The Eagle has landed.

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
may.all.bliss
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by may.all.bliss »

Meditating once at amarvarti, i contemplated monasticism, at that time someone said; if you want to fly with the eagles you shouldn't sit with the turkeys :jumping:
GnosticMind
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by GnosticMind »

That sounds like the Jamaican proverb, 'If you fly like an eagle, no need to walk with the chickens'

Whatever -- I still say it's absurd that middle aged men and women would squat on their haunches on the damp ground like that, 'wai'ing' in subservience, in front of other grown men -- it's just wrong. It shows no dignity. And I think it does nothing for Buddhism either.

And I believe it is undignified of Sumedho too, to just swan through -- he should have said 'get up man, it's so unnecessary'

Read Hegel's 'Master-Slave Dialectic' about how systems of oppression eventually undermine and harm and humiliate and sully both the 'slaves' and the 'masters' in an undignified dialectical movement that feeds into each other's psyche and mentality and physical manifestations symbiotically.

(On a larger global scale, the same can be seen in colonised areas, where -- to maintain his oppression and senior role in the hierarchy -- the oppressor has to behave around the colonised oppressed in ways that not only brutalise the vanquished and disempowered, but eventually remove the oppressor's own dignity too.)

We are animals -- dogs and cats do that to show submission, to show the dominant one they accept their master role and they will submit and keep in line.

My entire family are Asian – I don’t live in Europe or the Americas – I have lived in Asia for the most part of 30 years. All over Asia – I have studied these social forms in my own family and in my work environment and in my living environment, and I have studied their history in Confucianism, Brahmanism, ultra-conformist conservative Buddhism and Shamanism and modern day Protestantism in Asia (and variants of all those as they manifest in 20th century fascism and communism), and in psychological, anthropological, economic and sociological studies for decades. I also grew up from my earliest days, in ultra-religious ultra-traditional environments -- not in the West -- with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Parsees and even Christians -- I am not just vainly poking my nose in ‘with what I don’t like’ -- In Asia, these squatting gestures are hierarchical signs which are imposed to show utter submission in a feudal hierarchy that, in previous centuries ( and even now) could wreck their lives if they did not get into line ( see the way monarchies behave in South East Asia now) -- the rituals are also tied in with Thai-Laotian concepts of 'higher and lower' in the pecking order -- the weaker in the pecking order, the younger, the more disempowered, the more oppressed, the poorer, the less educated, the more infantilised, those with less agency for self-empowerment and autonomous choice making, must have their heads lower than the higher -- what has that got to do with Buddhism, and why import their social signifiers?

Medieval serfdom with feudal relations was the dominant social form in these areas at least until the early 20th century.

(Please – no hot air and guff about ‘learning humility and weakening the ego and learning respect’ and so on)

If these Monastics want to do it amongst themselves, perhaps as a means of achieving social harmony in a small space (the Monastic space), that's up to them of course. But if they expect others to do it, there will be questions from the intelligent as to why they should do it -- they don't live in a vacuum -- people who see, will comment and want to know what it means-- and why shouldn't they? These rituals of submission have important serious and effectual meanings in the lay world, the profane world – don’t expect these meanings to disappear once they happen in a sacred space (the temple). Those hierarchies can and are abused in the sacred space – see the scandals in the Christian world – why could they not be one day misused in the Buddhist world too?

These are important questions – unless you want to live in a cult – see what happened with Andrew Cohen’s rituals if you want to go down that road.

In Asia, unscrupulous Christian groups ( Evangelical, Presbyterian, Catholic) go into shaman areas or areas where the people are financially weak, and press-gang them into all kinds of superstitious gestures that have nothing whatsoever to do with the original teachings of Jesus -- nothing. And then 'the natives' superstitiously devote themselves to reproducing 'Christian' rituals which were originally invented in hierarchical Rome or repressive rule-bound Scotland or Munich or in some hillbilly region in Alabama in earlier centuries.

Here we have the same with Buddhism -- expect that Laotian and Thai people are not press-ganging Westerners into these squatting gestures -- Westerners choose their own oppression and subservience in the name of Buddhism.

