Dharma government?

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Wayfarer
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:45 am

boda wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:19 am
Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:36 pm
the goal of Nirvāṇa is outside any of the categories of the understanding of so-called secular philosophy in the West. I think if that is understood, then secular cultures can still accommodate such teachings but again only if they understand that it's about something out of range of scientific understanding.
I don't believe that the concept of transcendence is necessarily religious or beyond the range of scientific understanding. Spirituality may fall within the secular sphere because it's an important aspect of human experience and doesn't rely on religious doctrine.
Modern scientific method implicitly supposes a separation between knower and object of knowledge. That is why objectivity is the criterion of truth for scientific observation. However in the discipline of meditation one is both object and subject of the analysis - hence, 'non-dualism'. This is not in conflict with science, but it supposes a different kind of conceptual framework to that presumed by today's naturalism. There are scientists that are hip to this of course - I've been to three Science and Nonduality conferences. But theirs is definitely alternative/counter-cultural in orientation, it's not the mainstream, which remains staunchly reductionistic in its attitudes. And the keynote of secular philosophy is precisely 'rejection of the transcendent'. I know, I've debated this exact point for the last ten years on philosophy forums.
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:29 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:36 pm
I was just reading yesterday about the decline of Christian affiliation in the US, particularly amongst younger generations; I think the figures you're quoting there might be a bit dated.
You wish. This data is from 2016.
So in the West 'secularism' has often morphed into an attitude which is antagonistic to anything other than utilitarian or pragmatic values; in other words, basically ant-religious.
Ever heard of Protestantism?
On the other hand, Buddhism has had a certain kind of 'secular' sensibility about it from the outset...
I would hardly call the six realm model (which has two god realms and two realms of essentially invisible beings) a secular model. Maybe you practice a different Buddhism to me?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:13 am

I said 'a certain kind of secular" sensibility' - insofar as the Buddha rejected religious ritualism, hereditary priesthood, and many other elements of Hindu religiosity. But I also said that the goal of Nirvāṇa is outside the range of secular philosophy.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:36 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:50 am

Take the U$ for example:

73.3% of the population identifies as Christian and only 18.2% identify as having no religion.

The effect of this statistic is that although there is a split between church and state, in reality the U$ functions as a Christian nation.
This does not mean they are Christians in any active sense.

These stats are informative:

http://www.pewforum.org/religious-lands ... -services/
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:14 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:13 pm
Yes, this is samsara and it can't be fixed. But, in fact, I think you and HHDL are on the same page in this regard. My comment was not meant to disagree with what you've said, rather more to point out that HHDL is putting it in practice. This book is his attempt to demonstrate in detail that a little thought reveals how obvious the preference for loving kindness as an ethical basis really is. As you said later,
I thought more about your comment and want to follow up with a little more to clarify my view.

Separation of Church and State in a democracy is a distinct issue from individuals bringing their sensibilities to the public forum.

As citizens participating in the democratic process, I don't think we are expected to leave our sensibilities at the door of the voting station. When we cast our vote, we bring the full scope of our experience to bear on that decision, and for those whom dharma (small d) features in their life, that will and should bear on the decisions. I can't imagine a scenario where one would be required to leave those sensibilities out.

If Buddhists ever become a significant enough segment of the population, I would expect Buddhist sensibilities to influence government. I think the approach to Dharma outlined in texts like Nagarjuna's Jeweled Garland, and other texts directed at rulers, offers a workable guideline. I believe these values are wholly compatible with the Separation of Church and State. Ashoka, while he is said to have been Buddhist, encouraged and supported religions as a general policy, not just Buddhists. Embedded in the Mahayana sensibility, arguably an Indian sensibility, is a respect for Truth and the search for Truth, which means that we must give space to those earnestly striving. Its the basis of tolerance. Its also a basis for open discourse between those who see things differently.

I don't know if HHDL covers this, but while a secular basis is helpful for the purpose of administering a multicultural society, it is not conducive to deeper intercourse between people and the search for truth. It more or less establishes a detente, a tentative peace, based on a vague agreement, but the trade off is that we have to avoid further discussion of what we mean or what informs our understanding of the common standard. The reason is because if we start talking about that common standard, we may well discover that we mean very different things. Over time, as we settle into our discrete groups avoiding actual discussions for the sake of peace, our positions become deeply ingrained, and when a crisis comes and we can longer afford to be polite and avoid the details of our detente, the dynamics are such that the disagreements are amplified. We never learned to deal with people who experience life at an intimate level differently than us because we were treating each other as abstractions.

