"Free Belief Buddhism"

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

Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:40 pm

Luke wrote:
Chaz wrote:What is it about people on this board thinking they can be insulting towards other people's teachers?

Hmm...yes, that's an ethical dilemma. On the one hand Huseng was trying to defend the traditional doctrines of Buddhism, but on the other hand, he unfairly assumed many things about your teacher.


It's not a dilemma at all. It's a question manners. Yes, Huseng is defending something all right. "Traditional doctrines of Buddhism" strikes me as a bit oxymoronish, though.

Although I personally dislike Batchelor's ideas,


I don't care much for them either. It's not what I want with my practice. Others may differ and I see no need to take issue with them about it.

I don't doubt that many people still feel great devotion towards teachers who have views similar to Batchelor's. Batchelor's teachings may serve as a gateway to Buddhist teachings for many people.


The thing is, some people will have a lot of trouble getting their heads around certain Buddhist concepts such as rebirth and karma. My feeling is that they have no present capacity for those sorts of things. Like anyone else, they will gravitate towards teachers who can teach them in a way that they can connect with. If you can't personally accept the idea of literal rebirth, a teacher who places such teachings front-and-center isn't a particularly good fit. To try and force such a student to endure such personally unacceptable teachings is quite pointless and not particularly skillfull. There is much apart from rebirth in the Buddha's teaching that such a student can grasp and practice. Far more important things I might add. To insist that such a student adopt a certain belief before they can call themselves a Buddhist is, and I'm sorry to have to use the word, just plain stupid.

Batchelor has had and will continue to attract his followers. Some will use his counsel as a stepping stone to other teachers and teachings. Other's not.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:54 pm

Huseng wrote:However, on the reverse we have the right the denounce such people as charlatans.



Who's this "we" you're talking about and by what authority can that collective denounce anyone or anything for any reason?

Of course you don't have to have any sort of authority or credentials to back up denouncing a teacher. You don't even have to have a good reason. The antics on this board are proof positive of that.

Yet, without the cred to make the point stick (again the case around here) any denouncing won't be taken too seriously and may even prove to be offensive. Not particularly skillfull. So when it' said on this board that so-an-so isn't a qualified teacher of Dharma it's just BS.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:01 pm

Astus wrote:Also see this teaching by Ven. Ledi Sayadaw: The Noble Eightfold Path and its Factors Explained where under right view he gives a detailed explanation of what it actually consists of.


That's great and the book is on the list, but tell me .......

In light of this thread becoming an excercise in stating who is qualified to teach the Dharma and who isn't, please tell me what qualifies Ven Ledi to teach on the subject?

I imagine you find Venerable's teaching most acceptable seeing as you're recommending him, but to be fair, simply agreeing with a teacher isn't sufficient credential (although disagreement seems to be in other ways).
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:16 pm

Chaz wrote:In light of this thread becoming an excercise in stating who is qualified to teach the Dharma and who isn't, please tell me what qualifies Ven Ledi to teach on the subject?

I imagine you find Venerable's teaching most acceptable seeing as you're recommending him, but to be fair, simply agreeing with a teacher isn't sufficient credential (although disagreement seems to be in other ways).


I have not addressed the issue whether anyone is qualified or not qualified to teach. In my view it is the teaching that matters and not the teacher. To tell if a person is really a great teacher takes first of all personal contact and long term relationship. Sure this is a bit extreme but a measure I like to keep in mind.

For instance, when Batchelor was in Budapest my friend met him and I've heard many good things about him. I've also found certain positive things about Batchelor and what he does. But that is not the same as agreeing with him in all things. And just because I can't agree with the concept that Buddhism can be fully comprehended and practised without rebirth doesn't mean I have to have bad feelings about anyone who teaches just that.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:18 pm

Yeshe wrote:I'm not sure about locking the thread, but maybe all parties can agree to let it die with a peaceful mind?


Don't lock it. Let the thread run it's course. It looks like Huseng is getting pwned right now and that may be how this should play out.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:25 pm

Astus wrote:
Chaz wrote:In light of this thread becoming an excercise in stating who is qualified to teach the Dharma and who isn't, please tell me what qualifies Ven Ledi to teach on the subject?

I imagine you find Venerable's teaching most acceptable seeing as you're recommending him, but to be fair, simply agreeing with a teacher isn't sufficient credential (although disagreement seems to be in other ways).


I have not addressed the issue whether anyone is qualified or not qualified to teach. In my view it is the teaching that matters and not the teacher. To tell if a person is really a great teacher takes first of all personal contact and long term relationship. Sure this is a bit extreme but a measure I like to keep in mind.

