The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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dharmagoat
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:50 am


JKhedrup
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:00 am

As I move through the book, Malhotra presents another interesting thesis, that of the Monotheistic traditions as "history-centric" traditions:

"In history-centric religions, it is not necessary for prophets to have achieved the highest state of consciousness themselves, they become prophets merely by agreeing to serve as transmitters of the divine will... The Church claims to be the embodiment of God on earth, and yet its leaders are not known to have attained embodied enlightenment... The Bible is more culturally conditioned (smriti) than direct wisdom (shruti).


By contrast, the Gita argues that only knowledge that is free from dualism can enable one to see the undivided spiritual nature in all living entities. Knowledge which apprehends all beings as a multiplicity, without underlying unity, is of a lower order. Thus, only a lineage of enlightened masters can transmit authentically...

Unlike the claims made for Jesus, Gautama Buddha emphasized that his enlightenment was merely discovery of a reality that had always existed. He did not bring any covenants from God. He asserted that he was neither God nor a messenger sent by God, and that whatever he discovered was available to every human to discover for himself using the same methods he did. In fact, he stated explicitly that he was neither the first nor the last person to have achieved nirvana. Knowledge of Buddha's life-history is not necessary in order for Buddhist principles to work.

Jewish and Christian religions cannot afford to compromise on their history-centric beliefs, because to do so would be tantamount to surrendering their claims of unique access to God's will. (pg. 90-91, Being Different- Malhotra)

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:00 pm

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Osho
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Osho » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:07 pm

Malhotra picks up and runs with a common theme from earlier and very similar works wherein Western Abrahamic faiths Christianity Judaism Islam are argued to be exogenous and of the intellect whereas Eastern faiths Jain Hindu Buddhist are endogenous and of the intuitive. Old coals, new rake.
Valuably,Malhotra restates some valid points around tendencies towards conflict within those two streams though.
Not sure the book sold well beyond academic libraries you were fortunate to secure a copy if yours is of the only and first edition quite limited print run. Amazon now has it on print to order I believe.
His conclusion that - endogenous intuitive paths are historically less likely to have waged 'holy wars' than have the exogenous intellect groups - holds water.
More about Mindfulness here
http://bemindful.co.uk/

" A Zen master's life is one continuous mistake."
(Dogen).

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby tobes » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:57 pm


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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:58 am

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:24 pm





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:24 pm

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Malcolm
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:07 pm





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

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Osho
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Osho » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:48 pm

Sadly it's very much an academic sub genre almost ghettoised. The theses are sound yet languish in backwaters such as Malhotra's work. Subaltern studies has more or less been and gone.
Very little along his lines published from within the Indian academy funnily enough.
More about Mindfulness here
http://bemindful.co.uk/

" A Zen master's life is one continuous mistake."
(Dogen).

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tobes
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby tobes » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:04 am


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Malcolm
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:05 am

What is very interesting is that way Western ideas of historicity shape our concerns about the Dharmas we westerners choose to learn. These ideas are very foreign to the spirit of Dharmic religions, at least as expressed through Malhotra's book. I cite all of the endless debates about whether Mahāyāna was taught by the Buddha; weather the Pali Canon is the "real" Buddhism. Whether Vajrayāna is as valid as Mahāyāna, or more recently, the abortive debate over the historicity of Bon accounts of their religion. Malhotra argues:

Itihasa is also fundamentally pluralistic: there are usually a variety of versions. A remodelled account or a new version of a narrative does not nullify all others. There is no burning of old books to erase past versions. What gets rejected is simply ignored, possibly to be revived or revisited at a later time when it might again become contextually relevant. Hence, in India one finds ancient customs coexisting with those from later periods. An open past serves as a creative resource for future generations who might want to explore the roads not taken. The Western unfolding of history, on the other hand, does not have room for parallel streams, finding them threatening and hence believing it safer to display them in museums (i.e., not as living traditions but as dead ones). But collapsing all variations into a mono-history only produces a mono-culture. Such a lack of understanding and insight causes itihasa to get misconstrued as myth vis-à-vis some putative 'reality'.13

The West demands that its myths be historicized so that they may be claimed as true. Indians do not carry the burden of history-centrism and so are under no pressure to present their myths as history.

There are multiple stakeholders who compete for their respective versions of history to prevail. Power is always at work in the construction of history. (History is written by the victors, as the popular adage goes.) More often than not, history is arbitrary in terms of what is included and what is not, what is emphasized, whose point of view is privileged, what values get superimposed, and so forth. In the West, a powerful apparatus and elaborate process have evolved to present history, and the transformation of Western myths into fact remains a major preoccupation of the Western humanities.


Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 1123-1136). . Kindle Edition.




འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

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Malcolm
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:09 am





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

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viniketa
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:35 am

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Osho
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Osho » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:46 am

Malhotra's 'argument' such as it is might be summarised as 'Derridean nostalgia'.
Raking over PoMo coals to bolster an interesting thesis detracts from both thesis and methodology. The book is an extended riff on an earlier paper.
The victors get to write the history books as Foucault said, at great length.
More about Mindfulness here
http://bemindful.co.uk/

" A Zen master's life is one continuous mistake."
(Dogen).

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:01 am

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:12 am

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby tobes » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:57 am


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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Indrajala » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:29 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |


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