Authorized Buddhist Books

Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby eijo » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:14 pm

enjitsu wrote:
Venerable Cheng Kuan is the 53rd Generation Acharya of Shingon Shu. Acharya is the rank of the monk. Shingon is the specific denomination. It is Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism. Chan is the chinese name for Zen, another denomination.

If you want to read some good books on Buddhism, my reccomendation is to focus on reading the Buddhism books written by Monks. So there is some legitimacy to the information, otherwise, if you read books by non monks regarding Buddhism, you can just regard that as that persons personal opinion. Make sure not to mistake someones personal opinion as being the offical doctrine of Buddhism. Only monks are allowed to teach the offical positions of Buddhism.


As Huifeng has pointed out so well, ācārya and monk are two different things. Some monks may be that, and some not. Also as Huifeng has clearly pointed out, there are no vinaya-holding monks within the Shingon tradition today. If any Shingon practitioners do hold a genuine vinaya, they received it from another (non-Japanese) tradition, and that should be made clear. As has been pointed out, simply being a monk does not mean one can teach anything. Many laypeople are more learned and skilled at teaching than monks. That's just the way it is.

Enjitsu, if you were really familiar with Shingon Buddhism, you would know that there is no such thing as a "53rd Generation Acharya of Shingon Shu." You would know that a person may be a "50-something generation ācārya (ajari 阿闍梨) of xxx-ryū," which signifies the reception of the denbō kanjō (傳法灌頂) and kechimyaku (血脈) of a certain hōryū (法流), which are the many transmission lineages in which Shingon praxis is transmitted. You would also know that there are literally thousands of people who are ajaris in Japan and some abroad, and that ajari is not in itself a teaching rank or qualification per se in the real world in Shingon, it is the prerequisite for advanced training and for conducting certain ceremonies. It can be earned in about one year through a specific, intensive training program. There are other teaching qualifications beyond it that may be received.

Whether being such an ācārya/ajari qualifies a person to decide on an "Orthodox Buddhism" or "the offical doctrine of Buddhism" that is not "someones personal opinion" I will leave to our readers to consider, if they are so inclined.
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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:31 pm

Is this statement then meant to mean..."Many laypeople are more learned and skilled at teaching than monks. That's just the way it is"

Anyone may be expressing correct view....it can be interpreted that way, and probably will.

Schools may accomodate laypeople as mentioned but to infer laypeople may express view without lineage dirivative......I disagree with.
There must be some formal connection between a school and the layperson expressing view within the conext of that school.

Certainly as mentioned this may be outside the constraints of a ordination or monastic role.

Anyone could for instance publish a article on a school of buddhism, but to be accepted as reflecting view of that school a member of that school with transmission or lineage must acknowledge that as fact (or have provided sponsorship in some manner for that issue)....to my opinion.

Show me I am wrong.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby Astus » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:35 pm

Ron,

You argue that instead of higher ordination (that of a bhiksu/ni) it is lineage that qualifies somebody to be an authority on anything Buddhist. But what lineage would that be? Certainly no sutra claims the existence of any lineage. Since the Buddha's time the only lineage has been is the lineage of higher ordination, which is a matter of precepts and not doctrine. Beyond that in China they created the idea of the Zen lineage and later in India there was the Tantric lineage. But certainly Zen and Mantrayana are just two later schools within Buddhism. What about everyone else from Theravada to Huayan?
"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: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:05 pm

NO

That is a straw man. I never state that ..."You argue that instead of higher ordination (that of a bhiksu/ni) it is lineage that qualifies somebody to be an authority on anything Buddhist. "

So you knock down what I don't say.

In buddhism lineage is the test of authenticity. If no correlation is present between lineage (which is a identifyable train of thought transmission from the buddha to its present expression) in some form, it is generally thought to be opinion perhaps in a general sense but not specifically reflective of a buddhist school. If no school abscribes to what is written it may be buddhism or it may not be.

Anyone can write whatever they want. To establish generally something of authenticity in the buddhist community in a formal sense, it must be abscribed to a particular school of buddhism. There must be some foundational basis for such. If not....no lineage whatsoever....it may be interesting, may be factual, or may not be...but generally it is not considered formally buddhist thought.

