Suffering as a gateway to the truth

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:49 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:11 pm
Accepting what you relate about chah on faith I ask the questions: Did chah suffer becaue of his inability to control his defecation? and Did chah lose faith when he got sick? Aren't the answers to these questions more meaningful than the reactions of some "disciples" (not knowing anything about them)? Lots of people are incontinent in old age....for alot of them it is just part of growing up....sometimes their family members suffer more from their negative reactions than the aged one who is wearing the diapers.
chownah
I encountered dhamma talks from some of his disciples indicating that he did not seem to suffer. I also watched a short film about Ven Nanavira Thera in which a Sri Lankan man said that he did not seem to suffer even when was experiencing physical ailments. However, i equally know that Ajahn Chah at the beginning of his sickness decided to end his life by fasting until some of his disciples persuaded him not to do so, and that Ven Nanavira ended his life.

Based on the above, what is meaningful, to me, is that we don't really know how those individuals which we perceive as "wise" experienced the world. We might have the tendency to believe that they did not suffer because this justifies what we believe.

If we approach all of this with honesty by acknowledging that we cannot be sure, then what worth focusing on would be assessing the potential drawbacks of certain mindsets:

1- A mindset that literally reduces everything to suffering and makes the end of suffering the only goal worth pursuing
2- A mindset that sees suffering as inseparable from ignorance, and makes attaining true knowledge the main driver of his actions

What kind of attitude are the possible outcome of each mindset? An investigative mind would continually seek better answers to the problem of life until reaching certainty, while the first mindset can be a mere glasses we wear to interpret things.

Everything else being equal, herd mentality is more likely to encourage the first mindset. In a group where a common belief system is the binding force, it is easy to engage in an implicit competition where the grimier a view is, the more likely it is associated with wisdom.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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SDC
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by SDC » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:16 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:15 pm
If all is there to live for is to seek eliminating suffering, then hedonism and suicide seem to me to be more effective and straightforward.
Exactly, and if it were done in the sense that I think you mean, the work we be to avoid and prevent suffering. But again, it really does not seem that the Buddha taught that.

Taking a quick look at this verse one more time:
AN 6.63 wrote:Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
Not the various things in the world;
Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
The various things just stand there in the world;
But the wise get rid of desire therein.
So the mechanism or framework because of which those "things in the world" make one suffer, it is about removing that. It isn't about developing a strategy or becoming obsessive about avoiding suffering because exactly as you say, hedonism or suicide would provide that very avoidance --- but avoidance isn't freedom. Indeed, one has to avoid unwholesome and cultivate wholesome, but that is not the end goal. To be free, the framework has to be abandoned, left there, cut off like a palm stump.

chownah
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by chownah » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:16 am

Hedonism avoids suffering? I doubt it. Perhaps a temporary postponement.
chownah

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SDC
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by SDC » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:12 pm

chownah wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:16 am
Hedonism avoids suffering? I doubt it. Perhaps a temporary postponement.
chownah
Semantics.

Avoid. Postpone. Suppress. Manage. Control. Choose any word you like. My point was that hedonism or suicide can provide a stay of execution. Yet none would be freedom from it.

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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:30 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:42 pm
After his enlightenment, the Buddha conveyed what he knew through the four noble truths: suffering, the cause(s) of suffering, the end of suffering and the path to end it.

The teachings utilizes worldly approaches to the truth: by teaching using verbal communication, the Buddha utilized the correspondence theory of truth. The orderliness of the dhamma is based on the coherence theory of truth and the raft simile utilizes the pragmatic theory of truth.

And yet, the Buddha's emphasis on suffering makes his teachings (assumingly) superior to other methods/ways of investigating the truth.

Why and how?

Thanks :anjali:
I don't think an emphasis on suffering is inherently superior, but it does seem to be the Buddhist approach.
Possibly a different path would be more suitable? Maybe one focussing on knowledge, or one focussing on union or connection?
Clearly Buddhists are going to defend their path, but that doesn't make it true.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:17 pm

.

Suffering as a gateway to the truth
Suffering in itself is a truth: "the truth of suffering", an ariya truth.




ps.
  • There is no such thing as "the truth".

    The four noble truths are just that, the four noble truths.
    There are many other truths.

    There is no such thing as "the truth".

.
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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:45 pm

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:17 pm
There is no such thing as "the truth".[/list]
Does that apply to your own statement?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:47 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:45 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:17 pm
There is no such thing as "the truth".[/list]
Does that apply to your own statement?

