Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/1/16 12:37 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Laurel Carrington 5/1/16 2:24 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/1/16 3:54 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Laurel Carrington 5/1/16 4:37 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud svmonk 5/1/16 9:36 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/1/16 11:47 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/2/16 12:29 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud neko 5/2/16 4:35 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Stirling Campbell 5/2/16 4:43 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/2/16 3:09 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Stirling Campbell 5/2/16 4:45 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Psi 5/3/16 11:46 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/6/16 3:05 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud neko 5/6/16 3:22 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/6/16 1:46 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/7/16 2:02 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud T DC 5/11/16 11:40 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Psi 5/12/16 7:51 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/13/16 10:51 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/16/16 4:00 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Small Steps 5/17/16 10:02 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/17/16 3:48 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/17/16 11:16 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/18/16 6:02 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/22/16 6:04 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/22/16 2:43 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/23/16 5:17 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Small Steps 5/22/16 2:21 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/7/16 2:15 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud neko 5/7/16 6:13 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Nicky 5/8/16 12:38 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/9/16 5:47 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud -- Timus -- 5/9/16 6:38 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/11/16 6:49 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/13/16 12:43 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/13/16 10:59 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/13/16 11:36 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/14/16 5:36 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud -- Timus -- 5/14/16 6:40 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/15/16 4:33 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud : ladyfrog : 5/14/16 8:44 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/15/16 4:39 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud : ladyfrog : 5/15/16 9:25 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Dada Kind 5/14/16 3:21 PM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud CJMacie 5/16/16 5:12 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Stirling Campbell 5/9/16 10:53 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Laurel Carrington 5/6/16 10:50 AM
RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud Stirling Campbell 5/6/16 11:12 AM
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 12:37 PM
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Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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New episode of Buddhist Geeks is up after a hiatus,

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2016/04/buddhist-ethics-fraud/

Struck me as particularly intense. The topic is probably a factor but it seems to me like Vince is being more nakedly honest in this one. Given the provocative nature of the episode I couldn't help but give it its own thread.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 2:24 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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I listened to it, and thought it was overblown. There is a reasonable point embedded in the hype, that Buddhist thinking does not necessarily lead to today's liberal values of environmentalism, feminism, social welfare, etc., and that the Buddhist label is typically appropriated in the west by white middle class liberals who want to wear it as an adornment, something to give them a sense of universality. The word "boomer" came up and not as a compliment, but as a wave in the direction of what the DhO calls mushroom culture. I've looked on this guy's webpage in the past, and noticed that he is intent on showing how western Buddhism is very much an expression of a certain subset of the white middle class. 

None of these observations justifies saying that Buddhist ethics are a lot of bunk. There are clear guidelines in the precepts, as well as the noble eightfold path; for example, it's uncontroversial that Buddhist thought does not condone wanton killing. We can argue about degrees, all the way from killing microbes by boiling water to genocide, but the admonition to avoid taking life is a part of the ethical framework. Likewise, being a con artist, seducing other people's partners, etc. are clear violations, as are other manifestations of debauchery. Sinilarly, people argue endlessly over what constitutes true Christian values, with the right and the left in the U.S. choosing to emphasize whatever parts of the Bible appeal to them. Everyone knows that the ancient societies in which these religious traditions originated are significantly different from life in contemporary western democracies, although people can disagree over what needs to be maintained as a core set of values, or about how any such values contribute to a life that justifies claiming the mantle of a religious tradition. 

I have have no problem with people wanting to claim Buddhism as a supporter of social justice or environmentalism, as long as such claims are made with a sound knowledge base. I gather this person is sick of the smugness and maybe even the mediocrity of many people's arguments supporting such claims. We can all use gadflies to keep us on our toes. But there's more than a hint of contempt in his critique. Perhaps he is guilty of the very holier-than-thou behavior he is criticizing. 
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 3:54 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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I've looked on this guy's webpage in the past, and noticed that he is intent on showing how western Buddhism is very much an expression of a certain subset of the white middle class.
Yes, particularly what he calls Consensus Buddhism

I'm confused on this topic myself, and don't feel qualified or put-together. I also don't claim to understand fully Chapman's view. In fact Chapman admitted even in the interview that his essay on this topic has loose ends. But I'll blabber anyway.

I think an important question Chapman is raising is, what's unique about Buddhist ethics? If nothing, then why does it matter? Here are some possible answers to the former: 1) it's based on compassion 2) it's a pragmatic discipline conducive to meditative results (however conceived)

1): But other ethical systems claim to be based on compassion. Yet, the list of thou shalts and shalt nots for those systems differ. How does compassion unambiguously solve ethical problems? E.g., is it compassionate to abort an unwanted baby, or compassionate to give it the opportunity to live? Is it compassionate to kill terrorists? Etc.

2): If it's a pragmatic discipline with useful lists then we can assume that what's pragmatic for our culture has changed in the past 2500 years. We live in an entirely different context; extrapolating auspicious conditions 2500 years into the future seems specious. Why not reinvent our pragmatic discipline honestly, taking inspiration from Buddhism (and other sources) if we like?

The key word is honestly since almost every Western Buddhist is practicing a reinvented form, reinvented by themselves or someone else claiming it to be the True Dharma.

W/r/t contempt, Chapman's view is that Consensus Buddhism has in effect suppressed alternative reinventions of Buddhism, particularly ones strongly inspired by Tantric Buddhism. Although I'm sure the leftist smugness is a part of it.

Caveat: I'm procrastinating studying for an exam and I have no idea what I'm talking about
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Laurel Carrington, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 4:37 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Okay, now listen to me: study for your exam! Now!

I don't know why any ethical system has to be unique in order not to be fraudulent. I also don't know what's so awful about living within one's own cultural context. No one can do otherwise, really. I agree with you that we have to be honest about it, however. 

I'm afraid if I say any more I'll be enabling your procrastination, so I'll leave it there. 
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svmonk, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 9:36 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Hi Droll,

If you are interested in more than just a popular viewpoint on Buddhist ethics, I'd suggest checking out the Journal of Buddhist Ethics:
http://www.globethics.net/web/journal-of-buddhist-ethics/journal-overview

Note that it is an open access journal, which means that the articles are free and online, though they are typically somewhat scholarly. I read some papers from it back in the '90's when I was in Zen priest training and interested in the topic. As I recall, at a very high level, one difference between Buddhist ethics and traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethics is that Buddhist ethics is situational while JCI ethics is very much normative.
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/1/16 11:47 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:
I've looked on this guy's webpage in the past, and noticed that he is intent on showing how western Buddhism is very much an expression of a certain subset of the white middle class.
Yes, particularly what he calls Consensus Buddhism



I found the audio to be very confused, full of contradictions & a lack of information. Calling the Buddha a "sexual liberal", stating the Buddha made "rules without rationale" and stating the Pali word 'sila' means 'discipline' (rather than 'normalcy' or 'integrity' or 'virtue') was obviously misinformed. 

What is unique about Buddhist ethics is they are based in non-harming & the prevention of suffering (compassion) and they are also conducive to meditative results since they mitigate many meditation hindrances, such as sensual desire, anger, remorse, restlessness, etc. 

Many ethical systems are based on 'commandments' but, looking deeper, they are also based in compassion. What is unqiue about Buddhist ethics is the rationale for the training rules (i.e., recommendations) is thoroughly explained. 

