Buddhist (& Sarvāstivāda?) Metaphysics

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Coëmgenu
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Buddhist (& Sarvāstivāda?) Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:59 pm

I want to give a definition of the word metaphysics before starting off on my question.
Metaphysics: a branch of inquiry that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.
Is this statement "kosher Dhamma" for a Theravāda Buddhist:
All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
Keeping in mind the assumption that all experiences are fundamentally experiences of suffering, of samsara, in one way or another.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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cjmacie
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by cjmacie » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:41 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Is this statement "kosher Dhamma" for a Theravāda Buddhist:
All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
Reads more like Buddhist Romanticsm -- fuzzy concepts.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:52 pm

cjmacie wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Is this statement "kosher Dhamma" for a Theravāda Buddhist:
All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
Reads more like Buddhist Romanticsm -- fuzzy concepts.
Which concepts are fuzzy? :p.

By the way, I'm not especially emotionally or sentimentally invested in the statement being true for the purposes of this thread, it was just something that I thought I would put out there.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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cjmacie
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by cjmacie » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:13 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
cjmacie: Reads more like Buddhist Romanticism -- fuzzy concepts.
Coëmgenu: Which concepts are fuzzy? :p.
Those high-lighted (red), and, perhaps most of all, the overall logic: (sensory experience == exp. dhamma) --> "contains the key".

Reads like something from someone like Rob Burbea.

santa100
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by santa100 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:49 pm

That's Cheontae's doctrine. More info about it (descendant of Tiantai school) here . Any "Kosher" Dhamma for Theravadins should be pretty straightforward: the proof of the pudding is in the eating..

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:45 pm

cjmacie wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
cjmacie: Reads more like Buddhist Romanticism -- fuzzy concepts.
Coëmgenu: Which concepts are fuzzy? :p.
Those high-lighted (red), and, perhaps most of all, the overall logic: (sensory experience == exp. dhamma) --> "contains the key".

Reads like something from someone like Rob Burbea.
Fair enough, I'll try to put it in more formal terminology.
All contact at the sense base is in fact tathāta yathābhūtaṃ, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of tathāta yathābhūtaṃ
Its actually quite a general statement, but I don't know if it would be considered kosher in Theravāda Buddhism
santa100 wrote:That's Cheontae's doctrine. More info about it (descendant of Tiantai school) here . Any "Kosher" Dhamma for Theravadins should be pretty straightforward: the proof of the pudding is in the eating..
Yes this line is a free adaption of a Tiantai doctrinal point. However just because it is Tiantai doesn't mean it is wrong. There is as much overlap as there is difference between madhyamika and theravāda buddhism. A school can make 7 wrong statements and still make 1 right one.

Also there is no pressure to think this statement is right. The conclusion may well be, and may likely be, that it is not a solid statement in line with the Pali teaching.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

santa100
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by santa100 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:25 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Yes this line is a free adaption of a Tiantai doctrinal point. However just because it is Tiantai doesn't mean it is wrong. There is as much overlap as there is difference between madhyamika and theravāda buddhism. A school can make 7 wrong statements and still make 1 right one.
I don't think anyone have said that it's wrong. The point was fairly obvious, that no matter how deep and philosophical an idea might sound, at the end of the day, how that idea can help the practitioner making progress on the Path is what matters. I'm sure some Tiantai practitioners would find it useful and help them making progress. So the original question is sort of like asking Muay Thai practitioners whether some moves in Taekwondo is "right". And martial artists, unlike Buddhists, would give the answer in a flash by simply inviting you to step onto the mat or the ring.

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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Mkoll » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:09 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
All contact at the sense base is in fact tathāta yathābhūta, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of tathāta yathābhūta
Its actually quite a general statement, but I don't know if it would be considered kosher in Theravāda Buddhism
Can you provide the English translation for "tathata yathabhuta"?

BTW, the general practice here is to provide English translations for obscure Pali terms---see the TOS. The exception is if you're Sylvester, in which case your posts can only be understood by someone fluent in Pali. :P
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:14 am

Mkoll wrote:Can you provide the English translation for "tathata yathabhuta"?

BTW, the general practice here is to provide English translations for obscure Pali terms---see the TOS. The exception is if you're Sylvester, in which case your posts can only be understood by someone fluent in Pali. :P
Sorry, I'll give translations.

For a definition of Tathāta we can go to Nikāya-āgama parallels. Tathāta appears in Saṃyuktāgama 296 as the Chinese word Zhēnrú (lit. "true likeness"), it is used to describe the nature of dharma. The Nikāya parallel is the Paccayasutta (SN12.20) where instead of the word tathāta we have a list of qualities, and if my Pali is right these are
"ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā"
that element still persists, the stableness of the Dhamma, the fixed course of the Dhamma, specific conditionality.
. So tathāta (which means "suchness" in English), in the early literature, can be considered equivalent to "stableness, fixedness, and specificity of condition" by looking at the sutta parallels.

