Talk:Buddhism/Archive 2

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Removed section on upanishads

The Anatta doctrine is in stark semblence with the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad where Yajnavalkya explains to Maitreyi about consciousness. While Sankara has dismissed it as a non-Buddhist proclamation, the fact that consciousness is not self is affirmed not only by Buddhism, but also by many other Upanishads in various places and happens to be highly coincidental with the anatta doctrine of Buddhism. This definition of anatta is very clear from the Anatta-lakkhana sutta of the Samyutta Nikaya Sutta pitika in the Pali Canon.

This is not at all NPOV, and clearly requires substantiation in scholarly sources, which I believe might be difficult to find, though, I should admit, I have also had my suspicions about certain Yajnavalkya passages. But Wikipedia is not a place for original research (or argumentation) -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 18:35, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)


An anon (using at the nonce, though I don't know if there are also others) keeps adding (and re-adding!!!) the category willy-nilly, to mostly to pan-Buddhist concepts, occasionally to pan-Nikaya Buddhist concepts (not the same thing as Theravada concepts), occasionally to things that are actually Theravada specific. How can I make this person stop? -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 01:18, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

By the way, Kukku, I wanted to say that I agree wholeheartedly with your recent edits in terms of the Theravada category and anatta. I might even prefer a more radical edit of the anatta contributions, but, then, I guess I am known for my newbie biting tendencies. Agree in principle with your call for references, too, although I can't come up with any off the top of my head. "General knowledge" is, of course, the bane of a well-referenced paper, and yet it tends to come in handy writing an encyclopedia. - Nat Krause 04:34, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Non-violence and war

Could you tell something about the relationship of Buddhism with non-violence and war? Both what is preached and what Buddhists actually do. Thank you.

Good question. I keep meaning to write an article on Brian Victoria's Zen at War. A topic difficult to approach because of its broadness, though. - Nat Krause 04:31, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Open tasks

By the way, looks like we've had a flurry of activity lately from new contributors on Buddhism-related topics. This is great. I've updated [[Template:BuddhismOpenTasks]] to keep track of new additions. Interested parties may wish to refer to it for editorial purposes. Thanks to Quadell and others for their work. - Nat Krause 08:13, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Does Wikipedia have a section on the two-truths doctrine in Buddhism? Also, what the appropriate name for such an article be, if, say, it doesn't have one and someone needs to start one? -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 00:22, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

According to the article on Nagarjuna, it would seem to be upaya, but I know nothing about this topic myself. Shantavira 19:21, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've noticed that, and I'm almost certain that's my fault, but in any case it's definitely wrong. It's not unrelated by any means, but it's not the same; odds are I was just looking for it to point somewhere and that seemed like the least inappropriate. I know that for some schools it's "samvrti" v. "paramartha" satya, and there's something Pali that I don't recall off the top of my head (nitartha and neyartha, perhaps?), but neither end of either of these two poles probably warrants a separate article, whereas trying to cram them both into the title would be annoying, not to mention the fact that neither dyad is universally apt. I've seen the term "satyadvaya" used in secondary literature, but I don't know if that's a term of actual importance or just something that sounds cool to the people who write about Buddhism in academic journals...There's also dialetheism to consider, and I know that one of the people associated with that has collaborated with Jay Garfield in applying it to Buddhism, but I don't think this really helps solve the problem... -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 21:40, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
"samvrti" and "paramartha" are probably the best starting points, Kukk. I would suggest that the relationship between samvrti and upaya are hermeneutic - within the domain of the attitudinal shift of the practitioner- but one cannot say that upaya and samvrti are cognate. There are some very interesting delineations/classifications of samvrti, and I for one would welcome an article on it, not that I have much to contribute (20040302 21:05, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC))

I've started a bare-bones article at Two Truths Doctrine. -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 21:21, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Lead image

Okay, nobody freak out. I put up a new lead image for this article. I've been seeing a lot of nice new images appearing on commons, so I thought I would try something different. I don't know if other people will like it, and I don't if I think it's a keeper myself, but we might as well see how it looks for a little while. - Nat Krause 13:38, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, I changed it back to the way it was before. None of the other images I tried really grabbed me, and I got kind of attached to the old Big Buddha. Might try again later. - Nat Krause 06:22, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)


There was a line in this article about Tocharians (in the Gobi Desert) following Theravada Buddhism. Now, I'm not sure, but I don't think I've ever heard a credible source say that Theravada was ever followed anywhere but Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and sometimes India -- for the most part, it appears to have been an export from Sri Lanka, which would make it remarkable if it made it all the way to the Gobi. Other Nikaya schools had followings in other places, though. Pending further evidence, I changed the reference to Tocharians following Nikaya Buddhism. - Nat Krause 06:22, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Buddhism by country vs. Buddhist regions

Our good friend, Mr Tan recently made a new page called Buddhism by country which is basically a table showing percentage of Buddhists in each country, along with links to country-specific articles like Buddhism in Singapore (thanks also to OneGuy for his work on the former article). He also replaced the link to Buddhist regions in [[Tempate:BuddhismOpenTask]] with a link to Buddhism by country. I want to get other people's opinions on whether this is a good idea. I tend to think that it is not. The Buddhist regions page needs work, but it seems like fundamentally a more meaningful way to discuss different varieties of Buddhism: Buddhist regions can encompass country-specific articles as well as broader topics like East Asian Buddhism and (legally) intra-national topics like Tibetan Buddhism. I would suggest putting Buddhist regions back in the template, and then having a prominent link to Buddhism by country at the top of that article. - Nat Krause 16:16, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC) — P.S. I'm really going to write the Western Buddhism article soon. I mean it.

German Wikipedia

The German Wikipedia's article seems much more colorful than the English one. If anyone can translate the article and add the content here, it would be great... or add their pictures. See: de:Buddhismus -- AllyUnion (talk) 00:46, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would be of no help translating, but they do have some nice pictures. When I get a chance, I'll try moving some of them over to Commons and putting them into english articles. - Nat Krause 18:46, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Buddhism in America

Well, my planned expansion of the Western Buddhism page has turned into a brand-new article at Buddhism in America, mostly because I know next to nothing about Buddhism in Europe, Australia, and South America. I now envision that Western Buddhism will become sort of a clearinghouse page with short summaries and links to articles about specific countries or regions. On the Buddhism in America article, I still plan to add a few short paragraphs under Trends in American Buddhism, but the section on Tibetan Buddhism I'm going to leave somewhat underdeveloped. I figured there are some people around here who know the U.S. Tibetan Buddhism scene better than I do, so I just typed up a couple things that I thought of off the top of my head and will leave it to someone else to complete the section. Another helpful thing people can do to enhance the article would be to get together some more images for it (I still plan to add some more that are already uploaded). Most big cities in the U.S. and Canada have some kind of interesting-looking Buddhist temples in them someplace, so if anyone can get a chance to head over to one such temple, take a picture, and then upload it, we can probably put it into the article somewhere. - Nat Krause 21:39, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Origins of Meditation

The passage... "he found a large tree (now called the Bodhi tree) under which he would be shaded from the heat of the mid-summer sun, and set to meditating. This new way of practicing began to bear fruit."

...seems to suggest that Buddha invented meditation. I don't know enough to correct this, but it existed long before, though he no doubt came up with new methods.

I think when it says "new way", it means new for Siddhartha, not brand new in the world. Please go ahead and edit for clarity, though. - Nat Krause 18:58, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Okay, it's fixed. I ended up saying that he developed a new form of meditation - i don't really know what the thinking is on that. There are many different meditation techniques taught under the rubric of Buddhism, perhaps he developed several. --John_Abbe 02:58, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Jainism passage

I removed this from the Origins section for discussion (despite the note asking one note to do this, which, to be honest, I'm frustrated we left in the article for so long):

The Buddhists always maintained that by the time Buddha and Mahavira were alive, Jainism was already an ancient and deeply entrenched faith and culture in the region. Buddhist scriptures record philosophical dialogues between the wandering seeker Buddha and Jain teachers such as Udaka Ramaputta. Early Buddhists posited the existence of 24 previous Buddhas (Buddhas who walked the earth prior to Gautama Siddhartha) many of whose names are identical to those of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras and other traditional Jain figures. Buddhist scriptures attest that many of the first Buddhists were in fact Jains (Nirgranthas as they were then called, meaning "the unbonded ones"), whom Buddha encouraged to maintain their Jain identity and practices such as giving alms to Jain monks and nuns. The famous ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant illustrates the Jain science of Anekantavada, and is found in the Buddhist Pali text called Udana. Like most splinter groups generally, writers of the Pali texts clearly rejoiced in criticizing (and at times ridiculing) the Jains and celebrating the conversion of another Jain to Buddha's path. The texts show that Buddha vigorously appealed to the Nirgranthas that his path was nothing different from that with which they were already familiar, simply better.
The Buddhist formulation of the "Middle Way" was a post-Buddha response by the Buddhist monastic community to criticism by the Jains (as seen in Jain texts such as the Sutrakritanga Sutra and Acharanga Sutra) that the Buddhist Bhikkhus (mendicants) were lax and not living the rigorous life of a true ascetic or Shramana (Samana in Prakrit). In defining the Middle Way, Buddhist scholars branded their faith with a unique identity that distanced itself from Jain tradition by providing an alternative to "extreme asceticism" (i.e., Jainism) on one hand and Buddha's own princely hedonism on the other. In describing Buddha's six-years of spiritual searching after leaving his family, Buddhist scriptures from the early post-Buddha period detail certain fasts, penances and austerities which Buddha undertook whose descriptions are elsewhere found only in the Jain tradition (for example, the penance by five fires and the consumption of food using only one's cupped hands). To this day, many Buddhist teachings, principles and terms remain identical to Jain ones. In short, a large body of evidence suggests that Buddhism is, in large measure, an offshoot of Jainism.
(Note: If counterevidence exists to any of the above, it is requested that it be appended to the end.)

I find the above to be tendentious and argumentative, and, no, the solution is not to add on further argumentation. It is documented on the Jainism page (where the same text appears) by reference to two books, one by a Jain scholar and one by a Japanese one. I think that a theory like this should be better documented and presented in a more balanced fashion if it is going to be included. - Nat Krause 14:11, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Math Symbols?

The main article reads: It is derived from the verbal root "√budh", meaning "to awaken or be enlightened".

The square-root sign is not a transcoding error in the browser, but is explicitly stated with the √ entity.

What is a square-root sign doing in a word? Should that be some other symbol? What language is this verbal root from? IAC, it needs clarification.

I believe it was added by a linguist, and has some kind of special jargony meaning among linguists. I would guess that √ means that what follows is a reconstructed (which is to say, speculative) linguistic root, rather than a complete word in any actual language. I agree that it looks weird now, but I'm not sure how to edit it. - Nat Krause 03:31, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It is the standard way to indicate Sanskrit and Pali verbal roots in Western sources. Characterizing these roots as "reconstructed" or "speculative" seems to trivialize the matter -- very ancient lists for these roots exist in the various dhatu-pathas which form a corner-stone to traditional and modern accounts of morphological derivation. But I suggest either retaining the symbol and deleting the explanatory "verbal root" or vice versa, since one or the other is redundant.--Stephen Hodge 01:31, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Request for references

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. Thank you, and please leave me a message when a few references have been added to the article. - Taxman 18:36, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

True Self = Non-Self in All Mahayana Sutras?

  • Hallo. I see that a sentence has been added to the end of an early paragraph on the Buddha-nature and True Self in the general introduction to the Buddhism article, saying that the True Self is described as no self in all Mahayana Sutras. This is not quite accurate, unfortunately, as that is never stated in the Nirvana Sutra, which is the central Mahayana sutra for the teaching on the True Self. In fact, the very opposite is taught there: the Buddha insists that the non-Self is Samsara, whereas the True Self is the all-pervading Buddha in Nirvana. Could you modify your statement, do you possibly think? I hope you won't feel offended by my asking for this. I'd also be interested to know where the Buddha says that "the True Self is non-Self", as I haven't come across that in a single Mahayana sutra (this could well be my own omission or oversight, though!). Thanks very much for your co-operation (if you don't mind). Best wishes to you - Tony TonyMPNS 21:42, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I have deleted the inaccurate addition mentioned above. I wonder if the person who inserted it has read even half a dozen, let alone "all Mahayana sutras". Though the "true" self is described as "no self" in the Mahayana-sutra-alamkara, I think the person who inserted will be unable to provide even two or three references to Mahayana sutras which state this. Without such references, I would regard this addition as a kind of sabotage from somebody who perhaps cannot countenance the idea that some authentic forms of Buddhism did teach a positive "true" self.--Stephen Hodge 01:31, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Related to this, I have removed somebody's erroneous statement that "The Srimala sutra says that this presenting of a seeming self is done in order not to scare away those who would be afraid of the central non-self doctrine of Buddhism". I really wish people who make such statements would at least read the texts in question before adding such spurious comments. In fact, the Srimala says, "The Tathagata-garbha is the domain of the Tathagata, it is not the domain of any Sravaka or Pratyekabuddha" etc. More sabotage ?--Stephen Hodge 02:18, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am not sufficiently familliar with the Srimala to comment about that but in the Lankavatara Sutra one can indeed find a statement the the effect that the function of the Buddhist atman is "not to scare away ignorant people". I stipulate that it is possible to interpret the last two sentences of Chapter 6 as equivocation; but there are at least two other possibilities: later emendation, and/or a positive expression of sunya and dependent arising. --Munge 05:50, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Hallo Munge. Thanks for your comments. You may be interested to know that the Nirvana Sutra (and that sutra is, after all, avowedly the final doctrinal pronouncement of the Buddha on such matters as the Tathagatagarbha and the Self) makes it very plain that it is those persons who have been long schooled and practised in non-Self and Emptiness who need to be told not to be "frightened" by the teaching of the truly existing Tathagatagarbha! Also, the passage in the Lankavatara Sutra which you refer to is speaking specifically about the notion of Self clung to by "the philosophers". Part of that notion (as mentioned in the preceding paragraph of the Lanka text) is that the Self is the eternal Creator. The Buddha then rejects that notion of Self. Equally, the problem with these "philosophers" (from the Buddha's vantage point) is that they talk about things of which they do not have direct experience: they mouth words which do not issue from perfect knowledge, but are instead the fruits of non-experiential speculation. It is such an empty concept of Self that the Buddha wants people to detach from. In the final part of the Lankavatara Sutra - the "Sagathakam" collection of verses, which is thought to be quite old - the Buddha indicates that he is not denying the Self with his Tathagatagarbha doctrine, stating: "The Self, whose characteristic is purity, is the state of Self-realisation. This is the Tathagatagarbha, which does not belong to the realm of the philosophers." As so often in Buddhism, "atman" is used in two contrasting ways in the Lankavatara Sutra: it can either (and usually does in Buddhism and almost exclusively in the Lanka) mean the worldly, impermanent ego made up of the five skandhas, or it can mean the supramundane True Self, which is not evenescent and which cannot be comprehended by the ordinary mind and its plodding logic. I think that until one recognises the dual usage of the term "Self" in Buddha-Dharma, one is liable to misapprehend the intended meaning of (especially the Tathagatagarbha) sutras. One further note: the Lankavatara Sutra is generally regarded as a doctrinally mixed text, not "pure" Tathagatagarbha. I know that you have a (totally legitimate and valuable) interest in later Tathagatagarbha doctrine; but if we stick with the "pure-blooded" Tathagatagarbha sutras themselves, it is clear that the Garbha teaching is not some kind of lower-grade presentation of Dharma for those of faint hearts. Just because a teaching has a positive effect on certain types of being does not mean that the teaching is articulating an untruth (viewed within the parameters of that spiritual Doctrine as a whole). It may well have the intended effect of encouraging those who might otherwise misunderstand the non-Self teaching in an absolutist and utterly negative way (as many people, in my view, still do!) - but that in no way means that the Garbha doctrine itself is to be understood as, spiritually, "poor man's Dharma" or "untrue" (not that you are arguing that yourself!). Best wishes, from Tony. TonyMPNS 13:41, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Buddhists famously disagree about which text represents the final doctrinal pronouncement, so an encyclopedia cannot claim that one or the other has precedence. Moreover, I think not all Mahayana sects accepted even the universality of Buddha Nature as expresed in the (later versions of the) MPNS. Those that do accept such universality, including Tendai and Zen I believe, do not seem to regard the MPNS as expressing the definitive explanation of what Buddha nature is. And one cannot unilaterally say that these developments were degenerate. To try to search for some common ground here, can we not say something like "Buddhists unanimously and unequivocally reject the conventional notion of self. Differences appear from sect to sect, across time and geography, regarding what the true self really is—or even whether it exists. What Buddhists do agree on regarding the self is that awakening is possible. That transformation—or, according to some, a profound realization that there is nothing to transform—is the fruit of practice, devotion, study, or perhaps simply hearing the word of the Buddhadharma." I don't know if that's it. But again, this is an encyclopedia; it cannot advocate in favor of a particular vision of what true Buddhism is. It cannot imply that 1700 years of Chinese Buddhist doctrinal developments are somehow inauthentic; it cannot hold itself superior to the Nikaya schools; and it cannot deconstruct rationally those irrational elements that are so prevalent in certain strains of Buddhism, notably but not limited to Huayen and Zen. Not without becoming a platform for particular points of view. --Munge 05:00, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Hallo again Munge. Your above comments contain a lot of good sense, and I agree with much of what you write. However, I am not arguing that the Nirvana Sutra should be seen as the "final explanation of Dharma" by the Buddha out of some personal, biased preference of mine (that would be stupid) - but from the fact that it states itself to be so and is accepted as such by all major Mahayana schools. After all, the sutra is said to be the last sutra delivered by the Buddha on the very eve of his death! Ipso facto, it constitutes the Buddha's final presentation of his Dharma while still on this earth, and thus great importance has always accrued to it within the Mahayana traditions. That is not to dismiss later interpretations and commentaries (on the Dhatu/Self, or whatever). But I think it is helpful to keep clear and distinct what the sutras themselves say, and what later commentarial and exegetical tradition has made of that (the two are not necessarily the same thing!). I am not trying to reject Chinese (or any other) interpretations of the Buddha-dhatu from discussion on Wiki (again, that would be ludicrous and utterly intolerant of me, if I were to do that) - but am simply keen that the unjust tendency found in many Western treatments of Buddhism over the past 100 years of either ignoring the Buddha-dhatu/Tathagatagarbha/True Self teachings or minimising and re-interpreting them in an egregiously inaccurate and procrustean manner should not be replicated on Wiki (I am not accusing you of doing that, needless to say!). I think it is best always to distinguish between what the sutras (foundational primary texts) say, and what later exegesis would have them say. Finally, there is no distinction(as you seem to imply by your phrase, "later versions") regarding the "universality" of the Buddha-dhatu as between the Fa-xian, Tibetan and Dharmaksema versions of the Nirvana Sutra: all three agree that the Dhatu is present in all beings, including in the iccantikas (in that sense it is "universal"). The difference comes when the Dharmaksema text asserts that even iccantikas will find Liberation. The other two texts do not state that at all. Best wishes to you. Yours - Tony. 07:48, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I believe I have read -- although not from anything like a primary source -- that the Tiantai school believed that the Lotus Sutra was the Buddha's ultimate teaching and that the Nirvana Sutra was on a slightly lower level; likewise, I thought that the Huayan school taught that the Avatamsaka was the highest truth, with, presumably, both the Lotus and the Nirvana Sutra on lower levels. Is this not the case? Certainly, Nichiren Buddhists, if no one else, believe that the Lotus is the ultimate truth, so it can't be literally true that all Mahayana schools take the Nirvana Sutra as ultimate. - Nat Krause 07:58, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Hi Nat. You are right. My point, though, is that the Nirvana Sutra is accepted as the last sutra delivered by the Buddha during his lifetime - and so has a special place precisely as the final presentation of Dharma given by Shakyamuni Buddha on the very brink of death. But I am not chiefly concerned in my comments with what "schools" say in any case (although, as it happens, all the main Mahayana schools do accept that the MPNS was the Buddha's last sutra on earth, just before his Mahaparinirvana). I am always interested in what the sutras themselves say. That is the difference! But this is not to preclude discussion of schools, etc. Naturally not! Best wishes - from Tony. TonyMPNS 08:05, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Third precept

Say, I was wondering if we can get a citation for this recently added bit: "It should be noted that, strictly speaking, the third precept covers more than the conventional idea of sexual misconduct and actually involves refraining from all wrong sensory pleasures." - Nat Krause 03:27, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the Pali and corresponding Sanskrit gives "kaama" in the plural -- if it was just "sexual misconduct" it would be in the singular. the "kaama" here is related to the five kaama-gunas. This alternative, and possibly original interpretation, is widely known. I can give you more details tomorrow as it's a bit late here. Note also that I have corrected a number of errors and added clarifications to other parts of the article. These changes are all based on well attested research. Do you want references for all of them ??--Stephen Hodge 03:43, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Further to my previous message, one might refer to Ven H. Saddhatissa's "Buddhist Ethics" (Wisdom 1987)p92 where he states, "We now return to the interpretation of the precept as with kaama in the locative plural form kaamesu. In such form the precept signifies abstinence from all indulgences in the five sensuous objects .... in representing kaamesu micchaacaara as relating only to sexual intercourse the grammatical form of kaama has been ignored; to achieve complete observance of the precept, one must therefore desist from the five forms of self-indulgence, both directly and indirectly".

