After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
form
Posts: 2714
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by form »

Spiny Norman wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:00 am
form wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 7:17 am Or even merge in 50/50 proportion, is it still Buddhism?
Do you mean mixing Buddhism with Christianity or Paganism, for example? I've come across people doing this, but it generally looks like an uncomfortable mix, particularly with a Buddhist focus on anatta/shunyata.
It can be. But more of what historically has happened like shamanism with Buddhism, or Taoism with Buddhism.
Spiny Norman
Posts: 8909
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Spiny Norman »

form wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:28 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:00 am
form wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 7:17 am Or even merge in 50/50 proportion, is it still Buddhism?
Do you mean mixing Buddhism with Christianity or Paganism, for example? I've come across people doing this, but it generally looks like an uncomfortable mix, particularly with a Buddhist focus on anatta/shunyata.
It can be. But more of what historically has happened like shamanism with Buddhism, or Taoism with Buddhism.
Sure, Chinese Buddhism shaped by Taoism, or Tibetan Buddhism shaped by Bon.
Was there some "pure" Indian Buddhism in existence before these developments? I doubt it.
Buddha save me from new-agers!
Dan74
Posts: 4125
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm
Location: Switzerland

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Dan74 »

un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:02 am
form wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 7:17 am Or even merge in 50/50 proportion, is it still Buddhism?
No. That's why counterfeit dhamma doesn't lead to anything.

The Buddha said the True Dhamma is perfect and complete, if you add or remove from it then you don't have right view.
So if there is one single deviation in the suttas from what the Buddha actually said, or perhaps a teaching from someone else attributed to the Buddha, then the entire Dhamma would be corrupt and not lead to right view?

The Buddha has also said that whatever is well-spoken, consistent with the Teachings, leading to the ending of ignorance, that is the Dhamma. Adding or removing from a revelation is an issue. Adding or removing from an instruction manual on how to attain awakening is something else entirely.
_/|\_
form
Posts: 2714
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by form »

Spiny Norman wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:00 am
form wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:28 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:00 am

Do you mean mixing Buddhism with Christianity or Paganism, for example? I've come across people doing this, but it generally looks like an uncomfortable mix, particularly with a Buddhist focus on anatta/shunyata.
It can be. But more of what historically has happened like shamanism with Buddhism, or Taoism with Buddhism.
Sure, Chinese Buddhism shaped by Taoism, or Tibetan Buddhism shaped by Bon.
Was there some "pure" Indian Buddhism in existence before these developments? I doubt it.
That will be those in the nikaya stories in an Indian setting. But those may have different degree of influence from braminism and other sect. I felt that even direct Buddha students have some difference in certain characteristics from their previous experience.
un8-
Posts: 747
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:49 am

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by un8- »

Dan74 wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:07 am
un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:02 am
form wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 7:17 am Or even merge in 50/50 proportion, is it still Buddhism?
No. That's why counterfeit dhamma doesn't lead to anything.

The Buddha said the True Dhamma is perfect and complete, if you add or remove from it then you don't have right view.
So if there is one single deviation in the suttas from what the Buddha actually said, or perhaps a teaching from someone else attributed to the Buddha, then the entire Dhamma would be corrupt and not lead to right view?

The Buddha has also said that whatever is well-spoken, consistent with the Teachings, leading to the ending of ignorance, that is the Dhamma. Adding or removing from a revelation is an issue. Adding or removing from an instruction manual on how to attain awakening is something else entirely.
Yes, the core dhamma cannot be altered in any form whatsoever, and if the core dhamma is sufficient on its own then there is no reason for "additional" dhamma/theory. If isn't broken, don't fix it. The truth is people didn't have the original dhamma to begin with, hence they keep theorizing new things, otherwise they would be satisfied with what they have.

If you're trapped in a underwater cave (which results in many many deaths, cave diving is the most dangerous hobby), and you're disoriented and you don't know which way is up or down, left, right, etc.. then any deviation from the only way out will result in death.

The Dhamma is the same, the Buddha said there is only one way out of suffering and that is the noble eightfold path. Misinterpreting that path is like misinterpreting the instructions to leave the underwater cave, you will die.

The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma, instead it's a sign post bringing you closer to the original interpretation, since you're already blind (with ignorance) from the get go, you're stuck in the cave. Blind people navigate the world by feeling with their sticks where they shouldn't go, and course correcting. This is why the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation, because he is catering to the blind who can't see the escape yet. It's like saying if you feel a wall in front of you, then you're going the wrong way, instead of saying "walk towards the light" which is useless to a blind person because they can't see the light yet. Thus the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go since you don't know what success looks like yet.

