American Buddhist Forest Tradition

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

Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Besides all discussion about credentials:

"In 2006 Vimalaramsi was nominated to become the first USA Representative for the World Buddhist Supreme Summit Council which meets every two years. Upon approval he was inaugurated into this lifetime position on November 1, 2008 in the New Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism in Japan. The Summit represents 32 countries where Buddhism is taught through the three main schools of buddhism. The summit was originally formed in 1998 when H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Ven. Dr. Enshinjoh of Japan, and the H.H. Sangha Raja of Thailand came together with this idea. The summit seeks to re-examine the fundamental teachings and practice of the Buddha in order to help the three schools of Buddhism to recognize their commonalities in this 21st Century."

He is the laughing one:
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:44 am

Hoo wrote:Like was said in another post, if you or other folks still have questions, they might be served best by taking it to the source - go to the website and ask questions in whatever venue they have for that. It beats discussing shadows and ghosts, which one is right and the most substantial. :)

Hoo
Who knows. A lot of stuff that is not terribly "impressive." There are other teachers whose "credentials" come across a bit more solidly and genuinely based.
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: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Who knows. A lot of stuff that is not terribly "impressive." There are other teachers whose "credentials" come across a bit more solidly and genuinely based.


Thanks for your view on it, Tilt. I've never been involved in reviewing credentials for monks, though I've read a few resumes in my time. Do you see elements missing from those credentials that a newbie would do well to look for when considering the center or the Venerable for a visit or a retreat? They seem to have a number of Dhamma talks in print or recorded on the website and I'd first spend some time on them, of course, to see if they speak to my Dhamma needs and practice needs.

I can vouch for the center physically being there :) They were still expanding on the complex, but it appeared to be functional from what little I saw in my brief visits. I had thought I'd do some retreat there this year but I'm really not yet tamed enough for polite Buddhist company ;) I also discovered some retreats at a closer Chan monastery, and then my health got in the way of being very far from home or gone very often. I'm hoping that will change soon and I can get around better. I haven't seen a flesh and blood Buddhist in six months.

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:21 pm

off topic:

tiltbillings wrote:
Hoo wrote:Like was said in another post, if you or other folks still have questions, they might be served best by taking it to the source - go to the website and ask questions in whatever venue they have for that. It beats discussing shadows and ghosts, which one is right and the most substantial.
Who knows. A lot of stuff that is not terribly "impressive." There are other teachers whose "credentials" come across a bit more solidly and genuinely based.

Hi tiltbillings,

to me, you appear not to have much faith in general. How about meditation preparing exercises like Dana? Do you meditate? Do you have a teacher?

Be Well,
:) Mirco
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:28 pm

mirco wrote:off topic:

tiltbillings wrote:
Hoo wrote:Like was said in another post, if you or other folks still have questions, they might be served best by taking it to the source - go to the website and ask questions in whatever venue they have for that. It beats discussing shadows and ghosts, which one is right and the most substantial.
Who knows. A lot of stuff that is not terribly "impressive." There are other teachers whose "credentials" come across a bit more solidly and genuinely based.

Hi tiltbillings,

to me, you appear not to have much faith in general.
Certainly not in Ven V, but outside of that, you have no basis for making such a personal judgment about another person whom you have not met.

How about meditation preparing exercises like Dana? Do you meditate? Do you have a teacher?
And how is any of that your business?
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: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:48 pm

:focus: Are there other centers that claim to be an American tradition besides Dhamma Sukkha? Bhante Vimalaramsi is the only one to be making that claim that I've run across but I'm not widely read or traveled.

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:14 am

Hoo wrote::focus: Are there other centers that claim to be an American tradition besides Dhamma Sukkha? Bhante Vimalaramsi is the only one to be making that claim that I've run across but I'm not widely read or traveled.

Hoo
"an American tradition" What does that mean?
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: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Hoo wrote::focus: Are there other centers that claim to be an American tradition besides Dhamma Sukkha? Bhante Vimalaramsi is the only one to be making that claim that I've run across but I'm not widely read or traveled.

