The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

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The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby enjitsu » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:23 am

Amito Fo,

Recently it has come to my attention that many people are confused regarding what is called Humanistic Buddhism. So I will detail it in short, as it is covered in the Official Notes at length.

First, to be clear what is called Humanistic Buddhism is Not Buddhism.

It is more correctly called a Humanistic Relief Agency along the lines of the Red Cross. It is no more Buddhism then the Red Cross is Christianity.

Some individuals who did not understand Buddhism correctly created this.
The core distinction between Buddhism and this Humanistic Relief Agency thinking is this...

In Buddhism, you realize that this Human Realm is a prison and you do your best to escape, leave the world behind and advanced to a higher Realm and ultimately gain enlightenment.

In the Humanistic Relief Agency point of view (falsely called Humanistic Buddhism) you do the exact opposite. You make the Prison look pretty, instead of escaping, you make it comfortable. So comfortable in fact that some people would become complacent and willing choose to stay in this Human Realm instead of escaping. So while their material situation may improve, ultimately they are doomed, and you would have contributed to it.

So to be direct, If you involve yourself with Humanistic Buddhism, thinking what you are doing is Buddhism you will not obtain enlightenment. It is Not Buddhism. Others terms denoting this incorrect line of thinking are Engaged Buddhism or Socially Engaged Buddhism. Again these 2 terms are also incorrect, they are Not Buddhism.

These people mistakenly believe that they can create a Pure Land in this world. This is not just impossible but madness. It would be like saying the Starving Ghost Realm could be made into the Human Realm.

Never should you confuse these Humanistic Relief Agencies with Correct, Authentic, True, Right, Orthodox Buddhism.

Amito Fo,

Enjitsu
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:27 am

enjitsu wrote:Amito Fo,

Recently it has come to my attention that many people are confused regarding what is called Humanistic Buddhism. So I will detail it in short, as it is covered in the Official Notes at length.

First, to be clear what is called Humanistic Buddhism is Not Buddhism.

It is more correctly called a Humanistic Relief Agency along the lines of the Red Cross. It is no more Buddhism then the Red Cross is Christianity.

Some individuals who did not understand Buddhism correctly created this.
The core distinction between Buddhism and this Humanistic Relief Agency thinking is this...

In Buddhism, you realize that this Human Realm is a prison and you do your best to escape, leave the world behind and advanced to a higher Realm and ultimately gain enlightenment.

In the Humanistic Relief Agency point of view (falsely called Humanistic Buddhism) you do the exact opposite. You make the Prison look pretty, instead of escaping, you make it comfortable. So comfortable in fact that some people would become complacent and willing choose to stay in this Human Realm instead of escaping. So while their material situation may improve, ultimately they are doomed, and you would have contributed to it.

So to be direct, If you involve yourself with Humanistic Buddhism, thinking what you are doing is Buddhism you will not obtain enlightenment. It is Not Buddhism. Others terms denoting this incorrect line of thinking are Engaged Buddhism or Socially Engaged Buddhism. Again these 2 terms are also incorrect, they are Not Buddhism.

These people mistakenly believe that they can create a Pure Land in this world. This is not just impossible but madness. It would be like saying the Starving Ghost Realm could be made into the Human Realm.

Never should you confuse these Humanistic Relief Agencies with Correct, Authentic, True, Right, Orthodox Buddhism.

Amito Fo,

Enjitsu


Hello Enjitsu,

Wow! That is quite a feisty criticism of "Humanistic Buddhism" there. May I ask a question or two?

1. Considering that the term "Humanistic Buddhism" is largely from a movement in Chinese Buddhism, what are your sources for your knowledge about Humanistic Buddhism? In other words, which teachers are you referring to? Which organizations? And which writings?

2. By saying "Some individuals who did not understand Buddhism correctly created this" do you mean to say that people like Ven Tai Xu, Ven Dong Chu, Ven Yin Shun, Ven Hsing Yun, Ven Sheng Yen and so on, "did not understand Buddhism correctly"? If so, what are your own credentials (which I hope would be superior to the aforementioned)?

