Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:50 pm

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


How does this distinction of yours function when it runs into the concept of Sangha?
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:52 pm

Malcolm wrote: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.
And the teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path? The proscription on not taking life is about not taking anothers life. That makes it social. No taking what is not given (stealing)? Social. etc...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:10 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
The sphere of the Dharma is not the polis, it is the person.


How does this distinction of yours function when it runs into the concept of Sangha?


Good question. Is the Sangha a polis? No, I don't think so. It is merely a name for a group of people on the path or who have realized the result of that path who may or may not live or associate in a community. For example, pratyakabuddhas are also Sangha, etc.

To the extent that such like-minded people assemble [sangha] and work to achieve a common spiritual goal, it is constant struggle for them to keep their relationships pure and focused on the Dharma. Too often, such community efforts wind up spoiled by politics.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:12 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote: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.
And the teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path? The proscription on not taking life is about not taking anothers life. That makes it social. No taking what is not given (stealing)? Social. etc...



No, not taking life is about eliminating enmity in your own mind, first, and secondarily about protecting others.

Ahimsa, on the other hand, is a mental factor which functions in concert with the other positive mental factors, also it is not social necessarily. For example, we extend the principle of ahimsa even to so called "non-sentient" life like trees and so on.

But you know, this is just my opinion. I think that Dharma and politics are separate, not that they have to kept secret. We can clearly see the results of the two things are very different. One results inevitably in peace and contentment; the other, constant struggle.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:43 pm

Malcolm wrote:No, not taking life is about eliminating enmity in your own mind, first, and secondarily about protecting others.
If it was about eliminating enmity then it would be proscription against enmity and not specifically against taking life. Anyway, people do not take life based strictly on enmity, they may do so based on greed, on pride, etc... A butcher does not hate the livestock he slaughters.
But you know, this is just my opinion. I think that Dharma and politics are separate, not that they have to kept secret. We can clearly see the results of the two things are very different. One results inevitably in peace and contentment; the other, constant struggle.
This is not a quality of politics per se but a quality of samsara. By the same token one may say that [insert samsaric activity of choice, including practice] and Dharma don't mix because...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:53 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:No, not taking life is about eliminating enmity in your own mind, first, and secondarily about protecting others.
If it was about eliminating enmity then it would be proscription against enmity and not specifically against taking life. Anyway, people do not take life based strictly on enmity, they may do so based on greed, on pride, etc... A butcher does not hate the livestock he slaughters.


To slay a sentient being requires the desire that they no longer exist [dvesha]. All such slaying then comes from a sense of enmity.



This is not a quality of politics per se but a quality of samsara.


Politics is just a samsara of hope and fear. In politics there are always winners and always losers. In Dharma there are only winners.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Malcolm wrote:To slay a sentient being requires the desire that they no longer exist [dvesha]. All such slaying then comes from a sense of enmity.
When I used to hunt rabbits I did it coz they tasted really good as a pot roast with red wine, bay leaves, baby onions and garlic, not coz I hated them. On the contrary, they were cute, furry, fluffy and hipppity-hoppity, but they tasted damn fine!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:10 pm

Well then let me be the first to label myself a Dharma Loser. :toilet:


Good question. Is the Sangha a polis? No, I don't think so. It is merely a name for a group of people on the path or who have realized the result of that path who may or may not live or associate in a community. For example, pratyakabuddhas are also Sangha, etc.

To the extent that such like-minded people assemble [sangha] and work to achieve a common spiritual goal, it is constant struggle for them to keep their relationships pure and focused on the Dharma. Too often, such community efforts wind up spoiled by politics.


Sangha, I guess I've heard, can refer to the highly abstract grouping of all Arya Bodhisattvas or Pratyekabuddhas, etc. but it often refers to a highly fractious, dynamic community of bikkshus and Bhikksunis living in a community of direct democracy.

I still think your conception of "individual only" dharma is slanted by Western romanticism, individualism, the enlightenment or something---I mean, I agree with all the consequences you probably have in mind (when Dharma and Politics go wrong--our current situation in Myanmar for example) but I'm afraid you have your head in the ether cloud of ideal shoulds and shouldn'ts rather than talking about people's ordinary lived realities.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:47 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:
I still think your conception of "individual only" dharma is slanted by Western romanticism, individualism, the enlightenment or something---I mean, I agree with all the consequences you probably have in mind (when Dharma and Politics go wrong--our current situation in Myanmar for example) but I'm afraid you have your head in the ether cloud of ideal shoulds and shouldn'ts rather than talking about people's ordinary lived realities.


My opinion is a product of my direct observation of people in action with each other "in the name of the Dharma" over the past 25 years; and having studied the socio-political history of Buddhism as it has existed for the past 2500 years in this epoch.

Just as there is no group karma, there is also no group Dharma. Dharma is solely about personal evolution and transformation. If enough people evolve and transform, well then, what a nice place to live that would be.

In fact, it is the observation of people's ordinary lived realities that has lead me to my present conclusion. It is one of the reasons I made a radical distinction between Dharma and Buddhism.

M
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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 Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:49 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:To slay a sentient being requires the desire that they no longer exist [dvesha]. All such slaying then comes from a sense of enmity.
When I used to hunt rabbits I did it coz they tasted really good as a pot roast with red wine, bay leaves, baby onions and garlic, not coz I hated them. On the contrary, they were cute, furry, fluffy and hipppity-hoppity, but they tasted damn fine!


