Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Laurens » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:19 pm

When you're lost in dangerous waters, you need to cling to your life raft.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:01 pm

Annabel wrote:Since you know the text, could you provide it, please? David is not here yet.


Hi Annabel,

Yes, i was off at the snort fort (sleeping), but see you were in good hands with the great answers by tilt, Chris, and others. The Buddhavamsa is not online yet; also as tilt noted, many see it as a later text. 'Officially' however, it is part of the Canon, Khudakka Nikaya.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:51 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Annabel wrote:
Well, who knows what crept in in those hundreds of years when the Dhamma wasn't written down yet. !

The Dhamma was well remembered before writing. I think we can be confident that we have the core of the Buddha's teachings.


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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:01 pm

The reason given for doubting that we have a true record of the Buddhas teaching the absence of a written record, is actually a great strength. Because they were commited to memory, and not modern scattered memory, but the memory of those who had been trained in memorisation from early childhood. And then repeated continously down the centuries with the old men making sure that the repetition was correct, it was communal not a matter of individual endevour with pen and ink. Its repetition has not altered in the last hundred years , there is no reason to suspect that it changed in the first hundred years.

:anjali:
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:48 pm

Should words of Dhamma be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should words of Dhamma be forgot,
and the Buddhasasana ?

CHORUS:
For Buddhasasana, my jo,
for Buddhasasana,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for the Buddhasasana.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:06 pm

Kare wrote:This prediction was made in an age when literacy was scarce or non-existant.

But when the teachings were written down, the next Bodhisattva in line looked down from the Tusita heaven, swearing softly to himself: "Damn ... they've got writing! Well, I'll just have to wait until their palm leaves disintegrate ..."

After a while he looked down again, and said with a sigh: "Oh no! They've got printing! How are they going to forget the teachings of the previous Buddha now? Well ... back to old Tusita!"

And recently he looked down and was shocked: "Oh, my Deva! The teachings are all over the Internet! I'm really stuck in this old Tusita! Well, I'd better learn to meditate on boredom, then ..."

:mrgreen:


Kare wrote:Should words of Dhamma be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should words of Dhamma be forgot,
and the Buddhasasana ?

CHORUS:
For Buddhasasana, my jo,
for Buddhasasana,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for the Buddhasasana.


Why are you writing nonsense in a thread where a member is respectfully asking about the Dhamma?
Been to the Office Xmas Party?

karuna
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:00 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:The reason given for doubting that we have a true record of the Buddhas teaching the absence of a written record, is actually a great strength. Because they were commited to memory, and not modern scattered memory, but the memory of those who had been trained in memorisation from early childhood. And then repeated continously down the centuries with the old men making sure that the repetition was correct, it was communal not a matter of individual endevour with pen and ink. Its repetition has not altered in the last hundred years , there is no reason to suspect that it changed in the first hundred years.

:anjali:


Wow, very logical point, thank you for equipping me with this.

Actually I am sometimes getting challenged with this, and now I can explain this.

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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:23 pm

Hello Annabel, Sanghamitta, all
(previously posted in the Great Rebirth Debate thread - but I don't know how to just give a link to a post.)

The Suttas are not 'sound bites' recorded as the Buddha spoke. They are compacted summaries of what was said, rehearsed and agreed upon by the Arahants at the Great Councils and memorised and chanted together by large groups of monks called Bhanakas (Reciters).

"Writing was unknown then, and so the Buddha’s sayings, as collected by his disciples, were committed to memory by a group of monks and were handed down to their disciples orally. There were probably two such groups, who, in order to distinguish themselves from each other, became known as Digha-Bhanakas and Majjhima-bhanakas. The other two Nikayas were later developments, their object being only to rearrange the topics dealt with in the Digha and the Majjhima".
http://www.quangduc.com/English/history ... ars07.html

The Suttas are teaching vehicles whose meanings are densely packed layer on layer. They are not to be read as an ordinary page of print, but require 'unpacking' by someone learned in the Dhamma. This condensed form was necessary in order that the Teachings would not be lost in the years before they were finally put into writing ~ engraved on leaves in Sri Lanka. It allowed them to be memorised by the large groups of bhikkhus (bhanakas) assigned to each portion of the Tipitaka. They are not verbatim reports of chats and conversations. This memorisation is said to have commenced before the parinibbana of the Buddha. Anything that is repeated is to be seen as something important which was highlighted by the repetition.

