Core teaching of the Buddha

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
terryshine
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by terryshine » Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:37 pm

Dhamma_Basti wrote: This is how the 'not self' slowly turned into a 'no self' and the rebirth-concept finally creeped in. Also because those people no longer really understood his subtle point of 'not denying that it is there, just denying that this leads to mokṣa'. But just speculation here, don't take it too serious. :)

Thank you for your article D. B. Thought it was quite informative. Wonder if you would expand a bit on the above (1. not self - no self and 2. subtle point). Not to sure of your meaning?

terryshine
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by terryshine » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:09 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
terryshine wrote: One cannot infer from the story of the Weaver's daughter that a belief in rebirth is not necessary to gain Stream-winning. One can only infer that direct knowledge of previous lives is unnecessary.

Could you please confirm that what you are saying here is - that it is not necessary to have previous rebirth knowledge to attain stream entry but it is necessary to have knowledge of rebirth in the future, to attain stream entry?

Secondly, what if one has no views or interest in past lives or future rebirth. Is such a person excluded from attaining?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:56 am

terryshine wrote:Could you please confirm that what you are saying here is - that it is not necessary to have previous rebirth knowledge to attain stream entry but it is necessary to have knowledge of rebirth in the future, to attain stream entry?

Secondly, what if one has no views or interest in past lives or future rebirth. Is such a person excluded from attaining?
It is unnecessary to have knowledge of past or future existences to attain Stream-winning. To gain such knowledge requires the meditator to be an adept in attaining the jhānas.

If one has studied Buddhism for forty years, is it possible to hold no views on rebirth? Someone new to the Dhamma might be expected to have no views about something he or she has never even thought about, but clearly you have read many books on Buddhism and listened to numerous Dhamma talks. The Brahman householder of Sāla, to whom the Buddha taught the Apaṇṇaka Sutta (MN60) were new to the teaching. You are not, so I would expect you to have formed a view by now — hopefully one that is open to further inquiry.

Holding the fixed view that rebirth does not occur after death, that there are no other realms of existence, and that there are no recluses like the Buddha who can know such things, is a wrong view of Annihilationism that obstructs realisation and definitely leads to hell.

As it says in the Mahāsīhanāda Sutta regarding the evil-minded bhikkhu, Sunakkhatta who claimed that the Buddha had no psychic powers:
Mahāsīhanāda Sutta (MN12) wrote:“Sāriputta, when I know and see thus, should anyone say of me: ‘The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him’ — unless he abandons that assertion and that state of mind and relinquishes that view, then as (surely as if he had been) carried off and put there he will wind up in hell. Just as a bhikkhu possessed of virtue, concentration and wisdom would here and now enjoy final knowledge, so it will happen in this case, I say, that unless he abandons that assertion and that state of mind and relinquishes that view, then as (surely as if he had been) carried off and put there he will wind up in hell.”
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:12 am

Bhikkhu Kovida certainly seems to hold a wrong view regarding literal rebirth.
Bhikkhu Kovida wrote:From my own experience, insight and understanding, I feel that when the Buddha spoke of rebirth he was actually referring to a psychological phenomenon as opposed to a physical one, viz. mental rebirth--i.e., the repeated arising of the self/ego-center out of ignorance and delusion, craving and clinging, hatred and ill-will. So, when the Buddha spoke of recalling numerous past lives, he was simply referring to the many times in which the self or ego manifested out of ignorance and delusion, etc., prior to his Supreme Enlightenment.
The way that I understand it, Dependent Origination occurs throughout this life, has occurred throughout infinite past lives, and will continue to function in future lives until one attains parinibbāna. Even an Arahant has consciousness, sense-bases, contact, and feeling, but feeling is no longer a condition for craving, attachment, and becoming.
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Alex123
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:40 pm

Dear Bhante Pesala,

The MN27 seems to say that full conclusive faith comes only at Arhatship?

His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"This, too, is called a footprint of the Tathagata, a scratch mark of the Tathagata, a tusk slash of the Tathagata, and it is here that a disciple of the noble ones has come to conclusion: 'The Blessed One is rightly self-awakened; the Dhamma is well-taught by the Blessed One; the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples has practiced rightly.'"

