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A Trojan horse: thanissaro bhikkhus response to Analayo


#41

:slight_smile: Sorry, but your assumption should be reconsidered by you imo. There are many reasons one might not make a comprehenive analysis or refutation.

While it is unfortunate for that monk to think and speak and behave this way, his kamma is inevitably his own.

I note this is a great opportunity for others though, to renounce identifying, thinking, speaking or behaving like a dick. (For those unfamiliar with the term, “dick” means both human penis, and a curlish person, characterizes by a sense of entitlement, no or even anti- generosity, who delights in stirring up trouble despite benefiting from generosity.)

May peace and insight grow in all.


#42

[quote=“Media, post:40, topic:11354, full:true”]

I guess this is just more legal stuff. …[/quote]

That is one area of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s teaching, whatever else there one may object to, that’s worth looking into, and given sparse attention elsewhere, as in:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/power_of_judgment.html


#43

It seems to me that the argument depends on the idea that the absence of an explicit rule about what to do to restart the lineage if the original one dies out is due to the Buddha having foreseen this dying out, and having not wanted the lineage to be restarted in that case. But maybe he just wasn’t thinking that far ahead, or attempting to lay down a rule covering every possible eventuality.

Also how did this “dying out” occur? Did women in South Asia just lose interest in renunciation? Or was the order suppressed out of existence?

Suppose all of the male Bhikkhus in existence a few years after the Buddha’s time were still earnest and full of zeal for the true dhamma, and had gathered together for a council, but were all buried in a landslide. Are we to believe that the Buddha wouldn’t have wanted the Bhikkhunis to help get the Bhikkhu order started again, of that they wouldn’t be able to do it because they aren’t allowed to get close enough to men to train them?


#44

There are many reasons one might not make a comprehensive analysis or refutation.

Give me an example which falls neither under lack of ability nor lack of motivation?


#45

Better uses for limited time.

Better uses varies even in an individual life over time.

edit @inb4dead


#46

Oddly, the topic of Ven. Analayo’s methodology – central in Ven Thanissaro’s article – hasn’t been mentioned here.

The issue of his VA’s writings and the interplay of the “historical-critical” viewpoint and the canonical (or exegetical, as in below) has also recently been critically dissected by the Oxford scholar Alexander Wynn. c.f.


#47

Lack of time does not change the fact that such claims will be perceived as suspect and may or may not be well founded on reasonable inference.

As i see it, here is a chance for people who favor ordination to prove Ven. Thanissaro wrong by using rules of inference or to show that the matter can not be settled beyond doubt.

I think it is reasonable to assume that unwillingness to show that Ven. Thanissaro is wrong by using rules of inference or to show that the matter can not be settled beyond doubt can mean three things;
a) Ven. Thanissaro’s argument is irrefutable
b) Ven. Thanissaro’s argument is not worthy of refutation due to obvious flaws in reasoning
c) One is unable to refute Ven. Thanissaro’s argument but they are refutable

In case of b) it is reasonable to expect the flaw to be pointed out.


#48

Well then You have set yourself a task. May it be beneficial to you, and perhaps others; may it be harmless to you, and perhaps others.

edit @inb4dead


#49

I think another possibility is just impatience or boredom. The topic has come up several times before on this forum, and been well-covered, so a lot of people are probably just thinking, “Oh, not this again.”


#50

I wish an EBT based discussion on this paper was possible independent from the ethical decision which camp we have chosen (apparently the ‘Analayo-camp’).


#51

I hope somebody does it so i don’t have to so let’s see how this develops. I would think that Ven. Analayo and Ven. Brahmali have some incentive to reply to the criticism posed by Ven. Thanissaro at this point.

@ [DKervick]

I think another possibility is just impatience or boredom. The topic has come up several times before on this forum, and been well-covered, so a lot of people are probably just thinking, “Oh, not this again.”

Certainly is a possibility but i think it would be fair for it to be included under the b)

b) Ven. Thanissaro’s argument is not worthy of refutation due to obvious flaws in reasoning

I couldn’t tell because i don’t have sufficient knowledge of the matter. I am however glad to be preview to this discussion between the Bhikkhus and look forward to studying this debate.


#52

Or a collective tl;dr. I for instance have not yet read the whole thing.


#53

It’s a bit like reading a supreme court amicus brief. Not gripping stuff.


#54

If one was listing the reasons for why people would want to comment without substantiating their claims ITT the list i made would not apply as I was assuming that the person unwilling to show that Ven. Thanissaro is wrong by using rules of inference or to show that the matter can not be settled beyond doubt would be familiar with the concrete points to be proven wrong and had desire to do so.

