus, and now, it is just dukkha that I teach, and the cessation of dukkha."

Far from making dukkha and its cessation his central concern, Thich Nhat Hanh goes out of his way to sever them from the Buddha's teaching, for example by claiming that dukkha is not one of the three common characteristics of conditioned dhammas.


Not that Thich Nhat Hanh is the perfect teacher, or that some of the above may not be true, but he does teach the Buddha's dharma- the 4 noble truths, the 8 fold path, the 12 links of dependent origination, etc. He talks about interdependence and inter-being within that larger context, as an aspect of what Buddha taught. He emphasizes engaged Buddhism as a part of one's practice, as a form of right action, not as something which has nothing to do with the dhamma.

This may not be evident if one bases their assessment of TNH upon a few internet articles or one of his popular books. That's why i mentioned what is probably one of his most important books Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, a nitty-gritty presentation of the Buddha's core dhamma teachings, in other words the basics as covered in Theravadin Buddhism.

Everything is interconnected. Staying aware of interdependence helps us to see these connections.

:group:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Interdependence

Postby appicchato » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:38 am

Macavity wrote:...I will judge...


Not a good idea...
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Macavity » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:32 am

appicchato wrote:
Macavity wrote:...I will judge...


Not a good idea...


Ajahn,

I think you have misunderstood my statement, perhaps by overlooking the punctuation in it. Certainly your manner of quoting me misrepresents what I wrote.

The 'I' in the "I will judge" phrase does not stand for "I, Macavity." It stands for "I, Tantrayogi" and is part of my suggestion of what Tantrayogi ought to have written to make the motive of his first post more transparent.
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Re: Interdependence

Postby appicchato » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:59 am

Macavity wrote:...your manner of quoting me misrepresents what I wrote.
.


Sorry...I wouldn't intentionally do that...I should have taken your name off of the quote...
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Hoja » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:56 pm

Macavity wrote:If confirmation of your present view is all that you were really looking for, then you should have added, "Please make sure that your answer is 'yes', or I will judge your post disrespectful."


I don't find any criticism disrespectful if it's done in a respectful way.
I've found your first reply interesting, respectful and thought provoking.
It was the post that I've quoted, where you dismiss texts as lush and phantasmagorical and the Hua Yen beliefs as a waste of time, what I've found disrespectful.
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Macavity » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:32 am

Tantrayogi wrote:I don't find any criticism disrespectful if it's done in a respectful way.


So what do you think of the Buddha respectfully criticizing Makkhali Gosala by comparing him to a fishtrap? Or Dharmakirti respectfully comparing his opponents to various despised fauna?

It was the post that I've quoted, where you dismiss texts as lush and phantasmagorical


Have you ever read the Avatamsaka Sutra? If you have, then what adjectives would you choose to describe its content and presentation? Would you say, for instance, that the sutra was of unadorned rustic simplicity? If you haven't read it, then I offer you Cleary's translation of the sutra's opening so you can judge for yourself the aptness of "lush and phantasmagorical."



    THUS HAVE I HEARD. At one time the Buddha was in the land of Magadha, in a state of purity, at the site of enlightenment, having just realized true awareness. The ground was solid and firm, made of diamond, adorned with exquisite jewel disks and myriad precious flowers, with pure clear crystals. The ocean of characteristics of the various colors appeared over an infinite extent. There were banners of precious stones, constantly emitting shining light and producing beautiful sounds. Nets of myriad gems and garlands of exquisitely scented flowers hung all around. The finest jewels appeared spontaneously, raining inexhaustible quantities of gems and beautiful flowers all over the earth. There were rows of jewel trees, their branches and foliage lustrous and luxuriant. By the Buddha's spiritual power, he caused all the adornments of this enlightenment site to be reflected therein.

    The tree of enlightenment was tall and outstanding. Its trunk was diamond, its main boughs were lapiz lazuli, its branches and twigs were of various precious elements. The leaves, spreading in all directions, provided shade, like clouds. The precious blossoms were of various colors, the branching twigs spread out their shadows. Also the fruits were jewels containing a blazing radiance. They were together with the flowers in great arrays. The entire circumference of the tree emanated light; within the light there rained precious stones, and within each gem were enlightening beings (Bodhisattva), in great hosts like clouds, simultaneously appearing.

