Is modernity bad for practice?

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:56 pm

jeeprs wrote:
tobes wrote:So I think you are slipping between metaphysics and ethics, and failing to see that the normative moments in Buddhist thought - the Vinaya, lay precepts, paramita's etc - cannot be universal moral laws.


I agree that as soon as they are written down or codified they are specifically 'Buddhist'. But I also believe they are based on universal principles. I can't really see why such principles can't be depicted as 'moral laws', and I am surprised (and also a bit dismayed) that word 'moral' is so contentious on this forum.

But I do appreciate your comments on my posts and will continue to think them over.

:namaste:

One issue with Modernity is the separation between epistemology and ethics, where the unchecked functionality of science tends to become a universalized absolute and therefore not only dogmatic, but totally unconcerned with truth, even the truth of its own functioning.

This, "western way of looking at" Buddhist ethics is due to the modernist view of truth remaining within the Platonic definition of abstract universals defining moral absolutes. In other words, although one of the issues of Modernity is the problem of reality being reduced to a process, we still don't seem willing to let go of the idea that one can somehow take a "meta" view, thereby attempting to grasp the whole from a position of the abstracted universal.

Buddhism precisely gives us a way of orienting our "moral" compass from within such a process, but the moment we start formulating an abstract universal we are no longer "doing" Buddhism but instead falling into the same problem of Modernity that Buddhism explicitly rejects as a solution.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby shel » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:44 pm

An interesting aspect to this topic, which others have already commented on, is that modernity is being critiqued from within modernity. It's like using a computer to define the problems with computers. Not having the ability to define the problems of computers without computers, and the fact that there were no problems with computers before computers existed.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:31 am

shel wrote:An interesting aspect to this topic, which others have already commented on, is that modernity is being critiqued from within modernity. It's like using a computer to define the problems with computers. Not having the ability to define the problems of computers without computers, and the fact that there were no problems with computers before computers existed.

is modernity bad for practice?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby jeeprs » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:34 am

futerko wrote:One issue with Modernity is the separation between epistemology and ethics, where the unchecked functionality of science tends to become a universalized absolute and therefore not only dogmatic, but totally unconcerned with truth, even the truth of its own functioning.

This, "western way of looking at" Buddhist ethics is due to the modernist view of truth remaining within the Platonic definition of abstract universals defining moral absolutes. In other words, although one of the issues of Modernity is the problem of reality being reduced to a process, we still don't seem willing to let go of the idea that one can somehow take a "meta" view, thereby attempting to grasp the whole from a position of the abstracted universal.

Buddhism precisely gives us a way of orienting our "moral" compass from within such a process, but the moment we start formulating an abstract universal we are no longer "doing" Buddhism but instead falling into the same problem of Modernity that Buddhism explicitly rejects as a solution.


Well said. I think this is what I tried to say, but said much better.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby catmoon » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:53 am

tobes wrote:
I'm not convinced that people were endowed with abundant skillful means in agrarian days either. In either case, dharma practice is extraordinarily difficult, and takes extraordinary effort. In either case, with extraordinary effort, difficult conditions may be overcome. I live in a city with 4 million people: before dawn, it is not hard to find tranquil conditions to sit.

:anjali:


I wonder which makes practice harder:

Constant noise, pollution, inescapable crowds, a concrete jungle

or

Dawn-to-dusk labor tending animals, making cloth, weeding crops, mending fences, illiteracy and difficulty of travel
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:01 am

catmoon wrote:Dawn-to-dusk labor tending animals, making cloth, weeding crops, mending fences, illiteracy and difficulty of travel


Non-industrial farmers have a lot of free time. This is why they develop rich folk culture, dances, music, stories, etc...
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:46 am

Huseng wrote:
Non-industrial farmers have a lot of free time. This is why they develop rich folk culture, dances, music, stories, etc...

Are you joking? Where did you ever get an idea like that?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:36 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Non-industrial farmers have a lot of free time. This is why they develop rich folk culture, dances, music, stories, etc...

Are you joking? Where did you ever get an idea like that?
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Real life in India.

Plus observations of history.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Nighthawk » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:06 am

If Buddhalands really do exist then what is the need for constant practice?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby greentara » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:15 am

Last time I was in India, at the edge of a small town... a cart lumbered by pulled by an ox with a couple of young men asleep on a bale of hay; how rural, sleepy and natural it looked. Of course it's not like that all the time but it was a feast for the eyes.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby kirtu » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:16 am

Huseng wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Non-industrial farmers have a lot of free time. This is why they develop rich folk culture, dances, music, stories, etc...

