Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:10 pm

gavesako wrote:Growing the Dharma: Buddhism’s Religious Spadework. Draft, July 2013.
“The individual or collective Western response has often much like that of the new landowner who discovers an overgrown but still potentially productive corn field on his property and with limited understanding of both corn and non-corn, dauntlessly hacks away with a machete only to destroy half of the corn and to leave half of the undergrowth, then plants one row of Monsanto super-corn and row of squash to make it look right. It looks pretty good, so we call it Western Buddhism and expect it to save Buddhism from centuries of Asian misunderstanding and cultural accretions. We have all the hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers.”

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/boo ... u-cintita/

:reading: :candle:



Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Kusala » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:39 am

clw_uk wrote:
gavesako wrote:Growing the Dharma: Buddhism’s Religious Spadework. Draft, July 2013.
“The individual or collective Western response has often much like that of the new landowner who discovers an overgrown but still potentially productive corn field on his property and with limited understanding of both corn and non-corn, dauntlessly hacks away with a machete only to destroy half of the corn and to leave half of the undergrowth, then plants one row of Monsanto super-corn and row of squash to make it look right. It looks pretty good, so we call it Western Buddhism and expect it to save Buddhism from centuries of Asian misunderstanding and cultural accretions. We have all the hubris and discernment-level of rowdy teenagers.”

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/boo ... u-cintita/

:reading: :candle:



Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.


Beyond Likes & Dislikes

"One of Ajahn Mun's favorite topics for a Dhamma talk was the theme of practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma - in other words, in accordance with what the Dhamma demands, not in accordance with what our likes and dislikes demand.

As the Dhamma comes to the West this is probably one of the hardest things for Westerners to appreciate. Everywhere you look, the Dhamma is being remade, recast, so that people will like it. Things that people don't like are quietly cut away; and if things that people like are missing, they're added on. And so the creature that comes out is like the old cartoon of a committee designing a bird: The bird looks pretty good to begin with, but then after the committee's done with it, it looks like an ostrich with no legs. It can't walk and it can't fly , but it sells. In this country of ours, where democracy and the marketplace are all-powerful, the question of what sells determines what's Dhamma, even if it can't walk or fly. And who loses out? We lose out.

The Dhamma doesn't lose out; it's always what it is. But we like to add a little here, take away a little there, and as a result we end up with nothing but things we already like and already dislike. The Buddha pointed out the four ways that people get led off course. Two of them are following your likes and dislikes; the other two are giving in to delusion and fear. These things pull people off the path. We go wandering into the underbrush and then off to who-knows-where simply because we like to follow what we like and to avoid what we dislike - even though the things we dislike are often the things we've got to really look at carefully."



http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... slikes.pdf
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:11 am

Ajahn Mun wrote:As the Dhamma comes to the West this is probably one of the hardest things for Westerners to appreciate. Everywhere you look, the Dhamma is being remade, recast, so that people will like it.


Why is the blame only put on the West? Perhaps it occurs more in the West? Not sure though. In Asia there are monasteries that have modified the rules quite a bit for example, regarding the handling of money, traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles; relaxing of the noon meal cut-off time. This has occured in both East & West.

How about the Dhammakaya movement (in Thailand)? The one with the temple that looks like a space ship? :alien: The Dhamma has been remade and recast both East & West.

clw_uk wrote:Why is a "western response" so hated? A fresh perspective is sometimes needed. I sometimes think there is a danger of going another way and rejecting every western view on Buddhism, because its western.


Yes, why not hear from all perspectives. It doesn't mean we should accept the views from all sources, but just because a Westerner gives an opinion, does not mean he or she is trying to remake Buddhism or trying to "take it over." If it is in accord with the Dhamma-Vinaya or the Great Standards, then it is okay, if not then discard.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:06 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Yes, why not hear from all perspectives. It doesn't mean we should accept the views from all sources, but just because a Westerner gives an opinion, does not mean he or she is trying to remake Buddhism or trying to "take it over." If it is in accord with the Dhamma-Vinaya or the Great Standards, then it is okay, if not then discard.

Yes, that's the point, isn't it? What exactly can be discarded?

Actually, Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&p=259659#p259618

A key point in his thesis is that inevitably the majority of Buddhists anywhere will be Folk Buddhists, not Adepts. However, rather than seeing that as a problem we should recognise that the preservation of Buddhism has (at least so far) relied on having support from a large community of non-adepts.

