The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:54 pm

viniketa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:He rejected the idea that the Vedas were shruti


Thank you, Malcolm. I would like to learn more about this, if you could point to a source. It is confusing, given the nature of the śrāvaka tradition in Buddhism.

:namaste:



If you read the Pali Canon, you can find that Buddha himself was not ill-disposed towards Brahmans, or tradition Vedic religion per se. He simply disputed certain theories still popular among Hindus. A good source for this is the Mahaparinibbana sutta in the Digha-nikāya.

M
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:If you read the Pali Canon, you can find that Buddha himself was not ill-disposed towards Brahmans, or tradition Vedic religion per se. He simply disputed certain theories still popular among Hindus. A good source for this is the Mahaparinibbana sutta in the Digha-nikāya.


Thank you for the reply. Of the above, I am aware. I am interested in the idea of his rejection of śruti, per se. Or, did you mean, earlier, that he rejected "shruti, uncreated and eternal" as a package?

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:
JKhedrup wrote::good: Agreed, "how" is a question for another thread.


Well, Western "Buddhists" could start by recognizing the value of Vedic culture and its overwhelming contribution.

Western Tibetan Buddhists could start by dropping their obsession with validating their narratives in contradistinction to Bon narratives.

Theravadins could drop their obsession with finding "original Buddhism". etc.


Hey don't blame White Man for everything. The Red Men of Tibet are pretty damn obsessed with their lineages and historical validity. Somehow White Man and Red Man combine to obscure the Indian persuasion.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:54 pm

viniketa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:If you read the Pali Canon, you can find that Buddha himself was not ill-disposed towards Brahmans, or tradition Vedic religion per se. He simply disputed certain theories still popular among Hindus. A good source for this is the Mahaparinibbana sutta in the Digha-nikāya.


Thank you for the reply. Of the above, I am aware. I am interested in the idea of his rejection of śruti, per se. Or, did you mean, earlier, that he rejected "shruti, uncreated and eternal" as a package?

:namaste:


Yes, uncreated and eternal shruti, as a package.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:55 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
JKhedrup wrote::good: Agreed, "how" is a question for another thread.


Well, Western "Buddhists" could start by recognizing the value of Vedic culture and its overwhelming contribution.

Western Tibetan Buddhists could start by dropping their obsession with validating their narratives in contradistinction to Bon narratives.

Theravadins could drop their obsession with finding "original Buddhism". etc.


Hey don't blame White Man for everything. The Red Men of Tibet are pretty damn obsessed with their lineages and historical validity. Somehow White Man and Red Man combine to obscure the Indian persuasion.


Yes, they are -- this is a symptom of a type of historical consciousness that the Sinosphere possessed that the Indosphere was rather lacking.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:He rejected the idea that the Vedas were shruti, uncreated and eternal. Of course, such ideas are key in Dzogchen where we find the Dzogchen tantras are uncreated and eternal in the same sense the Vedas were held to be.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apaurusheyatva


So based on this reasoning, Buddha rejects Dzogchen Tantras.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Well, Western "Buddhists" could start by recognizing the value of Vedic culture and its overwhelming contribution.

Western Tibetan Buddhists could start by dropping their obsession with validating their narratives in contradistinction to Bon narratives.

Theravadins could drop their obsession with finding "original Buddhism". etc.


Hey don't blame White Man for everything. The Red Men of Tibet are pretty damn obsessed with their lineages and historical validity. Somehow White Man and Red Man combine to obscure the Indian persuasion.


Yes, they are -- this is a symptom of a type of historical consciousness that the Sinosphere possessed that the Indosphere was rather lacking.


It's interesting there is this Sino-Euro synergy that you don't get with Indo, despite the fact that they are Indo-Euros.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:24 pm

Also let's not forget the similarity of the birth and childhood stories of Jesus and Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava and Moses. Scholars have noticed the gnostic influence on Dzogchen.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:55 pm

It should be noted why the Buddha was not in favor of the Brahminical view of the Vedas. For him, it was because the view is a source of dispute. In the Pali texts most of his teachings to Brahmins was about giving up attachment to scriptural authority because it leads to thinking of them as "mine," as "real," as "the truth," which in turn leads to dispute, and potentially harmful conduct like violence.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:05 am

Reading a bit about this book. The thing about "mutual respect" is a bit of a slight of hand on his part. He is basically trying to get other religions to respect Hindu ideals. Only Hindus think all paths are equally paths to god. Almost all other religions are exclusivist, Buddhism included. Did Buddha respect Hindu ideas? Not really, he satirized them.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:21 am

What also comes to mind are texts like "The Sermon on the Mount According to Swami So and So," interpreting Christianity in Hindu terms. Everything this guy blames the West of doing, Hindus did it too. He's doing underhanded Hindu proselytizing. This is exactly the kind of empty debate the Buddha warned of.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby tobes » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:28 am

Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote: I see linear historicity as grounded far more in Enlightenment philosophies which were really running against the Abrahamic religions. i.e. Darwin, Hegel, Marx et al and conceptions of historical progress.


'While Christianity claims a divine mandate to superimpose its own history-centrism on the entire world, thinkers of the European Enlightenment have also developed various conceptual absolutes and endowed these with 'universal' status. The profound assumption is that the shape and direction of world history are leading to a single Western goal – be it salvation or scientific secular progress.

Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 5079-5082). . Kindle Edition.

But it was Hegel, among all German thinkers, who had the deepest and most enduring impact on Western thought and identity. It is often forgotten that his work was a reaction against the Romantics' passion for India's past. He borrowed Indian ideas (such as monism) while debating Indologists to argue against the value of Indian civilization. He posited that the West, and only the West, was the agent of history and teleology. India was the 'frozen other', which he used as a foil to define the West.

Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 5174-5178). . Kindle Edition.


Sure, Hegel is profoundly guilty of a teleological historicism which univeralises western consciousness/culture and overtly disparages non-western religions and ideas.

But how many contemporary western Buddhist academics are Hegelians? Even closet Hegelians? The last one I can think of was Murti, who did much to completely misunderstand Madhyamaka by reading it through Kant and Hegel. He was an Indian.

Actually, there is one more I can think of - Peter Fenner, who reads Nagarjunian logic as dialectical.

For everyone else, Hegel and his historicism has long been dead and buried.

If we are to speak of a western univeralism, surely it is a/ the ideology of liberal-democracy and b/ the political economy of neo-liberalism. The vast majority of Indian students head to western institutions to learn about demand, supply, finance and management. This has nothing to do with German idealism, history or monotheism - and everything to do with the logic of utility.

And in India, this logic has become extremely powerful - if there is a national undercurrent at the moment, it is: economic growth, I.T., infrastructure, wealth creation. Little of that is Vedic.

So I just think Malhotra has the wrong end of the stick here.

:anjali:
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:42 am

tobes wrote:
If we are to speak of a western univeralism, surely it is a/ the ideology of liberal-democracy and b/ the political economy of neo-liberalism. The vast majority of Indian students head to western institutions to learn about demand, supply, finance and management. This has nothing to do with German idealism, history or monotheism - and everything to do with the logic of utility.

And in India, this logic has become extremely powerful - if there is a national undercurrent at the moment, it is: economic growth, I.T., infrastructure, wealth creation. Little of that is Vedic.

So I just think Malhotra has the wrong end of the stick here.



All of these things that you mention are a logical extension of the ideological currents that begins with the Englightenment. Malhotra addresses the Indian capitulation to the exact type of Western Universalism you mention above.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:43 am

deepbluehum wrote:Also let's not forget the similarity of the birth and childhood stories of Jesus and Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava and Moses. Scholars have noticed the gnostic influence on Dzogchen.


You mean they have imagined such an influence.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:46 am

deepbluehum wrote:Reading a bit about this book. The thing about "mutual respect" is a bit of a slight of hand on his part. He is basically trying to get other religions to respect Hindu ideals. Only Hindus think all paths are equally paths to god. Almost all other religions are exclusivist, Buddhism included. Did Buddha respect Hindu ideas? Not really, he satirized them.


We have a very skewed view of Buddhism on the ground in ancient and how it was actually practiced -- we derive our view of Buddhism in India through the lense of a few polemical scholars, ignoring many inconvienient facts. For example, that fact that the Thai court still maintains brahmin priests, and has done so for hundreds of years, etc.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:48 am

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Also let's not forget the similarity of the birth and childhood stories of Jesus and Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava and Moses. Scholars have noticed the gnostic influence on Dzogchen.


You mean they have imagined such an influence.


It's a bit of a glaring similarity, bordering on plagarism.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:50 am

deepbluehum wrote:Reading a bit about this book. The thing about "mutual respect" is a bit of a slight of hand on his part. He is basically trying to get other religions to respect Hindu ideals.



I don't think his point is that facile. For example, Buddha actually did respect other paths, even if he did not sign off on them.

What Malhotra was pointing out was that in general, in ancient India there was a cultural flexibility that could accomodate a pluralistic religious and social culture in ways that Abrahamic religions just cannot.

But when we read Indian polemics through western eyes, we tend to reify these debates into evangelisms that are just not present.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:52 am

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Also let's not forget the similarity of the birth and childhood stories of Jesus and Garab Dorje, Padmasambhava and Moses. Scholars have noticed the gnostic influence on Dzogchen.


You mean they have imagined such an influence.


It's a bit of a glaring similarity, bordering on plagarism.


Any similarities in the birth stories of Padmasambhava, Garab Dorje, Jesus and Moses are incidental.

There are no gnostic influences on Dzogchen. Any imagined influences are purely speculative and not grounded in any concrete fact, historical or textual.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:57 am

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Reading a bit about this book. The thing about "mutual respect" is a bit of a slight of hand on his part. He is basically trying to get other religions to respect Hindu ideals. Only Hindus think all paths are equally paths to god. Almost all other religions are exclusivist, Buddhism included. Did Buddha respect Hindu ideas? Not really, he satirized them.


We have a very skewed view of Buddhism on the ground in ancient and how it was actually practiced -- we derive our view of Buddhism in India through the lense of a few polemical scholars, ignoring many inconvienient facts. For example, that fact that the Thai court still maintains brahmin priests, and has done so for hundreds of years, etc.


What you are ignoring is the fact that Buddha used cultural Aikido on the Hindu world. Which in turn, they did back. This is the "Dharmic world." There was never any real respect for each other. The Buddha's story about the Vedic rite for his funeral is not what you think. There is a nonchalantness about it. If you live in Indian culture you can see this first hand how "respect for others" is given in a nonchalant way. In India, it's path of least resistance. It is way different than adoption. The Thai are playing imitation. The world has a hell of a time with India. India transcends reasons. The Western scholars are correct, Buddha was mocking Vedic cosmology. It's a very Indian kind of humor, very subtle and ironic, but the undertone is a death blow.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:00 am

Malcolm wrote:But when we read Indian polemics through western eyes, we tend to reify these debates into evangelisms that are just not present.


You are absolutely right. The Indian mind is a sense, doesn't even care about it's own views, not that much. Caring too much is a sign of stupidity. If you are ever in a dinner with a bunch of Indians and a couple of whites you will see this happen when the whites come out with the "what do you believe" talk and the Indians are basically laughing under their breath the whole time.
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