Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Buddhism/Archive 5

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Have you ever seen this before?

About collapsing text and the use of Dharma teachers as reliable sources

Have you ever seen anything like this on wikipedia, a talk page with just about all the comments collapsed and the collapsing done by editors with the opposing view on the article content to the person whose comments were collapsed? The dispute is over whether the four noble truths should be presented as they are in the Pāli Canon and as understood by many modern Buddhists as saying that it's possible to realize cessation of dukkha in ones lifetime, and that Buddha himself did that, or if Buddhas only truly realize cessation in the sense of the four truths at death in paranirvana.

Richard Gombrich is of the view that Buddha as a young man only had an intimation that when he died he would be free from the cycle of samsara. He is a notable scholar and of course his view needs to be included. He also, as a necessary corollary, thinks that the four noble truths in the Pāli Canon are inauthentic, not the original statement of them as given by the Buddha. The article presents only the views of Richard Gombrich and some (not all) other Western scholars, rephrases the four truths in accord with their views, and presents only their views on the authenticity or otherwise of the Pāli Canon, on which, of course, there is a very wide range of views, see Pāli Canon#Origins. I argue that it should present the full range of views on both matters.

Walpola Rahula was one of many notable scholars who say that according to the Buddha's teachings, cessation in the sense of the four noble truths was realized by the Budddha and by arhats in their own lifetimes and not after death. Indeed this is the view of all except a small number of mainly Western scholars. For a more detailed summary of the dispute see the last collapsed comment on the page and for more details with cites, see the previous collapsed sections.

Full disclosure. I was taken to WP:ANI by @Joshua Jonathan:, the main opposing editor in this dispute, and topic banned for three six months last year on the topic "four noble truths" broadly construed. The reason given for banning me was that I wrote too much on this matter on the article talk page in too short a period of time. It was not an edit war. I have never edit warred on the talk page and the only edit I did of the article itself was to add a cn tag which was swiftly removed. I never tried to reinsert it. Whatever the rights or wrongs of that, my editing since then can hardly be called excessive. This was my first post to the talk page for four months. I am not a WP:SPA either, I edit wikipedia on a large number of topics.

I recommend that the last edit by @Ms Sarah Welch: be reverted - it collapsed my last comment and most of the remaining uncollapsed content on the page. I also recommend that a WP:NPOVD tag should be added to the article. During all this debate the opposing editors never edited it to say that the neutrality of the article was disputed and I obviously didn't try knowing that they had reverted even a simple cn tag. See Talk:Four Noble Truths - Robert Walker (talk) 06:51, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Please see [1] [2], [3] for the context. JimRenge (talk) 07:24, 9 April 2017 (UTC) suppl. links JimRenge (talk) 10:53, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Robert, it's good that you mention your topic-ban. Consider the counter-question: have you ever seen a talkpage which is so completely filled by one editor? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:03, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
First for anyone reading this, I am not under a topic ban at present. It expired over four months ago, and I did no editing at all of the talk page while I was banned, which was the most limited ban you can have, a restriction that I couldn't mention a single phrase "four noble truths" for six months, broadly construed, and it was imposed not for edit warring or anything else, just for verbosity on the talk page.
Then, I forgot to mention, three days ago, @Joshua Jonathan: deleted my most recent comment from the talk page without prior discussion with me or anyone else[4]. Another editor reverted his edit saying "Please explain why talk page needs deletion"[5] and then he gave no explanation but @Ms Sarah Welch: collapsed the comment instead along with most of the other remaining uncollapsed comments on the page[6]. Does this not count as WP:TPO? The WP:ANI was a judgement on my verboseness. How does a single comment four months after the ban expired cross the line of excessive verbosity which I was topic banned for?[7].
I don't see anything in the WP:ANI decision that gives them or anyone else the authority to remove or collapse my posts from Talk:Four Noble Truths without discussion four months after the ban expired. Also this way that they immediately deleted or collapsed my recent critical comment on its talk page I think underlines how strongly they feel about retaining the article in its present form, which doesn't even mention that there are other WP:POVs in the scholarly literature. Surely that can be their only reason for collapsing it?? If someone read my comment they would see that there are other WP:POVs on the topic. I have been verbose in the past but this was one new comment after four months.
Once again I recommend that the edit collapsing my post to the talk page be reverted, and the article marked as POV - that its neutrality is disputed, linking to the talk page. I don't edit war, and especially I will not do so in the Buddhism topic area, so I won't revert it myself. Robert Walker (talk) 09:48, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps I am missing something here, Robertinventor, but why don't you just edit the article using reliable sources? Since you are not under a topic ban anymore, that would be possible.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 11:27, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Please don't ignore the archived walls of comments and discussions here. Feel free to repeat, but do respect the fact that others may not because there is no need to repeat. @Farang Rak Tham: I request that you read that archive and edit history carefully, in case you haven't. Your account history suggests you registered your account about the time of those discussions last year, so you may or may not be fully aware of the history and depth here. The wikipedia community active in Buddhism space, as well as many admins, have already shown a lot of loving-kindness, compassion and patience in this matter.... if you go through the history carefully. Yes, anyone is free to edit and Robertinventor is too. But if the sources or issues have been discussed on the talk page/archive by the same editor with others previously, the editor(s) need to be more careful. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 14:26, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Ms Sarah Welch, I had read that. I was saying that it would be better to start editing the article following the rules of the game, than to talk for hours on talk pages.
So what do you propose?--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 19:05, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
@Farang Rak Tham:. Right I'll explain why it's necessary to get a talk page consensus first and why nobody has tried to edit the article itself in this way. It's because 1. my edits would be reverted. I tried just adding a cn tag as the only edit I ever did and it was swiftly reverted. I would want to add a POV tag but it would be instantly reverted, I know for sure. 2. Most of those knowledgeable in Buddhist scholarship are no longer with the project, but have gone away now.
I feel I am trained as a scholar, yes, but in mathematics, not Buddhism. It's - out of respect for the dharma. Mainly because I'm a practicing meditating Buddhist in a sutra based tradition. I feel I would need the blessing of my teachers to actually write in the area of Buddhist scholarship. Hard to explain. It's just not the direction I have gone in as a Buddhist. So, I'm sure that the article needs to be fixed, it can't be right to say that cessation in the sense of Nirvana only happens after you die, or to say that the teachings just are inauthentic - as the only WP:POV presented in the article. That makes it outrageously biased, ignoring the way the four truths are understood by Buddhists in all the main sutra traditions, including Therevadhan Buddhism, as presented for instance by Walpola Rahula widely recognized in East and West as one of the foremost scholars of the Pali Canon and Therevadhan Buddhism. He could hardly have put it plainer [8]:

"In almost all religions the summum bonum can be attained only after death. But Nirvana can be realized in this very life; it is not necessary to wait till you die to ‘attain’ it."

