2011.04.14 01:00 - Independent Thought or Tradition?

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Zen Arado. The comments are by Zen Arado. Present were Alfred Kelberry and myself.

    We mostly talked about how much weight we should give to teachings and handed down traditions versus how much independent thinking we should do:

    Alfred Kelberry: zen-san :)
    Zen Arado: Hi Boxy :)
    Alfred Kelberry: your session?
    Zen Arado: how are you this morning?
    Zen Arado: yep
    Alfred Kelberry: not bad
    Alfred Kelberry: i have to go in a bit
    Alfred Kelberry: thought i'd pop in
    Zen Arado: sure
    Zen Arado: not many coming last week or so
    Zen Arado: too many meetings maybe
    Alfred Kelberry: i see the prayers wheels from here
    Zen Arado: prayer wheels
    Zen Arado: ?
    Alfred Kelberry: is it like a wheel of fortune?
    Zen Arado: place I am going to this weekend has prayer wheels
    Alfred Kelberry: neat :)
    Zen Arado: a big Tibetan temple in Scotland
    Zen Arado: I don't understand the need for them though
    Alfred Kelberry: what are they for?
    Alfred Kelberry: ah
    Zen Arado: beats me
    Alfred Kelberry: :)
    Alfred Kelberry: do they make any sound while spinning?
    Zen Arado: lots of things crept into Tibetan Buddhism from other Tibetan religions I guess
    Zen Arado: no
    Zen Arado: remember there were two rows of them
    Zen Arado: and you gave them as push as you went past them
    Zen Arado: there's no God to pray to in Buddhism
    Zen Arado: people seem to need them
    Alfred Kelberry: yes, apparently
    Zen Arado: I am more into Zen
    Alfred Kelberry: there were no monks in dharma teachings either
    Zen Arado: depends how you define 'monk' I guess
    Alfred Kelberry: religious symbolics was added later on as dharma practice traveled the lands
    Zen Arado: a monk is someone who leaves home to devote themselves exclusively to the teachings
    Zen Arado: oh yes
    Zen Arado: Buddhism has changed and adapted itsef to different cultures
    Zen Arado: is still changing
    Zen Arado: there is a kind of Catholic Buddhism developing in Ireland I think
    Zen Arado: :)
    Alfred Kelberry: i don't think the early texts say anything about devotion to teachings
    Zen Arado: you confess your sins to Buddha (only kidding)
    Alfred Kelberry: heh, catholic buddhism :)
    Alfred Kelberry: that's lovely. i like how open buddha teaching is :)
    Zen Arado: in fact there is a sutra which specifically warns against following teachers and authorities and teachings
    Alfred Kelberry: zen, ah, yes
    Zen Arado: and tells peole to test any teaching in their own experience
    Zen Arado: the Kalama sutra
    Alfred Kelberry: a person who's entered into the path becomes independent of others in the buddhist teaching - like that :)
    Alfred Kelberry: i feel much closer to this notion
    Zen Arado: I wouldn't go that far
    Alfred Kelberry: to the early texts where religion is not present
    Zen Arado: you wouldn't even have the teaching if others hadn't passed it down
    Zen Arado: and we need the support of others in our practice
    Zen Arado: but we must still think and investigate for ourselves whether the teachings are valid in our lives
    Alfred Kelberry: you can have it, but you don't "need" one
    Zen Arado: "Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them."
    Zen Arado: I am wary of lone individual kind of iinvestigations
    Zen Arado: we exist as communities
    Zen Arado: and are very interconnected with everyone else
    Zen Arado: Hi Observerm :)
    Zen Arado: that's why I don't like Kant
    Alfred Kelberry: it doesn't exclude community. it merely says do not follow one lead. think for yourself.
    Zen Arado: or individualist type philosophies
    Zen Arado: oh yes
    Zen Arado: we don't have to follow the herd
    Zen Arado: but we must remember we are not separate form others either
    Zen Arado: but why should we start from scratch every generation if others have thought and tried great ideas already?
    Alfred Kelberry: not separate, but independent
    Zen Arado: trouble is that nowadays there is so much out there we don't have time to investigate it all
    Zen Arado: yes
    Zen Arado: but are we independent?
    Zen Arado: we are so dependent on others for everything
    Alfred Kelberry: re: from scratch - we don't, we investigate various ideas and then come to our own conclusion
    Zen Arado: think of the vast chain needed to bring food to supermarkets for us
    Zen Arado: yeh but even in science we build on the ideas of others
    Zen Arado: Isaac Newton said he had only stood on the shoulders of giants
    Alfred Kelberry: but it's also important to ponder the fundamentals
    Zen Arado: oh yes of course
    Alfred Kelberry: :)
    Alfred Kelberry: i think you take it too literally

    Zen Arado: maybe
    Alfred Kelberry: ah! time... sorry, i really have to go
    Alfred Kelberry: enjoy the contemplative hour :)
    Alfred Kelberry: it's been a nice talk
    Zen Arado: sure boxy
    Zen Arado: thanks for stopping by

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