Image
There is only one battle that could be won, and that is the battle against the 3 poisons. Any other battle is a guaranteed loss because you're going to die either way.
SteRo
Posts: 5334
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am
Location: Εὐρώπη Eurṓpē

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by SteRo »

Dan74 wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:02 am
SteRo wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 6:00 am
Dan74 wrote: Sun Oct 24, 2021 2:10 pm

Religious components, as you call them, are skilful means. Sentient beings need them, you know.
If your understanding of "sentient beings" is "humans" (what other "beings" would you be able to refer to in the context of religion?) then evidence disproves your general claim.
The evidence I've observed as part of my Buddhist practice and those of fellow religious practitioners, has supported my claim.
What you say isn't counter-evidence against what I've said about your general claim being disproved by evidence: you are judging [all] humans on the basis of what appears to you while associating with religious followers which represent only a portion of [all] humans.
But all you are saying is that followers of religions need religions.
Cleared. αδόξαστος.
Spiny Norman
Posts: 8909
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Spiny Norman »

One of the difficulties with these discussions is defining what people mean by "Buddhism", and by terms like "core dhamma".
Buddha save me from new-agers!
Dan74
Posts: 4125
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm
Location: Switzerland

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Dan74 »

I guess where we may differ, un8-, is firstly, in what's essential. Human beings are different and one-size-fits-all sadly does not work. Whether it is an underground cave we need to get out of and look for the precise directions to save ourselves, a burning house we are being enticed out of, like children with tricks, or even travelling through a pathless land, over the centuries people have come up with many metaphors for the spiritual quest, which suggests that it is very different for different people, or indeed for the same person, at different stages of it.

What I would say is essential, is to learn to reflect. A certain thoughtful attitude to be able to contemplate and to introspect. This attitude actually runs counter to all sorts of prescriptive and absolutists attitudes, since it questions, rather than proclaims. That's why Buddhist practice and fundamentalism of all kinds don't go together and seasoned practitioners tend to be very measure and restrained in their speech.

Another essential aspect is deep and unrelenting motivation to proceed. When those two are present, people generally make progress, even though it may be circuitous and serpentine at times. That's just how we are. And sure, the presence of the good Dhamma and a teacher help tremendously.
un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:20 am
Dan74 wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:07 am
un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:02 am

No. That's why counterfeit dhamma doesn't lead to anything.

The Buddha said the True Dhamma is perfect and complete, if you add or remove from it then you don't have right view.
So if there is one single deviation in the suttas from what the Buddha actually said, or perhaps a teaching from someone else attributed to the Buddha, then the entire Dhamma would be corrupt and not lead to right view?

The Buddha has also said that whatever is well-spoken, consistent with the Teachings, leading to the ending of ignorance, that is the Dhamma. Adding or removing from a revelation is an issue. Adding or removing from an instruction manual on how to attain awakening is something else entirely.
Yes, the core dhamma cannot be altered in any form whatsoever, and if the core dhamma is sufficient on its own then there is no reason for "additional" dhamma/theory. If isn't broken, don't fix it. The truth is people didn't have the original dhamma to begin with, hence they keep theorizing new things, otherwise they would be satisfied with what they have.

If you're trapped in a underwater cave (which results in many many deaths, cave diving is the most dangerous hobby), and you're disoriented and you don't know which way is up or down, left, right, etc.. then any deviation from the only way out will result in death.

The Dhamma is the same, the Buddha said there is only one way out of suffering and that is the noble eightfold path. Misinterpreting that path is like misinterpreting the instructions to leave the underwater cave, you will die.

The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma, instead it's a sign post bringing you closer to the original interpretation, since you're already blind (with ignorance) from the get go, you're stuck in the cave. Blind people navigate the world by feeling with their sticks where they shouldn't go, and course correcting. This is why the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation, because he is catering to the blind who can't see the escape yet. It's like saying if you feel a wall in front of you, then you're going the wrong way, instead of saying "walk towards the light" which is useless to a blind person because they can't see the light yet. Thus the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go since you don't know what success looks like yet.