A more dictionary based Theravāda definition of tathāta comes from Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
From Buddhadasa's THE NATURAL CURE FOR SPIRITUAL DISEASE
THUSNESS
Now, we come to the fourth and last topic: tathata (suchness, thusness). "Merely thus," "just such": everything is such as it is and in no way different from that thusness. This is called "tathata." When tathata is seen, the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta are seen, sunnata is seen, and idappaccayata is seen. Tathata is the summary of them all -- merely thus, only thus, not-otherness. There is nothing better than this, more than this, other than this, thusness. To intuitively realize tathata is to see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things which have deceived us. The things which delude us are all the things which cause discrimination and duality to arise in us: good-evil, happiness-sadness, win-lose, love-hate, etc. There are many pairs of opposites in this world. By not seeing tathata, we allow these things to trick us into believing in duality: this-that, liking-disliking, hot-cold, male-female, defiled, enlightened. This delusion causes all our problems. Trapped in these oppositions, we can't see the truth of things. We fall into liking and disliking, which in turn leads to the defilements, because we don't see tathata.

What we must see constantly and deeply is that good is a sankhara and that evil is a sankhara too. The pleasant and unpleasant feelings, sukha and dukkha, are both sankhara. Getting and disappearing, losing and winning all are sankhara. There isn't anything which isn't a sankhara. Thus, all things are the same -- tathata. All things are just suchness, just this way, not otherwise. Further, we can say that heaven is a sankhara and hell is a sankhara. So, heaven and hell are tathata -- just thus. Our minds should be above heaven and above hell, above good and above bad, above joy and above dukkha in all respects. Tathata is the fourth area of understanding or paññä, the wisdom that must be developed to a sufficient degree. We must study reality on both the physical-material level and on the mental-spiritual level, until our knowledge and wisdom is adequate, natural, and constant.
(I stole this resource from a user named jcsuperstar from this thread)

Or from the Concise Pali-English Dictionary by A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera:
tathatā:[f.] reality; such likeness.
(in the dictionary it is noted that the only canonical place this word appears in the Pali literature is in the Kathavatthu)

Yathābhūta was my accidental misspelling of yathābhūtaṃ. It means
1 yathābhūtaṃ:[adv.] in truth; in reality; in its real essence.
2 yathābhūtaṃ:According to the reality,rightly,truly,correctly
(Pali dictionary)
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Mkoll » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:19 am

So putting that together, do we get "stable truth" or "stable reality"? Or what would you call it?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:24 am

Mkoll wrote:So putting that together, do we get "stable truth" or "stable reality"? Or what would you call it?
Tathāta is often referred to as
things-as-they-are; [...] the truth, reality, without distortion
(SA 296)

I put it in a compound with yathābhūtaṃ because that is a more common word in Theravāda discourse and means almost the same thing, I figured that would make it easier to understand.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Mkoll » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:26 am

So "things as they are according to reality"?

What do you think?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:38 am

Mkoll wrote:So "things as they are according to reality"?

What do you think?
Well the question now is if it is kosher to substitute in "follow the Dhamma/approach liberation" for "realize tathāta yathābhūtaṃ", or "realize reality-as-it-is, in truth", without delusion and/or ignorance, which is what is meant by "key to enlightenment" in the Tiantai statement. Buddhadharma practice is often thought of as doors being opened in Tiantai Buddhism (think Dhamma Doors, although the definition given on DhammaWiki is very bizarre, even more so is their referencing of the Therigāthā as a source for the 84,000 doors, the Therigāthā blatantly contradicts the DhammaWiki entry's interpretation of what the 84,000 doors means).

1024. 82,000 Teachings from the Buddha
I have received;
2,000 more from his disciples;
Now, 84,000 are familiar to me.
(Thag 17.3)

That is where the possible difference is, in if contemplating delusion itself, and the physical world, and particularly practicing insight as to the nature of contact at the sense base, are those elements of Theravāda practice that are believed to be efficacious in following the path? They are in Tiantai Buddhism, and the context is that the doctrinal points are pulled from the context of the Patriarch Zhiyi's manuals on Vipassanā-Samatha, which puts a lot of the "analyze contact at the sense base" thing in a bit of context, but I am wondering if that is to be found in the Pali tradition.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Mkoll » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:57 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Mkoll wrote:So "things as they are according to reality"?