:anjali:
"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..."

terryshine
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by terryshine » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:00 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If one has studied Buddhism for forty years, is it possible to hold no views on rebirth? Someone new to the Dhamma might be expected to have no views about something he or she has never even thought about, but clearly you have read many books on Buddhism and listened to numerous Dhamma talks. The Brahman householder of Sāla, to whom the Buddha taught the Apaṇṇaka Sutta (MN60) were new to the teaching. You are not, so I would expect you to have formed a view by now — hopefully one that is open to further inquiry.

Holding the fixed view that rebirth does not occur after death, that there are no other realms of existence, and that there are no recluses like the Buddha who can know such things, is a wrong view of Annihilationism that obstructs realisation and definitely leads to hell.
I don’t think our views are totally dissimilar bhante. As I have known you over a long period of time I am aware that you are a meditator and a “man of the books”. And you have enormous faith in the Buddha and his teachings because of this. Therefore I am presuming that because of the great faith you have gained from medative practise (and what you see there is up front, in your face and proved empirically, beyond any doubt) then you will trust all of the Buddha’s teaching, even the parts you have maybe not managed to verify empirically. In other words you accept mainly what’s in the books as correctly coming from the Buddha.

I also have the same faith and conviction in the Buddha’s teaching, also born from meditation, as yourself. The difference being that I don’t trust the books wholeheartedly. Not all the books of course, just certain points. I’m not sure that the teachings has’nt been altered, changed or misinterpreted over the roughly 2500 years of it's existence.
your quote -
“Holding the fixed view that rebirth does not occur after death, that there are no other realms of existence, and that there are no recluses like the Buddha who can know such things, is a wrong view of Annihilationism that obstructs realisation and definitely leads to hell”.

What you stated here is not my view at all. Of course I have read all about past and future lives but have a terrible lack of interest in the subject. All my time is taken in sorting this one out! Having not seen either of these in practice I can’t say they exist, but equally I can’t say they don’t exist. (see link above 24th Sept 1.09pm - I do not think it’s good to put great faith in a belief system, although, because it’s just not seen at all, one can’t deny it either (and neither did B. Kovida). So my fixed view is unfixed and open ended.

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Dhamma_Basti
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Dhamma_Basti » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:58 am

terryshine wrote:
Dhamma_Basti wrote: This is how the 'not self' slowly turned into a 'no self' and the rebirth-concept finally creeped in. Also because those people no longer really understood his subtle point of 'not denying that it is there, just denying that this leads to mokṣa'. But just speculation here, don't take it too serious. :)

Thank you for your article D. B. Thought it was quite informative. Wonder if you would expand a bit on the above (1. not self - no self and 2. subtle point). Not to sure of your meaning?
No problem. :)
I will try to put my oppinion into some simple words. It is basicly the argumentation of Alexander Wynne, who published an inspiring article on this topic in 2009.
I think a basic misunderstanding of the anattā of the buddhist canon is that the buddhas initial point was: "look, some people believe there is a self, wich is eternal, pleasant and when you realize it, you will attain mokṣa. This is not true. This self is impermanent and has a nature of suffering, realisation of it will not lead to liberation. This is my discovery."
However, an unknown amount of time passed and suddenly canonical texts started to claim: "there is no self. When you have a cart, and you look only at the parts, there is not cart at all. Only when you see the whole cart, an image of 'a cart' arises, but a thing wich has 'the nature of a cart' as it's nature does not exist. In the same way, the eternal, pleasant self does not exist."

