akaliko -timeless

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:40 pm

nyanasuci wrote:
reflection wrote:In the usual summary of the Dhamma "sanditthiko akaliko etc." most if not all other descriptions are pointing to a practical approach to the Dhamma, and not direct aspects of the Dhamma itself. It speaks about "inviting to investigation", "to be seen" etc. So I also think akaliko must have a sense of something practical. The translations "immediately effective" or "timeless" don't really portray that I think.

Akalika as "not-time" is practical. You have to work on it. Again, it is common tendency to make things simple and easy to grasp, but the truth is not like that. Good luck in watching your mind.

Dear venerable,

What I think is just as much a common tendency is is when a term is difficult to translate or interpret, people imply it must have a deep/difficult meaning as well. But in my eyes the Buddha's words often were very simple and easy to understand. Their implication may be hard to see, but the words themselves don't have to be that difficult. And if there is a difficult term or a new term, the Buddha explained it quite thoroughly. Akaliko doesn't seem to be explained all that much, so it must have been easy to understand at the time.

To explain with what I mean with practical: I'm with Bhikkhu Bodhi here in that all other terms all speak about the Dhamma in terms of the relationship to the practitioners, and not a statement about the Dhamma itself. So it is very likely akaliko is also like this and I think "visible in this life" is a likely translation; simple to understand but not simple to realize. In that sense it is still not easy to grasp even if the translation is very easy to understand.

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby nyanasuci » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:17 am

I really do not want to go into debate here. You wrote that akalika being translated “timeless” is not practical, I responded to you that it is practical. That is only point I wanted to make. If you still want to retranslate Pali words for the sake of simplicity that is your business and you are the one who will have to live with that.

reflection wrote:But in my eyes the Buddha's words often were very simple and easy to understand.

I very much doubt that you understand the sutta in correct way. Do you understand all suttas? If not there is a strong possibility that you haven’t understood even the easiest suttas. I do not like to sound harsh, but I am pretty much aware people’s tendencies to make Dhamma as convenient as possible which are fitting to ones views.

reflection wrote:To explain with what I mean with practical: I'm with Bhikkhu Bodhi here in that all other terms all speak about the Dhamma in terms of the relationship to the practitioners, and not a statement about the Dhamma itself. So it is very likely akaliko is also like this and I think "visible in this life" is a likely translation; simple to understand but not simple to realize. In that sense it is still not easy to grasp even if the translation is very easy to understand.

I would not agree that Dhamma should be related to practitioners, but rather practitioners have to relate to Dhamma. We have to adjust our views and not try to make Dhamma modern, convenient, coolish or whatever.

Translation "visible in this life" does not make sense to me. Why we would have to emphasise the period of this life? Why not period of 2 lives or 3 lives? Why not 2 years? Why does it matter when it is visible? But I can get the point that Dhamma can be seen right here and now without thinking in terms of time.

Anyway, I very much doubt that any further discussion about this topic will change anybody’s mind, so I will stop here.

AN 6:47 Directly Visible
Then the wanderer Moliyasīvaka approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:

“Bhante, it is said: ‘The directly visible Dhamma, the directly visible Dhamma.’ In what way, Bhante, is the Dhamma directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise’?” [357]

“Well then, Sīvaka, I will question you in turn about this. Answer as you see fit. What do you think, Sīvaka? (1) When there is greed within you, do you know: ‘There is greed within me,’ and when there is no greed within you, do you know: ‘There is no greed within me’?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“Since, Sīvaka, when there is greed within you, you know: ‘There is greed within me,’ and when there is no greed within you, you know: ‘There is no greed within me,’ in this way the Dhamma is directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise.

“What do you think, Sīvaka? (2) When there is hatred within you … (3) … delusion within you … (4) … a state connected with greed within you … (5) … a state connected with hatred within you … (6) … a state connected with delusion within you, do you know: ‘There is a state connected with delusion within me,’ and when there is no state connected with delusion within you, do you know: ‘There is no state connected with delusion within me’?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“Since, Sīvaka, when there is a state connected with delusion within you, you know: ‘There is a state connected with delusion within me,’ and when there is no state connected with delusion within you, you know: ‘There is no state connected with delusion within me,’ in this way the Dhamma is directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise.”

“Excellent, Bhante! … [as at 6:38] … Let the Blessed One consider me a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:31 am

I think this sutta should shed much needed light on akālika. It's SN 12.33 -

Katamañca, bhikkhave, jarāmaraṇaṃ? ....

