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Author Topic: (Lack of) Debates between western buddhist monks? (!)  (Read 256 times)

Offline 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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July 17, 2017, 01:50:17 AM


July 16, 2017, 02:28:02 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


July 14, 2017, 07:07:17 AM
Moritz. Gut ihn früh Morgens und nicht bis in den frühen Morgen zu sehen.


July 14, 2017, 07:03:53 AM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


July 13, 2017, 08:12:46 AM


July 13, 2017, 07:42:39 AM
Chom reap lea


July 13, 2017, 07:40:46 AM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


July 08, 2017, 02:26:09 AM
Vor mehr als 2500 Jahen wurde a diesem Vollmondtag das Rad des Dhammas in bewegung gesetzt. Anumodana!

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 02, 2017, 08:24:13 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen für Ihre nette Erklärung.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!



July 01, 2017, 07:43:41 PM
Nyom Mohan. Besser: "Ich hoffe, daß es Ihnen gut geht." und bestens (ohne suggerieren, wenn interessiert) "Wie geht es Ihnen." Oder: "Möge es Ihnen Gut gehen." (wenn metta ausdrücken wollend)

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 01, 2017, 10:43:15 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

ich glaube, dass es Ihnen gut geht.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!

Mohan Gnanathilake

July 01, 2017, 10:32:46 AM
Werter Micro,
herzliche Grüße aus Sri Lanka nach Deutschland!


July 01, 2017, 10:32:17 AM
Nyom Mohan.


June 25, 2017, 01:38:38 PM
Alles Zufälle. Nissaya. Und wenn da keine starke Grundlagenursache aufkommt, upanissayapaccayena, na dann war's das, und alles is weg. Lebewesen sind Erben ihrer Taten (im Geist, Wort und Körper).


June 25, 2017, 01:27:24 PM
Schwupps und weg. Waffen und Nahrung geholt.

Oh, was sag ich. Wenn man's doch nehmen kann, auch ohne das Gefühl zu nehmen... Unsinn hier. Hat doch keiner interesse Verdienste zu tun.


June 25, 2017, 01:21:28 PM
Mirco. Wie geht es?


June 25, 2017, 01:20:43 PM
Es ist doch viel angenehmer, wenn man sich nehmen kann was und wann immer man will, oder? Warum sollte man sich so viel antun, da sind genügend die Anbieten.


June 14, 2017, 06:45:07 PM
Jetzt aber vorerst. Möge jeder guten Unterhalt (ung) im Dhamma und Stärkung finden uud sich davon reichlich nehmen.

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 11, 2017, 08:24:45 AM
Werter Harry,

ich freue mich darüber, nach einigen Monaten wieder auf sangham.net Sie zu grüßen.

Herzliche Grüße aus Sri Lanka nach Deutschland!


June 09, 2017, 05:05:59 PM
Mögen sich alle, möge sich Guest der Uposatha-Einhaltung nicht nur heute annehmen, und glücksverheißende Zeit verbringen.

May all, may Guest not only today observe the Uposatha and spend auspicious time

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 03, 2017, 01:48:08 AM
Sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann,

es geht mir zur Zeit gut. Ich glaube, dass es Ihnen auch gut geht.

Dhamma Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!


June 02, 2017, 11:19:32 PM
Wie geht es Upasaka Mohan?

Mohan Gnanathilake

June 02, 2017, 10:51:50 PM
Wie sehr ehrwürdiger Samanera Johann geschrieben hat, hatte ich am 10. Mai 2017 meinen  Geburtstag, an dem Tag  in diesem Jahr das Wesakfest gefeiert wurde.
Beste Grüße an Sie aus Sri Lanka!
Mohan Barathi Gnanathilake


June 02, 2017, 12:33:54 PM
Wußte doch, daß so Nahrung immer gefressen werden will.  :)
"Sehr gut, weiter hungern."

Freut das Nyom Marcel wohlauf ist.


June 02, 2017, 12:20:52 PM
weil "keines" immer noch die bezugnahme auf eines hat!


June 02, 2017, 10:23:46 AM
Wenn zwei mehr als eines sid, warum ist dann keines auch eines?


May 20, 2017, 04:30:26 PM


May 20, 2017, 03:42:08 PM
Namasakara, Bhante. _/\_


May 18, 2017, 09:56:06 AM
Sadhu und Mudita.


May 18, 2017, 09:53:33 AM
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_


May 18, 2017, 09:22:19 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
Wünsche allen einen guten Silatag.
 :-* :-* :-*


May 16, 2017, 01:45:43 PM


May 16, 2017, 12:09:45 PM
 :-*Werte Sophorn noch am Flughafen getroffen :)
sitzt im Flieger :-*


May 16, 2017, 02:20:58 AM
Ein Dhammatalk, über ein paar Audiofiles, sicher auch gut für ihre Familie, Mutter... http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,7997.0.html


May 16, 2017, 02:17:07 AM
 :-* :-* :-*


May 16, 2017, 02:11:44 AM
Vielleicht möchte Nyom Maria sie noch gerne am Flughafen verabschieden, wenn sie von der Gelegenheit weis.


May 16, 2017, 02:08:13 AM
Gute Reise und beste Wünsche an alle.


May 16, 2017, 02:04:14 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
 karuna tvay bongkum
kana macht sich in knapp 4h auf den weg nach Wien und dann Richtung K. Ankunft morgen in PP.
gerade ist kana am Sammeln vor der Abreise.
kana wünscht Bhante gute Genesung.
 :-* :-* :-*


May 16, 2017, 01:48:42 AM
Nyom Sophorn. Wieder zurück im Land der Khmer? Mag Reise und Aufenthalt angenehm gewesen sein.


May 10, 2017, 09:51:50 AM


May 10, 2017, 01:30:17 AM
Verdienstreiche und befreiende Vesak - Pūjā allen, heute.


May 09, 2017, 09:20:24 AM
Atma will rest a little today and use the "hair cut day" to maintain his body a little for tomorrow's Puja, so see, Moritz has won a whole day today, maybe use it for same. Best wishes!


May 09, 2017, 08:58:33 AM
Namasakara Bhante.
May you have a good Vesakha Puja!


May 08, 2017, 10:43:50 AM
Viel Freude beim Aufräumen und angenehmes "Brotverdienen"


May 08, 2017, 09:32:47 AM
Muss nun hier aufräumen und bald los Brot verdienen. Wünsche einen angenehmen Tag.


May 08, 2017, 09:25:13 AM
Namasakara, Bhante. _/\_


May 06, 2017, 05:42:48 PM
Nyom Senghour.
Darf Atma darauf vertrauen, daß es Ihm gut geht?


May 03, 2017, 08:26:24 PM
Hr. Bernd, Atma zieht sich für heute zurück. Viel Freude beim Entdecken.


April 29, 2017, 11:44:21 AM


April 29, 2017, 11:29:06 AM
Atma wird kurz etwas Wasser zum trinken abkochen.

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