Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

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SarathW
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Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:11 pm

Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?
The above question is from another link.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=485216#p485216
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SarathW
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:21 pm

I have read Visuddhimagga few times (English translation) but have not done a thorough study of it.
With that little knowledge, I did not have any reason to think it contravenes the Sutta.
If you think it is not a reliable source please point out your specific concerns.
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:41 pm

This is a rather large and amorphous question. There are ancient Theravada commentaries, and there are modern commentaries (such as those from the thread linked above). Some members like the former, some like the various later versions.

For those genuinely interested in the question, I suggest starting by reading some of the writings of those who have actually taken time to study some of the commentaries. See, for example, this post by Bhikkhu Sujato:
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/su ... msi/9949/4
Here is the concluding paragraph (my emphasis):
Sujato wrote:I might add as a further point that in modern Buddhist studies, we lack good critical scholarship of the commentaries. Most of us focus on the suttas, which is of course important. But that leaves the commentaries mostly to those who identify with the Theravada school, and see them as identical with the suttas. This allows criticisms of them to gain traction, even done as crudely as we see here. Of course, there are plenty of things to legitimately criticize about the commentaries. But no serious scholar indulges in this kind of dismissive and conspiratorial thinking. I have some knowledge of the commentaries, but not much. It would be nice to see more serious work done in this area, since the commentaries inform much of the practice of contemporary Theravada.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:55 pm

I agree, Mike, but I also think that asking whether Visuddhimagga is a "reliable" source may be the wrong question.
It is what it is, and I think a better question is whether it's a useful source.

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:58 pm

Greetings SarathW,
SarathW wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:11 pm
Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?
This being a Theravada forum, it's entirely appropriate to quote from the Visuddhimagga.

My perspective is that it's good to reference any sourced quotation, and then to leave it to the discretion of the individual reader whether they regard it to be "reliable" or not. There is no need for a collective consensus that any particular source is to be regarded as reliable or otherwise.

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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Volovsky
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by Volovsky » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:06 am

SarathW wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:11 pm
Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?
From what do we suppose to quote then if something is not explicitly stated in the suttas? E.g. in a parallel topic viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32653 you have asked about the objects of each jhāna. Buddha doesn't say in the suttas "and monk practices this object and enters the first jhāna". So either you have a quotation from Vism (and Commentaries) or you are left with some nonsense about "little sankharas bubbling on the surface" and "vibrations of links of dependent origination" in the base of neither-perception-nor-none-perception as somebody answered to your question there. The choice is yours. I prefer Vism and commentaries.

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by salayatananirodha » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:23 am

It contradicts the suttas in several places; mettā meditation, name-and-form, dependent origination,... That doesn't mean that it's all wrong and shouldn't be quoted from. For one, it's a great example of commentary gradually replacing the suttas in the theravada tradition. Something else I wondered about commentaries was how they make claims like 'pacceka buddhas don't bathe'. I think it's just safer to rely on the suttas until and unless you get into intensive reading and writing about the dhamma, or else you are implanted with potentially false information you'll eventually have to un-learn in order to advance your practice.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by salayatananirodha » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:25 am

Mahāmoggallāna also never was murdered in the suttas. Not saying this didn't happen, and he did pass away before the buddha in āgamas, but it's that I would like more evidence before making a determination.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

SarathW
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by SarathW » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:25 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:55 pm
I agree, Mike, but I also think that asking whether Visuddhimagga is a "reliable" source may be the wrong question.
It is what it is, and I think a better question is whether it's a useful source.

:namaste:
Kim
Agree.
Considering Retro clear this we can discuss whether Visuddhimagga is a useful document and whether it does not agree with Sutta.
Moderators may change the OP question heading to reflect this.
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:30 am

Greetings Sarath,
SarathW wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:25 am
Considering Retro clear this we can discuss whether Visuddhimagga is a useful document and whether it does not agree with Sutta.
You can certainly do that here in this topic in General Theravada section, although such discussion would not be permitted in the Classical Theravada section, as that would go against that section's guidelines.

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)

SarathW
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by SarathW » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:00 am

From another post @Lal said.

1. Focusing the mind on a one’s breath or on a kasina object can SUPPRESS greedy/hateful/ignorant thoughts and thus provide some cooling down. But that will not lead to a permanent solution in GETTING RID OF the hidden anusaya (that I have explained in recent posts). Can you explain how breath or kasina meditation per Vidusddhimagga can remove anusaya?

