Atheistic Buddhism

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budo
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Atheistic Buddhism

Post by budo » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am

Continuation from this thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32361

If your interpretation of Buddhism is atheistic (like devas being the wealthy and affluent rich class) then how do you explain suttas where people physically die and the Buddha explains their rebirth when asked?

There are many such suttas in the Samyutta Nikaya, like Dighavu Sutta, where a boy who is sick and about to die and the Buddha tells him to contemplate the three characteristics, and then the boy dies:

"When the Buddha had given this advice he got up from his seat and left. Not long after the Buddha left, Dīghāvu passed away. Then several mendicants went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, the lay follower named Dīghāvu, who was advised in brief by the Buddha, has passed away. Where has he been reborn in his next life?” “Mendicants, the lay follower Dīghāvu was astute. He practiced in line with the teachings, and did not trouble me about the teachings. With the ending of the five lower fetters, he’s reborn spontaneously. He’ll be extinguished there, and is not liable to return from that world.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn55.3/en/sujato


Can you please give an atheistic interpretation of that paragraph?

Thank you

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DooDoot
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:49 am

budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
Then several mendicants went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, the lay follower named Dīghāvu, who was advised in brief by the Buddha, has passed away (kālaṅkato). Tassa kā gati, ko abhisamparāyo”ti?
Thanks. For me, there is no evidence any sutta is spoken by a Buddha, except those suttas that lead to verified liberation. For me, these are just words in a book that might be unrelated to the Supramundane Dhamma (MN 117), which is defined in the very same sutta as follows:
confirmed confidence... sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī

visible here and now, immediate, inviting to come and see, effective, to be individually ascertained by the wise.
I suppose if a mind is not yet a stream-enterer and has not seen through the self-illusion then such a mind will believe Dīghāvu is a continuous self (atman). Although the Buddha (in this piece of literature) exhorted Dīghāvu to anatta (not-self), it seems some monks who did not realise anatta believed Dīghāvu was a self and believed that self would be reincarnated so they asked the Buddha a question. For example, I imagine a stream-enterer would view 'Dīghāvu' as merely a conventional name and view the ending of that life as merely the ending of five aggregates and six elements.

For me, the sutta is illogical because it is about visible anatta yet treats Dīghāvu as invisible atta. Ud 7.10 might be helpful here:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Kosambī at Ghosita's monastery. And on that occasion the inner quarters of King Udena's royal park had burned down, and 500 women, headed by Sāmāvatī, had died (kālaṅkatāni).

Then in the early morning, a large number of monks adjusted their under robes and — carrying their bowls & robes — went into Kosambī for alms. Having gone for alms in Kosambī, after the meal, returning from their alms round, they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Blessed One, "Lord, the inner quarters of King Udena's royal park have burned down, and 500 women, headed by Sāmāvatī, have died. What is the destination of those female lay followers? What is their future course?"

"Monks, among those female lay followers are stream-winners, once-returners, & non-returners. All of those female lay followers, monks, died not without [noble] fruit."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

Bound round with delusion, the world
only appears to be competent.
Bound with acquisitions, foolish,
surrounded by darkness,
it seems eternal,
but for one who sees,
there is nothing
.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Note: there are suttas where the Buddha is reported to have admonished people for asking these questions about a "future destination". MN 117 refers to two types of dhamma or view. Regards :mrgreen:
budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
Can you please give an atheistic interpretation of that paragraph?
This question sounds like something Jewish parents would ask about the Old Testament. In Buddhism, the proper question would appear to be: "Can you please give a supramundane (lokuttara) interpretation of that paragraph?".

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DooDoot
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by DooDoot » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:45 am

budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
Can you please give an atheistic interpretation of that paragraph?
So back to topic, this is the subject of MN 68, which refers to all four noble attainments & explains why the Buddha (reportedly) made these declarations about the attainments of others. It seems obvious by the description of the stream-enterer that the state of stream-entry was attained while alive (rather than after the ending of time/life because it would seem illogical & impossible to attain stream-entry after the ending of life if it was not attained before the ending of life). Similarly, the non-returner appears to have attained non-return before the ending of life.
Take a monk who hears this: ‘The monk named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters he’s a stream-enterer, not liable to [be reborn in] the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And he’s either seen for himself, or heard from someone else, that that venerable had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that monk’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, wisdom, he applies his mind to that end. That too is how a monk lives at ease.