3. You mention in the opening about some "Official Notes" - may I inquire as to what these are? and from where do they hail? Are they your own "Official Notes", or the notes of someone else? If the latter, who?

4. What do you mean in the last lines with the phrase "Correct, Authentic, True, Right, Orthodox Buddhism"? Which teacher, school, or line of Buddhist thought are you referring to?

I would dearly love to hear your response on these, to clarify where you are coming from. Although I wouldn't usually ask so many questions, your very feisty opening statements seem to warrant them.

Thanks for your time!
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:22 pm

enjitsu wrote:First, to be clear what is called Humanistic Buddhism is Not Buddhism.


I have lingering reservations about what I've seen of some Humanistic Buddhism, but you can't say it isn't Buddhism. I'd say it stresses humanism more than Buddhism (for example the ideas of building a utopian Pure Land on Earth with little mention of the horrors of samsara), but then the major authors are ordained bhiksu(ni) who operate Buddhist organizations from Buddhist temples where images of Buddhas are present and maintained.

So...

It is more correctly called a Humanistic Relief Agency along the lines of the Red Cross. It is no more Buddhism then the Red Cross is Christianity.


The Red Cross, however, is not run by ordained sangha members with a specific religious charter.


In Buddhism, you realize that this Human Realm is a prison and you do your best to escape, leave the world behind and advanced to a higher Realm and ultimately gain enlightenment.

In the Humanistic Relief Agency point of view (falsely called Humanistic Buddhism) you do the exact opposite. You make the Prison look pretty, instead of escaping, you make it comfortable. So comfortable in fact that some people would become complacent and willing choose to stay in this Human Realm instead of escaping. So while their material situation may improve, ultimately they are doomed, and you would have contributed to it.


However, they would argue you need sufficient merit to become enlightened and advance towards Buddhahood. Humanistic Buddhism offers a method to attain merit in a very hands on and personal way.


So to be direct, If you involve yourself with Humanistic Buddhism, thinking what you are doing is Buddhism you will not obtain enlightenment.


From what I've seen, like much of Buddhism as it is practised in Asia, few people expect to become enlightened in their present life. Enlightenment, let alone Buddhahood, is a distant goal some many kalpas away from now. Most people are fine with that. They enjoy volunteer work, earn merit in what they do and cultivate ties to the sangha in the process while developing an affinity for the dharma. Is there anything wrong with that? No. It might not be your cup of tea, but a lot of people are well suited to it obviously.

It is Not Buddhism. Others terms denoting this incorrect line of thinking are Engaged Buddhism or Socially Engaged Buddhism. Again these 2 terms are also incorrect, they are Not Buddhism.


What I said above refutes what you're saying here. Humanistic Buddhism still has refuge in the Triple Gem and a monastic order.


These people mistakenly believe that they can create a Pure Land in this world. This is not just impossible but madness. It would be like saying the Starving Ghost Realm could be made into the Human Realm.


That's valid criticism. I'm somewhat pessimistic towards such sentiments as building Pure Lands on earth owing to what I've seen of samsara and how deceptive it is, but such idealism might actually work or be beneficial for many. In any case, millions of individuals find some encouragement and genuine motivation to cultivate themselves through such a vision. Humanistic Buddhist organizations offer precepts, Bodhisattva vows, ordination, etc... as well as conducting and sponsoring the study of Buddhism both practical and academic. So, no matter what you or I might think about some of the ideas, their systems seem to be working well.

Again, I'll stress here I don't entirely agree with everything, but to cross out Humanistic Buddhism as "Not Buddhism" with a capital "N" is foolish and baseless criticism.


Never should you confuse these Humanistic Relief Agencies with Correct, Authentic, True, Right, Orthodox Buddhism.


...which I'm sure you self-righteously identify as the tradition and/or lineage that you belong to.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby plwk » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:22 pm

Btw...what has this topic got to do with Shingon? :shrug:
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:55 pm

Perhaps I missed it but this may not have been mentioned..

"In Buddhism, you realize that this Human Realm is a prison and you do your best to escape, leave the world behind and advanced to a higher Realm and ultimately gain enlightenment."

Many buddhists hold that one must first attempt to help others escape to realize enlightenment.

Not saying which view is best but some hold that view.

Overall I agree with the sentiments voiced. Just compassionate result of personal action only will never produce a pure land or nirvana state. If such a Mother Theresa would be considered a good buddhist, as would very many other christians. And as such we should be practicing christianity.
At some point too totally remove suffering for oneself or others and removal of death and birth...one must strive for enlightenment.

That it is thought normal for one to birth and die and leave all there acquaintances loved ones and such does not imply it is not suffering. So it must be worked upon to remove that thing of rebirth.

AS ideal as this life is as the buddha's example exemplifies it is still suffering.
Certainly we must assist others as we can and can only advance spiritually if we actually do such things to my opinion.

Just meditating without compassions accompaniant is not enough seemingly. Likewise all the altruistic intent and action in the world without meditation in some form, will not bring enlightenment. A happy state.. yes...but though enlightened ones may be considered happy that is not enlightenment assuredly.
You are mistaken if you think it will.

I think this thread should be in dharma discussion or the lounge or some other place as it references general buddhism not just shingon. If it mentions Shingon as opposed to humanistic buddhism this may be a appropriate place.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby enjitsu » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:15 pm

ronnewmexico, I travel to many temple in many country. So I have a chance to meet with some knowledgeable monks. Yes, there is great confusion these days among many Buddhist about what is and is not Buddhism as well as each schools focus. Yes, its always good to study during Dharma classes and even receive some homework. You can request it.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:03 pm

enjitsu wrote:Some individuals who did not understand Buddhism correctly created this.
The core distinction between Buddhism and this Humanistic Relief Agency thinking is this...

In Buddhism, you realize that this Human Realm is a prison and you do your best to escape, leave the world behind and advanced to a higher Realm and ultimately gain enlightenment.

In the Humanistic Relief Agency point of view (falsely called Humanistic Buddhism) you do the exact opposite. You make the Prison look pretty, instead of escaping, you make it comfortable. So comfortable in fact that some people would become complacent and willing choose to stay in this Human Realm instead of escaping. So while their material situation may improve, ultimately they are doomed, and you would have contributed to it.

So to be direct, If you involve yourself with Humanistic Buddhism, thinking what you are doing is Buddhism you will not obtain enlightenment. It is Not Buddhism.


Hi Enjitsu,

With respect, I think you are making a false dichotomy.

Of course it is important to recognize that the ultimate aspiration for all Buddhists is complete perfect enlightenment, via (for Mahayanists) the bodhisattva path.

But the Buddha did not only teach the path to liberation. He also taught the way to build merit for future lives and the way to present life happiness. And he taught the importance of ethics as the basis for spiritual development.

"Humanistic Buddhism" is a direct extension of the Buddha's teachings on generosity, altruism and compassion. By practicing humanistic or engaged Buddhism, the layperson can build a strong ethical foundation and begin to overcome the preoccupation with self. The Buddha clearly acknowledged that material well-being is important to most people (and, indeed, is vital to the well-being of the sangha). He counseled householders on how to be happy, stable and prosperous, and he advised kings on how to run an equitable and peaceful kingdom.

There's no contradiction. People are at different stages on the path and dharma is available to us all. The path is good at the beginning, the middle and the end.

By the logic of your argument, instead of working to relieve suffering on the planet, we should instead strive to make life as miserable as possible for as many as possible. That way, everyone will quickly renounce their mundane lives and concentrate on liberation. Is this what the Buddha taught?
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:07 am

Huseng wrote:
enjitsu wrote:First, to be clear what is called Humanistic Buddhism is Not Buddhism.