Image
_/|\_
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 9292
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Sam Vara »

un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:20 am
The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma, instead it's a sign post bringing you closer to the original interpretation, since you're already blind (with ignorance) from the get go, you're stuck in the cave. Blind people navigate the world by feeling with their sticks where they shouldn't go, and course correcting. This is why the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation, because he is catering to the blind who can't see the escape yet. It's like saying if you feel a wall in front of you, then you're going the wrong way, instead of saying "walk towards the light" which is useless to a blind person because they can't see the light yet. Thus the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go since you don't know what success looks like yet.
I take the point that the Buddha is clear about what is not the Dhamma, but when talking to Gotami he is also equally clear that she (one?) can trust in positive qualities and one's ability to discern them:
“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”
https://suttacentral.net/an8.53/en/thanissaro

I can't see the difference between the proscription and the prescription here.
un8-
Posts: 747
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:49 am

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by un8- »

Sam Vara wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:01 pm
un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:20 am
The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma, instead it's a sign post bringing you closer to the original interpretation, since you're already blind (with ignorance) from the get go, you're stuck in the cave. Blind people navigate the world by feeling with their sticks where they shouldn't go, and course correcting. This is why the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation, because he is catering to the blind who can't see the escape yet. It's like saying if you feel a wall in front of you, then you're going the wrong way, instead of saying "walk towards the light" which is useless to a blind person because they can't see the light yet. Thus the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go since you don't know what success looks like yet.
I take the point that the Buddha is clear about what is not the Dhamma, but when talking to Gotami he is also equally clear that she (one?) can trust in positive qualities and one's ability to discern them:
“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”
https://suttacentral.net/an8.53/en/thanissaro

I can't see the difference between the proscription and the prescription here.
The Buddha telling her that it leads to aroused persistence should prevent her from falling for the wrong interpretation many people have of "giving up the path", which you see posted here so often, for example this was posted today
Mr. Seek wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 7:52 am The correct answers to these questions lie beyond words and designations. If you want to enter the stream, stop wanting to enter it. Stop assuming that there is a you, stop assuming that there is a stream, stop assuming that you can enter the stream. Stop assuming things. Stop craving for spiritual achievements. Stop clinging to doctrines. Just stop, and rest.

Even if we gave you answers that made sense, there'd still be an opportunity for doubt to arise in you. So examine this on your own is what I'll suggest. Face the wall and ponder with discernment. With metta.
As well as Peter and Stero who have similar views of giving up effort or the path because they wrongly interpert vossaga (letting go) and no-self.

There's a few of what I call "sign post suttas" to steer people back onto the right interpretation.
There is only one battle that could be won, and that is the battle against the 3 poisons. Any other battle is a guaranteed loss because you're going to die either way.
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 9292
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Sam Vara »

un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:25 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:01 pm
un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:20 am

The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma, instead it's a sign post bringing you closer to the original interpretation, since you're already blind (with ignorance) from the get go, you're stuck in the cave. Blind people navigate the world by feeling with their sticks where they shouldn't go, and course correcting. This is why the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation, because he is catering to the blind who can't see the escape yet. It's like saying if you feel a wall in front of you, then you're going the wrong way, instead of saying "walk towards the light" which is useless to a blind person because they can't see the light yet. Thus the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go since you don't know what success looks like yet.
I take the point that the Buddha is clear about what is not the Dhamma, but when talking to Gotami he is also equally clear that she (one?) can trust in positive qualities and one's ability to discern them:
“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”
https://suttacentral.net/an8.53/en/thanissaro

I can't see the difference between the proscription and the prescription here.
The Buddha telling her that it leads to aroused persistence should prevent her from falling for the wrong interpretation many people have of "giving up the path", which you see posted here so often, for example this was posted today
Mr. Seek wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 7:52 am The correct answers to these questions lie beyond words and designations. If you want to enter the stream, stop wanting to enter it. Stop assuming that there is a you, stop assuming that there is a stream, stop assuming that you can enter the stream. Stop assuming things. Stop craving for spiritual achievements. Stop clinging to doctrines. Just stop, and rest.

Even if we gave you answers that made sense, there'd still be an opportunity for doubt to arise in you. So examine this on your own is what I'll suggest. Face the wall and ponder with discernment. With metta.
As well as Peter and Stero who have similar views of giving up effort or the path because they wrongly interpert vossaga (letting go) and no-self.

