Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:01 am

Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:But why doesn't everyone follow the Buddha's instructions?
Don't ask me? :shrug:
Dan74 wrote:How many practitioners follow the Buddha's instructions to the point of attaining arahatship? And what differentiates between those who do and those who don't? Do you see what I am getting at?
I could give you multiple lists from the Sutta Pitaka that include none of what you're fishing for. For example:

Four foundation of Mindfulness (satipatthana)
1. Contemplation of the body (kayanupassana)
2. Contemplation of feelings (vedananupassana)
3. Contemplation of consciousness (cittanupassana)
4. Contemplation of mental qualities (dhammanupassana)

Four right exertions (sammappadhana)
1. Exertion for the non-arising of unskillful states
2. Exertion for the abandoning of unskillful states
3. Exertion for the arising of skillful states
4. Exertion for the sustaining of skillful states

Four bases of power (iddhipada)
1. Zeal (chanda)
2. Energy (viriya)
3. Consciousness (citta)
4. Discrimination (vimamsa or vīmaŋsā)

Five faculties (indriya)
1. Faith (saddha)
2. Energy (viriya)
3. Mindfulness (sati)
4. Concentration (samadhi)
5. Wisdom (panna)

Five powers (bala)
1. Faith (saddha)
2. Energy (viriya)
3. Mindfulness (sati)
4. Concentration (samadhi)
5. Wisdom (panna)

Seven factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga)
1. Mindfulness (sati)
2. Investigation (dhamma vicaya)
3. Energy (viriya)
4. Joy (piti)
5. Tranquility (passaddhi)
6. Concentration (samadhi)
7. Equanimity (upekkha)

Noble Eightfold Path
1. Right View (samma ditthi)
2. Right Intention (samma sankappa)
3. Right Speech (samma vacca)
4. Right Action (samma kammanta)
5. Right Livelihood (samma ajiva)
6. Right Energy (samma vayama)
7. Right Mindfulness (samma sati)
8. Right Concentration (samma samadhi)

The above list collectively forms the 37 bodhipakkhiya-dhammā or "factors of enlightenment" and are enumerated in MN 77.
Dan74 wrote:To me this boils down to the question of bodhicitta, but in order to have sufficient resolve to carry out the Buddha's instruction, one has to appreciate the incredible importance of this. And can this be appreciated without the deep cultivation of the paramis?
And of course "bodhicitta" is irrelevant, in this particular sub-forum being a Mahayana concept... nor is it necessary given the above list. As with any list from the Sutta Pitaka containing instructions to bhikkhus, neither is there any mention of cultivation throughout many previous lifetimes, nor any mention of the impossibility of attainment in this life if one's spiritual upbringing prior to birth was less than optimal... being in the human realm enables one to learn the Dhamma. Just to be clear... no one is denying that parami cultivation is useful.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Paññāsikhara » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:But why doesn't everyone follow the Buddha's instructions?
Don't ask me? :shrug:
My own thought is that it is because they have not prepared other necessary conditions.
Often that preparation may take a long time, and I'm not talking of hours or even years.

I've seen practitioners following the Dhamma for years, decades, but still obviously having a lot of confusion.
I often think about the teachings in the Culakammavibhanga Sutta:

18. "But here some woman or man when visiting a monk or brahman, asks: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?' Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is wise wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to wisdom, that is to say, when visiting a monk or brahman, to ask: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?'

But the message can take a long, long time to sink in. Even with a good teacher.
Certain requisites are absent, it seems.

How long does it take to develop these requisite conditions? ...
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Paññāsikhara » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:16 am

Dan74

Just try asking the same question with the word "bodhi" and "panidhana" instead of "bodhi-citta". It amounts to exactly the same thing in the end, just the Theravada vocab is the only difference I think. ie. aspiration to awakening.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:17 am

Greetings venerable Paññāsikhara,

Yes, I concur... Right Intention and Right Effort are very important components of the Noble Eightfold Path and should not be sacrificed or neglected.

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Dan74 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:26 am

Thank you for the correction and for the new vocab - I naively (or lazily) assumed that it would mean the same. Also thanks for the list, retro! :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:

What I was "fishing" for is very much there, in the words like "exertion," "zeal", "energy", "faith", etc.

