Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:28 pm

MalaBeads wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote: Oh yeah like abstention could easily be the most compassionate activity available......you could be totally divorced from politics, invested into non-action, etc...but that's only if your Bodhicitta isn't tainted by aversion to all those things.


Nila, you have no idea how funny the first part of your statement is...to me anyway.

:tongue:

As for the second part of what you said, you don't know me or know how much I have or have not been involved in "politics" in my life...or how politics has affected my life. I have had the opportunity, in this very life, to see up close how politics works. It did not improve my opinion of it whatsoever.

Ciao.


Abstention? yeah I admit it sounds pretty funny.

I'm sorry if I implied that I did know much about you, or what's good for you, or anything like that.
I'm still not entirely sure if we're understanding each other.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby MalaBeads » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:41 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote: Oh yeah like abstention could easily be the most compassionate activity available......you could be totally divorced from politics, invested into non-action, etc...but that's only if your Bodhicitta isn't tainted by aversion to all those things.


Nila, you have no idea how funny the first part of your statement is...to me anyway.

:tongue:

As for the second part of what you said, you don't know me or know how much I have or have not been involved in "politics" in my life...or how politics has affected my life. I have had the opportunity, in this very life, to see up close how politics works. It did not improve my opinion of it whatsoever.

Ciao.


Abstention? yeah I admit it sounds pretty funny.

I'm sorry if I implied that I did know much about you, or what's good for you, or anything like that.
I'm still not entirely sure if we're understanding each other.


Nila,

There are two things I attempt to do on DW. The first is only speak from my own experience. And the second is to not be a parrot.

I don't always succeed at either but thats where my effort is.

With respect to only speaking from my own experience, that means that I post a lot of my own opinions. I am not a teacher (unlike the Loppon here) and as such I do not have a lot of quotes at the ready to back up my teacherly position. As far as I know, Malcolm is the only "teacher" here but once again, i don't everything about everyone here either. There may be others for all I know.

My teacher teaches us to "participate". So thats what I see I am doing here. Participating. I was in the Dharma for many years before I ever said a peep. Turns out I have a lot of opinions. Who knew? Not me.

As for being a parrot. It's just not something I like. I don't like to read the posts of parrots either. (In Zen, this is called being a dreg-slurper.) It's just my personal preference, but I would prefer people to be silent rather than parrot someone else. At least until they are clear about their own experience/opinions. So I try not to do that. Not that I always succeed.

I don't know whether we are understanding each other or not. I don't have a particular goal for you (or anyone actually) to understand me. I am just participating.

Cheers.

:smile:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:18 am

The 4 seals of Dharma are:

All compounded things are impermanent.
All stained emotions are painful.*
All phenomena are empty.
Nirvana is peace.

Dharma is about looking for a lasting answer to the problem of dukha. Politics will never come close to that, although it can create he'll-states. .

*I think I've seen #2 as, "All impermanence is unsatisfactory", but I can't swear to it. I like that version better.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:01 am

Well Politics isn't a substitute or equivalent to Dharma...that's silly.

As for your translation of the 4 Seals...hmmm...I think it leaves much of the nuance out.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:25 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:Well Politics isn't a substitute or equivalent to Dharma...that's silly.

As for your translation of the 4 Seals...hmmm...I think it leaves much of the nuance out.



They is generally given as:

All conditioned phenomena are impermanent.
All afflicted phenomena are suffering.
All phenomena lack self.
Nirvana is peaceful.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:15 pm

Malcolm, I've always heard "Nirvana is beyond extremes" which seems much more helpful in establishing the view---is it really just Nirvana is peace (ksanti?).
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:18 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:Malcolm, I've always heard "Nirvana is beyond extremes" which seems much more helpful in establishing the view---is it really just Nirvana is peace (ksanti?).


I'm not a translator, but i prefer something that suggests the end of the road, like 'finality' or 'fulfillment' rather than 'peaceful' or 'peace'.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:44 pm

smcj wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote:Malcolm, I've always heard "Nirvana is beyond extremes" which seems much more helpful in establishing the view---is it really just Nirvana is peace (ksanti?).


I'm not a translator, but i prefer something that suggests the end of the road, like 'finality' or 'fulfillment' rather than 'peaceful' or 'peace'.



༈ འདུ་བྱེད་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་ཅིང༌།
ཟག་བཅས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ།
ཆོས་རྣམས་སྟོང་ཞིང་བདག་མེད་པ།
མྱང་ངན་འདས་པ་ཞི་བའོ། །

Literally:

All conditioned [phenomena] are impermanent.
All contaminated [phenomena] are suffering.
All phenomena are empty and lack self.
Nirvana is peace [ཞི་བའོ].

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:54 am

༈ འདུ་བྱེད་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་ཅིང༌།
ཟག་བཅས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་བ།
ཆོས་རྣམས་སྟོང་ཞིང་བདག་མེད་པ།
མྱང་ངན་འདས་པ་ཞི་བའོ། །

Literally:

All conditioned [phenomena] are impermanent.
All contaminated [phenomena] are suffering.
All phenomena are empty and lack self.
Nirvana is peace [ཞི་བའོ].

