Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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daverupa
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by daverupa » Fri May 13, 2016 3:06 pm

AN 10.29 wrote:“Bhikkhus, of the speculative views held by outsiders, this is the foremost, namely: ‘I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be, and it will not be mine.’
MN 117 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.
So, is it the case that an annihilationist wanderer would have to transition through this tainted view on their way to right view? (And on that note, where is "right view that is affected by taints" in the SN & AN?)
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Mkoll
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Mkoll » Fri May 13, 2016 3:38 pm

daverupa wrote:So, is it the case that an annihilationist wanderer would have to transition through this tainted view on their way to right view?
Possibly, possibly not. It's possible that they'd just have to not cling to their annihilationist view.

This sutta might offer some insight—it shows that the arahant understands view, its origin, cessation, and way to cessation.
AN 7.51 wrote:Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason, why uncertainty doesn't arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues?"

"Because of the cessation of views, monk, uncertainty doesn't arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues. The view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata exists after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata both does and doesn't exist after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata neither does nor doesn't exist after death': The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern view, doesn't discern the origination of view, doesn't discern the cessation of view, doesn't discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns view, discerns the origination of view, discerns the cessation of view, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata both does and doesn't exist after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata neither does nor doesn't exist after death.' Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn't paralyzed, doesn't quake, doesn't shiver or shake over the undeclared issues.

"'The Tathagata exists after death' — this craving-standpoint, this perception-standpoint, this product of conceiving, this product of elaboration, this clinging-standpoint: That's anguish.[1] 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death': That's anguish. 'The Tathagata both does and doesn't exist after death': That's anguish. 'The Tathagata neither does nor doesn't exist after death': That's anguish.[2]

The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern anguish, doesn't discern the origination of anguish, doesn't discern the cessation of anguish, doesn't discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns anguish, discerns the origination of anguish, discerns the cessation of anguish, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata both does and doesn't after death,' doesn't declare that 'The Tathagata neither does nor doesn't exist after death.' Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn't paralyzed, doesn't quake, doesn't shiver or shake over the undeclared issues."
daverupa wrote:(And on that note, where is "right view that is affected by taints" in the SN & AN?)
I've never seen that in SN or AN.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 13, 2016 8:47 pm

daverupa wrote: (And on that note, where is "right view that is affected by taints" in the SN & AN?)
MN117 is unique in it's use of such terminology:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 341#p16848" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=20509" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=14592" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Definitely not one the early texts...

:anjali:
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daverupa
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by daverupa » Fri May 13, 2016 10:20 pm

The weight of the evidence seems to indicate that an annihilationist wanderer would not need (nor be told) to accept rebirth in order to practice, even up to non-return.

So that's interesting. Maybe some secular folk would benefit from this information?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Mkoll » Fri May 13, 2016 10:28 pm

Maybe a few. I'm under the impression that the majority subscribe as much to Nibbana and the 4 stages of enlightenment as they do rebirth. To them, Buddhist teachings are for the purpose of making one's worldly life better. Nothing more, nothing less.

My impression could very well be wrong.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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daverupa
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by daverupa » Fri May 13, 2016 10:30 pm

Mkoll wrote:To them, Buddhist teachings are for the purpose of making one's worldly life better.
Obviously that misapprehends the Dhamma; these people are better off just calling their activity 'eclectic meditation', since there is no reference to the Four Truths in such a case.

And not every modern annihilationist would ordain or go wandering, so of course the population is already limited as to who will care. This thread demonstrates that very, very few people do indeed think this is important.

Oh well; door's open.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Mkoll » Sat May 14, 2016 12:42 am

daverupa wrote:
Mkoll wrote:To them, Buddhist teachings are for the purpose of making one's worldly life better.
Obviously that misapprehends the Dhamma; these people are better off just calling their activity 'eclectic meditation', since there is no reference to the Four Truths in such a case.