I think this is what we see now in the US. The discrete groups evolved under different pressures - geography, education, class... with mass communication technology, we're all of a sudden having to confront people as they actually think, and its jarring and stressful.

So my point is, secular standards are well and good, and probably the only way we are going to have peace in the short term because many of us simply are not intellectually and emotionally equipped to discuss through disagreements, or even have a consensus on what it means to search for Truth. We agree on some vague values, and then retreat to our corners, content to not really discuss what we think, and instead unite around some slogans.

As you can see, my thinking on this is far from clear. It is very tentative. But hey, that's actually the way life is - nothing is cut and dry. Its all tentative and ultimately unsatisfying.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Jeff H » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:54 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:14 pm
So my point is, secular standards are well and good, and probably the only way we are going to have peace in the short term because many of us simply are not intellectually and emotionally equipped to discuss through disagreements, or even have a consensus on what it means to search for Truth. We agree on some vague values, and then retreat to our corners, content to not really discuss what we think, and instead unite around some slogans.
I’m not sure that detailed, one-to-one discourse between opposing sides is the primary objective. The advantage of finding common ground, even if it is superficial, is to inform those “individuals bringing their sensibilities to the public forum”. It is to encourage cooler heads to prevail, to the best of their ability, in the voting booth, on the street, and everywhere.

We are steeped in combative discourse and that can encourage ordinary people to react combatively. That’s why there is a need for voices in the wilderness reminding us that even the harshest bigot and most sadistic torturer deserve to be released from the karmic suffering that drives them to their extremes. That is how I understand HHDL’s call for secular ethics derived from what could be called “common sense”. Buddhists reading his book will clearly see that he has derived his logic from Buddhism, but he shows that it isn’t exclusively Buddhist; any religious or non-religious person who has some sense of equanimity could derive the same principles from whatever tenets they accept.

Sometimes combat is necessary, but if it arises from hatred and with vitriol then it is ultimately counterproductive. It just increases the world’s anger. A virtuous person who fights conventional evil with physical force, up to and including death, must do so with loving concern and full acceptance of the negative karma they accrue for the sake of the people they harm.

No doubt I’ll get slammed for naiveite, and I haven’t been looking at Dzogchen or Tantra long enough to know what principles there apply to this topic, but I am quite certain that this is the Bodhisattva’s ideal.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by boda » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:47 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:45 am
Modern scientific method implicitly supposes a separation between knower and object of knowledge. That is why objectivity is the criterion of truth for scientific observation.
I believe objectivity is the criterion of truth in science because science seeks factual knowledge, or observations not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions.
However in the discipline of meditation one is both object and subject of the analysis - hence, 'non-dualism'.
Experiences in meditation is subjective of course, however, developments in neuroscience and scanning technology is opening the practice to scientific investigation.
...the keynote of secular philosophy is precisely 'rejection of the transcendent'.
Distinguishing 'secular' philosophy and 'religious' philosophy appears to simply be distinquishing two broad metaphysical theories or claims. Naturally one may reject the other.

In a sense, all philosophy might be seen as rejecting the transcendent because philosophy is based in reason. Although philosophy can also be seen as a method of seeking truth and wisdom.
So in the West 'secularism' has often morphed into an attitude which is antagonistic to anything other than utilitarian or pragmatic values; in other words, basically ant-religious.
I strongly disagree with this. Aesthetics, for instance, is not necessarily secular or religious in nature. Western enlightenment values are not accurately characterized as utilitarian or pragmatic. Also, many traditional or religious values, in practice, are frighteningly utilitarian or pragmatic. For example, isn't Trump supposed to represent traditional or conservative values? The ethic of "America First" is turning out to be rather coldly rational (in the sense of it being so self-serving to him and those like him), as I see it.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:28 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:47 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:45 am
Modern scientific method implicitly supposes a separation between knower and object of knowledge. That is why objectivity is the criterion of truth for scientific observation.
I believe objectivity is the criterion of truth in science because science seeks factual knowledge, or observations not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions.
It might make it easier to point out that "objective" in the scientific sense is still what Buddhists would call subjective. What is meant by objective in science is a viewer stripped of personality except the ability to measure specified phenomena.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:06 pm

Boda wrote:In a sense, all philosophy might be seen as rejecting the transcendent because philosophy is based in reason. Although philosophy can also be seen as a method of seeking truth and wisdom.
The crucial difference with secular-scientific thinking is that 'seeking truth' always presumes the separation of subject and object. If you go back into Buddhist teaching (particularly with Madhyamika and Yogacara) this foundational axiom is questioned and de-constructed. And 'modern people' can't get that, or, in other words, to really understand that, is to transcend the modern state of 'otherness' which is basic to liberal individualism. But as dharma practitioners, that's just what we're wrestling with.

