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What does “From a Buddhist Perspective” mean ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran
edited January 11 in General Banter

Note...I was going to post this in "Buddhism Basics" but then thought "General banter" would be more appropriate :)

Recently @federica started a "thread" about how the NewBuddhist forum has changed…Which got me thinking about Buddhism in general ….

I’m guilty of often using the term from a Buddhist perspective when attempting to describe a certain Dharmic approach …However this may not be the best term to use…

Many (but not all) members here see themselves as “Buddhists” (dare I say will call themselves/identify as Buddhists who follow different schools of Buddhism-however some are just interested in what Buddhism has to offer when it comes to the difficulties found in life )…As Buddhists we more often than not differ in our approaches when it comes to some aspects of the Dharma…

For example some when dealing personally with a situation or when asked for advise regarding a situation,eg,may take a no nonsense somewhat confrontational approach… whilst others may opt for a more non-confrontational approach …Both are (supposedly) from a Buddhist perspective (often ones own personal interpretation of the Dharma...Guilty as charged :) )

So just out of interest …

What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

One would think that it ‘must’ in some way involve Buddhist scriptures...

However the problem seems to lie in how one chooses to interpret Buddhist scriptures …(ones experiential understanding may differ slightly) ....

CarlitaSnakeskin

Comments

  • CarlitaCarlita Bastian please! Save us! United States Veteran
    edited January 11

    @Shoshin said:
    Note...I was going to post this in "Buddhism Basics" but then thought "General banter" would be more appropriate :)

    Recently @federica started a "thread" about how the NewBuddhist forum has changed…Which got me thinking about Buddhism in general ….

    I’m guilty of often using the term from a Buddhist perspective when attempting to describe a certain Dharmic approach …However this may not be the best term to use…

    Many (but not all) members here see themselves as “Buddhists” (dare I say will call themselves/identify as Buddhists who follow different schools of Buddhism-however some are just interested in what Buddhism has to offer when it comes to the difficulties found in life )…As Buddhists we more often than not differ in our approaches when it comes to some aspects of the Dharma…

    For example some when dealing personally with a situation or when asked for advise regarding a situation,eg,may take a no nonsense somewhat confrontational approach… whilst others may opt for a more non-confrontational approach …Both are (supposedly) from a Buddhist perspective (often ones own personal interpretation of the Dharma...Guilty as charged :) )

    So just out of interest …

    What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

    One would think that it ‘must’ in some way involve Buddhist scriptures...

    However the problem seems to lie in how one chooses to interpret Buddhist scriptures …(ones experiential understanding may differ slightly) ....

    Its tricky. I used in the Buddhist perspective but added where appropriate in my experience, I know this....from my school, I know that....in my studies I found out this.

    Im talking with a Bahai practitioner in another forum. He believes The Buddha, Krishna, Muhammadx and Jesus all follow the god of abraham. It took awhile then I said from a Dharmic view (told him Im referring to the Pali Canon), this is how -I- interpret it. He used Pure Land sutras so you can see how confusing that was. But from The Physical Dharma is a safe way to out it because you can reference it to how you interpret the suttas.

    From a buddhist perspective, yeah, doesnt work out well since I agree not everyone who follows The Dharma consider themselves Buddhist. I had to explain the difference between The Dharma (suffering, eight fold, etc) vs the physical dharma (the suttas) so he would know when talking from a Buddhist view, its my experience. When talking about The Dharma is what we are dicussing in the physical suttas.

    Depends on who you speak with too.

    Shoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    For me it means seen through the eyes of how I understand Buddhist lore. So perhaps a more correct phrasing would be “as I understand Buddhism” or “from my perspective as a Buddhist”, and then you quote from the sutra’s and teachers you know. Saying “from a Buddhist perspective” generalises the case, as if you know everything that all Buddhists think.

    My knowledge of the sutra’s is not that extensive, but I know quite a bit about the teachings of modern Buddhist masters through their books and discourses on YouTube. I think a lot of modern followers of Buddhism do this, that they find it easier to follow HHDL or TNH than to go and look up for instance the books written by Nagarjuna to become familiar with his thought.

    lobsterpersonShoshin
  • 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

    That's actually a very good question, @Shoshin, I'm glad you asked it... because hopefully it gives everyone scope to consider precisely what that means, to them. And I think it will be a very individual interpretation.
    I guess, fundamentally what I mean by it, for myself, is "What would the Buddha do?"
    And I think the first thing he might do is smile inwardly and think "Oh, you are so attached to your views and opinions. Do you not know that all this is just more papanca?"