Which one, "which wordings" specifically?
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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:49 pm

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:47 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:45 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:17 pm
There is no such thing as "the truth".[/list]
Does that apply to your own statement?

Which one, "which wordings" specifically?
The one which i quoted in my reply to you. To quote it again:
There is no such thing as "the truth"
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:03 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:49 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:47 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:45 pm


Does that apply to your own statement?

Which one, "which wordings" specifically?
The one which i quoted in my reply to you. To quote it again:
There is no such thing as "the truth"




Oh, I see.

Yes, exactly.

"The truth" is "The truth"; without any "qualifications".

Yes, it applies to my own statement, of course.
There is no such thing as "the truth"
It is just a truth. It is not "the truth".

:lol:

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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:14 pm

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:03 pm
It is just a truth. It is not "the truth".
So, is it true sometimes and not true in other times?

If this is the case, can you give examples of how your statement can be untrue?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:38 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:14 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:03 pm
It is just a truth. It is not "the truth".
So, is it true sometimes and not true in other times?

If this is the case, ...
Nope, it is not the case.

It is about paradigms; I wish I really knew that word "paradigm". :smile:
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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:49 pm

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:38 pm
Nope, it is not the case.

It is about paradigms; I wish I really knew that word "paradigm". :smile:
If you mean the Buddhist paradigm, there seem to be a use of similar connotations as the one i used when i said the words "the truth"
Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of wisdom. For this is the ultimate noble wisdom, namely, the knowledge of the ending of suffering.

Their freedom, being founded on truth, is unshakable. For that which is false has a deceptive nature, while that which is true has an undeceptive nature—extinguishment. Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of truth. For this is the ultimate noble truth, namely, that which has an undeceptive nature—extinguishment.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:29 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:49 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:38 pm
Nope, it is not the case.

It is about paradigms; I wish I really knew that word "paradigm". :smile:
If you mean the Buddhist paradigm, there seem to be a use of similar connotations as the one i used when i said the words "the truth"
Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of wisdom. For this is the ultimate noble wisdom, namely, the knowledge of the ending of suffering.

Their freedom, being founded on truth, is unshakable. For that which is false has a deceptive nature, while that which is true has an undeceptive nature—extinguishment. Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of truth. For this is the ultimate noble truth, namely, that which has an undeceptive nature—extinguishment.


I think there are various paradigms within "the Buddhist paradigm" you mentioned.

Anyway, what you have quoted is compatible with my statement. "The ultimate noble truth" is just that, "the ultimate noble truth"; it is not that non-extistent "the truth".

Speaking of ultimate truth, every truth is ultimate in its specific paradigm. Partial truths are not truths, in essence.

To recap,
  • Every truth is ultimate in its specific paradigm
  • There is no such things as "the truth", "a partial truth", "the partial truth"
  • There are truths. There is a so-and-so truth.

ps:
A well known example ... Even the truth of the ubiquitous maxim "Everything is impermanent" cannot be carelessly generalizable onto the world of conventional realities nor to the world of comprehensive ultimate realities.


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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Bundokji
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Re: Suffering as a gateway to the truth

Post by Bundokji » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:55 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:29 pm
I think there are various paradigms within "the Buddhist paradigm" you mentioned.

Anyway, what you have quoted is compatible with my statement. "The ultimate noble truth" is just that, "the ultimate noble truth"; it is not that non-extistent "the truth".
Thinking in terms of existence and non-existence is not inline with the Buddha's teaching. At least, my input is inline with the rules of conventions, while yours is self-contradictory (not necessarily internally but conventionally).
"'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"
Do you have a reference from the suttas where the Buddha ever denied the existence of "the truth" as you are doing now?
Speaking of ultimate truth, every truth is ultimate in its specific paradigm. Partial truths are not truths, in essence.
Partial truths are just partial truths. Calling them not truths is self contradictory. "The truth", however, cannot be partial.

Is your original statement "There is no such thing as "the truth" partial?
  • Every truth is ultimate in its specific paradigm
  • There is no such things as "the truth", "a partial truth", "the partial truth"
  • There are truths. There is a so-and-so truth.
I would say that a skillful use of worldly truths would not overlook context.
A well known example ... Even the truth of the ubiquitous maxim "Everything is impermanent" cannot be carelessly generalizable onto the world of conventional realities nor to the world of comprehensive ultimate realities.
As far as i know, the Buddha did not teach "everything is impermanent" but taught "all conditioned things are impermanent". Not very surprising omission by someone who denies the existence of "the truth".
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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