Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:23 am

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:40 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:To the rescue : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya


When Maitreya appears nobody will have heard of the Buddhadharma. It will have been entirely forgotten.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:09 am

Huseng wrote:
Kunga Lhadzom wrote:To the rescue : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya


When Maitreya appears nobody will have heard of the Buddhadharma. It will have been entirely forgotten.


And the current human race would be almost entirely forgotten, like how fragmentary our knowledge is about the Neanderthals.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby plwk » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:23 am

Image

:lol:
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:28 am

pueraeternus wrote:And the current human race would be almost entirely forgotten, like how fragmentary our knowledge is about the Neanderthals.

Not likely, they will be picking up our rubbish for millions of years.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:15 am

plwk wrote:Image

:lol:


funny-pictures-four-lolcats-of-the-apocalypse.jpg
funny-pictures-four-lolcats-of-the-apocalypse.jpg (37.77 KiB) Viewed 532 times
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:35 am

You might need to scroll down on the "lolcats of the appocalypse" picture to read the caption, which I think is one of the best ever written.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Luke » Mon May 06, 2013 11:40 pm

Batchelor says this in the video (he is trying to view Buddhism itself in terms of the 3 dharma seals):
"And what I found very helpful is to start to think of Buddhism in terms of the core ideas that the Buddha himself taught: Buddhism, too, is impermanent. Buddhism is imperfect. Buddhism is contingent, empty. There is no essential dharma or teaching. We're talking about something that is living, like an organism which is constantly in process and in flux."

What I object to most is the fact that Batchelor is using the Pali Suttas like the I-Ching: He is basically just gazing at them and making up whatever interpretation he likes about them. This might be intellectually exciting for some people, but I think it is harmful because it leads people away from the real historical traditions of the Buddhist religion. Buddhism is not like literary criticism in which one can make up any interpretation of a text one happens to feel like.

I also object to the view that the Pali suttas are some kind of rough, unrefined product, like raw cotton, which someone has to carefully process and filter in order to remove its impurities and "get to the essence."

If one believes that Buddha Shakyamuni was an enlightened being, then he or she shouldn't believe that the Buddha gave into peer-pressure and gave some teachings which he didn't really believe in. For example, Batchelor and Peacock just think that Buddha taught rebirth as a result of his growing up in an Indian culture. But Buddha spoke out strongly against beliefs of his time which he disagreed with, so if he had disagreed with rebirth, he certainly would have said so!
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby greentara » Tue May 07, 2013 12:34 am

True wisdom in any religion understands what the Buddha was saying. "Even if we desire no greater benefit from this forgetting and emptiness of memory than our deliverance from pain and trouble that of itself is a great gain and blessing, ' says St. John of the Cross"
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Tue May 07, 2013 1:34 am

Also, I think Bachelor and secular Buddhism needs to be part of the dialogue around Buddhism, even if you don't agree with his views. He posts the negative reviews of his books on his site, as well as the positive ones (or he used to, when I last looked.) If you meet Stephen Bachelor, he is very open, he is not particularly pushy about his position. I agree with the criticisms of him and don't accept his overall interpretation, but he represents a viewpoint that many secular westerners respond to. Also debating clever people who you don't agree with, if you can do it without becoming overly attached, is a very good way to help you clarify your own views.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 07, 2013 2:16 am

plwk wrote:Image

:lol:
Excellent! Now I can finally post this image.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby plwk » Tue May 07, 2013 2:27 am

:twothumbsup:
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue May 07, 2013 3:11 am

jeeprs wrote:Also, I think Bachelor and secular Buddhism needs to be part of the dialogue around Buddhism, even if you don't agree with his views. He posts the negative reviews of his books on his site, as well as the positive ones (or he used to, when I last looked.) If you meet Stephen Bachelor, he is very open, he is not particularly pushy about his position. I agree with the criticisms of him and don't accept his overall interpretation, but he represents a viewpoint that many secular westerners respond to.

I think it's rather odd when someone who has rejected Buddhist epistemology in favor of what is in keeping with Cārvāka materialist epistemology still wants to consider himself a Buddhist. And by still calling himself a Buddhist he is muddying the waters and potentially creating confusion for westerners who are new to the Buddhadharma. But I suppose that if he were to openly identify himself as a Cārvāka materialist his book sales might slump considerably.

jeeprs wrote:Also debating clever people who you don't agree with, if you can do it without becoming overly attached, is a very good way to help you clarify your own views.