As I said, these gestures could be perfectly harmless, and monastics may do it to create a kind of poetry of movement, a respectful and often lovely, aware interaction in their sacred spaces – I really get that. It is an aesthetic – but, it is an aesthetic that can be misused, as I have experienced firsthand and seen firsthand, countless times in day to day life in Asia and I have seen it in the West too.

Don't kid yourself that these gestures are just solely sincere gestures of the heart -- they can be beautiful, aesthetic and lovely, not burdened by agendas. They can be. It is possible-- but whatever they are, they are inextricably bound up with power relations, psychology, economics, sociology, anthropology and evolutionary behaviour that go back centuries in the sacred and profane worlds and their associations do not just disappear over night, whatever gloss you want to put on them.
Last edited by GnosticMind on Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
GnosticMind
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by GnosticMind »

By the way, all those gestures Amaravati Monastics go in for regarding the direction of the feet is also a cultural import from South East Asia as any board member familiar with the area knows -- point the feet to one side, away from the Buddha Rupa, never point your feet at elders or those higher in the social hierarchy, never show the soles of your feet upward, never touch the head of equals or superiors -- the 'squat wai anjali' is more of the same...

None of those 'foot or head or squat wai' mannerisms are found in East Asia, for example : not in temples or in the secular world. Except in rare or exclusive cases of crude displays of enforcement of total submission, eg hazing in the military or in a ritualistic boss-employer deliberate display performed reproduction of previous dynastic-monarch relations. When they do happen, they usually make the news and are reminders of previous dynasties feudal oppression that people fought to be free from, and are held up as subjects of serious national debate.

I am not putting these rituals down per se, just trying to culturally contextualise them.
GnosticMind
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The Eagle has landed.

Post by GnosticMind »

By the way, even the name of the current thread -- the eagle has landed, with mention in the early stages of the thread, of America's involvement in Korea, is sad and provocative, since it may interest readers to know that America burned down every city in North Korea and nearly every city in South Korea too ( by their own estimates) and dropped more bombs on the area than they had done in the entire European theatre of war and they killed up to 15% of the entire population and devastated and uprooted millions of Asians. All these stats are checkable.

See here –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_North_Korea

Perhaps people should check before posting these kinds of words that have devastating, literally life transforming associations and meanings, directly, for some of us.

Nothing to be proud of, nothing to boast about, ‘eagles landing’ as metaphors, and all that implies – words have real meaning, especially to those directly affected and transformed by ‘eagles’ as a national metonym.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by Ceisiwr »

GnosticMind wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:03 am By the way, even the name of the current thread -- the eagle has landed, with mention in the early stages of the thread, of America's involvement in Korea, is sad and provocative, since it may interest readers to know that America burned down every city in North Korea and nearly every city in South Korea too ( by their own estimates) and dropped more bombs on the area than they had done in the entire European theatre of war and they killed up to 15% of the entire population and devastated and uprooted millions of Asians. All these stats are checkable.

See here –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_North_Korea

Perhaps people should check before posting these kinds of words that have devastating, literally life transforming associations and meanings, directly, for some of us.

Nothing to be proud of, nothing to boast about, ‘eagles landing’ as metaphors, and all that implies – words have real meaning, especially to those directly affected and transformed by ‘eagles’ as a national metonym.
No need to clutch one’s pearls. It obviously wasn’t a praise of that. Why do I get a sneaking suspicion you are of the left?
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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DooDoot
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:08 am No need to clutch one’s pearls. It obviously wasn’t a praise of that. Why do I get a sneaking suspicion you are of the left?
Non-Dhammic post. The Buddha taught:
“A noble disciple reflects this way, ‘I want to live and don’t want to die; I want to be happy and I dislike pain. Since this is so, if someone were to take my life, I wouldn’t like that. But others also want to live and don’t want to die; they want to be happy and dislike pain. So if I were to take the life of someone else, he wouldn’t like that either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by others. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain to someone else?’ Reflecting this way, first, he gives up killing beings. Second, he encourages others to abstain from killing beings, and third, he praises the act of abstaining from killing beings. So, his bodily behaviour is purified in three ways.

https://suttafriends.org/sutta/sn55-7/
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Sam Vara
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by Sam Vara »

