mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand why you keep appealing to the authority of something you don't explain.
It has a lot to do with it taking me 20K words to explain it well enough that I can hold out a hope that those who are firmly convinced they already have a really good theoretical understanding of dependent arising might actually see the sense. As well as having a lot to do with my attempts to point out that there are other ways of looking at the dhamma.
It would be interesting to hear if you have points to make about dependent origination that have not been explored by teachers and scholars such as Venerables Buddhadassa, Nanavira, and Nanananda, all of whom disagree in various ways with the standard interpretations (though, particularly for Ven Nananda, not so much with rebirth, but with the connection of rebirth with dependent origination).
I actually did summarize what I am saying dependent arising is about, in far fewer than the 20K words, in a post over on the Great Rebirth Debate thread:
(3) In the overall scheme of dependent arising, the Buddha is simultaneously describing what people think is going on (the way atta arises, and eventually goes to bliss) and what is actually going on (the way anatta arises, and eventually goes in the opposite of the direction folks think all their efforts should take them in: to dukkha instead of bliss). Bhava is the transition point in the normal Vedic way of seeing things, where one goes through the funeral pyre and becomes whatever they will be in one of the three realms they have been aiming all their lives towards. Their expectation would be something like "bhava to bliss" but the Buddha is saying, "Bhava, sure, but not to bliss, just to the experience of life that we all have: birth, sickness, aging, and death: dukkha." This is because the Buddha is not describing something which will survive the transition of bhava and go on to either bliss or a new life, but he is describing anatta which isn't going anywhere.
I don't think that's something I "don't explain" -- that's about as succinct an explanation as I'm ever likely to be able to give.
nowheat wrote:I am thankful for the accurate transmission of the words of the Buddha, but less than thankful for the limitations put on understanding the meaning.
Are you are claiming that these limitations have prevented effective practice over the past 2500 years? To me, that's the important issue.
To the degree that the teachings, as they are explained to us, foster clinging to a view of literal rebirth on thin evidence -- teaching us to build a case for something on thin evidence -- at the expense of, instead, paying attention to the way we tend to attach ourselves to ideas on too little evidence, yes, the limitations prevent getting as far as one could in practice. Keep in mind that I've said "95% overlap" between my understanding of what the dhamma is about and tradition -- so I'm not saying "throw out the whole thing and start from scratch". I am not one, for example, who says kamma is irrelevant, I just say it needn't be attached to past and future lives we cannot examine.