"...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:09 am

Malcolm wrote:Well, I don't think the four seals are a sufficient criteria: for example, the Saṃkhya school regards conditioned phenomena as being nonself, suffering, and impermanent (the manner in which they do so is a bit different than the Buddha's formulation, nevertheless...), and the experience of purusha can easily be equated with the unsupported consciousness of the Pali suttas...so...

I recently read this in DJKR's Buddha Nature book:
Buddhists talk about “not truly existent”, and I think that in this present day, this is like the ace up our sleeves, our trump card. It is what distinguishes the Buddhist view. However, only the Samkhyas, the high Samkhyas, have a view that is so close to the Buddhist view as to be nearly indistinguishable.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:15 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Well, I don't think the four seals are a sufficient criteria: for example, the Saṃkhya school regards conditioned phenomena as being nonself, suffering, and impermanent (the manner in which they do so is a bit different than the Buddha's formulation, nevertheless...), and the experience of purusha can easily be equated with the unsupported consciousness of the Pali suttas...so...

I recently read this in DJKR's Buddha Nature book:
Buddhists talk about “not truly existent”, and I think that in this present day, this is like the ace up our sleeves, our trump card. It is what distinguishes the Buddhist view. However, only the Samkhyas, the high Samkhyas, have a view that is so close to the Buddhist view as to be nearly indistinguishable.


Yes, he is referring to the early non-theistic Saṃkhya of the Rishi Kapila, rather than the later theistic Saṃkhya.

But this merely goes to show that it is difficult to define a universal core set of Buddhist doctrines that are uniquely and distinctly Buddhist.

It is much easier to define what is not Buddhist than what is "Buddhist" in fact.

Universe created by God? Ok not Buddhist. And that's about it.

Actually, if there is a teaching in Buddhism that is uniquely the Buddha's, it is dependent origination i.e. where this exists, that exists, where that arose, this arose; where that does not exist, this does not exist, with the ceasing of that, this ceased, etc.

But not all "Buddhist" schools acccept this as the sine qua non of Dharma. For example, in Dzogchen, the twelve limbs are considered merely a gateway for deluded people, but not the sine qua non of Dharma.
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:25 am

Malcolm wrote:It is much easier to define what is not Buddhist than what is "Buddhist" in fact.

What do yout think about this attempt:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=14040&p=184779#p184779 ?
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:33 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:It is much easier to define what is not Buddhist than what is "Buddhist" in fact.

What do yout think about this attempt:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=14040&p=184779#p184779 ?


It is definitely more comprehensive than merely relying on the four seals. But its not perfect, though it is a start.

M
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:36 am

I just a few minutes ago read this somewhat relevant seeming passage from Lindtner's "Buddhism As Brahmanism":
This is not to say that (early) Buddhism is Brahmanism. On four major points the Buddhists - and the Jains - rejected Brahmanism. These four points are summed up in a historically accurate way by Dharmakirti in the final verse of the first chapter of his Pramanavartika(340):
- Sanskrit snipped -
"The authority of the Veda, the doctrine of a creator of the world, the conviction that rituals can cause moral purity, and the haughtiness based on claims of birth" - on these points Buddhism has always rejected Brahmanism.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:57 am

"the conviction that rituals can cause moral purity....


That pretty much does in a lot of Vajrayāna ritual purity rituals.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:59 am

The next and final paragraph from the Lindtner paper is also amusing, at least to me:
If he were to address himself to a modern Jewish, Christian or Moslem audience, i.e. to the "Abrahamic religions" an ancient Indian Buddhist acarya would have to admit that he did not like the Bible (Koran), the priesthood, their rituals and the God they hail as the Creator.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:08 am

Malcolm wrote:
"the conviction that rituals can cause moral purity....


That pretty much does in a lot of Vajrayāna ritual purity rituals.

Yeah, I was wondering about that. Maybe the Vajrayanists can get out of it by saying their rituals are not about moral purity?
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:18 am

From Padmanabh Jaini's "Sramanas: Their Conflict with Brahmanical Society"

Background to the Conflict

    The unquestioned authority of the Vedas;
    the belief in a worid-creator;
    the quest for purification through ritual bathings;
    the arrogant division into castes;
    the practice of mortification to atone for sin;
    -these five are the marks
    of the crass stupidity of witless men.

    [vedapramanyam kasyacit kartrvadah/
    snane dharmeccha jativadavalepah//
    santaparambhah papahanaya ceti/
    dhvastaprajnanam pancalirigani jadye//]

This bold diagnosis of the malady of Indian society was not pronounced by a modern rationalist but by Dharmakirti, an eminent seventh-century Buddhist logician of Nalanda. Notwithstanding the strictures of Dharmakirti, his five 'marks' neatly sum up the basic beliefs that characterize Hindu civilization both as it was at the time of the Buddha and as it is today, after a lapse of more than 2500 years. The first four 'marks', viz., the authority of the Vedas, the belief in a creator, the path of ritualism, and a social structure based on a system of hereditary ranks, constitute the four cornerstones of the brahmanical schools, whereas the last, viz., the path of asceticism, stands out as the chief characteristic of all the heterodox schools collectively called the sramanas.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:36 am

Malcolm wrote:In short, Buddhism's "grace" period or probationary period in the West is over and done with. In order for Buddhism to hold its own in the free market of ideas, it must be able to do so without any recourse to traditional authority. If it fails at this, it will fail the test of modernity and as human civilization continues to advance and develop, Buddhism will become yet another footnote to history.


Has fundamentalist Islam or Christianity met this test? They don't seem to have a problem growing, regardless of "philosophical moribundity". While I think your argument applies to a small segment of humanity who are motivated primarily by intellectual pursuits, the larger society moves based on a combination of ignorance, yearning for safety, faith and devotion. While I am mostly in agreement with your argument, I am not so convinced of it's relevancy for the bulk of the 7 billion. Buddhism will likely survive primarily in China as their society assumes greater and greater hegemony and the west declines.

The problem Buddhism faces here is not that it relies too much on traditional Indian and Tibetan epistemological premises. It is that people here are conditioned at an emotional and instinctual level to identify with the Abrahamic narratives. While we have made significant technological advances in the past few hundred years, we are a single cataclysm away from reverting to a much more primitive form. Five hundred years from now, we would have contributed little to the world narrative other than the dead zone of plastic in the Pacific.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:43 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:In short, Buddhism's "grace" period or probationary period in the West is over and done with. In order for Buddhism to hold its own in the free market of ideas, it must be able to do so without any recourse to traditional authority. If it fails at this, it will fail the test of modernity and as human civilization continues to advance and develop, Buddhism will become yet another footnote to history.


Has fundamentalist Islam or Christianity met this test?


They don't seem to have a problem growing, regardless of "philosophical moribundity".


Death throes of a dying beast.

I am not so convinced of it's relevancy for the bulk of the 7 billion.


Only time will tell.

The problem Buddhism faces here is not that it relies too much on traditional Indian and Tibetan epistemological premises.


So you don't agree that Buddhism is facing a crisis of modernity? Sure seems like it to me.

It is that people here are conditioned at an emotional and instinctual level to identify with the Abrahamic narratives.


The Abrahamic narrative thing is overstated, IMO. It is, to use a term borrowed from Witzel, just another form of the Laurasian Ur-myth that all European, Asian and American cosmological narratives share.
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:10 am

Malcolm wrote:The Abrahamic narrative thing is overstated, IMO. It is, to use a term borrowed from Witzel, just another form of the Laurasian Ur-myth that all European, Asian and American cosmological narratives share.

Give me that old time Gondwana mythology, it's good enough for me.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:14 am

Malcolm wrote:So you don't agree that Buddhism is facing a crisis of modernity? Sure seems like it to me.


For academics and other intellectuals, certainly. Ask the average person on the street that question. They'll cock their head to one side and say "Whaaa?"

The Abrahamic narrative thing is overstated, IMO. It is, to use a term borrowed from Witzel, just another form of the Laurasian Ur-myth that all European, Asian and American cosmological narratives share.


The point is that the credulous do not instinctually identify with the assumptions underlying traditional buddhist thought. It is the ordinary people who have much simpler conceptions of faith that will patronize the institutions necessary to propagate any religion through the ages. They are not so concerned with modernity. Witness the *growth* of Islam and fundamentalist Christianity in recent years. It sure doesn't look like it is dying from where I am sitting. Regardless, there are so many more people in East and South Asia than in the West, we have to think that a hundred years or so from now, that's where the cultural center of gravity will be. That's a more likely reason for the focus of most traditions on China, Taiwan and India thinking that Europe, Africa and the Americas are poor ground for the teachings to take root in a major way.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:17 am

Karma Dorje wrote: Witness the *growth* of Islam and fundamentalist Christianity in recent years.


