Soul theories and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Goofaholix
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:21 pm

Bundokji wrote:We know that "identity" or "self" are useful in our daily life when dealing with society and other people, but why believing in a soul is important/useful? what are the consequences of this belief on the individual's behavior and/or well-being?
That's a good point, it's not which is why Buddha's teaching has us de-contructing such a view. It's just another attachment, another thing separating us from others and the world around us and from direct experience.
“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

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:23 pm

davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Thank you for making explicit that your views have no basis in Buddhist texts and analysis. It will save many of us a lot of time. You are, of course, welcome to continue to compare your ideas with what the Buddha taught.

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:27 pm

davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Clearly you enjoy fluffy feel good imagery over substance, yet fail to understand the truths that the imagery is pointing to. Enjoy your poems.
“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

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:25 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Clearly you enjoy fluffy feel good imagery over substance, yet fail to understand the truths that the imagery is pointing to. Enjoy your poems.
Your dismissal of the Dhammapada as poetry is simply confirmation that the Dhammapada and the agnostic suttas are documents of rival sects. The only reason the canon makers who were obvious nihlists who hated Buddha's real teachings included the Dhammapada is obviously it was well known as his real teaching and could not be gotten rid of. So instead they merely isolate it and outnumber it by packing nihilism all around. Its the same basic method the Paulinists used against the sermon on the mount.
Last edited by davidbrainerd on Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:32 pm

davidbrainerd wrote: Your dismissal of the Dhammapada as poetry is simply confirmation that the Dhammapada and the agnostic suttas are documents of revial sects.
Do you mean "rival"?

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Javi » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:47 pm

davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Seeing as the Nikayas are central for Theravada and for the study of early Buddhism by all major academics, your continued hostility towards them is veering into the realm of trolling and proselytizing.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:12 pm

Javi wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Seeing as the Nikayas are central for Theravada and for the study of early Buddhism by all major academics, your continued hostility towards them is veering into the realm of trolling and proselytizing.
And I've already read a great deal of them, and may even continue to do so. But unlike academics I'm not enamored with the constant pointless list-making, repetition, and agnosticism. Short as it is, the Dhammapada by itself has more substantial content in it than like 500 suttas, and its content more suited to practice rather than just regurgitation of lists and nihilistic cliches. I view it as the heart of Buddhism. Without it, you've got nothing. The nikayas without the Dhammapada wouldn't even be readable, but the Dhammapada is readable without the rest and more powerful without the rest which serve as shackles. A few of the other little texts from Khudaka Nikaya like the Udana also seem superior to what's in the other nikaya collections.

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:39 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:Your dismissal of the Dhammapada as poetry is simply confirmation that the Dhammapada and the agnostic suttas are documents of rival sects. The only reason the canon makers who were obvious nihlists who hated Buddha's real teachings included the Dhammapada is obviously it was well known as his real teaching and could not be gotten rid of. So instead they merely isolate it and outnumber it by packing nihilism all around. Its the same basic method the Paulinists used against the sermon on the mount.
I do not dismiss the Dhammapada nor poetry. I'm simply aware, like I think most people, that poetry is not a medium for conveying technical information, laws, or doctrines etc. They are a supplement to prose not a replacement for it. They inspire us to see things differently through imagery and metaphor, I think few people would be so obtuse as to assume the Buddha would hide major doctrinal definitions not found elsewhere in a poem likening taming oneself to taming an elephant.
“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

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:40 pm

Javi wrote:Seeing as the Nikayas are central for Theravada and for the study of early Buddhism by all major academics, your continued hostility towards them is veering into the realm of trolling and proselytizing.
It has been for quite some time.
“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

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:43 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:Short as it is, the Dhammapada by itself has more substantial content in it than like 500 suttas, and its content more suited to practice rather than just regurgitation of lists and nihilistic cliches.
Perhaps it's time for you to form your own school, Dhammpadavada has a nice ring to it. Perhaps instead of examining the mind and freeing it from greed, aversion, and delusion you could have poetry reading circles.

If you think the Dhammapada is good wait until you try Rumi.
“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

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Javi » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:59 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Javi wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote: At this point I've lost interest in the nikayas as a whole as nothing but a mass of corruption with just a few decent suttas here and there. Buddha's true doctrine is clearly found in the Dhammapada not this mass of nihilist nonsense. And I would imagine that Hindus who venerate Buddha probably also only concern themselves with the Dhammapada and not the collections of nihilist sillyness called the nikayas.
Seeing as the Nikayas are central for Theravada and for the study of early Buddhism by all major academics, your continued hostility towards them is veering into the realm of trolling and proselytizing.
And I've already read a great deal of them, and may even continue to do so. But unlike academics I'm not enamored with the constant pointless list-making, repetition, and agnosticism. Short as it is, the Dhammapada by itself has more substantial content in it than like 500 suttas, and its content more suited to practice rather than just regurgitation of lists and nihilistic cliches. I view it as the heart of Buddhism. Without it, you've got nothing. The nikayas without the Dhammapada wouldn't even be readable, but the Dhammapada is readable without the rest and more powerful without the rest which serve as shackles. A few of the other little texts from Khudaka Nikaya like the Udana also seem superior to what's in the other nikaya collections.
You are welcome to your opinion
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by davidbrainerd » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:31 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Short as it is, the Dhammapada by itself has more substantial content in it than like 500 suttas, and its content more suited to practice rather than just regurgitation of lists and nihilistic cliches.
Perhaps it's time for you to form your own school, Dhammpadavada has a nice ring to it. Perhaps instead of examining the mind and freeing it from greed, aversion, and delusion you could have poetry reading circles.

If you think the Dhammapada is good wait until you try Rumi.
I don't read terrorist poetry.