What do you think?
Well the question now is if it is kosher to substitute in "follow the Dhamma/approach liberation" for "realize tathāta yathābhūtaṃ", or "realize reality-as-it-is, in truth", without delusion and/or ignorance, which is what is meant by "key to enlightenment" in the Tiantai statement. Buddhadharma practice is often thought of as doors being opened in Tiantai Buddhism (think Dhamma Doors, although the definition given on DhammaWiki is very bizarre, even more so is their referencing of the Therigāthā as a source for the 84,000 doors, the Therigāthā blatantly contradicts the DhammaWiki entry's interpretation of what the 84,000 doors means).

1024. 82,000 Teachings from the Buddha
I have received;
2,000 more from his disciples;
Now, 84,000 are familiar to me.
(Thag 17.3)

That is where the possible difference is.
That sounds kosher from my understanding because part of following the Dhamma that is proximal to liberation is knowledge and vision (see Heartwood similes), or your tathata yathabhutam.

But I'm not so sure about your earlier statement, where if we replace the Pali with English:
All contact at the sense base is in fact reality-as-it-is, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of reality-as-it-is
The second part makes some sense by itself though I don't think it could be classed as a complete path per se. The first part seems dubious---I don't know of a similar passage or sentiment in the Canon, but perhaps you or someone else does.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:08 am

Mkoll wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
Mkoll wrote:So "things as they are according to reality"?

What do you think?
Well the question now is if it is kosher to substitute in "follow the Dhamma/approach liberation" for "realize tathāta yathābhūtaṃ", or "realize reality-as-it-is, in truth", without delusion and/or ignorance, which is what is meant by "key to enlightenment" in the Tiantai statement. Buddhadharma practice is often thought of as doors being opened in Tiantai Buddhism (think Dhamma Doors, although the definition given on DhammaWiki is very bizarre, even more so is their referencing of the Therigāthā as a source for the 84,000 doors, the Therigāthā blatantly contradicts the DhammaWiki entry's interpretation of what the 84,000 doors means).

1024. 82,000 Teachings from the Buddha
I have received;
2,000 more from his disciples;
Now, 84,000 are familiar to me.
(Thag 17.3)

That is where the possible difference is.
That sounds kosher from my understanding because part of following the Dhamma that is proximal to liberation is knowledge and vision (see Heartwood similes), or your tathata yathabhutam.

But I'm not so sure about your earlier statement, where if we replace the Pali with English:
All contact at the sense base is in fact reality-as-it-is, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of reality-as-it-is
The second part makes some sense by itself though I don't think it could be classed as a complete path per se. The first part seems dubious---I don't know of a similar passage or sentiment in the Canon, but perhaps you or someone else does.
That element of Tiantai teaching, filtered unsatisfactorily, broken-telephone style, through my adaption, is traceable to the nikāya-āgama layer of Buddhism, but obviously I must caveat myself before I claim to communicate anything approaching authentic Dhamma, in a sutta that describes the nature of dhamma, regardless of if a Tathāgata teaches it, and an āgama that talks about the same subject matter, with typically different terminology as can be expected when finding sutta parallels.

The nature of dhamma is described in the Pali Canon as:
whether there is an arising of Tathagatas or no arising of Tathagatas, that element still persists, the stableness of the Dhamma, the fixed course of the Dhamma, specific conditionality. A Tathagata awakens to this and breaks through to it. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it.
(SN 12.20)

And in the āgama as:
this is the unchangeable nature of dharma, the status of dharma, the element of dharma. The Tathāgata, who has by himself become enlightened of this, who has attained the highest enlightenment, declares it for humankind, teaches it, reveals it, namely: Conditioned by birth, there exist aging-sickness-death-sorrow-affliction-suffering. “All these dharmas are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.
(SA 296)

They are interesting descriptions of dhammas/Dhamma. Relevant to the title of this thread.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Javi
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Javi » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:52 pm

All contact at the sense base is in fact tathāta yathābhūta, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of tathāta yathābhūta
...
They are in Tiantai Buddhism, and the context is that the doctrinal points are pulled from the context of the Patriarch Zhiyi's manuals on Vipassanā-Samatha, which puts a lot of the "analyze contact at the sense base" thing in a bit of context, but I am wondering if that is to be found in the Pali tradition.
In a way this statement is sort of banal, unless you expand further on it. Contact at the sense base is simply one aspect of 'things as they are'. But yes, in Theravada, analysis of contact at the sense base and in fact all elements are promoted, in texts such as the Satipatthana sutta, Bahiya sutta and in modern Vipassana. This is a lot of the bread and butter of Theravada meditation. Since satipatthana is something shared by all Buddhist traditions - being one of the earliest forms of practice, I think it is safe to say that this is common to all of us.

Here is the section on the sense fields/bases from the satipatthana sutta:
4.3. The sense fields

Furthermore, a monastic meditates by observing an aspect of the principles with respect to the six internal and external sense fields. And how, monastics, does a monastic meditate by observing an aspect of the principles of the six internal and external sense fields?

