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The Buddhist stand on other religions

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  • Gunnar Gällmo
    ... Do you mean by this that we should embrace and respect 1. religious people, regardless of confession, or 2. religious practices and doctrines, regardless
    Message 1 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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      --- Ong Yong Peng <yongpeng.ong@...> wrote:

      > The Buddhist stand on other religions is always
      > embrace and respect,
      > and this discussion hardly leads us to anything we
      > want to achieve.

      Do you mean by this that we should "embrace and
      respect"

      1. religious people, regardless of confession, or

      2. religious practices and doctrines, regardless of
      how they look?

      Although the election of Pope Ratzinger (called, even
      by some of his own most devote followers, "Papa Ratzi"
      - perhaps the Pali nickname would be "Paaparatana"?)
      is largely an internal affair of the Catholics, it is
      nevertheless relevant to us as far as it has effect on
      the relation between the Buddhist and Catholic
      communities, and on the possibility to practice
      Buddhism even if living in an environment dominated by
      the Catholic Church.

      So I think it's well for us to keep our eyes open.

      Besides, I just read that one of the new pope's
      favourite writers is Hermann Hesse - perhaps not quite
      as Buddhist as some readers believe, but certainly
      still less Catholic; so perhaps there is some hope of
      a continued dialogue after all.

      Gunnar

      gunnargallmo@...
    • Ong Yong Peng
      Dear Gunnar and friends, I should have made it clearer, but I really don t want to make it lengthy. Many religious and political idealisms from the West, such
      Message 2 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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        Dear Gunnar and friends,

        I should have made it clearer, but I really don't want to make it
        lengthy. Many religious and political idealisms from the West, such
        as Catholicism and Communism, believe in 'homogeneity'. We see
        Crusades, Jihads, ethnic cleansing, inquisitions, secret police,
        thought crimes, conspiracies, torture and terror, all done in that
        name of the "greater good", be it religious or political. I know
        people would say I am not fair to put Catholicism and Communism side
        by side, but from my personal view, they are two sides of the same
        coin. And each represent the wider spectrum of similar "idealisms"
        they belong to. While both sides may never admit, they really have
        more in common than they are different. One significant difference we
        see in Catholicism is the amount of effort it put in reconciliation
        and charity today. In fact, it is really our good karma, they never
        agree with each other, until now, at least.

        Buddhism is different from such Euro-african idealisms. As part of
        the samana movement, Buddhism started off in a pluralistic
        environment, and has been so until today. Frankly speaking, I have
        not read as much of the Tipitaka as many of our fellow members in the
        group, but I can recount a solidly good incident which give our an
        idea how the Buddha wants us to treat other religions.

        It was said that on one occassion a lay-disciple came to the Buddha,
        and asked Him how he should treat his former religious teachers. In
        India, most religious teachers collect alms for food. The Buddha
        replied that he should continue giving food to his former teachers as
        he previously did, and should treat them with respect.

        Of course, in a "use your brain or lose it" situation, when a
        religious teacher of some extreme fundamentalist group is coming for
        my life, common sense will tell me to carry my legs and run.
        Otherwise, besides being critical, from the Buddha's viewpoint, we
        should also respect all religions as He instructed Sigala in another
        sutta.

        I like to say the world we live in today is much different from India
        of Buddha's time. Besides, cultural differences have always existed
        between all the races and groups. So, the Buddha's advice may be too
        limited to be useful in today's world. And I agree we should keep our
        eyes open. A more proactive approach, however, which some of you
        might take, is to engage in dialogs with members of other faiths in
        your community.


        metta,
        Yong Peng.

        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Gunnar Gällmo wrote:

        > The Buddhist stand on other religions is always
        > embrace and respect, and this discussion hardly
        > leads us to anything we want to achieve.

        Do you mean by this that we should "embrace and respect"

        1. religious people, regardless of confession, or
        2. religious practices and doctrines, regardless of how they look?

