theravadin view on enlightenment

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rolling_boulder
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theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:43 pm

Hi DW

In Buddhist circles, (Mahayana especially but also Theravadins) I sometimes encounter people holding views such as this:

"It is impossible to completely remove unskillful tendencies from the mind, even a Buddha has greed, lust, etc. arising in his mind. After all, they are conditioned, and must play themselves out. The Buddha's realization is that he is able to mindfully watch them come and go without acting on them. How could such impulses fade completely? They are biological and built into human existence. The essence of the teaching is not removing those impulses or annihilating them, the essence is the not-being-attached to such impulses, the awareness of them as illusory, impermanent, insubstantial."

As I understand it, the orthodox Theravadin doctrine is fundamentally opposite to this view, that indeed such unskillful emotions are extinguished completely, forever, and permanently, and do not arise. And that true nibbana is not just an awareness that encompasses these unskillful mind states. In this view, for the arahant, the Five Hindrances never arise, and their mind is firmly set, without return to lower states, within the seven factors of enlightenment.

But, to be honest, I do not know if this orthodox doctrine comes from the Buddha or later commentarial literature. I can't think of any suttas or phrases in particular that address this particular issue, which in modern times seems to be a critical one.

So I ask Dhamma Wheel, are there any definitively worded statements from the Pali Canon that reject that view?

Respectful regards.
RB.
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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cappuccino
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by cappuccino » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:54 pm

It is the Unformed, the Unconditioned, the End,
the Truth, the Other Shore, the Subtle,
the Everlasting, the Invisible, the Undiversified,
Peace, the Deathless, the Blest, Safety,
the Wonderful, the Marvellous,
Nibbæna, Purity, Freedom,
the Island,
the Refuge, the Beyond.
~ S 43.1-44
Last edited by cappuccino on Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rolling_boulder
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:59 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:54 pm
It is the Unformed, the Unconditioned, the End,...


This is all well, but someone holding the first view can easily retreat to saying that this Unconditioned is the awareness of conditions.



I have found this which seems to add credence to the orthodox claim (MN140, Sujato trans.)
But I am still looking for more direct refutations if any such refutations exist.

In their ignorance, they used to be covetous, full of desire and lust. That has been cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so it’s unable to arise in the future. In their ignorance, they used to be contemptuous, full of ill will and malevolence. That has been cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so it’s unable to arise in the future. In their ignorance, they used to be ignorant, full of delusion. That has been cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so it’s unable to arise in the future. Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of peace. For this is the ultimate noble peace, namely, the pacification of greed, hate, and delusion. ‘Don’t neglect wisdom, preserve truth, foster generosity, and train only for peace.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.
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.

Caodemarte
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:16 pm

Cutting the defilements off at the root is best done by being fully aware of them and one’s effort to cut them off, etc. so there is no real contradiction. You will probably find similar advice in Theravada practice instructions.

rolling_boulder
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:19 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:16 pm
Cutting the defilements off at the root is done by being fully aware of them and one’s effort to cut them off, etc. so there is no real contradiction.
The contradiction is that in this particular view, there is no "cutting-off" of defilements, and full enlightenment is simply the awareness that they are there which allows one to transcend them. This is opposed to the orthodox view that defilements can no longer arise.
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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cappuccino
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by cappuccino » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:24 pm

this is the "path of purification"

four stages of purity

sentinel
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by sentinel » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:44 pm

rolling_boulder wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:19 pm


The contradiction is that in this particular view, there is no "cutting-off" of defilements, and full enlightenment is simply the awareness that they are there which allows one to transcend them. This is opposed to the orthodox view that defilements can no longer arise.
No cutting off because there is nothing to cut .
If defilements is something like a concrete state , it is not possible to remove it .
Defilements can no longer arise , because awareness is simply awareness without frontier .
.
Last edited by sentinel on Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
:coffee:

rolling_boulder
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:57 pm

So to the other posters, Sentinels' post above seems to propound the second view. Just to clarify that there is an opposition of viewpoints here.


Okay, so I have found this as well which seems to be quite conclusive:
When this was said, Ven. Ananda said to Ven. Sariputta, "Sariputta my friend, even if there were change & alteration in the Teacher would there arise within you no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair?"
"Even if there were change & alteration in the Teacher, my friend, there would arise within me no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Still, I would have this thought: 'What a great being, of great might, of great prowess, has disappeared! For if the Blessed One were to remain for a long time, that would be for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of sympathy for the world; for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of human & divine beings.'"