It is sometimes easier to see what is wrong with an article than to fix it. It's one thing as a lay Buddhist who has read some Buddhist scholarship to see the bias in an article. It is another thing altogether to write an article that presents the Buddha's teachings on the four noble truths accurately in a scholarly fashion as understood by mainstream modern Buddhists.
But as well as that, there is no need. It's already been done. This is the previous version of the article[9]. The most recent edits up to that point were, many of them, by @Dorje108: as one of several editors, who has a good understanding of modern Buddhist teachings and of the scholarly sources, at least, way beyond mine :). He had worked on this and several other articles on wikipedia slowly for a year before this sudden rewrite.
Also we have to have consensus before anyone can attempt it. The reason is historical, I have to explain this background so you understand. On 14th October 2014, then @Joshua Jonathan: began a massive rewrite of the entire article, without discussing it first. Three days later, @Dorje108: reverted his edits saying "Please discuss proposed changes on talk page before making major edits" [10]. @Joshua Jonathan: ignored this request, undid his revert and just kept on going rewriting it according to his own ideas of what it should be like, which, once he had it all to his liking, ended up being an article that only presents the view of inauthenticity of the Pali Canon, the views of Anderson according to which Buddha did not teach the Four Noble Truths, and he also rewrote the text of the Four Truths themselves to accord with his own idea of what Richard Gombrich thought Buddha originally said. The actual text of the four truths in the current version of the article is not quoted from anywhere and doesn't resemble any other online statement of the four truths.

I will collapse the rest of this post, please expand to read:

Extended content
@Dorje108: also wrote most of Karma in Buddhism and again, @Joshua Jonathan: did a massive rewrite of that article too, without discussing it with anyone on the talk page first. Neither of us wanted to resort to edit warring, which was the only other alternative with the other editors ignoring our requests to discuss it on the talk page first. @Dorje108: and I tried RfCs but they were no use.
Then we were going to do a DRN but as soon as we mentioned we were going to do that, @Joshua Jonathan: took me to WP:ANI twice while we were trying to get tge DRN together. Although both actions were dismissed, both took a long time, more than a week I think, and we couldn't do a WP:DRN while I was under a WP:ANI action because the rules say you can't do that. After the second WP:ANI and various other incidents - we just didn't feel it was going to work. After all, a WP:DRN also requires some level of mutual goodwill and an attempt to find a settlement, and with all these actions taking me to WP:ANI we just didn't feel it was a situation where we could make progress with a DRN.
@Dorje108: has stopped editing wikipedia and is doing other things now. In my view, the previous version already presents the four truths correctly. I have no improvement on it. It was fine as it was. It didn't mention Gombrich's views and it didn't mention the theory of inauthenticity of the Pali Canon - but those could have just been added to it as a later section and everyone would have been fine with that. Instead @Joshua Jonathan: rewrote the article to present only those views, and that is what my discussion on the talk page is about.
Last year I came back and tried a new tack, to do RfCs on very small points in the article, one at a time. But during the first RfC I attempted, on whether "redeath" is a Buddhist term and whether it is used appropriately in the article, then @Joshua Jonathan: took me to WP:ANI again, without warning me first, on a charge of excessive verbosity in my posts in the discussion area for the RfC. This time he succeeded in getting me topic banned on the topic of Four Noble Truths broadly construed for six months.
In those circumstances it is pretty obvious that there is no point in anyone trying to edit the article itself until we have consensus on the talk page. If you look at the old version of the article, I think you'll agree it is a conventional normal treatment of the four noble truths - see [11] - similar to the treatment in countless books and articles. Any treatment like that would be fine, and Gombrich and Anderson's views mentioned later on as Western attempts to go back to what they think were the teachings of Buddha originally - and to mention their various theories of inauthenticity (not just one of course many) would be just fine so long as they are not presented as the only views on the topic.
However, any attempt to edit it back to an article like that is going to be reverted instantly. There is no point in trying. Indeed I would even be scared to do even the most minor edit of it as I think they would probably find a way to take me back to WP:ANI even if all I did was to try to insert a POV tag. In my experience once someone has been topic banned on WP:ANI then it is very easy for the editors who took them there before to get them topic banned again, just using the same diffs as before, I've seen it happen, in judgements of other editors who get re-topic banned, after doing nothing new at all, on the basis of stale evidence from the last time they were topic banned.
It's also been my experience that most Buddhist editors simply don't edit war here. Once their edit is reverted by the likes of @Joshua Jonathan: they normally just go away. I think it may be to do with the way they feel it is especially important to practice non aggression when editing on the Buddha's teachings. I'm not sure, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't happen. And there aren't that many Buddhists in this project now. Apart from JJ and SW, then most articles have not been edited by anyone contributing anything of substance for several years now. So that's the situation. I don't think there is much chance of getting the article rewritten back to something like the original any time soon as there just aren't the editors around now to do that editing, as you can see from the talk page itself also, only me commenting, and my comment was the first for over four months. But I do think it would be good to insert a tag saying that it's neutrality has been challenged. That's the most I feel I can hope for now.
Hope you understand. This is a bit long, hope this comment is not too long. But it's not easy to explain in a few words and felt you needed an explanation. This is why neither I nor @Dorje108: tried any more editing of these articles after @Joshua Jonathan:'s rewrites. Another editor also tried a partial revert of Karma in Buddhism asking @Joshua Jonathan: to discuss it, and again it was the same story, revert reverted again and the editing continued. Unless there was some reason for supposing it would be different this time, there is no point in editing the articles. And as you see from the collapsed comments, they feel strongly even about comments critical of the articles. So imagine what their response will be to someone who actually edits them back to something closer to the original article, though of course they are fine with edits consistent with their vision for the article.
So I wouldn't recommend anyone else to attempt to edit the article either, not in the direction of including Walpola Rahula and other mainstream Buddhist views on the four truths, without first getting some consensus on the talk page first to do this.
I will have to be very careful not to post any more for a while now or I may get taken back to WP:ANI but a one off new long post today - and only one very short post earlier today - I think is okay. Please @Joshua Jonathan: if you plan to take me to WP:ANI for this post please warn me. Please don't delete or revert the post. Just post to my talk page saying I have gone too far by saying this, if that is what you think, and I will remove it myself. Robert Walker (talk) 22:42, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Farang Rak Tham: - it must be hard to believe what I just said if you haven't lived through it as I did, even with the diffs. So I had an idea today. I can do an experiment to demonstrate what happens. If I do it in the right way I can make sure that they can't take me to WP:ANI. The idea is to announce my plan here first. @Joshua Jonathan: and @Ms Sarah Welch: - If I add a POV tag to the article and uncollapse the last comment on the talk page, will you consider this sufficient reason to take me back to WP:ANI to get me re-topic banned on the topic of the Four Noble Truths broadly construed?

