Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sutta?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:47 am

Goofaholix wrote:Not at all, that quote is about spreading false teaching, the consequences aren't explained other than it's slander to do so.

It is often said that the consequences of wrong view are hell or the animal womb.

The wording you originally posted advised that one small mistake not in line with the Dhamma and you'd never worthy calling yourself a disciple of the Buddha.

Considering that the Dhamma is rare and precious, one ought to not take it in vain.
So it's seems to be already a matter of common decency to not make light about the Dhamma in any way, and that includes not making light about who is a disciple of the Buddha and who isn't.
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:02 pm

binocular wrote:So it's seems to be already a matter of common decency to not make light about the Dhamma in any way, and that includes not making light about who is a disciple of the Buddha and who isn't.


wikipedia page: early buddhist schools wrote:The accounts of the council in the scriptures of the schools differ as to what was actually recited there. Venerable Purāṇa is recorded as having said: "Your reverences, well chanted by the elders are the Dhamma and Vinaya, but in that way that I heard it in the Lord's presence, that I received it in his presence, in that same way will I bear it in mind." [Vinaya-pitaka: Cullavagga XI:1:11].

binocular,

There wasn't even consensus in the first council over 2000 years ago. Do you actually think you're going to find it today?

Figure out what it means to be a disciple of the Buddha...yourself.

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:21 pm

binocular wrote:Considering that the Dhamma is rare and precious, one ought to not take it in vain.
So it's seems to be already a matter of common decency to not make light about the Dhamma in any way, and that includes not making light about who is a disciple of the Buddha and who isn't.


I don't have a problem with that, but your original post said "And if you ever, even just for a moment, fail to keep in line with the Dhamma, you're not worthy calling yourself a disciple of the Buddha.". So if I ever crave chocolate for example, craving as we all know is not in line with the Dhamma, so that would mean I'm not worthy to be the Buddhas disciple.

I don't believe you'll find the Buddha ever encouraging such a puritanical view.

However it appears you may have clarified your original statement as being about "making light" rather than being imperfect.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:27 am

Goofaholix wrote:
binocular wrote:Considering that the Dhamma is rare and precious, one ought to not take it in vain.
So it's seems to be already a matter of common decency to not make light about the Dhamma in any way, and that includes not making light about who is a disciple of the Buddha and who isn't.


I don't have a problem with that, but your original post said "And if you ever, even just for a moment, fail to keep in line with the Dhamma, you're not worthy calling yourself a disciple of the Buddha.". So if I ever crave chocolate for example, craving as we all know is not in line with the Dhamma, so that would mean I'm not worthy to be the Buddhas disciple.

I don't believe you'll find the Buddha ever encouraging such a puritanical view.

However it appears you may have clarified your original statement as being about "making light" rather than being imperfect.


Note my original formulation:
"And if you ever, even just for a moment, fail to keep in line with the Dhamma, you're not worthy calling yourself a disciple of the Buddha."

A person may easily be worthy to be a disciple of the Buddha, even if they have occasional bouts of raping, killing and pillaging.

But to go around declaring one is a disciple of the Buddha is an entirely different matter.
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:28 am

Mkoll wrote:Figure out what it means to be a disciple of the Buddha...yourself.

I'm sorry, but that sounds like the Humpty Dumpty argument -

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby daverupa » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:46 pm

binocular wrote:Note my original formulation:


Never did find this in a sutta, though, did we?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:10 pm

So far.
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby daverupa » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:17 pm

binocular wrote:So far.


Any other key words you'd like to suggest?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:36 pm

binocular wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Figure out what it means to be a disciple of the Buddha...yourself.

I'm sorry, but that sounds like the Humpty Dumpty argument -

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."


I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:42 pm

binocular wrote:A person may easily be worthy to be a disciple of the Buddha, even if they have occasional bouts of raping, killing and pillaging.

But to go around declaring one is a disciple of the Buddha is an entirely different matter.


I find that an odd view, I don't see why what one calls oneself should be so significant and I don't see why what ones actually does should not be significant.

It's action and intention that is important, not mere words.

Anyway this thread is about who is a disciple of a Buddha, not who declares himself.

Put up or shut up time, lets see a quote of the scripture you are referring to so we can discuss it properly.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:41 am

Mkoll wrote:I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

That one cannot just unilaterally decide about the meanings of words, especialy not when they are about specific relationships with other people.
E.g. If I were to claim I am your boss, that wouldn't be right, nor would it be right for you to claim you are my employee.
Etc.


Goofaholix wrote:I find that an odd view, I don't see why what one calls oneself should be so significant and I don't see why what ones actually does should not be significant.

False dichotomy; nobody suggested that "what one actually does should not be significant".

It's action and intention that is important, not mere words.

