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

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

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:17 pm

Frankly, the whole idea of "appeal to textual authority" is not very scientific.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:36 pm

daverupa wrote:How can it be amazing, when you also add the word 'supposedly'?


Because the people holding these kinds of views tend to have a very fundamentalist view of the history of Buddhist textual systems.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:00 pm

Sherab wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:
Anders wrote:A series of durationless moments taking over from each other seamlessly doesn't make sense.

An infinite number of durationless moments does.

0+0+0+0+0+0+....... to infinity = 0
A durationless moment (i.e. time = 0) is just like that. You can string together an infinity of infinity of durationless moments and you will still come up with a durationless moment.

It works in calculus.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby anjali » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:24 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Sherab wrote:A durationless moment (i.e. time = 0) is just like that. You can string together an infinity of infinity of durationless moments and you will still come up with a durationless moment.

It works in calculus.


Indeed. For those interested in such things, check out nonstandard analysis. A fascinating notion for those with mathematical training. For the application of hyperreal numbers to elementary calculus (AKA nonstandard calculus), check out the free online book, Elementary Calculus: An Infinitesimal Approach. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:23 pm

conebeckham wrote:Frankly, the whole idea of "appeal to textual authority" is not very scientific.


Actually, appeals to authority are not necessarily fallacious if the authority is a relevant expert with respect to a given topic. For example, there can be citations of earlier research which act as textual appeals to relevant authorities.

The problem is when authorities are cited in contexts where they are not experts, or when sources are cited inexpertly by non-specialists who misunderstand the data, etc.

So, in this case, the Nikayas/Agamas can by and large be considered a citation of experts - the Buddha and the early Sangha. This reasonable appeal to textual authority is perfectly cromulent on a Buddhist forum.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:52 pm

daverupa wrote:cromulent


not a word...especially since it was coined by the writer of the Simpsons.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:
daverupa wrote:cromulent


not a word...especially since it was coined by the writer of the Simpsons.


I'll see your false dichotomy and raise you a neologism.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby tobes » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:
No argument has been given which articulates why tantra is 'higher' than sutra.

There seems to be an unambiguous appeal to authority (text, tradition, master) to justify that claim.



Well, the topic is off topic here. Second, the unambiguous appeal to authority runs for both the claim as well as the counterclaim.


1. Is it really? Surely it is foundational to the question. i.e. the science of Buddhism will never change if something like 'critical inquiry' is dismissed for mere memorisation of traditional treatises. The very first post was about this - do the Gelugpas do philosophy or do they just learn old arguments and repeat them as truth?

2. Yes, I acknowledged that when I wrote: "Nonetheless, it is interesting given the title (and point) of the thread, that there are appeals to authority on both sides of this question....."

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

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:12 pm

daverupa wrote:So, in this case, the Nikayas/Agamas can by and large be considered a citation of experts - the Buddha and the early Sangha. This reasonable appeal to textual authority is perfectly cromulent on a Buddhist forum.


If you believe that the Nikayas/Agamas are the work of the Buddha and the early Sangha, I suppose so.

(Please note, I'm not saying they are or are not...to focus on divining my opinion on that issue would be to miss my point.)
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby tobes » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:16 pm

smcj wrote:
No argument has been given which articulates why tantra is 'higher' than sutra.

There seems to be an unambiguous appeal to authority (text, tradition, master) to justify that claim.

There is an unambiguous premise that both sutra and tantra are anything other than mental masturbation that comes from authority too. Without giving 'authority' the credibility to have established validity for these paths there is no discussion whatsoever.

How and why one chooses to give Dharma credibility is a personal choice. In the East it was largely cultural and familial factors that decided it. Here in the West it is much more individual, and will stay so until such time as it becomes more established culturally. But in any case it is still an individual choice. Text, tradition, and master are valid authorities as far as the Path goes. I just wouldn't expect to find cosmologically dubious claims like Mt. Meru valid (or at least anyplace other than that volcano in Tanzania).


Where is this unambiguous premise? I do not hold that opinion, and nor does anything I have written implicitly rest on that kind of view.

I think the relevant epistemic framework is something like a contestation between philosophical reasoning and yogic or experiential insight. One does not need to grant Nagarjuna or Chandrakirti any kind of authority, because their respective positions depend upon their reasoning. Tantra is a different kettle of fish - but I think it is an intriguing difference.

What I am critical of is the assertion that X or Y is "higher" based on nothing more than an oft repeated sectarian opinion (either way). If there is reason or cause to claim that X or Y is higher, than let's hear why.

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

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:I see, so the Buddha was a disciple of Candrakirti?


Of course not, but Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti's teachings are more accessible than the Prajnaparamita Sutras and they embody the ultimate view of the Buddha. They make that view more accessible and practical. They seek to clarify what Buddha taught - but Buddha did not teach Dzogchen at all.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby tobes » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:18 pm

daverupa wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Frankly, the whole idea of "appeal to textual authority" is not very scientific.


