About:Motivation for encylopedia - Rimé movement (v2)

From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Jump to: navigation, search

==Note: this is a rough draft only== ==Note: this is an old version of the rough draft too==

New version here: About:Motivation for encylopedia - Rimé movement

Old version collapsed:

Extended content

This encyclopedia is motivated by the Rimé movement. The idea behind the movement is that differences are good, to embrace our differences while at the same time establishing dialog that creates a common ground.

This is a movement that started in Tibet in response to a developing tendency of sectarianism among different schools of Buddhism. The Rimé movement encourages the idea of respecting all Buddhist traditions (as well as respecting other religions). The current Dalai Lama is a strong supporter and has composed a special prayer[1] for success of the movement. It is now the norm amongst most Tibetan Buddhists. The teachers who follow this approach preserved many rare and vanishing traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and Bon, that would otherwise have been lost and forgotten.

This movement is not at all restricted to Tibetan religions and is proving a useful foundation for interfaith dialog. We think its principles also provide good guidelines for editing an encyclopedia on Buddhism.

Rimé movement inspiration for this encyclopedia

Rimé teachers take great care to present teachings and practices of different schools in a way that preserves their unique flavour, and concepts.

Ringu Tulku describes the Rimé movement as follows

"Rimé is not a way of uniting different Schools and lineages by emphasizing their similarities. It is basically an appreciation of their differences and an acknowledgement of the importance of having this variety for the benefit of practitioners with different needs.

Therefore the Rimé teachers always take great care that the teachings and practices of the different Schools and lineages and their unique styles do not become confused with one another. To retain the original style and methods of each teaching lineage preserves the power of that lineage experience. Kongtrul and Khyentse made great efforts to retain the original flavor of each teaching, while making them available to many. Kongtrul writes about Khyentse in his biography of the latter.... When he (Khyentse Rinpoche) taught, he would give the teachings of each lineage clearly and intelligibly without confusing the terms and concepts of other teachings."[2]

He also explains that typically they follow one particular lineage and would not dissociate with their school.

"Ris or Phyog-ris in Tibetan means "one-sided", "partisan" or "sectarian". Med means "No". Ris-med (Wylie), or Rimé, therefore means "no sides", "non-partisan" or "non-sectarian". It does not mean "non-conformist" or "non-committal"; nor does it mean forming a new School or system that is different from the existing ones. A person who believes the Rimé way almost certainly follows one lineage as his or her main practice. He or she would not dissociate from the School in which he or she was raised. Kongtrul was raised in the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions; Khyentse was reared in a strong Sakyapa tradition. They never failed to acknowledge their affiliation to their own Schools.

You can hear him talk about it in this YouTube interview from 2012:

Interview with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche Part 1 {{#ev:youtube|7C9abdAzr-E}}

Interview with Ringu Tulku Rinpoche Part 2 {{#ev:youtube|Too_beQaRmw}}

For the historical background to this approach in Tibetan Buddhism, see Ringu Tulku's introduction "What is Rime" in his book "The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet" (ISBN 9781590304648).

In that book he describes the ideas in more detail, in the chapter "The meaning of Ri-me". He quotes Jamgong Kontrul's discussion of Jamyang Khentse. He cites the Prajnaparamitra sutra

"The dharma is not an object of knowledge:
It cannot be understood by the conceptual mind."

Jamgong Kongtrul goes on (in the quote by Ringu Tulku, page 4) to explain that if you are well grounded in your own tradition it's not necessary to be sectarian. If you use someone else's system to support your understanding, you get all tangled up like a bad weaver. You have to see the scriptures as instructions and without contradiction. The roots of prejudice and sectarianism dry up, and that way you get a firm foundation in the Buddha's teachings and then hundreds of doors to the thousands of teachings of the dharma will open out to you.

"The ultimate nature cannot be established by the samsaric mind, no matter how deep that mind may be.

The scholars and siddhas of the various schools make their own individual presentations of the dharma. Each one is full of strong points and suppported by valid reasoning. If you are well grounded in the presentations of your own tradition then it is not necessary to be sectarian. But if you get mixed up about the various tenets and terminology then you lack a foothold in your own tradition. You try to use someone else's system to support your understanding , and then get all tangled up like a bad weaver, concerning the view, in your own system, you can't use reasoning to support your scriptures, and you cannot challenge the asssertions of others. You become a laughing stock in the eyes of the learned ones. It would be much better to possess a clear understanding of your own tradition.

