This sounds like "Buffet Buddhism" (coined to be analogous to "Cafeteria Catholicism"). If I stopped listening and never bothered to research things that didn't "immediately resonate" with me due to a surface-level skimming of the textual tradition I would have never bothered to get even vaguely involved with Buddhism. I, as a fellow Westerner, first became acquainted with Buddhism through exposure to its textual tradition. If I just discarded anything that didn't seem interesting or relevant on first-glance, or even on second-glance, I would still be an atheist.binocular wrote:This is one of the questions I don't ask myself when reading the suttas.Coëmgenu wrote:"how can I form interpretation(s) that is/are authentic to the intended meaning(s) of the text(s)?"
I ask myself such questions when reading the newspaper and maybe the Bible, but not the Pali suttas.
I read the Pali suttas by the principle, "If it instantly resonates with me, I give it a second reading and see how it can be beneficial for me; if it doesn't instantly resonate with me, I move on to something else."
This sounds to me like you are arguing that you are not part of any epistemic community, but I'll take that to be a misinterpretation on my part of what you mean.binocular wrote:To me, coming up with such an interpretation is necessarily linked to belonging to a particular epistemic community. If, for whatever reason, such a sense of belonging doesn't exist for a person, the way this person will go about reading-interpreting a text will be very different in comparison to a person who does have such a sense of belonging.So asking "how do we extract truth through our hermeneutical lens" is basically asking "what is a correct way to read this that will produce an appropriate interpretation of these words I see before me"
Its not a question of if you feel like you belong, its a question of letting the teaching speak for itself before one judges or evaluates it, of attempting to set aside one's assumptions and ideologies and empathizing with the perspective the teaching appears to be coming from to try to get a foretaste of the insider's perspective one would have if one believed the material. Engagement with the right-views and proper Buddhist hermeneutic and orthodoxy is vital, even if one rejects it (although that would beg the question of "why am I even wanting to be a Buddhist"), because the textual tradition of Buddhism does not stand on its own, and was never intended to, like the Koran was for instance. A hermeneutic lens, focused on the subject matter of the Pali Canon, that does not embrace the fullness of the tradition, even as an intellectual exercise rather than a true faith/belief, will produce a heterodox and compromised reading/interpretation of the text, just like reading the Bible without presuming a reconciliation between God-and-man via Christ's passion will inevitable produce the reading that God is evil.