Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

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Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:42 am

Did Buddha say that we should interpret Dhamma as a whole in its essence instead of trying to pay attention to individual categories?

For example there is no direct mention about consuming alchol in Noble Eight Fold Path. But there are five precepts which deal with this subject.
:thinking:
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:57 am

Greetings,

SarathW wrote:But there are five precepts which deal with this subject.

Which constitute Right Action...?

Metta,
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby culaavuso » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:04 am

In AN 5.159 the Buddha explains how the Dhamma should be taught, which starts off by saying that the explanation should be step-by-step.

AN 5.159: Udayi Sutta wrote:"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'


In Ud 5.3 there is a sutta which explains what the components of a step-by-step talk are as given by the Buddha.

Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta wrote:So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path.


It's worth noting here that the eightfold path, which is the last of the four noble truths, is not even mentioned until after the earlier steps including virtue have been explained and understood.

The Buddha in AN 8.25 explains that for a lay follower to be virtuous, they follow the five precepts.
AN 8.25: Mahanama Sutta wrote:Mahanama, inasmuch as a lay follower abstains from destroying living beings; abstains from taking what is not given; abstains from sexual misconduct; abstains from lying; and abstains from wine, liquor and intoxicants that are causes for heedlessness; in that way, Mahanama, a lay follower is virtuous.


These quotes combined seem to suggest that the practice of virtue is an early step in the gradual training mentioned in MN 70
MN 70: Kitagiri Sutta wrote:Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once. Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice.


Also, in SN 55.31 it is explained that a disciple of the noble ones has untorn virtue, which leads to concentration.
SN 55.31: Abhisanda Sutta wrote:Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration.


The importance of virtue as a prerequisite is also discussed in AN 11.2. Virtue is described as the first step in a series leading to final release.
AN 11.2: Cetana Sutta wrote:For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.
...
For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

In this way, dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward. Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward.
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:40 am

Thanks.
========
An5.159 states:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi, in Ghosita's Park. Now at that time Ven. Udayin was sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma. Ven. Ananda saw Ven. Udayin sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma, and on seeing him went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Ven. Udayin, lord, is sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma."

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'[1]

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when these five qualities are established within the person teaching."


Note
1.According to the Commentary, "hurting oneself" means exalting oneself. "Hurting others" means putting other people down.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
==========
So what are the steps?
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby culaavuso » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:52 am

SarathW wrote:So what are the steps?


Ud 5.3 gives the steps:
Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta wrote:he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path.


This gives the steps as:
1. Generosity
2. Virtue
3. Heaven
4. Drawbacks, degradation, and corruption of sensuality
5. Rewards of renunciation
6. Four noble truths (including the noble eightfold path)

The noble eightfold path then is its own set of steps:
AN 10.103
AN 10.103: Micchatta Sutta wrote:In a person of right view, right resolve comes into being. In a person of right resolve, right speech. In a person of right speech, right action. In a person of right action, right livelihood. In a person of right livelihood, right effort. In a person of right effort, right mindfulness. In a person of right mindfulness, right concentration. In a person of right concentration, right knowledge. In a person of right knowledge, right release.


This same outline of the teachings is used as a high level overview of the Dhamma on accesstoinsight.
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:07 am

Anumodana.
First time I learn this teaching.
By the way even a very small generosity (first step) will have small (even big) impact on concentration (last step).
Am I correct?
:D
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby culaavuso » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:49 am

SarathW wrote:By the way even a very small generosity (first step) will have small (even big) impact on concentration (last step).


This seems correct. Every act of pure generosity helps subdue greed and aversion, which can yield benefits for all steps of the path including concentration.
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby chownah » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:08 am

SarathW wrote:Did Buddha say that we should interpret Dhamma as a whole in its essence instead of trying to pay attention to individual categories?

For example there is no direct mention about consuming alchol in Noble Eight Fold Path. But there are five precepts which deal with this subject.
:thinking:

I think that the Buddha knew that people have different ways of seeing things and different ways of learning so he crafted a dhamma which was intended to be seen differently by different people.....on that way many different kinds of people would have a way to enter onto the path......so......this would mean that the Buddha expected us to individually stress this aspect or that aspect depending on our inclinations.
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:21 am

Chowna
I see your point too.
May be it is like more than one path to climb a mountain.
So very small concentration may leads to small generosity as well.
So gradual means not step by step but small effort at a time.
So if one needs strong concentration one should have strong generosity.
Is that what you mean?
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby culaavuso » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:41 am

chownah wrote:I think that the Buddha knew that people have different ways of seeing things and different ways of learning so he crafted a dhamma which was intended to be seen differently by different people.....on that way many different kinds of people would have a way to enter onto the path......so......this would mean that the Buddha expected us to individually stress this aspect or that aspect depending on our inclinations.
chownah


This is supported by the fact that knowing the inclinations and faculties of beings are named among the ten powers of the Tathagata in MN 12
MN 12: Mahāsīhanāda Sutta wrote:the Tathāgata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations.
...
the Tathāgata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons.


Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi says of these powers in his essay Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Such types of knowledge enable the Buddha to understand the mental proclivities and capacities of any person who comes to him for guidance, and to teach that person in the particular way that will prove most beneficial, taking full account of his or her character and personal circumstances. He is thus "the unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed."


This capacity to teach individuals according to their inclination and capacity is demonstrated throughout the Pāli Canon in the wide variety of advice and answers he gives in various situations while teaching various individuals. One clear example of this is that in advice to householders he praised actions that avoid dissipation of wealth (DN 31), while the monks were not allowed to handle gold or silver.
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Re: Practicing Dhamma as a whole.

Postby santa100 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:51 am

Ven. Bodhi's insight from his "Noble Eightfold Path" might be helpful:
Considered from the standpoint of practical training, the eight path factors divide into three groups: (i) the moral discipline group (silakkhandha), made up of right speech, right action, and right livelihood; (ii) the concentration group (samadhikkhandha), made up of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration; and (iii) the wisdom group (paññakkhandha), made up of right view and right intention. These three groups represent three stages of training: the training in the higher moral discipline, the training in the higher consciousness, and the training in the higher wisdom.

..Perplexity sometimes arises over an apparent inconsistency in the arrangement of the path factors and the threefold training. Wisdom — which includes right view and right intention — is the last stage in the threefold training, yet its factors are placed at the beginning of the path rather than at its end, as might be expected according to the canon of strict consistency. The sequence of the path factors, however, is not the result of a careless slip, but is determined by an important logistical consideration, namely, that right view and right intention of a preliminary type are called for at the outset as the spur for entering the threefold training. Right view provides the perspective for practice, right intention the sense of direction. But the two do not expire in this preparatory role. For when the mind has been refined by the training in moral discipline and concentration, it arrives at a superior right view and right intention, which now form the proper training in the higher wisdom.
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