The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

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Miroku
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The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Miroku » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:34 pm

Quite an interesting article from Lama Jampa Thaye. What do you think about his warning?

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/diluted ... _medium=fb
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A needle stitches up your clothes.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:57 am

Miroku wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:34 pm
Quite an interesting article from Lama Jampa Thaye. What do you think about his warning?

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/diluted ... _medium=fb
I think it makes a lot of good points.
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Grigoris » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:03 pm

In fact, the answer is clear. They have embraced a Buddhism largely of their own projections, albeit in some cases with some skilful prompting by the kind of Asian or Western teachers who are active in the spiritual marketplace. It is a Buddhism shorn of anything objectionable to the upscale inhabitants of London, Santa Monica, and Manhattan. It’s a Buddhism in which the moral seriousness of traditional Buddhism, a seriousness grounded in respect for others, has been amputated. In its place has been grafted the license of absolute autonomy to the self, for whom individual choice is the only arbiter of good and evil. In short, rather than abandoning self-centredness (and the other powerful gods of our age) and turning instead to Buddhism, we have found, or so we think, a religion that can accommodate them.
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by narhwal90 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:08 pm

It reads nicely but does not name names and provide examples I guess I'm supposed to fill in the blanks with my own projections?

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by smcj » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:20 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:08 pm
It reads nicely but does not name names and provide examples I guess I'm supposed to fill in the blanks with my own projections?
He may not have named names, but he did mention places.
It is a Buddhism shorn of anything objectionable to the upscale inhabitants of London, Santa Monica, and Manhattan.
Having lived in Santa Monica for 30 years (the “sm” in smcj) I certainly hope he’s not talking about me!
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by clyde » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:15 pm

I don’t doubt the sincerity of Lama’s opinion, nor the observable fact that there are and have been charismatic teachers and foolish followers and the attendant scandals; but my personal experience with Buddhists from all traditions is that they place great value on ethics, meditation, and wisdom “—the three trainings that comprise the backbone of all Buddhist traditions.”
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by boda » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:09 am

The article is well summarized in the last line:
to follow a fake master ends up with us jumping off the cliff with the one in whom we have placed our trust, hand in hand, to mutual destruction.
In my opinion, it would be a stronger message if he didn't attempt to analyze why Westerners fall for "fake masters." He seems to strongly believe that liberal values are to blame but makes no coherent case for that belief. People with conservative values may fall just as hard, or indeed harder.

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by amanitamusc » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:20 am

clyde wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:15 pm
I don’t doubt the sincerity of Lama’s opinion, nor the observable fact that there are and have been charismatic teachers and foolish followers and the attendant scandals; but my personal experience with Buddhists from all traditions is that they place great value on ethics, meditation, and wisdom “—the three trainings that comprise the backbone of all Buddhist traditions.”
Citations?

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by SonamTashi » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:29 am

narhwal90 wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:08 pm
It reads nicely but does not name names and provide examples I guess I'm supposed to fill in the blanks with my own projections?
It is a very nice article, and it is needed, but I do think its weakness is that it is vague enough to be possible for many in its target audience to place their own projections on it. As a result, some of the people belonging to the groups of students and teachers it is describing may not recognize themselves in it, but instead may be likely to think "this applies to x, not me."

But I think it comes down to the space allotted for the article, so I don't think it is the fault of the author at all. Obviously, naming names would not have been appropriate, and would just be inflammatory. If there was more room, then I think it would have been nice if Lama Jampa Thaye gave a detailed description of a qualified teacher and how to observe one.
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Tiago Simões » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:16 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:09 am
The article is well summarized in the last line:
to follow a fake master ends up with us jumping off the cliff with the one in whom we have placed our trust, hand in hand, to mutual destruction.
In my opinion, it would be a stronger message if he didn't attempt to analyze why Westerners fall for "fake masters." He seems to strongly believe that liberal values are to blame but makes no coherent case for that belief. People with conservative values may fall just as hard, or indeed harder.
He doesn't relate the Dharma to political concepts just as Liberal/conservative. The dharma just doesn't fall into any political thought without it losing something or being watered down.

