extibetanbuddhist dot com

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
pensum
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by pensum » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:43 pm

smcj wrote:That's not to say I do not appreciate America and it's contribution to the entire world in the last 200 years. In the same vein Tibet may yet be recognized for its contribution-- but only if this hand off to the West works.
You seem to be unaware of the tremendous influence that other traditions have already had in establishing Buddhism in the modern West, such as Zen has had in the America thanks primarily to D.T. Suzuki. The influence of Zen on the arts is far greater than most realize from music (John Cage, Leonard Cohen), literature (Ginsberg, Snyder, etc. etc.), visual arts (Gauguin, Odilon Redon, van Gogh, Ralph Meatyard, Wynn Bullock, Agnes Martin, Brancusi, etc. etc.) and Theravada has had a particularly strong influence on modern psychology and just look at the prevalence of "mindfulness" thanks to the Vipassana movement. Meanwhile Tibetan lamas tendency to cling to their own cultural heritage has kept and will almost assuredly keep it's own unique brand as a minority fringe religion within Western culture. If it wasn't for the juggernaut of the Dalai Lama's PR machine few people would have ever heard of the Tibetan tradition.

Furthermore, people seem to have the mistaken impression that Buddhism and particularly Tibetan Buddhism, has only recently been introduced to the West, yet as far back as the 3rd. century the great Greek philosopher Plotinus joined the army of Alexander the Great because he wanted to study with the Buddhists in India. In the 17th century Leibniz wrote on Buddhism, in the late 18th/early 19th century. Schopenhauer in particular was strongly influenced by his studies of Buddhism, and Hegel and other philosophers were all familiar with and wrote about it. In the 1870's, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical movement popularized Buddhism and Tibet in particular. Also in the late 1800's Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society published numerous translations of Buddhist texts including the complete Vinaya. And this is just scratching the surface to provide a few examples. So i believe it is important to keep a broad perspective when discussing the "introduction" of Buddhism to the West.

TRC
Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:23 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by TRC » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:00 am

dharmagoat wrote:If Christine A. Chandler could separate fact from emotion there might be something to discuss.

She has quite clearly been hurt by her time as a Tibetan Buddhist. Something many of us can relate too.
Yes I agree dharmagoat, I think her writing displays that there is still much emotional baggage she is yet to work through. After all, 30 years is a long time. However, putting aside the emotional baggage, I also agree, there is more than a good dollop of truth in her depiction of Tibetan Buddhism’s history and subsequent integration in the West, which also accords closely with much of my own experience in Tibetan Buddhism – brief though as it was, I still consider it a near-miss in hindsight.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:58 am

dharmagoat wrote: She has quite clearly been hurt by her time as a Tibetan Buddhist. Something many of us can relate too.
I personally do not encourage people to get into TB because of some of the types of issues she has raised. It's like walking through a minefield at the present. Hopefully that will change in the foreseeable future, the sooner the better. But for the time being, those that are brave enough to pick their way through the minefield can sometimes find gold.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

Adi
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:45 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by Adi » Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:09 am

smcj wrote:I personally do not encourage people to get into TB because of some of the types of issues she has raised. It's like walking through a minefield at the present. Hopefully that will change in the foreseeable future, the sooner the better. But for the time being, those that are brave enough to pick their way through the minefield can sometimes find gold.
I think I completely understand your point. I also gain more and more respect for people like HH Dalai Lama who caution people against abandoning or changing their religious traditions. It can lead to gold or perdition, and in many a practitioner's experience, it often seems at times to be some combination of both. ;)

Adi

User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1140
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by tobes » Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:37 am

It's pretty interesting politically. Classic paranoid libertarianism, USA style - every collective is a totalitarian plot/conspiracy to rule the world!

But then, to quote Kurt Cobain: “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." i.e. Of course there are some granules of truth in her critique.

:anjali:

User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1140
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by tobes » Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:48 am

pensum wrote:
In the 17th century Leibniz wrote on Buddhism, in the late 18th/early 19th century. Schopenhauer in particular was strongly influenced by his studies of Buddhism, and Hegel and other philosophers were all familiar with and wrote about it. In the 1870's, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical movement popularized Buddhism and Tibet in particular. Also in the late 1800's Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society published numerous translations of Buddhist texts including the complete Vinaya. And this is just scratching the surface to provide a few examples. So i believe it is important to keep a broad perspective when discussing the "introduction" of Buddhism to the West.
There are some good accounts of Buddhism in America from the 19th century which support your perspective:

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=PHB ... CC0Q6AEwAA

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Wr5 ... CDsQ6AEwAQ

However, I'm not convinced about co-opting those German philosophers into that narrative - Schopenhauer was strongly influenced by Vedanta, and (along with Hegel), the effects of his misreading of Buddhism are still being felt (mainly because they inspired Nietzsche to wager a compelling critique of that perverse view that Buddhists aim at extinction/nothingness/nihilism...and for whatever reason, Nietzsche's star has risen in these times).

