Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
meindzai
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by meindzai » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:40 pm

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

Regards, Vincent.
Yes, there are suttas where he tells a story about "back when I was a..." in order to illustrate a point. There are also suttas where he seemed to know where other beings had come into or passed out of different realms and such. There's one where the Buddha reprimands Sariputta a bit for givign a teaching that lead someone to the Brahma world, when he could have given them a teaching leading them to Nibbana.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
But why, Sariputta — when there was still more to be done, having established Dhanañjanin the brahman in the inferior Brahma world — did you get up from your seat and leave?"

"The thought occurred to me, lord, 'These brahmans are set on the Brahma worlds. What if I were to teach Dhanañjanin the brahman the path to union with the Brahmas?'"

"Sariputta, Dhanañjanin the brahman has died and reappeared in the Brahma world."
oops!

-Dave K

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

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Nikaya35 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:54 pm

santa100 wrote:
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?
Many secular buddhists claim karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. Many of them claim
to read the nikayas sutras. I have compared many sutras with other translations and the sutras say more or less the same thing. With a difference of few words. I always wondered what kind of sutras some secular buddhists are reading to claim karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. :shrug: :shrug: The point of this thread is to understand what the Buddhas enlightenment is really about. I want to thank everyone for your replies and participation. :thumbsup:
Last edited by Nikaya35 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:10 pm, 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 5:57 pm

meindzai wrote:
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
Thank you very much for reply. Your reply help me a lot. :smile:

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6507
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by Mkoll » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:23 pm

Nikaya35 wrote:Many secular buddhists claim karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. Many of them claim
to read the nikayas sutras. I have compared many sutras with other translations and the sutras say more or less the same thing. With a difference of few words. I always wondered what kind of sutras some secular buddhists are reading to claim karma and rebirth aren't part of the Buddha teachings. :shrug: :shrug:
They are reading the same suttas as everyone else. The difference is in how much and what is being cherry-picked. In order to get rid of kamma and rebirth from the Buddha's teachings, their must be a lot of cherry-picking.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:08 am

dhammafriend wrote: 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?
Knowledge in general is a side affect, freedom from Dukkha is the main thing, if a particular knowledge is a necessary prerequisite for release from Dukkha it's not knowledge it's wisdom.

I don't believe the Buddha ever taught that if you don't remember all of your past lives you'll never be free of Dukkha, correct me if I'm wrong, and he never taught that his path is really all about remembering past lives.
“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

chownah
Posts: 8450
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by chownah » Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:55 am

Understanding the Buddha's enlightenment is good but I'm wondering if there is anything in the Suttas which indicate that any other arahants had a similar experience when they attained enlightenment. I am asking because it seems that perhaps some people are using the description of the Buddha's enlightenmet as a template for typical arahants.
chownah

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17002
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:14 am

The "gradual training" suttas such as MN 27 MN 27 and MN 107 mention it as if it was quite common.

:anjali:
Mike

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

Re: Understanding the buddha's enlightenment

Post by culaavuso » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:27 am

chownah wrote:Understanding the Buddha's enlightenment is good but I'm wondering if there is anything in the Suttas which indicate that any other arahants had a similar experience when they attained enlightenment.
SN 8.7: Pavāraṇā Sutta wrote: There is no deed, Sāriputta, bodily or verbal, of these five hundred bhikkhus that I censure. For of these five hundred bhikkhus, Sāriputta, sixty bhikkhus are triple-knowledge bearers, sixty bhikkhus are bearers of the six direct knowledges, sixty bhikkhus are liberated in both ways, while the rest are liberated by wisdom.

[Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi Footnote: The three knowledges implied by "triple-knowledge bearers" (tevijjā) are: the knowledge of the recollection of past abodes, the divine eye (also called the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings), and the knowledge of the destruction of the taints. Together with spiritual powers (iddhi) and the capacity for reading others' minds, these make five of the six abhiññās or direct knowledges. Spk says that the sixth, the divine ear, is also implied.]
The recommended use of these higher knowledges is discussed in SN 45.159.

Arahants that were liberated by wisdom and that did not have these experiences of the higher knowledges are discussed in SN 12.70.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crazy cloud and 169 guests