GnosticMind wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:03 am By the way, even the name of the current thread -- the eagle has landed, with mention in the early stages of the thread, of America's involvement in Korea, is sad and provocative
As per the Terms of Service, you are of course responsible for any sadness or provocation you might feel or claim to feel, but a word on the name of the thread. "The Eagle has landed" is a colloquial phrase meaning that someone or something important has arrived at its destination. It was first used by Neil Armstrong when the Apollo 11 module touched down on the moon's surface. It has nothing to do with Korea, so far as I know, and David quoted a source explaining how the then Robert Jackman served as a medic during that time. Moving from there to a link detailing bombing is quite a stretch.
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Aloka
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by Aloka »

GnosticMind wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:39 am

But it's plainly demeaning to see 50 or 60 year old men, bowing to be lower than another older man.
Nonsense! You should visit a Tibetan Buddhist monastery or centre, where full prostrations (flat out on the floor) are often done to revered teachers . Also they''re done a hundred thousand times in front of a statue/s on a shrine as part of their preliminary practices. Nobody sees it as demeaning, its the custom of that particular tradition.
Its also considered very disrespectful to sit with one's feet pointing towards the shrine and/or a teacher.

I think Ajahn Sumedho is a wonderful teacher, by the way, and its because of coming into contact with his teachings and the suttas that I left TB. May he be healthy and happy and live many more years.

:anjali:
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mikenz66
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by mikenz66 »

Sam Vara wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:36 am
GnosticMind wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:03 am By the way, even the name of the current thread -- the eagle has landed, with mention in the early stages of the thread, of America's involvement in Korea, is sad and provocative
As per the Terms of Service, you are of course responsible for any sadness or provocation you might feel or claim to feel, but a word on the name of the thread. "The Eagle has landed" is a colloquial phrase meaning that someone or something important has arrived at its destination. It was first used by Neil Armstrong when the Apollo 11 module touched down on the moon's surface. It has nothing to do with Korea, so far as I know, and David quoted a source explaining how the then Robert Jackman served as a medic during that time. Moving from there to a link detailing bombing is quite a stretch.
I presume GnosticMind is pointing out that the 60s astronauts had experience as military pilots. Armstrong flew jets off carriers during the Korean war. Personally, I think it was a good thing that some of the American military-industrial complex funding and skill (and New Zealand and German skill: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/h ... rer-i.html) was diverted to more wholesome activities than the wars in Korea and Vietnam...

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Mike
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Sam Vara
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by Sam Vara »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:09 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:36 am
GnosticMind wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:03 am By the way, even the name of the current thread -- the eagle has landed, with mention in the early stages of the thread, of America's involvement in Korea, is sad and provocative
As per the Terms of Service, you are of course responsible for any sadness or provocation you might feel or claim to feel, but a word on the name of the thread. "The Eagle has landed" is a colloquial phrase meaning that someone or something important has arrived at its destination. It was first used by Neil Armstrong when the Apollo 11 module touched down on the moon's surface. It has nothing to do with Korea, so far as I know, and David quoted a source explaining how the then Robert Jackman served as a medic during that time. Moving from there to a link detailing bombing is quite a stretch.
I presume GnosticMind is pointing out that the 60s astronauts had experience as military pilots. Armstrong flew jets off carriers during the Korean war. Personally, I think it was a good thing that some of the American military-industrial complex funding and skill (and New Zealand and German skill: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/h ... rer-i.html) was diverted to more wholesome activities than the wars in Korea and Vietnam...

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Mike
Yes, certainly! I'd heard of Pickering, but didn't know he was a Kiwi. And von Braun was lucky that the Americans found him first. If the Brits had found him, he probably wouldn't have survived the first interrogation!
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mikenz66
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by mikenz66 »

Sam Vara wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:01 pm I'd heard of Pickering, but didn't know he was a Kiwi. And von Braun was lucky that the Americans found him first. If the Brits had found him, he probably wouldn't have survived the first interrogation!
Pickering and Rutherford both grew up in the same area,and both went to Havelock school (not at the same time): https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/r ... l-havelock

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GnosticMind
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Re: The Eagle has landed.

Post by GnosticMind »

,,
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