I will wait two days for an answer, to make sure they have read this comment. Then if they don't reply, or reply saying they won't take me to WP:ANI then I will do as described and you can see what happens. If they revert my edits after I do that, as predicted, then you can try reverting their reverts too, if you feel that it is correct to say that the neutrality of the article has been questioned. So far none of that could count as edit warring. If they then revert your revert too, you will then directly experience for yourself why it is that we need consensus on the talk page first for any change that challenges the current article.

If they do let the POV tag stay in place, I'll be well pleased as I'll feel I've achieved as much as is possible at present, since, as I said, all the editors who could have fixed the article, who used to engage in lively debate on its talk page and the Karma in Buddhism article talk page, have given up editing it and I don't feel I can do it myself. I could of course revert to the old version and ask them to insert new content in a new section, instead of rewriting the entire article to match their POV. I could do that because it would be just me showing support of the scholarship of the previous editors and not attempting to write about the Four Truths myself as a scholar, but that would never work, they would immediately revert it. If the article does get a POV tag then over the fullness of time, which may be months or years, maybe it will also help to attract new scholars to the project who can discuss these POV issues with the article which I've identified, or indeed any other issues, on its talk page, and fix it, will see. Robert Walker (talk) 10:14, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Of course you can add such a template, but consider the following from Template:POV

An unbalanced or non-neutral article is one that does not fairly represent the balance of perspectives of high-quality, reliable secondary sources. A balanced article presents mainstream views as being mainstream, and minority views as being minority views. The personal views of Wikipedia editors or the public are irrelevant.[...]
This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. You may remove this template whenever any one of the following is true:
There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved.

The article fairly represents mainstream views; there is a strong concencus that your personal viewpoints are just that: personal viewpoints. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:48, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Okay thanks that's all I wanted to know, that you won't take me back to WP:ANI for doing it. I'm in no hurry and want to make it absolutely clear that it is not in any way an excessive amount of editing on my part. So I will do it tomorrow or the day after. We are not in consensus about whether it is a consensus view, after all others have also expressed reservations about the article including @Dorje108: of course whose revert you reverted when he asked you to stop and discuss before rewriting the article to your liking. I don't think you could reasonably argue that there was consensus support for your rewrite. You do have several editors who agree with you on this matter. But a group of editors who are like minded on a topic does not make for a consensus. It is more like a faction. And everything I write is heavily cited. And we never had consensus on your idea that Walpola Rahula's "What the Buddha Taught" and other works by Therevadhan Bhikkhu scholars cannot be used as WP:RS indeed I find it totally absurd that a book written for the general public by the foremost Pali Canon scholar of his time can't be used as a secondary source and I think many others would agree with me there. What does whether or not he has taken the Buddhist monk's vows have to do with whether he is reliable or a secondary source? So I don't see how it is just a "personal viewpoint". Anyway the main thing is, to add the tag, uncollapse the last comment, and then @Farang Rak Tham: and anyone else watching the page and its talk page will see whatever happens after that. Robert Walker (talk) 14:32, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
I will revert the POV tag, because you are repeating what we went over in the past, a "wall of post" one can read in Archive 2 and 3. If someone were to explain or present a new concern, based on RS, the tag is fine (editing and fixing the problem even better). Denying or suppressing mainstream secondary and tertiary publications, published by dozens of scholars, on 4NT, rebirth, etc is inappropriate and unacceptable. Walpola Rahula is already cited in the article, along with others. Please see the template above again, on when to call an article non-neutral. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 18:09, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Robert Walker, complaints about the behaviour of fellow editors should be made on their personal talk page and, if the problematic behavour continues, can then be taken to an administrative forum such as ANI. Discussions about the Four Noble Truths article should be kept in one place, the talk page of Four Noble Truths. I propose to close this thread, perhaps it should be copied to Talk: Four Noble Truths. JimRenge (talk) 20:08, 12 April 2017 (UTC)


If this discussion should come to an end, maybe it should not be held at the Four Noble Truths article. It seems to me more general than that, and it seems that discussing things over there before (redeath, rebirth, reage, or whatever) didn't work out very well. Robertinventor, do you actually support Wikipedia policies? Do you agree with them? Just a question out of curiosity.

The reason I ask is that I have met several people, also some of them monastics (including Ven. Dhammika, the Malaysia-based teacher), who have tried improving Wikipedia policies by referring to scripture. They complained to me that their edits always get deleted.

I think Wikipedia policies, and especially so on the English Wikipedia, tend to work out favorably for scholars more than anyone else. I have noticed a tendency for Wikipedia to grow more scholarly-oriented, when compared with its beginning years in the early 2000s, when basically everything was okay to write as long as you referred to some online source. This has now changed.

You could complain about that, but on the other hand, I think it can also work well in your Dharma/Dhamma practice as a Buddhist. Scholars tend of course not express much respect to the Triple Gem, but on the other hand, scholars have a way of looking at things and through things which can be rather refreshing. When writing articles about merit, for example, I found that many scholars outsider's perspectives and explanations actually helped improve my understanding and, oddly, even my faith in the Buddhadhamma.

