Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby anjali » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:28 pm

smcj wrote:So, as Buddhists, we are supposed to advocate a theocratic dictatorship?
Sure--if you can guarantee that the theocratic dictator is essentially immortal and fully enlightened. And all the citizens want liberation. :tongue:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:48 pm

anjali wrote:
smcj wrote:So, as Buddhists, we are supposed to advocate a theocratic dictatorship?
Sure--if you can guarantee that the theocratic dictator is essentially immortal and fully enlightened. And all the citizens want liberation. :tongue:

Sounds very totalitarian and intolerant. Next we'll be embracing "the divine right of kings."

I mean, look at our Dharma Centers. Very rarely do you find one that isn't a complete mess. We can't reliably administer even a kindergarden with a shred of sanity--and we want to take that mentality and implement it over the society at large?

Plus, what mechanism will there be in place to prevent an "Animal Farm" type of descent into corruption? Communism and the Christianity both started out idealistically, but look at their histories. Yuck! Diving into politics is embracing the 8 worldly dharmas full-on. How are people supposed to not be corrupted by money, power, sex and prestige? I remember Lama Kunga, a Sakya Rinpoche, talking about the karmic for the fall of Tibet. He said, "We took samsara into the monasteries with us."

If we really want to improve things, we should stop posting on the internet and practice more. If a few of us can become deeply realized, it will automatically benefit society like throwing salt into a pot of soup.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:46 pm

smcj wrote:How are people supposed to not be corrupted by money, power, sex and prestige?
by realising their true nature?
I remember Lama Kunga, a Sakya Rinpoche, talking about the karmic for the fall of Tibet. He said, "We took samsara into the monasteries with us."
How could they not take it into the monastaries? They wouldn't need to go into monastaries if they weren't carrying around samsara 24/7.

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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:01 pm

tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:All politics is reducible to parties with different sorts of self-oriented goals, including the politics of deep ecology (which has a self-oriented goal i.e. the preservation of the earth's ecosphere for all beings). But even saving the planet is not a Dharma goal. The goal of Dharma is concerned solely with the liberation of persons from samsara. If we extend this to Mahāyāna, still, all Mahāyāna schools are concerned with the liberation of persons from samsara.

The political process at all levels may be used to beautify samsara or control samsara, but politics is ultimately samsaric, that is the point of differentiating Dharma and politics.


Again, you just introduce a sweeping, immutable definition of politics - without reasons or evidence.

I do not think politics is reducible to this.

Two reasons why the goal of all Mahayana schools is itself - innately - political:

1. Practicing the Dharma requires negative liberty (freedom from coercion, either physical or epistemic).
2. Practicing the Dharma requires positive liberty (freedom to make use of ones potentiality).

This denies your basic claim that politics is necessarily ultimately samsaric: the goal of politics might be to liberate persons from samsara. Nagarjuna certainly thought that was plausible.

:anjali:


These "liberties" are a result of our karma based on our own actions in past lives. There is nothing political about them.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Will » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:19 pm

What the Dharma "requires" is a person with a pure & altruistic will, expressed in vows & actions for many lives, plus a good guru - nothing more.

Liberation, whether motivated by practical bodhicitta or absolute bodhicitta will always unfold "against the current" - in spite of surrounding governing systems, not because of them.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:25 pm

Will wrote:What the Dharma "requires" is a person with a pure & altruistic will, expressed in vows & actions for many lives, plus a good guru - nothing more.

Liberation, whether motivated by practical bodhicitta or absolute bodhicitta will always unfold "against the current" - in spite of surrounding governing systems, not because of them.

:good:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby tobes » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:28 am

LastLegend wrote:
tobes wrote:
Two reasons why the goal of all Mahayana schools is itself - innately - political:

1. Practicing the Dharma requires negative liberty (freedom from coercion, either physical or epistemic).
2. Practicing the Dharma requires positive liberty (freedom to make use of ones potentiality).

This denies your basic claim that politics is necessarily ultimately samsaric: the goal of politics might be to liberate persons from samsara. Nagarjuna certainly thought that was plausible.

:anjali:


It does not have to be political. There were masters who was persecuted by the PRC, and they had to leave and did not fight back.