Sure. Buddhists have been debating and rejecting materialist views from the time of the Buddha all the way through to the late Indian commentators.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Tue May 07, 2013 4:34 am

From Wikipedia:
Representation of Cārvāka in Āstika, Buddhist and Jain Literature

The Yogācāra Buddhists, Jains, Advaita Vedantins and Nyāya philosophers considered the Cārvākas as one of their opponents and tried to refute their views. These refutations are sources of Cārvāka philosophy since, they continued to be made even after all the authentic Cārvāka/Lokāyata texts had been lost. However, the representation of the Cārvāka thought in these works is not always firmly grounded in first hand knowledge of Cārvāka texts and should be viewed critically.

Though Cārvākas accepted direct perception as the surest method to prove the truth of anything, they might also have accepted a limited usage of inference. The perception that Cārvākas had a rigid stance against the application of inference might have been a result of caricaturing of their arguments by their opponents. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya quotes S. N. Dasgupta:

"Purandara (a Lokāyata philosopher) [...] admits the usefulness of inference in determining the nature of all worldly things where perceptual experience is available; but inference cannot be employed for establishing any dogma regarding the transcendental world, or life after death or the law of karma which cannot be available to ordinary perceptual experience."

Likewise, the charge of hedonism against Cārvāka might have been exaggerated. Countering the argument that the Cārvākas opposed all that was good in the Vedic tradition, Dale Riepe says, "It may be said from the available material that Cārvākas hold truth, integrity, consistency, and freedom of thought in the highest esteem."

It seems that the Cārvāka/Lokāyata philosphers were ahead of their time.

I see no fault in their view, nor can I understand how this is at odds with the essence of what the Buddha taught.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue May 07, 2013 4:53 am

dharmagoat wrote:It seems that the Cārvāka/Lokāyata philosphers were ahead of their time.

There's nothing new about materialist philosophies -- both in ancient India and Greece.

dharmagoat wrote:I see no fault in their view, nor can I understand how this is at odds with the essence of what the Buddha taught.

The materialist rejection of karma entails rejecting the four noble truths and dependent origination, and is therefore incompatible with the Buddha's dharma.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Tue May 07, 2013 6:34 am

Jnana wrote:The materialist rejection of karma entails rejecting the four noble truths and dependent origination, and is therefore incompatible with the Buddha's dharma.

Yet Stephen Bachelor upholds both The Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination. Could it be that he is not a materialist?
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby JKhedrup » Tue May 07, 2013 6:55 am

Yet Stephen Bachelor upholds both The Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination. Could it be that he is not a materialist?


How could you uphold the 4 Noble Truths and completely ignore karma, for example?

Karma is very much connected with True Origins.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue May 07, 2013 7:27 am

dharmagoat wrote:Yet Stephen Bachelor upholds both The Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination. Could it be that he is not a materialist?

Stephen Batchelor, No Future In A Parrot's Egg:

    I reject karma and rebirth not only because I find them unintelligible, but because I believe they obscure and distort what the Buddha was trying to say.

I would suggest that rejecting karma and rebirth obscures and distorts what the Buddha was actually explicitly saying as recorded in every collection of discourses attributed to him. And as Ven. Khedrup implied above, karma is integral to the four noble truths and dependent origin.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Luke » Tue May 07, 2013 9:04 am

JKhedrup wrote:How could you uphold the 4 Noble Truths and completely ignore karma, for example?

Karma is very much connected with True Origins.

I agree. But here is one thing that puzzles me: a teaching is supposed to be Buddhist if it contains the Three (or Four) Dharma Seals. However, none of these Dharma Seals talks about karma and rebirth!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_marks_of_existence
http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?o ... ew&id=1814

I guess this is Batchelor's argument: He believes in the Three Dharma Seals, but not in most other traditional Buddhist concepts, and thinks that this is enough to label his ideas as "Buddhist."
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Postby Simon E. » Tue May 07, 2013 9:17 am

I am not sure that he cares very much whether they are labelled Buddhist or not.

" Buddhism for me is a convenient and conventional name for a collection of skillful means. Whether or not that is " Buddhism " and whether I am considered a " Buddhist " is not of any great interest to me. Its just a handy peg to hang things on."



From a talk at Sharpham June 2003.
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