MN 68 https://suttacentral.net/mn68/en/sujato

In this case, Anuruddha, a monk hears: ‘The monk so and so has passed away; it is declared by the Lord that by the utter destruction of the three fetters he is a stream-attainer, not liable to the Downfall, assured, bound for enlightenment.’ If a venerable one has himself seen, or has heard by hearsay that the venerable one was of such moral habit and that the venerable one was of such mentality and that the venerable one was of such wisdom and that the venerable one was such an abider and that the venerable one was freed thus, he, while recollecting his faith and moral habit and learning and giving up and wisdom, focusses his mind on suchness. It is thus, Anuruddha, that there is abiding in comfort for a monk.


https://suttacentral.net/mn68/en/horner
:candle:
budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
“Sir, the lay follower named Dīghāvu, who was advised in brief by the Buddha, has passed away. Where has he been reborn in his next life?” “Mendicants, the lay follower Dīghāvu was astute. He practiced in line with the teachings, and did not trouble me about the teachings. With the ending of the five lower fetters, he’s reborn spontaneously. He’ll be extinguished there, and is not liable to return from that world.”
The above translation appears it might confuse the reader because the term "opapatika" appears to not mean "reborn". The "opapatika" appears to occur when the non-returner is alive; as described in the suttas.
"Bhikkhus, living in this community there are bhikkhus who are Non-Returners through having ended the five lower fetters, who are spontaneously arisen (opapatika), who will realize perfect coolness in that existence and by nature will never return from that world. Bhikkhus such as these are living in this community of bhikkhus.

MN 118 https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Bhik ... athing.htm
In this Saṅgha there are mendicants who, with the ending of the five lower fetters are reborn spontaneously :? . They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world.

https://suttacentral.net/mn118/en/sujato
How can mendicants in the Sangha be reborn while in the Sangha? :shrug: This seems to show opapatika may not mean "reborn" in a future life. Similarly, AN 3.141 is an interesting sutta because it appears to refer to the Non-Returner as "opapātiko" yet still on this earth as a "person" ("man" or "woman"). Therefore, a supramundane interpretation could be the attainment the Buddha declares is the attainment attained before the ending of life. Yet for those who believe believe in a future life, to them, the Buddha declares the same attainment. In other words, the "future course" is the same future course as if the person was alive.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:27 pm

Off-topic and ad hominem posts have been removed...

justindesilva
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:58 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:45 am
budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
Can you please give an atheistic interpretation of that paragraph?
So back to topic, this is the subject of MN 68, which refers to all four noble attainments & explains why the Buddha (reportedly) made these declarations about the attainments of others. It seems obvious by the description of the stream-enterer that the state of stream-entry was attained while alive (rather than after the ending of time/life because it would seem illogical & impossible to attain stream-entry after the ending of life if it was not attained before the ending of life). Similarly, the non-returner appears to have attained non-return before the ending of life.
Take a monk who hears this: ‘The monk named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters he’s a stream-enterer, not liable to [be reborn in] the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And he’s either seen for himself, or heard from someone else, that that venerable had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that monk’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, wisdom, he applies his mind to that end. That too is how a monk lives at ease.

MN 68 https://suttacentral.net/mn68/en/sujato

In this case, Anuruddha, a monk hears: ‘The monk so and so has passed away; it is declared by the Lord that by the utter destruction of the three fetters he is a stream-attainer, not liable to the Downfall, assured, bound for enlightenment.’ If a venerable one has himself seen, or has heard by hearsay that the venerable one was of such moral habit and that the venerable one was of such mentality and that the venerable one was of such wisdom and that the venerable one was such an abider and that the venerable one was freed thus, he, while recollecting his faith and moral habit and learning and giving up and wisdom, focusses his mind on suchness. It is thus, Anuruddha, that there is abiding in comfort for a monk.


https://suttacentral.net/mn68/en/horner
:candle:
budo wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:43 am
“Sir, the lay follower named Dīghāvu, who was advised in brief by the Buddha, has passed away. Where has he been reborn in his next life?” “Mendicants, the lay follower Dīghāvu was astute. He practiced in line with the teachings, and did not trouble me about the teachings. With the ending of the five lower fetters, he’s reborn spontaneously. He’ll be extinguished there, and is not liable to return from that world.”
https://suttacentral.net/mn118/en/sujato[/i]
How can mendicants in the Sangha be reborn while in the Sangha? :shrug: This seems to show opapatika may not mean "reborn" in a future life. Similarly, AN 3.141 is an interesting sutta because it appears to refer to the Non-Returner as "opapātiko" yet still on this earth as a "person" ("man" or "woman"). Therefore, a supramundane interpretation could be the attainment the Buddha declares is the attainment attained before the ending of life. Yet for those who believe believe in a future life, to them, the Buddha declares the same attainment. In other words, the "future course" is the same future course as if the person was alive.
[/quote]

Here I am only touching the point of opapathika births.
Reference Mahasihanada sutta as noted by me.
Accordingly there are 4 types of birth:
1. Birth from a womb ( mammals)
2.Birth from eggs( birds)
3. Birth from dampness or moisture( worms)
4. Births as spontaneous ( opapatika).
The 4th , opapatika, is in higher realms and is called rebirth by transformation. IMO it ought to be in arupa realm , or heavens.