And what, bhikkhus, is aging-and-death?… (definition as in SN12.2)

Yato kho, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako evaṃ jarāmaraṇaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇasamudayaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇanirodhaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇanirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ pajānāti, idamassa dhamme ñāṇaṃ . So iminā dhammena diṭṭhena viditena akālikena pattena pariyogāḷhena atītānāgatena yaṃ neti.

When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple thus understands aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, this is his knowledge of the principle. By means of this principle (dhamma) that is seen (diṭṭha), understood (vidita), AAA (akālika)[,] fathomed (patta), penetrated (pariyogāḷha), he applies the method to the past and to the future thus:


The same analysis is repeated for each of the constituents of the nidānas, ending with saṅkhārā.

Notice that 4 of the predicates of dhamma (ie diṭṭha, vidita, patta and pariyogāḷha) are past participles of their present tense verbs (passati, vindati, pāpuṇāti & pariyogāhati respectively), all of which are semantically related as awakening/insight verbs. There is therefore every reason to infer that akālika here is used appositionally as an adverb to patta, giving "immediately fathomed". This seems possible, given the break in the waxing syllables, if akālikena and pattena were to be read sequentially, rather than in apposition. It also better preserves the whole sequence as one of participles functioning adverbially (ie how is DO known), rather than to read akālika as a nominal intrusion (ie what is the nature of DO).

:anjali:

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:58 am

Hi Bhante,
nyanasuci wrote:
reflection wrote:In the usual summary of the Dhamma "sanditthiko akaliko etc." most if not all other descriptions are pointing to a practical approach to the Dhamma, and not direct aspects of the Dhamma itself. It speaks about "inviting to investigation", "to be seen" etc. So I also think akaliko must have a sense of something practical. The translations "immediately effective" or "timeless" don't really portray that I think.

Akalika as "not-time" is practical. You have to work on it. Again, it is common tendency to make things simple and easy to grasp, but the truth is not like that. Good luck in watching your mind.

I'd be interested to hear more about how you see this in practice. The usual interpretation of the central
contact > feeling > craving > clinging
part of DO , e.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
is that it is something one can observe, and which appears to be something that happens over a period of time (though often a very short time, indeed!).

:anjali:
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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby reflection » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:54 am

nyanasuci wrote:I really do not want to go into debate here. You wrote that akalika being translated “timeless” is not practical, I responded to you that it is practical. That is only point I wanted to make. If you still want to retranslate Pali words for the sake of simplicity that is your business and you are the one who will have to live with that.

I very much doubt that you understand the sutta in correct way. Do you understand all suttas? If not there is a strong possibility that you haven’t understood even the easiest suttas. I do not like to sound harsh, but I am pretty much aware people’s tendencies to make Dhamma as convenient as possible which are fitting to ones views.

I would not agree that Dhamma should be related to practitioners, but rather practitioners have to relate to Dhamma. We have to adjust our views and not try to make Dhamma modern, convenient, coolish or whatever.

Translation "visible in this life" does not make sense to me. Why we would have to emphasise the period of this life? Why not period of 2 lives or 3 lives? Why not 2 years? Why does it matter when it is visible? But I can get the point that Dhamma can be seen right here and now without thinking in terms of time.

Anyway, I very much doubt that any further discussion about this topic will change anybody’s mind, so I will stop here.


Dear venerable,

It is not about making it cool or modern, or relating to practitioners for the practitioner's sake. It is about that it doesn't make a lot of sense to me a sequence of practitioner-related terms would suddenly include a statement about the nature of Dhamma.

Because rebirth is a part of this Dhamma (dependent origination) and it includes more than one life, in my eyes it makes sense to emphasize one can still understand it in a single life. But I've said it is a likely translation, not the only one. The translation "visible here and now" or the like is also fine with me. It also is no statement about the real nature of the Dhamma, unlike what the original post's terms are like to me.

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby pulga » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:47 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'd be interested to hear more about how you see this in practice. The usual interpretation of the central
contact > feeling > craving > clinging
part of DO , e.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
is that it is something one can observe, and which appears to be something that happens over a period of time (though often a very short time, indeed!).


What is time? I really think that one needs to be familiar with the phenomenology of time to appreciate Bhante's interpretation.