I would like to close my contribution to this discussion, without passing any judgement to anyone, that I think there are many methods to contribute to Wikipedia in a way that improves, rather than goes against your Dhamma practice, following Wikipedia policy.Farang Rak Tham (talk) 22:34, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

@Farang Rak Tham: - first - yes we discussed it here too, as you can see in the archives, and also on the talk pages of various other Buddhist articles. Yes I do support the wikipedia policies. The policies say you have to rely on WP:RS. They don't say that you have to rely on academic papers by Western academics. For instance a reliable source on recent space missions would be NASA or ESA or a high reputation astronomical online source, and there may be nothing about e.g. the latest SpaceX flight in the scholarly journals yet.
So then - what is a reliable source on Therevadhan Buddhism (say)? I mention Therevadhan Buddhism because it has the earliest sutras, which according to many scholars are thought to have been recorded word for word since the Buddha in the same way that the Vedas were recorded, by Brahmins / or in the case of Buddhism, monks, who memorize them and recite the words in unison, syllable by syllable as a way to check for exact memorization of every single word.
Well probably the most famous book in Therevadhan Buddhism is the book "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. This was written for the general public, but widely recognized by both East and West as one of the foremost scholars of his time, and especially, an expert in the Pali Canon which he knew in a way that few others have known. Richard Gombrich acknowledges that his teacher Walpola Rahula had a far more thorough understanding of the Pali Canon than he did. So what could be a more reliable source on Therevadhan Buddhism than that? He was who was a professor at Northwestern University from 1964 onwards, and he was the first bhikkhu to become a professor in a Western university. He later became professor emeritus at the same university and held positions in many other American universities.
This fits all the necessary requirements for a WP:RS of the highest order. Also a secondary source, because he wrote a book for the general public about the Pali Canon, which is so widely and highly regarded which basically takes the whole field of Therevadhan Buddhism, distills the essential features in it, and then presents that as a book for the general public. What better WP:RS than that could you have on Therevadhan Buddhism? That he was a bhikkhu is neither here nor there. It just means he took the Buddhist monks vows. He was a bhikkhu scholar and his life's work was dedicated to scholarship. He wasn't the equivalent of a priest, or bishop or pope or some such, nor a famous Buddhist teacher. He was quite simply, a scholar, who had taken his monk's vows at age 13. Disqualifying him as a WP:RS for taking his monk's vows is like disqualifying, say, a Christian monk scholar because they took monk's vows. He didn't even live in a monastery, but worked in a university.
Now many people who write for wikipedia don't understand about WP:RS. It is very important to cite your works. But if you do, there should be no problem citing works to bhikkhu .
Then - also - Walpola Rahula is a special case because he straddled both East and West. He had qualifications both in traditional Therevadhan Buddhism and as a western academic with a doctorate in philosophy. His credentials as a WP:RS can't be disputed, no matter what standards you use, East or West. Well so it seems to me, though @Joshua Jonathan: does not regard him highly as a WP:RS for these articles.
But, @Joshua Jonathan: also thinks that Buddhists who are trained in Eastern academic institutions are not reliable sources, even on Buddhism. He thinks they are not even reliable sources on what Buddhists in their country believe. This again is not wikipedia policy. It is his personal interpretation of wikipedia policy.
For instance - I can speak best on Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, many don't know, is actually very highly qualified academically. He passed his Geshe Lahrampa exam with flying colours as a young man of 23. This is actually far more demanding than a doctorate. Only a few Westerners have ever passed this exam. Unlike a doctorate which requires usually up to three years of study, the Geshe Lahrumpa degree typically requires 15 years of study (can take much more). It is unusual as academic exams go, because to pass it you are tested not just on how good you are at answering challenging questions presented by the examiners, but also on how good you are at asking the examiners challenging questions too. He impressed everyone with his erudite questions and answers, and as the Dalai Lama he had to pass this exam not just once, but three times, in three different monasteries in old Tibet. Those weren't re-runs, he had to ask and answer different questions and it thoroughly challenges you for your deep and detailed knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism.
So - when it comes to understanding contemporary Tibetan Buddhism - what Tibetan Buddhists actually believe, who could be a more reliable source than someone who has passed their Geshe Lahrampa exam with flying colours at age 23. So the Dalai Lama who has written many books that would count as secondary sources, surveying the entire field of Tibetan Buddhism in English for Westerners - surely he must be one of the foremost WP:RS on what Tibetan Buddhists believe and how they practice their religion and so on. However @Joshua Jonathan: doesn't see it like this. He thinks that articles, for instance Karma in Buddhism when they cover the beliefs of Tibetan Buddhists and their practices, should rely on articles in journals by Western Buddhists. These are often full of mistakes, written by philosophers and theologians who can't read Tibetan, have never read the Tibetan sutras, know very little about Tibetan Buddhism and depend themselves on books by the likes of the Dalai Lama for their own understanding, but often misunderstand what he said. How are they better WP:RS than the Dalai Lama himself, and other distinguished Tibetan scholars in their own education system.
I have seen extraordinary conversations between @Joshua Jonathan: and other editors on this topic. See for instance this conversation on the Anatta article:
Quoted text below from here[12]:

I am amazed at your claim that Bhikkhu Bodhi would not qualify as a reliable source. Bodhi is the President of the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy Sri Lanka. He is the author of several of the most highly cited (Springer Citation index says it is more than 100, Google scholar says more than 115) translations of the various Nikayas of the Pali Canon. Citations of Bodhi include people like Richard Gombrich, D J Kalupahana and many others. Bhikkhu Bodhi's student Bhikkhu Analayo is a professor at the Center of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg.

I have a MS in Electrical Engineering and also MS in Physics from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have a full-time job in the electronics industry, and am now also doing a MBS program from UC Berkeley, and an MA in Sanskrit (distance-learning program) from Benares Hindu University. So I know very well about citing sources in academic articles. But the criteria you mention (rejecting widely read scholars on Buddhism) is nowhere understood in academia and in fact goes completely against good academic policy. In religion, those that practice the religion know much more than those who just publish to increase their h-index.

A Wikipedia article is NOT an academic Journal paper and the standards of such papers cannot be applied here. It is meant to present a neutral position of various sources, not synthesizing new material from the sources themselves.

