Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social politics?

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:02 pm

Yes the problem of time. But as various marginalized groups receive more access to education families will become smaller and there will be more time.
For a single mother trying to support her children I agree more challenges still, but I have seen this addressed by waiving fees and having another member babysit twice a month so the single mom could attend. On the ground level all it takes is a little compassion.

Most Buddhist schools do not propose enlightenment as an easy thing to achieve. To that end, rather than mass movements I wouls suggest offering deep long term training and making sute those participating are from a variety of communities and supported financially for the training period. The training need not include cultursl conditioning, as unfortunately some programs for African monks have, leading to high dropout rates.

Rather, it should focus on education in Buddhist principles, and meditation training. Then, the graduates of such a program could teach directly to their own communities, which they know best.

If you have diverse teachers amd lineage holders, I believe you will have a more diverse membership. Theoretically, Buddhism has far less historical baggage with African-Americans than Christianity and Islam, both of which are directly implicated in the slave trade.

Since the arrival of a fully trained Ghanaian swami in Ghana, Hare Krishna is booming in the country. The best way towards diversity is from the top down, and the first step is training qualified people.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:19 pm

Son of Buddha wrote: see me appear before them


This is all it promises, and nothing more.


thats incorrect the Nirvana Sutra citation does in fact describe the career of a female Buddha.


No, it does not


the same goes for the Nirvana Sutra citation it shows the Buddha manifested itself in the world as a human female and then proceeded to show humans how a human person would go about the path to attaining enlightenment.So both the career paths of either man or female are both manifestations of the Buddha, and are both represented.


Not in sutra. Despite the fact that there is shift in late Mahāyāna towards the idea that gender is not really so important or defining, still there is no explicitly mention of female buddhas like Tara or Vajrayogini and so on until we move into Vajrayāna texts.

The idea that there is no gender in the Sukhavati pure land is a post-modern interpretation.


nope the idea of the 32 features of the Buddha which we receive in the pure land,having no gender is not a post modern interpretation unless you consider the Nirvana Sutra post modern. the idea of the Buddha not even being a man can be found in the Donna Sutta so this is hardly a new view.
[/quote]

I am afraid you are reading things into the texts that are simply not there. In Amitabha's pure land, like Bhaisajyaguru's there is gender and that gender is male. In Akṣobhya's pureland on the other hand, there are both men and women.

M
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby zsc » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:31 pm

Not everyone wants to achieve enlightenment, so I think there is room for those people as well.
And yes, I do agree that more diverse qualified teachers would help, as long as multiple lineages don't confuse people. Practicing within a consistent framework is better for practice, from what I have observed. There's no need to dig sectarian heels in, though, I agree :)

Black people who are used to Protestantism may be hesitant about Buddhism in the same way they are hesitant about Catholics: modern Protestantism (not including the more traditional mainline Protestants like Anglicans and Lutherans) is iconoclastic by nature, and there is a real anxiety in the black Protestant community about not falling into "idol worship", and to the untrained eye, Buddhist ritual may appear that way. I think that other black people who do not practice iconoclastic Protestantism, like black Catholics, may not have this same hangup, nor black people in African, Carribean, and South American countries, where Catholicism and Orthodoxy have a stronger cultural foothold.
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:57 pm

rory wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
rory wrote:
Someone hasn't read the Lotus Sutra: Chapter 12 - Devadatta

At that moment, the entire assembly saw the Dragon Girl suddenly transform into a man


Apparently you have not read it either.

M


Keep reading Malcolm!


