Talk:Buddhism/Archive 6

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Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7


I've started massively overhauling the article by consolidating repeated sections and putting them in a logical order. I've only managed to do the latter so far: it can be found here. Please leave comments there or here if you wish; I would appreciate feedback. --Gimme danger 04:41, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Additionally, if no one objects or comments, I'll replace the main article with my revisions on August 18th. I think a week is fair to wait. --Gimme danger 08:24, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Logic is not always strictly applicable. The usual practice in scholarly accounts of Buddhism is to place the teachings in historical context, which is what I was starting to do. Of course massive edits can't easily be done in one go, so the result was somewhat illogical, & your arrangement is more logical than that, but I think we should discuss the overall arrangement before trying anything substantial since your ideas are different from mine. Peter jackson 11:17, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Some further thoughts now I have a bit more time.

Mid-August may not be the best time for finding a consensus on massive changes.

The balance of the article as it stands is grossly distorted: most of the doctrine is neo-/Westernized Theravada & most of the history is Indian. Also the article is far longer than the recommended limit.

Now, on the question of the general organization of the article. The standard scholarly accounts of Buddhism are arranged as follows.

  • Bechert & Gombrich, Robinson & Johnson, Prebish & Keown: essentially historical: Indian, Theravada, EAsian, Tibetan, modern/Western.
  • Harvey: "teachings", ie the more abstract/theoretical "doctrines", are given first, mostly in historical context; then practices (largely ignored in the current article) are given topically, with different traditions treated in parallel
  • (New) Penguin Handbook of Living Religions, in accordance with its title, has a comparatively brief historical introduction on India before dealing with the three main branches of the living tradition; it gives hardly any account of "Buddhism" in the abstract
  • Gethin is the only one who tries to treat Buddhism as a whole, with different traditions in parallel; it seems to me that the result is often artificial or strained, attempting to treat the same things as central everywhere when they really aren't

Now, what do our readers expect? It's probably true that they expect the article to be mainly about the living Buddhist tradition, with only a modest amount of historical background. It's probably also true that they would expect an article organized thematically as you're trying to do. However, this expectation is based on their largely Christian bacckground, where the major churches have basically the same central doctrines & largely the same scriptures &c. But Buddhism isn't "a religion" in that sense, & I don't think the same approach is appropriate.

I suggest we wait a while for people to get back from holiday & comment. If you like you can revert my partial reorganization (but leave the added material). Peter jackson 17:28, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

After another quick look at your rearrangement. The history section gives a detailed history of Indian Buddhism followed by a brief account of present-day Buddhism, which is obviously ridiculous. This is not entirely your fault as the existing article is so inconsistently arranged, but reorganization will require more than simply rearranging existing headings. We need to move material about between headings, add material, delete material etc. Similarly elsewhere. Peter jackson 11:15, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I've been doing this sort of thing, moving material and such. It's very much a work in progress, but I've made in the neighborhood of 50 major edits, so it's really not just a rearrangement. I've deleted the "Buddhism and intellectualism" section, consolidated doctrine descriptions (before there were two separate descriptions of the four noble truths, etc., and two sections on Buddhism today), added references to the early history section and completely eliminated the "Indian history" section, mixing it with the general history section. I realize that Buddhism is not necessarily a religion in the Western sense, but it may be useful to approach it similarly for the purposes of a short introductory article. I'm hoping to model this article off of the featured article Islam in terms of organization. So, a significant history, description of doctrine, practices and its place in the modern world is what I'm looking at. What type of organization would you propose? --Gimme danger 20:06, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I've made a start by deleting the decline section, which seems the most grossly excessive. Quite a lot more can be cut elsewhere, which might make it easier to sort out the remaining material. Peter jackson 15:35, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I've done likewise in my version. If I have time, I'll check to see if the deleted material ought to be added to another article, but I probably won't have time. --Gimme danger 20:06, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I've put the deleted material in the talk page of the decline article (which is quite vicious).

I'm not strongly committed to a particular organization. I started to reorganize the article along historical lines as this is the most popular arrangement among scholarly presentations (see aboove), but there are others. Yours has the advantage of being what readers expect, but let's wait a while for comments. Meanwhile, some comments on your version.

It starts with a history section, which, setting aside the last subsection, gives a detailed history of Indian Buddhism, mentioning as it goes along the spread of Buddhism to other countries, but giving essentially no information about its history there. The last subsection jumps forward to Buddhism today, including mention of the 3 divisions. Immediately following this subsection is a section on divisions, which explains the 3 divisions. Your rearrangement makes this situation worse so you'll have to do some rewriting or further rearrangement. The divisions section then goes on to the individual divisions in detail, including, for the Theravada, some historical material, which should be moved to the history section (this is what I meant about moving material within sections). However, even with this added material, the history section is grossly unbalanced with nothing about large slices of Buddhist history. This isn't your fault of course. I think you should arrange the history section geographically or culturally:

  1. Indian
  2. Theravada
  3. East Asian
  4. Tibetan
  5. Other


  1. India & Nepal
  2. Ceylon
  3. Central Asia
  4. China
  5. Korea
  6. Japan
  7. Tibet & Bhutan
  8. Southeast Asia
  9. Mongolia & Russia
  10. The West

Or something similar. Then you can add tags to the short or nonexistent sections. This should encourage people to do something about the imbalance. The doctrine section also needs some fairly hefty rewriting, but I'll have a look at that later. Peter jackson 11:19, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I certainly agree that the history section is grossly unbalanced and any complete rewrite needs to address this. I worry that any geographical organization will require repeating a great deal of material or would give short shrift to the interactions between Buddhist culture and the effects of that sort of thing. I think a chronological/cultural organization might be easier to fit together, so describing origins (in more than one paragraph, hopefully) and then the spread of Buddhism by region. And here I don't have sufficient familiarity with Buddhist history to give an actual outline. I guess I'm saying that perhaps the best organization is one in which geographical/cultural areas are arranged in order of contact with Buddhism.
There are a whole lot of problems with my version at the moment. I haven't been able to read it all the way through, so there's still a lot of cutting and pasting to do. --Gimme danger 12:14, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
My listings above were intended to be roughly in order of the appearance of Buddhism in the area,as you suggest, though probably, on further thought, SEAsia should be earlier. Peter jackson 10:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
On your point about interactions, there was very little between the 3 continuing traditions. Their interactions were mainly with Indian Buddhism while it existed, & since then they evolved largely in isolation until recently. Even now they know little about each other, & sometimes pass on their misunderstandings to their Western followers. Peter jackson 16:50, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Possible compromise on history section. The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion divides up Buddhist history something like this.

  1. sectarian: a number of scholars have argued that Buddhism before Asoka was quite a small sect
  2. civilizational: cosmopolitan, with a lot of interaction between different areas
  3. cultural: from about (I think) the 9th century interactions were drastically reduced & branches developed largely in isolation; we could subdivide only this period by area
  4. modern: interactions starting up again

Peter jackson 11:04, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

I like that scheme and know it addresses my concerns. Again, I don't have any expertise in the field, but would enjoy collaborating to make this article better. (Apologies for the late reply: wikibreak.) --Gimme danger 00:03, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to be painfully honest here, I'm not a fan of the new revisions... I don't think it's as easy to follow and I think it's too detailed. Anyone coming to learn about Buddhism will be completely and utterly lost. I would reccomend returning to the previous version and perhaps making a second article for more detailed information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:07, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism and Intellectualism

The section now at Talk:Buddhism/Buddhism and Intellectualism consisted of 72 kilobytes of markup at 06:00, 1 November 2007 (UTC) when it was moved away from here to that subpage.
Its subsections were then:

  1. A Cup of Tea
  2. "Amazing people"
  3. Study is one thing; practice is very much another
    1. Buddhism and Intellectualism: proposing a new title (half-jokingly)
  4. topic space: relationship to scholarship?

A summary or introduction to the section's contents, placed here, would be a valuable contribution.


A point about wording...where it says "For those, who have attachment to intellectualism, Buddhist scholars produced a prodigious quantity" do others agree this is badly worded? I don't think it was/is any alleged 'attachment to intellectualism' that created Buddhist philosophy; it surely grew naturally through time. This text is both misleading and dull. I think many parts of the article are very poorly written and wonder if a rewrite might be a good idea. The talk page would seem to be the place to raise this. I am also confused by some comments about Hinduism. I have lost the place I was reading in this article or a related one where it said Hinduism is not older than Budhism. I find that hard to believe. In the 1-year course I attended on Religions of India back in 1979-80 Buddhism was taught as a Hindu religion, as a reformed Hindu school, in effect, and I think that is a sound historical (and religious) context. However, has recent scholarship changed this view? I'm sorry I cannot find the article I was reading yesterday with this confusion in it. Any suggestions welcome, thanks Peter morrell 11:47, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Hello, Hinduism is more recent than Brahmanism. Don't know about the particular dates too much, but hinduism grew out of brahmanism, based in part on buddhism and other religious groups.Greetings, Sacca 11:56, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Sacca. Do you have more detail on this? thanks Peter morrell 13:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi PeterM - Regarding the "For those, who have attachment...," this phrase is part of the last paragraph of the questionably named (as indicated above) "Buddhism and intellectualism" section and it is one of the paragraphs that is being discussed for possible deletion (due to "tendentious[ness]" [per PeterJ], vagueness and inaccuracy) in the entry on this talk page immediately above. Regards, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 12:27, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi Larry, yes well I don't actually agree that this section should be deleted. I think it is an important theme but that it should be rewritten. What about the Brahmanism/Hinduism thing does it predate Buddhism or not? I wish I could locate the wiki article where I read that but I lost it. Basically it said that Hinduism is not that ancient,etc. Do you have any diea what article it might have been? thanks Peter morrell 13:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Hi Peter - just to clarify, I'm not talking about deleting the section, just the last paragraph. FWIW, I'll propose a new variant on this above momentarily.
Regarding your Hinduism question, my understanding is similar to Sacca's: both modern-day Hinduism and Buddhism are rooted in Brahmanism (or whatever the appropriate name is for the Vedic institution at the time). I'll try to find a source for this understanding (or perhaps my incorrect recollection).
Fussy baby on lap, gtg, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 14:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
In terms of WP articles, might it have possibly been Historical_Vedic_religion, especially Historical_Vedic_religion#Post-Vedic_religions?Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 15:31, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Larry, the only relevant ones it seems I looked at yesterday are Bindu, Buddhism, Karma in Buddhism, and Rebirth (buddhism) but never mind, it's OK. Maybe I was mistaken. regards Peter morrell 15:57, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Also, if you'll indulge my desire to avoid divisive speech (pisunaya vacaya), it appears from skimming the Hinduism article that many may see what is referred to above as "historical Vedic religion" as a continuous tradition with what is currently called Hinduism, not a distinct tradition. (Perhaps User:Buddhipriya or others could better say?) I claim no authority on this; I was simply giving voice to grouped words in my head. If my stating the above was insensitive to anyone with contrary knowledge or beliefs, I regret this. And, of course, thanks to anyone who might provide an authoritative rebuttal, confirmation or elaboration. Regards, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I checked and the confusion I alluded to can be found in the article Buddhism and Hinduism where there is much confusion about the terms Hindu and Buddha and about chronology and also about religious beliefs. For example, it says Almost every technical and religious Sanskrit term in the Buddhist lexicon has a counterpart in Hindu philosophy. The Buddha adopted many of the terms already used in philosophical discussions of his era; however, many of these terms were then re-interpreted or redefined in the Buddhist tradition. Hmmm. In which case, Buddhist philosophy did not arise from 'attachment to intellectualism,' it was presented in a philosophical form at a very early stage. And the article uses the term Hindu rather loosely considering what has just been said above. How can Hinduism have been deeply influenced by Buddhism if Hinduism did not exist prior to Buddha? It does not use the term Brahmanic religion. It is mixed up and confusing. The wording needs straightening out more and the terms used more tightly if it is going to be accurate. All these articles are linked and yet factually they seem disjointed. any suggestions? thanks Peter morrell 16:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

The term Hinduism is used in different senses. Hindus themselves would say their religion goes back to the Vedas but some Western scholars restrict the name to a later phase. Peter jackson 09:05, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Peter, what it should do then is make some distinction between Hinduism and Brahmanism or Vedic Religion...which seem to have become blurred into synonyms for many folks. Anyone reading this clutch of articles is going to end up pretty confused! thanks Peter morrell 06:17, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Talk page notes

As of 06:22, 1 November 2007 (UTC), it appears there are no notes beyond those moved out to sub-pages, as described under the moved sections' headings on this page.
—Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerzy (talkcontribs)


"I have not attempted to provide a summary of Buddhist thought and practice here. Such an undertaking is fraught with difficulties in a book-length study, and is impossible in a brief introduction." (Lopez, Buddhist Scriptures, Penguin Classics, 2004, page xl)

This is not a scholarly consensus, as a number of scholars have written just such brief introductions, but it is a scholarly view and has to be taken into account. It raises the more general question of how long the article has to be. If it has to satisfy a scholarly consensus of its adequacy then it would have to be extremely long. Presumably each scholar might have a different estimate, but most of those would be impossible to find out. Peter jackson 11:04, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Such says the agnostic? Come on, of course one can give a brief introduction to Buddhism, the Buddha himself did do! And many people continue to do so! But you have to be realistic, more detail can be provided in separate articles. This is how Wikipedia works! Generallly, the article should be made shorter. It's too long-winded. Greetings, Sacca 08:25, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I was simply raising a question about the interpretation of the guidelines. Realistically, yes, we're not going to have a book-length article. In the proposed rewrite I've inserted a reference to Lopez' view. As to whether the article should be shorter, it's certainly a good deal longer than the recommended maximum, as the system reminds you automatically every time you go to edit it. On the other hand it's about the same length as Christianity and Islam. If anything one might expect it to be longer owing to greater variety, but Hinduism is actually shorter, though perhaps even more varied. In the proposed rewrite I've cut a lot of the history as I don't think that would be the main interest of readers, but I've added a lot on doctrine and practice, to make it, not so much longer, as more balanced: most forms of Buddhism are pretty much ignored in the current article, which, as far as teaching goes, is almost entirely Westernized Theravada. The net effect of these changes probably doesn't change the length much.

The Buddha may or may not have given a brief introduction to his own teachings, whatever they may have been, but he most certainly did not give a brief introduction to Buddhism. The conventional reference of the word Buddhism is not what someone said thousands of years ago but a religion followed by hundreds of millions today, and that is what the article must be mainly aboout. Peter jackson 10:32, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I partially agree with all points made so far, but to revise the article maybe it needs to be broadened out as PeterJ suggests to include all schools, and IMO it needs much more citations and quotes. Some paragraphs are devoid of proper sources and this needs to be remedied. Also boiling down this stuff about scholarly sources...well, we need to define what use a scholar's view is for a living tradition of practice. Who is a scholar? What is the relationship between their view and that of the practitioners? How accurately do scholars' views reflect the view within Buddhism itself? these sorts of questions need to be judged carefully and answered or are we to just blindly accept so-called 'scholarly articles' as citations for this article? We may in fact find, for example, that scholars' views are not in keeping with the views of practitioners. my ten pen'orth thanks Peter morrell 10:41, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Having just been to the rewrite I see I have shortened it quite a bit, & there's still a fair amount that could probably be cut.

