The New Buddhism

The New Buddhism☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ The New Buddhism By David Brazier ❤ – This is a manifesto for a active compassionate and socially engaged Buddhism—one grounded in the Buddha's original intention The New Buddhism asserts that Buddha was a radical critic of society and This is a manifesto for a active compassionate and socially engaged Buddhism—one grounded in the Buddha's original intention The New Buddhism asserts that Buddha was a radical critic of society and that his vision of a new social order transcended racial and economic divisions Brazier takes a new look at many aspects of Buddhism and reinterprets them in light of the Buddha's social The New ePUB ô aims Western and Eastern visions of enlightenment are juxtaposed and the author draws a line between 'extinction Buddhism' and 'liberation Buddhism'—the former seeks to release the individual from the world while the latter seeks to perfect the world by freeing it from the forces of greed hatred and delusion The New Buddhism states clearly and boldly that Buddhism should be—and originally was—about engagement with the world This illuminating guide brings Buddhism to the West and into contemporary life in an accessible and thought provoking way It shows that for genuine renewal Buddhism must be about than contemplation and personal growth but also about the practice of truth and having compassion for all. Very inspiring book Very convincing very well researched at least I thought so anyway—I learned a lot I'm new to Buddhism and this book has apprised me of things which will hopefully make my practice truer to what Shakyamuni intended For me becoming a Buddhist is about making a response to a world of nonsense; a real world but a nonsensical oneThe final two lines of the Kesa verse are I wish to unfold the Buddha's TeachingThat I may help all living thingsDavid Brazier shows in this book that this is the adult response to an afflicted world To the growing body of “socially engaged” Buddhist literature we can add The New Buddhism by David Brazier Brazier is a psychotherapist in London and a spiritual teacher in the Order of Amida Buddha His book is written in a straightforward almost racy style Brazier considers the whole historical development of Buddhism tracing it all the way back to Gautama Buddha Brazier contends that the view of Buddha we often get from books and teachers of a world renouncing Great Teacher solely concerned with leading individuals to enlightenment is a distortion Buddha did teach a way for individuals to realize enlightenment but to Brazier he was also a radical social critic who sought to transform society creating a Pure Land on earth Brazier writes that Buddhism today is in danger of losing sight of Buddha's urgent social critiue particularly in the West where white Buddhism runs the risk of degenerating into a narrow sectarian small minded and irrelevant pursuit of personal euphoria 26In a chapter titled Varieties of Enlightenment Brazier asks What is enlightenment for? – a uestion too rarely considered – and then proceeds to delineate in iconoclastic fashion eight different definitions of enlightenment reach representing a different school of Buddhism To some Buddhists this chapter will seem heretical But Brazier’s intent is not to inflame but to illuminate Briefly the different characterizations of enlightenment are enlightenment as escape; enlightenment as emptiness; enlightenment as eternal life; tantric enlightenment; enlightenment as realization of Buddha nature; enlightenment as non duality; enlightenment as impassivity; and enlightenment as faith The reader is advised to persist in following Brazier's divagations because while he does not adopt a pretentious scholarly tone and at times may even appear flip he does try to be fair In a sense what Brazier provides in this discussion of the varieties of enlightenment constitutes a sort of abbreviated survey of historical Buddhism and one which is very edifyingOne of the interesting arguments Brazier makes is his critiue of monism or non dualism Zen practitioners are of course steeped in the virtues of non dualism so much so that it is perhaps appropriate to take a look at it with fresh eyes He revisits the discussion of Yasutani Roshi whose anti Semitism and militaristic stance during World War II created much discussion a few years back after the publication of Brian Victoria’s Zen At War Aitken Roshi Brazier says defended Yasutani asking how can we expect anyone to rise above their own culture? For Brazier this argument is hardly adeuate If a religion cannot help its leading exponents to rise above their culture it is worthless 170 This discussion was covered at length in Zen At War which Aitken Roshi had some praise for as I recall Some may view it as little than an unseemly airing of the dirty laundry of a few Zen teachers Unfortunately than a few Japanese roshis defended the militarism of Emperor Hirohito so it is worth examining what relation such positions have with the theory and practice of Zen as we have received it today Bernard Glassman Roshi received dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi Roshi who received it from YasutaniGlassman's view is that all beings