What it actually says:

atha tasyāṁ velāyāṁ sāgaranāgarājaduhitā sarvalokapratyakṣaṁ sthavirasya ca śāriputrasya pratyakṣaṁ tat strīndriyamantarhitaṁ puruṣendriyaṁ ca prādurbhūtaṁ bodhisattvabhūtaṁ cātmānaṁ saṁdarśayati| tasyāṁ velāyāṁ dakṣiṇāṁ diśaṁ prakrāntaḥ| atha dakṣiṇasyāṁ diśi vimalā nāma lokadhātuḥ| tatra saptaratnamaye bodhivṛkṣamūle niṣaṇṇamabhisaṁbuddhamātmānaṁ saṁdarśayati sma, dvātriṁśallakṣaṇadharaṁ sarvānuvyajanarūpaṁ prabhayā ca daśadiśaṁ sphuritvā dharmadeśanāṁ kurvāṇam|

།དེ་ནས་དེའི་ཚེ་འཇིག་རྟེན་ཐམས་ཅད་དང༌། གནས་བརྟན་ཤཱ་རིའི་བུའི་མངོན་སུམ་དུ་ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་བུ་མོའི་བུད་མེད་ཀྱི་དབང་པོ་མི་སྣང་བར་གྱུར་ཏེ་སྐྱེས་པའི་དབང་པོ་བྱུང་ནས། བདག་ཉིད་བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔར་འགྱུར་བར་ཡང་དག་པར་བསྟན་ཏེ་དེའི་ཚེ་ལྷོ་ཕྱོགས་སུ་སོང་ངོ༌། །དེ་ནས་ལྷོ་ཕྱོགས་སུ་འཇིག་རྟེན་གྱི་ཁམས་དྲི་མ་མེད་ཅེས་བྱ་བ་དང༌། རིན་པོ་ཆེ་སྣ་བདུན་གྱི་ཤིང་དྲུང་དུ་འདུག་ནས་བདག་ཉིད་མངོན་པར་རྫོགས་པར་སངས་རྒྱས་པར་ཀུན་ཏུ་བསྟན་ཏེ། སྐྱེས་བུ་ཆེན་པོའི་མཚན་སུམ་ཅུ་རྩ་གཉིས་དང༌། དཔེ་བྱད་བཟང་པོ་ཐམས་ཅད་དང་ལྡན་པའི་གཟུགས་ཀྱི་ལུས་ཀྱི་འོད་ཀྱི་ཕྱོགས་བཅུར་ཁྱབ་པར་བྱས་ཏེ་ཆོས་སྟོན་པར་བྱེད་དོ།

After that, at that time, in the presence of the whole world, the sthaviras and Śariputra, the female sexual organs of the daughter of the Nāgarāja Sagara disappeared, and after producing the sexual organs of a man, he [ātmānaṁ] perfectly demonstrated [saṁdarśayati] transformation into a bodhisattva, and at that time left for the south. After that, residing in front of a tree of seven precious substances in the southern world system called "Vimala", he [ātmānaṁ] perfectly demonstrated perfect Buddhahood, the ten directions were filled with the light of [his] physical body that possessed the thirty two sighs of a mahāpurusha and all the excellent signs, and [he] taught the Dharma.


In fact, it is very clear, based on the original Sanskrit and its Tibetan translation, that the transformation is a one way transformation, and the reflexive pronoun ātmānaṁ is correctly rendered as "he" in this passage.

M
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby rory » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:21 am

atha tasyāṁ velāyāṁ sāgaranāgarājaduhitā sarvalokapratyakṣaṁ sthavirasya ca śāriputrasya pratyakṣaṁ tat strīndriyamantarhitaṁ puruṣendriyaṁ ca prādurbhūtaṁ bodhisattvabhūtaṁ cātmānaṁ saṁdarśayati| tasyāṁ velāyāṁ dakṣiṇāṁ diśaṁ prakrāntaḥ| atha dakṣiṇasyāṁ diśi vimalā nāma lokadhātuḥ| tatra saptaratnamaye bodhivṛkṣamūle niṣaṇṇamabhisaṁbuddhamātmānaṁ saṁdarśayati sma, dvātriṁśallakṣaṇadharaṁ sarvānuvyajanarūpaṁ prabhayā ca daśadiśaṁ sphuritvā dharmadeśanāṁ kurvāṇam|

After that, at that time, in the presence of the whole world, the sthaviras and Śariputra, the female sexual organs of the daughter of the Nāgarāja Sagara disappeared, and after producing the sexual organs of a man, he [ātmānaṁ] perfectly demonstrated [saṁdarśayati] transformation into a bodhisattva, and at that time left for the south. After that, residing in front of a tree of seven precious substances in the southern world system called "Vimala", he [ātmānaṁ] perfectly demonstrated perfect Buddhahood, the ten directions were filled with the light of [his] physical body that possessed the thirty two sighs of a mahāpurusha and all the excellent signs, and [he] taught the Dharma.