So, of course you're correct in saying that 'science seeks factual knowledge, or observations not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions' - but where does that leave wisdom, ethics, and compassion? Are they 'subjective' or 'objective' in nature? Or are they 'common sense?' I contend that they are neither - that they transcend the subject-object distinction, precisely because they rely on transcending the sense of the 'division of self and other' which is implicit in the modern stance (and for which see, in particular, Shantideva). And this is exactly where, in modern thinking, the is/ought problem originated. Science deals with the measurable; whereas Buddhism, right from the outset, understands and incorporates 'the immeasurable' (actually four in number.)

Now, I contend that modern ethical philosophy does not understand this problem, mainly because of the founding assumptions which have been first made, then forgotten. Then it's like having locked a door, putting the key in your pocket, and wondering why the door can't be opened. This is expressed in this idea:
Cartesian anxiety refers to the notion that, since René Descartes posited his influential form of body-mind dualism, Western civilization has suffered from a longing for ontological certainty, or feeling that scientific methods, and especially the study of the world as a thing separate from ourselves, should be able to lead us to a firm and unchanging knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. The term is named after Descartes because of his well-known emphasis on "mind" as different from "body", "self" as different from "other".
Richard J. Bernstein Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis 1983, bolds added (also see comments in Varela and Maturana The Embodied Mind.)
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by boda » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:11 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:28 pm
boda wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:47 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:45 am
Modern scientific method implicitly supposes a separation between knower and object of knowledge. That is why objectivity is the criterion of truth for scientific observation.
I believe objectivity is the criterion of truth in science because science seeks factual knowledge, or observations not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions.
It might make it easier to point out that "objective" in the scientific sense is still what Buddhists would call subjective.
You seem to be suggesting that Buddhists are unable to distinguish between objective and subjective. Is that right?
What is meant by objective in science is a viewer stripped of personality except the ability to measure specified phenomena.
That a measurement is taken at all expresses an intention and purpose which is indicative of personhood.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Queequeg » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:33 am

boda wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:11 pm

You seem to be suggesting that Buddhists are unable to distinguish between objective and subjective. Is that right?
No. Pointing out Buddhist view of subjective includes the scientific idea of objective.
What is meant by objective in science is a viewer stripped of personality except the ability to measure specified phenomena.
That a measurement is taken at all expresses an intention and purpose which is indicative of personhood.
Exactly.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:40 am

Boda wrote:enlightenment values are not accurately characterized as utilitarian or pragmatic. Also, many traditional or religious values, in practice, are frighteningly utilitarian or pragmatic. For example, isn't Trump supposed to represent traditional or conservative values?
I think this reaction is quite common and understandable. Actually it was just this kind of remark which has caused me to stop posting on philosopyforum, where I know you also visit. The attitude is: isn’t anything spiritual/religious typical of authoritarianism? Doesn’t ‘the secular’ stand for ‘individual rights and freedoms’ and ‘religious authority’ stand for repression and control?

Another point I always came to major disagreements on the philosophyforum was always about the idea of there being ‘higher truth’. To which response always was - and it was normally a very hostile one - oh yeah, higher according to whom?? Whose ‘higher’? Buddhists? Christians? They all claim to have it, and they all disagree with each other. Doesn’t this mean that they can’t all be just ignored?

The problem is locating a qualitative scale, a vertical axis or dimension along which things can really be understood as better or worse. To all intents, this is what has dropped out of modern philosophical discourse. And again the reason for that, goes back to the origins of the modern conception of mind and body. As Thomas Nagel wrote in his Mind and Cosmos:
The modern mind-body problem arose out of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, as a direct result of the concept of objective physical reality that drove that revolution. Galileo and Descartes made the crucial conceptual division by proposing that physical science should provide a mathematically precise quantitative description of an external reality extended in space and time, a description limited to spatiotemporal primary qualities such as shape, size, and motion, and to laws governing the relations among them. Subjective appearances, on the other hand -- how this physical world appears to human perception -- were assigned to the mind, and the secondary qualities like color, sound, and smell were to be analyzed relationally, in terms of the power of physical things, acting on the senses, to produce those appearances in the minds of observers. It was essential to leave out or subtract subjective appearances and the human mind -- as well as human intentions and purposes -- from the physical world in order to permit this powerful but austere spatiotemporal conception of objective physical reality to develop. (pp. 35-36)
This was combined with the Protestant notion of the primacy of the individual conscience and the privacy of the relationship between God and man, to ‘de-sacralize’ the Cosmos which was now understood as a domain of essentially undirected physical and energetic forces out which life essentially arose as a matter of physics. [Of course in this regard the Buddhist understanding is different again, but here we’re discussing the dynamics in the context of Western cultural history.]

