Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:14 pm rhinoceroshorn
This split between Early Buddhism and those who follow the commentaries (ie Visuddhimagga) is terrible. Couldn't we just live in peace and practice what we find best?
Of course we should be friendly towards each other and debate with each other, but the Theravādin position has always been that it is the true guardian and continuation of the Dhamma. The other sects are “thorns” as they are in doctrinal error:

These 17 sects are schismatic,
only one is non-schismatic.
With the non-schismatic sect,
there are eighteen in all.
Like a great banyan tree,
the Theravāda is supreme,
The Dispensation of the Conqueror,
complete, without lack or excess.
The other sects arose
like thorns on the tree.


— Dīpavaṃsa, 4.90–91
What is Theravāda? If Theravāda includes Buddhaghosa then Theravāda is equally schismatic.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn
What is Theravāda?
Traditionally Theravāda is defined as the Dhamma as taught and interpreted by the Theras of the Mahāvihāra (Great Monastery), which refers to Anuradhapura Maha Viharaya, with the Theras also being known as Mahāvihāravasins (Dwellers in the Great Monastery). This then would include the entire Abhidhamma and the Aṭṭhakathā (commentaries). A Theravādin would then be defined as someone within this lineage, or layman, who accepts the 4 sources of authority (in this order):

1. Sutta: "the well-said" = the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.

2. Suttānuloma: "the according with the well-said" = a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.

3. Atthakathā: "treatise on the meaning" = an ancient commentary.

4. Attanomati: "personal opinion" = the expositions and views of later generations of teachers.

A more modern idea is that of there being classical Theravāda, as outlined above, and modern Theravāda. A modern Theravādin would say they are still a Theravādin as they take the Pali suttas as authoritative and take instructions from Theravādin monastics, but they may or may not adopt the Abhidhamma and may or may not acknowledge the commentaries. The early buddhist text types are outside of both definitions, since they also take the Chinese Agamas as authoritative sometimes even over a Pali sutta.
If Theravāda includes Buddhaghosa then Theravāda is equally schismatic.
How so?
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Mostly:
Discrepancies between what the suttas say and what he wrote.
Emphasis on things which were cited in one or two suttas and should not be given too much attention as he gives in his treatise.
:buddha1:

Now we have one-pointed jhānas, ñanas, dry insight, nimittas as the standard. Cool. :computerproblem:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:34 pm Mostly:
Discrepancies between what the suttas say and what he wrote.
Emphasis on things which were cited in one or two suttas and should not be given too much attention as he gives in his treatise.
:buddha1:

Now we have one-pointed jhānas, ñanas, dry insight, nimittas as the standard. Cool. :computerproblem:
Buddhaghosa didn’t write the commentaries. The Theras asked him to translate the Sinhala commentaries (which were based on older commentaries from India) back into Pali. Before he did this he wrote the Visuddhimagga, based on this material and the Abhidhamma. The Theras checked the Visuddhimagga before letting him translate the commentaries. So, the Theras obviously approved of all that is said in the Visuddhimagga which means it’s teachings are fully in accord with the Abhidhamma and the commentaries, the commentaries which go back to the earliest days of the Dhamma in mainland India. I would say this puts the Visuddhimagga in good stead when it comes to its level of authority. The meditation practices therein are how the Theras practiced meditation and Jhana since at least the 3rd Buddhist council if not earlier. I find that to be a more trusting guide to meditation and the Dhamma in general than more modern interpretations.

As for dry-insight, there is no account of a stream-enterer or a once-returner requiring jhanas.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:46 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:34 pm Mostly:
Discrepancies between what the suttas say and what he wrote.
Emphasis on things which were cited in one or two suttas and should not be given too much attention as he gives in his treatise.
:buddha1:

Now we have one-pointed jhānas, ñanas, dry insight, nimittas as the standard. Cool. :computerproblem:
Buddhaghosa didn’t write the commentaries. The Theras asked him to translate the Sinhala commentaries (which were based on older commentaries from India) back into Pali. Before he did this he wrote the Visuddhimagga, based on this material and the Abhidhamma. The Theras checked the Visuddhimagga before letting him translate the commentaries. So, the Theras obviously approved of all that is said in the Visuddhimagga which means it’s teachings are fully in accord with the Abhidhamma and the commentaries, the commentaries which go back to the earliest days of the Dhamma in mainland India. I would say this puts the Visuddhimagga in good stead when it comes to its level of authority. The meditation practices therein are how the Theras practiced meditation and Jhana since at least the 3rd Buddhist council if not earlier. I find that to be a more trusting guide to meditation and the Dhamma in general than more modern interpretations.

As for dry-insight, there is no account of a stream-enterer or a once-returner requiring jhanas.
What if those Theras you trust so much were not trustable, or so wise as you expect? You are blindly following them.

Of course, the jhānas described in the Wisudimaga are not the ones the Buddha taught, that's why they are not necessary.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