    I sometimes have that kind of thought when a customer insists on a particular stance, and all they're getting hot under the collar about, is a £15.50 blouse....
    But it makes me look at my attitude towards them too, and to consider the 4 Sublime states vs the 3 Poisons....

    In a nutshell....

    lobsterShoshin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited January 11

    @Shoshin said:
    What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

    It could mean all sorts of things. It could mean a personal perspective informed by Buddhist practice, but not necessarily based on Buddhist teachings. It could be a view based on Buddhist teachings, or at least the teachings of a particular school, or at least somebody's current understanding of those teachings. And so on.

    lobsterShoshin
  • @Kerome said:So perhaps a more correct phrasing would be “as I understand Buddhism” or “from my perspective as a Buddhist”, and then you quote from the sutra’s and teachers you know.

    Yes, that is a much better approach.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Unless we're talking about something very general, I steer clear of those kinds of wordings. There are so many different ways the Buddhist process unfolds people that we end up contradicting someone else's understanding. And for what, really?

    If we're sticking with the 4 Noble Truths I think it's fairly safe but even then, the fourth is the Eightfold Path and sectarian differences often come into play while figuring out its implications and most beneficial applications.

    Once we get into things like rebirth, the unborn, emptiness and Buddhanature, claiming what "the Buddhist perspective is" is tantamount to serving dogma unless catering to a certain flavour of Buddhist exclusively.

    lobsterShoshinCarlita
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I wonder if it doesn't mean "another something extra" and since Buddhism deals with what is not "extra" ... well, you take it from here. :)

    shadowleaverShoshin
  • I do not like calling myself a "Buddhist" these days. I have taken in some practices and attitudes, however, and am somewhat consistent trying to apply them.

    My personal experience with those is that one's direction should be dealing with truth as directly as we can. Dealing with truth directly entails dropping any "perspective". When perspectives appear, truth is clouded.

    Something is either true or not. For example, the sky is blue not from a Buddhist, Christian or Democratic perspective- it is just blue. Perspective, whether personal or group, is a hindrance in absolute terms (even if in worldly life it is a powerful way to strengthen and further oneself or one's group)

    That from a Buddhist perspective :)

    ShoshinNirvana
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    For me, when I differentiate, it is usually because I recognize that my way of doing things or my thoughts about them aren't quite in alignment with typical Buddhist principles. I am not a scripture or sutra person at all. I know some, but I definitely do not read or study them, so that reference point for me isn't usually there.

    Often, it also depends on the listener. In this forum I don't often have to specify "from a Buddhist perspective" but out in the world I do because often it's quite different from the way others in my life look at things so it's helpful to say where it's coming from it if applies.

    I think part of the reason in came up in the other thread is because some topics get so far out of Buddhism that when you stop to realize the person is asking for thoughts/advice in a Buddhist forum, when you look at the responses they don't really match up. When you pull back and look at it from a Buddhist teaching point of view then things shift. For me, that is where a lot of the learning comes from here. I might start to respond from a societal view, but when I am responding instead from Buddhist principles, it's different. My response to a Catholic friend about a question relating to sex is likely to be different than a person here asking about it. Because I largely assume someone here is asking for advice that works within the Buddhist foundation.

    Shoshin
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    So just out of interest …

    What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

    To me, it means being mindful in response, and checking to see if my response is filled with metta/good intentions and not to intellectually "one up" someone else. YMMV

    ShoshinSocair
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

    I am (for the most part) here to learn more about the Dharma and I guess to also impart what I (as an individual practitioner) have found useful/helpful on the Path…ie, through experiential knowledge/understanding...

    On a personal level, whatever topics arise on this forum I make an effort to always view them through Dharma coloured glasses eg, where does it fit in with the 4NTs & 8FP ?... I also try to keep things simple by focusing on Anicca,(this too shall pass...if "I" let it) Dukkha,('unsatisfactoriness' is the name of the game) Anatta, (all the lights are on but no one's home)....

    From what I gather the BuddhaDharma deals with all aspects of one daily life, at school, uni, work, home, family, friends any interaction with other sentient beings or when one is alone with one's thoughts (have Mind will travel) ...In other words it is not something that only comes out/is applied on 'special' occasions...It (so I have found) permeates all aspects of one's life ( well for me it does)... Which I guess makes it nothing special ....because everything is special...in its own way...

    This all being “from my perspective as a Buddhist” (Thanks @Kerome :) )..

  • Language.

