Secular theravadan

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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befriend
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Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

Why are there secular theravadan Buddhists? Why don't they just practice zen? Zen is about nirvana here and now compassion mindfulness of breathing
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
Maiev
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Maiev »

It is because of the Mahashi and Goenka network of meditation centers witch are intended at secular audience but have a therevada origin.

In my opinion, existence of these popular networks of centers is a good thing, increasing shanga strength. They do create attachment to that system and to the writings of teachers withing that system, but some of these grow up to be important bhikkhus in the end. Without therevada been popular in the west, fewer of us would have got exposed to the teachings of the Buddha. For example Bhikkhu Bhodi or Bhante Sujato, despite not practicing Mahashi anymore, started up thanks to it. It is a good gateway to the dhamma that might lead one to eventually read the Pali Canon and get exposed to Buddha original teachings luckily preserved by Theravada.

But in my opinion, the Goenka system is too cultish to allow such a thing. It mental conditions people too hard into following their leader and "only pure technique" and few manage to drop it and get exposed to Buddha teachings. Also, unlike Mahashi, the Goenka way of practicing is known to cause mental problems to those who follow it. It's like doing push-ups without a break and they believe the more push-ups you do, the more tolerant you will become to doing push-ups and therefore escape suffering. A little like how people in labor camps eventually manage to cope with the new reality. There is little emphasis on anything else except push-ups withing the tradition. And I don't know of any important bhikkhu that started with Goenka. They don't even produce teachers inside their own network, everybody been an assistant teacher. They only study Goenka tapes and do not care too much about suttas. They are advised to practice metta every day on Goenka witch brings strong mental conditioning.
Last edited by Maiev on Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Aloka
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Aloka »

befriend wrote:Why are there secular theravadan Buddhists? Why don't they just practice zen? Zen is about nirvana here and now compassion mindfulness of breathing

Why are there Theravadins anyway ? Why doesn't everyone just practice Vajrayana ?


:reading:
befriend
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

:focus:
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
befriend
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

I probably would if it didn't require a lama empowerments and samaya I have no access to Tibetan Buddhism in person but have practiced 35 Buddha confession of downfalls and Om mani pad me hum and was very impressed
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
Caodemarte
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Caodemarte »

Is there a belief here that Zen Buddhism is secular?
befriend
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

without digressing into an argument doesn't it make sense for a non religious person to be attracted to zen which is part Taoism part Buddhism than to be attracted to theravadan Buddhism?
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
Caodemarte
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Caodemarte »

befriend wrote:without digressing into an argument doesn't it make sense for a non religious person to be attracted to zen which is part Taoism part Buddhism than to be attracted to theravadan Buddhism?
I don't see why. Zen Buddhists believe that Zen Buddhism is Buddhism and trace their lineages back to the historical Buddha. The difference between Buddhist sects is usually less than the difference between individual teachers and different styles in the same sect. I don't know why Zen, as whole, would be considered more or less secular or religious than Theravada, as a whole. If you are referring to rituals, some Theravada groups have quite a bit and some quite a bit less. Some Zen groups and temples have quite a bit and some quite a bit less.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
JohnK
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by JohnK »

befriend wrote:without digressing into an argument doesn't it make sense for a non religious person to be attracted to zen which is part Taoism part Buddhism than to be attracted to theravadan Buddhism?
Ah, it sounds like you have an idea that things should "make sense" vs. are the consequences of causes and conditions! :)
No offense intended. Just pointing out the two different approaches to the question (the first reply to your question was taking the second approach).
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
befriend
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

my point is that if secular Buddhists were into zen then they might feel more at home, because they seem to not like the metaphysical side of theravadan.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Goofaholix »

befriend wrote:my point is that if secular Buddhists were into zen then they might feel more at home, because they seem to not like the metaphysical side of theravadan.
Perhaps they don't like the ritualistic aspects, something which Zen seems to not be able to do without but those practicing Theravada based meditation are quite happy to do without.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
befriend
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by befriend »

Good point goofaholix
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
Maiev
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by Maiev »

Here are 2 factors that were overlooked:

1) Therevada happens to be a follower of the suttas, of what the historical Buddha who started all of this actually taught. People from the west are not born in this religion, all who come to buddhism do so because they are looking for something that makes sense of the world. They are free to chose what religion they want, nobody is forcing them. Those who are serious persons and not just in because "it's cool" search for what makes more sense. And it might be that persons who are free to chose their religion after pondering views tend to find Buddha original teachings making more sense than mahayana or tibetan beliefs about the world.

For me personally, this was the reason why I chose therevada. Because I consider it makes sense and consider mahayana and tibetan not to make sense.

2) Because it's the most free of idealism of all versions. Those who chose to change their religion in the west seem to come from a secular background, not a religious one. And they like the fact that therevada is more similar to their materialistic/atheist previous beliefs.

After changing your belief sistem, there is still clinging to old views that you had. And it takes a while before accepting or refusing the new beliefs. And naturally such a person will want to interpret buddhism in a way that fits his secular previous beliefs and don't make them feel like they had become "religious people" that they hate and rebel against so much. Many try to argue that buddhism is not even a religion, not liking that label on themselves.

This explains why so many therevadians are secularist, despite therevada not been what they understand it to be, namely materialism+meditation.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by davidbrainerd »

befriend wrote:without digressing into an argument doesn't it make sense for a non religious person to be attracted to zen which is part Taoism part Buddhism than to be attracted to theravadan Buddhism?
Zen has been secularized by materialists, same as Theravada. Authentic Zen is not really the nonsense that all the books on Zen at Barnes and Nobles say it is.

I.e. they'll say things like Zen is indefinable, has no dogmas, etc. etc. Such is not even possible with any system. If it had no dogmas, it wouldn't exist because nothing could separate it from any other system. These books are just written by people glorifying their utopian stoner-logic (that somehow having no beliefs is the greatest thing since sliced bread) as if it were what Zen is about.
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DNS
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Re: Secular theravadan

Post by DNS »

Mahayana has the bodhisattva ideal where one vows to save all beings, to the point of returning an innumerable amount of times in rebirth to assist all beings. Mahayana includes Zen.

Theravada has the Kalama Sutta, which is sometimes known as the charter of free-inquiry, into investigation and analysis, questioning everything. The Kalama Sutta also refers to the benefits of the teachings 'even if rebirth were not true' for happiness in the present.

In practice, many Zen centers have meditators doing chants, prostrations, and wearing a robe to the zendo. At peer-led Theravada / vipassana groups, people wear very casual clothes with little to no chanting.

This forum has a great rebirth thread hundreds of pages long. DW Mahayana rarely even discusses it, accepting rebirth as an integral part of their path. Therefore, secular Buddhists seem to prefer Theravada / vipassana.
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