Yes, certainly it needs more citations, & there's a tag at the top to remind us. But I wanted to get the article roughly right first before spending a lot of time tracking down references. Some will have to be rewritten to satisfy verifiability. This particular way of doing the article differs from the commonest used among scholars, which may cause problems with citations: if no scholar has drawn together statements by (themself and) other scholars about different forms of Buddhism to make an overall statement about (all major forms of) Buddhism, then for us to do so might well count as original research.

The (or some) relevant passages from the WP definition of scholarship are helpfully quoted by Larry elsewhere on this page. As regards the hypothetical conflict between scholars & Buddhists, I have to repeat that, in general, only scholars can tell us what Buddhists think, because books by Buddhists are only reliable accounts of what their authors think, not any other Buddhists.

As I understand the guidelines, if someone finds a scholarly citation stating something as fact, then WP must treat it as fact until someone finds another one that disagrees. What happens then seems hazy. The theory is to represent the overall opinion of scholars, but it's not clear how we find that out. In our field, most of the scholars are Japanese, & most of us, & most Western scholars of Indian, Theravada & Tibetan Buddhism, can't read what they have to say. Even in the same language, scholars sometimes seem ignorant of each other's work published decades earlier. Nevertheless, date seems an obvious thing to look at, as well as specialization. I suppose we just haveto make the best of whatever is available to us at any given time. Peter jackson 11:04, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


Sorry if this is not directly related to the Buddhism page, but I would value an expert view on the strong suggestions that are made in the 'Greco-Buddhism' page as if Greek influence is of major not only to Mahaya Buddhist art, but also to its philosophy. Though the first claim may be based on some reasonable common sense, I really don't see how a Greek influence on Buddhist phlosophy can be found anywhere. There are many hints on the page suggesting that, but all that sources say is 'there may have been some influence' - with the same reasoning I can say that the Chinese may have influenced the Roman Church - in other words, it sounds like quite unfounded speculation to me?? Perhaps you noticed that I am suspicious of (us) westerners only interpreting the world from our own point of view, and if we hear of any sensible philosophy on this planet, it has to come from the Greek... rudy 22:44, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

The only Greek philosopher I can find that comes close in some way to Buddhism is Heraclitus (c.540 BCE) who regarded the world as in a constant state of flux [1], which of course comes close to the Buddhist view of the transient nature of samsara and the basis of suffering. However, to say that is an influence on Buddhist ideas is somewhat dubious and in any case Heraclitus does not elevate his idea into a broad philosophy in anything like the way Buddha did. It is therefore historically inaccurate to claim him as a link to Buddhism. Of course, one would also have to show that Buddha had come across such ideas. There might be a link to Taosim, however. Does this help? Peter morrell 16:17, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

A wee bit more on this: "Pythagoras believed in the kinship of all living things. The soul is immortal, doomed to a cycle of rebirth. But the soul could be liberated by means of ritual purification. Pythagoras himself claimed to be able to remember his past lives. He believed that he was the reincarnation of Euphorbus, a famous warrior. These ideas have a striking resemblance to Buddhism. Siddharta Gotama, the historical founder of Buddhism, lived c.563-c.483 B.C. Pythagoras founded his order about 525 B.C. It is not impossible, that Pythagoras may have been influenced by ideas from India, transmitted via Persia and Egypt." [2]

"Elsewhere in the ancient world, similar changes were bringing forth other thinkers & prophets, from Confucius and Lao-tse in China to Thales, Heraclitus, and other pre-Socratics in Greece. In India, the Buddha and other mendicant truth seekers--including Makkhali Gosala and Mahavira, the respective founders of the Ajavikas and the Jains--attracted small groups of disciples who followed an informal code of religious discipline and shared many of the same religious concepts." [3]

"Western science and philosophy have always been dominated by non-process thought. This 'historical record' or being model of reality has been with us since Parmenides, and his student Zeno of Elea, and is known as the Eleatic model (c500 BCE). Zeno gave is the first insights into the inherent problems of comprehending motion, a problem long forgotten by conventional non-process physics, but finally explained by process physics. The becoming or processing model of reality dates back to Heraclitus ofEphesus (540-480 BCE) who argued that common sense is mistaken in thinking that the world consists of stable things; rather the world is in a state of flux. The appearances of 'things' depend upon this flux for their continuity and identity. What needs to be explained, Heraclitus argued, is not change, but the appearance of stability. With process physics western science and philosophy is now able to move beyond the moribund non-process mindset. While it was the work ofGödel who demonstrated beyond any doubt that the non-process system of thought had fundamental limitations; implicit in his work is that the whole reductionist mindset that goes back to Thales of Miletus could not offer, in the end, an effective account of reality. However the notion that there were limits to syntactical or symbolic encoding is actually very old." [4] As previously stated, yes there are some interesting parallels, but no firm evidence of influence from Greece to India, more likely the reverse flow. Peter morrell 07:08, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I think you should look for the greek inflence on Buddhism not in Greece, but in Kashmir and Gandhara. For example the Milinda Panha is an example of greek-style questioning applied to Buddhism. And the Greek in Gandhara were supporters of Buddhism, and of course they brought some of their own influences to the religion, one of which was the creation of Buddha-images. I've heard before some claims that the greeks could have influenced Buddhist philosophy to grow more god-like, or at least given it a reason to go more into that direction, or else would have been interested in such kinds of Buddhism. Later, Mahayana became very strong in this previously greek area. There's also evidence of Asoka's missionaries going to Albania and spreading the Dhamma there - a long way from India, these monks would have to travel through Greece. This all happened at about 250 - 100 BCE. Also, one of the missionaries of Asoka was actually a greek, the first mention of a 'western monk', and Megasthenes was a greek ambassador at the court of Pataliputta. Just a collection of some facts. Greetings, Sacca 08:15, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Not a collection of facts, but a mixture of facts, theories & myths. Some of the Greeks in Gandhara ... The Greek origin of Buddha images is a theory, not an established fact. Yes, Asoka's missionaries went to Macedonia & Epirus, which may have overlapped into modern Albania, but the names of the missionaries are from later sources. Peter jackson 10:37, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Just a small point in ths context, but Asoka did not send any missionaries anywhere -- he sent imperial emissaries. The big Buddhist missionary effort did take place during his reign, but it was not sponsored by him at all. This was demonstrated quite satisfactorily several years ago by KS Norman, I believe.--Stephen Hodge 01:52, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Exactly Peter, so I think the entire page contents needs to be completely rewritten into 'may-have-been' and 'could-have-been', and then, it has no place in an encyclopedia??? rudy 22:49, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Not exactly: the guidelines say we should report widely held beliefs, but of course as such, not as facts. How much space they're entitled to in any given article needs to be looked at. Peter jackson 08:33, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, that's clear, but then, what is the 'widely spread belief' here? Perhaps the the influence of Greek art, but in my view certainly not any influence on philosophy, would you agree?rudy 10:09, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism and Hinduism

I'd like to get some more eyes and brains involved in this article- there are a number of problems with it regarding accurately depicting the variety of perspectives on the relationship between Buddhism & and Hinduism, as well as a recent dispute over how to incorporate views of Buddhism that emphasize its decent from the Hindu tradition. Myself, Arrow740, and Rebel XTi have been going round and round for a bit, and I believe we're at the point where repeated reverting is blocking progress on the article. --Clay Collier 08:33, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Just my two cents, I don't like the subject of that page at all; I mean that when you compare apples and oranges, it is very dificult indeed not to create a collection of points of view. If it were for me, such articles have no place whatsoever in an encyclopedia... As long as everyone is struggling even to get a decent article together describing Buddhism, and Hinduism is a barely definable other religion as every teacher within it can virtually start his own form of Hinduism, trying to compare the two objectively is pretty much a hopeless task in my view.rudy 22:44, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Changes to Lead Paragraph

Unacceptable Changes to Opening Paragraph of Entry

("Changes to Lead Paragraph" is new NPoV and WP-terminology section title; old title "Unacceptable Changes to Opening Paragraph of Entry" is now (subordinated to it but) retained so links to section still work.)
The section now at Talk:Buddhism/Changes to Lead Paragraph consisted of 26 kilobytes of markup at 06:13, 1 November 2007 (UTC) when it was moved away from here to that subpage.

It then lacked subsections.
A summary or introduction to the section's contents, placed here, would be a valuable contribution.

I can't find an edit key on the introductory paragraph. As to neutrality, I am a bit sore on the very first remark "As with other religions,[5] some Buddhists claim that Buddhism is not a religion.". this reads to me like an accusation to the effect that assertions that Buddhism is not a religion are just as shallow as similar claims pertaining to all other religions.

I didn't know there were other religions you could say this of? Christianity? The definition of religion.

It denies investigating why people think of Buddhism this way.

1. Zen Buddhism, for example does not require the belief in any God or arch deity. There is no worship of the Buddha. There is appreciation for him having defined the methods of a religion which can be proven to work, but you don't have to pray or boy to him and famous practitioners have expressed revulsion for Buddha, this said because the emphasis in Zen is on self development and confidence alongside the development of heartfelt warmth towards others. No God is central to Zen and though there are teachers there are no Zen leaders to worship and follow. Bowing is done but this is to show the accretion of pride which actually hinders a happy life. Zen masters simply teach people how to be happy. There is talk of reincarnation but concerns for the afterlife are not of overriding importance in Zen. Zen is practice, not prayer or worship.

2.One does not have to learn canonical texts or believe in myths to be a genuine Zen practitioner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vapourmile (talkcontribs) 17:08, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

There's no separate edit key for the introduction: you have to use the one for the article as a whole.

I'm pleased someone is prepared to discuss this. The point I've been trying to make is that any suggestion in the opening summary that Buddhism is special or unique is not neutral. Of course all religions are unique in some respects, but to single out those for mention risks imbalance. As to your remark, "... this reads to me like an accusation to the effect that assertions that Buddhism is not a religion are just as shallow as similar claims pertaining to all other religions.", your assertion that claims by other religions are shallow is hardly neutral, is it? (Of course, you're not putting it in the article, so that's OK.)

If you follow the link I gave, you'll see that essentially all religions have people making such claims. I suppose the idea is that they don't want to be lumped in with all those other lot, they're special, different.

I've no objection to having a detailed discussion of this in the article, but I hope you'd agree that the opening summary is not the place for it. Peter jackson (talk) 10:07, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Greed and hatred

In those places in the article where raga (greed), and dosa (hate) appear, I propose we change the word greed to craving (or desire) and hate/hatred to aversion as they seem more accurate. For example, a person reading it as it stands could easily get a false impression by saying: 'oh, well I am not a greedy person, so I am OK,' when that is an incorrect interpretation of raga, becasue craving as desire exists in all living beings, from coarse down to very subtle forms. Same applies to hatred where the impulse of aversion, though a milder term than hatred, occurs in all living beings, again in coarse and subtle forms. Any comments or objections to this proposal? thanks Peter morrell 11:23, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Hallo Peter. I think you are basically right. I've always felt that "raga" is wrongly translated as "greed"; it is surely more expressive of strong desire (not just greed - which, as you say, is too limited and too extreme in its sphere of reference, and is often just linked to an excessive desire for food!); maybe we could translate raga as "passionate desire". I have the impression that "raga" is a kind of "itching desire" or compelling "urge". We have to remember, too, that in the Mahayana it is sometimes seen as a good thing to "desire" Dharma, even to thirst and hunger for it! As for "dosa": I know that some highly knowledgeable scholars do translate it as "aversion". I personally, though, wonder whether "antipathy" might be good, or "enmity"? But I am mindful of what Peter J. said earlier today: it is not for us to invent what we might prefer!! Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 13:10, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Tony, I agree with your view but shall await further comments before making the changes. Regarding what PeterJ said higher up about experts, I agree in principle BUT who are the experts? one person's expert is another's biased commentator. WP is designed to aspire towards neutrality and expertise or authoritative information, of course, but on the opening page it says quite clearly that articles do contain much OR and POV material that gets winnowed out by natural process over time. I think WP would be very thin indeed if it contained only strictly expert material. Aspire towards that, yes, but to demand it at the outset, I feel is way too pedantic. Articles in any case mature towards greater expertise and esteem. Such is my ten penn'orth on that one. thank you Peter morrell 13:50, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your comments, Peter. You are surely right! Best wishes again. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:10, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Tony, I am not sure I am 'right' about anything, but I merely think it is 'better' to use desire and aversion rather than greed and hatred. These are milder, more neutral, less extreme words that I feel are simply more suitable. Let us see if we can find agreement on this. thanks again Peter morrell 18:32, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Simply to provide a gross level barometer for what I suspect we all already know: According to a search of the Pali Tipitaka (at, the expression rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo shows up 17 times in the Canon, rāgassa dosassa mohassa shows up 18 times, rāgadosamohā shows up 39 times, "rāgo" (including combinations with "doso") 1041 times, etc. In short, from this and general reading on Buddhism, I infer that the combination of these three terms (with various Pali-language inflections and combinations) is likely important to Early Buddhism; and, thus, it is not the Pali terms we're questioning but the English translations.
Given this assumption, while no doubt a debate could be started regarding which traditional/scholarly translations are best for these three terms, I feel strongly that for the integrity of WP we need to use traditional/scholarly terms. If you have a similar inclination, then, e.g., here are the relevant links to the on-line PTS Pali-English Dictionary (PED) definitions: Rāga, Dosa, Moha. Of course, these translations are dated and lack knowledge of the last 80 years of scholarship.
I'd be wary of going with something like "desire" for rāga. I tend to see contemporary translators using the word "desire" for the Pali word chanda -- which can also mean "will" or "resolution," thus incorporating Tony's knowledge of positive associations with the word "desire." (Again, the PTS PED provides a more sophisticated analysis at Chanda where, among other things, it includes a brief discussion of the phrase chanda rāga dosa, etc.) And, within my limited knowledge, "craving" is general reserved for taṇhā.
I can recognize and deeply applaud the desire to reconcile the Canon with our own intuitions and experiences; but, for me at least, when there's ample scholarship on the matter, Wikipedia is not the place to work this out. For me, the current translations seem to have the authority of tradition. I'd vote for keeping them unless superior universally recognized authority can be found for alternate translations. My half-penny. I wish you well, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 02:47, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Hello, I agree too, that desire and aversion are more accurate and better translations (...this is my personal opinion, Larry). But this does not mean that greed and hatred are wrong translations, and in some cases these could actually be more appropriate. Also I would like to remind us of the fact that raga/dosa are actually supposed to refer to the extremes of the human mind (see the dhammacakkapavattanasutta), so trying to make them sound less extreme might not be a very good idea. Come to think of it, maybe greed and hatred are better translations! ;-) Greetings, Sacca 07:01, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm in a quandary! I have sympathies with both sides of the argument here. I certainly agree with Larry that, unless there is a very strong reason - genuine inaccuracy - we should not take it upon ourselves to change standard Buddhist translations on Wikipedia. On the other hand, I understand what both Peter and Sacca are saying. I do feel that raga and dosa are expressive of fairly strong feelings or emotions (but not perhaps always as extreme as "hatred" and "greed"). Larry, I found your links to the PTS definitions really helpful and eye-opening. Thank you for your help on that. I like the words "passion" and "ill-will" (given in the PTS) for raga and dosa respectively. Perhaps, as Sacca implies, it depends on the context how one translates such terms: sometimes a milder word might be appropriate, and sometimes a stronger term. I personally rather like "passionate desire" for "raga" and "ill will" or "enmity" for "dosa". But I understand what you mean, Larry, about "chanda" being a more suitable equivalent of desire (and also containing some positive connotations). I still tend to think that "greed" for "raga" is slightly misleading - so on this particular term I tend to be with Peter ... Anyway, let's see what more knowledgeable persons than myself think about these Pali words! Best wishes to all. From Tony. TonyMPNS 09:58, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Many thanks to one and all for your learned inputs. In due course, I will propose a way to accommodate all views in a possible rewording. Once I have composed a short item that seems suitable, I will copy and paste it here for your delectation and comments! kind regards Peter morrell 14:59, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