And not every modern annihilationist would ordain or go wandering, so of course the population is already limited as to who will care. This thread demonstrates that very, very few people do indeed think this is important.

Oh well; door's open.
[my emphasis added]

I'm a bit lost. What specifically is "this" that is important?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by daverupa » Sat May 14, 2016 1:27 am

An approach to the Dhamma for skeptics & this-life-only folk, in general; people who simply can't be bothered to accept ancient cosmologies, psychic powers, flying monks, and who dismiss the Four Truths as a result.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by clw_uk » Sat May 14, 2016 1:30 am

Mkoll wrote:Maybe a few. I'm under the impression that the majority subscribe as much to Nibbana and the 4 stages of enlightenment as they do rebirth.
I suppose you could call me a "secular buddhist" in that I don't accept rebirth, yet I don't deny it either. I file that away as "no idea". I just try to keep the precepts for their own sake, and try to aim for Nibbana as best as I can. I practice because I can't argue with the Buddha's Dhamma. My aim is to be ethical, rational and as free from dukkha as I possibly can be. If that ultimately means a better rebirth, or no rebirth, that's fine. If it means oblivion regardless, so be it :smile:

Personally, out of all of the metaphysical doctrines I am quite warm to the idea of rebirth yet at the same time I can't deny that I do
not know it to be true, so I can't subscribe to it; however, neither can I deny it. I just practice Dhamma regardless. To me the outcome is the same in any circumstance, rebirth or not. Besides, it's all Anatta ;)

To them, Buddhist teachings are for the purpose of making one's worldly life better. Nothing more, nothing less.
Well, for me the practice is to stop being delusional, angry and greedy. To escape from Dukkha, be it dukkha in this life or any other kind of existence. I couldn't imagine living any other way :)
Last edited by clw_uk on Sat May 14, 2016 2:11 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by clw_uk » Sat May 14, 2016 1:36 am

AN 10.29 wrote:
“Bhikkhus, of the speculative views held by outsiders, this is the foremost, namely: ‘I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be, and it will not be mine.’
I've always liked this quote. It's quite warm to materialists. Sadly this is something that seems to be lacking in Buddhist circles these days.

Interestingly the Buddha also seems to be warm to sceptics in this sutta:


""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;"

Atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the materialists; the forgotten minority in mans history :reading: :jumping:
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Mkoll » Sat May 14, 2016 2:57 am

clw_uk wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Maybe a few. I'm under the impression that the majority subscribe as much to Nibbana and the 4 stages of enlightenment as they do rebirth.
I suppose you could call me a "secular buddhist" in that I don't accept rebirth, yet I don't deny it either. I file that away as "no idea". I just try to keep the precepts for their own sake, and try to aim for Nibbana as best as I can. I practice because I can't argue with the Buddha's Dhamma. My aim is to be ethical, rational and as free from dukkha as I possibly can be. If that ultimately means a better rebirth, or no rebirth, that's fine. If it means oblivion regardless, so be it :smile:

Personally, out of all of the metaphysical doctrines I am quite warm to the idea of rebirth yet at the same time I can't deny that I do
not know it to be true, so I can't subscribe to it; however, neither can I deny it. I just practice Dhamma regardless. To me the outcome is the same in any circumstance, rebirth or not. Besides, it's all Anatta ;)

To them, Buddhist teachings are for the purpose of making one's worldly life better. Nothing more, nothing less.
Well, for me the practice is to stop being delusional, angry and greedy. To escape from Dukkha, be it dukkha in this life or any other kind of existence. I couldn't imagine living any other way :)
I wouldn't call you a secular Buddhist if you believe in Nibbana. Though I guess that would depend on what Nibbana means to you...
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Mkoll » Sat May 14, 2016 3:16 am

daverupa wrote:An approach to the Dhamma for skeptics & this-life-only folk, in general; people who simply can't be bothered to accept ancient cosmologies, psychic powers, flying monks, and who dismiss the Four Truths as a result.
It sounds like you're talking about Secular Buddhism. I don't think most Secular Buddhists dismiss the 4NT. They just interpret them so they fit with their interpretation of Dhamma. My guess is that they see them, like the rest of the teachings, as a sort of psychological palliative. Nothing more grand than that; "supramundane" is not in their vocabulary. Again, I'm saying "most" and I could be wrong. I've spent very little time on their forums or with their literature.