    Also, by virtue of the awesome spiritual power of the Buddha, the tree of enlightenment constantly gave forth sublime sounds speaking various truths without end.

    The palace chamber in which the Buddha was situated was spacious and beautifully adorned. It extended throughout the ten directions. It was made of jewels of various colors and was decorated with all kinds of precious flowers. The various adornments emanated lights like clouds; the masses of their reflections from within the palace formed banners.

    A boundless host of enlightening beings, the congregation at the site of enlightenment, were all gathered there: by means of the ability to manifest the lights and inconceivable sounds of the Buddhas, they fashioned nets of the finest jewels, from which came forth all the realms of action of the spiritual powers of the Buddhas, and in which were reflected images of the abodes of all beings.

    Also, by virtue of the aid of the spiritual power of the Buddhas, they embraced the entire cosmos in a single thought.

    Their lion seats were high, wide, and beautiful. The bases were made of jewels, their nets of lotus blossoms, their tableaus of pure, exquisite gemstones. They were adorned with various flowers of all colors. Their roofs, chambers, steps, and doors were adorned by the images of all things. The branches and fruits of jewel trees surrounded them, arrayed at intervals.

    Clouds of radiance of jewels reflected each other; the Buddhas of the ten directions conjured regal pearls, and exquisite jewels in the topknots of all the enlightening beings all emanated light, which came and illuminated them.

    Furthermore, sustained by the spiritual powers of the Buddhas, they expounded the vast perspective of the Thus Come Ones (Tathagata) , their subtle tones extending afar, there being no place they did not reach.

    At that time, the World Honored One (Bhagavan), in this setting, attained the supreme, correct awareness of all things. His wisdom entered into all the three times(*) with complete equality; his body filled all worlds; his voice universally accorded with all lands in the ten directions. Like space, which contains all forms, he made no discrimination among all objects. And, as space extends everywhere, he entered all worlds equally. His body forever sat omnipresent in all sites of enlightenment. Among the hosts of enlightening beings, his awesome light shone clearly, like the sun emerging, illumining the world. The ocean of myriad virtues which he practiced in all times was thoroughly pure, and he constantly demonstrated the production of all the buddha-lands, their boundless forms and spheres of light extending throughout the entire cosmos (Dharma-Realm), equally and impartially.

Kind regards,
Ciarán
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Hoja » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:00 am

Macavity wrote:Have you ever read the Avatamsaka Sutra?

I'm reading Cleary's translation, slowly, as it's quite an intricate read for my non-native english.
The sutra opening is, well, a dharmic version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds :-)
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Macavity » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:27 am

Tantrayogi wrote:The sutra opening is, well, a dharmic version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds :-)


:smile:
And so also for about three quarters of the rest of the sutra. And that was my point:

The Hua-Yen/Avatamsaka Sutra teaching is what you get if you take the Buddha's paticcasamuppada teaching and then indulge in an overdose of conceptual proliferation (or maybe mescaline).

So we are in agreement here. :toast:

Or at least in partial agreement; maybe we differ on the question of whether texts that read like hallucinogen-inspired poetry are an apt vehicle for the Dhamma. Does it occur to you that works like the Avatamsaka (and other later stratum Mahayana sutras) could be seen as symptomatic of monks falling into the very malpractice that the Buddha warned would bring about the decline of his teaching: the habit of preferring to listen to the highly embellished compositions of poets rather than the Tathagata's own discourses?

Kind regards,
Ciarán
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Hoja » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:43 am

Macavity wrote:the habit of preferring to listen to the highly embellished compositions of poets rather than the Tathagata's own discourses?

True, if you consider the Mahayana Sutras as poetry rather than the Buddha's teachings.
But that's the reason that drove me to Theravada: even considering the Mahayana Sutras as authentic teachings I think that first I want to know the teachings from the earlier buddhism.

:toast:
Sláinte!

Hernán
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Re: Interdependence

Postby Macavity » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:18 am

¡Salud! :toast:
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