What I propose to amend this item when I get time is as follows:

  • leave original wording as it is;
  • add refs kindly supplied by Larry re the Pali defintions of each word;
  • add a short sentence explaining that desire and aversion can be seen as broader categories and that lust/greed are forms of desire just as hatred and anger are forms of aversion;
  • hopefully this will explain both the theravada and mahayana positions on this topic.

do you all think that this will be an OK change? thank you Peter morrell 05:58, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Hi Peter. I think your suggestion is really good. I for one would be happy with it. I'm keen to see what our friends think .... Warm regards. From Tony. TonyMPNS 09:55, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
PeterM, I very much appreciate the thought you put into this and your seeking constructive dialogue and consensus. Intuitively, your solution sounds both thoughtful and judicious. Personally, I'm somewhat concerned about such an extrapolation (in terms of the third bullet) without a source reference; FWIW, I think I've seen such in non-scholarly works (maybe Thich Nhat Hanh?) but cannot recall where. In short, I can appreciate how your solution meets various people's practical needs and has experiential resonance; I can see its intuitive appeal; I have the aforementioned concern but won't object further. Best regards, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 13:40, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Thank you Tony and Larry, maybe I won't do the third 'dicey' bullet afterall; not a big problem, will see how it pans out. Yes, Larry, I feel that dialogue and consensus are vital. many thanks for your inputs, kind regards Peter morrell 15:18, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, as always, PeterM. FWIW, Gethin (1998, p. 320) defines "nirvāṇa/nibbāna" as "the 'blowing out' of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion; the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice; the unconditioned." Thus it appears that he too is translating "rāga dosa mohā" as "greed, hatred, and delusion." But, since I sympathize with what you are trying to do and think it has multifaceted merit, I'll attempt to locate something in Gethin or Harvey (which are beside me now) or the tipitaka (on-line) that might support your well-intentioned and understandable inclination. Anyone else able to help out here? With metta, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 17:14, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, hopefully a nibble of things to come (though I know you've surmised my home life :-) ), I find this in Gethin's (1998) discussion of Madhyamaka and Yogacara: "...they also focus on the subtlest forms of greed — the subtlest tendencies of the mind to grasp, cling, and fix — as the root of all other forms of greed" (p. 250). Just a decontextualized tidbit. More later, I hope, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 17:26, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
Hi PeterM, again. Don't want to keep you waiting longer and unfortunately I've had little time to more fully pursue what I mentioned above. I've found (disputable?) bases for some variation of the above translations, e.g, it appears Gombrich translates rāga (or perhaps lobha?) as "passion" and Thanissaro Bhikkhu (e.g., in his translation of MN 9) translates dosa as "aversion".... but, as I think you might agree, I'm disinclined to recommended picking and choosing translations from different sources. FWIW, perhaps that Gombrich (in this article's current endnote #29) equates rāga dosa with "craving" (presumably tanha, the association of which, for what it's worth, sounds like a bit of an interpretive [thought commonsensical] leap to me) might be of use to you. Sorry I can't find something at this time of clearer use. I wish you well, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:45, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks again Larry no hurry at all in fact. Don't mind waiting. I think I have more or less decided, as I said before, to leave the original wording as-is, partly for the reasons you alluded to. But I hope to simply add the three Pali links you gave by placing each ref just after each word. Optionally I could add something fairly anodyne re aversion and desire BUT on further reflection I do agree that 'subduing the passions' must primarily mean subduing the extreme passions of lust/greed and anger/hate...consequently, I cannot proceed with the original plan as it would be too much OR and POV without some solid refs to back it up, which as you have amply shown, are about as rare as stars by day! Pity because I had a nice amusing extract from 'The Life of Brian' lined up to illustrate the point here on the talk page. Here is the link anyway [5] thanks again for your help, kind regards Peter morrell 19:06, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

LOL -- I think the cheesemaker analogy is very apropos :-). And while I only skimmed the rest of the article, it seems amazingly little has changed in three years. Okay, right speech on now. Sigh, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 21:37, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, this ain't gonna be one of them WP gold standard sources but the remarkable Ven. Nyanaponika Thera wrote an article entitled "The Roots of Good and Evil" which was published (1978/1986) separately by the so-called "propagandist" (might as well get this word out of the way here) Buddhist Publication Society (BPS), anthologized in "The Vision of the Dhamma" (2000), and made availabe as a PDF for free on the web from a number of sites (e.g., at On page 21 of the PDF (p. 17 of the slender BPS publication, etc.), there is a section entitled, "The Range of the Six Roots." Here, seemingly based primarily on abhidhammic and possibly commentarial sources, Nyanaponika writes:
The three unwholesome roots are not restricted to the strong manifestation suggested by the English terms greed, hatred and delusion. To understand their range it is important to know that in Pali these three terms stand for all degrees of intensity, even the weakest, of the three defilements, and for all varieties in which these appear. In their weak degrees their unwholesome influence on character and kammic consequences is, of course, not as grave as that of their stronger forms. But even weak forms may carry the risk of either growing stronger or making a person’s character more susceptible to their graver manisfestations. A fuller view of the various forms the unwholesome roots assume may be gained from a list of their synonyms, partly taken from the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the first book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
Greed — liking, wishing, longing, fondness, affection, attachment, lust, cupidity, craving, passion, self-indulgence, possessiveness, avarice; desire for the five sense objects; desire for wealth, offspring, fame, etc.
Hatred — dislike, disgust, revulsion, resentment, grudge, ill-humour, vexation, irritability, antagonism, aversion, anger, wrath, vengefulness.
Delusion — stupidity, dullness, confusion, ignorance of essentials (e.g. of the Four Noble Truths), prejudice, ideological dogmatism, fanaticism, wrong views, conceit....
Might this help? (Even if it is deemed unacceptable for WP use, it gives an eminent scholar monk's corroboration of your own experiential knowledge.) With metta, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 06:25, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Many thanks, Larry, that's a terrific source. I have now added to the article merely the 3 Pali refs you gave earlier. Maybe the Nyanaponika source you give above could be adapted afterall into a very brief and referenced sentence alluding to the subtler forms of 'the three unwholesome roots.' thanks again. kind regards Peter morrell 08:29, 15 September 2007 (UTC)


This was notified above about a month ago. It still has only 2 contributors, & only a few comments have been made on it. It looks like the only way of getting a response is to import it, so here it is. It's not intended as a finished product (nor was the old article) & still needs a lot of work, but I'd like other people to do some, not just out of laziness, but also to bring in different knowledge & perspectives. Peter jackson 13:50, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks for all the hard work, Peter. I've only looked through your new version very swiftly and superficially, but generally I think it is good. Of course, as you say, other editors can contribute their own knowledge to this sound basis that you have created. I am sure that people will want to add or subtract a few things here and there. As always, I'm keen to hear what the others think. Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:49, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, I do not like the new version at all; it is a mere skeleton of the old one with which I could see very little wrong. Furthermore, this new version could have been done in the sandbox and folks invited to edit it there until it had attained to a size and form suitable to replace its predecessor. Why not? The most lamentable omission is not only the swathes of good stuff all gone, which is bad enough, but the new version is very poorly referenced. It is infinitely worse than the old version. Sorry, but you did ask for comments so there you go. many thanks Peter morrell 19:08, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

The proposal has been mentioned a number of times on this page since the 11th of August. Most people have neither contributed nor commented. That's why it's here now.

If you think important stuff has been deleted you're free to put it back. However, bear in mind the question of the length of the article. The recommended upper limit is 32kb. The old article was far longer, but about the same as Christianity & Islam. The new version is in between. The only opinion expressed on this page (ignoring archives) is that of Sacca, that the old article was too long.

Yes, there are few refs yet. But then there weren't all that many before. I've given a few for "controversial" points, ie ones where Western Buddhists are often misinformed. I'd prefer to leave the hard work until we've sorted out exactly what we want in the article. Some parts should be expanded, others contracted.

The most important point is that the old article was grossly imbalanced. As I've said a number of times, it was mainly Westernized Theravada doctrine & Indian Buddhist history. The rest of the field was dealt with very sketchily if at all. Some major forms of Buddhism were not even mentioned until I put them in a while back. So a major rewrite of some sort was absolutely essential, & I started to do that my own way, but hadn't got far before this was proposed. I decided to ride with it for now, but I'm not committed to this particular way of doing it. If other people want to produce their own proposals for a balanced article, we can discuss which we prefer. Peter jackson 09:02, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Peter, for your ample clarification. I had never seen the 'sandbox draft copy' ever mentioned before, and so I never knew where to go to for editing purposes or to make suggestions. No matter. I am happy that the new version is in fact a working draft or work-in-progress as that means changes and suggestions are welcome. I will see what changes and additions might be suggested in due course. thanks again and kind regards Peter morrell 09:16, 17 September 2007 (UTC)


Let's suppose we want to have this in the intro. I think everyone would agree that the intro should not say what Buddhism isn't without saying what it is, while the reverse is possible. So producing a summary of what it is must come 1st, & that must be fair to all main forms of Buddhism. Peter jackson 13:50, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

The subject of God in Hinduism is discussed in depth in the article Deva(Buddhism). There is no need to incorporate it into this article because the concept of god plays such a minute role in Buddhism.--ॐJesucristo301 11:27, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

It is not a strictly non-theistic religion because deities do play a role in Buddhism, there is no getting away from it, both in the popular forms and in the Mahayana. In this respect, Buddhism is polytheistic. As usual, therefore, whatever we say about it there is then an exception to it! making it problematic to say just about anything definitive. It is ALSO a philosophy and a form of psychology as well as a religion. Such subtleties need including IMO. best regards Peter morrell 11:34, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Superscript text==Is Buddhism a religion?==

Someone has arbitrarily deleted the other answers to this question that I added. What justification is there for including just the answers listed & not any others? My attempt at completeness was intended as a reductio ad absurdum of the idea of dealing with this question in detail in the intro. It should be a separate section, or article. Peter jackson 13:50, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

The issue of translation comes into play. The original term for the teachings of Siddharta Gautama would have been called "Dharma" and early translators would have labeled it is a religion instantly. There is no real reason to change the name because, as always, there is no word in the English language that does it justice.--ॐJesucristo301 11:29, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Weasel Words?

As of September 18, 2007 11:50 PM EST, the Buddhism article states as follows:

"Buddhism is often described as a religion[1] and a collection of various philosophies.[2] To many, however, Buddhism is regarded as a set of spiritual teachings and practices rather than a religion.[3] [4] "

First of all the above writing technically does not even define what Buddhism is. It only states that is often described as a religion and that some people regard it as something else. The author seems like he or she wants to say that Buddhism is better regarded as something other than a religion or he or she seems to disfavor Buddhism being defined as a religion. Aside from being clear bias, it is wishy-washy and unacceptable for an encyclopedia article.

The question over whether Buddhism is to be regarded as a religion, or whether it is better understood as something else, should not be included in the introductory definition. As it stands, the excerpt quoted above would only serve to mystify Buddhism to more Westerners than to clarify it.

Also, if this article is to address the issue that many Westerners regard or refer to Buddhism as something other than a religion then it should also state it in the context of Western Buddhism. Therefore, it should say something to the affect of " the West [or] among Western Buddhists, Buddhism has been discussed as a philosophy rather than a religion", for example. This however doesn't mean that it can't be defined in the introduction as a "religion and philosophy, etc."

In order to give authors of this article some fresh ideas, please compare the above excerpt of the English Wikipedia article on Buddhism, with the opening sentences of the Thai language version. The first few lines of the Thai article reads:

"Buddhism or Buddhist religion or religion of Buddhism, as it is understood, refers to a religion of clear awareness, it is a religion that has the Triple Gem as its highest refuge, namely the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha."

"พระพุทธศาสนา หรือ พุทธศาสนา หรือ ศาสนาพุทธ โดยความหมายแล้ว หมายถึงศาสนาแห่งความรู้แจ้ง เป็นศาสนาที่มีพระรัตนตรัย เป็นสรณะอันสูงสุด อันได้แก่ พระพุทธเจ้า พระธรรม และ พระสงฆ์"

Also compare to the Spanish version's introduction:

"Buddhism is a non-theistic religion pertaining to the Dharmic family of religions. Additionally, it is also a philosophy, a method of training and spiritual practice and a school of psychology."

"El Budismo es una religión no-teísta perteneciente a la familia dhármica de religiones. Adicionalmente también es una filosofía, un método de entrenamiento y práctica espiritual y un sistema psicológico."

The Spanish version is accurate, simple and clear and reflects something accessible to Westerners. I suggest the English article should copy it. The Thai version's definition appears clearly religious but is nonetheless accurate. The word "philosophy" does not appear anywhere in the Thai language version. Coolbo 04:17, 19 September 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Coolbo (talkcontribs) 04:11, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

What you say is interesting but neither of the above statements can seriously be considered a neutral defintion of what Buddhism is and furthermore neither statement is sourced. What has been attempted recently in changes to the English version is to try and make the article more neutral, more accurate and better sourced. What you suggest does not seem to share those goals. For example, there could be, as PeterJ has repeatedly pointed out on this talk page, a wide gulf between what Buddhists claim Buddhism is and what scholars say. In which case, don't you think a middle way should be found between such extremes so as to give the reader a bridge to cross that gulf? we are trying to head for consensus but it is a slow process. thank you. kind regards Peter morrell 06:06, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

That's not quite what I said. My main point is that Buddhists have a wide variety of different views & can't be relied on for accurate accounts of each other. Peter jackson 11:12, 19 September 2007 (UTC)


Victor gives no reason for reverting. I've reverted the revert. My reasons for drastic revision have already been stated several times: the old version is grossly unbalanced, being mainly westernized Theravada doctrine & Indian Buddhist history. As I said above, I'm open to suggestions on other ways to deal with this, but meanwhile we must stick with an attempt at balance. Peter jackson 10:04, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

I have asked Victor to try and bring this subject up for discussion as there appears to be some sort of conflict and we need to build a good consensus. Maybe we can discuss this? hopefully peacefully. thanks Peter morrell 11:38, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Peter morrell, thanks for your note.
If somebody's interested, I've stated the reasons for revert on the Peter morrell's talk page.
Even better than me (at least second time, IIRC) Peter morrell stated my reasons for the reverts
on my talk page in his message dated 16:29, 21 September 2007 (UTC).
Klimov 12:14, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Hallo everyone. Perhaps a good idea would be to invite the regular "Buddhism" editors to vote on how they think we should proceed: we could either 1) revert to the earlier version of the "Buddhism" entry (Victor's preferred option), with the possibility of pruning and amending it as required; or 2) use Peter J's version as a foundation for further work. What do you think? I think a vote might be the easiest way to resolve this impasse at the present time ... Best wishes to all. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:26, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Tony. In that case I would have to vote to keep the old version, primarily because I think it has greater potential for improvement and whole swathes of useful stuff have been deleted in the creation of the new version. Though both will require a lot of work, yet I fancy that correcting the old version will require less work. However, I think Victor's reverting is unhelpful though udnerstandable. He has now reached 3 reverts and so is in a difficult position. With respect to all I think we need to explore and discuss the reasons why he reverted the article and not just vote on a copy we prefer. kind regards to all Peter morrell 12:37, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Thank you very much, Peter, for your helpful contribution to the debate. While I think that Peter J's version is a good foundation for future work and has certain superiorities over the previous version (e.g. it is more concise and probably more balanced), if I were forced to vote on the matter, I too would opt ---- for the previous version. To me personally, that earlier version makes for more interesting, informative and user-friendly reading. Of course it has definite faults and defects - but I tend to share your own view, Peter, that these can fairly easily be remedied. I personally prefer the style of the earlier version. But let's see what other editors think. It is important, I believe, that we try to be as reasonable and democratic as possible in these circumstances. If the vote (should there be one!) goes against the earlier version and in favour of Peter J's, I would of course accept that. Both versions are a good basis for further work, in my view. All the best to everyone. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:53, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Please see sections below for fuller explanations. Please also bear in mind that particular, as opposed to general, points are not relevant to this discussion: they can always be adjusted separately, without a total revert. Peter jackson 11:12, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Voting for versions

Peter and Tony asked me to vote on versions (thanks, guys for your messages). So here I am voting:

  • I think we shall deal with it section by section, let start it first with Origin then Divisions then Buddhism Today. For each section we either modify, combine the content or completely remove the section. After all section has been completed, we then re-arrange the section. Let start with Klimov version as the foundation. Sawadeekrap 01:04, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Voting is irrelevant. You don't decide truth by voting. The truth is that the old version is grossly unbalanced, as I've repeatedly said.

