Huseng wrote:It is normally called "adharma" or false dharma.
Dechen Norbu wrote:Huseng, you want to see real crap?
There. Buddhism Lite at its best (or, as I like to call it, psychobullshit dharma):
Not that I disagree with EVERYTHING, but as this is a trend, there you have it.
(from: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =64&t=6557)
I have a confession to make: I don't believe in Buddha.
It may be shocking for a Buddhist priest to say so, as shocking as hearing a Catholic priest say he "doesn't believe in Jesus". But it's true nonetheless. I am a Buddhist priest who thinks "Buddha" is largely bunk and baloney.
At least, I think there's a lot of "bull" to how Buddha is typically portrayed. I think many of the utterly fantastic Mahayana Sutra stories of Buddhas are ridiculous ... hyper-exaggerated ... just unbelievable! (meaning that they cannot be literally believed any more than children's fairy tales). The imagery is incredibly beautiful ... but the tale just incredible nonsense, purely the product of human imagination. I think the image of a "Perfect Buddha" ... either in this world or some Buddha Land ... as a flawless being beyond all human weakness, conflict and ignorance ... is a fable, a religious myth. I think most of the old miracle filled stories are well meaning fictions, sometimes holy lies, and the golden statues and paintings of Buddhas are but depictions of exaggerated dreams.
Oh, I believe that there was a man who lived whom we now call "the Buddha", but I think what happened over the centuries' is his victimhood to a process of hagiography. A Buddha or Ancestor dies (same for Jesus, saints and holy men in other religions) and ... century by century ... those in the religion (looking from afar at what the attainments actually were on the part of their "religious icon" and with need to depict the top value of the religion) go over the top, start to imagine, fantasize and exaggerate the wonderful nature of the teacher and teaching into something super-human. A flesh and blood teacher who was merely "Great, Profound and Wonderful" must unfortunately becomes someone "Magical, Miraculous and Mythical" ... all to the point of Malarky. The worshipful dip the man in gold, remove all human qualities and gradually turn their hero into a statue, a super-hero. As a result, "Buddha" is no more real than "Beowulf" or "Batman".
However ... my doubts about make believe "Buddhas" are not important to my Buddhist practice in the least.
As well, although I do not believe in imaginary Buddhas ... I believe in Buddhas.
Better said, I know Buddha for a fact!
How? What? Let me explain.
I believe in ... I KNOW ... Buddha in many ways, each Real as Real can be.
One way is to see that such Buddhas (Bodhisattvas too) exist as a paradigm, an ideal, a goal representing the best of the human condition to which men and women can aspire. As I said in a talk last week on Kannon, the symbol of Compassion: It does not matter that she "may not be really real", for we make Kannon "really real" in life:
I had a hard time, for many years, incorporating into my practice many figures such as Kannon and Jizo ...
I have come to see "them" as archtypes, representing real characteristics of human life and (since we are just the universe) thus the universe.
In other words: When we feel in our hearts and act upon Love and Compassion, thereby Love and Compassion exist as real, concrete aspects of the world which our hearts and acts create. There is no "inside" or "outside" ultimately, thus what is inside you is just as much "the universe" and concrete reality as the moon, gravity and the stars. That is "Kannon", in that way a real and concrete aspect and 'force' of the world. Her 1000 helping hands are our hands, and our actions make her real in the world.
As with Bodhisattvas, so it is with the Buddha, all the Buddhas. Wisdom and Compassion realized in each of us is the realization (meaning both "the discovery" and "the making real") of Buddha in the world. We make Buddha real, Kannon and the other Bodhisattvas too. (Mara and the Devil too if we act badly).
Next, I believe in the Buddha when I prove the worth of the Buddha's Teachings in my own life. The proof here is right in life's pudding. The Teachings are the Truth of Buddha that we can each verify in our lives. The Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, Dependent Origination, the Middle Way, so much more, ... are all here now and can be known to all of us ... worth the whole ticket of admission!
What's more, I recognize that the fantastic stories, the idealized images of Buddhas ... even the most incredible allegories and hallucinatory images of the Mahayana Sutras ... are merely attempts to convey these wondrous Truths and Teachings, to show their power. Even if I do not take the Sutra stories literally, I can dig what they are trying to say behind the wild way they do it. In that way, even the most bizarre image found in some Sutra tale is True if the Teaching it attempts to convey is True.
