Author Topic: Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"  (Read 2226 times)

dsiluvu

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Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"
« on: December 15, 2012, 01:57:05 PM »
Richard Dawkins and the Dalai Lama are both wrong about religion
The new individualistic ideology justifies itself as more rational – but is as concerned with power relations as Christendom was



The Dalai Lama ... told his Facebook friends that religion is no longer 'adequate to the task'. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP


The Dalai Lama and Richard Dawkins may not have much in common – one is a world-renowned spiritual leader and the other a Tibetan monk – but both of them seem to think we can manage in a world without religion.

The Dalai Lama has told his Facebook friends that we need to think about spirituality and ethics and that religion is no longer "adequate" to the task. Dawkins has been known to put the same point with even more enthusiasm.

I was listening to him debating with Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi, in Manchester last night, and he closed the evening with the thought that we needed to put something in place of religion. I'll come back later to the question of whether this is possible. The first remarkable point is that we all know what they mean. What, after all, is religion made from, if not ethics and spirituality? How can you mix them and get something that isn't a religion?

Nonetheless, there is a clear sense that in much of the western world, "religion" means an unproblematically bad thing, while spirituality and ethics are unproblematically good. This is particularly a problem for Christianity, which is felt and seen from the outside to be primarily a matter of joyless prohibition. So a book crosses my desk by the "post-evangelical" Dave Tomlinson called How To Be a Bad Christian … And a Better Human Being. Tomlinson is by profession a priest in the Church of England.

Similarly, Francis Spufford's recent book, Unapologetic, is an attempt to remove the religion from Christianity, and show it from the inside, as a human thing, concerned, if you like, with spirituality and ethics, but set inside ordinary life as it is ordinarily lived.

The Dalai Lama has his own problems with "religion". It is very much the USP of Buddhism in the west that it is not a religion – that it is concerned solely with truth and makes no compromises with earthly power or ancient superstitions. If this was TRUE then why does the exile Tibetan Govt and HHDL need to meet with worldly oracles such as Nechung to help them make national decisions and give them answers which has thus been incorrect as we can see. And it's happenign as we speak...

But of course the religious aspects are there for anyone who looks into them: the role of Buddhism in the Sri Lankan civil war; the various and multiplying scandals around lamas who have set up in the west, and even the monks who set themselves ablaze in Tibet.

To some extent the distinction between religion and spirituality is clear. Spirituality is the voice I hear that tells me what to do and that I am valuable, whereas religion is when someone else's voices purport to tell me what to do and whether I am good. Isn't this happening or has happened with Dorje Shugden's BAN, untill it became like a rule every Gelug monastery has to abide or face being ostracized.

Religion seems to be about power relationships, and spirituality about authenticity. But this isn't really a distinction that bears much thought. The organisation of society and the construction of legitimacy must involve power relations and both must involve shared visions and their collective interpretation.

I think it is a consequence of the replacement of Christianity by a largely secular and individualistic ideology that justifies itself as more rational than what it replaced. In fact, of course, it is little more rational and just as much concerned with power relations as ever Christendom was. But if you want something to do the work of religion in the world today, to help us dramatise, represent and understand our own society and our place in the world, you must call it anything but "religious".

It was Dawkins who best illuminated this point towards the end of his debate with Lord Sacks. Sacks had early on got in a hard low blow when he described one of the rhetorical gargoyles that decorate The God Delusion as "profoundly antisemitic". But towards the end, Dawkins rallied, and described how he wanted a post-religion ethics worked out without reference to tradition, authority or revelation. Uninfluenced by these things, people could get together and discuss from first principles what sort of morals were needed to ensure a good society.

This idea is of course completely impossible. It has never happened in history. It could never happen and it never will. Everyone grows up inside some tradition, under some authority and given some revelation – those are three things that every parent provides for their children, and which children will always find, even if they have to create it. When a rationalist tell his daughter not to trust authority, she believes him because he's her father and she loves him.

And if we make believe a little more, and imagine that there should ever be a community of adults all in their separate ways entirely liberated from tradition, authority and revelation, how could they possibly reason together about morality? What stories would they have in common? What language would they have? AGREE

Of course Dawkins's idea is attractive; of course we know what it means so long as we don't stop to think about it. But it is not actually true. It is an imaginary story whose truth is assumed because it seems to make morality possible. In the hard and narrow sense of myth, it is a myth just like Adam and Eve. We can play with it, and make use of it. But it is quite as "religious" as the rival stories it is meant to displace. That is inevitable. Religion is not something imposed on us by priests any more than economics is imposed on us by bankers. Both grow out of the nature of human societies.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2012/sep/14/richard-dawkins-dalai-lama-religion

I believe however His Holiness labels it or however sugar-coated we make it sound and presents it to the world today, people are not easily fooled. You cannot help it, Tibetan Buddhism is every bit traditional as it's teachings stems from a line of lineage that goes all the way back to Shakyamuni time.

