Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Yes
17
57%
No
13
43%
 
Total votes: 30

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:50 pm

Polar Bear wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:18 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:34 am
Greetings Dylan,

What do I vote for if I think his word was infallible vis-a-vis the Dhamma and the four noble truths... but not necessarily infallible in other respects, such as geography, astronomy, history etc. which aren't directly connected to dukkha and nirodha?

Metta,
Paul. :)
I voted no because I think similarly to you. I think the Buddha could use technically inaccurate cultural knowledge to illustrate the dhamma.

Take the fire element:
And what is the fire element? The fire element may be interior or exterior. And what is the interior fire element? Anything that’s fire, fiery, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This includes that which warms, that which ages, that which heats you up when feverish, that which properly digests food and drink, or anything else that’s fire, fiery, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This is called the interior fire element. The interior fire element and the exterior fire element are just the fire element. This should be truly seen with proper understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ When you really see with proper understanding, you reject the fire element, detaching the mind from the fire element.

https://suttacentral.net/mn62/en/sujato
There is no fire that digests food and drink. In fact, it isn’t even temperature that digests. If anything the digestive process is more related to the water/liquid element than to fire or heat.

Everyone, take a look here at how digestion actually works:

https://www.iffgd.org/the-digestive-system.html

It seems that the commentaries and modern commentators, including EBT enthusiasts such as Ven Anālayo, try to interpret the elements as if they were experiential properties but this is wrong on a simple reading:
Ven. Anālayo:

The next contemplation, concerned with the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind, can be undertaken through a scanning similar to that employed for skin, flesh, and bones. One scan of the whole body can be undertaken to sense hardness as the manifestation of the earth element. This is particularly evident in the bones, although some degree of hardness is found throughout the body. The next scan would then be for wetness as a manifestation of the water element.11 Wetness also pervades the whole body, but is most easily discerned in the various liquids found in the fleshy parts of the body. The fire element in the form of warmth is the object of the next scan, in the sense of the different degrees of temperature in various parts of the body. This is particularly easily discernible at the skin level, although it is of course also a feature of the whole body. The final scan then takes up the wind element, representative of movement, which covers any motion of or in the body. The most prominent manifestation of motion during sitting meditation will probably be the breath.

http://media.dharmaseed.org/documents/E ... hana_2.pdf
The understanding of the elements above is anachronistic to the suttas which state:
And what is the air element? The air element may be interior or exterior. And what is the interior air element? Anything that’s wind, windy, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This includes winds that go up or down, winds in the belly or the bowels, winds that flow through the limbs, in-breaths and out-breaths, or anything else that’s air, airy, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual
The suttas are not talking about abstract notions, they’re talking about burps, farts, general intestinal gas, an inaccurate ancient idea about wind in the limbs that doesn’t exist, and breathing.

If we think the Buddha has to be perfectly knowledgeable about anatomy, physics, geography, or what-have-you then we might as well pack our bags and go home because the meditation on the 4 elements is clearly a less accurate model of physical stuff than what we use now. But I’d say who cares, because the point the Buddha makes with the 4 elements is true, namely that our bodies and the external environment is made of the same stuff and if we see that deeply then we can realize the not-self nature of the body.

I’m not committed to the idea that the Buddha took ancient Ayurvedic ideas as absolute truth though, but it seems from the texts that he did at least use contemporary (to him) models to illustrate the dhamma. The Buddha says in a different context something that I think is applicable generally when he is using his own culture’s conceptual schemes to teach the dhamma:
"Citta, these are the world's designations, the world's expressions, the world's ways of speaking, the world's descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
That being said, I don’t mean that he didn’t teach rebirth or that it’s all a metaphor or anything like that. But I do think the texts strongly suggest that he used inaccurate physical, medical and geographical information to illustrate points here and there.