2. On pp. 15-16 in his “Nibbana – The Mind Stilled” series, Ven. Nanananda points out that Visuddhimagga and another commentary of Buddhaghosa are inconsistent with the definition of Nibbana: “ragakkhayo Nibbanan, dosakkhayo Nibbanan, mohakkhayo Nibbanan”. How do you respond to that?

viewtopic.php?p=485230#p485219
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Volovsky
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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by Volovsky » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:45 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:00 am
Can you explain how breath or kasina meditation per Vidusddhimagga can remove anusaya?
If we are talking on ānāpānasati as samatha object, it cannot remove anusaya (I don't think Vism ever claims this). The same is for kasiņa. If ānāpānasati is combined with vipassana (as in ānāpānasati sutta), then it can.
2. On pp. 15-16 in his “Nibbana – The Mind Stilled” series, Ven. Nanananda points out that Visuddhimagga and another commentary of Buddhaghosa are inconsistent with the definition of Nibbana: “ragakkhayo Nibbanan, dosakkhayo Nibbanan, mohakkhayo Nibbanan”. How do you respond to that?
Ven. Nanananda gives there several quotes on Commentaries and Vism. I cannot check the commentaries, since they are not translated in English, and my Pali is not good enough. But in Vism is not what Ven. Nanananda claims there is. In fact Buddhagosa doesn't argue there that Nibbāna is destruction of lust, hate and delusion, but he argues that Nibbāna is a mere destruction.
69. [Q. 5] But is not Nibbāna destruction, because of the passage beginning, “That, friend, which is the destruction of greed … [of hate … of delusion … is Nibbāna]?” (S IV 251).
[A.] That is not so, because it would follow that Arahantship also was mere destruction. For that too is described in the [same] way beginning, “That, friend, which is the destruction of greed … of hate … of delusion … is Arahantship]” (S IV 252).
So, at least in Vism I see no inconsistency with the suttas on this point, (but the commentaries I cannot check, as I said, if somebody can, please, post).

In general, I would say, Ven. Nanananda too often comes up with very strange ideas, which are either poorly supported or not supported at all. I would be very carefully with this author.

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by James Tan » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:58 am

Greetings ,

Visuddhimagga is a reference just like many others . The questions arises when "personal" view and experience was introduced into the Buddha's teaching . The Questions including the interpretation of namarupa , interdependent origination , the contemplation of arising and passing away method and cause and effect discerning knowledge .

In visuddhimagga , the 16 stages Knowledges is questionable when compared to the sutta .
(MN 24 - Ratha-vinita Sutta /The Relay Chariots Sutta)

======================================

The Sixteen Insight Knowledges(starting from step 3)

1.Purification of Virtue

Sila (Moral Conduct)
Precepts (includes Right Speech and Right Action; implies Right Livelihood)
Guarding the Sense Doors
Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension
Being Content with Little (using the requisites with wise reflection)

2.Purification of Mind

Samadhi (Concentration)
Abandoning of the Hindrances
The Jhanas

3.Purification of View

{The Beginning of the 16 Insight Knowledges (Vipassana)}

Knowledge of the Delineation of Mind and Matter

4.Purification by Overcoming Doubt

Knowledge of Discerning Cause and Condition (includes Cause and Effect, Karma, Dependent Origination)

5.Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What is Path and Not-Path

Knowledge by Comprehension
Overcoming the 10 Imperfections of Insight
Knowledge of Contemplation of Arising and Passing Away (beginning stage)

6.Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way

Knowledge of Contemplation of Arising and Passing Away (mature stage)
Knowledge of Contemplation of Dissolution
Knowledge of Contemplation of Appearance as Terror
Knowledge of Contemplation of Danger
Knowledge of Contemplation of Disenchantment
Knowledge of Desire for Deliverance
Knowledge of Contemplation of Reflection
Knowledge of Equanimity about Formations
Knowledge in Conformity with Truth

7.Purification by Knowledge and Vision

Knowledge of Change of Lineage
Knowledge of Path
Knowledge of Fruit
Knowledge of Reflection


======================================

Usefulness of visuddhimagga is another matter , Authenticity of the teaching is entirely different matter .
One could be heading to a different path.
:reading:

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by TRobinson465 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:21 am

I dont think it is any less reliable than any other random Buddhist book that a lot of modern western Buddhists quote nowadays. I think its still good to read commentaries to get a better understanding of the suttas. Its not a good idea to think you are so high and mighty that you can read the suttas and always come up with the correct interpretation all by yourself.
"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.

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Re: Do we agree that Visuddhimagga is not a reliable source and should not be quoted?

Post by TRobinson465 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:23 am

Don't take it with full authority tho. take it with less authority you would give a legitimate sutta. But it can help with your understanding.
"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.

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