I'll stick to the suttas for the rest of my life.
Who needs Buddhaghosa? I don't.
I'll ordain in a monastery which loves Buddhaghosa. If they force me to follow what is written in the Wisudimaha I'll leave, fine. Better preserve the true Dhamma than to follow a corrupted one.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn
What if those Theras you trust so much were not trustable, or so wise as you expect? You are blindly following them.
The Buddha advised that we should seek out instruction in the Dhamma from those who are wise and learned. From monks who have learned the Dhamma, Vinaya and Abhidhamma and who teach in line with the suttas. We should also practice to test what they say. When I look at all of the other early Buddhist schools, all I find is doctrinal error and heresy. This puts the Theras as being a good source of instruction, as wise and learned monks who I should seek for guidance. This unbroken tradition stretching back to at least 250 B.C. if not earlier (so 150 years or so after the Buddha entered final Nibbana) is, I think, worthy of taking seriously over and above more modern interpretations which are always highly idiosyncratic and so, quite naturally, diverse and contradictory.
Of course, the jhānas described in the Wisudimaga are not the ones the Buddha taught, that's why they are not necessary.
I think you missed the point. If we take stream-entry, no sutta ever states that Jhana is required for this level of awakening.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ok, follow what brings you peace and happiness. Seeing the inconsistencies between suttas and commentaries doesn't bring me any peace or happiness, therefore I'll not follow them.
Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:08 pm I think you missed the point. If we take stream-entry, no sutta ever states that Jhana is required for this level of awakening.
No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:02 pm I'll stick to the suttas for the rest of my life.
Who needs Buddhaghosa? I don't.
I'll ordain in a monastery which loves Buddhaghosa. If they force me to follow what is written in the Wisudimaha I'll leave, fine. Better preserve the true Dhamma than to follow a corrupted one.
That is, of course, up to you. Personally I see a danger in taking a sutta only approach. The suttas are condensed teachings. On the whole, to understand them you need to interpret and then explain them. By relying upon oneself it’s more likely the suttas will be interpreted under the influence of the taints, leading to an idiosyncratic but wrong interpretation. This is why we should seek out wise and learned monks who practice. They understand the suttas in ways we do not yet. Given what I know of the early Buddhist schools, the Theras of the Great Monastery are the best go to point for instruction. This is also a living and breathing tradition, with said understanding and knowledge being passed down through the centuries. Each generation never inserting their own ideas, but always relying on the wisdom that came before. Wisdom that stretches all the way back to, as I say, at least 250 B.C and, in my opinion, likely to the time of the Blessed One himself. An example of this adherence to traditional wisdom, with a suspicion of new ideas, can be found in the section on dependent origination in the Vism:
Now, in teaching this dependent origination the Blessed One has set forththe text in the way beginning, “With ignorance as condition there are formations” (S II 20). Its meaning should be commented on by one who keeps within the circle of the Vibhajjavádins,5 who does not misrepresent the teachers, who does not advertise his own standpoint, who does not quarrel with the standpoint of others, who does not distort suttas, who is in agreement with the Vinaya, who looks to the principal authorities (mahápadesa—D II 123ff.), who illustrates the law (dhamma), who takes up the meaning (attha), repeatedly reverting to that same meaning, describing it in various different ways.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Ceisiwr »

rhinoceroshorn
No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
Actually the suttas do talk about the nimitta of samadhi. It also helps to understand what a nimitta actually is and it’s role in sanna, in the suttas. As for concentration, do you think there aren’t different types? Even in mundane worldly life we have different levels of concentration.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Re: Where To Ordain

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rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:14 pm No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
So that is not true:
SN 46.51 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration? There are, bhikkhus, the sign of serenity, the sign of nondispersal: frequently giving careful attention to them is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration.
Both "serenity" and "non-dispersal" are nimitta (signs). Perhaps you are referring to the now common understanding of samādhinimittaṃ as a "meditation object"? I understand your concern, but you threw out the baby with bath water.
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

SDC wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:26 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:14 pm No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
So that is not true:
SN 46.51 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration? There are, bhikkhus, the sign of serenity, the sign of nondispersal: frequently giving careful attention to them is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration.
Both "serenity" and "non-dispersal" are nimitta (signs). Perhaps you are referring to the now common understanding of samādhinimittaṃ as a "meditation object"? I understand your concern, but you threw out the baby with bath water.
Yes, I'm referring to the counterpart sign, the light, obasa, or whatever it's called.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:24 pm rhinoceroshorn
No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
Actually the suttas do talk about the nimitta of samadhi. It also helps to understand what a nimitta actually is and it’s role in sanna, in the suttas. As for concentration, do you think there aren’t different types? Even in mundane worldly life we have different levels of concentration.
Ok, show me one single sutta excluding MN 128 (off topic) which talks about samadhinimittas in the context of jhāna.
If nimitta had any importance it would be in the formula of the jhānas.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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SDC
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by SDC »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:28 pm
SDC wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:26 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:14 pm No sutta also states you need a nimitta to enter jhāna. No sutta talks about neighbouring (?) concentration. So? :roll:
So that is not true:
SN 46.51 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration? There are, bhikkhus, the sign of serenity, the sign of nondispersal: frequently giving careful attention to them is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of concentration and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of concentration.
Both "serenity" and "non-dispersal" are nimitta (signs). Perhaps you are referring to the now common understanding of samādhinimittaṃ as a "meditation object"? I understand your concern, but you threw out the baby with bath water.
Yes, I'm referring to the counterpart sign, the light, obasa, or whatever it's called.
Got you, but those nimitta are the nutriment for samadhi, so they are necessary for jhana. Not to mention cittanimitta, which is necessary for mindfulness (SN 47.8). "Signs" are important. Again, rendered as "meditation object" does imply additional factors, but that is not the end of the story.
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

SDC wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:36 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:28 pm
SDC wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:26 pm

So that is not true:



Both "serenity" and "non-dispersal" are nimitta (signs). Perhaps you are referring to the now common understanding of samādhinimittaṃ as a "meditation object"? I understand your concern, but you threw out the baby with bath water.
Yes, I'm referring to the counterpart sign, the light, obasa, or whatever it's called.
Got you, but those nimitta are the nutriment for samadhi, so they are necessary for jhana. Not to mention cittanimitta, which is necessary for mindfulness (SN 47.8). "Signs" are important. Again, rendered as "meditation object" does imply additional factors, but that is not the end of the story.
Yes, they are necessary for the one-pointed jhānas Mr. Buddhaghosa teaches, not the ones the Buddha teaches. :smile:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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