The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue May 12, 2015 7:03 am

On the link that cooran gave I just found this post by a moderator at thaivisa which is quite relevant. http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/312 ... important/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
'
'sabaijai', on 12 Aug 2010 - 19:24, said:


I think it's difficult to separate dhamma and meditation. First of all dhamma isn't 'knowledge.' It's the underlying reality - or the ultimate reality, if you prefer - for Buddhism. One also needs to define what is meant by 'meditation' in this context. Samatha? Satipatthanna vipassana? Very different, with different purposes. Samatha requires a certain stillness perhaps encouraged by formal meditation postures. Satipatthana vipassana does not require formal postures, once a certain stage has been reached.

Even then, as the Buddha himself is reported to have said, merely hearing dhamma is enough for some people. Dhamma precedes meditation, is explored through meditation, and is still there afterwards, once you see it.

In one sense the proportion of formal meditation in one's practice will necessarily vary from individual to individual depending on kamma and conditions. Nowhere in the Tipitaka, as far as I know, does it say that meditation (even satipatthana vipassana) is necessary *and* sufficient for path attainment. Dhamma study necessarily comes first, and is sometimes sufficient for some people.

The Sutta Pitaka contains more than 10,000 separate discourses. Only two suttas focus entirely on meditation, the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Four Foundations of Mindfulness) and the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing). A search of Access to Insight's translations of the Suttas online for the word 'meditation' yields only 93 results, and aside from the aforementioned two suttas, most of the mentions occur in passing.

The rest of the 10,000 discourses are taken up with matters such as cultivating right view, cultivating loving kindness, how kamma works (one of which, the Devadaha Sutta, refutes the notion of burning away kamma through meditation), how to introduce the Buddha's teachings to others, how to decide which spiritual paths are worth following and how laypeople can live happy and fulfilling lives.

Most Theravada Buddhist monks and laypeople spend at most a small portion of the day in meditation. From time to time - especially in the early years of practice - they may do retreats of a few days, very rarely up to a month, but again, in relation to the calendar year, relatively less time is spent meditating than on other activities.

Once the four foundations of mindfulness have been established, 'meditation' (arising of sati) can occur anytime, any place and in any posture. As the dhamma seeds grow into thriving trees, so to speak, the need for formal meditation grows less and less.

It seems to me that formal meditation is a laboratory where dhamma can be tested (again, more for some people than for others). I've spent a lot of time perched on meditation cushions in temples, on retreats and at home. Speaking for myself, most of that time was wasted until I begin receiving very specific dhamma training from a couple of good teachers.

One thing I have noticed in myself and in others is that as long as you think you are doing something with meditation itself that will further the path, you will go nowhere. Only when dhamma is seen - and this can happen just as easily out of formal meditation as in it - is stream entry possible.

This is what I've been taught, and what experience has confirmed. YMMV.
Can we explore your reply a little further?

I've very interested in learning and getting on the right path.

Was the specific dhamma training you received from good teachers universal to all & could you share these?


Could it be said that although 2 of 10,000 discourses relate to meditation, this doesn't necessarily diminish the importance of meditation but rather may indicate the subject can be captured in two suttas?

Are the four foundations of mindfulness captured through the practice of Mindfulness and the study of Dhamma?

Would you say that although merely hearing Dhamma is enough for some people, this is rare?


I personally find that regular sitting meditation calms me down to a point which enables me to more successfully focus on my mindfulness.
It also helps me overcome overreaction (auto response) in day to day life situations.






Meditation, as I've been taught, and I've experienced it, and more importantly as it appears to be taught in the Suttanta, is an adjunct to dhamma.

r
ocky, I wish I were the kind of spiritual genius who could write something here in this box where you'd see exactly what is meant, but I'm afraid I am not of that caliber. I once firmly believed, like most Westerners, that meditation was the summum bonum of Buddhist practice. I now believe that it has its place among a lot of other supporting structures in 'the raft,' and that the practice involves your whole life, not just the parts where you're sitting cross-legged or walking back and forth slowly like a mental patient. But I'm a lousy teacher ;)

I'd say that hearing or reading the dhamma and getting it is worth more than a thousand hours of meditation, for almost any type of personality.

