Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:21 am

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 367 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 19  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:42 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm
Posts: 171
tobes wrote:
To clarify where I was coming from:

Nilasarasvati drew us back to the time when the dharma per se (not merely tantra) intersected with radical counter cultural movements in America. Beats like Ginsberg were so overtly politically committed - it must have taken a lot of courage to be an avowed communist in cold war America. If we are to generalise a social theory or ethos from the Beats, it was a radical rejection of bourgeois values. Buddhism seemed to really take stock in that context: it spoke to hippies, trippers, poets and activists.

Who does it speak to now? (let us say, in America, but perhaps more generally too, in non-traditional places).

Does it resonate far more broadly within mainstream society? (I think it clearly does).

Are dharma practitioners more likely to be comfortable, relatively affluent, career oriented? (subversive poets and radical marxists.....maybe, but perhaps as the exception now).

Is the dharma more likely to be about smoothly living a balanced, happy, fulfilling life? (insert Radiohead lyric: fitter, happier and more productive....).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK0njkATf84

In short, defending the status quo it once seemed to utterly disrupt??

:anjali:


Apart from the societal context of the eras, I don't see how Buddhism is any less 'radical' now than in the 70's or 2500 years ago when Buddha was outrageous enough to allow women in the fold or today when practically everyone drinks and parties, lies and cheats as a means to climbing the social ladder, engages in socially accepted killing trips(fishing) and sleeps with whoever you can while trying not to get caught out (except some weirdos who hold precepts).

I mean, at the heart of it, Buddhist practice goes - against - the grain of the majority of socially accepted norms. What motivates us to do the things we do everyday.
A real practitioner will always be a radical, whether they dress up as anarchists or parade around as poets or act out in controversial ways... or whether they go about their business quietly, doing the work on the inside.

Mainstream? As far as I'm concerned, if affluent business folk take an interest in Buddhism seeking a bit of calm & happiness.. that's great.
If it's chic to have a Buddha statue in your uptown apartment, excellent. There's space for everyone, in whatever capacity and commitment and tradition and environment.
And that's what i see.. not one 'target group'.. as diverse as the teachers are, so are the students. Or maybe it's the other way around ;)

To me, the most "radical counter cultural movements" that could exist today, would be those extolling the merits of ethical living in the greedy, selfish and money-hungry world we live in.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am
Posts: 933
Sure I loved Ginsburg but his exploitation of Lafcadio, Orlovsky's underage brother was pure exploitation. In addition Lafcadio was in a fragile mental state and Ginsburg, as a Buddhist should have shown more compassion, less lust and more care.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am
Posts: 468
What do Buddhist practitioners need now?

Anything which frees them from their conditioning.

So first, a practitioner must know, must see clearly, their own conditioning.

Then seek out methods that will free them from that conditioning.

The methods that will work, will depend upon the individual.

First, know thyself.

Then know Buddhism.

Then practice!

:smile:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:21 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am
Posts: 12736
Indrajala wrote:
Judging from the commodification of Buddhism, in particular Tibetan Buddhism, I would say it is readily being endorsed and appropriated by the system into a marketable and ready-made lifestyle. It is fully customizable, too, down to the selection of meditation cushions available for purchase.


There is Barne's and Nobles Dharma, and then there is practitioner's Dharma. Sometimes the former leads to the latter.

_________________
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:36 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 am
Posts: 428
Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
Tobesm your use of Fitter, Happier is perfect---and I think it's a really awesome illustration of what happens when Dharmas trappings (and especially renunciation) is stripped from it (along with Bodhicitta and the view) and then made into a pet that serves the values of postmodern neoliberal capitalist humanism.

All of us Western practitioners exist on this spectrum, too. Think about it: how much do you contemplate/believe in Hell? It's very Fitter, Happier to neuter the aspects of the Dharma that are uncomfortable.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:50 pm 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Posts: 3037
Location: Olympia WA
mandala wrote:
I mean, at the heart of it, Buddhist practice goes - against - the grain of the majority of socially accepted norms. What motivates us to do the things we do everyday.
A real practitioner will always be a radical, whether they dress up as anarchists or parade around as poets or act out in controversial ways... or whether they go about their business quietly, doing the work on the inside.

Mainstream? As far as I'm concerned, if affluent business folk take an interest in Buddhism seeking a bit of calm & happiness.. that's great.
If it's chic to have a Buddha statue in your uptown apartment, excellent. There's space for everyone, in whatever capacity and commitment and tradition and environment.
And that's what i see.. not one 'target group'.. as diverse as the teachers are, so are the students. Or maybe it's the other way around ;)

To me, the most "radical counter cultural movements" that could exist today, would be those extolling the merits of ethical living in the greedy, selfish and money-hungry world we live in.