        Although the election of Pope Ratzinger (called, even by some of his
        own most devote followers, "Papa Ratzi" - perhaps the Pali nickname
        would be "Paaparatana"?) is largely an internal affair of the
        Catholics, it is nevertheless relevant to us as far as it has effect
        on the relation between the Buddhist and Catholic communities, and on
        the possibility to practice Buddhism even if living in an environment
        dominated by the Catholic Church.

        So I think it's well for us to keep our eyes open.

        Besides, I just read that one of the new pope's favourite writers is
        Hermann Hesse - perhaps not quite as Buddhist as some readers
        believe, but certainly still less Catholic; so perhaps there is some
        hope of a continued dialogue after all.
      • Piya Tan
        Dear Gunnar, On a lighter note, as you probably know the Thais call him Santa Papa (which is really Italia I think), but in Pali, it can mean peaceful evil
        Message 3 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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          Dear Gunnar,

          On a lighter note, as you probably know the Thais call him "Santa Papa" (which is
          really Italia I think), but in Pali, it can mean "peaceful evil" or better (I hope)
          "evil that has come to peace".

          Sukhi

          Piya

          Gunnar Gällmo wrote:

          > --- Ong Yong Peng <yongpeng.ong@...> wrote:
          >
          > > The Buddhist stand on other religions is always
          > > embrace and respect,
          > > and this discussion hardly leads us to anything we
          > > want to achieve.
          >
          > Do you mean by this that we should "embrace and
          > respect"
          >
          > 1. religious people, regardless of confession, or
          >
          > 2. religious practices and doctrines, regardless of
          > how they look?
          >
          > Although the election of Pope Ratzinger (called, even
          > by some of his own most devote followers, "Papa Ratzi"
          > - perhaps the Pali nickname would be "Paaparatana"?)
          > is largely an internal affair of the Catholics, it is
          > nevertheless relevant to us as far as it has effect on
          > the relation between the Buddhist and Catholic
          > communities, and on the possibility to practice
          > Buddhism even if living in an environment dominated by
          > the Catholic Church.
          >
          > So I think it's well for us to keep our eyes open.
          >
          > Besides, I just read that one of the new pope's
          > favourite writers is Hermann Hesse - perhaps not quite
          > as Buddhist as some readers believe, but certainly
          > still less Catholic; so perhaps there is some hope of
          > a continued dialogue after all.
          >
          > Gunnar
          >
          > gunnargallmo@...
          >
          >
          > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
          > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
          > [Files] http://www.geocities.com/paligroup/
          > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
          > Paaliga.na - a community for Pali students
          > Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or web only.
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >  
        • Mikael Aktor
          Dear list, Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of you know if the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju (proselytizing by confrontation
          Message 4 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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            Dear list,

            Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of you know if
            the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju (proselytizing by
            confrontation and proselytizing by example) have a history going back to
            Sanskrit or Pali concepts? In other words, do these concepts only exist
            within Nichiren Buddhism, do they flow around in other Mahayaana schools
            or do they even go back to Theravaada concepts?

            all the best,
            Mikael



            --
            Mikael Aktor, Assistant Lecturer, PhD
            Department of Religious Studies
            University of Southern Denmark
            Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

            Phone +45 6550 3318 / +45 3696 9054
            Mobile +45 2830 7394
            Web http://www.humaniora.sdu.dk/nywebX/inc/show.php?full=478 (in Danish)
          • Bhante Sujato
            Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc., and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
            Message 5 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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              Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc.,

              and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous
              meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
              phrase: 'maranatha'. I shouldn't have to tell those on the list what
              this means: 'Satan is Lord'.