Even new schools of buddhism must show a lineage of thought transmission in the buddhist community to be considered a valid school. Is this in writing all must do this....no. It is understood. All schools show the transmissions from the word of the buddha to another teacher to another to another and so on. This does not prevent variance but shows where the validity of the school is derived. Not lineage of monkhood...lineage of transmission. No one says this is valid or that is invalid... but a tracing from the buddha must be shown. In tibetan buddhism for instance this is why bon is generally though having almost exact core principal is not accepted as tibetan buddhism.....as the initial is not thought to be the teacher buddha. All zen all tibetan...lineage can be shown and is shown. Generally it must extend logical thought. A new zen school may present today....but it must extend from the buddha to a teacher to another and on and on... to its present form. Two students of the buddha for instance may have both been students of the buddha but have two differing interpretations of his words.....so they go on to establish two schools. Two students of a teacher of that one school then find two differing meanings to their teachers words.....so they go on to establish two other schools. But all have a basis. NOne just state (to be accepted in the buddhist community).....I read the buddhas words and start my own school. Or the buddha appeared to me in vision and I start a school. It never happens that way. In christianity it happens that way. Lineage may be expanded in that fashion but a new school solely on that basis.... no. I receive transmission and then this happens or I study this and extend it in this manner. A variance within the school may occur or even a new school by that manner but it still extends from some school and thusly from the teacher buddha.

Thusly when someone represents a new school of buddhism such as happened on the internet in the late 90's the general community will not accept it as buddhism. It has no lineage. It is not allowed.
If someone represents a view which though perhaps a valid view personally which may bear some substantiation in logic (or not), the logical question posed even in places such as this to prove differentiation of personal from formal, is the question....what school is this?

If no answer is possible...then all know it is personal view and in that context. If one represents oneself as expressing a view in a formal sense....as in "authorized Buddhist books" or in I am the westerners representation of buddhism(home page)...they must express to explain validity the lineage from which they may be deriving such claims...and after that... their ability within that school to do such things as authorize books...a formal thing. A formal statement is being made...authorizing books.

As is happening here on this thread. And are in form of similiarity the counters to such claim based.
It all derives from lineage in whatever from it is transmitted in any school of buddhism..layperson with authority, talku, monastic, or other, ordained bishop, at sponsorship, whatever....when a formal statement is made it must be accompanied by lineage.

So I could state....I personally like these buddhst books....it is personal.
I cannot validly state...authorized buddhist books unless I reference the lineage and what my capacity is within the lineage to do such a formal thing as authorize book.

Combine the two.... the formal statement without the school nor authority to make such pronouncements...and it will be challenged every time on any authentic buddhist board anywhere.
That is simply how it is.

If this then this person states school and teaching authority within that school(by whatever means)....this can be put in proper context properly. One east asian school for instance may not authorize books for another for instance and will take exception to such notions. So such would be inappropraite. In a place like lounge where one is expressing personal opinion...sure.

So the buddhist community inforces lineage in this case by challenge. Specifically what school(as some things seem to not jive) and what expression of lineage(teaching or writing authority), in this school a simple monastic may not teach.....can one make such formal pronouncements? Authorizations

Perhaps this is referencing a specific school or some such by source content...source must then be clearly mentioned/identified, and to qualify it in a east asian context(this location),... all east asian buddhist schgols, must agree to that as fact. Again a formal authorization is being stated. Not informal or personal opinion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby Astus » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:40 pm

"We should note that in modern times, the eight Chinese Mahayana Buddhist schools have been reclassified into three schools, and that the boundaries among these schools should no longer be maintained. Even the boundary between Mahayana and Nikaya Buddhism should be eradicated to restore Buddhism to a whole. If someone still wants to fight against the times and call himself the nth patriarch of this school or that sect, he is advised to forget it. As a matter of fact, the eminent monks throughout history were not necessarily patriarchs of any school. Conversely, the official "Dharma heirs" of a school, who held a certificate of succession, were not always enlightened, eminent monks."

(Ven. Shengyan: Orthodox Chinese Buddhism, p. 138)
"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: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:39 pm

Astus wrote:"Only monks are allowed to teach the offical positions of Buddhism."

I wonder what would Vimalakirti say about that. Or Sakya Trizin.

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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:04 am

One should not confuse dharma heir and such terms with lineage.

Lineage is most simply just showing the extension which may be a extension of logical thoughts on the issue of dharma. This does not infer it is the same teaching by any means. It may be a dharmic heir or it may not be. A dharmic heir would be one tasked with continuance of that particular school of buddhism not one who may have ineage and transmission of the teachings but be not specifically a dharmic heir. Depending upon school what constitutes that may vary.