:good: :good:


At least Barne's and Noble Dharma leads to people who otherwise would have no interest in a path at all getting some exposure to the Dharma...which can't be bad thing. For all the flaws of Barne's and Noble Dharma, i've seen plenty of people (and by extension the people around those people, and so on) who are unquestionably better off for the exposure and practice.

So easy to get trapped in cyncism because we don't like the forms, if the intent is there (especially from Mahayana perspective), that means something.....even the form might make your skin crawl.


There is a place in my town that sells herbs, supplements, what not..they also have a really expensive Buddha statue. I am almost certain that once it's bought, it will not be bought by a Buddhist, it will be bought by someone who thinks "the Buddha sure is relaxing" or something similar. I used to really hate this kind of thing..in some ways I still do. But then, i've talked to non-Buddhists of this sort who say things like they were comforted by the images during a bad time. It's easy to laugh at the pain of upper middle class people using Buddha images they don't know much about as comfort for their bourgeoisie sense of ennui..but we really shouldn't, it's as real as anything else. Making the presentation of Dharma shallower, that of course is an issue...

_________________
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
Judging from the commodification of Buddhism, in particular Tibetan Buddhism, I would say it is readily being endorsed and appropriated by the system into a marketable and ready-made lifestyle. It is fully customizable, too, down to the selection of meditation cushions available for purchase.


There is Barne's and Nobles Dharma, and then there is practitioner's Dharma. Sometimes the former leads to the latter.


Yes, and I recognize that. However, with the potential for profit to be made, there is likewise the high probability that charlatans will seek such profits.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am
Posts: 12736
Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
Judging from the commodification of Buddhism, in particular Tibetan Buddhism, I would say it is readily being endorsed and appropriated by the system into a marketable and ready-made lifestyle. It is fully customizable, too, down to the selection of meditation cushions available for purchase.


There is Barne's and Nobles Dharma, and then there is practitioner's Dharma. Sometimes the former leads to the latter.


Yes, and I recognize that. However, with the potential for profit to be made, there is likewise the high probability that charlatans will seek such profits.


As you know, charlatans often are responsible for people meeting the Dharma, who then become good practitioners.

And then of course there is the sad fact that all of us who function as teachers and commentators of the Dharma who are not Ārya practitioners are frauds and charlatans in some sense since we are basically talking about things we have not personally experienced and of which we have only theoretical knowledge.

_________________
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:27 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Posts: 10290
Location: Greece
Malcolm wrote:
And then of course there is the sad fact that all of us who function as teachers and commentators of the Dharma who are not Ārya practitioners are frauds and charlatans in some sense since we are basically talking about things we have not personally experienced and of which we have only theoretical knowledge.
Unless we limit oursleves to just teaching about what we have personally experienced. ;) Wouldn't really leave all that much to say, actually! :smile:

_________________
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am
Posts: 12736
gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
And then of course there is the sad fact that all of us who function as teachers and commentators of the Dharma who are not Ārya practitioners are frauds and charlatans in some sense since we are basically talking about things we have not personally experienced and of which we have only theoretical knowledge.
Unless we limit oursleves to just teaching about what we have personally experienced. ;) Wouldn't really leave all that much to say, actually! :smile:


It could cause the Buddhist internet to experience cessation.

_________________
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:32 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Posts: 10290
Location: Greece
Malcolm wrote:
It could cause the Buddhist internet to experience cessation.
That would only be a good thing. It would save me a tonne of work, that's for sure! :tongue:

_________________
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:07 am 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am
Posts: 1140
mandala wrote:
tobes wrote:
To clarify where I was coming from:

Nilasarasvati drew us back to the time when the dharma per se (not merely tantra) intersected with radical counter cultural movements in America. Beats like Ginsberg were so overtly politically committed - it must have taken a lot of courage to be an avowed communist in cold war America. If we are to generalise a social theory or ethos from the Beats, it was a radical rejection of bourgeois values. Buddhism seemed to really take stock in that context: it spoke to hippies, trippers, poets and activists.

Who does it speak to now? (let us say, in America, but perhaps more generally too, in non-traditional places).

Does it resonate far more broadly within mainstream society? (I think it clearly does).

Are dharma practitioners more likely to be comfortable, relatively affluent, career oriented? (subversive poets and radical marxists.....maybe, but perhaps as the exception now).