So clearly this is already a different, contradicting understanding of the teaching of the second sermon and I do believe this is the result of the fact that there was an ongoing debate with the brahmanical tradition on this matter in the years after the buddha passed away and the buddhists where pushed into the position of defending their teaching.
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terryshine
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by terryshine » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:36 am

Dhamma_Basti wrote:
terryshine wrote:
Dhamma_Basti wrote: This is how the 'not self' slowly turned into a 'no self' and the rebirth-concept finally creeped in. Also because those people no longer really understood his subtle point of 'not denying that it is there, just denying that this leads to mokṣa'. But just speculation here, don't take it too serious. :)

Thank you for your article D. B. Thought it was quite informative. Wonder if you would expand a bit on the above (1. not self - no self and 2. subtle point). Not to sure of your meaning?
No problem. :)
I will try to put my oppinion into some simple words. It is basicly the argumentation of Alexander Wynne, who published an inspiring article on this topic in 2009.
I think a basic misunderstanding of the anattā of the buddhist canon is that the buddhas initial point was: "look, some people believe there is a self, wich is eternal, pleasant and when you realize it, you will attain mokṣa. This is not true. This self is impermanent and has a nature of suffering, realisation of it will not lead to liberation. This is my discovery."
However, an unknown amount of time passed and suddenly canonical texts started to claim: "there is no self. When you have a cart, and you look only at the parts, there is not cart at all. Only when you see the whole cart, an image of 'a cart' arises, but a thing wich has 'the nature of a cart' as it's nature does not exist. In the same way, the eternal, pleasant self does not exist."

So clearly this is already a different, contradicting understanding of the teaching of the second sermon and I do believe this is the result of the fact that there was an ongoing debate with the brahmanical tradition on this matter in the years after the buddha passed away and the buddhists where pushed into the position of defending their teaching.
Thanks for the information its appreciated. Have'nt heard of Alexander Wynne before so will check out his writings.

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Alex123
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Alex123 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:07 pm

Dhamma_Basti wrote: However, an unknown amount of time passed and suddenly canonical texts started to claim: "there is no self. When you have a cart, and you look only at the parts, there is not cart at all. Only when you see the whole cart, an image of 'a cart' arises, but a thing wich has 'the nature of a cart' as it's nature does not exist. In the same way, the eternal, pleasant self does not exist."
The thing is that cart, as a whole, as emergent property does exist. It is neither individual part, nor something separate from parts. Like water, its molecule is combination of two atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen. Both of these are gases. But when they combine into H20, it is liquid with different properties. Similiar is here. Person as emergent property from assemblage of 5 aggregates does exist as anicca, dukkha, anatta.
"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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daverupa
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by daverupa » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:03 pm

Alex123 wrote:The thing is that cart, as a whole, as emergent property does exist... Person as emergent property from assemblage of 5 aggregates does exist as anicca, dukkha, anatta.
Well, as long as we understand 'person' to mean 'individual' in the sense of one continuity-process among others ("one person among others") characterized at its most stable by the phrase "change-while-standing", it's fine.

But if this 'person' is seen as in any way Lasting, what happens is that a Soul, Essence, Core, or other Self-ideation shows up, which is a problem.

The rickety ol' cart trundles along the path, but there is no Cart. (There's no Ship of Theseus except by way of conventional labeling; there is a ship, and it may be called Theseus' ship, but there is no Ship-as-Essence, no Ship-as-Thing.)
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Alex123
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by Alex123 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:54 pm

daverupa wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The thing is that cart, as a whole, as emergent property does exist... Person as emergent property from assemblage of 5 aggregates does exist as anicca, dukkha, anatta.
Well, as long as we understand 'person' to mean 'individual' in the sense of one continuity-process among others ("one person among others") characterized at its most stable by the phrase "change-while-standing", it's fine.
Of course.
daverupa wrote: But if this 'person' is seen as in any way Lasting, what happens is that a Soul, Essence, Core, or other Self-ideation shows up, which is a problem.
I don't believe in that, and neither do many people hold such metaphysical speculations.
"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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tiltbillings
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Re: Core teaching of the Buddha

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:52 pm

Alex123 wrote:
daverupa wrote: But if this 'person' is seen as in any way Lasting, what happens is that a Soul, Essence, Core, or other Self-ideation shows up, which is a problem.
I don't believe in that, and neither do many people hold such metaphysical speculations.
It is not a matter of holding deliberate, intellectual views.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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