What does it mean to have no views?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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clw_uk
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What does it mean to have no views?

Post by clw_uk » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:09 pm

Firstly I would like to say that I was unsure where to post this, but decided upon the "Fringe" section in case some members express some unorthodox views.

I would like to discuss what it means to be free from views within Buddhism. Within the suttas we can find the Buddha teaching that an Arahant does not hold speculative views and there seems to be a hint that an Arahant does not hold views or opinions at all. For example:

A person who associates himself with certain views, considering them as best and making them supreme in the world, he says, because of that, that all other views are inferior; therefore he is not free from contention (with others). In what is seen, heard, cognized and in ritual observances performed, he sees a profit for himself. Just by laying hold of that view he regards every other view as worthless. Those skilled (in judgment)[1] say that (a view becomes) a bond if, relying on it, one regards everything else as inferior. Therefore a bhikkhu should not depend on what is seen, heard or cognized, nor upon ritual observances. He should not present himself as equal to, nor imagine himself to be inferior, nor better than, another. Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides. He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana[2] who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

"They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


And how is there the yoke of views? There is the case where a certain person does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views. When he does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views, then — with regard to views — he is obsessed with view-passion, view-delight, view-attraction, view-infatuation, view-thirst, view-fever, view-fascination, view-craving. This is the yoke of sensuality, the yoke of becoming, & the yoke of views.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


The Buddha:
'I argue for this'
doesn't occur to one
when considering what's grasped
among doctrines.
Looking for what is ungrasped
with regard to views,
and detecting inner peace,
I saw.

...

An attainer-of-wisdom isn't measured
made proud[3]
by views or what's thought,
for he isn't fashioned of them.

He wouldn't be led
by action,[4] learning;
doesn't reach a conclusion
in any entrenchments.

For one dispassionate toward perception
there are no ties;
for one released by discernment,
no delusions.

Those who grasp at perceptions & views
go about butting their heads
in the world.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


With regard to those brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is pleasing to me': That view of theirs is close to being impassioned, close to bondage, close to delighting, close to holding, close to clinging. With regard to those brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is not pleasing to me': That view of theirs is close to not being impassioned, close to non-bondage, close to not-delighting, close to not-holding, close to not-clinging.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


From my understanding it seems that the Buddha is saying that views can be a fetter and that an Arahant does not form views about the world, and so he doesn't cling to them either. How can we make sense of this when we look at other parts of the Dhamma which is put forth in the Suttas, such as the doctrine of Kamma and rebirth. Is it a contradiction that the Buddha claims to hold no views or opinion, yet he teaches about rebirth and kamma in the suttas?

Thoughts?
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SarathW
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:41 pm

The answers are already in your question.

The way I understand when you have any perception or feeling, you are subject to possessing of view.
It is not possible your to have a view, if you see every thing as dependently originated and subject to three characteristic of existence (impermanence, unsatisfactory and not self)
It is important to note that Noble Eightfold Path also considered a view (right view)
With the right knowledge and right release you will see the things as they are without views.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Mkoll
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Mkoll » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:27 pm

clw_uk wrote:From my understanding it seems that the Buddha is saying that views can be a fetter and that an Arahant does not form views about the world, and so he doesn't cling to them either. How can we make sense of this when we look at other parts of the Dhamma which is put forth in the Suttas, such as the doctrine of Kamma and rebirth. Is it a contradiction that the Buddha claims to hold no views or opinion, yet he teaches about rebirth and kamma in the suttas?

Thoughts?
No contradiction at all. Views are part of the raft one uses to cross over, just as food, craving, and conceit are.
MN 22 wrote:"Monks, I will teach you the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "Suppose a man were traveling along a path. He would see a great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. What if I were to gather grass, twigs, branches, & leaves and, having bound them together to make a raft, were to cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with my hands & feet?' Then the man, having gathered grass, twigs, branches, & leaves, having bound them together to make a raft, would cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with his hands & feet. [7] Having crossed over to the further shore, he might think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying it on my back, go wherever I like?' What do you think, monks: Would the man, in doing that, be doing what should be done with the raft?"

"No, lord."

"And what should the man do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is the case where the man, having crossed over, would think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having dragged it on dry land or sinking it in the water, go wherever I like?' In doing this, he would be doing what should be done with the raft. In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas."
AN 4.159 wrote:Then Ven. Ananda approached the nun and, on arrival, sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, he said to the nun: "This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.

"This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.

"This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.
There is also another sutta (that I'd be glad if someone could provide the reference for; Zom I think you've posted it before) whose message is similar to the raft simile: one desires something and once one has achieved the goal of that desire, the desire fades...something like that.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Dan74-new
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Dan74-new » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:54 pm

Some great quotes in the OP. Metta Sutta also comes to mind where some translations read:
By not holding to fixed views, The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, Being freed from all sense desires, Is not born again into this world.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html

If we treat views as a raft, the Right View, being foremost of course, then I don't think we are 'holding fixedly.' So the test, IMO, is if the view is useful, helps relinquish delusion, replace the unwholesome with wholesome and lead to liberation. And also that we are using it appropriately.