Hence I argue that Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhu Analayo, or Thanissaro Bhikkhu (and any other scholar monk - which by the way itself is a very stringent criterion) would qualify as far better sources for articles on religious doctrines. University Professors may or may not have the maturity required to understand a religious doctrine. And as is the commonly acceptable criterion for religious knowledge, when there is a dissonance between a university professor or an academic (even if it is me) and a reputed scholar monk, the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic. ScientificQuest (talk)

@ScientificQuest: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhu Analayo, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu indeed are not reliable sources. VictoriaGraysonTalk 16:47, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
SQ, I've got a MA (theology) and a MSc (psychology of religion & sociology of organisations); I've been editing Wikipedia for three years now; and I'm practicing Buddhism for more than 25 years now; so, I know something about scientific citations, about how Wikipedia works, and about Buddhism. This being said, let me repeat: you've got very interesting information to share. I'm looking forward to more of it. But just simply cite your sources.
Regarding "religious knowledge": Wikipedia is not about religious knowledge, it's about verifiable information. Please do read WP:RS. If you think that "the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic", then don't edit Wikipedia, but do start your own blog. As a Dutch administrator stated: "Being enlightened is not a criterium for Wikipedia; reliable sources are." Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:57, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

@Joshua Jonathan: reverted every single edit that @ScientificQuest: made to the Anatta article. He eventually just gave up editing wikipedia.
This is not wikipedia policy. There is a group of half a dozen or so editors who all think that these scholar monks who are trained in centers of learning in Buddhist countries are not WP:RS. They ping each other to join conversations on article talk pages and they tell other editors here that they have to cite these papers from Western academics such as Richard Gombrich, Anderson, etc. They tell them that they can cite Walpola Rahula, the Dalai Lama, Bhikkhu Bodhi - a very famous Bhikkhu author of many books and who was the second president of the Buddhist Publication Society - all of these, they say, can be cited, but only as extra citations to support material from one of the Western journals. Meanwhile these editors themselves cite very obscure western papers and specialist books clearly written by scholars for scholars, not meant for the general public, and that surely in most areas of wikipedia would count as "primary sources" but here they are of the view that these are the secondary sources - apparently just because they are published by Western academics and in Western journals, in their view that makes them secondary sources and so "better".
This is not what the wikipedia guidelines on WP:RS are about. The aim is to write an encyclopedia not to write an academic treatise that only presents views of Western academics. That is also a serious breach of WP:NPOV in my view. It is certainly possible to write well researched scholarly articles for wikipedia relying on the likes of the Dalai Lama, Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi and such like as your sources for material on what present day Buddhists believe and how they practice. And many of us would say you get a much more accurate result if you do that. If you look at the old versions of
You can hardly complain that they are not heavily cited and if you check the cites, if you accept this argument that the scholars who are trained as Buddhist scholars in Buddhist traditions and then write for the general public in English are WP:RS for what Buddhists actually believe themselves. They are amongst the most heavily cited articles here, and well written too. Much of this writing was done by @Dorje108:. He was not presenting his own views but the views of various scholars. Indeed one of the complaints about him by @Joshua Jonathan: was that he included too many quotes. He would have replaced some of those with paraphrases, but in the middle of that conversation @Joshua Jonathan: suddenly took it into his head to simply rewrite all these articles, and then the point was rather moot after that as the material had been deleted already.
Before JJ's rewrites, Dorje108 had worked on those articles steadily, for week after week, for over a year. Nobody during all that time objected at all on the Karma in Buddhism article/ As for the Four Noble Truths article, there was a fair bit of discussion about which way to take it, but no consensus and certainly nobody their either said that the whole thing had to be rewritten. Joshua Jonathan I think hadn't even edited the Karma in Buddhism article at all. Look at the history[13], how on 16th November 2014, Joshua Jonathan just takes over, rewrites the article with numerous edits.The way he edits is very confusing and hard to follow as he constantly changes the order of sections, moves material around, shortens it, moves it some more, and then he will delete it finally at which point one wonders why he bothered to shorten it first before deleting it. Whole sections of the article highly cited just disappear in this process. Others get so reworked that they no longer mean what they used to mean and are often inaccurate. Then he adds in all this stuff about how the sutras are inauthentic, as the only view, presenting only Anderson's thesis, which is just one of many books and articles on the topic, along with sources cited by her interpreted as she interpreted them (she has been criticized for giving inaccurate interpretations of her sources).
@Dorje108: doesn't try to do a revert to stop him this time, as JJ had already reverted @Dorje108:'s attempt to revert his large scale rewrite on Four Noble Truths. By then, those of us who had been around as this happened knew there was no point in trying to revert again. Another editor @Andi 3ö: who came new to the debate did try a limited scale revert of the article a bit later, here: [14] - reinserting some of the material he deleted from the article. As expected, it gets reverted right away[15], this time by @VictoriaGrayson:. She is another of this group of like minded editors who think the articles shouldn't rely on the writings of holders of qualifications at Eastern centers of traditional Buddhist learning immediately reverted it, and who go about from article to article together, often tagging each other, "fixing" this error, as they see it.
So that's the background. And yes, @Ms Sarah Welch: I will insert this POV tag. The neutrality of this article is indeed questioned. If you revert it then I believe that to be totally against the intent of the tag. I will not pretend that its neutrality is not questioned. @Joshua Jonathan: has said he won't take me to WP:ANI for doing this, which is my main concern. So long as he won't do that, then I will insert the tag and see what happens. I realize this is another quite long comment. But it's my only comment for today. I will not comment again for a couple of days to give anyone else time to reply etc. I think I'll put off adding the POV tag also, maybe to next week. Just want to be very careful not to do too much activity in too short a period of time. I also have a lot on off wiki :). Robert Walker (talk) 00:45, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I have requested a topic-ban again. See diff. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:36, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Robertinventor and others, I am not sure whether anyone is actually reading this, but for anyone reading this WikiProject discussion afterwards, it might be worth noting that reliable depends on context. With regard to a statement about how Sri Lankans interpret Buddhist doctrine, Ven. Walpola Rahula may be a reliable source. Since Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations have also been distributed by Pali Text Society to its members, his translations, especially the Samyutta and Anguttara Nikaya, have received quite some credit and he can be considered a reliable source with regard to Pali translations. With regard to any statement that you make in an article, the question to ask is whether the scholar concerned, the work or the publisher concerned are often cited by other scholars or not. On Wikipedia, you can of course not just say something is true, without attributing that opinion, if the source is not reliable. Reliability means it has passed some editorial review. It is a technical term, and I don't think you should take it as an insult to Buddhist teachers that are not quoted. In fact, many prominent Buddhist teachers have been quoted as primary sources by scholars, so it is not like western scholars and Asian Dhamma teachers are two worlds apart and "never the twain shall meet". It is also worth noting that some accepted scholars have come out to say that they are practicing Buddhists. With regard to Analayo Bhikkhu, I am unaware of any reviews or events that happened that would point out that he is not a reliable scholar. He is not quoted that much, but he is quoted. His works are a very specialist field, so you will never get many citations on Google Scholar.
Regardless of potential topic bans, I am willing to continue this discussion under the condition that it does not involve events in the past, including the articles that have led to disagreement. Otherwise, I'll be leaving the Kosambi monks to their fate.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 11:40, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

