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

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

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:18 am

Ruud wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:41 am

So with confidence you actively intend and make a serious effort to personally fathom the teachings instead of just believing.
This would mean you would have to get rid of all preconceived ideas, abandon all of your thinking. If you did this, the chances are you would not chase after any teachings or persons ever again.

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

Post by Ruud » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:32 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:18 am
Ruud wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:41 am

So with confidence you actively intend and make a serious effort to personally fathom the teachings instead of just believing.
This would mean you would have to get rid of all preconceived ideas, abandon all of your thinking. If you did this, the chances are you would not chase after any teachings or persons ever again.
No, I think that would not follow. We all start with some confidence in the Buddha (because of reading something that resonates with us for example). Because of this confidence we try to practice what is taught. This generates more confidence, which intensifies our practice, etc. In this way we slowly develop the path. Confidence alone does not work. Skepticism alone also leads nowhere. You need a balance.
But I think we strayed quite off topic :embarassed:
Dry up what pertains to the past,
do not take up anything to come later.
If you will not grasp in the middle,
you will live at peace.
—Snp.5.11,v.1099 (tr. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)

Whatever is will be was. —Ven. Ñānamoli, A Thinkers Notebook, §221

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

Post by retrofuturist » 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. :)
"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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dylanj
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:02 am

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. :)
vote no imo
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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Mr Man
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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by Mr Man » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:17 am

dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:18 am
Mr Man wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:13 am
dylanj wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:09 am


I am trying to be like Kondañña.



Why don't you address the relevance of the quotes I provided to your belief that the Buddha suggested we should not view him as infallible?
Perhaps you could do one quote at a time and explain how dylanj feels the quote is relevant to the comment. I don't think dylanj actually addressed the comment.
Each of the quotes involve the Buddha declaring his infallibility and/or the value of his followers believing in his infallibility.
And you posted the quotes after I posted :goodpost: for Ruud's comment. I thought Ruud's comment was thoughtful and relevant to the topic.

What was the relevance of your quotes to my :goodpost: comment?

dylanj also asserted that I had the belief that the Buddha suggested we should not view him as infallible. Where did I do that?

Please see my first comment on this thread. What do you make of that?

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

Post by James Tan » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:14 pm

Infallible is incapable of making mistakes or being wrong .

If in the case with regard to the Buddha's teaching or dhamma I think it is near flawless.
However , the method or the way He trained the disciples does not exempt from erroneous or is ever foolproof.
There is an instant when the Buddha directed his disciples to practise the aśubhā meditation which resulted in several suicide case .
:reading:

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

Post by justindesilva » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:58 pm

James Tan wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:14 pm
Infallible is incapable of making mistakes or being wrong .

If in the case with regard to the Buddha's teaching or dhamma I think it is near flawless.
However , the method or the way He trained the disciples does not exempt from erroneous or is ever foolproof.
There is an instant when the Buddha directed his disciples to practise the aśubhā meditation which resulted in several suicide case .
It is since this incident that ananda thero was advised to follow anapana sati bhavana.( Vesali sutta)
It is also mentioned that budda was not unaware of their suicides. But as they were with the asuba bhavana mentality with clarity of mind they were not born in hell but in a heavenly realm.

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

Post by Polar Bear » 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:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:50 pm

Why does it even matter? Either the Dhamma and Vinaya lead to liberation, or they don't. We find out which by practicing.
"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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Re: Do you believe in the infallibility of the Buddha's word?

Post by DNS » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:25 pm

The OP is a False dilemma where it is insisted that everything must be "either/or" or "black or white" when in fact another position could be the correct one (yes and no, as some posters here have noted).

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

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:17 pm

Infallability, heresy, slandering holy one...

Lots of highly Judeo-Christianized "Buddhism" going around here these days IMO.

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

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:32 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:17 pm
Infallability, heresy, slandering holy one...

Lots of highly Judeo-Christianized "Buddhism" going around here these days IMO.
People import their preexisting interpretive frameworks without even realising...
"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 9:36 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:32 pm
People import their preexisting interpretive frameworks without even realising...
You said it. Our cultural baggage is heavier than we think.

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

Post by dylanj » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:43 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:25 pm
The OP is a False dilemma where it is insisted that everything must be "either/or" or "black or white" when in fact another position could be the correct one (yes and no, as some posters here have noted).
It's not a false dilemma, some people think he infallible in some ways & fallible in others but that is still on the side of fallibility as there's a clear implication in the term "infallible" of it being universal. If someone thinks the Buddha is even partially fallible clearly he cannot be said to be infallible.
Last edited by dylanj on Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 9:47 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:17 pm
Infallability, heresy, slandering holy one...

Lots of highly Judeo-Christianized "Buddhism" going around here these days IMO.
Slandering the Buddha &/or any ariya isn't anything external it is in the suttas itself & taught to be an extremely heinous kamma.

As the suttas I quoted earlier show the Buddha certainly taught of his own infallibility.

I don't see anyone here speaking of "heresy"
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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