              Bhante Sujato
            • "Kåre A. Lie"
              ... On an equally light note, the god Sakka once told the Buddha how those other religions arose. In Sakkapanhasutta (Walshe s translation, p. 331) Sakka says:
              Message 6 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                At 08:57 03.05.2005 +0000, you wrote:
                >Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc.,
                >
                >and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous
                >meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
                >phrase: 'maranatha'. I shouldn't have to tell those on the list what
                >this means: 'Satan is Lord'.
                >
                >Bhante Sujato

                On an equally light note, the god Sakka once told the Buddha how those
                other religions arose. In Sakkapanhasutta (Walshe's translation, p. 331)
                Sakka says:

                Lord, I went to those I considered to be ascetics and Brahmins because of
                their solitary life in the woods, and I put those questions to them. But
                instead of giving me a proper answer, they asked me in return: "Who are
                you, Venerable Sir?" I replied that I was Sakka, ruler of the gods, and
                they asked me what had brought me there. Then I taught them the Dhamma as
                far as I had heard it and practised it. But they were very pleased with
                even that much, and they said: "We have seen Sakka, the ruler of the gods,
                and he has answered the questions we put to him!" And they became my pupils
                instead of my becoming theirs.

                So now we know what really happened to those prophets who claim to have
                received revelations from a god. What really happened, was that a poor,
                bewildered god was out there, looking for answers and explanations. And the
                "prophets" just misunderstood the whole situation!

                Afterwards Sakka of course declares himself to be a disciple of the Buddha.

                So the theists of the world are disciples of god, and god is a disciple of
                the Buddha ..... :-)))))

                I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was told as a
                joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.

                Best regards,

                Kåre A. Lie
                http://www.lienet.no
              • Bhante Sujato
                Dear Kåre ... told as a ... Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle, yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most
                Message 7 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                  Dear Kåre



                  >
                  > I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was
                  told as a
                  > joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.
                  >

                  Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle,
                  yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most characteristically used
                  in just such contexts - to take the micky out of God.

                  I think there is something very insightful going on here. Using
                  humor in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
                  solemnity. This is crucial to the religions being able to impress
                  their truths on an audience. It is part of the whole creation of
                  charisma and authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on
                  evidence to back their claims, they must induce faith through
                  overawing the devotees. Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably
                  effective way of disempowering a religion's claim to authority.

                  Buddhism, incidentally, is not excluded!


                  in Dhamma

                  Bhante Sujato
                • "Kåre A. Lie"
                  ... Some episodes with a similar use of humor: The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance .... but don t tell anyone, please! All those others believe
                  Message 8 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                    At 09:42 03.05.2005 +0000, you wrote:
                    >Dear Kåre
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > >
                    > > I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was
                    >told as a
                    > > joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.
                    > >
                    >
                    >Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle,
                    >yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most characteristically used
                    >in just such contexts - to take the micky out of God.
                    >
                    >I think there is something very insightful going on here. Using
                    >humor in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
                    >solemnity. This is crucial to the religions being able to impress
                    >their truths on an audience. It is part of the whole creation of
                    >charisma and authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on
                    >evidence to back their claims, they must induce faith through
                    >overawing the devotees. Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably
                    >effective way of disempowering a religion's claim to authority.

                    Some episodes with a similar use of humor:

                    The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance ".... but don't tell
                    anyone, please! All those others believe that I'm omniscient!"

                    The Brahmajalasutta, where god misunderstands the situation and thinks he
                    has created the world.

                    The Tevijjasutta, where the path to god is explained by giving only the
                    elementary aspects of buddhist teachings, omitting the higher aspects.

                    There are also episodes where the brahmins are the "victims" of the humor,
                    like for instance the Kutadantasutta, where a prominent brahmin says that
                    he does not know how to perform a grand sacrifice (which was the speciality
                    of the brahmins), and asks the Buddha for advice on how to do it (a samana,
                    who was not even allowed to study the texts to be recited at the
                    sacrifice!). Just the thought of this - a samana teaching a brahmana how to
                    perform a sacrifice - must have caused wild and uncontrolled giggles among
                    the listeners.

                    Has anyone noted other and similar episodes?