Ah, that sounds reasonable. It might be better to say that the original version apparently includes all sensual indulgences, since anyone who takes the precepts in translation will probably take a version that only includes sexual behavior (or am I wrong about that?)
I have modified my addition to reflect this comment.--Stephen Hodge 18:03, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Generally, it is good to provide citations for as much material as possible. Theoretically, everything should be referenced, although this is very commonly ignored by editors. As a rule of thumb, it's advisable to cite a source for anything likely to raise eyebrows – something that might pass as "common knowledge" is probably okay uncited. - Nat Krause 06:04, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
OK. But where would the best place be to provide citations or references ? I think that flow of the main article will be broken if all references are provided in the body text. The question of "common knowledge" is, of course, relative. It depends what source material one is familiar with. The bibliogrpahical list at the end of the article is really very sparse. It would be helpful to some readers if reading material or references could be provided at the end with "chapter" headings for each segment of the main article. Possibly it'sa bit late to do that now. --Stephen Hodge 18:03, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Certainly agreed that "common knowledge" is a fuzzy concept at best -- Wikipedia often goes way too far in leaving everything uncited. As for the best way to cite sources, I wouldn't worry too much about the format right now (almost any editor can fix formatting, but you have special expertise that allows you to reference information). The standards aren't very well established yet. I think we have some kind of new footnote system, but I don't know very much about it. For the time being, I would go with a reference in the format (Dōgenson, 1955) or whatever. We can sort it out later.
I'm all too aware that the current bibliography is sparse -- actually, it was nonexistent until I started it with a few books a couple days ago! If you could add some more general references that you think are good, that would be appreciated. I think current, informal Wikipedia practice prefers to have all the references at the end, rather than each section, so it's probably better just to use a short reference (lastname, year) in the text. - Nat Krause 09:50, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
This Digha Nikaya (click on the footnote) has "the sexual act" as the translation of Gàma-dhammà, in a context that clearly refers to the precepts. Thanissaro Bhikku agrees, as does TW Rhys-Davids (Buddhist Suttas, p189). I stipulate that in other contexts, these sutras from the first section of the DN discourage wanderers from, e.g. going to puppet shows and listening to drummers, but that is besides the point. (To anticipate an objection, just How Old is the Sutta Pitaka, anyway? Wynne ably defends the idea that it is fairly old after all.) Buddhaghosa thought the 3rd precept was about sex, too. Edward Conze concurred (Buddhist Scriptures, p71 in my edition). So did the author of the Brahma Net Sutra. Bernard Faure concurs (The Red Thread, p92. A fine work that I hope to read through someday).
Now listen up: What Ven H. Saddhatissa says may well be true. But it requires a much tougher standard of proof than one or two cites; Which exposition of the precepts, do texts match, are translators in consensus, is there evidence that actual schools taught or still teach the more restrictive doctrine? As for format, I can't answer that. But as for the other issue, the Buddhism wiki probably doesn't need the cites I give above. Those would be for an eventual article on Buddhism and Sexuality, which would also want to cite Lust for Enlightenment by John Stevens and Prisoners of Shangri-La by Donald Lopez. The cites the current article needs, if is to expand the scope of the 3rd precept, would be precisely the points that are most controversial. --Munge 05:01, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Munge, your comment. I note that you suggest we click on the footnote for DN01, but I fear that you yourself have not so in your eagerness to establish what was not in question. Gāma-dhamma does not mean "the sexual act", but "rustic", "the practice of country folk". The word here for "the sexual act" is methuna. Anyway, I am not disputing that the meaning of kāmesu micchācāra was narrowed down from a general "wrong indulgence in objects of desire" to "sexual misconduct" but one can see that there must have been a shift in meaning from the general to the specific or else methuna would have been used at the outset as in DN 01 and DN 02. Moreover, the grammatical form of kāma here in the locative plural cannot have that meaning literally, and if you look at the usage of kāmesu in other constructions throughout the Nikāyas, you will see that it always means "[regarding] objects of desire" or "[regarding] sensual objects" and is rendered thus by most translators including those you quote. You could also look at comments in the relevent a.t.thakathās for those occurances. Generally, kāmesu is understood as a short form for pañcā kāma-gu.nesu "[with reference] to the five sensual objects". You might find the Cha.t.tha Sa`ngāyana CD of the Tipitaka a useful tool to check usage through the Pali canon.
Anyway, I think you are making heavy weather of this – though I am not sure what you mean by "now listen up" as it is not an idiom we use here. I have no intention of searching around for other citations confirming a wider understanding of kāmesu micchācāra, though they exist, as I have better things to do. Anybody reading the article in conjunction with this conversation will realize the commonly accepted and conventional meaning is "indulgence in sexual misconduct" and that this meaning arose at a fairly early stage as a kind of gloss on the term, although it cannot be derived literally from the grammar of the term. They will also realize that some authorative scholars who know their Pali grammar understand that there was this shift of meaning and find it useful to remind people of this. As another writer puts it, "Normally one vows 'not to misuse the senses', bearing in mind the Buddha's saying that nothing stimulates each of a man's senses so much as the sight, sound, touch, etc of a woman, nor a woman's than that of a man. Undoubtedly this is so, but it is capable of a wider interpretation. Each of these rules is there to train us towards an ideal of conduct. Mere chastity is only the beginning; total control of our appetites, of our craving, is the end in view." --Stephen Hodge 01:31, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you certain Gāma-dhamma does not refer to "the village way", distinguished in this context from the way of wanderers in the forest, whose ascetic behavior is distinct from householders who procreate? That's how I read the footnote, and it seems to me to be at least an avenue of investigation, if not self-evident. And while the Atthakas certainly seem to encourage austerities, I don't recall that they do so in the context of the precepts. (By the way, their use of wordplay seems to require a great deal of intellectual curiousity to decipher, making it hard for me to believe that they merely advocate samatha and not vispassana, as someone, not you, indicated on these pages a while back.) In American English idioms, "partying" might mean sensual experiences or sexual ones, depending on context; I imagine I might find an analagous UK idiom or euphemism in Partridge's dictionary of catch phrases. Again, I am not necessarily denying your conclusion, only questioning how you got to it. I appreciate your calling the CD to my attention. --Munge 04:45, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
"The village way" could be used as an acceptable translation of grāma-dhamma, in other words, rural customs or observances, probably used in contrast to urban customs or observances, rather than the ascetic behaviour of the forest-dwellers as you suggest. It can also just mean "vulgar", "low" or, to fit the context, even "licentious".
As for your digression on the A.t.thakas, I can understand your puzzlment – if you re-read my message, you will see that I was talking about the Atthakathās, not the A.t.taka section of the SN. It's probably my fault since I assumed that you would know of the Athakathās. They are the set of commentaries on the five Pali Nikāyas, mainly redacted by Buddhaghosa on the basis of earlier Sinhalese works. Perhaps a Wiki article is needed.
But concerning your comments on the Atthakas, I am thinking of appending some additional information on them. Research has moved on a bit since Gomez wrote his paper on them – current thinking is that they belonged to a non-Buddhist group which joined the Sangha very early and had their material incorporated. This is not as surprising as it may sound – it has long been recognized that many of the Dharmapāda and Udāna verses, for example, are also found in contemporary Jain scriptures, the Mahā-Bharata and elsewhere, suggesting that such verses were part of a common sramanera heritage. However, scholars still concur that most of them primarily advocate a samatha approach rather that vipassanā. In fact, the vipassanā approach may not even have been taught by the Buddha or else was a method devised for those whose meditative abilities were slight. Note that the word vipassanā itself, in its technical sense, only occurs about two otr three times in the Pali canon.
Regarding the CD, you can get this just for the cost of postage from your nearest Vipassana Research Centre – look on for details. Even without knowing much Pali, you should find it provides hours of fun.--Stephen Hodge 00:16, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
I cannot entirely agree. The PTS Pali-English dictionary has gama dhamma as "doings with women-folk...vile conduct". And it is not an isolated example. For another case where context determines whether an idiom connotes community life or misogyny see also Monier Williams' entry on matra-grama, which can mean "the faults of womankind" or "of a village". I will omit another, more profane example. I note with interest Monier Williams' entry on Gamin, one of whose meanings is "having sexual intercourse with". Mr. Rhys-David's translation and his footnote are, by today's standards, euphemistic. And sutras often use idioms, wordplay, and allusion. Perhaps the sounds of gama and kama struck someone as similar. And perhaps the "ga" sound in linga inspired some ancient wisecracking wanderer.
Moreover, because some of DN's intended audience may have been familiar with the Chandogya Upanishad, book 5, section 10 (see [1], [2]) it seems to me plausible that any such listeners would naturally make a connection between fate of the "village-dwellers" who follow the "way of the fathers" (pitryana); as distinct from that of the "forest dwellers" and their "austerities" who traverse the "way of the gods" (devayana). Of course, fatherhood implies certain behaviors.
I have provided an excess of citations and a few speculations in support of the rarely-questioned link between the 3rd precept and sexual behavior; I have defended with some reluctance the name of Mr. Rhys-Davids and his modest footnote; and I have admonished you, not without gratitude. I believe it was Paracelsus who said "much learning, many errors". --Munge 03:28, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Dear Munge, I am not sure what you are trying to achieve with this prolonged nit-picking. Do you really think it adds anything of value for the general reader ? It seems to me that, as usual, in your eagerness to "admonish" me, you fail to notice the matchstick, if not beam, in your own eyes. For example, your quote from MW for māt.r-grāma (spelt wrongly by you) "the faults of womankind" or "of a village" is garbled. In fact, for māt.r-grāma, MW has 'the aggregate of mother' = the female sex [in general], while you have truncated the entry which is translated by "the faults of womankind" – you have missed out the all-important Note there is no mention of "[faults] of a village". Your case is further undermined by MW's entry for grāma-dharma for which he has "the observances or customs of a village" with no mention of sexual matters, although, indeed, these may be implicit.
I am also aware of the PED entry for gāma-dhamma. Philologically, I have reservations about this meaning when taking the entire sematic range of gāma (vllage etc) into consideration. I will return to this below. We are discussing the meaning of gāma-dhamma in the context of the DN 01 occurence. Since it immediately follows methuna, I am not convinced that it should be understood as a virtul synonym. Moreover, in all the atthakathās (commentaries), mainly by Buddhaghosa, which comment on gāma-dhamma, always and only give this: gāma-dhammāti gāmavāsīna.m dhammā "gāma-dhamma [means] the dhamma of village-dwellers. Additionally, you might like to consider these Chinese equivalents 猥法 and 世間弊穢法, used by Xuanzang and others for grāma-dharma. Not much overt suggestion of sex here either !
However, in the midst of your confusion, you may have inadvertantly hit on a solution. As you will note, you seem to be unsure what the Sanskrit equivalents are for the Pali gāma in this context. Due to the vagaries of Prakrit phonology, gāma, taken in isolation, can be either gāma or grāma. The former, as a derivative of GAM "go", will also bear the well-known sexual connotations, while the latter is just "village" etc. As you will also be aware, it is recognized that mistakes were made when Prakrits (such as Pāli) were converted into Sanskrit, due to phonological ambiguity. Perhaps something of this has come into play here, and so I wonder whether the supposed sexual connotation of gāma-dhamma is a phantom meaning due to semantic contamination – there was a degree of Sanskritization
Your suggestion that there is an implicit contrast here between "village-dwellers"and the "forest dwellers" is not unreasonable, although the normal contrast in early Buddhism is rustic / urban.
Finally, if, for some strange reason, you want to continue this discussion, perhaps we could adjourn to my personal Talk page so this Discussion page does not get even more clogged up with trivia.--Stephen Hodge 20:49, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Comments of a nun

(note: the following was written by anonymous # and added to the article itself. They belong here on the talk page, and so I am putting them here now - Nat Krause)

April 24. Plea to the administrator of the Wikipedia page on Buddhism:

The editor of your main entry on Buddhism seems to be an adept of the Theravada school. This has led to some misrepresentations of the Mahayana school of Buddhism while at the same time the history of Theravada is not full and frank as it should be. As a nun who ordained 20 years ago, starting in he Theravada school of Buddhism and converting to the Mahayana I think I should give it another try, after my yesterday additions to the page were deleted.

The scribe seems to be a little bit obsessed with the Tathagatagarbha-theory. S/he writes: 1. "Some Mahayana Buddhist scriptures (notably the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra and the Srimala Sutra, amongst others) aim at encouraging the Buddhist practitioner to perceive the indwelling Buddha-nature, the "True Self" (as opposed to the impermanent, suffering-prone "worldly self") of the Buddha inherent in all sentient beings. Such a tathagatagarbha vision is said to usher in the realisation of Great Nirvana." And in a later section s/he returns to the same subject: 2. "However, in a number of major Mahayana sutras (e.g. the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, the Srimala Sutra, amongst others), the Buddha is presented as modifying this teaching and saying that there does truly exist an eternal, unchanging, blissful Buddhic essence (svabhava) in all sentient beings, which is the uncreated and deathless Buddha-nature or "True Self" of the Buddha himself. This immaculate Buddhic Self (Atman) is in no way to be construed as a mundane, impermanent, suffering "ego", of which it is the diametrical opposite."

Comment: When we speak about the Tathagatagarbha-theory we must understand what the Dharmakaya in this teaching means. The Srimala sutra, Wayman's (contested) translation on pp.98 and 99 says: "Lord, the cessation of suffering is not the destruction of Dharma. Why so? Because the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata is named 'cessation of suffering' and it is beginningless, uncreate, unborn, undying, free from death; permanent, seadfast, calm, eternal; intrinsically pure, free from all the defilement-store; and accompanied by Buddha natures more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, which are nondiscrete, knowing as liberated, and inconceivable. This Dharmakaya of the Tathagata when not free from the store of defilement is referred to as the Tathagatagarbha. "Lord, the knowledge of the Tathagatagarbha is the voidness knowledge of the Tathagatas."

I think that this teaching is too profound for the average highschool student who is in search of material for a paper. The scribe best deletes these two passages. The tibetan lamas too will bless him or her for it.

The scribe has the true but limited representation of the root 'budh': "....verbal root "√budh", meaning "to awaken or be enlightened"." Comment: I suggest s/he adds the classical Sanskrit meaning: wise.

I don't think that "wise" is a meaning of the verbal root -- "wise" is an adjective. None of the standard Sanskrit dictionaries give "wise" as a meaning of the verbal root "buddh" so I suggest the addition be deleted because it is inaccurate.--Stephen Hodge 14:43, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The scribe has a passage on Buddhist logic and says: "However, as thinkers like Nagarjuna have pointed out, Buddhism is not simply a rejection of the concept of existence (or of meaning, etc.) but of the hard and fast distinction between existence and nonexistence, or rather between being and nothingness."

Comment: When we read Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika we see that he fiercely opposes the views of both 'being' and 'nothingness', but instead demonstrates the absense of self, of ens, of substance. I frankly don't see what a neccessarily too brief passage on Nagarjuna could add to an already very long lemma.

The scribe has: "Buddhism has evolved into myriad schools that can be roughly grouped into three types: Nikaya, Mahayana, and Vajrayana...."

Comment: the tibetan traditions deny the distinct difference between Mahayana and Vajrayana, and the japanese Tendai tradition also teaches both side by side. They all say that there are only two mainstreams: Theravada and Mahayana. Notably in the Lankavatara sutra we find a distinction between three schools - that ultimately are denied and collapse into the One Buddhayana - : a Sravaka, or Listener Vehicle belonging to what your scribe calls the Nikaya strand, the Pratyekabuddha-yana, i.e. those who are on the lowest steps of the bodhisattva ladder but refrain from teaching, and the Bodhisattva-yana, those who are on the way to Buddhahood through cultivation of the Dharma combined with beneficial actions in the world.

The scribe has: "The word "Buddha" denotes not just a single religious teacher who lived in a particular epoch, but a type of person, of which there have been many throughout the course of cosmic time."

Comment: I am aware of the fact that the Theravada thourougly hates the Mahayana teaching where it postulates uncountable non-human Buddhas that all at this one time teach the beings according to their needs. But if you pretend giving a true account of Buddhism in its entirity you cannot avoid to at least mentioning other Buddha names, preferably without any expalation, as the Theravada is fundamentally incapable of grasping the truth behind the names.

The scribe has: "....the Pali Canon. This is considered to be the oldest of the surviving Buddhist canons, and its sutras are accepted as authentic in every branch of Buddhism."

Comment: If s/he were to be honest s/he should add that the present-day Theravada school is not that old. Of old there have been two branches of Theravada Buddhism: the now defunct Northern Theravada school that flourished along the Silk Road (and left the above mentioned Agamas, and the Southern Theravada school with its present-day Pali canon. The first mention of this latter school does not predate the 7e century (see Andre Bareau in his Les Sectes bouddhique du Petit Vehicule, the entry on Theravada). The present-day teachings of the Pali school incorporates a number of aspects out of the now defunct Sarvastivada and other ancient Hinayana schools. As an example I give you a text that, within the Theravada, is recited when transferring merits to the deceased (without the neccessary diacriticals: yatha varivaha pura paripurenti sagaram evemeva itodinnam petanam upakappati ... etc. This text occurs in Buddhaghosa's oeuvre, a first cent. BC Theravada scholar from Bodhgaya in India, who borrowed it from the then much despised and no longer existing Rajagriya-tradition, one of the 18 early Hinayana schools.

