Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Pseudobabble
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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Pseudobabble » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:15 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:52 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:18 am
Why worry about it? There will be people who get it among the Mahayana, just like there are people who don't get it among the Theravada. The label a person applies to themself has almost nothing at all to do with whether they are 'ariya'.
I think that whether one believes in the possibility of a realm populated by deceased Buddhas or doesn't matters for the prospect of attaining path and fruition.

How? Maybe it does, I don't know. My favourite sutta covers it, as far as I am concerned:
Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta wrote: Then Vacchagotta the wanderer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Now then, Master Gotama, is the cosmos eternal?"

"That has not been declared by me, Vaccha: 'The cosmos is eternal.'"

"Well then, Master Gotama, is the cosmos not eternal?"

"Vaccha, that too has not been declared by me: 'The cosmos is not eternal.'"

"Then is the cosmos finite?"... "Is the cosmos infinite?"... "Is the body the same as the soul?"... "Is the body one thing, and the soul another?"... "Does the Tathagata exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"

"Vaccha, that too has not been declared by me
...
The pattern is: does [X beyond phenomenal experience] exist or not? Eternal/not-eternal, finite/infinite, x=y/x=|=y, its all conceptual dichotomy beyond the range of phenomenal experience.

The answer is given pretty explicitly in another discourse with Vacchagotta:
Vacchagotta Sutta wrote:"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading away, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsessions with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."
As I read it, that says: 'Don't concern yourself with metaphysical questions which don't have a direct bearing on your Right View and practice'. The part I bolded in particular, can be read as discouraging a scholastic, letter of the law approach, in favour of practice and letting 'there be in the seen, only the seen, in the heard, only the heard, etc'.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Grigoris » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:23 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:24 pm
wow you are so helpful thank you very much
You could try helping yourself instead of waiting for others. A Google search on the term Dharmakaya is pretty bloody simple.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by budo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:31 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:15 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:52 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:18 am
Why worry about it? There will be people who get it among the Mahayana, just like there are people who don't get it among the Theravada. The label a person applies to themself has almost nothing at all to do with whether they are 'ariya'.
I think that whether one believes in the possibility of a realm populated by deceased Buddhas or doesn't matters for the prospect of attaining path and fruition.

How? Maybe it does, I don't know. My favourite sutta covers it, as far as I am concerned:
Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta wrote: Then Vacchagotta the wanderer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Now then, Master Gotama, is the cosmos eternal?"

"That has not been declared by me, Vaccha: 'The cosmos is eternal.'"

"Well then, Master Gotama, is the cosmos not eternal?"

"Vaccha, that too has not been declared by me: 'The cosmos is not eternal.'"

"Then is the cosmos finite?"... "Is the cosmos infinite?"... "Is the body the same as the soul?"... "Is the body one thing, and the soul another?"... "Does the Tathagata exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"

"Vaccha, that too has not been declared by me
...
The pattern is: does [X beyond phenomenal experience] exist or not? Eternal/not-eternal, finite/infinite, x=y/x=|=y, its all conceptual dichotomy beyond the range of phenomenal experience.

The answer is given pretty explicitly in another discourse with Vacchagotta:
Vacchagotta Sutta wrote:"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading away, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsessions with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."
As I read it, that says: 'Don't concern yourself with metaphysical questions which don't have a direct bearing on your Right View and practice'. The part I bolded in particular, can be read as discouraging a scholastic, letter of the law approach, in favour of practice and letting 'there be in the seen, only the seen, in the heard, only the heard, etc'.
That's because it's turtles all the way down, the same reason the buddha stopped looking at all his past lives because it was not possible to see them all because he had infinite past lives, and if my memory serves me right he stopped looking after seeing 100,000 past lives.

So it's turtles all the way down and we could be living in a simulation within a simulation, a universe, within in a universe, just like in the animatrix when the deva zooms out of one reality/simulation and zooms into another, revealing an infinite amount of realities. In Kabbala they call it "Ein Sof" meaning "without end".

