Secularism in theravada buddhism


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My experience of teaching in a Buddhist context the English of Buddhism in a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka. The central question was the problem of secularism in this context of a godless religion that makes the mind the center of all intellectual and existential life.

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Secularism in theravada buddhism

  1. 1. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 1 Secularism in Theravada Buddhism: Dhammapada and the Freedom of the Mind Dr Jacques COULARDEAU Synopsis-Paie Nice
  2. 2. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 2 om mani padme hūṃ Almost a proper Buddhist: the post-secular character of Heritage Buddhist teen values in Britain, Phra Nicholas Thanissaro, 2013, WRERU, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK “Many of the characteristics of post-secularism are useful in explaining the tenacity with which Buddhist identity features very different to the values of a mainstream culture are being passed down to a second generation of young heritage Buddhists.” “Tenacity in the face of mainstream society (resistance identity); Reaction to Mass Media, globalization, commercialism; Pan-Asianism; Cleavage; ‘Scientific Buddhism’.” The social cleavage theory is a concept used in sociology and political science to explore how society is divided into groups. Social cleavages are acknowledged divisions in society based on specific factors and are used to describe, among other things, voting behavior. Preliminary remark
  3. 3. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 3 Sri Lanka, Pidurangala, July- November 2005 First starting point “yo ca attham anatthan ca ubbo niccheyya pandito.” “The wise man should investigate both right and wrong.” (Dhammapada, 256) Second Starting Point “Sabbe samkhārā aniccā Sabbe samkhārā dukkha Sabbe dhamma anattā.” “All conditioned things are imperrmanent All conditionned things are dukkhā All dhammas are without self.” (Dhammapada, 277-279)
  4. 4. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 4 I pinned the picture of late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on the board. The task was to determine the “dukkha” of the Foreign Minister, his assassins and the bullet that killed the Foreign Minister. The Minister was a Hindu Tamil. Auguttara Nikaya 67. Fear of Death “These, brahmin, are the four mortals who fear death and are afraid of death.” not free from lust for sensual pleasures; not free from lust for this body; not done anything good and wholesome; has doubts and perplexity about the good Dhamma and has not come to certainty in it. “These, brahmin, are the four mortals who do not fear death and are not afraid of death.” free from lust for sensual pleasures; free from lust for this body; not done anything evil, cruel or wicked, but has done what is good and wholesome; has no doubts and perplexity about the good Dhamma and has gained certainty in it.
  5. 5. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 5 Syncretic thinking Isolated elements with independent semantic discriminative identifying permanent meaning Simple concatenation of before and after in transitive order from beginning to end Concatenated proximity seen as causal and attributing syntactic meaning Subductive or samsaric thinking A whole in constant development, never static, always becoming, carrying non-isolated elements that are never static always becoming Non-isolated elements whose meaning emerges from their non-permanent, ever changing position in the whole No causal relation but the fulfillment of the development of samsara A sees the emergence of new phenomena that bring samsara A to samsara B Causal thinking, such as syllogism Isolated elements with their individual particular conceptual meanings Connected by deductive/inductive causality Meaning of the whole carried by this causality applied to individual meanings. Paticcasamuppada, dependent origination, samsaric thinking
  6. 6. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 6 Attānaṃ upamaṃ katvā Accusative accusative preterit Participle na haneyya na ghātaye Neg. optative Neg.optative hanati 3rd Sing ghāteti 3rd Sing. Participle Clause: No subject, concatenated to the main clause hence attached to the subject of the main clause Main Clause: two conjugated verbs, no independent subject, generic personal finite suffix. (Dhammapada, 129), Comparing others with oneself, one should neither strike nor cause to strike. “now that one has compared oneself to others, the main action (no matter what it may be and it here concerns a generic subject) may (not permission but eventuality) emerge.”
  7. 7. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 7 Mind, its nature and function as described in Buddhism by Shane Blok , Daily News, on August 10, 2005 “Until the bonds by which he is bound to the cycle of births and deaths are torn apart through the purification of his mind, he will ever be in the cycle being subjected to suffering in numerous states of births.” THE RICHNESS AND DIVERSITY OF MENTAL EXISTENCE: THE VERBS EXPRESSING KNOWLEDGE IN PALI Janati knows Vijanati knows with discrimination Sanjanati recognizes Pajanati knows with wisdom Parijanati knows comprehensively Abhijanati knows with extra sensory perception Ajanati learns or grasps Patijanati admits or approves