My view is, [and this is NOT a view that is generally associated with Buddhism as such] is that all of the ‘axial age’ religions, of which Buddhism is an exemplar, tacitly assumed a vertical axis or dimension. In Buddhism this is depicted as the Six Realms [e.g. in the bhavachakra paintings]. In ancient and medieval Europe, it was depicted as the Great Chain of Being. This ‘vertical dimension’ or ‘scale of value’ is precisely what became lost in the transition from medieval to modern thinking. This doesn’t mean ‘medieval good, modern bad’, but it is something that has to be understood in my view. BUT, even mentioning that, or arguing for it, pushes a lot of buttons. I think what is really interesting, is why this is - that it indicates something like a repression or a shadow of something buried.

One of the books through which I discovered [or re-discovered] Buddhism was Alan Watts’ last book: The Book: on the Taboo against Knowing who you Are. Note use of the word ‘taboo’ in this title; it is perfectly accurate. Another counter-cultural classic from the same period is Thomas Roszak’s Where the Wasteland Ends [which I bought again recently, although it’s a bit too polemical nowadays.] I suppose another early influence was The Politics of Esctacy. The point of all these books is that realising spiritual truth is subversive, and it’s opposed on many levels, by many forces.

But:

Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by boda » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:48 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:06 pm
Science deals with the measurable; whereas Buddhism, right from the outset, understands and incorporates 'the immeasurable' (actually four in number.)
Equanimity, love, compassion, and joy are highly subjective but that doesn't mean they're immeasurable and therefore beyond scientific investigation, or that scientific investigation may not assist in the flourishing of these qualities.
So, of course you're correct in saying that 'science seeks factual knowledge, or observations not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions' - but where does that leave wisdom, ethics, and compassion?
Indeed, not influenced by subjective feelings or opinions. If the supreme leader of the new Dharma government decrees that colluding with a hostile nation to attain their position is perfectly ethical, for example, I may be free to evaluate the law rationally, assuming I haven't drank the Kool-Aid.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by boda » Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:43 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:40 am
Boda wrote:enlightenment values are not accurately characterized as utilitarian or pragmatic. Also, many traditional or religious values, in practice, are frighteningly utilitarian or pragmatic. For example, isn't Trump supposed to represent traditional or conservative values?
I think this reaction is quite common and understandable. Actually it was just this kind of remark which has caused me to stop posting on philosopyforum, where I know you also visit.
Well, I'm sorry to bring the experience here.
The attitude is: isn’t anything spiritual/religious typical of authoritarianism?
I believe that religion requires an authority figure of some sort. Spirituality, on the other hand, does not.

The basic problem with combining religion and government is that the power of a religious authority is too intense and need not conform to reason, morality, or anything really. They are the ultimate authority.
Doesn’t ‘the secular’ stand for ‘individual rights and freedoms’ and ‘religious authority’ stand for repression and control?
A lighter view might be that the secular stands for freedom to discover and develop meaning for ourselves rather than follow a traditional system.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:50 am

Actually a lot of the dynamic in this analysis goes back to the origins of Western culture. The word 'orthodoxy' means 'right belief' or 'right worship' - subtly different from 'samma ditthi', right view or understanding. And in the formative years of Western culture, a lot of blood was shed over what was right belief and what wasn't. Being on the wrong side of that argument often had dreadful consequences; look at the 30 Years War, the Albigensian Crusades. Little wonder that the foundational creed of the Royal Society (the first organised scientific congress) was to leave all religious and metaphysical questions aside; address them at your peril! And this is still writ large in the science vs religion aspect of the Culture Wars.

The whole situation in ancient India was vastly different. In fact 'dharma' as understood in Indian culture, was fundamentally different from 'religion' as understood in early Europe (even if there are overlaps.) Western religion tends much more towards authoritarianism. In Christianity, this is founded on the interpretation of Jesus' declaration of being the only 'truth, light and way' (and by implication, Christianity being the 'one true religion'). Buddhism is very different in this respect; the (apocryphal) last words of the Buddha, 'seek out your own salvation with diligence'; the fact that the whole teaching is dialectical (i.e. a discussion or conversation); the fact that the Buddha is not one of a kind, but a type; the difference between 'precepts' and 'commandments' as inner principles and outer injunctions; and the teaching of the Dharma being 'like a raft' - used for crossing over, but not to be clung to or venerated for its own sake. You would never find that in Western religion. (That particular principle is why Buddhism can be said to retain an element of the secular understanding, and is also a firewall against authoritarianism and dogmatism.)

