Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Nikaya35
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Nikaya35 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:40 am

According to the sutras ( I' m using the bhikkhu bodhi translations ) the buddha attained 3 knowledges the night of his enlightenment. In the first watch of the night the Buddha remember many past lives. I'm the second watch of the night the Buddha understood how beings are reborn according to their actions by direct knowledge. In the last watch of the night the Buddha understood the way of the destruction of taints. According to secular buddhists karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. Other secular buddhists say karma and rebirth aren't important to the dharma. I'm missing something from the picture ?

SarathW
Posts: 12747
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:53 am

Are Kamma and rebirth important to you?
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Nikaya35
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Nikaya35 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:58 am

SarathW wrote:Are Kamma and rebirth important to you?
:)
I'm trying to understand the correct or the best interpretation of buddhism. The closest of the Buddha intended to be. I think understanding what's the Buddha's enlightenment really about , it's very important.

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:06 am

Nikaya35 wrote: I'm trying to understand the correct or the best interpretation of buddhism. The closest of the Buddha intended to be. I think understanding what's the Buddha's enlightenment really about , it's very important.
The Buddha's awakening is really about freedom from Dukkha, the 3 knowledges you've mentioned are just a side effect.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

culaavuso
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by culaavuso » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:07 am

Nikaya35 wrote:I think understanding what's the Buddha's enlightenment really about , it's very important.
MN 26: Ariyapariyesanā Sutta wrote: What if I, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, were to seek the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding? What if I, being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, were to seek the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding?
SN 56.31: Siṃsapā Sutta wrote: 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'

SarathW
Posts: 12747
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:08 am

I think you should be looking at Four Noble Truths.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Nikaya35
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Nikaya35 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:22 am

SarathW wrote:I think you should be looking at Four Noble Truths.
:)
You are talking about the third knowledge in the third watch " when my concentrated mind was purified , bright , unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, Wieldy , steady and attained to imperturbability , I direct it to the knowledge of the destructions of taints. I directly knew as it actually is: " this is suffering ;I directly knew as it actually is : This is the origin of suffering; I directIy knew as it is: this is the cessation of suffering: I directly knew as it is; this is the way of the cessation of suffering . I directly knew as it is : these are the taints ; I directly knew as it is: this is the origin of taints; I directly knew as it is: This is the cessation of taints; I directly knew as it is : This is the way of cessation of taints." :)
Last edited by Nikaya35 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

Nikaya35
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:36 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Nikaya35 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:24 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Nikaya35 wrote: I'm trying to understand the correct or the best interpretation of buddhism. The closest of the Buddha intended to be. I think understanding what's the Buddha's enlightenment really about , it's very important.
The Buddha's awakening is really about freedom from Dukkha, the 3 knowledges you've mentioned are just a side effect.
The freedom of dukkha is the buddha's third knowledge according to the sutras.

SarathW
Posts: 12747
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:37 am

What is your objective of becoming (interest) in Buddhism?
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:54 am

Nikaya35 wrote: The freedom of dukkha is the buddha's third knowledge according to the sutras.
You are correct, we know this knowledge is what the Buddhas awakening was really about because this is what he taught us in the four Noble truths. You'll notice the knowledges realised in the first watch and the second watch are not given any importance in the four Noble truths.
Last edited by Goofaholix on Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17001
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:29 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Nikaya35 wrote:
The Buddha's awakening is really about freedom from Dukkha, the 3 knowledges you've mentioned are just a side effect.
The freedom of dukkha is the buddha's third knowledge according to the sutras.
You are correct, we know this knowledge is what the Buddhas awakening was really about because this is what he taught us in the four Noble truths. You'll notice the knowledges realised in the first watch and the second watch are not given any importance in the four Noble truths.
Perhaps it depends on how you read the noble truths.

The first noble truth speaks about the dukkha associated with birth, aging, sickness, and death:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
"Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.
The second noble truth speaks about the origin of that dukkkha, i.e. the continuation, driven by craving:
"The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.
The third indicates there is an escape:
"Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.
The first two knowledges could be read to be about the continuation of dukkha, and thus are related to the first two truths:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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. ... 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. ...

