Policy of Tolerance

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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:16 am

It might also be noted that traditional cultures of all kinds struggle to understand the Western 'sexual revolution' which is associated with the general availability of contraception and enormous shifts in perception with regards to gender and sexuality, which took form in the 1950's and 60's. There is a good deal of incomprehension on either side of the gulf - because a 'gulf' is what it is. Those born in the 50's might have a foot in both camps. But Gen-X and later, who have been brought up in the post-sexual-revolution West, have a very different view than their elders. For instance, many kinds of sexual activities, and sexual relationships outside marriage, are regarded as solely a matter for the individual. Sexual activity itself is often equated with a form of recreation, and there is a large 'industry' devoted to sexual and erotic imagery and products.

From the viewpoint of the traditionalists, Western culture has become a-moral regarding sex. Not immoral but a-moral, that is, dissociating sexuality from morality altogether. So such things as consumption of pornography, being employed in 'sex work', polyamory, and various other forms of paraphilia, which would generally be regarded as immoral by traditionalists, are thought to be no more or less immoral than pursuing a sport or any other form of entertainment. (I suppose that could also be seen as part of the general trend of 'de-sacralization' that is part of Western secularism.)

As far as many cultures are concerned, the Western laissez-faire attitude towards sexuality is all part of the effort by the West to undermine and indeed overthrow their cultural norms and sacred traditions. Whereas for many Western liberals, that kind of attitude is repressive and old-fashioned and what mankind has to be liberated from. And I don't expect that this is a conflict that is going to be resolved easily or soon.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Simon E. » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:28 pm

In fact it could be easily resolved.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby garudha » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:09 pm

I believe that without free speech our collective cognition is robbed of expression.

I believe free speech is invaluable on the internet.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby seeker242 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:37 pm

untxi wrote:The point is how to present the dharma and sangha to others, especially people who are radically outside socially conservative traditional Asian Buddhist society. Drive them away from dharma with hate


I don't know. I don't see any of the hate you are seeing.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Simon E. » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:54 pm

To be fair neither do I , just irrelevance.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby untxi » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:39 pm

It's important to understand the context of a teaching. Some are provisional (neyartha) and have a particular social and historical context. They are upaya and skillful means. The passage of Nagarjuna that Indrajala quotes is certainly upaya. It's intention is not to convince women that they are inferior. The audience is young male renunciates who require some fear of women to keep them on the path. There are similar passages in Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara. I don't find that passage misogynistic as there is a specific context and intention to the narrative. What I do find misogynistic is sharing that passage with ordained nuns. What possible benefit is there in that? How does it enhance their commitment to their discipline to convince them that they're more crafty, deceitful and passionate than their male counterparts? How does that support their studies or their meditation? Specifically what is the benefit on that in a time and place where in secular life women are subject to sexual violence and objectification, as well as economic marginalization?

The vinaya is not rigid and static. It arose from the Buddha's responses to real life social and economic situations. He's dead and it is the tradition to adapt the spirit of the vinaya to current challenges. Once upon a time they didn't ordain boys who had blond hair. Now that's not a problem. They also didn't ordain people with disabilities as they would burden the sangha. Now people with disabilities can be independent and are for themselves. Theras survive by alms. In Tibet the villages support the monastery and monks have sponsors. In China monasteries are often largely self-supporting.

Women wanting full ordination is not necessarily a function of western liberal feminist ideas. As HH the 17th Karmapa has said, the ordination of women is important for everyone and the dharma. His argument is one based on dependent origination. There is one dharma and two dharma holders, men and women. Men and women are related and related to the dharma. If something is missing for one, it impacts the other, and it impacts the dharma. I would be the first to admit that the vinaya is not what it seems. The teachings are very deep. I would also be the first to suggest that understanding how these teachings came about is our key to applying them. So the most senior nun must be subordinate to the most junior monk-- what's up with that? What problem was Buddha trying to solve in the sangha and in the relationship of the sangha to the lay community? The purpose was that the lay community would not approve of male monks being equal or subordinate to female nuns. Do we have that social issue today? Will people be turned away from the dharma if a young monk is directed by a senior nun? Maybe we have different problems today.

My root teacher has said that there is one dharma. There is no male dharma and female dharma. It can't be the case as Buddha nature has no gender and the conditioned body that arises exists in a world formed by karma as well. All of our teachings on dharma and gender, race, and sexuality are based on social construct. Even Buddha's teachings on them were based on social construct. They *had to be* as that was their point-- to find harmony for the sangha within that social construct.

If we like, we can use the same Nagarjuna to analyze where the inferiority of women rests. Is it in their bodies? their minds? both? neither? Is it part of their "self"? Where is that anyway? If it's in their bodies, then what parts? Their breasts, their vaginas, their ovaries? If so, what part? What tissues? What cells? What particles? If it's in their minds, what part of that mind is "female"? If even person and woman are imputed from our side, then certainly gender inferiority is.