And then again, the Pali canon is in all Mahayana schools considered as valuable as any other canon. However the Tibetan and Chinese schools for their teachings in the indispensible basic concepts rely on the Agamas, a collection of manuscripts that are similar to the Pali Nikayas though not the same. There are highstanding, academic, comparative studies between the Nikaya and Agama sutras available.


There are a number of things to be said in response to the above. I'm not going to respond to most of the points at the present, although I hope others will do so as they see fit. I did leave a message on anonymous' talk page on a few points; for instance, I think she is mistaken in believing that the main editor or editors of this page are followers of Theravada. The only substantial point I want to make concerns her a comments, re: "....the Pali Canon. This is considered to be the oldest of the surviving Buddhist canons, and its sutras are accepted as authentic in every branch of Buddhism." I think she is right in pointing out that we are needlessly conflating the Pali Canon with the agamas (a.k.a. the Nikayas) -- the former is the best known among the various versions of the latter. The rest of the passage is true with regard to the agamas. I will make this correction in the article. Note that to say "it is regarded as the oldest" does not necessarily mean that it is very old (should this be clearer in the article)? - Nat Krause 09:01, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Reply to the Nun: Thank you very much for your heartfelt comments. I have given them serious thought and consideration, as it is not every day that I get such comments from a Buddhist nun! That was a surprise. Firstly, I think it is perhaps unfair to accuse me of being "a little bit obsessed with the tathagatagarbha-theory". I simply want to ensure that this important area of Buddha-Dharma (often minimized, neglected or distorted in books/articles on Buddhism)is adequately represented on Wiki. I don't think that my two brief mentions of "the True Self" (in the Buddha-nature context) in a long article on "Buddhism" could reasonably qualify as "obsession".

Secondly, you speak of "tathagatagarbha-theory". Can you tell me where the Buddha ever, in any place, at any time, calls his teaching on the tathagatagarbha a "theory"? It is presented as Dharma, pure and simple (theory has no place in Dharma).

It should be noted that the nun's primary language might not be English. "Tathagatagarbha-theory" is not an unreasonable translation for Tathagatagarbha doctrine. ᓛᖁ♀ 06:14, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Thirdly, you are absolutely right to quote from the Srimala Sutra, as this is indeed an important tathagatagarbha sutra. But that sutra does not conflict with what I have written, nor do I conflict with it. The Tathagatagarbha is, as you completely correctly say, the Dharmakaya - and in the Srimala Sutra, this is explained as the Dharmakaya which is still (temporarily) concealed from the view of the mundane being by adventitious defilements. Those defilements, however, are not intrinsic to the Garbha. The knowledge of voidness (shunyata) which you refer to in your quotation from the text relates to voidness of certain specific negative, undesirable qualities. To quote the text itself (I use the translation of Dr. Shenpen Hookham, who is a Tibetan Buddhist nun who has specialised in the Tathagatagarbha doctrine and the Srimala Sutra and gained her Oxford University Ph.D. in that area):

"There are two Tathagatagarbha Shunyata knowledges. The Tathagatagarbha that dwells apart from the sheaths of all the kleshas [mental afflictions] is empty of any knowledge that is not liberation. The Buddhadharmas of the Tathagatagarbha that do not dwell apart from it and the knowledge of liberation are not empty of the inconceivable attainments beyond the sands of the Ganges."

A central point of the Srimala Sutra doctrine is that Emptiness means empty of that which is corrupted by the kleshas, but that the Emptiness of the Tathagatagarbha is not empty of the positive Buddhic Knowing (jnana) which is replete with virtuous qualities.

The Mahaparinirvana Sutra also explicates Emptiness as emptiness of what is impermanent and suffering.

So, I don't think there is any conflict between what I have written on the Tathagatagarbha on Wikipedia and the key texts which you and I have cited. As for dropping all mention of this subject, as you urge: I wonder why I should do that? Unless I have distorted the doctrine (which I am always open to admitting, if tathagatagarbha-sutric evidence is presented to me to that effect), I don't see why readers (high-school students or otherwise) of Wikipedia should not be allowed to read teachings which are rooted in certain important Mahayana sutras and which have all too often been denied the full light of day by those who feel uncomfortable with such manifestations of Buddha-Dharma. I agree with you that there is always a danger that these teachings can be misunderstood (I believe they frequently are) - but that is no reaon not to reveal them at all. Otherwise the Buddha would never have spoken a word of his Dharma in the first place (some Zen texts actually say he did not speak Dharma at all, so maybe you are right to ask me to remain silent!). As long as one does not misconstrue the True Self (cataphatically envisaged) as a gigantic, puffed-up, worldly-skandhaic ego - then I think it is legitimate to speak of the True Self and the Tathagatagarbha and Buddha-dhatu doctrines in any intelligent forum (which I take Wikipedia to be).

Thank you again very much for your comments. You have (valuably) made me re-check my motives and the accuracy of what I have written. Best wishes to you in Dharma - from Tony TonyMPNS 10:20, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

announcing policy proposal

This is just to inform people that I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC and AD represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE and CE instead. See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate for the detailed proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:55, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, hopefully it's not just to inform people, but to spark a debate. Now, I'm not 100% sure that this is a POV issue--I think of it as an accuracy and standards issue, like any other convention I learned in school. Which is not to say it isn't abunbantly clear to me that BC and AD have no place in a modern encyclopedia--other than in articles about dating systems. -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 04:21, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Etymology of "Buddha"

Somebody recently changed the explanation for the term "Buddha", writing that "Buddha is a word in the ancient Indian spoken language of Pāli and its written counterpart Sanskrit". This is inaccurate and ill-informed. Neither Pali nor Sanskrit were written languages at the time of the historical Buddha. Both subsequently became written languages. It is also debatable whether Pali should be considered, by implication, a colloquial language. Current thinking is that it was a kind of offical chancery language used in Magadha and Kosala. It is unlikely to have been a everyday spoken language as, for example, the anomalous presence of the many Sanskritisms, phonetic and lexical, found in Pali. I have reverted the article to its previous form.--Stephen Hodge 23:23, 22 May 2005 (UTC)


Somebody has clumsily amended a part of the account of Gotama's origins. The original was fine as it was but the revision is inaccurate and introduces concepts alien to Buddhism such as "Messiah". Additionally the quality of the English leaves much to be desired. As a contributor to Wiki, I really wish that some people would first think if they have the qualifications to add anything constructive and accurate to articles before wading in and making totally unncessary changes. I have reverted the article to the earlier satisfactory version --Stephen Hodge 23:32, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Three Jewels

ElBodhisattva (Am I the only person who hates the childish way some people feel they have to hide their identities -- what's wrong with real names ? Something to be ashamed of ? No wonder few qualified scholars bother with Wikipedia !) has been busy again. A gloss "(the Teaching)" has been added to the Dharma part of the Three Jewels. This is debatable or, rhater, restricts the connotation of the term. In this context "Dharma" can also mean adhigama-dharma (the Dharma as realization), which is not "the Teaching".--Stephen Hodge 23:52, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for addressing these topics. I have reverted all the edits by ElBodhisattva because I disagreed with them, which is not to say that he is unwelcome to try additional productive edits in the future. I thought this question about the Three Jewels was an interesting topic. A lot of the other stuff added, such as the misstatements about Pali, in my opinion don't really merit discussion on the talk page, so please don't feel obligated to spend your time discussing them here unless you are otherwise inclined to do so ... or unless it becomes a recurring problem in the article, at which point it because necessary to hash out. - Nat Krause 05:30, 23 May 2005 (UTC)


These pages seem to be attracting persistent vandalism recently. Has anybody taken the time to report the IDs of the vandals to the Wiki people ? I believe they have an Ongoing Vandalism page. One can also ask to have the atrticle "locked", usually for a month and thus hide the additions of these idiotic people. In fact, the various sections in Wiki Help relating to vandalism make interesting reading.--Stephen Hodge 01:45, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I meant to reply to this when it was initially posted. I'm not too familiar with the details of Wiki Help counter-vandalism, but I can tell you about standard Wikipedia procedure. Normally, the page would only be locked in cases where it was undergoing unusually aggressive waves of vandalist attacks that show no signs of getting under control. This article doesn't really have that problem; instead, we have frequent random acts of petty vandalism. This is the kind of thing that we can and should correct manually. Fortunately, the more high-profile an article is, the more editors are keeping an eye on it, in addition to vandals. Usually, when someone vandalizes the article, it's fixed within a few minutes, so there is little danger of someone coming to Wikipedia and seeing the vandalized version.
The trade-off, of course, is that, if we lock the article, we lose the entire Wiki element by which anyone can edit it. - Nat Krause 05:42, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Please lock the page, and hopefully the vandals will lose interest and move on. It can be re-opened later.

Other principles

Somebody has made a point that the statement about action's effects can't come until the next life is confusing. Not only so but i think it's completely wrong to say that buddhism assumes that. If i am to hold out the apple and let it go, the effect of that will be apple falling down... now not in the next life. Granted some karma can only manifest itself much later, but to say that any effect must be in the different cycle of existance is quite rediculous. Beta m (talk)

Buddhism means "Teaching of Buddha" that is the entire definition in 3 words the rest of the words just complicate the article as the entire article is full of other peoples thoughts and ideas, and the links have been taken over by certain so called Buddhist teachers and organisations. In fact Buddha himself taught that 500 years after his death there will be very little truth left in his teachings, so if they are Buddhist - a follower of Buddhas teachings, they should accept this.

Buddha did NOT teach the following - meditation - chanting - bowing to statues or Zen, so to label these as Buddhism is itself untrue, and inline with Buddhas own predictions that there will be no truth left in his teachings.But sadly as with all great teachers their teachings become hijacked changed and sold in the name of religion, I would request the wikipedia to remove any links which are commercial.

P. Iddon

Proposal concerning era designations

A proposal has been made concerning the appropriate uses of BCE/CE and BC/AD era designations. As this is one of the most prominent Wikipedia articles to use the BCE/CE style, I thought you guys should know about it so that you could offer feedback. Kaldari 22:49, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Women attaining Buddha-hood?

Hi, I have a quick question I was wondering if someone could shed some light on for me. In the article it states that "Anyone can free themselves from suffering as Gautama did, regardless of age, gender, or caste." Now, as far as women attaining enlightenment, from what I understand there is a small section in The Lotus Sutra that discusses this possibility, but I was wondering if there were other sources that talk about this as well?

Thanks! Airosche 02:12, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In the Pali Canon, the Buddha agrees to ordain women because—despite the serious problems that this document claims the Buddha said it would cause—he agrees that a woman's capacity for enlightenment is equal to a man's. Some other Buddhist traditions, I believe, especially in Confucian East Asia, had the idea that women can become Buddhas or can enter the Pure Land only if they are first reborn as men. It also appears to be generally assumed that all Supreme Buddhas are male at the time of their final enlightenment. Consider that some Buddhist texts list quite a number of (seemingly arbitrary) characteristics that all Buddhas supposedly have, e.g. they are tall, they are born in India, etc., etc. Apparently, one of these characteristics is that they are male. - Nat Krause 08:50, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

We have to be very careful to differentiate between the cultural aspects of Buddhism as it has been practiced in the different countries all over the world, and the essence of Buddhism. It is quite clear that in some versions of Buddhism women have played a smaller role, but this is a cultural aspect more than a fundamental one. In some Buddhist traditions (like Tibetan Buddhism) women have played a major role. There are many great yogini's known in history, like Yeshe Tsogyal, Dagmema, Sukhasiddhi, or Machig Labdron. History has a tendency to trivialise women's accomplishments. There were probably many other great women Buddhist teachers and practitioners whose lifestories have not been recorded. I have even heard from one current Buddhist teacher that women are for sure superior practitioners because of their honesty and perseverance.

The fact that one of the characteristics of all historic Buddhas to be male doesn't mean that women cannot reach enlightenment. Here we have to distinguish between enlightened beings or Buddhas and historical Buddhas, that is Buddhas that have (or will) start a new tradition of Buddhism. I have heard of at least one Bodhisattva who vowed to always be reborn as a woman. 21 November 2005 (UTC) R.Sok

Buddhism origins

Guys, the Encyclopedia Britannica and most other textbooks on Buddhism agree that Buddhism originated in Nepal. Not only that, they have found a monument erected by Asoka stating "Here is the birthplace of the Buddha" in Nepal. kennethtennyson

I just checked Britannica Online and its Concise Encyclopedia Article on Buddhism says "Religion and philosophy founded in northeastern India [...]". According to Peter Harvey (An Introduction to Buddhism, 1990), the Buddha was born in a small republic which was located across the Naplese-Indian border. He was enlightened in India and he was teaching the Dharma in the region of the Ganges basin in north eastern India (probably also in Nepal). If Buddhism came into being as he got born, then yes, the origin of Buddhism might very well be Nepal. One could also argue that Buddhism originated at the moment of his enlightenment, at the moment when he decided to start teaching, or at the first cermon (all in current India). Andkaha 11:50, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)

May be we need to change it to China for Buddhism origins, because

  1. During the time of Buddha there was no India, Nepal, Afghanistan etc. but some small kingdoms.
  2. People during the time of Buddha from Afghanistan in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Tibet in the north to the Lanka (now Sri Lanka) in the south did not thought Buddhism as a separate religion, neither do all of them now. I do have many friends in India who are Buddhist but also go to Hindu temples. Dalai Lama when he visit any new place, he also visit local Hindu temples that are important. Now same is true in Sri Lanka also, where people see less difference between Buddhism and Hinduism.

But I do not know whether Kenneth has something else in his mind, as I have noticed from his changes and he also mentioned he had some bad arguments with some Indians. Also see him not LOGGED on.

His edits are kennethtennyson (talk · contribs), (talk · contribs), (t c), (t c), (t c)

-Bijee 23:03, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Don't lie Bijee

Buddy, don't put odd IP addresses to my name. Secondly, I'm not the only person on this encyclopedia having issues with Indian nationals "rewriting" history and deciding that they invented one thing or another or that a certain history just doesn't suit their tastes. See the whole Taj Mahal debate that has been raging on whether or not it is a Vedic temple. I actually do research on Asian history and I along with my colleagues have run into so many supposed "scholars" from India in the last few years trying to rewrite history that it has had us fed up. We even had one "scholar" trying to convince us that the East India Company was actually from India and not Britain and another one who blamed Muslim fanatics for killing Gandhi. I'm not sure if it's due to the last decade of BJP / Hindutva rule rewriting the whole education system of India or just plain ignorance in a 3rd world country with a few hundred million English speaking people. I've never suggested that China was the birthplace of Buddhism, by the way. My contention is that the older version of Britannica that I have along with most recent editions of books write Nepal as the Birthplace of Buddhism because it is the place the Buddha grew up in and lived most of his life. You can split hairs and put India if you wish because he became enlightened there, but regardless the vast majority of Nepalese and Tibetans along with a lot of historians believe that Buddhism began in Nepal not India. Kennethtennyson 07:17, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You are out of line. Please support your facts by properly referencing your sources. Leave personal attacks out of it. Andkaha 10:16, Jun 25, 2005 (UTC)

In Sixth century, if there was "NO INDIA", only smaller kingdoms, then you must also know that there was also no Greece, No Italy, no Rome, no China, no Nepal, no Iraq, no Israel, no America, no nothing but only "small kindoms" at that time! Nepal (Lumbini) was the birthplace of Buddha, but the Karmabhumi or land of action of Buddha was India. Also, in a cultural sense, India could be used. The birthplace of Gautam Buddha maybe specified as Lumbini (Kapilvastu) in Nepal, no problem! And as far as self proclaimed nouveau scholars of India are concerned, all passionate with Hindutva, they have no place in Wikipedia. It is a place of neutral point of view and no outpourings of a Hindu heart. Cygnus_hansa 22:21, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Input sought on Jesus

Would anyone please care to comment on the importance or rôle of Jesus in Buddhism? Please see the discussion at Talk:Jesus#Poll:_Religions_Jesus_is_important_in. A complete review of various Buddhist views of Jesus would be appreciated. Thanks. Tomer TALK July 8, 2005 18:52 (UTC)


Temple_of_ tooth.jpg

I've been meaning to post a message here on this subject for quite some time—sorry for the delay. I had an exchange of e-mails a while back with a user who added two of the images which currently grace the article (specifically Image:Temple of tooth.jpg and Image:Sri lanka aukana buddha statue.jpg). I initially removed them for copyright issues, which were then settled; he wrote me to argue that they deserved to be in the article because there the other images are unfairly biased towards East Asian sources. I don't know if this is a good reason to exclude or include them, but I figured we should give more thought to what images to include or not include.

Image:Sri_lanka_aukana _buddha_statue.jpg

Until quite recently, Wikipedia almost never had to make choices about which images to include in larger articles, because there were very few images available to use (the lead image for this article was chosen simply because it was the first picture added, although I've grown rather attached to it). Fortunately, the number of choices has increased dramatically over the last year. This necessitates that we make some decisions about what to include and what not to.

To assist in this, I've made some notes on what types of images we currently have (as of January 18, 2005):

Buddhism currently contains 13 images:

  • 1 Buddha statue, East Asian (lead image)
  • 1 Buddha statue, from a Chinese-built temple in the United States
  • 1 Buddha statue, Sri Lankan (Image:Sri_lanka_aukana_buddha_statue.jpg)
  • 1 Buddha statue, Central Asian
  • 1 carving of multiple Buddhas/bodhisattvas, East Asian
  • 1 temple, Sri Lankan (Temple_of_tooth.jpg)
  • 1 temple interior, from a Chinese-built temple in the United States
  • 1 ancient Buddha foot sculpture, Central Asian
  • 2 images of monks, Tibetan
  • 1 image of monks, Burmese
  • 1 painting of monks, including an East Asian and a Central Asian
  • 1 Buddhist flag, designed in Sri Lanka

Overall, by type, that's:

  • 4 Buddha statues (including one mentioned above)
  • 1 carving of Buddhas/bodhisattvas
  • 2 temple images (including one mentioned above)
  • 4 images of monks (3 photographs and 1 painting)
  • 1 ancient aniconic carving
  • 1 symbol

And by regional style:

  • 4 out of 13, East Asian (all Chinese, in fact; half of which are located in the U.S.)
  • 3 out of 13 Central Asian
  • 2 out of 13 Sri Lankan (both of which are the images mentioned above;), not including the flag
  • 2 out of 13 Tibetan
  • 1 out of 13 Southeast Asian
  • 1 flag, designed in Sri Lanka, used internationally

Okay, so what do we notice

For one thing, in terms of subject matter, the current images contain no bodhisattvas (except for possibly in the Chinese carving), such as Maitreya or Guan Yin. I'm not sure how many different Buddhas are shown (Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Vairocana, et al). There are few images of temples, and, if we removed the Temple of the Tooth image, there would be no temple exteriors. No stupas. No diagrams or maps (although I don't know of any that would useful off the top of my head). There are currently no photographs of Buddhists other than monks (we used to have one of Thai people praying; not sure what happened to it).

