Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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No_Mind
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Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:13 pm

A question has gnawed at me since the time I turned Buddhist. When Buddha died five hundred arahants gathered for the first council. Five hundred !

Can it be enlightenment does not exist at all ? All that exists is perfectly understanding how to become a good person, a better person, a person who does not hate anyone or anything but only accepts and loves.

Did Buddha tie us up in questions and conundrums to see who would shake it all off as meaningless and emerge "arahant" (questions like Self vs No Self discussed in about a dozen threads and rebirth debate). Did he purposefully put in stumbling blocks which upon further analysis have no meaning and never had any ?

Was it that the student who became a good person (he must have had a way of measuring people's goodness) and went and whispered to him "I know how you tried to trick me" declared an "arahant" - literally an enlightened person not a metaphorically enlightened person.

I am not saying Dhamma does not exist (in the sense a perfectly Dhammic person is free from clinging, has perfected Eight Fold Path, has perfectly understood suffering). I am asking can this head long rush towards becoming more enlightened be a ruse? Sotapanna has seven births left, sakadgami has one birth left be an elaborate red herring.

Someone here few days back warned me of rebirth in lower realms if I did not immediately stop being an agnostic and became an atheist. Certainly a person as wise as Buddha cannot have had anything to do with that belief. But his teachings have clearly tied people up in all types of dos and don'ts. Think of Self in this way and do not think of Self in that way. This way of looking at it is clinging that way of looking at it is not clinging.

It definitely seems that Buddhism has tied many up deeper in quagmire of samsara instead of freeing them from it. They have more questions and more doubts, not less after having studied Suttas for many years.

Can he have created Nirvana as biggest clinging to a view.

Perhaps all that Buddha wanted us is to become a perfectly good person instead of worrying which view is clinging and which view is not clinging and spend endless hours researching which Sutta had what to say about it.

Bit like story of Emperor's new clothes, one who can see past the "new clothes" is enlightened.
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LXNDR
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:59 pm

but why would have he wanted us to become ones, what is it good for in the long run? Confucius cared about the society and the world order, but the Buddha not really

is in this case nibbana still the end-goal?
Last edited by LXNDR on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:01 pm

LXNDR wrote: is in this case nibbana still the end-goal?
Of course Nirvana is still the end goal. Nirvana is clinging, a want, a need. Everyone in this Forum wants Nirvana. It is a want no doubt about it.

To be free from Nirvana is Nirvana.

To be able to be a perfect human being having manifested Eight Fold Path fully and realizing there is no Nirvana one becomes free and that is Nirvana.

What amount of energy has been spent debating Self vs no Self. Is it at all possible that such discussion on complications and conundrums can be a part of a path to be free? Is it freedom to pore over texts for five hours a day and at end of many years be no nearer to understanding if Buddha meant Self or no Self. Clearly it is not a sign of freedom. It is clinging of the worst type.

There is a new thread on contradictions in Buddhism (which made me write this one) http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=21099
Last edited by No_Mind on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:02 pm

No_Mind wrote:
LXNDR wrote:but why would have he wanted us to become ones, what is it good for in the long run?

is in this case nibbana still the end-goal?
LXNDR could not understand. Becomes ones? Can you elaborate your question or edit it.
why would have he wanted us to become better persons? what for?

do you mean his teaching may have been more ethical than metaphysical or spiritual?

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:09 pm

LXNDR wrote: why would have he wanted us to become better persons? what for?

do you mean his teaching may have been more ethical than metaphysical or spiritual?
Yes exactly. At its core I am trying to say he created Nirvana as a clinging, the ultimate clinging.

There is no Nirvana. Realizing there is no Nirvana is Nirvana.

All he wanted was that we adopt and manifest Eight Fold Path and that will bring cessation of suffering.
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Hi No_Mind,

I don't think so. All the teachings have a purpose and they are useful if approached correctly and at the right time.

There is certainly plenty of doctrinal hair-splitting to get lost in, but this was never the Buddha's intention. There are key teachings and practices and it is best to focus on those at the start (like interdependent origination, 'the mind is the forerunner', sublime abidings, metta-sutta and meditation). Others may become clearer over time.
For me, practice is very simple (which is not to say, easy) and looks something like this:

1. Sila: Avoid harm, do good. Meaning when harmful impulses come like anger, blame, greed, pride, etc, I notice them (can notice muscles contracting before emand avoid indulging them and acting on them. This is of course made easier by the subsequent points.

2. Samadhi: Cultivate mindfulness. This is to say a spacious awareness of the multitude of happenings with the ability to focus on one as necessary rather than being carried by the currents or getting stuck. This happens with practice and my main practice has been breath awareness throughout the day as an anchor of mindfulness.

3. Panna: Sharpen and deepen attention both on the cushion and throughout the day, and matters become clear(er). Whether anapanasati or koans or whatever, we see the clinging and realize there is nothing to cling to. Not me, not mine. Release.

Rinse and repeat.
_/|\_

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:27 pm

Dan74 wrote:Hi No_Mind,

I don't think so. All the teachings have a purpose and they are useful if approached correctly and at the right time.

There is certainly plenty of doctrinal hair-splitting to get lost in, but this was never the Buddha's intention. There are key teachings and practices and it is best to focus on those at the start (like interdependent origination, 'the mind is the forerunner', sublime abidings, metta-sutta and meditation). Others may become clearer over time.
Exactly. We are saying the same. I am not saying throw out dependent origination and do not study the Suttas. I agree completely with what you say about Sila, Samadhi, Panna

I am saying he created many rabbit holes. And Nirvana itself is the biggest rabbit hole of all. To learn the appropriate part of Suttas with correct view is Nirvana (when combined with having manifested fully Eight Fold Path)

Studying what he taught with a free and uncluttered mind, meditating, adopting Eight Fold Path, embodying the Dhamma is equal to attaining Nirvana.

I am not at all differing with what you say. All I am saying is there is no specific point called Nirvana. No a-ha moment in meditation called Nirvana.

To be free of all clinging including wanting to attain Nirvana is Nirvana.

I am not saying what he taught is a ruse. But that Nirvana is a ruse used by him to separate grain from chaff.
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:51 pm

Dan74 wrote:There is certainly plenty of doctrinal hair-splitting to get lost in, but this was never the Buddha's intention.
if he was wise, insightful, all-knowing ,the seer he should have known that after him his teaching would cause confusion and disagreements, why didn't he make up for the points of controversy or why did he allow them in the first place?

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No_Mind, you seem to not take into account that there's subjectively tangible psychological transformation happening when REAL, THAT nibbana dawns on a person, only then everything what the Buddha taught becomes natural and effortless, you don't abstain from sex, you don't want any, you don't suppress anger, it doesn't arise in you, and so with everything else, when you don't want anything and are fully content this is happiness
Last edited by LXNDR on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:59 pm

No_Mind wrote:I am saying he created many rabbit holes..
To be free of all clinging including wanting to attain Nirvana is Nirvana.
Well, combining the 2 statements above, the Buddha definitely did not create many rabbit holes. Without Him teaching about Nibbana, you wouldn't even have that concept in mind in order to say anything about it. Beside, notice the audience back in the day were a vast spectrum starting from the illiterate farmer to the noblest disciple. As a result, His teachings have to be as vast to accomodate the appropriate target audience. Just like Math, to a 4th grader, Algebra makes a lot of sense and he'd think that's all the "Math" that he'll ever need while Calculus, Differential Equations are just utter nonsense and unnecessary nuisance. So if we quarrel among ourselves about some Dhamma points, it's due to our own limitation of understanding and practice for being Dhamma 4th graders, not due to the problem of the Buddha's teaching itself.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:00 pm

Creating the confusion and disagreement and seeing who will see through the veil first was his motive. Arahant is not someone who has an a-ha moment. Arahant is one who understands there is no Nirvana. And he understands life and suffering perfectly since he has conquered clinging.

A perfectly good buddhist Sarath is wondering if he has more Kamma left http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=21089

Do you see the knot he tied up Sarath in? He has made Sarath more involved in samsara not less. (no offense Sarath :hug: your example was the nearest one)

Those who can cut the knots become enlightened. He created elaborate system of making us spin our wheels. Those students who saw through it and told him so became arahants. It is not that arahants have some special knowledge or power (like being able to see what will happen in 2041 AD).

They are free. Free of any need .. even a need to be enlightened.
Last edited by No_Mind on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:01 pm

santa100 wrote:So if we quarrel among ourselves about some Dhamma points, it's due to our own limitation of understanding and practice for being Dhamma 4th graders, not due to the problem of the Buddha's teaching itself.
this way you can explain everything :smile:
Last edited by LXNDR on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:04 pm

LXNDR wrote:this way you can justify anything
Actually I've used a very concrete and explicit analogy. I don't see how it leads to your conclusion that we can "justify anything" though.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:07 pm

LXNDR wrote:
santa100 wrote:
No_Mind wrote:So if we quarrel among ourselves about some Dhamma points, it's due to our own limitation of understanding and practice for being Dhamma 4th graders, not due to the problem of the Buddha's teaching itself.
this way you can explain everythig :smile:
Without going into a rabbit hole I did not write this

"So if we quarrel among ourselves about some Dhamma points, it's due to our own limitation of understanding and practice for being Dhamma 4th graders, not due to the problem of the Buddha's teaching itself"

LXNDR you have made some error in double / triple embedding quotes. That is not my sentence construction as can be seen clearly. Probably I think it is Santa100's words.

It should look like this
santa100 wrote:
No_Mind wrote:I am saying he created many rabbit holes..
To be free of all clinging including wanting to attain Nirvana is Nirvana.
So if we quarrel among ourselves about some Dhamma points, it's due to our own limitation of understanding and practice for being Dhamma 4th graders, not due to the problem of the Buddha's teaching itself.
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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:17 pm

quotation corrected

if nibbana involves constant effort to not cling, it's not nibbana but hard work :zzz:
santa100 wrote:
LXNDR wrote:this way you can justify anything
Actually I've used a very concrete and explicit analogy. I don't see how it leads to your conclusion that we can "justify anything" though.
i modified my statement a bit, but the import hasn't changed much, that if there's any inconsistency or confusing tenet in a teaching, it's not the teacher who is at fault but the students who just don't understand, and this way you can explain any nonsense any teacher might feed you
Last edited by LXNDR on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Can Enlightenment Be A Ruse?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:21 pm

LXNDR wrote: No_Mind, you seem to not take into account that there's subjectively tangible psychological transformation happening when REAL, THAT nibbana dawns on a person, only then everything what the Buddha taught becomes natural and effortless, you don't abstain from sex, you don't want any, you don't suppress anger, it doesn't arise in you, and so with everything else, when you don't want anything and are fully content this is happiness
How do you know Nirvana dawns on a person? How do you know there's subjectively tangible psychological transformation happening when Nirvana dawns? Were you standing next to someone when it happened?

How do you know everything becomes natural and effortless? How do you know they suppress anger? Has any arahant written what Nirvana is like?

Why are you lost in a thicket of views? Is this not exactly way he wanted. For you to lose your way (and for some to find their way out of this thicket of views)
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