At the end of the day, the past is irrelevent, since all universes/simulations have one thing in common that is consistent: the 5 aggregates
Last edited by budo on Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:38 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:23 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:24 pm
wow you are so helpful thank you very much
You could try helping yourself instead of waiting for others. A Google search on the term Dharmakaya is pretty bloody simple.
it's ok, sorry for sarcasm.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by budo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:58 pm

To give yourself some context oh how irrelevant metaphysics are:

The current universe we live in is 13.772 billion years, so let's just say 13 billion years. You can fit 100,000 years into 13 billion, 130,000 times. So if the Buddha stopped looking into his past lives after 100,000 past lives (10 million years if each life lived to 100), that barely scratches the surface of this current universe. Therefore the Buddha cannot comment on if the cosmos are eternal or not, because for him there is no difference between infinite and a trillion, a hundred billion, a billion, or even a half a billion. It's such a long time that it may as well be infinite and thinking about it is absurd and irrelevant.

The only common denominator is the 5 aggregates, and that's all that matters.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:16 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:15 pm
How? Maybe it does, I don't know.
well how i see it if it was indeed so, not saying that it is but if it was so that a person was to hold that the Tathagata exists after death, conceived the Tathagata to be in the consciousness which was reborn and that it was the same consciousness appearing after death. That would be taking consciousness to be self and possibly taking it to be eternal, which would be a very wrong view to hold because it runs contrary to consciousness being impermanent and not-self.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Pseudobabble » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:44 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:16 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:15 pm
How? Maybe it does, I don't know.
well how i see it if it was indeed so, not saying that it is but if it was so that a person was to hold that the Tathagata exists after death, conceived the Tathagata to be in the consciousness which was reborn and that it was the same consciousness appearing after death. That would be taking consciousness to be self and possibly taking it to be eternal, which would be a very wrong view to hold because it runs contrary to consciousness being impermanent and not-self.
Agreed, but again, who cares? Surely your time is better spent not worrying about it, since you'll never know anyway.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by rightviewftw » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:09 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:44 pm
Agreed, but again, who cares? Surely your time is better spent not worrying about it, since you'll never know anyway.
I practice for realization of the path so i do care about the forementioned offence and obviously don't want to incur it as well as wanting to redeem myself if already incurred.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by dharmacorps » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:40 am

Psychobabble said it best-- just be respectful of other traditions and don't worry about it. If you feel you haven't been respectful enough of them them in the past, then resolve to be more respectful in the future. There is nothing else to be done.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Polar Bear » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:09 am

budo wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:58 pm
To give yourself some context oh how irrelevant metaphysics are:

The current universe we live in is 13.772 billion years, so let's just say 13 billion years. You can fit 100,000 years into 13 billion, 130,000 times. So if the Buddha stopped looking into his past lives after 100,000 past lives (10 million years if each life lived to 100), that barely scratches the surface of this current universe. Therefore the Buddha cannot comment on if the cosmos are eternal or not, because for him there is no difference between infinite and a trillion, a hundred billion, a billion, or even a half a billion. It's such a long time that it may as well be infinite and thinking about it is absurd and irrelevant.

The only common denominator is the 5 aggregates, and that's all that matters.
The pericope on recollection of past lives actually goes further than 100,000 lives into many aeons of cosmic evolution and devolution, and some lifetimes in higher realms can last longer than individual iterations of the universal cycles so your 10 million years is way off.
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Here’s a simile for an aeon:
At Sāvatthī. Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, how long is an eon?” “Mendicant, an eon is long. It’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it lasts.”
“But sir, is it possible to give a simile?” “It’s possible,” said the Buddha. “Suppose there was a huge stone mountain, a league long, a league wide, and a league high, with no cracks or holes, one solid mass. And as each century passed someone would stroke it with a fine cloth from Kāsī. By this means the huge stone mountain would be worn away before the eon comes to an end. That’s how long an eon is. And we’ve transmigrated through many such eons, many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands. Why is that? Transmigration has no known beginning. … This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed from all conditions.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn15.5/en/sujato
Also see:
“Mendicants, an eon contains four uncountable periods. What four? When an eon contracts, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon remains fully contracted, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon expands, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon remains fully evolved, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes. These are the four uncountable periods of an eon.”

https://suttacentral.net/an4.156/en/sujato
So perhaps we’re talking something more like Graham’s Number of years rather than 10 million, although I’m probably being hyperbolic.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by rightviewftw » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:28 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:40 am
Psychobabble said it best-- just be respectful of other traditions and don't worry about it. If you feel you haven't been respectful enough of them them in the past, then resolve to be more respectful in the future. There is nothing else to be done.
I have not reached a definite conclusion and probably won't any time soon, if ever. What you said seems to outline the optimal approach for me. In addition one could also ask for forgiveness officially if one feels like one has not been respectful enough imho, better safe than sorry.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:31 am

Yes.