So we have a teacher in a school of buddhism that extends it another way....lineage is still present, a tracing of the teachings may be substantiated but the actual school mat be another.

This is not like the pope and papacy, theism.... where one person has by title a specific continuance but a ability to show a flow of the teachings. There may be specific continuances of this sort within schools of buddhism(or may not) but that does not disallow a lineage or extension of the dharma in a different direction. But lineage must still be shown.

Niegher has yet been shown.

Suchly we have for instance a extension of kagyu becomeing something else in boulder colorado. Still with lineage but no dharmic heir establishing that variant from kagyu to present. Though we have a dharmic heir present in that specific form in Boulder. Could that at some point in time extend to a new school on such basis eventually....certainly.Though no dharmic heir. Related to Kagyu and under their auspices for lineage basis(Thrangu rinpoche perhaps) but a new thing.
And we have some attempts at retraction of lineage in history and present time which largly seem to fail. Did a Bernie Glassmans sanga represent the sanga from which it originated.....in some respect. Some may have authority by teaching status to extend buddhist thought be expressing lineage but not be strictly considered in that school a specific dharmic heir or a dharmic heir may be considered in that school broad enough a catagory to include all teachers as holders of lineage but neither would eliminate extension of that thought.

A consolidation of some schools a petering out of others....sure why not. No effect upon or reduction of lineage. A reformation as occured in Japan with a response to a aristocratic bending of dharma, to other form....why not. But it is not a person just getting a inspiration or interpreting the buddhas words that starts such things in buddhism. Change it may certainly be and the prior being considered lesser sometimes certainly as well.That in no shape nor form means substantiation of lineage is not present in some form.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with a american years ago who claimed some buddhist schools were theist. I went to any extend to prove that was not true to no avail. Finally all exhausted I pointed to one obvious fact.....no one established school of buddhism can be found to be calling themselves theist.

This is similiar.....no one established school of buddhism will state they have not lineage as substantiation in some form. This school or that school, this in the past or that in the past....certainly. As many of other schools I found in that discussion will state we are not but this school is. How they extend lineage...well that varies. A specific known heir. All teachers considered heir, a specific reincarnation, a democratic vote perhaps, a personal choice by one heir to another....it could vary in any number of ways. That lineage is expressed is always present.

I would not make summary judgements on each school to state what constitutes the official transmission, nor to say that is that who teaches. In this school we have been shown it requires a more extensive training than basic monks status to teach. IN other school it is always the ordained who transmit lineage and are considered as dharmic heirs. Some schools use laypeople to teach. Some schools use terms like bishop and such..... To say only monks inherit specific transmission to lead a school ....I know one school that transmitted specific heritage to a handyman who worked at the zendow on the basis of koan interpretation. He became the dharmic heir of the leader of that particular school of zen. And a excellent choice he ended up being. I know of another who led a school whose behavior pointed exactly to his not being a monk..... So I would say it depends.

That point is not important to this issue, who are dharmic heirs and who teaches. To make official formal pronouncements such as Authorized Buddhsit books one must posess teaching status within lineage or be linking one who does.
the formal is infered with the term authorized

Personal books I or other like....feel free. Otherwise will arise challenge.

This challenge though not conscious for that purpose necessarily... is a exact replication of the importance of lineage to buddhism and displays that quite clearly if one studies the responses especially by ordained but in all, the many challenges voiced....What school if that school, why this if in that school, by what authority if in that school, or by what authority at all.....all pointing to lineage.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby plwk » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:01 am

Thank you Rev Eijo for your kind explanations. It's good to see you again here :namaste:
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Re: Authorized Buddhist Books

Postby Heruka » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:25 pm

in the dharma shopping supermarket world, such an orthodox, authentic, authority might appeal to certain benefactors.

btw, any text only carries its importance on whether the text is provisional or definitive, i.e realitive to the persons understanding of its communication of dharma, of realization contained within, a three line stanza may transmit greater understanding to an individual than a 1000 page sutra, or the other way around. The notion or implication that dharma is somehow contained within a monastic setting, protected from the outside world by solid monestary walls, is a literalists linear thinking. The notion that a teacher can know the capacity of a student is disingenious and only caters to ego stroking.
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