Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therigatha

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coffeendonuts
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by coffeendonuts »

BKh wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:29 pm
coffeendonuts wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:02 pm
Dhammanando wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:56 pmrascally Weingast fellow
Interesting comment. I'm always fascinated with the way our thoughts shape our emotions and behavior. Might this train of thought be unconstructive?
I'm also hoping that the discussion doesn't turn into personal attacks. However, if you take the time to read his poems and compare them to the original, "rascally" might be one of the kinder ways to describe him. And taking into account how he is allowing the book to be marketed and received, you could certainly call his actions rascally without making a statement about him personally.
Honestly, that kind of sentiment is a common denominator in radically right and left leaning Americans feeling justified in trying to exterminate the other side to preserve "true American values," Buddhists in Myanmar massacring Rohingya in order to defend the "Buddha's teachings" from the "encroachment" of Islam, Muslims and Buddhists being thrown into "re-education camps" by the Chinese to preserve pure Communism, and Salafi Jihadists bombing Shia and Sufi mosques because they deviate from the original teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

It is a belief that ideas matter more than people.
coconut
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by coconut »

coffeendonuts wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:05 pm
BKh wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:29 pm
coffeendonuts wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:02 pm
Interesting comment. I'm always fascinated with the way our thoughts shape our emotions and behavior. Might this train of thought be unconstructive?
I'm also hoping that the discussion doesn't turn into personal attacks. However, if you take the time to read his poems and compare them to the original, "rascally" might be one of the kinder ways to describe him. And taking into account how he is allowing the book to be marketed and received, you could certainly call his actions rascally without making a statement about him personally.
Honestly, that kind of sentiment is a common denominator in radically right and left leaning Americans feeling justified in trying to exterminate the other side to preserve "true American values," Buddhists in Myanmar massacring Rohingya in order to defend the "Buddha's teachings" from the "encroachment" of Islam, Muslims and Buddhists being thrown into "re-education camps" by the Chinese to preserve pure Communism, and Salafi Jihadists bombing Shia and Sufi mosques because they deviate from the original teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

It is a belief that ideas matter more than people.
I hear this comment all the time by atheists who say all religions are bad, and it is one of the dumbest things I've heard.

If someone is extreme at following peaceful rules, how is that the same as someone who is extreme at following violent rules?

It's not the severity or the lengths one goes to that matters, but the content of the rules. If someone poorly follows violent rules, then they are good person. If someone poorly follows peaceful rules, then they are a bad person.

How can you say that someone who extremely follows a peaceful lifestyle and ideology is the same as someone who extremely follows a violent lifestyle ideology. It's absurd and boneheaded.

A violent Buddhist is no Buddhist at all. Now you may reply with "No True Scottsman" fallacy retort, but that fallacy doesn't cover imposters.
coffeendonuts
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by coffeendonuts »

coconut, this is touched on in the teaching on the three poisons or unwholesome roots and sneaks up in so many different ways. We all do it. It's a clinging to how things or people "should" be and an aversion to things or people which aren't acting in accord with that vision. The natural next step is to silence or get rid of the disliked object. Doesn't have to be violent, it can even just stay very subtle as a felt feeling in the body, but ideological violence is one of its loudest manifestations.

As a matter of fact, when we take off the Dhamma Warrior hats and re-read the synopsis on Shambhala.com:
Matty Weingast revives this ancient collection with a contemporary and radical adaptation that remains true to the essence of each poem and highlights the struggles and doubts, as well as the strength, perseverance, and profound compassion, embodied by these courageous women.
The concern of this thread is a nothing burger anyway.

Yet...it's been an interesting snapshot of aversion.
coconut
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by coconut »

coffeendonuts wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:25 pm coconut, this is touched on in the teaching on the three poisons or unwholesome roots and sneaks up in so many different ways. We all do it. It's a clinging to how things or people "should" be and an aversion to things or people which aren't acting in accord with that vision. The natural next step is to silence or get rid of the disliked object. Doesn't have to be violent, it can even just stay very subtle as a felt feeling in the body, but ideological violence is one of its loudest manifestations.

