Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

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srivijaya
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by srivijaya »

SarathW wrote: Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 734:
MA identifies the three views here as eternalism, annihilationism, and partial eternalism.
Those segments didn't suggest that to me at all. I could find neither eternalist nor nihilist views amongst them?
I think it is a mistake to assume that Buddha said Anihilationism to be the best of all wrong views.
I've seen this statement banded about over the years but never seen any evidence that Buddha preferred any kind of view.

Bakmoon
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by Bakmoon »

CecilN wrote:If you want to argue your (priestly) pro-morality case here, use the following verses from MN 60 (however they do contradict other suttas, particularly SN 12.15):
....this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of good habits & right view: one who holds to a doctrine of existence....when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.'

this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence.
Actually if one looks at how the Buddha distinguishes right vie from wrong view, one will find that quite a bit of it has to do with how the view in question affects us morally. Certain types of wrong views are criticized as being "doctrines of inaction" because they undercut the foundations of developing moral conduct, and annihilation is destructive in particular because it denies future lives.

While it is true that annihilationism cuts against our worldly ways of thinking and in that sense has something going for it, the other doctrines of inaction (such as belief in an omnipotent god or karmic determinism) don't do nearly as much moral damage as annihilationism, so I think to be consistent, annihilationism would be categorized as the lowest of wrong views, not the highest.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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aflatun
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by aflatun »

Bakmoon wrote:
CecilN wrote:If you want to argue your (priestly) pro-morality case here, use the following verses from MN 60 (however they do contradict other suttas, particularly SN 12.15):
....this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of good habits & right view: one who holds to a doctrine of existence....when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.'

this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence.
Actually if one looks at how the Buddha distinguishes right vie from wrong view, one will find that quite a bit of it has to do with how the view in question affects us morally. Certain types of wrong views are criticized as being "doctrines of inaction" because they undercut the foundations of developing moral conduct, and annihilation is destructive in particular because it denies future lives.

While it is true that annihilationism cuts against our worldly ways of thinking and in that sense has something going for it, the other doctrines of inaction (such as belief in an omnipotent god or karmic determinism) don't do nearly as much moral damage as annihilationism, so I think to be consistent, annihilationism would be categorized as the lowest of wrong views, not the highest.


Nagarjuna says something precisely to this effect, doesn't he?
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Zom
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by Zom »

Yes, according to Buddha's words, annihilationism is the best view among all other wrong views. He says this in AN 10.29, N8. And he also explains why.

The difference between Right View and Annihilationism is that, according to Right View, there is nothing (precious) that can be annihilated (living being is just a mass of suffering aka 5 khandhas), while according to Annihilationism, there is "A Self" which is annihilated.

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by SarathW »

santa100 wrote:
SarathW wrote:MN 60: "...those good recluses and brahmins who hold the doctrine and view “there definitely is cessation of being” is close to non-lust, close to non-bondage, close to non-delighting, close to non-holding, close to non-clinging.’ After reflecting thus, he practises the way to disenchantment with being, to the fading away and cessation of being."
Actually the context to that section is not about anihilationism. Notice the section heading: "V. There is No Cessation of Being", it's really about the wrong view of certain recluses and brahmins who believe there is no possibility of liberation from samsara. ("Cessation of Being"/bhavanirodha here means Nibbana). And the good recluses and brahmins mentioned in the above quotes are those who hold right view and believe in Nibbana, that there is liberation from samsara.

Regarding MN 74, it's really doesn't make sense to hold any notion about a "best of the wrong views". Wrong views are wrong views. Some is relatively less harmful than others and that's the message the Buddha tried to convey. The key point is highlighted below:
MA: The eternalist view is close to lust because it affirms and delights in existence in however sublimated a form; annihilationism is close to non-lust because, though involving a wrong conception of self, it leads to disenchantment with existence. If the second view is understood as radical scepticism, it could also be seen as close to non-lust in that it expressses disillusionment with the attempt to buttress the attachment to existence with a theoretical foundation and thus represents a tentative, though mistaken, step in the direction of dispassion.
:goodpost:
This is how I understood it.
If anihilation view is held by good recluse they have a chance of realising Anatta.
The same time as they are recluse they will be free from wrong doing even if they have wrong view.
On the other hand if this view is hold by run off the mill person they may have inclination to wrong doing even though they have the opportunity to realise Anatta with proper guidance.

If eternalist view is held by good recluse they have no chance of realising Anatta.
The run of the mill person who hold this view may be prevent from wrong doing due to fear but they will not have an opportunity to realise Anatta.

Based on above I would say anihilation view is better than eternalist view as the former has a better chance of realising Nibbana.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Friend
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by Friend »

I think "cessation of being" in this case is an allusion to the goal of Nibbana and not materialist annihilationism.

I also don't think it's unreasonable to posit that there are degrees of wrongness when it comes to views.

For example:
"The earth is a sphere" and "the earth is a disc" are both wrong, but one is less wrong than the other.
"The earth revolves around the sun" and "the sun revolves around the earth" are both wrong, but one is less wrong than the other.

Views which lead to the goal are less wrong than those that lead away from the goal.

