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Richard Gombrich - Dhamma Wheel

Richard Gombrich

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
mudra
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Richard Gombrich

Postby mudra » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:42 pm

Recently I have been asked about him, and as I am neither a scholar nor a practitioner of Theravada I really had no idea.
IN an admittedly casual research on him and modern Theravada I have come across a few references to his books but not much more.

It seems, according to one of his interviews, that he doesn't consider himself Buddhist but on the other hand it looks like he has done
a lot of research in the Pali canon and has done some reinterpretation of "what the Buddha meant", I was curious about that.

Can anyone here help clarify where he actually stands? Also any pointers as to where there is some good, accessible material on him
other than his books?

Much appreciated

M

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:16 am

http://www.scribd.com/doc/31649422/Rich ... -Teachings

You can read one of his books above. I'm not yet done, but it is pretty thought provoking.

Basically Gombrich views the Buddha as an historically existing person, which isn't always the position taken by scholars of Buddhism. He also classes him as a philosophical and religious teacher, saying that the Buddha as a thinker should be considered on par with Plato and Aristotle in importance, in the same way he might be classed on par with Jesus.

His position in terms of Buddhist record is that the much of the canon reflects actual utterance of the Buddha, verses being composed by various persons either contemporary to himself, or latter on. He also posits that many traditional understandings of the Buddha's teachings are misunderstandings because they do not take proper consideration of the social and religious context in which the Buddha taught.

Now, I don't know much about the man Gombrich beyond the fact that he was once the president of the Pali Text Society and that he write pretty interesting stuff on Buddhism.
Last edited by Reductor on Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

mudra
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mudra » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:30 am

Thank you, that's a good start and most helpful!

mudra
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mudra » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:46 am

thereductor,

just found this review by Bhikku Bodhi of "How Buddhism Began" : http://www.buddhistethics.org/4/bodhi1.html

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:14 am


Paññāsikhara
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:25 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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mikenz66
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:41 am

Gombrich was a Professor at Oxford for several decades. He does seem to know a thing or two. Ven Huifeng/Paññāsikhara kindly gave me a copy of What the Buddha Thought back in January, which I found more compelling than How Buddhism Began. If you want some real information about Brahminic thought at the time of the Buddha, his work is an obvious choice. I didn't agree with all of what he said, but that's not really a criticism. Various scholars and scholar-monks I've read have different views so it would be impossible for any one person to agree with all of them... :tongue:

Mike

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:04 am


mudra
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mudra » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:09 am

Thank you Mike, I'll see if I can track that down. And thank you too for alerting me to the fact that here Ven Huifeng is Paññãsikara.

Ven, thanks for the heads up. This whole thing has since escalated, and I have been artfully been maneuvered ('asked') as resident nominal buddhist to "have a conversation" with him for a writer's festival, during which I suspect due my lack of erudition I will be massacred. Perhaps I will engage him in a conversation about butterflies. (The discussion is supposed to be about the relevance of Buddhism in today's world. They must have thought a long time about that...)

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Ben
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:35 am

How cool!
Just read 'How Buddhism Began' and anything else you can find of his, and that might give you some ideas or structure as to what you might like to ask him.
kind regards

Ben

PS: there's a link to an electronic copy of How Buddhism Began in the booklist link in my signature.
“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]..

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:57 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: Richard Gombrich

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:01 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.: .

mudra
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mudra » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:31 am

Thank you very much everyone, you have been very helpful. Ben, I am downloading the book as I type!

Venerable, I will try not to be a know-it-all, and otherwise good advice as well. I don't think the audience will be terribly interested in the finer points anyway. Interesting point about his efforts to bring Buddhist teachings more into the mainstream of education in Britain.

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:39 am


Shonin
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Shonin » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:07 am

I find his work fascinating. Whether we agree completely with him or not, I think he is exploring something very important for understanding the Buddha: context.

I contacted Richard Gombrich (who I believe lives quite near me in Oxford) after the publishing of 'What the Buddha Thought' and had a shortish email discussion with him especially about the way he presented Zen, albeit briefly. (My position was/is that he was treating Zen as a sort of garbled misunderstanding of Pali Buddhism - as if after the Buddha's death humanity was disconnected from actual practice/experience of dhamma/dharma. Because he is a Pali academic rather than a practitioner his concern is with the integrity of an intellectual philosophy. However, Buddhism is not an intellectual philosophy. The intellectual philosophy is merely a formulation of a path of practice, experiential insight and fruit of practice, which can be expressed in more than one form.)

I found him very pleasant and helpful.

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Jason
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Jason » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:42 am

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

(Buddhist-related blog)
(non-Buddhist related blog)

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:22 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.: .

Shonin
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Shonin » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:07 am


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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:22 am


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Re: Richard Gombrich

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