Objections I've noticed so far to my version seem to be mainly in 3 categories:

  • material has been deleted; I already answered this: if you think important material has been deleted, put it back; that's no justification for deleting all the improvements
  • people don't like the style; I have 2 replies to this:
    • if you don't like the style, rewrite it
    • more importantly, content is more important than style: a poorly written balanced article would be preferable to a well-written unbalanced one
  • too detailed; this is something we can discuss; however, if we agree there's too much detail, this must not be dealt with by deleting details on underrepresented topics; we must delete details on overrepresented topics instead; I've been doing a bit of that, eg on 4 noble truths; I remind people that these are an advanced teaching in early Buddhism & traditional Theravada, & a preliminary one in Mahayana, probably not very important; eg I find no entry for them in the index to Ch'en's Buddhism in China

Now Sawadeeprak. I'm puzzled by apparent inconsistency. The suggestion of 3 divisions, Origins, Divisions, Buddhism Today, is much closer to our arrangement than to Victor's, yet S wants to start with Victor's version. In any case our version does start with something very close to that. You can go to the source page & check the history to see that.

As regards S's suggestion of comparing section by section, that's fine with me. It's not much different from my suggestion that people might put things back. Peter jackson 10:38, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

U misunderstood. I'm not suggesting of having only 3 division. What i actualy suggest is that we start with the 1st section and then the 2nd...until the last. Instead of trying to modify the whole article all together. I agree with the way you arrange your version of the article & it size....but for most of the editor it will be just too overhelming to edit the whole article all at once. Sawadeekrap 05:17, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

A further point about detail. Our version is a good deal shorter than Victor's. Peter jackson 11:01, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

  • It seems to me that we should accept the wishes of the majority here with good grace. I myself would be happy to work with Peter J's version if that were what most people chose as their preference. In actuality, however, most people (by at least 4 to 2, and including myself) seem to prefer the "Victor" version. Voting, or at least the ascertaining of the majority view, seems to me the fairest way to proceed. Democracy is never "irrelevant" - except in a dictatorship! And already a strong preference for Victor's version has been made clear. Why don't we just get down to working with Victor's version now and do the best job we can with it? All best wishes to everyone. From Tony. TonyMPNS 12:48, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Let me repeat yet again, since nobody seems to be taking any notice: VICTOR'S VERSION IS GROSSLY UNBALANCED AND THEREFORE UNACCEPTABLE. I'm quite happy if Victor or anyone else wants to improve it to make it reasonably balanced (perfection is impossible). I'm quite happy if people want to produce a completely new balanced version. I'm quite happy if people want to amalgamate the 2 versions as Sawadeeprak seems to suggest. Any sort of reasonably balanced article is OK with me. But until someone actually produces one, instead of just talking about it, I'm going to keep putting our version back. I'm still working on improving it as I can, as are others (I haven't reverted anyone's changes, yet), & I wish other people would be constructive & try to improve the article, either our version or any other, instead of censoring out most of the information on forms of Buddhism other than Westernized Theravada. Peter jackson 17:10, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps this is not a debate we can win. Unfortunate but true, change does not generally happen on pages with many editors, regardless of the state of the article. --Gimme danger 20:09, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Comment Additionally, it seems that using the talk page to make changes is fairly useless, as when I announced here that I was attempting a rewrite, you were the only one to respond at all, positively or negatively. Perhaps introducing improvements one at a time, though tedious, will be more effective. I must admit that I'm quite frustrated with this article, since I don't see much chance for change or improvement. And I must also admit that I'm still rather miffed that when I standardized and completed the reference section, that I was the one accused of both making insufficient references and not completing the task quickly enough! Alright, I'm done now. --Gimme danger 20:18, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Peter, you are showing great intolerance here and ignoring and riding roughshod over what a majority of people here want. Voting is irrelevant? How can you say that? This is behaviour like a military junta; please reflect on this. You do not own the article but you are showing definite signs of an ownership problem. Regardless of your views, a majority of people have voted to keep the old copy. Why can you not accept the will of the majority? This is not acting in a very Buddhist manner and sets a pretty poor example. Are you a Buddhist? regards to all Peter morrell 17:37, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't see how PeterJ's religion enters into the discussion. I was not aware that one had to be a Buddhist to edit this article. --Gimme danger 20:09, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I am afraid that I haven't followed all of the discussion--it seemed to me to be rather a discussion among theologians and I am afraid that I just tuned out. But can this consumer get a word in? I have found the "old copy" very useful for my limited understanding and I have recommended it to others who have had the same reaction. So it was to my surprise that I suddenly discovered that it had undergone massive changes. I then found out that there had been an ongoing discussion which if I have understood it does not really seem to have made an overwhelming case for the kind of changes that have been made. Until it does, does not Wikipractice opt for the status quo?Joel Mc 17:49, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm not being intolerant. I've suggested plenty of other possibilities that I'd tolerate. Here's another one: keep the article the way you want it, but with a standard neutrality dispute tag at the top. Peter jackson 08:45, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Weasel Words Continue

"Buddhism is conventionally classified as a religion, a point on which a variety of views have been expressed."

In other words, the author says: "Buddhism is generally considered to be a religion, but this is not necessarily the case." Essentially, the author is stating a contention not a fact. Imagine if the article on "Tomato" stated: "The Tomato is conventionally classified as a vegetable, but some people say it's a fruit." Or vice-versa. This is just ridiculous. The question "Is Buddhism a religion?" does not need to be addressed or referred to for the purposes of a general encyclopedia article. It would be an appropriate topic for an academic treatise however.

For the sake of general encyclopedia article, there's nothing wrong or biased with simply stating "Buddhism is a religion..." Buddhism in form and practice is a religion like any other religion: it has clergy, temples, relics, sacred texts, etc. (there's no need to source this statement, it's common knowledge). However, the possibility that Buddhism may *substantially* be something other than a religion, for example, a philosophy or way of life or whatever, is not precluded by simply stating "Buddhism is a religion..." One could also write: "Buddhism is a religion and a philosophy on and so forth..."

This is my point: people do have a variety of views on what Buddhism is, but these variety of viewpoints and/or the fact that people have these views need not be stated in a general and neutral encyclopedia article on Buddhism, at least not in the introductory paragraph. The article is titled "Buddhism" not "Views on Buddhism" or "Different Conceptions of Buddhism."

It's not false nor biased to state "Buddhism is a religion..." Besides the word "religion" could be broadly construed despite its connotations. Coolbo 07:44, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I liked the Spanish opening: "Buddhism is a non-theistic religion..." I think that clears up one important distinction straight away. I also suspect that Buddhism's non-theism may be the point that has confused previous editors (possibly some with a strong background in the Abrahamic religions) into wanting to launch straight into a "but-it's-not-a-proper-religion" discussion at the head of this article. --Nigelj 08:53, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Hallo Coolbo and Nigelj. I have a great deal of sympathy with what you say. I personally think that Buddhism is indubitably a religion: it has all kinds of supernatural doctrines (after all - the idea of being re-born again and again and again in accordance with the merit or demerit of your deeds and eventually possibly entering some realm called Nirvana - a realm of unimaginable bliss and peace) seems pretty religious to me! I also understand the point about Buddhism's being a "non-theistic" religion. Many people get hung up on the idea of an absolute Creator God as found in the semitic religions and think that this is the indispensable prerequisite for a religion. But it is not! The problem, though, with saying that Buddhism is "non-theistic" is, as Peter Jackson has indicated, that there are very important scriptures in Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism which, on the face of it at least, do seem to express the notion of an all-pervasice (creative) Wisdom or Buddhic Mind at the heart of all things. So even saying that Buddhism is "non-theistic" perhaps needs to be modified. But overall, I do have a lot of understanding for what you are saying here. Best wishes to all. From Tony.TonyMPNS 10:22, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Although in principle one might say that the question doesn't need to be addressed in this article, in practice if we don't say anything people will keep putting things in, mostly biased, so I think it's probably a good idea to preempt that. Or perhaps insert a comment on the edit page?

Whatever its official meaning, the word theist suggests both monotheist & polytheist, & traditional Buddhism would certainly seem to come under the latter.

Is it correct to say Buddhism is a religion without qualification? Under WP rules, that would mean that there is a consensus of expert opinion to that effect. Has anyone checked to see whether that's so? That's why I used the word "conventionally". The citations I gave in the other version of the article illustrate this: it is described as a religion in the definition of it in standard dictionaries, it has chapters in books about religions, it's classified under religion in libraries, it's listed as a religion in the census returns for English-speaking countries etc. Peter jackson 10:38, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Hallo Peter. Good to hear from you. I do agree with your use of the word "conventionally": I think it is suitable in this context. As I indicated above, I obviously share your own position that all the bulk of the evidence (both theoretical and practical) indicates that Buddhism is in fact a religion. Maybe a new entry could be created and then linked to - something along the lines of: "Buddhism: Religion or Philosophy?" Anyway, thanks for all your valuable input. Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 11:06, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
How about opening with a sentence based on two or three short lists like, "Buddhism is a term that refers to a range of religious, physical, mental and spiritual practices, philosophies and beliefs that have developed and evolved over many centuries in many parts of the world." Then a unifying thought like the existing second sentence, "The writings and teachings of Buddhism are based on..." or, as it is, "It was founded around the fifth century BCE by Gautama Buddha in what is now India." --Nigelj 11:29, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I also like, "Central to most Buddhist teaching is the concept of awareness and the development of mindfulness, usually through the practice of meditation." I'm sure, with a brief trawl of the literature, it would be easy enough to find citations for each of these words, and to wikilink them too. --Nigelj 11:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Hallo again Nigelj. I think your suggestion is very fine - especially the opening section: "Buddhism is a term that refers to a range of religious ....". I would not myself have any major problems with what you propose there. I wonder what Peter, Coolbo and our other friends think? Warm regards. Tony. TonyMPNS 12:25, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm quite happy with that sort of phrasing. It covers all the necessary qualifications in a convenient way. Peter jackson 10:57, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

However, I'm not so happy with the statement "Central ... " Certainly, it's important to have the qualification "most", but even then I'm not sure it's correct to describe this one particular point as central, as against all the other important teachings. Peter jackson 11:05, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

  • I tend to agree with Peter Jackson that it is perhaps over-stated to say that mindfulness is "central" to most Buddhist teaching. I very much like Nigelj's first statement (on Buddhism's being a term that refers to a range of religious ...."), but I have - like Peter - some reservations regarding that second statement. Best wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:41, 22 September 2007 (UTC)


Williams, Mahayana Buddhism, Routledge, London/New York, 1989:

p1: "... the diversity to be found within Buddhism ... This diversity prevents, or strongly hinders, generalization about Buddhism as a whole. ... It is important to emphasize this lack of unanimity at the outset."

p2: "The importance of appreciating doctrinal diversity applies not just to Buddhism as a whole but to the Mahayana itself. There is a fallacy which I shall call the 'essentialist fallacy'. This occurs when we take a single name or naming expression and assume that it must refer to one unified phenomenon. this is indeed a fallacy, as a little thought will show, but it is a peculiarly pervasive and deep-rooted fallacy, giving rise to the feeling that because we use the same word so there must be some core, an essence, identified by the relevant definition. Thus the same thing is expressed each time the utterance is used. Because the expression 'Mahāyāna ... has been used by Buddhists from perhaps ... the first century BCE to the present day, from India through ... to ... the Western world, so it must refer to some identifiable characteristics which we can capture in a defintion."

p3: "Buddhist philosophy from its inception embodied a sustained criticism of this essentialist fallacy. ... It would be a good idea, I think, if we too could learn from the Buddhists at this early stage in our study of Mahāyāna to look behind linguistic unities and see them as simply constructions imposed by the use of a single naming expression. Mahāyāna is not, and never was, a single unitary phenomenon."

p4: "... Mahāyāna sūtras. If we look at this enormous literature ... what we find in reality is a shifting mass of teachings with little or no central core ... What unifying element there is in Buddhism, Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna, is provided by the monks and their adherence to the monastic rule."

To which I'd add that Japanese Buddhism has abandoned the monastic rule & most of its clergy are married. Peter jackson 11:03, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

-- As Peter has pointed out, Buddhism itself is impossible to generalize. But an encyclopedia is all about generalization, i.e. an encyclopedia is supposed to be "a little about a lot." It's sufficient for the purposes of an encyclopedia article to write that "Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of Siddharta Gautama. It was founded in India in the 6th century BC..." or something similar.

"Buddhism is conventionally classified as a religion, a point on which a variety of views have been expressed." - This sounds like the opening sentence of an academic paper. It does not belong in the introductory paragraph of an encyclopedia article. If there was a subsequent section of this article titled "Different Views on Buddhism", then perhaps that sentence would be appropriate.

Also, it's not necessary to find expert consensus that "Buddhism is a religion" because we're stating common, mainstream knowledge. Let me ask this: what if the article on the "United States" stated "The United States is conventionally classified as a democracy, a point on which a variety of views have been expressed"? Regardless of the merits of such a claim, it would be inappropriate and highly inflammatory for the article to state such a sentence. I believe the same principle applies here.

"Buddhism is a religion" = Common knowledge/mainstream understanding. "Buddhism may be a religion" = Point of view/Opinion. Coolbo 23:51, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree with you. Why not just make the change but ideally include a ref for each point. Alternatively, just suggest here a possible alternative phrasing for discussion. thank you Peter morrell 05:17, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

This discussion seems to be getting split up. See the material at the end of the previous section.

