Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:46 am

Vidyaraja wrote:You said traditional monarchism=authoritarianism=pretty much fascism.
No I did not. I said that Evola, faced with the choice of no power (given the complete collapse of the Italian Feudal system) or power through tacit support of Fascism, chose Fascism, not necessarily because he was a Fascist but because he wanted power nonetheless. His involvement with Facism (and thus tacit support) makes him a Fascist.
Those societies were traditional monarchies, therefore by your logic would be pretty much fascism.
I said no such thing. Your debating style ranges from red herrings to straw men.
Many Zen Buddhists can be quoted supporting Japanese Imperialism of the 20th century and the atrocities committed through it, does that negate all of Zen Buddhism? What these particular men had to say has no bearing on what the actual form of government consists of, nor does it disprove the ability of any form of government to either engage in or not engage in warfare/slaughter.

japanese imperial red herring.jpg
japanese imperial red herring.jpg (6.83 KiB) Viewed 450 times

Either way, I think we all should stop arguing about Evola's politics or fascism in general because it has no relevance to the topic of discussion.
Unfortunately for you it does. Evola, like all Fascist/Nazi mysticists of the time, appropriated aspects of Hinduism, Buddhism, etc... that they felt could be incorporated into their racist/authoritarian theories to "spiritually" justify their atrocities. It is not a matter of comparing Perrenial philosophy to Buddhism in order to see their commonalities, but more a matter of investigating where and when these elements were coopted from Buddhism and used by Evola and his croneys.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:13 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: It is not a matter of comparing Perrenial philosophy to Buddhism in order to see their commonalities, but more a matter of investigating where and when these elements were coopted from Buddhism and used by Evola and his croneys.


Perhaps the "traditionalist school"view relies purely on the outward/superficial appearances of things,
in which case, by virtue of the fact that Buddhists, Hindus and Nazis all use swastikas
it is believed by the traditionalist that they share some intrinsic similarities.
If this is true, then
applied to itself,
traditionalism can be likened to anything in which one finds a random similarity.
Thus, simply by being a school of philosophy
it is therefore the same as any other school of philosophy.
.
.
.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:26 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Perhaps the "traditionalist school"view relies purely on the outward/superficial appearances of things,
in which case, by virtue of the fact that Buddhists, Hindus and Nazis all use swastikas
it is believed by the traditionalist that they share some intrinsic similarities.
No, they were definitely intentionally approriated.

Not that the swastika, for example, was not utilised as a popular symbol:
swastika.jpg
swastika.jpg (46.18 KiB) Viewed 428 times

Edmonton-Swastikas-hockey-team-1916.jpg
Edmonton-Swastikas-hockey-team-1916.jpg (80.1 KiB) Viewed 433 times

Jewish_swastika.jpg
Jewish_swastika.jpg (45.84 KiB) Viewed 434 times

But the use of the symbol by the Nazis (via the theorising of the Traditionalsits) was defintely an apporpriation via a warping of the meaning of the symbol.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:41 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Perhaps the "traditionalist school"view relies purely on the outward/superficial appearances of things,
in which case, by virtue of the fact that Buddhists, Hindus and Nazis all use swastikas
it is believed by the traditionalist that they share some intrinsic similarities.
No, they were definitely intentionally approriated.


Yes.
What I am saying is that perhaps the traditionalist cannot tell the difference,
and would argue that a table is the same thing as a dog because they both have four legs
regardless of which came into your house first.
.
.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby zamotcr » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:54 pm

Let's not forget Evola racism. He said that negroes are a mixed race between Hyperboreans and degenerated human beings of previous manvantaras.
I haven't read anything wrong about Rene Guenon, but Evola, he is not in the mailine of Traditionalism. He maybe support ideas of traditionalism, but he also introduced contradictory teachings.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Dronma » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:27 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Perhaps the "traditionalist school"view relies purely on the outward/superficial appearances of things,
in which case, by virtue of the fact that Buddhists, Hindus and Nazis all use swastikas
it is believed by the traditionalist that they share some intrinsic similarities.


Swastika was also a sacred symbol in ancient Greece.
It was the sign of Zeus and a symbol of peace.
It was known as tetra-gammadion, because it can be seen as being made up of four Greek gamma (Γ) letters.
Ancient Greek priestesses would tattoo the symbol, along with the tetraskelion, on their bodies.
So, nothing wrong with the symbol itself!
All the problems arise by the notions of sick human minds... :shrug:


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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:50 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Perhaps the "traditionalist school"view relies purely on the outward/superficial appearances of things, in which case, by virtue of the fact that Buddhists, Hindus and Nazis all use swastikas it is believed by the traditionalist that they share some intrinsic similarities.