As a matter of fact, when we take off the Dhamma Warrior hats and re-read the synopsis on Shambhala.com:
Matty Weingast revives this ancient collection with a contemporary and radical adaptation that remains true to the essence of each poem and highlights the struggles and doubts, as well as the strength, perseverance, and profound compassion, embodied by these courageous women.
The concern of this thread is a nothing burger anyway.

Yet...it's been an interesting snapshot of aversion.
And yet the Buddha instructs us to correct wrong views, and the Buddha also corrects wrong views. So there is no "Accept everything" theory you're getting at.

The Buddha has clearly defined what is dhamma and what is adhamma, and there is nothing wrong with following those rules 100% percent. If being extreme means following those rules 100%, then you're a very good Buddhist. The Buddha is perfectly fine with being extreme in the right direction:
"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will relentlessly exert ourselves, [thinking,] "Gladly would we let the flesh & blood in our bodies dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if we have not attained what can be reached through human firmness, human persistence, human striving, there will be no relaxing our persistence."' That's how you should train yourselves."
There is nothing wrong with being "extreme" when it comes to following the rules and instructions of the dhamma 100%.
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by gavesako »

I think this book can best be seen as an example of "American Folk Buddhism":
But it is also a largely a product of a particular American subculture, a very educated, white, middle-to-upper class culture that tends to reject things more than most other subcultures.
Folk Buddhism includes any a popular understanding or practice that in a particular culture is attributed (rightly or wrongly) to Buddhism.
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BKh
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by BKh »

Bhante Sujato has posted an essay here about the importance of maintaining true Dhamma

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/th ... hing/18622
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coffeendonuts
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by coffeendonuts »

But it is also a largely a product of a particular...
https://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/20 ... uddhism-6/
What hasn't been...
BKh
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by BKh »

If anyone wants a detailed deep dive into the situation with The First Free Women, someone has written a very good account. It's long, though.

https://lokanta.github.io/2021/01/21/curious-case/

Some highlights...
In brief, Weingast’s book has been widely promoted and praised as being a new translation of the canonical Buddhist collection, the Therīgāthā, a historical collection of verses by enlightened bhikkhunis from around the time of the Buddha. However, it turns out this book is not a translation at all. It is not the voices of these ancient women, and does not accurately reflect the Dhamma spoken by them in the Therīgāthā.

Yet, despite this, somehow, Weingast’s poems have been marketed and lauded as the translated voices of these ancient nuns. Worryingly, the book has quickly become deeply enmeshed in the international Buddhist scene. These poems are being taught in Dhamma centres around the world—as the actual words of the women of the Therīgāthā. They are being used as inspirational texts for women’s meditation retreats, read by women’s reading groups, and taught in gender studies courses at universities. The book is being shelved in bookshops under the category “Women in Buddhism” and placed in shops and libraries next to canonical texts as if it were a real translation; a curious situation, indeed.
The truth is this: poetry books by unknown translators and first time authors simply don’t sell all that well. The author and publisher have unscrupulously exploited the name of the Therīgāthā in their marketing, purely for commercial and personal gain. This is a deceptive act of cultural insensitivity and a disrespectful cultural appropriation of a sacred text. Weingast’s original poetry certainly would not have enjoyed such popularity if it had been released on its own merits, without the tenuous connection to the original Therīgāthā. This is a shameless example of standing on the shoulders of giants, simply for the pursuit of sales.
It’s curious to think about how we ended up here: A sincere Buddhist practitioner discovers the Therīgāthā and is inspired to try his hand at translation. Slightly out of his depth, he steps away from translation—a fateful movement— and begins to walk away from the Pali poems of the Therīgāthā altogether, toward a fantasy in English. Little by little he works and re-works the texts, adding whimsical stories of his own invention, and subtracting the actual stories of the ancient enlightened women.
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48vows
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by 48vows »

Maybe Weingast was trained at "Naropa's" school of "translation", it is closely related to the publisher....