                    Yours,

                    Kåre A. Lie
                    http://www.lienet.no
                  • Gunnar Gällmo
                    ... You might mention some other churches as well. Stalin got his only higher education when studying at a Georgian-Orthodox priest seminary... ... Indeed. ...
                    Message 9 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                      --- Ong Yong Peng <yongpeng.ong@...> wrote:

                      > I should have made it clearer, but I really don't
                      > want to make it
                      > lengthy. Many religious and political idealisms from
                      > the West, such
                      > as Catholicism and Communism, believe in
                      > 'homogeneity'. We see
                      > Crusades, Jihads, ethnic cleansing, inquisitions,
                      > secret police,
                      > thought crimes, conspiracies, torture and terror,
                      > all done in that
                      > name of the "greater good", be it religious or
                      > political. I know
                      > people would say I am not fair to put Catholicism
                      > and Communism side
                      > by side, but from my personal view, they are two
                      > sides of the same
                      > coin.

                      You might mention some other churches as well. Stalin
                      got his only higher education when studying at a
                      Georgian-Orthodox priest seminary...

                      > And each represent the wider spectrum of
                      > similar "idealisms"
                      > they belong to. While both sides may never admit,
                      > they really have
                      > more in common than they are different.

                      Indeed.

                      > I can recount a solidly good incident
                      > which give our an
                      > idea how the Buddha wants us to treat other
                      > religions.
                      >
                      > It was said that on one occassion a lay-disciple
                      > came to the Buddha,
                      > and asked Him how he should treat his former
                      > religious teachers. In
                      > India, most religious teachers collect alms for
                      > food. The Buddha
                      > replied that he should continue giving food to his
                      > former teachers as
                      > he previously did, and should treat them with
                      > respect.

                      I have been under the impression that he did so out of
                      compassion for those non-Buddhist ascetics, not
                      because he embraced or respected their views - which,
                      in some cases at least, he most emphatically didn't.

                      > Otherwise, besides being critical, from the Buddha's
                      > viewpoint, we
                      > should also respect all religions as He instructed
                      > Sigala in another
                      > sutta.

                      I think we should give our respect and compassion to
                      the *followers* of all religions. I don't think we
                      should respect, for example, a religious doctrine
                      demanding animal sacrifice.

                      > A more proactive approach, however, which
                      > some of you
                      > might take, is to engage in dialogs with members of
                      > other faiths in
                      > your community.

                      I agree fully. I think we shouldn't overestimate the
                      importance of the top-shots - a pope is cheered when
                      presented, and mourned when buried, but not
                      necessarily obeyed in between. If their holinesses
                      Benedict and Dalai Lama are nice to each other, that's
                      good; but for me personally, its more important that I
                      have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                      brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                      quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                      must respect every single one of their ideas, though.

                      Gunnar


                      gunnargallmo@...
                    • Bhante Sujato
                      Dear Gunnar, Yong Peng, etc., ... We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if we wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with
                      Message 10 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                        Dear Gunnar, Yong Peng, etc.,

                        Gunnar said:
                        >for me personally, its more important that I
                        > have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                        > brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                        > quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                        > must respect every single one of their ideas, though.
                        >

                        We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if
                        we wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with compassion.

                        I believe it is a subtle form of disrespect to refuse to engage in
                        religious debate. The implication is that if we disagree, we'll have
                        to end up fighting each other, so best pretend we really all agree.
                        Surely it is a sign of maturity that people can have different
                        opinions, discuss them honestly, agree to disagree, and still
                        respect each other - as we do often on this list!

                        Once when i was staying at Wat Nanachat we were visited by a
                        wonderful Sikh teacher - totally warm, totally outrageous. He walked
                        into the sala saying, 'We are all brothers! We must looooove each
                        other!' He told us that if we want to meditate, first we must, you
                        know, go with our wife, then we can sit and meditate. One of the
                        monks mentioned that the Buddha said we must let go of that kind of
                        thing. He replied: 'Yes, you are right! I am right, too - Everybody
                        is right!'

                        Yours in abslolute agreement with everybody and everything,

                        Bhante Sujato
                      • Ong Yong Peng
                        Dear Ven. Sujato, Gunnar and friends, thanks again. Gunnar, I know what you mean, with family members of different religious background, it is more important
                        Message 11 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                          Dear Ven. Sujato, Gunnar and friends,

                          thanks again.

                          Gunnar, I know what you mean, with family members of different
                          religious background, it is more important than ever to maintain and
                          cherish the bonds. For one thing, I do not know if that's exactly
                          what the Buddha meant.

                          As much as I understand, religions known to the Buddha is different
                          from what we know about religions today. During Buddha's time, the
                          social system in India is such that there is a priestly class, that
                          is the brahmins. These priests perform rituals and are also educators
                          and learners of the vedic literature. They had a high social status.
                          More importantly, the education and rituals they perform are highly
                          regarded, and the Buddha himself no doubt benefited from them.
                          Therefore, they should be respected, in that aspect.

                          Then, of course, we have the samanas or ascetics. Like the Buddha,
                          these people gave up their worldly life in search of the solutions to
                          human suffering. They live the lives of beggars, asking for food,
                          sleeping under trees and in graveyards, etc. I agree that these
                          ascetics can have very bizarre practices and beliefs, not only by
                          today's standards but by Buddha's standards too. However, for their
                          high aspirations, they should be respected. In fact, the Buddha even
                          said, they should be offered food and not deprived of it.

                          Many of the religions that we know today can be considered even more
                          bizarrrre by the Buddha if only He is around. But, I think we can
                          fairly well extend our compassion to these people. By "these people",
                          I mean the "clergy" of religions in this very context, not
                          the "laity" or the followers of any religion.

                          There are exceptions, though, as I mentioned in my previous mail
                          about a "use your brain or lose it" case. I think compassion has to
                          work in hand with wisdom, or it will reduce to blind compassion.

                          As for the relationships with "other people", the Buddha has advices
                          in other parts of the Tipitaka too. I think that is what you are
                          trying to discuss. We can also extend the concept of "embrace and
                          respect" to them, but it would NOT be giving away your money to them!
                          And it doesn't mean you have to agree with all of their ideas. It was
                          not what I intended, neither was it the Buddha's intention.

                          I think nowadays people do not really respect each other, so much so
                          that the word has erroded, and to 'respect' (verb) someone means you
                          have to treat him to high tea? or to agree with him on everything?.
                          To me, it is very simple, to respect is not to disrespect. With this
                          simple definition, you can respect everyone on the street. There is
                          no need to pretend or put on a show, Buddhists are not good actors.

                          As for your family, I think it is definitely more than respect, there
                          is almost love, family bonds and so on involved. Even for friends,
                          friendship is more than just respect. I am not going further into
                          this.

                          Bhante: I do not agree with what the Sikh say. If I happen to see
                          him, I promise to disagree with him with respect. :-)


                          metta,
                          Yong Peng.


                          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Bhante Sujato wrote:

                          > for me personally, its more important that I
                          > have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                          > brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                          > quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                          > must respect every single one of their ideas, though.

                          We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if we
                          wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with compassion.

                          I believe it is a subtle form of disrespect to refuse to engage in
                          religious debate. The implication is that if we disagree, we'll have
                          to end up fighting each other, so best pretend we really all agree.
                          Surely it is a sign of maturity that people can have different
                          opinions, discuss them honestly, agree to disagree, and still respect
                          each other - as we do often on this list!

