What is an existential threat to Dharma?

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Queequeg
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:17 am

DGA wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:26 pm
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?
Sectarianism, to the extent that it feeds the emotions might actually help Dharma, at least nominally, endure. It tends to foster affinity by defining enemies against whom fellows can unite. On the other hand, tolerance, especially when it goes so far to accept all views, particularly if they also include liberal tolerance may have the effect of so weakening the Dharma that the sangha simply dissolves.

Right view needs to be guarded carefully. Doing so does not require uncivility. It does require clarity, confidence, decisiveness.

Strings on a lute.
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

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

shaunc
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by shaunc » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:39 am

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:44 pm
shaunc wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:05 pm
I can't believe that you two fellas would even attempt to justify such behavior. You're so far left you're off the road.
I am not trying to justify anything. I think it is awful that fundamentalists are destroying historical monuments and works of art, I just fail to say how their actions are existential threats to Dharma. You have yet to explain why, apart from appeals to emotion.
Because dharma practitioners in that area probably and quite rightly feel intimidated by such behavior.
I wouldn't mind a side bet that temple attendance falls a bit after such an attack.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by PeterC » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:22 am

It's clear from multiple sutras that the Buddha expected the Dharma to decline, and that the cause of the decline would be the failure of practitioners to practice as he taught but instead to propagate nonsense dressed up as Dharma. This is abundantly visible in the world today. But it's not certain that the decline is solely one-way. Lineages can to some degree repair themselves, particularly when great practitioners appear, and there are examples of this in the past few centuries in multiple vehicles. And when the decline becomes complete and irreversible and the Dharma of Sakyamuni disappears from this world, it is also not a cause for despair, as the teachings of all yanas hold that another Buddha will appear and introduce a new Dharma to the world, though they differ on exactly how that will happen. None of which, really, changes what we ought to do as a consequence, which is to uphold the teachings we've received to the best of our abilities, and become the best practitioners that we can.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:00 am

shaunc wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:39 am
Because dharma practitioners in that area probably and quite rightly feel intimidated by such behavior.
I wouldn't mind a side bet that temple attendance falls a bit after such an attack.
Dharma practitioners in Central Afghanistan? Whose Dharma? Which temples?
"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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Brunelleschi
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:00 am
shaunc wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:39 am
Because dharma practitioners in that area probably and quite rightly feel intimidated by such behavior.
I wouldn't mind a side bet that temple attendance falls a bit after such an attack.
Dharma practitioners in Central Afghanistan? Whose Dharma? Which temples?
Bruh, it's not the first time someone tried to destroy these statues. Buddhism is no longer in Afghanistan because it was supressed (partly at least, I don't know the history well enough to make any bold claims).

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:48 am

Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am
Bruh, it's not the first time someone tried to destroy these statues. Buddhism is no longer in Afghanistan because it was supressed (partly at least, I don't know the history well enough to make any bold claims).
Exactly! and the same thing could also happen in malaysia, burma, indonesia, etc..

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:15 am

Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am
It is not the first time someone tried to destroy these statues. Buddhism is no longer in Afghanistan because it was supressed (partly at least, I don't know the history well enough to make any bold claims).
"They (the Bamiyan Buddha statues) were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks explained that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine*, while the Afghan Foreign Minister claimed that the destruction was merely about carrying out Islamic religious iconoclasm."

*Taliban Explains Buddha Demolition, a New York Times article of interest.

Just to be clear: Iconoclasm is not a specifically Islamic ideology. The "original" iconoclasts were Bronze Age Egyptians when they shifted from a polytheism to montheism (worship of the sun god Aten).

Then there was the Christian Iconomachia which gained prominence under the Byzantine Emperor Leo III.

Then there was the Protestant Reformation.

All this has not diminished the expansion of Christianity in the slightest.

Let us also not forget the iconoclasm of the Chinese Communists and their destruction of Buddhist Temples, icons, statues, texts, etc... And yet Buddhism not only survived this, but is currently flourishing in China again.

So I fail to see how blowing up a couple of statues is an existential threat to the Dharma.
"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 Grigoris » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:19 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:48 am
Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am
Bruh, it's not the first time someone tried to destroy these statues. Buddhism is no longer in Afghanistan because it was supressed (partly at least, I don't know the history well enough to make any bold claims).
Exactly! and the same thing could also happen in malaysia, burma, indonesia, etc..
It could happen in the Europe and the US too. Like it did with Judaism in Europe.

And yet Judaism even survived the Holocaust (and the Inquisition and...).
"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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Grigoris
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:25 am

If people do not refrain from using this discussion as a platform for Islamophobia I will shut down the discussion and start handing out warnings and suspensions.

The Terms of Service state:

This is not a "comparative religion site", it is a site to learn and discuss the Buddha's teachings without animosity. In support of this:

~ Badmouthing of other spiritual paths is not allowed.
"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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Brunelleschi
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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:48 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:15 am
Brunelleschi wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am
It is not the first time someone tried to destroy these statues. Buddhism is no longer in Afghanistan because it was supressed (partly at least, I don't know the history well enough to make any bold claims).
"They (the Bamiyan Buddha statues) were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks explained that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine*, while the Afghan Foreign Minister claimed that the destruction was merely about carrying out Islamic religious iconoclasm."

*Taliban Explains Buddha Demolition, a New York Times article of interest.

Just to be clear: Iconoclasm is not a specifically Islamic ideology. The "original" iconoclasts were Bronze Age Egyptians when they shifted from a polytheism to montheism (worship of the sun god Aten).

Then there was the Christian Iconomachia which gained prominence under the Byzantine Emperor Leo III.

Then there was the Protestant Reformation.

All this has not diminished the expansion of Christianity in the slightest.

Let us also not forget the iconoclasm of the Chinese Communists and their destruction of Buddhist Temples, icons, statues, texts, etc... And yet Buddhism not only survived this, but is currently flourishing in China again.

So I fail to see how blowing up a couple of statues is an existential threat to the Dharma.
Yes, I know who blew up the statues. My point is that there has been attacks on the statues by Afghan leaders before the Talibans blew them up.

Anyway, so the Taliban claim they did it in order to protest distribution of aid. This may or not be true. But really, you're not taking the Taliban for their word right? They're not a legitimate political organization - they're terrorists.

Yes, Iconoclasm is not specifically Islamic (and as you wrote before - using statues to depict the Buddha has Hellenic origin). And it's good that you take the time to point this out. Islamophobia is a real thing and it should not be underestimated.

Anyway, what I'm really talking about is state policies. the eradication of Buddhist symbols - whether it's by Islamists, Communists, Christians or whatever may not be an "existential threat" but of course it diminishes the Dharma. Central Asia used to be largely Buddhist. China used to be largely Buddhist. Korea was largely Buddhist and Christianity was not a thing. But, due to state policies from Islamic rulers, the Communist party and in Korea Christian missionaries (from the US) this changed. Of course state policies affect religions. Look at Tibet.
Last edited by Brunelleschi on Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:54 am

Of course it does not 'diminish the Dharma'.

You are conflating the Dharma with it's cultural and political expressions.
Are you seriously suggesting that the Dharma in its earlier form in this cycle was lesser because it had very little iconography?

There are teachers that will tell you that the Iconography only became necessary as the presentation of Dharma became more diffuse.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:06 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:54 am
Of course it does not 'diminish the Dharma'.

You are conflating the Dharma with it's cultural and political expressions.
Are you seriously suggesting that the Dharma in its earlier form in this cycle was lesser because it had very little iconography?

There are teachers that will tell you that the Iconography only became necessary as the presentation of Dharma became more diffuse.
1. You're not reading my replies carefully enough.
2. You're putting words in my mouth.