1.jpg
BKh
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by BKh »

An open letter to Shambhala Publications has been authored by Bodhipaksa of FakeBuddhaQuotes.com fame. It has 16 signatories. If you would like to add your own, you can leave a comment on the page

https://fakebuddhaquotes.com/an-open-le ... lications/
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by mikenz66 »

Here's a collection of essays, and side-by-side comparisons.
[You'll have to ask for a password to read the ones that have not been made publicly available.]

https://firstfreewomen.org/

:heart:
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by form »

So many materials using "thus as I heard", but they likely did not heard it from the Buddha.
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by mikenz66 »

Some progress with Shambhala, who are now talking about withdrawing and reissuing:

https://www.shambhala.com/ffw-response
Dear Friends,

Thank you for your letters and contributions to the online discussions regarding The First Free Women by Matty Weingast, and Shambhala Publications’ presentation of it. We are taking the issues that have been raised to heart and appreciate the constructive feedback we have received.

Although it was certainly not our intention to mislead readers regarding the nature of this poetic reimagining of the Therigatha, we see that many were, in fact, unclear about this point, and we fully acknowledge our misjudgment in how we presented this author’s work.

There is a long and wonderful literary history of works brought into English not as scholarly, line-by-line renderings but as loose reimaginings. And there is a place for such works. But for a sacred text like the Therigatha coming from a Buddhist publisher like us, it is a more nuanced affair. We did not present it as we should have, for which we are sorry to both the author and to readers who very reasonably expected something different.

In consultation with the author, we have decided to reissue this book in a manner that positions it clearly and unambiguously as an original work, rather than as a translation. We will also be updating the subtitle, cover, descriptive copy, and the Library of Congress information (the CIP data). The CIP data can take time to be issued, but we have commenced the process. There will be no further ambiguity on the matter once these are completed. The old edition is being cleared from the marketplace, and while a small amount of copies are out of our reach, there will be no further opportunity for retailers to order copies of the current edition.

We have commenced reaching out to all who endorsed the text to give them the opportunity to revisit their endorsements before the new edition comes out.

We would like to make clear that it was in no way our intention to misrepresent this work for monetary gain. That is not who we are, it is not how we work, and it is not why we do what we do.

As the largest publisher of Buddhist books, we feel an immense responsibility to consider our publications with care. At the core of our mission is our intention to support the many Buddhist traditions, and while we need to be sustainable, we publish books every year with little or no chance of financial success, only because we feel they are important to practitioners.

Although we now see how we fell short of our goals by giving the impression this book was a translation, our aim in doing so was certainly not to deceive, but to find a way to classify this unique and creative work by someone intelligent, sincere, and deeply devoted to the Dhamma.

It is our hope that after these clarifications are made, this remarkable and imaginative work, which we remain proud to publish, will in its own way continue to inspire people to learn and practice the teachings of the Buddha.

Thanks again for your feedback and engagement in this discussion.

Sincerely,

Nikko Odiseos
President, Shambhala Publications
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

Post by Coëmgenu »

Hopefully his feminist poems will get someone interested in renunciation. Now that it is a book of Buddhist feminist poetry, maybe it will sell better? Who knows?
It is because the valleys are empty that they echo. It is because the mirror is empty that it reflects. It is because the flute is empty that it affects sound. It is because the ears are empty that they can listen. It is because the eyes are empty that they can see. It is because the nose is empty that it can smell.

If these were of substance inside, then there would be obstruction in these.

(from the writings of Master Liè, Daoist text, ~370AD)
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Re: Revealing counterfeit Dhamma: Poems of Matty Weingast published in "The First Free Women" as a version of the Therig

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