Myth in Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:46 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Huseng wrote:Okay, but Vajrayāna still promises rapid progression to buddhahood.


The emphasis on speed of results in Vajrayana is motivated solely by compassion and love for sentient beings. Seeing the condition of beings-- that they desire happiness yet actively work at producing more suffering, one is moved to immediately put an end to ignorance and be able to rescue them. Not kalpas in the future, not seven lives from now. Right now. The only reason to develop upaya is to help others. Anything else is just self-aggrandizement and is both a wrong path and a total disaster for the deluded being that treads it. The image traditionally used to cultivate the proper sentiment is that of a mother who has no arms watching her only child carried away by a raging river. If one doesn't have this kind of motivation, one won't do the hard work necessary to succeed in the vajrayana path. One is in danger of succumbing to delusive fantasies.

The notion that Vajrayana is only suitable for very few obscuration-free sentient beings is the exact opposite of the message we see repeatedly in the Vajrayana texts. Over and over again they stress that as obscurations become more entrenched, the Vajrayana methods become more effective. Why? Because they don't leave behind the afflictive emotions, but rather transform them in place. It's not always pretty. There is an ever present danger of mental imbalance. This is why an experienced and realized guru is necessary. There are both spectacular successes and failures on the vajrayana path. They all come down to whether the practitioner had genuine compassion or not.

:good:
Better than good, EXCELLENT.

I would like to mention also, that vajrayana doesn't promise rapid progression to buddhahood.
it only provides the opportunity.
I only make this distinction, which is a small one but very important,
because we often hear that by doing some activity, being generous, making prostrations, etc.
that one will quickly accumulate merit.
However, performing various good actions only provides the opportunity to accumulate merit.
it is the motivation behind those actions which causes one to accumulate no merit, some merit,
or much merit and thus "rapid progression to buddhahood",
and that motivation is compassion and love for sentient beings.

This aspect of motivation also applies to the topic of this discussion, MYTH.
Modern thinking demands that for something to be true,
it must be true regardless of one's participation in the outcome.
Thus, one might argue that
dharma trransmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it,
much the way a soft drink dispenser dispenses Coca-Cola.
But this isn't how it works.
So, it is not unlike the accumulation of merit for the
"rapid progression to buddhahood".
.
.
.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby MalaBeads » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:46 pm

"dharma trransmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it"


Perhaps this thread should be called Myths in Buddhism.
MalaBeads
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby shel » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:09 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Modern thinking demands that for something to be true,
it must be true regardless of one's participation in the outcome.

Thus, one might argue that
dharma trransmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it,
much the way a soft drink dispenser dispenses Coca-Cola.


I like to think of myself as a modern thinker, but I can't figure out what you're saying here. We're not talking about sugar water. We're talking about things like wisdom, compassion, insight, etc, ... ya know, cools stuff like that. Those sorts of things are not had simply because one may want them.
shel
 
Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:02 am

Karma Dorje wrote:The emphasis on speed of results in Vajrayana is motivated solely by compassion and love for sentient beings. Seeing the condition of beings-- that they desire happiness yet actively work at producing more suffering, one is moved to immediately put an end to ignorance and be able to rescue them.

One of the implications of such self-aggrandizement is that other traditions and practitioners are relegated to the inferior status of being deficient in compassion.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:07 am

Jnana wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:The emphasis on speed of results in Vajrayana is motivated solely by compassion and love for sentient beings. Seeing the condition of beings-- that they desire happiness yet actively work at producing more suffering, one is moved to immediately put an end to ignorance and be able to rescue them.

One of the implications of such self-aggrandizement is that other traditions and practitioners are relegated to the inferior status of being deficient in compassion.


And correspondingly, it infers that the Buddha Shakyamuni has taught deficient vehicles for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Vajrayana, and that patriarchs such as Nagajurna, Asanga, Vasubhandu are inferior practitioners.
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:30 am

shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Modern thinking demands that for something to be true,
it must be true regardless of one's participation in the outcome.