What he criticizes is westerners converting to a Buddhism of their own projection, because it conforms to their individual and pre existing beliefs and opinions.
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: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by clyde » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:41 pm

amanitamusc wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:20 am
clyde wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:15 pm
I don’t doubt the sincerity of Lama’s opinion, nor the observable fact that there are and have been charismatic teachers and foolish followers and the attendant scandals; but my personal experience with Buddhists from all traditions is that they place great value on ethics, meditation, and wisdom “—the three trainings that comprise the backbone of all Buddhist traditions.”
Citations?
If you’re asking about this quote, “—the three trainings that comprise the backbone of all Buddhist traditions,” it’s from the article.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Pero » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:14 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:34 pm
Quite an interesting article from Lama Jampa Thaye. What do you think about his warning?

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/diluted ... _medium=fb
Isn't he saying beware of false Buddhism without saying what true Buddhism is? Although I see this is an excerpt, perhaps it would be clear otherwise. :shrug:
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by boda » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:59 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:16 pm
boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:09 am
The article is well summarized in the last line:
to follow a fake master ends up with us jumping off the cliff with the one in whom we have placed our trust, hand in hand, to mutual destruction.
In my opinion, it would be a stronger message if he didn't attempt to analyze why Westerners fall for "fake masters." He seems to strongly believe that liberal values are to blame but makes no coherent case for that belief. People with conservative values may fall just as hard, or indeed harder.
He doesn't relate the Dharma to political concepts just as Liberal/conservative. The dharma just doesn't fall into any political thought without it losing something or being watered down.

What he criticizes is westerners converting to a Buddhism of their own projection, because it conforms to their individual and pre existing beliefs and opinions.
Liberal and conservative are merely labels to indicate a particular moral framework, and indeed, "pre-existing beliefs and opinions." Whether he realizes it or not, he is essentially promoting conservative values and condemning liberal or so-called 'Enlightenment (Western Enlightenment) values'.

He begins with the claim that it's crucial to resist:
the temptation to assimilate Buddhism to the ruling ideologies of our age—scientism, ideological fanaticism, and a ruthless self-absorption masquerading as spirituality
The value of science or reason, and individuality, is characteristic of Enlightenment values.

With a sensibility of reason over faith, and personal liberty over potential group oppression, it would seem that the liberal would be less inclined to be duped by a fake spiritual authority.

Later he writes:
It’s a Buddhism in which the moral seriousness of traditional Buddhism, a seriousness grounded in respect for others, has been amputated. In its place has been grafted the license of absolute autonomy to the self, for whom individual choice is the only arbiter of good and evil.
Here he praises the "moral seriousness of traditional Buddhism, a seriousness grounded in respect for others." Conservativism is characterized as upholding traditional values, which includes respect for social hierarchies.

Again it's the conservative, with their traditional respect for social hierarchies, that is more likely to be duped by the fake spiritual authority.

This part is particularly incoherent:
Such a toothless Buddhism, which is only attractive because it is not Christianity, can do nothing to liberate us from the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death, for it leaves intact the entire machinery of self-clinging, self-cherishing, and the ensuing disturbing emotions, and here is the root of the disillusionment many come to experience so often. Such a diluted Buddhism cannot provide support and clarity when difficulties turn up, as difficulties inevitably do, and so those who become disillusioned will either return to Christianity, or embrace a total cynicism.
Buddhism was only attractive because it wasn't Christianity, and because of that shallow attraction and the inevitable disillusioned they will return to Christianity or become a total cynic? This only makes sense if it refers to someone with conservative values.

Individuals with liberal values are generally attracted to Buddhism because the underlying metaphysics and practices are more agreeable to their sensibilities, not merely because it's not Christianity.
“crazy wisdom.”
Whadaya bet that Chögyam Trungpa's students had primarily conservative values.