The whole dynamic about the way Christianity became organised, was that it was centripetal, 'power flowing from the centre', represented by the Pope [i.e. 'father of the Church'] and the ecclesiastical hierarchy who represented the 'one true way'. Buddhism (and other Indian spiritual movements) were much more centrifugal, flowing outwards, empowering lines of individual teachers and freedom of interpretation. Of course they are not without their ecclesiastical hierarchies also (which is actually a good argument for the separation of religion and secular state in Buddhist culture!) and not without their disputes over heresy and schism. But they're far less rigidly dogmatic (exemplified by the difference between Chinese art and calligraphy, flowing and ephemeral, and Classical architecture, literally 'set in stone'.)

But what's happening in the encounter of Buddhism and the West, is that Westerners bring a lot of our anti-religious samskara to bear both for and against Buddhism. We can't help but seeing it through the prism of our own cultural baggage. I know this is something I struggle with. But, to quote Alan Watts again:
...the Westerner who is attracted by Zen and who would understand it deeply must have one indispensable qualification: he must understand his own culture so thoroughly that he is no longer swayed by its premises unconsciously. He must really have come to terms with the Lord God Jehovah and with his Hebrew-Christian conscience so that he can take it or leave it without fear or rebellion. He must be free of the itch to justify himself. Lacking this, his Zen will be either "beat" or "square," either a revolt from the culture and social order or a new form of stuffiness and respectability. For Zen is above all the liberation of the mind from conventional thought, and this is something utterly different from rebellion against convention, on the one hand, or adopting foreign conventions, on the other.
Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen.
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by kirtu » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:19 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:50 am
But what's happening in the encounter of Buddhism and the West, is that Westerners bring a lot of our anti-religious samskara to bear both for and against Buddhism. We can't help but seeing it through the prism of our own cultural baggage. I know this is something I struggle with.
Some people struggle with that. Some don't.
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:50 am
But, to quote Alan Watts again: ....
Watts is completely dated.

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"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 am

Kirt wrote: Watts is completely dated
Well if you can find me a more current citation for that idea, then I be pleased to use it, but otherwise it’s just
The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue) is a fallacy of irrelevance that is based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context.
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Re: Dharma government?

Post by boda » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:31 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:50 am
what's happening in the encounter of Buddhism and the West, is that Westerners bring a lot of our anti-religious samskara to bear both for and against Buddhism.
No one needs to be anti-religious to see the potential folly of fusing church and state. It’s bad enough that Americans are so spiritually bereft that a populist like Trump can create a kind of cult following where facts and truth are of lesser value than merely being part of the tribe.

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Re: Dharma government?

Post by SonamTashi » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:10 am

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:36 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:50 am

Take the U$ for example:

73.3% of the population identifies as Christian and only 18.2% identify as having no religion.

The effect of this statistic is that although there is a split between church and state, in reality the U$ functions as a Christian nation.
This does not mean they are Christians in any active sense.

These stats are informative:

http://www.pewforum.org/religious-lands ... -services/
I think these stats are really interesting, but I wonder just how accurate they are, at least for certain groups. Most of the group stats look pretty accurate from what I've seen, but I wonder about Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses particularly. These groups have a lot of peer pressure to attend, or at least say you attend on a regular basis. There may also be some self selection bias. From personal experience (I used to be Mormon), and from what others have said, "active" Mormon attendance (which basically = weekly attendance) in America is closer to 40%, and it is even lower outside the US. It often reaches even down to 25% in places in the United States. One way Mormons themselves measure attendance is by counting the number of sacrament water cups used vs. how many members are on the rolls. This usually coincides with the 30-40% mark many Mormons and ex-Mormons mention.

Here are some sources backing this up:

https://religionnews.com/2016/10/05/lea ... ds-church/

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?i ... type=CMSID

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?i ... type=CMSID

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... 39f2d85edb

So I think there is a lot of self selection bias going on here, combined with peer pressure to appear as an active Mormon. I've never been a Jehovah's Witness so I can't absolutely speak for them, but I have a feeling they would probably be about the same. Especially because JWs have a significantly bigger problem with shaming and shunning.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

Tiago Simões
Posts: 947
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:41 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: Dharma government?

Post by Tiago Simões » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:43 am

Separating Dharma and politics is a good way to ensure its survival for a while longer in the age of kali yuga.

A good example:
Chatral Rinpoche shunned institutional and political involvement his whole life, choosing instead to live the life of a wandering yogin.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

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