the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
paul
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by paul » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:28 am

There is a contradiction between the path, which is conditioned, and nibbana, which is unconditioned. In MN 22 it describes how after reaching the further shore, the raft of the dhamma is abandoned. When I say that right view is evolving, it refers to the period of crossing over, when the raft of the dhamma is being utilized. When right view sees the four noble truths, then the further shore has been reached. It is unrealistic and not profitable to exclusively direct your practice to the stage of having reached the further shore, when the majority of the time in the crossing over period you are dealing with refining fabrications which entail the evolution of right view. People who talk of their practice solely in terms of the end of suffering, haven't implemented the dhamma experientially, they are standing on the shore discussing what's over the horizon. Sila is the foundation of the practice, and it requires an effort of will.

Saengnapha
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:52 am

paul wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:28 am
There is a contradiction between the path, which is conditioned, and nibbana, which is unconditioned. In MN 22 it describes how after reaching the further shore, the raft of the dhamma is abandoned. When I say that right view is evolving, it refers to the period of crossing over, when the raft of the dhamma is being utilized. When right view sees the four noble truths, then the further shore has been reached. It is unrealistic and not profitable to exclusively direct your practice to the stage of having reached the further shore, when the majority of the time in the crossing over period you are dealing with refining fabrications which entail the evolution of right view. People who talk of their practice solely in terms of the end of suffering, haven't implemented the dhamma experientially, they are standing on the shore discussing what's over the horizon. Sila is the foundation of the practice, and it requires an effort of will.
I have a hard time with this conception of a path, which you call conditioned (I agree) that you use to reach nibbana, which is not conditioned(supposedly). By using simple Buddhist logic, that which is conditioned has a cause. How can a path ever cause nibbana which is causeless, as they say? You might say path is a provisional teaching that is to be discarded, but it doesn't follow that the conditioned leads to the unconditioned. While I agree with you about the conceptual position of standing on the other shore talking about the end of suffering, isn't it more appropriate to forget about the other shore and be present to your own experience, whatever that may be, and not have the other shore be a goal? Your presentation of all this seems to be predicated on a lot of suppositions and beliefs. And, no amount of will is going to end up 'on the other shore'. The whole picture needs an adjustment for your viewing pleasure.

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DooDoot
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by DooDoot » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:43 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:52 am
I have a hard time with this conception of a path, which you call conditioned (I agree) that you use to reach nibbana, which is not conditioned(supposedly).
I say there is no contradiction because what is conditioned is not necessarily suffering. The path is the gradual penetration & tasting of Nibbana, until arahantship. The enterer of the path both (simultaneously) uses the conditioned will (to abandon craving) & experiences Nibbana (liberation). While the factors of the path are conditioned, they are not suffering.
In MN 22 it describes how after reaching the further shore, the raft of the dhamma is abandoned.
MN 22 appears to be about not quarreling over the Dhamma. I suggest to read it in context. AN 6.2 says the Dhamma is never abandoned. In AN 6.2, it is said all Buddhas, past, present & future, honor/respect the Dhamma.
Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now,
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching.

SN 6.2
:candle:
dealing with refining fabrications
SN 36.11 describes the refining of most fabrications as samadhi (jhana) rather than enligthenment. In enlightenment, wholesome sankhara are not clung to. A mind and life can never be free of sankhara. The definition of Nibbana in MN 26 includes the "calming of sankhara" (sabba-sankhara-samatho) rather than the "destruction of sankhara".
By using simple Buddhist logic
According to the Kalama Sutta, Pali Buddhism does not rely on logic. When a person is thirsty and then finds cool water, they do not concern themselves about whether the water is 100% pure. They just drink the cool water, similar to how the stream-enterer is described in SN 13.1 as having destroyed 99% of suffering.
How can a path ever cause nibbana which is causeless, as they say?
When the path is entered, all doubts like this will vanish. A stream-enterer has 0% doubt about the path & the core teachings.
it doesn't follow that the conditioned leads to the unconditioned.
The conditioned leads to the unconditioned, as the Pali suttas say.
isn't it more appropriate to forget about the other shore and be present to your own experience
The suttas say in many places the path is about getting rid of thoughts & ideas connected to "your own" ("I-making" & "my-making"). When the mind intentionally gives up, prevents & stops thoughts of "your own" & "my own", this intentional act is conditioned. This conditioned act results in a clear mind (samadhi), which can then see the truth. When the truth is seen, the defilements are cut. When defilements are cut, the unconditioned peace, which was always there but covered by defilements, is known or revealed. The suttas say the Truth & Nibbana is something "revealed" or "discovered" (rather than "conditioned" or "created").
And, no amount of will is going to end up 'on the other shore'.
According to the suttas, this view appears both wrong & to not believe in the Buddha-Dhamma. The suttas say "the will" is one of the four nutriments of life. Life cannot exist or function without nutriment (which are to be used with wisdom). The 2nd & 6th factors of the Noble Path particularly describe using "the will" for the purpose of "abandoning".
The whole picture needs an adjustment for your viewing pleasure.
If I want to watch a movie for pleasure, I must give up distractions & pay attention to the movie. Similarly, for the path to give rise to "vipassana" (clear seeing or clear viewing), an act of will is required to give up distractions; which can include giving up excessive/unbalanced willfulness. No act of will is required for seeing or viewing but an act of will is required to keep the mind free from the obstacles/hindrances to seeing/viewing. This is the path. The suttas say the path is a path of abandoning or giving up. This path of abandoning is conditioned & it leads to the unconditioned, exactly as the Lord Buddha shared compassionately & benevolently with those who have faith & trust in Him. :meditate:

Saengnapha
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:43 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:52 am
I have a hard time with this conception of a path, which you call conditioned (I agree) that you use to reach nibbana, which is not conditioned(supposedly).
I say there is no contradiction because what is conditioned is not necessarily suffering. The path is the gradual penetration & tasting of Nibbana, until arahantship. The enterer of the path both (simultaneously) uses the conditioned will (to abandon craving) & experiences Nibbana (liberation). While the factors of the path are conditioned, they are not suffering.
In MN 22 it describes how after reaching the further shore, the raft of the dhamma is abandoned.
MN 22 appears to be about not quarreling over the Dhamma. I suggest to read it in context. AN 6.2 says the Dhamma is never abandoned. In AN 6.2, it is said all Buddhas, past, present & future, honor/respect the Dhamma.
Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now,
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching.

SN 6.2
:candle:
dealing with refining fabrications
SN 36.11 describes the refining of most fabrications as samadhi (jhana) rather than enligthenment. In enlightenment, wholesome sankhara are not clung to. A mind and life can never be free of sankhara. The definition of Nibbana in MN 26 includes the "calming of sankhara" (sabba-sankhara-samatho) rather than the "destruction of sankhara".
By using simple Buddhist logic
According to the Kalama Sutta, Pali Buddhism does not rely on logic. When a person is thirsty and then finds cool water, they do not concern themselves about whether the water is 100% pure. They just drink the cool water, similar to how the stream-enterer is described in SN 13.1 as having destroyed 99% of suffering.
How can a path ever cause nibbana which is causeless, as they say?
When the path is entered, all doubts like this will vanish. A stream-enterer has 0% doubt about the path & the core teachings.
it doesn't follow that the conditioned leads to the unconditioned.
The conditioned leads to the unconditioned, as the Pali suttas say.
isn't it more appropriate to forget about the other shore and be present to your own experience
The suttas say in many places the path is about getting rid of thoughts & ideas connected to "your own" ("I-making" & "my-making"). When the mind intentionally gives up, prevents & stops thoughts of "your own" & "my own", this intentional act is conditioned. This conditioned act results in a clear mind (samadhi), which can then see the truth. When the truth is seen, the defilements are cut. When defilements are cut, the unconditioned peace, which was always there but covered by defilements, is known or revealed. The suttas say the Truth & Nibbana is something "revealed" or "discovered" (rather than "conditioned" or "created").
And, no amount of will is going to end up 'on the other shore'.
According to the suttas, this view appears both wrong & to not believe in the Buddha-Dhamma. The suttas say "the will" is one of the four nutriments of life. Life cannot exist or function without nutriment (which are to be used with wisdom). The 2nd & 6th factors of the Noble Path particularly describe using "the will" for the purpose of "abandoning".
The whole picture needs an adjustment for your viewing pleasure.
If I want to watch a movie for pleasure, I must give up distractions & pay attention to the movie. Similarly, for the path to give rise to "vipassana" (clear seeing or clear viewing), an act of will is required to give up distractions; which can include giving up excessive/unbalanced willfulness. No act of will is required for seeing or viewing but an act of will is required to keep the mind free from the obstacles/hindrances to seeing/viewing. This is the path. The suttas say the path is a path of abandoning or giving up. This path of abandoning is conditioned & it leads to the unconditioned, exactly as the Lord Buddha shared compassionately & benevolently with those who have faith & trust in Him. :meditate:
Reading your responses, I can see why the Mahayana teachings became so popular and why they refute so many of your views. The gradual path is always about overcoming, purification, abandonment. It doesn't acknowledge everything as having the same Buddhanature from the beginning and bases its 'structure' around a time and space approach which always separates samsara and nibbana. This is why the Mahayana advanced schools like Zen and Dzogchen where conceptual thinking was allowed to dissolve effortlessly in their contemplative states, not to be pondered on endlessly. Sutra learning took a backseat to direct experience. To me, looking at the whole experience of Buddhism in the world is a fluid one, not one that is 2500 years of age and broken into sects arguing with one another. Being a scholar is one thing, being a practitioner is quite another.

