Author Topic: Theravada Buddhism mired in faithlessness, egoism, fundamentalism & rebellion  (Read 2624 times)

Offline ABC

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dear Sangha of the Free Minds

my topic of inquiry is Theravada Buddhism mired in faithlessness, egoism, fundamentalism & rebellion?

is there a fundamentalist movement growing by mere scholars & fondlers of the Pali suttas?

is the core Buddhist principle of verification (opanayiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhi) being abandoned?

is faith & respect in the (Noble) Sangha being abandoned?

for example, there are Buddhists who assert a here-&-now functioning of Dependent Origination due to their meditative insight. thus, that they reject the 3-lifetimes explanation of Dependent Origination is forgiveable & acceptable because their view is based on a actual insight. insight, for them, has precedence over speculation

but now we have mere scholars & fondlers of the Pali suttas, refuting the advice given by generations of noble meditation practitioners

an example of this faithlessness, egoistic, fundamentalist rebellion is the refuting of the confirmed reality of "neighbourhood (access) concentration"

when mere scholars merely read suttas, due to their absence of real meditative experience, they refute the reality of "neighbourhood (access) concentration" simply on the basis that a literal reading of the suttas does not contain such a term

although various meditation adepts over the centuries have confirmed both neighbourhood (access) and attainment (jhana) concentration, the fundamentalist scholars & fondlers (sīlabbata-parāmāso-ers) continue to refute such realities with translations of suttas 

are these fondlers stuck in 'spiritual materialism', seeking to over-estimate an experience for the purpose of claiming an attainment?

for example, how many internet Buddhists are declaring the attainment of jhana due to simply experiencing some tinglings?

is Theravada Buddhism doomed in respect to this onslaught of faithlessness & spiritual egoism?

 :bigtears: :eek: :teehee:


Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

Offline ABC

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...they refute the reality of "neighbourhood (access) concentration" simply on the basis that a literal reading of the suttas does not contain such a term...

it is, indeed, a commentarial concept, but that does not mean it is not a useful concept in understanding one's experience. The authors of the commentaries were not complete bozos.

 :namaste:
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

GoGet

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dear Sangha of the Free Minds

my topic of inquiry is Theravada Buddhism mired in faithlessness, egoism, fundamentalism & rebellion?

is there a fundamentalist movement growing by mere scholars & fondlers of the Pali suttas?

I would say most definitely, yes.

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is the core Buddhist principle of verification (opanayiko paccatta? veditabbo viññuhi) being abandoned?

No, but it is being perverted somewhat.  You can see a trend among "Theravedins" online to use science as the sole arbiter of what can be considered to be "verified.  They use the kalama Sutra to support this.  This tends to run contrary to, or simply ignores the Buddha instructions on how to verify.

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is faith & respect in the (Noble) Sangha being abandoned?

I would say yes.  You can see a trend among solitary practitioners (and I use the term somewhat lightly) to avoid involvement in a legitimate sangha, even when immediately available.  This is especially common among web-surfing Buddhiatas (Webuddists?) who claim an online community as "their sangha". 

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but now we have mere scholars & fondlers of the Pali suttas, refuting the advice given by generations of noble meditation practitioners

Yep.

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an example of this faithlessness, egoistic, fundamentalist rebellion is the refuting of the confirmed reality of "neighbourhood (access) concentration"

when mere scholars merely read suttas, due to their absence of real meditative experience, they refute the reality of "neighbourhood (access) concentration" simply on the basis that a literal reading of the suttas does not contain such a term

although various meditation adepts over the centuries have confirmed both neighbourhood (access) and attainment (jhana) concentration, the fundamentalist scholars & fondlers (silabbata-paramaso-ers) continue to refute such realities with translations of suttas 

 .... or simply an interpretation.  The emphasis on "scholarship", if you can even call it that, creates an imbalance between learning and practice.  In many cases, practice is ignored.

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are these fondlers stuck in 'spiritual materialism', seeking to over-estimate an experience for the purpose of claiming an attainment?

IN all fairness, who isn't stuck in one form of Spititual Materialism of another?


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is Theravada Buddhism doomed in respect to this onslaught of faithlessness & spiritual egoism?

Probably.


Offline ABC

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The emphasis on "scholarship", if you can even call it that, creates an imbalance between learning and practice.  In many cases, practice is ignored.

maybe

the "scholarship" certainly seems dubious

an excellent example of good scholarship is Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay called The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas, which thoroughly provides supporting evidence that a stream-enterer is yet to practise jhana. yet a stream-enterer, in the suttas is considered to be an enlightened being

that being the case, what kind of concentration has enabled the stream-enter to access the transcendent (lokuttara) dhamma via insight so their mind is utterly free of doubt about the efficacy of the dhamma; free from doubt there is nibbana and a path to it; free from doubt that all things are not-self?

what kind of concentration could that be?

