Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

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

Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:52 am

tobes wrote:perhaps LL can respond


I suspect LL doesn't want to bother getting involved. This discussion has fairly little to do with day-to-day practice, which, admirably, seems to be LL's focus.


tobes wrote:does the removal of philosophy from practice involve the cessation of concepts?


I'm not of that opinion. Besides, why would we want to get rid of concepts? It's the clinging and subscription to concepts that are the problem.


tobes wrote:If this is not the case (and I am assuming it is not, because such a cessation can only occur upon a direct realisation of shunyata), then what is the relationship between concepts and practice?

Can you really claim that there is no relation there?

If there is a relation, then, I think you have to accept than your practice is informed and guided by concepts, and thus, is deeply philosophical in nature.

Otherwise, how do you know what you're doing? Why are you doing what you're doing? What values underpin your actions? Where do they come from? How do they inform your practice? Are you really free from: values, understanding, discernment, thinking??

It is one thing to think that one is free from concepts, quite another to actually be free from concepts.

So, I think the absurdity is on the side of the claim that practice can be unrelated to philosophy, at least until the first Bhumi.

:anjali:


Again, you're assuming everyone is working with the same definition of philosophy as you. My whole issue with the OP and much of this discussion is that there's this underlying assumption that we're working with some supposed objective and inflexible definition.

Let me offer this up: Philosophies operate as matrices founded on points of reference, which are theories. The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh said something along the lines of, "impermanence isn't a theory, it's a way of living."
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tobes » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:34 am

Fu Ri Shin wrote:Again, you're assuming everyone is working with the same definition of philosophy as you. My whole issue with the OP and much of this discussion is that there's this underlying assumption that we're working with some supposed objective and inflexible definition.

Let me offer this up: Philosophies operate as matrices founded on points of reference, which are theories. The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh said something along the lines of, "impermanence isn't a theory, it's a way of living."


I take your point, Fu Ri Shin, that we're in a bit of semantic jungle.

But as much as I agree with Tich Nhat Hanh, surely we have to acknowledge that The Buddha's assertion of impermanence was indeed an assertion; an assertion in the context of other views which do attribute permanence to certain phenomena. So Thich Nhat Hanh is already speaking as a Buddhist, as it happens, an extremely literary Buddhist, very well versed in Buddhist suttas and sutras: the context for his quote about impermanence is indeed highly theoretical.

I suppose I do not see any gain from disavowing that theoretical context: it's simply there.

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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Kyosan » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:14 pm

Astus wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Throw away philosophical jibberish and your problem will be solved.


That is the "throw away philosophy" philosophy. Doesn't lead far, or anywhere for that matter.

I haven't read the thread LastLegend's quote came from, so I don't know the context, but I agree that philosophy often is jibberish. Rather than being liberating it is often the opposite and leads to further entaglement. Even when discussing or thinking about Buddhist philosophy, one can become further engtangled.

On the other hand, philosophy can be liberating. When persons take what they learn from reading the sutras and apply it to their lives, and use it to improve their internal/external practice reading the sutras can be very helpful. But, persons who study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective and don't put the words into practice probably aren't going to gain much from the studying.

Buddhist practice isn't about reading and memorizing a bunch of facts. It's about overcoming illness. Reading the sutras and not applying them to your life (especially your inner life) is like going out and buying medication to cure your illness and never taking it. Just being in possession of the medication doesn't cure the illness. You actually have to take the medication.

LastLegend is right, when she reminds us that we need to practice.

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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 01, 2011 1:26 am

I am a male dude lol
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tobes » Sun May 01, 2011 3:00 am

Kyosan wrote:
Astus wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Throw away philosophical jibberish and your problem will be solved.


That is the "throw away philosophy" philosophy. Doesn't lead far, or anywhere for that matter.

I haven't read the thread LastLegend's quote came from, so I don't know the context, but I agree that philosophy often is jibberish. Rather than being liberating it is often the opposite and leads to further entaglement. Even when discussing or thinking about Buddhist philosophy, one can become further engtangled.

On the other hand, philosophy can be liberating. When persons take what they learn from reading the sutras and apply it to their lives, and use it to improve their internal/external practice reading the sutras can be very helpful. But, persons who study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective and don't put the words into practice probably aren't going to gain much from the studying.

Buddhist practice isn't about reading and memorizing a bunch of facts. It's about overcoming illness. Reading the sutras and not applying them to your life (especially your inner life) is like going out and buying medication to cure your illness and never taking it. Just being in possession of the medication doesn't cure the illness. You actually have to take the medication.

LastLegend is right, when she reminds us that we need to practice.

:namaste:


I don't think anyone denies the need to practice, or even the intimate connection between Buddhist sutras and their application.

