Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:26 pm

SDC wrote:When did I say should?



Lol ok I will rephrase ;)


How is there "room for improvement"?

What do you mean by "room for improvement"?


Although if you see "room for improvement" then that seems to mean that you see something lacking, which seems to indicate that you see a deficiency. Therefore you see that an improvement should be made. Unless of course you wish to be deficient, or to adhere to a deficient doctrine.

However a question then follows, why would you adhere to that which Is deficient? Or, if you do not want that, not try to resolve the deficiency?


So I repeat, how is there room for improvement?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:07 pm

For myself, a problem in buddhism is its tendency towards moral absolutism. That X is "wrong" in every circumstance. Though I'm not sure if this is true in Buddhadhmma.


For example I can't see how lying, theft or killing is always wrong ...
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:50 pm

clw_uk wrote:
SDC wrote:When did I say should?



Lol ok I will rephrase ;)


How is there "room for improvement"?

What do you mean by "room for improvement"?


Although if you see "room for improvement" then that seems to mean that you see something lacking, which seems to indicate that you see a deficiency. Therefore you see that an improvement should be made. Unless of course you wish to be deficient, or to adhere to a deficient doctrine.

However a question then follows, why would you adhere to that which Is deficient? Or, if you do not want that, not try to resolve the deficiency?


So I repeat, how is there room for improvement?


Do you think I was referring to the dhamma itself? Meaning that I was saying that Buddha presented a deficient teaching during his lifetime? DL's question about improvements was not limited to anything specific, and my comment about "room for improvement" was referring to the bloated state of Buddhist literature, and the difficulty it presents. Also I was clear that I did not see any improvement was possible with respect to that. Maybe you did not read my other post.

Personally I do not care if that changes or not.

Before you fire off another funhouse post lets make sure we are on the same page. :tongue:
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby daverupa » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:04 pm

clw_uk wrote:For myself, a problem in buddhism is its tendency towards moral absolutism. That X is "wrong" in every circumstance. Though I'm not sure if this is true in Buddhadhmma.


For example I can't see how lying, theft or killing is always wrong ...


The intention for those things (e.g. killing, stealing, lying, and so forth) is always unwholesome, leading on to grasping and involvement and enmeshment and dukkha. The action and the context, however, may end up yielding a situation which is mixed dark and bright kamma leading on to mixed results. Furthermore, one act done by someone may result in purgatory of some fashion, whereas another person with the same act will experience whatever result in this very life. The simile of the salt crystal applies here, as does the Buddha's encouragement to Angulimala after the latter was wounded during almsround by townsfolk.

So it's quite complex. This is why the precise workings out of kamma-results are imponderable, though we can be assured of the principle.
    "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 clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:45 pm

Do you think I was referring to the dhamma itself?


I have no idea, that's why I asked because your post wasn't clear.

Meaning that I was saying that Buddha presented a deficient teaching during his lifetime? DL's question about improvements was not limited to anything specific, and my comment about "room for improvement" was referring to the bloated state of Buddhist literature, and the difficulty it presents. Also I was clear that I did not see any improvement was possible with respect to that. Maybe you did not read my other post.


I did but felt you was rather evasive



So you don't see any improvement to Buddhism, Buddhadhamma or it's corpus of literature?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:49 pm

The intention for those things (e.g. killing, stealing, lying, and so forth) is always unwholesome, leading on to grasping and involvement and enmeshment and dukkha.


So if I lie to save Jewish children from the death camps, this is unwholesome intention?


Is the best thing to be detached, and watch a five year old be put on a train to austiwch?
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:08 pm

clw_uk wrote:
The intention for those things (e.g. killing, stealing, lying, and so forth) is always unwholesome, leading on to grasping and involvement and enmeshment and dukkha.


So if I lie to save Jewish children from the death camps, this is unwholesome intention?


Is the best thing to be detached, and watch a five year old be put on a train to austiwch?
Lie your face off, if it saves a life.
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: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:14 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
The intention for those things (e.g. killing, stealing, lying, and so forth) is always unwholesome, leading on to grasping and involvement and enmeshment and dukkha.


