Brahm preceptor status revoked

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby Anders » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:50 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Anders,

Anders Honore wrote:The problem with the notion of a central authority is, to whom do we grant such an central authority?


To the Dhamma, the words of the Buddha, as they have been preserved in the Pali Canon.

IMHO, when the multiple Buddhist Canons are taken as authoritative, there's no clear basis of mutual agreement, and hence no clear basis for cooperation.

Ok, I am not a fan of such topics, and it seems that I have said a lot of unnecessary and inexact things.
Thanks for the patience.


That's fine, because that is not what I am suggesting here. What we have here is the case of different groupings relying on the same body of texts, the pali canon (or at the very least the sutta and vinaya pitakas) coming to different conclusion as to what it actually says concerning the status of bhikkunis.
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby suanck » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:01 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Reminds me of a good friend of mine, Bhante "A", a Thai bhikkhu (since age 10, or so, now about 30), who has been studying in Taiwan for maybe about 6 years now. We were talking about the Nikayas and Agamas, this whole "early / original Buddhism" idea. He said that actually, much of "original Buddhism" in Taiwanese academia has already become "Samyuktagama studies".


I opened a new thread here: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2917&view=unread#unread

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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:12 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
have you read his sects and sectarianism? it would help to understand his position more. according to his thesis the schism had to happen after asoka (if the edicts are right and the sangha was made unified, this means one sangha right? ) therefore any text from this era or before would be from a unified buddhism. he also doesnt paint the texts with the broad brush you ascribe to him. you are correct that he isnt writing from a standard academic approach, though that is not what he ever claims to be doing.


Yes, read it some time back. It is ok, but has a few problems. But we can leave that for another discussion. Needless to say, it is not saying much more than what has already been said by people like Bareau, Lamotte, Yinshun, and a host of Japanese scholars, decades ago. It just says it in a way for intelligent western practitioners of Theravada.

My understanding is that the schisms took place over some time, stretching from before Asoka, to well after Asoka.

The edict does not necessarily describe what actually happened, but like a lot of govt propaganda, may well simply indicate what Asoka wanted people to think had happened. See Schopen on the prescriptive vs descriptive nature of Buddhist material, both scriptural and epigraphic.

Likewise, too, the compilation of the canon into Agamas / Nikayas, and so forth, took place over some time. Greater parallels are found in the early strata, less in the later.

What we now have as the Pali Nikayas, and also the Chinese translations, have been reworked over at quite a later date, too. In particular, the Theravada Nikayas, whereas the Sarvastivada tend to leave in all sorts of "cut and paste" markers, and other traces.

So, in response to "therefore any text from this era or before would be from a unified buddhism" is out of the question. Firstly, we don't really have anything "from this ear or before". The parts that we think are closest also do not exhibit 100% coherence. So which is right? How can it be "from a unified Buddhism"? Moreover, the split between the Sthavira and Mahasamghika groups is before Asoka. So even Asokan period scripture (if we even had such a thing) would only be be Sthavira material, before splits into Vibhajjavada, Sarvastivada, Puggalavada, etc. As we do not even have any really early material from the Mahasamghikas, how do we know what texts they had? We cannot. So, we must hedge the range of any claims from restricted sources.

My comments viz "academic approach" were in response to the claims of an earlier poster in this thread, and not to claims of Ven Sujato himself.
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby Anders » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:44 am

On a similar note, can I ask for a quick review of Bareau's Les Sectes Bouddhiques du Petit Véhicule, venerable? I am reading it at the moment and am quite impressed so far, despite the age. He does portray some Mahayana assumptions here and there and I am waiting for a discussion of just how reliable Paramartha is, seeing as he quotes him relatively often, but a wealth of information so far.
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:45 pm

Anders Honore wrote:On a similar note, can I ask for a quick review of Bareau's Les Sectes Bouddhiques du Petit Véhicule, venerable? I am reading it at the moment and am quite impressed so far, despite the age. He does portray some Mahayana assumptions here and there and I am waiting for a discussion of just how reliable Paramartha is, seeing as he quotes him relatively often, but a wealth of information so far.