M

As literally accurate as 'peace' may be, in modern culture it reinforces the preconception that meditation is relaxation that I believe is misleading in a subtle yet substantial way. Also it does not allow for the presence of energetic action to the normal person.

But like I said, I'm not a translator, so I will use 'peace' and give my opinions about it separately.

I also have my suspicions about "birth, old age, sickness and death". Not everybody gets to old age, so shouldn't it be "aging"?
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:38 am

The claim that the Dharma and politics should be separate is itself a deeply political claim.

It comes out of the rise of secularism - an *ism* just like any other kind of *ism* in European political thinking/history.

There may be many good arguments to support such an *ism*.

However, the claim that such a position is apolitical is not such an argument, and is more or less absurd.

So people who are arguing that the Dharma ought to be kept separate from politics - for various (mainly liberal-protestant) reasons - need to acknowledge the political content of such an argument and resist the temptation to assume that it just floats in from nowhere in a politically-free space.

It doesn't.

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:50 am

Perhaps the more interesting claim is that the Dharma is distinct from politics (rather than should be).

It seems to me that - as in so many of these kinds of debates - we might need be clearer about which version of the Dharma we mean when we say 'The Dharma'.

i.e. a response drawn from Chan might be distinct from a response drawn from the Thai forest tradition.

For mine, I do not see how 'The Dharma' - in any form - is distinct from action, interrelation, causes, conditions and effects. So long as it is related to these things, then it may shape, constitute or inform them. And these are partly political phenomena, unless one chooses to define 'the political' in a very specific and particular way, such as a liberal-democratic sphere of law making and popular representation.

I have yet to see a convincing argument against that.

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:42 am

Don't you think you could make a distinction between 'secular' and 'spiritual' which corresponds to the 'two truths' doctrine?

I have always felt the idea of the two separable (if not ultimately separate) domains of 'conventional' and 'ultimate' could provide a basis for a similar type of separation of church and state that you see in Western democracies.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:43 am

So in short: one of the most contradictory elements in this thread is the deeply political claim that the Dharma ought to be separate from politics.

It is contradictory because that position itself situates the Dharma in a very particular, highly political way.

i.e. it frames the Dharma through and in relation to a liberal-secularist ideology.

:anjali:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:45 am

I suppose you could say that the very suggestion comes from a kind of 'liberal protestant' background, but I think it also has a precedent in the parable of Caesar's coin in the bible. The phrase 'render unto Caeser' has become a widely quoted summary of the relationship between Christianity and secular authority. The original message, coming in response to a question of whether it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar, enables various interpretations about the circumstances under which it is desirable for the Christian to submit to earthly authority.

I am not saying that Buddhism is the same as Christianity but there are parallels.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:46 am

jeeprs wrote:Don't you think you could make a distinction between 'secular' and 'spiritual' which corresponds to the 'two truths' doctrine?

I have always felt the idea of the two separable (if not ultimately separate) domains of 'conventional' and 'ultimate' could provide a basis for a similar type of separation of church and state that you see in Western democracies.


It depends upon how one interprets the two truths. I agree that it is highly relevant to this discussion, but for mine, your interpretation here reifies the ultimate to be a "something", and posits too much of a distinction between them.

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:50 am

But they are distinct. That is why it was necessary to make a distinction in the first place. We might agree there is no ultimate distinction, but in the sphere of political life, we are dealing with convention by definition.

Besides I think the main objection was to politicising the Dharma, i.e. appealing to it as a way to vindicate a particular party/view/position. It was exactly because of that kind of attitude that the separation of church and state became necessary in Europe - so as to prevent the rise of theocratic powers. I can't really see how the same considerations wouldn't apply to Buddhism also. Within that framework, you might appeal to Buddhist principles, but not try and use them for political ends.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:30 am

jeeprs wrote:But they are distinct. That is why it was necessary to make a distinction in the first place. We might agree there is no ultimate distinction, but in the sphere of political life, we are dealing with convention by definition.
If the ultimate and the relative are distinct then where is the ultimate to be found?
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:37 am

I think the answer is 'right here but without understanding the distinction you can't discern it'.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:36 am

tobes wrote:So in short: one of the most contradictory elements in this thread is the deeply political claim that the Dharma ought to be separate from politics.

It is contradictory because that position itself situates the Dharma in a very particular, highly political way.

i.e. it frames the Dharma through and in relation to a liberal-secularist ideology.

:anjali:


If you prefer to see it that way, you will.

I don't see it that way.

1) the claim that Dharma and politics belong to separate spheres is not a political claim
2) that claim itself does not politicize Dharma
3) that claim has a long tradition stemming back to a pre-liberal secularist era.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:41 am

tobes wrote:For mine, I do not see how 'The Dharma' - in any form - is distinct from action, interrelation, causes, conditions and effects. So long as it is related to these things, then it may shape, constitute or inform them. And these are partly political phenomena, unless one chooses to define 'the political' in a very specific and particular way, such as a liberal-democratic sphere of law making and popular representation.

I have yet to see a convincing argument against that.


The sphere of the Dharma is not the polis, it is the person.

Then Dharma is not about creating a better society, or a more equitable society -- it never has been. The sphere of the Dharma is personal, it is about personal evolution.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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