There is nothing in the ethics taught by Buddha to laypeople (as opposed to monks) that is impractical in the modern age. 

Just because the marketing, business & 'I-know-it-all' tendencies of Americans & BuJus have characteristically invented forms of 'McBuddhism' & 'McMindfulness' does not mean these inventions must be taken seriously as 'Buddhism'. 
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/2/16 12:29 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:


1): How does compassion unambiguously solve ethical problems? E.g., is it compassionate to abort an unwanted baby, or compassionate to give it the opportunity to live? Is it compassionate to kill terrorists? Etc.

2): If it's a pragmatic discipline with useful lists...

The key word is honestly since almost every Western Buddhist is practicing a reinvented form, reinvented by themselves or someone else claiming it to be the True Dharma.

W/r/t contempt, Chapman's view is that Consensus Buddhism has in effect suppressed alternative reinventions of Buddhism, particularly ones strongly inspired by Tantric Buddhism. Although I'm sure the leftist smugness is a part of it.



Buddhism does not contain impractical lists. The 227 rules for monks (such as not eating after noon) are not for Buddhist laypeople.

The Buddha taught 'karma' (action) & therefore what is 'ethical' is based in intention

While monks are forbidden to arrange abortions or kill terrorists, laypeople can have abortions or kill terrorists but must face the consequences of their intentions/actions. 

Most of the "terrorists" appear financed by the USA govt & their Saudi allies so why are we calling these mercenaries "terrorists", anyway? It is easier & more ethical karma to protest against your government rather than kill the terrorists your government appears to finance & arm. 

If a woman has an abortion, based on selfish reasons, she must live with the regret, remorse or guilt that may arise from that. But if a woman has an abortion believing her life situation is not fit for a child or if a terrorist is killed to save lives of innocent people, the consequences of those actions will be the sense that one did the right thing. 

When the Buddha described unwholesome killing, he described it as "without mercy" (rather than with mercy). 

I doubt many Buddhist women are having abortions anyway so why are we concerned about abortions of non-Buddhists? 

"Tantra" is Hindu and Tantric Sex was never about sexual promiscuty. It was about submission of the man to the female partner. 

Buddhists will generally tend to be "left-wing" (in terms of social & environmental views but not sexual) since Buddhism is about non-harming & compassion. 

That said, the Buddha strongly encouraged individual initiative & enterprise, including in terms of livelihood, so the Buddha was not a communist but did believe in sharing & particularly taught governments should make a provision for the poor. 

Feminism originally arose as a response to Christian inequality (such as women not allowed to own property work or vote) so the Buddha would agree with that. But the feminism of the 1960s & later was largely about female sexual liberalism & female elitism so the Buddha would not agree with that. Feminism is mostly ridiculed today, anyway, with many women opposing it. 

In short, I am not sure what the fuss in the audio is about. It is certainly unrelated to Buddhism but more like a USA-BuJu squabble.

emoticon

Since I explained it all, Okay, now listen to me: study for your exam! Now! emoticon
neko, modified 7 Years ago at 5/2/16 4:35 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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I am not a Buddhist by any definition of the word, so I don't care about Buddhist ethical "laws". For what it's worth, I even disagree with some of those rules.

What I did find interesting, as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation techniques, is how sitting seems to be making me more tolerant, empathetic and compassionate. So in my mind the causality loop is inverted: meditation causes a general spontaneous improvement in the field of ethics, loosely defined as "an ability and willingness to minimise harm and maximise well-being in oneself and others".
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Stirling Campbell, modified 7 Years ago at 5/2/16 4:43 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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I am fairly certain that the precepts exist to assist practitioners in stopping continuing accumulation of karma in this lifetime. Most of the actions prohibited tend to be things that could create emotional baggage, thus preventing further obscurations. It seems logical to me that if you are injured (for example), attempting to get things stable to prevent further injury IN ADDITION to applying the cure makes good sense.

Eventually your level of understanding grows to the point that you can undertake many of these actions (as many realized teachers do) without accumulating obcurations.
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/2/16 3:09 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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neko:

What I did find interesting, as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation techniques, is how sitting seems to be making me more tolerant, empathetic and compassionate. So in my mind the causality loop is inverted: meditation causes a general spontaneous improvement in the field of ethics, loosely defined as "an ability and willingness to minimise harm and maximise well-being in oneself and others".

Very good. This is how it should ideally be. emoticon
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Stirling Campbell, modified 7 Years ago at 5/2/16 4:45 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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neko:
What I did find interesting, as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation techniques, is how sitting seems to be making me more tolerant, empathetic and compassionate. So in my mind the causality loop is inverted: meditation causes a general spontaneous improvement in the field of ethics, loosely defined as "an ability and willingness to minimise harm and maximise well-being in oneself and others".

I also 100% agree. I see the precepts as a sort of "stop the bleeding/fake it till you make it" proposition. In my experience, you naturally start to take the positions of many of the precepts naturally as you practice.
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 5/3/16 11:46 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Edit:  This is just a general reply, to no one in particular, mostly in regards to the title of the podcast as a statement, "Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud", it does not have anything to do necessarily with the contents of the podcast itself.  

Edit:  And I am defining Buddhist Ethics, as a beginning of the Path, and a groundwork for Buddhist Ethics,  to be, the Five precepts. 

Edit:  The Five Precepts

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html

Non Edited:

The statement Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud, sounds like a fraud itself.

Fraud
  • : the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person
  • : a person who pretends to be what he or she is not in order to trick people
  • : a copy of something that is meant to look like the real thing in order to trick people

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fraud

What exactly is fraudulent about suggesting that it is wise for one to undertake the training to not cloud the mind and body with chemicals, to not steal, to have wholesome consenting legal sex, to be honest, and to not kill ?

Why even let the mind spin off into the never never land of views until one has at least seen the wisdom and simplicity in the Five Precepts?  They are not commandments, they are suggestions, and anyone with a bit of Wisdom can Investigate and see for themselves whether the Five Precepts are beneficial or not.  Of course, one has to be honest with themselves first.  Maybe not so easy.  emoticon

I have yet to finish the podcast, Vince and David have lots of thoughts.

I think alot of this goes back to what is the Dhamma, and what has evolved as cultural Buddhisms.  

Sigh
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/6/16 3:05 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Hi all. I read Laurel's comment and remembered having read a post of hers about issues with procrastination or laziness. As I struggle similarly I saw it as ethical to respect the advice. I procrastined some more, but did get in some studying and did well on the exams.

I disagree with how David titled his article and the related ones. I find the clickbaitey stuff distasteful but also delightfully ironic given the Buddhist context. I'm sure David is conscious of this. And, alas, Vince used the same title and so did I for this thread.

I'll clarify what I think David meant by 'fraud'. It should probably rather read Buddhist 'Ethics' is a Fraud. He's saying that what's being presented popularly as Buddhist ethics in the West is fraudulent. The obvious understanding of this is that Western teachers are just shoehorning Leftist ethics and using Buddhism as justification. The more subtle understanding, I believe, is that how Westerners by default conceive of 'ethics' itself is totally unlike how it was intended in early Buddhism. In particular, our understanding of ethics is flavored by Puritanism (among 2500 years and thousands of miles of other factors).