Are you joking? Where did you ever get an idea like that?
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Real life in India.

Plus observations of history.


Huseng - farmers work constantly. You found farmers in India not working constantly? To put this in context, my family had a horse farm in Ohio. After my Great Uncle Charles retired from the military, he returned to the farm and began to work it to cultivate crops. Between the crops and the horses, he worked constantly. The crops kind of don't really grow themselves, after all.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:32 am

kirtu wrote: The crops kind of don't really grow themselves, after all.

Kirt


I don't think that needs to be pointed out.

However, look at how rural cultures all developed folk culture. Festivals, folklore, stories, music, dance, art, etc... clearly they all have time and were not working eighteen hour days endlessly.

My grandfather farmed with horses without electricity or running water until the late 50s / early 60s, but he spent the winter out in camp fishing and hunting. He also played in a band. Sunday was for church. Company was always over. He had a bunch of crafts, too.

The amount of hours it takes to run a small farm is less than being a 9 to 5 office worker. The industrial revolution put people to working very long days.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Fruitzilla » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:36 am

Huseng wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Non-industrial farmers have a lot of free time. This is why they develop rich folk culture, dances, music, stories, etc...

Are you joking? Where did you ever get an idea like that?
.
.
.


Real life in India.

Plus observations of history.


kirtu wrote:Huseng - farmers work constantly. You found farmers in India not working constantly? To put this in context, my family had a horse farm in Ohio. After my Great Uncle Charles retired from the military, he returned to the farm and began to work it to cultivate crops. Between the crops and the horses, he worked constantly. The crops kind of don't really grow themselves, after all.

Kirt


You people are too western for your own good. Oriental pre-industrial agriculture is a different, far richer, beast than the simplistic myth we in the west entertain about said pre-industrial agriculture. :sage:

Here's a quote from Masanobu Fukuoka, of non-interventionist farming fame. It's one that's been visiting my head a lot lately. Because the implications, if you think it through are immense.....

Fukuoka asserts that 'the one-acre farmer of long ago spent January, February and March hunting rabbits in the hills.' Later on, he says that while cleaning his village shrine he found dozens of haikus, composed by local people, on hanging plaques; but 'there is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song.'
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby ground » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:00 am

Obviously modernity provides a lot of opportunities for dreaming. :sage:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:03 pm

modernity isn't what it used to be. :tongue:
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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.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:30 pm

Nighthawk wrote:If Buddhalands really do exist then what is the need for constant practice?


To actualise this truth.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:31 pm

ground wrote:Obviously modernity provides a lot of opportunities for dreaming. :sage:


:applause:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:32 pm

Huseng, farming takes a lot of work, I don't know how well researched your assertions is, but perhaps it might be worth considering.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:35 pm

floating_abu wrote:Huseng, farming takes a lot of work, I don't know how well researched your assertions is, but perhaps it might be worth considering.


Working as a farmer is hard work, but in terms of the time it requires -- do you think it is more than 10 hour days at a plastic office plus commuting time?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby floating_abu » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:37 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:We can change that an create an actual Shambhala on Planet Earth. This doesn't mean that we can transform established countries into Shambhala though but we can build an actual enlightened society that isn't rooted in either a materialistic or a medieval mind view.

Kirt


I don't believe this is realistic in our present age of kaliyuga. Afflictions are too strong. In this age the common mindset is marked by lies, deceit, greed, anger and ignorance, all of which mean that while people can collectively work for war, they are unlikely to collectively act to create a society which is ecologically harmonious and not founded on violence.

There are plenty of Buddhists who still think this is possible, but I don't subscribe to such views. I simply don't see it being realistic in our lifetimes or in future generations for many centuries to come.


Noted with some comments --

Afflictions are too strong? I guess we might as well go home and spend our day on the internet day..oh wait :spy: ;)

I think a more preferable state, in my opinion at least, is that we don't know what the age will bring. In a way afflictions, which naturally cause suffering to the person and those around them, is also the very ground fruit of Dharmakaya and Buddhist practices..so who knows..

So you can believe that many are in a bad state, but I wouldn't spread that message too much especially as a certainty, because peoples' beliefs and spirits also matter in this day and age. i.e. everything counts, so best to just do (our) best rather than assume one way or the other. I believe for a Buddhist cultivator (if one is such a thing or wants to be) that is a more generous spirit, and more in line with the great vows of the Mahayana...(rather than - we are probably screwed especially in this 'age' etc)

IMO

:anjali:

(Edited after I read the Utopia context more - thanks!)
Last edited by floating_abu on Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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