The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

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

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:What is boils down to is going to both, since both are extremes.


That's that double talk. Nirvana is not an extreme. It is the middle between extremes. Samsara fluctuates between extremes.



Dear fellow, from a Mahāyāna POV, nirvana is an extreme.


I know. It seems Mahayana's nonabiding nirvana is jivan-mukti repackaged. Besides, dzogchen goes to nirvana.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:07 pm

deepbluehum wrote:I know. It seems Mahayana's nonabiding nirvana is jivan-mukti repackaged.


Nirvana is an extreme because nirvana is a cessation -- as the etymology of the name implies. But this is all besides the point.

It seems you have, for the time being, adopted the view that the Nikāya/Agamic Buddhism is the real stuff. Next you will be telling us that rebirth [punarbhava] is balony too, and that karma is bollocks.

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

Postby viniketa » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:34 am

Today, I was able to purchase the Kindle version of the book, and have given it a once-through reading. Probably missing much.

Overall, I'd have to say that his pūrva pakṣa is successful. I particularly like the chapter on 'Non-translatable Sanskrit versus Digestion', where he gets very specific in dispelling some of the more disastrous English translations of Sanskrit terms. It will take at least another pass at the two appendices to get a good grasp of those, but this line from 'Appendix A: The Integral Unity of Dharma', caught my eye:

The spirit of openness toward the multiplicity of possible answers to complex questions is why pluralism is deeply embedded in the notion of dharma.

The Judeo-Christian religions lack the fundamental R&D to be able to change to the same extent and to be able to offer the same choices and openness. As we have seen, they do not believe that the first principles of truth can be discovered by humans on their own; hence, their obsession with claiming historically unique events.

Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 6165-6169). . Kindle Edition. .


Here, as in other places, there are over-simplifications (as he admits early-on). There are both Judeo and Christian (as well as Islamic) mystics who have done some of the 'R&D' (as he calls experiential introspection) to 'open up' those traditions, but they are far from considered 'main stream'. Of course, there are variations of 'Hinduism' which are much more in line with Abrahamic monotheism, but Indian peoples tend to be much more open to religious diversity and accepting of 'individualistic' (in Western terms) 'inner experience'.

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

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:22 pm

I think that Malhotra argues that such mystics were seen as a threat to the established institutions of the time, and therefore could not have a meaningful impact on the broader tradition.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby cloudburst » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:Dear fellow, from a Mahāyāna POV, nirvana is an extreme.


Would you please clarify? What makes Nirvana an extreme? Could you provide citations to support this?

thank you.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:Nirvana is an extreme because nirvana is a cessation -- as the etymology of the name implies. But this is all besides the point.


It is a cessation of suffering and delusion. Who wants to keep that going? It's funny the transforms that happen due to clinging to dictionary thinking.

Malcolm wrote:It seems you have, for the time being, adopted the view that the Nikāya/Agamic Buddhism is the real stuff. Next you will be telling us that rebirth [punarbhava] is balony too, and that karma is bollocks.


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

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:27 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Nirvana is an extreme because nirvana is a cessation -- as the etymology of the name implies. But this is all besides the point.


It is a cessation of suffering and delusion. Who wants to keep that going? It's funny the transforms that happen due to clinging to dictionary thinking.


The attainment of nirvana may entail the end of suffering and delusion but not of ignorance. Hence, nirvana is still an extreme because it is a mere cessation.

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby viniketa » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:36 pm

viniketa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:Reading a bit about this book. The thing about "mutual respect" is a bit of a slight of hand on his part. He is basically trying to get other religions to respect Hindu ideals.


I don't think his point is that facile. For example, Buddha actually did respect other paths, even if he did not sign off on them.


Though I wouldn't exactly call it 'slight of hand', here, deepbluehum has a point. Malhotra defines 'respect' specifically as 'mutual respect', which means, to him, admitting that all paths lead to the divine. He does this knowing full well Abrahamic religions cannot accord mutual respect due to their exclusivism. Buddha would have had to 'sign off on them' to meet Malhotra's criteria.

Malcolm wrote:No, I don't think so -- he adresses this point and includes Carvaka and Lokayati schools as well. You guys have not read this book carefully enough.


Coming back to this, as I am still contemplating...

As I noted, we 'tolerate' those we consider not good enough, but we do not extend our respect to them. 'Tolerance' implies control over those who do not conform to our norms by allowing them some, though not all, of the rights and privileges we enjoy. A religion which involves the worship of 'false gods' and whose adherents are referred to as 'heathens' can be tolerated, but it cannot be respected. Tolerance is a patronizing posture, whereas respect implies that we consider the other to be equally legitimate – a position which some religions routinely deny to others, instead declaring these 'others' to be 'idol worshippers' or 'infidels' and the like.

Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 319-323). . Kindle Edition.

The various dharma schools have a continuing history of debates amongst themselves, and many volumes have been compiled to document and analyse these. My goal is not to explain these systems or their relationships with one another in technical detail. Rather, I wish to highlight the ties and bonds within the vast spectrum of dharma traditions that constitute what I am calling 'the integral unity of dharma'. This unity is classically expressed in the Vedas, but it is not confined to schools that privilege the Vedas as authoritative. This relatedness among different schools differs from the 'synthetic unity' created by fusing together independent entities that must be reconciled. Instead, it is a kind of diversity springing precisely from the wholeness that grounds it. The common attributes discussed will serve as a basis for contrasting them with the Western traditions. The purpose behind such an exercise is to highlight the unique and core ideas of dharma using the West as a foil. Among the plethora of dharma schools, several accept the authority of the Vedas while others do not. Some like Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya and Yoga accept Vedic authority but have developed their own independent philosophies. Those that do not accept the Vedas include Buddhists, Jains, Carvaka and Lokayata (the latter two being materialist schools).

Malhotra, Rajiv (2011-10-10). Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Kindle Locations 5815-5824). . Kindle Edition.


Given this definition, what about the idea that one does not have to 'sign off on' a method of arrival at, for lack of a better term, the 'Ultimate', to show respect'? Also, can it still be said that a 'wholeness grounds it' if the idea of what is 'Ultimate' differs?
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby cloudburst » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:10 pm

Malcolm wrote:The attainment of nirvana may entail the end of suffering and delusion but not of ignorance. Hence, nirvana is still an extreme because it is a mere cessation.
M


What is your definition of extreme, and where do you come by it?
also, is there an example of ignoreace that is not delusion?

thank you,
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:11 pm

cloudburst wrote:also, is there an example of ignoreace that is not delusion?


Yes, the non-afflictive ignorance possessed by Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, etc.
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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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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby cloudburst » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:17 am

Malcolm wrote:
cloudburst wrote:also, is there an example of ignoreace that is not delusion?


Yes, the non-afflictive ignorance possessed by Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, etc.


and a definition of extremes, if you will?
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:29 am

Malcolm wrote:The attainment of nirvana may entail the end of suffering and delusion but not of ignorance.


That's ridiculous. Nirvana is not possible unless there is the cessation of ignorance.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:29 am

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The attainment of nirvana may entail the end of suffering and delusion but not of ignorance.


That's ridiculous. Nirvana is not possible unless there is the cessation of ignorance.


You need to study more.
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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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:33 am

Malcolm wrote:You need to study more.


You're being silly again. I know where your position comes from. You think Arahats have the cognitive obscuration. Because I practiced more, I realized it's bullshit.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:38 am

deepbluehum wrote:
Malcolm wrote:You need to study more.


You're being silly again. I know where your position comes from. You think Arahats have the cognitive obscuration. Because I practiced more, I realized it's bullshit.


Now whose being silly?

Even in the Pali canon Buddha makes it very clear that Arhats do not possess omniscience. Furthermore, Vasubandhu is extremely clear about this point.
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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."

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

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:45 am

Malcolm wrote:Now whose being silly?

Even in the Pali canon Buddha makes it very clear that Arhats do not possess omniscience. Furthermore, Vasubandhu is extremely clear about this point.


Did you hear what Veenahahu said? I could care less what Vasubandhu said. The Pali canon makes it clear Arahats are buddhas, and have everything he has. The only difference, is Buddha came first and laid it out, the rest followed it. All the qualities of "omniscience," the five knowledges, etc., Arahats have.
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Jnana » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:36 am

FWIW, according to the Theravāda Paṭisambhidāmagga a buddha has the following knowledges and abilities not shared by arhat disciples:

  • knowledge of the penetration of other beings' faculties
  • knowledge of other beings' biases and underlying tendancies
  • knowledge of the twin miracle*
  • knowledge of the attainment of great compassion
  • omniscience & unobstructed knowledge

The Theravāda commentaries also differentiate between sammāsambodhi, paccekabodhi, and sāvakabodhi. Accordingly, a mahābodhisatta develops the perfections, etc., to a greater degree in order to realize sammāsambodhi.


*i.e. the ability to produce fire and water from various parts of the body, as well as walk amid an aura of colors while a created image of his body sits or lies down, etc.

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

Postby Tiger » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:40 am

deepbluehum,

You did not get my point of questioning your definition of "Kshatriyas", so I will make it more clear here. Were "Kshatriyas" Indo-Aryans(Caucasians) or Native Dravidians and Austro-Asiatics? Besides, you are only taking the "Brahmanic" definition of these caste terms, which is really absurd considering that their influence in India was only limited to the North Western region. A Brahmin would only call an Indo-Aryan king as "Kshatriy" which is why Greek, Chinese or Persian kings are not called "Kshatriyas". And this is the same reason why the Nandas, Mauryas, Palas, are recorded as "Shudras" by them. When even Ashoka is recorded as "Shudra", by these minority groups who had no real influence during his time, how can you take this perception and standard of social classes (of the Indo-Aryans) as a basis to explain Buddhist social dynamics especially when the vast majority of Indians did not have any castes? I have visited many famous Buddhist caves and the are inscriptions usually in most caves about the laymen and women who donated for the construction of the caves. You would be surprised that no caste of the lay men or women is mentioned with the only exception of "Brahmin"!
Namo Amitabha Buddha
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Re: The Pitfalls of Western analysis of "Dharmic Traditions"

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:32 pm

cloudburst wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
cloudburst wrote:also, is there an example of ignoreace that is not delusion?


Yes, the non-afflictive ignorance possessed by Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, etc.


and a definition of extremes, if you will?


A one sided state.
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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