But a lot of people don't realise that until they've practised a lot of formal meditation. If you ask those who have had that kind of result, ie the arising of sati, I'll bet 9 out of 10 will admit the actual arising of sati did not occur while they were formally sittting/walking etc, but rather during some other activity.

It's easy to conclude that the arising wouldn't have occurred without the formal meditation. But it arose during moments of mindfulness of dhamma. It arises when you no longer separate your life into practice and non-pratice, when you carry the paramattha dhamma with you wherever you go. It comes when sati grasps the separate arising of nama and rupa.

Even for the slowest student, meditation is eventually no longer needed, as Buddha himself said in the famous discourse on abandoning the raft you built, once across the stream. A poster above claimed that enlightened beings and Buddhas continue to meditate. Well I've never met a Buddha so I can't comment, and I'm not sure I've ever met an enlightened being but the teachers I respect most spend a small proportion of their days in formal meditation, if at all. When they do practise formal sitting meditation it's when they're teaching beginners - perhaps to build confidence, serve as an example or 'read' the situation. Or they practice samatha to condition mental health and calmness. Mindfulness is something they practice in every waking moment, so there is absolutely no need to sit down and 'meditate' anymore.

Most Westerners who get into Buddhism initially focus on meditation and most seem to stay fcoussed on it until they quit meditating altogether, frustrated that they can't grasp dhamma.

As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it. Find a teacher and ask them about paramattha dhamma and listen to what they say. Or find somewhat like Khun Sujin who can actually take you on a dialectic tour through your own citta. A few sessions will give you enough to wrestle with for a very long time,

Meditation is a great laboratory and a great calmative. I still practise formal meditation and I still attend the occasional retreat. But it can be a bit like taking psychedelic drugs, ie disappointing when you 'come down.' It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta. On the other hand f practised under the right conditions and perhaps with a very good teacher, nibbana is possible.





It isn't how much you meditate, it's how much you understand dhamma, that determines progress along the path. Meditating won't necessarily show you the way if you don't have a map. Your citta are like computer processes, as in the old saw 'garbage in, garbage out.'

Everyone must find the right balance for themselves.

We don't know how much of the meditation Buddha practised himself led to his enlightenment. He followed many practices that he abandoned along the way, including fasting and other severe austerities. What we do know, from the Tipitaka at least, is that after it became apparent to others that he was enlightened, and he was persuaded to teach how to reach that space, that the first thing out of his mouth wasn't 'Sit down and meditate, and you'll find out. Here's how.' The first thing he taught was straight dhamma, starting with one of the factors of existence and its cause, and the eight practises which together would do the job.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 12, 2015 7:13 am

robertk wrote: . . .
Written "in house" as it were. Still does not change the fact that as you have presented Sujin's teachings, as as we can read and hear them in the links in this thread, there is a wholesale redefining of meditation that essentially criticizes any attempts at doing a meditation practice, as outlined in various suttas, as being driven by lobha.

Shall we go back and replay your comments about about meditation?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue May 12, 2015 7:19 am

Of course, please replay any posts of mine that you find helpful.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 12, 2015 7:31 am

robertk wrote:Of course, please replay any posts of mine that you find helpful.
Or to illustrate your negative take on meditation practice you can just pick up from ealier posts where have negavitively characterized meditation practice as sīlabbata-parāmāsa, for example.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed May 13, 2015 6:50 am

Dear tilt
This is one if the posts I wrote earlier in the thread if that is what you mean:


Please check out the quotes from the Satipatthana sutta I supplied earlier in this thread.
in defecating and in urinating, is a person practising clear comprehension(satisampajanna); in walking, in standing (in a place), in sitting (in some position), in sleeping, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silence, is a person practising clear comprehension
.

Insight can arise while walking, while standing, while looking straight ahead, while looking to the back, while defacating and while urinating. And most certainly it can arise while sitting.

My claim is that the path is a purely mental state, not at all dependent on posture. It is, to coin Retro, 'posture neutral'.

However if one believes that insight depends on being in a certain posture, or if one thinks that some technique is what vipassana is or leads to vipassana, then this belief is, so I claim, an indication of silabataparamasa.

Note I am referring here to vipassana: some samatha is aided by seclusion and by specific posture as I mentioned above.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed May 13, 2015 7:48 am

robertk wrote:Dear tilt
This is one if the posts I wrote earlier in the thread if that is what you mean:


Please check out the quotes from the Satipatthana sutta I supplied earlier in this thread.
in defecating and in urinating, is a person practising clear comprehension(satisampajanna); in walking, in standing (in a place), in sitting (in some position), in sleeping, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silence, is a person practising clear comprehension
.

Insight can arise while walking, while standing, while looking straight ahead, while looking to the back, while defacating and while urinating. And most certainly it can arise while sitting.

My claim is that the path is a purely mental state, not at all dependent on posture. It is, to coin Retro, 'posture neutral'.

However if one believes that insight depends on being in a certain posture, or if one thinks that some technique is what vipassana is or leads to vipassana, then this belief is, so I claim, an indication of silabataparamasa.

Note I am referring here to vipassana: some samatha is aided by seclusion and by specific posture as I mentioned above.
It is worth reproducing your " silabataparamasa" posting:

      SamKR wrote:
      robertk wrote:
      tiltbillings wrote:So, Robert, I'll ask you again, what does what you are advocating look like as an actual daily practice?

      Here is a summary of yesterday's practice.
      Wake up, check email, brush teeth. Go to coffee shop, read local newscpaper while indulging in brewed coffee. Go to gym, 30 minutes on stepmill then a 1km swim. Go to office, have first meeting of day. Forget about second schefuled meeting, arrive 15 minutes late for that.
      Discuss baby issue with wife on phone.
      Finish work early, go to shopping center. Buy a shirt at La Martina. Sales girl asks where I am from and whether she can come to new zealand with me. Feel 10 years under my age after that comment.
      Have a coffe and tuna bun at Belly sandwich shop, outstanding service and taste. And so it goes...

      Suppose my "practice" yesterday was similar to yours as quoted above...and then:

      sit on a cushion, start observing breath for half an hour, and then observe bodily sensations for another half an hour -- while contemplating the Buddha's teachings about anicca, dukkha, anatta; while observing arising and passing away; while observing reduction of raga-dosa-moha and increase in equanimity.
      Would this last addition of mine be considered a part of daily practice for the sake of wisdom?

      robertk wrote:Dear Sam
      let's think about silabataparamasa. This is one of the things that has to be eliminated for nibbana to arise.

      It is not that sitting and watching the breath or watching bodily sensations is going to help or hinder the path, anymore than me chosing the Belly Sandwich Shop in preference to Subway. But if one believes that it is these very operations that somehow are key to satisampajanna to arise then one is in the realm of silabataparamasa.

      And even the more subtle - and ostensibly correct - 'contemplating anicca , dukkha, anatta ' at leisure or whatever, is close to an idea of a self that can decide to have these type of contemplations.
      The comment about 'observing rising and passing away" . To truly see 'rising and falling' is not dependent on anything other that deepening wisdom that can discern this. After all in in truth the elements are rising and falling trillions of times in a second.

      Eveyone, even non-buddhist, see/know that things change, that at one moment there is seeing, one moment hearing, that there is a flux of everchanging feelings : but there is an idea of a self who is doing so, there is no real seeing of the actual separation of mind aand matter.
Which is to say that any sort of deliberate attempt at cultivating meditation is a problem, from your standpoint, and, according to Sujin, such attempts at meditation are grounded in lobha.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed May 13, 2015 8:35 am

Just to add a bit of flavor to robertk's jaundiced view of meditation practice.

      robertk wrote:
      Mr Man wrote:Robert but how about trying sitting without any thought of I'm doing this "so understanding can grow" maybe you would enjoy it in it's own right (like swimming). Maybe you would see different things.