Hoo
"an American tradition" What does that mean?

at this point probably nothing good. if history shows us anything (other than that people never learn anything) for Buddhism to take root in new culture and become a part of that culture it takes pretty much a monarch converting and royal support of the religion. doesn't look like that is a possibility anytime soon. also one thing i've noticed about American lay Buddhists, and other western lay Buddhists too (though this is a broad generalization) as compared to the Thai lay Buddhists I've known, is that here you get people who form almost cult like tendencies around certain teachers, where as with Thai people i've seen them respect teachers who may in many ways be very opposed to each other's views of the dhamma, so you'll see say a Thai person who is a "fan" of both lp Buddhadasa and also some "magic" monk. where as a western follower of lp Buddhadasa generally will be rabidly against any sort of rite or ritual, magic what-have-you. or you have people who take one monk as a teacher and exclude the views of other teachers or even consider them as unorthodox or unbuddhist.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:"an American tradition" What does that mean?


Good question, Tilt. Hopefully someone here knows more about it than you and I and can answer our questions.

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:36 am

Does it mean for example that those who have their origin outside of the USA will be excluded ? Or What ?
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:36 pm

PeterB wrote:Does it mean for example that those who have their origin outside of the USA will be excluded ? Or What ?


Certainly not. No one will be excluded.

I understand it thus: The culturale roots of the teacher are american.

No rituals and rites from asia, as you can often find in Theravadan Thai, Sri Lankan, etc. temples and monasteries.

The point is, I think, that you can find a lot of Buddhist places where there are recitations and rites connected to that very culture the founders come from. Also having the lays reciting stuff in Pali without explaining is quite common, as I heard.

They also have a trining program for foreign monks at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center, where tey can learn how to teach Dhamma in that easy language instead of using e.g. Pali terms and not knowing how to explain it in english, because they don't know tha language that well.

And this is the difference: plain english only, easy to understand wording, nothing will disappear in some unexplained exotic mist.

Metta, always,
:) Mirco
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:24 pm

I got an really helpfull reminder from a friend on this theme:

"Whatever the pros & cons of the monk in question, do not expect to change anyones mind or even raise interest.
Also dont try using reasoned arguments, it will all end in tears."


Yeahhh... tend to forget about the wise things.

Instead I am busy with creating kamma by 7.craving, 8.clinging, 9.my habitual tendencies (becoming) and 10.the birth of verbal action.

Be well
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Goedert » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:49 pm

mirco wrote:"Whatever the pros & cons of the monk in question, do not expect to change anyones mind or even raise interest.
Also dont try using reasoned arguments, it will all end in tears."



Such great wise words!
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:55 pm

Goedert wrote:
mirco wrote:"Whatever the pros & cons of the monk in question, do not expect to change anyones mind or even raise interest.
Also dont try using reasoned arguments, it will all end in tears."



Such great wise words!
Wise words? More a sad commentary on the emotional investment people are capable of making in another human being without due consideration, which is why so many of us get sucked into unwise associations with questionable teachers.
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: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:55 pm

Hi Mirco,
mirco wrote:I got an really helpfull reminder from a friend on this theme:

"Whatever the pros & cons of the monk in question, do not expect to change anyones mind or even raise interest.
Also dont try using reasoned arguments, it will all end in tears."

I don't see any problem in pointing out the teachings of one's favourite teachers. The expositions of the Dhamma from particular teachers is particularly helpful to particular students.

The problem that can arise is insisting that one's favourite modern teacher has explained it all perfectly, and everyone else is wrong. Which seems to me to be rather unlikely, no matter who one's favourite modern teacher is...

MN 95 Canki Sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth? To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the safeguarding of the truth."

"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

"If a person likes something... holds an unbroken tradition... has something reasoned through analogy... has something he agrees to, having pondered views, his statement, 'This is what I agree to, having pondered views,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.


:anjali:
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Goedert » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Goedert wrote:
mirco wrote:"Whatever the pros & cons of the monk in question, do not expect to change anyones mind or even raise interest.
Also dont try using reasoned arguments, it will all end in tears."



Such great wise words!
Wise words? More a sad commentary on the emotional investment people are capable of making in another human being without due consideration, which is why so many of us get sucked into unwise associations with questionable teachers.