But of all these mysterious strawmen, who only study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective: I have never encountered one. They are always put up as strawmen, in the interests of defending a particular non-conceptual approach to Buddhist practice.

When philosophy is not understood, it may be called jiberish ~ but what is that really but a failure to understand?

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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Kyosan » Sun May 01, 2011 5:00 am

LastLegend wrote:I am a male dude lol

My humble apologies. It's hard sometimes to know the gender of people on boards like this. It's stupid, but I saw the picture of a woman in your avatar and thought you were probably a woman.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Sun May 01, 2011 6:02 am

tobes wrote:I suppose I do not see any gain from disavowing that theoretical context: it's simply there.


From personal experience, I definitely agree with that final statement. Theoretical play is something that tends to loom, whether I wish it to be there or not, over my practice.


tobes wrote:But of all these mysterious strawmen, who only study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective: I have never encountered one. They are always put up as strawmen, in the interests of defending a particular non-conceptual approach to Buddhist practice.


Hmm.

Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly went through a few periods of approaching the Buddha Dharma, at least in my earliest years of exposure to it, in a completely intellectual way. Looking back, I might as well have been called a "non-practicing Buddhist". And being a rather intellectual person, I often feel myself beginning to slip back towards (if even just a very small amount) that extreme. What's more, even though those periods preceded fruitful progress, I really can't claim that I view them as having been beneficial.

As I've mentioned, theory and intellect play a large part in my activities, so I don't even need to drum up the thought of "philosophy" or "no philosophy". In either case, it's there. But, were I to slip back into my very heavily intellectual outlook, I think "no philosophy, please!" would be a great way to get out and stay out. I may very well need to some day, honestly.


tobes wrote:When philosophy is not understood, it may be called jiberish ~ but what is that really but a failure to understand?


I think that's perfectly acceptable an observation, but I'm not sure achieving understanding is always the worthiest goal in the face of its absence. That is, unless you mean realization (by which I mean "real-ize" or "make real" as opposed to understand). I understand many things, some Dharmic, but cannot apply them to my life. Even if you do mean real-ize, I'm not sure that needs to be a topic of particular attention. Many of my real-izations have come when there was no conceptual understanding, or even mental acknowledgement, of the topic the real-ization pertained to. Also, there are plenty of minute or subtle ideas involved in the Buddha Dharma that, if I made a real goal out of understanding them, I'd only waste my time because it seems that at present the idea is quite beyond me. I suppose I have the view that you don't need to try to create real-ization for it to arise.

But going back to theory and practice: To be clear, I have never said that there's any universal merit in trying to throw away philosophy. I just am perfectly willing to believe that it can work for some people. The opposing argument to my own therefore seems to be (as the OP seemed to be) that no, there is no merit whatsoever in keeping the idea of philosophy out of one's thoughts, and that there is in fact no different strokes for different folks. Frankly, I find it silly that I have to point out the very iffy nature of such claims.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Kyosan » Sun May 01, 2011 7:17 am

Sorry,
Messed up post and deleted it.
:namaste:
Last edited by Kyosan on Sun May 01, 2011 7:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Kyosan » Sun May 01, 2011 7:21 am

tobes wrote:
Kyosan wrote:
Astus wrote:That is the "throw away philosophy" philosophy. Doesn't lead far, or anywhere for that matter.

I haven't read the thread LastLegend's quote came from, so I don't know the context, but I agree that philosophy often is jibberish. Rather than being liberating it is often the opposite and leads to further entaglement. Even when discussing or thinking about Buddhist philosophy, one can become further engtangled.

On the other hand, philosophy can be liberating. When persons take what they learn from reading the sutras and apply it to their lives, and use it to improve their internal/external practice reading the sutras can be very helpful. But, persons who study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective and don't put the words into practice probably aren't going to gain much from the studying.

Buddhist practice isn't about reading and memorizing a bunch of facts. It's about overcoming illness. Reading the sutras and not applying them to your life (especially your inner life) is like going out and buying medication to cure your illness and never taking it. Just being in possession of the medication doesn't cure the illness. You actually have to take the medication.

LastLegend is right, when she reminds us that we need to practice.

:namaste:


I don't think anyone denies the need to practice, or even the intimate connection between Buddhist sutras and their application.

But of all these mysterious strawmen, who only study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective: I have never encountered one. They are always put up as strawmen, in the interests of defending a particular non-conceptual approach to Buddhist practice.

When philosophy is not understood, it may be called jiberish ~ but what is that really but a failure to understand?