In summary, one must see all the teachings as without contradiction and consider all the scriptures as instructions. This will cause the root of sectarianism and prejudice to dry up and give you a firm foundation in the Buddha's teachings. At that point, hundreds of doors to the eighty four thousand teachings of the dharma will simultaneously open to you."

He goes on to explain that this is not a new approach invented by Jangong Kontrul. It goes right back to Buddha himself who forbade his students from criticizing others, even teachings and teachers of other religions or cultures:

The Ri-me concept was not original to Kongtrul and Khyentse, nor was it new to Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha forbade his students to criticize others, even the teachings and teachers of other religions or cultures. This directive was so strong that in the "Entrance to the middle way" Chandrakirti felt compelled to defend Nagarjuna's Madhyamika treatises by saying;

"If, in trying to understand the truth, one dispels misunderstandings, and therefore some philosophies cannot remain intact, that should not be considered as crticizing others views."

So in the same way our hope here, what we aim for, is to present all approaches to the dharma clearly, without confusion. But not to criticize any of the approaches, and to value the differences and see them all as various teachings of the path of the Buddha. And, following Chandrakirti's example, if in some places there are passages that dispel misunderstandings, this is not to be understood as criticizing anyone's views on the dharma.

About the origins of this encyclopedia

This started as the Buddhism project in wikipedia. This was orignally done in a spirit much like that of the Rimé movement, but many of the original editors left, and due to a change in direction, articles there are being rewritten in a way that tries to present a unified treatment based on academic attempts to reconstruct the beliefs of early Buddhists, and only one such attempt of many - rather than the actual diversity of beliefs of modern Buddhists.

Much of the previously contributed material there is getting rewritten or deleted. In particular material that is sourced to Buddhist Bikkhu scholars is removed and replaced by expositions of core ideas as they are understood following these attempts to reconstruct the beliefs of early Buddhism.

One of us had most of his contributions to Wikipedia for several years deleted as part of the rewrite. It became clear it was no longer possible to contribute to the project. We tried all the available avenues to resolve the situation and they are all now exhusted.

It was a direction we did not wish to follow. It meant abandoning any ideas of editing in the spirit of the Rimé movement.

That lead to the idea to set up a new encyclopedia based on the Rimé approach. The guidelines on wikipedia editing as normally interpreted are very close to those of Rimé, so it is a natural transition and most of the articles can be imported "as is", if necessary going back in history to 2015, before this change of direction and rewrite.

For more on this with other details see

In this encylopedia, we are encouraged to write articles sourced to scholars and authors within the tradition being described

In principle the Rimé approach is rather close to how editing is normally done in Wikipedia. For instance you'd expect an article on Ignatian Sprituality to be sourced to writings by Catholic Jesuits as it is their tradition of spirituality and to describe the distinctive features of their views as well as the common ground they share with other branches of Christianity - and that is indeed how it is done.

In accord with the approach of the Rimé movement then we encourage use of Buddhist scholars and teachers as sources. For instance Walpola Rahula's What the Buddha Taught is one of the best sources on central ideas in Buddhism common to all the schools, from the early sutras and Therevadhan Buddhism. And the Dalai Lama's books are amongst the best sources on Tibetan Buddhism. Many readers new to Tibetan Buddhism may not know that the Dalai Lama is highly qualified as a Buddhist scholar. He passed his Geshe Lahrampa exam with flying colours as a young man of 23, a degree that normally requires 15 years of study.

The works by both Walpola Rahula and the Dalai Lama are widely cited in Google scholar, and academics also recognize them as reliable and significant authors in this topic area. There are many other such expert Buddhist scholars in a tradition that can be traced back to the early Nalanda University dating from the fifth century CE onwards, and further back for several centuries more.

There is a place here for articles on western academic Buddhist researches too. If anyone wants to contribute articles on Richard Gombrich's approach and other academic attempts at reconstruction of early Buddhism they are much appreciated. Indeed, articles are much appreciated on any views in this wide ranging debate on the nature of early Buddhism, and the situation in northern India at the time of the Buddha, and how these influenced or inspired the historical Buddha and his followers.