In fact, it is very clear, based on the original Sanskrit and its Tibetan translation, that the transformation is a one way transformation, and the reflexive pronoun ātmānaṁ is correctly rendered as "he" in this passage.

M


Thank you Malcolm that that's more like it. I was just discussing with Son of Buddha and Ven. Indrajala that the Sanskrit translation was the one needed as I know Sansrkit has complex tenses and mas. feminine and neuter cases.
For East Asian Mahayana this example was used to champion women's enliggtenment. The same intellectual vision that saw karma as inherently empty and capable of being transferred applied this to the Naga-girl.

you can see a modern example from Rissho Kosei Kai; a modern Buddhist Lotus Sutra sect close to Tendai:
Women of today may feel dissatisfied that the dragon's daughter was suddenly transformed into a male and then became a buddha. Such an expression was used merely because of the idea of women in ancient India. The sudden transformation of a woman into a male means nothing but the transcendence of the difference between male and female. Shakyamuni Buddha asserted that animals, birds, worms, plants, and trees, as well as human beings, possess the buddha-nature. How could he then discriminate between men and women? It is impossible. Observed with the Buddha's eyes, all living beings are equal. We must never misunderstand this.

http://www.rk-world.org/publications/bu ... y_B12.aspx
For an older version here is a classic Chinese Ch'an dialogue from the Ching-te Chuan teng-lu:
Kuan-ch'i: "[if she is so enlightened] why doesn't she [use her power as a bodhisattva to] transform herself [into a masculine form?]
The nun Mo-shan Liao-jan replies: "She's not a goddess, she is not a ghost -what should she become?" The Abbess Mo-shan wins this exchange and demonstrates she is truly enlightened by showing that she understands that male and female form are irrelevant to buddhahood." p 152 "Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender" ed. Jose Cabezon


The writer of the essay then discusses that the above exchange refers to the Naga-girl.."
But the story is also used in Ch'an literature to make the point that enlightenment is 'sudden' 'abrupt' in the sense that any sentient being can attain it "in an instant of thought" despite an apparant lack of perfect karmic qualifications.


So it's quite interesting as we have the Dharmagupta ordination continuing for nuns in China and Korea, Vietnam, there was the vinaya in Japan but died out equally so nuns and monks took the bodhisattva precepts but there was a nun lineage. This as Bernard Faure points out is a product of the Lotus Sutra

Why did the nun's lineage die out in Tibet? It's interesting to me, perhaps because of the fall of India?
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heart mantra: Om amogha vijaya hum phat
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:44 am

And yes, I do agree that more diverse qualified teachers would help, as long as multiple lineages don't confuse people. Practicing within a consistent framework is better for practice, from what I have observed.


I would never advocate that such an approach from the beginning. It is better to in the neophyte stages of spiritual practice (I consider myself a neophyte in many ways), learn one system very thoroughly in terms of study, and then try one's best in cultivation to develop some experience of it. I think at least in Tibetan Buddhism practicing systems from several of the traditions in the beginning is not so problematic, due to the great similarities, this is in line with what I have heard HH Dalai Lama advise. Without these two- knowledge and experience- in place, masquerading as a teacher in my mind has little benefit, and as I have stated many times before that is why I translate instead of teach. Until I develop some sort of experience of what I have heard and read, how can I presume to advise others?

However, once one has developed knowledge and experience through a thorough system of training then one should read Buddhist literature from the various traditions widely, and even receive teachings if appropriate. This is necessary especially for Western teachers (of whatever ethnicity) because Western Buddhism does not exist in a vacuum and all the traditions are present on the same soil. At least a cursory knowledge of other systems will not only enrich one's own understanding, but make one more capable of answering the inevitable plethora of questions that arise from a Western audience.

