My criticism of Thanissaro and other "half selfers"

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Twilight
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My criticism of Thanissaro and other "half selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:11 am

NOTE: Because of further informing myself on the views if Thanissaro, I have changed the title of the topic from "true selfers" to "half selvers" to be more correct and not misinterpret him.

There exist famous bhikkhus in this world that preach, grossly or subtly, about "true self". It is a view popular in the thai forest tradition and made famous in the west mainly by Thanissaro.

The theory goes something like this: Instead of using "no-self" we use "not-self" - witch is also a self only with another name. There are other theories about a "self" that is transformed into a "not self" and all kinds of ideas to make a case for a self. The question about weather Buddha taught "true self" or "subtle self" theories is not worth debating because people can just read the suttas and see for themselves if it is like that or not. The main difference between Buddha and all other philosophers is the fact that he discovered there is no self. There was no other person to exist in this world other than the Buddha to preach about nonexistence of a self.

So what I want to address is the "not self as a strategy" idea. We see suttas in the canon where the person is instructed to view everything as not self. And from this comes Thanissaro idea that this is just a strategy to reduce clinging. In reality, the person need to understand no-self by understanding conditionality, how the aggregates work, sense bases, etc. After getting rid of this wrong view about a self existing, there will still be conceit or "a sense of self" that will not disappear. Imagine an alcoholic who realizes one day that alcohol is not good. He will not quit it on the spot, he will take a period to really destroy this tendency. And it is something similar with conceit. And one of the methods to remove conceit is contemplating how things are not-self. This is what needs to be done by one who has dropped self view already and is working on removing conceit.

So these suttas are twisted around to make a case for "not self" as just a strategy to reduce clinging. I haven't seen this gross misunderstanding addressed so I decided to address it myself and here we are.

There has been a topic where people asked how can such famous bhikkhus believe in such things, don't they read the sutta pitaka ? And B.Dhammanando explained that they read them but just to gain inspiration for sermons not with a honest intention of understanding something new. About why this can be so popular in whole tradition in thailand there is this post: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... nk#p359500
Last edited by Twilight on Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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retrofuturist
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:34 am

Greetings,

This is a total straw man.

:strawman:

Thanissaro and the Buddha explain that all dhammas are not self.

Neither say anything is self, so to suggest this is what "not-self" implies is erroneous.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Twilight
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

This is a total straw man.

:strawman:

Thanissaro and the Buddha explain that all dhammas are not self.

Neither say anything is self, so to suggest this is what "not-self" implies is erroneous.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Well how about the eternal consciousness idea ? Is consciousness self ? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent ? On what does consciousness depend on ? What is the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of consciousness ?
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

SamKR
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by SamKR » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:45 am

Twilight wrote:Well how about the eternal consciousness idea ? Is consciousness self ? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent ? On what does consciousness depend on ? What is the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of consciousness ?
But how is it related to Thanissaro Bhikkhu and "true selfers"? First, what do you mean by "consciousness"? Do you mean vinnana based on dualism, for example, of eye and form? If that is so, consciousness is not self, it is impermanent, and it depends upon sankhara. This consciousness is very dangerous (and like a magic show that binds the imaginary "self") and escape from it is end of suffering. But still this consciousness being"not self" does not imply "true self".
Last edited by SamKR on Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

davidbrainerd
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:46 am

Twilight wrote:Imagine an alcoholic who realizes one day that alcohol is not good. He will not quit it on the spot, he will take a period to really destroy this tendency. And it is something similar with conceit. And one of the methods to remove conceit is contemplating how things are not-self. This is what needs to be done by one who has dropped self view already and is working on removing conceit.
One doesn't have to believe they don't exist in order to remove conceit. That is pure delusion.

But as to alcoholics, the alcoholic who thinks he is only the aggregates--only the body--is more likely to persist in alcoholism, because why not, there's no point anyway; whereas the alcoholic who comes to the conclusion that either he is more than this or is not this at all but something totally different, non-physical, is more likely to put the bottle away.

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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:05 am

Twilight wrote:There exist famous bhikkhus in this world that preach, grossly or subtly, about "true self". It is a view popular in the thai forest tradition and made famous in the west mainly by Thanissaro.

The theory goes something like this: Instead of using "no-self" we use "not-self" - witch is also a self only with another name. There are other theories about a "self" that is transformed into a "not self" and all kinds of ideas to make a case for a self. The question about weather Buddha taught "true self" or "subtle self" theories is not worth debating because people can just read the suttas and see for themselves if it is like that or not. The main difference between Buddha and all other philosophers is the fact that he discovered there is no self. There was no other person to exist in this world other than the Buddha to preach about nonexistence of a self.

So what I want to address is the "not self as a strategy" idea. We see suttas in the canon where the person is instructed to view everything as not self. And from this comes Thanissaro idea that this is just a strategy to reduce clinging. In reality, the person need to understand no-self by understanding conditionality, how the aggregates work, sense bases, etc. After getting rid of this wrong view about a self existing, there will still be conceit or "a sense of self" that will not disappear. Imagine an alcoholic who realizes one day that alcohol is not good. He will not quit it on the spot, he will take a period to really destroy this tendency. And it is something similar with conceit. And one of the methods to remove conceit is contemplating how things are not-self. This is what needs to be done by one who has dropped self view already and is working on removing conceit.