So if I lie to save Jewish children from the death camps, this is unwholesome intention?


Is the best thing to be detached, and watch a five year old be put on a train to austiwch?
Lie your face off, if it saves a life.



Does that break Buddhist moral code, or is the Buddhist moral code subjective/relative?


Is then murder justified in Buddhism, if it saves lives?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:47 pm

clw_uk wrote:I have no idea, that's why I asked because your post wasn't clear.


SDC wrote:
danieLion wrote:I agree that Buddhism is byzantine, but that's a result of improvement attempts. You seem to be putting the cart before the horse. I might be wrong, but the history of Buddhism chronicles one attempt after another to improve it.


Agreed. Wasn’t saying otherwise. In the last 2500 years whether it be in an attempt to clarify, re-translate, re-establish, strengthen, consolidate, streamline, reinterpret, assimilate or even maintain what the Buddha taught, many efforts have brought a good deal of pork into the situation, and now even when there are teachers that provide a solid interpretation it does nothing to effect the overall product - the “overall product” being an authoritative interpretation that everyone agrees on. That ship has sailed or perhaps was never even there. So improvement in that respect does not seem possible. You can't get rid of the fluff.


Sorry this is unclear and evasive to you. DL asked a question and I gave my opinion and thought I was pretty clear in regards to what I brought up.

I know I'm not that great of a writer but is the above post really that unclear? Good teachers and good interpretations are still around, but overall it is swollen with nonsense. That is a problem I see and I I do not think is a good thing. So if this problem wasn't present that would be an improved situation. However I do not think that this condition will ever change. So that's that.

I don't know. Seems like you fish for people's underlying agendas and attempt to expose and neutralize them. I just get that impression from your posts. I'd love to keep this discussion going, but just be forward. I'm not here to force my ideas on anyone. We're just talking.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:48 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Does that break Buddhist moral code, or is the Buddhist moral code subjective/relative?
You tell me.


Is then murder justified in Buddhism, if it saves lives?
You tell me.
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: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:51 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
Does that break Buddhist moral code, or is the Buddhist moral code subjective/relative?
You tell me.


Is then murder justified in Buddhism, if it saves lives?
You tell me.



I was asking you ... :coffee:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Dan74 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:59 pm

clw_uk wrote:For myself, a problem in buddhism is its tendency towards moral absolutism. That X is "wrong" in every circumstance. Though I'm not sure if this is true in Buddhadhmma.


For example I can't see how lying, theft or killing is always wrong ...


I think this is a human tendency, especially where the said humans choose to adhere to a certain system of tenets. It is easier to deal with absolutes that complexities of life. I don't see this tendency in the Buddha of the Pali canon.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Samma » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:08 pm

A moral code by its nature comes across as a static directive right? But what happens when a generally good (though static) directive comes in contact with changing circumstances...

Moral particularism is the view that the moral status of an action is not in any way determined by moral principles; rather, it depends on the configuration of the morally relevant features of the action in a particular context. It can be seen as a reaction against a traditional principled conception of morality as comprising a true and coherent set of moral principles. The chief motivation for moral particularism derives from the observation that exceptions to principles are common, and exceptions to exceptions are not unusual. Moral principles, which are equipped only to deal with homogeneous cases, seem to be too crude to handle the delicate nuances in heterogeneous moral situations.
http://www.iep.utm.edu/morlpat/
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:08 pm

Dan74 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:For myself, a problem in buddhism is its tendency towards moral absolutism. That X is "wrong" in every circumstance. Though I'm not sure if this is true in Buddhadhmma.


For example I can't see how lying, theft or killing is always wrong ...


I think this is a human tendency, especially where the said humans choose to adhere to a certain system of tenets. It is easier to deal with absolutes that complexities of life. I don't see this tendency in the Buddha of the Pali canon.



The Buddha in the cannon does seem more flexible in relation to metaphysical absolutes than most Buddhists appear to be.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:09 pm

Samma wrote:A moral code by its nature comes across as a static directive right? But what happens when a generally good (though static) directive comes in contact with changing circumstances...

