What is an existential threat to Dharma?

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DGA
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What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by DGA » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:26 pm

In the most recent thread on the Aro gTer, the idea of what may constitute an existential threat to Dharma emerged but got swallowed up again in a number of other claims and positions. I think it would be worthwhile to probe this one in more detail.

What, to your mind, constitutes an existential threat to Dharma? by that I mean: what are some trends or factors that can hasten the extinction of Dharma among us here on planet Earth?

I think sectarianism is one factor that could do it. Buddhists have fallen into the habit of tearing each other down, indeed building entire traditions (more than one in more than one country) around celebrating this truth over that truth as opposed to the other guy's, and thus making a virtue of running down competing sects and their leaders. I can show you examples of this at DW but do I really need to?

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:44 pm

There's a sutta where the Buddha basically says that the Dharma will disappear when monks are more interested in other forms of entertainment than in actually listening to Dharma teachings. So, I guess a lot of things are a threat to the Dharma...

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:07 am

The only existential threat to Buddha Dharma is Buddhism...but that will pass.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Wayfarer
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:17 am

DGA wrote:What, to your mind, constitutes an existential threat to Dharma?
'Naturalisation'. That means, interpreting Buddhism in such a way that it conforms to the scientific-secular mindset of the metropolis. Stephen Bachelor is the obvious example, but there are others, working quietly away, publishing books and papers, giving talks, persuading, updating, and revisioning the meaning of Buddhism.

Actually I found a piece the other day, by Bachelor, where he more or less openly acknowledges this:
For traditional Buddhists...it is incoherent to consider oneself a ‘Buddhist’ without believing that this life is but a brief moment in a succession of lifetimes in different realms of existence, driven by the moral force of one’s deeds (karma). For without this belief, the Buddhist goal of enlightenment would make no sense, since the Enlightened One is regarded as the person who has achieved liberation from this repetitive cycle of death and rebirth. To remove such core beliefs would be comparable for them to what denying the existence of God would be for a devout Jew, Christian or Muslim. In both cases, they would argue, it would deprive the tradition of its very raison d’être.

Without underestimating the doctrinal and philosophical difficulties involved, I attempt in my book After Buddhism to imagine what the dharma ...would be like were it divested of the cosmology and metaphysical beliefs of ancient India. By carefully and systematically removing from the Buddha’s teaching any statement that could just as well have been uttered by a contemporary Brahmin priest or Jain monk, one arrives at four distinguishing features: the principle of conditionality or causality; the practice of a fourfold task (embracing life, letting go of reactivity, experiencing the suspension of reactivity, and creating an ethical path); the perspective of mindful awareness; and the power of self-reliance. I maintain that such a rethinking of Buddhism reveals a foundation on which to build a secular dharma that is based on the earliest texts and provides an entirely adequate framework for human flourishing.

...Secular Buddhism may be far closer in spirit and style to the Hellenistic philosophies of Scepticism, Epicureanism or Stoicism than to Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
From this essay, written in response to Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay Facing the Great Divide.

Although, I am also encouraged by the fact that this very question is still very much a matter of debate even amongst those who are advocating it. In another essay on the same topic, and from the same site, Akincano M. Weber says that:
There is a whole set of teachings pertaining to the topics of realization and the aspect of lokuttara, (a ‘transcendent’ dimension). These teachings emphatically insist on the possibility of an embodied, subjective and numinous experience through the practice of meditation. I see some secular Buddhists struggle to even acknowledge this aspect of the teachings. At the very least, I sense the question of and the quest for personal realization needs to be seen as legitimate. If we give up the possibility of realisation, we risk turning these teachings into just another brand of critical humanism, thus making secular Buddhism into one of the ‘near enemies’ of the Buddha’s message.
Which is exactly what I think is happening.

Really, I think there ought to be a push for secular Buddhism to stop using the term 'Buddhism' for what it's teaching. It needs to come up with another 'brand', which may indicate its Buddhist background, but also indicate that it is no longer interested in pursuing the soteriological aim which is central to Buddhism proper.

What I am learning through the practice is that the transcendent really is transcendent, beyond, 'utterly gone beyond', unknowable, trans-rational (although being a tech writer, I will persist in using words to point that out :smile: .) But the naturalisation project really seeks to situate the understanding that the Buddha has beneath that of the 'natural sciences', insofar as the natural sciences comprise principles by which the human intellect can explain, control and predict occurrences in the natural world. And that naturalising tendency is so instinctive, so deeply engrained in the outlook of the metropolitan intelligentsia, that they will generally try and interpret anything and everything in such terms, often without even being really aware that this is what they're up to. It is a Procrustean bed. I see this even amongst some supposedly Buddhist teachers in their attempts to accomodate what they consider the 'sensible, scientific' attitude to life.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 pm

Historically Islam has been the biggest threat to buddhism and still is in some places. Communism was a close second in a few countries.
Other than that, modernity and materialism.