The quotations from Williams were not intended as comment on the question of whether Buddhism is a religion, though indeed they do bear on that. My point was in relation to the suggestions made above that the introduction should include something on basic Buddhist teachings. I was pointing out in more detail the problems with that. Peter jackson 11:02, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

More briefly on the same point, Gethin, Foundations of Buddhism, page 2:

"'Buddhism' is something of an intellectual abstraction: in reality there is not one Buddhism but many Buddhisms."

Peter jackson 17:13, 26 September 2007 (UTC)


Harvey's Introduction to Buddhism has 4 chapters on doctrine, covering rebirth & karma, 4 noble truths, Mahayana philosophy & Mahayana holy beings. Peter jackson 09:54, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

This article is about Buddhism overall, move this to the Mahayana section if you want to have any changes made.--ॐJesucristo301 11:30, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

I hope it's clear from the above section on essentialism that there is no consensus even on whether there's such a thing as Buddhism overall, let alone what it is. Therefore an article about any such concept cannot be NPOV, and it's necessary to give a survey of the main forms of Buddhism.

The above information from Harvey is just a start towards sorting out the balance in a bit more detail. Peter jackson 11:05, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Buddhist polemics

An AfD you may be interested in: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Buddhist_polemics. bikeable (talk) 00:59, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Joss sticks, anyone?

Just wondering if anyone wants a (GONG!) joss stick. — Rickyrab | Talk 21:43, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

I was trying to wish people luck, or some variant of WP:TEA - I didn't mean anything particular by it, just a nice thing to say. there was apparently an edit war going on about something, and someone brought up the topic of "a nice cup of tea", so I suggested joss sticks, the burning of which I thought would be a nice and respectable thing to do, like sitting with a cup of tea. The "GONG" is a special effect. It seemed appropriate to the topic, and I was entranced by the smell of the incense in that Mahayana Buddhist temple by (or about a block from) the Manhattan Bridge entrance in Manhattan. (If you live in New York's Chinatown, you'd know what temple I'm talking about - that yellow building.) I learned of joss sticks from accounts of Chinese religion. — Rickyrab | Talk 00:19, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I found the temple in question, it's at 133 Canal St.Rickyrab | Talk 00:29, 5 October 2007 (UTC)


Thank you, Victor. That wasn't actually the one I was thinking of, but it'll do as a caveat lector. (Personally, I think there should be one in large, brightly coloured letters on the main page of WP.)

Neutrality here means mainly between different forms of Buddhism, but also between different scholarly views. One such question is very important here, the one I've dealt with above under the heading Essentialism. The quotations there, along with Gethin's remark (loc cit) that it is fashionable to say this, show that quite a few scholars think there is no such "thing" as "Buddhism", just a range of related phenomena. There may well be other scholars who take the opposite view. There certainly seem to be Buddhists who do, such as the late Dr Rahuls& his colleagues in the WBSC. But both Gethin & Williams were, I think, Buddhists when they wrote the above (Williams susequently became a Catholic).

Anyway, this is a matter of disagreement, so we have to be neutral about it. That means we cannot base the article on some supposed essence, core, essential, basic or fundamental teachings, or foundations or whatever, because that would be just one POV. It would be NPOV to discuss all major theories of that sort, including the negative one, but that I think would be a different article. I don't think it's what the reader would expect from this article. I don't think it's sensible to have the article covering lowest common denominator Buddhism. It would look strange to say in the introduction, "This article concentrates on what different forms of Buddhism have in common, but most Buddhists consider much of this unimportant and other teachings much more so", and it would be dishonest to do it without saying so clearly. Furthermore, what is in common is roughly speaking Theravada, and it would be odd to call such an article neutral.

So I think the only sensible neutral approach is to give a balanced account of all major forms of Buddhism. And what might those be? Here are some figures (in millions) from the World Christian Encyclopedia, Oxford University Press, 2nd edn. (Despite its reputable publisher this is obviously biased: about a hundred million adherents of movements calling themselves Buddhist or Muslim are hived off into a category called new religions, so reducing the totals, while that for Christians includes not only all groups calling themselves Christian, however fringe, but even the Unitarians, who disclaimed the Christian label some years earlier.)

  • Mahayana (they use the term in Tony's sense of East Asian Buddhism) 202
    • Chinese 90
      • Falun Gong 30
    • Korean
      • Chogye 7
      • Taigo 3
    • Vietnamese
      • Hoa Hao 2
    • Japanese
      • Nichiren
        • Soka Gakkai 18
        • Rissho Koseikai 5
        • Reiyukai 3
        • Nichirenshu 2
        • Nichirenshoshu 1
      • Pure Land
        • True Pure Land 14
        • Otani 8 1/2
        • Nishi-Honganji 7 1/2
        • Shinshu Honganjiha 7
        • Shinshu Otani 6
        • Pure Land 4 1/2
      • Zen
        • Soto 6 1/2
        • Soto-shu 6
        • Rinzai-shu 3
      • Shingon
        • Shingonshu 11
        • 3 others listed, totalling 3
      • Tendai 5
  • Theravada 136
  • Lamaism (sic) 21

TBC Peter jackson 11:14, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

To clarify some points on the above. These figures are taken fro WCE's list of the 270 religious groups with more than 500,000 followers. I'm not sure what their definition is. Why do they count Chinese Buddhism as 1 group, Korean Buddhism as several large groups & Vietnamese Buddhism as a lot of small groups? The total for Mahayana should be increased by maybe 50 to cover new religions. I'm not sure whether the 30 Falun Gong are included in the 90 Chinese. If I have time I could study the book in more detail. Perhaps some other sources could be cited. Anyway, let's suppose the figures are about right, group similar groups together (perhaps subjective) & list them in order of size.

  1. (or possibly 2) Theravada 136
  2. (or 1) "mainstream" Mahayana ?
  3. Pure Land about 50
  4. (or 5) Nichiren about 30
  5. (or 4) Falun Gong 30
  6. Tibetan 21
  7. Zen about 16
  8. Shingon about 14

Then there's quite a gap before we come to the next largest, perhaps neo-Buddhism (Ambedkar), which I didn't list above, but which they give as 6m. I'm not sure whether that counts as a separate form of Buddhism or just a form of Theravada. Anyway, perhaps we should say there are 8 major forms of Buddhism as listed above.

Denominations aren't the end of the matter of course. Most major denominations aren't monolithic like the Catholic Church. (Even there, the clergy may be monolithic, at least publicly, but the laity are another matter.) There are a lot of variations within denominations, perhaps sometimes more important than those between them. In Protestantism the distinctions between evangelicals & liberals/modernists often look to the outsider more important than those between denominations, & something similar may be true for Buddhism. Pe,rhaps Western(ized) Buddhists are more like each other than like traditional Buddhists of the same denominations.

You might also take history into account. Perhaps Yogacara could have more space than the hundreds of thousands of followers of Hosso would give it, while modern movements might be played down a bit. However, this would have to be done in a neutral way: if you play down Soka Gakkai & Falun Gong you must do the same for Westernized Buddhism.

TBC Peter jackson 11:09, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

A word about sources. We've discussed this before, but I'd add here that the guidelines (under verifiability) say:

"An article should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy."

Notice the term third-party: this would seem to suggest non-Buddhist sources in our case, in addition to the other criteria.

To resume what I entered under Balance above. Harvey's Introduction to Buddhism is published by Cambridge University Press, a leading academic publisher at a leading university. It seems to me the best textbook on the subject. Anyway, I suggest it as a rough guide to the topics needed. Under teachings he has 4 chapters:

  • Karma & rebirth: elementary teaching; you can include a bit of cosmology
  • 4 holy (noble) truths; advanced teaching of Theravada; only preliminary for Mahayana, of varying importance
  • Mahayana philosophy
  • Mahayana holy beings

Under practice he has

  • Devotion
  • Morality
  • Sangha
  • Meditation

We can go into detail later. Peter jackson 14:00, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Now let's have a look at the article as it is at the moment, firstly topically:

  • karma & rebirth: a few odd mentions here & there
  • 4 noble truths: a long section, largely unsourced
  • Mahayana philosophy: very brief accounts of Madhyamaka & Yogacara; Tendai only mentioned, not explained; no mention at all of Huayan
  • Mahayana holy beings: a reasonable amount
  • devotion: long section on 3 refuges, largely unsourced; bare mention of Pure Land, with no information on what it is (practised by most Chinese monks in addition to the Japanese schools); ditto Nichiren
  • morality: long section, largely unsourced
  • sangha: included in above
  • meditation: sections on samatha & vipassana, largely unsourced; brief mention of tantric meditation, but no information on what it is; Zen named, but no information about it

Now by schools:

  1. Theravada: quite a lot, but pretty selective
  2. mainstream Mahayana (China, Korea & Vietnam): a fair amount about the bodhisattva ideal; no information at all about the main doctrinal (Huayan & Tiantai) & practice (Pure Land & Zen) traditions
  3. Pure Land: name only
  4. Nichiren: name only
  5. Falun Gong: no mention at all
  6. Tibetan: a bit
  7. Zen: bare mention
  8. Shingon: only stated to be Vajrayana

Peter jackson 11:09, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't have all that much to contribute here, only that I think this organization scheme is very sensible and that reliable sources should be scholarly and independent, ie not written by religious leaders. In addition to possibly introducing bias, religious sources tend to use terminology and metaphors that, while obvious to insiders, are incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with Buddhism. The ideal form of this article ought to be understandable someone who, though educated enough to read a reasonably complicated article, couldn't tell Shakyamuni from Ravi Shankar. Detailed discussions of technicalities of doctrine belong on other pages. (Side note: The Tibetan word for Buddhist, nang-pa, literally means "inside person"! I will stop geeking out now.) --Gimme danger 13:56, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The various subschools of Mahayana are all Mahayana schools. Same for all the subschools within Theravada, even though they profess to follow the Pali Canon, the schools vary wildly in what they focus on. So there are many Theravada schools. Do you want to make separate subsections on all Mahayana schools? I'm strongly against this, then you'd need to do the same for the Theravada schools, and it would end up in chaos even if you only do the Mahayana schools. Best to focus on the commonalities, and the mainstream ideas. Those are valid throughout the various schools, Mahayana and Theravada. Keep it simple. Greetings, Sacca 07:16, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
That's wrong. The article must cover everything important, both agreement & disagreement. To dootherwise is to give a false picture of Buddhism, & is not neutral.
As regards your point about differences within Theravada,you're quite right that these exist. I already mentioned above that important differences within schools must be mentioned as well.The article is far from neutral in this respect too. It heavily downplays important aspects of traditional Buddhism that are unfashionable in the West, such as faith & devotion, ritual, Rebirth etc.
Now, as the issue has been raised again, let me say a bit more about sources. WP guidelines say explicitly that secondary sources are to be preferred to primary sources.In our case this means that scholarly studies of Buddhism are to be preferred to Buddhist writings. Likewise, the section on consensus in reliable sources says:
"The claim that all or most scientists, scholars, or ministers hold a certain view requires a reliable source. Without it, opinions should be identified as those of particular, named sources."
Note the word ministers, which must mean clergy. Statements that Buddhism, or a particular denomination, believes such & such must be sourced from scholarly studies. Buddhist writings only give the opinions of their authors. Peter jackson 09:04, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Peter, your view is impractical. To give every exception to the mainstream practices and beliefs is impossible. This is just an introductory article on Buddhism. We can say when certain minority schools have a different view, but to mention all these goes to far. Greetings, Sacca 09:31, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that having merely a "Mahayana" section in this article would be like having just a "Protestant" section in Christianity. While I disagree that we need to include a great deal of information about each sect, I think at least mentioning all major sects within Mahayana is necessary, even if just so that readers can follow internal links to their respective main pages. I don't know exactly what PeterJ is suggesting in terms of devoting space to sects; I certainly think that a separate subsection for each minor difference would be excessive, but a sub section on each of the 8 or so "major" divisions of Buddhism, as Peter lays out above, would be reasonable. I think we can spare 8 paragraphs for describing the diversity of Buddhist practice. --Gimme danger 02:39, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I think Peter has given an excellent overview of the type of article we should be heading towards and a good synopsis of how it can be achieved, what needs doing, etc. Problems with the various schools can be covered with folks sent off, where appropriate, to subsidiary articles containing extra detail. It is a huge project but thanks to Peter we now have a new 'roadmap' and can get started. thanks regards to all Peter morrell —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 10:36, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I didn't choose my words very carefully. I should have said that movements within denominations should have similar prominence to denominations of similar size.

Let me make it clear here that I'm not putting forward a view as to how long & detailed the article should be. The only person who seems to have done so is Sacca, & I don't disagree, but if others disagree I'll leave them to sort it out without taking sides.

What I am insisting on is that the amount of detail, however much or little, must be reasonably balanced. We mustn't go on as we are at present having enormous amounts of information on some topics while others of similar importance have little or none. So this can be done in different ways:

  • add a lot of detail on karma & rebirth, Mahayana doctrine, devotion (especially Pure Land), Zen & (to a lesser extent) tantra
  • add only a little on some of the above topics that are totally ignored at present, & cut out most of the sections on the 4 noble truths, morality, samatha & vipassana
  • somewhere in between the above

Let me also make it clear that I'm not putting forward a view as to how the article should be arranged. In the first rewrite section above I've outlined various ways scholars have arranged the material, & our rewrite gives another. I certainly do think the article needs some rearrangement. It's quite chaotic at present. Teachings are variously under Doctrine, Divisions, History & nowhere. Some topics are dealt with in more than 1 place, with different things said. But I leave it to you to decide what particular arrangement you want.

Of couse it's impossible to mention everything. Space should be vaguely proportional to numbers, but it doesn't have to be done with separate sections. There are various different ways you can cover things, & each case has to be looked at once you've decided the overall structure. On the question of minorities, remember Mahayana isn't a minority; it's the majority. Indeed (on most estimates at least) EAsian Buddhism is the majority, so it's quite scandalous that the article gives hardly any information about it. The doctrinal traditions are not mentioned, & the main practice traditions, Pure Land & Zen, are only named, with no information given (& they're only even named because I put them in myself some time ago). Bear in mind that, in addition to being separate denominations in Japan, they are the main pracice traditions in China, Korea & Vietnam, so overall they're roughly on a par with Theravada & should have a similar amount of space. Vajrayana, Nichiren & Falun Gong have substantially fewer followers & therefore should get less space.

Another issue where we have to be careful about neutrality is the tension throughout Buddhist history (mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya) between (sub)traditions emphasizing study & meditation (not forgetting that most ordinary Buddhists do little or none of either, their Buddhism being largely devotional & moral).

Yet another one is that we must be neutral between Buddhism & other religions. Any suggestion that Buddhism is unique or special must be avoided. In particular, please note the following.

"One indicator that a group or movement is functioning as the sociological equivalent of a religion is that its constituents strongly object to being classified as a religion ... Essentially all religions have adherents who claim that their religion is not a religion. This could even be considered one of the distinguishing characteristics of a religion." [6]

So any mention of suggestions that Buddhism is not a religion must be balanced by mentioning that this applies to other religions too. (Of course the subtext of "not a religion" is "better than religion".)

On the question of modern movements. I think it would not violate neutrality to exclude all of them from the article completely, provided this is clearly stated up front & links are given. Perhaps others might disagree with this opinion. But in any case it would have to be done neutrally, so that you exclude not only Falun Gong & Soka Gakkai, but also all Westernized forms of Buddhism. Probably people wouldn't want to do this.