For instance, when Batchelor was in Budapest my friend met him and I've heard many good things about him. I've also found certain positive things about Batchelor and what he does. But that is not the same as agreeing with him in all things. And just because I can't agree with the concept that Buddhism can be fully comprehended and practised without rebirth doesn't mean I have to have bad feelings about anyone who teaches just that.


And I agree, but that doesn't answer the question of the moment and that's the importance of qualification in those we view as teachers.

Now I'd like to think that Ven Leti is the real deal, but I've just been told, by Huseng, that my own guru is lacking in basics, so, if my root guru isn't qualified, then who is?
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:02 pm

Chaz wrote:
Yeshe wrote:I'm not sure about locking the thread, but maybe all parties can agree to let it die with a peaceful mind?


Don't lock it. Let the thread run it's course. It looks like Huseng is getting pwned right now and that may be how this should play out.



OK,but 'pwned' is hardly helpful vocab is it?

Besides, I agree with him. LOL :)

Chaz wrote:To insist that such a student adopt a certain belief before they can call themselves a Buddhist is, and I'm sorry to have to use the word, just plain stupid.


Are you saying that someone can become a Buddhist whilst rejecting key tenets; that they can and should take Refuge in things they reject?

I thought a Buddhist was someone who took Refuge in the Dharma, which means accepting it. if someone attends classes but rejects key elements of the Dharma then they should not take Refuge and not become a Buddhist. That's surely logical, isn't it?

If someone takes Refuge and calls themselves a Buddhist but has not heard of karma, rebirth, the 4NT etc. for some strange reason, and they reject it, they should end their Refuge and not call themselves a Buddhist. Sure, you can follow the 5 precepts but without the 'belief' in basic tenets, and Refuge in the Triple Gem, you are not a Buddhist.

I should reiterate that I arrive at Batchelor's views with prejudice against those views rather than him personally.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:16 pm

Yeshe wrote:
Chaz wrote:
Yeshe wrote:I'm not sure about locking the thread, but maybe all parties can agree to let it die with a peaceful mind?


Don't lock it. Let the thread run it's course. It looks like Huseng is getting pwned right now and that may be how this should play out.



OK,but 'pwned' is hardly helpful vocab is it?

Besides, I agree with him. LOL :)



Helpful? Hadn't though of it those terms. Just the same, he is getting pwned and that may be helpful.

(for those who don't understand "pwned" it's short for "powned" which is online gaming parlanace for being "owned" or being beaten severly)

Agree with him if you like. Share his fate :rolling:
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:21 pm

Chaz wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
Chaz wrote:
Don't lock it. Let the thread run it's course. It looks like Huseng is getting pwned right now and that may be how this should play out.



OK,but 'pwned' is hardly helpful vocab is it?

Besides, I agree with him. LOL :)



Helpful? Hadn't though of it those terms. Just the same, he is getting pwned and that may be helpful.

(for those who don't understand "pwned" it's short for "powned" which is online gaming parlanace for being "owned" or being beaten severly)

Agree with him if you like. Share his fate :rolling:



OK. But you'll be sorry when you wake up in your next life as a wombat! :)

I edited my post as you were posting, sorry.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:34 pm

Here is Batchelor equating karma with a belief in God as a way of consoling ourselves when faced with unexplained phenomena:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKe2qE_NBKs

IMHO this is the simplistic and illogical view of someone who seems to want to be a guru and maybe, like Dawkins, try to be 'controversial' .

In reducing karma to a belief in 'fate' he shows that he is prepared to set aside what he knows in order to sensationalise. Karma has no 'explanatory power' yet 'it explains everything' and 'explains nothing' - ummmmm.

I can't believe the guy treats cause and effect as metaphysical mumbo jumbo, but he does. :thinking:
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:56 pm

Yeshe wrote:Are you saying that someone can become a Buddhist whilst rejecting key tenets; that they can and should take Refuge in things they reject?


No, but who's to say what's a key tenent? If my guru's teaching on "basics" is questionable then ANYONE here asserting any aspect of Dharma as "key" is even more questionable. Say what you will Yeshe, but for you to say to me that rebirth is somehow a key tenent of Dharma is laughable in the context of this thread. What qualifies you to say that? If my own guru doesn't have the basics down to a sufficent level to impress our friend Huseng, I doubt VERY much you have sufficient cred to say that.

I thought a Buddhist was someone who took Refuge in the Dharma, which means accepting it. if someone attends classes but rejects key elements of the Dharma then they should not take Refuge and not become a Buddhist. That's surely logical, isn't it?