I completely agree that "to follow a fake master ends up with us jumping off the cliff with the one in whom we have placed our trust, hand in hand, to mutual destruction." I just don't agree with his analysis of why Westerners may fall for fake masters.

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Tiago Simões » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:43 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:59 pm
I think you are reading a bit too much into it. He's simply challenging us to reevaluate our motivations to practice the Dharma. Many people are Buddhist in name only, almost like a hobby. We see that everywhere in the internet.

If you want to understand what he is trying to convey, this short article definitely isn't enough. Read his book "Wisdom in exile". He's actually bringing up two different topics in the article.

You have a lot of points I would comment on, but that would just unnecessarily prolong the discussion.
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”

boda
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by boda » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:05 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:43 pm
boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:59 pm
I think you are reading a bit too much into it. He's simply challenging us to reevaluate our motivations to practice the Dharma.
No, he attempts to explain how the moral framework that Westerners approach Buddhism with makes them prone to eventually abandoning it because their moral framework is flawed, essentially. He acknowledges that there has always been fakes or those who will take advantage of the cooperative elements of society, and I think he should go no further than that without a more coherent thesis.
If you want to understand what he is trying to convey, this short article definitely isn't enough.
So you agree that it’s incoherent as presented. If you understand what he’s trying to say, and you believe that it has value, then why don’t you tell us?

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:55 am

boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:05 pm
pproach Buddhism with makes them prone to eventually abandoning it because their moral framework is flawed, essentially. He acknowledges that there has always been fakes or those who will take advantage of the cooperative elements of society, and I think he should go no further than that without a more coherent thesis.
It's too large for the article, but I don't think he says their moral framework is "wrong", he says that the moral framework of Buddhism is utterly different from what we take as the default in our society, and it's hard to argue that he is wrong on that,
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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Tiago Simões » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:04 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:05 pm
Tiago Simões wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:43 pm
boda wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:59 pm
I think you are reading a bit too much into it. He's simply challenging us to reevaluate our motivations to practice the Dharma.
No, he attempts to explain how the moral framework that Westerners approach Buddhism with makes them prone to eventually abandoning it because their moral framework is flawed, essentially. He acknowledges that there has always been fakes or those who will take advantage of the cooperative elements of society, and I think he should go no further than that without a more coherent thesis.
The moral framework of most westerners is flawed. I have no doubt about that. But it's not a superficial case of liberal west vs conservative asia. It's much deeper than that. It's people unable to recognise the 3 poisons in the worldly affairs or even in their own spiritual materialism.
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: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by DGA » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:59 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:08 pm
It reads nicely but does not name names and provide examples I guess I'm supposed to fill in the blanks with my own projections?
Exactly. The author implies that organizations such as Rigpa and Shambhala Int'l (recently in the news due to scandal) are the target. Elsewhere, it's the "mindfulness" scene, or maybe the version of "insight meditation" promoted by Jack Kornfield or Tara Brach...?

It's a bit unfair for the author to make generalizations like this without using specific examples so that those who are targeted for criticism can make a good-faith rebuttal. Absent that, the article comes off as an exercise in Kids Get Off My Lawn.

:coffee:

With that said, and so long as he's targeting the people I think he should target and not those I agree with, he's correct.

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by boda » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:48 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:55 am
I don't think he says their [Westerners] moral framework is "wrong", he says that the moral framework of Buddhism is utterly different from what we take as the default in our society, and it's hard to argue that he is wrong on that,
I think DGA nailed it with:



Anyway, though it may be "wrong," one benefit of a diluted Buddhism is that there's less of a lawn to get pissed about.

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Re: The Dangers of Diluted Buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:43 am

boda wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:48 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:55 am
I don't think he says their [Westerners] moral framework is "wrong", he says that the moral framework of Buddhism is utterly different from what we take as the default in our society, and it's hard to argue that he is wrong on that,
I think DGA nailed it with:



Anyway, though it may be "wrong," one benefit of a diluted Buddhism is that there's less of a lawn to get pissed about.

There's some of that sure, I think if it were more fleshed out there would be some valid commentary too.
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