Another perspective. Each doctrine, practice or whatever should have space vaguely proportional to its overall importance. That is, notionally, you see how important it is in each school, multiply by the number of that school's adherents, & then add up the totals. Obviously you don't really do that, but you think along those lines. So you bear in mind that Buddhist morality is much the same everywhere, but the monastic order has been abolished in Japan, & so on for other topics. Similarly, you take account of the fact that the 4 noble truths are the advanced teaching of Theravada (traditionally), and only a preliminary one in the Mahayana (& probably of little importance in EAsian Buddhism). Peter jackson 10:56, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Status of this article

In the discussions above, many ideas have been put forth but none decided on and none implemented. Other editors, what are your goals for the future of the article? What problems do we need to address and how do you suggest that be done? I'm trying to get some sort of "to do" list together so that progress can be made. --Gimme danger 18:09, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Gimme danger. I myself think it would be a good idea if those of us who feel somewhat knowledgeable about certain sections contributed a little more detail. It might be useful for the reader if, for example, we added a little synoptic detail to the mention of the following in the "Eastern Asian Buddhism" section:

Pure Land Nichiren, peculiar to Japan Shingon, a form of Vajrayana Tendai

I've made a start with the Pure Land (although a little more could be added). I'll try to add something about Chan/Zen too in the coming days, as time permits. Maybe other editors would like to post something on Nichiren, etc.? All best wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 22:16, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
Excellent idea. What are you using as reference material? If you post some basic information with your additions, I can track down isbns, do formatting and such so that you can spend more time contributing in your area of expertise. --Gimme danger 01:23, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Thanks very much, Gimme Danger, for your kind comments. For the Zen that I intend to write on I am probably going to use Stephen Hodge's book, Zen Masterclass, Godsfield Press, London, 2002 - plus The Buddhist Religion by Richard Robinson and William Johnson (Wadsworth Publishing Company, London etc., 1997). It is kind of you to offer help in the way that you have. Best wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 09:45, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
There's a new edition of Robinson & Johnson, with Thanissaro as 3rd author. I haven't seen it, but I notice the title has changed from The Buddhist Religion to Buddhist Religions, plural: something to be thinking about. Peter jackson 10:40, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Peter, for that interesting information. Intriguing! It makes a lot of sense to speak of "Buddhist religions" (plural), I think. I doubt that I'll be able to get hold of that latest edition of the text, however, so I'll probably have to stick with the copy I've got. Anyway, thanks again for the info. Best wishes. From Tony. 10:56, 6 October 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by TonyMPNS (talkcontribs)

May I again suggest you decide how the article is to be organized, & how long, before actual rewriting? Peter jackson 11:01, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Why dont you people want to say Buddhism came from India?

Sooooo many times ive noticed people just dont want to admit that Buddhism came from India. I mean if I was somebody that didnt know anything about Buddhism, and I just skimmed the start of this article, I wouldnt think Buddhism came from India. I mean it starts by saying that its believed Buddha was born in present day Nepal......Folks.......This is annoying......I mean Buddha traveled all over India. He gained enlightenment in India. He died in India. And he was born in Nepal (but in those days there was no Nepal, so its just a technicality).....And yet.....People dont want to say Buddhism came from INdia or Ancient India.......All im saying is the article should start by saying something along the lines of "Buddhism originated from India" or you can say "Buddhism originated from ancient India".......... 18:05, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Good point. I took care of it. Arrow740 22:05, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes, I agree with you. The change seems sensible. Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 22:56, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

timeline of "Schisms" section what does "AN" mean

In the "Schisms" section of the article, "the Puggalavada tradition places it in 137 AN; the Sarvastivada tradition of Vasumitra says it was in the time of Asoka; and the Mahasanghika tradition places it much later, nearly 100 BCE." I'm not familiar with the "AN" dating method and I'm not fond of seeing mixed measurement units in the same sentence ("AN" and "BCE"). Can someone who knows what "AN" means please fix this and perhaps put in a wiki link to whatever "AN" is? Signed, confused. 16:13, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

AN is either anno nirvani in Latin or after nirvana in English. It means after the Buddha's death, which is a standard Buddhist system of dating. Unfortunately, there's no agreement on when the Buddha died, so it's of pretty limited use. The existing text you quote is certainly confused, but it would be necessary to check the sources to correct it. I tried deleting it, but they didn't like that. All this is just tradition anyway: there's no agreement among scholars on the actual facts. Schop[en argues that Buddhism was never united in the first place, so the concept of schisms doen't apply. Peter jackson 11:07, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Question about Schopen's views

Hi PeterJ - for my (and presumably others?) edificaiton, could you please elaborate on Schopen's view? For instance, intuitively to me, in order to contend that Buddhism was a multiplicity of views from the get-go, is Schopen suggesting that there were multiple teachers subsequently designated as "Buddha" or perhaps mutliple teachings by the same teacher? Or perhaps a single teacher had no sangha initially and hearers just interpreted it as they pleased as he wandered through their towns? In other words, if you'll forgive my sincere naivete, in short, how does a single historical person lead to disunity of teachings "in the first place"? Thanks much! Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 22:44, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I think the opinion Peter describes (I haven't read Schopen on this myself) is eminently reasonable. Assuming that Buddhism originates from the teachings of one person (and I, personally, usually do assume that), it is nevertheless not at all self-evident that Buddhism was ever unified during the period which is historically accessible to us. There is quite likely a gap of at least 100 years between the time of the Buddha and the earliest phase of Buddhism for which have evidence. It is definitely the case that there is something common at the core of the Pāli Canon and the āgamas, which implies that it goes back to some single form of Buddhism at some point in the past; however, there is nothing which demonstrations that this was the only form of Buddhism that existed at that point.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 02:45, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't know much more exactly what Schopen is suggesting: I've only come across brief arguments:

  • the 1st argument is only against the standard model, not in support of any particular alternative:
    • according to the standard model, Buddhist schools existed from the 4th or 3rd century BC
    • as is well known, there are lots of Buddhist inscriptions from the 3rd century BC on
    • there is no mention of Buddhist schools in any inscription before the 2nd century AD
  • he claims that sociologists & church historians have discovered that this is the way religious movements work: they start off extremely diverse, & then, sometimes, get levelled off into some sort of uniformity or orthodoxy over a long period; he says overlapping scriptures may result from just such a levelling process, so he rejects the usual argument you mention above, Nat

As to Larry's question, a better idea could likely be gained by looking at his source material (ie the sociologists & church historians he mentions). If you haven't got access to JPTS XVI, where his arguments are summarized on p105, with at least 1 such source cited, let me know & I can look up the ref(s) & you may be able to find it/them yourself.

My guess is that the idea is something like this. Religion starts off basically charismatic. A charismatic founder inspires others, but as soon as they're physically separated, eg as missionaries, they start saying different things. So Buddhism would have been diverse from the sending out of the 1st 60 missionaries. Or what about the 2 laymen who became Buddhists even before there were any monks? Peter jackson 10:56, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Nat and PeterJ, thanks so much for the elaborations. Peter, I also appreciate your offer to provide some of Schopen's sources; if you've the time some time, I'd be kind of curious. Thanks so much too for bringing Schopen's work to the attention of scholastic pupae such as myself.
FWIW, since I'm largely home-bound for the foreseeable future, I tried to track down through the Internet the Schopen reference that you've suggested, Peter. It appears to be the "Ritual Obligations and Donor Roles" article anthologized in Schopen's "Bones, Stones and Buddhist Monks." Since Questia and give for free only snippets from this text (understandably!), it's hard for me to hone in on Schopen's precise argument this way. Something that seemed to be consistent with these snippets is in a book review of the Schopen anthology by Arnold Dan in "Philosophy East and West" (50:4, Oct. 2000, at [though, I don't have your all's knowledge to assess Dan's credentials and critique]. In discussing Schopen's anthologized essay, "Archaeology and Protestant Presuppositions in the Study of Indian Buddhism," Dan writes:
"The 'Protestant presupposition' in question is that the study of Buddhism involves only the study of Buddhist texts. According to Schopen, though, it is important to remember that the textual material favored by traditional scholars 'records what a small, atypical part of the Buddhist community wanted that community to believe or practice' (p. 1). Such scholastic texts as have taken center stage in Buddhist studies 'may not even have been known to the vast majority of practicing Buddhists -- both monks and laity. It is axiomatically assumed that the texts not only were known but were also important, not only were read but were also fully implemented in actual practice' (p. 2)."
In addition, in an end note contextualized in caveats I don't understand, Dan writes (and, as I've indicated, this excerpt is out-of-context but I sense is nonetheless somewhat instructive, if not hyperbolic):
"... [Steven] Collins has noted that Schopen is someone whose 'rhetoric at times comes close' to the view that canonical texts are 'of no historical or ethnographic value'...."
Is my head the only one that's just popped? Kind of brings to mind Churchill's "History is written by the victors." And was the Buddha's actual teaching then the presumed loser? Calling this "very thought-provoking" does not even begin to suggest the level of cautious self-review these ideas are beginning to cause in me. Got I Schopen wrong?
Thanks again, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:20, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

The only source Schopen quotes on the sociology/church history side is Walter Bauer's Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, Philadelphia, 1971. I don't know whether you'd find that any more accessible than his own writings. You can find a bit of what he says at Pre-sectarian Buddhism unless Sacca has censored it again.

In the presupposition article Schopen lays into the standard text-based approach, saying the texts cannot be proved to have existed, with a few exceptions, till centuries after the inscriptions. He raises the question of where religion is located: is it in the official teachings of the elite or the beliefs & practices of ordinary people? From our point of view both must be covered. However, I must say it seems odd to me to suggest that Catholicism is not what the Pope says it is.

Weber the sociologist said a religion cannot long survive the death of a charismatic founder without what he calls routinization: scriptures, creeds, rituals or whatever. This doctrine is also found in the Pali Canon: in the introduction to the vinaya the Buddha says the teaching of those Buddhas who taught scriptures & rules of discipline lasted, while that of those who didn't didn't survive their personal disciples. Of course the orthodox view is that the Buddha knew this & routinized the teaching himself. Schopen seems to be suggesting otherwise, that his teaching was like what many people imagine Zen is like. After his death (or perhaps before in remote areas he didn't visit regularly) those local groups that didn't successfully routinize died out. Others did succeed, but in lots of different ways in different places. Over the centuries these evolved, & did a lot of mutual borrowing, resulting in levelling.

If what he says is correct, it has implications for other religions too. Eg the Koran is a fabrication. Peter jackson 17:01, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Peter, thank you so much for taking time to further educate me and others on this. I find what you write very meaningful, insightful and beneficially provocative. (I'm beginning to wonder if you and User:Stephen_Hodge can start charging tuition :-) )
I think your point about the Pope and Catholicism is striking. While I can appreciate Schopen's perspective (as I understand you to state it), for me, as a practitioner, I am most concerned at this moment about to what degree the current textual Dhamma reflects the teaching of the (reportedly) fully enlightened Buddha. (Hmmm, perhaps then for me the true analogy is between Christ and Catholicism?) Frankly, in light of this discussion, I now more fully dissociate the two in my mind: there is the Buddha, there is the Dhamma, and they might only be connected by broad thematic overlaps. (I still feel deeply grateful for and take refuge in each though :-) ) The Sangha, of course, the third facet of the Triple Gem, is a rational for believing in a strong correlation between the Buddha and transmitted Dhamma, but such rationale is not proof.
Perhaps it's time for me to shell out some money for Schopen's anthology? Regardless, thanks so much once again for taking the time and effort to benefit others with your valuable knowledge and resources. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:32, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Article name

Would those interested please comment at Talk:Gautama_Buddha#Name? Thanks, Arrow740 21:27, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

The discussion at Talk:Gautama_Buddha#Name has evolved to discussing the possibility of renaming the current Buddha article (e.g., to Buddhas or sammasambuddha or Buddhahood) and moving the current Gautama Buddha article to Buddha. Anyone with any thoughtful and sincere view on this, please add your ideas to Talk:Gautama_Buddha#Name. Thanks! Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:45, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I haven't time to go off to another page but it does not seem a good idea to me renaming the article. Surely this standard usage in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and a good number of books in the bibio. Why confuse the world.Joel Mc 19:17, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Is it thoughtful to ignore the existing multi-person discussion, the exchange of rationales, and to simply post your idea here? What is the benefit to WP to have parallel conversations on multiple pages? (After all, a similar request to the above has also been posted on Talk:Buddha.) How is it civil to expect that people who have already posted on another page will reiterate their statements here simply because you don't have time to "go off to another page"? Or are you presuming that someone will try to collate your words here within the existing discussion on Talk:Gautama Buddha? If you have time to respond to this append, then you have time to click on the aforementioned link. I encourage your doing so and, frankly, post this append here to encourage others to think before considering following your example here. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:28, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
My, my. I am not sure what is behind such agression. I have been reading the posts on the "other page", but don't have the time or really the competence to enter into the discussion on the other page. As I have said before, I am a consumer, not a theologian. As a consumer I do think I am in a good position to feel that it is not a good idea to change the name and vote against it on this talk page which is what it is for, I believe.Joel Mc 19:46, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I apologize for my response's harsh tone, especially the Edit Summary. As regards to the content of you statement, see Talk:Gautama_Buddha#Name. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 00:55, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
The penny drops. I should be the one to apologize for my unmindful response. I thought that it was all about renaming the Buddhism article. I am agnostic about the proposal for the Buddha page. --Joel Mc 20:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi Joel - Given the page this is posted on, your misperception is completely understandable. My impatience and self-righteous tone were not; so, again, I apologize, sincerely. In addition, I appreciate your follow-up as it dispels any possible confusion. Also, earnestly, your initial post motivated my checking on-line encyclopedias which unquestionably facilitated the whole decision-making process; so, again, you have my thanks. I wish you well, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 03:34, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

For those who might be interested in participating renaming the current Buddha article, please vote at Talk:Buddha#Renaming vote. (For background on this vote, please see Talk:Gautama Buddha#Name.) Thanks, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism vs Stoicism

There should be at least some mention of the similarities between the two 'philosophies' (for lack of a better word) though they were developed completely independently. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:06, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


We seem to be slipping back into old faults. We now have a section headed Northern (Vajrayana) Buddhism. These are not necessarily the same thing. For a start, Shingon is often called Vajrayana. Peter jackson 11:13, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


Page was vandalized 13:38, 12 October 2007 by and subsequent times by that IP and two junk usernames. I did a full article revert because, well, it's Buddhism. I hope I didn't screw something up. --einexile 14:05, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Early Buddhism

Sacca, please stop this. It is grossly unbalanced to give lots of lengthy citations from the few scholars who maintain that the early scriptures substantially go back to the Buddha but hardly any from the others who disagree, & not even mention that there are only a few who hold that position. It falsifies the state of scholarly opinion & is unacceptable. Peter jackson 11:09, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Well said.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 11:53, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Who disagrees???? I have checked numerous books now on this subject and have found only schopen who disagrees. Many scholars agree, actually. But I'm sure you will not allow me to write the word 'many' in the article, so 'several' will have to do, and thus several quotes are mentioned. Shopen's already mentioned in the article, and thus a view which is held by much more scholars needs to be presented as such. So we need more quotes, one quote won't do. thanks, Greetings, Sacca 07:58, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Also, Peter, you've again vandalised material concerning pre-sectarian Buddhism in this article. Please stop this now, it's been going on long enough, and you should know by now that you're being watched with this. Greetings, Sacca 08:05, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

On the substantive issue, Gombrich himself admits tjhat few agree with him, which is strong evidence. As few is comparative, you can't prove him wrong by enumerating. Those who hold a contrary position include Nakamura & colleagues in Japan, perhaps a lot. there are also those who consider the matter uncertain, such as Lopez & Cousins. To censor the fact that few maintain this positioon falsifies the situation.