      Why do you open a dhamma book? Is it any different?

      Who is judging the quality of the different activities?

      Hi mr man,
      yes if sitting meditation is done in that way as something to strenghthen posture, or feel relaxed , or to take a breather from the mad pursuit of happiness, then sure it is not silabataparamasa.

      For me I have my other hobbies so am not so nterested for now.*
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed May 13, 2015 10:57 am

Dear Tilt
It might be better if we start a new spinoff thread - you can choose the title- and we can begin with those quotes you found..
this one is getting a bit long..

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 14, 2015 1:03 am

Greetings,

Yes, I enjoy this topic being about "the causes for wisdom", not "the same old grievances about Robert's preferences".

Metta,
Retro. :)
“Delighting in existence O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence. they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind … (It. p 43)”

Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu May 14, 2015 1:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Yes, I enjoy this topic being about "the causes for wisdom", not "the same old grievances about Robert's preferences".

Metta,
Retro. :)
Given that robertk has significantly dismissed, in direct contravention of the TOS, major aspects of the Buddha's teachings that have to do with the arising and cultivation of wisdom, it really is, by robertk's own construction about robertk's preferences.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Thu May 14, 2015 4:14 am

Rereading this msg the following passage quoted by robertk caught my attention. It is worth commenting on a bit if it, given that it addresses much of what has been discussed in this overly long thread.

As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it. Find a teacher and ask them about paramattha dhamma and listen to what they say. Or find somewhat like Khun Sujin who can actually take you on a dialectic tour through your own citta. A few sessions will give you enough to wrestle with for a very long time,

Meditation is a great laboratory and a great calmative. I still practise formal meditation and I still attend the occasional retreat. But it can be a bit like taking psychedelic drugs, ie disappointing when you 'come down.' It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta. On the other hand f practised under the right conditions and perhaps with a very good teacher, nibbana is possible.


    As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it.
The problem with this statement is that “dhamma theory” in terms of 'paramattha dhammā ' is not part of the whole of the Tipitaka. It is part of the Abhidhamma, which evolved considerably after the death of the Buddha, and continued to evolve for quite some time. See this THE DHAMMA THEORY Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa for a carefully done, non-sectarian look at the development of “dhamma theory” and its relation to the Nikayas.

Much of what is presently presented as “dhamma theory” comes from the 11/12th Century CE Abhidhammattha-sangaha, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, a work that pushes far beyond the original Abhidhamma Pitaka texts in how it presents the “dhamma theory.” The Abhidhammattha-sangaha “dhamma theory/'paramattha dhammā” notions are not something one will find in the suttas or the Vinaya.

An example of the sort thing that comes from the later Abhidhamma "dhamma theory" such as the Abhidhammattha-sangaha can be seen here and here.

And the second paragraph:

    Meditation is a great laboratory and a great calmative. I still practise formal meditation and I still attend the occasional retreat. But it can be a bit like taking psychedelic drugs, ie disappointing when you 'come down.' It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta. On the other hand f practised under the right conditions and perhaps with a very good teacher, nibbana is possible.
If it is “disappointing when you 'come down’” after a retreat, that is not a problem with meditation. It has to do with the individual's lack of experience and with a grasping after the pleasant aspects of a retreat.

And now for the really interesting bit:

    It can be terrifying when insight actually arises and you realise your ego was behind the intention to meditate in the first place, not kusala citta.
I wonder what the intention is for someone to go to see Sujin: “Find a teacher and ask them about paramattha dhamma and listen to what they say. Or find somewhat like Khun Sujin who can actually take you on a dialectic tour through your own citta.” Going to Sujin as a Dhamma teacher is motivated by a kusala/wholesome state of mind and meditating is motivated by an unwholesome state of mind? In terms of motivation and all the stuff we have to deal with, why would seeing Sujin be any different in terms of motivation than doing meditation and working with a meditation teacher other than she apparently says it is different?

The author of the bit linked by robertk seems to have a very immature understanding of meditation practice. I wonder why he does something motivated by an unwholesome state of mind.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 14, 2015 6:53 am

tiltbillings wrote:
    As for the dhamma theory, it's all laid out in the Tipitaka. Google 'paramattha dhamma' and read and re-read everything you can find about it.
The problem with this statement is that “dhamma theory” in terms of 'paramattha dhammā ' is not part of the whole of the Tipitaka. It is part of the Abhidhamma, which evolved considerably after the death of the Buddha, and continued to evolve for quite some time. See this THE DHAMMA THEORY Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa for a carefully done, non-sectarian look at the development of “dhamma theory” and its relation to the Nikayas.

Much of what is presently presented as “dhamma theory” comes from the 11/12th Century CE Abhidhammattha-sangaha, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, a work that pushes far beyond the original Abhidhamma Pitaka texts in how it presents the “dhamma theory.” The Abhidhammattha-sangaha “dhamma theory/'paramattha dhammā” notions are not something one will find in the suttas or the Vinaya.

An example of the sort thing that comes from the later Abhidhamma "dhamma theory" such as the Abhidhammattha-sangaha can be seen here and here.

I think this is an important point. There is a huge confusion between the Abhidhamma, (which according to the Theravada account was taught by the Buddha in Tusita Heaven) and the later commentary (which the Theravada does not claim to be the word of the Buddha).
All this talk of of billions of cittas arising per second, and so on, is not Abhidhamma, it is later commentary.

The sort of thing that is in the Abhidhamma is what I quoted in this thread:
"Mind-Moments" in the Suttas
01. ROOT CONDITION means roots 1 are related to those things associated with roots, and the forms that originate from it, 2 the condition being by way of root condition.

02. OBJECT CONDITION means the form sense-sphere is related to the eye-consciousness element and the things associated with it, 3 the condition being by way of object condition;

the sound sense-sphere is related to the ear-consciousness element and the things associated with it, the condition being by way of object condition;
...

This kind of thing is recognisable as a detailed analysis of the suttas. Unfortunately, it can be rather sleep-inducing after a few dozen pages...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 17, 2015 5:42 pm

robertk wrote:Insight can arise while walking, while standing, while looking straight ahead, while looking to the back, while defacating and while urinating. And most certainly it can arise while sitting.



This conflates two things: cause and occasion.

What is the cause to make insight arise while one is walking, standing, etc? This is the most important issue.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 17, 2015 6:00 pm

The Sutta Pitaka contains more than 10,000 separate discourses. Only two suttas focus entirely on meditation, the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Four Foundations of Mindfulness) and the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing). A search of Access to Insight's translations of the Suttas online for the word 'meditation' yields only 93 results, and aside from the aforementioned two suttas, most of the mentions occur in passing.
link to that post



First of all, there is satipatthana samuytta (SN47.xx) which has MANY satipatthana suttas. There is also anapana-samyutta (SN54.xx) dealing with anapanasati meditation. Not to mention MN118. These are not the only meditation subjects: Contemplating four nutriments SN12.63 can lead anywhere from anagami (repulsiveness of food), to arhatship (contact, mental volition, consciousness). There are many more suttas dealing with other meditation subjects (asubha, nutriment, sense restraint, moderation of eating, etc, etc ).


Second, many of the suttas talk about practice, even if it sounds like philosophical teaching. From my years of sutta study, etc, I believe that right-view is to be practiced.

There are interesting books such as:

1) The notion of ditthi in Theravada Buddhism - by Paul Fuller
2) Early Buddhist metaphysics- by Noa Ronkin
3) A history of Buddhist philosophy - by David Kalupahana

That for hundreds of pages talk about that Right View isn't just a correction of wrong ideas with the right ideas (each religion believes that its teaching is the right ones). Right view is to be practiced (rather than simply intellectually attained), that Buddha ethicized kamma, aggregates, etc, also about anti-essentialism.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."


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