Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

DGA
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Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby DGA » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:15 pm

Variations on a theme here:

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=11837&view=unread#p153833

I've seen, here and elsewhere and not only by one participant or group, this position taken: If you are not part of our community, then you have no business commenting on our tradition's teachings, practices, history, or present successes. I think this is just myopic, closed-minded, hubris-filled, head-in-the-sand arrogance, because it gives the one who takes this position a justification (a flimsy one) to stop learning and be willfully ignorant on one side, with the correlative attachment to one's own view reinforced on the other.

History is not kind to communities who are unwilling to listen to well-informed criticisms from outsiders. I'm not talking about baseless gossip here (that can be safely ignored), but analyses grounded in fact or simply alternative perspectives to the ones one is presently informed by.

When you turn away from this sort of pluralism and commit yourself only to those voices that are identified with your community, you've effectively joined the circle of a charismatic leader. Which is a polite way of saying that you're behaving as a cultist. That's no way to get to the truth. It's a way to be controlled, ultimately. The horizon of your learning shrinks, and you are left defending a smaller and smaller piece of turf against the infidels outside.

I advise against this kind of snobbishness. Life is sunnier and more pleasant and more interesting when you are willing to expose yourself to the unfamiliar. Isn't that meditation too?

uan
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby uan » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:34 pm


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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby lobster » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:10 am


plwk
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby plwk » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:28 am

O Atula! Indeed, this is an ancient practice, not one only of today:
they blame those who remain silent, they blame those who speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation.
There is none in the world who is not blamed.
There never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.


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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Sara H » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:42 am

Jikan,

Referring to people as "myopic", "closed-minded", "hubris-filled", having a "head-in-the-sand", and "arrogant", etc, is not Right Speech.

The Precept against refraining from Anger is also one of the main Ten Great Precepts.

We can agree to disagree with others and still have compassion for them.


In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:48 am


JKhedrup
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:38 am

This also connects to, touches on, a deeper issue regarding Buddhism in the West.

Because in the East Buddhism developed in far flung geographic regions,emphasizing different approaches and texts, many different flavours have emerged.

It is unfortunate that the people teaching these various systems do not have more interaction with eachother. It often results in a myopic view of study and we can sometimes see the symptoms of that on forums such as these.

I always try to find common ground. When I talk to other monks and to nuns, for example, we can talk about the Vinaya- Lord Buddha's monastic code. It doesn't matter so much which tradition they are practicing in because although there are different Vinaya lineages the essence of the vows and procedures is very much the same.

There is also the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness, essential in Theravada but also found in the 37 Limbs listed in the Abhisamayalamkara (Ornament of Clear Realizations), that is widely studied in the Tibetan tradition. The Diamond and Heart Sutras- important in both Tibetan and the Chan/Soen traditions. I remember during HH Dalai Lama's teachings on the Diamond Sutra over 200 Korean monks and nuns attended.

If we understood our shared heritage we would have a lot more to discuss. People wouldn't be as pigheaded and defensive when questions were asked, and would be more interested in how others do things.

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:17 am

I think it is also helpful to focus on ideas and principles rather than people and schools. Certainly the various schools think about things very differently but surely the point of debate and discussion is to focus on the teachings and ideas themselves. I like to think of it as 'the marketplace of ideas'.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby dearreader » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:59 am

"Inscribed with the brush of Mt. Sumeru and the ink of the seas,
Heaven-and-earth itself is the sutra book.
All phenomena are encompassed in even a single point therein,
And the six sense objects are all included within its covers."
-Kukai, translated in Kukai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi and Dreitlein

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Shii » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:18 am

“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.”
― Jon J. Muth
“Consider your own place in the universal oneness of which we are all a part, from which we all arise, and to which we all return.”
― David Fontana

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:41 am

It may be true that "someone who is compassionate does not call names," but I think it takes great compassion, and courage, as a fellow Buddhist to criticize the behaviors and actions of those Buddhists who hold positions of authority, in any Buddhist tradition, if one feels those behaviors and actions cause harm to students. This does NOT mean one should not be compassionate toward the person being criticized.

For the record, I think Jikan's "names" were not directed at any individual. Perhaps I missed it. But I do note the ability of a group of people to collectively insulate themselves from critique, by calling on standards of a given tradition or lineage and maintaining that those standards cannot be understood by those outside their tradition. This happens in Vajrayana circles, surely, and in Zen circles, and in any situation where social norms may be somewhat divergent from the outside society's "norm."


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:54 am


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Shii
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Shii » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:19 am

“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.”
― Jon J. Muth
“Consider your own place in the universal oneness of which we are all a part, from which we all arise, and to which we all return.”
― David Fontana

DGA
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:22 pm

I can assure you your speculations on my emotional state are incorrect and irrelevant, but that's not the important point.

It is true that "criticism" can be used to bring people down. Bullying is not the only use to which criticism is put. Consider some examples of alternatives:

Buddha Shakyamuni observed that our existence is characterized by suffering. Further, we are the authors of that suffering through our clinging to certain kinds of bad habits, keeping us bound to the endless cycle of hardship. This is direct criticism. Would you speculate that Buddha Shakyamuni's words are somehow filled with anger, or that he is motivated by anger in making this criticism, and therefore reject his criticism by playing the victim of mean ol' Buddha's bullying? You could, but you would be foolish to do so.

Consider the Surangama Sutra. (we're in the Zen forum, so this text is particularly well-warranted.) The early chapters of this text are devoted to specific and lengthy criticisms of Ananda's approach to spiritual practice. You're an old man, Ananda, and you still don't get it?! What have you been doing with your time... Should Ananda turn away from this criticism, retreat into himself or some fantasy world of sweetness and light, and blame the Buddha for this instruction? He could do so, but luckily for him, he does not. He spends the rest of the sutra pulling his head out of his ass.

Consider the shout of Lin Chi. Do you suppose his disciples wandered around like self-pitying little solipsists under a cloudy sky, blaming the master for being what they imagine as a mean ol' angerpuss rather than taking in the meaning of their interactions with him and trying to grow up?

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby uan » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:22 pm

Good to know that all who criticize here are Buddhas and enlightened masters deploying skillful means to strike to the heart of the very obscurations blocking each earnest practitioner's paths and leading them to enlightenment.

_/\_

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conebeckham
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:37 pm



"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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conebeckham
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:42 pm



"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

DGA
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:10 pm


shel
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby shel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:23 pm

For what it's worth...

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates their own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of their opponents (the "outgroup").

Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.

Groupthink is a construct of social psychology, but has an extensive reach and influences literature in the fields of communication studies, political science, management, and organizational theory, as well as important aspects of deviant religious cult behavior.

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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:28 pm

Frankly, it seems like most people on Buddhist boards use words like "compassion" as sticks to beat other people with.
Through Dzogchen we can really understand what God is and we don’t have to worry if there is a God or not. God always exists as our real nature, the base, for everybody. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu


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