:flag:
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

GoGet

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The emphasis on "scholarship", if you can even call it that, creates an imbalance between learning and practice.  In many cases, practice is ignored.

maybe

the "scholarship" certainly seems dubious

an excellent example of good scholarship is Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay called The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas, which thoroughly provides supporting evidence that a stream-enterer is yet to practise jhana. yet a stream-enterer, in the suttas is considered to be an enlightened being

that being the case, what kind of concentration has enabled the stream-enter to access the transcendent (lokuttara) dhamma via insight so their mind is utterly free of doubt about the efficacy of the dhamma; free from doubt there is nibbana and a path to it; free from doubt that all things are not-self?

what kind of concentration could that be?



"Right" concentration?

 :D

Offline Monkey Mind

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With any tradition, it is hard to separate the chaff from the grain. People become emphatic about their interpretations of the teachings, and often their interpretations were achieved without a requisite of either understanding-through-study of the suttas or insight-achieved-through meditation. Remember, for the majority of the Buddhist world, meditation was a dying art form for many centuries and scriptural study was either non-existent or overly focused on a very small selection of the teachings. It great that so many traditions are experiencing a revival of sorts, but literally we are all trying to make sense out of contradictory or esoteric knowledges.

If a practice works for you, then enjoy it. If not, keep looking for one that fits.

GoGet

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With any tradition, it is hard to separate the chaff from the grain. People become emphatic about their interpretations of the teachings, and often their interpretations were achieved without a requisite of either understanding-through-study of the suttas or insight-achieved-through meditation. Remember, for the majority of the Buddhist world, meditation was a dying art form for many centuries and scriptural study was either non-existent or overly focused on a very small selection of the teachings. It great that so many traditions are experiencing a revival of sorts, but literally we are all trying to make sense out of contradictory or esoteric knowledges.

If a practice works for you, then enjoy it. If not, keep looking for one that fits.

Well said!

The trick with what are percieved to be contradictory teaching is to rely on the guidance of a proper teacher.  Even the Pali will contain teachings that "appear" to be contradicting other teachings.  Every single instance can be explained, but usually only by a qualified teaher of the Dharma.

This brings us back to the OP.  Some of what we see, especially with Webuddhists, is an aversion to working with a teacher - as if their own intellect is sufficient to unlocking the meaning of Buddhadharma.  This is rebelion against a well-established and sensible tradition of teaching and practice transmission from teacher to student.  Transmission from AccessToInsight does not qualify.  If a teacher is not nearby, that is one thing, but refusing to work with teachers that are locality is something else.

I'm uncomfortable with pinning all this on Theravedins, but it does seem that a lot of people who are foolishly trying to go it alone, etc, especially when they don't have to, are identifying themselves as Theravedins.

Of course that really doesn't mean anything.  You can call yourself whatever you want, but that alone doesn't make you that.

Offline Monkey Mind

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I'm uncomfortable with pinning all this on Theravedins, but it does seem that a lot of people who are foolishly trying to go it alone, etc, especially when they don't have to, are identifying themselves as Theravedins.
I know a lot do-it-yourselfers also orientate towards Zen or Thich Nhat Hahn or Pema Chodra, because those respected teachers have published works that are readily available. So "readily available mass media access to teachings" fits the recipe for ingredients needed to start a do-it-yourself practice. To that end, Theravada has Ajahn Thannisaro (Accesstoinsight.org), Ajahn Brahmavamso, Jack Kornfield, and many others. But they certainly don't have a monopoly on the market. Another advantage that Theravda offers the do-it-yourself student is that no initiations are required to access the teachings, so a person could study with a Thai-lineage teacher, but then visit a Burmese-lineage center and hear a good Dharma talk. (This is also true of many Zen traditions.)

I think if a person is accessing Dharma at a superficial level, or in an irratic way, or from a "scientific viewpoint", etc., that is the function of their karma. It is wonderful that they are accessing Dharma at all, and perhaps over time their practice will evolve to something more consistent with "true Dharma". (Whatever that is!)

From a personal perspective: I was a do-it-yourselfer for many years. Zen-HHDL-Kornfield. Now I can look back on the earlier years and see that I had "wrong understanding", but if it wasn't for that earlier practice I would never have developed the awareness that led me to go to Dharma talks, seek out teachers, or attend retreats. Each of us enters the stream at different places, but the current still carries us towards the ocean.