There is a certain amount of geographic imbalance. Without the two Sri Lankan images, we have 4 out of 11 Chinese images (including the two Chinese-American ones, which are from Hsi Lai Temple), which is a lot. We don't even have any images from Japan or Korea. Sans Sri Lankan pictures, we only have one image from any of the Theravada countries, and that of child monks. Still, I'm not sure the two Sri Lankan images are the best solution here: the Temple of the Tooth picture isn't very striking ... we could probably find a better one from a different Theravada country. And the Aukana Buddha image, unless I'm missing some kind of historical interest, doesn't show a lot of specifically Theravada flavor to distinguish it from the three other Buddha images we have.

There is room for at least 1, possibly 2, maybe more images to be added without crowding (although I think the Aukana Buddha image is already crowded where it is, so I should say without further crowding). I think it would be a good idea, if possible, to leave an empty spot to encourage future editors to add one. I'm also interested in perhaps taking the advice someone gave on this talk page some time ago to use one or more images from the German version of this article—I have my eye on Image:Wheel life 01.jpg (seen at right), or some other mandala, which would add some colour and variety. It would be nice to add at least temple exterior shot, preferably more than that, because temple architecture varies from place to place more than Buddha statues do.

What this means is that we don't have a lot of room left over to work with. We're going to have to think in terms of evaluating the quality of new images and the ones already in the article, and possibly dropping some current ones in favor of those that fit improve the article more (dropped images don't have to disappear from Wikipedia, they can often go to other articles; I made Image:Temple of tooth.jpg the lead image on Temple of the Tooth a while back). I would suggest that we should perhaps discuss new image additions on talk beforehand and/or get comfortable seeing our changes changed by other editors. - Nat Krause 13:04, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Greeks and Buddhism?

I was wondering, does anyone know if there's any evidence for any influence of Buddhism on Greek thought? I was reading up on the Indo-Greek empire, and their emperor Demetrius apparently converted to Buddhism and was a friend of the defeated Mauryan empire. Was there much flow of people and ideas between the Indo-Greeks, the Bactrian Greeks, the Seleucids and the Hellenic Greeks, or were they fairly isolated against each other, bearing in mind the fairly large differences between the relatively close-together Sparta and Athens?

Basically my line of inquiry was sparked by something Ajahn Brahm said in a dharma talk about Origen, one of the early Christians and an apparent teacher of reincarnation, having been taught by Ammonius Saccas, and how eastern peoples and (according to him) ancient Greeks put their surnames first, and that Saccas Ammonius was in fact Sakyamuni, i.e. the Buddha. Interesting conjecture, or is there any evidence other than the coincidence in names?

Sciamachy 14:34, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Well...Origen was born in 182 AD/CE. Siddhartha Gautama is
traditionally stated to have lived between approximately 563 BCE and 483 BCE, with some Buddhist legends stating that he was born on April 8, 1029 BCE, and died on February 15, 949 BCE. Some scholars date him later, to the mid 5th century BC.
So I'd characterize that as wild speculation. --goethean 15:49, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
There was a book or thesis written alleging influence of Eastern thought on Plotinus. I actually wrote a paper on it in college. But the book no longer appears in my alma mater's library collection, so I have no information about it. If I find the paper, I'll post the information here. --goethean 15:59, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
The Kālakārāma sutra "gains a high degree of historical importance owing to the tradition handed down by the commentaries and chonicles* that it was preached by the venerable Mahārakkhita Thera to convert the country of the Yonakas during the great missionary movement which took place in the reign of the Emperor Asoka. If the identification of the Yonakas with Greeks is correct, the choice of this deeply philosophical discourse for such a significant occasion, could not have been a mere coincidence...Tradition has it that the impact of the discourse on the Yonakas was considerable, for thirty-seven thousand people attained to the Fruits of the Path on hearing it...", from The Magic of the Mind (subtitle) An Exposition of the Kālakārāma Sutta, Bhikku Ñānananda, BPS, Sri Lanka, 1974, p1, * cited is Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, I, 573 f. I think this page is copied from that, and it has some links to give you a reason to believe or not; anyway, claim is they were Hellenic, not exactly Athenians, but I suppose there could have been traffic between Athens and Ságala. So I would characterize this version as speculation, but not necessarily wild. "Evidence"? Not much. Claim (easily verified?) is Asoka left some inscriptions that included names of Hellenic rulers. Another claim relating to somewhat later period was that Milinda's culture could have been go-between. Still, "tried to influence" does not equal "did influence". Some cites, I don't know how reliable, on this page. And Google "Ramanand Vidya Bhawan" with the word "Greek", though I can't vouch for that one either. Finally, yet another claim worth chasing down is that Greek community in or around India contained Buddhist converts who were the origin of Buddhist iconography; sorry, no cite (someone I trust told me this); but if Hellenic culture indeed influenced Buddhism, the reverse could be true. --Munge 06:52, 22 July 2005 (UTC)


"To refrain from harming living creatures (killing)."

Killing isn't harming creatures, not in the slightest so I removed the definition. It depends how and why you kill, ie:

Motives for killing creatures: Kill to eat, cull to protect native wildlife, or kill for sport. Methods of killing creatures: Slow and painfull, or bullet to the head.

--Avochelm 12:38, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I think "(killing)" should definitely be left in there. One often sees the first precept expressed as "To refrain from killing", "To refrain from taking life", or as "To refrain from causing pain or fear of pain" (or positively as "To practice loving-kindness towards all living/sentient beings").
To remove "(killing)" would suddenly make it seem perfectly alright for e.g. a Buddhist lay person to make a living as a butcher, something that the Buddha spoke out against.
If someone culls to protects native wildlife, or kills a being even in a fast and "humane" way, can you definitely say that you cause no pain or fear of pain in the being?
Andkaha 14:01, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
I find the claim that killing creatures isn't harmful to them to be ridiculous, but I still agree with removing the parenthetical (killing). The fact that harming includes killing is so obvious that it is redundant for us to say it. - Nat Krause 16:46, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
  • In terms of the Buddha's injunctions in the various agamas and Mahayana sutras, killing is certainly not allowed, whether it be for food (most definitely not - and in the Mahayana sutras, vegetarianism is enjoined upon the Buddhist follower!), for medicine, for punishment, or even for some seemingly altruistic motive. Killing represents the ultimate physical harm that can be perpetrated against another living being. Each being is valued within Buddha-Dharma as an individual person, as someone possessed of the Buddhic Principle ("Buddha-dhatu"), so that even arguments of "sacrificing" one being (say, an animal) for the sake of another being (say, a human) is totally and utterly counter to the Buddha's ethic of "ahimsa" (non-harming) and universal kindliness. I share Nat's view that it doesn't really make sense (either common sense or Buddhist sense!) to say that killing someone does not harm that person (although I know what the writer means). However, I would personally prefer to see something added, such as "(especially killing)", just to emphasise the horror with which Buddhism looks upon the taking of sentient life. In fact, it has always been my understanding that the first precept actually specifies that one will undertake to refrain from "the taking of life/ the destruction of life". - Tony TonyMPNS 17:47, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

  • In Thich Nhat Hanh's [Plum Village] Tradition, the Five Precepts have been reworded to be more relevant to the 21st Century and the First Mindfulness Training (as the Precepts are called) is stated as:

"Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. Iam determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life."

Here Thây has even extended the precept to plants and minerals! How does one live if one can't even kill a plant?! How do you walk down the street without by chance stepping on an ant or other small insect? How do you even wash you hands without killing hundreds of millions of microbes? And what does it mean to protect the life of a mineral?

The answer is you can't, but, here intention is the key. When we walk down the dirt mountain paths at Deer Park Monastery we know that it is not possible to do so without stepping on some of our multi-legged friends. Therefore, we walk in mindfulness so as to minimize the damage that we do. we are mindful not to step on ant hills or on the larger, easy to see creatures who may cross my path. In the morning we say a gatta wherein we express the hope that we do not accidentally kill any insects that day and if we should we pray that they do not suffer too much and will have a better rebirth. Intention is the key. When we wash our hands and thus kill masses of bacteria, we are intentionally killing, but doing so in order to prevent the worse offense of spreading disease to other creatures. In first of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of Thây's Order of Interbeing, we are reminded that we must not be fanatical about our beliefs, even Buddhist ones.

We, as modern humans, can refrain from killing animals for our food and clothing, therefore we should.

Protecting the lives of plants and minerals in this training refers to refraining from their wanton destruction. Yes, we eat vegetables and use minerals, but we do so mindfully, without waste or wanton destruction. Ms Code 3

I agree that "(killing)" seems a bit redundant, as killing usually involves harming that which is killed. It's the usually that bothers me. Are not the specific injunctions against killing referring to killing as the ultimate in harming? If that is the case, then what is/are the Buddhist position(s) on compassionate killing? There are circumstances when it may be a kindness to kill a living thing. If so, then not-killing, in some cases, may be an instance of harming. In other words, it seems that "To refrain from taking life", and "To refrain from causing pain" are potentially contradictory. This contradiction can be resolved by expressing the precept as simply "to refrain from harming." Psora 17:50, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
The traditional injunction is to refrain from killing. Vinaya goes into the types of being and the relative damage done due to killing - so e.g. killing an arhat is about as bad as it gets, with killing parasites way down the list. Harming is a different issue and is used as a more general principle, rather than a rule. The root Bodhisattva vows warn against not killing when one would do better to kill - there are Jataka tales of the Buddha-to-be killing a terrorist so as to save a ship filled with people. Buddhism does not have a set of absolute commandments - vows are understood to be relative to context - and are stated as rules-of-thumb for avoiding negative karmic consequences that would lead to low rebirth. As I recall, the five vows of a lay Buddhist are to prevent low rebirth, and to ensure that future rebirths may happen as a Buddhist once more. (20040302 21:47, 22 October 2005 (UTC))

Buddhism rules

External Link : The truth the mainland Chinese government doesn't want you to know

Does anybody else think the external link above would be helpful? I have posted it to this article, but it was removed by Hottentot. Please give an opinion. I personally, believe that the link is extremely relavent to the article.--FT in Leeds 02:13, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I moved your comment to the end of this discussion page (where usually new topics should go). I hope that's ok...
Well, my take on this is that
  1. the heading you're using is not that of the text in the BBC article,
  2. the text in the BBC article is highly flammable and politcal, and
  3. the Buddhism Wikipedia article is, IMHO, not the place to promote propaganda or to report on current events.
Although I feel that the subject is important, I simply do not feel it is appropriate in an encyclopedia. Others may disagree. A link to [3] or [4] might possibly be appropriate instead (but in the Tibetan Buddhism article, if not already present). Andkaha 20:06, September 3, 2005 (UTC)
This article appears (appropriately) under Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Clint 14:41, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I'am in history class learning about Buddhism right now it is quite intresting and i am quite amused à

Request for your aid dealing with actions from a user against Religious, Spiritual and Esoteric articles

User:Baphomet. is damaging Wikipedia: he his trying to label Religious articles as Superstition (from a POV view of positivism, that he calls Science). At the article Reincarnation he just went on to add to category "Superstition" and later on without discussion put a POV msg in the article. Please see the discussion page between both of us Talk:Reincarnation#Superstition.

Through the use of a Culture created by extremism in Science, he is clearly trying to do the job that the Inquisition did in the Middle Ages in a Culture created by extremism in Religion. He is damaging Wikipedia in a subtle invious way!

Please see also the Alert message I have created at Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#September_4, Thank you! --GalaazV 20:25, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

einstein quote

Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.
Albert Einstein

I added this up at top - my reason is that I feel it says something to non-buddhists about how Buddhism differs from other religions. It is from someone who is highly respected as a historical scientist, and it leads well into the overall exposition of Buddhism. Remove it if it sticks in your craw! (20040302)

I do think that it would possibly be better suited in a "Quotes" section at the end, if it really should be in the article at all. --Andkaha(talk) 13:58, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
I know.. I thought about that too... It's just that it is quite a nice introductory soundbite. The current article is very very long, after all. Have we looked at breaking it down into smaller articles with links recently? (20040302)
It's a decent quote, but I'm not sure it's quite accurate. Also, its current location in the lead section is jarring. A Quotes section would probably be the right place for this. I'd rather see a quote from Buddhism in the lead, for example from Nagarjuna or one of the sutras, though it may be hard to find one that's properly concise without being generally incomprehensible. ᓛᖁ♀ 14:56, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm not at all happy with this. I think it should be reverted or moved. Einstein may have been famous in his field; but he's not a noted authority on Buddhism, and his observations shouldn't appear in the lead section. Anyway, I think the quote is in itself unclear in its meaning. --MrDemeanour 15:10, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
The point was that he isn't a noted authority on Buddhism, but never mind. :-)
Fair enough I'll scrap it. Was only an idea. (20040302)
Incidentally, I have thought of breaking this article into smaller pieces, and/or moving some content into other existing articles, but I haven't made any serious moves in that direction yet. I think there is a fair amount of text that should be moved to History of Buddhism. - Nat Krause 14:54, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes; seems to me that you have proposed this before. I'm neither in favour nor against, at the moment; I shall watch the talk. Perhaps you should try it, and see what the reaction is. My guess is that if you do it well, the reaction will appear, but will be muted. I may be able to help; but stuff is happening here, so I can't make promises about anything just now. --MrDemeanour 15:50, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
I am completely up for it - you want to create a couple of pages for your proposal, Nat? This article is getting .. bigger. (20040302 17:47, 23 September 2005 (UTC))
Well, I don't remember proposing this before, and, in any event, I don't have time to work on it now. I don't think this article is in immediate need of anything other than a good overall edit, so I'm going to backburner the pruning and splitting idea for the moment. - Nat Krause 03:35, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Input sought

Can information please be added to Women as theological figures? (Please include information on other non-European religions if available).

Jackiespeel 16:11, 7 October 2005 (UTC)


The 18th of october is the holy day of pavarana this year....


I added a link to "" as I think it's a good introduction to the topic. Or at least I tried to...


I must say I completely disagree with the section on anatta. I was surprised to see that this wasn't a hot topic of discussion. First it should have the tetra lemma stated. Second and much more important, the Buddha teached in three "levels" or the three turns of the wheel of Dharma: the four noble truths, emptiness and Buddha nature. Just as emptiness cannot be directly experienced without a very good experience of the four noble truths, teachings on Buddha nature (Vajrayana and sutras on Buddha nature) cannot be correctly understood and experienced without direct knowledge of emptiness (not necessarily COMPLETE direct knowledge of emptiness because then it woudn't be necessary any teachings on Buddha nature). Teachings on Buddha nature without the background of emptiness praticaly becomes hinduism. The main teaching that distinguishes Buddhism from other religions is emptiness. The idea of atman is precisely the idea of Buddha nature when seen without the background of emptiness. This said, things like "there does truly exist an eternal, unchanging, blissful Buddha-essence in all sentient beings, which is the uncreated and deathless Buddha-nature ("Buddha-dhatu") or "True Self"" lead to false view when a person doesn't have direct knowledge of emptiness. Buddha nature trancends existence/non existence, permanence/impermanence, etc., hence the tetra lemma: "neither existent nor non existent nor both nor neither". Conceptual mind is not fit for understanding Buddha nature and therefore the mencioned paradox: "The paradox is that as soon as the Buddhist practitioner tries to grasp at this inner Buddha potency and cling to it as though it were his or her ego writ large, it proves elusive". Therefore the text on anatta should be changed either by completely eliminating the statements on Buddha nature or by giving the correct context in which these teachings appear which is the three turns of the wheel of Dharma and the tetralemma. (sign your work with ~~~~)

The difficulty with what you suggest is that your views as stated are limited by the school you are familiar with - your approach to understanding Buddhism appears to be chinese mahayana. The development of Annata as a concept in Buddhism includes the development of the concept of Atman from a Buddhist standpoint also. I encourage you to speak - but try to find a position that meets the requirements of NPOV (20040302 11:23, 27 October 2005 (UTC))

Curiously, the tradition I'm less familiar with is the chinese :). But I think that what I say is accepted by all schools. Why? I saw the timeline of buddhism and in 1966 there was a Council attended by leading monks, from many countries and sects, Mahayana as well as Theravada. One of the teachings that was accepted unanimously was that "All conditioned things (sa.mskaara) are impermanent (anitya) and dukkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anaatma)". The important part here is "unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anaatma)". This includes Buddha nature. This means that the teachings that state that there truly exists a Buddha nature, permanent, etc., are either contradictory with anatma or can only be correctly understood by a person with some direct knowledge of emptiness (and thus should be carefuly presented, if at all, to someone who doesn't have direct knowledge of emptiness). Since I believe the teachings are not contradictory, only the second can be true. (ModusPonens, sign your work with ~~~~)