Actually, appeals to authority are not necessarily fallacious if the authority is a relevant expert with respect to a given topic. For example, there can be citations of earlier research which act as textual appeals to relevant authorities.

The problem is when authorities are cited in contexts where they are not experts, or when sources are cited inexpertly by non-specialists who misunderstand the data, etc.

So, in this case, the Nikayas/Agamas can by and large be considered a citation of experts - the Buddha and the early Sangha. This reasonable appeal to textual authority is perfectly cromulent on a Buddhist forum.


Interesting point, and I largely agree.

I think in the case of this thread, the relevant point is that citation ought to be given.

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

Postby conebeckham » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:27 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I see, so the Buddha was a disciple of Candrakirti?


Of course not, but Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti's teachings are more accessible than the Prajnaparamita Sutras and they embody the ultimate view of the Buddha. They make that view more accessible and practical. They seek to clarify what Buddha taught - but Buddha did not teach Dzogchen at all.


Somewhere it is written, in fact, that Buddha did not teach anything at all.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:37 pm

tobes wrote:The very first post was about this - do the Gelugpas do philosophy or do they just learn old arguments and repeat them as truth?


Well that has been proven in the affirmative. TKfan merely trotted out a dogma without bothering to defend it. According to him, the Buddha must have been a disciple of Candrakirti, otherwise, Buddha's enlightenment was impossible.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:40 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Buddha did not teach Dzogchen at all.


So you are maintaining the entire basis of the Nyingma school is not the Buddha's teaching?

You are maintaining that the first Panchen Lama was wrong to equate Great Madhyamaka, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, etc? He said in his Mahāmudra text:

Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Madhyamaka,
Lamdre, Chod, Zhiched, etc.,
Are various designations.
But if examined by an experienced yogi,
They lead to the same realization.


M
Last edited by Malcolm on Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:57 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:45 pm

conebeckham wrote:Somewhere it is written, in fact, that Buddha did not teach anything at all.

From Red Pine's translation of the Diamond Sutra:
The Buddha said, “Subhuti, if someone should claim, ‘the Tathagata teaches a dharma,’ such a claim would be untrue.

Edit: actually I like this quote better, from Conze's translation of the sutra:
What do you think, Subhuti, is there any dharma which the Tathagata has taught? Subhuti replied: No indeed, O Lord, there is not.
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby tobes » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:The very first post was about this - do the Gelugpas do philosophy or do they just learn old arguments and repeat them as truth?


Well that has been proven in the affirmative. TKfan merely trotted out a dogma without bothering to defend it. According to him, the Buddha must have been a disciple of Candrakirti, otherwise, Buddha's enlightenment was impossible.


With all due respect to TKfan, I don't think we can take those statements as proof for what the Geshes are up to these days.....

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

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:51 pm

tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:The very first post was about this - do the Gelugpas do philosophy or do they just learn old arguments and repeat them as truth?


Well that has been proven in the affirmative. TKfan merely trotted out a dogma without bothering to defend it. According to him, the Buddha must have been a disciple of Candrakirti, otherwise, Buddha's enlightenment was impossible.


With all due respect to TKfan, I don't think we can take those statements as proof for what the Geshes are up to these days.....

:anjali:



Indeed. However, I am fairly certain that the way people are taught in India and Tibet has not really changed that much.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:28 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:Buddha did not teach Dzogchen at all.


So you are maintaining the entire basis of the Nyingma school is not the Buddha's teaching?

You are maintaining that the first Panchen Lama was wrong to equate Great Madhyamaka, Mahamudra, Dzogchen, etc? He said in his Mahāmudra text:

Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Madhyamaka,
Lamdre, Chod, Zhiched, etc.,
Are various designations.
But if examined by an experienced yogi,
They lead to the same realization.


M


I don't really want to get into this as it is obviously pointless and divisive. Dzogchen is not the entire basis of the Nyingma school, they follow Buddha's Sutra and Tantra teachings. As for the First Panchen Lama's text, I assume you mean the extract that he took from the Kadam Emanation Scripture:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rgyey.html

There's no mention of Dzogchen at all in this.

The point I want to make, and a point that the First Panchen Lama makes as well:

The mahamudra of the traditions of Saraha, Nagarjuna, Naropa, and Maitripa, it is the quintessence of the anuttarayoga class of tantra as taught in The (Seven Texts of the) Mahasiddhas and The (Three) Core Volumes.

The former refers to the ways of meditating on voidness as directly indicated in the expanded, intermediate and brief (Prajnaparamita Sutras). The supremely realized Arya Nagarjuna has said, “Except for this, there is no other pathway of mind leading to liberation.”


It's fine, you can follow whatever system you want, but when you start denigrating Nagarjuna whose teachings are in accordance with the ultimate view of Buddha in order to follow something that was not taught by Buddha at all, something has gone astray.
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Re: "...but the science of Buddhism will never change."

Postby ConradTree » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:29 am

Malcolm wrote:I do however think that while Madhyamaka is the definitive sūtra view, the view of tantra in general goes beyond Madhyamaka.



Exactly.

Gelugpas homogenize sutra and tantra.
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