I have lingering reservations about what I've seen of some Humanistic Buddhism, but you can't say it isn't Buddhism. I'd say it stresses humanism more than Buddhism (for example the ideas of building a utopian Pure Land on Earth with little mention of the horrors of samsara), but then the major authors are ordained bhiksu(ni) who operate Buddhist organizations from Buddhist temples where images of Buddhas are present and maintained.



Huseng,

You may wish to recall, that the monastics who set up the notion of "humanistic buddhism" had all passed through at least a brutal invasion (especially nasty if you lived around Jiangsu, where Ven Hsing Yun and Ven Sheng Yen are from, or Zhejiang - like Ven Yin Shun), followed by a brutal civil war. And when they got to Taiwan, the "white terror" of the nationalists.

In other words, they didn't need to point out the horrors of samsara to the people they were talking to. They were living it.

However, to a totally different audience like yourself, you may not have that background. But 99% of "humanistic buddhism" is directed towards those that do.

But probably more importantly, the Buddha himself never began teaching lay people about "the horrors of samsara". He taught them giving and charity, an ethical lifestyle, and possibly - for those who were up to it, and there would be the minority - the dangers of over indulgence in sensual pleases. This is known as the "gradual teaching".

The "teaching on the truths", which begins naturally from duhkha, was usually taught to the monastics who had advanced some way. And before that, the teaching on restraint in eating and sleeping, and restraint of the senses.

Now, the vast majority of "Humanistic Buddhism" teachings that are easily available are for the lay community, the former teaching. Which is pretty much what the Buddha taught. As for those teachings for the monastic community in Humanistic Buddhism, you'd probably have to go through the training at the Buddhist Colleges there, and be part of the community. That content doesn't make it into the publicly available books and literature.
Last edited by Huifeng on Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:08 am

enjitsu wrote:ronnewmexico, I travel to many temple in many country. So I have a chance to meet with some knowledgeable monks. Yes, there is great confusion these days among many Buddhist about what is and is not Buddhism as well as each schools focus. Yes, its always good to study during Dharma classes and even receive some homework. You can request it.


Hello Enjitsu,

Any response to my questions above?
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:33 am

E...."Yes, its always good to study during Dharma classes and even receive some homework. You can request it."
I have no questions nor doubts about my practice nor my spiritual path. I do not however consider my personal practice a buddhist practice nor care a whit if it is or not. Though I use buddhist teachers, text and core understandings as my path.

I have complete confidence in it and have reached my goal for this lifetime....all the rest to follow is good but beyond my expectations.
So I request nothing. I comment upon the issue not my practice. By virtue of my familiarization with buddhism for many years of practice meditation study empowerments and such, which totals now, about 40 years..... I feel safe to express opinion. Though certainly only a personal opinion of a uneducated layperson.

My comment included this..."Overall I agree with the sentiments voiced"

So I really am at a loss as to what you are talking about. If you are not fluent in english I have no problem with that.... you are still superior in linguistics to me.... but you are not making sense, as I state I agree with the sentiments voiced.

I can elaborate on what agree with means if necessary.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:17 am

Just for starters, here are the very opening verses of perhaps the classic of Humanistic Buddhism, Ven Yin Shu's 印順導師 Way to Buddhahood 成佛之道:

第一章 歸敬三寶
1: TAKING REFUGE IN THE THREE TREASURES
SEEKING REFUGE


1 有海無邊際 世間多憂苦 流轉起還沒 何處是依怙
The Sea of Existence has no boundaries,
The world is full of worry and suffering,
Flowing and turning, rising and falling,
Is there no place of refuge and support?


SEEKING REFUGE IN THINGS OF THIS WORLD

2 積聚皆銷散 崇高必墮落 合會要當離 有生無不死
“Accumulations of wealth and riches can be lost,
Those with fame and high status can fall,
Those who are together may be scattered,
Those who are born must die.”


國家治還亂 器界成復毀 世間諸可樂 無事可依怙
The well-governed state will fall into chaos,
The world once formed faces destruction;
Of the pleasures and certainties of life,
None can be relied upon.