Of course, all of this depends on Western Buddhists being willing to help facilitate and provide resources for the thorough training of their brethren (hopefully reflecting the cultural makeup of the city where the centre is located). I am not saying that the only way to do this would be to ordain and stay in a monastery. Laypeople and even some monks and nuns who for example serve a teacher for many years as a translator, attendant or ritual assistant, and are in the constant presence of the teacher, could theoretically become quite qualified over time. This is already in place in some tantric family lineages where there seem to be master-apprentice relationships.

But again, this requires commitment from the Western side to be willing to fund one's brethren for deep training or practice.

I mentioned the Hare Krishna swami example because it very clearly illustrates that a local person familiar with the cultural can successfully introduce even a tradition that is completely alien to his own people. Hare Krishna and traditional Ghanian beliefs are in many ways an awkward fit, but due to being well trained as well as familiar with the traditions of his own people, the swami was successful.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby zsc » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:04 pm

JKhedrup - I agree that it's not always problematic to divide your attention between different schools first starting out if they are related. I'm pretty non-sectarian when it comes to studying Pureland teachings. I usually see a lot of confusion when new Buddhists are trying to reconcile wide divergences or giving up in frustration and trying to piece together an "original Buddhist" schema, which ends up being piecemeal and inconsistent-- if they had the wisdom and forsight to create their own "Buddhisms", they wouldn't need to practice "Buddhism". I think we're used to "exploring" or "seeking" in this way though, so it's not an easy tendency to resist.

But I don't think it's a bad thing if western Buddhism becomes a "religion" made up of little "religions" of different lineages and schools. I don't think we need some kind of unifying theory, seeing as how we are infants when it comes to receiving the dharma in the first place. Whatever will be, will be though.

And yes, we cannot forget the importance of $$$. In this case, we would need at least a dependable network between schools to work out financial logistics, since our religions aren't state-funded(in America), nor are there a lot of wealthy patrons of western Buddhist institutions, in comparison to traditionally Buddhist countries.
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Mother's Lap » Mon May 12, 2014 11:29 pm

Malcolm wrote:The pure land path is not a quick path, per se. There are many grades of birth described in the pure land sutras, and some people who are born there are born in lotuses that never open, so they never see the face of Amitabha. Of course, in Shinran's pure land school this is all understood rather differently than in the Chinese and Tibetan pure land traditions. So the point is that even we consider that it is possible to take birth in the pure land, this is not necessarily a swift path. In the Tibetan tradition taking birth in the pure land tends to be considered a resting point, where one can make progress on the bodhisattva path, eventually returning to various impure realms to aid sentient beings. further, while Amitabha's vow clearly says "Whoever hears my name will be reborn in Sukhavati", it does not state "Immediately upon having died in this lifetime". In fact, one of vows clearly states that in order to take rebirth in Sukhavati, one must accumulate the necessary merits after one has heard his name and so on. So, in reality, birth in the Pure Land is not the shortcut it sometimes appears to be in East Asian Buddhism.

With regards to Guru Padmasambhava's mantra it is said* that upon 10 million recitations you will be reborn in a land of Vidyadharas and in a state of constant rigpa**. Do you believe this to be the case from a Vajrayana view and a Dzogchen view?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... uru_Mantra" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Vidyadhara" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


“Even one hundred recitations per day without interruption will make you attractive to others, and food, wealth and enjoyments will appear effortlessly. If you recite the mantra one thousand, ten thousand, or more times per day, you will bring others under your influence with your brilliance, and blessings and powers will be continuously and unobstructedly obtained. If you perform one hundred thousand, ten million or more recitations, the three worlds will come under your power, the three levels of existence will fall under your glorious sway, gods and spirits will be at your bidding, the four modes of enlightened activity will be accomplished without hindrance, and you will be able to bring immeasurable benefit to all sentient beings in whatever ways are needed. If you can do thirty million, seventy million or more recitations, you will never be separate from the Buddhas of the three times nor ever apart from me; thus, the eight classes of gods and spirits will obey your orders, praise your words, and accomplish whatever tasks you entrust to them.

