Topics for discussion

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Topics for discussion

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:59 am

This isn't strictly Mahayana, but I saw it just now and loved it so much I wanted to share it.

Sutta here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The gist of it below, as I see it.

There are four ways of answering questions:
  • A categorical answer
  • An analytical answer
  • A counter-question
  • Saying the question should be put aside

You should answer people in the manner in which seems most useful, not just say "yes" and "no" to everything, or being overly verbose in every situation because you like to hear yourself talk.

You should:
  • Stand by what's possible and impossible. Don't tell people what's possible is impossible to discourage them or what's impossible is possible to flatter them.
  • Stand by agreed-upon assumptions. Don't expect other people to have your own particular assumptions about the world, like arguing with an evangelical Christian on the basis of assumed Buddhist doctrines.
  • Stand by what you know to be true. Don't say what's false or deny what's true just to make people feel better about themselves.
  • Stand by the normal, accepted way of speaking. Don't try to be overly dramatic and poetic in order to impress others.

The verses are nice:

Those who discuss
when angered, dogmatic, arrogant,
following what's not the noble ones' way,
seeking to expose each other's faults,
delight in each other's misspoken word,
slip, stumble, defeat.
Noble ones
don't speak in that way.

If wise people, knowing the right time,
want to speak,
then, words connected with justice,
following the ways of the noble ones:
That's what the enlightened ones speak,
without anger or arrogance,
with a mind not boiling over,
without vehemence, without spite.
Without envy
they speak from right knowledge.
They would delight in what's well-said
and not disparage what's not.
They don't study to find fault,
don't grasp at little mistakes.
don't put down, don't crush,
don't speak random words.

For the purpose of knowledge,
for the purpose of [inspiring] clear confidence,
counsel that's true:
That's how noble ones give counsel,
That's the noble ones' counsel.
Knowing this, the wise
should give counsel without arrogance.
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Re: Topics for discussion

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:23 am

No I don't agree with your consolidation. In fact I would interpret it as a incorrect interpretation.....in that the whole first part is disregarded.

In ancient Tibet a person of some attainment would not debate or discuss with just anyone. A question to lead the proposed opponant who desired to debate was fielded. This question was framed to determine if the person who wanted debate was worthy of time and effort in debate or just basically a stupid person.

The first part....it is all recognizable and to my opinion speaks to that. A person is considered fit or unfit to debate with.
Some people are just not worth the time and effort on certain issues they may want to debate. It is best to just ignore them. Some other issue they may be quite informed and able to debate.Some are just to emotionally biased to debate. And some are disabled mentally and cannot debate anything.

So it varies. The conduct in debate....good advice.
"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: Topics for discussion

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:46 am

ronnewmexico wrote:No I don't agree with your consolidation. In fact I would interpret it as a incorrect interpretation.....in that the whole first part is disregarded.

In ancient Tibet a person of some attainment would not debate or discuss with just anyone. A question to lead the proposed opponant who desired to debate was fielded. This question was framed to determine if the person who wanted debate was worthy of time and effort in debate or just basically a stupid person.

The first part....it is all recognizable and to my opinion speaks to that. A person is considered fit or unfit to debate with.
Some people are just not worth the time and effort on certain issues they may want to debate. It is best to just ignore them. Some other issue they may be quite informed and able to debate.Some are just to emotionally biased to debate. And some are disabled mentally and cannot debate anything.

So it varies. The conduct in debate....good advice.

That is a good point and practical advice, but I would re-word it slightly by taking the emphasis away from judging in terms of personhood. If there are situations with certain beings which are absurdly stupid, stubborn, or mentally ill, that is an unworthy and unskillful debate -- that judgment is made of the situation, not of the people, and it's a judgment that can be made without thoughts of self regarding others as unworthy. Judging people in terms of personhood is conceit (mana) and I would guess that the ancient Tibetan debates did not involve this kind of judgment.
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Re: Topics for discussion

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:53 am

That again is a misinterpretation to my opinion.

It is not a question of judgement of individuals but a question of wrong or right speech.
In other sutra is advised what constitutes wrong or right speech. Essentially one form of wrong speech is that which takes time as toll but accomplishes nothing.

Debating with those who have not a clue for one reason or another or from which no expectation of a actual exchange of opinion may occur(the reasons actually are quite unimportant) is a waste of time. Time may be more appropriately spent in spiritual endeavor.

So it is a task put on any debator to firstly find out if the person who wants to so engage is worthy of their time. Other wise it is a defilement. So it was firstly established in ancient Tibet if the opponant was worthy.

Judgement of the opponant...certainly, but not on a personal basis but for intent, the intent being to prevent defilement from occuring.
Wasting of time is not allowed.

As we would avoid trecking in a dark damp area of a city with known robbers and bandits abounding to prevent a defilement from occuring, similiarily in a fashion we may avoid engageing those not qualified to debate for whatever reason to prevent a defilement from occuring. That last one to ourselves and possibly the other. The first mainly for the other. But both avoidances prevent defilements from occuring.
"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: Topics for discussion

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:03 am

ronnewmexico wrote:That again is a misinterpretation to my opinion.

Thanks for clarifying, then. :)
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