                          Once when i was staying at Wat Nanachat we were visited by a
                          wonderful Sikh teacher - totally warm, totally outrageous. He walked
                          into the sala saying, 'We are all brothers! We must looooove each
                          other!' He told us that if we want to meditate, first we must, you
                          know, go with our wife, then we can sit and meditate. One of the
                          monks mentioned that the Buddha said we must let go of that kind of
                          thing. He replied: 'Yes, you are right! I am right, too - Everybody
                          is right!'
                        • Ngawang Dorje
                          Hi, Sakkapanha Sutta is available here: http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/sakkapanha_sutta.htm ... 1. The sutta did not say
                          Message 12 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                            Hi,

                            Sakkapanha Sutta is available here:
                            http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/sakkapanha_sutta.htm

                            > So now we know what really happened to those prophets who claim to have received revelations from a god. What really happened, was that a poor, bewildered god was out there, looking for answers and explanations. And the "prophets" just misunderstood the whole situation!<

                            1. The sutta did not say "those prophets" but "other priests and contemplatives".

                            2. Sakka said, "So I taught them the Dhamma as far as I had heard and mastered it...." The sutta also said Sakka claimed to be a "stream-winner"

                            I have several questions:

                            a. What does it mean by "Dhamma" here? I doubt that it refered to Buddha's dhamma. It says "as far as I had heard and mastered it" If not, Sakka wouldn't be asking those questions to the Buddha.

                            b. Did Sakka become Sakka after asking the Buddha those questions or before? My guess is after having asked those questions. If he was already a stream-winner, I don't see why he have to asked those questions.

                            3. The "prophets" that came after Buddha ie. Jesus, Muhammad etc. definitely did not received revelation from Sakka. A possibility is that they received it from other gods. (In Islam, Jesus is considered a prophet, whereas in Christianity, Jesus is God Himself [son of God]) then, of course there is a question whether they really did received revelation. And if they received, what is revealed and how much is added? See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/denis_giron/multiple.html

                            >So the theists of the world are disciples of god, and god is a disciple of the Buddha ..... :-)))))<

                            So, I think the "theist of the world" is not so correct. The god that gave revelations to those prophets might not be A Buddhist in the first place.

                            >I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was told as a joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.<

                            I don't think it's a joke.

                            Best wishes,

                            Rahula








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                          • Ngawang Dorje
                            Hi, ... The relevant passage: Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, These gods of the retinue of
                            Message 13 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                              Hi,

                              > Some episodes with a similar use of humor:>

                              >The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance ".... but don't tell anyone, please! All those others believe that I'm omniscient!"<

                              The relevant passage:

                              "Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, 'These gods of the retinue of Brahma believe, "There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not see. There is nothing of which the Great Brahma is unaware. There is nothing that the Great Brahma has not realized." That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart.' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/digha/dn11.html

                              So, here we have the Brahma who admitted himself inferior to the Buddha still refuse to admit to his subordinates and I presumed, his disciples.

                              > The Brahmajalasutta, where god misunderstands the situation and thinks he has created the world.<

                              Available here:
                              http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/brahmajala_sutta.htm


                              I don't see anything funny here.

                              > The Tevijjasutta, where the path to god is explained by giving only the elementary aspects of buddhist teachings, omitting the higher aspects.<

                              Ya, the brahmaviharas. So?

                              > There are also episodes where the brahmins are the "victims" of the humor, like for instance the Kutadantasutta, where a prominent brahmin says that he does not know how to perform a grand sacrifice (which was the speciality of the brahmins), and asks the Buddha for advice on how to do it (a samana, who was not even allowed to study the texts to be recited at the sacrifice!). Just the thought of this - a samana teaching a brahmana how to perform a sacrifice - must have caused wild and uncontrolled giggles among the listeners.<

                              Available here: http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/kutadanta_sutta.htm

                              Kutadanta went after getting good report about the Buddha. Also, at first, many Brahmins dissuade him from seeing the Buddha, and suggested the Buddha, instead, should come to see him. Obviously the reason they gave matched with the reason you gave.