It's hard to know whether one has "the necessary spiritual upbringing" or the requisite roots, but that much work is needed is undeniable. To me this means a long hard look at my habits and a resolution about which way I want to go in this life. That's all. I don't want to speculate about what's possible and impossible in any given instance.
Last edited by Dan74 on Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:28 am

Greetings Dan,
Dan74 wrote:...but that much work is needed is undeniable. To me this means a long hard look at my habits and a resolution about which way I want to go in this life. That's all. I don't want to speculate about what's possible and impossible in any given instance.
Good call. :thumbsup:

Can it be my turn to choose the sutta of the day? ;)

SN 22.101: Nava Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Virgo » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:37 pm

BlackBird wrote:Would be very keen to see some scriptural evidence to back up these ideas, preferably Nikayan.

metta
Jack :heart:
Hi Jack,

I'll just give you a link to a book. This book is essentially a collection of hundreds of quotes about the importance of the Perfections gathered from all over the Tipitaka with some commentary on each one.

This book will provide you with many quotes from the Tipitaka elucidating the importance of practicing the Ten Perfections for a long time. Without practicing the Perfections how can attachement and aversion be reduced? Without practicing the Perfections wisdom cannot be developed to the degree that it penetrates the nature of arising realities.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/3918097/The-P ... ightenment" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Perfections are praised and mentioned again and again in the Suttas as well. It is only in Commentaries, however, that they are all listed and grouped together as one group and referred to as "the Ten Perfections". The basis for their being grouped this way is the importance placed on each one of them individually for attaining enligthenment throughout the teachings of the Buddha, including in the Suttanta.

When one studies about the Perfections, one sees that it is only logical that one could fully let go of attachment to the body and so on when one has constantly practiced non-attachment throughout many lifetimes through practicing Generosity again and again and so on. Otherwise, how could the mind-stream be primed to let go of clinging completely?

My suggestion is to read the book linked above, which explains all Ten Perfections very well. The book is also special in that the author realizes the key role that the Perfection of Panna plays in the development of the other Perfections. Without panna giving is just giving; it is not a Perfection leading to Enlightenment. When based in panna it becomes a Perfection leading to enlightenment, however.

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Re: Dharma Wheel -- Mahayana forum

Post by puthujjana » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote: How did all those noble ones in the early days of the Buddhasasana, such as those featured in the Pali Canon, manage to spend "many. many lifetimes" prior practicing the perfections, when the Dhamma had been lost prior to the arrival of the most recent Buddha?
Are the Pāramīs only found in Buddhism? Or is it possible to cultivate them (except Paññā) while practicing other spiritual teachings?
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."
- Ajahn Chah

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Re: Dharma Wheel -- Mahayana forum

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:35 pm

puthujjana wrote: Are the Pāramīs only found in Buddhism?
With the possible exception of wisdom (depending on whether you define it as particular Buddhist Wisdom) they seem to be common to all reasonably sensible teachings...

Metta
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Re: Dharma Wheel -- Mahayana forum

Post by Virgo » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:45 pm

puthujjana wrote:
retrofuturist wrote: How did all those noble ones in the early days of the Buddhasasana, such as those featured in the Pali Canon, manage to spend "many. many lifetimes" prior practicing the perfections, when the Dhamma had been lost prior to the arrival of the most recent Buddha?
Are the Pāramīs only found in Buddhism? Or is it possible to cultivate them (except Paññā) while practicing other spiritual teachings?
Hi puthujjana, and Mike,

It is certainly true that anyone can practice dana (generosity), khanti (patience), and all the other perfections but actually they are only Perfections leading to Enlightenment when born of Panna (and yes sometimes we have panna and do not know it). Otherwise, they don't really help one develop towards awakening much, if at all.

