Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:12 am

retro wrote:Perhaps you choose not to follow the four great references because they are some kind of provisional hinayana teaching? :shrug: Again, that's your decision to make.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

I am a Vajrayana practitioner; that is true, but in terms of this forum I stick to the Pali Canon, and speaking in terms of the ancient Theravada tradition, keeping my points based in scriputres of only the Pali Tipitika, not the Mahayana Canon, or the Canon of any other school.

At times, I may bring up something about Mahayana, but only to make a point. I never argue or assert Mahayana views here. The view that the Perfections are needed for enlightenment is taken right from the Theravada Tipitika, not the texts of other schools (although, of course, all Buddhist sects actually assert this).

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:15 am

Atthakatha & Tika are strictly speaking not Tipitaka, Virgo.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:17 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:At times, I may bring up something about Mahayana, but only to make a point. I never argue or assert Mahayana views here. The view that the Perfections are needed for enlightenment is taken right from the Theravada Tipitika, not the texts of other schools


"The view that the Perfections are needed for enlightenment"?

Now that's interesting... have you stepped back from your initial statement that "it is possible to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, but only if you have been developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes already."?

They're two very different propositions, Virgo... which are you arguing? Be direct.

And yes... if you find one single thing in the Tipitaka to support your view, please provide it.

:coffee:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:I explained earlier how Paramis do not disagree with, but rather agree with the Buddha's statements in the Satipatthana Sutta if that is what you are referring to.


What you have done is give lots of explanations that are completely untraceable to the suttas and should therefore be rejected.

In fact, in this entire discussion (despite having been challenged to do so by multiple people), I cannot recall you providing a single quotation from the Dhamma-Vinaya to support your view that "it is possible to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, but only if you have been developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes already". Not one. Not a single solitary quotation from the Buddha that even comes remotely close to supporting your view.

Yet, you espouse these words as if they were undoubtedly the truth... in spite of the four great references and despite the suttas about what constitutes slander of the Buddha.

Without a single supporting quote from the Pali Canon you give us tenet systems, scholastic papanca, wind diseases, infinite regresses, deference to non-Buddhas etc. and expect us to believe your view represents the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha? Come on.

If you expect me to think that your view is something other than Mahayana elitism, wrapped in Mahavihara clothing, I think the onus is now on you to try a little harder to provide a shred of evidence from the Dhamma-Vinaya to support your position. Anything...

Metta,
Retro. :)

Retro,

I have shown that my views are in keeping both with the Suttas and with the qualifications for meeting Dhamma and Vinaya which the Buddha gave that you kindly provided. Furthermore, I linked to a whole online book full of quotes from the whole Tipitika about the importance of the Perfections. All it takes is a few clicks to read the whole book. Why post them all here?

Again and again you do not refute my points, but simply call them names.

Your assertions are ridiculous. The views I asserted here have nothing to do with Mahayana at all, and everything to do with the Ancient Theravada and it's Commentaries. The come from the Tipitika (the Pali one).

Have a nice day,

P.S. I don't come here to discuss Mahayana, only to discuss Theravada.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:31 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:I have shown that my views are in keeping both with the Suttas and with the qualifications for meeting Dhamma and Vinaya which the Buddha gave that you kindly provided.

You have done no such thing, yet the opportunity remains for you to do so.

Virgo wrote: Furthermore, I linked to a whole online book full of quotes from the whole Tipitika about the importance of the Perfections. All it takes is a few clicks to read the whole book. Why post them all here?


Please don't throw a long treatise in the ring and expect us to do your groundwork for you. You're obviously a fan of the book... how about you find the parts that support your views?

Virgo wrote:The come from the Tipitika (the Pali one).


No they don't.

In good faith, I'm assuming you're not here to proselytize Mahayana doctrine. I hope this faith is justified.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:32 am

Hi Retro, Virgo,
retrofuturist wrote:What you have done is give lots of explanations that are completely untraceable to the suttas and should therefore be rejected.

To be fair, most of what Virgo is saying appears to me to be rather standard stuff that is in the Commentaries and quite likely the Abhidhamma (unfortunately I don't have a copy of the Abhidhamma Pitaka on hand...).

It's fine for you to not like the Commentaries, to use only the Vinaya and Suttas as a basis for your Dhamma practise, and to say so. However, you seem to be going a lot further than that, and implying that anyone who takes the Commentaries seriously as the starting point for their Dhamma study and practise is misguided.

Since the Commentaries were composed and assembled by various Bhikkhus who spent a lot more time studying the Dhamma than I so far have, I feel that it's a good idea to at least look seriously at what they say, and whether the advice is helpful to my practise.

Metta
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:37 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:However, you seem to be going a lot further than that, and implying that anyone who takes the Commentaries seriously as the starting point for their Dhamma study and practise is misguided.