Thus, one might argue that
dharma trransmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it,
much the way a soft drink dispenser dispenses Coca-Cola.


I like to think of myself as a modern thinker, but I can't figure out what you're saying here. We're not talking about sugar water. We're talking about things like wisdom, compassion, insight, etc, ... ya know, cools stuff like that. Those sorts of things are not had simply because one may want them.


Yes, I am offering an example of the faulty logic.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:59 am

pueraeternus wrote:
Jnana wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:The emphasis on speed of results in Vajrayana is motivated solely by compassion and love for sentient beings. Seeing the condition of beings-- that they desire happiness yet actively work at producing more suffering, one is moved to immediately put an end to ignorance and be able to rescue them.

One of the implications of such self-aggrandizement is that other traditions and practitioners are relegated to the inferior status of being deficient in compassion.


And correspondingly, it infers that the Buddha Shakyamuni has taught deficient vehicles for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Vajrayana, and that patriarchs such as Nagajurna, Asanga, Vasubhandu are inferior practitioners.


There are no deficient vehicles. The appropriate vehicle for one is the vehicle one actually understands and practices.
Karma Dorje
 
Posts: 731
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:07 am

Jnana wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:The emphasis on speed of results in Vajrayana is motivated solely by compassion and love for sentient beings. Seeing the condition of beings-- that they desire happiness yet actively work at producing more suffering, one is moved to immediately put an end to ignorance and be able to rescue them.

One of the implications of such self-aggrandizement is that other traditions and practitioners are relegated to the inferior status of being deficient in compassion.


Other traditions and practitioners are certainly not relegated to inferior status nor oneself to superior. In the attitude of a mother to its children, how could such a thought even arise? There are 84 000 distinct medicines of a single taste to cure what ails suffering beings.

Sure, there are competing truth claims about the results of these paths. Caveat emptor. But this does not mean denigrating anything. Vajrayana only succeeds when all three vows are complete.
Karma Dorje
 
Posts: 731
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:16 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Jnana wrote:One of the implications of such self-aggrandizement is that other traditions and practitioners are relegated to the inferior status of being deficient in compassion.


And correspondingly, it infers that the Buddha Shakyamuni has taught deficient vehicles for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Vajrayana, and that patriarchs such as Nagajurna, Asanga, Vasubhandu are inferior practitioners.


There are no deficient vehicles. The appropriate vehicle for one is the vehicle one actually understands and practices.


True. It is just that many of the rhetoric employed in Vajrayana do point to the notion that the common Mahayana paths are deficient. It is not like the difference between the Sravakayana and the Mahayana - at least in that argument, both traditions acknowledge that the path towards Buddhahood takes asamkheyakalpas.

So perhaps here we have another myth in Buddhism to consider.
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby shel » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:29 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
shel wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Modern thinking demands that for something to be true,
it must be true regardless of one's participation in the outcome.

Thus, one might argue that
dharma trransmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it,
much the way a soft drink dispenser dispenses Coca-Cola.


I like to think of myself as a modern thinker, but I can't figure out what you're saying here. We're not talking about sugar water. We're talking about things like wisdom, compassion, insight, etc, ... ya know, cools stuff like that. Those sorts of things are not had simply because one may want them.


Yes, I am offering an example of the faulty logic.
.
.
.


Ah, I see. Well done!
shel
 
Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:16 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:This aspect of motivation also applies to the topic of this discussion, MYTH.
Modern thinking demands that for something to be true,
it must be true regardless of one's participation in the outcome.
Thus, one might argue that
dharma transmission, if it is not a "myth"
should, objectively, be dispensable
from anyone who has it to anyone who wants it,
much the way a soft drink dispenser dispenses Coca-Cola.
But this isn't how it works.


I get that. Important point. This is because the kinds of truths that mythologies point to may not be objectively true, in the sense that modern thinking understands 'objective'. This is because modern thinking is generally horizontal: there is no dimension which corresponds to 'depth'. Absent the vertical dimension offered by the religions, things either exist or don't exist. So a myth, being objectively false, is then declared, simply, false.

