Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Echoes of Edward Conze

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve been reading Buddhist Scriptures by Edward Conze, and I thought I would just talk a little about it. It’s a big contrast with Stephen Batchelor, hence the name of this thread, to put the two side by side.

First of all Buddhist Scriptures is very much a straightforward anthology of a number of translated Buddhist scriptures, and unlike Stephen Batchelor makes very little comment about them. It is a ‘warts and all’ translation, including talk of the Buddha’s past lives, things like invisible deva’s and gods mourning at his passing to Nirvana, and things like Indra’s thunderbolts and the skies burning at portentous events. It’s very dramatic, and if you read it as a drama, a kind of play, then you can see how it’s inspiring.

But to actually believe in it literally requires you to believe in a very different world view... it means you have to accept as true Indra and Brahma, the realms of the gods, the possibility of an inauspicious rebirth for informing a layperson of a fellow monk’s grave offence if you are a monk, and so on. I would wonder how someone of the modern times would cope, given that world view.

I do find it interesting to read these ancient tales though, they are very colourful.

I also came across this quote in the translators notes...

Finally, the fundamental division of the community into lay-men and monks, according to their respective attainments and tasks, can be clarified from the 'Questions of King Milinda'. From the second of these extracts it becomes clear that faith and devotion, in addition to morality, are the layman's special province. Generally speaking, the monks alone can hope to advance from morality to higher things, first to meditation, and then to wisdom.

Something to chew on for us modern practitioners.

Comments

  • 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 do so love a sponge cake that's well-baked, soft, moist and beautifully light, don't you?

    I'm not so keen on the fondant icing or a very sugary filling. I tend to leave those aside and focus on the cake.

    Some people love the fondant, and sweet filling. Well, lovely. good for them. They're welcome to it. They might insist those things make the cake; that it can't be eaten without them. They're essential to the whole.

    I disagree. But I'm not wrong; neither are they.
    It's just a matter of taste, and what your palate is used to, and what your digestive system will stomach.

    I think...

    Bunkslobsterelcra1go
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 18

    On introspection...

    The fools are no one's friends, so have the Buddhas taught us;
    They cannot love unless their interest in themselves impels them.
    Trees do not show disdain, and they demand no toilsome wooing;
    Fain would I now consort with them as my companions.
    Fain would I dwell in a deserted sanctuary, beneath a tree, or in a cave,
    In noble disregard for all, and never looking back on what I left.

    On restraint of the senses...

    But what is called 'aversion' is a kind of anger directed towards certain objects, and anyone who is deluded enough to pursue it is bound to suffer for it either in this or a future life. Afflicted by their likes and dislikes, as by excessive heat or cold, men will never find either happiness or the highest good as long as they put their trust in the unsteady senses.

    On how the senses cause bondage...

    A sense-organ, although it may have begun to react to a sense- object, does not get caught up in it unless the mind conceives imaginary ideas about the object. Both fuel and air must be present for a fire to blaze up; so the fire of the passions is born from a combination of a sense-object with imaginations. For people are tied down by a sense- object when they cover it with unreal imaginations; likewise they are liberated from it when they see it as it really is.

    BunkslobsterShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The book also contains a number of pieces about cosmological destinations, like a long description of Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land, one of the hells, and so on. Interesting to see how all these things are described in terms familiar to us from our earth.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    For people are tied down by a sense- object when they cover it with unreal imaginations; likewise they are liberated from it when they see it as it really is.

    I think men are the most guilty of this with women. The other day in a beach cafe I saw this pretty young woman, and in a flash my imagination was off creating all kinds of futures. I had dated her, made love to her and had a steady relationship with her inside about a second... then I laughed. I sometimes do this with cars as well.

  • 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

    @Kerome said: ... The other day in a beach cafe I saw this pretty young woman, and in a flash my imagination was off creating all kinds of futures. I had dated her, made love to her and had a steady relationship with her inside about a second...

    You missed the bit about getting engaged, spending 3 months' salary on an engagement ring, spending 3 years' salary on the wedding of HER dreams, hating your mother-in-law, having 3 kids, going through individual affairs, getting a divorce and paying alimony and child support fo the next 3 lifetimes.... Next time, think it through to the final conclusion, ok?

    ...then I laughed. I sometimes do this with cars as well.

    You missed the bit about Insurance, road tax, regular services, the cost of tyres, replacing the wipers, rust-proofing, parking permits, fuel costs, keeping the oil, water, anti-freeze, gear, clutch and brake fluids at proper levels, your indicators and brake lights all working, headlights in good order, hoses all in good condition, valeting and watching the paintwork... Next time, think it through to the final conclusion, ok?

    KeromelobsterBunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve finished the book, it was interesting. I’d recommend it as a tour through Eastern buddhism, if you want to see what is given to a monk to believe if you lived in say Nepal or Bhutan. It’s not necessarily something that’s going to immediately appeal to a lot of westerners, because it is so colourful and filled with cultural images.

    I suspect that a lot of westerners brought up in a modern schooling system where they learn science and rational approaches to philosophy will sympathise more with Stephen Batchelor’s approach, which even so keeps a lot of rational history as the basis for its philosophy.

  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited September 6
    • nevermind
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said: ... The other day in a beach cafe I saw this pretty young woman, and in a flash my imagination was off creating all kinds of futures. I had dated her, made love to her and had a steady relationship with her inside about a second...

    You missed the bit about getting engaged, spending 3 months' salary on an engagement ring, spending 3 years' salary on the wedding of HER dreams, hating your mother-in-law, having 3 kids, going through individual affairs, getting a divorce and paying alimony and child support for the next 3 lifetimes.... Next time, think it through to the final conclusion, ok?

    So true @federica - I remember hearing Ajahn Brahm (I think?) talking about this kind of thing when he fantasised about a relationship. He would stop and basically go through the same list as you and conclude "Yep, it's good to be a monk!!"

    Haha.....

  • 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

    @Bunks said:

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said: ... The other day in a beach cafe I saw this pretty young woman, and in a flash my imagination was off creating all kinds of futures. I had dated her, made love to her and had a steady relationship with her inside about a second...

    You missed the bit about getting engaged, spending 3 months' salary on an engagement ring, spending 3 years' salary on the wedding of HER dreams, hating your mother-in-law, having 3 kids, going through individual affairs, getting a divorce and paying alimony and child support for the next 3 lifetimes.... Next time, think it through to the final conclusion, ok?

    So true @federica - I remember hearing Ajahn Brahm (I think?) talking about this kind of thing when he fantasised about a relationship. He would stop and basically go through the same list as you and conclude "Yep, it's good to be a monk!!"

    Haha.....

    There's a lot to be said for detachment... ;)

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said: ... The other day in a beach cafe I saw this pretty young woman, and in a flash my imagination was off creating all kinds of futures. I had dated her, made love to her and had a steady relationship with her inside about a second...

    You missed the bit about getting engaged, spending 3 months' salary on an engagement ring, spending 3 years' salary on the wedding of HER dreams, hating your mother-in-law, having 3 kids, going through individual affairs, getting a divorce and paying alimony and child support fo the next 3 lifetimes.... Next time, think it through to the final conclusion, ok?

    My fantasies will never be the same again ;) but seriously, it’s probably very close to what didn’t end up happening. For a lot of people, that daydream does lead to exactly that set of events, and when they are 60, these people get together and have uncomfortable barbecues.

  • 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

    60...?! Try 35....!

Sign In or Register to comment.