And ultimately, although I do not believe at all in so-called "Awakened Buddhas who have mastered the Dharma 100% and are Perfect Beings beyond all human flaws" ... I believe through and through in "Awakened Buddhas who have mastered the Dharma 100% and are Perfect Beings beyond all human flaws".
Huh? Sounds like a contradiction there? Sounds like I am speaking out of both sides of my no sided mouth? Well, get over it. This Buddhist Way allows for countless "contradictions" held in total harmony!
You see, I believe in Buddhas who are Perfectly Buddha, Perfectly Reality ... beyond small human concepts of the "pure" and "impure", fully manifesting and enlivening the Dance of Emptiness. That is a kind of Purity and Perfection when there is dropped all human judgments of the stained vs. the pure. I believe in Buddhas who are always moral, never breaking a Precept ... for there is no Precept that can ever be broken, nothing to steal or do violence to, and no separate 'other' to take or injure in any way. Yes, Virginia, there is a Buddha beyond all thought of lack or flaw! In fact, in the realm of Real Buddha, even small minded judgments of "real" and "unreal" cleanly drop away.
And when we couple this Great Buddha with the Buddhas we make real in our lives ... by manifesting Wisdom and Compassion in our thoughts, words and acts ... we have a way to manifest that Perfect Buddha right here in the Saha world. We do our best in this life to live Compassionately by the Precepts avoiding harm. We fill ourselves with Prajna Wisdom, seeing this world for the 'dream within a dream' it truly is. At the moment, Buddha and all the Great Bodhisattvas are also real as real can be, walking the earth.
The extreme and exaggerated stories of Buddhas' powers are but a mental mirror reflection of human imperfections, extrapolated to the ultimate by men based on seeing what men are now not. These images are themselves just 'Made in Samsara'. Paintings of 'Nirvana' are themselves imperfect goods of Samsara! Yet, there is Nirvana, this Perfection swallowing all small human mirages of perfection and imperfection ... and such is Buddha!
Thus, Buddhas are but fables and lies, Buddhas are human aspirations, Buddhas are True Teachings, Buddhas are Whole and Complete beyond "full" or "lack", Buddhas live and breathe in the world when we live and breath like Buddhas.
The Buddhist Path is Real
Liberation is Real
Buddha is Real
Dechen Norbu wrote:No. I think the guy is deluded that's all. I wouldn't consider him a charlatan. Only a fellow deeply biased by materialist metaphysics.
TMingyur wrote:Huseng wrote:It is normally called "adharma" or false dharma.
What appears to be "adharma" or "false dharma" may be so from the perspective of teaching others.
However what appears to be "adharma" or "false dharma" not necessarily is "adharma" or "false dharma" from the perspective of the one who tries to express what is inexpressible on the basis of lacking the skill to express in a way that may convey conducive meaning to others.
Do you then believe that the Mahayana sutras are concretely true? -that they portray the historically true? If so you are capable of much more belief in the miraculous and the fantastic than most others. Which is very good. But it is a difficult thing to do.
I think this Zenforum-man is an honest and sincere person, and therefore he doesn't deserve to be ridiculed.
with kind regards
Dechen Norbu wrote:That has a problem though. You won't succeed in bringing Dharma and science together by corrupting the Dharma. (I don't believe they can be brought together either, but there may be some cross pollination that would need further discussion to be properly understood, but this is out of the scope of this thread).
This is what Alan Wallace tries to do with his Shamatha Project, this is what the Mind and Life Institute aims... there are many good examples.
And then there's Batchelor and others that do little more than corrupting the Dharma so that it fits their biases. I'm sure they mean well, but corrupting the Dharma is not the way to achieve good results, IMO. To me, seeing people interested in Batchelor or in other new age fellows is pretty much the same. Both are useless. Dharma will be corrupted from within, so there's where the biggest danger lurks. When Dharma teachers start spreading adharma, there's reason for concern.
If a scientist thinks about Buddhism in the way Batchelor does, I see no problem. But Batchelor was a monk, if memory doesn't fail me. He should know better.
Sometimes people have unnoticed biases that make quite hard for them to think outside the box.
Nowadays, the moment you step an university (or sooner), philosophical naturalism is presented as a scientific fact, not a metaphysical assumption. Without noticing, people swallow hook, line and sinker and their mind becomes deeply conditioned. As if this wasn't enough, we westerners live in a society influenced by a Judeo Christian worldview, Hellenic in nature, where it's assumed a creation, a reality out there, in which we participate solely as observers. This is also a metaphysical assumption, and lately it's been questioned even by Physics.
One may be a Christian, for instance, and have a worldview more similar to an atheistic scientist than a Buddhist practitioner. It would be easier to think that the Buddhist and the Christian, being both religious (since Buddhadharma has religious aspects) would have a more similar worldview. Such isn't the case. Both the scientist and the Christian share the idea of a creation (by chance or by God), existing out there. It's even said that these are the bases of western science, knowing the Creator through the creation. Time went by and the idea of a Creator was set aside in science, but as the Cheshire cat who leaves the grin when he disappears, so did the Judeo Christian worldview left in science the metaphysics of realism (as Alan Wallace so well puts it), of the existence of a reality out there existing solely on its own.
It's then rather natural that some people find very, very hard to think outside the paradigm, this steaming from the definition of paradigm itself, by Kuhn.
So no wonder one has such materialistic prejudices when one approaches the Dharma.
Zen folks talk a lot about emptying the cup. But when we look carefully, we see that this is really, really hard to do.
If we empty the cup, we approach Dharma with an open mind (not so open that the brain falls out though, thus knowing what is an hagiography) and things that seemed impossible, disturbing and so on start becoming experience and part of our understanding.
Lazy_eye wrote:Batchelor and his followers, though, wouldn't say they are corrupting the dharma. On the contrary, they would probably argue that their approach is closer to the Buddha's intent and that, if anything, it is you who are practicing a corrupted dharma -- distorted by various cultural influences, religiosity and politics. Indeed, many Theravadins would say that Vajrayana represents a major deviation from the Buddha's teachings. So who exactly is the arbiter of what constitues "dharma" and "adharma"?
Probably an unresolvable question -- one can only answer within the framework of one's own tradition. Maybe it would be possible to do some study measuring degrees of deviation among denominations in various world religions and see where Batchelor is on the curve. Long-term, if he provokes enough interest and his school of thought survives, it might someday win recognition as "legitimate". Or it will fade out, a minor heretical blip in the history of Buddhism. Who can predict?
But let's be honest here: do you really support "open-mindedness"? I don't get that impression. What your post conveys is that "thinking outside the box" and "questioning assumptions" are good things as long as they result in people dropping their ideas and embracing your religious belief system. But when it comes to the latter, the box snaps shut. So basically this has nothing to do with free inquiry as a value in itself; you simply invoke it as a persuasive device with the goal of overcoming resistance. The tenets of your belief system are not, themselves, open to question because for they are simply The Truth. This is a familiar strategy which ideologies use to win recruits and propagate themselves -- deconstruct the competing beliefs, and then reprogram the recruit.
But here's the point: Batchelor is trying to approach Buddhism in a way which does allow for inquiry, investigation and reinterpretation. He is positing it as a set of practices and beliefs which at any time are subject to rethinking, should they prove to be dead ends or otherwise non-beneficial. It's a fundamentally different paradigm.
Science isn't really comparable to philosophy or religion -- these are different disciplines with different methodologies. The issue isn't that people in the modern age have been brainwashed by a philosophical position known as "scientific materialism"; its that people are convinced by the results of scientific inquiry and that these results tend to support materialism more than they do, say, various religious/metaphysical constructs (whether "God" or "the law of karma"). But we should always be careful about equating the two --it's by no mean a "done deal".
Dechen Norbu wrote:If you read my post carefully, you would see I said I wasn't disagreeing with all he said. Your post got stuck in the part I mostly agree with.
Explaining exactly what I disagree with and why would lead to a long post that is unnecessary.
I'm well aware of what are hagiographies. But he goes from 88 to 8 while I find we have a lot in the middle.
I won't discuss his honesty and sincerity, since I don't know the fellow that well. I'm talking about what he says, not about him as a person, although I wouldn't choose him as a close friend because of some attitudes he had in the past (not against me personally). Pretty ugly, IMO, and not suitable to a Dharma teacher.
Now, I think his version of the Buddhadharma is worthless bullshit. That's all. That crap doesn't even have mundane value, if you ask me. Better CBT if one has issues to deal with instead of that pseudo Dharma.
Anyway, I'm sure there's people who like it. Some also like Batchelor and others. This doesn't mean I consider what they say valid and I'm pretty sure they don't give a damn about my considerations.
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