Richard Gombrich

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

Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:13 am

You're missing the point, RYB.
Gombrich simply asserts that the Pali Canon reflects the teachings of one man, who was a genius. He's countering those who might argue that it is a collection of many views, or the nefarious idea that we can't really tell if there ever was such a person.
This has nothing to do with achievements or levels of understanding.
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Shonin » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:31 am

We don't need to have attained '16 nanas' to know that Aristotle and Da Vinci were geniuses. Why would Buddha be different?
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby Ben » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:07 am

Shonin wrote:We don't need to have attained '16 nanas' to know that Aristotle and Da Vinci were geniuses. Why would Buddha be different?


Quite so, Shonin!
Nor do we need to have attained the 16 naanas to know the Buddha was a genius. Gombrich was able to come to the conclusion through his scholastic endeavours and we can do so through the development of experiential wisdom, even as mere putthujanas on the path.
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:24 pm

:smile: looks like I've raised a bit of a hornet's nest! I hope I have succeeded a little bit at least in those of you who might be resting on your current dhamma laurels. :stirthepot: I ask you what you must do to fit the description of the arya sangha- to be worthy of veneration ('anjalikaraneyyo'), to be worthy of gifts brought from afar ('aahuneyyo'), to be worthy of gifts given in seeking merit ('pahuneyyo'). What kind of practice would such a person have? - a bit of internet surfing perhaps?

Well, I'm going to leave it to you folks to think about Prof Gombrich. It is my belief that anyone who claims to know the dhamma and is a professor of the matter, should consider himself a buddhist; else he hasn't understood much. He may well be useful in clarifying history and other such matters, but perhaps not about the dhamma itself.
:anjali:

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:52 pm

rowyourboat wrote::smile: looks like I've raised a bit of a hornet's nest! I hope I have succeeded a little bit at least in those of you who might be resting on your current dhamma laurels. :stirthepot: I ask you what you must do to fit the description of the arya sangha- to be worthy of veneration ('anjalikaraneyyo'), to be worthy of gifts brought from afar ('aahuneyyo'), to be worthy of gifts given in seeking merit ('pahuneyyo'). What kind of practice would such a person have? - a bit of internet surfing perhaps?

Well, I'm going to leave it to you folks to think about Prof Gombrich. It is my belief that anyone who claims to know the dhamma and is a professor of the matter, should consider himself a buddhist; else he hasn't understood much. He may well be useful in clarifying history and other such matters, but perhaps not about the dhamma itself.
:anjali:

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RYB
Are you going to back up your claim: "Unless someone has gone the whole hog with vipassana (all 16 nanas) there is no way to know what a genius he is ?" Is this something you know from direct experience? If you have not directly experienced all the 16 ñānas, then you really do not know.
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:29 am

A more interesting question might be: Why does Gombrich make such a fuss about Buddha being a "genius"?
Perhaps it is because he (Gombrich) is an academic, a non-meditator, and feels the need to place him (The Buddha) in an exemplary position against the well known and accepted great thinkers of history in order to make his points.
The book is a collection of speeches--perhaps he tailored his delivery to the audience?
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:33 am

alan wrote:A more interesting question might be: Why does Gombrich make such a fuss about Buddha being a "genius"?
I am not sure he made a fuss, whatever that might mean. I suspect Gombrich's assessment has come from a careful study of the texts and their historical contexts.
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:39 am

Why do you think he made that assessment?
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
alan wrote:A more interesting question might be: Why does Gombrich make such a fuss about Buddha being a "genius"?
I am not sure he made a fuss, whatever that might mean. I suspect Gombrich's assessment has come from a careful study of the texts and their historical contexts.

Yes, and it's in the context of other scholars claiming that the Buddha didn't exist as a person and the teachings we have are a group effort.

I think it's actually useful to have various people applying their particular expertise to the teachings and history. Prof Gombrich knows much more about some factors than any scholar monk or meditation master. He knows much less about some other factors... That's normal in any area of knowledge.

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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:43 am

alan wrote:Why do you think he made that assessment?
Because that is what his studies lead him to believe?
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:44 am

I haven't found any other books where the Buddha is called a genius, and compared with the great thinkers of Western philosophy. To establish that idea might be called a "fuss".
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:49 am

That was a response, tilt, not an answer.
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:53 am

alan wrote:I haven't found any other books where the Buddha is called a genius, and compared with the great thinkers of Western philosophy. To establish that idea might be called a "fuss".
It might be a fuss to you. You might want to look at Ven Narada's THE BUDDHA AND HIS TEACHING.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:02 am

Thanks for the link! I'm sure it will be good reading.
Just to the point though--what is your opinion on this?
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:07 am

alan wrote:Thanks for the link! I'm sure it will be good reading.
Just to the point though--what is your opinion on this?

Gombrich is a good scholar/historian and worth taking seriously concerning issues of historical interest. In terms of practice, I'd probably look elsewhere.
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:14 am

Do you agree with Gombrich's assertion of genius?
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:17 am

alan wrote:Do you agree with Gombrich's assertion of genius?
Sure.
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: Richard Gombrich

Postby alan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:23 am

Well them we have something in common!
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Re: Richard Gombrich

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:32 am

alan wrote:Well them we have something in common!


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: Richard Gombrich

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Are you going to back up your claim: "Unless someone has gone the whole hog with vipassana (all 16 nanas) there is no way to know what a genius he is ?" Is this something you know from direct experience? If you have not directly experienced all the 16 ñānas, then you really do not know.


Well now, this is where saddha-faith comes in. Do you believe that there might be enlightened beings in this world?

'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

To have that right view, you will need more than scepticism and proof, because you will never know for sure at the begining. Without never knowing you will never get to a place you will know for sure. So then, it takes saddha.

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