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:12 am

davidbrainerd wrote:I don't read terrorist poetry.
It seems you’ve got the wrong Rumi. The poster almost certainly means the Persian Sufi poet, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, and not the Bangladeshi jihadist, Aminul Islam Rumi.

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Re: what do no-selfers think the aggregates are?

Post by Goofaholix » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:50 am

davidbrainerd wrote: I don't read terrorist poetry.
Let me get this straight, you appear to be asserting that everyone of a given race or religion is a terrorist?

Or perhaps you agree with Erdogen that the descendents of Rumi, the Hizmet, were responsible for the failed coup?

Or is it as Dhammanando suggested?
“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

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by SarathW » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:58 am

that everyone of a given race or religion is a terrorist?
If anyone who tries to stereotype people based on religion, race, gender, colour, creed and country etc. have a political agenda.
This is my general opinion and not necessarily aiming at David.
This is a result of extreme Maana and we all should try to over come.
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:24 am

I think this thread should be re-labeled "Soul theories and the Dramma".
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Spiny Norman » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:13 am

Coëmgenu wrote:I think rendering the Pāli anattā into English as "identityless" and "identitynessless" really seems to express more easily the actual practice associated with cultivating a right-view on anattā. A doubting of permanent identity. The halting of grasping at identities. The halting of the formation of identities. What is actually discarded in Buddhism? We can say "the self is discarded", and that sound very mystical and profound and "Buddhisty" to an English speaker, but if we say "identity is discarded", I think that communicates what is actually meant in a clearer way, albeit less mystical and profound sounding.

Obviously someone could still misinterpret and develop wrong-views from hearing the word "identityless" as a part of anattā-teachings in English, I am thinking specifically that it could be interpreted by someone not informed about Buddhism as implying that we are all a group-consciousness, but people already make that misunderstanding with the terminology we currently use anyways.
It's an interesting approach. Would you say that "identity" is equivalent to self-view ( sakkāya-diṭṭhi )?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_ ... science%29

I assume you don't mean that individuality is also discarded?
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by No_Mind » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:19 am

Bundokji wrote: We know that "identity" or "self" are useful in our daily life when dealing with society and other people, but why believing in a soul is important/useful? what are the consequences of this belief on the individual's behavior and/or well-being?
Why is belief in 31 planes of existence important? Yet Buddhists believe it.

In same way, rest of the folks, if they so wish, believe in soul. It is faith.

:namaste:
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by No_Mind » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:28 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:I think rendering the Pāli anattā into English as "identityless" and "identitynessless" really seems to express more easily the actual practice associated with cultivating a right-view on anattā. A doubting of permanent identity. The halting of grasping at identities. The halting of the formation of identities. What is actually discarded in Buddhism? We can say "the self is discarded", and that sound very mystical and profound and "Buddhisty" to an English speaker, but if we say "identity is discarded", I think that communicates what is actually meant in a clearer way, albeit less mystical and profound sounding.

Obviously someone could still misinterpret and develop wrong-views from hearing the word "identityless" as a part of anattā-teachings in English, I am thinking specifically that it could be interpreted by someone not informed about Buddhism as implying that we are all a group-consciousness, but people already make that misunderstanding with the terminology we currently use anyways.
It's an interesting approach. Would you say that "identity" is equivalent to self-view ( sakkāya-diṭṭhi )?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_ ... science%29

I assume you don't mean that individuality is also discarded?
The problem being Indian philosophers in 20th century (to whom Sanskrit and thus Pali was almost first language) agree that anatta means no soul. So it cannot be flawed translation.

A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1-5, Surendranath Dasgupta. Click and read Chapter V - Buddhisy Philosophy (link to Vol I below).

He was a meticulous and brilliant academic in early 20th century with two Masters Degrees (one in Sanskrit) and two PhDs in Philosophy (one from Cambridge). His understanding of Buddhism was independent of any translation because he could read and understand Pali as easily as you and I read New York Times.

As the five volume work shows, his grasp over English was no less.

I agreed with what ancientbuddhism wrote in Anatta Thread, because Surendranath Dasgupta -- for whom I have the highest regard -- wrote the same thing back in 1921 -- Buddha Dhamma teaches no soul.
We have seen that Buddha said that there was no ātman (soul)

A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1
P.S -- If anyone wants to have a nice, neat understanding of Indian Philosophy before Buddha, I would recommend Chapter I - IV.

For Jainism Chapter VI.

For Advaita Chapter X and XI (XI being in A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2)

This would give anyone a good idea of the spiritual landscape before Buddha, at the time of Buddha and Sramanas, after Buddha, and principal arguments of Advaita, the main Hindu counter-thrust to Buddhism in about 600 pages and puts everything in context.

Please do not mistake it as an attempt to proselytize. Well written, relatively short, 600 page summary of Indian Philosophy till Advaita is quite rare. So thought I would share it.
Last edited by No_Mind on Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:28 am

No_Mind wrote:
Bundokji wrote: We know that "identity" or "self" are useful in our daily life when dealing with society and other people, but why believing in a soul is important/useful? what are the consequences of this belief on the individual's behavior and/or well-being?
Why is belief in 31 planes of existence important? Yet Buddhists believe it.

In same way, rest of the folks, if they so wish, believe in soul. It is faith.

:namaste:
A belief in other realms (or literal rebirth) can influence human behavior and this as i remember has been discussed few times on this forum. However, i am asking what are the effects of believing in soul on the individual who believe in it.

If a soul exists, it has to be outside the realm of experience, yet the "belief" is in the realm of experience and should have an impact on those who choose to believe in it. You as a believer in the existence of a soul might be in a good position to tell us how this belief is useful/harmful?

Please note that i am not asking if this belief is justified or not, this is not my concern.
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