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Contradictory Buddhist Traditions?

Recently, I was reading a book by Douglas Harding (The Trial of the Man Who Said He Was God). In it, I found a very interesting statement. Harding claimed that, within Buddhism, two traditions exist with regard to the reason for the Buddha's initial reluctance to tell others about his discovery. The tradition that I (and most others, I suppose) am familiar with is that the Buddha thought that the vast majority of people would be too bound up with acquiring wealth, standing or power, enjoying sensual pleasures etc., to be interested in what he had to say.

The other tradition (according to Harding) can be found in the Burmese and in some Tibetan traditions. Harding claims that these state that the reason for the Buddha's initial reluctance was that what he discovered was TOO OBVIOUS to need stating.

I have tried, by looking on the Web, to find some account of the second tradition, without success. Is there anyone out there sufficiently well-read to be able to tell me where I may find that second account?

With thanks in hopeful anticipation,
Q

Shoshin

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I am unable to be of assistance, but I always find it questionable when someone writes a book that makes claims they don't provide sources and references for.

    dhammachick
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Quandarius said:
    Recently, I was reading a book by Douglas Harding (The Trial of the Man Who Said He Was God). In it, I found a very interesting statement. Harding claimed that, within Buddhism, two traditions exist with regard to the reason for the Buddha's initial reluctance to tell others about his discovery. The tradition that I (and most others, I suppose) am familiar with is that the Buddha thought that the vast majority of people would be too bound up with acquiring wealth, standing or power, enjoying sensual pleasures etc., to be interested in what he had to say.

    The other tradition (according to Harding) can be found in the Burmese and in some Tibetan traditions. Harding claims that these state that the reason for the Buddha's initial reluctance was that what he discovered was TOO OBVIOUS to need stating.

    I have tried, by looking on the Web, to find some account of the second tradition, without success. Is there anyone out there sufficiently well-read to be able to tell me where I may find that second account?

    With thanks in hopeful anticipation,
    Q

    While I can't respond to your post specifically, I am in the process of reading "The Path To Enlightenment" by Venerable Luangpor Pramote Pamojjo. And part of what he talks about is that Dharma isn't the terribly complex concept that we tend to make it out to be...that we live Dharma everyday, and just need to relax a bit and be more mindful about it...that it will fall into place. That's oversimplifying what he's saying, but it just reminded me of your post.

    Shoshindhammachick
  • @karasti said:
    I am unable to be of assistance, but I always find it questionable when someone writes a book that makes claims they don't provide sources and references for.

    To be honest, I have some doubts about this matter also. However, I do have a very high regard for Douglas Harding also, so I shall reserve judgement on the matter until much later. Perhaps someone will prove that Douglas was right, in due course. However, no one can prove a negative, can they? If no such tradition exists, we shall never know for certain.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I (like @vinlyn) cannot be of direct and creditable assistance; however, I DO remember visiting a Theravada Monastery in Herts and being advised by a Bhikkhuni there that the 4 NT/8Fold path/ 5 Precepts could all be condensed into 1 single bit of advice: "Simplify!"

    Do not complicate your life by reading swathes of 'deep meanings' into the Buddha's example. Simplify your life and think good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds.

    I would add that it is majorly easier said than done.... ;)

    Bunks
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 11

    @Quandarius said:> I have tried, by looking on the Web, to find some account of the second tradition, without success. Is there anyone out there sufficiently well-read to be able to tell me where I may find that second account?

    Buddhism has adapted to many different cultures over the last 2,500 years, and there are many schools and sub-schools, a great diversity and plurality. Some schools claim to be superior or more authentic, but this is generally just self-promotion, like "my car is bigger and goes faster than yours". :)

    This Wiki article might give a sense of the diversity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schools_of_Buddhism

    Shoshin
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @federica said:
    I (like @vinlyn) cannot be of direct and creditable assistance; however, I DO remember visiting a Theravada Monastery in Herts and being advised by a Bhikkhuni there that the 4 NT/8Fold path/ 5 Precepts could all be condensed into 1 single bit of advice: "Simplify!"

    Do not complicate your life by reading swathes of 'deep meanings' into the Buddha's example. Simplify your life and think good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds.

    I would add that it is majorly easier said than done.... ;)

    I think Thich Nhat Hanh's emphasis on mindfulness is not so far from the mark. We have Buddha nature, innate goodness and morality was there when we were young. If we can become more aware, more mindful of what happens inside us and in our senses, then we should find and rectify the defilements naturally. Be mindful and hold on to your inner nature!

    JamesTimmdhammachick
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Obviously, enlightenment is nothing ... special ...
    http://sped2work.tripod.com/fetters.html

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