Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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fig tree
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby fig tree » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:28 am


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catmoon
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:39 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:49 am

Hi Alan,

I think it's a similar problem to interacting with anyone. Think carefully about whether you are trying to be most helpful, or in proving some sort of point. At work I can see people getting in tangles about all kinds of things in destructive ways. If I can point out something helpful, using language they can understand, I do that. Otherwise I let it go...

I should add that I'm also often impressed by the intuition some non-Buddhists have about various issues. Which is another reason not to "lecture" them, or assume that I am "better".

Mike

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fig tree
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby fig tree » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:44 am


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Dan74
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:00 am

I think it is futile to debate with folks and try to prove that their Buddhism is not right. Sure if they say "Buddhism is like this (insert some New Agey feel-good adamma)" you should say "No, I don't think so." Then if they are curious to find out why, it's good to bring out some quotes from the suttas (I take that you are Theravadin) that show that Dhamma is about liberation rather than making some samsara padding or creating more imaginings to escape from the responsibilities here and now.

The Buddha himself advised against trying to argue and persuade people. However, if they are interested, of course, it's important to provide them with the right information.

It's good to also refer them to a reputable teacher (in whatever tradition they trust) because they are not going to be New Agey and will basically reinforce the Buddha's message in a way that maybe more palatable to these people.

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:03 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby PeterB » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:49 am

I think that their may be a difference in "talking" to a new age Buddhist and communicating online with such. In the flesh speech is actually very condensed. Facial expression and body language as well as vocal tone, carry a lot of information in addition to the content of speech. It is possible to say a lot in a very short time. Written language is much slower and less nuanced and relatively impersonal. A problem I have when communicating online with those who approach the Dhamma from a new age perspective is that of weighing the need for socially acceptable behaviour against the thought that they are possibly doing themselves and others unwitting harm. On another site that I have visited there is a regular visitor who is firmly in the new age camp. She denies that the Buddha taught Anatta, and if he did its because it was a long time ago and things have changed and 2012 is approaching ...etc etc. A link to her site shows that she believes that white lions are ascended masters etc etc. Now, does one simply ignore this and wait for something from her that one can agree with, or what ? Suffice it to say that the only person that challenged any of her statements ,publically at least, was me, and it started to look personal ( which it wasnt ) and I recieved a courteous PM telling me to lay off her, that what she said was of course bonkers half the time, but that we should not discourage her. So I stopped responding unless she addressed me personally.. I feel that I probably went off on a mission which was unskillful to some degree, but that simply allowing these ideas ( there is a whole heap of other speculative stuff that I will not go into here ) to go unchallenged ( at least publically ) is also unskillful . Its unresolved as far as my own feelings are concerned.

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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:29 am


PeterB
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby PeterB » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:49 am

Even if we confine ourselves to one Mike, which is my intention..Perhaps its ego , but I find it hard to see assurances ( for example,) that the world is going to change for the better/worse at some specific time in the near future hard to ignore. Its the newbies I keep thinking of. Then again my mind tells me, I am sure that they are also exposed to enough of the real deal to form their own views or they wouldnt be joining a Buddhist forum to start with....

I see I dragged the thread somewhat off topic. Returning to it. There is a real movement in terms of therapy towards incorporating elements of Buddhist meditative techniques into the the more existentialist therapies, CBT, Gestalt etc. This I see as positive.
I dont think that this is new age per se . although I am sure that there is a lot of pop psychology around too. I just dont think that Buddhist inspired therapies should be conflated with the Dhamma, which is not just a series of effective techniques , but comes balanced with Sila and with a knowledge of the Suttas and other source material. I have said before the object of therapy is to adjust us to the world. Which may well be a good thing if we are dysfunctional.
The Dhamma however is our means of liberation.

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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:55 am


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Ben
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:31 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

PeterB
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby PeterB » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:59 am

Perhaps I should have introduced a little more cautious qualification Ben, I see those trends as having a positive aspect to them. As I see it any move away from simply reaching for a precription pad when an overworked medic is presented with a troubled client is a positive move. However I would agree that just to remove techniques from their context will in the end be very limited in effect. If all we do is make people functional in terms of conventional reality, then we will have done them only a limited favour. I suppose I was looking at the issue from a medical perspective. In reality most people will encounter diluted Dhamma in a " workshop" with a bit of Vipassana and a bit of positive thinking thrown in, that is a recipe for utter confusion.


I think as I have said, that the variants of CBM are a good tool in the toolbox of a therapist, but a Buddhist therapist needs to recognise the limits of therapy. Our job is not to deny the existence of dukkha, or the means to the end of its arising, and thats the Eightfold Path in its entirety.

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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby zavk » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:30 am

Hi friends

Quite coincidentally I received an email over the weekend about an upcoming mindfulness training program organised by an Australian MBCT organisation.

http://mindfulnesscentre.com/about-us.html

If you have a quick read of the link above, you'd find that the director has trained under some prominent Western insight meditation teachers, including Australian teacher Patrick Kearney, a former monk of the Mahasi tradition who is also a consultant for the organisation and whom some members here hold in high regard.

I don't know about the specifics of MBCT approaches. I do not think that there is anything inherently 'wrong' about such approaches. These approaches can be a means for individuals to engage with 'conventional' reality skillfully. Where it departs from Buddhism, I suppose, is that Buddhism further posits an 'ultimate' reality. However, as I understand it, we are taught that we need to engage with 'conventional' reality skillfully in order to touch 'ultimate' reality. So in this regard, I don't think we can unambiguously dismiss MBCT and other similar approaches as unbeneficial.

But this does not mean that they are beyond critique. Ben makes a good point about the importance of a framework of morality. If such approaches merely appropriate meditation practice for the purpose of strengthening a kind of self-centered individualism, then I think they need to be interrogated on the ethics (or lack thereof) of their actions.
With metta,
zavk

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Ben
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:57 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Individual
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:46 am

The best things in life aren't things.


Individual
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 am

The best things in life aren't things.


alan
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby alan » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:37 am

I'm sorry, but I can't make sense of those 2 posts.
-note the passive tone-

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pink_trike
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby pink_trike » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:37 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ben
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Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:54 am

Thanks Pink but can you back that up with anything?
Thanks

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Talking to New Age/Western buddhists

Postby Individual » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:09 am

The best things in life aren't things.



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