Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
paul
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by paul » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:43 pm

The three signata or marks of existence are the working dynamics of the four noble truths, which are the Buddha’s most concise formulation of his teaching. For example the third noble truth, which states that the removal of desire removes suffering, depends on recognition of impermanence and the subsequent development of dispassion. The four noble truths must always be borne in mind as the overarching framework.
Some would say that the three marks of existence have been overemphasised with the Burmese resurgence of vipassana.

Secondly it must be remembered that knowledge of kamma is mundane right view, so no entry into the path can be made without it as a foundation.
Last edited by paul on Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:44 pm

salayatananirodha wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:49 pm
"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"

- SN 44.10

As you see, neither the existence of self nor the non-existence of self are declared by the tathāgata.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness....
- SN 12.15

"There are some contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view: 'In acting or getting others to act, in mutilating or getting others to mutilate, in torturing or getting others to torture, in inflicting sorrow or in getting others to inflict sorrow, in tormenting or getting others to torment, in intimidating or getting others to intimidate, in taking life, taking what is not given, breaking into houses, plundering wealth, committing burglary, ambushing highways, committing adultery, speaking falsehood — one does no evil. If with a razor-edged disk one were to turn all the living beings on this earth to a single heap of flesh, a single pile of flesh, there would be no evil from that cause, no coming of evil. Even if one were to go along the right bank of the Ganges, killing and getting others to kill, mutilating and getting others to mutilate, torturing and getting others to torture, there would be no evil from that cause, no coming of evil. Even if one were to go along the left bank of the Ganges, giving and getting others to give, making sacrifices and getting others to make sacrifices, there would be no merit from that cause, no coming of merit. Through generosity, self-control, restraint, and truthful speech there is no merit from that cause, no coming of merit.'
- MN 60

I would like to let the suttas speak for themselves. If I need to, I can try further argumentation. The implications of certain wrong views is incorrect understanding of not-self, impermanence and suffering. Death is impermanent, and so there is not the complete cessation of suffering; death arises from a cause, so does suffering. Everything that arises from causes is suffering, everything that is suffering is not fit to regard as oneself. Are there other secularists who don't adhere to such materialist doctrine I refute? I assume the default position to be standard.
Btw, assuming there is not by what is not observed is not science; it's dogma.
I'm not really sure what you are getting at here. The passage from SN 44.10 is precisely the type of support which many would muster for their view that the Buddha did declare that there was no self; along with, inter alia, SN 22.59 and the other suttas that use the same general formula. You might want to debate that (it's been debated at extreme length here on DW on several occasions) but whether it is the correct understanding is not particularly relevant to my point here. I'm just pointing out how secular Buddhists can maintain the position outlined by Sarath. I personally do not count myself as a secular Buddhist, but think that there is nothing particularly inconsistent in their position.

I don't know whether any secular Buddhists would invoke science in their claim that there is no self, or their claim that kamma is not seen to operate post mortem. To the extent that they mention science, it is in support of their claims about the empirical world. The normal empiricist position would be that lack of evidence does not point to something's non-existence, but rather - other things being equal - to a lack of good reasons for acting as if it did exist.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:07 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:51 am
also to not believe in rebirth or kamma-vipaka extending beyond one life.
That is Nihilism.
Were I a secular Buddhist, I would find it easier to accept that label than change my world-view so as to prioritise faith above evidence.

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:19 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:07 pm
to prioritise faith above evidence.
evidence comes via faith

faith is what progress depends on

(see the five faculties)

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:23 am

I would find it easier to accept that label
I don't think it is the right label.
Perhaps I would call him/her a socially responsible Nhilist.
If a person does not accept Dependent Origination, Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths, s/he is not a Buddhist.

Are you a Buddhist?

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18611&p=261588&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:38 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:23 am
I would find it easier to accept that label
I don't think it is the right label.
Perhaps I would call him/her a socially responsible Nhilist.
If a person does not accept Dependent Origination, Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths, s/he is not a Buddhist.

Are you a Buddhist?

