Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:By the way, do you "think about" the Dhamma?

Yes, I think it is good.

Metta,
Retro. :)

What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:15 am

Greetings,

This is what the Buddha thought about...

SN 6.2 - Garava Sutta wrote:"What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"

Then, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart and said to him: "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, One-Well-Gone! Those who were Arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the past — they, too, dwelled in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. Those who will be Arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the future — they, too, will dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. And let the Blessed One, who is at present the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One, dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it."

That is what Brahma Sahampati said. Having said that, he further said this:

Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now,
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching
.

:heart:

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:27 am

retrofuturist wrote: . . .
So, you are like Brahma, knowing the line of the Buddha's thinking? And how does this address the OP?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:29 am

Greetings Tilt,

It is about thinking about the Dhamma.

Your question to me was about thinking about the Dhamma.

If my response is off-topic, it will be simply because your question is off-topic.

Either way, it does have relevance to the extent that much of this topic has shown more respect and interest in papañca-sanna-sankha than it has to the Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

It is about thinking about the Dhamma.

Your question to me was about thinking about the Dhamma.

If my response is off-topic, it will be simply because your question is off-topic.
You quote texts without any comment as to what your point is via the text, which really opens the door for going off-topic. And your response to craig's quoting texts without comment certainly opened that door.

Either way, it does have relevance to the extent that much of this topic has shown more respect and interest in papañca-sanna-sankha than it has to the Dhamma.
Of course, that is your opinion, but then it seems, in my opinion, that you really have not understood the topic, at all.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:27 am

clw_uk wrote:
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So, should I be going to my local temple (small village, Thailand) and telling people they are doing the wrong thing and they should really be doing annapanasati and studying DO and the six sense bases and the no self doctrine.....since that is what will get them liberated?
chownah

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:56 am

chownah wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So, should I be going to my local temple (small village, Thailand) and telling people they are doing the wrong thing and they should really be doing annapanasati and studying DO and the six sense bases and the no self doctrine.....since that is what will get them liberated?
chownah



It looks like the initial disconnect between our posts notwithstanding, you and I actually recognise and affirm at least a partially shared lived experience, chownah.

This is one of the possible 'whitewashing effects' I spoke of. Of course, it is beside the point whether anyone actually goes and say this to the villagers in Thailand or any other traditional Buddhist community. The articulation of such views, when not accompanied by the kind of historical and cultural contextualisation I have been suggesting, can generate an effect where certain hierarchies are implicitly established, whereby certain modalities of Dhamma practice are regarded a certain way and others a certain way - and all this being passed off as self-evident, when they are very situateded and conditional.

What you have said, chownah, actually connects with what I have tried to illustrate here and elsewhere: that our discourses about what is the most proper way to engage with the Dhamma has symbolic implications on actual lifeworlds of others, whether we in fact talk about those other lifeworlds or not.

As a matter of fact, some of those resources I pointed to document the ways in which such views were expressed (i.e. that the natives don't really 'get' Buddhism) and used to justify certain paternalistic attitudes by Westerners towards native Buddhists in the 19th century.

Again, let me reiterate that this is only ONE manifestation of the larger issue of presumptuousness/hubris. And I am not pretending to be able to offer some comprehensive way to address any such large scale imbalances . But in view of how some of these effects have indeed occurred in history, I am simply suggesting that we take note of them to reflect on the possible blindspots of our own understanding and attitudes - even if we do not actively disparage others as such. This exercise can be complementary to the cultivation of insight, appropriate attention, etc..... they are not mutually exclusive.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:31 pm

chownah wrote:So, should I be going to my local temple (small village, Thailand) and telling people they are doing the wrong thing and they should really be doing annapanasati and studying DO and the six sense bases and the no self doctrine.....since that is what will get them liberated?


zavk wrote: This is one of the possible 'whitewashing effects' I spoke of. Of course, it is beside the point whether anyone actually goes and say this to the villagers in Thailand or any other traditional Buddhist community. The articulation of such views, when not accompanied by the kind of historical and cultural contextualisation I have been suggesting, can generate an effect where certain hierarchies are implicitly established, whereby certain modalities of Dhamma practice are regarded a certain way and others a certain way - and all this being passed off as self-evident, when they are very situateded and conditional.


So-called ‘hierarchies’ of Dhamma practice are mutually imposed within indigenous Buddhist communities. The laity have a role, as do the bhikkhus. Both support a ritual symbiosis. And all are invited to practice a contemplative Dhamma. No ‘whitewashing’ there.