“At best, practitioners will attain the rainbow body; failing that, at the time of death, mother and child luminosities will meet; and at the very least, they will see me in the bardo and all their perceptions having been liberated into their essential nature, they will be reborn in Ngayab Ling and accomplish immeasurable benefit for sentient beings.”

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... uru-mantra" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it’s just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don’t put them into practice.
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 12:02 am

Emakirikiri wrote: Do you believe this to be the case from a Vajrayana view and a Dzogchen view?



It doesn't matter if I believe it. The question is, do you?
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Mother's Lap » Tue May 13, 2014 12:10 am

I would believe it if there was a textual Dzogchen basis in which it is said so or if it came from ChNNR's mouth. As far as you're aware do you know if it has a grounding in either source?
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it’s just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don’t put them into practice.
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 12:16 am

Emakirikiri wrote:I would believe it if there was a textual Dzogchen basis in which it is said so or if it came from ChNNR's mouth. As far as you're aware do you know if it has a grounding in either source?



It has a grounding in many terma cycles.

KDL said many things like this as well.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby AlexanderS » Tue May 13, 2014 2:45 pm

Emakirikiri wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The pure land path is not a quick path, per se. There are many grades of birth described in the pure land sutras, and some people who are born there are born in lotuses that never open, so they never see the face of Amitabha. Of course, in Shinran's pure land school this is all understood rather differently than in the Chinese and Tibetan pure land traditions. So the point is that even we consider that it is possible to take birth in the pure land, this is not necessarily a swift path. In the Tibetan tradition taking birth in the pure land tends to be considered a resting point, where one can make progress on the bodhisattva path, eventually returning to various impure realms to aid sentient beings. further, while Amitabha's vow clearly says "Whoever hears my name will be reborn in Sukhavati", it does not state "Immediately upon having died in this lifetime". In fact, one of vows clearly states that in order to take rebirth in Sukhavati, one must accumulate the necessary merits after one has heard his name and so on. So, in reality, birth in the Pure Land is not the shortcut it sometimes appears to be in East Asian Buddhism.

With regards to Guru Padmasambhava's mantra it is said* that upon 10 million recitations you will be reborn in a land of Vidyadharas and in a state of constant rigpa**. Do you believe this to be the case from a Vajrayana view and a Dzogchen view?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... uru_Mantra" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Vidyadhara" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


“Even one hundred recitations per day without interruption will make you attractive to others, and food, wealth and enjoyments will appear effortlessly. If you recite the mantra one thousand, ten thousand, or more times per day, you will bring others under your influence with your brilliance, and blessings and powers will be continuously and unobstructedly obtained. If you perform one hundred thousand, ten million or more recitations, the three worlds will come under your power, the three levels of existence will fall under your glorious sway, gods and spirits will be at your bidding, the four modes of enlightened activity will be accomplished without hindrance, and you will be able to bring immeasurable benefit to all sentient beings in whatever ways are needed. If you can do thirty million, seventy million or more recitations, you will never be separate from the Buddhas of the three times nor ever apart from me; thus, the eight classes of gods and spirits will obey your orders, praise your words, and accomplish whatever tasks you entrust to them.

“At best, practitioners will attain the rainbow body; failing that, at the time of death, mother and child luminosities will meet; and at the very least, they will see me in the bardo and all their perceptions having been liberated into their essential nature, they will be reborn in Ngayab Ling and accomplish immeasurable benefit for sentient beings.”

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... uru-mantra" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


As far as I understand it from that text those full benefits are only achieved if one practices the mantra with pure bodhichitta movtivation and pure samaya.
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Re: Should Buddhists even care about "engaging" social polit

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 2:50 pm

AlexanderS wrote:
As far as I understand it from that text those full benefits are only achieved if one practices the mantra with pure bodhichitta movtivation and pure samaya.


That's a given.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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Malcolm
 
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