Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:17 am

Hello All,

It's Time - Ajahn Sujato

A call to arms for a reasoned and critical perspective on Buddhism.


Well, since it comes to disintegrating the Pali Canon, breeding rivalry between Buddhist movements, and the initiative to do so emerges from seemingly knowledgable and authoritative person, my words will be blunt.

I find Sujato's perspective political. His 'History of Mindfulness', for example, bears all signs of a political pamphlet - everything is painted in either black or white colour. That does not have anything in common with reasoned approach.

And when it comes to non-political matters, of meditation practice, there's hardly any reason and criticism left.

And in this new pamphlet, the very figures of speech - 'call to arms' - clearly suggest the political perspective. It seems to be much about power struggle between Buddhist movements. "History of Mindfulness" is apparently much about the legitimization of approach to practice that Sujato and his colleagues advocate. Sujato evidently tries to find more supporters to his side of power struggle.

The only reasoned and critical perspective is the perspective of peace, respect and understanding.
There's no reason to disregard the people's right to believe in what they want, and to attack their matters of belief.
Even more when it comes to ancient matters, which won't be ever hundred percent certain.

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:38 am

Dmytro wrote:
I find Sujato's perspective political. His 'History of Mindfulness', for example, bears all signs of a political pamphlet - everything is painted in either black or white colour. That does not have anything in common with reasoned approach.

And when it comes to non-political matters, of meditation practice, there's hardly any reason and criticism left.

I do not disagree with you, but it might help if you expanded on these points, illustrating what you are saying. It would make your criticism a bit more meaningful.
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: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:47 am

Hi Dmytro
Yes, I would also appreciate it if you could flesh out your point of view!
metta

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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:53 am

I think we've discussed this several times...

What I believe Dmytro is referring to is clear from the subtitle of Ajahn Sujato's book:
A History of Mindfulness
How Insight Worsted Tranquility in the Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.bswa.org/modules/mydownloads ... 19&lid=335

A superficial summary is that he compares various versions of the Sutta and uses the variations to argue that the important bits are the concentration practises and that the insight practises were snuck in later.

Mike
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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:43 am

Here's some previous discussion:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2266

Mike
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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:50 pm

Hello friends,

Well, I don't want to get involved myself in another power struggle. Sometimes I feel quite an urge to do so :guns:

In and of itself, the introduction of historical criticism into Theravada can be quite a healthy process.
However, it happens naturally, and many people do the excellent work in this area without much ado.

There were too many holy wars already, where historical interpretations were used as a weapon. Every side in these wars had a proper and right version of history.

Actually, there's no need for "proper and right" history. Let there be many shades and colors, with multiple interpretations.

Why should some perspectives be considered as 'unreasoned' or 'uncritical'?

May everyone study what he likes, and do it at his best. No one knows exactly what happened thousands years ago, and that's normal.

What's really lacking is the high-quality open dialogue. Dialogue where every statement can be brought to light and studied from multiple perspectives. It requires quite a courage to bring own beliefs under question from other people.

For example, here in Ukraine and Russia we conduct well-moderated Skype conferences. People share their knowledge, give reasons for the views, and answer questions.

Internet provides all the necessary means for the transparency of views and open dialogue.
I hope that such openness will become a standard.

Such a perspective will be reasoned - in the sense that everyone will give clear reasons for opinions. And it will be critical - in the sense that other people's reasoned views will be included in the dialogue.

And everyone who studies such dialogue will be able to obtain his own unique well-reasoned conclusions.

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:48 am

Individual wrote:I find it hard to make Buddhism "reasoned" while still called it "Buddhism". If you remove the religious myths, Buddhism ceases to be distinguished from secular Humanism.

I very strongly disagree that Buddhism, shorn of its myths, is just Secular Humanism. Humanism does not teach about views of reality, impermanance, or how we cause our own suffering; it does not offer a coherent skill set to cure these ills. Please don't get me wrong, I'm a Secular Humanist myself; it is a fine philosophy. But it is not even close to being as satisfying as Secular Buddhism.

I would cite William James' definition of religion in support of Buddhism being a religion, even when it is atheistic or agnostic.

:namaste:
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Re: Call to arms for reasoned & critical perspective on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:01 pm

It’s time. We need a new paradigm. Buddhism is suffering from schizophrenia; there is a split in consciousness between the historical and the mythic conceptions of the origin of the Dhamma. For 2500 years Buddhism has been constantly changing, adapting, evolving; yet the myths of the schools insist that the Dhamma remains the same. All existing schools of Buddhism justify their idiosyncratic doctrines mythologically; this is what all religions do. Thus the Theravada insists that the Abhidhamma was taught by the Buddha in Tavatimsa heaven during his seventh rains retreat. The Mahayana claims that the Mahayana sutras were written down in the time of the Buddha, preserved in the dragon world under the sea, then retreived by Nagarjuna 500 years later. Zen claims authority from an esoteric oral transmission outside the scriptures descended from Maha Kassapa, symbolized by the smile of Maha Kassapa when the Buddha held up a lotus. All of these are myths, and do not deserve serious consideration as explanations of historical truth. Their purpose, as myths, is not to elucidate facts, but to authorize religious convictions.


Who is this that needs a new paradigm...the choir to which this is being sung already *has* this new paradigm already and those who have the kinds of views that are marked for extermination will certainly not "see the light" because of this short sighted declaration.

What is this "Buddhism" which is suffering from schizophrenia? Is it people? Is it organisation? Is it....what the heck is it?...that suffers from schizophrenia? I think this is gibberish which invites the casual reader to lump something (who knows what) together and then imagine that there is some division of this lump of whatever it is.....this is nonsense. "Buddhism" can not have schizophrenia much less some real schism. This sounds like some belief that "Buddhism" actuall has a self and in fact has a self that can be split into two parts.....foolishness...nonsense.....

What are they going to do....burn all books that mention these discredited arguements?....send people to re-education camp?....persuade children to tell the authorities if they detect their parents indulging in the "forbidden dogma"???????

All this is saying is that "my view is right and your view is wrong so your view should be publicly denigrated if not extinguished."

If people want to remove what they view as myth from what they view as the Buddha's teachings then that's fine with me but a "call to arms"....to cure some "schizophrenia"?....to be propogated by someone to someone else????????

Are you sure this isn't from the "Buddhist Lampoon" magazine and is meant to be a take-off of Christian fundamentalism?

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