The Suttas are rather like the memory prompts - the dot points of the most important information to be transmitted - similar to those a public speaker carries for reference.
"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness -- are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves." (Ari sutta).

.... with regard to the accuracy of oral traditions ... Anthropologists agree that oral teachings are generally more accurate and less prone to "improving" than are written teachings

The Pali Suttas are summaries of what the Buddha meant to be passed on - and great care was taken, while he was alive and afterwards, to memorise them in a form that could not be distorted, and by a method that did not allow of deliberate alterations to meaning and content. The recitations were going on for the forty five years of the Buddha's teaching life. The repetitions in the suttas are pointer to the most important parts.

Venerable Mahá Kassapa, the elected head of the First Council. Cúlavagga Xl,1,1 (ii,284) reiterated:
"Come, friends: let us recite the Teaching and the Discipline before what is not the Teaching shines forth and the Teaching is put aside, before what is not the Discipline shines forth and the Discipline is put aside, before those who speak what is not the Teaching become strong and those who speak what is the Teaching become weak, before those who speak what is not the Discipline become strong and those who speak what is the Discipline become weak."

So the system was in place before the Buddha passed away. The Pali suttas are extremely condensed summaries of the Buddha's teachings, packed with meaning, which need to be unpacked by those learned in the Dhamma. They were preserved in that form to aid memorising and chanting by the large groups of Bhikkhus called Bhanakas (Reciters) i.e. Majjhima-bhanakas, Digha-bhanakas etc. Each group was allocated a small portion of the Tipitaka to keep pristine and pass on. This began even while the Buddha was alive.

It was only hundreds of years later in Sri Lanka, in a time of famine and warfare, with many bhikkhus dying, and with Buddhism all but wiped out in India, that the MahaSangha decided the Teachings needed to be written down. They were engraved on Ola Leaves. Many of us have been to Sri Lanka and have had the inestimable good fortune to have seen demonstrations of this being done at the ancient rock temple of Aluvihara Temple (where the Tipitaka was originally written down) in the Matale district 26 km from Kandy.


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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:24 pm

Chris wrote:Why are you writing nonsense in a thread where a member is respectfully asking about the Dhamma?
Been to the Office Xmas Party?

karuna
Chris


Your comment was not very respectful. But I'll most respectfully suggest that you study this short excerpt from the Patisambhidamagga:

Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti katamā hāsapaññā? Idhekacco hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlāni paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo indriyasaṃvaraṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo bhojane mattaññutaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo jāgariyānuyogaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlakkhandhaṃ…pe… samādhikkhandhaṃ… paññākkhandhaṃ… vimuttikkhandhaṃ… vimuttiñāṇadassanakkhandhaṃ paripūretīti…pe… ṭhānāṭṭhānāni paṭivijjhatīti… vihārasamāpattiyo paripūretīti … ariyasaccāni paṭivijjhatīti… satipaṭṭhāne bhāvetīti… sammappadhāne bhāvetīti… iddhipāde bhāvetīti… indriyāni bhāvetīti… balāni bhāvetīti… bojjhaṅge bhāvetīti … ariyamaggaṃ bhāvetīti…pe… sāmaññaphalāni sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo abhiññāyo paṭivijjhatīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo paramatthaṃ nibbānaṃ sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti – ayaṃ hāsapaññā.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:58 pm

Yes, Kare, you've posted that untranslated quote before in:
Those good old light bulbs again ...
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1011&p=12691&hilit=bulbs#p12612
which was on-topic and appropriate in The Lounge.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:20 pm

Chris wrote:Yes, Kare, you've posted that untranslated quote before in:
Those good old light bulbs again ...
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1011&p=12691&hilit=bulbs#p12612
which was on-topic and appropriate in The Lounge.


