Dr. Reginald Ray

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Pero » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:39 am

tobes wrote:So, how can one talk about rebirth without reference to that cosmology??

They are embedded together.

If you refute that cosmology and replace it with a scientifically verifiable universe.....well.....how many preta's have been discovered under the microscope? How many formless realms have been found??


None and they never will be. But I don't understand why that's a problem? The Buddha taught according to the knowledge of the people of that time. If he went "oh Mount Meru isn't the center of the world and pretas live on Titan" he either wouldn't be taken seriously or be attacked for it. Why would he go through that for some provisional thing? I'm sure that if he were around today instead of then he wouldn't be saying that Mount Meru is the center of the world.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:12 am

Pero wrote:
tobes wrote:So, how can one talk about rebirth without reference to that cosmology??

They are embedded together.

If you refute that cosmology and replace it with a scientifically verifiable universe.....well.....how many preta's have been discovered under the microscope? How many formless realms have been found??


None and they never will be. But I don't understand why that's a problem? The Buddha taught according to the knowledge of the people of that time. If he went "oh Mount Meru isn't the center of the world and pretas live on Titan" he either wouldn't be taken seriously or be attacked for it. Why would he go through that for some provisional thing? I'm sure that if he were around today instead of then he wouldn't be saying that Mount Meru is the center of the world.


So, do you hold that rebirth in a formless realm or as a preta is possible or impossible?

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Pero » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:54 am

tobes wrote:So, do you hold that rebirth in a formless realm or as a preta is possible or impossible?


Possible. :smile:
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:53 pm

Pero wrote:
tobes wrote:So, do you hold that rebirth in a formless realm or as a preta is possible or impossible?


Possible. :smile:


Then, doesn't it follow that if we're having a discussion about rebirth, the cosmology which posits particular realms is embedded in that discussion?

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:36 pm

tobes wrote:
Pero wrote:
tobes wrote:So, do you hold that rebirth in a formless realm or as a preta is possible or impossible?


Possible. :smile:


Then, doesn't it follow that if we're having a discussion about rebirth, the cosmology which posits particular realms is embedded in that discussion?

:namaste:


Hi tobes,

But I think Pero was stating that if the Buddha were around today instead of then, he wouldn't be saying that Mount Meru is the center of the world. By speaking about Indian Cosmology in the current worldview of the time doesn't infer that there is a denial of different realms and the means of getting there.

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:54 pm

conebeckham wrote:First of all, I don't think Reginald Ray's statements about "rebirth" can be compared to those of. say, Bachelor. It seems to me, from what I've read of both, that Bachelor actively discounts the "notion"--as well as any "notion" or "teaching" that can't be verified by direct observation. He has a "mission," as it were. To my understanding, Ray may have "devalued" the "notion" but he is not actively engaged in divesting Buddhism of it's "cultural trappings" or any elements of doctrine that cannot be directly observed or are felt to be "suitable" for our day and age.



Hi cone,

It seems from Ray's statement that he is divesting Buddhism of it's "cultural trappings" when he states:

The whole belief in past lives is something that Buddhism inherited from Indian Tradition. And I think, as with many things in Asian Buddhism, we need to take a critical look at this and see…you know, the Buddha said to his own students

any elements of doctrine that cannot be directly observed or are felt to be "suitable" for our day and age


I guess I find it hard to reconcile that Ray is stating that rebirth is more an option to put aside for later study, or that he may just be devaluing rebirth as skillful means for future acceptance when he writes this:

And I think that incarnation, ah… reincarnation, as a literal teaching, I don’t find it helpful for anybody

It seems like a flat denial, however, I too am eager to see the response from Ray.

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Chaz » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:33 pm

mr. gordo wrote:It seems from Ray's statement that he is divesting Buddhism of it's "cultural trappings" when he states:

The whole belief in past lives is something that Buddhism inherited from Indian Tradition. And I think, as with many things in Asian Buddhism, we need to take a critical look at this and see…you know, the Buddha said to his own students



Not to be a pest, but you seem to be ingnoring the fact that he's talking about belief here and not "Dharma". It seems like you're trying to put words in RR's mouth. That, or you're trying to form a strawman in order to discredit Ray as a teacher.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:12 pm

Chaz wrote:Not to be a pest, but you seem to be ingnoring the fact that he's talking about belief here and not "Dharma".


I’m not sure how you’re distinguishing how his belief is not the belief in the denial of rebirth. How do you think there is no correlation? If his belief is not Dharma related, what is his belief in reference to?

It seems like you're trying to put words in RR's mouth.


By quoting his words, I’m not putting words in his mouth. My inferences don’t seem to be off the mark when commenting on his statements.

That, or you're trying to form a strawman in order to discredit Ray as a teacher.


Not at all, which is why I took the initiative to email his organization for clarification. Now it seems like you’re putting words in my mouth.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Pero » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:27 pm

mr. gordo wrote:But I think Pero was stating that if the Buddha were around today instead of then, he wouldn't be saying that Mount Meru is the center of the world. By speaking about Indian Cosmology in the current worldview of the time doesn't infer that there is a denial of different realms and the means of getting there.


Right, that's what I meant.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:06 pm

mr. gordo wrote:


Hi tobes,

But I think Pero was stating that if the Buddha were around today instead of then, he wouldn't be saying that Mount Meru is the center of the world. By speaking about Indian Cosmology in the current worldview of the time doesn't infer that there is a denial of different realms and the means of getting there.

:namaste:


Fine, but what do you call a view of the universe which has different realms in which one can be reborn? That is precisely what the Indian cosmology describes.

My point is that like Mt Meru, preta and formless realms are also not in our current worldview. So if the Buddha was around today, would he cease speaking about these too? If so, what are the implications on the logic of rebirth? If not, what are the implications on the logic of a modern view of the universe?

It seems you want to have it both ways: the Indian cosmology replaced by a modern scientific model of the universe, but, somewhere hidden away in this, all of the realms which the Indian cosmology posits!

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Pero » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:12 pm

tobes wrote:Fine, but what do you call a view of the universe which has different realms in which one can be reborn? That is precisely what the Indian cosmology describes.

My point is that like Mt Meru, preta and formless realms are also not in our current worldview. So if the Buddha was around today, would he cease speaking about these too?


IMO he wouldn't be speaking about Mt Meru, but still would talk about preta and formless realms and so on.

If not, what are the implications on the logic of a modern view of the universe?

It seems you want to have it both ways: the Indian cosmology replaced by a modern scientific model of the universe, but, somewhere hidden away in this, all of the realms which the Indian cosmology posits!


I think the reason you have a problem with this is that you see those realms as something physical, something that actually exists in our own dimension.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Heruka » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:00 am

kalachakra's cosmology.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:52 am

Pero wrote:I think the reason you have a problem with this is that you see those realms as something physical, something that actually exists in our own dimension.


Well, it would be quite a strange error to conceive of a formless realm as something physical wouldn't it?

I make many errors, but that is not one of them.

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Pero » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:14 am

tobes wrote:
Pero wrote:I think the reason you have a problem with this is that you see those realms as something physical, something that actually exists in our own dimension.


Well, it would be quite a strange error to conceive of a formless realm as something physical wouldn't it?


Hehe and yet you concieve it as having a location.
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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:36 am

Pero wrote:
tobes wrote:
Pero wrote:I think the reason you have a problem with this is that you see those realms as something physical, something that actually exists in our own dimension.


Well, it would be quite a strange error to conceive of a formless realm as something physical wouldn't it?


Hehe and yet you concieve it as having a location.


Yes, I suppose I do. Of course, I have absolutely no idea one way or the other.....but if there is no location then I think maybe we fall into a subjective idealism.

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Jnana » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:14 am

One of the more disturbing trends in contemporary Mahāyāna circles, specifically amongst some Westerner followers of Tibetan Buddhism, is that it's not uncommon to encounter regression to a pre-rational mythic worldview. This is such a divergence from very important Western values (such as the very important and hard won values of the protestant reformation and the European enlightenment), that any long term regression in this direction prevents a person from ever successfully integrating with modernity. This can also manifest as intellectual inflexibility, which is the complete antithesis of transcendent wisdom. (For example, the inability to reconcile Buddhist faith with world history.) Again, it's worth considering Reggie Ray's wise words:

    Buddhism, in its most subtle and sophisticated expression, is not a tradition that seeks to provide answers to life's questions or to dispense "wisdom" to allay our fundamental angst. Rather, it challenges us to look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion.

All the best,

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby tobes » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:45 am

Yeshe D. wrote:One of the more disturbing trends in contemporary Mahāyāna circles, specifically amongst some Westerner followers of Tibetan Buddhism, is that it's not uncommon to encounter regression to a pre-rational mythic worldview. This is such a divergence from very important Western values (such as the very important and hard won values of the protestant reformation and the European enlightenment), that any long term regression in this direction prevents a person from ever successfully integrating with modernity. This can also manifest as intellectual inflexibility, which is the complete antithesis of transcendent wisdom. (For example, the inability to reconcile Buddhist faith with world history.) Again, it's worth considering Reggie Ray's wise words:

    Buddhism, in its most subtle and sophisticated expression, is not a tradition that seeks to provide answers to life's questions or to dispense "wisdom" to allay our fundamental angst. Rather, it challenges us to look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion.

All the best,

Geoff


The question of a western Buddhist orientation towards or away from modernity is not quite so clear cut.

In fact, it is extraordinarily complex, but also extremely fascinating.

How many western practitioners became Buddhists as a reaction against modernity? Is this automatically problematic as you assume? Why?

And which enlightenment values do you speak of? If I must be honest, I confess that I never venture too far away from the Kantian injunction to saphere aude (dare to use your own understanding)......but I know plenty of practitioners who do just this to squarely reject the instrumental rationality which defines modernity, and who find the political and moral thought of Locke, Rousseau et al far inferior to what can be found in non-European traditions.

Anyway, you've struck upon a question of great interest to me. Another thread perhaps?

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Jnana » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:57 am

tobes wrote:The question of a western Buddhist orientation towards or away from modernity is not quite so clear cut.

In fact, it is extraordinarily complex, but also extremely fascinating.

Of course. It's impossible to capture the complexity in one paragraph.

tobes wrote:How many western practitioners became Buddhists as a reaction against modernity? Is this automatically problematic as you assume? Why?

Well, it depends on which aspects of modernity we're talking about. A long time has passed, and so the memories and motivations have faded, but I turned to the Dharma because (1) I was suffering, and (2) I thoroughly disliked consumerism (a manifestation of modernity). Yet, other intellectual aspects of modernity motivated me to accept Dharma.

tobes wrote:If I must be honest, I confess that I never venture too far away from the Kantian injunction to saphere aude (dare to use your own understanding)......but I know plenty of practitioners who do just this to squarely reject the instrumental rationality which defines modernity, and who find the political and moral thought of Locke, Rousseau et al far inferior to what can be found in non-European traditions.

Anyway, you've struck upon a question of great interest to me. Another thread perhaps?

Sure. I'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts.

All the best,

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Re: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Astus » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:20 am

It is fascinating how nobody actually tried to look up in Dr. Ray's many publications what he says about rebirth. He had a two part article on it in Shambhala Sun (not bad ones either):

"Karma’s central place in the tradition is shown by the Buddha's own enlightenment, which consisted of nothing but seeing the full range and extent of karma-that nothing in the universe stands outside karma’s domain."

Understanding Karma
The Practice of Karma

One extra: On the Importance of Relating to Unseen Beings
"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: Dr. Reginald Ray

Postby Jnana » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:25 am


Good stuff Astus. I especially like this one.

All the best,

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