Currently in Vietnam, monks have to preach in a way that does not seem to pose a threat to Vietnamese Communist Party.


In the case of the PRC, why is the practice of non-violence considered not political? Here again, there is the assumption that political = dirty, bad, selfish, samsaric. But is not the living practice of ahimsa an extrordinarily profound and enlightened political response to a given situation?

Vietnam is also an interesting example, given that Buddhist monks were central to offering a political solution to the problems of colonialism and communism in the 20th century. And the concept of engaged Buddhism emerged via Tich Naht Hanh and others. Not sure why all of this is off the table....

:anjali:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:09 am

But is not the living practice of ahimsa an extrordinarily profound and enlightened political response to a given situation?

Political is a western notion from the Ancient Greek, πόλις, city or state. It has to do with the maintenance and government thereof. Ahimsa is a-hiṁsā, not hiṁsā. Where hiṁsā is the desiderative form of √ han, to strike/harm in general. It is thus, desiring no harm. Thus being fundamentally an abstention rather than an active deed, is not political, but rather is thoroughly apolitical.

The Sanskrit rājyakara is the closest I can think of to politics, and it literally means the exercise of kingly rule. By not engaging in violence, the Buddha is not exercising in kingly rule of any kind, save kingly rule of the Dharma.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:18 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
But is not the living practice of ahimsa an extrordinarily profound and enlightened political response to a given situation?

Political is a western notion from the Ancient Greek, πόλις, city or state. It has to do with the maintenance and government thereof. Ahimsa is a-hiṁsā, not hiṁsā. Where hiṁsā is the desiderative form of √ han, to strike/harm in general. It is thus, desiring no harm. Thus being fundamentally an abstention rather than an active deed, is not political, but rather is thoroughly apolitical.

The Sanskrit rājyakara is the closest I can think of to politics, and it literally means the exercise of kingly rule. By not engaging in violence, the Buddha is not exercising in kingly rule of any kind, save kingly rule of the Dharma.


"Nonviolence does not mean non-action." Thich Nat Hanh.
Nonviolence (ahimsa) can be profoundly political, Ben Yuan. We have the Independence of India and the civil rights movement in the US as proof of that reality.

Ben Yuan, I think you should go read the pages where we defined Politics. We've been over this whole Polis thing---and the whole "nonaction can't be political thing" My apologies if you already have read these. It just seems repetitive.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:20 am

tobes wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
tobes wrote:
Two reasons why the goal of all Mahayana schools is itself - innately - political:

1. Practicing the Dharma requires negative liberty (freedom from coercion, either physical or epistemic).
2. Practicing the Dharma requires positive liberty (freedom to make use of ones potentiality).

This denies your basic claim that politics is necessarily ultimately samsaric: the goal of politics might be to liberate persons from samsara. Nagarjuna certainly thought that was plausible.

:anjali:


It does not have to be political. There were masters who was persecuted by the PRC, and they had to leave and did not fight back.

Currently in Vietnam, monks have to preach in a way that does not seem to pose a threat to Vietnamese Communist Party.


In the case of the PRC, why is the practice of non-violence considered not political? Here again, there is the assumption that political = dirty, bad, selfish, samsaric. But is not the living practice of ahimsa an extrordinarily profound and enlightened political response to a given situation?

Vietnam is also an interesting example, given that Buddhist monks were central to offering a political solution to the problems of colonialism and communism in the 20th century. And the concept of engaged Buddhism emerged via Tich Naht Hanh and others. Not sure why all of this is off the table....

:anjali:


I think ultimately, there is not a dharma to be achieved. I think you are saying, if there is struggle involving Dharma, then that is political. I am saying there is no struggle within Buddhadharma. "Conform but not transform." On the surface, maybe there is struggle. On the ultimate level, Buddhadharma is not aiming for any worldly dharma such as political or politics.

I don't know. Maybe we are going in circle.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:24 am

Malcolm wrote:
tobes wrote:
Malcolm wrote:All politics is reducible to parties with different sorts of self-oriented goals, including the politics of deep ecology (which has a self-oriented goal i.e. the preservation of the earth's ecosphere for all beings). But even saving the planet is not a Dharma goal. The goal of Dharma is concerned solely with the liberation of persons from samsara. If we extend this to Mahāyāna, still, all Mahāyāna schools are concerned with the liberation of persons from samsara.

