Gregory Schopen - Demon or Medicine or...?

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Gregory Schopen - Demon or Medicine or...?

Postby Leo Rivers » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:00 pm

http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/the-ironic-assumptions-of-gregory-schopen/

An interesting "go" at Gregory Schopen, with some pointed critques on a scholatic level, but overall it is an attack not from a position that, at least from others who have made it, I see as unassalible from self serving assumptions itself. After 25 years with a Tibetan Buddhist Sangha I have a grim opinion of "practicing Buddhists" as regards having a transcendental advantage in interpreting texts "hidden truths and unseen dimensions" unavailable to shallow non Buddhist scholars. But then again my Lama, who remains the one for which I retain the most respect, always told us to not read Lesser Vehicle texts because we would be confused and misled by them.

What do you think?


A sample:
Compared with the situation in Bible studies, the quantity of Buddhist literature is so vast, the subject matter so obscure, and the amount of serious research so small, that it is premature to discard any methodology. While the early scholars may not have given due weight to the archaeological evidence, they must be forgiven, in consideration of the sheer time and effort it takes to learn the Buddhist languages and read the texts. They have at least given us a reasonably coherent and satisfying working model of Indian Buddhism. If we were to accept Schopen in his more radical moods we would be rendered incapable of saying anything about the Buddha or his teachings, and would be left with no idea as to why there were, in the later periods, such widely spread religious schools claiming inspiration from a common Teacher, sharing a similar lifestyle, and borrowing wholesale each other’s scriptures, at the same time as vigorously arguing with each other over what the scriptures mean.


Please see Wynn's original critique:

“How old is the Suttapiñaka? The relative value of textual and epigraphical sources for the study of early Indian Buddhism.” © Alexander Wynne, St John’s College, 2003
Located at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106702425/Wynne-Alex-How-Old-is-the-Suttapitaka
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Re: Gregory Schopen - Demon or Medicine or...?

Postby Leo Rivers » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:56 am

I am not one of the "Hail Eris Gange". (Albeit a fan of Robert Anton Wilson). I am not a troll. :alien: I am a Buddhist and Leo Rivers is the single person I am.

I am however interested in the gap between scholarly and popular expositons of Buddhism. Several people on this board are consummate scholars and provide spiriual leadership as well. What is very interesting is the way scholarly models of Buddhism are taken by people who see them as being a kind of rival "official" dogma. They are not.They are provisional tools for stroking new data out of old data. Scholars build a model and run with it testing it against other models. Scientists are very adaptable in taking peer group critique and retooling their ideas. Each model geneates a unique kind of new data and way of looking at it. But the evidence such inquiries produce make a kind of frame that does exclude what doen't fit into that frame of evidence. The Pomp of Mahayana legendary Histories and Chinese and Tibetan Lineage claims take real hits. That negative control is the creative genius of the neccessity of creating falsifiable experiments. They kill wrong roads only to shine a light in new diraections.

As an atheist I do try to aviod discussion of reincarnation, (which I believe makes more trouble for Buddhism than its worth), and supernatural elements. For me the Buddha was a Man, a man of his age and worldview, and the Buddas of Mahayana sutras were psuedo-epigraphia for new voices with wisdom that needed authority... To me sutras are social science fiction, as were the Roscrucian Manifestoes, or even the popular fiction Ectopia. Sutras are often compacts for a new way to view society, and compose a spiritually informed Constitution. Think of the way the Book of the Watchers provied a "setting" for the Essene Damacus Document. The first chapter of the Lankavatara provided the same mythic setting for the later conceptual chapters of the text.
:namaste:
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Re: Gregory Schopen - Demon or Medicine or...?

Postby montana » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:50 am

Are you talking about the guru whose sangha imploded ethically and financially after 25 years?
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Re: Gregory Schopen - Demon or Medicine or...?

Postby montana » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:06 am

So from what I understand Leo, you interpret and discuss Buddhism as an exercise in comparative religion where the Buddha is just an arbitrary authority for "voices" of wisdom and in that sense identical to fabricated "Roscrucian Manifestoes, or even the popular fiction Ectopia".

I am curious, do you consider yourself a Buddhist using the teachings of other religions to give you special insight into Buddhism or do you see yourself as a follower of some other religion using Buddhism to garner further insight into that school's teachings?
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