Here’s a tweet I got after mentioning a naturalized Buddhism: Okaaaaay…. couldn’t you do the same with any religion? Subtract the parts you don’t like? It’s a question that deserves more than a 140 character response. Editing Religions A three-character response to that tweet would be simple: yes. Given any religion, one is always free [...]
This is the final installment of my three-part review of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s 2011 e-book, The Truth of Rebirth and Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice. You can read it online here. “One reason the Buddha recommended conviction in rebirth as a useful working hypothesis is that, as we have noted, he had to teach that skillful [...]
This is the second in my three-part review of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s 2011 e-book, The Truth of Rebirth and Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice, which you can read here. You can read Review Part 1 here. “. . . Many modern Buddhist teachers have argued that the teaching on rebirth should be treated [as an out-of-date [...]
This is the first of a three-part review of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s new e-book, The Truth of Rebirth: and Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice.
I was not good at grammar in grade school, and I got no better at it in high school. I found all the terms and the rules to be counter-intuitive, a lot like geometric axioms. In both cases, it seemed like these were rules applied on top of things that should be understood in some entirely other way (in one’s bones). I could understand them while I worked with them or when I was in the middle of a course of study, but they instantly disappeared from my memory the second I turned my back for a moment. How bad I am at grammar will come as no surprise to those who understand grammar and enough Pali to feel pain when observing my ongoing dabbling in translation via my personal blog. The question they must be asking themselves — and you may well ask, too — is “Why does she bother?”
The reason is this: however bad at grammar I am, with my cheat sheet and the free tools that are readily-available via the internet, there is no better way to check the integrity of the translations I’m looking at than to poke around in the Pali that is the closest we will get — short of time travel — to the Buddha’s actual words.
You wouldn’t know from the title of the sutta — “The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving” — that this is one of the suttas that gives the most detail on dependent arising (aka dependent origination, interdependent co-arising, etc) but it is one in which the Buddha attempts to put across the concept that was the backbone of all his teachings. He describes it backwards (which is normal) and forwards (used almost as frequently). He covers arising, and he covers cessation (backwards and forwards). And then he describes it in terms of fire, in terms of nutriment, and in terms of one person’s life, as well as pointing out what we should and shouldn’t care about if we properly understand it (we would not, for example, have any reason to be wondering who we were in the past or who we will be in the future).(1)