                              Let me speculate. I believe that many people (including brahmins) were " ready to be enlightened" because of their previous lives connection to Buddha's dhamma. So, it is not strange for some brahmins to have the urge to see the Buddha even though it's not the custom/practise those days. Also, I believe it's just a minority of them.

                              Best wishes, Rahula



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                            • Yuttadhammo
                              ... Okay, this is interesting, I was just this past day thinking someone should put together some witty Buddhism stories and make a book out of them. There is
                              Message 14 of 15 , May 4, 2005
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                                > >I think there is something very insightful going on here.
                                > Using humor
                                > >in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
                                > solemnity.
                                > >This is crucial to the religions being able to impress their
                                > truths on
                                > >an audience. It is part of the whole creation of charisma and
                                > >authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on evidence to back
                                > >their claims, they must induce faith through overawing the devotees.
                                > >Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably effective way of
                                > disempowering a
                                > >religion's claim to authority.

                                Okay, this is interesting, I was just this past day thinking someone should
                                put together some witty Buddhism stories and make a book out of them. There
                                is one book I've been dipping into with stories from various religious
                                traditions and the only ones that aren't really witty are the early Buddhist
                                ones - I don't think they chose particularily good ones, and I think they
                                were retold in a way that they may have lost their original flavour.

                                Here's a funny one from the Jaataka Commentary:

                                Sakka steals an ascetic's food, and he calls together his six brother
                                ascetics, a sister ascetic, a servant and a maid (ascetics needed maids too
                                it seems...) to find out who is the thief. The first brother, to prove his
                                innocence says:

                                "May horse and kine be his, may silver, gold,
                                A loving wife, these may he precious hold,
                                May he have sons and daughters manifold,
                                Brahmin, who stole thy share of food away!"

                                The other ascetics all put their hands over their ears, crying, "No, no,
                                sir, that oath is very heavy!" And the Bodhisatta (the ascetic whose food
                                was stolen) says "Brother, your oath is very heavy: you did not eat the
                                food, sit down on your pallet."

                                And so on, through the rest of them who recite similar oaths. Then the
                                Bodhisatta thinks "Perhaps they imagine I am lying myself, and saying that
                                the food was not there when it was." So he makes an oath on his part:

                                "Who swears the food was gone, if it was not,
                                Let him enjoy desire and its effect,
                                May worldly death be at the last his lot.
                                The same for you, sirs, if you now suspect."

                                Sakka is confused at these odd oaths and shows up asking:

                                "What in the world men go a-seeking here
                                That thing to many lovely is and dear,
                                Longed-for, delightful in this life; why, then,
                                Have saints no praise for things desired of men?"

                                The Bodhisatta replies:

                                "Desires are deadly blows and chains to bind,
                                In these both misery and fear we find;
                                When tempted by disires imperial kings,
                                Infatuate do vile and sinful things.

                                These sinners bring forth sin, to hell they go
                                At dissolution of this mortal frame.
                                Because the misery of lust they know
                                Therefore saints praise not lust, but only blame."

                                Sakka returns the food, asks forgiveness and disappears.

                                **************

                                There's loads of wit in the Tipitaka and commentaries - the Paa.tika Sutta
                                of the Digha, where he can't get off his seat to go debate with the Buddha,
                                or the Paayaasi Sutta, with the parable of the man carrying dung on his head
                                in the rain.

                                There's the stories in the Vinaya too, like the origin story on the ninth
                                Sanghadisesa where a bad group of monks name a certain cow and a bull couple
                                after a monk X and nun Y, then when they see the cows copulating, they
                                spread it around that X and Y have been copulating.