Which is exactly a result of the crisis of Modernity. Buddhists are just a little late on the scene, hence the phenomena of fledgling Buddhist fundamentalism that we see growing in groups like NKT and so on, and the attitudes of certain fundamentalist Nyingmapas etc.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:29 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Witness the *growth* of Islam and fundamentalist Christianity in recent years.


Which is exactly a result of the crisis of Modernity. Buddhists are just a little late on the scene, hence the phenomena of fledgling Buddhist fundamentalism that we see growing in groups like NKT and so on, and the attitudes of certain fundamentalist Nyingmapas etc.


What it makes clear is that our own personal understanding is not necessarily tied to, and might actually be counter to, what is good for the institutional survival of Buddhism. The fundamentalism may serve an important purpose in propagating the institutional forms, even though I don't intend to have them over for a beer and a BBQ any time soon.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:33 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Witness the *growth* of Islam and fundamentalist Christianity in recent years.


Which is exactly a result of the crisis of Modernity. Buddhists are just a little late on the scene, hence the phenomena of fledgling Buddhist fundamentalism that we see growing in groups like NKT and so on, and the attitudes of certain fundamentalist Nyingmapas etc.


What it makes clear is that our own personal understanding is not necessarily tied to, and might actually be counter to, what is good for the institutional survival of Buddhism. The fundamentalism may serve an important purpose in propagating the institutional forms, even though I don't intend to have them over for a beer and a BBQ any time soon.


If this is the case, the institutional form isn't worth saving. Fundamentalism is basically religious cancer.
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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: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby heart » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:42 am

pensum wrote:I'm already quite familiar with Malcolm's supporting evidence, which is based on actual texts and the dates of their composition, so i'm quite interested to hear what evidence you have to support your view Magnus.


I am afraid I don't have any proof for my view pensum, like I said I am not a scholar. Malcolm might have what he think is solid evidence for his view but it still makes no sense to me.

/magnus
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:22 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:In short, Buddhism's "grace" period or probationary period in the West is over and done with. In order for Buddhism to hold its own in the free market of ideas, it must be able to do so without any recourse to traditional authority. If it fails at this, it will fail the test of modernity and as human civilization continues to advance and develop, Buddhism will become yet another footnote to history.


Has fundamentalist Islam or Christianity met this test? They don't seem to have a problem growing, regardless of "philosophical moribundity". While I think your argument applies to a small segment of humanity who are motivated primarily by intellectual pursuits, the larger society moves based on a combination of ignorance, yearning for safety, faith and devotion. While I am mostly in agreement with your argument, I am not so convinced of it's relevancy for the bulk of the 7 billion. Buddhism will likely survive primarily in China as their society assumes greater and greater hegemony and the west declines.

The problem Buddhism faces here is not that it relies too much on traditional Indian and Tibetan epistemological premises. It is that people here are conditioned at an emotional and instinctual level to identify with the Abrahamic narratives. While we have made significant technological advances in the past few hundred years, we are a single cataclysm away from reverting to a much more primitive form. Five hundred years from now, we would have contributed little to the world narrative other than the dead zone of plastic in the Pacific.

I can only assume it you are not familiar with the current situation in the UK and much of northern Europe where the ' Abrahamic narratives ' have little resonance of any kind anymore..not even in diluted form.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:12 pm

So trying to practise what the Buddha taught is now fundamentalism? If people believe this to be the case, 'Buddhism' is in a mess. The problem these days is a general lack of faith and wisdom and watering Buddhism down with science and New Age philosophies.

Regarding Scientology, if their methods did lead to good results that would be great. It's for the individual to judge that for themselves - the proof of the pudding is always in the eating.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Jesse » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:33 pm

It's the same crisis fundamentalist Christianity is facing against atheism. We are logical creatures by nature, and it's a difficult struggle to pick out the weeds, and keep the jewels, whether based in reason or wisdom. It's up to each of us to practice to the best of our ability, and in my (And many others apparently) opinion, fundamentalism isn't the best answer.

So Buddhism is the right religion!
There all the right religion!
How can they all be the right religion? That doesn't make any sense.
Because there all illusions
Then what is real??!
(Silence)
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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