This is all very interesting - but as you know, what you believe does not make it so. Not all Buddhists agree with the 1966 declarations; moreover, schools of Buddhism have been around for well over 2,000 years, and many original and creative interpretations have been present. What you are asking us to agree is that there is some single true way of seeing the teachings of Buddha, and any other interpretation must be false. By declaring your belief that the teachings are not contradictory, you have taken upon yourself the responsibility of explaining how the sutras that assert the self, those that deny it, and those who tell us not to even think about these things are not contradictory. Atisha came up with an elegant, powerful and very Buddhist solution - that indeed the teachings are contradictory, because they are written with different audiences in mind: The Dharma is plural, because the needs and requirements of individuals are also plural. If you cannot accept the fact that for many Buddhists, there was a third turning of the wheel (the Yogacarya teachings of the Tathatgathagharba), then it sounds like you are clinging onto some form of foundationalism - some essentialist platform of what is and what is not Dharma, which is objectively (therefore essentially) true. You and I agree that all phenomena are without "self" - but, if we accept Candrakirti's view of "self" to be synonymous with "essence", or "intrinsic being" (the second turning of the wheel), then we come to the conclusion that nothing stands outside the context in which it is presented - including Dharma. Therefore, under the aegis of Atisha's exposition, we can understand and acknowledge the development of the doctrines of Tathatgathagharba as being necessary for those individuals who are unable to understand the first or second turning of the wheel of Dharma. Of course, any attempt to place different doctrines (Buddhist or not) onto some scale of truthfulness admits to the objective existence of an objective scale, and so we cannot state that one turning of the wheel is 'better' or 'more truthful' than another; we can only state whether or not we find some particular approach useful to ourselves. For me, I find the works of Tsongkhapa, Candrakirti and Nagarjuna to be elegant, balanced, timeless, and complete - but who am I to state that this is the 'one true path' of Buddhism? And certainly no convocation of monks or practitioners can do any better. (20040302 14:15, 30 October 2005 (UTC))
  • I think it is very important - as suggested above, very wisely, by "2004" - always to be open to the fact that Buddha-Dharma is a vast complex of interconnected teachings and expositions of Reality from different perspectives, and that one should not automatically assume that such-and-such "is" Buddhism and that a variant emphasis provided by the sutras is not Buddhism or is in some way inferior to "real" Buddhism. Of course this is looking at the matter from a Mahayanist standpoint. One person's Buddhism may be another person's nihilism, and that person's Buddhism may be the former person's Hinduism! And we must never forget that only a fully Awakend Buddha truly knows what Reality (including Emptiness) is anyway! On a factual point, however, it is not correct to state (not that you have!) that the tathagatagarbha teachings are presented by the Buddha in the major tathagatagarbha sutras as a sop or concession to those who are spiritually backward and cannot quite understand or get their heads around non-Self and Emptiness. Quite the reverse. Leaving aside the quesiton of whether Emptiness can be conceptually "undestood" at all (the prajnaparamita sutras indicate that it is fundamentally beyond conceptualisation in any case), the doctrine of the tathagatagarbha/ Buddha-dhatu is given by the Buddha as a culminational revelation or ultimate teaching (an "uttarottara" pronouncement) of Dharma for those who have understood the implicit meaning of the earlier communications on non-Self and Emptiness correctly and are now ready for further progress into Great Nirvana. Whether one believes this to be objective fact or not is another matter, of course. But the tendency (marked amongst those who are not strongly familiar with the primary tathagatagarbha sutras themselves - notably the Nirvana Sutra, the Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirdesa, the Srimala Sutra, the Tathagatagarbha Sutra) to relegate those Buddhists who follow TG doctrine to the status of people who have somehow failed to "understand" Emptiness is an unjust stance and not borne out or supported by the major TG sutras themselves. I must stress that I am not saying that any of the interlocutors in this section of "Talk-Buddhism" are guilty of definitely accusing other Buddhists of not being adequate Buddhists! Not at all! I hope we can all agree that tolerance of others' "Buddhism" (as long as such Buddhism has a sutric base supporting it) - rather than apodeictically declaring what IS Buddhism and what is NOT - is highly desirable. I think the exchanges above are good and valuable, in that the participants are trying to respect each other's vision of Dharma, while keeping open minds to the fact that none of us un-Awakened people (well, myself at least!) can fully KNOW Dharma until we attain total Bodhi. All good wishes to you. From: Tony. TonyMPNS 10:33, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I think you understand my position - I do not consider the 'tathagatagarbha' doctrine to be a 'sop', indeed I see it as a valid method for liberation. However, I am especially not promoting it as a better or more complete or more advancing technique than others, for the reasons given above. However, within the arena of the Madhyamaka-Prasangikas, as I have understood it, there is no space for philosophy - it is an anti-philosophical stance; this does not mean that MP do not have tenets, or arguments - just that they use the language of their opponents (including their own self-grasping!) to demonstrate the lack of inherent existence. As the lack of inherent existence is the absence of something, there are many different ways of pointing that out, but none of those ways can assert something which is essentially there. Obviously I am aware that such views belong to a small group of Buddhists, but these views are necessarily plural - they do not allow for any degree of supremacism regarding truth or fact. (20040302)
Addendum to tony: when you say "only a fully Awakend Buddha truly knows what Reality (including Emptiness)" - generally there are many who assert that actually, Aryas are able to directly unmistakenly perceive Emptiness because it is a hidden truth, though only a Buddha is able to perceive deeply hidden truths, such as the subtle complexities of causality. It is because emptiness is not deeply hidden that there is a fourth noble truth at all. Otherwise, Buddhism would require faith in doctrine or tradition: An appeal to greater authority as found in other religions. Buddha tells us that we can find out the Dharma for ourselves, via the merely 'hidden' truth of emptiness, by exercising ourselves in the three higher trainings of Sila/Samatha/Vipassana (20040302 13:32, 31 October 2005 (UTC))
  • Hallo 2004! Thanks for your interesting reply. It is good to see that you are so open-minded and tolerant of other avenues to Truth. Not everyone displays such liberality of attitude! Although you and I probably come from diametrically opposed approaches to Dharma (yourself from Madhyamaka-Prasangika, myself from Buddha-dhatu/Tathagatagarbha), we shall hopefully arrive at the same goal!

On the question of faith in doctrine and the authority of the Buddha: there is in certain areas of Mahayana Buddha-Dharma actually this element of recognition of the Buddha's supreme authority, coupled with devotion to, and faith in, the Buddha's pronouncements. In fact, certain major sutras (such as the Lotus Sutra and the Mahaparinirvana Sutra) insist that reverence of those texts themselves, actual veneration and worship of them - and of the Buddha from whom they issue - are important elements on the Path towards full Awakening. We must also remember the "Happy Land" (sukhavati) sutras and the influential traditions which grew from them. But of course there are whole swathes of Buddhist teaching and practice which take a different line. Again, there are so many different directions from which one can head towards Bodhi that I think the key thing (as you suggested earlier - and with which I TOTALLY agree) is to follow the Way(s) of Buddha which speaks most appealingly to oneself and follow that Path, as long as it proves efficacious: after all, all authentically Dharmic roads lead to ..... Nirvana! Best wishes to you. From - Tony. TonyMPNS 16:23, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you- of course there are sutras that indicate worship and devotion, as you mention; and of course, I have no problem with that. What I find to be a common problematic is when someone restricts their readership to a specific set of sutras, and then asserts some unqualified remarks about what Buddhism says; you and I know that not only are there many thousands of sutras, but also there are even more traditions that interpret those sutras in distinct ways. Buddhism has always been a highly literate tradition - (as I recall, Korean Buddhists invented the printing press). Regardless, it is as great an honour to meet someone who appreciates open-ended pluralism. Best wishes to you also! Take care (20040302 20:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC))
  • Thanks, 20040302, for your kind words! Much appreciated. I sure do agree with you that one should try to read as many sutras as possible, so that one is not familiar solely with one Dharmic branch alone, as it were. That is my own way: to read the big famous sutras (e.g. Lotus, Lankavatara, Avatamsaka, Nirvana), many of the lengthy and shorter "prajnaparamita" sutras, the Pure Land sutras, the All-Creating King Sutra - not to mention all the marvellous foundational suttas - I try to immerse myself in all of them (even though I am a devotee of TG Buddhism)! Keep up your openness, 2004! That's so valuable in any kind of religion or philosophy, I believe. Warm regards from London. - Tony. TonyMPNS 22:29, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


Hello Buddhists! Could you help us here? Check also the talk page. Thank you! Subramanian talk 18:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Numbering of "The Cause of Suffering"

I am about to change the numbering in the "The Cause of Suffering" section to fit better with the other sections. Please say if you have any violent objections to this. --Whiteheadj 20:17, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Cause of suffering

No objections, but who the HELL had earlier written "suffering, or penis-sucking jara marana" instead of "suffering, or jara marana"? Cygnus_hansa 22:10, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Greek influence

While we have an entire article on Greco-Buddhism, the article scantily mentions this concept, only referring to it in an image caption. Since Greek culture would have probably influenced it somewhat, or played a role (to what extent I do not know, perhaps introducing Greek philosophical ideas of democracy and egalitarianism to India or something)...or at least its art, it should at least be mentioned on the side? -- Natalinasmpf 14:43, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Greco-Buddhism appears to be very theoretical in nature with "may have" repeated throughout the text. Without some solid sources, a reference should be limited to a "may have" sentence, but more likely a "See Also" bullet point. Csbodine 13:31, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Indeed - the whole Greco-Buddhism angle on WP is due to the dedicated works by User:PHG - who specialises in that area. It does not actually reflect a necessarily strong relationship - just strong editorial contributions. Moreover, most of the source material used by PHG comes from theories raised by academics involved in Art History, and many sources are notoriously outdated, and at the very least, creative theorisations that would not always pass the test elsewhere. (20040302 15:34, 30 November 2005 (UTC))
I agree this is a narrow area, and that it is very difficult to claim any certainty on the exchange of ideas between Greeks and Buddhists, although many parallels are striking, and direct interractions in northwestern India are documented for several centuries (cf Indo-Greeks). I just added in the article a quote (certainly not outdated, not from a Historian of Art, and not a "creative theorisation" :) ) on the influences of Hindu, Persian and Greco-Roman thought on Mahayana, and mentioned Greco-Buddhist art as a visual example of such cultural interractions. PHG 13:53, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Separate Article for Buddhist Peoples

Hello - I hope this doesn't seem arbitrary, but I feel that Buddhist peoples should be covered on a separate article, as Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians all have articles separate from the main religion page.

To kill the terrible length problem of this article, I am beginning a separate article on the adherents of Buddhism. I applied a similar solution for the adherents of Hinduism and Sikhism.

Plus, info about 350 million is large and welcome, but not with the present length and subject constraints.

Thank you,

Jai Sri Rama! User:Rama's Arrow

New portal

Hi, this is a message for those involved in Wikipedia: Wikiproject Buddhism, since I was directed here as your discussion page. JuanMuslim and I have been creating portals for various significant religions, with Buddhism being one of them. The portals still need work, but most of the groundwork has been done. Would the people of WP Buddhism like to take responsibility for their faith's portal? I look after the Christianity one and JuanMuslim, surprisingly enough, looks after the Islam portal. What are your thoughts? Brisvegas 23:00, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

New portal on religion

Brisvegas and I have been creating portals for various significant religions, with your religion being one of the portals. The portals still need work, but most of the groundwork has been done. We need to find people who would like to take responsibility for their faith's portal. Brisvega looks after the Christianity portal, and I look after the Islam portal. You can find your religion's portal by looking at the Religion & Spirituality section on the portal template at Template:Portals. I've been notified that your faith's portal can possibly be deleted if no one looks after the portal. --JuanMuslim 1m 17:49, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

References and Links

Why are the references and links on a separate page? I've checked them and they aren't so numerous. Many articles have much more references (see Hugo Chávez for example). The page Buddhism References and Links should be moved and deleted. CG 21:25, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I've moved it myself, and nominate Buddhism References and Links for deletion. CG 19:52, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Does a dog have buddha nature?

I believe that according to Gampopa's The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (I'm not quoting, because it isn't in front of me), beings in the 3 Lower ("Evil") Realms have an incredibly difficult time hearing the Dharma, let alone practacing it or understanding it. I believe that I have read somewhere that teaching Dharma to animals is consider a aberation since teachings are wasted on them. On the other hand, just hearing the Dharma can purify an animal's Karma and can result in more fortuitous rebirth. Csbodine 22:51, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Hallo my Friend, Csbodine, again! This is very much one of my favourite topics. Yes, animals can most definitely respond to Dharma - and (despite the famous Zen koan) DO possess the Buddha-dhatu (Buddha-Principle/ Buddha-Element - I don't like the slightly misleading translation, "Buddha-nature"). I wrote a book last century (!) - the first full-length one of its kind - called "Buddhism and Animals", and in that book I go into the scriptural evidence for asserting that animals can most definitely aspire to Awakening and become Buddhas. But you are right: it's much more difficult for them than for us (the opportunities are so much more limited in the animal realm). But you may be interested to know that (according to the massive "Bhadrakalpa Sutra") there is right now a little owl named "Matimant" who is waiting to become a Buddha - since that owl made an offering of some wood shavings to a previous Buddha a long time back. His Buddhahood has already been predicted by the Buddha. So there's hope for all of us yet! Warm wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 23:20, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Woof. Seriously, this is a difference in thinking between the two major branches of Buddhism - Theravada says that animals don't have it and therefore can't become enlightened, and Mahayana says that they do, and therefore can. A blanket statement in the original article that "All sentient beings (beings with a mind, like humans and animals) can free themselves from suffering as Gautama did" is mistaken and shows a subtle, but misleading, bias towards Mahayana buddhism.

(see the Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen) Gbwiki 16:42, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Yes! Gbwiki, you are essentially right (that we shouldn't make blanket statements that don't take into account the Theravadin view) - although I think that the reason that Csbodine (who, to be fair, starts off with a reference to the Mahayanist, Gampopa) and myself perhaps automatically inclined to the Mahayana sphere was because the whole notion of "Buddha-nature" (a translation of "Buddha-dhatu", by the way, which I really dislike!) is a Mahayana one. It is simply not found in the Pali suttas or their major commentaries (e.g. Buddhaghosa). So in a sense, by asking the question of whether animals, hell-beings, etc., have the "Buddha Nature" within them, one is immediately placing oneself onto Mahayana terrain. The question simply does not arise within the Pali suttas and their traditional commentaries, as the aim there is not to become a Buddha but to become an arhat. But I think you are so right to point out that we should not bias our overall presentations in either the Mahayana or the Theravada direction. We should aim at balance and fairness towards both sides.

It also occurs to me that even from the Pali-sutta point of view an animal could, theoretically, eventually become a Buddha - after all, the animal incarnation is only a temporary one for that particular "satta" or being; it won't eternally remain as an animal - but it would need to be re-born as a human before being able to achieve Buddhahood. Best wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 16:55, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Well, I'm very pleasantly suprised that this led to an informed discussion with people who were knowledgable in this subject - I wasn't expecting that. Thanks to both of you for responding and informing rather than just reverting the article. I understand the viewpoints on this issue a bit better now and have made another edit which hopefully presents the facts clearly. Gbwiki 20:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Hallo Gbwiki. Thank you for your very nice message. I appreciate what you have written. Do you mind if we add a couple more sentences to your own addition in the main article? Could we say: "In both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, however, the Buddha is viewed as one who, in past lives, had in fact been born as an animal at various times during his progress through Samsara. But only as a human being was he able to achieve full Awakening (bodhi)." Warm wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 20:28, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Very good all around- the distinction between the Mahayana and Theravada view here is important. One thing that I wanted to point out was the use of the term 'sentient beings' in the article. While Mahayana and Theravada may differ in their interpretations of the potential for non-humans to attain enlightenment in the present life, they agree on the definition of sentient beings, and in both cases that definition includes animals. They basically inherit the definition of sentient beings that was developed in Hindu thought- pretty much any animate creature is a sentient being, though there are obviously differences in the complexity of animals and people. So there's a distinction in which sentient beings can immediately attain enlightenment, but both define sentience the same way. --Clay Collier 01:21, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Hallo All????????? Buddhism DOES promote vegetarianism and it is on the account of Buddhism that this concept was introduced to hinduism. You people are inventing your own logical conclusions about this matter....Early Buddhism enjoined upon its followers on vegetarianism. Later tantra and mantra and santra might have sprung up, but the truth is that its because Buddhism had gone to such countries where vegetarianism would be difficult—so the people modified the theory. And there is absoluteley no need to write a Mahabharata on "buddhism and vegetarianism" here. Yes, vegetarianism is not regarded as a "merit" or divine injunction, but rather a good way of life. Please remove all your original researches and write objectively.Cygnus_hansa 21:05, 21 December 2005 (UTC) (put it under right topic of discussion)


There are an awful lot of links building up at the bottom of the page. It seems we should probably sift through them and just keep the most important/relevent ones. --jackohare 17:54, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Request for help on interfaith dialogue

I need help from Buddhists in an attempt to speak of a common ground among believers. Are there any Buddhists here who could either help me or direct me to a group where I might find knowledgeable and mature Buddhists willing to help me for a while explore the feasibility of a universalist Wiki type project on core universal truths such as possibly eternity, sacrificial love, and soul? Tom - Talk 06:57, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Interesting. I don't really know any Buddhist groups, but I'm curious about your project...could you say more about it? Particularly, what do you mean by "common ground" or "universal truths"; is your project syncretic or echumenical, or what? -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 18:01, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Orkut has a number of useful communities for such an effort, although one would probably need to "fish" for a while. Its main "Buddhism" community is quite good indeed. Luis Dantas
There's an interesting dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm at the [BSWA]'s site, entitled "Which yana? Hahayana!", where Ajahn Brahm explores the differences between various Buddhist traditions, and shows that for all their differences, all the core things - the practices, what people experience themselves - remain the same; that all the traditions of Buddhism have way more common ground than differences. If I remember correctly he also draws parellels between the life of a Buddhist monk and that of the Franciscan friars. All their dhamma talks are under the Creative Commons license, so you might find it rather useful. Sciamachy 20:21, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Has anyone heard of or read books by Paul Williams? His questions about buddhism seem to have merit and I wonder if there is any response in buddhism to them.
Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism, by Paul Williams, Continuum 13:37, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Buddhist Population Statistics

Hi folks. What was the source for the 376 million followers statistic? The wikipedia Buddhism_by_country page lists 710 million followers, with 396 million in china alone. It would be good to bring these figures into line with each other or explain the discrepancy. I've read the archives and can't find any info on this. Here's some figures I found in a brief search. Let's document what we consider to be accurate:

I guess they've been taken at different times, yet it would be great to have a figure we can update regularly. I'd be inclined to use the figure we also use on Buddhism_by_country (710 million) because it seems well documented and I've seen it published elsewhere (though, can't find it now). The other ones appear to be citing each other at different times. Peace. Metta Bubble 03:31, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

In deference to the work done on the Buddhism_by_country page I've updated the adherent count in the introduction to 708 Million and linked to the Buddhism_by_country page. RandomTask 00:38, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Principles of Buddhism

I would like to propose that 3.7 to 3.9 to be moved to somewhere else. I think 3.9 "Vegetarian" section is growing too big. Idea presented in 3.1 to 3.6 are shared by all Buddhist schools. Moreover they are core principles of buddhism On the other hand, vegetarianism, karma, buddha-nature, meditation, though important, is not the central philosophy of buddhism. My proposal is to create separate two new section, move 3.7 to 3.9 into it and expand on it. One is "Buddhist Practice" with subsection being, for examples, 1)Precepts (monk/nun and lay), 2) Meditation (Vipassana/Samatha, Tantric, Zen 3) Chanting 4) Vegetarianism 5) Dana and so on. The other section being "Buddhist World View" in which the idea of Karma, Rebirth, Dependent Origination, 6 worlds are explained. Tell me what you think. Yoji Hajime

No one responded to my proposal for 24 hours so... Anyway, I have reduced "Principles of Buddhism" to "Three Marks of Existence", "Four Noble Truth" and "Noble 8 Hold Path". I should remind you that the section is still somewhat large.Yoji Hajime

I don't know Buddhism well. In chatting on Yahoo, religion, Buddhism I find there is an enormous variety of belief and practice. I find it almost impossible to talk about people for the basic idea (call it philosophy) which prompted the young man who founded Buddhism to leave his wealthy home and seek his idea of man's spiritual existence. As I understand it the 4 Truths and 8 Fold Path are but practices, the center of Buddhism has to do with an individual's ability to be causative to their own mind, (enlightenment). The practices yield toward enlightenment and that is why they are practiced. But the central idea, that an individual might know themselves better, it is hardly confronted or talked about in Yahoo Chat. Instead the 'trappings' of it such as the 4 Noble Truths, 8 Fold Path, vegatarianism, etc. are talked about. Terryeo 16:54, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Practices of Buddhism

I basically dumped everthing which is not "3marks, 4tthruth and 8path" in here. I know some section such as Buddah nature doesn't belong here. But I would like see if people are happy with my edit regarding "3M, 4T and 8P".Yoji Hajime

Improvement Drive

Meditation is currently a nominee on WP:IDRIVE. If you would like to see this article improved vote for it on WP:IDRIVE.--Fenice 15:33, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Pāpayāna = the Vehicle of Sin?

I can't find a single reference to this word in google. What is the source of this claim? Yoji Hajime

There is a discussion about this addition going on in E-sangha, and no one can find any official reference for this word. The closest thing found was that a few people said that they heard the word used informally in Sri Lanka. I think the addition of this word needs to be referenced or removed. --Dorje Shedrub 02:51, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I've never heard the term, either, nor could I find any reference in google more relevant than this, so I was bold and deleted it. If someone comes up with a reference, we can add it back in. bikeable (talk) 02:56, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Question for Discussion

I want to start a discussion about using the styles "Lama" and "Rinpoche" in the Category:Lamas, but not sure where this discussion should take place. There was no talk page there, so I started one Category Talk:Lamas. Can someone tell me if there is a better place, and also, how do I notify editors that work in that area to give comment? --Dorje 23:23, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Prose and Focus in the Introduction

The prose of this article grows worse with each passing edit. We need some people to take some passes at sections of the article to ensure that it is still readable. In-regard to 'focus' in the introduction; keep in mind that it is an introduction. It isn't a place to be excessively meticulous. An example is a recent snippet of the first paragraph:

Buddhism, a religion and philosophy from ancient India, is based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, of the Shakyas. His lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 483 BCE and spread from India throughout Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, as well as East Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan. It is classified as an Ārya dharma ("Noble religion"). It is one of the shramana religions existing today.

