Drawing the line

A discussion on all aspects of Engaged Buddhism
Bundokji
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Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 am

Hello everyone :smile:

From my understanding, this forum was created to give Buddhists who are interested in activism and worldly affairs the chance to discuss and share their views in relation to worldly affairs from dhammic perspective.

When we say "engaged Buddhism", we are making a distinction to differentiate it from other ways of engagement. And yet, this distinction can be elusive and worth investigation.

One might say that Buddhist actions are driven by wisdom and compassion, but almost all wordings who engage claim the same thing, so if there is a difference, what is it exactly.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

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Ayu
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Ayu » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 am

At least, this forum should not have any space for bullying - in a Buddhist Engaged forum it should be self-evident that members should not be bullied due to their tradition or due to having "no real tradition". This is ridiculous right here, IMHO.

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 am
...
One might say that Buddhist actions are driven by wisdom and compassion, but almost all wordings who engage claim the same thing, so if there is a difference, what is it exactly.
I don't want to ignore your question, but I do not have a real good answer to it.
Buddhism has another angle of view on worldly affairs. Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people. Nobody should be neglected, as far as I understand.

Bundokji
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:07 am

Ayu wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 am
At least, this forum should not have any space for bullying - in a Buddhist Engaged forum it should be self-evident that members should not be bullied due to their tradition or due to having "no real tradition". This is ridiculous right here, IMHO.

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 am
...
One might say that Buddhist actions are driven by wisdom and compassion, but almost all wordings who engage claim the same thing, so if there is a difference, what is it exactly.
I don't want to ignore your question, but I do not have a real good answer to it.
Buddhism has another angle of view on worldly affairs. Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people. Nobody should be neglected, as far as I understand.
Thanks for your input Ayu :namaste:

I agree that bullying is not conducive to a healthy engagement/discussion, but when i interact with the world, i try to remind myself of how each individual is conditioned in a certain way. Each of us is unique and comes from a different background.

Self awareness is a key in my opinion. We as individuals have limited tolerance level towards certain behaviors, views and ways of expression, hence sometimes keeping a distance can be the best option as it prevents unwholesome mind states within us from arising.

Also, sometimes maybe communicating in private and addressing the person we find offensive directly can move things into the right direction. Actions done with goodwill can do miracles. Also reminding ourselves that non of us is infallible can make us more compassionate towards others.

I personally don't get along with everyone to the same degree, but even those i disagree with or find offensive, i somehow succeeded in developing appreciation of their unique personalities.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

binocular
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:23 am

Ayu wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 am
Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people.
Says who?
Which Buddhists?
Can you provide a canonical reference for the idea that "Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people"?

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Ayu
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Ayu » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:36 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:23 am
Ayu wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 am
Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people.
Says who?
Which Buddhists?
Can you provide a canonical reference for the idea that "Buddhists believe in the basic goodness of people"?
I wrote: "... as far as I understand."

I derive this understanding/interpretation from the teachings about Buddhanature.

If you feel need to oppose my simple understanding, please explain why you think there's no basic goodness within the beings and which Buddhists promote this view. :coffee:

binocular
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:57 am

Ayu wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:36 am
the teachings about Buddhanature.
Which are not universal to all of Buddhism, but only to some schools of Buddhism.

See Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Freedom from Buddha Nature:
/.../
This is why the Buddha never advocated attributing an innate nature of any kind to the mind—good, bad, or Buddha. The idea of innate natures slipped into the Buddhist tradition in later centuries, when the principle of freedom was forgotten. Past bad kamma was seen as so totally deterministic that there seemed no way around it unless you assumed either an innate Buddha in the mind that could overpower it, or an external Buddha who would save you from it. But when you understand the principle of freedom—that past kamma doesn’t totally shape the present, and that present kamma can always be free to choose the skillful alternative—you realize that the idea of innate natures is unnecessary: excess baggage on the path.

And it bogs you down. If you assume that the mind is basically bad, you won’t feel capable of following the path, and will tend to look for outside help to do the work for you. If you assume that the mind is basically good, you’ll feel capable but will easily get complacent. This stands in the way of the heedfulness needed to get you on the path, and to keep you there when the path creates states of relative peace and ease that seem so trustworthy and real. If you assume a Buddha nature, you not only risk complacency but you also entangle yourself in metaphysical thorn patches: If something with an awakened nature can suffer, what good is it? How could something innately awakened become defiled? If your original Buddha nature became deluded, what’s to prevent it from becoming deluded after it’s re-awakened?
/.../
If you feel need to oppose my simple understanding, please explain why you think there's no basic goodness within the beings and which Buddhists promote this view.
- - -
It's that the view "Human beings are basically good" is just as problematic as the view "Human beings are basically bad". Not merely because they are views, but because they create a number of problems. Such as: If human beings are basically good or have basic goodness in them, then why do they suffer, and why do they do evil things? How is it that that basic goodness so often gets outpowered by so many other human characteristics? If human goodness is so weak as to easily surrender to a number of other characteristics, what good is it to begin with?
If human beings are basically bad, then why do they sometimes not suffer, and do good things? Etc.

