What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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SarathW
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What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SarathW »

What is this debate thing in Mahayana?
Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
What is the origin of this?

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
SteRo
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SteRo »

SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am What is this debate thing in Mahayana?
Not generally Mahayana but those indo-tibetan sects that follow a monastic curriculum of philosophies and logic
SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
Theravada no. Hinduism yes, Maybe others, too?
SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am What is the origin of this?
Public discussions between Hindus and Buddhists, mostly in writing. see -> Dignaga and Dharmakirti as founders of buddhist logic, Sautrantika buddhists
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
SarathW
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SarathW »

Thanks.
It appears this is something like a re-enactment of Kathāvatthu.

https://suttacentral.net/kv

Are these debates like the debates we have here in DW or it is a standard text like Kathāvatthu ?
Last edited by SarathW on Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
SteRo
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SteRo »

SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:56 am Are these debates like the debates we have here in DW or it is a standard text like Kathāvatthu ?
Debates here in DW don't follow a consistent logic. The debates junior monks are trained in follow a curriculum of theory and practice. The theory are treatises on logic and commentaries on these. I don't know "Kathāvatthu" so I can't comment on that.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
SarathW
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SarathW »

Why do they use a sort of aggressive gesture?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SteRo »

SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:14 pm Why do they use a sort of aggressive gesture?
This is just a ritual play. Actually they enjoy the debates and it is not about winning but about using language consistently and taking different perspectives.
In case someone is interested to deepen understanding although it is alien to theravada:
Debate in Tibetan Buddhism
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
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Dhammanando
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by Dhammanando »

SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
There is this from your own country...

Buddhism and Christianity - Being an oral debate held at Panadura between the Rev. Migettuwatte Gunananda, a Buddhist Priest, and the Rev. David de Silva, a Wesleyan Clergyman

Theravādins vs Methodists
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
Caodemarte
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by Caodemarte »

It is a tradition from old India where debates were public performances. All sects and religions participated. Debates both trained participants in reason (its primary function in monasteries) and was a major source of entertainment for all. The tradition in this specific Indian form survived in Tibet. Debates are a feature of many Buddhist traditions, but this traditional style survived only in Tibet.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by Coëmgenu »

SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am What is this debate thing in Mahayana?
Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
What is the origin of this?=
There is this thing children learn in Tibetan monasteries, and it is how to "debate," which involves shouting pre-rehearsed lines at each other. One person gives a line and then aggressively claps his hands at the other. The other must respond with a pre-memorized line that counters the line given to him. What lines counter what are based on what happened in the real debate they are re-enacting. The clapping is a rhetorical flair to punctuate your sentence. In this version, a particularly intelligent child gets to do it with an adult.

The debates get more real as the children age. As young ones though, they are basically LARPing a debate currently that they have memorized. Later it will get more serious. Debate is foundational to Buddhist history. Modern Hindus speak of Budddhism as dying out in India because of a particularly humiliating defeat in a debate. The entire MMK comes from a tradition of intense debate. Ven Vasubandhu spent a good chunk of his adult life avoiding a public debate with his teacher, Ven Sanghabhadra, over disagreements they had concerning Sarvastivadin doctrine.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
SarathW
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SarathW »

Dhammanando wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:20 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
There is this from your own country...

Buddhism and Christianity - Being an oral debate held at Panadura between the Rev. Migettuwatte Gunananda, a Buddhist Priest, and the Rev. David de Silva, a Wesleyan Clergyman

Theravādins vs Methodists
Hi Bhante
My point is this debate system is a tradition. What I meant was they all do this as a part of their training.
Panaduara debate was on off thing in Sri Lanka.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
SarathW
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by SarathW »

Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:43 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am What is this debate thing in Mahayana?
Is there something equal in Theravada or any other religion?
What is the origin of this?=
There is this thing children learn in Tibetan monasteries, and it is how to "debate," which involves shouting pre-rehearsed lines at each other. One person gives a line and then aggressively claps his hands at the other. The other must respond with a pre-memorized line that counters the line given to him. What lines counter what are based on what happened in the real debate they are re-enacting. The clapping is a rhetorical flair to punctuate your sentence. In this version, a particularly intelligent child gets to do it with an adult.

The debates get more real as the children age. As young ones though, they are basically LARPing a debate currently that they have memorized. Later it will get more serious. Debate is foundational to Buddhist history. Modern Hindus speak of Budddhism as dying out in India because of a particularly humiliating defeat in a debate. The entire MMK comes from a tradition of intense debate. Ven Vasubandhu spent a good chunk of his adult life avoiding a public debate with his teacher, Ven Sanghabhadra, over disagreements they had concerning Sarvastivadin doctrine.
I personally do not like this.
Perhaps I am not used to it.
In my opinion people who aggressive and being physical in debate are weak.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Coëmgenu
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by Coëmgenu »

Well, I called it aggressive because I find it kind of funny. Often you see wide wide smiles on the children's faces when they get to do the clap.

In the tradition of Greco-Roman rhetoric, there were stylized ways that you had to raise and lower your voice intonation when introducing concepts, making specific sorts of arguments, etc., and this would even extend to pseudo-theatrical gestures one would be expected to make when delivering a kind of point. Obviously I don't know much about it other than this, hence why I am so general and not specific, but it is a fascinating thing to look into and research.

The clapping is likely cultural and not meant to be "aggressive." That was just my charactization.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
Caodemarte
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Re: What is this debate thing in Mahayana?

Post by Caodemarte »

Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:54 pm...
The clapping is likely cultural and not meant to be "aggressive." That was just my charactization.
It is part of the fun entertainment part of the debate, a theatrical gesture.
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