are already enlightened and all being are one body This means that all life – the good the bad and the ugly – is all included in the one Buddha body of universal enlightenment Within this one body each individual has his or her particular stains and limitations A lifetime can be a very short time Not much may change in one lifetime This is why continuous practice is necessary Enlightenment is a realization of oneness Practice however goes on indefinitely We are all enlightened and we are all addicted to our egos – we always will be 171 Brazier goes on to say that for Glassman if your definition of enlightenment does not allow for anti Semitism within enlightenment then your definition is not big enough Brazier while acknowledging Glassman's large heartedness particularly inasmuch as Glassman is Jewish asserts he is wrong My definition of enlightenment does not include room for anti Semitism While I have long respected both Aitken Roshi and Glassman on this subject I wholeheartedly agree with Brazier If enlightenment is consistent with anti Semitism what else is it consistent with? Militarism? Racism? Sexism? What meaning can “enlightenment” have if it is consistent with grotesue forms of prejudice? On the basis of oneness both Yasutani and Glassman can feel compassion for beings irrespective of how they are manifesting – as concentration camp guards or as humanitarian activists On the basis of oneness Yasutani can believe in the importance of destroying the enemy for the sake of the harmonious realm He can advocate killing the enemy at the same time as feeling compassion for the enemy This is the 'special way of understanding the precepts' It may be special but it is not Buddhist The Buddha had a similarly all embracing compassion but he did not arrive at it on the basis of oneness and so he did not draw the same conclusions 171 Rather Buddha's compassion according to Brazier was based on his observation that some were enlightened and others were not In a sense it was dualistic although Buddha having an existential metaphysic refrained from reifying the dualism so one could call it a pragmatic or practical dualism and distinguish it from metaphysical dualism which we find in the theistic religions Here is where Brazier sets forth what is perhaps his strongest criticism of orthodox Buddhism he claims that the Buddha did not teach the Non Dual Rather the Non Dual was grafted onto Buddha's teachings long after his death first in India where the notion of the Non Dual meant Brahma and later in China where the Non Dual meant the Tao and the unity of empire Buddha rejected the whole structure of Brahmanical ideas and would no doubt have rejected Taoism and Chinese imperialism as well had he known about them 173 Regardless of whether we accept his claim or not on this and it is pretty hard to know for sure without carefully studying the Pali scriptures Brazier makes a strong case that non dualism or Oneness is inherently problematic even while acknowledging that if understood correctly an important caveat it has benefits as well Oneness is popular and can be a useful vehicle for some teachers However it has serious drawbacks if pushed through to its philosophical conclusion If all is really one it ultimately becomes difficult if not impossible to make choices It can just as well support oppression as liberation Although the theory of oneness has an immediate superficial appeal uniting all beings within one ultimate beneficial transcendent reality it also underpinned the Indian caste system just as it did later the Japanese one In the uest for universal harmony and compassion something can go badly wrong This something is the erection of a transcendent Non Dual something or other that somehow makes all the actual manifestations of life all right On one level it is hard to believe that Buddhism can dispense with the notion of oneness or non dualism However cogent a critiue one makes of it and Brazier advances a very convincing criticism it still appears incontestably true that behind the diversity of forms exists some essence whether we want to call it God Emptiness Buddha Nature or what have you Shakyamuni Buddha I believe called it Nirvana a term which one contemporary teacher calls Nirvanasara to emphasize that nirvana is not separate from samsara Again non dualism We can't escape it And here is where I agree with Ken Jones who wrote in a review of The New Buddhism that the problem is not Oneness or the Non Dual per se but our tendency to reify the Non Dual We take what is essentially a process and turn it into an entity Buddha Nature as our capacity to manifest enlightened action becomes something like the Hindu notion of Atman an indwelling divine soul that transmigrates upon the death of the body; Emptiness as a description of the interdependence of all thing events becomes a sort of metaphysical sponge used to wipe away the phenomenal world and declare it unreal; Oneness as a description of the underlying unity of all diversity becomes a denial of dualism and diversity in the phenomenal world The conseuence of this reification or hypostatization of the Non Dual is invariably a sort of smugness and self satisfaction and lack of compassion Sometimes it goes even deeper than that