Sorry tilt, maybe there is a need of claryfication.

I just said "such wise words", referring to stop the conflict and try to him not convince the others from the moral or conduct or anything else from that monk.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:14 pm

Goedert wrote:
I just said "such wise words", referring to stop the conflict and try to him not convince the others from the moral or conduct or anything else from that monk.
Okay, I think.
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: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby yuttadhammo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:27 am

mirco wrote:I understand it thus: The culturale roots of the teacher are american.

What about the IMS, founded in 1975? I would think they are far more culturally 'merican than a guy wearing purple robes... how many 'mericans wear purple robes? Seems like he's importing Indian culture, wouldn't you say?

I shudder at the thought of an American Buddhist anything... I get stopped routinely on the street by 'mericans who take affront at my robes, as though I'm an exhibitionist trying to attract attention by wearing something different. I was arrested last year and put in jail because some 'merican thought I was a streaker. If I were dark skinned and had an accent, I'd fit right in with the sikhs and hindu ladies.
No rituals and rites from asia, as you can often find in Theravadan Thai, Sri Lankan, etc. temples and monasteries.

The bottom line for me is that as soon as you say "American", you fit right in with "Thai Buddhism" in my mind, and I tend to think we'll have a hard time getting along... Buddhist is Buddhist is Buddhist. Don't we have enough schisms already?
The point is, I think, that you can find a lot of Buddhist places where there are recitations and rites connected to that very culture the founders come from. Also having the lays reciting stuff in Pali without explaining is quite common, as I heard.

The point is, I think, the clinging to "us" and "them" which is really what you do when you start a new "tradition". Seems like just a euphemism for sect, really. Like the "Thai Forest Tradition", as though the only Thai monks ever to live in forests were the students of Ajaan Mun. I agree with you that most Buddhist monasteries in America are culturally based and often quite far off track as far as Buddhist teachings go, but there are many exceptions, and no need to create a new tradition. Especially an "American tradition".
They also have a trining program for foreign monks at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center, where tey can learn how to teach Dhamma in that easy language instead of using e.g. Pali terms and not knowing how to explain it in english, because they don't know tha language that well.

If by this you mean to say that the reason monks use Pali is because they don't know how to explain things in English, I think you've just insulted a fair number of people...
And this is the difference: plain english only, easy to understand wording, nothing will disappear in some unexplained exotic mist.

Metta, always,
:) Mirco

Actually, it is the "unexplained exotic mist" caused by colloquial English that we try to do away with by referring back to the Pali... if Vimalaramsi is really planning to do away with the Pali language, he's truly in a tradition of his own...
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:55 am

The point is, I think, that you can find a lot of Buddhist places where there are recitations and rites connected to that very culture the founders come from. Also having the lays reciting stuff in Pali without explaining is quite common, as I heard.

I have a chanting book from Amaravati right next to me, and it is the same as the one from Abhiagiri in the us, except doesn't include the suttas, that is a seperate book which I have right next to me also, both have english translations! and I am and have been fully capable of asking the monks questions regarding the translations, some of which may not be experts, but can point people in the right direction of someone to ask, or look in one of the Dictionaries available in the library!

They also have a trining program for foreign monks at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center, where tey can learn how to teach Dhamma in that easy language instead of using e.g. Pali terms and not knowing how to explain it in english, because they don't know tha language that well.

pali is actually useful, as some of the words can not be covered properly in english, and as English is a living language it evolves, changes, the pali, on the other hand, being a dead language doesn't, one big problem for the plain english only is that plain english will by its very nature change.

And this is the difference: plain english only, easy to understand wording, nothing will disappear in some unexplained exotic mist.

untill the english changes! as it does! the language has changed from the original translations, and there still is no accepted standard translation for quite a few words!
the chinese took 400 years to standardise the language (so I have been told) so who's plain english? (his plain english regarding AIDS & Cancer? you suggested they get clarification from him, so ...)

if someone is familiar with Thanisarros translations, and not with Bodhi's translations and someone is familiar with I.B.Horners but not Thanissaros are these two equally accommodated with the plain english? or do they ban anyones translation for conformity? (BTW, I know the answer)
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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