@Farang Rak Tham: Okay. Agreed on reliable sources, but not completely, I think it is important also to realize that Buddhism itself has its own tradition of scholarship which has very exacting standards of its own, dating back to the great early Indian universities and indeed much further back. WP:RS is interpreted differently depending on the subject matter as my example of SpaceX flights shows. However I feel that this is not the right time to continue that conversation. I am just posting a brief note for now. As you can see I have been taken back to WP:ANI by @Joshua Jonathan:.

I am taking a wikibreak from this topic area for a few days, or until that action is over. I will return after the break, and may have further comments at that time. I did have a reason for mentioning these past discussions. I felt you needed to understand the past to understand why it is that I only post to the talk page, and also to understand why it is that Ven. Dhammika's edits got reverted even if cited to reliable sources. I was responding to that by explaining that, depending on the case, the reverts of his edits may not be the result of a consensus community decision, but rather, a personal view on the matter WP:RS by Joshua Jonathan and several other editors in this project. I wanted to explain that their interpretation of WP:RS has been disputed in the past by many editors in this topic area. We often get widely varying views on how the guidelines should be interpreted here in wikipedia and this is an example. So that was the connection with your comment which perhaps I didn't make as clear as I should. We have had lively discussions on the matter here in the past but now there is hardly anyone who pays much attention to the project, it seems.

I have explained all that now, and unless you have questions about it there is no need to explain again. But sorry if it wasn't clear why I said what I did in that section. Also my post on that matter was overlong which I realized after I posted it, but I thought it was best to just take a wikibreak at that point rather than to try to trim it or collapse it or any such. It has been a matter of very heated debate here in the past as you can find in the archives of this talk page. I just felt I needed to break from it at that point. I also don't want to revisit those old discussions, which is why I stopped at that point. If we could have a fresh start on it, then that would be great. Anyway more later. Robert Walker (talk) 02:01, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Why don't you discuss Wikipedia policies at the talk pages of those respective policies, Robertinventor?
--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 07:34, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
@Farang Rak Tham: - back from my wikibreak plus the WP:ANI action has pretty much ended with @Joshua Jonathan: told that he will get a boomerang if he continues asking for sanctions against me there [16]. So I feel it is okay to do a short reply here.
So, I don't need to discuss on the talk pages of the wikipedia policies because what I describe here are the guidelines on primary and secondary sources for religious articles. I decided during my wikibreak to do an essay on what counts as reliable secondary sources in Buddhism, through careful reading of the guidelines as well as studying how it is done on other articles on religion here, in the topic area of Christianity - which as a high profile religion in English wikipedia one can reasonably assume does it properly. I plan to post that essay in the near future, currently planning to post it tomorrow. "Spoiler alert" as they say - it turns out that Walpola Rahula, the Dalai Lama, Bhikkhu Bodhi etc are reliable secondary sources in Buddhism according to those guidelines. More later, I explain why in the essay. It's not a gray area, it is totally clear, as you'll see, hope it will help clear up many things. Robert Walker (talk) 00:35, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Robertinventor, it is my understanding that it is not forbidden by any Wikipedia policy to quote influential Buddhist teachers as opinions, but you can't quote them as facts. That basically comes down to this: you can say "[i]nfluential Dharma teachers like the Dalai Lama have argued against the theory that the Tripitaka is not the word of the Buddha",[1] but you cannot state "[t]he Tripitaka is the word of the Buddha".[2] You might disagree with that out of respect for these teachers, but it is important to notice that this policy does not indicate any moral superiority of scholars above teachers—but scholars are by profession required to be politically neutral, not to have any conflicts of interest, and to state fact rather than just opinion. They can be fired if they violate these principles. Dharma teachers, on the other hand, have much more freedom in these matters, and are by profession required to relate personal experiences and opinion to edify and educate the people in the eightfold path. To surmise, Wikipedia policy isn't against Dharma teachers, but it is a matter of profession and role in society. You might be satisfied to be able to write that "[t]he Tripitaka is the word of the Buddha",[3] but by that same policy, the next day some other person might come along and add to that "[t]he contents of the Tripitaka indicate that idolatry is still widespread among the Asian races".[4] If you believe that the Dalai Lama is a source that should be treated the same way as a scholarly source, then why would the other person not be allowed to add in an opinion of the 16th-century European missionary? (Or the opinion of clergy from another religion from the 21st century, for that matter, many of which do not speak positively about Buddhism either.) Just to be clear, I highly respect the Triple Gem and the Tipitaka, but I also understand where these Wikipedia policies come from.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 08:27, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
(answered in #On the theory of authenticity)
Robertinventor, let me put in other words, less related to Buddhism. What if someone added to the article on the English writer Salman Rushdie the sentence "Salman Rushdie should be put to death, because he is an enemy of Islam",[5] do you think that sentence should be removed from the article, attributed clearly within the sentence, or kept as a statement of fact? (This question is important for my argument and is not meant offensive to you or anyone else.)--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 20:30, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── No, that is not permitted. That is an editor putting forward their own WP:POV and presenting it as the views of wikipedia. But if you look at the last version of Four Noble Truths[17] before @Joshua Jonathan: it doesn't claim to be presenting the views of wikipedia. It says


The Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni) are regarded as the central doctrine of the Buddhist tradition, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for all of Buddhist thought. These four truths explain the nature of dukkha (Pali; commonly translated as "suffering", "anxiety", "unsatisfactoriness"[a]), its causes, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation.

The four noble truths are:[b]

  1. The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness[a])
  2. The truth of the origin of dukkha
  3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha
  4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha


You could make it clearer by saying "are regarded by modern Buddhists" but it is pretty clear who these views are being attributed to by context because it says "of the Buddhist tradition". Similarly "regarded as the the central doctrine of the Christian tradition" would obviously mean regarded as such by Christians.