                                Or the origin of the offence over cutting off one's male member (yes it is
                                against the vinaya). The story goes that a monk couldn't bear to put up
                                with the great lust that had arisen in his mind, so he decided the only
                                thing to do was to cut off the focus of his attachment, his male member.
                                Having done so, the Buddha found out and said "This monk has cut off one
                                thing, when he should have cut off another." (i.e. craving)

                                Or the story of Jivaka, who tells a merchant he must lie on one side for
                                seven months to be healed after the world's first successful brain surgery
                                (no anesthetic is mentioned). The man can't bear it and after seven days
                                stops. Jivaka says, okay if you can't do that, then lie on the other side
                                for seven months. Again, after seven days the man sits up. Jivaka says,
                                okay lie on your back for seven months. Again, only seven days. Jivaka
                                says "Well done. twenty-one days was enough, but if I had told you to lie
                                only seven days on one side, you would have never lasted so long."

                                Or here's a really good one from the commentary of the Sakkapanha sutta: a
                                famous teacher Mahaasiva was put to shame by an arahant student of his,
                                because he himself had not attained anything of merit. Being ashamed, he
                                left his position and went to practice meditation by himself. He didn't get
                                anywhere, so he sat down and started crying. As he did so, an angel who was
                                waiting to learn meditation from him, appeared and started crying as well.
                                The great teacher asked the angel: "why are YOU crying?" She replied that
                                she had such faith in him, that when she saw him crying she thought this
                                must be the way to become enlightened. This brought the thera to his senses
                                and he pulled himself together, practiced mindfulness and attained
                                Arahatship.

                                Lots more where these came from...

                                Suma"ngalaani,

                                Yuttadhammo
                              • Dhammanando Bhikkhu
                                Dear Mikael, ... Soka Gakkai trace them to the Pali terms niggaha and paggaha. I don t know if these are terms that Nichiren himself had in mind or if it s
                                Message 15 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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                                  Dear Mikael,

                                  Mikael Aktor wrote:

                                  > Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of
                                  > you know if the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju
                                  > (proselytizing by confrontation and proselytizing by
                                  > example) have a history going back to Sanskrit or Pali
                                  > concepts? In other words, do these concepts only exist
                                  > within Nichiren Buddhism, do they flow around in other
                                  > Mahayaana schools or do they even go back to Theravaada
                                  > concepts?

                                  Soka Gakkai trace them to the Pali terms niggaha and
                                  paggaha. I don't know if these are terms that Nichiren
                                  himself had in mind or if it's just a modern attempt to
                                  concoct some Indian Buddhist antecedents. Either is
                                  possible; Nichiren does seem to have acquired a very
                                  thorough knowledge of the Tripi.taka during his time as a
                                  Tendai monk, and since niggaha and paggaha are fairly basic
                                  Vinaya terms it's not unlikely he would have met with them
                                  in the translations of non-Theravaadin Vinaya texts. On
                                  the other hand, I tend to take with a pinch of salt anything
                                  Soka Gakkai have to say about Indian Buddhism.

                                  Either way, shakubuku and shoju don't really bear much
                                  resemblance to niggaha and paggaha in their Vinaya sense. I
                                  suppose shakubuku does bear some resemblance to niggaha as
                                  it is used in the Mahaparinibbaana Sutta, where the Buddha
                                  tells Maara that he will not pass away until he has
                                  disciples who are capable of teaching the Dhamma after
                                  thoroughly refuting any rival doctrines that are presented to
                                  them:

                                  na taavaaha.m, paapima, parinibbaayissaami, yaava
                                  me bhikkhuu na saavakaa bhavissanti viyattaa
                                  viniitaa visaaradaa bahussutaa dhammadharaa
                                  dhammaanudhammappa.tipannaa saamiicippa.tipannaa
                                  anudhammacaarino, saka.m aacariyaka.m uggahetvaa
                                  aacikkhissanti desessanti pa~n~napessanti
                                  pa.t.thapessanti vivarissanti vibhajissanti
                                  uttaanii karissanti, uppanna.m parappavaada.m
                                  sahadhammena suniggahita.m niggahetvaa
                                  sappaa.tihaariya.m dhamma.m desessantii ti.
                                  (DN. ii. 104-5)

                                  Best wishes,

                                  Dhammanando
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