Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

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

Which of the following best represent your approach to discussions on Buddhism?

Accommodationist
0
No votes
Apologist
0
No votes
Comparativist
2
11%
Constructivist
2
11%
Critic
2
11%
Interpreter
2
11%
Post-traditionalist
5
26%
Secularist
1
5%
Traditionalist
3
16%
True Believer
2
11%
 
Total votes : 19

Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 14, 2011 5:53 am

Greetings,

In this recent topic over at Dhamma Wheel...

Thought-provoking new blog
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8377

... we were introduced to a blog that used some thought-provoking classifications for different types of Buddhists - http://speculativenonbuddhism.wordpress.com/categories/ - split by their approach to understanding and discussing the Dhamma, rather than necessarily by their tradition.

As a point of discussion, what do you think of the following categories.... and as a bit of an ice-breaker, there's a poll for you to nominate which ones (if any) you think best classifies your approach. In keeping with the quote below, I've allowed up to four selections per voter.

Speculative Non-Buddhism wrote:The categories that I am working with–and of course invite you to work with as well–are as follows. Please bear two points in mind. First, my reason for using categories like these is to capture basic rhetorical thrusts in Buddhist teaching and writing. I am interested in teasing out the strategies and approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism. Giving names to these approaches is an attempt bring some clarity and differentiation to the material. Second, these categories are not in any way derisive (i.e., categorization is not name-calling). I, personally, value certain approaches over others. To be honest, I do not respect all equally. Some, I feel, are damaging to human beings. In other words, like you, I have my biases and opinions. But, the point to this categorization is to name and illuminate and understand, not to castigate. That being said, let’s permit a range of emotions and tones to manifest. Let’s range from bland to spicy, as fits the dish being served up. Can we do so in obeisance to philosophia, love of wisdom? The categories:

Accommodationists. Writers, teachers, etc., in this vein know better, but let be. That is, their rhetoric suggests avenues of critique or even contradiction; yet, they leave these pathways unexplored. Why? In order to preserve the Buddhist status quo.

Apologists. For whatever reasons, these figures seek to have Buddhist teachings, theories, practices, etc., come out on top. Thus, they act in defense of Buddhism. Quite often, they must resort to logical contortions and, more seriously, omission of contrary evidence. But not always, of course; sometimes they do indeed correct misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

Comparativists. They have proficient knowledge of other teachings and systems, as well as a robust interest in the Buddhist versions of whatever it is they are treating. And they use this knowledge to illuminate via contrasts and comparisons.

Constructivists. They seek effective application of Buddhist teachings and practices, yet often recognize the need for adaptation and innovation. Such writers and teachers are less concerned with upholding tradition than with finding new uses.

Critics. They offer insightful queries, which, given the nature of criticism, often threaten fissure. They are not concerned with ameliorating this fissure.

Interpreters. They explain, clarify, expound on the teachings of the Buddha. They make it all make sense. They tend to be benign. They value description over analysis, since the latter, done well, veers toward critique.

Post-traditionalists. Like traditionalists, they uphold the values gleaned from the Asian dispensation of Buddhism. However, they seek a renovation of the archaisms and (certain) superstitions favored by their Asian patriarchs. They do not want a new house, only a freshly painted one with, perhaps, a modern kitchen.

Secularists. They hold the values of modern scientific methodology, such as evidence-based claims, critical thinking, rigorous debate, and the coruscating light of reason. While respecting tradition, they seek a contemporary application.

Traditionalists. They are committed to the forms–doctrines, practices, beliefs, etc.– that are preserved in Asian institutional structures. Some of these structures are of ancient or medieval origin, some are modern. They espouse pre-scientific worldviews. They axiomatically adhere to archaic cosmologies. They often believe in a world animated by spirits and hidden forces. They know no other possibility.

True Believers. They raise the (western) Buddhist banner. They heart Buddhism, though “Buddhism” is always proscribed by their particular school. Some true believers, of course, literally love all things Buddhists. This person, I think, is a peculiarly recent, North American type. They subscribe to some version of “One Dharma,” and are desirous of finding unity in diversity.

Each of these categories is easily coupled with others. For instance, comparative work may be done with an apologetic intent; interpretive work, in the search for new constructions. Someone may be doing three or four things at once. An awareness of variegated strategies and intentions will prevent us fro, too quickly pigeonholing an author, teacher, etc.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1255
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby ground » Sat May 14, 2011 6:09 am

I-don't-care-ist

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat May 14, 2011 10:28 am

Too vague, too many categories.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Anders » Sat May 14, 2011 10:36 am

some of those descriptions are rather unflattering. Not exactly an unbiased range of choices based on that.

Ignoring those however, I'd say I am probably closest to a traditionalist constructivist interpreter.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Anders » Sat May 14, 2011 10:37 am

Astus wrote:Too vague, too many categories.


aren't the tow usually exclusive of each other?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby tobes » Sat May 14, 2011 11:39 am

Well (with a bit of post-modern upaya) doesn't it depend upon the context?

If someone new to Buddhism wants information: interpreter.

If some long time Buddhist is being dogmatic: critic.

If some one from outside of Buddhism begins a discourse: comparativist.

etc etc
User avatar
tobes
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 14, 2011 11:50 am

Makes sense to me, Tobes...

Maitri,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1255
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Sat May 14, 2011 1:38 pm

I think I'm more of an interpreter and post-traditionalist, but deep down I want to be a true believer minus the sectarianism.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4279
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 14, 2011 1:40 pm

I'm so Zen I don't need no darn approaches. :buddha1:
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5560
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat May 14, 2011 1:48 pm

Anders Honore wrote:aren't the tow usually exclusive of each other?


A group of vague categories. Not exclusive then. :) As Tobes said, it can depend very well on context. I can use any of those approaches to Buddhism.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Approaches taken in the contemporary discourse on Buddhism

Postby lukejmo » Sat May 21, 2011 12:55 am

I'm an ironic alt-modern post-traditionalist, inspired by early Italian neo-realism and Anarcho-Juche thought.
lukejmo
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:15 am


Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Anders, infinite_sustain, kirtu, Majestic-12 [Bot], palchi, Sherab Dorje, Simon E., smcj and 12 guests

>