Such articles will be a valued addition to this encyclopedia, so long as they are clearly labelled as such, as an attempted reconstruction of one idea about the nature of early Buddhism, rather than a description of how modern sutra tradition Buddhists understand their own religion. We think this is a far better approach than an attempt at some kind of synthesis and weaving together of the ideas.

Encourage articles that explore differences in views as well as the common ground

Another characteristic of this new approach in the Buddhism topic area in Wikipedia is that the articles often attempt a coherent account based on weaving together quotes and citations from many different authors. Their aim seems to be to de-emphasize differences and attempt to present a unified belief system for core articles on the Buddhist teachings.

In accord with the approach of the Rimé movement then we encourage articles that explore the differences in views as well as the common ground between the different approaches.

We think this approach makes the encyclopedia more acceessible and useful to everyone. Once this encyclopedia is well developed then our aim is that:

  • Those interested in what modern Buddhists practice and believe will find their views clearly set out here, in all the diversity of the many Buddhist traditions.
  • And those interested in the academic researches of Richard Gombrich and others will find them set out also, clearly expressed along with the views of other scholars in a wide ranging debate about the nature of early Buddhism.

Use of carefully selected quotes from the best Buddhist scholars and teachers are not just permitted, but strongly encouraged here

This is another element of this new approach to editing articles on Buddhism in Wikipedia. Up to 2015, the articles on core concepts in Buddhism had many quotes from renowned Buddhist scholars, both Western and traditional, both in the body of the text and in footnotes. This was replaced by of a policy of removing quotes and replacing them with paraphrases wherever possible.

For us, this experience has helped to highlight the importance of such quotes in articles on Buddhism. We think that often the best way to present the core ideas of Buddhism is to use the words of Buddhist scholars (whether western academics or traditionally trained) who have had as their life's work to study the sutras, commentaries and scholarly literature and find the best ways of presenting them.

For this reason, quotes, properly introduced and placed in context where they are meaningful and add to the article, are not only permitted but strongly encouraged here. Articles can also link to or embed YouTube videos of recognized teachers and scholars talking about the teachings and practices in their tradition.

Views, beliefs and practices of modern Buddhists as our main focus

We assume that readers of this encyclopedia are most interested in the beliefs, views and practices of modern Buddhists. For this reason - the articles here will focus on core concepts of modern Buddhism in the various traditions. We can also have articles on the connections with other religions, historical background, early Buddhism and so on. But if you read an article on, say, the Four Noble Truths or Anatta then you can expect the main focus to be on the views of Buddhists.

The articles here can help you understand the views of friends who are Buddhist. They can also be a useful source on the variety of views and practices in your own religion if you are a dharma student, both your own tradition, and also, those of other traditions of Buddhism. The main focus here is on core concepts of Buddhism - though the encyclopedia is not restricted to such topics only, and if there is interest, may well spread out to other areas related to Buddhism such as Buddhist music, art, poetry, songs, etc.

This is a closed wiki - and it welcomes contributions from scholarly, knowledgeable and expert authors

We do not permit just anyone to edit this wiki. It's written instead by a small group of authors who know each other. As a result we don't need many rules, unlike Wikipedia. We may develop a few guidelines as the wiki progresses.

However, we trust our expert members to know which sources are the best ones to use for their article topic. They can also be sources themselves, if they are experts, and write what would normally be regarded as "original research", their own summaries of the current situation in their field of expertise. Any material of this sort will be clearly labeled as such, and attributed to the author of the original material.

Help from knowledgable editors in the various Buddhist traditions are much appreciated

This encyclopedia is being developed by two dharma students in order to further our own understanding. We hope that others may benefit from this effort.

If the encyclopedia proves to be of value, then it will be wonderful eventually to have editors in all the different traditions of Buddhism here, with articles on branches of Buddhism checked by practitioners of that branch who are knowledgeable about their own traditions, wherever possible.

We also are interested to have articles on these academic attempts at reconstruction of early Buddhism by Gombrich etc. Few traditional Buddhist are aware of this work and whether you agree with it or not, following the the Rimé approach, it's interesting to learn how they see things. Richard Gombrich is undoubtedly learned, sincere, and someone who has a wide understanding of early Indian religions at the time of the Buddha.

