deepbluehum wrote:So my questions, is it appropriate to lead students of Buddhism in this way, or is it not?
Is it more appropriate to condition students only with the dogma of the past?
If we decide to go the Dzogchen/Modern Philosophy way, does it mean we are no longer Buddhist? Or is there another way of being Buddhist that does not strictly adhere to dogma and might even challenge Buddhist dogma?
Wouldn't it be true that the perversion of the teachings into "dogma" is contingent upon individual interpretation? I suppose I see no dogma, all tenets of the dharma are merely pointers, none are meant to be absolute laws, rules or regulations. If one turns such things into dogma then that is merely the error of that individual, the tendency for such misinterpretation to be paraded as truth and taught to others (in it's skewed state) is again dependent on human error. If you get enough people to follow an erroneous view, then it is merely the manifest macrocosm naturally reflecting the initial misunderstanding of the microcosm. The original teachings however, are never adulterated or stained within this chain of ignorance. For the founding message or tenets are only ever what they're made to be, those who clearly understand them will benefit, and those who misunderstand will obviously deviate. It's only natural for this to happen. The attachment to the resultant dogma is again the error of the individual or group, those with higher capacity will naturally see through this mishap, and the higher teachings are there for them. The full spectrum of the teachings naturally reflects the spectrum of the human condition in it's many psychological and intellectual facets.
As for being a "buddhist", none are that. But the title or label is there and there's no need to suppress it in my opinion. Those who don't clearly perceive the fundamental message may attach to this label, identify with it and call themselves a "buddhist", and yes that may serve as an obstructive shortcoming. At the same time, others may implement the label and (because they exhibit right view) will rise above delusion and see the title as an ornament of their clear apprehension of the dharma. Either way, the label is again solely what it is made to be and harbors no authority or nature of it's own. Only that which is given to it by the mind of the individual and it will rightly reflect said designation (and founding perception). Those who know better will never fall victim to dogmatic views, the fundamental truth which transcends dogma is always present and there to be found, it's only ever obscured by one's own ignorance. Again (just as in the discussion on islam) the issue is never in the objective structure itself, but lies in the collective proclivity to pervert any subsequent ignorance derived from humanity's natural tendency to seek discipline, structure and authority. And there's nothing wrong with discipline, structure and authority, the problems arise from wrong identification with these things. There will always be the full spectrum, from wisdom to ignorance and all of the potential outcomes involved. The varying systems of belief or spiritual disciplines which exist today are reflections of a collective state of mind, not only of the individual systems but their interaction with other systems as well. It is the play of duality and it's only ever mankind's ignorance (or wisdom for that matter) which shines through. Luckily for us the dharma is meant to cut through any potential ignorance (and it is a incredible tool to do so), but that doesn't guarantee protection against the tendency for ignorance to flourish where the ground is fertile.
I find the original teachings to speak clearly and light the path unerringly. It is the clouded mind which cannot see the way.