The Mainstream or The Outsider?

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mikenz66
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The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by mikenz66 »

I was intrigued by a description of a certain teacher as:
... framing his argument as that of an insightful truth-teller, an outsider able to shed the delusions that have transfixed the mainstream.
This happened to be Bhikkhu Sujato commenting on Thanissaro Bhikkhu's view on not self, but I'm interested not in the particular argument, but in the wider implications of the statement.

A number of modern teachers either cultivate an "insightful outsider" image, or have it thrust upon them. For example Bhikkhu Yogānanda's collection of discussions with Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda characterize the latter as "The Heretic Sage". Others are more circumspect, emphasising that their interpretations are not necessarily the only possible ones, and apologising for any inadvertent mistakes or misleading statements they might have made.

The problem that faces the practitioner who has encountered several interpretations of, for example, Dependent Origination, is how to deal with the apparent contradictions.

We could note that these different interpretations are not necessarily new. The Theravada and other sects had both three-lives and one-mind-moment interpretations of Dependent Origination co-existing in their texts:
viewtopic.php?t=34951&start=15#p523035
viewtopic.php?t=20542#p287570

We could also note that there have been arguments about the exact nature of jhana for over two millennia: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=13382&p=544668&hilit=jhana#p544668

However, there is still a nagging question: If we choose the wrong interpretation(s), will we be condemned to wander aimlessly in samsara for countless aeons? Or should we take comfort in the suttas that describe the Dhamma as a raft, and not be overly concerned about the details of the particular raft that we have chosen? A raft which, after all, has to eventually be abandoned.

:heart:
Mike

sunnat
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by sunnat »

"The problem that faces the practitioner who has encountered several interpretations of, for example, Dependent Origination, is how to deal with the apparent contradictions." - ignore them and continue to practice. The answers will come by direct experience as a result of walking the path.

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Aloka
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Aloka »

mikenz66 wrote:However, there is still a nagging question: If we choose the wrong interpretation(s), will we be condemned to wander aimlessly in samsara for countless aeons? Or should we take comfort in the suttas that describe the Dhamma as a raft, and not be overly concerned about the details of the particular raft that we have chosen? A raft which, after all, has to eventually be abandoned.

Life's too short, just choose whatever feels right. I think if we worry too much about other people's interpretations and wafflings all the time then we've probably lost the plot completely!

:)

.
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings Mike,

An interesting topic to discuss :). My own view is that as long as we remember this general principle:

“When this exists, that is; due to the arising of this, that arises. When this doesn’t exist, that is not; due to the cessation of this, that ceases.”
Or, if the person prefers
“When this exists, this is; due to the arising of this, this arises. When this doesn’t exist, this is not; due to the cessation of this, this ceases.”
and accept the 12 links as well as the Noble Eight Fold Path then we can’t go far wrong. My own view is that these concepts are merely signposts and pointers, instead of being substantial things and carriers of truth. I think that even if someone accepts the 3 life model, takes the world to be a real and existing “thing” and sees substance in concepts, and so disagrees with how I see the Dhamma, they can still make good progress in the Dhamma. Eventually I think they will come around to my way of seeing it, or if not they will still have achieved much. So, I’m quite open to there being a range of views within the Dhamma.

I think the main issue that comes up centres around a correct understanding of meditation and the tendency to reject mundane right view because of another view instead of seeing through it.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DooDoot
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:08 am
Or, if the person prefers and accept the 12 links as well as the Noble Eight Fold Path then we can’t go far wrong.
The above appears to say if the "self" accepts the 12 links & the Noble Eightfold Path then the "self" can't go far wrong.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:08 am
I think the main issue that comes up centres around a correct understanding of meditation
What exactly is this "correct understanding of meditation"? :shrug:
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:08 am
the tendency to reject mundane right view because of another view instead of seeing through it.
Where does mundane right view (in MN 117) ever refer to a mundane right view of dependent origination? Thanks :shrug:
Last edited by DooDoot on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:18 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:08 am
Or, if the person prefers and accept the 12 links as well as the Noble Eight Fold Path then we can’t go far wrong.
The above appears to say if the "self" accepts the 12 links & the Noble Eightfold Path then the "self" can't go far wrong.

The self is a concept :). Don’t get lost in the words. By relying upon right view and it’s concepts we can abandon all views concepts. By relying upon conceit we can abandon all conceit. By relying upon desire we can abandon all desire. Don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Don’t fail to see cessation for the concepts.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DooDoot
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
The self is a concept
The self is more than a concept. The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome. If self was merely a concept, it could be removed easily, similar to changing a name.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
Don’t get lost in the words.
Yes. Don’t get lost in the words.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
By relying upon concepts we can abandon all concepts. By relying upon conceit we can abandon all conceit. By relying upon desire we can abandon all desire.
The Buddha didn't appear to teach the above.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
Don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Don’t fail to see cessation for the concepts.
More nonsense.
Last edited by DooDoot on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
The self is a concept
The self is more than a concept. The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
Don’t get lost in the words.
Yes. Don’t get lost in the words.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
By relying upon concepts we can abandon all concepts. By relying upon conceit we can abandon all conceit. By relying upon desire we can abandon all desire.
The Buddha didn't appear to teach the above.
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
Don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Don’t fail to see cessation for the concepts.
More nonsense.