So myths are participative in some important sense. In liturgy, generally, there is an aspect of 're-enactment' wherein you ritually or symbollically participate in and re-create the 'sacred narrative'. I think Dharma transmission is like that, in fact, this is even acknowledged by many of its proponents. I think it has long been known that there are figurative or symbolic elements in the narrative. You can imagine them being told, if you like, with a kind of wink. 'Now we say....'

But this doesn't make them any less true. There are 'myths truer than history'.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:44 am

Karma Dorje wrote: Sure, there are competing truth claims about the results of these paths. Caveat emptor. But this does not mean denigrating anything.

Sure it does -- implicitly and often enough explicitly.

Karma Dorje wrote:There are no deficient vehicles. The appropriate vehicle for one is the vehicle one actually understands and practices.

A supersessionist platitude.
Jnana
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:58 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby shel » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:09 am

jeeprs wrote:This is because modern thinking is generally horizontal: there is no dimension which corresponds to 'depth'. Absent the vertical dimension offered by the religions, things either exist or don't exist. So a myth, being objectively false, is then declared, simply, false.

You wrote that modern thinking is generally horizontal, which should mean that there is a whole horizon of various ways to look at something like myths. This bears no relation to depth of meaning. Seeing things from different angles can deepen meaning.

So myths are participative in some important sense. In liturgy, generally, there is an aspect of 're-enactment' wherein you ritually or symbollically participate in and re-create the 'sacred narrative'. I think Dharma transmission is like that, in fact, this is even acknowledged by many of its proponents. I think it has long been known that there are figurative or symbolic elements in the narrative. You can imagine them being told, if you like, with a kind of wink. 'Now we say....'

But this doesn't make them any less true. There are 'myths truer than history'.

Myths can be more meaningful than history.

Problem is meaning can be misused, and when that happens we're suddenly thankful for modern thinking. :tongue:
shel
 
Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:17 am

Karma Dorje wrote: There are no deficient vehicles. The appropriate vehicle for one is the vehicle one actually understands and practices.


I have heard of dharma being referred to as an ocean ("Ocean Of Wisdom", in the case of the Dalai Lama's name) and it that context, some people go into the ocean scuba diving in deep waters, others swim near the shore, others just stand on the beach and let the waves wash over their ankles, and still others sit on the sand and watch the waves crashing.

Can we really say that anyone's experience of the ocean is more valid, less valid, more suitable, or less suitable? It is the same ocean for everyone. Likewise, because people have different capacities, inclinations, attachments and perhaps even previous connections to dharma, there are 84,000 paths. Even within any particular type of Buddhism, there is a time when you are able to understand some things and a time when you are not. Even if you begin with the Four Noble Truths...the "basics", even 30 years later, you go back and study them with new understanding that you did not have before.

Yes, some paths may have a more 'direct' method, but this actually may not be as helpful to a person as a less direct method, depending on that person's understanding.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:19 am

shel wrote: You wrote that modern thinking is generally horizontal, which should mean that there is a whole horizon of various ways to look at something like myths.


Oh, is that what that means? How can you be sure it doesn't mean thinking about stuff when you are lying down?
:rolling:
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:45 am

Jnana wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Sure, there are competing truth claims about the results of these paths. Caveat emptor. But this does not mean denigrating anything.

Sure it does -- implicitly and often enough explicitly.


To speak of what is meaningful to one does not entail putting down what is meaningful to others. If someone as obtuse and immature as me can respect and appreciate traditions even outside the ambit of Buddhism, it can't be very hard.

Jnana wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:There are no deficient vehicles. The appropriate vehicle for one is the vehicle one actually understands and practices.

A supersessionist platitude.


