How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby appicchato » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:...it is meaningless.

To you, yes...but not necessarily to everyone else...statements such as this are an example of the very muck we're trying to rise from...and there are many more on these pages...why not give yourself a break...and us too?... :smile:
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:37 pm

Ben wrote:I actually think whether one person believes rebirth is literal (as I do) or whether someone doesn't - is irrelevant. Practice is the engine that generates wisdom.


For what it's worth, Ajahn Buddhadasa was not all that into denying 'literal rebirth.' There were times he provocatively seemed to do so but that is not his main issue by any means. Yes, he got into it at times, as much to challenge pervasive stuck-in-the-mud dogmatism as the specific issue. And there were plenty of times he talked in conventional/literal rebirth terms. As someone pointed out a couple days ago, most of his teachings were in Thai and for Thai audiences. And he was often being roundly abused by the "conservatives" in Siam. Actually most of the debate was driven by the vociferous defenders of literal rebirth who took Tan Ajahn's emphasis on 'ego rebirth' as an attack on their beliefs & the tradition as they understood it. Their dogmatism was (still is?) somewhat like that of the NRA (Natl Rifle Assoc) in the USA who oppose even the most innocuous & sane forms of gun control because they fear it is a slippery slope to the "government taking our guns away."

It would be interesting if, perhaps, in the West it's the rebirth deniers who are more dogmatic & polarizing. I don't know if that's the case. Maybe it's both sides. That may say more about Buddhism in the West or Western/Modern educated Buddhists in Asia than it does about Buddhism of the Suttas and Commentaries.

Btw, recent research on fundamentalism is pretty clear in pointing out how Biblical & other textual literalism are modern phenomena. We moderns may read early Buddhist texts more literally than the compilers, such as Ven Buddhaghosa, intended. That may be hard to prove, of course. But it's possible. Or are we really supposed to believe that the Buddha literally made heads split open?
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:46 pm

clw_uk wrote:Ajahn Chah took a similar line of thought, although he did still discuss rebirth in the conventional way on occasion. There is no reason to assume that other Venerables down the centuries havent seen the same as Buddhadasa, perhaps they were just to few in number?


Tan Ajahn's views on some of these matters were influenced by certain senior monks in Bangkok who he regularly visited, especially one very senior Thammayut elder. These elders may not have agreed with everything Tan Ajahn said but they didn't mind him saying what they felt they couldn't because of their positions within the hierarchy. Self-censure as well as active censorship are other reasons for certain perspectives to not be recorded. For example, friends who've been to Burma a fair amount, have told me that in these last couple decades there are monks with 'idiosyncratic' views who have been forbidden to speak in public.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:55 pm

Ben wrote:What I do care about is evangelism and the attitude that Venerable’s interpretation is the only way to interpret the Dhamma.


Might I insert a couple words: "the attitude that one's interpretation of the Venerable’s interpretation is the only way to interpret the Dhamma."

Btw, I find it funny that all the criticisms of 'evangelicalism' are aimed at supposed Buddhadasa disciples. Little one-sided don't you think? Perhaps a bias or axe to grind or something? Without mentioning specific names, I've read quite dogmatic & evangelical claims from some of the other esteemed teachers being mentioned here.

More to the point, I don't see how labels such as 'evangelical' help us understand Buddha-Dhamma and Dhamma practice.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I have not used the word heretic, but idiosyncratic is an appropriate description of Ven Buddhadasa; by the virtue of his own statements he has put himself outside of the Theravada mainstream.


Interestingly, he had a fairly strong influence on the educated, monastic mainstream.

I realize, tho, that this begs the question of what 'the mainstream' is.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:07 pm

Ben wrote: I understand that the Ajahn underscored the primacy of practice. If you have the time and inclination, I would appreciate it if you could relate some anecdotes or statements Venerable said on the importance of practice.


However one interprets paticcasamuppada, this may be relevant: If foolish at contact, suffering. If mindful at contact, won't be foolish. And won't suffer. So be mindful at contact. [From a pithy little verse, rendered from memory.]

Tan Ajahn thought anapanasati a great way to train the requisite mindfulness; after all, anapanasati comes with a pretty good pedigree. Nevertheless, any way that manifests the required mindfulness is good enough.

His understanding of the 'best way' didn't exclude other best ways.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:11 pm

Being such an idiosyncratic guy, Tan Ajahn thought that cultivating sila, samadhi, and panya was a good way to go.

The essence of sila is non-harming. The essence of samadhi is wholehearted focus on Nibbana, the quenching of dukkha. The essence of panya is seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, hard to bear, undependable, not-self, concocted, and empty. [For all I know, these were lifted from VSM.]

If there's clinging to it w/ me or mine, it isn't the middle way.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:15 pm

Walking without a walker.
Breathing without a breather.
Living without a liver.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks Santikaro

Santikaro wrote:Being such an idiosyncratic guy, Tan Ajahn thought that cultivating sila, samadhi, and panya was a good way to go.

The essence of sila is non-harming. The essence of samadhi is wholehearted focus on Nibbana, the quenching of dukkha. The essence of panya is seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, hard to bear, undependable, not-self, concocted, and empty. [For all I know, these were lifted from VSM.]

If there's clinging to it w/ me or mine, it isn't the middle way.


Actually, I would gave thought that the above was not idiosyncratic but spot on the money.
Metta

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:25 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again and if I am unique in it then so be it but I do the Bhavana first. When I actually encounter something previously unseen or unknown then I go to the text and lo and behold, there it is, just where it should be in relation to the rest. Every time. Doesn't matter if it is the broad strokes or the strawberry cream filling in the fraction of a moment of citta. Dhamma, abhidhamma or yo mama, when I look at the thing, right before me, then go to the Tipitaka, the teachings are always correct. It is for this reason that, although scholars are interesting fellows to read and commentators are interesting fellows to read, I do not much care if they are right or wrong. The Lions roar is always right and true and always is good enough for me.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:30 pm

Nicely said, Nathan.
BTW, what is yo mama?

