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Author Topic: (Lack of) Debates between western buddhist monks? (!)  (Read 586 times)

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Online Johann

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(Lack of) Debates between western buddhist monks? (!)
« on: February 22, 2017, 01:31:09 PM »
Quote from: dmx on SC
The art of debate was of big importance during Buddha time:

In ancient India, Greece and Tibet, the art of argumentation was an extremely important (and prestigious) activity. To win a formal debate was to demonstrate the truth of one’s school of thought or spiritual faith. The Buddha was a potent and charismatic debater who threatened the intellectual complacency of many Brahmins. The famous consequence of losing a debate in India was to lose one’s students, who would all convert to the winning school of thought. In Buddhist Tibet, monastic universities still put heavy emphasis on training students for debate, which is an essential part of the monastery curriculum.
Though debate, a person is able to traverse "the jungle of views, the thicket of views, the wilderness of views" and eventually arrive at right view. There are suttas where Buddha praised bhikkhus for admonishing wanderers of other sects and proving how they were wrong through debate. There is even a sutta where Buddha criticizes some bhikkhus who did not know how to debate. Those bhikkhus actually won the debate but that was because the wanderers did not know how to debate either. We even have a sutta called "The debating hall".

Today, because of most western buddhist been from USA or other english-culture countries, we do not have debates anymore. Every culture has advantages and disadvantages. English and northern cultures in particular have very low levels of corruption, are much more nice and calm than other people and are very hard working. But every culture has it's weaknesses. The weakness of english people is narcissism and having an anti-debate mentality. It is the second that is what I have a problem with. In the english world, discussion or circle-talking is favored in front of debates. Some even consider debates to be something rude that only evil people engage in. On top of this, postmodernism that somehow got to be a mainstream view in USA is officially an anti-debate view. It is responsible for ideas such as "we strongly disagree but neither of one is wrong it's just that different things work for different people". So there is no purpose for debates with such a mentality.

English (EN/US/AU/CA) are know to be in the uttermost extreme of politeness. English world people even consider germans to be extremely rude, witch are nr 2 most puritan culture in europe after the english. To say nothing about how they view people from latin europe. (france, italy, spain, portugal, romania). People speak with each other like you speak with Kim Jhong Un and if you do not speak like that, it means you're evil and want to harm them. If you want to debate, that means you're a fundamentalist zealot trying to push his beliefs down their thought, violating their constitutional rights to believe in unicorns without ever been contradicted by anybody out there.

All cultures have disadvantages and what is terrible from a buddhist point of view is that the disadvantage of english culture is having probably the most anti-debate mentality in the world after Thai and Japanese. It's bad from a buddhist point of view because this makes it difficult to traverse the jungle of views. Been hard working, not corrupt, very calm might help with practice but not with arriving at right view.

Because of this, debates between famous bhikkhus are almost non-existent in the west. Only 1 on 1 "live" debate that I've ever seen was waged on skype between B.Sujato and B.Bodhi. Other than that, there have been another 3 debates that were not live but waged over articles. One person writes an article and the other one responds in another article. From these, I can only remember B.Bodhi vs Thanissaro on war.

This has been posted on DW as well and has raised a lot of curiosity but nobody was able to provide link. Many have tried finding these debates but were unable to. I myself could not even find the B.Sujato vs B.Bodhi debate that I've read sometime in the past, I just don't know how to google it.

So it would be interesting if we could post in this topic these few debates that have happened in the west. Most people have never seen a debate between 2 western bhikkhus. As I've said, I personally have read only 2. If you happen to know more it would be great if you could post links.

Maybe one day, there could even appear an "online debating hall" between famous bhikkhus where they can debate different topics. But that is quite some wishful thinking when we have just 1 "real time, standard" debate that ever happened and another 3-4 "long distance debates". And in all of these 4-5 debates, one of the debaters is always B.Bodhi or B.Suajato vs somebody else, not 8-10 people in total in 4-5 debates. But who knows ? Maybe a modern "Debating hall" would gather a lot of audience giving the interest these few debates that exist have sparked on DW. Maybe with time, more and more would dare to step out of their bubble and venture into debates. Imagine this: A site with the name "buddhist-debates.com" where you can go and check debates on different points between western bhikkhus. Every buddhist out there would visit the site.