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Malcolm
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:42 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 pm
Historically Islam has been the biggest threat to buddhism
This is historically false, fake news in other words.
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.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra


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Malcolm
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:26 pm

Historically means throughout all of history. But even now, Islam is not a threat to Buddhism. In these articles, you are presenting only the Buddhist side of conflicts with Muslims in SE Asia.

So, still fake news.


In particular, your posting evidence of attacks in Myanmar, while true, is rather appalling considering the serious ethnic cleansing Buddhists are engaging in there, which has been denounced by this board as genocidal. Buddhism in Burma is under no duress from Muslims.

Threatening to blow up statues and monuments is not a threat to Buddhadharma, as Śantideva makes clear.


Fortyeightvows wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:21 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:42 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:24 pm
Historically Islam has been the biggest threat to buddhism
This is historically false, fake news in other words.
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/after-r ... be-1802941
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thai ... SKBN1FB05M
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2 ... indonesia/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/worl ... an-yu.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31813681
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-threat-an ... rt-1462352
https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/ ... 45828.html
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thai ... SKBN1EZ0Y9
https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/ ... 25120.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/a ... 57512.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37601928

https://www.nalandauniv.edu.in/about-na ... d-revival/
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.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Karma_Yeshe
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:33 pm

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:44 pm
There's a sutta where the Buddha basically says that the Dharma will disappear when monks are more interested in other forms of entertainment than in actually listening to Dharma teachings. So, I guess a lot of things are a threat to the Dharma...
The sutra is about the source of the teachings. Buddhas says it is better to contemplate teachings that are deep in their meaning instead of teachings that sound nice but carry not much meaning. It is not about "other forms of enternainement".

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Tiago Simões » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:01 pm

The greatest threat to Dharma is a selfish mind.
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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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by boda » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:30 am

There is only one existential threat to Dharma or any religion, and that is meaninglessness.

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:33 am

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:33 pm
Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:44 pm
There's a sutta where the Buddha basically says that the Dharma will disappear when monks are more interested in other forms of entertainment than in actually listening to Dharma teachings. So, I guess a lot of things are a threat to the Dharma...
The sutra is about the source of the teachings. Buddhas says it is better to contemplate teachings that are deep in their meaning instead of teachings that sound nice but carry not much meaning. It is not about "other forms of enternainement".
I don't understand how you arrived at that interpretation. Would you care to explain?

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by PuerAzaelis » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:38 am

Dharma will never become extinct, there are no existential threats to it.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

For posts from this user, see Karma Dondrup Tashi account.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:21 am

The nonsense spouted by Buddhists is the greatest existential threat to Dharma. :tongue:
"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: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by shaunc » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:59 am

[quote=Malcolm
Threatening to blow up statues and monuments is not a threat to Buddhadharma

You've got to be bloody joking. Blowing up statues has got to be one of the biggest shows of a lack of respect I could think of.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:28 am

shaunc wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:59 am
Malcolm wrote:
Threatening to blow up statues and monuments is not a threat to Buddhadharma
You've got to be bloody joking. Blowing up statues has got to be one of the biggest shows of a lack of respect I could think of.
Weirdly enough, the people destroying images and statues believe that the images and statues show a lack of respect.

PS You are aware of the fact that originally Buddhists did not depict the Buddha? That they would just show an empty seat? That the depiction of the Buddha as we know it is Hellenic in origin?

PPS How is blowing up statues an existential threat to Buddhism?
"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: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:41 pm

Possibly Buddhists not procreating enough. :shrug:

Religion is not "on the way out". The amount of people adhering to a religion is actually increasing. By 2050 all major religions (except one - Buddhism) are predicted to have increased (in total numbers if I recall correctly). The two religions predicted to increase the most (in total numbers) are Catholicism and Islam. The only religion expected to decrease is Buddhism.

This is obviously due to the fact that in Catholicism and Islam there is a strong emphasis on the family and an aversion towards contraception.

Source:

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by MiphamFan » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:03 pm

Well, the mlecchas taking over the world was predicted in the Kalacakra Tantra.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by weitsicht » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:29 pm

If the Dharma needs pointing out then I guess the threat lies in the dying-out of those who have the view and availability to point out
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

Simon E.
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:30 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:03 pm
Well, the mlecchas taking over the world was predicted in the Kalacakra Tantra.
My name is Spartacus. I am a mleccha.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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