They certainly have faith in the three jewels and adhere to the teachings,it's many of the metaphysics that we disagree on but even those are not worth disagreeing on because ultimately the Mahayana practicioner has more to worry about with the ariyupavadantaraya when they call Theravada the lesser vehicle or Hinayana. However this happens less in the age of reason and communication.

The smart Mahayana practicioners I know have given up this practice and instead refer to Theravada as Southern Buddhism now.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:06 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:31 am
The smart Mahayana practicioners I know have given up this practice and instead refer to Theravada as Southern Buddhism now.
Personally, I just call it Theravada.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by budo » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:15 am

Polar Bear wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:09 am
budo wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:58 pm
To give yourself some context oh how irrelevant metaphysics are:

The current universe we live in is 13.772 billion years, so let's just say 13 billion years. You can fit 100,000 years into 13 billion, 130,000 times. So if the Buddha stopped looking into his past lives after 100,000 past lives (10 million years if each life lived to 100), that barely scratches the surface of this current universe. Therefore the Buddha cannot comment on if the cosmos are eternal or not, because for him there is no difference between infinite and a trillion, a hundred billion, a billion, or even a half a billion. It's such a long time that it may as well be infinite and thinking about it is absurd and irrelevant.

The only common denominator is the 5 aggregates, and that's all that matters.
The pericope on recollection of past lives actually goes further than 100,000 lives into many aeons of cosmic evolution and devolution, and some lifetimes in higher realms can last longer than individual iterations of the universal cycles so your 10 million years is way off.
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Here’s a simile for an aeon:
At Sāvatthī. Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, how long is an eon?” “Mendicant, an eon is long. It’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it lasts.”
“But sir, is it possible to give a simile?” “It’s possible,” said the Buddha. “Suppose there was a huge stone mountain, a league long, a league wide, and a league high, with no cracks or holes, one solid mass. And as each century passed someone would stroke it with a fine cloth from Kāsī. By this means the huge stone mountain would be worn away before the eon comes to an end. That’s how long an eon is. And we’ve transmigrated through many such eons, many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands. Why is that? Transmigration has no known beginning. … This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed from all conditions.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn15.5/en/sujato
Also see:
“Mendicants, an eon contains four uncountable periods. What four? When an eon contracts, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon remains fully contracted, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon expands, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes.
When an eon remains fully evolved, it’s not easy to calculate how many years, how many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of years it takes. These are the four uncountable periods of an eon.”

https://suttacentral.net/an4.156/en/sujato
So perhaps we’re talking something more like Graham’s Number of years rather than 10 million, although I’m probably being hyperbolic.

:anjali:
You misread me, I said the Buddha stopped looking further than 100,000 past lives, not years

I wrote my estimation based on each life averaging around 100 human years just to show how futile it is based on human years let alone deva years. Gotama was reborn as a deva before, don't know how many times he was reborn as a deva, but I know he was reborn as a deva at least once. I heard before on a mahasi retreat that 1 day in heaven realm is 100 days in human realm and that devas live more than 100 deva years, so if a deva lives for a thousand deva years (at least) that's 100,000 human years. So one deva life can even span billions of human years if some devas can live hundreds of thousands to billions of deva years.

Therefore if he is recollecting 100,000 past lives, one of those lives can span at least 100,000 human years to billions of human years. Another life, such as an animal life could span less than 100 human years.

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Re: Can a wholesale dismissal of Non-Theravada traditions result in Ariyupavadantaraya

Post by pilgrim » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:12 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:31 am

What if he was criticizing all of theravadins, saying ie "theravadins [taken as a group] do not have the path, their teachings are wrong" then he would be incurring the offence in your opinion?
It is still an impersonal generalisation.

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