Here, a monastic clearly knows the eye, sights, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (1)

They clearly know the ear, sounds, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (2)

They clearly know the nose, smells, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (3)

They clearly know the tongue, tastes, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (4)

They clearly know the body, touches, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (5)

They clearly know the mind, mental phenomena, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (6)

In this way they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles inside; they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles outside; they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles inside and outside.

They meditate by observing the reasons for the origination of the principles; they meditate by observing the reasons for the dissolution of the principles; they meditate by observing the reasons for the origination and dissolution of the principles.

Or mindfulness is established that ‘There are principles’, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world. This is how a monastic meditates by observing an aspect of the principles with respect to the six internal and external sense fields.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn10
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:47 am

Javi wrote:
All contact at the sense base is in fact tathāta yathābhūta, and therefore, analysis of contact at the sense base is a path to realization of tathāta yathābhūta
...
They are in Tiantai Buddhism, and the context is that the doctrinal points are pulled from the context of the Patriarch Zhiyi's manuals on Vipassanā-Samatha, which puts a lot of the "analyze contact at the sense base" thing in a bit of context, but I am wondering if that is to be found in the Pali tradition.
In a way this statement is sort of banal, unless you expand further on it. Contact at the sense base is simply one aspect of 'things as they are'. But yes, in Theravada, analysis of contact at the sense base and in fact all elements are promoted, in texts such as the Satipatthana sutta, Bahiya sutta and in modern Vipassana. This is a lot of the bread and butter of Theravada meditation. Since satipatthana is something shared by all Buddhist traditions - being one of the earliest forms of practice, I think it is safe to say that this is common to all of us.

Here is the section on the sense fields/bases from the satipatthana sutta:
4.3. The sense fields

Furthermore, a monastic meditates by observing an aspect of the principles with respect to the six internal and external sense fields. And how, monastics, does a monastic meditate by observing an aspect of the principles of the six internal and external sense fields?

Here, a monastic clearly knows the eye, sights, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (1)

They clearly know the ear, sounds, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (2)

They clearly know the nose, smells, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (3)

They clearly know the tongue, tastes, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (4)

They clearly know the body, touches, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (5)

They clearly know the mind, mental phenomena, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these; they clearly know how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future. (6)

In this way they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles inside; they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles outside; they meditate by observing an aspect of the principles inside and outside.

They meditate by observing the reasons for the origination of the principles; they meditate by observing the reasons for the dissolution of the principles; they meditate by observing the reasons for the origination and dissolution of the principles.

Or mindfulness is established that ‘There are principles’, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world. This is how a monastic meditates by observing an aspect of the principles with respect to the six internal and external sense fields.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn10
I actually agree that it is a quite general, banale, and possibly quite obvious statement, but the twin sutta-āgama citations have repercussions that, IMO, challenge the modern conception that the Buddha only taught phenomenology, and that metaphysics is foreign to Dhamma.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Javi
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Javi » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:03 am

Ultimately, metaphysics is a broad field with different topics, so if one were to say that the Buddha rejected all of metaphysics, I think that would be somewhat off the mark, as he is concerned with certain questions which might be termed metaphysical - depending on what definition you are using.

However, I think that it is fair to say he rejected quite a number of metaphysical views and taught that one should put aside and not bother with many other metaphysical questions.

So you're just going to have to be a bit more detailed in what you're trying to say here
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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Mkoll
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by Mkoll » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:10 am

Coëmgenu wrote:the modern conception that the Buddha only taught phenomenology, and that metaphysics is foreign to Dhamma.
The Buddha taught of different realms and kinds of beings, rebirth, kamma and its results, etc. These fall under the category of metaphysics as you describe it. That "modern conception" is simply wrong.

The Buddha's teachings cannot be shoehorned into any category. Some even hesitate to call it a religion, but I can't think of a single word that is a better description than that despite the unfavorable connotations it now has.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

binocular
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Re: Buddhists Metaphysics

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:46 am

Coëmgenu wrote:Is this statement "kosher Dhamma" for a Theravāda Buddhist:
All experiences in the sensory world are in fact expressions of the Dhamma, and therefore contain the key to enlightenment.
This line of thinking seems to imply that in order to reach enlightenment, it's enough to just, basically, sit around and experience, and eventually, one will become enlightened. IOW, that enlightenmnet is inevitable.

There are people who consider themselves Buddhists who believe such things. (Similar to those Christians who believe that everyone will go to heaven.)

As far as I understood, in Theravada, enlightenment is something one reaches by one's own efforts, not something that would happen regardless of what one does.

But the view that eventually, everyone will become enlightened (like that Christian view that everyone will go to heaven) does carry with it a sense of universal, (inter)galactic justice and equality. Such a sense can bring a person a deep feeling of peace and that "evenetually, all will be well" -- things that are very important to not just a few people.

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