Powers of evolution

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Powers of evolution

Postby Aemilius » Sat May 29, 2010 11:41 am

I think that buddhism is losing to the powers of evolution. This means that the power of a population is always stronger than any existing and very feeble Sangha.
Is there any truly international Sangha?
A Sangha that is independent of the power of a particular human population?
(By Sangha is here meant a Layperson-sangha, a Bhikshu-sangha, a Bhikshuni-sangha, a Bodhisattva-sangha, or a Vajra-sangha.)
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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 29, 2010 10:52 pm

Aemilius wrote:I think that buddhism is losing to the powers of evolution. This means that the power of a population is always stronger than any existing and very feeble Sangha.
Is there any truly international Sangha?
A Sangha that is independent of the power of a particular human population?
(By Sangha is here meant a Layperson-sangha, a Bhikshu-sangha, a Bhikshuni-sangha, a Bodhisattva-sangha, or a Vajra-sangha.)


Interdependence means that there is no "us" without "them". In fact, what it means is that "we" are them.

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Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby catmoon » Sun May 30, 2010 12:35 am

Oh nice shot, morlock. You're hot today!
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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby Luke » Sun May 30, 2010 9:02 pm

Aemilius wrote:I think that buddhism is losing to the powers of evolution. This means that the power of a population is always stronger than any existing and very feeble Sangha.

I think you underestimate the spiritual power of Buddhist teachers. A sangha which consisted of only a handful of people and a great Buddhist master like Garchen Rinpoche sitting in a warehouse together would have more spiritual power than a vast international bureaucracy.

Does it matter if one is outnumbered by non-Buddhists when one is the student of a great Buddhist teacher? My opinion is "not really."

Aemilius wrote:Is there any truly international Sangha?

I assume by this you mean an ethical sangha. I won't talk about controversial organizations here.

The FPMT seems like an international ethical sangha which even has online courses. Thich Nhat Hanh's sanghas are also quite international, I think.

Aemilius wrote:A Sangha that is independent of the power of a particular human population?

Well, it depends what you mean. Most sanghas of the world exist in modern nation-states and are therefore technically under the power of those governments. But I think in many places, the majority of the local population is simply indifferent about Buddhism, so they don't interfere in any way with the sanghas' activities.

Your question seems to spring from a fundamental distrust of human nature. However, the Buddhist viewpoint is that all people's natural state of being is inherent goodness.

Anywhere a sangha exists its members are still subject to cause and effect and the laws of karma. Enlightenment is the only "escape." Any sort of political, economic, or regulatory freedom is merely a temporary phenomenon.

Ordinary people who ignore karma are feeble. Great Buddhist teachers are mighty, even in small numbers.
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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:40 pm

Thank you for your views.
What I mean is several things.
Firstly:The time scale, one generation of buddhists is like a snap of fingers and you can't tell from it how far a particular sangha will exist, and how it will develop. Even the 2500 years of buddhism is a short time in terms of evolution. Evolution is very slow, difficult to perceive.
Secondly: The mechanisms evolution, this means the basic tendencies inherent in the human species in general and in the subpopulations of the human population, i.e. 1. the tendency to reproduce,2. the tendency to suppress and destroy competitors ( other species and other subpopulations),3. the tendency for maximum productivity,4. tendency or natural instinct for maximum wealth and prosperity,...
In buddhism we have their opposites ( at least in theory, that is to say) i.e. 1. Celibacy and sexual continence, 2. The idea that the members of other species and other subpopulations are equal to one's own population, 3. The form of non-productivity called meditation,4. Being satisfied with little is emphasized, which counteracts consumer-mentality...
Thirdly: Evolution view teaches that genes and mutations are the cause and origin for all one's qualities. This is in direct opposition to the karma and rebirth theory.
Fourthly: Buddhism teaches a very large time scale as a cosmic background of the karma and rebirth theory, which is difficult to perceive in any meaningful way, and is also in conflict with the cosmic evolution view.
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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby Luke » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:37 pm

I have a better idea what you're getting at now, Aemilius.

Perhaps from the kind of perspective you outline, Buddhism is indeed losing to the masses. But perhaps this should be expected, since we are living in the Age of Dharma Decline, when there are few great masters and few people willing to devote themselves to Dharma.

Aemilius wrote:This means that the power of a population is always stronger than any existing and very feeble Sangha.

Okay, and the "power" which you are talking about here I assume is the kind of power which modern nation-states have in abundance. A lot of the power of a state comes from actual violence or threats of violence. The price of having that type of power is becoming more like a nation-state and therefore, becoming less ethical and less Buddhist.

Although there is also the power of a large number of people engaging in peaceful protests and other social movements. Perhaps, in order for sanghas to have more power without going down the nation-state's unethical path of violence and control, they need to join together not only with other sanghas, but with other religious groups and with ethical political and professional organizations, with humanitarian/non-profit/community organizations, with labor unions, etc.

So many of the world's problems are interconnected, and therefore, the organizations which deal with these problems should be interconnected as well.

Alone as Buddhists we are simply too weak in the political sense. We need to unite with other ethical organizations in order to make ethics a more powerful force in the world.
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Re: Powers of evolution

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:01 pm

"Is there any truly international Sangha?"
"I assume by this you mean an ethical sangha. I won't talk about controversial organizations here.
The FPMT seems like an international ethical sangha which even has online courses. Thich Nhat Hanh's sanghas are also quite international, I think."

Well, I know very little about the possible scandals in buddhist sanghas/communities that is being referred to(?) As is quite well known, in terms of evolution "unethical" doesn't really mean very much. Maybe it is a question of survival, that makes the buddhist communities to behave unethically??
Future will show how FPMT and Plum Village sanghas will develop, whether they will become just tools for tibetan or vietnamese or other nationality based interests or not ?
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