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DooDoot
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by DooDoot » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:38 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
I can see why the Mahayana teachings became so popular
The Mahayana teachings are very broad, such as believing in deities or Bodhisattva, such as Green Tara, White Tara, Yellow Jumbhala, Avalokiteśvara, etc. Mahayana is the 'great' or 'broad' vehicle because it creates less lofty doctrines (such as 'non-duality' or 'non-conceptuality') that can appeal to a broader range of people. It is obvious the original teachings of the Buddha were not widely popular because the Dhammapada states: "Blind is the world; here only a few possess insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms of bliss."
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
and why they refute so many of your views.
This statement needs to be substantiated with evidence. However, this would form another topic. You are welcome to post actual Mahayana teachings (rather than make unsubstantiated comments) on another thread and we can have a discussion or debate. Madhyamaka was refuted previously. Sunnata is obviously not dependent origination as Madhyamaka claims because Nibbana is also sunnata but Nibbana is not dependent origination nor is Nibbana the same as samsara. Dhammapada 153 & 154; SN 22.99, etc, clearly state samsara is the opposite of Nibbana.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
It doesn't acknowledge everything as having the same Buddhanature
Did Genghis Khan & Joseph Stalin have Buddhanature? Many Pali suttas say unambiguously all beings do not have the capacity for awakening (MN 26; AN 10.95; Dhp 59 & 174). The Pali suttas appear to exclude the idea of universal Buddhanature.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
from the beginning and bases its 'structure' around a time and space approach which always separates samsara and nibbana.
Samsara & Nibbana are obviously different & opposite, as the Lord Buddha taught in many suttas (Dhp 153 & 154; SN 22.99; etc). A mind enslaved & tormented by craving, clinging & suffering is obviously different to a mind at total peace.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
This is why the Mahayana advanced schools like Zen and Dzogchen where conceptual thinking was allowed to dissolve effortlessly in their contemplative states, not to be pondered on endlessly.
This is not correct or true, according to the suttas (MN 111), which state even in the ekkaggata citta of jhana there is some intention. This intention exists because the mind does not reject the bliss of jhana but decides to abide in it. Regardlesss, conceptual thinking does not dissolve effortlessly without an act of will. Merely sitting in a meditation posture is an act of will. Letting the mind be quiet is an act of will. To believe there is no act of will is similar to when a Christian argues: "The devil made me do it". It is like when a sexual adulterer blames the other party. The mind can choose whether to allow the conceptual thoughts to dissolve or stop the dissolution of conceptual thought. This choice is an act of will; similar to the act of will when an adulterer allows another person to sexually seduce them. The person seduced by a sexual aggressor cannot say they had no will.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
Sutra learning took a backseat to direct experience.
Sutta is the direct experience of the Buddha and not of others who believe they practice a path without any will/intention. As I previously said, the mind accepting/choosing/non-rejecting the peace of meditation is an act of will.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
To me, looking at the whole experience of Buddhism in the world is a fluid one
.
This comment has no substance.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
not one that is 2500 years of age and broken into sects arguing with one another.
The core Pali suttas are not a sect nor are they broken. This is what this topic is about; the interrelationship or integrity of the core sutta teachings. The suttas have been preserved for 2500 years.
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:38 am
Being a scholar is one thing, being a practitioner is quite another.
The core suttas are totally reflective of enlightened practise. According to the suttas, to reject the suttas is indicative of unenlightened practice. This is obvious. Enlightened practitioners are the Noble Sangha. Each member of the Noble Sangha has the same experience is the Lord Buddha & same experience as described in the suttas about enlightenment.
Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now (today),
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching.

SN 6.2

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