Moral particularism is the view that the moral status of an action is not in any way determined by moral principles; rather, it depends on the configuration of the morally relevant features of the action in a particular context. It can be seen as a reaction against a traditional principled conception of morality as comprising a true and coherent set of moral principles. The chief motivation for moral particularism derives from the observation that exceptions to principles are common, and exceptions to exceptions are not unusual. Moral principles, which are equipped only to deal with homogeneous cases, seem to be too crude to handle the delicate nuances in heterogeneous moral situations.
http://www.iep.utm.edu/morlpat/



Depends on the moral system, or If your a moral sceptic, or emotivist etc.
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Samma » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:12 pm

So the answer to "Is then murder justified in Buddhism, if it saves lives?"

Would be it depends on the circumstance. What kind of murder. How many lives. And so on. Of course this is all in the speculative realm and perhaps best put aside...
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:18 pm

Samma wrote:So the answer to "Is then murder justified in Buddhism, if it saves lives?"

Would be it depends on the circumstance. What kind of murder. How many lives. And so on. Of course this is all in the speculative realm and perhaps best put aside...



Hitler and Stalin ...


Or to put it another way

Would you be violent, and possibly kill, a gang that was gang raping a woman if you had access to a gun. Or would you be mindful and remain in equanimity and let it continue to its conclusion?


I realise these aren't nice things to think about, but they seem to be important


I will be honest, I think I would shoot and possibly kill if faced with such a situation, even if I don't know the woman. Yet is this ethical in Buddhism? Would Buddha approve or disapprove?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Dan74 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:33 pm

There are many less extreme examples where monks were reported to have avoided touching a woman even those she was in need of help. The 'avoidance of the unwholesome' seems to always trump compassion and coming to aid. I wonder if there is some Hindu purity culture that has influenced this?
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:38 pm

Dan74 wrote:There are many less extreme examples where monks were reported to have avoided touching a woman even those she was in need of help. The 'avoidance of the unwholesome' seems to always trump compassion and coming to aid. I wonder if there is some Hindu purity culture that has influenced this?



Maybe so

It seems that reason seems to fall to blind tradition and common sense


Seems that Buddhists tend towards deontological ethics.


Interestingly I can't seem to define Buddhas ethics, be it deontological, consequentialist, natural ethics, sceptical or subjective etc.

To be the seem to be consequentialist, since they aim at the outcome of letting to. However I'm still not so sure.


Any thoughts?
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Postby Samma » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:06 am

Would you be violent, and possibly kill, a gang that was gang raping a woman if you had access to a gun. Or would you be mindful and remain in equanimity and let it continue to its conclusion?


Certainly equanimity is not best in every circumstance. Maybe the best course there is something like fire a couple shots to scare them off.

That from an early Buddhist perspective equanimity is not considered as invariably superior to the other divine abodes can be seen in a passage in the A#guttara-nikāya. This passage reports that Sāriputta was publicly contradicted several times
by another monk. The Buddha finally intervened and upbraided the other monks for not intervening earlier (AN III 194). Why, he asked, did they not have compassion when a
senior monk was being vexed in public, and instead continued to look on with equanimity? This passage shows that in early Buddhism equanimity was not considered as the appropriate response to every situation. Instead, at times an active intervention is required and should be undertaken, out of compassion. (Analayo, fromcraving p 115)


Interestingly I can't seem to define Buddhas ethics, be it deontological, consequentialist, natural ethics, sceptical or subjective etc.
To be the seem to be consequentialist, since they aim at the outcome of letting to. However I'm still not so sure.


I suppose its because he did not try to compose some unifying ethical theory.
There is a section in Peter Harvey's An Introduction to Buddhist ethics p49 on Comparisons with Western ethical systems.

Overall, the rich field of Buddhist ethics would be narrowed by
wholly collapsing it into any single one of the Kantian, Aristotelian or
Utilitarian models, though Buddhism agrees with each in respectively
acknowledging the importance of (1) a good motivating will, (2) cultivation of character, and (3) the reduction of suffering in others and
oneself. (Harvey, p.51)
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