So for me it's clear that any gender language needs to be supportive and positive to be in accord with the dharma, the exception being if there is some special upaya like the verses of Nagarjuna quoted by Indrajala. To share those verses outside of that context is a form of violence and contrary to the spirit of the dharma.

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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Indrajala » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:09 pm

untxi wrote:It's intention is not to convince women that they are inferior. The audience is young male renunciates who require some fear of women to keep them on the path.


Either that or the author really meant what he wrote.

One problem modern Buddhists have is that they tend to reinterpret away disagreeable statements and ideas they find in their own classical literature. I think this is because of cognitive dissonance. It is difficult to cherish modern values like feminism and so on while being an orthodox Buddhist. Premodern Buddhist traditions are simply not compatible with modern values unless you ignore or reinterpret all the problematic elements.

Specifically what is the benefit on that in a time and place where in secular life women are subject to sexual violence and objectification, as well as economic marginalization?


Do you have any evidence to really suggest that women of the time were subject to such things, or is this just your imagination of some awful past where women were subject to all these horrible things that we've apparently remedied with modern values and education?


Women wanting full ordination is not necessarily a function of western liberal feminist ideas.


Can you cite any examples of Tibetan nuns in earlier times demanding full ordinations?


So the most senior nun must be subordinate to the most junior monk-- what's up with that?


This is Vinaya law and it is hardwired into it. By law nuns are subordinate to the male sangha and must seek their approval in various administrative procedures (karma-sangha).

If you want to play by the rules, this must be respected.

I personally am fine with updating the Vinaya, though the nuns in question are demanding full orthodox ordinations in the name of advancing their status, meanwhile they're pushing a system which represses them. Maybe they are unaware of this?



My root teacher has said that there is one dharma. There is no male dharma and female dharma.


The sangha however is strictly defined in terms of gender. This is why intersexual persons are prohibited from ordaining: it is unclear where they will sit in the sangha.

If we like, we can use the same Nagarjuna to analyze where the inferiority of women rests.


Nāgārjuna would disagree. He accepted conventional reality as is. If he really wrote the cited lines, then he probably really believed what he wrote, at least at a conventional level.

To share those verses outside of that context is a form of violence and contrary to the spirit of the dharma.


You're basically reading into a text something that isn't there. As far as the text itself goes, those remarks are poetically arranged (hence meant to be appreciated) and the meaning self-evident.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby plwk » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:46 pm

So Mods and Admin, what dost thou thinkest? :coffee:
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Simon E. » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:59 pm

oushi wrote:
untxi wrote:I think it would be a good idea to construct and subsequently enforce a policy of tolerance.

Enforce tolerance? :roll: That's self-contradicting.



Precisely.

Frankly untxi I think you are asking for a different type of forum to this one , with a different style of modding.

I think you will be disappointed.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Will » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:14 pm

Ah yes, "toleration" except certain 'themes', tones, vibrations as sensed psychically by the Tolerance Overlords.

Nuts.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby untxi » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:31 pm

That's fine. I accept whatever people wish. It's not my forum. It's part of my samaya to speak out against what I perceive to be injustice, and so it is said. People can make their own assessments.

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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:22 am

Vidyaraja wrote:What about tolerance of viewpoints which contradict politically correct dogmas and thus are incorrectly labeled "hateful" because they disagree with modern, politically correct memes, such as the support of feminism or homosexuality? If a person felt that those things were incorrect and harmful, should he thus be silenced because those positions are considered "intolerant" by the apostles of "tolerance"?



There's a point where some views simply go beyond acommunities standards, even within the broader band of being "tolerant". For instance, ideologies which support the idea that certain races etc. are superior to others, are IMO simply don't need to be here, period.. no matter how nicely they are dressed up. I don't presume to speak for the rest of the moderation team or usership, but as far as i'm concerned the essential answer to your question is NO, not everyone's views need to be tolerated, and that most definitely includes views which include poisonous ideas like inherent racial superiority.

Again speaking simply for myself, if you are looking for a place to express some sentiments like that, I think you ought to find somewhere else to do it, there are plenty of specialized locations where you can talk about those sorts of ideas. As far as i'm concerned those views simply don't need expression at all on DW, you can consider that opinion hypocritical if you'd like, I don't care.

I also think it's underhanded to disdain over egalitarian values, tolerance, etc..while trying to take advantage of that very tolerance yourself in order to spread your own, admittedly intolerant views.

In short, if you want to talk about that stuff, IMHO, go somewhere else.
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Re: Policy of Tolerance

Postby Tara » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:07 pm

Thanks to all who have contributed to this topic.

A staff discussion will be / is taking place to see if the Terms of Service or ... the Rules! need modifying.
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