Would you think of yourself or tell anyone that you are, say, Barack Obama's private consultant? You probably wouldn't. Although you might think on occasion that you have a lot of advice that you could give him.

Any relationship exists only as long as there is a mutual agreement about it.
One cannot rightly say one is another's teacher unless that person has accepted one as a teacher. One cannot rightly say one is another's student unless one has been accepted by that person as a student.

Anyway this thread is about who is a disciple of a Buddha, not who declares himself.
Put up or shut up time, lets see a quote of the scripture you are referring to so we can discuss it properly.

This was the OP's request:
binocular wrote:I recall a sutta where the Buddha states who may rightfully consider themselves to be a disciple of the Buddha.
I've tried to find it myself, but to no avail.
Does anyone know in which sutta this is the topic?
Thank you.
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:38 am

binocular wrote:False dichotomy; nobody suggested that "what one actually does should not be significant".


You mean like this...
binocular wrote:A person may easily be worthy to be a disciple of the Buddha, even if they have occasional bouts of raping, killing and pillaging.


binocular wrote:Any relationship exists only as long as there is a mutual agreement about it.
One cannot rightly say one is another's teacher unless that person has accepted one as a teacher. One cannot rightly say one is another's student unless one has been accepted by that person as a student.


This is true of course when that teacher is alive, after that teacher has passed away they can't provide that acceptance so we have to rely on living up to the spirit of that persons teachings.

Your recollection of the sutta that you are asking for doesn't really sound to me like being in the spirit of the Buddhas teachings, so unless somebody else has heard of it I don't know what to tell you.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Feathers » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:14 pm

I'd tend to agree with Binocular that you can't just randomly assign meaning or claim any relationship, but at the same time I'm not wild about coming up with a hard-and-fast rule of what it means to be a Buddhist. I'd like to suggest an alternative concept of what it means to be a follower of a religion: you are not declaring a relationship with Buddha/Jesus/God etc., rather, you are declaring your identity as something.

So for example I would say I am a computer programmer. Now if I'd never typed a line of code in my life, you could challenge me on that, but the fact I program in JavaScript and do front end web dev, while you program in Prolog and work in resource management for an airline, doesn't make either of us NOT a computer programmer.

Similarly, you can have a pretty wide range of behaviours, beliefs and practices, and still 'fit' the Buddhist label. If you don't believe the Buddha ever existed, or think the four noble truths are nonsense, then you're maybe pushing it, but if you hold those opinions you're probably not interested in labeling yourself a Buddhist anyway.

Point is, identity labels are pretty broad, you can have quite a wide range of people who all fit comfortably in one label.
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:45 pm

binocular wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

That one cannot just unilaterally decide about the meanings of words, especialy not when they are about specific relationships with other people.
E.g. If I were to claim I am your boss, that wouldn't be right, nor would it be right for you to claim you are my employee.
Etc.


This:
Goofaholix wrote:This is true of course when that teacher is alive, after that teacher has passed away they can't provide that acceptance so we have to rely on living up to the spirit of that persons teachings.


If the Buddha were alive, I could ask him: "in what ways is one a disciple of the Buddha?"

He's not alive so I have to figure out what it means to be a disciple myself.

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Criteria for who is a disciple of the Buddha - Which sut

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:42 am

Goofaholix wrote:
binocular wrote:False dichotomy; nobody suggested that "what one actually does should not be significant".

You mean like this...
binocular wrote:A person may easily be worthy to be a disciple of the Buddha, even if they have occasional bouts of raping, killing and pillaging.

It's not significant in terms of being accepted as a disciple of the Buddha. Angulimala is a prime example.
From what I understood, Buddhism isn't the kind of religion where a person would be forever banished and disqualified from it for something they have done in the past. As long as the person is willing to change their ways and does so, they are eligible for the practice. Even if they may have several fall-downs during a lifetime. As long as they pick themselves up and get back on track, they are eligible for the practice.

In contrast, ordinary worldly society is nowhere near as forgiving and generous. There, sometimes even just one mistake in one's youth can tarnish one's reputation forever and prevent one from ever being seen and accepted as a decent citizen.


This is true of course when that teacher is alive, after that teacher has passed away they can't provide that acceptance so we have to rely on living up to the spirit of that persons teachings.

Of course.
There is also the living tradition, the unbroken lineage of teachers.

Your recollection of the sutta that you are asking for doesn't really sound to me like being in the spirit of the Buddhas teachings, so unless somebody else has heard of it I don't know what to tell you.

I guess I'll just have to keep on reading, to find it again.


Mkoll wrote:If the Buddha were alive, I could ask him: "in what ways is one a disciple of the Buddha?"

He's not alive so I have to figure out what it means to be a disciple myself.

In that sense, of course.
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