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:35 pm

Ben wrote:Nicely said, Nathan.
BTW, what is yo mama?

Ben
About 71. She just had her birthday last week. Sent me some cookies in the mail. Then the folks 50somethingeth anniversary is coming up at the end of the month. Thanks for asking.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby zerotime » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:50 pm

Santikaro wrote:
Self-censure as well as active censorship are other reasons for certain perspectives to not be recorded


dear Santikaro, maybe one day if you feel it's a right time, you can explain if there is some relation of these comments with the missed Chit-wang teaching. In the Jackson book there are comments of some Thai society members explaining his fears of a society in where lay people can be awakened to become more good and wise. I note the Jackson book is quite poor in other topics (like the chinese Chan explanation) then I don't know the exactitude of these news in explaining the under development of Chit-wang teaching. If you feel it's a right time, I insist.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:37 am

Santikaro wrote:Living without a liver.
That must be tough, are you on a transplant list? :smile:
Seriously though, if, as I have, I've happened to have found the texts, literally true, in living experience, entirely; except of course those things presented as explicitly metaphorical. Do you suppose I should get myself treated for fundamentalism or schizophrenia because I'm commonly told to do both, usually by the same people. Usually the same people who have a fundamental religious devotion to the cult of the PhD.

Those options seem counterproductive as, also in living experience, these lead to much greater suffering for myself and for others whereas I do find the teachings are literally and precisely the medicine I actually need in all regards. Useful for such far flung things as dealing effectively with the kamma that arises now which was created in past lives. Dealing effectively with heavenly beings and ghosts in my neighborhood. Living in peace with all earthly beings, both alone in the wilderness with fearsome wild beasts and when walking amongst the hypnotized masses of humanity and all of their deadly machinery.

Would it be best to keep those facts to myself and simply 'play along with everyone'. Most particularly with those who delusively think that the extensive discourses by the Buddha regarding such things as other realms, an untraceable long prior existence in bondage to being and becoming or the ongoing and insurmountable difficulties in overcoming the downward momentum of a wholly degenerate age and of the horrors that yet await humanity in times to come are 'simply hindu fairy tales' that corrupt monastics stuffed into the cannon when no one was looking. Just because 'you have to play along to get along?' Because, that far out stuff matches up with the evening news very well actually. Does the daily underscoring of these facts in direct experience make me a 'fundie'? Should I feel inferior to someone because now they have come up with yet another label and feel at liberty to apply it to whoever they like? Is this the sort of thing I should be doing for the benefit of other people? Would that help someone, maybe help someone's book sales? To falsely present myself as completely out of touch with the visceral reality of the present moment so that it could fit this idealized notion of a religious wing nut to suit a handful of people who want to 'update the teachings' to match up with contemporary delusions of grandeur on the part of people who are our modern day 'best guessers'? I'm just curious to know where this whole line of reasoning is headed. Maybe I should make myself scarce so that I don't 'get in the way of progress'.
Last edited by nathan on Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:21 am

Santikaro wrote:Walking without a walker.
Breathing without a breather.
Living without a liver.


Not unlike Buddhaghosa in his discussion of paticcasamuppada when he stated:

"There is no doer of a deed
Or one who reaps the deed's result;
Phenomena alone flow on---
No other view than this is right." - Visuddhimagga XIX.20

And earlier in that text he stated:

"There is suffering, but none who suffers;
Doing exists although there is no doer;
Extinction is but no extinguished person;
Although there is a path, there is no goer” - XVI 90

One also needs to keep in mind that Buddhaghosa states that dhammas/dharmas themselves (the supposed ultimate categories) are the products of conditions.
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.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:One also needs to keep in mind that Buddhaghosa states that dhammas/dharmas themselves (the supposed ultimate categories) are the products of conditions.
A considered and considerate friend in the Dharma has eloquently expressed this as 'The Law of Receding Horizons". Which seems apt.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:57 am

zerotime wrote:Santikaro wrote:
Self-censure as well as active censorship are other reasons for certain perspectives to not be recorded


dear Santikaro, maybe one day if you feel it's a right time, you can explain if there is some relation of these comments with the missed Chit-wang teaching. In the Jackson book there are comments of some Thai society members explaining his fears of a society in where lay people can be awakened to become more good and wise. I note the Jackson book is quite poor in other topics (like the chinese Chan explanation) then I don't know the exactitude of these news in explaining the under development of Chit-wang teaching. If you feel it's a right time, I insist.

best,


Apologies. I am not clear what you want explained.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby zerotime » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:09 am

Santikaro wrote:Apologies. I am not clear what you want explained.


1- if that self-censure included Chit-wang
2- if comments of the Jackson's book in this topic are exact
3- to know what is the reason for the actual under-development of Chit-wang. Today it is not explained in Suan Mokkh retreats, at least according my experience. However, in books we read how Buddhadasa seem to have seen in Chit-wang a teaching specially useful for the lay people.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:39 am

Nathan,

Your input is a pleasure. And I can relate.

Thanks muchly,
Drolma

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:28 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Nathan,

Your input is a pleasure. And I can relate.

Thanks muchly,
Drolma

:anjali:
Thank you Drolma. It is a comfort to know that. I think I have begun to see a growing body of evidence that we are in fact many, largely resting in silent acknowledgment of the truth. It's likely simply that, overall we sort probably don't 'get out much' and associate with the like minded.

Mudita
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