Until then, I would be happy with somebody here posting the links to those few debates that have taken place already. Unfortunately only 1-2 of these debates are on dhamma points, the rest on social matters. This means that in Buddha time, there were more famous bhikkhus debates in a single day than there have been in decades of Buddhism in the west.


It's today, maybe it was always like this, that Monks do not really desire Right View but a confortable live and it's todays general misbelieve that "peace" and equanimity are more worthy to be desired than truth and release. It's today normal, that when you enter another monastery, Monks would start the welcome with words like: "Don't criticize me and I don't criticize you". Actually a must not to stay even a day on such a place. Furthermore Monks are generally interested to gatter laypeople and seldom have any interest in the Sangha, feel not obligated torward Sangha and have no compassion with their fellows. They are for the most disciples of their teacher, their ideas but seldom one woul find a Monk who has gone and takes refuge in the Three Gems (=lower sota) but simple peope making a liveihood out of the Buddhas goodness to havesuch a possibility. They run their undertakings and follow what ever politic to prosper (bhava). There is general no respect in regard of situations where one is been criticised or when Dhamma or Vinaya is taught. Monks are so full of offences that they are no more able to be in the present of correction.

The list is endess and as long as the attitude will not be chanced, Monks will distroy more and more the faith of many.

In regard of the criticisers opinion that this is a Western issue, hat is not correct. It's an issue of moderns view (fatal wrong view) all over the world. There are very less communities and Monks who would never shiw disrespect or not welcoming debates, but there are.
Mostly it loses its value when young scholar monks come into the group, since lacking on practice, having not learned by a teacher but by "oneself" there is much conceit and a mess of modern wrong view, so that even if discussed, it runs out to a splitt.

One will find endless samples here where Monks simply disrespected without shame, critic and Dhamma. Their are even not scared to delete Dhamma, censure or "kill" the criticer.

As wise scholar Monks tell in unison: "How much ever one may have learned, if aproached by people who already have practiced the path, they start to fear and if not willng t learn, soon run away."

This lake of real compassion for the fellows and greed for ones repution is actually a very sad situation for most young Monks since they will, even if there are some who could, bended for their welfare and god of many. Being Monk today, for the most means to become parentless, a street child with no refuge at all aside of more or less good advices from book, depending on their "luck".

At least it should be said that people generally lake of the skill to discuss or even give a clear answer to a question. sac is something people have giving up totally and the many possibilities to hide, protect and keep one world like one likes to have it, the lake of intensive social interacting and the strong elieve in individualisum makes it nearly impossible to reconstruct a culture of disputes and dicussions.

As the Buddha declared the duties of a Monk: "Either to discuss the Dhamma or to sit in Noble silence (2. Jhana)", one can be sure that there are less dwelling in Jhana and maybe even lesser discussing the Dhamma but simple enjoying heedlessness.

* Johann in addition: For the case that Dmx will read that: You are currently discussing with people with no interest in right view, missing even the basics. You will soon see that it is pointless even to try and Atma suggests to read: How to address wrong view? (english is not good but should nevertheless make the meaning understanable)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 01:38:52 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann


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April 15, 2018, 12:43:25 AM
Bhante _/\_


April 15, 2018, 12:38:56 AM
Nyom Danilo.


April 12, 2018, 10:05:15 AM


April 12, 2018, 08:34:11 AM
Namasakara, Bhante. _/\_


April 10, 2018, 07:19:18 PM


April 10, 2018, 01:09:20 PM
Nyom. (Sideboad ist stets zugeklappt... tech. Probl.) 3:00 ist auch schon guten Tag.


April 10, 2018, 03:06:49 AM
Good day (night here)


April 10, 2018, 02:54:42 AM
Namasakara, Bhante. _/\_


April 09, 2018, 09:43:17 AM
Take your time Nyom Danilo and watch the breath to stay best calm for best benefit. A lot of chances to get ride of many ols burdens.


April 08, 2018, 06:24:57 PM


April 08, 2018, 05:54:03 PM
Nyom Danilo.


April 08, 2018, 09:58:59 AM


April 08, 2018, 07:35:17 AM


April 08, 2018, 06:13:54 AM
Good Uposatha to all. _/\_


April 01, 2018, 06:17:08 AM
 :-* :-* :-*


March 31, 2018, 07:13:47 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 31, 2018, 10:11:20 AM


March 31, 2018, 09:52:03 AM
 :-* ich wünsche allen ein verdienstvollen uposatha  :-*


March 27, 2018, 06:44:11 PM
Atma zieht sich hier nun zurück. Möge sich Vollkommenheit einstellen.