Hi Anders

Are you reading the French, or the English version? ( http://www.gampoabbey.org/translations2 ... ues%20.pdf )

Quick review? Excellent resource material, in the very least, really very helpful and useful. As far as this sort of thing goes, because the bulk is setting out information, rather than interpreting it, it will age very well. Quotes and citations still stand. (Though as you say, there are a couple of Mahayana assumptions, and I had trouble tracking down the sources for some of his citations from Demieville, as they are rather obscure.) Paramartha's sources seem fairly reliable, and we must remember that he is slightly earlier than Xuanzang, there is no necessity for them to agree on all points, as things in India can change. Both are probably more reliable than people like Jizang, Kuiji or others, who never went to India. We often don't know where exactly they got their ideas from. But, between these people, they have a remarkable amount of info about the various Indic schools. The French got it. The Anglophones often miss it.

As far as sitting down and reading it from cover to cover, I doubt that many would. And I don't even know if it is supposed to be read like that. Maybe the intro stuff, then the openings for each of the schools and sub-schools. Then, cut to the conclusions at the back.

It is interesting that also ostensibly it is about the "schools of the small vehicle", his final conclusions have a lot to say about, and seem to be quite directed at, finding out things about the Mahayana. A few points are a little dated, but some of the conclusions are still worth bearing in mind, that is for sure. I am still fascinated by the Dharmagupta connection.

PS: How's Copenhagen these few days, with all the conference thing and all? Are you wearing green and yelling Anarchist chants on the street corners already? :P
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby suanck » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:20 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Are you reading the French, or the English version? ( http://www.gampoabbey.org/translations2 ... ues%20.pdf )


Thank you, Bhante, for the link to this valuable book.

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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby OgyenChodzom » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:53 pm

What valuable and interesting material. Thank you. :anjali:
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby Euclid » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:54 am

I am going to withhold any opinion I might have, because I would be the first to say I don't know enough about the situation as a whole to make a valid comment.

What I will say, however, is that I find it a shame that there is a disagreement and that action has had to be taken.

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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby BlackBird » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:14 pm

Here's my final thoughts on the Ajahn Brahm/Wat Pa Pong situation:

If these Bhikkhuni's attain the path and fruit of the contemplative life then any argument against their ordination or validity as Bhikkhunis is defunct. It won't matter, because in my eyes they'll be (if not already) more worthy of reverence than many of those who have spoken against them.

I think far too many people fall into the trap of forgetting just who has been ordained and just who ordained them. These aren't some small group of wishy washy practitioners who turned up to a temple and asked to be ordained. Most of them have already spent many years spending their every day and night working towards the goal. Some might question the time and the place and quite rightfully so, but to argue that it is invalid is akin to crying over spilt milk. It's a thorough waste of time and energy.

Anyone who's attended an intensive retreat knows this whole striving thing isn't easy at all, in fact it's probably the hardest thing in the world. So anyone who wants to undertake it as their purpose in life, is one who is really worthy of our respect. If anyone in the world deserved full ordination, it was them.

The disrespect that has been shown to Ajahn Brahm is what perplexes me most. Here is a venerable sir who has spent the better part of his life in the robes, many many years of solid meditation from dawn 'till dusk - Who is still regarded amongst practicing circles as perhaps one of the most accomplished meditators in the world. The Wat Pa Pong group of monasteries doesn't deny him this either, so why do their tenacious supporters?

Are they forgetting the meaning of the passage they chant:

Supatipano bhagavato savakasangho (who have practiced well)
Ujupatipanno bhagavato savakasangho (who have practiced directly)
Nayapatipanno bhagavato savakasangho (who have practiced insightfully)
Samicipatipanno bhagavato savakasangho (who have practiced with integrity)
...
Esa bhagavato savaka sangho
(These are the Blessed One's disciples)

Ahuneyyo, Pahuneyyo, Dakkhineyyo, (Such one's are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings)
Anjali-Karaniyo (Such one's are worthy of respect)


Nobody can deny Ajahn Brahm has practiced well, directly, insightfully or with integrity. So why deny him the respect he is due?

I seriously question the intentions and skillfulness of many on both sides of this debate, especially those behind this 'Dhammalight' website (Who's name is about as ironic as a West African dictatorship calling itself Democratic)

Clearly there are many who have forgotten what's important here, perhaps they need a reminder.

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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby appicchato » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:39 am

BlackBird wrote:If anyone in the world deserved full ordination, it was them.

:thumbsup:
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Re: Brahm preceptor status revoked

Postby bodhabill » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:40 am

BlackBird wrote:If anyone in the world deserved full ordination, it was them.


Clear and succinct

Well said Jack

Thanks

With Metta
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"Complaining is finding faults, wisdom is finding solutions" Ajahn Brahm
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