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June 10, 2012


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Sozan: Anyone is free to call into question the doctrines of various sects of Buddhism. Secular Buddhism is emerging as a sect of Buddhism led by Stephen Batchelor. It is fair game as are other sects of Buddhism, for example, Dogen's Soto Zen.

So how is this complaint any different than Tibetan Buddhists dismissing Zen Buddhism as inauthentic? Also, I think you incorrectly use "religion" and "spirituality" interchangeably. Spirituality is something we all possess by virtue of being alive (whether we want to acknowledge it or not). Religion is something we do to it in order to try and understand it (which includes invoking the supernatural).

kirkmc: relevant to your comment is the blog I did entitled _Supernormal powers_ (http://goo.gl/rII9T). The powers are all based on the spiritual attainment of pure Mind, a subject the secularists runaway from consistently. I would encourage you and others to read _Mud and Water: The Collected Teachings of Zen Master Bassui_, which has been translated by Arthur Braverman.

I have to disagree with this:

"The broader aim of secular Buddhist propaganda is to teach the moral teachings of the Buddha while, at the same time, leaving out his spiritual teachings when it comes to the subject of nirvana, for example. "

It's the use of the word "spiritual," which basically has no meaning, that is wrong. What you should say is "supernatural teachings."

And this:

"If we can imagine a secular Buddhist cannon it would be quite small as compared with its present size."

"Quite small?" How small is that?

The Buddhist canon - the Pali canon that is - is huge. If you remove the suttas which contain reference to supernatural elements, it would be smaller, maybe by a fair amount, but would still be "quite large," considering the number of texts that don't discuss these things.

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