First of, you're making the mistake thinking that they (Dharma and its cultural and political expressions) can be fully separated. This is some sort of Platonic view. The Theory of Forms and all that. Dharma has to come in to the world and be expressed by people.

As to your question. No of course I'm not saying Dharma in its earlier cycle was lesser because it had very little iconography. This is an absurd accusation.

What I'm really talking about is the effect of state policies. If you have state policies that suppress one religion it is going to affect that religion. If all temples are closed and destroyed, all the texts burned and/or forbidden etc this is going to affect things. The Dharma may be everlasting in a sense but it has to reach people. Again, you can't make a total distinction between the Dharma and it's cultural and political existence. This is a mistake.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:21 pm

As Greg pointed out there has been no Buddhadharma in Afghanistan in the modern era. This has nothing to do with the recent barbarous acts of the Taliban.

It is absolutely essential that Buddhadharma is seen as primary and it's political and cultural expression is seen as very much secondary if it to be a viable driver in our lives on the cushion.



That is an important component of Trungpa Rinpoche's concept of Spiritual Materialism.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:25 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:25 am
If people do not refrain from using this discussion as a platform for Islamophobia I will shut down the discussion and start handing out warnings and suspensions.

The Terms of Service state:

This is not a "comparative religion site", it is a site to learn and discuss the Buddha's teachings without animosity. In support of this:

~ Badmouthing of other spiritual paths is not allowed.
Right. This is pretty unspecific but I do seriously hope you're not accusing me of Islamophobia. That's a vicious attack and I rebuke that. :coffee:

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:44 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:21 pm
As Greg pointed out there has been no Buddhadharma in Afghanistan in the modern era. This has nothing to do with the recent barbarous acts of the Taliban.

It is absolutely essential that Buddhadharma is seen as primary and it's political and cultural expression is seen as very much secondary if it to be a viable driver in our lives on the cushion.



That is an important component of Trungpa Rinpoche's concept of Spiritual Materialism.
Well there were attempts in the 18th century to destroy these statues so it's been going on for a while.

Sure, but nevertheless policies will dictate the expression of the Dharma. CTR was forced to escape from his country due to repressive state policies.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:11 pm

Indeed he was. And he saw that as an opportunity for Dharma. " Tiger-like Chogyam roaming in foreign jungles" as he put it.

He spoke of the corrupted nature of Tibetan religious structures and the inevitable resulting vipaka.

He said it was necessary for the Dharma to come west.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Brunelleschi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:29 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:11 pm
Indeed he was. And he saw that as an opportunity for Dharma. " Tiger-like Chogyam roaming in foreign jungles" as he put it.

He spoke of the corrupted nature of Tibetan religious structures and the inevitable resulting vipaka.

He said it was necessary for the Dharma to come west.
Right. Well on the other hand there were several times he could have been killed. When escaping Tibet and when he supposedly was about to overdose on sleeping pills as he could not leave Great Britain. Then the Dharma being taught through CTR would not have reached anyone.

Maybe Tibetan religious structures were corrupt, but they were the ones building a ground for Buddhism to flourish in Tibet. I do not think Tibetan Buddhism would have been what it is today without a continued support (for a very long time) from the state or if it had been actively repressed. Due to the fact that it was possible to pursue a certain lifestyle it flourished.

The best way to go about it today (in the West) is in my opinion to build a functioning and healthy pluralistic society. However, I reject the notion that politics, government policies etc are irrelevant to the Dharma. It's simply not true.
Last edited by Brunelleschi on Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:35 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:21 am
The nonsense spouted by Buddhists is the greatest existential threat to Dharma. :tongue:
No it is actually part of their path of learning.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:40 pm

Existential threat 1: Grasping to existence.

Existential threat 2: Time.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Re: What is an existential threat to Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:13 pm

Crazywisdom wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:35 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:21 am
The nonsense spouted by Buddhists is the greatest existential threat to Dharma. :tongue:
No it is actually part of their path of learning.
Not convinced. The number of debates which simply go in circles suggests that learning may not always be an outcome.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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