I know. Words of Dhamma stand being repeated.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:45 am

Kare wrote:
Chris wrote:Why are you writing nonsense in a thread where a member is respectfully asking about the Dhamma?
Been to the Office Xmas Party?

karuna
Chris


Your comment was not very respectful. But I'll most respectfully suggest that you study this short excerpt from the Patisambhidamagga:

Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti katamā hāsapaññā? Idhekacco hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlāni paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo indriyasaṃvaraṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo bhojane mattaññutaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo jāgariyānuyogaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlakkhandhaṃ…pe… samādhikkhandhaṃ… paññākkhandhaṃ… vimuttikkhandhaṃ… vimuttiñāṇadassanakkhandhaṃ paripūretīti…pe… ṭhānāṭṭhānāni paṭivijjhatīti… vihārasamāpattiyo paripūretīti … ariyasaccāni paṭivijjhatīti… satipaṭṭhāne bhāvetīti… sammappadhāne bhāvetīti… iddhipāde bhāvetīti… indriyāni bhāvetīti… balāni bhāvetīti… bojjhaṅge bhāvetīti … ariyamaggaṃ bhāvetīti…pe… sāmaññaphalāni sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo abhiññāyo paṭivijjhatīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo paramatthaṃ nibbānaṃ sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti – ayaṃ hāsapaññā.


Kare, what you said was witty, but not very useful!

It didn't answer my questions, as Chris said. I also wasn't sure if you don't :P me... :evil: .... but I disregarded that as a mere speculation and assumed good intentions. :smile:

Either way, I also have no use for your pali quote!

Of what use is that to me, if no english version is added,- so please have some metta and deliver one for me (et alii) as well, German is welcome too, if you have.

Ty

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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:30 pm

Annabel wrote:
Kare wrote:
Chris wrote:Why are you writing nonsense in a thread where a member is respectfully asking about the Dhamma?
Been to the Office Xmas Party?

karuna
Chris


Your comment was not very respectful. But I'll most respectfully suggest that you study this short excerpt from the Patisambhidamagga:

Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti katamā hāsapaññā? Idhekacco hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlāni paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo indriyasaṃvaraṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo bhojane mattaññutaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo jāgariyānuyogaṃ paripūretīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo sīlakkhandhaṃ…pe… samādhikkhandhaṃ… paññākkhandhaṃ… vimuttikkhandhaṃ… vimuttiñāṇadassanakkhandhaṃ paripūretīti…pe… ṭhānāṭṭhānāni paṭivijjhatīti… vihārasamāpattiyo paripūretīti … ariyasaccāni paṭivijjhatīti… satipaṭṭhāne bhāvetīti… sammappadhāne bhāvetīti… iddhipāde bhāvetīti… indriyāni bhāvetīti… balāni bhāvetīti… bojjhaṅge bhāvetīti … ariyamaggaṃ bhāvetīti…pe… sāmaññaphalāni sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo abhiññāyo paṭivijjhatīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsabahulo vedabahulo tuṭṭhibahulo pāmojjabahulo paramatthaṃ nibbānaṃ sacchikarotīti – hāsapaññā. Hāsapaññatāya saṃvattantīti – ayaṃ hāsapaññā.


Kare, what you said was witty, but not very useful!

It didn't answer my questions, as Chris said. I also wasn't sure if you don't :P me... :evil: .... but I disregarded that as a mere speculation and assumed good intentions. :smile:

Either way, I also have no use for your pali quote!

Of what use is that to me, if no english version is added,- so please have some metta and deliver one for me (et alii) as well, German is welcome too, if you have.

Ty

8-)


Buddha often adviced against speculations and questions that are not leading to liberation. Sometimes he outright rejected those questions. At other times he did it with jokes and satire. Some of the best known examples of this is probably the Brahmajalasutta and the Kevaddhasutta.

My quote from the Patisambhidamagga says more about this method. It is better to read it in Pali, but here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:

Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.

So we ought to remember that speculations that are not conducive to liberation, is a waste of time. It is better to lighten up a little, drop the speculations and smile. For smiles, jokes and laughter may lead straight to nibbana. :D
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:57 pm

Kare wrote: here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:

Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.

So we ought to remember that speculations that are not conducive to liberation, is a waste of time. It is better to lighten up a little, drop the speculations and smile. For smiles, jokes and laughter may lead straight to nibbana.

Wonderful. Any idea where this might be in the Ven Nyanamoli translation?
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

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:33 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Kare wrote: here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:

Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.

So we ought to remember that speculations that are not conducive to liberation, is a waste of time. It is better to lighten up a little, drop the speculations and smile. For smiles, jokes and laughter may lead straight to nibbana.