The political process at all levels may be used to beautify samsara or control samsara, but politics is ultimately samsaric, that is the point of differentiating Dharma and politics.


Again, you just introduce a sweeping, immutable definition of politics - without reasons or evidence.

I do not think politics is reducible to this.

Two reasons why the goal of all Mahayana schools is itself - innately - political:

1. Practicing the Dharma requires negative liberty (freedom from coercion, either physical or epistemic).
2. Practicing the Dharma requires positive liberty (freedom to make use of ones potentiality).

This denies your basic claim that politics is necessarily ultimately samsaric: the goal of politics might be to liberate persons from samsara. Nagarjuna certainly thought that was plausible.

:anjali:


These "liberties" are a result of our karma based on our own actions in past lives. There is nothing political about them.


Kind of circular isn't it?
If you don't have the Karma to practice the Dharma, too bad! Work hard and make aspirations to be reborn wealthier so that you can!
If you have the karma to practise the Dharma, great! No need to help others less privileged do the same because it's just their karma.

Or, to be more than a little irreverent:

Shantarakshita: Please come to Tibet and help King Trisong Deutsen subdue the untameable beings, deities, and black magicians of this barbarous land!
Padmasambhava: I don't get involved in politics. If the Tibetans had the good merit to practice the Dharma, they'd have been born in a central land in the first place.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47 am

Nonviolence (ahimsa) can be profoundly political, Ben Yuan. We have the Independence of India and the civil rights movement in the US as proof of that reality.

Whoever said the apolitical cannot influence politics? Politics also pertains to the people of the state, politics adjusts to the people. This doesn't automatically make everyone a politician. This is like saying everyone who is captured in an artist's view when he paints a landscape, is thereby also an artist - they're not, but they're something the artist must adjust to. You can help to change conditions without being a politician.

Politicians made India independent and gave civil rights to those without it motivated by the eight worldly dharmas.
Nagarjuna, Suhrllekha, Translated by A. Berzin, v.29. wrote:O Realizer of the Transitory World. Don’t have
as objects of your mind
The eight transitory things of the world:
Namely, material gain and no gain, happiness and unhappiness,
Things nice to hear and not nice to hear, or praise and scorn.
Be indifferent (toward them).

That's the nature of politics.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:54 am

Ben Yuan wrote:
Nonviolence (ahimsa) can be profoundly political, Ben Yuan. We have the Independence of India and the civil rights movement in the US as proof of that reality.

Whoever said the apolitical cannot influence politics? Politics also pertains to the people of the state, politics adjusts to the people. This doesn't automatically make everyone a politician. This is like saying everyone who is captured in an artist's view when he paints a landscape, is thereby also an artist - they're not, but they're something the artist must adjust to. You can help to change conditions without being a politician.

Politicians made India independent and gave civil rights to those without it motivated by the eight worldly dharmas.
Nagarjuna, Suhrllekha, Translated by A. Berzin, v.29. wrote:O Realizer of the Transitory World. Don’t have
as objects of your mind
The eight transitory things of the world:
Namely, material gain and no gain, happiness and unhappiness,
Things nice to hear and not nice to hear, or praise and scorn.
Be indifferent (toward them).

That's the nature of politics.



Ughhh sorry we have a confusion in terminology again. You're talking about politics as...politicians, government, etc.
We're actually in total agreeement. "You can help change conditions without being a politician" that's basically exactly what I mean.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:50 am

I am not confused about the way you are using the term politics. I understand the way you are using it, I am objecting to that usage in the following way:
Whoever said the apolitical cannot influence politics? Politics also pertains to the people of the state, politics adjusts to the people. This doesn't automatically make everyone a politician. This is like saying everyone who is captured in an artist's view when he paints a landscape, is thereby also an artist - they're not, but they're something the artist must adjust to. You can help to change conditions without being a politician.

:anjali:
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:36 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
These "liberties" are a result of our karma based on our own actions in past lives. There is nothing political about them.


Kind of circular isn't it?
If you don't have the Karma to practice the Dharma, too bad! Work hard and make aspirations to be reborn wealthier so that you can!
If you have the karma to practise the Dharma, great! No need to help others less privileged do the same because it's just their karma.