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by Bakmoon »

aflatun wrote:Nagarjuna says something precisely to this effect, doesn't he?
I'm not sure. He says that Nihilism/Annihilationism is very bad, but to my knowledge Nagarjuna himself doesn't explicitly compare this with eternalism. There are Mahayana texts that do say that eternalism is better than Annihilationism though.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by SarathW »

"The earth revolves around the sun" ]
Why is this wrong?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Friend
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by Friend »

SarathW wrote:
"The earth revolves around the sun" ]
Why is this wrong?
I hate to go off topic but it's because the earth and sun orbit each other and revolve around the barycenter of the solar system. The point is that "the earth revolves around the sun" is almost right, and I think from a Buddhist perspective certain views can be "almost right" while not being strictly right.

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aflatun
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by aflatun »

Bakmoon wrote:
aflatun wrote:Nagarjuna says something precisely to this effect, doesn't he?
I'm not sure. He says that Nihilism/Annihilationism is very bad, but to my knowledge Nagarjuna himself doesn't explicitly compare this with eternalism. There are Mahayana texts that do say that eternalism is better than Annihilationism though.
yes I believe those two points in bold were what I was remembering about Nagarjuna specifically and Mahayana in general, though I don't have a specific reference handy, thank you!
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

pegembara
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by pegembara »

SarathW wrote:
I think it is a mistake to assume that Buddha said Anihilationism to be the best of all wrong views. This view could be a very dangerous one if this idea is held by ignorant people. They will commit all form of wrong deeds with this view. On the other hand Eternalist view at least keep the ignorance people in check due to fear.
The Buddha said that for the worldling, it would be better to take the body rather than mind/consciousness as self. The body stands for many years before it dies. That certainly sounds annihilistic.

The opposite(eternalism) is apparently a worse view to hold.
"Monks, an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person might grow disenchanted with this body composed of the four great elements, might grow dispassionate toward it, might gain release from it. Why is that? Because the growth & decline, the taking up & putting down of this body composed of the four great elements are apparent. Thus the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person might grow disenchanted, might grow dispassionate, might gain release there.

"But as for what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness,' the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is unable to grow disenchanted with it, unable to grow dispassionate toward it, unable to gain release from it. Why is that? For a long time this has been relished, appropriated, and grasped by the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person as, 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' Thus the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is unable to grow disenchanted with it, unable to grow dispassionate toward it, unable to gain release from it.

"It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey, swinging through a forest wilderness, grabs a branch. Letting go of it, it grabs another branch. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. In the same way, what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Assutava Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by SarathW »

:goodpost:
Thank you Pegembara.
So Annihilist take body as the self and eternalist take the mind as the self.
These instructions are for the run of the mill person.
============
Both are wrong views but annihilist are close to the right view?
Do you think it is easier to convert a annihilist to accept Buddhism than an eternalist?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by theY »

Vipassana destroy kilesa in every khandhas, that being in the past, in the future, in now/ inside, outside/ good, bad/ small, big.

But the pure anihilationism desire only this life/ care only inside/ don't care much in good,bad/ don't care much in small,big.

Low desire in effective=Faster to develop vipassana.

However, anihilationism close to niraya. If they are not enlighten, they will go to niraya more than eternalism. Because they don't have any plan for the future. They always live with kamasukhallikanuyoga.
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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by pegembara »

The eternalist view(desire for existence) is rather problematic. Here is another example.
"As you say, friend," the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? [2] But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."

Then the Blessed One said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Is this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, even warm in this Dhamma & Vinaya?"

"How could he be, lord? No, lord."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Ever wonder where the Crusaders of the Middle Ages and jihadists of modern era who believe in the after life end up?
Death overpowers the man who is gathering the flowers of sense, even before he is satiated in his pleasure.
Long the chain of birth and death for the foolish who do not know the true law.
He who is patient like the earth, firm like Indra’s bolt, like a lake free from mud—for him there is no round of births and deaths.

Dhammapada
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Did Buddha say Anihilationism was to be the best of the wrong views.?

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

This is a very interesting thread, it has got me thinking.

What I suspect is that we have misunderstood the Annihilation view. We have conflated it with the Materialist view.

The Materialist view says that everything ends with death, but the Annihilation view does NOT say this.

The Buddha always strongly criticises the Materialist view as the worst of all possible views, but the Annihilation view is sometimes praised.

How can we explain this?

I think that the source of the problem is that the Annihilation view is not fully described, the (assumed) present real self is said to be destroyed when the body dies, but nothing is said about what comes after death.

What if those who held this view did still believe in reincarnation / rebirth, but with a different self for each life?

They may have made a distinction between an obvious gross self, which ended at death, and a more subtle self which continued.

This could explain some otherwise puzzling passages, for example:

“Kassapa, if one thinks, ‘The one who acts is the same as the one who experiences the result,’ then one asserts with reference to one existing from the beginning: ‘Suffering is created by oneself.’ When one asserts thus, this amounts to eternalism. But, Kassapa, if one thinks, ‘The one who acts is one, the one who experiences the result is another,’ then one asserts with reference to one stricken by feeling: ‘Suffering is created by another.’ When one asserts thus, this amounts to annihilationism."

suttacentral.net - SN12.17

Explanation: Kassapa accepts reincarnation and kamma, he understands that suffering in this life is the result of actions in the previous life. His question is 'who acted, me or another'?

How could the previous life be that of another?

Regards, Vincent.

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