"Surely," [said Ven. Ananda,] "it's because Ven. Sariputta's I-making & mine-making and obsessions with conceit have long been well uprooted that even if there were change & alteration in the Teacher, there would arise within him no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair."
SN 21.2
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.

santa100
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by santa100 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:23 pm

rolling_boulder wrote:As I understand it, the orthodox Theravadin doctrine is fundamentally opposite to this view, that indeed such unskillful emotions are extinguished completely, forever, and permanently, and do not arise.
It's not only the orthodox Theravdin doctrine that opposes the notion. Any tradition, including the Mahayana, that relies on the teaching from the Suttas or Sutras (the Nikayas for Theravada, and the Agamas for Mahayana) would agree that an enlightened being is someone who has not only eradicated greed, lust, anger, etc., but also all underlying tendencies/anusayas leading to those defilements. Those who claim that the Buddha still having lust, greed, etc. arising in his mind probably suffer from some sort of thief-guilt psychology complex, when a thief tries to justify his unwholesome act by generalize it to everyone else by saying that all people steal at some point in their lives.
AN 7.12 wrote:Bhikkhus, the spiritual life is lived to abandon and eradicate the seven underlying tendencies. What seven? The underlying tendency to sensual lust, the underlying tendency to aversion, the underlying tendency to views, the underlying tendency to doubt, the underlying tendency to conceit, the underlying tendency to lust for existence, and the underlying tendency to ignorance. The spiritual life is lived to abandon and eradicate these seven underlying tendencies.

“When a bhikkhu has abandoned the underlying tendency to sensual lust, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising; when he has abandoned the underlying tendency to aversion … the underlying tendency to views … the underlying tendency to doubt … the underlying tendency to conceit … the underlying tendency to lust for existence … the underlying tendency to ignorance, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising, he is then called a bhikkhu without underlying tendencies,1460 one who has cut off craving, stripped off the fetter, and by completely breaking through conceit, has made an end of suffering.”

Caodemarte
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:41 pm

rolling_boulder wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:19 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:16 pm
Cutting the defilements off at the root is done by being fully aware of them and one’s effort to cut them off, etc. so there is no real contradiction.
The contradiction is that in this particular view, there is no "cutting-off" of defilements, and full enlightenment is simply the awareness that they are there which allows one to transcend them. This is opposed to the orthodox view that defilements can no longer arise.
I would think the orthodox view in Mahayana and Theravada is that they are cut off, not transcended. A shared way to cut the defilements off at the root is by being fully aware of them and one’s effort to cut them off, etc. One stops running and the “self” does not arise again hence the defilements and obscurations do not arise with it (in full enlightenment.

SarathW
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:25 am

The way I understand, that Mahayana does not believe that Arahants fully eradicated the attachment, aversion, and ignorance.
Only a Buddha has fully eradicated the three fetters. So they all try to be Buddha in the next life because you can have only one Buddha in this eon.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Pondera
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by Pondera » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:36 am

Defilements are both mental and bodily. There is no separation between body and mind wherever a defilement is concerned.

Right action. Right speech. Right thought.

Restraint leads to non-remorse. Non-remorse to gladness. Gladness to Joy. Joy to rapture. Rapture to serenity. Serenity to pleasure ... knowledge and vision of release.

Release from the defilements. Release from kamma. Release from rebirth.
What is “rupa” Jhāna? Here are four simple meditations on earth, water, fire, and wind - leading to tranquility and pleasure, rapture and equanimity - peacehttps://drive.google.com/open?id=1sdgpi ... hIz3wgz7ep

pegembara
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by pegembara » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:48 am

rolling_boulder wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:43 pm
Hi DW

In Buddhist circles, (Mahayana especially but also Theravadins) I sometimes encounter people holding views such as this:

"It is impossible to completely remove unskillful tendencies from the mind, even a Buddha has greed, lust, etc. arising in his mind. After all, they are conditioned, and must play themselves out. The Buddha's realization is that he is able to mindfully watch them come and go without acting on them. How could such impulses fade completely? They are biological and built into human existence. The essence of the teaching is not removing those impulses or annihilating them, the essence is the not-being-attached to such impulses, the awareness of them as illusory, impermanent, insubstantial."

As I understand it, the orthodox Theravadin doctrine is fundamentally opposite to this view, that indeed such unskillful emotions are extinguished completely, forever, and permanently, and do not arise. And that true nibbana is not just an awareness that encompasses these unskillful mind states. In this view, for the arahant, the Five Hindrances never arise, and their mind is firmly set, without return to lower states, within the seven factors of enlightenment.

But, to be honest, I do not know if this orthodox doctrine comes from the Buddha or later commentarial literature. I can't think of any suttas or phrases in particular that address this particular issue, which in modern times seems to be a critical one.

So I ask Dhamma Wheel, are there any definitively worded statements from the Pali Canon that reject that view?

Respectful regards.
RB.
When your hands get burned, there is no longer any underlying impulse to pick whatever it is that burned you.
"Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

"The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in the eye, finds estrangement in forms, finds estrangement in eye-consciousness, finds estrangement in eye-contact, and whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful- nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, in that too he finds estrangement.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated.
SN 35.28
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Caodemarte
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Re: theravadin view on enlightenment

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:30 am

SarathW wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:25 am
... Mahayana... try to be Buddha in the next life because you can have only one Buddha in this eon.
No, not in any mainstream Mahayana form. But as this is not a Mahayana forum for the discussion of the Mahayana, what is the Theravadin “view on enlightenment” in your view?

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