I'd like to complain that some of you didn't even listen to the podcast or read the article, but I won't pretend I didn't expect that given the provocative title. For anyone interested in the series of articles

svmonk, thanks for the link. Though honestly I don't consider academic ethics to be of much relevance to anyone. In one of the related articles David actually quotes from the creator of that journal to further his point,
There is no such thing as Buddhist ethics

This is stated explicitly by some leading authorities. One is Damien Keown, who founded the Journal of Buddhist Ethics and wrote one of the two standard English-language textbooks on the subject. In the section “On the absence of ‘ethics’ in Buddhism” in his Buddhist ethics: A very short introduction, he writes:
[Buddhism contains no] treatises on ethics. There is not even a word for ‘ethics’ in the early Indian texts – the closest approximation to it is śīla, often translated as ‘morality’ but closer in meaning to disciplined behaviour or self-restraint. In the course of Buddhist history there never arose a branch of learning concerned with the philosophical analysis of moral norms. (p. 27)

Stirling:
Why should we believe that 2500 year old lists are still useful for this purpose today?

Neko:
What I did find interesting, as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation techniques, is how sitting seems to be making me more tolerant, empathetic and compassionate. So in my mind the causality loop is inverted: meditation causes a general spontaneous improvement in the field of ethics, loosely defined as "an ability and willingness to minimise harm and maximise well-being in oneself and others".
I find this most interesting also. In the podcast David concedes this point when Vince mentions it. David cites a difference between Leftist ethics and Western Buddhist ethics in that the latter would tend to frown upon righteous anger. I agree. But, he goes on to say that he's never seen anyone treat this aspect of Buddhist ethics clearly. I agree.

I agree that some styles of meditation can cause spontaneous improvement in ethics. As MCTB painstakingly lays out, this view is limited. Though, I think Daniel goes too far in downplaying how meditation can influence ethics. I believe the strict separation of the Three Trainings view that MCTB advocates is also limited and dissatisfying.

I really don't have a solid alternative. I have gripes with Chapman too. But one Buddhist 'ethic' I do find in the mythology is a dissatisfaction for existing approaches. Caveat: I still don't know what I'm talking about
neko, modified 7 Years ago at 5/6/16 3:22 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:
I find this most interesting also. In the podcast David concedes this point when Vince mentions it. David cites a difference between Leftist ethics and Western Buddhist ethics in that the latter would tend to frown upon righteous anger. I agree. But, he goes on to say that he's never seen anyone treat this aspect of Buddhist ethics clearly. I agree.

Right. To put it otherwise, leftist ethics is concerned mostly with getting people to agree (and possibly act) on certain well-defined statements about the world, society, and people.

The kind of improvement that I am observing in myself is very different, and at points almost the opposite. It is emotional, practical, and largely free of content. If anything, I am much more willing to try and understand the points of view of people with different political ideas than mine, rather than needing to convince them that my political ideas are the one and only way to save the world. This "side effect" of meditation is probably yet another thing than the "Western Buddhist ethics" that you mention, but the two are likely related.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 7 Years ago at 5/6/16 10:50 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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I agree with you, Droll, that westerners appropriate Buddhism as support for their positions on a number of issues. There is nothing to suggest that the Buddha had anything similar in mind. I guess I would ask about appropriation: is it entirely bad? Any canonical text, group of texts, or tradition is always appropriated by new generations for whatever is coming up in their respective worlds. Look at the U.S. Constitution (or, if you prefer, any similar document) and think of how much the world has changed in the intervening centuries. Some people will always say we should never go beyond the founders' original intent, others will say we need to amend it, others will say we need to stretch its meaning, and I'm sure there are those who would prefer ignoring it most of the time. 
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Stirling Campbell, modified 7 Years ago at 5/6/16 11:12 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Stirling: Why should we believe that 2500 year old lists are still useful for this purpose today?

If we are starting with the premise that precepts are (from the link above):

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyamiI undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.

3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.

5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

...then I can't see how it would be arguable that these actions are certainly amongst the most likely to cause personal or internal/moral conflicts in individuals. If you are beginning on the path, then trying to limit the imposition of new obscurations is surely a skillful practice. Are these really concepts that have gone out of date? I don't think so. Aren't they sufficiently vague that one can read them and know what aspects will be problematic for oneself?

I can see how the INTERPRETATION of these could be problematic (what constitutes sexual misconduct?) but I think these should be left as intentionally vague as possible - it's not about the actions, it's about the personal consequences/karma/obscurations generated in the mind of the person breaking the precepts. 

Speaking personally, it has always been explained to me that these are guidelines - not rock solid "thou shalt nots". It's understood that they will be bent or broken - but pointing them out creates a caution and a consciousness around them about how they impact us when they are broken.
Thi
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/6/16 1:46 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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neko:
This aspect of meditation is interesting. Can you point to sources that develop this view more completely?

Laurel:
The problem I see is the dishonesty involved in reinventing a tradition without admitting to oneself or others that that's happening. It also suppresses alternatives; the Buddhism brand is colonized in the West. I find the current brand of impotent niceness distasteful. I do enjoy the reactionary forces like Dan and the dharma punk guys. But I believe more deliberate and honest reinvention would be better.

Stirling:
Surely the Five Precepts aren't helpful for anyone's day-to-day ethical dilemmas. Real ethical problems are messy and unclear. A toddler could tell you the Five Precepts.
it's not about the actions, it's about the personal consequences/karma/obscurations generated in the mind of the person breaking the precepts
...
but pointing them out creates a caution and a consciousness around them about how they impact us when they are broken
Can you support that this was the early Buddhist view? It's my understanding that the early Buddhists consider intention as only one link in a chain towards unwholesomeness. Chapman argues convincingly that what you wrote is in fact a Western idea
The Sigalovada is peculiar in presenting an ethics of delayed gratification in service of material accumulation.13 Generally, Buddhism is renunciate, not Protestant.14 The critical difference is that Buddhism says all sensual gratification ties you to samsara by making it seem attractive, so all sense pleasures must be abandoned. Protestant Buddhism replaces renunciation with suspicion, and with moderation. Enjoyment is dangerous, because it can lead to impulsiveness and overconsumption. However, pleasures are OK if they are the right kinds of pleasures in the right amount at the right time for the right reason, so long as you carefully guard against having too much fun and thereby losing control. Since renunciation is totally unacceptable to Westerners, and since Protestantism is the basis for secular Western ethics, quietly replacing Buddhist values with Protestant ones was the key move in constructing “Buddhist ethics.”
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/7/16 2:02 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:

 Chapman argues convincingly that what you wrote is in fact a Western idea
The Sigalovada is peculiar in presenting an ethics of delayed gratification in service of material accumulation.13 Generally, Buddhism is renunciate, not Protestant.14 The critical difference is that Buddhism says all sensual gratification ties you to samsara by making it seem attractive, so all sense pleasures must be abandoned. Protestant Buddhism replaces renunciation with suspicion, and with moderation. Enjoyment is dangerous, because it can lead to impulsiveness and overconsumption. However, pleasures are OK if they are the right kinds of pleasures in the right amount at the right time for the right reason, so long as you carefully guard against having too much fun and thereby losing control. Since renunciation is totally unacceptable to Westerners, and since Protestantism is the basis for secular Western ethics, quietly replacing Buddhist values with Protestant ones was the key move in constructing “Buddhist ethics.”

This is certainly not convincing. Sigalovada is for lay people & genuinely falls within what the Buddha would teach. 

The Buddha never ever taught the Four Noble Truths are for lay people. If fact, the Buddha rarely taught the Four Noble Truths to laypeole.

When asked the question: "Would he lead all beings to liberation?", the Buddha kept silent (Uttiya Sutta). 