Is the dharma more likely to be about smoothly living a balanced, happy, fulfilling life? (insert Radiohead lyric: fitter, happier and more productive....).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK0njkATf84

In short, defending the status quo it once seemed to utterly disrupt??

:anjali:


Apart from the societal context of the eras, I don't see how Buddhism is any less 'radical' now than in the 70's or 2500 years ago when Buddha was outrageous enough to allow women in the fold or today when practically everyone drinks and parties, lies and cheats as a means to climbing the social ladder, engages in socially accepted killing trips(fishing) and sleeps with whoever you can while trying not to get caught out (except some weirdos who hold precepts).

I mean, at the heart of it, Buddhist practice goes - against - the grain of the majority of socially accepted norms. What motivates us to do the things we do everyday.
A real practitioner will always be a radical, whether they dress up as anarchists or parade around as poets or act out in controversial ways... or whether they go about their business quietly, doing the work on the inside.

Mainstream? As far as I'm concerned, if affluent business folk take an interest in Buddhism seeking a bit of calm & happiness.. that's great.
If it's chic to have a Buddha statue in your uptown apartment, excellent. There's space for everyone, in whatever capacity and commitment and tradition and environment.
And that's what i see.. not one 'target group'.. as diverse as the teachers are, so are the students. Or maybe it's the other way around ;)

To me, the most "radical counter cultural movements" that could exist today, would be those extolling the merits of ethical living in the greedy, selfish and money-hungry world we live in.


I take your point here - but might there be an untenable contradiction between extolling the merits of ethical living and actually being an affluent business folk??

"Meditating keeps me calm, sharp and happy so I can trade stocks all day...." Is that really excellent? It's okay if I buy organic butter and say enough mantras at night?

That contradiction is what I'm trying to get at.

:anjali:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:12 am 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am
Posts: 1140
MalaBeads wrote:
What do Buddhist practitioners need now?

Anything which frees them from their conditioning.

So first, a practitioner must know, must see clearly, their own conditioning.

Then seek out methods that will free them from that conditioning.

The methods that will work, will depend upon the individual.

First, know thyself.

Then know Buddhism.

Then practice!

:smile:


Hmmmm. But is the conditioning always individual and never social-political?

Therein lies the difference, between then (Ginsberg times) and now, I think.

Contemporary Buddhist practice: an individualist pursuit?

:anjali:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:21 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm
Posts: 2295
tobes wrote:
Contemporary Buddhist practice: an individualist pursuit?

I think a fair amount of earlier Buddhist practice could be described as an individualist pursuit,
starting with that of the Buddha himself.

_________________
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔


Last edited by dzogchungpa on Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:26 am, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:25 am 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am
Posts: 1140
Nilasarasvati wrote:
Tobesm your use of Fitter, Happier is perfect---and I think it's a really awesome illustration of what happens when Dharmas trappings (and especially renunciation) is stripped from it (along with Bodhicitta and the view) and then made into a pet that serves the values of postmodern neoliberal capitalist humanism.

All of us Western practitioners exist on this spectrum, too. Think about it: how much do you contemplate/believe in Hell? It's very Fitter, Happier to neuter the aspects of the Dharma that are uncomfortable.


Indeed. It is very difficult - impossible perhaps - to avoid implicitly adopting neoliberal values, because they structure us very robustly, in various ways.

I posted that track because in 1997 (when it was released) I was a Ginsberg reading Trungpanite....and it exemplified what I was trying to reject/get out of/transform.

Then I heard it a few months ago and I had a sudden shocking realisation that in some ways I had come to embody that very ethos - yet at no time unware or unreflexive about the pernicious contemporary neoliberal order.

So I'm not trying to hang anyone here: I think maybe what I'm saying is that we are inevitably products of our social-economic order, and it is very hard to resist an order as slippery as the present one. The boomers had more solid targets to resist. In a way, what is so pernicious about neoliberalism is that one becomes it almost just by breathing.

:anjali:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:28 am 
Offline
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am
Posts: 1140
dzogchungpa wrote:
tobes wrote:
Contemporary Buddhist practice: an individualist pursuit?

I think a fair amount of ancient Buddhist practice could be described as an "individualist pursuit",
starting with that of the Buddha himself.


Yes, of course. I would not deny that Buddhist practice involves much that is about individual striving.

:anjali:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am
Posts: 468
tobes wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:
What do Buddhist practitioners need now?

Anything which frees them from their conditioning.

So first, a practitioner must know, must see clearly, their own conditioning.

Then seek out methods that will free them from that conditioning.

The methods that will work, will depend upon the individual.

First, know thyself.