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby gavesako » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:20 pm

I am not sure if this is the best way to approach it: does one really need to study Heidegger first in order to understand what the Buddha was talking about to ordinary people in India 2600 years ago, using common expressions familiar to his audience without much need for philosophical interpretations? Of course one may find many interesting ways to compare the Suttas to different modern schools of thought, but I think it does not make sense to always insist that the Buddha was teaching from that particular perspective. For one thing, one should be able to read the Suttas in Pali and be well-acquainted with the idioms that occur in them and the general style of language that is used. If one only relies on English, German, etc. translations one might unwittingly start to perceive the Suttas through the lens of whatever philosophical tradition that one is coming from (because words carry meanings for us depending on our background). Such as Sylvester's point above about "akalikena pattena" can hardly be made intelligible to someone who does not read Pali fluently and cannot appreciate the sentence structure.

Generally I would say that such concerns with time and temporality (essentially, a mathematization) are rather alien to the thought-world of the early Suttas. They start to occur in the Abhidhamma, such as in the 24 conditional relationships outlined in the Patthana:

6. sahajata — co-existence (A arises at the same time as B)
10. purejata — pre-existence (A arises before B)
11. pacchajata — post-existence (A arises after B)

http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh331-p.html
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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:09 pm

gavesako wrote:For one thing, one should be able to read the Suttas in Pali and be well-acquainted with the idioms that occur in them and the general style of language that is used. If one only relies on English, German, etc. translations one might unwittingly start to perceive the Suttas through the lens of whatever philosophical tradition that one is coming from (because words carry meanings for us depending on our background).


Bhante, I'm not sure if reading in Pali is necessarily going to protect one from comprehending through the lens of our own conditioning.
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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby gavesako » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:24 pm

Mr Man wrote:
gavesako wrote:For one thing, one should be able to read the Suttas in Pali and be well-acquainted with the idioms that occur in them and the general style of language that is used. If one only relies on English, German, etc. translations one might unwittingly start to perceive the Suttas through the lens of whatever philosophical tradition that one is coming from (because words carry meanings for us depending on our background).


Bhante, I'm not sure if reading in Pali is necessarily going to protect one from comprehending through the lens of our own conditioning.
:anjali:



Not totally, of course, but at least by immersing oneself into another language-world and trying to understand the words and ideas as they were expressed in that language (this is the subject of hermeneutics -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeneutics ) one is expanding one's own narrow perspective and including a broader context. This has been confirmed even by the modern generation of Western monks going to live in Thailand and slowly picking up the Thai language: initially they tended to misunderstand many subtle points, but later they understood on a deeper level (although some teachings could also be transmitted non-verbally, for sure.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby pulga » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:38 pm

gavesako wrote:I am not sure if this is the best way to approach it: does one really need to study Heidegger first in order to understand what the Buddha was talking about to ordinary people in India 2600 years ago, using common expressions familiar to his audience without much need for philosophical interpretations?


Yes, the existentialist idiom is difficult, until you get the feel of it. The difficulty arises from the phenomenological method that I have just been talking about. The scientist (or scholar) becomes 'objective', puts himself right out of the picture (Kierkegaard is at his best when he describes this 'absent-minded' operation), and concerns himself only with abstract facts; the existentialist remains 'subjective' (not in the derogatory sense of being irresponsible), keeps himself in the picture, and describes concrete things (that is, things in relation to himself as he experiences them). This radical difference in method, naturally enough, is reflected in the kind of language used by the scientist on the one hand and the existentialist on the other—or rather, in the difference in the way they make use of language. I was struck, when I first read Sartre, by the strange sort of resemblance between certain of his expressions and some of the things said in the Suttas. Sartre, for example, has this:

...we defined the senses and the sense-organs in general as our being-in-the-world in so far as we have to be it in the form of being-in-the-midst-of-the-world. (B&N, p. 325)

In the Suttas (e.g. Salāyatana Samy. 116: iv,95) we find:

The eye (ear, nose, tongue, body, mind) is that in the world by which one is a perceiver and conceiver of the world.