All the best,

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:47 pm

Virgo wrote: I'll just give you a link to a book. This book is essentially a collection of hundreds of quotes about the importance of the Perfections gathered from all over the Tipitaka with some commentary on each one. . . .
The Perfections are praised and mentioned again and again in the Suttas as well. It is only in Commentaries, however, that they are all listed and grouped together as one group and referred to as "the Ten Perfections". The basis for their being grouped this way is the importance placed on each one of them individually for attaining enligthenment throughout the teachings of the Buddha, including in the Suttanta. . . . .
The point is that the Buddha did not teach the perfections in the same way that they are put forth in the literature that was developed after the death of the Buddha, which is what you are referring to. There is no reason to think that this later development needs to be read backwards into the sutta literature.

These later developments reflect, in part, an aggrandisement of the Buddha and what it means to be a Buddha and how a Buddha became a Buddha -- all stuff, including the paramis as a separate list of virtues, developed after the Buddha's death.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Virgo » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:05 pm

The reason behind this is that when there is some panna, it can condition these acts called "Perfections". When one gives out of panna, for example, there is no expectation for reward or for result from that giving arising at that moment that the intention to give arises. Likewise, something is not given out of aversion, to save oneself from harm, nor because one wants to be considered as generous, viewed as kind and so on. So every action of giving is not the Perfection of Giving, yet if giving is rooted in panna, it can be called the Perfection of Giving because it helps lead to enlightenment by not conditioning more delusion, but conditioning more panna, wisdom.

This is elucidated in places such as the Commentary called "The Dispeller of Delusion", which is the Commentary to the Book of Analysis. I recommend Ajahn Sujins book above.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:07 pm

Virgo wrote:The reason behind this is that when there is some panna,....
Not clear. Reason behind what?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by Virgo » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote: I'll just give you a link to a book. This book is essentially a collection of hundreds of quotes about the importance of the Perfections gathered from all over the Tipitaka with some commentary on each one. . . .
The Perfections are praised and mentioned again and again in the Suttas as well. It is only in Commentaries, however, that they are all listed and grouped together as one group and referred to as "the Ten Perfections". The basis for their being grouped this way is the importance placed on each one of them individually for attaining enligthenment throughout the teachings of the Buddha, including in the Suttanta. . . . .
The point is that the Buddha did not teach the perfections in the same way that they are put forth in the literature that was developed after the death of the Buddha, which is what you are referring to. There is no reason to think that this later development needs to be read backwards into the sutta literature.

These later developments reflect, in part, an aggrandisement of the Buddha and what it means to be a Buddha and how a Buddha became a Buddha -- all stuff, including the paramis as a separate list of virtues, developed after the Buddha's death.
So tell me, did the Buddha not practice Generosity, Morality, Renunciation, Wisdom, Energy, Patience, Truthfulness, Determination, Loving-Kindness, and Equinimity (the Ten Perfections) and recommend them again and again in order to attain Enlightenment? If he did (which He did), what is the big problem?

The Commentaries are not so much seperate texts themselves, but simply Commentaries to the existing texts. If they happen to group the above listed qualities into a set of ten that they extracted from the Discourses and Teachings of the Buddha, so what? The Buddha praised these things again and again. It is easy to look into the Tipitika and see these things praised again and again. Hence, they are listed as the Ten Perfections to develop. I don't see what is so outrageous about that. Furthermore, many of these Commentaries come from very early times (there are references to some of them being recited at the First Buddhist Council)-- the time where in many groups of 500, 500 were Arahants. Do you think Arahants are incapable of teaching the Dhamma properly?


....

Sorry if not clear. The post before this one was kind of a continuation of what I had posted before it.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramitta development needed to be aryan?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Virgo wrote:
So tell me, did the Buddha not practice Generosity, Morality, Renunciation, Wisdom, Energy, Patience, Truthfulness, Determination, Loving-Kindness, and Equinimity (the Ten Perfections) and recommend them again and again? If he did, then what is the problem?
The Buddha never characterized these virtues as the “Ten Perfections.” The “Ten Perfections” as a separate classification list came after the death of the Buddha, as did - importantly - the particular interpretations that you are insisting must be read into the suttas. There is no reason not to assume that the Buddha would have taught that the “Ten Perfections” must be completed to the extent that the later literature insists if that is what the Buddha held to be so. He did not teach that.

I would recommend Ven Pesala’s msg above as being more in keeping with what one finds in the suttas:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 503#p54503" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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