There can, however, be some disconnect of understanding when coming from outside an indigenous community with purely doctrinal points of view and lacking empathy for local custom. Some years ago I reacted inappropriately to a local notion that the Buddha-rūpa in the temple possesses sàk sìt (ศักดิ์สิทธ), a kind of sacred potency which was said to lend to ones meditation practice if petitioned. I mentioned a very proper and concise, sutta based, analysis of what actually gives energy to ones practice. My Thai listeners very graciously replied that they too understand what the suttas say, but that they will still pray to the Buddha-rūpa. Would it have been my hubris to think that they cannot have it both ways; to practice meditation in step with both Dhamma and local custom?
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:34 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Either way, it does have relevance to the extent that much of this topic has shown more respect and interest in papañca-sanna-sankha than it has to the Dhamma.


Hi Retrofuturist,

I hope you'll settle down a bit, and then reflect at least a little bit on what's been actually going on in this thread... just remember the Buddha's instructions to Bahiya.

:anjali:

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:08 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
dagon wrote:Personally I find the terms Asian and western Buddhism somewhat perplexing and not useful.


I agree. There is just Buddhism or the various schools, but divisions by race are not beneficial.

I have written as much as in this short article I wrote back in 2009:
Western Buddhism


    Western Buddhism
    From The Dhamma Encyclopedia

    Western Buddhism is a term that has been sometimes used in modern, developed nations where Buddhism is still new. Some 'Western Buddhists' have used this term to refer to a type of Buddhism that relies less on rites, rituals, and ceremonies and places more emphasis on meditation.

    It has many things in common with Modern Theravada but should not be considered the same. The use of the term "Western Buddhism" is first of all inappropriate. This is because of the following reasons:

    ◦Some of the nations included in the designation 'Western' are not even in the West, such as Australia and New Zealand.

    ◦ By using the term 'Western' what is really meant to be done is to exclude Asians from the category.

    ◦It actually refers to white, European ancestry and black, African ancestry convert Buddhists and perhaps their children, but explicitly or at least implicitly excludes Asians.

    ◦ Many Asian ancestry Buddhists live in modern developed 'Western' nations and were also born in these 'Western' nations.

    ◦ In Sri Lanka and other countries, there is a growing trend toward moving toward the principles of Modern Theravada among lay and monastic Buddhists who have never even been to a 'Western' nation.

    Therefore, the trend away from rites, rituals, and ceremonies should more accurately be called Modern Theravada without any use of the term 'Western.'

At a glance, this is a bit simplistic. At least some of the dichotomy of East and West perspectives is imposed by the Asian community, e.g. the Thai dismissal of things fà-ràng (ฝรั่ง), or Asian Buddhist communities dismissing each other as inferior for that matter. It is true that Theravāda in Sri Lanka has for some time now been a leader in presenting Dhamma and Buddhist studies in English media. But if you enroll in a university for Buddhist studies there, one is advised that the best course of study is in Sinhala. The Thai suggest the same wrt their institutions. The issue seems to be a mixed one with responsibility on both sides.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby zavk » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:19 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:So-called ‘hierarchies’ of Dhamma practice are mutually imposed within indigenous Buddhist communities. The laity have a role, as do the bhikkhus. Both support a ritual symbiosis. And all are invited to practice a contemplative Dhamma. No ‘whitewashing’ there.


Yes I am aware of this and not just in a second hand manner. The metaphor 'whitewashing' is not water-tight, I admit. But as per my qualifications on my deliberately provocative and figurative use of the phrase, I'm trying to point to a certain effect of effacement, a blindsiding.... I'll see if I can come up with a better clarification...

ancientbuddhism wrote:There can, however, be some disconnect of understanding when coming from outside an indigenous community with purely doctrinal points of view and lacking empathy for local custom. Some years ago I reacted inappropriately to a local notion that the Buddha-rūpa in the temple possesses sàk sìt (ศักดิ์สิทธ), a kind of sacred potency which was said to lend to ones meditation practice if petitioned. I mentioned a very proper and concise, sutta based, analysis of what actually gives energy to ones practice. My Thai listeners very graciously replied that they too understand what the suttas say, but that they will still pray to the Buddha-rūpa. Would it have been my hubris to think that they cannot have it both ways; to practice meditation in step with both Dhamma and local custom?


As can be seen across earlier posts, I variously use such phrases as presumptuousness, hubris, unacknowledged layers of immodesty, taken for grantedness, comfort with one's assuredness, and so forth. So it's really a general issue of reflexivity that's in question which may manifest as hubris or any one of these other responses, according to context.