It is fine to express a WP:POV in an article so long as it is attributed to someone or a group of people according to a WP:RS. We can look at how similar things are done in other articles on religion here as a guideline, outside of the Buddhism area of course. Especially the Christian articles which are amongst the most mature here. Robert Walker (talk) 20:49, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

On the theory of authenticity

@Farang Rak Tham: Yes that's what @Joshua Jonathan: etc. say are the guidelines. But when you look closely at them, and also at how they are applied in other long established articles on other religions, then this is not the meaning of Primary and Secondary sources here. Indeed being independent in the way you describe makes you more likely to be a primary rather than a secondary source. My essay when I post it, will make it all clear.

Can you link to a source on the Dalai Lama saying that the Tripitaka is the word of the Buddha? I'll have a section in the essay on the theory of authenticity. The Therevadhan scholars have excellent reasons for believing that most of the Tripitaka is the word of the Buddha as memorized by his monks during his lifetime, similarly to the Vedas. So if the Dalai Lama said this, it is relevant to this section.

It's striking that in the Pali Canon#Origins nearly all those who say that they are inauthentic are Westerners and nearly all who say they are authentic are Therevadhan Buddhists like Bhikkhu Sujato and Prayudh Payutto (though Alex Wynne also says they are authentic). But on the Heart sutra as far as I know all scholars, Western (for want of a better word) and Mahayana Buddhists alike are agreed that it was composed some time in the first few centuries CE. The main discussion amongst Buddhist scholars there is over where it was composed (is the "composed in China" theory correct) and which century of the CE was it originally composed in? Nobody is suggesting it was composed at the time of the historical Buddha and I'm sure the Dalai Lama as a well educated modern Buddhist would not assert that.

So, in that quote the Dalai Lama could be referring to the Therevadhan Tripitaka in which case he is supporting a scholarly respectable view on the matter that it seems that most Buddhist scholars support (as in modern practicing Buddhists in the Buddhist sutra traditions). In the theory of authenticity, then this refers to all the sutras except a few that are obviously later, and some passages in the sutras that are thought to predate the Buddha. And by "words of the Buddha" they don't mean that they word for word recorded what he said exactly as he said it at the time, but rather, that they structured what he said for easy memorization and then asked him "is this what you said" during his lifetime and then that is what was preserved as the Therevadhan sutras. If that is what he is saying, it is just mainstream Therevadhan Buddhist scholarship.

For the Mahayana sutras, then Mahayana Buddhist scholars think that they are later compositions certainly. But that they record teachings on the path to enlightenment and the teachings inspired by awakening and enlightenment which is an inspiration that continues to the present day and can be accessed right now. They may think that Buddha himself must have taught in the same way, in teachings that were not recorded. There is no way the Pali Canon, extensive as it is, can be the entirety of what he taught in many decades of teaching almost all the time apart from occasional retreats. So it is possible that he taught in many different ways at the time and that not all the ways he taught have come down to us in the Pali Canon. So in that sense the Heart Sutra could potentially present a style of teaching that Buddha might have taught himself. But no Mahayana Buddhist scholar would say it was composed at the time of the Buddha.

So if he meant one or other collection of the Mahayana sutras, e.g. the Tibetan sutra collection, then the Dalai Lama could have meant that they are the words of the Buddha in much the same sense you could say a Zen Koan is the word of the Buddha as in, expressing the essence of the path to enlightenment, the essence of Buddha's teachings. Whatever he meant, I expect he explained in more detail rather than just assert it and I'd be interested to hear or read what he said for this section. Robert Walker (talk) 11:21, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

I was giving a hypothetical example. I am, in fact, not aware of any statement of the Dalai Lama about whether the Tipitaka is the word of the Buddha. I do believe so myself, for what it is worth. Let's go back to the previous topic. See above.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 20:02, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh I see. In that case, probably he never said that, or not exactly in those words. Though Therevadhan Buddhists do say such things, and justifiably so, at least, backed up by WP:RS and scholarship, as a reasonable WP:POV. I believe so myself also, not as an article of faith, but from carefully reading the scholarly articles on the topic.
In that case my new essay is nearly ready. I need to take another look at it, probably tomorrow, see if there is any clarification needed. Robert Walker (talk) 20:47, 18 April 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Dalai Lama
  2. ^ Dalai Lama
  3. ^ Dalai Lama
  4. ^ 16th-century European monk and missionary
  5. ^ hypothetical quote from Ayatollah Khomeini
  6. ^ Dhamma 1997, p. 55.
  7. ^ Buswell 2003, Volume One, p. 296.
  8. ^ Geshe Tashi Tsering 2005, Kindle Locations 246-250.
  9. ^ Goldstein 2002, p. 24.
  10. ^ Epstein 2004, p. 42.


The Category:Pages using infobox religious biography with unsupported parameters need some help. Would anyone here like to volunteer? -- Pankaj Jain Capankajsmilyo (talk · contribs · count) 17:12, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Essay on Reliable Sources in Buddhism and a Proposal

Here is my essay. I think the proposal here could potentially help in many ways. The distinction between primary and secondary sources in wikipedia is not a difference between "those who do" and "those who write about those who do".

Indeed the best sources to use for an article on model railroading are sources written by keen model railroaders. Similarly the best sources on what modern Buddhists actually think and believe and their practices are the books and articles by modern practicing Buddhists. The wikipedia guidelines on reliable secondary sources in religion make this clear, saying that the books and other publications by those who are "recognized and well regarded" experts in the religion are amongst the best sources to use in articles on the views of the practioners that particular religion.

In this essay I study these guidelines themselves in some detail and how are used in other articles in topics in Religion here in wikipedia. I have focused on examples from Christianity, reasoning that these are the articles that probably get the most attention in an encyclopedia edited mainly by people who live in Christian countries, and so are most likely to comply with the guidelines exactly.

When you look at it closely, the differences in views that we encountered in our discussions in this project, between sutra tradition Buddhists and western academics, and in the sources we used, they are as distinct as for Muslims and Christians. Often the two bodies of writing barely reference each other. Especially, sutra tradition Buddhists don't seem to cite the works of Richard Gombrich et al at all. Attempting to agree on a single article to cover both approaches was rather like Christians and Muslims attempting to collaborate to write a single WP:NPOV article on the Resurrection of Jesus :). We were both convinced that the preferred WP:RS for our own particular viewpoint were the ones to use.