Then know Buddhism.

Then practice!

:smile:


Hmmmm. But is the conditioning always individual and never social-political?

Therein lies the difference, between then (Ginsberg times) and now, I think.

Contemporary Buddhist practice: an individualist pursuit?

:anjali:


I do think that we are also socially and politically conditioned. Nonetheless, a response always comes from the individual. Even the choice (whether a free choice or a conditioned choice) to become a part of a socio-political movement is an individual choice. So knowing yourself, involves knowing your motivations for action, whether it is private or public action.

All just my two cents.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:15 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Posts: 1934
Location: Sydney AU
Tobes wrote:
I think maybe what I'm saying is that we are inevitably products of our social-economic order, and it is very hard to resist an order as slippery as the present one.


Ain't that the truth - but the point is to be aware of it, to be self-critical. Not necessarily in an obsessive way but just to be aware that we are always the 'product of our times'. And also not loose sight of the fact that not everything about that identity is inimical to the path. But in any case, a large part of meditation is seeing into the roots of thought, so to speak, just being aware of how it unfolds, seeing it as it is - no matter how it is.

_________________
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:36 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 am
Posts: 428
Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
Quote:
I take your point here - but might there be an untenable contradiction between extolling the merits of ethical living and actually being an affluent business folk??


This in mind and,

Quote:
Hmmmm. But is the conditioning always individual and never social-political?

Therein lies the difference, between then (Ginsberg times) and now, I think.

Contemporary Buddhist practice: an individualist pursuit?


These thoughts lead me to thinking about how, in our society, the individual is dualistically flattened/divorced from the whole; and how popular understanding of Buddhism may lead people to never question their assumptions, their privilege, and their power. For example: assuming racism is an individual defect, rather than an institutional system (where one race is given preference in general.) Assuming the greed of a few individual executives is the problem (rather than Capitalism as a whole being a brutal system--one where the only value judgement is profit/loss). Just because we believe that the three poisons are the root of all suffering doesn't mean we can only cure (or must confront) those poisons on an individual basis.

This is where I think a lot of Buddhists might fail to carry their supposed bodhicitta into a more critical sphere. You can sit contented in thinking (or worse yet not thinking!) "Oh. There are mostly white people in my Sangha because we have more merit..."

I wish instead, we would wonder: Who touched this cash? What harm and misery came to bring me the bread or hotdog or even the tofu I'm eating? How am I to take the suffering of beings as my own if I am standing on the shoulders of countless thousands? The beings who feed, clothe, and die for me to live in comfort? How can I ever repay their kindness? How can I let the system that feeds from their misery go unquestioned?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:27 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 am
Posts: 1119
Location: Canada
The problem with that, Nilasarasvati, is the problem of universals. I would argue that agglomerations such as "society" only exist because we have rendered ourselves temporarily unconscious to the particulars. In the end, in whatever action you take, you are a particular (and not even that, ultimately). Thus, when you try to tell people about universal problems, people become hopeless, they cannot do anything, simply because the description you have provided them has no relation to the reality within which they find themselves - they see themselves as a particular, or particular agglomeration, which when universalised into a still greater agglomeration, makes one even more hopeless. While on a so called "social level" you can only make changes on an individual bases, of you want to give people hope, give them emptiness. Ultimately their "individuals" are not themselves, and they lack any control over them because they are also false agglomerations.

Thus, we say, we vow to liberate all sentient beings, but in order to do that, a Buddha's skillful means are adjusted for each "individual." What helps Sariputra attain enlightenment is not the same as what helps Ananda. "Systems" like Tantra, are just generalisations, ultimately, there is only your own practice, and even then, there is nothing.
Quote:
Just because we believe that the three poisons are the root of all suffering doesn't mean we can only cure (or must confront) those poisons on an individual basis.

If you don't believe me Nilasarasvati, you can provide a concrete example for exactly how I can do this right now. What action would I take to act in a non-individual way? It is the proposal of a fallacy, and cannot be done.

What actual thing can one do to interact with a so called "system?" Can you draw a picture of this "system?" What dimensions does it have? What colour, taste or smell does it have?

This is like saying, you need to confront "love" or "justice" and engage in actions with it. "Move justice x meters north." It simply cannot be done, these are concepts Nilasarasvati, which exist in a religion of abstract fetishising. If you want to talk about anything in reality, you need to be able to sense it with the 6 senses. And that doesn't even give you any information on how to interact with it, or whether you can at all - if you even have the freedom to within dependent origination. In the end, there's no one acting, and nothing which is the object of action.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 367 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 19  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group