If it was truly a "spiritual affair" then why is there a strong imposing order on what others practice is right or wrong especially if it is different from yours (in reference to Dorje Shugden's practice)... such authority should not even exist!?!

Barzin

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Re: Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 08:48:23 AM »
When things are separated, there will never be one voice. Possible but very hard.  It is impossible to have one set of rules which apply to everyone.  But i would still look at the bright side, I would say His Holiness is still very skillful in promoting dharma, His Holiness is making dharma very accessible, tag with new age terms and so people can relate to buddharma in a modern way.  It is only when you pick up more dharma studies only you commit to being a Buddhist, it is only natural.  It is not so much about which religion you choose, to me it is more of His Holiness skillful means to spread Buddhism.

Ensapa

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Re: Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 09:08:53 AM »
Quote
To some extent the distinction between religion and spirituality is clear. Spirituality is the voice I hear that tells me what to do and that I am valuable, whereas religion is when someone else's voices purport to tell me what to do and whether I am good.

Ironically, the Dalai Lama's followers follow him blindly when he says he wants the ban to be on and not question him - why is he encouraging some of his followers to follow religion instead of spirituality? Or perhaps, some of his followers choose religion because spirituality is too hard? I am actually quite confused by what is going on by all this contradictions between the Dalai Lama's messages and his followers - were they always this way? Or perhaps, the followers are misrepresenting the Dalai Lama?

dsiluvu

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Re: Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 09:26:46 AM »
Quote
To some extent the distinction between religion and spirituality is clear. Spirituality is the voice I hear that tells me what to do and that I am valuable, whereas religion is when someone else's voices purport to tell me what to do and whether I am good.

Ironically, the Dalai Lama's followers follow him blindly when he says he wants the ban to be on and not question him - why is he encouraging some of his followers to follow religion instead of spirituality? Or perhaps, some of his followers choose religion because spirituality is too hard? I am actually quite confused by what is going on by all this contradictions between the Dalai Lama's messages and his followers - were they always this way? Or perhaps, the followers are misrepresenting the Dalai Lama?

Lol... yes Ensapa it sure is getting a bit confusing. Seems like His Holiness is getting everyone confused about many things...

In a nutshell based on all the many highlighted messages given by HHDL from the top of my head and from what I can remember are

1. Gurus can be wrong
2. One must always questioned and check even if someone you trust, like your Guru gives you an instruction
3. Religious tolerance, unity, harmony, peace and love is needed
4. Dorje Shugden is a spirit, we should not worship
5. He is incorrect to mix religion with politics, hence he is a hypocrite
6. Religion is probably not adequate... we should say "spiritual"

Okay so what's next...
7. I made a mistake, Dorje Shugden is a spiritual practice of others and  we should not discriminate but accept as we Tibetans need to be harmonious and united?

Goes in line with all the above statements... or at least we are hoping!!!

Ensapa

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Re: Now the Dalai Lama says Religion is no longer "Adequate"
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 04:38:53 AM »
Lol... yes Ensapa it sure is getting a bit confusing. Seems like His Holiness is getting everyone confused about many things...

In a nutshell based on all the many highlighted messages given by HHDL from the top of my head and from what I can remember are

1. Gurus can be wrong
2. One must always questioned and check even if someone you trust, like your Guru gives you an instruction
3. Religious tolerance, unity, harmony, peace and love is needed
4. Dorje Shugden is a spirit, we should not worship
5. He is incorrect to mix religion with politics, hence he is a hypocrite
6. Religion is probably not adequate... we should say "spiritual"

Okay so what's next...
7. I made a mistake, Dorje Shugden is a spiritual practice of others and  we should not discriminate but accept as we Tibetans need to be harmonious and united?

Goes in line with all the above statements... or at least we are hoping!!!

I dont really know for sure what the Dalai Lama's intentions are, but perhaps he needs to take charge of people who are a little bit more harder to tame than the rest. Perhaps, he needs to take charge of people who are unable to see reason the way how normal people would as I sense a common theme among most of his followers: they are unable to carry on a proper debate without shutting down or going crazy against historical documents or proof that challenges their faith or belief in the Dalai Lama or in the Dalai Lama's words. Is that not fanaticism? To me, that is and that is what the Buddha and the Dalai Lama has advised very strongly against so many times, but yet why do most of them still do it?