Now whatever the respective meanings of these two utterances[a] it is quite clear that despite the two thousand five hundred years that separate them, Sartre's sentence is closer in manner of expression (as well as in content) to the Sutta passage than it is to anything produced by a contemporary neuro-physiologist supposedly dealing with precisely the same subject—our sense organs and perception of the world. This remarkable similarity does not oblige us to conclude that Sartre has reached enlightenment, but simply that if we want to understand the Suttas the phenomenological approach is more promising than the objective scientific approach (which, as we all know, reigns over the world). (L121)


I don't think an in-depth study of Heidegger is necessary. Just a careful reading of a single article from the internet would lend itself - at the very least - to an understanding of where those inspired by Ven. Ñanavira are coming from. http://www.iep.utm.edu/phe-time/

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:22 pm

gavesako wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
gavesako wrote:For one thing, one should be able to read the Suttas in Pali and be well-acquainted with the idioms that occur in them and the general style of language that is used. If one only relies on English, German, etc. translations one might unwittingly start to perceive the Suttas through the lens of whatever philosophical tradition that one is coming from (because words carry meanings for us depending on our background).


Bhante, I'm not sure if reading in Pali is necessarily going to protect one from comprehending through the lens of our own conditioning.
:anjali:



Not totally, of course, but at least by immersing oneself into another language-world and trying to understand the words and ideas as they were expressed in that language (this is the subject of hermeneutics -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeneutics ) one is expanding one's own narrow perspective and including a broader context. This has been confirmed even by the modern generation of Western monks going to live in Thailand and slowly picking up the Thai language: initially they tended to misunderstand many subtle points, but later they understood on a deeper level (although some teachings could also be transmitted non-verbally, for sure.


I'm not sure if it is possible to immerse one self in Pali in the same way that it is possible to immerse oneself in a living language.

I wonder how different the early PTS translators understanding of Pali was to more recent translators.

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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby nyanasuci » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:09 pm

I will try to be a bit clearer here. Firstly, to avoid any misunderstanding, I do, of course, recognize that there is sense of time, in case if anybody suspected otherwise. Also I understand reasoning of different look into akalika, including that it means that it is visible in this life. For example, we are guided to imagine this body how is deteriorating, how it ages, how is discomposing after death, and many other instructions for reflection on impermanence. Moreover, to believe that the Buddha said that Dhamma can be realized in this life is indeed nice encouragement and I hope many of us have enough faith in it and actually do realize it in this lifetime. Moreover, that Dhamma should be recognized in any time, any minute, in any hour, on any day, in any week, in any year. If that faith together with the effort for practice is well established, that could lead to the direction of realization of Dhamma. So, I hope we are together at least in that.

However, it is actually possible that a human being recognizes various phenomena and structures of experience while we conscious. One does not have to be the Noble to see that. I can recognize phenomenological aspects, many other people can recognize that, and I think everyone is capable to do so too. Therefore those who can recognize phenomenological structure of experience they read Dhamma in different way than those who look it through scientific-objective view. Then it is hardly possible that we are discussing the same thing even if we think we do. Therefore I think that those who do not recognize the structure of experience will fail to understand those who do. Potential disagreements could unfortunately follow.

Some of you do not get sense of non-time, others do. However those who have a sense of non-time have also sense of time. If Buddha didn't talk about something that is immediate, not involving time, then those who recognize non-time would be exempted from practising Dhamma. But if Buddha did teach about structure of experience which is in non-time then, thank god, Dhamma applies in the deepest level of our subjectivity. Telling me that akalika as non-time is not practical, you are automatically excluding me from Dhamma and making me lookalike an alien. :-) Silly way of looking into it, isn't it? Since one should not ignore the determinations of mind therefore I warned that just thinking of Dhamma in time or even in 3 lives might be an obstacle to any practitioner because he is ignoring the problem which is much more fundamental in his being. If you approach Dhamma phenomenologically then you are in safer side because it can be applied at any time, any life. Moreover, then we can recognize that 'five aggregates' (5Ag) equals 'experience' (of course, that is still too simply stated): whatever I experience, 5Ag are there. And then the Buddha said: “And what, bhikkhus, are the 5Ag? Whatever kind of form is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the form aggregate...” (SN 22:48) Time is included in 5Ag, but 5Ag are not in time.

Generally I do not use term “phenomenology” because it does give feeling that there is an inclination to make Dhamma modern and to be on the level of Western Philosophy. I actually never went much into western philosophy, I never read Heidegger, but only read some introductory passages about phenomenology-existencialism in the books which are something equivalent to “For Dummies”. I do not think that one has to study those things to understand Dhamma, though I agree that such studies can be helpful because it leads us to recognize those things which are already there 'in front of our faces' but not recognized. It is not about taking them on bare faith, but they too are inviting us to come and see into our own minds.