March 27, 2018, 05:26:44 PM
Nyom Binocular.


March 27, 2018, 04:10:58 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 27, 2018, 01:47:58 PM
Brahmane Hanspeter.


March 27, 2018, 01:41:50 PM
Moritz, mag sich Vollendung ergeben. (Chamreun bo)


March 27, 2018, 12:20:53 PM
Chom reap sour. _/\_


March 27, 2018, 12:11:33 PM
Vandami, Bhante _/\_


March 26, 2018, 01:42:45 PM
Nyom Binocular.

my person will leave for today and rests. There have been left some hard challenges (sure for many). May they be releasing taken and increase conviction.


March 25, 2018, 01:40:14 PM
Gute Antwort. Sadhu!


March 25, 2018, 12:46:12 PM
 :-* :-* :-*

beste wünsche zurück an erhwürdigen bhante! es ist unsicher wann ich wieder komme! upanissayapaccayena!  :-* :-* :-*


March 25, 2018, 12:28:38 PM
(Heute im Nordkloster, best wünsche vom Abt dort, er fragt stets "Wann kommt er? Ich muß immer an ihn denken."


March 24, 2018, 10:44:34 AM


March 24, 2018, 09:52:48 AM
 :-* heute ist uposatha!! ich wünsche allen ein verdienstvollen tag! mögen die devas jene bescheid geben, die kein zugang haben! :-*


March 23, 2018, 11:37:46 AM
Sadhu! Zu was immer einer Zuflucht nimmt, sich hingibt, daran erfreut, das wird/ist sein Schutz, für Bindung oder Ungebundenheit.


March 23, 2018, 01:43:01 AM
 :-* möge die drei juwelen den ehrwürdigen bhante beschützen und ihn auf seinem weg unterstützen :-*


March 23, 2018, 01:28:02 AM
Kampf der Devas mit den Asuras um den Berg. :)


March 23, 2018, 01:26:30 AM
Regenzeit... außen trüb und unangenehm, nagend, faulend, doch dahinter ist alles fein.


March 23, 2018, 01:10:47 AM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, ja soweit alles gut! und wie geht es ihnen?  :-*


March 23, 2018, 12:58:05 AM
verlesen... Marcel :) alles gut im (ver)laufen?


March 23, 2018, 12:26:23 AM


March 21, 2018, 03:42:55 PM


March 21, 2018, 03:32:47 PM
 :-* mögen sie alle noch in diesem leben das herz von avijja befreien!!! :-*


March 19, 2018, 05:20:12 AM
This "wiki"-like backup tool is meant as a outwardy insurance that one does not be afraid that anything possible good can be desroyed or made bad while looking for cleaning it. So worry at all, kamma does not dissapear. No need to fear to make good deeds, knowing that.


March 19, 2018, 04:03:35 AM
And there is no intention to just make a museum out of a working and concentration camp, since the Dhamma can not be understood by just looking on forms but by learning and experiance skillful deeds.


March 19, 2018, 04:00:47 AM
Post-history: http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,1164.0.html (but there is no notification system). My person uses to make a @mention , off topic "/me" in the OP.


March 19, 2018, 03:49:28 AM
Or to simply make a new post. No need to be shy in doing good things. It's not a museum, it's a working and concentration place. Mudita.


March 19, 2018, 03:47:57 AM
There is such as a "wiki" backup function in all posts, Nyom Danilo. Good is to use the mention option, at the places where making changes @Johann , that it gets not "lost".


March 19, 2018, 03:02:46 AM
I have a backup of the original post in any case. I might review the second post next time. Very insightful teaching. _/\_


March 19, 2018, 03:01:35 AM
I've recently fixed many words and sentences of the first post of the thread "Debts, but to whom?". It take me some time trying to figure out the meaning of some sentences. So it would be good if Bhante could check if the original intended meaning of the post still intact. I have a backup of the ori


March 19, 2018, 01:57:28 AM
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_


March 19, 2018, 12:01:09 AM
One leading to peaks pointing downward so that aging, sickness and death can be seen, know him/her as a sage, a giver of release.


March 18, 2018, 11:57:30 PM
One leading people to papanca, promoting rejoicing in objectification as the heart wood, increases to fields of corpse in the world.

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