  8. 8. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 8 FAREWELL 2005 Don’t mention it ! All the pleasure was for me, That will give me volumes Of saffron dreams. You’re welcome ! The experience was on my side, That will give me myriads Of files of saffron words. Cheers ! It’s on the house ! The adventure was running along with me, That will give me chestfuls Of saffron ideas. Cheers again ! And one last for the Road ! The discovery was overwhelming my senses, That will give me a billion Databases of saffron mindscapes. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU 8 rue de la Chaussée 63880 OLLIERGUES – FRANCE
  9. 9. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 9 Buddhism refuses any dogmatic education To the Kalamas Do not go by oral traditions, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reflection on reasons, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of the speaker, or because you think, ‘The ascetic is our teacher.’ But when you know for yourselves, ‘These things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practised, lead to harm and suffering,’ then you should abandon them. … These things are wholesome, these things are blameless; these things are praised by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practised, lead to welfare and happiness, then you should engage in them. four assurances in this very life. “The first assurance is this: ‘If there is another world, and if good and bad deeds bear fruit and yield results, it is possible that with the breakup of the body, after death, I shall arise in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ “The second assurance is this: ‘If there is no other world, and if good and bad deeds do not bear fruit and yield results, still right here in this very life, I live happily, free of enmity and ill will.’ “The third assurance is this: ‘Suppose evil befalls the evil doer. Then, as I do not intend evil for anyone, how can suffering afflict me, one who does no evil deed?’ “The fourth assurance is this: ‘Suppose evil does not befall the evil doer. Then right here I see myself purified in both respects.’
  10. 10. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 10 Research Article Journal of Global Buddhism 13 (2012): 87-107 A Secular Buddhism, Stephen Batchelor Independent Scholar agnostic@club-, at, Suffering (dukkha) Arising (samudaya) Ceasing (nirodha) Path (magga) Embrace, Let go, Stop, Act. One embraces dukkha, that is whatever situation life presents, lets go of the grasping that arises in reaction to it, stops reacting, so that one can act unconditioned by reactivity.” Buddhism is the new opium of the people Mark Vernon,, Tuesday 22 March 2011 18.52 GMT “[I]t's mistaken to think that the western categories that shape us can be circumvented. You can't choose the gods that you worship. To hope you can, by adopting someone else's gods or a cluster of eastern ideas, is the fundamental error. Instead, the individual who seeks to continue in the Buddha's way must "enter the stream", must continue along the ever-changing flow that is the living tradition. It's a tough calling. [John] Peacock and Batchelor attract as much opprobrium as praise. . . . [I]t can often be a misguided and dispiriting process.
  11. 11. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 11 John Peacock and “metta” Out of the soil of friendliness (metta) Grows the beautiful bloom of compassion (karuna) Watered by the tears of joy (mudita) Sheltered under the cool shade Of the tree of equanimity. (upekka)” empathy
  12. 12. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 12 The Natural state The searching mind Nibbāna vajja: wrong belief pāpa: evil lobha: attachment dosa: ill will (hatred) moha; delusion the three im-moral roots taṇhā: craving, attachment kāmataṇhā: craving for sensuous pleasures bhavataṇhā: craving for rebirth vibhavataṇhā: craving for no rebirth rāga: lust (Narada, Easwaran) dosa: hate (N, E) moha: delusion (N) infatuation (E) taṇhā: craving (N) greed (E) kāmataṇhā: craving for sensuous pleasures rūpataṇṇhā: craving for the Realms of Forms arūpataṇhā: craving for the Formless Realms avajja: right belief alobha: generosity adosa: goodwill (loving kindness) amoha: wisdom the three Ø-moral roots Tisarana: The three refuges: Buddha: teacher Dhamma: teaching Sangha: taught The Triple Gem sīla: morality guṇa: virtue paññā: wisdom puñña: merit dhamma : righteousness the five powers of Buddha sukha: happiness, bliss LINGUISTICALLY POSITIVE ELEMENTS > 0 LINGUISTICALLY NEGATIVE ELEMENTS < 0 BUT LINGUISTICALLY POSITIVE REFUGES THOUGH A REFUGE IS THE NEGATION OF A HOSTILE OUTSIDE WORLD > 0 LINGUISTICALLY POSITIVE ELEMENTS > 0
  13. 13. Cergy, May 30-31, 2013 EDUCATION AND SECULARISM 13 Manopubbaṅgammā dhammā Manoseṭṭhā manomayā Manasā ce paduṭṭhena Bhāsati vā karoti vā Tato naṃ dukkham anveti Cakkaṃ va vahato padaṃ (DhP 1) Manopubbaṅgammā dhammā Manoseṭṭhā manomayā Manasā ce pasannena Bhāsati vā karoti vā Tato naṃ sukhaṃ anveti Chāyā va anapāyinī (DhP 2) appamādo amatapadaṃ pamādo maccuno padaṃ appamattā na mīyanti ye pamattā yathā matā (DhP 21) dunniggahassa lahuno yatthakāmanipātino cittassa damatho sādhu cittaṃ dantaṃ sukhāvahaṃ (DhP 35) udakaṃ hi nayanti nettikā usukārā namayanti tejanaṃ dāruṃ namayanti tacchakā attānaṃ damayanti paṇḍitā (DhP 80) phandanaṃ capalaṃ cittaṃ dūrakkhaṃ dunnivārayaṃ ujuṃ karoti medhāvī usukāro va tejanaṃ (DhP 33)