Or, to be more than a little irreverent:

Shantarakshita: Please come to Tibet and help King Trisong Deutsen subdue the untameable beings, deities, and black magicians of this barbarous land!
Padmasambhava: I don't get involved in politics. If the Tibetans had the good merit to practice the Dharma, they'd have been born in a central land in the first place.


It is sad that people who are ostensibly Dharma practitioners seem not to understand the infallibility of karma. Nevertheless. It is simple: if you met with the Dharma in this life, you met with it in a past one. If one does not have that dependent origination, one will never meet the Dharma in this life. This why evangelism is useless.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby anjali » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:It is simple: if you met with the Dharma in this life, you met with it in a past one. If one does not have that dependent origination, one will never meet the Dharma in this life.

People have to encounter the Dharma for the first time in some lifetime. Why can that not happen for some in this lifetime?
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:18 pm

anjali wrote:
Malcolm wrote:It is simple: if you met with the Dharma in this life, you met with it in a past one. If one does not have that dependent origination, one will never meet the Dharma in this life.

People have to encounter the Dharma for the first time in some lifetime. Why can that not happen for some in this lifetime?


It is as statistically improbable as it is statistically possible.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby anjali » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
anjali wrote:People have to encounter the Dharma for the first time in some lifetime. Why can that not happen for some in this lifetime?

It is as statistically improbable as it is statistically possible.

Wow, a 50/50 chance encounter with the Dharma for a total newbie. That's great! Who knew statistics was relevant to the Dharma? (Sorry, just having some fun. :smile: . I accept due chastisment for spiraling off topic.)
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  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby smcj » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:
anjali wrote:
Malcolm wrote:It is simple: if you met with the Dharma in this life, you met with it in a past one. If one does not have that dependent origination, one will never meet the Dharma in this life.

People have to encounter the Dharma for the first time in some lifetime. Why can that not happen for some in this lifetime?


It is as statistically improbable as it is statistically possible.

With enough accumulation of merit you will be born as a human. With much more accumulation of merit you will meet the Dharma. If you meet the Vajrayana, it is said that enlightenment is possible in a single lifetime.

I agree with Malcolm that proselytizing is an error, but for additional reasons he does not mention. However I'm not above planting seeds by saying mantras as I pet a puppy or play with a toddler. Tibetans put up prayer flags so the mantra syllables will float downwind, but I don't do that. In any case, let the seeds ripen X number of lifetimes from now. There's no particular hurry for them. But I'm careful to not annoy adults by getting in thei face or laying trips on them.
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Re: Transgression, Tantra, Radical vs Conservative Buddhism

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:01 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
These "liberties" are a result of our karma based on our own actions in past lives. There is nothing political about them.


Kind of circular isn't it?
If you don't have the Karma to practice the Dharma, too bad! Work hard and make aspirations to be reborn wealthier so that you can!
If you have the karma to practise the Dharma, great! No need to help others less privileged do the same because it's just their karma.

Or, to be more than a little irreverent:

Shantarakshita: Please come to Tibet and help King Trisong Deutsen subdue the untameable beings, deities, and black magicians of this barbarous land!
Padmasambhava: I don't get involved in politics. If the Tibetans had the good merit to practice the Dharma, they'd have been born in a central land in the first place.


It is sad that people who are ostensibly Dharma practitioners seem not to understand the infallibility of karma. Nevertheless. It is simple: if you met with the Dharma in this life, you met with it in a past one. If one does not have that dependent origination, one will never meet the Dharma in this life. This why evangelism is useless.


I'm flattered you think I am "ostensibly" a Dharma practitioner. Make no mistake, I haven't even turned toward it :thinking: . As for understanding karma, I do not. I hope I eventually attain your level of erudition.

It seems like you're saying that working for a political situation that brings people the relative liberties to practice cannot be the ripening of karma...or that those causes and conditions are frozen in stasis at the time of birth or something.

And something I'm gathering perhaps incorrectly from your tone and sparse language is that beings who lack the relative circumstances to practice are either A. known by omniscience to lack the merit to eventually do so/find those circumstances through a political/social/relative means.
B. are not worthy objects compassion.
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