Not at all... only that the commentaries are accountable to the Four Great References too. They are not exempt from such evaluation on any grounds of "authority". For what it's worth, I read the Visuddhimagga as a starting point for my Dhamma study too, and have read several translations of commentaries since. I like them, but I don't grant them intellectual monopoly over the Dhamma.

mikenz66 wrote:I feel that it's a good idea to at least look seriously at what they say, and whether the advice is helpful to my practise.


I agree entirely, and in fact have even quoted from the commentaries in this topic.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:37 am

Virgo wrote:Hi,

What people don't seem to realize is that practicing the Perfections goes hand and hand with, and is integral to the development of panna. . . . .
But there is nothing in the suttas that states that the perfections require many, many multiple lives to become ariya. You have not shown anything from the commentaries - or any text - that supports your position that the perfections require many, many multiple lives to become ariya. You claim it, but you really need to back it up.

Virgo wrote:I have shown that my views are in keeping both with the Suttas and with the qualifications for meeting Dhamma and Vinaya which the Buddha gave that you kindly provided.
You repeatedly state this, but you have not actually shown it to be so. You have given us no actual commentarial quote.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:40 am

Looks like this is the "Dhamma-Vinaya Only Forum", not the "General Theravada Discussion Forum" after all, huh?
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:40 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps we could start counting from the time Angulimala started out in a career of mass murder?


We could. But I am not at all sure why we should. Do we have evidence that the time when he started his career as such he had hitherto not engaged in any sort of wholesome activities at all? In fact, evidence suggests the contrary, that even in that one life, he had lived for some time as an admirable spiritual practitioner. How about prior to that life? Again, we do not know.


Hi Bhante

Furthermore, if one wished, there is supporting evidence in the form of the Devadatta saga.

metta
Jack
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:41 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:You have not shown anything from the commentaries - or any text - that supports your position that the perfections require many, many multiple lives to become ariya. You claim it, but you really need to back it up.


Hear, hear!

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:44 am

Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Looks like this is the "Dhamma-Vinaya Only Forum", not the "General Theravada Discussion Forum" after all, huh?


As I stated last time you raised this perception, the Theravadin commentaries themselves state that when there is conflict between the Tipitaka and the Commentaries, the Tipitaka takes precedence. That is the commentarial view. Given that, what is your objection based on?

Also, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no moderation or deletion or anyone's posts in this discussion. Everyone here is posting as a member and no authority has been exerted by anyone.

:spy:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:49 am

BlackBird wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps we could start counting from the time Angulimala started out in a career of mass murder?


We could. But I am not at all sure why we should. Do we have evidence that the time when he started his career as such he had hitherto not engaged in any sort of wholesome activities at all? In fact, evidence suggests the contrary, that even in that one life, he had lived for some time as an admirable spiritual practitioner. How about prior to that life? Again, we do not know.


Hi Bhante

Furthermore, if one wished, there is supporting evidence in the form of the Devadatta saga.

metta
Jack


For the Devadatta sage, I recommend reading Ray's Buddhist Saints in India. The Sthaviravadins really stitched him up good and proper.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:50 am

I've provided a link to a whole online book replete with such quotes from the Tipitika. Since people don't want to leaf through it, I will spend some of the day tomorrow compiling quotes from the scriptures and post them here online. Good thing I don't have to work until the evening. :coffee:

See you all then. :)

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:54 am

Hi Venerable,
Paññāsikhara wrote:Looks like this is the "Dhamma-Vinaya Only Forum", not the "General Theravada Discussion Forum" after all, huh?


No, that's not true. The commentaries are very highly regarded and the Visuddhimagga is a constant companion of mine which has, and continues to be, a precious text which illuminates the path.
kind regards

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tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Looks like this is the "Dhamma-Vinaya Only Forum", not the "General Theravada Discussion Forum" after all, huh?


As I stated last time you raised this perception, the Theravadin commentaries themselves state that when there is conflict between the Tipitaka and the Commentaries, the Tipitaka takes precedence. That is the commentarial view. Given that, what is your objection based on?

Also, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no moderation or deletion or anyone's posts in this discussion.

Metta,
Retro. :)


So where is the conflict such that one would need to reject later works? I do not actually see a conflict.

Note: I am also not arguing that one "must" have practiced the paramis in the past, because I see no clear cut evidence either way. But on the other hand, I feel that there is no evidence to state categorically that past parami practice is "not needed" at all. Case studies in the suttas themselves are inconclusive, because they do not specify a "starting point", and so cannot be generalized.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:03 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:For the Devadatta sage, I recommend reading Ray's Buddhist Saints in India. The Sthaviravadins really stitched him up good and proper.


Indeed, here's the relevant extract from the aforementioned text available online, for anyone interested:
http://www.leighb.com/Devadatta.pdf

With full awareness of the historical reality, I still think such examples support the argument that those who build up perfections for a long, long time are still very capable of going 'bad.'