The first line uses needlessly broken prose and contains information unneccesary at this point in the article (i.e. 'Shakyas'). Someone made a grossly careless edit on the second line. Additionally, dissagreements about the Buddha's lifetime can be addressed in the article on the Buddha, we just need a ball-park in the introduction. Referencing "India" as the origination point twice is redundant. Tracking the spread of Buddhism in the end of the second sentence is incomplete and inconsistent (some countries and some sub-continents). It would be better served by a link to the Timeline of Buddhism article and referencing just sub-continents or just countries. Finally, the last two lines are excessively esoteric especially in regards to the first paragraph and I suspect that their addition was due to historical non-NPOV initiatives. If they're important at all they can be added to a later sub-section or to a companion article.

I've changed the first paragraph to the following:

Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, who lived in what is now Northern India between 566 and 483 BCE. The Buddha's teachings spread throughout the ancient Indian sub-continent in the five centuries following his death. It continued its spread into Central, Southeast, and East Asia over the next two millennia.

RandomTask 19:33, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. This page is pretty much unreadable as an introduction to Buddhism. Many people would be confused as to what Buddhism is. Let me copy edit. I won't delete anyting but might shift non core issue (such as Mahayana-Theravadan interpretation) to the bottom. Yoji Hajime

Parents weeping and wailing

Can someone please give a reference for this comment in the article:

  • "In other versions of his life-story, the Buddha leaves home in the "prime of his youth", his parents weeping and wailing all the while."

It needs some backing up I believe. Peace. Metta Bubble 02:58, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

From the Maha-Saccaka Sutta: [5]
So at a later time, when I was still young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life, having shaved off my hair & beard — though my parents wished otherwise and were grieving with tears on their faces — I put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.
ᓛᖁ♀ 03:20, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Hey thanks Eequor. That might be a good ref to add. Should we remove wailing? Or is there more? Peace. Metta Bubble 06:11, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Another translation has: [6]
Even in the prime of youth, with black hair, against the wish of mother and father, when they were crying with tearing eyes, I shaved head and beard, donned yellow robes leaving the household became homeless.
That seems to be about it from that sutra; maybe another goes into more detail. I think the sentence in the article could be integrated better, in any case. ᓛᖁ♀ 02:23, 26 January 2006 (UTC)


This section required radical surgery. Before you object to my edit, please look at here, here and here. The previous introduction is an exemplary demonstration of religious sectarianism at work. FWBOarticle

Overview of Buddhist Denomination

Well, when the majority of the section is about denomination, it is better to call the section for what it is. Obviously, this section should be moved downward in the entire article. FWBOarticle

So you're suggesting we remove your edits because they don't belong? Forgive me for asking but are you just trolling us? Peace. Metta Bubble 12:45, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I actually intended to eliminate the remaining portion of introduction but then I realised that the remaining portion could possibly survive as another section. I should point out that the entire article is already whooping 71 kilobyte, more than twice the recommended wikipedia article size of 32 kilobyte. If anyone have one look at the introduction of 4 major religion, it is obvious who are trolling here. Too many people are using the front article as if it is an internet forum. If people doesn't like me saying the emperor has no cloth and he is hediously obese (71kb), tough. I'm currently holding my razor knife, watching my intro edit to settle. I just shaved hair from the head, and I intend to go down to more fatty part of the anatomy. If you don't like my edit, fine. Just demonstrate better surgical work and I'm happy. FWBOarticle
I agree. I just looked at the "four noble truths" section, and it largely duplicates the Pratitya-samutpada article – without linking to it. The article should be a short overview that links to main articles on each topic. — goethean 16:41, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay, great then. May I suggest that you do all this razor knife editing on a subpage called Buddhism/workshop. You'll then have free reign to make all the edits you like and no one will revert you. Once you've finished in peace we can merge the new article based on merit. Peace. Metta Bubble 01:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
No, it won't work. There is no way to argue the merit of an entire article. The debate should be limited to the specific edit of paragraph/sentence/section. Plus, I already done that in my intial wholesale edit which didn't go down well. I will make cut section by section. This page is way off from wikipedia style guid so this isn't about subjective debate about me and you. In fact, you have so far avoiding this issue. Do you accept that this article (72kb) ought to be reduced or not? Or do you still want to continue the current trend of sectarian disambiguation which has been upping the size of this article slowly but constantly. FWBOarticle
Yep, you're right about the merit issue. The chances of getting 100% your own way are slim. But that's a good thing. That's what consensus is about really. Actually, I'm not really editing this article at all so I'm not too fussed either way. It's great that everyone seems to concur the entire article suffers if an edit war is started on multiple sections simultaneously. If you stick to discussing your edits to one section at a time I would support your edits getting a fair hearing here on the talk page. I have little experience about the most effective process for trimming an article, and I haven't read any guidelines published on this yet (a pointer would be good if an article exists). Peace. Metta Bubble 23:21, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

"This page is 55 kilobytes long. This may be longer than is preferable"

Great, so called fresh start already require another fresh start. Anything which is in Archive7 should be wiped out or we need to make Archive 8 now. FWBOarticle

Shortening the introduction --> Major Sects

First: I like the way the Theravada/Hinayana basic description was moved to "Major Sects". There has to be at least a basic introduction of the differences. That is why i, secondly, inserted a short note on one (if not 'the') major difference, which is the different scope of the two paths (personal liberation vs. liberating all others). Thirdly, i removed the adjective "irreverently" from the way (some) Mahayanists refer to the Theravada as Hinayana. From what i understand, a Mahayana practitioner doing so would at least come close to a breach of one or more of his Bodhisattva vows (see number 6,7 of the first and 13,14 of the second list. In some translations root vow nr.14 is even translated expliciteley as "disparaging the Hinayana"). Nevertheless, out of respect for the feelings of Hinayana followers, recently the term Śravakayāna (Skt. Vehicle of Hearers) is used by some Mahayana scholars. For example, i have attended an 8 day teaching by HH the Dalai Lama in Zuerich last summer, where this term was used most of the time, although it is not precise: see discussion here: . From a Mahayana point of view, there simply seems to be no proper substitute for the term "Hinayana". For further arguments also see the extensive discussion in the main article on Hinayana 15:50, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

P.S.: after looking at the whole article and reading through (parts) of the revision discussion, i must agree that the article definitely needs a major cleanup. In that process "Major Sects" most definitely has to be merged with "Buddhist religious philosophy and branches" somehow. Again there would be the problem of Theravada/Hinayana. As to the term "Nikaya Buddhism" used in "Buddhist religious philosophy and branches": as much as i appreciate the effort of Harvard Professor Masatoshi Nagatomi, i do feel that it would be quite inappropriate to use this western scholarly term as long as it is not accepted by a broader part of the genuine Buddhist Community. 17:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

revert of edits by removed these sentences: "The reason for this is that the Term Hinayana indicates a lesser path to Nirvana. It was used by Mahayana Buddhists to belittle the Theravada school." They dont seem to contain any new information and only restate the formentioned fact, that Hinayana has a negative connotation to some, in a less neutral way. 15:22, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Proposal for Revision

This article is getting unreadable. As I see it, main problem is mahayana-theravada disambiguation. This inter-sectorial debate doesn't belong in this page. It should be dealt in separate article. I intend to copyedit this article by moving all T v.s. M debate to the bottom. Yoji Hajime

Fully agreed. This article is so sectarian, geeky and unreadable, thus unusable. Besides, certain things are utterly nonsense, such as: "To achieve this, one should purify and train the mind and act according to the laws of karma...." (Karmic Law is not a guideline, but a natural law that everything unavoidably follows until achieving nibbana/nirvana.) As a person from a majority Mahayana country, this we-need-a-fair-treatment attitude floating all over the page looks very ego-centric and unbuddhistic. TokyoJapan
I highly agree. This ground has been re-trod so many times. While there is a lot of in-depth research being added it is all very one sided, of a highly esoteric nature, and un-referenced. I've found it interesting that under sub-headings, where one expects to find general information on Buddhism one finds one-sided sectarian interpretation that masquerades as general buddhist knowledge, whilst leaving out the actual general information.
I think if one puts information on the main-page it should have some sort of footnote referencing documentation of some authority. If one can only provide one side of the story, and if the full story belongs on the main-page, then the addition should be proposed in the talk page where it can be further developed.
Thanks for the edits Yoji, RandomTask 23:29, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I've finished the shrinking. Within "Buddhist Practice" section, "mind" sub section have to be expanded. I also felt that

8 "Relations with other Eastern faiths"
9 "Buddhism in the modern world"
10 "Buddhism and the West"

can be moved somewhere else entirely. Whether we should limit this page for history and basic theology or to include more worldly topic (such as Buddhism in the West), I wasn't so sure so I left as it is. I also think that "Buddhist religious philosophy and branches" can be changed to "Buddhist Schools" or something like that. This should be about general explanation of Theravada/Mahayana/Vijryana Buddhism Yoji Hajime

I also stated previously that I would move all the edit to the bottom but I actually deleted it because there was so much to cut and if I put them in the bottom, it would have been unmanageable. I'm very sorry for people who spent a lot of effort writing. Please do not think that I consider the writing unworthy. It just that this page should be for people who aren't Buddhist so the page should be kept as simple as possible. More specialised topics should be discussed in separate article where more detailed exposition can be made. Please recover the deleted section, copy edited to appropriate article then create relevant wiki links. Thank you. Yoji Hajime

I created wiki link for every section. I think it is better if people go there first anddeveloped more comprehensive and balanced view in these sub-articles. This page should be a collection of intros for these sub articles. Yoji Hajime

Recent Demolition of Buddhism Article Totally Unacceptable

The recent massive deletions of major portions of the Buddhism article strike me as wholly extreme and unjustified, as well as biasing the article far too much in a "Theravada" direction. The best Wikipedia editorial policy is surely that of judicious pruning, modification and amendment - not savage "slash and burn". Such a cavalier removal of whole swathes of information is not only unwarranted (unless there are masses of factual inaccuracies or total irrelevancies) but also intrinsically unfair to previous editors who have doubtless contributed many hours of effort to the provision of information that could well be of interest to Wikipedia readers and which is not always easily found elsewhere. Moreover, some of those editors - I know - are genuine experts in the field, with decades of scholarship behind them and numerous publications to their name. To (almost unilaterally) delete their work is not only insensitive in the extreme but also fundamentally undemocratic and rather unbalanced. If such savage deletions go unchecked and unchallenged, I fear that serious scholars of Buddhism - and other contributors too - will simply withdraw from the Wikipedia project and not wish to bother contributing information which could be massively removed in one fell and extremist swoop. And that would surely be to the loss of us all. I propose to restore the article to its form of several days back and to recommend grammatical enhancement and respectful, balanced pruning where necesssary - not wholesale butchery which, quite frankly, is breathtaking in its audacity. Best wishes to all. Tony. TonyMPNS 05:12, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm, the article does need trimming: about 60 lines each for Anatta or Vegetarianism is way too long in a general Wikipedia article on Buddhism. However, to TonyMPNS's point, destroying text is clearly not a solution. Even if it takes more work, excess material should be outlinked to sub-articles (... which by the way already exist for Anatta and Vegetarianism for example). PHG 07:49, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks, PHG, for your very balanced assessment of the situation. I agree with Yoji's idea of trying to slim down some of the elements within the Buddhism entry, but to engage in a truly major jettisoning of masses of material seems deeply unfair and almost reckless to me. I myself (e.g. with Yoji's additions on vegetarianism, with which I profoundly disagreed) never once removed complete contributions from that editor. I have too much respect to do that (although on this one rare occasion today I have reverted the whole Buddhism article to an earlier form, as the deletions struck me as so extraordinarily sweeping and one-sided). I think one should balance one's own understanding with that of others by simply adding a corrective line (as one sees it) or even paragraph here and there, while trying one's best to preserve what the previous editor has written. If we effectively censor whole areas of information (although I am sure that was not Yoji's intention), we do a disservice to the fundamentally democratic enterprise that Wikipedia is: it depends on mutual respect and toleration of variant viewpoints (except, of course, in the case of actual factual inaccuracies). So I tend to share your own apparent attitude,PHG, which is to try to reduce excess verbiage but not to throw out the baby with the bath water! All the very best to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 08:03, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo again dear PHG. I've just seen your new reversion of the whole Buddhism entry and think it is very fair-minded and completely acceptable. I think we can all (as time allows) try to rectify the grammar here and there, maybe tighten up on some of the phraseology and general verbosity (of which I am as guilty as anyone!), but essentially try to keep all this interesting information in situ. One of the glories of Wikipedia is that it does provide a forum for information which one does not always find in more conventional encyclopaedias. I think we should treasure that feature of Wiki. Once again - thanks for your own very reasonable contribution to the discussion. Cheers! Tony. TonyMPNS 08:23, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi TonyMPNS. After a few hesitations, the last version before all these major undiscussed changes seems to be the one by Antandrus. I've reverted to that. Regards PHG 08:29, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hi once more, PHG. I think what you have done is absolutely fine. I can see no problems with that in principle at all. Thank you again for being so very balanced and equitable in your approach to this whole debate. Warm wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 08:35, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
  • My suggestion was to move deleted potion of the article to sub-article. I specifically asked for people to "recover" deleted article. Have you looked at the sub-articles? Most of them are shorter than the section here. Is this site an extended version of Britanica? Should every article be begin-all and end-all article. The current article is just too large while at the same time being too weak because subarticles are either non-existent, too short or not wiki linked properly.Yoji Hajime
  • PHG, please go easy. I respect Hajime intent here. A lot of good edits are getting lost in this revert war. If anyone has time, please go through and pick out the best of them. The article now reads poorly yet again. One particular loss (that was discussed here) is Random Task's new opening sentence which was a major improvement on what was there. Another edit that was also in fact discussed here was the rereferencing of population statistics. Peace. Metta Bubble 23:35, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the props Metta Bubble. RandomTask 02:55, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • TonyMPNS, I can understand that you're defensive about a lot of the material that was removed because I checked the history and saw that you submitted a lot of it. I didn't make the extensive edits but I agree with them in large part for the following reasons:
  • Much of the material is esoteric, even to those educated in Buddhism and especially to beginners.
  • It doesn't read well, the grammar is horrible, and the style is horrible.
  • There is practically zero cross referencing with other articles especially in light of the fact that there are tons of other articles.
  • There are no footnotes to scholarly works to verify many of the esoteric bits (including your own).
  • There are no footnotes to the writings of monastics.
  • Arguably, it implicitly presents Mahayana doctrine as authoratative for all Buddhists without pointing out the Theravada position on such statements as: The Buddha's Mahayana doctrines contain a set of "ultimate" (nitartha) teachings on the immanence of a hidden, deep-seated reality within all sentient beings which is linked to the eternality of the Buddha and Nirvana. Theravada would argue that the Mahayana doctrines are not of the Buddha.
I still think what was removed was good material. I just think it needs to go into the related articles. Unless you disagree I'll be re-editing and adding the grammar fixes, readability corrections, cross-references, footnote additions, and minor topical changes I made (like removing esoteric topics from the introduction section). RandomTask 02:55, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Ok, to cover this ground for the millionth time since this page was started; do we want to bring up the Mahayana vs. Theravada debates in the main page or does that belong in the subsections? Can we all agree that the main page is not the place for trying to put forth our own tradition as 'better' or more 'authorative' than any other? Maybe a Theravada_Mahayana_Differences page would be better suited to such discussion. I personally believe that if you have to write This applies to Mahayana only (or Theravada) then it doesn't belong in this article. Which, I'm sorry to say, "Buddha Nature" kind of falls under. RandomTask 02:55, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks, RandomTask, for your comments. I'll try to respond to your main points (unfortunately I'm short of time at present):

1) I don't believe that Mahayana Buddhist teachings should be shunted off to various side-line articles within Wiki, away from the main "Buddhism" entry (although they can, of course, receive more detailed coverage in entries focussing specifically on those doctrines). It may come as a shock to some, but Theravada is not the entirety of "Buddhism": it is a highly important branch of Buddhism, as is Mahayana. The general article on Buddhism should strive to be balanced in its presentation of the ideas of these two extremely influential streams of Buddhism.

2) My grammar is not "horrible": the problem is that what was originally perfectly acceptable grammar (as manifested in my original contributions to Wikipedia) subsequently underwent mutilation at the hands of others whose mother tongue is evidently not English. The result of such changes gives the impression that I (and others) preside over a woefully inadequate command of the English language. If you don't like my style - that is, of course, another matter. You are quite at liberty to dislike the manner in which I express myself. Others may find it OK.

3) I don't quote named monastics in my contributions - you are right; I prefer to quote the "Buddha" himself, and I nearly always mention the Mahayana sutras from which I am extracting the quotes or outlining the doctrines. In this connection, I might also say that I said in my contribution to the opening sentences of the "Buddhism" article that for Theravadins, the Mahayana sutras are poetic fictions, not stemming from the Buddha himself at all. I don't see why one needs, after that, to keep attaching a little health-warning to mention of Mahayana doctrines, indicating that "these are rejected by the Theravada". I don't mind doing that each time, if people think it is really necessary - but it strikes me as potentially tedious for the reader to be told each time that a (specified Mahayana) doctrine is deemed by the Theravadins "not to be of the Buddha" or to be counter to Dhamma. Surely, once we have established at the beginning of the article that the Mahayana sutras are viewed as bogus by the Theravadins, that should suffice?

4) Most importantly, perhaps: should Wikipedia remain stuck in an understanding of Buddhism that is actually decades out of date? For example, it is simply not factually accurate to make such statements as (I give from memory a pertinent example here): "Buddhism denies all and any Self, Soul, eternal essence (svabhava) ...". Buddhism in total does not do so. The majority of Buddhist teachings, it is true, have been interpreted by most scholars in that way, but there are important strands of doctrinal assertion (and not to be dismissed as "esoteric" - as though that label somehow removed all legitimacy from them) which articulate a more "cataphatic" vision of the Dharma. I think Wikipedia should be proud to be in the vanguard of the latest research into Buddhism - and not rehearsing views that were deemed correct 100 years ago, but which subsequent investigation has revealed to be decidedly narrow, partisan or partial. Fairness, accuracy and balance should be the watchwords in all of this.