Maybe it is not a very good list anyway but i hope people get the points i was making.


#55

It’s a bit like reading a supreme court amicus brief. Not gripping stuff.

i agree,
The references need to be checked as well as their interpretation in both papers. I think forming a study group would be a good idea actually because it is interesting how much consensus can be reached in the process.


#56

Ven Ṭhānissaro, in his summation of his critique of the “training” of new bhikṣunyaḥ/nuns, had something interesting to say:

I show that Anālayo’s interpretation of the First Council is based on a misreading of the texts and, in one case at least, a flagrant case of quoting a passage out of context to the extent of reversing its actual message. However, even though it has no basis in the texts, Anālayo’s interpretation of this issue shows what kind of training is being offered to new bhikkhunīs: a training that calls the whole Dhamma and Vinaya into question, and opens the way for bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs to reject any rule in the Vinaya that doesn’t fit in with their untrained ideas of wisdom or compassion. If this type of “training” is what is being offered to new bhikkhunīs, then they are getting worse than no training at all. They are getting a training that is actually opposed to the Dhamma and Vinaya.

Does this strike anyone else as a hidden criticism of the very practice of textual criticism itself in general, as applied to Buddhism?

I had thought Ven Ṭhānissaro one of the various “sutta-monks”, in spite of all the criticism he receives in the 4Chan-y areas of internet Buddhism (accusations of crypto-ātmavāda abound). He rejects Abhidhamma for instance, as Buddhavacana, AFAIK.

I suppose he sees no incoherency in his above criticsm.


#57

Goods stuff. I guess then, that there is ‘living with’ and ‘living with’. In the article Thanissaro gives two examples are horse-trainer/horse and piano-teacher/student. In my experience neither of these examples require the trainer being around the student 24/7. I have some experience as a student having been trained in piano and horse riding (although I have never tamed a wild horse). I have also trained many dogs professionally. Sometimes it is necessary to bring a wayward dog into my own pack for some extensive training, but even then they don’t get unfettered access to me. It would be good to know in detail what is meant (by you or Thanissaro) when you say:


#58

I think people will vary with respect to the importance they attach to the issue. I’m not a monk, and don’t live by the vinaya, so it has little direct relevance to me. I don’t live near a Bhikkuni sangha. But if I did, I would decide whether or not to help support them based on whether I thought they were doing good in the world, not whether they had been verified as 100% Vinaya Pure by some other authority figures.

I also think the fetishization of the idea of “lineage” in the tradition is a little weird. Over the years, I have read about many monks, both contemporary and ancient, who many people would agree had very weird, defective or lax ideas about the path, the discipline and practice. And yet, they were ordained and went on to ordain others. So somehow the teachings are stronger than they were, and their successful transmission across the generations doesn’t require absolute perfection by each successive teacher/trainer. The idea that each link in the chain of spiritual descendants has some special magic and training capacity that can only be passed down person to person is dubious. I’m sure there are by now so many books about living the holy life that anyone who wants to try to set up a community and try to do it can get on with it pretty well without the constant attentions of an official preceptor. And as they learn from experience and get better at it, they will be able to teach others.

My personal feeling is that there is no way to resolve these issues in any objective manner. Every interpretive principle, and every normative principle based on such interpretative principles, either relies logically on other principles, or must be accepted without justification as part of a tradition. Analayo and Thanissaro could debate for a hundred years, but it wouldn’t stop women who want to find a way of going forth, and people who want to support them in going forth, from doing so.


#59

Does this strike anyone else as a hidden criticism of the very practice of textual criticism itself in general, as applied to Buddhism?

I think the criticism is quite reasonable if the premises are true.

As for the allegations towards Ven. Thanissaro of being “eternalist” and whatnot i don’t have an opinion because even the Buddha was accused and misunderstood in his time. I have not researched Ven. Thanissaro’s views to know what to think of the allegations.

I don’t know If he does reject Abhidhamma partly or in it’s entirety but as i see it it does not necessarily relate to the criticism of Analayo based on those premises because his reasons for rejecting certain non-sutta materials may be grounded in different reasoning. As the Buddha was said to teach the doctrine of analysis, ie not saying that all asceticism was bad or all asceticism was good, so perhaps a Bhikkhu’s rejection of certain notions can be based on analysis of particulars and may or may not be correct.


#60

He actually brings up this point in Part V, where he doubles down and states that if the bhikkhusaṅgha were to die out, it would be similarly impossible to revive.

Basically it seems that Ven Ṭhānissaro is all for women’s ordination: …in the future dispensation of Maitreyabuddha.