Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: That other Enlightenment

  1. #1

    That other Enlightenment

    I just had a conversation with someone who has a very different concept of “Enlightenment”. For her that word refers to the European Enlightenment of the last five hundred years. This Enlightenment can often be maligned by 'spiritual” folks as tantamount to the fall of humanity from grace, and the beginning of environmental disaster.... etc. Maybe so, but it also brought a hard won value that perhaps modern Buddhists take for granted. That value is the plurality of views that is expressed in the statement “I disagree with your view profoundly, but I will defend your right to have it” No one value system or view is privileged (except the value of plurality... but that's another discussion). I mention this because it is a given of our modern world, such that we project it back onto the Buddhist world of old.. I know folks who see India at the time of the Buddha as being in that value sphere, but that is an iffy proposition imo..

    If this is so, and if Buddhism today is being practised in a value sphere that is new, how does this effect how we perceive the Buddhists of an earlier era?.... and how the teachers and teachings speak to us now?

    ...Kind of a monkey minded post.. ops: but I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts about this. Thankyou.

  2. #2

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    I think you're right, the values are different across time, and even today in across different countries. if you practice buddhism in japan versus usa versus canada versus saudi arabia, you will be reading, learning, and practicing from a different set of values from practitioners with other backgrounds in other countries.

    so i think background matters and can color subtleties and even produce deep confusions. a shift like the enlightenment fundamentally diminishes the meaning and role of religion for people in the western world and can make it difficult for us to understand the thinking of writers and artists who devoutly believed in the chuch prior to it.

    but i think the teachers also elucidate some things that sometimes reach across space and time, and sometimes we are able to understand those timeless things across the shifting cultural values.

  3. #3

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    Hi gongli. Sorry, I didn't see that someone had responded to the OP. You are probably right on both points, some things change, and as Jundo talks about here... http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewto...p=68159#p68114 ....some basic teachings are straightforward throughout culture and time.

    Gassho, kojip

  4. #4
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    838

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    This Enlightenment can often be maligned by 'spiritual” folks as tantamount to the fall of humanity from grace, and the beginning of environmental disaster.... etc.
    Seriously? I don't think I've ever heard that. To be fair, I think very few people who aren't historians or students of history know anything at all about the Enlightenment (European). From my readings - and I do read a fair amount of books about history - the Enlightenment was almost inevitable, philosophically, as Europe cast off the fetters of the middle ages. And, it led to the counter-Enlightenment, and then romanticism, which is probably the longest-lasting and richest artistic movement in history. (It's fair to say that much of romanticism is still at the core of all the arts today, notably the relationship of the artist to society, the search for "pure" art, etc.)

    The Enlightenment also led to the freeing of people from the rule of kings. It contributed to the American revolution, was a key factor in the French revolution, and even, indirectly, led to Marx and the revolutions of 1848.

  5. #5

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    This Enlightenment can often be maligned by 'spiritual” folks as tantamount to the fall of humanity from grace, and the beginning of environmental disaster.... etc.
    Seriously? I don't think I've ever heard that. To be fair, I think very few people who aren't historians or students of history know anything at all about the Enlightenment (European). From my readings - and I do read a fair amount of books about history - the Enlightenment was almost inevitable, philosophically, as Europe cast off the fetters of the middle ages. And, it led to the counter-Enlightenment, and then romanticism, which is probably the longest-lasting and richest artistic movement in history. (It's fair to say that much of romanticism is still at the core of all the arts today, notably the relationship of the artist to society, the search for "pure" art, etc.)

    The Enlightenment also led to the freeing of people from the rule of kings. It contributed to the American revolution, was a key factor in the French revolution, and even, indirectly, led to Marx and the revolutions of 1848.
    yes all that, but also it is seen by some as the period when interior, spiritual life, was reduced to a sensible mechanistic world view (mind reduced to brain etc). There are different takes on the period.


    ed.
    I think very few people who aren't historians or students of history know anything at all about the Enlightenment (European).
    IMO this statement sells people short. Basic historical knowledge of the period is common, in my experience.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    838

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    .
    I think very few people who aren't historians or students of history know anything at all about the Enlightenment (European).
    IMO this statement sells people short. Basic historical knowledge of the period is common, in my experience.
    Wow, you frequent circles of very well educated people. I learned nothing about it in high school, and I'd be hard pressed to expect more than a handful of people to even know what the term means, historically.

  7. #7

    Re: That other Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    .
    I think very few people who aren't historians or students of history know anything at all about the Enlightenment (European).
    IMO this statement sells people short. Basic historical knowledge of the period is common, in my experience.
    Wow, you frequent circles of very well educated people. I learned nothing about it in high school, and I'd be hard pressed to expect more than a handful of people to even know what the term means, historically.
    It's interesting, I guess there are different ways of entering history. For artists, history is art history, the enlightenment period is seen through the art of the period, which is maybe a good mirror. For contemporary artists that period is seen through a post-modern lens that (for different reasons than new-age mystics) can see failure. It's a slippery thing. I'm not American, and a bit surprised that enlightenment period philosophy, which was so essential to the founding of the U.S. and of American values, would not be taught in school.

    Gotta go to work now but if this topic isn't way off the farm maybe we can continue on another thread? in the all about life n such forum?



    ..ed. oops, you're in France. If the common knowledge of the enlightenment is waning in France, history really is lost.

Similar Threads

  1. enlightenment
    By tetsugakucha in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 54
    Last Post: 09-08-2011, 03:27 PM
  2. Enlightenment
    By Jundo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-10-2009, 12:37 AM
  3. Enlightenment 3
    By Longdog in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-10-2008, 08:00 AM
  4. Enlightenment
    By will in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-01-2008, 05:11 AM
  5. Enlightenment, only $15!
    By PaxAnimi in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-05-2007, 09:29 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •