Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby Punya » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:04 pm

JKhedrup wrote: However, in the west I prefer to dismiss the title Venerable, as I feel it indicates 'worthy of veneration' which I am not.


I think that's fine from the ordained person's point of view, but from a lay person's perspective using a term like Venerable conveys respect for the "position" not the person (although you may, of course, respect the person too).

I agree with Sonam that chanting in a specific language is related to transmission and not preferences.

Most of our dharma, at the moment, comes in cultural packages and from what I have observed attempts to create a western package have been largely unsuccessful - throwing at least some of the baby out with the bath water. As others have said, it's just a question of not being too attached to the cultural elements of the package.
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Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby rory » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:10 am

the western package comes with it's own problems as most religious terms are loaded with Christian content. It's far easier for me (and psychologically more pleasant) to call someone bhante, shifu, sensei, than sister, brother, father, mother, holiness the latter words are freighted with a centuries-long history that I'd much rather do without while the others to westerners are neutral.

What we can try to drop is the bad cultural freight that has become intertwined with the buddhism of the tradition we practice. By that I mean not the art nor respect for teachers etc but the sexist, confucian, hierarchical structures that come from Asian culture and are not really part of Buddhism despite what people like to think.
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:05 am

rory wrote:What we can try to drop is the bad cultural freight that has become intertwined with the buddhism of the tradition we practice. By that I mean not the art nor respect for teachers etc but the sexist, confucian, hierarchical structures that come from Asian culture and are not really part of Buddhism despite what people like to think.

This is open to massive amounts of interpretation, and what one person views as hierarchy as an expression of Asian culture, another will view as simply part of Buddhism.

Buddhism and the Dharma takes on an unlimited amount of guises in order to help beings, and make it easier for them to adapt. Certainly, in the US, the culture is not the same as that of Asia, but that doesn't mean that the cultural aspects which influenced Buddhism are not part of Buddhism. With such strict definitions, everything except non-duality is not Buddhist, which just contradicts the two truths doctrine.

Also, why do you have negative feelings towards the use of certain terms? Wouldn't the "Buddhist" approach be to accept the way the Dharma has been presented? Unless of course these terms give a lot of problems which would not have otherwise existed - but I cannot see that that is so, if one simply uses the term "brother."
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby rory » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:13 am

Well as has been pointed out by Ven. Indrajala in other threads, Brahmanism which had nothing to do with Buddhism and the culture it arose from in Maghada influenced Buddhism to include all kinds of sexual prohibitions associated with purity. This usually means the anti-gay stance in modern terms. Doesn't influence you if you aren't gay, but if you are (I am)...then of course there are Confucian family values, good in many respects I love and revere my parents, but I have gay Asian Buddhist friends who are struggling, can't/don't want to tell their families for all the above reasons. It's so very sad.

Now as to the Western terms: father, brothers, sister, priest, monk, nun well I'm Jewish and have relatives killed in the Holocause, those terms are freighted with 2,000 years of anti-semitic baggage. It's way easier for me to deal with ajahn, sensei, shifu any day of the week. Others have their own deep issues, but issues there are, so non-Western terms are wonderfully neutral to non-Asian Westerners.
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby maybay » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:54 am

Ben Yuan wrote:Wouldn't the "Buddhist" approach be to accept the way the Dharma has been presented?

It's not as much about accepting was has come before as it is about practicing in the present. The issue is language, and Buddha said Dharma should be spoken in the common tongue.

from the Four Reliances
'Rely on the meaning, not the text.'
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:59 am

"I heard that some students in the West went to a high-ranking Tibetan lama and asked if they could call their teacher “Rinpoche.” In case you don’t know, “Rinpoche” means “precious one.” And the high lama said that they could call their teacher “Rinpoche” if they wanted to. That’s how the Tibetan system works. There are no official pronouncements of what someone will be called. For example, I can take someone as my lama and use whatever title I prefer, like “His Holiness” or “Rinpoche” or “Yizhin Norbu,” which is a name given to the Dalai Lama that means “wish-fulfilling jewel.” The lamas wouldn’t call themselves that; it is only the students who use those names to honor their teachers."
(Ringu Tulku: Confusion Arises as Wisdom, p 135)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby muni » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:53 am

Ben Yuan wrote:In a sense I feel a similar way towards the practice of taking on "dharma names." It's possible for this to become a bit of "spiritual materialism." It's worthwhile noting that in the Sutras, those who take refuge in the Buddha, or even become monastics, keep their birth names.


Name giving, whenever done, seen by four reliances ( by Maybay post) can help us avoiding spiritual materialism, not to make another trap.
Dharma name, I suppose, can be as part of the guidance, guidance to open stainless labelessness.....lochness... :smile:

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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:29 am

Yes, I can see many advantages also. There are also disadvantages. In fact, with most things in samsara are this way.
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby Simon E. » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:03 pm

muni wrote:
Ben Yuan wrote:In a sense I feel a similar way towards the practice of taking on "dharma names." It's possible for this to become a bit of "spiritual materialism." It's worthwhile noting that in the Sutras, those who take refuge in the Buddha, or even become monastics, keep their birth names.


Name giving, whenever done, seen by four reliances ( by Maybay post) can help us avoiding spiritual materialism, not to make another trap.
Dharma name, I suppose, can be as part of the guidance, guidance to open stainless labelessness.....lochness... :smile:

:namaste:

" lochness "...? :?:
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Re: Dharma or Ethnic Buddhism?

Postby muni » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:28 pm

Simon E. wrote:" lochness "...? :?:



Nessie the monster of loch Ness. Same with all name and form projections of mind, whether by thought or appearance. Only in case of Nessie, there is doubt. While for I-thought all named Nessies (phenomena) are real solidities in its created world.

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