Sorry Greg, but in order to slay, you have to desire the non-existence of another sentient being. It is impossible that state of mind exists without being tinged with aversion, no matter how slight.
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 8:27 pm

From "Writings of Kalu Rinpoche" tr. McLeod:

NON-MERITORIOUS KARMA

The non-virtuous acts emerge from emotional dispositions, and are explained as follows:

Physical Acts

The first is the taking of life. Taking life because of desire means killing for the sake of meat, skin, bones, musk, or other parts of an animal, for money, or to protect yourself or your friends. Taking life out of anger means killing because of enmity or dispute. Taking life for the wake of offerings or gifts, thinking that it is virtuous, is killing because of stupidity.


Greg & I are both Kagyus. Maybe it's a Kagyu thing.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:35 pm

I've also read somewhere a traditional triad of intentions behind all nonvirtuous acts: they can be primarily because of any of the three poisons.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:36 pm

smcj wrote:From "Writings of Kalu Rinpoche" tr. McLeod:

NON-MERITORIOUS KARMA

The non-virtuous acts emerge from emotional dispositions, and are explained as follows:

Physical Acts

The first is the taking of life. Taking life because of desire means killing for the sake of meat, skin, bones, musk, or other parts of an animal, for money, or to protect yourself or your friends. Taking life out of anger means killing because of enmity or dispute. Taking life for the wake of offerings or gifts, thinking that it is virtuous, is killing because of stupidity.


Greg & I are both Kagyus. Maybe it's a Kagyu thing.


Yes, I understand the formal definitions of how the three mental non-virtues work and their consequence on the actions of killing and so on. This is all very carefully explained in Abhidharmakosha [chapter four], which I have studied in close detail for many years.

But you cannot kill without aversion for the thing you are killing, even if you are killing it out of greed [brnab sems] or wrong view [log lta] -- underneath that greed or wrong view will still be a deeper affliction of hatred.
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 Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:16 pm

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:From "Writings of Kalu Rinpoche" tr. McLeod:

NON-MERITORIOUS KARMA

The non-virtuous acts emerge from emotional dispositions, and are explained as follows:

Physical Acts

The first is the taking of life. Taking life because of desire means killing for the sake of meat, skin, bones, musk, or other parts of an animal, for money, or to protect yourself or your friends. Taking life out of anger means killing because of enmity or dispute. Taking life for the wake of offerings or gifts, thinking that it is virtuous, is killing because of stupidity.


Greg & I are both Kagyus. Maybe it's a Kagyu thing.


Yes, I understand the formal definitions of how the three mental non-virtues work and their consequence on the actions of killing and so on. This is all very carefully explained in Abhidharmakosha [chapter four], which I have studied in close detail for many years.

But you cannot kill without aversion for the thing you are killing, even if you are killing it out of greed [brnab sems] or wrong view [log lta] -- underneath that greed or wrong view will still be a deeper affliction of hatred.
And here's me thinking that the underlying mental poison was always ignorance...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:05 am

Malcolm wrote:
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.


Could you give an argument or some evidence for this?

I'm open to this possibility, but as I said, thus far I have not seen a decent argument for it.

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

Postby tobes » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:09 am

Malcolm wrote:
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.


It clearly cannot be contained to the sphere of the personal.

The Dharma opens us up to an ontology of interdependence, which radically undermines the distinctions between the personal and the social.

That in itself is highly political, because it denies the kinds of politics predicated on atomistic, autonomous individuals.

I'm really not sure how this could be denied.....

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

Postby smcj » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:33 am

The Dharma opens us up to an ontology of interdependence, which radically undermines the distinctions between the personal and the social.

That in itself is highly political, because it denies the kinds of politics predicated on atomistic, autonomous individuals.

I'm really not sure how this could be denied.....

If something is interdependent, it is impermanent and pervaded by dukha. Or, simply put, it is samsara, and cannot ever be made perfectly right...
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:37 am

tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
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.


It clearly cannot be contained to the sphere of the personal.

The Dharma opens us up to an ontology of interdependence, which radically undermines the distinctions between the personal and the social.

That in itself is highly political, because it denies the kinds of politics predicated on atomistic, autonomous individuals.

I'm really not sure how this could be denied.....

:anjali:


:anjali:

Well put.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Adamantine » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:23 am

tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
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.


It clearly cannot be contained to the sphere of the personal.

The Dharma opens us up to an ontology of interdependence, which radically undermines the distinctions between the personal and the social.

That in itself is highly political, because it denies the kinds of politics predicated on atomistic, autonomous individuals.

I'm really not sure how this could be denied.....

:anjali:


:good:


I'm glad you beat me to this reply because I think you articulated it better than I would have.
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:49 am

Malcolm wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote:
I still think your conception of "individual only" dharma is slanted by Western romanticism, individualism, the enlightenment or something---I mean, I agree with all the consequences you probably have in mind (when Dharma and Politics go wrong--our current situation in Myanmar for example) but I'm afraid you have your head in the ether cloud of ideal shoulds and shouldn'ts rather than talking about people's ordinary lived realities.


My opinion is a product of my direct observation of people in action with each other "in the name of the Dharma" over the past 25 years; and having studied the socio-political history of Buddhism as it has existed for the past 2500 years in this epoch.

Just as there is no group karma, there is also no group Dharma. Dharma is solely about personal evolution and transformation. If enough people evolve and transform, well then, what a nice place to live that would be.


In fact, it is the observation of people's ordinary lived realities that has lead me to my present conclusion. It is one of the reasons I made a radical distinction between Dharma and Buddhism.

M


I don't see how THAT can be denied.
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