Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

There are numerous suttas where the Buddha taught the 3 marks of existence, but do you know of any sutta where the Buddha's utilization of the 3 marks were turned upon his own utterances? i.e whatever he says/teaches is anicca dukkha anatta hence why it should be taken seriously.

If there is such sutta, please share it, and if there is not, please indicate why such approach eluded those who wanted to challenge the Buddha?

Thanks
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.

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 3719
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by robertk »

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"How does Master Gotama discipline his disciples? Or what part of his instruction is generally presented to his disciples?"

"Aggivessana, I discipline my disciples in this way; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples: 'Form is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant. Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self.' This, Aggivessana, is the way in which I discipline my disciples; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples."

"A simile occurs to me, Master Gotama."

"Let it occur to you, Aggivessana."

"Just as any seeds that exhibit growth, increase, & proliferation, all do so in dependence on the earth; or just as any activities requiring strength that are done, all are done in dependence on the earth; in the same way, Master Gotama, an individual with form as self, taking a stance on form, produces merit or demerit. An individual with feeling as self... with perception as self... with fabrications as self... with consciousness as self, taking a stance on consciousness, produces merit or demerit."

"Then, Aggivessana, are you saying, 'Form is my self, feeling is my self, perception is my self, fabrications are my self, consciousness is my self'?"

"Yes, Master Gotama, I'm saying that 'Form is my self, feeling is my self, perception is my self, fabrications are my self, consciousness is my self.' As does this great multitude." [4]

"What does this great multitude have to do with you? Please focus just

The Buddha then explains Aggivessana's error.

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

robertk wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:54 pm
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"How does Master Gotama discipline his disciples? Or what part of his instruction is generally presented to his disciples?"

"Aggivessana, I discipline my disciples in this way; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples: 'Form is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant. Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self.' This, Aggivessana, is the way in which I discipline my disciples; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples."

"A simile occurs to me, Master Gotama."

"Let it occur to you, Aggivessana."

"Just as any seeds that exhibit growth, increase, & proliferation, all do so in dependence on the earth; or just as any activities requiring strength that are done, all are done in dependence on the earth; in the same way, Master Gotama, an individual with form as self, taking a stance on form, produces merit or demerit. An individual with feeling as self... with perception as self... with fabrications as self... with consciousness as self, taking a stance on consciousness, produces merit or demerit."

"Then, Aggivessana, are you saying, 'Form is my self, feeling is my self, perception is my self, fabrications are my self, consciousness is my self'?"

"Yes, Master Gotama, I'm saying that 'Form is my self, feeling is my self, perception is my self, fabrications are my self, consciousness is my self.' As does this great multitude." [4]

"What does this great multitude have to do with you? Please focus just

The Buddha then explains Aggivessana's error.
Thanks Robert :anjali:

In this debate, Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son took a position:
"Yes, Master Gotama, I'm saying that 'Form is my self, feeling is my self, perception is my self, fabrications are my self, consciousness is my self.' As does this great multitude."
Which is not what i am looking for. What i am looking for is where the roles are exchanged. If we use the same sutta and imagine a different approach from Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son after listening to the Buddha's statement:
"Aggivessana, I discipline my disciples in this way; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples: 'Form is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant. Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self.' This, Aggivessana, is the way in which I discipline my disciples; this part of my instruction is generally presented to my disciples."
Of which Saccaka would ask something like:

Is you utterance master Gotama that form, feeling, perception, fabrication, consciousness are inconstant, constant or inconstant?

Shall the Buddha answers constant, he would have contradicted himself by giving an exception to the notion "All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self.". Shall the Buddha answers: inconstant, then Saccaka would continue: And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful? If the Buddha answers: stressful, then Saccaka would question the value of the Buddha's teachings.
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.

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 3719
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by robertk »

Well
Assaji, a disciple of the Buddha, did tell Agivissena that

"
Aggivessana, [3] the Blessed One disciplines his disciples in this way; this part of the Blessed One's instruction is generally presented to his disciples: 'Form is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant. Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. All fabrications are inconstant. All phenomena are not-self.' This, Aggivessana, is the way in which the Blessed One disciplines his disciples; this part of the Blessed One's instruction is generally presented to his disciples."
Aggivessana was not impressed:
"What a bad thing to hear we have heard, Master Assaji, when we have heard that Gotama the contemplative teaches this sort of thing. Perhaps sooner or later we might go to meet with Gotama the contemplative. Perhaps there might be some discussion. Perhaps we might pry him away from that evil viewpoint
Unfortunately Aggivessana was not astute enough, perhaps, to refute the Buddha, when they met later, in the way you suggest.
Edit;
It should also be noted that the 3 marks apply to elements, dhammas, aggregates. Not to words and concepts.

SteRo
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:30 pm
There are numerous suttas where the Buddha taught the 3 marks of existence, but do you know of any sutta where the Buddha's utilization of the 3 marks were turned upon his own utterances? i.e whatever he says/teaches is anicca dukkha anatta hence why it should be taken seriously.
I don't think that there is such a sutta. But all the Buddha's teachings should actually be applied to themselves if liberation is to be attained. Why? Because liberation does not depend on the permanent, the pleasurable and self. Why then should the Buddha's teaching be permanent, pleasurable and self?