So these suttas are twisted around to make a case for "not self" as just a strategy to reduce clinging. I haven't seen this gross misunderstanding addressed so I decided to address it myself and here we are.

There has been a topic where people asked how can such famous bhikkhus believe in such things, don't they read the sutta pitaka ? And B.Dhammanando explained that they read them but just to gain inspiration for sermons not with a honest intention of understanding something new. About why this can be so popular in whole tradition in thailand there is this post: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... nk#p359500
I suggest you pack up, go to California to Wat Metta, and demand an audience with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and then demand him to explain himself, and, obviously, set him straight.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:47 am

There have been numerous discussions here about various aspects of Ven Thanissaro's teachings:
See, for example:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=309
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=986
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=27336

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Saoshun » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:11 am

I think those matters can not be settled up intellectualy. The best is to come towards realization and insight and then mind affected by realization and insight will explain it clearly to people as Buddha did.

If we start position ourselves in such and such point of view against such and such it will actually create tensions and offences for each side.

Do we really know there is self or not self, do we have insight into this to speak about it? We need to ask ourselves everytime we speak something. I do not think Buddhism is about convincing intellectualy other people about our ideas or fellow dhamma brothers but to realize what actually Buddha mean by his teachings, essence. After realizing the fruit of holy life I think it's safe to speak about those matter with certain like a highly experienced engineer can speak that this will stay like that or this will explode.

:anjali:
Remember… the Buddha had said that everyone living in this world is crazy, by the phrase, “Sabbē prutajjana ummattakā”; excluding the Arahants, everyone else is crazy. Would you get angry if a mad person scolds? Do we get angry for a crazy thing done by a crazy person? Just think about it! :candle:

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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:44 pm

I think those matters can not be settled up intellectualy. The best is to come towards realization and insight and then mind affected by realization and insight will explain it clearly to people as Buddha did.
Oh yes they can. The debate here is no weather there is a self or not. The debate is weather Buddha preached that there is a self/eternal consciousness or not. And this is very easy to prove. Just like it is easy to prove that Buddha did not believe in Jesus.
If we start position ourselves in such and such point of view against such and such it will actually create tensions and offences for each side.
Why so afraid of debates ? Buddha was not afraid of debates and never tried to shut them down.
Do we really know there is self or not self, do we have insight into this to speak about it? We need to ask ourselves everytime we speak something. I do not think Buddhism is about convincing intellectualy other people about our ideas or fellow dhamma brothers but to realize what actually Buddha mean by his teachings, essence. After realizing the fruit of holy life I think it's safe to speak about those matter with certain like a highly experienced engineer can speak that this will stay like that or this will explode.

:anjali:
So I will be allowed to criticize Thanissaro eternal consciousness idea only after presenting my arahant certificat ?


PS: Nobody addressed my question -
Well how about the eternal consciousness idea ? Is consciousness self ? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent ? On what does consciousness depend on ? What is the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of consciousness ?
:anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by khlawng » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:07 pm

Twilight wrote:
...

PS: Nobody addressed my question -
Well how about the eternal consciousness idea ? Is consciousness self ? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent ? On what does consciousness depend on ? What is the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of consciousness ?
:anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
If you already think you have an answer to this and just want to pick a fight with someone who says differently then,
I think it is pretty detrimental to yourself and this forum.
And if you insist on having a singular universally agreeable answer to all the questions above then,
Good luck trying to rid of vicikiccha.

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Twilight
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:09 pm

If you already think you have an answer to this and just want to pick a fight with someone who says differently then,
I think it is pretty detrimental to yourself and this forum.
And if you insist on having a singular universally agreeable answer to all the questions above then,
Good luck trying to rid of vicikiccha.
But you have not even attempted to answered my question.

About weather Buddha preached eternal consciousness or not, yes I do have a deffinite answer. Just like he did not preach the coming of Jesus, he did not preach eternal consciousness. And I can prove that with a million suttas.

Is someone wants to believe that there is eternal consciousness he is free to do so. Just don't claim Buddha preached such a thing without expecting any kind of criticism.

PS: I see nobody in this topic even attempted to defend thanissaro eternal consciousness ideas. All who have responded have just tried to shut down the debate saying it is useless.
Last edited by Twilight on Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

binocular
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:19 pm

Twilight wrote:So I will be allowed to criticize Thanissaro eternal consciousness idea only after presenting my arahant certificat ?
Of course, how else?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Twilight
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:28 pm

binocular wrote:
Twilight wrote:So I will be allowed to criticize Thanissaro eternal consciousness idea only after presenting my arahant certificat ?
Of course, how else?
I've just scanned it. Here it is. Will I now be allowed to criticize Thanissaro ideas ?
Attachments
arahant certificate.jpg
arahant certificate.jpg (44.79 KiB) Viewed 1331 times
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

binocular
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:34 pm

Dude, you have way too much time on your hands.
Idle hands are the devil's workshop!
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Twilight
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Re: My criticism of Thanissaro and other "true selfers"

Post by Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:38 pm

binocular wrote:Dude, you have way too much time on your hands.
Idle hands are the devil's workshop!
It took a minute to scan. And you have still not answered my question:
Well how about the eternal consciousness idea ? Is consciousness self ? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent ? On what does consciousness depend on ? What is the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of consciousness ?

(I highlighted it in red so you don't miss it)
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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