Wonderful. Any idea where this might be in the Ven Nyanamoli translation?


It is on p. 372, para XXI 17. But I'm not so happy with that translation. I rather prefer "smiling wisdom" for "laughing understanding". Besides, the paragraph is part of a series, and is abbreviated with dots and [and so on ...], so it is easy to miss the real gem of the contents. But the penultimate sentence of the paragraph is clear and written out without abbreviation in his translation: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

This video may illustrate this idea:



:D
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:08 pm

Kare wrote:My quote from the Patisambhidamagga says more about this method. It is better to read it in Pali, but here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:
Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.


Excellent! I included that to update this article at DhammaWiki, with reference back to here:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... d_laughter
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:24 pm

Kare wrote: here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:

Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.

So we ought to remember that speculations that are not conducive to liberation, is a waste of time. It is better to lighten up a little, drop the speculations and smile. For smiles, jokes and laughter may lead straight to nibbana. :D


This is really a wonderful piece, thank you for sharing it! I've been looking for something like this and will definitely save it.

However, as Chris above quotes show, the Buddha replied in depth and detail to the questions I asked information about, so I don't think the Buddha tought of them as of having a speculative nature.... such as for instance the monks pondering about future rebirths ... :D

:anjali:

Thanks again!

Will read the suttas you gave asap.
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:37 pm

Annabel wrote:
Kare wrote: here is an abbreviated rendering of the main contents of that quote:

Those who are filled with smiles and laughter, will perfect the virtues. That is smiling wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will also attain perfect concentration and wisdom. Those who are filled with smiles and laughter will attain the path and the direct knowledges, and they will quickly realize the ultimate meaning, nibbana.

So we ought to remember that speculations that are not conducive to liberation, is a waste of time. It is better to lighten up a little, drop the speculations and smile. For smiles, jokes and laughter may lead straight to nibbana. :D


This is really a wonderful piece, thank you for sharing it! I've been looking for something like this and will definitely save it.

However, as Chris above quotes show, the Buddha replied in depth and detail to the questions I asked information about, so I don't think the Buddha tought of them as of having a speculative nature.... such as for instance the monks pondering about future rebirths ... :D


OK. So let's just smile and accept that we have a little different view of this question.

:bow:
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:43 pm

Kare wrote:
It is on p. 372, para XXI 17. But I'm not so happy with that translation. I rather prefer "smiling wisdom" for "laughing understanding". Besides, the paragraph is part of a series, and is abbreviated with dots and [and so on ...], so it is easy to miss the real gem of the contents. But the penultimate sentence of the paragraph is clear and written out without abbreviation in his translation: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

Thanks. Unfortunately Ven N's translation, having not been a finished, polished work, really is not very user freindly, though I do like the line of his you quoted. Again, thanks for your translation and for bringing this to light.
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

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Will the Dhamma be forgotten....?

Postby Kare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Kare wrote:
It is on p. 372, para XXI 17. But I'm not so happy with that translation. I rather prefer "smiling wisdom" for "laughing understanding". Besides, the paragraph is part of a series, and is abbreviated with dots and [and so on ...], so it is easy to miss the real gem of the contents. But the penultimate sentence of the paragraph is clear and written out without abbreviation in his translation: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

Thanks. Unfortunately Ven N's translation, having not been a finished, polished work, really is not very user freindly, though I do like the line of his you quoted. Again, thanks for your translation and for bringing this to light.


The Patisambhidamagga may be rather scholastic and heavy reading at times, but there are also many gems in this work. It is like an encyclopedia of Theravada, giving many interesting definitions of terms - so I'm quite fond of it. I have translated the whole paragraph on Hasapañña into Norwegian. Maybe I'll try to produce an English version of it some day. But right now I am struggling with translating the chapter on Anapanasati (into Norwegian), translating also the commentary (and adding a few excerpts from the subcommentary). I've no idea when this work will be finished ... those texts are not the easiest I have tried my hand on ...

Buddhaghosa used the Patisambhidamagga quite a lot when he wrote his Visuddhimagga, so this book has an important place in the Theravada position, somewhere between the Nikayas (well, formally it is a part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, but in many ways it rather looks like an Abhidhamma text), the Abhidhamma and the commentaries.
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