:anjali:

I don't mean to say that these people don't practice at all, but I see people who are good at reciting facts about Buddhism but never discuss internal practice. And internal practice is the most important thing in Buddhism. That's true whether your approach to Buddhism is intellectual or not.

When I first became a Buddhist, I saw Buddhism from a more intellectual perspective and didn't respect Pure Land Buddhism. I'm not saying that you are one of those persons but there are some persons on this board who put down less intellectual approaches to Buddhism such as Zen or Pure Land. When I came to understand Buddhism better, I realized that my idea was wrong. None of us know what the absolute truth is, not even those who have reached the highest level of a Bodhisattva. If you realize that, and take it to heart, you no longer are passionate about your ideas and see them as the absolute truth. Instead, interaction with others becomes more focused on expedients. Even though Bodhisattvas don't know the absolute truth, they have some idea of what it is, and are able to help others through expediency.

Buddhism is not an intellectual endeavor; it's more about having realizations and developing compassion.

You are correct that good and helpful dharma discussions if missunderstood might mistakenly be called jiberish. But on the other hand, fruitless dharma discussions may correctly be called jiberish.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tobes » Sun May 01, 2011 11:21 am

Fu Ri Shin wrote:
tobes wrote:I suppose I do not see any gain from disavowing that theoretical context: it's simply there.


From personal experience, I definitely agree with that final statement. Theoretical play is something that tends to loom, whether I wish it to be there or not, over my practice.


tobes wrote:But of all these mysterious strawmen, who only study Buddhism from a purely intellectual perspective: I have never encountered one. They are always put up as strawmen, in the interests of defending a particular non-conceptual approach to Buddhist practice.


Hmm.

Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly went through a few periods of approaching the Buddha Dharma, at least in my earliest years of exposure to it, in a completely intellectual way. Looking back, I might as well have been called a "non-practicing Buddhist". And being a rather intellectual person, I often feel myself beginning to slip back towards (if even just a very small amount) that extreme. What's more, even though those periods preceded fruitful progress, I really can't claim that I view them as having been beneficial.

As I've mentioned, theory and intellect play a large part in my activities, so I don't even need to drum up the thought of "philosophy" or "no philosophy". In either case, it's there. But, were I to slip back into my very heavily intellectual outlook, I think "no philosophy, please!" would be a great way to get out and stay out. I may very well need to some day, honestly.


tobes wrote:When philosophy is not understood, it may be called jiberish ~ but what is that really but a failure to understand?


I think that's perfectly acceptable an observation, but I'm not sure achieving understanding is always the worthiest goal in the face of its absence. That is, unless you mean realization (by which I mean "real-ize" or "make real" as opposed to understand). I understand many things, some Dharmic, but cannot apply them to my life. Even if you do mean real-ize, I'm not sure that needs to be a topic of particular attention. Many of my real-izations have come when there was no conceptual understanding, or even mental acknowledgement, of the topic the real-ization pertained to. Also, there are plenty of minute or subtle ideas involved in the Buddha Dharma that, if I made a real goal out of understanding them, I'd only waste my time because it seems that at present the idea is quite beyond me. I suppose I have the view that you don't need to try to create real-ization for it to arise.

But going back to theory and practice: To be clear, I have never said that there's any universal merit in trying to throw away philosophy. I just am perfectly willing to believe that it can work for some people. The opposing argument to my own therefore seems to be (as the OP seemed to be) that no, there is no merit whatsoever in keeping the idea of philosophy out of one's thoughts, and that there is in fact no different strokes for different folks. Frankly, I find it silly that I have to point out the very iffy nature of such claims.


This is all very well put; I see where you're coming from.

Perhaps I would say that understanding is itself the fruit of realisation ~ but this could be another semantic problem.

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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tobes » Sun May 01, 2011 11:30 am

Kyosan wrote:When I first became a Buddhist, I saw Buddhism from a more intellectual perspective and didn't respect Pure Land Buddhism. I'm not saying that you are one of those persons but there are some persons on this board who put down less intellectual approaches to Buddhism such as Zen or Pure Land. When I came to understand Buddhism better, I realized that my idea was wrong. None of us know what the absolute truth is, not even those who have reached the highest level of a Bodhisattva. If you realize that, and take it to heart, you no longer are passionate about your ideas and see them as the absolute truth. Instead, interaction with others becomes more focused on expedients. Even though Bodhisattvas don't know the absolute truth, they have some idea of what it is, and are able to help others through expediency.

Buddhism is not an intellectual endeavor; it's more about having realizations and developing compassion.


:namaste:


Yes, I suppose. But it is the sharpness of prajna which enables Bodhisattvas to be expedient. I think this is what we keep tiptoeing around on this thread ~ "intellectual" is seen as cold, misleading, detached. But prajna is warm, penetrating, insightful, discerning, awakened intelligence.

