Zla'od wrote:Now, the nature of contradiction: Clearly Buddha did not set forth laws that proclaim, e.g., "Thou shalt not kill!" and then expect to be obeyed; instead, he described the impersonal principles of karma, along with a means of avoiding their worst consequences. To teach that killing is good would contradict this central message, therefore no group which praises killing deserves the name of "Buddhist."
But what about Buddhist groups which do in fact kill, or cause to be killed (e.g. by eating meat), without praising the act of killing? Do they thereby cease to be Buddhist? Their actions may contradict the Buddha's recommendations, but their statements do not contradict his statements (on this point), so I would say they have not forfeited their "Buddhist" status.
I'm still not entirely happy with your gloss of "contradiction". Your statement that "their actions may contradict the Buddha's recommendations, but their statements do not contradict his statements" implies that both statements and actions enjoy some sort of equivalent status, and this, I believe, is where some of the problems in the foregoing exchanges lie.
To avoid ambiguity, I would like to apply the expressions "contradicts" and "does not contradict" to statements only.
Thus, the statement
"killing has undesirable karmic consequences" is contradicted by the statement
"killing has desirable karmic consequences". But I would not say that it is contradicted by the act
of killing. More on that below.
Although injunctions and precepts are speech acts, and therefore a somewhat different kettle of fish (see John Searle, Elizabeth Anscombe, and the notion of "direction of fit"), I think we can also speak of, indeed, we must
speak of, contradictory and non-contradictory injunctions or precepts. Thus, the precept "thou shalt not kill" is contradicted by
the precept "thou shalt kill".
Now to another notion - that of actions that are "in accordance with" or "not in accordance with" certain injunctions.
We may say that the act of killing is not in accordance with
the injunction "thou shalt not kill".
The third concept I would like to clarify is that of being "contrary" to something. I would like to use this term to describe a state of mutual exclusivity. Thus, actions that are in accordance with a given injunction are contrary to
actions that are not in accordance with that injunction.
More specifically, the act of killing is contrary to
the act of saving lives, and the act of drinking alcohol is contrary to
the act (if it can be considered an "act") of abstaining from drinking alcohol.
If you interpret the statement "Tibetan Buddhism is not Buddhism" to mean that Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism are mutually exclusive, then you may wish to express your thesis as "Tibetan Buddhism is contrary to Buddhism". But I'll leave that up to you. Not being something is, IMO, not necessarily the same as being contrary to something.
Note that according to the definitions I have just given, we probably should avoid saying things like "killing contradicts the teachings of Śākyamuni" since killing is an action, not a statement (purportedly) of fact or an injunction.
And we probably shouldn't say that the act of killing is contrary to the teachings of Śākyamuni, either.
Although I would argue that such a statement is true, I would also argue that the act of saving lives is contrary to his teachings too, since there does not exist anything that is both an act of saving life and a sūtra. (However, it's a debatable point that should perhaps left to Tibetan monks to consider.)
Without trying to put words in your mouth that would turn the debate to my advantage, I think that what you should be saying is that certain actions, such as killing and the practice of highest yoga tantra, are or aren't in accordance with
the teachings of Śākyamuni.
We should also distinguish between the practice of highest yoga tantra, which may or may not be in accordance with the teachings of Śākyamuni, and the doctrines of highest yoga tantra (or the tantric texts themselves), which may or may not contradict his teachings.
Sorry to be so pedantic, but one of the reasons things started to get so messy earlier was because both of us were using a number of terms in vague in overlapping ways.
If you can accept the above definitions, I put it to you that the practice of highest yoga tantra is a non-Buddhist practice.
Assuming you accept the statement, I must ask you for a reason.
Zla'od wrote:Expanding the principle to tantra, what matters is not so much whether one personally engages in HYT, but whether one claims HYT to be spiritually beneficial ...
I think you're straying from the topic here. We aren't really concerned with individual practices or beliefs. The issue is whether Tibetan Buddhism as an institution
is a form of Buddhism.