SEEKING REFUGE IN THINGS BEYOND THIS WORLD

3 鬼神好凶殺 欲天耽諸欲 獨梵依慢住 亦非歸依處
Ghosts and spirits delight in violent murder,
The desirous divine beings are addicted to various cravings,
The Brahma dwells on arrogance;
None of them are a place of refuge.


REAL REFUGE : THE THREE TREASURES

4 歸依處處求 求之遍十方 究竟歸依處 三寶最吉祥
People seeking refuge everywhere,
Seeking refuge in all the ten directions,
Finally realize that the ultimate place of refuge
Is to be found in the most auspicious Three Treasures.


Seems pretty clear enough. These are just the opening few verses, of course.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:25 am

And, from the Foguang Shan textbook series, Volume Two, on discussing the Four Noble Truths:

一、苦諦:以智慧觀察世間事物,情與無情悉皆為苦。根據經典的說法,苦有二苦、三苦、八苦、一百零八苦,乃至無量無邊諸苦。形成苦的原因,不外我與物、我與人、我與身、我與心、我與欲、我與見、我與自然的關係不調和。
  
二、集諦:以智慧徹悟煩惱與造業是形成生死痛苦的原因。眾生由於無明、貪愛、瞋恚等煩惱的驅使,而積集種種惡業,由此種種惡業而招致種種苦果。
  
三、滅諦:透過智慧,證得涅槃,究竟解脫生死煩惱。「涅槃」是指修道者在知「苦」斷「集」後,由修「道」所證得的解脫境界。
  
四、道諦:達到究竟涅槃的方法。一般指佛陀初轉法輪時所開示的八正道。

Seems like pretty orthodox Buddhism here. Could quote a whole lot of this from Foguang Shan, but there is simply too much.

I was going to quote from Ven Sheng Yen, too, but there are simply too many quotes.

Everyone agrees - cyclic existence is basically duhkha, and one needs to get out of it.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby remm » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:53 am

Enjitsu,

Slandering of the Samgha and slandering of Great Masters who taught Humanistic Buddhism, isn't a practice any Orthodox Buddhist would do, would they?

Sometimes you may think you are doing a good deed, but if you do not use correct insight and wisdom, you can cause others discontentment, just like you did in this topic. You can also cause a great deal of people to lose faith in Buddhism when you post things like this.

Whether it is Humanistic or Orthodox Buddhism, in general, they are both categories of Buddhism which strive for the same goal, but use a different path. For you to assert such an idea so strongly is extremely offensive and I'm disheartened that you have this sort of belief.

I hope these "great" teachers that you've met around the world can teach you a thing or two about humility, and if I were you, I'd start a very long repentance.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:05 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Huseng,

You may wish to recall, that the monastics who set up the notion of "humanistic buddhism" had all passed through at least a brutal invasion (especially nasty if you lived around Jiangsu, where Ven Hsing Yun and Ven Sheng Yen are from, or Zhejiang - like Ven Yin Shun), followed by a brutal civil war. And when they got to Taiwan, the "white terror" of the nationalists.


Hi Venerable. :smile:

Fair enough. I understand their perspectives were heavily influenced by the times in which they found themselves in. Their success stories likewise reflect that, indeed, their approach was found useful and agreeable to millions of people in Taiwan and elsewhere.


In other words, they didn't need to point out the horrors of samsara to the people they were talking to. They were living it.


However, besides those older generations, the rest of people now have no point of reference. The younger generation in Taiwan especially have enjoyed the fruits of an industrialized nation without having to have gone through the brutal years of Guomindang rule and the harsh poverty of previous decades. The stable and secure life of the middle class in a country where civil disturbance and war are distant memories await them. They don't need to worry about communist insurrections or the central government brutally cracking down on suspected dissidents. People worry about mortgages and careers now.