In that case also we think the best people to oversee such articles would be authors that are familiar with their work and have a deep understanding of it. It is easy for an outsider to make serious errors in attempts to summarize their intricate arguments.

Use of primary and secondary sources

This guideline in wikipedia to make use of secondary sources where preferable, is much misunderstood. It does not mean that articles on astronomy should rely on works by non astronomers.

Rather the idea is that the best articles are those by experts that provide an overview of their field. For instance, Walpola Rahula provided an overview article on the entire field of Therevadhan Buddhism in his "What the Buddha Taught". He is also not particularly promoting a particular research interest or controversial view on the topic.

This makes it a far better source on central topics in Therevadhan Buddhism than a specialist academic work that focuses on some minute detail and presents the authors personal cutting edge view on it, or his or her perspective in an ongoing academic debate between scholars of diverging views.

So, in this way, secondary sources are preferred. There is nothing surprising about this. It just makes sense to do that. But if the editors have a reasonable understanding of their material they do not need to only use secondary sources, and they will know if some article is presenting a novel, experimental, or eccentric view or is only one side in an on-going debate and can use it or not as needs be and present it accordingly if they do.

Sources by non Buddhists are not preferred. For an example, the best sources on Zen Buddhism are most likely to be by Zen Buddhists.

This encyclopedia is devoted to topics on Buddhism or connected with Buddhism

The scope of this encyclopedia is any topic that is broadly connected with Buddhism. This includes the languages used for the Buddhist texts, with focus of course on the way any terms are used by Buddhist authors. It also includes the archaeology of Buddhism, modern academic studies of Buddhism, Buddhist literature (e.g. Buddhist poems and Buddhist fiction), Buddhist art, Buddhist music, Buddhist drama, comparative studies of Buddhism with other religions, and so on.

Original research is permitted here - a similar approach to Scholarpedia

Some articles here may present the original research by the authors. They will be clearly labeled as such, and attributed to the author. Typically they will have an avatar image and the author's name and chosen license for the text at top left.

Here is a test page to show what such an article may look like:

User:Robertinventor/attribution

Encyclopedic articles that contain what Wikipedia would call "original research" can be authored in the main space. For instance an expert author could write an original article that provides an overview of their field. They don't have to look for other review articles already published to source it to before they write it.

This is often an issue in Wikipedia if you are an expert in some topic. You know what to write and sometimes you write it first, but then you have to try to find secondary sources to back up your material with cites. In some topic areas they are hard to find, simply because nobody has written a review for a year or two and the field is rapidly developing. When that happens, you can only cite to primary sources - but then you may face the issue that none of the primary sources clearly present some essential point that would put their work in context for a newbie to the field. Something the experts all know but don't bother to explain because everyone else in the field knows it also.

By permitting orignal research here, then we can deal with such awkward situations. The authors can just explain the situation in their own words, so long as their article is clearly labeled as authored by them.

Personal blogs encouraged

Wikipedia has a rule that you can't use the encyclopedia for a personal blog. Although you are permitted personal expression in your user space there, even that has to be focused towards ways to improve the encyclopedia. That has to be the main objective of all your pages there, and of the talk page conversations too.

Here we have a much more informal approach. Although the main space articles have to be encylopedic, authors are encouraged to set up their own individual blogs here. These can for instance present their own researches, or a Buddhist teacher can outline their teachings, or an archaeologist or historian present their research, or creators can upload original art work, musical compositions, poetry, Buddhist news from your region, or whatever you like that has a Buddhist or Rimé theme to it.

Personal blogs do not need to be written in an encyclopedic style but can be informal in tone. They also can be written in a personal voice, you can say "I think". Just write in whatever style you wish to use.

They can be found under

Blogs

Here is an example article from my own blog

Blogs:Robert Walker/Life of the Buddha according to the sutras

Articles can be released under any license - defaults to creative commons share alike

As with Wikipedia the default license here is creative commons share alike. You are permitted to copy the article, modify it, and use it in any way you like, including commercial use. The only requirement is that you must attribute the original authors. We expect most articles to use this license - but be sure to check on the page first to make sure it hasn't been released under a different license. If no other license is given at the head of the article, this is the one in use for that page.