Dronma wrote:Swastika was also a sacred symbol in ancient Greece.
It was the sign of Zeus and a symbol of peace.
It was known as tetra-gammadion, because it can be seen as being made up of four Greek gamma (Γ) letters.
Ancient Greek priestesses would tattoo the symbol, along with the tetraskelion, on their bodies.
So, nothing wrong with the symbol itself!
All the problems arise by the notions of sick human minds...


That's interesting.
It has nothing to do with my comment.
.
.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Dronma » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:That's interesting.
It has nothing to do with my comment.


It is not relevant directly with your comment. But indirectly, since Nazis claimed to admire ancient Greece too! So, I thought that a little clarification could be useful to everybody... :smile:
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~ Padmasambhava ~
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:54 pm

So far in this thread, many claims have been made promoting the so-called "perennial philosophy"* vis a vis Dharma practice.

Not once has a convincing claim been made for its relevance to Buddhist practice. So let's give it a shot: will someone advocating for the value of the "pp" to Buddhist practice, or its relevance to Dharma in any way actually, please address this?



*This is an oxymoron if you look at it historically. The "perennial philosophy" is neither perennial (not "timeless" but a product of a particular historical moment, starting with Leibnitz) nor a philosophy (at least not a critical philosophy in any sense).
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:09 am

If your worldview fits entirely within the parameters of the Buddhism there might not be any need to even entertain the idea of a 'perennial philosophy'.

However if you can't understand or agree with every facet of Buddhist philosophy, or you want to account for the notion that some philosophies other than Buddhist are also valid life philosophies, then it is useful to have a means to compare ideas from other times and places.

In my case, Christian and Platonist teachings still have considerable influence on my outlook. So the idea of an underlying perennial philosophy, of which these great traditions are instances, not only makes sense to me, but enables me to reconcile those different aspects of my own beliefs.

The Buddha actually appropriated many ideas from the sorrounding religious culture, not least the notion of the 'true Brahmin' as being the exemplar of higher consciousness.

Actually I think the best overall model for the perennial philosophy is R M Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. I think it is as near to a scientific, rational explanation of the meaning of 'spiritual enlightenment' as we're ever going to get. (I might start a thread on that book, if there is any interest.)
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:35 am

jeeprs wrote:Actually I think the best overall model for the perennial philosophy is R M Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. I think it is as near to a scientific, rational explanation of the meaning of 'spiritual enlightenment' as we're ever going to get. (I might start a thread on that book, if there is any interest.)
I just read Bucke's biography and fail to see any connection to perrenial philosophy.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:39 am

that is not the book I mentioned. Perhaps if you look at that one, you will see the connection.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:27 pm

??? :shrug: ???

I said I read his biography and it made no mention of Perennial philosophy. His name does not appear anywhere in relation to Perennial philosophy or the Traditionalists. Are you just saying that his approach is similar to the Perennialists?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:32 pm

The book I mentioned was not a biography of Richard Bucke. It was his book 'Cosmic Consciousness: a Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind'.

This work is the magnum opus of Bucke's career, a project that he researched and wrote over many years. In it, Bucke described his own experience, that of contemporaries (most notably Whitman, but also unknown figures like "C.P."), and the experiences and outlook of historical figures including Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Plotinus, Muhammad, Dante, Francis Bacon, and William Blake. Bucke developed a theory involving three stages in the development of consciousness: the simple consciousness of animals; the self-consciousness of the mass of humanity (encompassing reason, imagination, etc.); and cosmic consciousness - an emerging faculty and the next stage of human development. Among the effects of this progression, he believed he detected a lengthy historical trend in which religious conceptions and theologies had become less and less fearful. A classic work.


His name is not mentioned by Guenon and all of those types. He was actually a bit of a loner and not very influential in academia. He was not on the curriculum when I did Comparative Religion. But that book is brilliant, albeit quite idiosyncratic, and with some obvious flaws. And, as I said, he lays out a credible theory of what actually constitutes 'enlightenment'. He says it is the future state of human-kind, what we are all evolving towards, and that these great figures are simply precursors of that state - as far above ordinary human consciousness as ours is above animals - which will become the destiny of everybody in the long run.

Public domain edition is here http://archive.org/details/cosmconscious

however the way the original was printed was part of the book's charm, as it had passages from all of his various sources laid out in larger type, with his comments and annotations in smaller type in the margins. So I can't vouch for the online editions, but I definitely regard it as a modern spiritual classic.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:42 pm

jeeprs wrote:If your worldview fits entirely within the parameters of the Buddhism there might not be any need to even entertain the idea of a 'perennial philosophy'.

However if you can't understand or agree with every facet of Buddhist philosophy, or you want to account for the notion that some philosophies other than Buddhist are also valid life philosophies, then it is useful to have a means to compare ideas from other times and places.

In my case, Christian and Platonist teachings still have considerable influence on my outlook. So the idea of an underlying perennial philosophy, of which these great traditions are instances, not only makes sense to me, but enables me to reconcile those different aspects of my own beliefs.

The Buddha actually appropriated many ideas from the sorrounding religious culture, not least the notion of the 'true Brahmin' as being the exemplar of higher consciousness.

Actually I think the best overall model for the perennial philosophy is R M Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. I think it is as near to a scientific, rational explanation of the meaning of 'spiritual enlightenment' as we're ever going to get. (I might start a thread on that book, if there is any interest.)


This is a helpful post (helpful for me in coming to grips with this thread). Thank you for it. In the rest of this post, I am speaking just for myself and about my own experience, which may or may not be generalizable to anyone else's.

I'm not averse to comparative philosophy. In fact, I find it of great value. I just do it a bit differently. For instance, here is one M. Foucault (in the Birth of Biopolitics) describing the dependent origination of the capitalist social order: “a singular figure in which economic processes and institutional frameworks call on each other, support each other, modify and shape each other in ceaseless reciprocity” (164). I have found related passages in Marx; for instance, in the Grundrisse, production and consumption are posited as mutually determining each other, and basically having no existence without reference to the other. I bring this up not to claim that critical philosophy is relevant to everyone's practice of Buddhism, merely that I have learned from it.

Again, speaking for myself, I generally find eternalist and idealist arguments to be wanting, wholly unconvincing. This may be why I find this the arguments advanced on behalf of the PP to be unconvincing. As near as I can tell, the purpose of the PP is to construct a belief system that explains the world of experience. I am more interested in learning how the samsaric world works in order to be of service to that world, to transform it. Building the better belief system is not my pastime.

Theses on Feuerbach wrote:The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:39 pm

Jikan wrote:I'm not averse to comparative philosophy. In fact, I find it of great value. I just do it a bit differently. For instance, here is one M. Foucault (in the Birth of Biopolitics) describing the dependent origination of the capitalist social order: “a singular figure in which economic processes and institutional frameworks call on each other, support each other, modify and shape each other in ceaseless reciprocity” (164). I have found related passages in Marx; for instance, in the Grundrisse, production and consumption are posited as mutually determining each other, and basically having no existence without reference to the other. I bring this up not to claim that critical philosophy is relevant to everyone's practice of Buddhism, merely that I have learned from it.

Again, speaking for myself, I generally find eternalist and idealist arguments to be wanting, wholly unconvincing. This may be why I find this the arguments advanced on behalf of the PP to be unconvincing. As near as I can tell, the purpose of the PP is to construct a belief system that explains the world of experience. I am more interested in learning how the samsaric world works in order to be of service to that world, to transform it. Building the better belief system is not my pastime.

Theses on Feuerbach wrote:The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

Funny how different things click with different people. I have tried several times to read Foucault and others, and found them rather dense and frustrating, more a symptom of our degenerate age than anything genuinely valuable. And "fixing samsara" always looked like a really pointless enterprise to me. Again, just my personal experience, no claims of objectivity here.

As jeeprs correctly said earlier, for a person whose views are completely in harmony with, say, Buddhism, PP has little to offer, though he would probably still benefit from explanations how different spiritual paths can have real value, despite doctrinal contradictions. This is something many modern religions could really use.

On the other hand, for a person not born and raised in a religious environment, accepting and wholeheartedly embracing a certain spiritual path can be very difficult. It was easy a thousand years ago, where a religion could (and did) proclaim that it is the only true path, and all unbelievers are going straight to hell, and no one would really second-guess it, because most people would probably never leave their home village and meet a follower of a different faith. It does not work like this in the modern world. We are forced to deal with an endless stream of questions. How can any religion be possibly true at all? A very real question for a modern person raised in a materialist milieu with its ignorance of the subject. How can we possibly decide which religion is true, if there are so many of them, each claiming to represent one and only truth? And so on. In this case, PP can be an antidote to the spiritual ills of modernity.

In the Lamrim teachings, the lowest aspiration is said to be a desire to escape the evil destiny after death and obtain a good rebirth. Many people, due to cultural conditioning, are unable to form even this motivation. They have "zero-level" aspiration instead, the only one allowed by the materialist metaphysics - to obtain certain pleasures in this life. PP can help them reach the point where they can begin to benefit from Lamrim teachings.
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Will » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:02 am

Vidyaraja,

Where did you get that diagram in your OP?
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Buddhism and the Perennial Philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:36 am

I rather like this one:

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