Sunday, October 03, 2010
Pali Scholar Condemns Buddhist Ritualism
I heard Gombrich deliver a scathing condemnation of the Sangha's misogynistic treatment of women and its refusal to ordain nuns. The applause then was as lukewarm as it was last Thursday at Mahamakut Buddhist University where Gombrich delivered the keynote address on the conference theme, "Dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century."
describes himself as "not a Buddhist, but I very much admire Buddhism and especially Buddhist ethics. I am not a Buddhist in a technical sense. In one way, you could say I am more of a Buddhist than most Buddhists, because I believe that the Buddha was an intellectual genius and had some extraordinarily interesting things to say. This is something that most Buddhists simply don't take any interest in." Unlike many modern deconstructionist commentators, Gombrich believes it is possible to read the original Pali scriptures in order to understand what the Buddha actually thought and meant. He faults the Buddhist Theravada religious establishments (in Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos and Cambodia as well as in Thailand) for their failure to study the texts and for their ritual changes based on custom rather than scripture.