But again, what is key? And what do you do with students who for whatever reasons at the moment can't or won't accept teachings on rebirth? Do we tell them, "Sorry, Jack, come back when your beliefs are in line with "the Dharma." That's what your stand implies - that we reject any and all people who don't believe the way we do. I mean, what do you call people who are so intentionally and predjudically exclusive? I wouldn't call them Buddhists.

I don't thinik my Guru would deny anyone Refuge Vows on the basis of that belief. I was interviewed for Refuge Vows in the Shambhala organization by an Acharya. My "beliefs" did not come up in that interview. When I finally did take Refuge with my guru some years later, my "beliefs" didn't come up then, either. I took my Bodhisattva Vows not long ago :woohoo: and my beliefs weren't questioned. I'll be asking permission to begin Ngondro practice in the Spring. I don't think my beliefs will be questioned at that time, either. You think they should? If people shouldn't take Refuge if their beliefs aren't in line with some doctrine, then they shouldn't be allowed to take them in the first place. They should be quizzed for orthodoxy. Did you have to submit to such a quiz when you took Refuge? Do you think it right that people should be forced to submit to such an examination?
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:08 pm

Chaz wrote:What is it about people on this board thinking they can be insulting towards other people's teachers?


I have not intentionally insulted your teacher. I have said he lacks the basics if indeed he teaches that craving and ignorance do not lead to rebirth. This is no more insulting than pointing out that the light of the moon is a reflection of sunlight.

Contrary to what some assume there is actual structure and definite teachings in Buddhadharma. It is not whatever you want it to be. There is dharma and there is adharma.

If you object to my criticism then prove to me through citation of scripture or through reasoning that craving and ignorance do not lead to rebirth. If you should like to defend your teacher then refute me rather than merely calling me a jerk.

If rebirth is an actual phenomenon, which we can present evidence for, then it is imperative to discuss and understand the process itself as well as the significance of it.


But you're not "discussing it". YOu're being insulting towards others who's thinking on the subject differs from yours.


This is your perception and not mine.


If division arises because of it then so be it.


I sure hope you're joking.


Like I said, the truth is more important than petty social conventions and social harmony on an internet forum.

I've run into this problem before in real life as well. I've criticized poor teachers in front of a class and refuted their fallacious ideas. I was called disrespectful as a result. Some colleagues became rather upset. No, it is not disrespectful to disagree, debate and refute. Likewise in a temple. I debate with the teacher and I get phonecalls from cranky old women saying how disrespectful I am.

Unfortunately, petty social conventions are prized far more than genuine discussion.

I came to the point that I really don't care if people come to dislike me for initiating discussion and debate. They might say, "It isn't about what you say, but how you say it." I still don't care. That's all petty social convention. On the other hand, I know others benefit greatly through honest and frank discussion. In my experience I might socially shot myself in the foot by criticizing others' arguments and ideas in front of them and everyone else, but at the end of the day some, though they remain silent, benefit from it. Moreover, I know myself I have benefited greatly through hearing others do the same thing.

In the context of internet forums I learned a great deal from Namdrol on eSangha. He without hesitation refuted and criticized faulty arguments and adharma. A lot of people may dislike him for it, but that's not really an issue.


So you'd like us Americans to basically toss the 1st Amendment?


I'm a canuck living in Tokyo. I don't care about the 1st Amendment of the American Constitution.

I've not advocated censorship. I merely say that such people should not presume to write books on Buddhism as it misleads people into wrong views which eradicate the possibility of achieving liberation. The first of the Eightfold Noble Path is Right View. Without Right View there is no correct thought, practise, samadhi and so on.

However that may be, he has freedom of speech and the right to publish his ideas. On the other hand, I have the freedom to criticize his ideas.

I have never advocated censorship of anyone I disagreed with.






Yet, without the cred to make the point stick (again the case around here) any denouncing won't be taken too seriously and may even prove to be offensive. Not particularly skillfull. So when it' said on this board that so-an-so isn't a qualified teacher of Dharma it's just BS.


I've explained my position regarding why said person is not a qualified teacher of Buddhism.


Now I'd like to think that Ven Leti is the real deal, but I've just been told, by Huseng, that my own guru is lacking in basics, so, if my root guru isn't qualified, then who is?


If your teacher insists that craving (or attachment as you refer to it) and ignorance do not lead to rebirth, they are mistaken. This is a basic principle in Buddhadharma. It is not my fault if your teacher is mistaken.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Pero » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:31 pm

Huseng wrote:I've explained my position regarding why said person is not a qualified teacher of Buddhism.


I just think of it this way, he's teaching "Buddhism without beliefs™" and not actual Buddhism.