Foguangshan, which I think represents Humanistic Buddhism best, as far as I've seen it at least, hardly ever alludes to samsara and suffering. I discussed this with some monks and nuns at FGS a few months ago and the answers I received were usually something to the effect that ordinary people would be scared away from Buddhism if you spoke of suffering. Basically, the idea is that common people are too timid and ignorant to handle what Buddha taught (suffering and the end of suffering), so you give them the light version. There is a lot of compromise. Maybe in the 50's and 60's you didn't need to tell people about suffering when third world conditions and were were everyday life or in recent memory, but nowadays with that point of reference gone, there is a vision of the Buddhadharma without the key component of dukha.



However, to a totally different audience like yourself, you may not have that background. But 99% of "humanistic buddhism" is directed towards those that do.


Indeed, but then as I outlined above, younger generations, to which Humanistic Buddhism is directed nowadays, likewise don't have that background.


But probably more importantly, the Buddha himself never began teaching lay people about "the horrors of samsara". He taught them giving and charity, an ethical lifestyle, and possibly - for those who were up to it, and there would be the minority - the dangers of over indulgence in sensual pleases. This is known as the "gradual teaching".



He also summed up his teachings as suffering and the end of suffering. I can understand that one has to present people the appropriate teachings, but I don't think enough credit is given to the intelligence of the common lay Buddhist. They're already aware of the teachings on karma so on. Expand on it. Most can handle it I'm sure.



Now, the vast majority of "Humanistic Buddhism" teachings that are easily available are for the lay community, the former teaching. Which is pretty much what the Buddha taught. As for those teachings for the monastic community in Humanistic Buddhism, you'd probably have to go through the training at the Buddhist Colleges there, and be part of the community. That content doesn't make it into the publicly available books and literature.


That's what I mean -- the working assumption is that the non-monastic population is too stupid and timid to get taught the actual Four Noble Truths. It is reserved for those in robes.

But then again, my Taiwanese friend who is a devoted member of FGS told me once that he doesn't care for meditation. He likes volunteer work because you can see the immediate results of it (fund raising for a building which gets built for example). I think if you told him how futile his life pursuits are and what samsara potentially has in store, he'd understand what you're saying, but the former "Pure Land on Earth" vision is far more emotionally appealing and satisfying.

Do volunteer work, keep basic precepts, do your nianfo 念佛 and everything will be okay because you're guaranteed rebirth in the Pure Land. There is great emotional appeal to such an approach. You first of all don't need to worry about suffering post-mortem because your teachers have guaranteed you that you'll take rebirth in the Pure Land where retrogression will never occur. You're also not expected to toil with meditation or other practises which are emotionally and psychologically demanding. Volunteer work while tough at times isn't that hard. It makes you feel good and you get to socialize with your friends. The organization will also reward you with prestige, reputation and maybe even a paid position. You can still lead a normal consumer lifestyle in a capitalist market economy. Have your kids, car, house, career, etc... it's all good. The future is bright.

I personally find that approach difficult to swallow. However, if it works for others (and it evidently does), then all the power to them. I think the Four Noble Truths are not so emotionally appealing... the truth of dukha and the truth of the cause of that dukha are initially quite unappealing. That what is normally perceived of as happiness is delusional misperception of suffering is not readily acceptable to most people. But if you're going to teach Buddhism to people then you'll need to tell them this sooner or later. Keeping them under the illusion that all is well is not doing anyone any favours.

The belief in being plucked from suffering by grace of a Buddha and deposited in a utopia also doesn't work well with my understanding of karma and the metaphysics behind rebirth.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Huseng,

Are you changing an attack against an imaginary Humanistic Buddhism into a criticism of a watered down Chinese/Pure Land Buddhism?

The majority of the laity is naturally not interested in abstract ideas like the four noble truths. There are exceptions of course and they're called the literati, the intelligentsia, but they're still the minority. There has never been and never will be a large group of householders being serious about enlightenment and liberation from samsara. Even in Pure Land teaching it is a basic part that one really wants to be free from the world of suffering and attain buddhahood, for which there's bodhicitta developed.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:07 pm

Astus wrote:Huseng,

Are you changing an attack against an imaginary Humanistic Buddhism into a criticism of a watered down Chinese/Pure Land Buddhism?