The Buddha's first thoughts when considering would he teach the Dhamma were:
This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.

The Buddha's first words in his teaching career, about the Four Noble Truths, were:
Bhikkhus, these two extremes ought not to be cultivated by one gone forth from the house-life. What are the two? There is devotion to indulgence of pleasure in the objects of sensual desire...and there is devotion to self-torment...

It is actually immoral or unethical to expect all lay Buddhists to practise sensual  & sexual renunciation because sexual renunciation will be harmful to most people. Many individuals that become monks fail at that endeavour because they are unable to eliminate their sexual drives. Since all beings are created by nature to be sexual, it is only a minority that can eliminate sexuality. The Buddha had zero illusions (unlike Chapman) about who & who not could eliminate sexuality from their mind. 

The scriptures clearly state, according to natural realities or possibilities, that the Buddha intended for there to be a four-fold Sangha, of celibate monastic men & women and sexual layman & laywomen. 

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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/7/16 2:15 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:
Can you support that this was the early Buddhist view? It's my understanding that the early Buddhists consider intention as only one link in a chain towards unwholesomeness. 

Karma is intention. That is what the Buddha taught. It all turns on intention. 

That is why the Buddha taught monks to abandon unwise intention (i.e., craving) & cultivate wise intention (2nd factor of noble path). 

For lay people, the Buddha taught their intentions ideally lead to human & heavenly states & away from animal, ghost & hell states. 

This is fully supported by the early Buddhist view. 

Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech & intellect.

AN 6.63
In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment volitional thought (intention) be considered. If the nutriment volitional thought is comprehended, the three kinds of craving are thereby comprehended. And if the three kinds of craving are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple.

SN 12.63
neko, modified 7 Years ago at 5/7/16 6:13 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind:
neko:
This aspect of meditation is interesting. Can you point to sources that develop this view more completely?

Not really, unfortunately. It wasn't any specific practice that has led to this outcome. It was pretty much spontaneous. I guess you could see it as one of the ways the abandoning of the lower fetters of "doubt" and "attachment to rite and rituals" has manifested in my own case, given the specificities of my own upbringing and cultural background.
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/8/16 12:38 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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neko:
Not really, unfortunately. It wasn't any specific practice that has led to this outcome. It was pretty much spontaneous. I guess you could see it as one of the ways the abandoning of the lower fetters of "doubt" and "attachment to rite and rituals" has manifested in my own case, given the specificities of my own upbringing and cultural background.

The phrase "attachment to rites & rituals" is a unchallenging translation of the Pali phrase sīlabbata-parāmāsa.

A more challenging & probably more accurate translation is 'misapprehension of moral rules & rituals'. 

This translation is very applicable to the speaker in the audio, who gives the impression they think moral rules are for the purpose of terrorising others & forcing others to follow moral rules.

When the mind is lost in judging the immorality of the world & generating all kinds of 'self-views' about immoral 'people', this is sīlabbata-parāmāsa (clinging to ethics), which is a fetter. 

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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/9/16 5:47 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Droll Dedekind (5/6/16 1:46 PM as a reply to neko)

(may be tricky to follow here: replying to stuff in blue, which secondarily quotes others in green, with my comments in black.)

DrollDedekind:
"Stirling:

Surely the Five Precepts aren't helpful for anyone's day-to-day ethical dilemmas. Real ethical problems are messy and unclear. A toddler could tell you the Five Precepts.


it's not about the actions, it's about the personal consequences/karma/obscurations generated in the mind of the person breaking the precepts
...
but pointing them out creates a caution and a consciousness around them about how they impact us when they are broken


Can you support that this was the early Buddhist view? It's my understanding that the early Buddhists consider intention as only one link in a chain towards unwholesomeness."


Support: as Thanissaro Bhikkhu points out, consistently across his own writings (and interpretation) that, in the Pali Canon (arguably the earliest rendition of Buddha teachings) intention (kamma) is the key factor. For instance, the case where a blind arahant was accused of breaking a precept by stepping on (killing) ants. The Buddha's reply, characteristically context sensitive, was that the monk's unawareness, due to blindness but not ignorance, did not constitute intention, was not actively breaking the precept.

"…intention as only one link in a chain towards unwholesomeness…" seems a rather casual confusion of the issues of intention (kamma), co-dependend arising linkages (paticcasamuppada), and the determination of wholesome/skillful/profitable ("Katame dhammā kusalā?" – "what qualities of mental action are skillful?" -- the opening of the first book of Abhidhamma, the Dhammasanagani).)

"Chapman argues convincingly that what you wrote is in fact a Western idea

The Sigalovada is peculiar in presenting an ethics of delayed gratification in service of material accumulation.
13 Generally, Buddhism is renunciate, not Protestant.14 The critical difference is that Buddhism says all sensual gratification ties you to samsara by making it seem attractive, so all sense pleasures must be abandoned. "

"Gratification"and "abandoning" refer to entertaining, reacting, attaching, dwelling on mental reactions to sensual phenomena; aka "sensual passion", allowing it to motivate – ETB (early teachings of the Buddha) does not imply that sensual phenomena, with their organically inherent feelingtones (vedana) don't continually arise (and pass) in the experience of all humans, even arahants, while living. Chapman characteristically juxtaposes multiple opportunistically defined (or undefined) historical-cultural notions – "renunciate", Protestant, Puritan, leftist white middle class, etc. – in a haze of obfuscation, and apparently for the purpose of simply attracting attention to his own views.

Protestant Buddhism replaces renunciation with suspicion, and with moderation. Enjoyment is dangerous, because it can lead to impulsiveness and overconsumption. However, pleasures are OK if they are the right kinds of pleasures in the right amount at the right time for the right reason, so long as you carefully guard against having too much fun and thereby losing control. Since renunciation is totally unacceptable to Westerners, and since Protestantism is the basis for secular Western
ethics, quietly replacing Buddhist values with Protestant ones was  the key move in constructing “Buddhist ethics.”


"renunciation totally unacceptible
", "the basis for secular Western ethics" – further examples of rhetorical and historical over-simplification in the service ofpretention of authority (self-rooted views). "Renunciation" as part of Right Resolve pertains to sensual experience allowed as "passion", allowing it to take hold, to drive the show; what's so apriori that Westerns are totally incapable of this? Mr Chapman should perhaps speak just for himself.

Yes, I have listened to the entire interview, and read several of Chapman's related commentaries. But not all of them (which go on and on), and, having slogged through various of his writings at times in the past (the pinacle being perhaps the "Fountainhead School" episode), will likely forego granting them any attention whatsoever in the future. His efforts, and Buddhist-Geek presentations, as well as many 'secular' and 'pragmatic' approaches repeatdely reveal themselves as little more than attempts to attract attention, primarily to the speaker/writer, secondarily to the often straw-dog issues. Notably here "Buddhist Ethics", and more blatantly, the Inquirer-Magazine-styled marquee "Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud".