If you are itching for a fight, you won't find one here. I am not speaking a platitude. I have lived my life in appreciation of and participation in religions with greatly diverse viewpoints. All religions are upaya, and none of them supersede one another. The religious expression one is drawn to is a factor of one's samskaras, not one's wisdom. It seems to me rather pointless and silly to set one faith against another. We choose what makes sense to us. If you are upset by the claims of vajrayana, there are countless other expressions to explore. I scarcely think that vajrayana has a monopoly on triumphalism.
Karma Dorje
 
Posts: 731
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:01 am

What do you guys think about Kumare?



The guy basically pretended to be Indian and became a guru, acquiring a following of devoted people who trusted him despite it all being a big sham.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5558
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:06 am

My wife watched this.. it sounded somewhat cruel to me, though I should watch the whole thing myself to know for sure.

I mean on the one hand I guess it's making a point, but the effect it has on all those people I imagine might not be great, would you rather have a bunch of credulous, naive seekers..or would you rather they just say it's all a sham and give up? I don't really dislike the message, it just seems messed up to play with people in that way.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2132
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:07 am

shel wrote: You wrote that modern thinking is generally horizontal, which should mean that there is a whole horizon of various ways to look at something like myths. This bears no relation to depth of meaning. Seeing things from different angles can deepen meaning.


Nothing like it.

There is an expression used in relation to religious ideas, that there is a vertical dimension, representing, if you like, realms or levels of being. This is well-represented in Buddhism in the notions of the various 'realms' that you see depicted iconographically in the Tibetan Wheel of Life and Death or in the idea of 'bhumis' and heaven or hell realms.

That dimension of depth, the notion of 'realms of being', is absent in Western secular-mainstream thinking. There is nothing that maps against it and no way of understanding it. In a very specific sense, secular-scientific thought operates only in a single dimension, that is, the dimension that can explored by way of the senses and scientific instruments.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:43 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I mean on the one hand I guess it's making a point, but the effect it has on all those people I imagine might not be great, would you rather have a bunch of credulous, naive seekers..or would you rather they just say it's all a sham and give up? I don't really dislike the message, it just seems messed up to play with people in that way.


I think it is highly instructive. These people were searching for something, they thought they found it in an exotic Indian yogi and then carried on, convinced that they were growing spiritually. It was a strong emotional reaction on their part rather than one calculated with reason. Intuition based on feelings. There is a thrill to be experienced by meeting someone you perceive of as spiritually superior to you because it is so difficult to really quantify and describe it.

This isn't to say there arn't genuinely well-developed individuals, but how to identify them is a question not sufficiently considered. In some Buddhist literature the qualities of a genuine teacher include thorough knowledge of scripture, pure conduct (body and speech) and purely kept precepts. For anti-intellectual persons, knowledge of scripture might be seen as unimportant or even a fault. But stop and consider that if a person can acquire a strong understanding of canon and retain it in memory, they probably have a strong mind, patience, dedication and faith. If you've digested that much material as a Buddhist, it might even have strong impact on your behaviour. You emulate what you contemplate, so constantly reading verses on pure conduct and compassion you'll bring out these qualities in yourself.

If you yourself acquire basic knowledge of canon and a degree of ability in meditation, then you can judge for yourself who is a decent teacher and guide.

But then people will argue for eccentrics using unorthodox skilful means (like sleeping with students) as legitimate and praiseworthy, so what I just described easily goes out the window.

Maybe a lot of spiritual seekers want the eccentric experience. It is a lot more exciting than learning sutras and quiet meditation. There is more fun in creating a religious narrative for crazy wisdom.

Incidentally, the guru guide phenomenon, just as you see it in the west, is unsurprisingly a part of modern Indian culture, too. People consult their guru on life decisions. It actually works reasonably well though because it introduces a random element in one's decision making plus the emotional assurance that it was the right decision regardless of the outcome. The guru can act as a confidant and trustee to an individual. They are a spiritual support. If you have a life crisis, you can always seek out a spiritual guru. Again, unsurprisingly, people reward their confidants often with money and other perks.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5558
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests

>