Humansitic Buddhism incorporates Pure Land Buddhism in an inseparable way. Hence the idea of building a Pure Land on Earth.

The majority of the laity is naturally not interested in abstract ideas like the four noble truths. There are exceptions of course and they're called the literati, the intelligentsia, but they're still the minority.


You don't give enough credit to normal people who nowadays are mostly educated and literate. Most people nowadays can read their native language. We don't have a small segment of the population anymore with a monopoly on literacy. 95%+ literacy rates in most industrialized countries.


There has never been and never will be a large group of householders being serious about enlightenment and liberation from samsara.


I think people are serious about it, but just not in this life.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:22 pm

Astus wrote:The majority of the laity is naturally not interested in abstract ideas like the four noble truths. There are exceptions of course and they're called the literati, the intelligentsia, but they're still the minority. There has never been and never will be a large group of householders being serious about enlightenment and liberation from samsara.


Yes, I think that's a key point, Astus. To make a fair assessment, we have to compare "humanistic Buddhism" with traditional lay practice over the centuries. Using the higher teachings as a benchmark is, to an extent, mixing apples and oranges, IMO.

The books I've read by Hsing Yun clearly follow the gradual path model. They point the reader towards consideration of anicca, anatta, dukkha and the Four Noble Truths, but the initial focus is on how to lead an ethical life, cultivate altruism and compassion, and so on.
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:12 pm

Huseng,

No, I don't give much credit to the majority even if they can read and write. They weren't less clever in older times just because there was no education. Still, people who go to university and study economics or science are not interested in going deeper into any religious teaching any more than those who could never finish secondary school. And it's not the potential but the willingness I doubt.

People are serious about liberation but not in this life? Well, it is this life, this world one tries to escape and never repeat again. If I say it's OK to go on with this once more then start working on getting out it's almost the same as never stopping.

In the gradual teachings the Buddha taught about virtues and heaven first. Pure Land is the Buddhist paradise where you can get enlightened. So it comes as a good teaching for everyone.

But as you can see for yourself in the West, where such "high teachings" as Zen, Vipassana and Dzogchen are widespread, people don't necessarily take them seriously. And even those interested in it are mostly middle class, well to do, well educated people.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:57 am

While I was working on another project, I stumbled across this little "Prayer for World Peace", written by Ven Hsing Yun. Let me copy here the first few lines of it:



...
There are simply too much sorrow and suffering in this world
Cannonball rumbles in wars
Hideous quarrels among people
Vortices in the torrents of desire
Incessant spreading of tribal vendetta
O those thunderous sounds
Rush in like avalanches, like stormy waves
O those misery
Invade like chill winds and bitter rain
By observing discerningly I can understand
So much misery of the world
Was caused by differences of opinion
Yours, mine, everyone’s
By thinking quietly I can comprehend
Most of the world’s instability
Originated from obstinacy
Of systems, of the laws, of individuals
Conflicts between parties, between groups
Have led to too much unrest
Racial discrimination and suppression
Have brought about too many calamities
Religious exclusion and rivalry
Have created too many disasters
Vying for gains among nations
Have caused too many catastrophes
This is the kind of world we live in
In fear everyday with no peace of mind
In turmoil everyday with little safety or comfort
...


This is a very commonly recited prayer in Foguang Shan, which clearly points out just a couple of the suffering and pains of this world. "In fear everyday with no peace of mind."
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Re: The difference between Humanistic and Orthodox Buddhism

Postby eijo » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:14 pm

None of this has anything to do with Shingon Buddhism, except to say that what Shingon actually teaches to its lay followers in Japan is something relatively similar to Humanistic Buddhism. "Orthodox Buddhism" still has not been defined by the OP, perhaps he should start there.
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