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On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments. - Dhamma Wheel

On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
PeterB
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On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:52 am

By the time that Theravadin Dhamma started to become well known in the west the Sri Lankan Sangha became identified with a kind of dry scholasticism that neglected that which was most needful ( Right Samadhi ) and substituted for it an attempt to gain Insight via the intellect.
This was always an unfair and partial view of the Sri Lankan Sangha which actually furnished large numbers of highly realised Bhikkhus and lay people for whom Dhamma was experiential.
I do wonder however whether that parodic view of Sri Lankan Dhamma is actually being realised by a section of the westerners who are Theravadins.

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retrofuturist
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:18 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:29 am

My intent is entirely constructive Retro. If you dont think that my post addresses something real and worthy of reflection then please feel free to remove it.
Its " really" about what it says its about.

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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:36 am

Greetings Peter,

Thank you for responding - I am pleased to hear this topic is sincere and genuine in intent.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:39 am

It also represents a discussion which I hear a lot at Chithurst among other places, and which has been ongoing in western Dhamma circles to my knowledge for 30 years or more.

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retrofuturist
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:47 am

Greetings Peter,

Rightly or wrongly, Sri Lankan Buddhism seems to be portrayed (parodied?) as giving more emphasis to Sri Lanka's own unique contributions to the Theravada than to the actual teachings of the Buddha, almost out of a sense of national pride.

But given that western Theravadins are often skeptical of the necessity of these Sri Lankan contributions, I doubt that's what you mean?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:06 am

No..I was simply saying that formerly Sri Lankan Dhamma was see as scholastic and cerebral but that it neglected cushion time. Whatever the truth of that , and it was unfair..some sections of western Theravada seem to be in some danger of fitting the sterotype that was in fact only ever a very partial view of Sri Lankan Dhamma.

My refernces to Chithurst did not imply that there is a concern there about Sri Lankan Dhamma...rather that there is a concern that some western Buddhists are preoccupied with the Suttas and commentaries at the expense of the experiential.
And of course it should not come down to an either/or.
Anyone who visits Chithurst or Amaravati will have stories of people fetching up during Q and A sessions expecting a commentarial ding dong, and leaving never to return when they fail to get one.
However the Ajahn who they fail to engage in learned debate is likely to be an actual embodiment to some degree of the teachings that the inquirer wants to reduce to debating points.

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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:10 am

Greetings Peter,

Actually, to be honest, I find the idea of a purely scholastic practitioner quite hard to fathom.

If there wasn't any benefit experienced in studying the Dhamma, they wouldn't do it? Would they?

People don't do things for no reason... if it's not 'working' for them in some way, not offering any payback, why would anyone bother?

I suspect even the most scholastic of dedicated practitioners is applying the Dhamma in their lives, whether on the cushion or not.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:22 am

I dont doubt the motives Retro...just the means.
We westerners are all raised in an environment where one aspect of our fuctioning, to whit our discursive faculty, is strongly reinforced socially.
It is not suprising that there might be those who conclude that the discursive faculty is sufficient in spheres where its effectiveness is in fact limited.
Last edited by PeterB on Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:27 am

Greetings Peter,

Maybe so, but if such people aren't getting any benefit, surely they'll either (i) give up, or (ii) try a different approach.

To assume that those on any given spiritual path will just merrily toodle along indefinitely on a cerebral path that yields no benefit... it's not giving people much credit, is it?

I think even an awareness of the Four Noble Truths, if brought to mind regularly, would be of not insignificant benefit.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:25 pm

There is no implication here Retro that we should not engage our discursive faculties.

Rather it is a question of whether those faculties are in themselves sufficient.

I try to avoid terms like the "heart" simply because it is one of a group of terms and constructs that appear to be self explanatory...like " letting go" :smile: ...but which even a little probing reveals them to be not self explanatory at all...
So with that caveat I think what the Forest Ajahns are saying is that we need both head and " heart" to understand Dhamma..but the " heart" has its own logic..its own language...its own silence.

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legolas
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby legolas » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:36 pm

I consider myself a big proponent of the suttas & meditation. An important point is.....
you can have the suttas without meditation and still make progress, however you cannot just have meditation without the suttas (well you can - but it would have a basis of delusion).

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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:41 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:36 pm


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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:38 pm



PeterB
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Re: On Disappearing Up Our Own Fundaments.

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:46 pm

The reputation that Sri Lanka had in that regard Dmytro was always unfair...
It was due to eminent scholar monks coming to the west, and an assumption being made that ALL Sri Lankan Dhamma was of a scholarly nature.

Contemplative monks like Ven Dhammajiva has always lived in the forests.


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