As regards PSB, the statement that no present-day form of Buddhism can be regarded as the same would almost certainly be disputed by some scholars, claiming that Theravada is substantially the same. Peter jackson 11:02, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


Someone keeps inserting references to the Maldives in this article. I've never seen them mentioned in any book about Buddhism that I recall. It sems unlikely they're important enough to mention. Peter jackson 17:31, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Origins of Vajrayana

Since there is no clear concept of what Vajrayana is (Lopez, Buddhism in Practice, intro), & disagreement over whether it's synonymous with tantra (Harvey, Introduction to Buddhism, pp153-5 vs Skilling, Mahasutras, citation in Vajrayana), it's unlikely that statements about when it began make sense. Peter jackson 17:35, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Censorship & falsification

Sacca's "contributions" here & in Pre-sectarian Buddhism & Pali Canon display persistent censorship & falsification of scholarly opinion on early Buddhism:

  • repeated censorship of the fact that few scholars positively maintain that the substance of much of the agamas/nikayas goes back to the Buddha
    • no, I have just shown that there are quite a lot of scholars who agree that the substance of much of the agamas/nikayas goes back to the Buddha. Because you blindly assert otherwise, I had to add so many references to this single line - I know it's a hot issue for you. I have searched all books I could find on the History of Indian Buddhism. I have found positive quotes in almost all of them. Only schopen disagrees. Nobody else.Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • as I said above, enumeration is irrelevant, since few is a relative term; I apologize for not reading your current wording carefully; as now written it is correct; many scholars do hold that parts of the Canon go back to the Buddha; however, it remains the case that few hold that the substance of the common ground between schools goes back to the Buddha; the statement as now phrased seems rather pointless; why bother saying that parts go back to the Buddha? this doesn't tell anyone anything substantial Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • repeated false assertion that original Buddhism & pre-sectarian Buddhism are the same, & repeated censorship of Nakamura's explicit use of original Buddhism to refer to a supposed earlier phase of PSB
    • I have not said this. In the article it's pretty clear that pre-sectarian Buddhism also included about 100 years after the Buddha's death.Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • certainly the article says that; however, it also said that original Buddhism was another name for PSB, ie for that whole period; when I pointed out that Nakamura used the term specifically for the earlier part of that period, you repeatedly censored that fact Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • repeated censorship of Schopen's questioning of the standard picture of early Buddhism as being united for a century or 2 & then progressively split up into schools
    • This questioning is still part of the article. I did not delete it.Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • you deleted it more than once (from PSB that is); the history records this Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • repeated censorship of Hirakawa's claim that the 1st schism occurred after the death of Asoka
    • I didn't take this info out. It doesn't really matter to me, you know?Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • yes you did, more than once; again the history records this Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • repeated false attribution of the term pre-sectarian Buddhism to Hirakawa & other scholars
    • can't remember this.Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • in Pali Canon you talked about scholars saying that much of the Canon going back to PSB, which is wrong as they don't use the term; in this article you did the same thing Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

This all tends to support my original impression that PSB was a propaganda article. Peter jackson 11:12, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Oh come on, Peter, look:

  1. you are the one that are the documented vandalizer on pre-sectarian Buddhism (please check Peter's talkpage).
    • documentation of accusations doesn't prove anything; I came across an article on a term I'd never heard of, whose tone suggested it was propaganda for some neo-foundationalist movement claiming to represent original Buddhism & accusing others of perverting the original teaching; I put in a citation request in the text & talk page, & at some point in the link in Buddhism; after more than a month in which you'd failed to come up with 1, I tried tagging the article, & was reverted, & deleting it with an explanation that no evidence had been supplied of the existence of the term, & was accused of vandalism Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  2. you are the one that had tried to delete the article on pre-sectarian Buddhism (result: nobody agreed with Peter, everybody voted to keep the article)
    • when, months later, you managed to come up with just one source for the term, & I happened to come across the guidelines on deletion (a proposed afd was mentioned on the talk page for either this article or the project page, I forget which), I saw that 1 of the reasons for deleting articles was neologism, ie terms with little existence in the real world; since this appeared to be just that, I suggested it for deletion Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  3. you have never wanted to explain your repeated nonsensical additions concerning prof. Nakamura's statement. I think it took you two weeks to see the obvious mistake and unclarity in your quote of him, and you have now finally corrected it. This I applaud, and you can see that I have not deleted this quote now that it makes sense.
    • what nonsensical additions? what mistake? what unclarity? what correction? Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  4. You remember the discussion following your proposal to delete pre-sectarian Buddhism? People there actually agreed with the term and thought it was the best-fitting name for the subject. Your bitterness concerning this subject makes you do all kinds of little tricks to delete information regarding pre-sectarian Buddhism in various articles.
    • no I don't remember the discussion, because I haven't been to PSB for a while; I've been concentrating on this article recently; let me just summarize my position on this here; you can copy it over if you like:
      • as I understand it WP policy is not to use the terminology which we regard as most fitting; it is to use standard terminology, which this is not; last I checked, you still hadn't found more than one source for the term
      • the use of this term logically implies that all later Buddhism is sectarian, whose dictionary meanings include bigoted; it is therefore offensive
      • PSB is merely a theory: Schopen argues that there never was a presectarian period in Buddhist history (he uses the word, though not, in what I've read, the phrase PSB); I'm not sure whether this is what they mean by POV fork; I'll have to look that up some time
      • as a consequence, there are few if any facts on the subject, in the WP sense
      • the article contains large quantities of unqualified assertions, contrary to this
      • these assertions are often not properly sourced; some citations are Buddhist propagandists; at least 1 is merely scripture; historical statements must be sourced from historians; as I pointed out on the talk page long ago,just imagine all the historical statements that might be cited from the Bible (creation, flood &c)
      • in particular, the account of the 2nd council (as of a few days ago) cited only the scriptural account, & didn't even follow that, adding theories/interpretations about adaptation, which is not mentioned in the text; I corrected this long ago, but I see my correction has been censored & the original falsification restored
      • also, as mentioned above, a lot of the article looks like propaganda
    • in sum, the article is so bad I'm inclined to delete links; in the particular case of the 1 in divisions:
      • PSB is by definition not a division
      • the section otherwise deals only with present-day divisions; personally, I think that's sensible, to avoid over-complicating the article, but I'm not dogmatic about that; we could include past ones too
      • the statement that no present-day form deserves the name is propaganda, value judgment
Peter jackson 11:11, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

That's it for me. I have commented on each of your claims above, these claims are not true. You are the vandal, peter, and you are the one wanting to annihilate all mention of pre-sectarian Buddhism. Have a nice day, Greetings, Sacca 12:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

No one here is a vandal, since we are all attempting to improve the article and are also discussing changes on the talk page.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 21:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to simply say that, PeterJ and Sacca, I am grateful to you both for your incomparable efforts on WP, for your wonderful talents, your prolific contributions and your generous spirits. You have both been my teachers here, in talk page exchanges in addition to the invaluable information with which you have created and added to articles. Without either one of you, WP Buddhism would be significantly diminished. And I suspect there are likely hundreds of readers of your all's writings who would agree with me.
As I do not know enough about the point of contention, I will refrain from commenting on it directly. For the sake of WP and for your own noble paths, I hope that you find a kind and generous way to resolve these differences. Honestly, based on what little I've read, it seems to me that each of you might not understand the other's motives for disputation. Might it be of benefit for each of you to perhaps write out what you believe the other is concerned about? This is just a thought.
Regardless, I want to thank and applaud each of you for your wonderful contributions to WP Buddhism and I wish you both true health, happiness and ease. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 00:21, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

"Divisions" intro: PSB

I'm seeing this text being regularly inserted and deleted, several times, at the beginning of the "Divisions" section:

The original teachings and monastic organization established by Buddha have been referred to as pre-sectarian Buddhism[1][2], but all the current divisions within Buddhism are too much influenced by later history to warrant inclusion under this name[3].

The endnote references are:

[1] see Sects and Sectarianism, Sujato bhikkhu, 2007. (non-for-profit publication available at, with [ online version)
[2] for example: ... stressed that the written canon in Buddhism is sectarian from the outset, and that presectarian Buddhism must be deduced from the writings as they now exist). Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma, Leon Kurvitz, 1976, Columbia University Press (quote via Google Scholar search-engine)
[3] By several centuries after the death of the Buddha, the itinerant mendicants following his way had formed settled communities and had changed irrevocably their received methods of both teaching and praxis., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 501

To start with, I see there are general concerns about the term "presectarian Buddhism." What are the various alternative, reasonable, possible ways in which this concern about this text could be addressed outside of repeated reversions (e.g., including the qualifier "arguable referred to as" along with pertinent citations)?
I know there are additional concerns (e.g., regarding the second half of the above inserted text), but I think there might be benefit in approaching this in a piecemeal fashion for now (e.g., to avoid getting overwhelmed). Thanks for any concrete help and, as always, thanks for taking time to patiently educate me, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:44, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I notice a reputable has finally been found who uses the term PSB.

On the question of this intro, apart from the points already made above, I think it would help if I clarified what I said about propaganda, value judgment. NPOV means WP must not take sides in religious disputes. That means it must not say, suggest or imply that some particular school is or is not in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha, or the scriptures, or early Buddhism, or that some scripture is or is not in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha, or whatever. Phrasing of statements about scholarly opinion must be considered very carefully in the light of this.

Eg in Pali Canon I said something like "Tradition says that most of the Canon goes back to the Buddha, but scholars do not take this literally." Notice I avoid saying "scholars reject this" or anything like that.

"... too much influenced by later history to warrant ..." seems to me a clear violation of these principles, which is why I've been deleting it. Similarly, all the bald statements in the PSB article about all the things that were not around then, while factually accurate, are similarly 1-sided.

The presence of this intro in the section as it stands makes no sense. The rest of the section is about present-day divisions. There is nothing about anything in between. It just jumps from 1 end to the other. &, as I said, PSB is by definition not a division. Also, it's only a theory: Scopen argues there was never such a thing. Peter jackson 09:37, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism and Karma Yoga

The WP article on Karma Yoga is part of the series on Hinduism, but in my personal experience of Buddhist practice, this concept is a basic tenet of Buddhism. The concept is mentioned nowhere, even without the specific term "karma yoga" anywhere in the article on Buddhism, nor is it linked to in the Buddhism main article. The article on Karma Yoga even states:

"Some consider personalities such as the Buddha to have been karma yogis. Buddha is the ideal karma yogi... acting entirely without motive, and the history of humanity shows him to have been the greatest man ever born, beyond compare, the greatest combination of Head & Heart that ever existed. - Swami Vivekananda [3]"

I propose that this concept be somehow integrated into the article on Buddhism, or that it be linked to somewhere in the Buddhism main article, or that the article on "karma yoga" become not exclusively attached to Hinduism, as the concept is not exclusively Hindu.

Any ideas? Madeleine Lamb 19:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I'll admit I've never heard the expression "karma yoga" before. However, looking at the Wikipedia article on it, it seems to be a concept based in Hindu thought. I'm not sure what the relevance to Buddhism is.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 22:58, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Seeing the cited author, Swami Vivekananda, reminds me of the three beautiful books he published on four different types of yoga: raja yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga. He's a powerful and charismatic author.
My understanding though is that, as Nat wrote, these are all part of the Hindu tradition. My off-the-top-of-the-head guess is that, as a number of Hindus do, Vivekananda is incorporating the Buddha within a Hindu practice (not unlike the way Hinduism has been able to accommodate various aspects of Buddhism, to the best of my extremely superficial understanding).
So, based on my having fairly good knowledge of some Buddhist traditions, like Nat I do not think karma yoga is intrinsic to Buddhism. Hope this might help a wee, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 00:09, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi Medeleine again - I just re-read your initial post and was wondering if you could help us understand your own practice in terms of its being both Buddhist and incorporating karma yoga. Perhaps you can educate us all here. Thanks so much, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 04:01, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

If “God” is the cosmos and the consciousness of the cosmos, then To a Buddhist, meditation is finding “God” in the moment. Karma Yoga is the act of feeling “God” in every moment, whatever menial task accompanies that moment. Karma Yoga is Constant Meditation.

“To non-Buddhists, there are Buddhists and non-Buddhists. To Buddhists, everyone is a Buddhist, even the bugs” -anonymous

Buddhism transcends religion. It is not (in my humble opinion) a religion so much as it is the unfolding experience of the divine that can be found by many paths (religions or personal journeys)

I would argue that Jesus was a Buddha and that he practiced Karma Yoga in, among other things, the washing of others’ feet.

Buddhahood has been attained by great souls and prophets at the heart of many religions that have found a path to enlightenment (oneness with God, total integration of spirit and consciousness with the cosmos, oneness with all understanding, or whatever they called it, I don’t even know what to call it.)

In one sense it is the pursuit of the goal of Buddhahood that makes one a Buddhist. The Journey to Buddhahood for Gautama was a personal one.

I am sure, given the sophistication of this crowd, it could be pointed out that I am misusing terms or presenting ideas that belong in another article that may or may not exist such as “pan-spiritualism”. But forgive me. I am but one individual with a viewpoint that has evolved based on study, experience, inspiration, and the influence of those I’ve met whose wisdom was as clear to me as a scent of rain in the air before they ever spoke a word if they spoke at all. Some lessons are like that.