All Buddhisms are premised on the latter.

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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 06, 2011 10:19 pm

adinatha wrote: Logic is errant.



According to Jigten Sumgon, logic leads to Buddhahood. I don't agree -- but his views about Buddhist logic informed the Gelugpa enthusiasm for logic.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby adinatha » Fri May 06, 2011 10:53 pm

Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote: Logic is errant.



According to Jigten Sumgon, logic leads to Buddhahood. I don't agree -- but his views about Buddhist logic informed the Gelugpa enthusiasm for logic.


You've been grossly misinformed. The Drikung Kagyu lineage is the experience lineage of nonconceptual dharmakaya realization. Lord Jigten Sumgon teaches that the dharmakaya is beyond logic, and that buddhahood arises from lineage blessings and practice, not logical reasoning.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby lukejmo » Sat May 21, 2011 1:35 am

When I think of philosophy I think of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtQ42KS8v9o

Philosophy is about our finite situation, we can define that in terms of beings toward death, a fellow is a legally linguistic conscious creature born between urine and feces whose body will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms. That's us. We're beings towards death. - Cornel West
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Malcolm » Sat May 21, 2011 1:48 am

adinatha wrote:You've been grossly misinformed. The Drikung Kagyu lineage is the experience lineage of nonconceptual dharmakaya realization. Lord Jigten Sumgon teaches that the dharmakaya is beyond logic, and that buddhahood arises from lineage blessings and practice, not logical reasoning.


Actually, you just have not studied as much about Drikung as you would like us to believe.

N
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby catmoon » Sun May 22, 2011 11:59 am

Buddhism without philosophy is a gutted fish, and may be expected to live about as long.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tamdrin » Sun May 22, 2011 1:23 pm

Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote: Logic is errant.



According to Jigten Sumgon, logic leads to Buddhahood. I don't agree -- but his views about Buddhist logic informed the Gelugpa enthusiasm for logic.



I don't think this is true. Why don't you just tell us where Jigten Sumgon said this. The Gelukpa enthusiasm for logic and epistemology came from Dharmakirti and Dignaga, ancient Indian masters etc.. I don't think it was any specialty of Jigten Sumgon.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Malcolm » Sun May 22, 2011 2:28 pm

tamdrin wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
adinatha wrote: Logic is errant.



According to Jigten Sumgon, logic leads to Buddhahood. I don't agree -- but his views about Buddhist logic informed the Gelugpa enthusiasm for logic.



I don't think this is true. Why don't you just tell us where Jigten Sumgon said this. The Gelukpa enthusiasm for logic and epistemology came from Dharmakirti and Dignaga, ancient Indian masters etc.. I don't think it was any specialty of Jigten Sumgon.


Actually, Tsongkhapa learned most of his logic while he stayed at Drigung. There is a statement in Gongchik where Jigten Sumgon describes Buddhahood being achieved by a perfect pramana.

Thus there was a tradition at Drigung about the efficacy of Buddhist pramana for attaining awakening based in the second chapter of the Pramanasiddhi.

N
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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: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby tamdrin » Sun May 22, 2011 2:32 pm

[quote="Namdrol]


I don't think this is true. Why don't you just tell us where Jigten Sumgon said this. The Gelukpa enthusiasm for logic and epistemology came from Dharmakirti and Dignaga, ancient Indian masters etc.. I don't think it was any specialty of Jigten Sumgon.[/quote]

Actually, Tsongkhapa learned most of his logic while he stayed at Drigung. There is a statement in Gongchik where Jigten Sumgon describes Buddhahood being achieved by a perfect pramana.

Thus there was a tradition at Drigung about the efficacy of Buddhist pramana for attaining awakening based in the second chapter of the Pramanasiddhi.

N[/quote]

There is a line in Gongchig that says "tsad ma dre bu zab mo stong nyi ton" or something like that.. meaning the result of valid cognition is the profound-emptiness. All that means is that valid cognition leads to a theory of emptiness. No where does Jigten Sumgon say that this is sufficient for Buddhahood.
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Re: Throw Out Buddhist Philosophy / Phenomenology / Psychology

Postby Malcolm » Sun May 22, 2011 2:36 pm

tamdrin wrote:There is a line in Gongchig that says "tsad ma dre bu zab mo stong nyi ton" or something like that.. meaning the result of valid cognition is the profound-emptiness. All that means is that valid cognition leads to a theory of emptiness. No where does Jigten Sumgon say that this is sufficient for Buddhahood.


"The result of pramana is shows profound emptiness."

What else leads to Buddhahood other than profound emptiness?
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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