Navayana Buddhism

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:49 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:What you describe above doesn't sound at all equivalent to annihilation as understood by a materialist. So how could it be correct to use suicide as an analogy with regard to Mahayana aspirations?


I did not say that.

I said,

In Śrāvakayāna the idea of nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa is understood as cessation of the skandhas and this mass of suffering.


Both the suicidal intent of the materialist and the intent of liberation of the Śrāvakayāna practitioner are driven by the same motivation: to achieve freedom from suffering and escape an intolerable reality.

In Mahāyāna this is not the intent of one's practice. In Mahāyāna one comes to see this intolerable reality as actually tolerable, so positively engaging reality for the benefit of beings becomes a joy, not a chore.

In short, I don't see any Buddhist yana in which the goal of the path could be equated with annihilation, and thus an analogy to suicide is misleading. Dangerously so, I would say.


Śrāvakayāna seeks the permanent cessation of one's existence which is equated to a mass of suffering.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby AdmiralJim » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:59 pm

What is wrong with admitting you don't know for certain about these things. Seems to me to be a much wiser position to take than accepting what is said just because it is written down somewhere.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:01 pm

AdmiralJim wrote:What is wrong with admitting you don't know for certain about these things. Seems to me to be a much wiser position to take than accepting what is said just because it is written down somewhere.


That's fine, but don't turn uncertainty into a new form of "Buddhism" that is devoid of key ideas and sanitized of disagreeable religious elements.

This is effectively what is being done.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:09 pm

Huseng wrote:
AdmiralJim wrote:What is wrong with admitting you don't know for certain about these things. Seems to me to be a much wiser position to take than accepting what is said just because it is written down somewhere.


That's fine, but don't turn uncertainty into a new form of "Buddhism" that is devoid of key ideas and sanitized of disagreeable religious elements.

This is effectively what is being done.



I'm not sure if I see how this is a threat to your own religion and practice. However, as I'm not a Buddhist, I'm not in a position to understand. I do think that people are entitled to believe and practice whatever they like, so long as it doesn't infringe on others.

Perhaps it was easier for him to call himself "Navayana" than to call himself "someone who believes in some of the main things that the Buddha taught but who is unsure of some other things that the Buddha taught".
"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:18 pm

LightSeed wrote:I'm not sure if I see how this is a threat to your own religion and practice. However, as I'm not a Buddhist, I'm not in a position to understand. I do think that people are entitled to believe and practice whatever they like, so long as it doesn't infringe on others.

Perhaps it was easier for him to call himself "Navayana" than to call himself "someone who believes in some of the main things that the Buddha taught but who is unsure of some other things that the Buddha taught".


This sort of thing just prompts further degeneration of Buddhism in the world.

If they want to take from what the Buddha taught, that's fine, but they need not self-identify as Buddhists or present themselves as representatives of Buddhadharma.

In any case, I don't see these kind of fringe people as going anywhere. They won't build institutions or lasting lineages, so their ideas will die with them, possibly sooner as they're likely drop the whole thing sooner or later.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:20 pm

"not sure about some things" would be a healthy position to take, actually. There's a place in the Buddhist world for reason, skepticism, testing, and debate. I think convert Buddhists would be better off if active debate on these questions was a more popular practice.

Where does it becomes a threat to mainline Buddhism? Well, I don't particularly think it is. I do think there's the potential for confusion of interested parties, who may be interested in the Tao of Integrated Vertical Supply Chain Management or whatever, because there's now an assumption that Buddhism (Zen in particular, "mindfulness" in particular) is pliable enough to mean basically anything calming, cooling, and competent.

Let a thousand flowers bloom and see which ones survive the winter.

***

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=8006&start=0

this may well be a test-case for the above comments

LightSeed wrote:I'm not sure if I see how this is a threat to your own religion and practice. However, as I'm not a Buddhist, I'm not in a position to understand. I do think that people are entitled to believe and practice whatever they like, so long as it doesn't infringe on others.