becoming an entrenched complacency in the face of overwhelming suffering and injustice in the world a way of tuning it all out like turning the radio from a station broadcasting unpleasant news to another playing classical music Nothing wrong with tuning out the vulgar news of the world machine sometimes – we all need occasional escapes – but the problem is for many of us that we tune it out or less all the time It's out of my hands we rationalize I can't make a difference They don't care what I think We all know the easy rationalizations The doctrine of Oneness or the Non Dual also dovetails with the ideology of bourgeois individualism that permits many practitioners to minimize ignore or disguise the role of economic and political injustices play in suffering It becomes all too easy to dismiss politics which is inherently dualistic and conflictual as a sordid realm a distraction from one's spiritual practice which is conceived wholly as inner work But Brazier reminds us that Buddha's teaching was fundamentally altruistic not a doctrine encouraging an endless pursuit of private mystical experience but rather a practical method of mind body training that would enable people to go forth into the world and make it a better place If Buddha had only wanted to bring people to mystical realization he would have created hermitages and monasteries and remained in them But he didn't he spoke on many of the social problems of his day including condemning the caste system of India as immoral Similarly Buddha would have condemned the global caste system of today It is a system in which the white caste makes most of the rules and enjoys than three uarters of the world's wealth while comprising only a uarter of its population Buddha inveighed against war Yet the current global system is one in which wealthy elites in the northern industrialized nations write the rules of the global economy to ensure the continued transfer of wealth from the poorest countries to the richest countries imposing their will through institutions such as the WTO IMF and World Bank What is refreshing about The New Buddhism is Brazier's honesty – he makes no pretense of being a Buddhist scholar but rather admits his biases up front Brazier claims that the Buddha's original message began to get diluted and distorted around 200 years following his death when the Emperor Ashoka created the first ostensibly Buddhist kingdom Of course to scholars of Buddhism this sounds like the same old Hinayana Mahayana distinction with the Mahayana Buddhists arguing that the Hinayana Buddhists' enlightenment or arhat ideal was insufficient because it was pursued as personal enlightenment excluding the rest of the world and the Mahayanaists arguing that the bodhisattva ideal was superior because in it the practitioner foregoes entry into complete enlightenment until all beings are enlightened In other words the monastic ideal vs the worldly ideal But while that distinction is perhaps there in skeletal form Brazier's argument is nuanced the idea of a privatized world renouncing pursuit of enlightenment has become too common in both Theravada and Mahayana sects He steps forth to remind us that Shakyamuni Buddha was a rebel who rejected the Indian caste system and repeatedly stood up for the oppressed and downtroddenYet it is hard not to feel that Brazier has perhaps overstated the case Buddha did teach a way of life that was essentially monastic He was not first and foremost a social reformer or revolutionary; he was a radical mystic who taught a new way of being a way of relating to life without the distorting lens of ego While much of Brazier’s criticisms seem well placed in the context of today’s world and its many injustices monasticism still has its place The very “busyness” of our contemporary high tech perpetually distracted ways of living testifies to the need for places of retreat which humans have always sought and probably always will—places in which to renew the soul to wonder and to reflect A different perspective on buddhism that takes on the usual cliches This has been my introduction to engaged buddhism So much of it I found refreshing Critiues of all watery prepackaged goo for personal salvation enlightenment self centred elevation etc particularly welcomed It has been certainly useful as a guide to help me explore At the moment I am afraid that I remain a member of the unenlightened masses not ready to join those bringing into being the Pure Land Another way of putting this almost certainly the better way is that I just do not understand But that is not a veiled criticism of the book it's my call to consider things The uestions are important than any answers so I recommend the book I liked this book some interesting takes on the difference between ideas on dependent origination the ideas of sinojapanese Buddhism that says we all emerge out of enlightenment together compared with the original Buddhas message that it is taken in stages Very good read Not too philosophical Good critiue on contemporary Buddhism and its role in our society ??? 2000s

The New Buddhism PDF/EPUB ✓ The New  ePUB ô
  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • The New Buddhism
  • David Brazier
  • English
  • 23 July 2016
  • 9780312295189