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KathyLauren
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by KathyLauren » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm

I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

binocular
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:51 pm

KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm
I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"
And that kind of reasoning is based on the dichotomy that there is such as thing as "inside the temple" and "outside the temple".
I contend that that dichotomy is fallacious.

Bundokji
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:12 pm

KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm
I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"

Om mani padme hum
Kathy
:goodpost:
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Bundokji
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:12 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:51 pm
And that kind of reasoning is based on the dichotomy that there is such as thing as "inside the temple" and "outside the temple".
I contend that that dichotomy is fallacious.
:goodpost:
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

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KathyLauren
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by KathyLauren » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:31 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:51 pm
KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm
I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"
And that kind of reasoning is based on the dichotomy that there is such as thing as "inside the temple" and "outside the temple".
I contend that that dichotomy is fallacious.
How so?

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

Pseudobabble
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:06 pm

KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:31 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:51 pm
KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm
I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"
And that kind of reasoning is based on the dichotomy that there is such as thing as "inside the temple" and "outside the temple".
I contend that that dichotomy is fallacious.
How so?

Om mani padme hum
Kathy
It implies there is some substantial difference between the two. Whereas, if you have defilements outside the temple, you have them inside, and vice-versa.

binocular
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:20 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:06 pm
It implies there is some substantial difference between the two. Whereas, if you have defilements outside the temple, you have them inside, and vice-versa.
Exactly.

Further, how can one possibly know the level of committment and attainment of other people, inside and outside of the temple? Is someone who happens to be "outside the temple" automatically a "non-Buddhist", and should therefore somehow be treated differently than someone who is inside the temple? Does being inside the temple automatically make one a Buddhist?

The time for Buddhist practice is any time, and the place for Buddhist practice is any where, not just when one is in the temple.

Bundokji
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:46 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:06 pm
It implies there is some substantial difference between the two. Whereas, if you have defilements outside the temple, you have them inside, and vice-versa.
Good point. It also raises questions about what we mean by meditation or practice.

Is meditation episodic?
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Pseudobabble
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:00 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:46 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:06 pm
It implies there is some substantial difference between the two. Whereas, if you have defilements outside the temple, you have them inside, and vice-versa.
Good point. It also raises questions about what we mean by meditation or practice.

Is meditation episodic?

Intensity of practice is episodic - sitting jhana is very intensive. Walking meditation on your way to work, less so. Mindfulness of Right Speech throughout the day even less so. And so on. Though this isn't to say that less intensive activities are 'easier'. I find the daily-life continual practice hardest of all.

chownah
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by chownah » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:16 pm

KathyLauren,
Were you using "inside the temple" and "outside the temple" as being literal or were you using it as a metaphor for state of mind or something similar?
chownah

Bundokji
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by Bundokji » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:20 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:00 pm
Intensity of practice is episodic - sitting jhana is very intensive. Walking meditation on your way to work, less so. Mindfulness of Right Speech throughout the day even less so. And so on. Though this isn't to say that less intensive activities are 'easier'. I find the daily-life continual practice hardest of all.
I agree with your point that intensity is not what defines meditation, but the extent in which an action is driven by compassion, good will and wisdom in my opinion.

Your input reminded me of a thread i came across on a different forum by a practitioner who went into a three months retreat, and when he came back, his girl friend broke up with him, which caused him grief and sadness. The topic was about reconciling Buddhist practice with family life.

Going into three months retreat sounds very intense, but does not necessarily lead to wisdom.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

binocular
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:59 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:46 pm
Good point. It also raises questions about what we mean by meditation or practice.
Is meditation episodic?
When one takes up the practice of the precepts, for example, that means a 24/7 vigilance to keep the precepts.
The particular actions may require only a small amount of time and be episodic (e.g. turning down an alcoholic drink at a party), but the vigilance has to be 24/7, because without such vigilance, one cannot rightfully say one has taken up training in accord with the precepts (unless, of course, one has taken up training in accord with the precepts only at specific times of the day/week/month).

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fwiw
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by fwiw » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:24 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:53 am
One might say that Buddhist actions are driven by wisdom and compassion, but almost all wordings who engage claim the same thing, so if there is a difference, what is it exactly.
i'd say no difference, except that Buddhists supposedly aim for complete liberation from suffering and perhaps might have access to a more comprehensive corpus of knowledge and values to draw inspiration from. I volunteer with Christians and Muslims, there is no difference in what we do except the beliefs about what we are doing, that are similar but vary on the specifics.
... in my opinion

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VividAwareness
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Re: Drawing the line

Post by VividAwareness » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:28 pm

KathyLauren wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:47 pm
I think that engaged Buddhism is about how the Dharma is applied outside the temple, and away from the meditation seat. For example, "Can you give a canonical reference for that?" is very much an "inside the temple" question. An outside the temple question might be, "How does that apply when dealing with non-Buddhists?"

Om mani padme hum
Kathy
+
“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way people think.”

- Gregory Bateson, anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, semiotician, and cyberneticist

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