GoGet

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I'm uncomfortable with pinning all this on Theravedins, but it does seem that a lot of people who are foolishly trying to go it alone, etc, especially when they don't have to, are identifying themselves as Theravedins.
I know a lot do-it-yourselfers also orientate towards Zen or Thich Nhat Hahn or Pema Chodra, because those respected teachers have published works that are readily available. So "readily available mass media access to teachings" fits the recipe for ingredients needed to start a do-it-yourself practice. To that end, Theravada has Ajahn Thannisaro (Accesstoinsight.org), Ajahn Brahmavamso, Jack Kornfield, and many others. But they certainly don't have a monopoly on the market. Another advantage that Theravda offers the do-it-yourself student is that no initiations are required to access the teachings, so a person could study with a Thai-lineage teacher, but then visit a Burmese-lineage center and hear a good Dharma talk. (This is also true of many Zen traditions.)

True, but I was trying to describe people who eschew even teachers you can access on line such as Kornfield,Thannisiro, etc.  and that's not limited to only these so-called Theravedins.  There are those who place themselves firmly in the Mahyana that do the same thing.

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I think if a person is accessing Dharma at a superficial level, or in an irratic way, or from a "scientific viewpoint", etc., that is the function of their karma. It is wonderful that they are accessing Dharma at all, and perhaps over time their practice will evolve to something more consistent with "true Dharma". (Whatever that is!)

True enough.  One thing I think we tend to overlook (at least I do .. ) is that someone's path to the Dharma is dependent on their Karma.

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From a personal perspective: I was a do-it-yourselfer for many years. Zen-HHDL-Kornfield. Now I can look back on the earlier years and see that I had "wrong understanding", but if it wasn't for that earlier practice I would never have developed the awareness that led me to go to Dharma talks, seek out teachers, or attend retreats. Each of us enters the stream at different places, but the current still carries us towards the ocean.

You've told that story before, and it's really appreciated.  I never felt a need to go it alone.  I wanted a teacher.  In fact, for a long time I kept a 5x7 picture frame with a blank piece of white paper in it on my shrine where the guru's picture would ordinarily be.  It was my version of "calling the guru from afar" I guess. I checked out my share of teachers, some HIGHLY respected, until I found the "connection" I was seeking.  It was a truly blessed day!

But not everyone goes there.

Offline cyorescrow

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The scriptures are supposed to be a map, a guide and a preservation of the teachings that were handed down orally generation to generation within the Sangha... They are supposed to be studied for clarification and as a means to check ones bearings...Not to be the purpose and the goal in themselves....Nothing wrong with scholars as such...And many of them are clearly tradition bearers, from that point of view. And some of them are even diligent meditators. But in my experience, (being a former Theravada monk) there seem to be a tendency among the scholars to somewhat look down on the meditating monks, the forest dwellers, and those living in meditation centres. (The word is they don´t know the Dhamma properly. Mind you, I am not saying this is the general opinion among the scholars, but it´s know to be voiced). -I don´t know of course, but to throw in a quick personal analysis ---- The Forest monks have always been highly revered by the laity. So perhaps there is some kind of...(does not feel good to say)...jealousy.. I mean, If one knows that one does not have what it takes to walk the authentic path of say a Dhutanga (thudong in Thai).. then perhaps it is easy to put oneself up on high horses intellectually as a scholar. I mean, If you haven´t got the muscle, you sometimes compensate by gap...Personally I do not understand how this misunderstanding came to be...I mean, it is very clear in the teachings that neither the teachings nor the way of life of those practicing it, is the goal in itself....but is supposed to serve as a vehicle for those bent on crossing the river...And the only way to do that is to build a raft, or to swim -if one is strong enough....Sitting by the waters edge drawing schematics and debating about how it once was done does not get anyone across....     

Offline Hanzze

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"Those ascetics and brahman priests who, relying on this impermanent, miserable and transitory nature of corporeality, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, fancy: 'Better am I', or 'Equal am I', or 'Worse am I', all these imagine thus through not understanding reality"

māna

*smile*

It's lesser an traditional problem that a personal and can therefor be found among any sect. *smile* It's how ever the last string before liberation and therefor, never forget to let go of the boot if the other shore is reached.

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To the Ocean[/url]

The streams, lakes, and rivers that flow down to the ocean, when they reach the ocean, all have the same blue color, the same salty taste.

The same with human beings: It doesn't matter where they're from — when they reach the stream of the Dhamma, it's all the same Dhamma.


But for now you do not have a single idea what egoism is about.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 02:37:13 am by Hanzze »

Offline ABC

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But for now you do not have a single idea what egoism is about.

 :teehee:
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 04:28:41 am by ABC »
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

Offline ground

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Maybe

Offline Lobster

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Depends what sort of apple you want . .  .
Taste or analysis.
Whatever the seeds, so the tree.

The value is the final destination as stated . . .

May all beings have iPads and less suffering

Offline Spiny Norman

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May all beings have iPads and less suffering

I thought iPads created suffering? :wink1:

 


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