If your teacher insists that craving (or attachment as you refer to it) and ignorance do not lead to rebirth, they are mistaken. This is a basic principle in Buddhadharma.


I doubt his teacher thinks that. :smile:
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Tara » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:35 pm

Polite reminder

From the ToS which all members agreed to when registering for this Forum.

1. All members are responsible for their own Right Speech

Members are expected to self-moderate, being mindful of the adage that 'behaviour breeds behaviour'. Mutual respect and friendliness should be the basis of all interactions. ..


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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:44 pm

Chaz wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Are you saying that someone can become a Buddhist whilst rejecting key tenets; that they can and should take Refuge in things they reject?


No, but who's to say what's a key tenent? If my guru's teaching on "basics" is questionable then ANYONE here asserting any aspect of Dharma as "key" is even more questionable. Say what you will Yeshe, but for you to say to me that rebirth is somehow a key tenent of Dharma is laughable in the context of this thread. What qualifies you to say that? If my own guru doesn't have the basics down to a sufficent level to impress our friend Huseng, I doubt VERY much you have sufficient cred to say that.

I thought a Buddhist was someone who took Refuge in the Dharma, which means accepting it. if someone attends classes but rejects key elements of the Dharma then they should not take Refuge and not become a Buddhist. That's surely logical, isn't it?


But again, what is key? And what do you do with students who for whatever reasons at the moment can't or won't accept teachings on rebirth? Do we tell them, "Sorry, Jack, come back when your beliefs are in line with "the Dharma." That's what your stand implies - that we reject any and all people who don't believe the way we do. I mean, what do you call people who are so intentionally and predjudically exclusive? I wouldn't call them Buddhists.

I don't thinik my Guru would deny anyone Refuge Vows on the basis of that belief. I was interviewed for Refuge Vows in the Shambhala organization by an Acharya. My "beliefs" did not come up in that interview. When I finally did take Refuge with my guru some years later, my "beliefs" didn't come up then, either. I took my Bodhisattva Vows not long ago :woohoo: and my beliefs weren't questioned. I'll be asking permission to begin Ngondro practice in the Spring. I don't think my beliefs will be questioned at that time, either. You think they should? If people shouldn't take Refuge if their beliefs aren't in line with some doctrine, then they shouldn't be allowed to take them in the first place. They should be quizzed for orthodoxy. Did you have to submit to such a quiz when you took Refuge? Do you think it right that people should be forced to submit to such an examination?


Ask yourself why you would not be questioned.

It is because you are taking vows. You know what they are, and so does your preceptor. In the case of Refuge, are you saying that you did not think you were taking Refuge in the Dharma, or that you could pick and mix?

To that extent, people should be asked to affirm that they understand what Refuge involves etc. My gurus do this, yes.

No. nobody should be told to go away and come back - they should be taught to whatever extent is necessary and then decide to take Refuge or not.

All my gurus have taught me that Buddhism requires a belief in the 8FP, 4NT, karma, post-mortem rebirth and DO. As their disciple, why would they then need to ask me if I was only taking Refuge in bits of the Dharma they taught. It is implicit.

You are familiar with the Bodhisattva vows, which I think can guide you here. They require that you do not abandon Dharma, do not abandon the Mahayana, do not hold Wrong Views, do not cause others to abandon the Mahayana. It is also a downfall to criticise other Mahayana traditions. Rebirth is implicit within the Mahayana, as a disciple should know before taking vows to uphold that tradition.

Now, again I ask you to tone down your words, please - in the context of discussing a person who teaches denial of rebirth, calling what my gurus teach 'laughable' is simply rude and unhelpful. My 'cred' is the same as any other member here - we leave all that stuff at the door, I hope.

Batchelor seems to think we can deal with dukkha without believing in karma. Best give up all practise then, as useless. Best in his case not also to bother lecturing others on how to think if it is useless, too. I would never have embarked on Ngondro, let alone completed it, had I believed that this karma was pointless. ;)
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:02 pm

Huseng wrote:
I have not intentionally insulted your teacher.



Dude! That changes everything!!!!!

Actually it doesn't.

I have said he lacks the basics if indeed he teaches that craving and ignorance do not lead to rebirth.


You are in no position to critique him. You're just being insulting, intentional or no.


This is no more insulting than pointing out that the light of the moon is a reflection of sunlight.


Then I guess it's ok to call you a jerk - after all it is just an observation.

Contrary to what some assume there is actual structure and definite teachings in Buddhadharma. It is not whatever you want it to be. There is dharma and there is adharma.


And you are qualified to be the judge of that because ......

If you object to my criticism then prove to me through citation of scripture or through reasoning that craving and ignorance do not lead to rebirth. If you should like to defend your teacher then refute me rather than merely calling me a jerk.


let me quote you then .....