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:59 pm
I don't think that there is such a sutta. But all the Buddha's teachings should actually be applied to themselves if liberation is to be attained. Why? Because liberation does not depend on the permanent, the pleasurable and self. Why then should the Buddha's teaching be permanent, pleasurable and self?
The three marks of existence have to do with reliability (or lack of). I can't help but wonder if such arguments were not presented to the Lord Buddha, or that omitting such arguments is purposive.

As a basis for argument, the three marks of existence seem to be valid only as counter arguments, but if taken as a position, they are untenable easily refuted by turning the argument upon itself.

This itself triggered arguments between Buddhist scholars on whether the Buddha''s use of ontology is a strategy or a position.
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.

SteRo
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:11 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:59 pm
I don't think that there is such a sutta. But all the Buddha's teachings should actually be applied to themselves if liberation is to be attained. Why? Because liberation does not depend on the permanent, the pleasurable and self. Why then should the Buddha's teaching be permanent, pleasurable and self?
The three marks of existence have to do with reliability (or lack of).
i understand the line of reasoning to be such: what is impermanent is dukkha and what is impermanent and dukkha can't be self or belong to the self because otherwise self could remedy impermanence and dukkha and produce happiness at wish.
So the impermanent isn't a reliable source of happiness. But the teachings of the Buddha as such aren't a reliable source of happiness either because if the Eightfold Path isn't practiced there won't result happiness - or better: end of dukkha - through the mere teachings as such either.

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 pm
The three marks of existence have to do with reliability (or lack of).
i understand the line of reasoning to be such: what is impermanent is dukkha and what is impermanent and dukkha can't be self or belong to the self because otherwise self could remedy impermanence and dukkha and produce happiness at wish.
[/quote]

The role of the self is to utilize impermanence to fulfill its wishes. Had the reality of the senses be solid, the self would have no utility.
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.

SteRo
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:33 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 pm
The three marks of existence have to do with reliability (or lack of).
i understand the line of reasoning to be such: what is impermanent is dukkha and what is impermanent and dukkha can't be self or belong to the self because otherwise self could remedy impermanence and dukkha and produce happiness at wish.
The role of the self is to utilize impermanence to fulfill its wishes. Had the reality of the senses be solid, the self would have no utility.
[/quote]

Well I have expressed my understanding of the three marks of existence based on the teachings I have followed. From that perspective of mine it seems the issue you have with reliability of the Buddha's teachings when they are considered to be impermanent, dukkha and anatta does not arise. :shrug:

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:12 pm
Well I have expressed my understanding of the three marks of existence based on the teachings I have followed. From that perspective of mine it seems the issue you have with reliability of the Buddha's teachings when they are considered to be impermanent, dukkha and anatta does not arise. :shrug:
Why not? are the Buddha's teaching permanent, satisfactory and self?
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.

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 3719
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by robertk »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:18 pm
:


Why not? are the Buddha's teaching permanent, satisfactory and self?
I noted earlier that the 3 marks apply to realities, the aggregates, not to concepts and words.

SteRo
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:18 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:12 pm
Well I have expressed my understanding of the three marks of existence based on the teachings I have followed. From that perspective of mine it seems the issue you have with reliability of the Buddha's teachings when they are considered to be impermanent, dukkha and anatta does not arise. :shrug:
Why not? are the Buddha's teaching permanent, satisfactory and self?
No but I have covered that already here: viewtopic.php?p=542590#p542590

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

robertk wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:28 pm
I noted earlier that the 3 marks apply to realities, the aggregates, not to concepts and words.
Concepts and words are part of reality. If we take nama rupa to be name and form where name represents the reality of concepts and form represents the reality of the sense (experience), then what constitutes reality seem to be a dynamic relationship between the two of which arguments are constructed

Logical deductions based on impermanence can always be disputed. For example, the sutta you provided links impermanence or inconstancy to stress, but without stress there can be no happiness within the conditioned phenomena. Why water is satisfactory? because of thirst. If we drink water when we aint thirsty, then disease will produced.

Same thing can go in the relationship between impermanence and not self. By definition, the self is what endures change, or utilizes change to achieve its aim, or what griefs when its aims are not achieved. Without impermanence, the self has no meaning.

From the above perspective, concluding Dukkha and Anatta based on Anicca is not completely warranted.
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.

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2779
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by Bundokji »

SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:37 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:18 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:12 pm
Well I have expressed my understanding of the three marks of existence based on the teachings I have followed. From that perspective of mine it seems the issue you have with reliability of the Buddha's teachings when they are considered to be impermanent, dukkha and anatta does not arise. :shrug:
Why not? are the Buddha's teaching permanent, satisfactory and self?
No but I have covered that already here: viewtopic.php?p=542590#p542590
The self can produce happiness at wish, this is exactly what the self do considering that what we "wish", by definition, is not guaranteed. if it were guaranteed, it would not be called "wish".
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.

SteRo
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Has the Buddha ever been challenged through the three marks of existance?

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:44 pm
SteRo wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:37 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:18 pm


Why not? are the Buddha's teaching permanent, satisfactory and self?
No but I have covered that already here: viewtopic.php?p=542590#p542590
The self can produce happiness at wish, ....
Sorry but what you're saying seems at odds with 1st noble truth.

Or is my understanding of "at wish" wrong? i understand it to mean "as it pleases" or "whenever it wants"
Last edited by SteRo on Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply