Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

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

Re: You know you're...

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:06 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:
Mr. G wrote:I don't need to be a scholar to smell modernity creeping into Buddhism.


Would you smell Japanese culture creeping into Zen? Or Chinese into Ch'an or Tibetan into Nyingma or Kagyu? Would it smell bad?

I bet the purists ages ago had the same gripes as the purists of today....


It has nothing to do with culture in the context you are thinking of. See my previous post.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Beatzen » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:50 pm

Again, I don't deny karma or rebirth, but thank you for changing the subject to me and my deficiencies.
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:53 pm

Beatzen wrote:Again, I don't deny karma or rebirth, but thank you for changing the subject to me and my deficiencies.


What? I think you're taking my comments more personally than they are meant to be. The subject is the effect of modernity on Buddhism.
    How foolish you are,
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Re: You know you're...

Postby Fruitzilla » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Fruitzilla wrote:
Mr. G wrote:I don't need to be a scholar to smell modernity creeping into Buddhism.


Would you smell Japanese culture creeping into Zen? Or Chinese into Ch'an or Tibetan into Nyingma or Kagyu? Would it smell bad?

I bet the purists ages ago had the same gripes as the purists of today....


It has nothing to do with culture in the context you are thinking of. See my previous post.


It actually has.

For starters, I don't see how charlatanry (is this correct English?) has anything to do with modernity? I am referring to the Genpo example.
Second, I heard the denial of rebirth and karma argument about 10 million times now. Yes, there are buddhists, especially evil western modern Zen buddhists who question if adhering to a medieval cosmological order is a prerequisite to be allow into the buddhist in-crowd.
Maybe the 12 links can be seen through without first forcing a belief-system upon yourself? Maybe watching closely how suffering arises will do the trick?

Anyway, this is an unsolvable disagreement anyway. Whole reams of internetpostings stand as my witness.
I'm leaving it at this...

*Edit: Last two sentences added.
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Re: You know you're...

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:07 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:For starters, I don't see how charlatanry (is this correct English?) has anything to do with modernity? I am referring to the Genpo example.


When Buddhism first arrived in the U.S., what traditional teacher was charging this type of money and guaranteeing Kensho?

Second, I heard the denial of rebirth and karma argument about 10 million times now. Yes, there are buddhists, especially evil western modern Zen buddhists who question if adhering to a medieval cosmological order is a prerequisite to be allow into the buddhist in-crowd.


If anything it shows a lack of intellectual rigor and the inability to understand suttas/sutras. It's no different than if someone called themselves a Christian and denied the resurrection - they're not really Christian. When rebirth is taken out of Buddhism, it's really absurd in the greater context of Buddhism and nonsensical. But like you, I've heard the denial of rebirth and karma argument many times as well.

Maybe the 12 links can be seen through without first forcing a belief-system upon yourself?


On a simplistic level, sure.

Maybe watching closely how suffering arises will do the trick?


Suffering arises from the ripening of past karma.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:14 pm

Mr. G wrote:
I think westerners are much more at home with Tibetan structure. There the path is all laid out for you, and in the west one always needs to be assured up front of what one is getting into.

Zen has no such breadcrumb trail.


If you think that, you definitely haven't read enough Zen/Chan works then.


Beatzen apparently hasn't read enough TB works either
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:22 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Mr. G wrote:
I think westerners are much more at home with Tibetan structure. There the path is all laid out for you, and in the west one always needs to be assured up front of what one is getting into.

Zen has no such breadcrumb trail.


If you think that, you definitely haven't read enough Zen/Chan works then.


Beatzen apparently hasn't read enough TB works either


Absolutley.
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Astus » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:45 pm

Beatzen wrote:There is nothing wrong with modernity. It has nothing to do with zazen practice though. If you sat zazen, all these opinions you hold about zen would exhaust themselves.

But, I take it you don't have any interest in zazen practice. And like any other philosophically sophisticated (compliment) Buddhist, the groundlessness of zen and it's flexibility in terms of expression must seem inferior, incredulous or something. You're only looking at the patina of zen though.