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DooDoot
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:52 am

justindesilva wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:58 am
Here I am only touching the point of opapathika births.
Reference Mahasihanada sutta as noted by me.
Accordingly there are 4 types of birth:
1. Birth from a womb ( mammals)
2.Birth from eggs( birds)
3. Birth from dampness or moisture( worms)
4. Births as spontaneous ( opapatika).
The 4th , opapatika, is in higher realms and is called rebirth by transformation. IMO it ought to be in arupa realm , or heavens.
There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation (opapātikā yoni). MN 12

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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm (attn: DootDoot)

Post by justindesilva » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:29 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:52 am
justindesilva wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:58 am
Here I am only touching the point of opapathika births.
Reference Mahasihanada sutta as noted by me.
Accordingly there are 4 types of birth:
1. Birth from a womb ( mammals)
2.Birth from eggs( birds)
3. Birth from dampness or moisture( worms)
4. Births as spontaneous ( opapatika).
The 4th , opapatika, is in higher realms and is called rebirth by transformation. IMO it ought to be in arupa realm , or heavens.
There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation (opapātikā yoni). MN 12
Can somebody explain how human beings get involved in opapatika yoni. Is it after physical death or a involvement ( mind transfer) in this life time.

Laurens
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Re: Atheistic Buddhism

Post by Laurens » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:11 pm

I'd say you are assuming atheistic Buddhism is the idea that the Buddha was an atheist.

I think the interpretation would be that the Buddha was a person who discovered a system for bringing about the end of suffering, but was also a human and thus subscribed to the prevailing cultural beliefs of the time, which would have included devas and rebirth.

That is not to say that this is my own view, just that this is probably what an atheistic Buddhist might say...
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

TRobinson465
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Re: Atheistic Buddhism

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:15 am

Laurens wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:11 pm
I'd say you are assuming atheistic Buddhism is the idea that the Buddha was an atheist.

I think the interpretation would be that the Buddha was a person who discovered a system for bringing about the end of suffering, but was also a human and thus subscribed to the prevailing cultural beliefs of the time, which would have included devas and rebirth.

That is not to say that this is my own view, just that this is probably what an atheistic Buddhist might say...
Most atheistic Buddhists ive met are basically just athiests but believe in bits of Buddhism and think everything else the Buddha taught that isnt related to them were intricate metaphors and analogies for the true athiestic doctrine the Buddha preached. (ie. oh i believe in rebirth, in that we are reborn in each moment with the results of the past actions in our lives, blah blah blah).

I personally find these people very irritating, not so much in that they ignore significant portions of Buddhism, which is fine, I used to set aside certain things also (ie. ppl living 80,000 years), but having the audacity to say that non-athiestic Buddhist teachings were actually athiestic but in metaphor format tied down by the cultural baggage of the stupid indian and asian people of the time and whatnot. Its one thing to set aside a teaching, its another to create some convoluted theory on why all of Buddhism was really just an intricate metaphor for your own world view.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Atheistic Buddhsm

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:22 am

justindesilva wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:29 pm
DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:52 am
justindesilva wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:58 am
Here I am only touching the point of opapathika births.
Reference Mahasihanada sutta as noted by me.
Accordingly there are 4 types of birth:
1. Birth from a womb ( mammals)
2.Birth from eggs( birds)
3. Birth from dampness or moisture( worms)
4. Births as spontaneous ( opapatika).
The 4th , opapatika, is in higher realms and is called rebirth by transformation. IMO it ought to be in arupa realm , or heavens.
There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation (opapātikā yoni). MN 12
Can somebody explain how human beings get involved in opapatika yoni. Is it after physical death or a involvement ( mind transfer) in this life time.
I thought it was only humans of certain epochs that are born by opapatika.

like the early humans who lived for tens of thousands of years millions of years ago and were genderless. according to sutta on the origin of the world.
There comes a time when, Vāseṭṭha, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos contracts. As the cosmos contracts, sentient beings are mostly headed for the realm of streaming radiance. There they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos expands. As the cosmos expands, sentient beings mostly pass away from that group of radiant deities and come back to this realm. Here they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

2. Solid Nectar Appears
But the single mass of water at that time was utterly dark. . The moon and sun were not found, nor were stars and constellations, day and night, months and fortnights, years and seasons, or male and female. Beings were simply known as ‘beings’. After a very long period had passed, solid nectar curdled in the water.
https://suttacentral.net/dn27/en/sujato
Always thought it was these "humans" the Buddha was talking about when saying they arose by opapatika. so not really mind transfer, more like rebirth as a deva but instead as a "human"
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

justindesilva
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Re: Atheistic Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:43 am

:goodpost:
This last post is an intelligent answer to the question of humans beings born as opapatika.

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Re: Atheistic Buddhism

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:02 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:15 am
...non-athiestic Buddhist teachings were actually athiestic but in metaphor format tied down by the cultural baggage of the stupid indian and asian people of the time and whatnot. Its one thing to set aside a teaching, its another to create some convoluted theory on why all of Buddhism was really just an intricate metaphor for your own world view.
Yeah, pretty much this. It's basically an "enlightened" sense of Western cultural superiority: "Everything that agrees with my own views can stay, but anything else is stupid and irrational and can be discarded. [I am very open minded.]"

Denial of the supernatural aspects of buddhism is really just that - denial. Not to make any truth claims about whether such phenomena really exist. But it takes some intellectual honesty to admit that the Pali Canon is completely and inextricably linked with the supernatural and the Dhamma really does not exist without this context. To deny this is basically to declare that you have not actually read the Canon.
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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