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About Mikeb85

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  1. Who ordained him? The founder of the sect he belongs was ordained in a Theravada school, but left, and studied under Tibetan teachers. He was later formally expelled from a Theravada Vihara, and began his own sect (Triratna Buddhist Community). The sect he belongs to simply isn't a Theravada school or community. This is pretty obvious, and they don't claim such to begin with.
  2. I am not dismissing him, merely attempting to put his words into context, and show potential sources of bias (which there are). You are wrong that he is a Theravada Buddhist (he isn't, which is a matter of fact), and his other most notable work was a translation of the "Bodhicaryavatara" (which is most definitely not a Theravada work).
  3. First, there is a difference between the acknowledgement of the existence of deities, and devotion to said deities for the purpose of some sort of salvation. Second, there is bias inherent in academia because donors (both private and governmental) have a say in which studies are pursued, and which aren't.
  4. Are you incapable of proper criticism? The topic of this discussion is "The Skeptical "Buddhist"...Critical thinking & Buddhism..", yet you are merely blindly accepting the works of a specific academic who happens to share your viewpoint. Even more, not reading his words closely enough to see that his position is far from being 'definitive'. He doesn't even claim such. Furthermore, you are completely ignoring potential sources of bias in the work...
  5. Except he isn't. He belongs to this group: http://bristol-buddhist-centre.org/, which is associated with the Triratna Buddhist Community: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triratna_Buddhist_Community, which, although taking certain elements of Theravada, also claims Tibetan Buddhist lineage and blends practices from Mahayana, Vajrayana and Theravada... The founder has also been accused of sexually exploiting young boys, and the group has come under other various criticisms (if you read anything about them you'll see why).
  6. Anyone who's been involved in academia (I am right now btw) knows that there's politics at play in Universities...
  7. Syncretic leanings? How about the blending of Buddhist doctrine with Hindu doctrines and devotions, and the teachings of the Mahasiddhas? This is pretty much the definition of syncretic, the fact it happened in India doesn't make it less so...
  8. So the entire history of the Theravada-Mahasanghika schism is summarized by a sentence fragment, produced by a British academic who belongs to a questionable Western Buddhist 'sect' (which is more akin to a new-age cult)? If you read the evidence he particularly cites you can see through the bias, furthermore there are better sources for a study of early Buddhism than a 'concise' (ie. short) history...
  9. You need to re-read those pages you referenced, they're actually available in a preview on Google books, I just read them, they don't support your case... http://books.google.ca/books?id=GEKd4iqH3C0C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false The author merely raised a few points that are contrarian to the orthodox Theravada view, in order to give a more complete picture. But in describing the contrarian evidence, the author also makes it clear that we know very little about the Mahasanghika, and the only remaining text from their sect is a Chinese translation. Another thing you need to keep in mind, is that 'academics' tend to favour Mahayana/Tibetan sects in their writings in part due to 21st century politics. The Dalai Lama is an 'image' of resistance vs. Chinese oppression, and the syncretic leanings of these sects are more politically correct within the structure of modern India. Edit - I see now that your information comes from Wikipedia, which cites Skilton's work in a less than thorough way...
  10. Sri Lankan Theravada is the closest belief system to what was taught by the Buddha and his followers... Tibetan Buddhism is a supersessionist sect that is based on tantric beliefs that arose in the subcontinent circa 300 CE, around 800 years after the founding of Buddhism.
  11. The historic understanding of Christianity has always been that everyone is judged individually, not unlike the Buddhist concept of karma being the effects of one's personal actions. In Orthodox Christian eschatology, the souls of the departed journey to Hades/Sheol (the abode of the dead), at which time they either remain close to God (an analogy is Abraham's bosom, spoken of by a parable in the gospels), or distant from God. This isn't a judgement so much as it is a result of the state of one's soul, which is attracted/repelled by God's presence. On the last day (ie. after the Apocalypse), or the day of Resurrection, every departed soul will be reunited with their physical body, and judged, and either given a place in Paradise, or thrown into Tartarus/Gehenna.
  12. If there is no God, their fate will be the same as the rest of humanity. Even if there is a God, and the Christian God is correct, the American fundie Christians have a much different (and poorer) understanding of God than the first Christians, and Orthodox Christian churches...
  13. Vegan Diet

    Vegan diets lack some nutrients. Vegetarian diets that consist of dairy products however can provide every nutrient you need. The problem with a vegan diet isn't protein, but rather certian B vitamins that cannot be obtained from plants, but are synthesized by animals and we obtain them when we eat animal products (and note that every essential nutrient that comes from meat can be obtained in dairy products like cheese and yogurt).
  14. Intelligence is quite important to a fighter. Boxing, kickboxing, Judo, and Kung Fu, etc.... The Klitschkos (HW boxing champs) are avid chess players, and Floyd Mayweather has repeatedly stated that intelligence is the most important thing in boxing. Chess or Go won't directly help you, but it does sharpen the mind (as do many other activities), which is always important.
  15. Peak performance and chi cultivation

    Haha. The 'master' is obviously a con, and I think many people in general misrepresent/understand what internal martial arts are, and what Taoism is. Sanshou (ie. Chinese kickboxing) and Judo are a better real-life demonstration of these principles than most of the TCMA that don't practice much real application (ie. sparring and fighting). Also, I think the (looks like Karate) fighter in that video was a little brutal, he should have just thrown the 'master' and sat on him or something... Would still expose the fraud...