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

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

Post by form » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:32 pm

Dependant origination, Four noble truths, sense bases, five aggregates, five hindrances, seven factors of enlightenment, should the dharma be examined as a whole rather than fragments?

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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 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:41 pm

I think they can be examined as a whole, which includes anapanasati & satipatthana.
Friends, just as the footprint of any living being that walks can be placed within an elephant’s footprint, and so the elephant’s footprint is declared the chief of them because of its great size; so too, all wholesome states can be included in the Four Noble Truths. In what four? In the noble truth of suffering, in the noble truth of the origin of suffering, in the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, and in the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

Now this has been said by the Blessed One: “One who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent origination.” And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen. The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering. The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering.’

MN 28

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

Post by chownah » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:45 am

I think it depends on the individual. In the suttas some people got just a single lesson and they were released and some people took a very long time with exposure to alot of lessons (ananda comes to mind) before they were released.
chownah

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

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:08 am

Greetings form,
form wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:32 pm
Dependant origination, Four noble truths, sense bases, five aggregates, five hindrances, seven factors of enlightenment, should the dharma be examined as a whole rather than fragments?
It is both reasonable and appropriate for each schema to be used in isolation or in conjunction with other teachings from the suttas.

Do recall that sutta literally means thread, and to weave a basket, you require multiple threads.

In that spirit, I find that the best Dhamma teachers aren't those who invent their own techniques or Dhamma, but rather, those that guide their readers or listeners through the suttas, bringing in references from related suttas, which can flesh out or clarify the meaning of what is said there and elsewhere in the Sutta Pitaka.

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

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:51 am

form wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:32 pm
Dependant origination, Four noble truths, sense bases, five aggregates, five hindrances, seven factors of enlightenment, should the dharma be examined as a whole rather than fragments?
What would that be, "to examine the Dhamma as a whole rather than fragments"?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:13 am

Fragments can speak to us very powerfully, often because they directly address problems and preoccupations that have been afflicting us. But if we can see how these fragments are woven together into a whole teaching with a single purpose, it can offer us something else: a sense of confidence in the Triple Gem, and a desire to move on to different teachings. It's a bit like the "coherence theory" of truth; the different bits are true because they hang together and are consistent and mutually supportive.

I suspect we are fortunate if we can achieve that holistic view, however. It depends on our "reading" of the texts. Some scholars have made an impressive job of presenting the Dhamma as a consistent whole (I'm thinking mainly of Richard Gombrich, Sue Hamilton, and Nanavira here, although other people will doubtless prefer different presentations). But there are many more which are unconvincing and disappointing on that level because they achieve coherence through attributing meaning that we cannot agree with.

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

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:45 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:13 am
Fragments can speak to us very powerfully, often because they directly address problems and preoccupations that have been afflicting us. But if we can see how these fragments are woven together into a whole teaching with a single purpose, it can offer us something else: a sense of confidence in the Triple Gem, and a desire to move on to different teachings. It's a bit like the "coherence theory" of truth; the different bits are true because they hang together and are consistent and mutually supportive.
Interesting, I haven't thought of that. I'm a holist by nature, and I struggle with the problems that are usually pointed out for holism (primarily that a term or a claim cannot be understood or related to unless one has mastered its native context, which makes learning and understanding difficult or impossible).
Mental (or semantic) holism is the doctrine that the identity of a belief content (or the meaning of a sentence that expresses it) is determined by its place in the web of beliefs or sentences comprising a whole theory or group of theories. It can be contrasted with two other views: atomism and molecularism. Molecularism characterizes meaning and content in terms of relatively small parts of the web in a way that allows many different theories to share those parts. For example, the meaning of ‘chase’ might be said by a molecularist to be ‘try to catch’. Atomism characterizes meaning and content in terms of none of the web; it says that sentences and beliefs have meaning or content independently of their relations to other sentences or beliefs.

One major motivation for holism has come from reflections on the natures of confirmation and learning. As Quine observed, claims about the world are confirmed not individually but only in conjunction with theories of which they are a part. And, typically, one cannot come to understand scientific claims without understanding a significant chunk of the theory of which they are a part. For example, in learning the Newtonian concepts of ‘force’, ‘mass’, ‘kinetic energy’ and ‘momentum’, one does not learn any definitions of these terms in terms that are understood beforehand, for there are no such definitions. Rather, these theoretical terms are all learned together in conjunction with procedures for solving problems.