However, I am influenced by Ven. Nanavira and I am tremendously grateful for that. I would probably still stuck in simplified easy Dhamma, thinking that it is wisdom if I think that if things in the worlds are just flowing atoms is enough for 'seeing' impermanence, and still believing that my view of emptiness makes me an Ariya. But one doesn't need Ven. Nanavira to see that there is something more in Dhamma than just collecting facts which are neatly connected in space in time. The Buddha was talking about yoniso manisakara (womb attention) what indicates that we should go to the source of our experience. Or in Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118), for example, the Buddha also says that one can experience whole body, rapture, the mind (etc) while he is still conscious of breathing in or out. Experience is really not simple thing, but very complex, and that is the nature that we have to recognize.

I agree, this nature is not easy to understand or see, but that doesn't mean we should not make an effort to recognize that. Therefore simplifying something that is essentially very important, can be a big obstacle in practice. And this is why I said in my previous post. If you think you understand a sutta and then you turn a page and read something like Bahiya Sutta which might not give you any clue what it is about, then, I think, you probably failed to understand also the previous sutta. The Buddha was talking about only one thing, that is Dhamma. If you get it, then many things become clearer. If you do not, then one should take a good care what is taken on bare faith without applying into observation of phenomena. As long as mind haven't enter the stream, nothing should be taken for sure. (Another way of saying: when insane mind hears Dhamma from the Sane, it is still looking into it and holding it with the insane mind. The Truth is distorted).

And how to apply non-time akalika into practice? With following the Buddha's Teaching. That means not just being a follower, but actually do what is said to be done. It is easy to debate, but not many actually do the work. We have to make an effort to recognize in one's own experience all those things which the Buddha toughed, here and now. We have to practice mindfulness constantly and also jhanas. It is a gradual progress. As Ven. Nanavira said, ignorance cannot be pulled out, but only screwed out. We gradually let go our our view and adopt “the Buddha's view”. He was teaching the the truth, we have to recognize it. It would be too much for me to create an instruction of practice, but in this space I like only to encourage to follow the Suttas. And if you have enough faith read also Notes on Dhamma which can test out your 'sureness' of your understanding.

I actually agree that there should be some basic knowledge of Pali because we keep misunderstanding what was said in the Suttas. English cannot capture everything very well. For example in this tread was mentioned that jati means rebirth, but translation says birth. Rebirth has its own Pali word. I do not know how gold and silver can be reborn (MN 21), do you?

So, I hope that explains a little bit more about what is probably causing misunderstanding among some of us.

I have also received a private message relating to my comment on understanding the suttas. It says: “You are making a personal comment here that is a bit inappropriate for a discussion. You are not the arbiter here of what people do and do not understand.” Though I am not sure how my note was understood, I was not intending to lecture anyone – I really do not care. But I am aware that I was actually sounded too cold in my latest posts. Rather than writing I would prefer verbal conversation were warmer approach could be much easier to achieve. However in this forum there have been some disrespectful comments on Ven. Nanavira such as “Nanavira on sila is like Michael Jackson on child welfare” and others, and that having in mind it is indeed then discouraging to make any effort to be understood or to be helpful. But if my manner caused any offence, my sincere apologies.

I hope that is enough for me to say and that I can now withdrawn from participation in this thread on akalika.

Best wishes,
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:10 pm

Dear venerable,

Thanks for clearing things up and while I was not really offended, thank you for the apology.

And to clear things up on my behalf, all I was concerned about is looking for a suitable translation of 'akaliko'. This is the pali forum in the end. And disagreeing on the translation of a single word doesn't automatically mean we dismiss entire views or we totally don't understand the suttas. Of course a translation can mirror a certain view, but I think in this topic things were implied that were not said, all taken too far. For example I never disregarded any views about time or not-time/timeless, not in this topic at least. I just think it is not a good translation for akaliko, is all.
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Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:36 am

Great post as usual Bhante Hiriko, thank you for your contribution :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'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: akaliko -timeless

Postby piotr » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:00 am

Hi Holdan & All,

Holdan wrote:MN 38 seems to offer little, if no, support for this view of Jayarava.


This is my view not Jayarava's. If you read his blog post it should be fairly clear.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Kumara
Posts: 328
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:14 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: akaliko -timeless

Postby Kumara » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:13 am

BlackBird wrote:akalika - not-time, not-to-do-with-time, not concerned with time.

I.e, timeless?


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