:anjali:
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby daverupa » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 59#p259618


It's here more directly: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12718 and is quite related, I think.
    "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: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:09 am

Hi All

You may find this article interesting as it seeks to document one, of what i suspect would have been many attempts to renew Buddhism over the last 2500 years.

http://sujato.files.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -trend.pdf

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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:27 am

Hi Clw


Buddha did not know every thing in the world!
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.
So Buddha will know something only if he pay attention to it.
Buddha is a super human but he is not a superman.
:)
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:36 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Actually, Bhikkhu Cintita, in the link that Ven Gavesako gives above, and elsewhere on that blog site, has an interesting discussion about what parts of Buddhism, both eastern and western, are "Folk Buddhism", and which parts are "Adept Buddhism" I touched on over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 59#p259618

This is a classic example of "the false choice dilemma" in which two options are presented as if they're the only ones available.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:37 am

Kusala,
I like the Buddha and his teachings. This in not about likes and dislikes for me.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:39 am

Hi SarathW,
SarathW wrote:Hi Clw


Buddha did not know every thing in the world!
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.
So Buddha will know something only if he pay attention to it.
Buddha is a super human but he is not a superman.
:)

Well put!
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:11 pm

SarathW wrote:Hi Clw


Buddha did not know every thing in the world!
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.
So Buddha will know something only if he pay attention to it.
Buddha is a super human but he is not a superman.
:)



That's basically what I was saying ...
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:18 am

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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby nibbuti » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:16 am

danieLion wrote:Can Buddhism be improved upon? Was the Buddha perfect?

Should papanca be pursued? Are there more important things to care about? :shrug:
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:42 am

danielLion wrote:Was the Buddha perfect?


Depends on how you define ''perfect''. He was free from greed, hatred and delusion, so yes, I think he was perfect in that particular sense.

danieLion wrote:
Can Buddhism be improved upon?



Maybe if we practice more and speculate less, we'll develop the wisdom to be able fully understand the Buddha's teachings first.

:anjali:
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:34 am

Aloka wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Can Buddhism be improved upon?



Maybe if we practice more and speculate less, we'll develop the wisdom to be able fully understand the Buddha's teachings first.

:anjali:


Well said, Aloka!
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby appicchato » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:20 pm

Why is a "western response" so hated?


'Hated' may seem a little harsh...although, to some ( :soap: ), many tend to be dissection fanatics (also maybe a little harsh)...
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:12 pm

Aloka wrote:
danielLion wrote:Was the Buddha perfect?


Depends on how you define ''perfect''. He was free from greed, hatred and delusion, so yes, I think he was perfect in that particular sense.

danieLion wrote:
Can Buddhism be improved upon?



Maybe if we practice more and speculate less, we'll develop the wisdom to be able fully understand the Buddha's teachings first.

:anjali:

Hi Aloka,
I agree that speculating too much can cause problems for some people some of the time. I could be wrong, but knowing when this is happening is mostly if not always personal decision, and only apporpriately interpersonal when the speculator seeks the advice of another. I might be mistaken, but unsolicited guidance is usually if not always unhelpful. Furthermore, when you say, "depends on what you mean by perfect..."--and I agree, it does depend on that (but Dave Snyder et al have already addressed it), are you not speculating?
Kindly,
dL
Last edited by danieLion on Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby danieLion » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:14 pm

Hi nubbuti,
nibbuti wrote:
danieLion wrote:Can Buddhism be improved upon? Was the Buddha perfect?

Should papanca be pursued? Are there more important things to care about? :shrug:

What, exactly, makes you believe these questions are papanca-like?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:57 pm

danieLion wrote:
I agree that speculating too much can cause problems for some people some of the time. But knowing when this is happening is mostly if not always personal decision, and only apporpriately interpersonal when the speculator seeks the advice of another. Unsolicited guidance is usually if not always unhelpful.


Hi daniel,

I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you were trying to say there.

Furthermore, when you say, "depends on what you mean by perfect..."--and I agree, it does depend on that (it's a point I was hoping soemone would bring up), are you not speculating?


No. Wanting further clarification isn't speculating.

Must go now... its getting late here in the UK, so have fun and goodnight!


:hello: :zzz:
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby nibbuti » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:10 am

danieLion wrote:What, exactly, makes you believe these questions are papanca-like?

They're 1. not specific, and 2. not connected with the goal, but seem to be from a mind that is still bothered by doubt or indecision (vicikicchā).

:toilet:
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