Well actually, it seems pretty clear that what we had were distinct WP:SUBPOVs. These are POVs in the reliable sources themselves and not just differing views of the wikipedia editors, so it is not a WP:POVFORK. So that's my proposal. Do read the essay to find out more about the guidelines, how they are used, and this proposal. It's here: Essay on Reliable Sources in Buddhism and a Proposal. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 20:20, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

It's not a matter of "differences in views [...] between sutra tradition Buddhists and western academics," it's a matter of difference between writing an article based on one's personal understanding (=pov) of a limited number of primary sources from one contemporary strand of Buddhism, namely Buddhist modernism, versus writing an article based on WP:RS, as is the standard and core Wiki-policy. [[WP:SCHOLARSHIP]: "Articles should rely on secondary sources whenever possible." & "Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable, where the material has been published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses." An article which solely represents the personal pov of an editor, based on one's personal reading of primary sources, is indeed a WP:POVFORK. Kindly remind you of the advice of RegentsPark: come with specific proposals, based on WP:RS diff diff. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:39, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes I discuss that section of the guidelines in the essay. But what you are missing there is what the guidelines say specifically about Religious sources. [18] "In significant world religious denominations with organized academies or recognized theological experts in religious doctrine and scholarship, the proceedings of official religious bodies and the journals or publications of recognized and well-regarded religious academies and experts can be considered reliable sources for religious doctrine and views where such views represent significant viewpoints on an article subject. Ordination alone does not generally ensure religious expertise or reliability. Absent evidence of stature or a reputation for expertise in a leading, important religious denomination or community, the view of an individual minister or theologian is ordinarily not reliable for representing religious views."
Buddhism fits "significant world religious denominations with organized academies or recognized theological experts in religious doctrine and scholarship" as it has a continuous scholarly tradition that goes back to Nalanda University in Northern India. One of its most famous students was Nagarjuna around 100 AD. By the seventh century it had six colleges 300 rooms and 3,000 to 5,000 students. Though the university with its great library of hundreds of thousands of books was burnt in the early middle ages, its students by then had dispersed throughout the Buddhist world and there is a continuous tradition of scholarship going right back to Nalanda university and earlier. Mainstream Tibetan Buddhism as represented by the Dalai Lama, Sogyal Rinpoche etc and Therevadhan Buddhism as represented by Walpola Rahula and Prayudh Payutto etc are firmly grounded in this continuous tradition of scholarship. I cover all that in the essay. Do have a careful read of it.
You also need to look at the definition of Primary and Secondary sources. The Wikipedia guidelines explain clearly in WP:SECONDARY: "Secondary" does not mean "independent" or "uninvolved". Most independent sources are not secondary sources."
I look at this carefully. I show how works by the Dalai Lama, Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Rigpa website etc fulfill these requirements of a reliable source and a secondary source in sutra tradition Buddhism. I also look at some religious examples, e.g. the article on Jehovah's Witnesses relies heavily on their Watchtower publication, and the article on Ignatian spiritualityrelies on a website run by Jesuits. It's explained clearly in the guidelines, and then when you look at the articles themselves, this is also how it is done in practice in religious topics here. Robert Walker (talk) 00:46, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Joshua Jonathan: Correct me if you are wrong, on further reflection, what you seem to be saying is that modern Western academic Buddhist scholarly discussions provide the only point of view based on reliable secondary sources and that other writings on Buddhism by the Dalai Lama, Walpola Rahula, Bikkhu Bodhi etc are not reliable secondary sources and so we don't need to have articles written from their points of view. Is that what you are saying? Or are you saying that there is no difference in WP:SUBPOV between Richard Gombrich etc and the Dalia Lama, Walpola Rahula etc? You do seem to be saying we should only represent one WP:POV in these articles. Robert Walker (talk) 01:09, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

@RW: Your essay starts with "This is mid edit. It's not ready for discussion yet." It may be better to wait till it is. In your interim draft, your allegations against Richard Gombrich etc are puzzling and very mistaken. Perhaps as you revise your draft, you will provide evidence before or with your allegations against active scholars such as "The main problem we face in the Buddhism topic area is that Richard Gombrich in his "What the Buddha Thought" and other western academics make it clear that they challenge many of the most basic assumptions of sutra tradition Buddhists". The evidence may help address any WP:BLP issues from your inadvertent (mis)representation of scholars. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 19:48, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
Of all scholars, Gombrich is actually known for his conservative stance, perhaps even traditional. Among recognized scholars, Gombrich has endeavored much to point out that (many of the) the suttas date back to the Buddha. He criticized the view that all of the suttas were written by later writers, comparing the absurdity of that idea with a bunch of monkeys writing Shakespeare. Gombrich gained much of his understanding of Buddhism from Walpola Rahula, which he himself has admitted. Other notable scholars, for example Donald Swearer, has admitted to have learnt a great deal of Buddhism from Thai teachers such as Phra Payutto and Sivaraksa. To see western scholars and Asian practitioners as two different worlds would be inaccurate. They are very much affecting each other.
I still believe the discussion considering reliable sources in religious topics should be held on a Wikipedia policy talk page, and not here. The issues raised do not only concern Buddhism. When it is raised here, the people involved will be the same group of people, and change in opinion is unlikely, if not impossible. When you raise it on a general policy page, however, other, experienced editors will respond, and progress can be made.--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 16:23, 23 April 2017 (UTC)


The discussion going on at Template talk:Infobox religious text#Wikidata is relevant for this wikiproject. Please give your comments. -- Pankaj Jain Capankajsmilyo (talk · contribs · count) 13:39, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Reassessment requested

Dear fellow contributors,

I would like to ask an independent reassessment for the following articles, which have greatly changed since the last assessment:

* Maudgalyayana * Dhammakaya meditation

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Farang Rak Tham (talkcontribs) 19:17, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

@Farang Rak Tham: I've read your request, but it would take quite some time to reassess. Maybe I'll try later. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:34, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
That's great, Joshua Jonathan! Thank you in advance. I will strike through any article above already assessed, so everyone knows. Thanks again!--Farang Rak Tham (talk) 18:35, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

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