Enjoy your day friend :)
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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DooDoot
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am
Enjoy your day friend
Its night here, not day. As the Buddha said of minds lost in delusion:
There are some brahmans & contemplatives, brahman, who have the perception of 'day' when it is night, and of 'night' when it is day. This, I tell you, is their being in a dwelling of delusion. As for me, I have the perception of 'day' when it is day, and of 'night' when it is night. If anyone, when speaking rightly, were to say, 'A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of human & divine beings,' he would rightly be speaking of me.

MN 4
Self is much more than merely a concept. Don't get lost plaguing words of yet misrepresenting Nanananda.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:30 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am
Enjoy your day friend
Its night here, not day. As the Buddha said of minds lost in delusion:
There are some brahmans & contemplatives, brahman, who have the perception of 'day' when it is night, and of 'night' when it is day. This, I tell you, is their being in a dwelling of delusion. As for me, I have the perception of 'day' when it is day, and of 'night' when it is night. If anyone, when speaking rightly, were to say, 'A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of human & divine beings,' he would rightly be speaking of me.

MN 4

Have a good night then :smile:
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Dan74 »

The OP sounds to me like a variant of the "what is sufficient for the Right View" topics that I had started in different Fora before.

FWIW, as some would know by now, I think quite little is needed to get the practice started right. And then, when one inadvertently wanders off-course or hits a stumbling block, wise guidance of an experienced kalyana-mitta, which usually implies a teacher-student relationship, but perhaps not always, is needed. But from what I've seen and experienced, solo practice is especially fraught with issues, even when one has some contact with a teacher/experienced kalyana-mittas. Practicing within a community carries manifold advantages with it, IMO.

And whether the teacher is fully in line with our perceived orthodoxy or not, is hardly relevant, since it very rarely impacts the way students practice, except in the cases of truly wayward teachers. These can usually be known by a number of signs. If, for instance, they act unethically and show no self-awareness and remorse, don't act out of compassion and the students' best interests, but out of their own selfish interests and show no significant insight and wisdom, this would be a deal-breaker for me. They are a deal-breaker because such a teacher is more likely to do harm rather than help the student dissolve the bonds of greed, anger and ignorance. A wrong view, or a view that is not quite on the mark, is only harmful insofar as it informs one's practice. And most of the time what gets labelled as 'wrong view' are semantics and misunderstanding. Plus, what may be labelled as wring view could happen to be exactly what the student needed to hear at that time. Views are indeed provisional.

Perhaps this betrays my embrace of the skilful means. So for some people it can be useful at a certain stage to believe in the True Self and later, when the time is right, to let go. For others it may be useful to be motivated by the sublime jhannic pleasures and then, when the time is right to abandon them. And so on...
_/|\_

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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by chownah »

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
The self is a concept
The self is more than a concept. The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome. If self was merely a concept, it could be removed easily, similar to changing a name.
I think that if for someone "self" is merely a concept then it is much more easily removed than it is for someone who thinks that "self" is more than a concept. All dhammas are empty of "self" and "self" itself is a dhamma so it must be empty of "self"......by saying "The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome." you are making an identity for "self" by giving it characteristics and by seemingly positing your own "self" which is trying to overcome your own "self" (I guess). In short your words seem to be showing that it is the way you functionally use "self" by making a "self" for it that leads you to believe that "self" is more than a concept. For those who really see "self" as being just a concept the battle is nearly over.....there is nothing left to contend with.....

Didn't the buddha say the he could not imagine any kind of self which would not bring suffering?....why construct a diseased sort of thingy which is fueled by craving and with which we should do battle to overcome it?....this is a kind of self and so brings suffering....get rid of it!
chownah

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

chownah wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:50 am
DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:28 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:24 am
The self is a concept
The self is more than a concept. The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome. If self was merely a concept, it could be removed easily, similar to changing a name.
I think that if for someone "self" is merely a concept then it is much more easily removed than it is for someone who thinks that "self" is more than a concept. All dhammas are empty of "self" and "self" itself is a dhamma so it must be empty of "self"......by saying "The self is a disease fueled by craving. There is no overcoming self until craving is overcome." you are making an identity for "self" by giving it characteristics and by seemingly positing your own "self" which is trying to overcome your own "self" (I guess). In short your words seem to be showing that it is the way you functionally use "self" by making a "self" for it that leads you to believe that "self" is more than a concept. For those who really see "self" as being just a concept the battle is nearly over.....there is nothing left to contend with.....

Didn't the buddha say the he could not imagine any kind of self which would not bring suffering?....why construct a diseased sort of thingy which is fueled by craving and with which we should do battle to overcome it?....this is a kind of self and so brings suffering....get rid of it!
chownah

:goodpost:

:anjali:
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by DooDoot »

chownah wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:50 am
I think that if for someone "self" is merely a concept then it is much more easily removed...
Is self is merely a concept then it has no causes and is a discrete independent phenomenon. This again shows the nonsensically of this idea.

As for the “removal” idea, merely wishful thinking it seems. The Buddha described liberation as the destruction of craving. There are really no shortcuts.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Re: The Mainstream or The Outsider?

Post by Ceisiwr »

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:59 am
chownah wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:50 am
I think that if for someone "self" is merely a concept then it is much more easily removed...
Is self is merely a concept then it has no causes and is a discrete independent phenomenon. This again shows the nonsensically of this idea.

As for the “removal” idea, merely wishful thinking it seems. The Buddha described liberation as the destruction of craving. There are really no shortcuts.

Views and concepts are dependently originated. They are fabrications. The concept of self is a dependently originated phenomenon, as are self views.
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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