:anjali:

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3499
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:45 am

Agree with the above. Whilst a lot of credit has to go to Schopenhauer et al for their open-mindedness to 'Eastern Wisdom', they also misunderstood it in crucial ways, notably by often construing it as 'nihilism' (as Tobes notes). Buddhism was, said Nietzsche, the 'sigh of an exhausted civilization'. (Why Nietszche is held in such breathless esteem in the modern academy completely baffles me.) This is discussed in The Cult of Nothingness: Philosophers and the Buddha Roger Pol-Droit.

But there is also a nice essay in Brian Magee's Schopenhauer which discusses the convergences between German idealism and Buddhism and Vedanta. I think there are parallels there, if you are of the scholarly type. Maybe because I first read about Madhyamika via Murti, who makes a lot of those comparisons, I have always been drawn to them.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

pensum
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by pensum » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:00 pm

tobes wrote:However, I'm not convinced about co-opting those German philosophers into that narrative - Schopenhauer was strongly influenced by Vedanta, and (along with Hegel), the effects of his misreading of Buddhism are still being felt (mainly because they inspired Nietzsche to wager a compelling critique of that perverse view that Buddhists aim at extinction/nothingness/nihilism...and for whatever reason, Nietzsche's star has risen in these times).
:anjali:
Just to clarify, my intended point was less the "influence" of Buddhism on such philosophers, but rather to correct the mistaken notion that Buddhism, including its Tibetan form, has only recently been introduced to the West. Whether western philosophers viewed Buddhist philosophy positively or negatively is of little concern from this perspective, though it is interesting to ponder that except for Nishida, Nishitani and other philosophers of the Kyoto School there has been little to no attempt by Buddhists, especially Tibetans, to seriously study western philosophies, though they do not let their ignorance prevent them from quickly denouncing it.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:52 am

...there has been little to no attempt by Buddhists, especially Tibetans, to seriously study western philosophies, though they do not let their ignorance prevent them from quickly denouncing it.
Or our religions either. I am not privy to their conversations, but it is my impression that upon arriving in India they sent emissaries to the Pope. The emissaries came back with the appraisal, "He's not enlightened". So from their perspective, if the top guy isn't enlightened, then there was no point in any further investigation. End of interest.

But it is n't like they've confided in me or anything like that.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

pensum
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by pensum » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:59 pm

smcj wrote:
...there has been little to no attempt by Buddhists, especially Tibetans, to seriously study western philosophies, though they do not let their ignorance prevent them from quickly denouncing it.
Or our religions either. I am not privy to their conversations, but it is my impression that upon arriving in India they sent emissaries to the Pope. The emissaries came back with the appraisal, "He's not enlightened". So from their perspective, if the top guy isn't enlightened, then there was no point in any further investigation. End of interest.

But it is n't like they've confided in me or anything like that.
Which is just further proof of my point that for all their talk about openness etc. Tibetan Buddhists remain very close-minded. While it is quite common for Western philosophers and scientists to retain an open mind and study and reflect upon Tibetan Buddhist theory and practice.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:06 pm

pensum wrote:
smcj wrote:
...there has been little to no attempt by Buddhists, especially Tibetans, to seriously study western philosophies, though they do not let their ignorance prevent them from quickly denouncing it.
Or our religions either. I am not privy to their conversations, but it is my impression that upon arriving in India they sent emissaries to the Pope. The emissaries came back with the appraisal, "He's not enlightened". So from their perspective, if the top guy isn't enlightened, then there was no point in any further investigation. End of interest.

But it is n't like they've confided in me or anything like that.
Which is just further proof of my point that for all their talk about openness etc. Tibetan Buddhists remain very close-minded. While it is quite common for Western philosophers and scientists to retain an open mind and study and reflect upon Tibetan Buddhist theory and practice.
From their perspective the purpose of religion is to produce enlightened beings. So if the practice of Christianity does not result in enlightenment, it is worthless. There is no point to further investigation. They were open minded enough to check it out, but now the experiment has been conducted and the result has been established. They have done all the due diligence required. If the assessment came back that the Pope, or anyone else for that matter, was enlightened, then the situation would be completely different (imho).

HHDL has a different priority than that, however. He came out of Tibet with a strong distaste for sectarianism. Tibet was nightmarishly sectarian, and since 1959 he has done everything he can to address the problem, including a completely ecumenical approach to other religions. When he talks about Christianity he talks about Thomas Merton (who evidently had some qualities), not the Pope.