This is no more insulting than pointing out that the light of the moon is a reflection of sunlight.



But you're not "discussing it". YOu're being insulting towards others who's thinking on the subject differs from yours.


This is your perception and not mine.


Obviously.

If division arises because of it then so be it.


I sure hope you're joking.


Like I said, the truth is more important than petty social conventions and social harmony on an internet forum.
[/quote]

I was afraid of that.

I've run into this problem before in real life as well.


Then maybe you should take the hint. There's an old saying that goes: "If 10 men tell you that you're drunk, lay down.

I came to the point that I really don't care if people come to dislike me for initiating discussion and debate.


Good thing, too.

In the context of internet forums I learned a great deal from Namdrol on eSangha. He without hesitation refuted and criticized faulty arguments and adharma. A lot of people may dislike him for it, but that's not really an issue.


And he may have been a major contributing factor in getting eSangha hacked and destroyed, too.


I'm a canuck living in Tokyo. I don't care about the 1st Amendment of the American Constitution.


Ah! That makes sense!

I've not advocated censorship.


Maybe not intentionally, but there's no other way to rerad your post except to see that you don't want people you disagree with publishing. That isn't "exactly" censorship, but it pretty damned close, dude.


I merely say that such people should not presume to write books on Buddhism as it misleads people into wrong views which eradicate the possibility of achieving liberation.


Some people should not presume to disrespect other teachers.

However that may be, he has freedom of speech and the right to publish his ideas. On the other hand, I have the freedom to criticize his ideas.


Kinda strange words coming from someone who doesn't care about the 1st Amendment.

I've explained my position regarding why said person is not a qualified teacher of Buddhism.


And I still thnk it's.......well......I'm sure you can figure out my next choice of words ;)

It is not my fault if your teacher is mistaken.


And it's noone's fault but your own if people see you as a jerk.

MODS: I'll back off on my inflamtory rhetoric the very second I get an apology from this guy for being so insulting to my Guru.
Last edited by Chaz on Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Chaz wrote:
MODS: I'll back off on my inflamtory rhetoric the very second I get an apology from this guy for being so insulting to my Guru.


Mods are far less important than your Bodhisattva Vows. I'm not being flippant or taking sides here, I am quite serious.

Again, I am wondering if this thread should be locked (in which case a clone may arise) or we see this played out.

If it is the latter, we must have adherence to ToS please.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Chaz » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:20 pm

Yeshe wrote:Mods are far less important than your Bodhisattva Vows. I'm not being flippant or taking sides here, I am quite serious.


I'm serious too. I believe ..... seriously ..... that an apology is in order.

Again, I am wondering if this thread should be locked (in which case a clone may arise) or we see this played out.

If it is the latter, we must have adherence to ToS please.


And I'm happy to adhere to them. However, we're dealing with someone whose recalcitrant hubris and insulting behavior is, in itself, a breach of the spirit of that ToS. Remind Huseng of those Bodhisattva vows, too. As soon as I get that apology (and I'll leave that to you to arrange), I'll back off. If Huseng can't stand to loose face, I'll accept a private apology.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Pero » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:25 pm

Chaz wrote:And it's noone's fault but your own if people see you as a jerk.


I don't see Huseng as a jerk at all, nor have I found him to be insulting towards your teacher. You on the other hand aren't behaving very well. You take things much too personally.
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Re: "Free Belief Buddhism"

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:31 pm

Chaz wrote:Kinda strange words coming from someone who doesn't care about the 1st Amendment.


Again, I am not American. I do not reside in America. I have never been a resident of America. I am a Canadian citizen living in Japan. Japan and Canada are not under US jurisdiction.

Why should I care about the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution?



It is not my fault if your teacher is mistaken.


And it's noone's fault but your own if people see you as a jerk.

MODS: I'll back off on my inflamtory rhetoric the very second I get an apology from this guy for being so insulting to my Guru.


If your teacher properly understood the twelve links of dependent origination, they would know that ignorance and craving do indeed lead to rebirth.

Avidyā being the requisite condition for any and all existence to occur, it leads to vedanā (sensation), which leads to tṛṣṇā (craving). Tṛṣṇā gives rise to clinging (upādāna), which then leads to bhava (becoming or existence), or punarbhava (rebirth).

This is universal and core Buddhist knowledge. If your teacher truly asserts that clinging and ignorance do not lead to rebirth, they are mistaken. If you insist on upholding your teacher's mistaken views, then you only hurt yourself.

There is nothing that I have to apologize for. I have pointed out an error. There is no injustice in pointing out errors.
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