So let us strive to present a fair general portrait of Buddhism in the main Buddhism article and not skew it unfairly towards a Mahayana or Theravada viewpoint. All the best. From Tony. TonyMPNS 11:01, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi TonyMPSN, Thanks for the replies!
w/rt 1) I also agree that Theravada doctrine isn't entirely of the Buddha (my personal predilection is to take the Abhidharma with a grain-of-salt if it contradicts or muddles the suttas). I'm not a Buddhist scholar so I don't have the research to back up my belief that anything other than the Suttas and the Vinaya are commentaries and not direct teachings of the Buddha. Mahayana doesn't need to be side-lined into sub-articles but deviations from Introductory Buddhism very well may. While it is certainly fair for each side to take their pot-shots at the other side due to the legacy of the dissention I am personally against any such divisive statements in the main article.
w/rt 2) Exactly my point, which I highlight in my proposal below. The article "reads like a scholar's paper, randomly edited by a seventh grader". Your style is exceptional and elegant at times and perfectly fine as long as it is accessible. I personally find exegesis and extensive parenthetical remarks to be more excursive than beneficial or clarifying, hence my recent focus on cross-reference linking.
w/rt 3) I simply mention monastics as a reference source because they've been a source of commentative authority for thousands of years. Many are quite learned and provide a perspective on doctrine and practice that can provide a good balance in relation to the research of exo-Buddhist scholars (though many scholars are Buddhist). My personal feeling is that monastics know what is important. Like you've aluded to before; Theravada views much of Mahayana as apocrypha, though often efficacious. I don't favor a single disclaimer after which contentious statements are presented as universal facts because I don't particularily feel that it is an honest or clear way to present the information, though it is certainly valid (and often favored) from a literary perspective.
w/rt 4) I believe Wikipedia has never intended to be the testing ground for emerging research into any subject though it provides us with a quick method to witness emerging research as it happens. Others may have a differing opinion of course.
  • I apologize if my orthodoxy is offensive.
Much metta, RandomTask 17:25, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you, RandomTask, for your replies to my own points: I enjoyed reading what you had to say. On the question of my adding a caveat (e.g. when discussing the Buddha-dhatu doctrine) that such-and-such a teaching is not recognised as the Buddha's genuine dhamma by Theravada - I don't mind adding that at all. I just feared that the reader might get a bit bored with such repetitive comments. But I am all for fairness, accuracy and balance, as I said above. I'll try to add any necessary clarifying points (to the effect that such-and-such a doctrine is not accepted by Theravada Buddhism) in the days that follow (although I'm having terrible problems with my ISP at present, which makes it difficult for me to be on-line for long!). Best wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 18:31, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks for being thoughtful TonyMPNS. Hrm, I think you've demonstrated, with your recent edits, that a qualifier following every Mahayana statement is certainly overkill. I intend no offense, but I guess my big problem is my knee-jerk orthodox reaction to the term "the Buddha's Mahayana doctrine". I'm not so sure that statement is NPOV in light of strong Theravada disagreement, similarily continually qualifying Mahayana as, heretical revisionism following a single disclaimer that some believe the Mahayana teachings as authentic would certainly not be NPOV. I guess I don't feel "poetic fiction" expresses the weight of Theravada dissent to the claim of the Buddha's Mahayana doctrine. Would it be non-NPOV to mention in a single place that Mahayanists view the Mahayana doctrine as later revealed, authentic teachings of the Buddha, and then simply refer them as the Mahayana doctrine? I'll definitely concede to the opinion of the community with-regard to how this subject should be addressed, but I'd like some convincing. Metta, RandomTask 20:15, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo again, RandomTask. Thanks for your interesting comments. I can understand why, as a Theravadin, you feel very cautious about statements such as "the Buddha's Mahayana doctrine". I respect other people's deeply held religious convictions. I can understand how you feel in such areas of discourse. So I am not totally averse to changing my phrase to "the Mahayana Buddha's doctrine" (where "Buddha" could be viewed as a literary construct or literary character within the Mahayana sutras). But in all honesty, I don't really see why I should have to make all these constant concessions. I think that you also have to recognise that for myself, as a tathagatagarbha Mahayanist (and for Mahayana Buddhists in general), it is uncomfortable to read masses of material in Wiki's "Buddhism" articles with which I (or we) profoundly disagree and which I personally believe to be a distortion of the Buddha's Dharma. But I leave it largely untouched - out of respect for others' beliefs and viewpoints, and in acknowledgement of the fact that ultimately I myself don't know what the Truth is - although I have very strong beliefs and intuitions. The fact is, none of us knows at all for sure (unless we are Awakened - which I most certainly am not!) whether ANY of the Pali suttas or Mahayana sutras accurately reflect the precise teachings of "the Buddha" (did he even exist??? Or at least in the form in which he is presented in the Pali suttas and Mahayana sutras, etc. - flying through the air, penetrating through rocks, working all kinds of miracles, able to live for an aeon or more....!)That is by no means certain - if one wants to be totally "scholarly" about it. So while I am prepared to use phrases such as, "the Buddha of the e.g. Mahaparinirvana Sutra or Tathagatagarbha Sutra states" or "the Mahayana Buddha states", I don't think I need to give further ground beyond that.

As for simply saying, "according to Mahayana doctrine": I hesitate to use that formula, since it is far too general, too all-encompasing, as it were, and not "Buddha"-specific enough for me. I am always at pains in my writings on Buddhism to present what the Mahayana "BUDDHA" says - rather than what the various and variant Mahayanist commentators (monastics and laypersons) put forward as their interpretation of the Buddha's teachings. They can be amazingly divergent! Anyway, I hope this helps to clarify my personal position. Best wishes to you. Again, I know how you feel as a "faithful" Buddhist (if you don't take that word in a negative sense) when you encounter statements on Dhamma / Dharma with which you deeply and most sincerely disagree! From Tony. TonyMPNS 20:50, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Heya TonyMPNS, thanks again for the reply. I can understand that you're getting frustrated with me. I suggest you put off editing either the Buddha-Nature subsection or the disclaimers until we come to some sort of agreement. I don't want you to have to do any more work than necessary. I feel that were you to qualify too heavily it'd simply contribute to the readability issues. I'll address further soon. And yes I take Saddha very seriously, it is why I continue to practie. RandomTask 22:38, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo once more, RandomTask. Thank you for your pleasant comments. I'm glad to learn that we do at least agree on one big thing: the importance of Faith in Buddhism. Lots of people will argue with us on that one, though: for some Buddhists, speaking about "faith" in the context of Buddhism is almost a taboo! But you and I can happily agree that saddha is actually a very important element of the whole Buddhist venture. All the best to you. Yours, Tony. TonyMPNS 22:53, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Introduction Revisited (Proposal for edits)

In light of the fact that all of the bothersomely tiresome edits I made (cross-referencing, prose, grammar, fact checking, foot-notes, etc) were removed in this latest edit war I'm proposing the following Introduction changes be re-instated. If you don't like them then DEFEND the current content because what we have sucks and reads like a scholar's paper, randomly edited by a seventh grader. It uses way too many words to say what I've tried to sum up below:

Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, who lived in what is now the border region of Northern India and Nepal between 563 and 483 BCE. Buddhism spread throughout the ancient Indian sub-continent in the five centuries following his death. It continued to spread into Central, Southeast, and East Asia over the next two millennia.
With approximately 708 million followers, Buddhism is a major world religion whose adherents are called Buddhists. Buddhist denominations are historically categorised into two parent traditions, Mahayana and Theravada, divided on the efficacy of doctrine and practice. The Vajrayana tradition is often extricated from Mahayana categorization on the basis of its tantric and linguistic heritage.
The Theravada traditions recognize the sole authority of the (Pali Canon/Tripitaka) on matters of doctrine, which is comprised of the Vinaya Pitaka, the Sutta Pitaka, and the Abhidhamma. The name "Theravada", lit, "School of the Elders" pays homage to the Pre-Mahayana orthodox Buddhist doctrine that forms the school's doctrinal body.
The Mahayana traditions recognize the doctrinal foundation of the Tripitaka but also recognize the more esoteric teachings of the Mahayana Sutras as well as modifications to the Vinaya Pitaka arguing that adherents with different spiritual attainments require different teachings and differing strictures on behavior. The name "Mahayana", lit, "the Greater Vehicle" is styled on the breadth and self-reverent quality of the Mahayana doctrine and motivation, the Bodhisattva ideal.
The aim of Buddhist practice is to attain the realization of true reality (nirvana) by escaping the cycle of rebirth (samsara) (Pāli, Sanskrit), and preventing the cultivation of unwholesome Karma. To achieve this, one should purify and train the mind and act morally.

I can see some contentious points, like "self-reverant", but I think the sentence frames the context of 'self-reverent' well. Personally I don't like "Hinayana" having any place in the introduction at all and this has been discussed on countless archived talk pages so I've removed it. If it simply refers to a part of Mahayana doctrine then it can reside in the Mahayana page. The discussion on Hinayana in regards to Theravada is well laid out in the Hinayana page and it doesn't provide any needed substance to the main page. Personally I think the 'aims' are stale. How about something a little bit less scholarly and more realistic? I wouldn't mind talking about the idealistic doctrinal aims (nirvana), those of the common lay-person (freedom from suffering), and cultural aims (historically Buddhist people), and the aims based on Tradition. This alone relegates the aims to at least its own subsection if not its own page.

Metta, RandomTask 04:16, 9 January 2006 (UTC) edited 19:04, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Dear "Randomtalk",

I have been silently following the recent discussions concerning changes to the Buddhism page, but now I would like to make a few comments.

First, I regard Yoji Hajime's interventions as totally insensitive. The idea of a 24 hour deadline to respond to his demands is quite arrogant and unreasonable – not everybody checks Wikipedia every day of the week. I also have reservations about unilateral editorial changes made by somebody who repeatedly cannot even spell "Buddha" correctly nor write Engiish to the standard of an educated native-speaker.

Having said that, I do agree there is some merit to the Buddhism article being carefully edited, with some material being placed under sub-division links. But, again, I suggest it is the responsibility of the person making the changes to take care of this, rather than unceremoniously dumping the material and expecting the original contributore to retrieve it for themselves. Parts of recent versions of the main Buddhism article are rather poorly written (grammar, spelling AND content) and presented. Some months ago, this artcle became a Wikipedia Featured Article, but obviously some people have no idea when to leave well alone. Democracy does not mean anarchy ! Many pointless or even stupid sentence or phrases have been added throughout with no though to the overall article. For example, where "Buddha" is given in devanagari script, what was the point of somebody mentioning Hindi ? Or what is the sense of adding a sentence about Buddhism being an Arya-Dharma and one of the surviving sramana traditions ? That is just in the first few lines.

As to some of your own comments in response to Dr Page: I tend to agree with Dr Page's views: I think that Mahayana doctrines ahould be given fair coverage and that to add a caveat that these doctrines are often not accepted by Theravada is unnecessary. See below for some of my reasons. You also say that you mention "monastics as a reference source because they've been a source of commentative authority for thousands of years". I am not sure what exactly you mean by this, but surely "thousands of years" is hyperbole. Which monastics would you have in mind. Historical commentators or living people ? If living, then Theravada or Mahayana. If either, which branch – there are many differences of opinion. Monastics may be authorative, but only for their own communities.

You also say, "I believe Wikipedia has never intended to be the testing ground for emerging research into any subject though it provides us with a quick method to witness emerging research as it happens." I agree that Wikipedia might not be the most appropriate forum for emerging research but it is my impression, looking at these discussion pages, that often contributors are not aware of recent shifts in understanding. What might seem as "emerging research" to some may well be old-hat in other circles. How many contributors here have access to the specialist academic journals for Buddhism where this material often intially surfaces ?

Two paragraphs of the Introduction have problems:

Buddhist denominations are historically categorised into two parent traditions, Mahayana and Theravada, divided on the efficacy of doctrine and practice. The Vajrayana tradition is often extricated from Mahayana categorization on the basis of its tantric and linguistic heritage.

The first statement is false unless one makes it clear that one is speaking about *present-day* denominations. Also I am not sure what is implied by "historically categorised". By who ? As for Vajrayana, "extricated" seems a rather odd word to use. Surely, "distinguished" would be more apt. And what is the distinctive Vajrayna "linguistic heritage* supposed to be ?

The Mahayana traditions recognize the doctrinal foundation of the Tripitaka, but also recognize the the more esoteric teachings of the Mahayana Sutras as well as modifications to the Vinaya Pitaka arguing that adherents with different spiritual attainments require different teachings and differing strictures on behavior.

Mahayana trditions recognize the doctrinal foundation of the Agamas (Sutra-pitaka) and the Vinaya. All Abhidharma works are sectarian in nature. Why are the teachings of the Mahayana Sutras labelled "esoteric". There is nothing especially esoteric about them , any more than the sutras of the Agamas. Also, virtually all Mahayana teachings are adumbrated somewhere or other in the Agamas. The statement that follows on is also dubious. Historically speaking, the Mahayana followers make no modifications to the Vinaya – in fact, most of them, to judge from Mahayana sutras, were very keen and critical adherents of the Vinaya. In the present-day, gain no modifications have been made to the Vinaya: it is either accepted, as in Chinese and Tibetan forms of Mahayana or ignored, as in Japan. This statement about different spiritual statements is more appropriate to Vajrayana. --Stephen Hodge 19:27, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the comments Stephen. My intention with my proposal is to simplify what is currently in place with something less confusing. I certainly agree with your assessment that it is the responsibility of the 'dumper' to move the data to the appropriate sub-articles. Indeed my own changes were dumped in the massive revert and I had to add them back in myself.
  • In reference to esoteric, this word is currently used twice in the introduction in reference to the Mahayana doctrine by a self-proclaimed scholar of Buddhism.
  • In reference to 'historically categorised' I've provided an in-line link to the buddhism history page. Strictly speaking, there was no Buddhism until recently, there was simply BuddhaDharma, with many schools unaware of the others, if I remember correctly.
  • With regard to the Vajrayana linguistic heritage, I added it in deference to its presently confusing inclusion in the Introduction though I admit I feel its inclusion may be unnecessary.
  • With regard to extricated, distinguished is synonymous and probably more accessible.
  • The clarification of the doctrinal foundation of the Agamas and Vinaya is appreciated... Mahayana doctrine is outside of my league, and I admit it. I was simply attempting to make sense of what is presently on the main page. By-the-way, Agamas currently links to a page on lizards.
  • In regards to the supposed Vinaya modifications, once again, I defer to the currently standing main-page.
  • From my own personal profession, I wouldn't expect trade magazine journalists to be more adept at thorough commentary on matters of computer science though they're certainly professional researchers. In the same respect I feel that some monastics are certainly very qualified to comment on their own trade though their perspective may be subjective. Certainly, by referencing any commentary such as the Abhidharma, we're referencing the commentary of monastics.
  • As far as references, I'd like to see footnotes to anything!
  • About hyperbole, Am I mistaken that the Pali Canon (as one example) had been preserved by monastics as an oral tradition for thousands of years?
So your comments are clearly critical of the current main-page as well as my proposed additions. Do you see anything you like in my proposal? RandomTask 21:04, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Dear Random, Thanks for your courteous reply. Yes, I understand that your intention is to simplify the current Introduction. Those parts of your amendment which I did not address present no problems to me. Provided any amended version is discussed by interested parties, written in clear and balanced manner with adequate cross-referencing via links to subsidiary articles, I think the Wikipedia readership will be well-served. It might also be useful to peek at the Wiki entries for the other world religions to see if anything might be usefully adopted from them in terms of layout and presentation.

  • You write "I certainly agree with your assessment that it is the responsibility of the 'dumper' to move the data to the appropriate sub-articles". In fact, this kind of ill-mannered behaviour is little short of vandalism, in my view. As Dr Page mentioned, some people may have spent hours writing these pieces, so it is rather insulting and cavalier to just dump them.
  • Regarding esoteric, nevertheless this word is inappropriate for use with Mahayana as a whole. It could perhaps be used with respect to Vajrayana if my OED definition can be relied upon.
  • Regarding the reference to 'historically categorised', it should be made clear that present-day Buddhist denominations are under discussion. The historical situation is far more complex. You say, "with many schools unaware of the others": this is partially true for Buddhism in pre-modern times after the extinction of Buddhism in India, but Indian Buddhists were well aware of each other's existence.
  • Regarding the Vajrayana linguistic heritage, could I suggest something like: "The Vajrayana tradition is often distinguished from Mahayana on the basis of its tantric doctrines and practices" ?
  • Pedantry: "extricated, distinguished is synonymous". OED: "Distinguish -- inter alia, treat as different, differentiate", "Extricate – free from or disentangle from a constraint or difficulty". Not exactly synonyms.
  • Regarding Agamas and lizards. The Agama entry is probably accessible via the singular.
  • You say, "I feel that some monastics are certainly very qualified to comment on their own trade though their perspective may be subjective". The last clause here is important to bear in mind. But again, are we thinking of living or historical monastics.
  • You say, "I'd like to see footnotes to anything!". Indeed, but I notice that footnotes and references are demanded selectively. Some people seem to get away with most curious statements without being challenged – Yoji Hajime's recent but deleted claims about a hundred thousand plus Mahayana sutras, and his claims about the status of meat consumption with Buddhism.
  • You write "About hyperbole, am I mistaken that the Pali Canon (as one example) had been preserved by monastics as an oral tradition for thousands of years?" The quick answer to that is probably yes. To describe what is actually just "two thousand and a bit years" as "thousands of years" qualifies as hyperbole, in my opinion. This also seems a good place to mention something else that troubles me, prompted in part by all the business about providing caveats to Mahayana doctrines. There seems to be a very subtle, unspoken assumption that Theravada is somehow the original and authentic Buddhism against which everything else should be measured. This is not the case, despite Theravadin conceits to the contrary. Leading scholars (eg Lance Cousins, President of the Pali Text Society) mostly agree that there are no demonstrable historical links between the early Sthaviravadins who broke away from the Mahasanghikas and the later Theravadins. This was well-known to doxologists in ancient India who understood Theravada to be an outlying group derived from the Mahashisakas. Too many people equate the Pali Canon with Theravada. Grateful though we may be to the monks of the Theravada tradition for preserving it, it is just a historical accident that this particular canon has been preserved. Moreover, detailed text critical work on this canon also demonstrates that much of it does not date back to the time of the Buddha. In other words, it is no more the ipsissima verba of the Buddha than are Mahayana sutras, despite the pious traditional beliefs of Theravadins. It is just that the contents of the Pali Canon were composed a few centuries before the Mahayana sutras were. If you have difficulties with this, I can elaborate.

My comments are critical of the general state of the current main-page, but not of your proposed additions in general which seem quite reasonable. Wikipedia is a wonderful idea, but regretably too often articles here initially attract unncessary additions and changes that are little better that graffitti. --Stephen Hodge 00:59, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Hello, friends.

I'm completely new to wiki-posting and wiki-etiquette, so I'm sorry to be stepping on toes here, but...

I came here to crib the introduction for some on-line friends who want to know about the very basic basics of Buddhism, and what do I find?

An article rife with theological/philoshophical references I can't hope to follow, but the basics (karma, cycle of death & rebirth, four noble truths, eight-fold path) buried deep down below the TOC. And when I tried to read the stuff on Mahayana vs. Theravada, I finished up more confused than when I started (and I was pretty well confused when I started :)

I copy-pasted some chunks of prose to rewrite into something I can use to show my friends, and thought I might offer some version of that as a new introduction to the article. But this discussion reads like a set of particularly nasty letters-to-the-editor of some high-nosed academic journal, and that's not a game I choose to play.

I'm posting mostly to pose you this question: Do you collectively want the Wikipedia Buddhism page, especially the introduction, to be a forum for expressing fine points of scholarly difference and (to borrow a term :) Talmudic disputation; or could it be a place for explaining a few of the very basic basics of Buddhism, for those who don't know anything about it but would like to learn a little bit?