    The interior experience can be expressed in theistic, Buddhist terminology, poetry, music or even independently of any spiritual tradition. Most of us as mentioned, are using the method, language and perspective commonly called Buddhist.

    It is quite a stretch to realise that transmission can be through demeanour, attitude, body language, the awake memes of the realised ...

    Some may be able to speak geek, new-age waffle, Christian or to each according to their capacity ... the green language

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Language

    Good point @lobster :) especially when one thinks of language as sound vibrations "Rastaman Vibrations"

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)

    From an enlightened perspective. From the Buddha's perspective. =)

    lobsterShoshin
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited January 15

    @Shoshin said: What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)
    @seeker242 said: From an enlightened perspective. From the Buddha's perspective. =)

    Am I wrong or wouldn't "knowing from an enlightened perspective" require the knower him/herself to actually be enlightened or be a Buddha ... outside the intellectual twaddle, I mean?

    Also I am curious about "perspective." Did Gautama have a "perspective?" I sort of think he made suggestions that others might try out if they chose or dismiss if they didn't. Sort of like, "well, here's a way you might try out.... or not."

    My Zen teacher once suggested to me that "It's like the taste of tea. If you haven't tasted it, I can't describe it. But if you drink tea and I drink tea, then we both know what tea tastes like and we can go about our business."

    Shoshin
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    @Shoshin said: What does “From a ‘Buddhist’ perspective” really mean ? (to you)
    @seeker242 said: From an enlightened perspective. From the Buddha's perspective. =)

    wouldn't "knowing from an enlightened perspective" require the knower him/herself to actually be enlightened or be a Buddha ... outside the intellectual twaddle, I mean?

    Not necessarily I don't think. =) For example, "craving is the cause of suffering" is still an "enlightened perspective" even if you don't actually fully believe it or fully understand it. It's readily observable in life, even if one isn't enlightened. It can be tested and shown to be true, even if one is yet to get enlightenment.

    Shoshin
  • @seeker242 said:
    Not necessarily I don't think. =) For example, "craving is the cause of suffering" is still an "enlightened perspective" even if you don't actually fully believe it or fully understand it. It's readily observable in life, even if one isn't enlightened. It can be tested and shown to be true, even if one is yet to get enlightenment.

    So you mean that "Buddhist perspective" involves having an understanding of Buddhist teachings?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @seeker242 said:
    Not necessarily I don't think. =) For example, "craving is the cause of suffering" is still an "enlightened perspective" even if you don't actually fully believe it or fully understand it. It's readily observable in life, even if one isn't enlightened. It can be tested and shown to be true, even if one is yet to get enlightenment.

    So you mean that "Buddhist perspective" involves having an understanding of Buddhist teachings?

    One would have to know the concepts, either from Buddhism or from independent derivation, I would think.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    So you mean that "Buddhist perspective" involves having an understanding of Buddhist teachings?

    I think you could say that right view = right perspective = Buddhist perspective.

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    @shadowleaver said:
    I do not like calling myself a "Buddhist" these days. I have taken in some practices and attitudes, however, and am somewhat consistent trying to apply them.

    My personal experience with those is that one's direction should be dealing with truth as directly as we can. Dealing with truth directly entails dropping any "perspective". When perspectives appear, truth is clouded.

    Something is either true or not. For example, the sky is blue not from a Buddhist, Christian or Democratic perspective- it is just blue. Perspective, whether personal or group, is a hindrance in absolute terms (even if in worldly life it is a powerful way to strengthen and further oneself or one's group)

    That from a Buddhist perspective :)

    @seeker242 said:
    I think you could say that right view = right perspective = Buddhist perspective.

    In other words, stepping away from oneself and seeking an unclouded view? That seems to me to be the essence of spirituality. Any perspectives sought really and truly apply to that seeker alone, and cannot be grafted onto others very successfully, seems to me.

    And how one would define spirituality, I think, basically conforms to the same mold world wide: Being nonjudgmental and kind, reflective and loving, seeking magnanimity whenever possible, and seeking to understand oneself and others. "My family is my religion, and my family consists of the whole world."

    lobsterShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 3

    We could of course take up being human beings ...

    “I meet all sorts of people who’ve had all sorts of experiences and they’re still confused and not doing very well in their life. Experiences are not enough. My students learn that if they have so-called experiences, I really don’t care much about hearing about them. I just tell them, “Yeah, that’s O.K. Don’t hold onto it. And how are you getting along with your mother?”
    https://www.lionsroar.com/?s=beck

    Just another perspective ...

    SocairShoshin
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