On the other hand, this sort of fare is the life's blood of internet discussion groups, with occasionally interspersed topics of deeper exploration for this or that special interest. Not that it's not worthwhile to have such carnival arcades to stroll through when seeking diversion -- freak shows to marvel at and games to play for prize baubles. emoticon (having a s/w sour day here)
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-- Timus --, modified 7 Years ago at 5/9/16 6:38 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Chris J Macie:
... Yes, I have listened to the entire interview, and read several of Chapman's related commentaries. But not all of them (which go on and on), and, having slogged through various of his writings at times in the past (the pinacle being perhaps the "Fountainhead School" episode), will likely forego granting them any attention whatsoever in the future. His efforts, and Buddhist-Geek presentations, as well as many 'secular' and 'pragmatic' approaches repeatdely reveal themselves as little more than attempts to attract attention, primarily to the speaker/writer, secondarily to the often straw-dog issues. Notably here "Buddhist Ethics", and more blatantly, the Inquirer-Magazine-styled marquee "Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud". ...

FYI: Alan Chapman ("Fountainhead School") and David Chapman ("Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud" and Meaningness author) are totally different people. And, speaking partly from extended personal experience, I'm under the impression that both don't care much about attracting attention.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 7 Years ago at 5/9/16 10:53 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Droll Dedekind::

Surely the Five Precepts aren't helpful for anyone's day-to-day ethical dilemmas. Real ethical problems are messy and unclear. A toddler could tell you the Five Precepts.

Can you support that this was the early Buddhist view? It's my understanding that the early Buddhists consider intention as only one link in a chain towards unwholesomeness. Chapman argues convincingly that what you wrote is in fact a Western idea?

I think normal people bump into some of precepts every day. I need a stapler - should I steal this one from work? I want to have an affair - but will I feel guilty about it? Someone else has jumped in and shown it isn't necessarily a new idea - and in terms of it being a Western one, I had this first explained to me by a monastery-trained Tibetan who had fled to India in the 60's. Not saying it doesn't suit a Western perspective, but in my case I am merely talking about my understanding as taught by my non-Western teachers.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/11/16 6:49 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: -- Timus-- (5/9/16 6:38 AM as a reply to Chris J Macie)

"FYI: Alan Chapman ("Fountainhead School") and David Chapman ("Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud" and Meaningness author) are totally different people."

Thanks for the correction. The way the Fountainhead-Chapman is more anonymous in the explicit presentation of the Fountainhead School supports your impression as to his visibility issue.

In the case of David Chapman, though, I don't see viable alternative explanation for the way he makes sweeping generalizations relating or juxtaposing what are typically conceptual labels for this or that issue. Apparently he's a voracious reader. I'd seen earlier writings where he was taking sources rather uncritically and mixing them together into sort of new "insights". (I recall that instance had to do with Buddhism and colonialist issues.) To his credit, at one point I recall he admitted to an earlier misinterpretation of some issue.

What other motivations might lie behind his seemingly constant impulse to wax authoritative in areas in which it appears he lack in-depth critical study? The breadth of his interests and ideas is striking, but on closer examination, and in areas I'm rather familiar with, his pontifications appear more sensational than substantive.

" 'Buddhist ethics' is a fraud "
" 'Ethics' is advertising "
" Meaningness "
etc.

These titles aren't intended atattention-getting? Or maybe Mr. Chapman has experience working as a headline-writer for some popular magazine – but that would just further support my hypothesis.
T DC, modified 7 Years ago at 5/11/16 11:40 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Nick:


The Buddha's first thoughts when considering would he teach the Dhamma were:
This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.
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Woah!  What a quote!  I am curious, what is your source for this?  Is it from a specific book?  I am interested!
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 5/12/16 7:51 AM
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T DC:
Nick:


The Buddha's first thoughts when considering would he teach the Dhamma were:
This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.
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Woah!  What a quote!  I am curious, what is your source for this?  Is it from a specific book?  I am interested!



https://suttacentral.net/en/mn26
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/13/16 12:43 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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CJMacie it doesn't seem like this is going to go anywhere productive.

At first I was also turned off my Chapman's painting with broad strokes, etc. I think I even posted about it here to Ryan. I now see the wisdom in Chapman's approach. For his project he needs to look at broad historical trends. Of course, he's an amateur so we should be skeptical.

His online book Meaningness is incomplete so it's understandable that someone skimming through his stuff wouldn't really see the point. I can't really find a jumping off point, but for anyone interested I believe 10 minutes on this page would give you a good idea. If I could summarize I'd say he's presenting a philosophy that's relevant, practical, and understandable by any reasonably educated person. He's heavily influenced by Buddhism among other sources. Of course, he also advocates meditation practice.

He has no sensationalist background. Iirc he was an MIT PhD in CS, did research in AI, then started a pharmaceutical research company.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/13/16 10:51 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: T DC(5/11/16 11:40 PM as a reply to Nicky) referring back to: Nicky (5/7/16 2:02 AM as a reply to Droll Dedekind)

"I am curious, what is your source for this?"
Seconding that request. (It looks like the translator was Than-Geoff, from the use of "Unbinding").

"And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."
I would like to look-up the Pali (for the red section), the question being do those terms connote some sort of duhhka in the Buddha's mind, speaking here apparently after full awakening?
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/13/16 10:59 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Droll Dedekind (5/13/16 12:43 AM as a reply to CJMacie)

"If I could summarize I'd say he's presenting a philosophy that's relevant, practical, and understandable by any reasonably educated person."
Just what is the point? What's the motivation for rambling on and on with one's own philosophy of everything?

"Any reasonably educated person", as in unself-reflectively immersed in the Romantic worldview. (Thanissaro B. really pegs this Zeitgeist in his "Buddhist Romanticism" – he could have picked at random from DhO for further illustrative examples.)

Why do we do such things, as often in our own topics / postings here? For instance, in the thread "Vinay Gupta on Meditation" ,…"…this seems correlated with dabbling. Whaddaya gonna do?" (Related to "idle chatter"?) Looking up Vinay, his lecture style, … just another Chapman, Hoffman, etc.?

"He has no sensationalist background. Iirc he was an MIT PhD in CS, did research in AI, then started a pharmaceutical research company."
Been there, done that (CS) myself for more than 30 years, recognizing, from observing self and so many others, that conceit is a running tendency in that field (especially in the AI area).

btw: that's the best expreission I've run across here lately: "Whaddaya gonna do?" emoticon
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/13/16 11:36 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Hi CJMacie. I'm not really sure what your obsession with hating on non-traditional stuff is. What is it that you value? Maybe we could talk about that.

I'm rather sure nothing productive will come of this but I can't resist.

Just what is the point? What's the motivation for rambling on and on with one's own philosophy of everything?
If you gave his writing a chance I'm sure you could find where he explains that.

as in unself-reflectively immersed in the Romantic worldview. (Thanissaro B. really pegs this Zeitgeist in his "Buddhist Romanticism" – he could have picked at random from DhO for further illustrative examples.
Quote from Chapman:
Robert Sharf, Thanissaro Bikkhu, and David McMahan have suggested that the Consensus theory of meditation draws as much or more from German Romantic Idealism (European monism) than from traditional Buddhism. I suspect this is important, and I would like to present it in language accessible to the general Western Buddhist public.
I don't see anything Romantic.

Why do we do such things, as often in our own topics / postings here? For instance, in the thread "Vinay Gupta on Meditation" ,…"…this seems correlated with dabbling. Whaddaya gonna do?" (Related to "idle chatter"?) Looking up Vinay, his lecture style, … just another Chapman, Hoffman, etc.?
Don't know the Hoffman of which you speak. A regular Albert Hoffman, I'd say. You seem to be judging more people without giving them any chance. Related to "right speech"?