_/|\_

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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Unrul3r » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:02 am

Mkoll wrote: There is also another sutta (that I'd be glad if someone could provide the reference for; Zom I think you've posted it before) whose message is similar to the raft simile: one desires something and once one has achieved the goal of that desire, the desire fades...something like that.
Possibly, SN 51.15.

:anjali:

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Mkoll
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:10 am

Unrul3r wrote:
Mkoll wrote: There is also another sutta (that I'd be glad if someone could provide the reference for; Zom I think you've posted it before) whose message is similar to the raft simile: one desires something and once one has achieved the goal of that desire, the desire fades...something like that.
Possibly, SN 51.15.

:anjali:
Yes, that's the one. Thank you.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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clw_uk
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:16 am

So what I am getting here is that we can hold views based upon how practical they are in leading to Nibbana and the ultimate cessation of views.

It seems to me then that Buddha isn't saying that some views are necessarily true, but instead he is saying that certain views are useful. Would that be a fair assement?
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Mkoll
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:33 am

clw_uk wrote:So what I am getting here is that we can hold views based upon how practical they are in leading to Nibbana and the ultimate cessation of views.

It seems to me then that Buddha isn't saying that some views are necessarily true, but instead he is saying that certain views are useful. Would that be a fair assement?
I dunno. That's tricky. We'd have to distinguish between subjective vs. objective, ultimate vs. conventional, and other elusive abstractions in order to stay on the same page. I'm not particularly creative with that stuff so I don't know where to begin.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by SarathW » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:37 am

It appears any perception and feeling is a view.
However Noble Eightfold Path is a view which lead to cessation of perception and feeling.
It that sense they are truths.
Wrong view does not mean that they are falls.
Wrong views are called such because they do not lead to end suffering.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Dan74-new
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Dan74-new » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:44 am

clw_uk wrote:So what I am getting here is that we can hold views based upon how practical they are in leading to Nibbana and the ultimate cessation of views.

It seems to me then that Buddha isn't saying that some views are necessarily true, but instead he is saying that certain views are useful. Would that be a fair assement?
That's basically my approach.

The Buddha did distinguish between wrong views and right views, but at the end of the day, even the right view misapplied can lead to grief. So it boils down, IMO, to what use you make of views. "Are your views any use?"

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clw_uk
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:54 am

SarathW wrote:It appears any perception and feeling is a view.
However Noble Eightfold Path is a view which lead to cessation of perception and feeling.
It that sense they are truths.
Wrong view does not mean that they are falls.
Wrong views are called such because they do not lead to end suffering.

So materialism could be true, yet it's unwise to adopt such a view because of it's implications?
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clw_uk
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:57 am

Dan74-new wrote:
clw_uk wrote:So what I am getting here is that we can hold views based upon how practical they are in leading to Nibbana and the ultimate cessation of views.

It seems to me then that Buddha isn't saying that some views are necessarily true, but instead he is saying that certain views are useful. Would that be a fair assement?
That's basically my approach.

The Buddha did distinguish between wrong views and right views, but at the end of the day, even the right view misapplied can lead to grief. So it boils down, IMO, to what use you make of views. "Are your views any use?"
I think we are nearly on the same page, however there is a problem.

It seems that someone can make use of a "wrong view" in order to live a noble life. The best of example of this is Epicurus, yet, according to the orthodox position, Epicurus couldn't have lived a noble life, as materialist as he was. The same can be said of the Stoics and their doctrines.

SarathW
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by SarathW » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:04 am

clw_uk wrote:
SarathW wrote:It appears any perception and feeling is a view.
However Noble Eightfold Path is a view which lead to cessation of perception and feeling.
It that sense they are truths.
Wrong view does not mean that they are falls.
Wrong views are called such because they do not lead to end suffering.

So materialism could be true, yet it's unwise to adopt such a view because of it's implications?
Buddha acknowledge material pleasure. But there are higher pleasures.
It appears due to our ignorance we don't see them.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Mkoll
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:09 am

clw_uk wrote:It seems that someone can make use of a "wrong view" in order to live a noble life. The best of example of this is Epicurus, yet, according to the orthodox position, Epicurus couldn't have lived a noble life, as materialist as he was. The same can be said of the Stoics and their doctrines.
What do you mean by a "noble life"?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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clw_uk
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Re: What does it mean to have no views?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:11 am

Mkoll wrote:
clw_uk wrote:It seems that someone can make use of a "wrong view" in order to live a noble life. The best of example of this is Epicurus, yet, according to the orthodox position, Epicurus couldn't have lived a noble life, as materialist as he was. The same can be said of the Stoics and their doctrines.
What do you mean by a "noble life"?

Free from dukkha, or as free as possible from it.
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