As to my practice, my first exposure to Buddhism outside of books was the Nichiren Buddhists, with whom I practiced for a time. They may be more Karma Yogic than most Buddhists, I’m no expert, but I disagree with their dogma of exclusive path to truth and enlightenment. My practice now is solitary and ever evolving, more Zen than anything, but with an emphasis on maintaining the state of constant devotion (meditation) I call Karma Yoga. I don’t belong to any particular sect, but since the sects themselves may disagree over Buddhism, who’s to say who’s qualified to speak for all on what Buddhism is. I’m just throwing in my 2 cents on the talk page, because I certainly wouldn’t want to speak for all of Buddhism on the main page. If you guys don’t think the concept of Karma Yoga is Buddhist in the mainstream sense, no problem, I’ll drop it and save that discussion for some good friends over tea , but I appreciate your insights as well. Madeleine Lamb 05:05, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi Medeline,
I believe much of what you write resonates deeply for many people. And certainly you are in good company when you see associations between Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ as, after all, both the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh have also discussed such associations. (Perhaps you are already familiar with "The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus" and with "Living Buddha, Living Christ"?)
There is what the Buddha taught, what we have written about his teachings, millennia of institutionalized Buddhisms and then an infinite number of personal understandings. I bow to your authenticity, for how lovingly you embrace the world's vibrancy. I also appreciate that you perhaps see the need for this article to document current scholarship on conventional Buddhism, independent of how true it rings or deeply it resonates.
Thank you for your insights. With metta,
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 03:26, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Thank you, dear Madeleine and my good friend Larry, for your beautiful postings above. They are inspirational! Although most Western Buddhists (following their various orthodoxies and traditions) would probably disagree with your interpretation of Buddhism, I for one (as a Buddhist practitioner, writer and researcher of some decades) very much sympathise with your vision. There are a thousand "Buddhisms" - just as there are more than a thousand Buddhas (from the Mahayana perspective) - and what you have described seems perfectly acceptable to me, as a (hopefully) open-minded Mahayanist. I always think that we should keep an open mind as to what Buddhism "is" and should recognise that until we attain Buddhahood we don't really know what Dharma truly and actually is: the Buddha (in Mahayana) said that he taught 84,000 "Dharmas" or spiritual teachings which can bring us into Truth. Your way, Madeleine, could well be one of them. You might like to read the Wiki entry on God in Buddhism - some of its ideas might be close to your own. Anyway, thanks again for your lovely message and to wonderful Larry for his unfailingly generous-spirited and benignant response! All warm wishes. From Tony. TonyMPNS 09:53, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Sources for early Buddhism

I've created a subpage User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism to collect what scholars have said. This can be used in discussion of how to summarize the state of scholarly opinion. Please add anything you can find. Peter jackson 10:28, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Excellent. Peter, thanks so much for doing this. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 02:47, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Refactoring needed

This talk page is 244 kB, which makes it an unacceptable barrier to participation, even for those whose browsers can easily edit more than 32 kB. Some sections may be archivable, but i don't have time to figure out which they are. I'm moving out to subpages a couple of especially large sections, leaving behind links to the subpages under the current headings. It would be a really good move for those familiar with any large section, but especially those that are on subpages by the time they read this, to prepare summaries or other short orienting information, 5% or 10% the length of the discussions. I may do more on succeeding days.
--Jerzyt 05:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
_ _ I've moved to sub-pages 3 of the largest 4 or 5 sections, reducing markup length to 147 kb, and IMO

  • 10 Greed and hatred (16k)
  • 20 Neutrality (17k)
  • 31 Censorship & falsification (14k)

are good candidates for sections of their own (unless someone knows they can be archived now, or at least are not going grow much soon).
_ _ There are two "Rewrite" sections, and a "Rewrite?" one, which means at least one is unaddressable by section, and a 3-fold way of confusion is invited. Perhaps someone already familiar with their content will already have an opinion on whether the structure suggested by the following is a good idea or not:
. == Rewrite ==
. "Rewrite" has been the heading for two prior sections of this page, and "Rewrite?" that of a third, which are now consolidated under this heading.
. === Proposal to rewrite ===
. text
. === Is the rewrite desirable? ===
. text
. === About to proceed with rewrite ===
. text
Whatever the structure, probably they can be consolidated in some way, and perhaps would be worth their own shared sub-page.
--Jerzyt 07:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Scholarly Critisism

I removed this section, because it seemed to have no point and contained no useful information. It also lacked neutrality. " Other scholars take a skeptical attitude:

"The original teachings of the historical Buddha are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover or reconstruct."[4]

This attitude has been criticized by other scholars to be one of 'extreme caution'[5]. " Wikilost 01:34, 2 November 2007 (UTC) i am so cool said buddah and thats how cool started.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:21, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Your change reduces neutrality: you've removed the opinions of some scholars while leaving those of others. I'm trying to collect together all scholars' opinions I can find (& anyone else who wants to contribute) at User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism. Then we can discuss how to summarize the state of scholarly opinion in relevant articles. Peter jackson 09:40, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

History of Buddhism

Hi all, first thanks for all your work on what is mostly an excellant article. I want to address a few issues.

  • 1. There is no link to the excellant article on the History of Buddhism.
  • 2. The section title Indian Buddhism is problematic, as it suggest that it is about Buddhism practised in India today, or about an Indian style of Buddhism, Instead it seems about the History of Buddhism and perhaps should be named as such.
  • 3. I wonder if the dispute about which version is more balanced is still on going? If so, I think much of the problem is that this article is trying to conflate 3 topics: 1) The original teachings of the Buddha, 2) Buddhism today, and 3) a historical prespective of Buddhism. Can I suggest that first, an article call Buddhism Today be created and details of the different schools and practices be moved there. And second, that much the historical material be moved to History of Buddhism. Both of these topics should remain, as sections here, with a prominent link to the main articles. (For example see Gunpowder and History of gunpowder). Also, there there is an article called History of Buddhism in India.

--lk 03:18, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

  1. I had a look at the History article quite recently & it was pretty appalling: legends, theories &c passed off as facts. It needed massive improvement, which seems unlikely to have had it so quickly.
  2. The section was previously called history, but it dealt almost entirely with India, so someone changed it.
  3. It's not so much a dispute about versions now. Nobody seems to have disagreed with my analysis in Neutrality above that the article is massively unbalanced, but only a limited amount has been done. 1. The original teachings are a matter of disagreement among scholars; I'm trying to collect their opinions at User:Peter jackson/Sources for early Buddhism. 2. This was what my analysis mainly referred to. 3. More complicated.
Peter jackson 12:15, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, perhaps you hold articles to a higher standard than I do. History of Buddhism seems to me to be better than 99% of wikipedia articles. In your opinion, will moving some materials to the History of Buddhism page, and expanding on the Buddhist schools that exist today bring balance to the article? What needs to be done? --lk 04:52, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
You may be right that it's better than 99%; that's not inconsistent with its being appalling.
My brief comments above were all I had time for. Here are some more detailed & considered thoughts.
I think most readers looking up Buddhism would be mainly interested in Buddhism today, so ideally that's what the article should mostly be about. That's what we tried to do in our rewrite, but that was rejected. Unfortunately, despite a number of reminders from us, they've yet to discuss what sort of approach to adopt instead. The historical approach has the advantage that it's the most popular among scholars, which makes it easier to source statements properly. But any coherent approach would probably be better than the present muddle. As regards the length of the article, I'm coming more to the view that a comprehensive one here would be easier for enough people to keep an eye on to stop it being messed up by the ignorant &/or biased. This becomes more difficult if you split material. Peter jackson 12:05, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


I almost could not believe my eyes when I read this utterly misleading section... especially the assertion that "Almost all Buddhist schools agree that the Buddha taught two types of meditation, viz. samatha meditation (Sanskrit: śamatha) and vipassanā meditation." I challenge anyone to find some authentic quotes tracing this division back to the Buddha, anyone who has done even a little research into this topic will know that it is a purely commentarial division. The Buddha consistantly defined sammasamadhi as the four jhanas. And the standard progession of insight (the various powers, understanding the 4noble truths, etc.) follows on from the Jhanas ("When his mind is thus malleable"). Anyway, i'm very unhappy with this section as it stands, and if the Samatha-Vipassana divide is going to be a part of it, it should definately be flagged as a later development in buddhism - and backed up with solid references. Sorry to rant but i get fired up on this issue... I intend to edit this part of the article soon, quoting the nikayas...

Ideally it would be nice to give some idea of what the Jhanas are but I think I might just go with "deep states of meditation" or something along those lines.... it's such a contraversial topic - too contraversial to give all sides of it in this article.

What do you think?Sunfirejake (talk) 16:04, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, I believe we share a concern. I've been working in a sandbox on creating an article that, to the best of my ability given my time and knowledge limitations, accurately portrays what the Pali literature says about samatha: User:Larry_Rosenfeld/sandbox3. (Feel free to leave me feedback, if you feel so motivated, e.g., at User_talk:Larry_Rosenfeld/sandbox3 — please feel free to overwrite the re-direct that's currently there.) As I indicated at Talk:Samatha_meditation#Samatha_in_the_Pali Canon, after some more work, I plan to overwrite the current Samatha page which is a (as you say, "misleading") redirect to samatha meditation. Hopefully this might help some? Tangentially, I've started replacing some of my own references to the jhanas with something like "absorption (jhāna)." I look forward to your continued contributions, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 18:11, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Response to the previous remarks, out of sequence due to edit conflict. A lot of the article is like that. It needs to be properly corrected. However, scriptural quotations should be minimized: WP guidelines say that secondary sources (scholarly studies) should be preferred to primary (Buddhist literature). On the point you actually raise, the quotation is about what Buddhist schools believe the Buddha taught, not what he actually taught, which is a matter of disagreement among scholars. Whether it's true even in that form I'm not sure. Do the Mahayana traditions classify Zen & tantric practices into samatha & vipassana? I repeat: a lot of the article (& others) is like that: lots of unsourced statements that someone came across somewhere & that may or may not be true. In response to Larry, I should repeat what I said above about primary & secondary sources. There's an article by Lance Cousins about samatha & vipassana that I can look up if you haven't come across it. Peter jackson (talk) 18:17, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi Peter, I haven't come across the Lance Cousins article and if you could somehow make it (or part of it) available that would be great. I hear your concern about the current sandbox article and "original research" (especially as you underlined on my talk page) and it's a line I admit to making thin and which I've tried to walk on the correct side of. If I may, I'd like to share with you some of my thoughts about it and perhaps my edits will change as a result of our on-going discussion. To start, here's the opening paragraph of the WP:OR:
"Original research (OR) is a term used in Wikipedia to refer to unpublished facts, arguments, concepts, statements, or theories. The term also applies to any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that appears to advance a position — or, in the words of Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales, would amount to a 'novel narrative or historical interpretation.'"
In addition, the WP:OR article repeatedly expresses that a WP article's statements be cited, the citations verifiable, and the viewpoint NPOV.
In terms of the article I've been developing, clearly it's well cited and the citations are verifiable. (For instance, I've frequently referenced Internet-based material for ready verification.) In addition, I've tried as much as possible to avoid POV or advancing a position. (For example, the basis for a topic's inclusion in the article is overwhelmingly based on the verifiable numerical frequency with which the topic is found in the Pali texts. I did use an on-line search engine [at La Trobe University, as repeatedly documented in the sandbox article] to generate this frequency information but, after some thought, I personally don't see this as too much more advanced than someone's thumbing through a book's index for information [and it's a lot easier when the household lights are turned off :-) ].) If you see POV in the article, please let me know and I'll will try to address it diligently and fairly. I have no desire to insert my or another POV in the article. It is meant to simply accurately reflect the material in the Pali literature (although, obviously, the section on the Visuddhimagga is currently greatly underdeveloped and either needs to be significantly expanded or pruned and wordsmithed into a summary statement with links.)
In terms of reliable sources, again, I welcome the Cousins article, if you can make it readily available (e.g., is it Internet accessible, etc.); however, I personally have found (admittedly, given my vastly limited resources) that this is one of the areas of Buddhism that many of us discussed before as being under-addressed by university scholars. Wouldn't you agree?
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:30, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
P.S. Following up on your post to my talk page, I'll delete the current re-direct at User_talk:Larry_Rosenfeld/sandbox3 in case you would be inclined to discuss this intended article there. Thanks again, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:30, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi Peter and others (again :-) )
Just wanted to say, you can take your time responding to my above statement (if at all). The sandbox article really is undergoing transitions and is far from ready to put into WP main space. Perhaps when I'm done with it, if you like, I can alert you so you can then either provide more pertinent feedback or issue sincere cautions or attempt in good faith to counteract any intention I might have (which I would respect your doing so). Otherwise, at this time, it might just be a waste of your time to attempt to be critical of an article that is in significant transition. (If you look at the changes I've made over the last few days, you can see the sandbox article goes through upheavals regularly.)
In the meantime, I really would appreciate more info regarding the Cousins and related articles on samatha (though not on commentary-based "samatha meditation" :-) ). Perhaps if I can somehow access such material then I could then refashion the sandbox article around it. (Or, alternately, you or another can write a new samatha article first :-) ).
I hope you are well, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 04:15, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

The article is called "Samatha-yana and vipassana-yana", give or take typography, & appears in Buddhist Studies in Honour of Hammalawa Saddhatissa, ed Dhammapala, Gombrich & Norman, University of Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, 1984. I don't know whether there's an internet version. I'll have another look when I have time, but your interpretation of verfiability/originality seems a bit borderline. Peter jackson (talk) 12:03, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Peter, thanks for the quick feedback. Out of curiosity, are you sure the Cousins' article dealt with samatha in the Canon? After all, does samatha-yana appear any where in Pali literature prior to the Visuddhimagga? If so, I'd very much appreciate the citation. (And, if it's not obvious, I'm not trying to be rhetorical or condescending here; I would sincerely appreciate the additional education.)
Jake, thanks so much for the thoughtful, kind and constructive comments on the sandbox article's talk page. I'll respond further there.
My best to you both, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:13, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

The article covers both. Peter jackson (talk) 12:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Excellent! While I've had trouble finding someone who might sell the book (e.g.,,,, -- even when I substitute a "v" for the "w"), I found it located at a local university's divinity school library. So, before I move my sandbox article to main space (assuming someone does not create such an article first), I'll be sure to read the Cousins' article and rework my sandbox article so that it is well grounded in a secondary source. (I'll also check Cousins' bibliography for any accessible, pertinent secondary sources he might cite.) Since my current circumstances are that it might be a long while before I can make time to do a library trip, the completion of this article might be a long while. But no doubt I (and WP) could only benefit from such a pursuit. So, thanks once again. Best wishes, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 19:05, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at Satipatthāna & Samādhi by Ven. Bhikkhu Brahmali [7] Sunfirejake 12:20, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


I think the curse of this article, and articles on buddhism in general, is how fractured and diverse Buddhist views are. Perhaps a new angle is required on defining Buddhism. at the 4th Global Conference on buddhism i heard on speaker (I forget his name) make a great point: that what makes people identifible as a group is that they argue about the same things. What is Buddhism? I don't think we'll be able to write an article that categorically defines what buddhists do, don't do; believe, don't believe. But we probably can show people what the key issues in Buddhism are - what we all can't aggree on - and leave the specifics for sub pages of doctrine from specific schools. otherwise we're never going to get this article to be what is should be: something for people who no nothing about buddhism. The article on sport doesent try to pin sport down to specifically this of that.. it gives the rough boundaries within which the concept sport is contained. Maybe the same method could be applied to this article. Sunfirejake (talk) 15:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Sounds artificial, but there's no simple answer. Peter jackson (talk) 12:17, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

The above is my immediate response. Some more considered thoughts:

I don't think the article should try to say what Buddhism is, since there is no agreement on whether there is such a thing as Buddhism, let alone what it is. Views on the question migyt be dealt with in a separate article. What the article should do is what people looking it up expect: outline the main phenomena covered by the name, allocating space very roughly in accordance with importance in the Buddhist tradition as a whole (not Buddhism in the West). Peter jackson 10:51, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ see Sects and Sectarianism, Sujato bhikkhu, 2007. (non-for-profit publication available at, with [ online version)
  2. ^ for example: ... stressed that the written canon in Buddhism is sectarian from the outset, and that presectarian Buddhism must be deduced from the writings as they now exist). Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma, Leon Kurvitz, 1976, Columbia University Press (quote via Google Scholar search-engine)
  3. ^ By several centuries after the death of the Buddha, the itinerant mendicants following his way had formed settled communities and had changed irrevocably their received methods of both teaching and praxis., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 501
  4. ^ Lopez, Buddhism in Practice, Princeton University Press, 1995, page 4
  5. ^ ‘’in the name of that extreme caution which some suppose to be the hallmark of the sound academic, some scholars have claimed that we do not know what the Buddha taught and cannot now find out.’’ AK Warder, Indian Buddhism, 1999, 3rd edition, preface to 1st edition.