Why evoke Buddhist 'moral' code? I don't follow it. See: the thread you're currently muddling.
Been there, done that (CS) myself for more than 30 years, recognizing, from observing self and so many others, that conceit is a running tendency in that field (especially in the AI area).
I don't see much value in judging an entire field. Can you define conceit? Can you provide evidence of Chapman's?

btw: that's the best expreission I've run across here lately: "Whaddaya gonna do?" emoticon
Thanks. I was Tony Soprano when I said it.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/14/16 5:36 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re:Droll Dedekind (5/13/16 11:36 PM as a reply to CJMacie)

"Hi CJMacie. I'm not really sure what your obsession with hatingon non-traditional stuff is. What is it that you value? Maybe we could talk about that."
(Nice colors!)
George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Alan Kay: "I like to say that in the old days, if you reinvented the wheel, you would get your wrist slapped for not reading. But nowadays people are reinventing the flat tire. … if they reinvented the wheel … at least we'd be moving forward."

"I'm rather sure nothing productive will come of this but I can't resist."
2nd time you've mentioned that. What means "productive"?

"Quote from Chapman:

Robert Sharf, Thanissaro Bikkhu, and David McMahan have suggested that the Consensus theory of meditation draws as much or more from German Romantic Idealism (European monism) than from traditional Buddhism. I suspect this is important, and I would like to present it in language accessible to the general Western Buddhist public.
I don't see anything Romantic."

Interesting example of everything-including-the-kitchen-sink writing, and it's circularity. Than-Geoff doesn't mention "Consensus theory of meditation", nor "European monism" per se. (He does go into detail on J.G.Herder's use of a 'monism' derived from Spinoza, and a usage under "Perennial Philosophy".) Nor, for that matter does he treat "German Romantic Idealism"; his use of terms is far more precise, and always documented as to source and context. The circularity: just how would Chapman "…present it in language accessible to the general Western Buddhist public"? (That public, its language, is in fact the trap.) "Romantic", in Than-Geoff's sense, could be encapsulated as 'novelesque' – the narrative of one's individual creative aesthetic. But that's a long story, in fact a whole book.


The material in Chapman's "Bad ideas from dead Germans" (in Meaningness) is a good example: mildly (when just vague) to more grossly inaccurate relative to the historical record. "All these ideas are probably familiar. Many are almost right, and perhaps none is entirely wrong."  Right or wrong is not the issue, but rather how the ideas from that era have underlied, recognized or not, modern Western notions of reality and value for 2+ centuries already. "[These ideas] seem now to be increasingly accepted by masses of people… the primary basis for current pop spirituality… the pressing question is why these ideas are popular now". They've been there all along, much deeper in modernWestern cultural identity, surfacing again and again in 'new age' andother awareness 'revolutions'. But Chapman, not knowing any better (so far – admittedly his thought does evolve), is more interestedin the flat tire. E.g. "…I'll mostly be talking about Madonna ["I'm a material girl" sense] materialism…" (from the comments to "…dead Germans"). "I will be writing in broad-brush terms, which may sometimes seem careless to scholars or advocates of particular philosophical systems. That's an inevitable price to pay for addressing a broad audience. " – That's honest -- "Reader's Digest" genre of writing.


It goes on and on (to repeat myself) – " … monism— 'all is One,' denying separation and distinctions. I don't know where or whether there is a developed Buddhist philosophical analysis around that...",etc. (also from the comments).  Forget philosophical analysis, check-out the Buddha's explicit treatment in the Pali Canon.

(Chapman's piece on "dead Germans" surfaced in 2010; Than-Geoff's book in 2016, but evolved out of shorter writings and talks going back to the turn of the century.)

"Don't know the Hoffman of which you speak. A regular Albert Hoffman…"
David Hoffman, as recently idolized here in DhO. The latter… thought at first you might mean "Abby Hoffman". (Looked them up – high-brow and lo-brow, both luminaries of the 1960's.)

"What is it that you value?" … "I don't see much value in judging an entire field."
Is your "Value" related to "productive"? I do value historical accuracy. Sure, history is inherently mythic (story-telling), but adding further layers of imagination in contradiction to the documented record seems counter-productive, in a sense I use.

"
Can you define conceit?"
Used in the sense of the "fetter" in Theravada / Pali Canon. Pali-Sanskrit etymology related to both "measure" and "honor" or "high opinion".(Standard English etymology traces back to Latin "conceptus" / concept.) In practice, both comparing and over-rating relative to some level of "self" operation. The two final, deepest "fetters" being "conceit" and "ignorance", which are intimately interwoven, are overcome simultaneously (at complete "unbinding"). Unfettered knowing is release from seeing from the perspective of self; hence that peculiar term "Tathāgata" – a sense of "it" rather than "I/me/mine" doing the experiencing or speaking.
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-- Timus --, modified 7 Years ago at 5/14/16 6:40 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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CJMacie:
David Hoffman, as recently idolized here in DhO. …

Sure, that’s exactly what we do here when we take the time to read some of Donald Hoffman's stuff. emoticon
: ladyfrog :, modified 7 Years ago at 5/14/16 8:44 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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For me, in some ways i don’t too much care about someone’s credentials or even motives honestly when what i am seeking from them is sort of a different perspective, a fresh insight - i.e. reading stuff…what he is offering is so very different than what a teacher is offering for example - he is just floating ideas out, not asking for money, commitment, anything, or threatening anyone just sharing ideas.  I am trying very hard to break out of the constraints of my own self-imposed limits.  He’s lobbing grenades.  I evaluate them, for my self, use contrasting ideas as a lantern to illuminate my own unexamined assumptions.

I really enjoyed reading his sites when i did  - i’ve been mostly in the “consensus” buddhist scene and it just felt great to watch it be picked apart… i’m still verifying it all for myself, but it helped a lot of release happen faster.  so great, i say.

So in this way i found reading his work very very helpful, and indeed appreciate someones willingness to speak on topics they are not card carrying experts about, but instead admittedly less than that, but passionate and willing to make waves.
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Dada Kind, modified 7 Years ago at 5/14/16 3:21 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Hi CJMacie,

You're right. Please continue correcting non-traditional stances everywhere you encounter them.

Mostsincerely,
Droll
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/15/16 4:33 AM
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-- Timus --:
CJMacie:
David Hoffman, as recently idolized here in DhO. …

Sure, that’s exactly what we do here when we take the time to read some of Donald Hoffman's stuff. emoticon

Right again, thanks. Let's say "D. Hoffman". Actually "D. D. Hoffman".

Wait… the DhO thread was in fact titled: "David Hoffman's work on consciousness". Slip less of memory, more of alertness
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/15/16 4:39 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: : ladyfrog : (5/14/16 8:44 AM as a reply to CJMacie)

"He’s lobbing grenades.  I evaluate them, for my self, use contrasting ideas as a lantern to illuminate my own unexamined assumptions."
"I really enjoyed reading his sites when i did  - i’ve been mostly in the “consensus” buddhist scene and it just felt great to watch it be picked apart… i’m still verifying it all for myself, but it helped a lot of release happen faster.  so great, i say."


Right. I've been here focusing on narrower aspect where I consider my understanding a bit up the learning curve; possibly analogous to neko's zeroing-in on quantum mechanics in the thread "David Hoffman's work on consciousness".