How to attribute articles from this encyclopedia if released under the creative commons share alike license (default)

As with Wikipedia, an appropriate way to attribute them on another website is to use a notice like this:

This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article About:Motivation for encylopedia - Rimé movement (v2) , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (view authors). Wikipedia logo


That uses the template {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib}} which you can copy and use in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki. Be sure to check the page license before using it.

However, you need to check the page before doing this. If it is released under a different license, this will be given at top left beneath the author's avatar. See this test page for an example: User:Robertinventor/attribution

If released under a different license

If it is released under a different license you can use {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-license}} to attribute these articles on another website. Again, you can copy this template over and use it in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki.

e.g. {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-license|[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]}}

generates:

This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article About:Motivation for encylopedia - Rimé movement (v2) , which is released under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (view authors). Wikipedia logo


I.e. that the article has to be copied verbatim with no derivatives and can't be used commercially without permission from the author.

To customize the author

Or if it is an article with a named author at top left (or several authors), you can use {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-Author-license}} to attribute these articles on another website. Once again, you can copy this template over and use it in your own wiki, if it is based on MediaWiki.


e.g. {{Enc-Buddhism-Attrib-Author-license|[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]|Author: FirstName LastName}}

generates:

This article uses material from the Encyclopedia of Buddhism article About:Motivation for encylopedia - Rimé movement (v2) , which is released under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Author: FirstName LastName. Wikipedia logo


Policy on bibliographies - avoid controversy, most interesting section the bibliography

This is not a general encyclopedia but specifically an encyclopedia about the Buddhist teachings. It is interesting to touch on the lives of some of the Buddhist teachers here, especially details such as

  • Who their own teachers are or were
  • Notable students
  • Place and date of birth
  • Style of teaching, including the tradition(s) of Buddhism they teach within, and where they taught / teach.
  • Bibliography - list of their writings. When it is a published author with books or other works you can access - buy or find in a library or read online. Perhaps this is the most interesting section for this encyclopedia.
  • Minimal basic chronology of their life
  • In the case of Tulkus, then their previous and next incarnations and their reincarnation lineage

Beyond that, details of their personal lives are not the main focus unless particularly relevant to their style of teaching or to Buddhism (for instance of course we would cover the sixth Dalai Lama's poetry and decision not to follow a monastic path). Nor are we going to cover any larger controversies they get involved in such as internal Buddhist politics or the politics of countries (e.g. their views on the situation of Tibet and China).

The reason for this approach is that it would take us too far away from our central purpose here, and require a lot of care and dilligence to do a balanced encyclopedia of Buddhist politics or of Buddhists who engage in politics or the personal lives of Buddhists. Unless done well it is likely to encourage confusion, bitterness and further controversy. We leave such a task to others.

We tried a bulk import of thousands of biographies. But a small percentage had issues. So, as a preliminary measure first we removed all biographies of living persons. We plan to gradually reintroduce these biographies but they all have to be vetted for controversies.

If the biography is controversial, we will trim it down to a minimal biography. If it is non controversial then a longer more extended biography is acceptable. But the problem for the more controversial figures is that if you leave out all the controversy, it can seem biased, to go into detail about other aspects of their lives but leave out matters that were controvesial.

This is only a policy for people who are still alive or died recently. We do of course cover historical controversies e.g. the ones in the sutras. The reason for leaving out present day controversies is because they often lead to bitterness and confusion and are not easy to present in a balanced way.

Please report any controversial biographies you find here

If you want to check the biographies of living people in the encyclopedia so far, to check that we haven't imported any controversies accidentally, there is a list here: Category:Living people.

Do notify us if you come across any such material in the encyclopedia, and we will remove it right away, thanks!

If a favourite teacher is not included

If your teacher isn't listed here, and is listed in Wikipedia or Rigpa wiki etc, it is just because we haven't imported it yet.

If this happens - just let us know with a url to the biography you wish us to import and we will look into it. Thanks!

See also

  1. Dalai Lama | Sage's Harmonious Song of Truth. Lotsawa House (28 February 1999).
  2. The Rime ( Ris-Med ) Movement. Abuddhistlibrary.com (24 July 2000). Retrieved 20 November 2011.