As far as philosophy is concerned, upon arrival in India they immediately sent a scouting expedition to do reconnaissance. "What is the best school in the West?", they asked. Since India used to be a British Colony, the answer came back "Oxford". So they enrolled a young rinpoche in Oxford and wrangled two more visas for another two young rinpoches to be his cook and his secretary. Those were the Trungpa, Chime and Akong rinpoches.

The rest is history.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

pensum
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by pensum » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:30 pm

smcj wrote:From their perspective the purpose of religion is to produce enlightened beings. So if the practice of Christianity does not result in enlightenment, it is worthless. There is no point to further investigation. They were open minded enough to check it out, but now the experiment has been conducted and the result has been established. They have done all the due diligence required. If the assessment came back that the Pope, or anyone else for that matter, was enlightened, then the situation would be completely different (imho).
And what was the criteria used to judge whether the Pope or anyone else was not enlightened? And what proof is there that the Dalai Lama is enlightened? From his own admissions that he gets angry etc. he would not appear to be according to the basic criteria that i have read. If the Dalai Lama's emissaries did not put in the effort to fully study and practice the Christian tradition with the same dedication and effort that a Buddhist monk puts into following his own tradition, then how could they possibly know the actual state a dedicated Christian might attain, whether or not the terms used to express that state are the same or not? In fact isn't it more likely that it is simply a matter of miscommunication in not fully learning the other's language and frame of reference? Sounds to me more like a typical judgmental attitude and simple arrogance, than any real attempt at understanding, much like Dawkins, Harris and the rest of the atheist gang with their crude childish view and understanding which merely reflects a superficial superstitious form of belief that is unfortunately all too common, rather than a deep study and understanding of true theology etc.; just as one can develop trite superficial judgments and beliefs in regard to Buddhism or any other religion or philosophy that does not reflect that richness and depth that it actually possesses.
Last edited by pensum on Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:39 pm

And what was the criteria used to judge whether the Pope or anyone else was not enlightened?
Their own. They can tell, contrary to internet assumptions.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

pensum
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by pensum » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:42 pm

smcj wrote:
And what was the criteria used to judge whether the Pope or anyone else was not enlightened?
Their own. They can tell, contrary to internet assumptions.
Ah well then, case closed. Subjectivity trumps all. So the Pope et al aren't enlightened but will go to Heaven and the Buddhists may be enlightened but are all going to suffer eternal damnation anyway. It's a beautiful world. :group:

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:11 pm

A couple of quotes from another thread by JKhedrup:
I confirmed just now with Geshe Sonam, the qualification for consort practice in our tradition is that one must be an Arya Bodhisattva.
and
I have heard that in the course of his 60 year teaching carreer HHDL said he encountered 2 or 3 yogis attained enough to really benefit from consort practice.
Seems HHDL feels comfortable making assessments of other people's spiritual attainments. Of course it could all just be fantasy in his head.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25065
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by Malcolm » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:21 pm

pensum wrote: how could they possibly know the actual state a dedicated Christian might attain...?

From the view they espouse. Realization proceeds from view; and if your view is not dependent origination, it is axiomatic that you will be able to attain liberation from samsara.

M
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Relax, don’t worry about all the problems of samsara. Everything is relative. But try to be present.


— Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Adi
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:45 pm

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by Adi » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:07 pm

pen sum wrote:...The influence of Zen on the arts is far greater than most realize from music (John Cage, Leonard Cohen), literature (Ginsberg, Snyder, etc. etc.)...
Just as a side note, Ginsberg and Snyder, along with many of their close contemporaries like Diane di Prima (former Poet Laureate of San Francisco) were and in some cases are very much influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Though they perhaps first encountered Buddhism through Zen in the 1950's, many quickly sought out Tibetan teachers and all did much to influence their art and lives and thus the culture around them including the arts.

Adi

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:
pensum wrote: how could they possibly know the actual state a dedicated Christian might attain...?

From the view they espouse. Realization proceeds from view; and if your view is not dependent origination, it is axiomatic that you will be able to attain liberation from samsara.

M
That's a little myopic.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25065
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by Malcolm » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:54 pm

smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
pensum wrote: how could they possibly know the actual state a dedicated Christian might attain...?

From the view they espouse. Realization proceeds from view; and if your view is not dependent origination, it is axiomatic that you will [NOT] be able to attain liberation from samsara.

M
That's a little myopic.
Not really.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Relax, don’t worry about all the problems of samsara. Everything is relative. But try to be present.


— Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

User avatar
smcj
Posts: 5480
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: extibetanbuddhist dot com

Post by smcj » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
From the view they espouse. Realization proceeds from view; and if your view is not dependent origination, it is axiomatic that you will [NOT] be able to attain liberation from samsara.
That's a little myopic.
Not really.
HHDL was very fond and approving of Thomas Merton. So was Chatrul R. I doubt their assessment was dependent on Merton's passing a Madhyamaka quiz.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mechashivaz, Miroku and 78 guests