Perhaps it was easier for him to call himself "Navayana" than to call himself "someone who believes in some of the main things that the Buddha taught but who is unsure of some other things that the Buddha taught".
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:15 pm

Jikan wrote:"not sure about some things" would be a healthy position to take, actually. There's a place in the Buddhist world for reason, skepticism, testing, and debate. I think convert Buddhists would be better off if active debate on these questions was a more popular practice.

I see value in debate, but perhaps not among the average Buddhist. I'll explain myself better.
When we have little knowledge of Buddhist theory and, especially, have not rip the results of a very long period of dedicated practice, when it comes to the debate of some tenets as rebirth, karma and so on, we're talking out of our ass. We're guessing and debating metaphysics. Even if we reach a logical conclusion, it doesn't mean it is a truthful conclusion as logic doesn't ascertain truth. To debate those subjects one has to become an expert. To become an expert, study is not enough. One must advance to yogic stages where one can confirm or deny these tenets based on experience. Otherwise we're guessing and nothing more. It's intellectually challenging, interesting, but ultimately futile.
There are Buddhist experts. Like in Physics, for instance, where debate between undergraduates doesn't lead to significant breakthroughs, in Buddhism debate among run-of-the mill-Buddhists will not be of particular relevance. Experts, recognized by their peers, should do this debate so that it is meaningful. However, so far the experts seem to confirm what is being taught. Mavericks without realization doubt, but of what consequence is that for any serious practitioner? What I seem to perceive is a certain sense of entitlement completely inappropriate. People who were never recognized as experts in this field, feel they must have a word to say, perhaps because they think they did a favor to Buddhism by studying it. It's hubris. People without significant attainments debating main Buddhist tenets are like first graders who too a weekend course on Physics discussing the conclusions of experts.


Where does it becomes a threat to mainline Buddhism? Well, I don't particularly think it is. I do think there's the potential for confusion of interested parties, who may be interested in the Tao of Integrated Vertical Supply Chain Management or whatever, because there's now an assumption that Buddhism (Zen in particular, "mindfulness" in particular) is pliable enough to mean basically anything calming, cooling, and competent.

It depends. If enough people are convinced by these revisionist views, one day we may wake up and that's what Buddhism has become.

Let a thousand flowers bloom and see which ones survive the winter.

To that I could answer with the following line apparently inspired in Native American lore. :lol: Two wolves live in your heart in a constant struggle: one black and one white. Which one will win? The one you feed the most.
If enough people start feeding the "black wolf", the "white wolf" will be killed. At this day and age, what wolf do you think will receive most treats?
We don't know if the flower that survives the winter will be poisonous or medicinal. That's the problem...
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:36 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:It depends. If enough people are convinced by these revisionist views, one day we may wake up and that's what Buddhism has become.

Let a thousand flowers bloom and see which ones survive the winter.

To that I could answer with the following line apparently inspired in Native American lore. :lol: Two wolves live in your heart in a constant struggle: one black and one white. Which one will win? The one you feed the most.
If enough people start feeding the "black wolf", the "white wolf" will be killed. At this day and age, what wolf do you think will receive most treats?
We don't know if the flower that survives the winter will be poisonous or medicinal. That's the problem...


Would you mind elaborating some more Dechen? :) I don't want to misinterpret you and this is starting to feel to me like a xenophobic discussion, aka."Your new buddhism is dangerous and will destroy my buddhism." (which I don't feel is your intent).

I feel like there's room for many versions. I imagine this is how some Theravadans originally felt, "Mahayana is new and different and can't possibly be the way".
"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:49 pm

I take your point, Dechen Norbu. I just think that the lightweight stuff will die: if it stops serving anyone's needs, it won't survive.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:02 pm

LightSeed wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:It depends. If enough people are convinced by these revisionist views, one day we may wake up and that's what Buddhism has become.

Let a thousand flowers bloom and see which ones survive the winter.

To that I could answer with the following line apparently inspired in Native American lore. :lol: Two wolves live in your heart in a constant struggle: one black and one white. Which one will win? The one you feed the most.
If enough people start feeding the "black wolf", the "white wolf" will be killed. At this day and age, what wolf do you think will receive most treats?
We don't know if the flower that survives the winter will be poisonous or medicinal. That's the problem...


Would you mind elaborating some more Dechen? :) I don't want to misinterpret you and this is starting to feel to me like a xenophobic discussion, aka."Your new buddhism is dangerous and will destroy my buddhism." (which I don't feel is your intent).

I feel like there's room for many versions. I imagine this is how some Theravadans originally felt, "Mahayana is new and different and can't possibly be the way".

Sure I can. Don't worry about misinterpreting me or disagreeing with me. It's fine.
While I see great advantages in the practice of Theravada, I don't see any by practicing a version of Buddhism that is devoid of any significant Buddhist content.
For instance, I consider Dzogchen the peak of Buddhist teachings. I know that my Theravadin friends disagree and they see it as a sort of later addition to the original Buddhadharma by sages that while intending well, were still deluded. I see it as a refinement of what Buddha taught. However, we have enough in common, in terms of both theory and practice, to agree that there will be advantages of practicing either school. I believe many Theravadin teachers are much more attained than I'll ever be, at least in this life. I believe Theravada is the best path for those people who feel connected with it due to their individual preferences. The same goes for Zen, Ch'an and so on. All these schools share teachings that make them worthy.

However, these new revisionist views are nothing more than trying to fit Buddhism inside a metaphysical paradigm that necessarily takes away its value. What you have left is a sterile shell, useless, a feel-good-help-yourself system that will not ease your suffering. It's a mere palliative.

I do worry that we get to the point of Buddhism being replaced by these useless versions. You know why? Because they are lite buddhism, more easy to digest, more easy to accept, appealing to our ego and so on and so forth, but useless in the end. We could go on debating the sociological motives why anything that deviates from materialism is seen as superstition, why it is thought that educated people shouldn't believe these things and what have you, but perhaps that would be off topic. Suffice to say that according to Buddhism itself, these revisionist versions (you presented one, but there are many, all falling in the same trap: conforming to the materialist paradigm) are not Buddhist.

People are free to invent things, but for the sake of intellectual honesty, they shouldn't brand them in a way that may mistake others. What these guys do is, at most, inspired on Buddhism. It's not Buddhist.

If you need further clarification, feel free to ask. There's no problem at all.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:08 pm

Jikan wrote:I take your point, Dechen Norbu. I just think that the lightweight stuff will die: if it stops serving anyone's needs, it won't survive.

The problem is what we see as our needs. How many people, even among Buddhists, actually think and live with the perfect understanding that eradicating Duhkha is their most important need?
If you consider generally feeling well, having good relations and a nice life overall enough, buddhism lite is enough. But if you want to remove all cognitive and emotional afflictions, then it fails. If we start by undermining the possibility that some of those afflictions are even real (and such happens under a materialist paradigm), we're screwed. :lol:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:33 pm

When the Dharma stops bothering you, you're in trouble..
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:44 pm

Ok, I can see where this comes from, and that's all fair. :)

I'm going to ask what might seem like a facetious question here, again I mean no offense (just trying to be mindful of Right Speech):

How much buddhism makes one a buddhist?

And what I mean is, is rebirth the real sticking point here? It's certainly a hot-button issue. How about the rest of the Buddha's ( :quoteunquote: ) cosmological or supernatural teachings? Is there a point at which literal can become metaphorical or representative, or even anecdotal, and still "qualify" as buddhism?

And I'm certainly not saying let's strip all the tradition or ritual or whathaveyou out of Buddhism and call it a new religion, I'm just curious as to where the perceived line is.
"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:22 pm

LightSeed,

Here's a good answer to that very question:

http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?o ... ew&id=1814
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:24 am

Huseng wrote: Śrāvakayāna seeks the permanent cessation of one's existence which is equated to a mass of suffering.


As the suttas make clear, though, nibbana isn't to be confused with annihilation. Even from a sravakayana perspective, to equate the two is reflective of wrong view.

The act of suicide is based on a notion of self identity -- it's even in the etymology of the word (sui means "self" in Latin, cide is "to kill"), so it's necessarily mired in wrong view as well.

"Don't say that, friend Yamaka. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death."


Not to mention that the nibbana of the living arahant is said (by some Theravada teachers, at least) to involve a luminous "viññana without surface".
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:47 am

Huseng wrote:Truth be told in Japan most self-identifying Buddhists would agree with what is proposed here. Japanese intellectuals are predominately materialist and more or less ape western models of thought, most of which are materialist.

I lived in Japan for three years and often discussed Buddhism with Buddhist priests, most of whom rejected rebirth and karma. A few only hesitantly admitted they "believed" in it. In the Buddhist university I attended the materialist worldview was predominate and the subject of Buddhist Studies was largely treated as a form of literary studies, not something to be practised or implemented.

In Japan Buddhism underwent a great deal of westernisation in the 19th and 20th centuries. This was not simply introducing marriage rites in emulation of European Christianity, but absorbing the predominately materialistic view of reality and rejecting much of what is characteristically Buddhadharma.

In the west there was the Death of God and in Japan there was the Death of the Buddha. The rituals, facilities, institutions, hierarchies and traditions all remained, but the core ideas and practices of Buddhadharma were largely gutted and almost nobody believes in them anymore. The idea of liberation from samsara is largely an alien concept in modern Japanese Buddhism. The hereditary priesthood carries out archaic rites for their livelihood and "Buddhist" intellectuals study the subject as a merely academic pursuit or as a form of literature. Those few that see some value in Buddhism as a transformative experience for the better still, at least in my experience, find it difficult to accept rebirth, karma and the cosmology as taught by the Buddha.

In Japan the atmosphere is one of coercion to conform to the status quo, and that status quo is more or less what George Boeree here is cited as having proposed.


Huseng,

Do you know if this is also the case for Shingon practitioners/priests?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:17 am

LightSeed wrote:
How much buddhism makes one a buddhist?


I can only speak from my own experience, which is only a little over 25 years, which in "Buddhist time" is nothing, and in that time I have only studied with Tibetan lamas, and not very well. Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism probably has more stuff for the skeptical person to doubt, than any other type of Buddhism. Add to that, a student is supposed to be very devoted to his or her teacher, and that devotion should be honest and not contrived.

I have learned one thing: You simply cannot make yourself believe stuff that you don't believe.
You can lie to yourself, and tell yourself that you believe it.
You can rephrase things so you have a version of something that you basically don't believe,
so that it is a little bit more believable,
but if you just don't buy it, you just don't buy it.
So, you might as well be honest about it.
If you are honest with yourself,
then you can be as much of a Buddhist as anyone else.

In the mean time, you can give your teacher (or if you don't have a teacher, the teachings)
'the benefit of the doubt', and say,
"okay, if that's what you say, I am willing to go along with it for now, even though it seems pretty crazy"
and still retain the level of skepticism that you feel comfortable with.
And then you can just see what happens.
Doing that is likely to help you, at least,
to keep moving forward and not get stuck
on details that may not really matter for you right now anyway.

In time, you may (or may not) find that as your understanding expands,
that these things which seem ridiculous, illogical and impossible now
make sense later, in a different way, a more profound way.
Because, if, through your own honesty with yourself,
you develop profound understanding,
then you might see some profound meaning
which, I might guess, is what one is really after to begin with.

.
.
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Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby justsit » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:21 am

:good:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:25 am

:good: That is a fantastic explanation, thank you!

Also, thank you Jikan! I didn't expect such a great answer, I should really read more of Thich Nhat Hanh writings. I'll have to make another trip to the bookstore I think. :reading:
"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:32 am

Jikan wrote:LightSeed,

Here's a good answer to that very question:

http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?o ... ew&id=1814


Thanks for posting that link. I couldn't remember what those four seals were.
I remember my teacher once being asked what makes something "real buddhism"
and he answered that all (authentic) Buddhist schools hold these four teachings.
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