What's the difference between Classical and Modern Theravada

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Re: What's the difference between Classical and Modern Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:03 am

Ben wrote:Like you, I consider it a significant event as well.
However, and with great respect, I think its simplistic to label those who are in-favour of Bhikkhuni ordination as 'modern' and those who oppose it as 'Classical'.


It is just one of the issues and from what I have seen, most of those who might be called or labeled Classical, tend to lean against the ordinations and among those who lean toward supporting the ordinations, they tend to be called or labeled Modern, just from my limited observations. But there are other issues too.

Ben wrote:The situation appears to be quite delicate with potential far-reaching effects. My opinion is that which-ever camp we support, we should out of a sense of compassion and loving kindness, focus on supporting not only those sangha and lay members who share our particular stand, but those who disagree with us.
We're all the sons and daughters of the Buddha.
With metta and karuna


Well said.
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Re: What's the difference between Classical and Modern Theravada

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:11 am

Hi David,

I agree with BlackBird and Ben. You appear to appropriate the label "modern" to mean those you agree with. While Bhikkhu Bodhi certainly points out where the ancient, and not so ancient, commentaries may have overlooked something, he's certainly someone who takes them seriously. Similarly, he quotes modern scholarship as suggesting that the Abhidhamma in it's present form was developed after the Buddha's parihibbana, but certainly does not reject it. Regarding Bhikkhuni ordination he has not suggested rejecting texts, but has expressed the opinion that the Tipitaka and Commentaries do not form a basis for denying the ordinations.

Furthermore, one could argue that Ajahn Chah represents an aspect of "modern Buddhism". So are the decisions of his successors "modern" or "classical"?

Metta
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Re: What's the difference between Classical and Modern Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:14 am

I should also note, no disrespect at all intended there David :)
:group:
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: What's the difference between Classical and Modern Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:I agree with BlackBird and Ben. You appear to appropriate the label "modern" to mean those you agree with. While Bhikkhu Bodhi certainly points out where the ancient, and not so ancient, commentaries may have overlooked something, he's certainly someone who takes them seriously. Similarly, he quotes modern scholarship as suggesting that the Abhidhamma in it's present form was developed after the Buddha's parihibbana, but certainly does not reject it.


Hi Mike,

As opposed to seeing it as Buddhavacana, which would seem to make it a 'Modern' approach.

Regarding Bhikkhuni ordination he has not suggested rejecting texts, but has expressed the opinion that the Tipitaka and Commentaries do not form a basis for denying the ordinations.


:thumbsup: Yes, you're right, I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi on this. And from my limited observations, those who take this position tend to be called or labeled 'Modern' but I am open to seeing examples of monastic and lay people who take the 'Classical' label and also take this position.

Furthermore, one could argue that Ajahn Chah represents an aspect of "modern Buddhism". So are the decisions of his successors "modern" or "classical"?


It depends upon which view they take. They don't all agree, for example, apparently Ajahn Sumedho is attempting a very rigid garudhamma that is more severe than the original, while Ajahn Sujato opposes that list and they are both students of Ajahn Chah.

I don't think the Classical and Modern views are all that black-and-white and I believe there is considerable overlap. I probably fall within the 'Modern' view, but on some issues, someone might see me as quite Classical, including, but not limited to the Triple Gem, monasticism, the Patimokkha, and others.
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