Forgetting decades of experiences like you describe, iteration after iteration. The key may be, as you suggest, honing skills of evaluation, verification, and rather expecting fascination with this or that to fade in impermanence and fail as anchor for identification.
: ladyfrog :, modified 7 Years ago at 5/15/16 9:25 PM
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Hey Chris,

I should have i guess made my response to the OP as it wasn't specifically directed at you just sort of a general one... sorry!  I am not a big message board writer... as well i don't devalue all sorts of expertise and reasoning (i have in fact gotten tons from thanisarro that has deeply benefited my practice)...  i just also got some real benefit from reading Chapman's stuff too.

Ladyfrog
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/16/16 4:00 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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CJMacie:
"And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."
I would like to look-up the Pali (for the red section), the question being do those terms connote some sort of duhhka in the Buddha's mind, speaking here apparently after full awakening?

Should a Buddha spend 24/7 hitthing their head against a brickwall & not get tired & not sense they are wasting time? If you spent your day attempting to teach the Four Noble Truths to your pet cat or canary, wouldn't you start to feel weird? It is the same as when you try to teach ultimate reality to people immersed in superstition. emoticon
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/16/16 5:12 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Droll Dedekind (5/14/16 1:21 PM as a reply to CJMacie)

"Please continue correcting non-traditional stances everywhere you encounter them."

Can be seen also as offering alternative views, perspective. Expecting others to change their views is impractical. S/t one (including myself) does, through these discussions, come to newly recognize where one's views stem from knowledge or from belief.

S/t a polemic tone does "bleed through" (to borrow a great term from MCTB ), but that's part-and-parcel of traditional Western view-ping-pong.
Small Steps, modified 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 10:02 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 10:02 AM

RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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T DC:
Woah!  What a quote!  I am curious, what is your source for this?  Is it from a specific book?  I am interested!
It's Than Geoff's translation of MN 26 (Ariyapariyesana sutta). Here is his translation with a small intro/commentary.

Stephen Batchelor explores this particular theme in his new book, After Buddhism. He translates "attachment" as "place" since I believe the Pali word being used here is alaya. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates it as "adhesion." Having this additional translation of alaya is helpful, since it feels truer and more natural to say, "People love their place in the world."

Don't we all? emoticon
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 3:48 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 3:39 PM

RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Its irrelevent what 'alaya' exactly means since most are probably just guessing. The word must be defined in the context of the passage. Bhikkhu Bodhi actually uses the word 'attachment' in his 2009 edition of the MN. It appears the contra word 'analaya' is the last word in the 3rd noble truth, which Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as 'non-reliance' or others have translated as: 'to not think back to; to not reminisce back to'.  

The  idea of "people love their place in the world" sounds like people want to be reincarnated. It sounds like Stephen Batchelor believes in reincarnation. 

Ancient words are generally derived from original physical meanings. 'Alaya' is something psychological & obviously much more broader than Stephen Batchelor is inferring. 

Ālaya (m. & nt.) [cp. Sk. ālaya, ā + , līyate, cp. allīna & allīyati, also nirālaya] -- 1. orig. roosting place, perch, i. e. abode settling place, house J i.10 (geh˚); Miln 213; DhA ii.162 (an˚ = anoka), 170 (= oka). -- 2. "hanging on", attachment, desire, clinging, lust S i.136 = Vin i.4 (˚rāma "devoted to the things to which it clings" K. S.); Vin iii.20, 111; S iv.372 (an˚); v.421 sq. (id.); A ii. 34, 131 (˚rāma); iii.35; It 88; Sn 177 (kām˚ = kāmesu taṇhā -- diṭṭhi -- vasena duvidho ālayo SnA 216), 535 (+ āsavāni), 635; Nett 121, 123 (˚samugghāta); Vism 293 (id.), 497; Miln 203 (Buddh ˚ŋ akāsi?); DhA i.121; iv.186 (= taṇhā); SnA 468 (= anoka of Sn 366). -- 3. pretence, pretext, feint [cp. BSk. ālaya M Vastu iii.314] J i.157 (gilān˚), 438; iii.533 (mat˚); iv.37 (gabbhinī); vi 20, 262 (gilān˚).
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 11:16 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 5/17/16 10:34 PM

RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Nicky (5/17/16 3:48 PM as a reply to Small Steps)

"Ancient words are generally derived from original physical meanings. 'Alaya' is something psychological & obviously much more broader than Stephen Batchelor is inferring. "

How do you use "psychological" here? All the meanings, e.g. in the PTS Dictionary passage (at p.109) you quote, refer to physical placement, with a strong connotation of sticking,  clinging to, hence the extention in the direction of "upādāna". To my mind, the Buddha's phenomenology of mental life is decidedly distinct from, far more penetrating than what generally goes under the rubric of psychology.

(Alexander Piatigorsky ["The Buddhist Philosophy of Thought"] makes the interesting observation that the Buddha's teachings can be much better understood as 'meta-psychology' and 'meta-philosophy', that is, exploring the root mental processes much deeper than Western conceptual views.)

I’d be really surprised if you're advocating anything like Jack Kornfield's "Dharma" as "Buddhist psychology".

I've been fascinated by the word 'ālaya', ever since first looking it up in decoding Ven. Analayo's name (from past postings, I recall, one of your favorite dhamma authors emoticon ), finding it as "an-alayo", or "free from roosting, clinging." And another strong association in the word 'Himalaya': 'hima' snow, ice – where snow-ice clings.

Here B. Bodhi's "adhesion" fits nicely, and, of course, "attachment" is translated by both Ajahns Thanissaro and Sujato. The s/w defanged extension of its meaning to "abode", "place" doesn't seem right. Snow on the mountains (15k-25k feet high) doesn't just sit there – it'd be blown-off by the winds – but rather melts from the intense solar rays and promptly refreezes in the shade becoming firmly attached ice.

btw, Nicky, I seem to recall that earlier you would supply reference to sources when you cited quotations, but less so recently (as in the MN26 bitor the PTS Dict definition). It's a good idea to mention the source, as it can save others of us a lot of searching time. Thanks
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/18/16 6:02 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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The Pali dictionary (despite not being infallible) starts with the physical root (eg. 'roosting place') and then explains the psychological meaning (eg. 'clinging'). 

This is similar to the word 'pubbenivesa', which literally means 'former homes' & is erroneously translated as 'past lives'. Psychologically (using a physical simile), the scriptures say: 

"The property of form, householder, is the home of consciousness. When consciousness is in bondage through passion to the property of form, it is said to be living at home. The property of feeling... perception... fabrication is the home of consciousness. When consciousness is in bondage through passion to the property of fabrication, it is said to be dwelling at home."

And how does one not live at home? Any desire, passion, delight, craving, any attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions with regard to the property of form: these the Tathagata has abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Therefore the Tathagata is said to be not dwelling at home.


Haliddakani Sutta

'Clinging' (not being able to let go) is probably a good translation of 'alaya' (where as 'upadana' has the meaning of 'taking up' or 'picking up a burden'). 

I would guess the difference between 'upadana' & 'alaya' is, in the psychological process of self-becoming, the mind picks up sense objects via 'upadana' & then is unable to let them go/drop them due to 'alaya' (holding on/clinging). Therefore, 'upadana' possibly must occur before 'alaya' can occur. Example:

A burden indeed are the five aggregates,
and the carrier of the burden is the'person'
Taking up the burden in the world is stressful.
Casting off the burden is bliss.

Having cast off the heavy burden
and not taking on another,
pulling up craving, along with its root,
one is free from hunger, totally unbound.

Bhāra Sutta: The Burden


Also, as I previously posted, 'analayo' is the last word found in the definition of the 3rd noble truth. 