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:07 am

Hi Jack
Thank you for that. But does it address the overriding concern of this thread, which is, is it necessary to develop the paramitta for multiple lives to achieve enlightenment in this life?
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Dharma Wheel -- Mahayana forum

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:30 am

Seems a bit strange to quote my own post, but perhaps it would be helpful, as nobody seems to have noticed the Pali.

Paññāsikhara wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:
Virgo wrote:According to Theravada it is possible to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime, but only if you have been developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes already.

That's not true at all.

What requires "developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes" is only for those who aspire to be Buddhas in accordance with the commentarial writings on bodhisattas.

Extreme, broad-brush and factually inaccurate comments such as the above are not beneficial to anyone.



I was responding to Retro's statement ""developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes" is only for those who aspire to be Buddhas" (emphasis added).

According to the Theravada, developing the perfections for many, many lifetimes is also for savakas and paccekabuddhas, too, not just those on the path to great awakening.
Check out the commentary to the Theragatha, i 10.

Tadatthato pana yathā mahābodhisattānaṃ heṭṭhimaparicchedena cattāri asaṅkhyeyyāni kappānaṃ satasahassañca bodhisambhārasambharaṇaṃ icchitabbaṃ majjhimaparicchedena aṭṭha asaṅkhyeyyāni kappānaṃ satasahassañca, uparimaparicchedena soḷasa asaṅkhyeyyāni kappānaṃ satasahassañca ete ca bhedā paññādhikasaddhādhikavīriyādhikavasena veditabbā. Paññādhikānañhi saddhā mandā hoti paññā tikkhā, tato ca upāyakosallassa visadanipuṇabhāvena nacirasseva pāramiyo pāripūriṃ gacchanti. Saddhādhikānaṃ paññā majjhimā hotīti tesaṃ nātisīghaṃ nātisaṇikaṃ pāramiyo pāripūriṃ gacchanti. Vīriyādhikānaṃ pana paññā mandā hotīti tesaṃ cireneva pāramiyo pāripūriṃ gacchanti.

Na evaṃ paccekabodhisattānaṃ. Tesañhi satipi paññādhikabhāve dve asaṅkhyeyyāni kappānaṃ satasahassañca bodhisambhārasambharaṇaṃ icchitabbaṃ, na tato oraṃ. Saddhādhikavīriyādhikāpi vuttaparicchedato paraṃ katipaye eva kappe atikkamitvā paccekasambodhiṃ abhisambujjhanti, na tatiyaṃ asaṅkhyeyyanti.

Sāvakabodhisattānaṃ pana yesaṃ aggasāvakabhāvāya abhinīhāro, tesaṃ ekaṃ asaṅkhyeyyaṃ kappānaṃ satasahassañca sambhārasambharaṇaṃ icchitabbaṃ. Yesaṃ mahāsāvakabhāvāya, tesaṃ kappānaṃ satasahassameva, tathā buddhassa mātāpitūnaṃ upaṭṭhākassa puttassa ca.


Basically:
Mahabodhisattas (ie. those seeking full awakening) need four incalculable and 100 000 aeons of accumulating the requisites to awakening. ...
Paccekabodhisattas (ie. those seeking paccekabuddha awakening) need two incalculable and 100 000 aeons ...
Savakabodhisattas (ie. those seeking arhatship) have distinctions: chief savakas (eg. like Sariputta and Moggalana) need one incalculable and 100 000; great disciples (the top 80, eg. Mahakassapa) need 100 000 aeons.

Now, that is sufficient to refute Retro's comments that it is only Mahabodhisattas seeking full Buddhahood, but not sufficient to support Virgos claims that basically everyone requires it. Moreover, these claims are viz final awakening, not ariya status. However, given max distance is 7 lifetimes, the point still stands, 100 000 aeons minus 7 lives is still basically 100 000 aeons (rounding up!)

I also asked Prof T Endo (formerly of Kelaniya Uni, Sri Lanka, now at HKU) about this, and I've sat through a lot of his classes, and this is also how he understands it. He's a specialist in this area, actually, having written a nice book about the idea of the Buddha in the Theravada, from early to late periods.

That regular (sic) arhats or ariyas are not mentioned is the difficulty I mention above. The above does not confirm it, but it is suggestive that a heck of a lot of time is needed in general. Claims of suttas like the Satipatthana etc. are not conclusive to me either, they only indicate that from the point of cultivating that particular requisite, attainment made swiftly be made. However, the perfections include others, like giving, and I feel that these are in general cultivated prior. But for how long? Starting from when? This is the difficulty.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:01 am

Greetings,

Putting together the collective commentarial and sutta sources, it would appear that parami-based path takes 100 000 aeons to attain arahantship, and a satipatthana-based path takes 7 years.

Paññāsikhara wrote:I was responding to Retro's statement ""developing all of the perfections for many. many lifetimes" is only for those who aspire to be Buddhas"


And I happily retract it based on the quotation you provide. If people want to spend 100 000 aeons on a parami-based path to arahant-hood that is described only in the post-canonical literature then I wish them well.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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