In (what I hope is) the spirit of loving-kindness,

- Gorfram

The lead definitely needs work. The re-write by RandomTask, along with changes suggested by Stephen Hodge would be a step in the right direction, IMO. Let's proceed with that. Sunray 09:55, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I feel that the section entitled "Buddhism after Buddha" should be re-named. There is no end to Buddha; So how could there be a Buddhism after Buddha? Buddha is the enlightenment within all of us. There might be a time when the lips of men no longer speak his name and their minds no longer ponder him, but even this whould not end Buddha. Let us not forget. Fistagonfive 05:39, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

How about "Buddhism after the Parinirvana of the Shakyumni Buddha"? Csbodine 21:53, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I (Yoji Hajime) am back. From now on, I will be FWBOarticle. Using my real name is causing some trobule. Anyway, is it me or has the introduction of the main page become bigger? Plus, the opening statement of the introduction appear to be a pragiarism of encycropedia britainica, which says Buddhism is a "religion and philosophy that developed from the teachings of the Buddha Gautama (or Gotama), who lived as early as the 6th century BC." There appear to be some objections regarding the way I went about my first edit and this appear to cause some confusion as to how the wikipedia edit and discussion should go. So I clarify few points.

1. There is no such thing as 24 hours waiting rule for the first edit in wikipedia. There is 24 hour waiting rule after the same change is made two time in a row. I waited for 24 hours so that i can read any suggestion I might find it to be useful. And none turned up. If someone is offended for my non existent violation, then the problem is purely on misunderstanding of wikipeida edit policy. "One of the assumptions of Wikipedia is that continual editing by multiple users will result in a continual increase in the quality of an article" provided that the right editorial context exist. If someone doesn't checks Wikipedia every day of the week, fine. Just don't complain if someone do and make edit. This place is all better for it. As of my Engrish, feel flee to edit my Engrish, though I usually copy edit. (^_^) If someone can edit my grammer, it is wikipedia edit policy at work. I thank you. If someone think that only "qualified" person should edit, then please try to revive Nupedia.
2. It appear that some people are now too polite to make "unilateral" edit and are now presenting possible version of edit here. This is pointless. The discussion/talk page is NOT an edit page. Before, the front page was unreadable, now the talk page is becoming unreadable. If you think you can improve the front article, do so and explain your edit in talk page. This "proposal" section is pointless.
3. I admit that I went wrong way by making edit in one single shot. I still stand by my opinion that esotric (not refering to tantric) debate of buddhisms should be deleted out. But I should have done it section by section, making my case for each edit. It went well when I split "Buddhist Principle" section (which was a third of the page) into two. Because I was going to do the same for each section, I thought I will save time but it cause offense to some people and this I apologise. From now on, I will make specific edit/delete to each sentence/paragraph/section. If I can, i will transfer deleted part to other wiki link but please understand that I don't have obligation to do such transfer. The fact remain that the front page article is a bit of embarrasement to the previous featured status. This article is looking like a webpage wrtten by someone who doesn't know how to utilise link. If you don't like my cut, then please suggest the other part which can be cut. FWBOarticle

Featured Article Removal Candidate

I have nominated this article to be removed from the featured article status on the basis that it is in clear violation of section 5 of feature article criteria. I will not edit this article until this matter is settled. Anyone who wish to rescue the article before the judgement, please feel free to do so. ;P FWBOarticle

This is not constructive. Please discuss appropriate changes here, or propose a replacement introduction at Talk:Buddhism/Lead workshop. ᓛᖁ♀ 19:12, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
ahh, hello Eequor. Don't know why you keep switching the display of your username. You reverted my edit solely on the basis of the featured status of this article and then did not make any suggestion in this talk page as to what to do with this (sorry) state of the article. Your revert is the main reason I decided to give up and go to the removal nomination process. Also please read "size" section of Wikipedia:Summary style. At 72kb, the article is well past my subjective judgement. I also believe that losing the featured status would galvanise people here to restore the article to the former glory. FWBOarticle
I don't know why my signature would be changing...
We should have a strong preference for the status quo in the case of featured articles. It's up to you to suggest and promote discussion of the large changes you think should be made; as seen above, there is little support for your approach so far. Both Metta Bubble and myself have suggested ways of establishing consensus for changing the article, which will not be difficult if nothing objectionable is proposed.
Making changes occur is not the purpose of WP:FARC. Listing Buddhism on that page is obviously provocative and also inconsiderate of editors whose time may be limited. As I implied there, this is a disruptive way of making a point. Better would have been to make a request for comment, though I doubt that would attract anyone more qualified to fix the problems than the regular editors here.
I think we can agree that some changes should be made, but without proper discussion we can't know where the consensus lies. ᓛᖁ♀ 03:47, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Your argument is not in line with wikipedia editorial policy. Featured article page states that "we are always working to improve them even further, so be bold in updating articles". It is preferable to edit first then justify such edit in talk page so the continous editorial process vitalise wikipedia. Idea that my edit is inconsiderate to "editors whose time may be limited" is anathema to wikipedia. Plus, I no longer enage in debate over M/T disambiguation which cause "Demolition" objection. My current focus is now exclusively on the featured article criteria, which appear to have many support. So why do I get complained for using legitimate wikipedia process whatever the outcome turn out to be?FWBOarticle
Normally I agree that editors should be bold, but we should be wary of potential regression to mean. In particular, it isn't clear to me that this article has much room for improvement.
I'm not saying you're being inconsiderate in editing here, though you seem to be acting a bit ahead of the discussion. I was referring to your featured article removal nomination; it may be that the regular editors are currently rather occupied and not available for discussion. Demanding they help fix things now is inconsiderate. Presumably they would be interested in discussing improvements when they return. ᓛᖁ♀ 06:14, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
How could I be not offended when you deliberately imply that I'm not a "regular editor". What is it? Is there some 12 months waiting period I'm not aware of. Did I ever call anyone of undeserving to be a wikipedian (or regular editor) who ought to know his/her place. Did I ever make significant edit without making explantion? And why me going to nomination process which has "zero" implication to editorial process be "inconsiderate". Is it that "regular editors" (no doubt many of them buddhists) are so attached to the status that I'm being a party pooper? The reputation of Buddhism is not about the featured status. Still this M/T disamiguation is certainly a turn off for me. My case is very specific. This article is in clear violation of section 5 of featured article criteria. Please make constructive argument about why exception should be made. Burden of justification is on you not I. FWBOarticle
Er, I mean, there's a group of other editors who comment regularly on this page, and aside from TonyMPNS they don't seem to be around. I didn't mean any offense; of course everyone's welcome to edit. ^_^;;
I don't see the length as a problem myself; in my opinion, probably all the material the article covers should be covered here. Most of the sections have separate articles for their topics, but they're all important enough to be summarized. Maybe some details only need to be in the other articles, but I don't see anything in particular that definitely should be moved. Besides, the 32k page length guideline was picked mainly because some old browsers can't edit pages that size. With section editing, there shouldn't be that problem. The page takes a bit longer to load over a modem than some other pages, but I don't mind the extra time.
Regarding sects, I identify as Mahayana, but I think I don't share all the views of the Mahayanists who edit here; in some respects I'm more Theravadin. I think it's important to explain the differences between the two, particularly in what they consider canon. In most of the article, those details seem concise enough. ᓛᖁ♀ 05:50, 28 January 2006 (UTC)


  • Thanks for getting into the real issue. 32k is no longer about old browser. Had it been the case, size criteria would have been removed long time ago. Size criteria is now about readability. At 72kb, this article is unreadable, period. So tell me. how can one justify a page which most people can't or won't read? FWBOarticle
  • I don't think it's unreadable, either, though I'd prefer RandomTask's introduction. This is a detailed subject that should have a large article, and by encyclopedic standards it's actually rather short — we have 9000 words, while Britannica has 47,000. [7] What do you think should be trimmed? ᓛᖁ♀ 15:53, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Have you read the link I provided. Readability is about average adult attention span of 20min. This readability criteria has nothing to do with content, style or English. Not even a Shakespear can make this article readable for ordinary people. They will give up before reaching the middle and move on. Secondly, Britanica is not wiki based so it is forced to be be-all and end-all entry, which most people won't or can't read. Why do we have to reduced ourself to inferior restriction of paper based encyropedia? In wikipedia, it's not about one article, it's about the totality of portal. I actually think the total words for entire buddhist portal should be few times more than 47,000 while each page should be 4000. I say it again. What is the justififcation of an article which people won't read? Or do you still insist that the article is "readable". Then please make reference which state that adult attention span is 50min (72kb) instead of 20min (32kb). FWBOarticle
Well, I'm optimistic. ^^;
I think it's rather sad if most people don't have the attention span to read an article of this size. ᓛᖁ♀ 01:47, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo everyone. Yes, some of us have not been able to give as much time to Wikipedia recently as we would like. In my own case, I am having problems with my Internet connection, and these problems may not be resolved for a couple of weeks or more. This is very frustrating, of course!
I tend to agree with the previous contributor's remarks: I think that the present Buddhism article is not SO bad at all, but needs to be tidied up here and there (slimmed down a little - but not with wholesale chopping-out of major sections). As always, I think we should strive to be fair to both "branches" of Buddhism - Theravada and Mahayana - in the overall shape of the Buddhist article. I don't think there should be an automatic, default "Theravada" stance, or an automatic, default "Mahayana" presentation. I think we must strive to be fair and balanced to both sides in our general presentation of this amazingly rich and varied complex of teachings and practices called "Buddhism". So I would say: whatever alterations people make to the "Buddhism" entry, they should make them on the basis of a) factual accuracy, b) balance and fairness to the various main Buddhist traditions, and c) stylistic elegance / grammatical accuracy. That's my little contribution for today! Best wishes to everyone. From Tony. TonyMPNS 19:50, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I think that is playing down the issues a little. Perhaps it was too loose a focus on balance and fairness in the first place that caused the article to get out of control. Don't get me wrong, I'm refering to the improving wording of your suggestion rather than changing the goals, which are admirable. A more specific wording could be to say people should edit on the basis of excluding sectarian principles and practices as much as possible from the body of the article and including them in an appropriate section instead, hence keeping the article balanced and fair. Does that seem reasonable? Peace. Metta Bubble 01:46, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo Eequor and Metta Bubble. Thank you very much for your comments, which are always helpful. As you will have seen already, I tend to agree with you, Eequor, that not too much should be removed from the Buddhism article - it should mainly be tidied up a bit (and slightly reduced in size) rather than massively changed, don't you feel? Metta Bubble, thanks for your ideas. I understand what you mean; the only problem is that in a sense all (or most) of Buddhism could be called a rich tapestry of "sectarian principles and practices" (whether vihara Theravadin, Forest Monk Theravadin, Pure Land, Zen, Dzogchen, Tathagatagarbha, etc.), so one could end up excluding virtually everything from the main article! Don't you think that the main thing to avoid is excessive verbiage and inaccuracy, as well as too narrow a focus on one or other of the schools/sects? I take your point about giving more detail of certain ideas in linked articles (as Yoji has elsewhere suggested). I think that is fair, as long as one does not completely remove from the main article important basic information about the different concepts, stances and practices within Buddhism - so that the attempt at balance and fairness is indeed maintained. Metta Bubble and Eequor, do you think that we should initially concentrate on slightly pruning the text as it stands, section by section where necessary, and then later discuss the precise contents of the article? I cannot myself really see anything in the main article (in terms of section headings) which I think should not be there at all. I suspect, Eequor, that you share my feeling on this one, right? But I'm not sure how you might feel about this, Metta Bubble? Forgive me if I cannot do much Wiki work in the coming two or three weeks, since I am having to use Pay-By-the-Minute Dial-Up to access the Internet at present - and it's costing me a fortune (until I can resolve my ISP problems!). Best wishes to you both and to all. From Tony. TonyMPNS 09:20, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm not really sure what you want Tony. You don't really have time and you don't really feel inclined to change the article. Nonetheless, I think you're mistaken about sectarianism. To write a fairly non-sectarian encyclopedic account of Buddhism has in fact already been done. The featured article version from 2004 manages to get through well over half way before it mentions anything specific about different schools. Mentioning the rich tapestry of Buddhism sounds very pretty and appealing, and weaving in threads of organic prose is a beautiful thing, but in practice it comes this article has come out more like spaghetti. And we mention controversy between Theravada and Mahayana as the first order of business. That's patently absurd for a reader who may have never encountered Buddhism before. The rest of the article switches between Theravadin and Mahayana so much that you almost need two highlighters to discern what's what. With all due respect to everyone's hard work, let's look at what was working about the 2004 version and start to work towards what it does so well while keeping the important maturing the article has seen in the last two years. Peace. Metta Bubble 11:54, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I largely agree with Tony. I think the various sects are probably best addressed on other pages, but there should be some mention here that Mahayana and Theravada disagree on some things. Perhaps we could have a Differences between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism page to explain the situation more fully. ᓛᖁ♀; 20:49, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo Metta Bubble. Thanks for your reply. I think I can best answer your own points by saying: I have had a look at the 2004 version of the article which you recommend, and, while it is certainly neat and tidy (that's for sure), it is clearly biased towards a more Theravadin understanding of Buddhism in its general presentation of the religion, as well as containing factual errors (not that the latest version of the article does not suffer from that defect as well). For example, the 2004 version states that it was the god, Indra, who pleaded with the Buddha to teach Dharma - whereas in fact it was Brahma-Sahampati; it says that the Buddha did not claim any divine status for himself, whereas in a number of Mahayana sutras he calls himself "the god of gods - the god above the gods" and even tells of how he assumes the form of Isvara ("God"), Vishnu, etc. and is being worshipped by the devotees of those gods without the devotees' realising that the recipient of their devotion is in fact the Buddha; the article also says that no higher beings are worshipped: from the Mahayana point of view, this is factually incorrect, since Mahayana Buddhists are strongly encouraged to worship and revere the Buddhas (who by definition are the highest of high beings) and the great Bodhisattvas; there is nothing in the 2004 version about the very important Mahayana (sutrically based) doctrine of the Buddha-dhatu/ Tathagata-garbha, which is central to much Mahayana Buddhism in China and Japan .... I could go on.

What some of us have been trying to do over the past couple of years is introduce a just and equitable counter-balance of Mahayana notions which had previously tended to be sidelined or implicitly treated as secondary or less expressive of "genuine" Buddhism. If the addition of Mahayana Buddhist ideas to the article has resulted in a kind of spaghetti tangle (and I know what you mean here - I tend to agree with you), then I think the best thing to do is to tidy things up (e.g. perhaps having a major divide within the main article as between "Theravada Buddhism" and "Mahayana Buddhism"). I don't see how one can accurately write about this religion/philosophy without making explicit to the reader pretty early on that it exists in at least two rather different forms (Theravada and Mahayana) and to give both versions of Buddhism fair and equal coverage. I see nothing wrong with that - indeed it strikes me as highly honest, fair and desirable. I would be interested to hear what others think about all of this? As for my time limitation - I tried to explain that this is not through lack of interest on my part, but through technical problems with my Internet connection. Best wishes to you. From Tony. 13:11, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

I can point where we are heading. Do you think it will stop with Mahayana disambiguation? What would stop someone saying "hey this has Tantric/Zen/PureLand/Tantien/Nichren bias. I demand "a just and equitable counter-balance" of my Tantric/Zen/Pureland/Tantien/Nichiren notions", which is soon followed by "Hey, this Nichren disambiguation is actually Nichren Shu disambiguation. I want "a just and equitable counter-balance" of my Nichiren Soshu notions". Communism sound all well and good. The reality is hell. Don't go that road. FWBOarticle
I'm not sure that's likely to happen. Are there specific parts you think the different branches of Mahayana would disagree on? ᓛᖁ♀ 15:53, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
It has already happened. Look at the vegetarian section. It started from disambiguation between Theravada and Mahayana then soon developed into disambiguation among Chinese/Tibetan/Japanese disambiguation. I could have gone further by providing the different justification of non vegetarianism among Japanese sects. Most buddhist sects have different take or application of core buddhist doctrine. When some topic become an "issue", it will bloat. It is much better to explain the core idea while leaving the sectorial different to separate section. And you really should face the fact that only few will read 72kb size article. Only way to remain fair under size restriction is to isolate the issues.
I have a suggestion for general rule of thumb for disambiguation along MettaBubble's line. If anyone feel that any statement of doctrine is Theravada biased, instead of adding Mahayan version of such statement along with (perceived) Theravada version, the orginal statement should be altered for more neutral wording. If it is not possible to do so, then the statement should be relegated to section which specifically deal with difference among Buddhist denomination. Or the issue should be discussed in sister page. That means one cannot "add" Mahayana or Theravada statement. This page remain denomiation free zone except "Buddhist denomiation" and "Buddhist Scriptures" section. If we stick to this rule, then we might find the common element of buddhism (life of Buddha, 4 truth, 8 path). FWBOarticle
Here here! I support. I gather yoji does also. And from what I can see that also concurs with Eequor that we have a special section for disambiguation. Tony, thanks for your work balancing the Mahayana perspective into the article. Now I believe for the process to come full cricle we should look at removing that style again. Overall the structure will end up more like the 2004 article but the content will be more straightened out. Peace. Metta Bubble 10:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Hasn't the article become bigger since I nomiated the article to be removed from featured status for being too big? Plus I see Dhammakaya reference here. Well, i guess every denomination and every single organisation deserve fair and equitable presenation. FWBOarticle

Creation Of Wikibuddhist.

  • I think us Buddhists need a wiki site. I mean, we have a site for orthodox Christians, which has less followers than Buddhism! Pure inuyasha 20:20, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Is the Christian site run by Wikimedia? Where is it? ᓛᖁ♀ 20:22, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

either it's made my mediawiki or it's a complete copy.

Ah, I see. These seem to be independent sites. It wouldn't be especially difficult to start a Buddhist wiki; all that would be needed are some good servers. There's the problem that a separate wiki might divide the available effort, though. Even here there's so much more that should be done, and WikiProject:Buddhism hasn't enough members to finish quickly. ᓛᖁ♀ 22:13, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

If people are willing to commit the time and effort I think it'd be a wonderful idea. -Buddhist- 04:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Great! anyone else who wants to join me please post on my user page. if i get enough we'll get started. Pure inuyasha 23:23, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

There seems to be a Buddhist wiki:
--Klimov 18:38, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Wow, 182 thousand pages. o_o
ᓛᖁ♀ 19:04, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Hm. Do you suppose someone from our WikiProject should invite the RYW people to edit here as well? ᓛᖁ♀ 19:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I support this idea. Actually, I already have a website, I could use the space to host the wiki, I would just have to learn how to install the Wikimedia platform. RY Wiki seems to be too specific to Vajrayana, it would be nice to have a Wiki for all lineages and in several languages, just as Wikipedia is. What do you think? Flavio Costa 13:35, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Summary of changes between 2004 and 2006

I've started listing specific changes that have been made since 2004. Hopefully this will make it easier to decide what action should be taken. ᓛᖁ♀ 12:28, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

...and I've more or less finished, now. Perhaps the newly added and removed sections could be broken down by facts as well. I've highlighted some of the changes according to whether I had doubts about statements made (yellow, orange, red); material I felt should have remained in a section in some form is highlighted in green. I found one blatant error — in 2004 the canon was associated with open source. ᓛᖁ♀ 01:08, 5 February 2006 (UTC)