Idaṃ kho pana bhikkhave, dukkhanirodho ariyasaccaṃ: yo tassāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodho cāgo paṭinissaggo mutti anālayo.

And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release & letting go (
anālayo) of that very craving.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/22/16 6:04 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Nicky (5/18/16 6:02 AM as a reply to CJMacie)

Thanks for that reply, as it helps a couple of things fall into place.

In my last post, I was shying away from "abode" or "place" for "ālayo", as my sense is that the connotation isn't so passive as in just sitting there, like a rock, but rather has the aspect of actively holding, clinging at some location, like a bird's claws grasping the perch when roosting; hence also "attachment" or "adhesion".

(Along the lines of what you note with reference to the PTS Dict, the game of approximating the many dimensions of Pali/Sanskrit meanings with the many dimensions of English meanings is by nature an inexact science.)

'Pubbenivesa' as "formerhomes" does add interesting possibilities in grappling with the matter more commonly known as "past lives" or "rebirth". It's evident to me that the phenomenon of Pubbenivesa ,'rebirth', etc. (whatever) has to do not with some person-like entity that itself comes to life again and again, but rather (impersonal) patterns of mental behavior, mental processes that recur repeatedly due to the nature of the mind (of the human organism) and the ocean of samsaric conditioning it always floats in. When once asking Than-Geoff what is it that recurs (is reborn or whatever), since, from a modern POV it seems that it can't be the some individual 'soul' (me) or whatever -- his reply was simply that it's consciousness.

These patterns of experience pop-up again and again. As Stephen Levine once put it (paraphrasing): "whatever one (e.g. I) experiences has been experienced umptine times by others across history; they're not (exclusively) 'my' experiences". And they pop-up, as an inherent property of form, in the situation of the householder (TG: "run-of-the-mill person"), re-living the five aggregates as clung-to (to paste together a collage of elements from the quotations in Nicky's post).

Brings to mind a metaphor/symbol in Christian tradition – the representation of "spirit" as a dove in paintings of the scene at 'Pentecost' (40-days after Christ'sAcension when he returns to his followers in the form of the "holy spirit"). The bird symbolizes, I would have it, these impersonal conscious experiences that belong to no-one exclusively, but somehow get communicated (by conditioning and circumstance), recur in human experience. A bird travels thru the air – 'spiritus' (Latin) is basically 'breath', and the vehicle of speech. Throughout Christian-Judaic scriptures, "God" communicates, expresses though breath, beginning with breathing into earth (root of the word 'Adam') to create human kind. And this also associates with the "gift of tongues" that the disciples were said to be given at that event, referring to an ability to transmit their (Christian) dhamma irrespective of any specific language. (Not at all to suggest any equivalence between Buddha and Christian dhamma, but rather a metaphorical similarity in the cross-personal transmission of human experience. The 'Holy Spirit' is understood as primal ontology ('God'); while in Buddha (Pali) dhamma experiences 'reborn' are transient, fabricated phenomena that result in the patterns of 'becoming', 'clinging', 'craving', etc. in individuals whose minds are not unbound.)

And not to say I've nailed down the direct experience of the anālayo of the 3rd NT, but that sifting through these various slices of POV (expressions from Ajahn Lee, Stephen Levine, Nicky, etc.), there gradually develops a sense of it, getting closer to what the experience might be like. (These verbal fabrications we bandy about perhaps as "wings of awakening"?)

P.S. A quotation from Ajahn Lee – in Thanissaro's translation of "Keeping the Breath in Mind", at the end of the Chapter titled "Jhāna", in listing the skills that can result from mastery of 4th level Jhāna:"
6. Pubbenivasanussati-ñana: the ability to remember previous lifetimes. (If you attain this skill, you’ll no longer have to wonder as to whether death is followed by annihilation or rebirth.)"
-- Than-Geoff's choice of "previous lifetimes" might be questioned here, as he's translating from the Thai language; no telling what words Ajahn Lee used –
What I take from this quotation (and maybe also some other, somewhere), is that one can adequately understand' Pubbenivesa' (aka the 1st knowledge) only from the vantage point of, in effect, an Arahant, of Tathāgata. Hence the rest of us are just thrashing about in ignorant views (lacking of complete gnosis) on this issue.
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 5/22/16 2:43 PM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Pubbenivasanussati is described at: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.079.than.html. It simply means recollecting each time in the past, the mind clung to experience. i.e., the five aggregates, as "I", "me" & "mine". When the scriptures say the Buddha recollected one birth, two births, a hundred, a million, a billion births, this is what this means. "Birth" (jati) means the birth of the idea of 'self', as described at: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.081.than.html

Consciousness is not related to 'rebirth'. The Buddha did not teach this & admonished such a false view by Bhikkhu Sati in MN 38. The Buddha only taught consciousness is cognition via the six sense bases. The Buddha did not teach the erroneous & later-day DN 15 (Mahanidana Sutta). The idea that there is 're-linking' consciousness is another later-day proto-Hindu corruption. 

What is 'reborn' is the tendency to ignorance & defilement (anusaya). These are related to the citta or sankhara khandha rather than to consciousness. Each time a wisdom lesson is not learned from suffering, the tendency to ignorance & defilement is reinforced. Then, later, in the stream of D.O., the idea of 'self' is born again. 

It is not really 'rebirth' because a 'same thing' is not 'reborn'. It is being 'born' or taking 'birth' again. Each birth (of a 'self' idea) is a new birth. 

As for Tan-Geoff, since you can actually contact him, please pass on my sincere praise to Tan-Geoff for his booklet called 'Shape of Suffering'. 

emoticon





Small Steps, modified 7 Years ago at 5/22/16 2:21 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 5/22/16 2:21 PM

RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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Nicky:

The  idea of "people love their place in the world" sounds like people want to be reincarnated. It sounds like Stephen Batchelor believes in reincarnation.

Seems like an odd conclusion to make.

Have you never heard someone say, "I'm really in a good place these days" (?) Do you think they're talking about reincarnation, or their general state of being, e.g. "I have a nice house and car, my partner has finally stopped nagging me, my kids are doing well in school. I hope it doesn't go to shit."

Yeah, they may well be talking about their "attachments" and "adhesions." I'm simply pointing to the fact that Batchelor's employing a colloquial way of looking at the Buddha's words that I found helpful.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 5/23/16 5:17 AM
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RE: Buddhist Ethics is a Fraud

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re: Nicky (5/22/16 12:43 PM as a reply to CJMacie) 

"Consciousness is not related to 'rebirth'."
Yes, that shakes my memory – Than-Geoff's answer to my question (what is reborn?) may well have been "craving", not "consciousness". (The exchange is recorded in one of his day-longs at IMC/Sati-Institute in the last couple of years – all recordings available at audiodharma.org – but it would probably takes hours to find it.) Perhaps confusing that memory with another question I asked (at probably another session), as to whether "cessation" was actually a total black-out of mental consciousness/awareness/presence (tricky to express in that context); his answer: it's not a black-out; it is, in some sense, known. Not being at any ariya-level myself, hence not claiming certainty, I do have an intuition (based on so much exposure to his teaching) that he does know what he's talking about.

"As for Tan-Geoff, since you can actually contact him, please pass on my sincere praise to Tan-Geoff for his booklet called 'Shape of Suffering'. "
You can contact him too – mailing to a P.O.Box (no email), or calling by telephone at certain times (when he's in town). C.f. detailed information athttp://www.watmetta.org/contact.html

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