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18611&p=261588&hilit=
A buddhist starts with the five precepts which contain initial essential values and qualities of the noble eight fold path.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:59 am

cappuccino wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:19 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:07 pm
to prioritise faith above evidence.
evidence comes via faith

faith is what progress depends on

(see the five faculties)
If that's so, then faith is what secular Buddhists lack. People often claim to have faith, though, and we rarely see claims of people having evidence of kamma coming to fruition in the hereafter. Even by their own reports, it seems that the evidence comes a long way behind faith, if at all.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:23 am
I would find it easier to accept that label
I don't think it is the right label.
Perhaps I would call him/her a socially responsible Nhilist.
If a person does not accept Dependent Origination, Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths, s/he is not a Buddhist.

Are you a Buddhist?

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18611&p=261588&hilit=
Remember that I'm answering your question as to how the Three Characteristics can be taught or believed without reference to rebirth and kamma; I'm not putting forward my own position here, but showing how people can, with consistency and honesty, take that position.

I generally call myself a Buddhist if asked. I "accept" those doctrinal points you mention in the sense that I think about them and often use them as a guide to action. I can't claim knowledge of them being true, or even claim a clear understanding of them. I think that's true of virtually everyone I interact with, both in real life an on-line.

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by James Tan » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:25 am

Faith is initial entry point into Buddhism , after attaining stream entry , confidence replace faith .
:reading:

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:30 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:08 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:23 am
I would find it easier to accept that label
I don't think it is the right label.
Perhaps I would call him/her a socially responsible Nhilist.
If a person does not accept Dependent Origination, Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths, s/he is not a Buddhist.

Are you a Buddhist?

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18611&p=261588&hilit=
Remember that I'm answering your question as to how the Three Characteristics can be taught or believed without reference to rebirth and kamma; I'm not putting forward my own position here, but showing how people can, with consistency and honesty, take that position.

I generally call myself a Buddhist if asked. I "accept" those doctrinal points you mention in the sense that I think about them and often use them as a guide to action. I can't claim knowledge of them being true, or even claim a clear understanding of them. I think that's true of virtually everyone I interact with, both in real life an on-line.
I don't really understand what you are saying. If you don't have knowledge of them being true or a clear understanding of them, why would you accept them or even tinker with them? To me, this is like going to school and learning things like the world is round. The world is round seems to be a fact to scientists so we accept things like that. We have no need really to accept or deny this so we don't go about thinking whether the world is round or flat and telling either ourselves or others about this. So how can you use something as a guide to action that you can neither affirm or deny? I don't even understand why you call yourself a Buddhist given your explanation. I'm not saying don't call yourself a Buddhist or think about these things. It seems illogical to me, that's all.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:32 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:30 am
I don't really understand what you are saying. If you don't have knowledge of them being true or a clear understanding of them, why would you accept them or even tinker with them? To me, this is like going to school and learning things like the world is round. The world is round seems to be a fact to scientists so we accept things like that. We have no need really to accept or deny this so we don't go about thinking whether the world is round or flat and telling either ourselves or others about this. So how can you use something as a guide to action that you can neither affirm or deny? I don't even understand why you call yourself a Buddhist given your explanation. I'm not saying don't call yourself a Buddhist or think about these things. It seems illogical to me, that's all.
I'll only respond briefly here, if I may, as there is a danger of derailing the thread. But feel free to take it up as a separate thread or via PM if you want to.

Essentially, I attempt to steer a middle way between refusing to act unless I have certain knowledge (which is a recipe for stasis, and no path at all) and cultivating blind faith in what cannot be grounded in experience (which is an abdication of responsibility). I take the teachings as a working hypothesis to guide my action, with confirmation being piecemeal rather than a condition for their acceptance.

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:51 pm

SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:55 pm
Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?
I don't see why not, since the 3 marks can be observed in the present moment.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Sam Vara
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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:55 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:51 pm
SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:55 pm
Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?
I don't see why not, since the 3 marks can be observed in the present moment.
The present moment with a past and future, presumably, in that impermanence can only be known over time...

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Re: Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:15 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:55 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:51 pm
SarathW wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:55 pm
Can we teach Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta without the teaching of rebirth and Kamma?
I don't see why not, since the 3 marks can be observed in the present moment.
The present moment with a past and future, presumably, in that impermanence can only be known over time...
OK, a few present moments then. :tongue:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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