It's not up to me, or any one really, to say whether one can or cannot hold an opinion that others 'cannot have it both ways', as you put it. If that's your opinion - that they cannot practice meditation in step with both Dhamma and local customs - and you have your reasons for thinking so, sure. But in relation to the issue of reflexivity I'm highlighting, it's not so much a question of the actual content of one's opinions as how one puts the opinions into use, how they are operationalised in certain contexts, the function they serve. Not knowing the specifics of the scenario you highlight, I have to be careful not to presume too much about the actual texture of your interaction with the Thai Buddhist community. But I note that you were forthcoming in acknowledging the 'inappropriateness' of your reaction, which indicates perhaps the work of reflexivity - and hence, an opening for hospitality towards difference and incommensurability. To me, one objective of provoking this discussion is to generate awareness of such irreducible elements of difference that may prompt discomfort or tensions; but this is precisely the reason they ought not be effaced by any presumption that there can be some self-evident way to arbitrate on such matters.

In short, and I hope this is a reasonable assessment, I detect in what you have shared a willingness to accept the difference of others, a willingness to let difference be difference, even as you hold certain opinions. That's the important opening I really hope to keep open with all the longwinded posts of this thread: that there be a space for the otherwise; whatever this 'otherwise' may actually be is secondary to simply letting otherwise be otherwise.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:40 pm

zavk wrote:In short, and I hope this is a reasonable assessment, I detect in what you have shared a willingness to accept the difference of others, a willingness to let difference be difference, even as you hold certain opinions.


I have a willingness with the caution that I may not see everything as well as I would like to think I do. As Robert Burns had put itTo see oursels as others see us!
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:14 pm

Greetings,

If we don't conceive of things in terms of "Buddhisms" and selves then we cannot not think that my Buddhism is superior/inferior to your Buddhism.

Therefore I ask, if we practice the Dhamma and live in accordance with it to the best of our ability, must we contemplate these multifarious "Buddhisms" at all?

Can't we elect to go beyond "Buddhisms" rather than volitionally entertain those and other such delineations?

Let's say we were to strive towards a life such as that which the following arahant models...

Theragatha. 648-9 wrote:I am a friend and helper to all,
I am sympathetic to all living beings.
I develop a mind full of love and
delights always in harmlessness.
I gladden my mind, fill it with joy,
makes it immovable and unshakable.
I develop the divine states of mind
not cultivated by simple men.

... wouldn't that be enough?

Such words are delightfully free from perplexity, pensiveness and conceptual proliferation, aren't they? Open, expansive, and containing the taste of liberation.

Note also they refer to "all living beings" and do not partake of any needless delineations between them - thus the boundlessness of the divine abodes, and the unfabricated and nippapanca nature of nibbana.

zavk wrote:That's the important opening I really hope to keep open with all the longwinded posts of this thread: that there be a space for the otherwise; whatever this 'otherwise' may actually be is secondary to simply letting otherwise be otherwise.

:goodpost:

'Before we loved the Buddha', there was the Dhamma... there still is. It is timeless and onward leading.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby Doshin » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:12 am

zavk wrote:But my answer to the above questions vis-a-vis the primary question of the OP is: shall we just let questions (of self) be questions (for self) and not answer them on other's behalf?


This question has been grinding my mind, the last couple of days...

So far my answer tends to be: Yes, as I would never accept an answer from anyone on my behalf, unless it agreed with my own answer.

_/\_
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:Therefore I ask, if we practice the Dhamma and live in accordance with it to the best of our ability, must we contemplate these multifarious "Buddhisms" at all? Can't we elect to go beyond "Buddhisms" rather than volitionally entertain those and other such delineations?
There is a bit of a problem with that, it would seem. It already assumes a primacy to one collection of teachings that certainly is not free of interpretive handling over other interpretive collections of teachings.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby chownah » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Therefore I ask, if we practice the Dhamma and live in accordance with it to the best of our ability, must we contemplate these multifarious "Buddhisms" at all?
There is a bit of a problem with that, it would seem. It already assumes a primacy to one collection of teachings that certainly is not free of interpretive handling over other interpretive collections of teachings.

You have shown what you see as a consequence of retrofuturist's post......but you have not shown how this view of yours is to be taken as a problem.
chownah

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Re: Book: 'Before we loved the Buddha'

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:43 pm

chownah wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Therefore I ask, if we practice the Dhamma and live in accordance with it to the best of our ability, must we contemplate these multifarious "Buddhisms" at all? Can't we elect to go beyond "Buddhisms" rather than volitionally entertain those and other such delineations?
There is a bit of a problem with that, it would seem. It already assumes a primacy to one collection of teachings that certainly is not free of interpretive handling over other interpretive collections of teachings.

You have shown what you see as a consequence of retrofuturist's post......but you have not shown how this view of yours is to be taken as a problem.
chownah
It is part of the dialogue.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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