:anjali:
Do you think modern physiological science is complete & perfected? Do you think it's infallible? I certainly don't & would not be the least bit surprised if discoveries were made in the future that changed the dominant perspective on these processes.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:02 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:50 pm
Do you think modern physiological science is complete & perfected? Do you think it's infallible? I certainly don't & would not be the least bit surprised if discoveries were made in the future that changed the dominant perspective on these processes.
I don't think many people would consider modern physiological science to be complete and perfected. But isn't a more relevant question whether we think it less fallible than the physiological knowledge referred to by the Buddha? If theories of wind in the limbs actually worked when applied to medical treatments, why don't modern doctors subscribe to them?

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:03 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:02 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:50 pm
Do you think modern physiological science is complete & perfected? Do you think it's infallible? I certainly don't & would not be the least bit surprised if discoveries were made in the future that changed the dominant perspective on these processes.
I don't think many people would consider modern physiological science to be complete and perfected. But isn't a more relevant question whether we think it less fallible than the physiological knowledge referred to by the Buddha? If theories of wind in the limbs actually worked when applied to medical treatments, why don't modern doctors subscribe to them?
The Buddha never said they work when applied to medical treatments.

:strawman: :strawman: :strawman:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:09 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:03 pm

The Buddha never said they work when applied to medical treatments.

:strawman: :strawman: :strawman:
Did he say, or even imply, that there could be any verification of them?

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rightviewftw
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:14 pm

Dhp 353
All-conquering,
all-knowing am I,
with regard to all things,
unadhering.
All-abandoning,
released in the ending of craving:
having fully known on my own,
to whom should I point as my teacher?
:bow:

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:20 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:14 pm
Dhp 353
All-conquering,
all-knowing am I,
with regard to all things,
unadhering.
All-abandoning,
released in the ending of craving:
having fully known on my own,
to whom should I point as my teacher?
:bow:
:bow:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm

If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.

I don't care about scientists. I don't understand why people are so obsessed with them - they are the priests of the materialist religion. They are deluded beings following their own inclinations & biases with financial, political, social & cultural biases. & the "conclusions" of science are constantly, endlessly being erased & rewritten because of the extremely fallible nature of scientific experimentation.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:25 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm
If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.
If someone told me that the Buddha told the earth was flat and i could not disprove it i would believe it.

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:26 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:25 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm
If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.
If someone told me that the Buddha told the earth was flat and i could not disprove it i would believe it.
right, what i meant is if i was face-to-face with him, but what you said applies also
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:29 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm
If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.
Why would you believe it? This is a genuine question based on a desire to understand your viewpoint. What is it that you know or believe of the Buddha that would make him an incontrovertible authority on any subject? Is it that you know him to be right on some things, and you extrapolate that rightness to all things? Or is it something different?

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rightviewftw
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:29 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:26 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:25 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm
If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.
If someone told me that the Buddha told the earth was flat and i could not disprove it i would believe it.
right, what i meant is if i was face-to-face with him, but what you said applies also
what i meant is that for example in regards to the "alleged corruption" in the Sutta, i still hold them as truth in entirety unless something would stand out as a contradiction i see no reason to doubt the accuracy of the message.

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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:30 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:47 pm
As the suttas I quoted earlier show the Buddha certainly taught of his own infallibility.

Assuming the suttas are exactly what the Buddha said.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:33 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:29 pm
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:26 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:25 pm

If someone told me that the Buddha told the earth was flat and i could not disprove it i would believe it.
right, what i meant is if i was face-to-face with him, but what you said applies also
what i meant is that for example in regards to the "alleged corruption" in the Sutta, i still hold them as truth in entirety unless something would stand out as a contradiction i see no reason to doubt the accuracy of the message.
oh yes, me too, i think they need to be proven guilty
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:33 pm

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:22 pm
If the Buddha told me the Earth is flat I would believe it.
:rofl:
:rofl:
:rofl:
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

dharmacorps
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:35 pm

Even if the Buddha, who lived and died almost 2600 years ago, was infallible as a teacher, what we are seeing here is us followers of the religion are extremely fallible. :rolleye:

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