... I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. ... I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.
:anjali:
Mike

santa100
Posts: 3826
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by santa100 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:28 pm

Nikaya35 wrote:According to secular buddhists karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. Other secular buddhists say karma and rebirth aren't important to the dharma. I'm missing something from the picture ?
From AN 4.180:
Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might say, in the monastery of this name bhikkhus live. They are eminent elders, leaders. I heard this from them and it was acknowledged. This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline and this is the dispensation of the Teacher. The words of that bhikkhu should not be disparaged nor accepted, those words and letters should be thoroughly learnt and searched in the Discourses and proof should be looked in the Discipline. If those words and letters are found in the discourses and if there is proof in the Discipline, it should be concluded these are the words of that Blessed One, worthy and rightfully enlightened.
If one needs to closely investigate words even from eminent elders and leaders, how much more careful one needs to be when hearing claims made by regular people?

User avatar
dhammafriend
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by dhammafriend » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:03 pm

Goofaholix wrote:The Buddha's awakening is really about freedom from Dukkha, the 3 knowledges you've mentioned are just a side effect.
Hi Goofaholix, are you sure about that? If they are a side effect, how did they arise first? Do you not think that his vision informed his insight into the kilesas? Does understanding the truth of suffering really only encompass our single life? I don't think we really understand dukkha until we understand how it perpetuates itself through various lifetimes. What do you think?

Metta
Dhammafriend
Metta
Dhammafriend

Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by vinasp » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Hi Nikaya35,

The problem as I see it is that Gotama was not a Buddha in the first and second watches, at the time of the attainment of the first and second forms of knowledge.

He was still a worlding, an ordinary man, because he had not yet seen, entered, or completed the noble eightfold path which leads to the destruction of the asava's.

Also these first two forms of knowledge can be attained by worldlings, and were often claimed by non-buddhist samana's.

So these first two forms of knowledge seem to belong to a lower level than the third form of knowledge, they are said to be 'mundane' (lokiya - of the world).

Worldlings are said to lack knowledge and to be deluded, also enlightenment includes the destruction of ignorance. This seems to cast doubt on the validity of the first two forms of knowledge.

I believe that there are discourses in which the Buddha claims to posess the first two forms of knowledge after his enlightenment.

Regards, Vincent.

meindzai
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by meindzai » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:30 pm

Nikaya35 wrote:According to the sutras ( I' m using the bhikkhu bodhi translations ) the buddha attained 3 knowledges the night of his enlightenment. In the first watch of the night the Buddha remember many past lives. I'm the second watch of the night the Buddha understood how beings are reborn according to their actions by direct knowledge. In the last watch of the night the Buddha understood the way of the destruction of taints. According to secular buddhists karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. Other secular buddhists say karma and rebirth aren't important to the dharma. I'm missing something from the picture ?
Well, let's be precise. If secular Buddhists are saying karma and rebirth "aren't part of the Buddha's teachings" they are clearly mistaken and have not read the Suttas. (I'll give one example below) .

What is up for debate is whether karma and rebirth are actual verifiable facts, or whether one has to believe in them to practice Buddhism is something endlessly debated (and we have a whole endless debating thread devoted to it). Those are really two different issues.

My reading is that the Buddha's recollections of past lives and such are there in the Suttas because they are seen as being somehow vital to his seeing the cycle of samsara, and being fully awakened as a full-fledged samma-sambuddha, that is, someone who awakens completely on their own without being taught the four noble truths, etc. Remember he didn't have anyone to show him this stuff. He had to figure it out himself. And what's a good way to figure it out? Looking at a bajillion lifetimes worth of birth and death would not be a bad start. You'd probably get the picture after a while.

In the canon, many people awakened without having such recollections. But the Buddha did prescribe recollection as a practice to achieve liberation. In the Maha-Assapura Sutta the Buddha gives the entire outline of the contemplative path, beginning with understanding cause and effect, purity of conduct, restraint, moderation, etc... Having purified all these, one settles down into the first jhana, the second jhana, the third jhana, the fourth jhana, and...
"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives.[5] He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and 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 and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes and details. Just as if a man were to go from his home village to another village, and then from that village to yet another village, and then from that village back to his home village. The thought would occur to him, 'I went from my home village to that village over there. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to that village over there, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I came back home.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. He recollects his manifold past lives... in their modes and details.
Also " the passing away and re-appearance of beings..." and "the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations." which ultimately leads to the realization of nibbana.

Past life recollection in this case isn't some sort of parlour trick or "I wonder if I was cleopatra" type curiosity. Clearly it's meant to motivate the mind to incline itself towards the deathless, as in "OK, been there, done that, got the t-shirt, I'm outta here."

-Dave K

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 87 guests