This simplification of Zen to sitting meditation could be a modern phenomenon. It is right next to the concept of Zen as something mystical, ineffable and beyond comprehension (thank you DT Suzuki). By turning Buddhism to a secular-looking minimalist practice(!), it becomes a consumable product, even something scientists can research by putting wires onto people's head. But while it is true that Dogen confirmed zazen is the essence of Zen, following the tradition he learnt in China, overemphasising sitting meditation, or the practice of meditation itself, is turning a blind eye to all the works of Dogen, to the fact that Dogen's works was practically unknown until the 17th century in Soto Zen, to the fact that no Buddhist school has ever - not even today - consisted only of sitting meditation (actually, the practice of meditation is quite a neglected think even among monastics), and to the fact that the whole utilitarian-consumerist thinking is a modern idea.

Unmasking Buddhism by Bernard Faure is a must for all who want to think a bit about modern Western Buddhism.
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This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Nemo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:45 pm

IMO modernity was a mix of good and bad. It was hijacked by the bad, free market capitalism without moral constraint. We are now in a post modern nightmare. Modernity's soul was the spirit of inquiry and personal freedom. It's greatest strength was the ability to critique itself. Hence it's similarities with Buddhist inquiry into the nature of oneself and ones world. Buddhists are by nature Situationists. Buddha left his high status as a Prince and all his wealth to became a member of a communal collective.

Plutocrats and oligarchs got tired of being told the truth. Capitalism crushed dissent by destroying the humanities, universities and journalism and with it the liberal values which was the source of our prosperity. Soon the corruption will eat away our few remaining public institutions

I'm not giving this idea the time it deserves, but you get the idea.
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby tobes » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:04 am

Surely if a decent Zen practitioner sits properly and sees clearly......

They would unavoidably see.....

MODERNITY.

Such would be the phenomenal content of suchness.

We ain't living in 14th century Japan are we??

:anjali:
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Beatzen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:51 am

My european history professor argues that modern people are distinguished by their capacity for doubt.

Western Buddhism is an exciting opportunity for dharma to take form in another alien culture. It's still just a baby though.

The only way to preserve the pure dharma of established traditions is to establish a strong monastic community here.

We must act, not discuss if we are to avoid diluting the teachings.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:55 am

Beatzen wrote:My european history professor argues that modern people are distinguished by their capacity for doubt.


He never met a 12th century Tibetan scholar then. Let alone a 6th century Indian Buddhist acharya.
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:57 am

Beatzen wrote:The only way to preserve the pure dharma of established traditions is to establish a strong monastic community here.


I used to believe that, but I don't anymore. Dzogchen does not survive well in the monastic system.

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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Beatzen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:20 am

Namdrol wrote:
Beatzen wrote:The only way to preserve the pure dharma of established traditions is to establish a strong monastic community here.


I used to believe that, but I don't anymore. Dzogchen does not survive well in the monastic system.

N


I wouldn't know that, but it seems like preserving atiyoga is peripheral when it concerns the survival of the whole enchilada. Not unimportant, just that why focus on dzogchen?
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Beatzen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:24 am

I'm sure you can say that dzogchen constitutes the essence of the path, sort of the way trungpa said that the three yanas compliment eachother. I'm sure you get what I mean by "preserving the essence though
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Beatzen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:26 am

Give it a couple hundred years. Some western yogis will develope novel approaches to dharma.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:30 am

Beatzen wrote:
I wouldn't know that, but it seems like preserving atiyoga is peripheral when it concerns the survival of the whole enchilada. Not unimportant, just that why focus on dzogchen?


All teachings spring from dzogchen, it is the source of all teachings, and the place to which all teachings return. Therefore, preserving dzogchen is of the greatest importance.

Monastic sangas are secondary, and not every Buddha's dispensation has one.

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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:32 am

Beatzen wrote:I'm sure you can say that dzogchen constitutes the essence of the path, sort of the way trungpa said that the three yanas compliment eachother. I'm sure you get what I mean by "preserving the essence though



The essence is dzogchen.

If you ask someone else, they will give you a different answer.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
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Re: Western Buddhists, modernity and the European enlightenment

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:44 am

Beatzen wrote:Give it a couple hundred years. Some western yogis will develope novel approaches to dharma.



No need. We have what we need.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: You know you're...

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:16 am

Beatzen wrote:There are no zen buddhists, modernist or not. There is only zazen.


You should visit Komazawa University. There is a lot of modernism and self-identifying Zen Buddhists there and not so much zazen going on.
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