I would say that between the Secular Buddhists and the more traditional Buddhists are those Buddhists who are highly skeptical of rebirth, kamma, devas, other worlds, etc., but still believe in some kind of "supramundane" aspect of Dhamma. Perhaps you, clw_uk, and others here fall in that category. I see far fewer from that category on the other DW, which makes sense.

It is interesting that in my time on this forum, I can't recall one Secular Buddhist coming here and discussing their views. Granted, I've only been here in the latter half or so of its life so far. But still, kind of odd. Maybe they think we're all a bunch of religious nutters. :lol:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Aloka » Sat May 14, 2016 4:48 am

Mkoll wrote: It is interesting that in my time on this forum, I can't recall one Secular Buddhist coming here and discussing their views. Granted, I've only been here in the latter half or so of its life so far. But still, kind of odd. Maybe they think we're all a bunch of religious nutters
One doesn't have to be a Secular Buddhist in order to think that internet "Buddhists" can be religious nutters. I started thinking that way back when I was a 5 post observer at the now defunct E-sangha.

:coffee:
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by Herbie » Sat May 14, 2016 4:54 am

daverupa wrote:
AN 10.29 wrote:(8) “Bhikkhus, of the speculative views held by outsiders, this is the foremost, namely: ‘I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be, and it will not be mine.’ For it can be expected that one who holds such a view will not be unrepelled by existence and will not be repelled by the cessation of existence. There are beings who hold such a view. But even for beings who hold such a view there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
There is [however] the case where a monk, having practiced in this way — 'It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon' — obtains equanimity. He does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it. As he does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it, his consciousness is not dependent on it, is not sustained by it (does not cling to it). Without clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is totally unbound."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Where are the post-annihilationist monastics?

Post by vinasp » Sat May 14, 2016 6:14 am

Hi everyone,

My position in outline.

1. There is a distinction between 'ordinary men' and 'noble disciples' which is found throughout the Sutta Pitaka.

2. The term 'mundane' corresponds with 'ordinary men', and the term 'supramundane' with noble disciples. [but not in MN 117]

3. The noble eightfold path is supramundane, it is beyond the reach of ordinary men, and only noble disciples are on it.
[This is an essential part of the Sutta Pitaka, often overlooked because the later teachings change the meaning of the eightfold path.]

4. Most bhikkhus were ordinary men and were on the wrong eightfold path.
The bhikkhu sangha includes the Ariya sangha. The bhikkhus who were ordinary men were called outsiders by noble disciples.

5. The ordinary man has to 'penetrate' the four noble truths in order to become a noble disciple. This means reaching an understanding of the teachings which is completely different to that of ordinary men.

6. We can summarize the key changes like this:
a) A complete change in the meaning of 'thirst' from desire to mental volition.

b) This leads to a change in the understanding of 'rebirth' from literal lifetimes to a moment-to-moment direct seeing.

c) A change in the understanding of 'a being' from an actual being with a real body to a mind fabricated being which 'knows' that it possesses a body.

d) A shift in 'timescale' from literal lifetimes to moments.

e) Moment to moment rebirth can now be understood by seeing the non-awakened mind as a 'loop' driven by mental volition. This is the 'round of rebirth'. Thirst produces all mental states which then give rise to more thirst, and so forth, in a continuous cycle.

f) A change in the understanding of liberation from temporary to lasting or continuous.

g) For the noble disciple the real teachings are directly visible and can be seen for oneself and verified here and now. Anything which can't be seen is not part of the Dhamma.

Many key terms have double meanings so it can take some considerable time for the noble disciple to arrive at a complete higher understanding of the teachings.

With kind regards, Vincent.

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