There's a few of what I call "sign post suttas" to steer people back onto the right interpretation.
Yes, you might well label suttas in particular ways, and Gotami's aroused persistence would indeed help prevent wrong interpretation. But my point is not about the rights and wrongs of giving up the path. It's this: when you declare that
The purpose of suttas like the Gotami sutta where he says "if it doesn't lead to dispassion it's not the dhamma" isn't to imply that anything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma
That's precisely what the sutta does say; it says that Gotami can trust that what leads to dispassion is the dhamma. Your claim that "the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation" is not supported by the sutta. The path is taught just as much via positive language and affirmation. Your claim that "the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go" is contradicted by this sutta and lots of others which stress the positive qualities that should be cultivated. We many not "know what success looks like yet", but we do know the direction in which it lies, because here and elsewhere the Buddha indicates it. He does not solely teach a via negativa.
un8-
Posts: 747
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:49 am

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by un8- »

Sam Vara wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:06 pm
That's precisely what the sutta does say; it says that Gotami can trust that what leads to dispassion is the dhamma. Your claim that "the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation" is not supported by the sutta. The path is taught just as much via positive language and affirmation. Your claim that "the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go" is contradicted by this sutta and lots of others which stress the positive qualities that should be cultivated. We many not "know what success looks like yet", but we do know the direction in which it lies, because here and elsewhere the Buddha indicates it. He does not solely teach a via negativa.

Dispassion is not Nibbana though, it's still something that is conditioned. These qualities are symptoms of progress and not the end result, Nibbana which he never describes directly as something that you can get by acquiring but something as you get to through negation, such as removing everything that is attachment to the conditioned until there is nothing left to remove.

Hence the gotami sutta is like telling someone how to get somewhere by signposts/indicators of progress. If it leads to passion, it's not going the right way, just like a blind man knows that if his stick runs off the sidewalk he shouldn't go there.

The point is that these qualities are sign posts to keep you on the path and from falling for counterfeit dhamma.

I disagree that everything that leads to dispassion is the dhamma. You don't need to get into a car accident and have a near death experience in order to become dispassionate, that's not the dhamma. The Buddha's method of developing dispassion is through the noble eightfold path:
Monks, the idea of dispassion if cultivated and made much of, is of great fruit and great profit.

And how cultivated and made much of is the idea of dispassion of great fruit and great profit?

Herein a monk cultivates the limb of wisdom that is mindfulness, accompanied by the idea of dispassion which is based on seclusion, on dispassion, on cessation, which ends in self-surrender.
SN 46.75

Everything the Buddha teaches falls under the context of the four noble truths, so he is referring to interpretations of the dhamma, and not everything that leads to dispassion.

So to clarify, if someone has an interpretation of the noble eightfold path that doesn't lead to dispassion, then that is the wrong interpretation.
There is only one battle that could be won, and that is the battle against the 3 poisons. Any other battle is a guaranteed loss because you're going to die either way.
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 9292
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: After Buddhism is added with other religious components

Post by Sam Vara »

un8- wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:44 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:06 pm
That's precisely what the sutta does say; it says that Gotami can trust that what leads to dispassion is the dhamma. Your claim that "the Buddha teaches the path via negative language and negation" is not supported by the sutta. The path is taught just as much via positive language and affirmation. Your claim that "the focus is where you shouldn't go rather than where you should go" is contradicted by this sutta and lots of others which stress the positive qualities that should be cultivated. We many not "know what success looks like yet", but we do know the direction in which it lies, because here and elsewhere the Buddha indicates it. He does not solely teach a via negativa.

Dispassion is not Nibbana though, it's still something that is conditioned. These qualities are symptoms of progress and not the end result, Nibbana which he never describes directly as something that you can get by acquiring but something as you get to through negation, such as removing everything that is attachment to the conditioned until there is nothing left to remove.
You seem to be moving the goalposts here. Nobody has mentioned nibbāna. My point is about your claim regarding the Gotami Sutta's paraphrased assertion that if something doesn't lead to dispassion it's not Dhamma. Your claim is that this doesn't imply, conversely, that something that leads to dispassion is the Dhamma. It doesn't logically imply it, but my point is that the Buddha makes two sets of claims here. One set is regarding qualities which are not Dhamma, Vinaya, and the Teacher's instruction. One set is regarding qualities which, conversely, are Dhamma, Vinaya, and the Teacher's instruction. The wording of the two is exactly the same. Gotami is no more pointed away from some qualities than she is pointed towards their opposites.

So you may have a view about the Dhamma and negative language, etc., and that view may well be defensible, but it is not supported by AN 8.53.
Post Reply