Holism, Mental and Semantic
(emphasis mine)
The fragmented view mentioned earlier would be similar to semantic molecularism or atomism.
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by Bundokji » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:19 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:13 am
Fragments can speak to us very powerfully, often because they directly address problems and preoccupations that have been afflicting us. But if we can see how these fragments are woven together into a whole teaching with a single purpose, it can offer us something else: a sense of confidence in the Triple Gem, and a desire to move on to different teachings. It's a bit like the "coherence theory" of truth; the different bits are true because they hang together and are consistent and mutually supportive.

I suspect we are fortunate if we can achieve that holistic view, however. It depends on our "reading" of the texts. Some scholars have made an impressive job of presenting the Dhamma as a consistent whole (I'm thinking mainly of Richard Gombrich, Sue Hamilton, and Nanavira here, although other people will doubtless prefer different presentations). But there are many more which are unconvincing and disappointing on that level because they achieve coherence through attributing meaning that we cannot agree with.
Coherence is our attempt to find order. We usually come up with theories to explain phenomena, and this includes control of conditions (which ultimately cannot be controlled) and reliance on metaphysical assumptions (that things exist independently) which Buddhism seems to disagree with.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:09 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:19 pm

Coherence is our attempt to find order.
Or is, perhaps, the order that we find, the order that is there whether we attempt to find it or not.

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

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:09 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:19 pm
Coherence is our attempt to find order.
Or is, perhaps, the order that we find, the order that is there whether we attempt to find it or not.
I think this falls under the heading of bestial topics of conversation.
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:16 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm
I think this falls under the heading of bestial topics of conversation.
Why so?

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

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:20 pm

kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I find talking about how the world is or isn't ordered falls under the heading "creation of the world & of the sea" and "talk of whether things exist or not."
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Re: the inter-relationship between different aspects of dharma, seeing it as a whole

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:44 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:20 pm
kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I find talking about how the world is or isn't ordered falls under the heading "creation of the world & of the sea" and "talk of whether things exist or not."
Ah, sorry - I understand now. But I wasn't referring to the creation of the world and sea, or the existence of things. I was referring to the coherence of what the Buddha thought and taught. Not really a matter of ontology or speculative history, but the extent to which the teachings hang together as a unity.

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

Post by paul » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:25 pm

“The essence of the Buddha's teaching can be summed up in two principles: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The first covers the side of doctrine, and the primary response it elicits is understanding; the second covers the side of discipline, in the broadest sense of that word, and the primary response it calls for is practice. In the structure of the teaching these two principles lock together into an indivisible unity called the dhamma-vinaya, the doctrine-and-discipline, or, in brief, the Dhamma. The internal unity of the Dhamma is guaranteed by the fact that the last of the Four Noble Truths, the truth of the way, is the Noble Eightfold Path, while the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, right view, is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Thus the two principles penetrate and include one another, the formula of the Four Noble Truths containing the Eightfold Path and the Noble Eightfold Path containing the Four Truths.
Given this integral unity, it would be pointless to pose the question which of the two aspects of the Dhamma has greater value, the doctrine or the path. But if we did risk the pointless by asking that question, the answer would have to be the path. The path claims primacy because it is precisely this that brings the teaching to life. The path translates the Dhamma from a collection of abstract formulas into a continually unfolding disclosure of truth. It gives an outlet from the problem of suffering with which the teaching starts. And it makes the teaching's goal, liberation from suffering, accessible to us in our own experience, where alone it takes on authentic meaning.”—-“The Noble Eightfold Path”, Bikkhu Bodhi.

The integral unity of the dhamma should be understood, and the key to doing so is verification in daily life.
Note: The conclusion should not be drawn that right view is a fixed component, it is continually evolving dependent on the input of insight.

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

Post by Bundokji » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:10 am

paul wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:25 pm
Note: The conclusion should not be drawn that right view is a fixed component, it is continually evolving dependent on the input of insight.
Thanks paul,

If right view is not a fixed component, then having any sort of conclusion (fixed views) causes learning to stop. Is not the attempt to find coherence is the attempt to reach a conclusion (an end of suffering)?

I can see how the above leads to self improvement (through evolving), but i cannot understand how it leads to end suffering.

Why the above is not self contradictory?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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