400 Noble Truths

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Will
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400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:23 pm

Not sure if Mahayana is considered an 'Other Path', but thought to share one way the Truths are presented there.

In chapter eight of the Avatamsaka Sutra, Manjushri Mahasattva gives other terms used in ten differing world systems for the Four Noble Truths. Here are our Sahā world's ten for the First one, based on comparing a few translations:

In this Sahā World, the Āryas’ truth of suffering is:

karmic offenses - wrongdoing
coercion - oppression
change - flux and change
manipulation of conditions - grabbing onto conditions - clinging to objects
accumulation - conglomeration
stabbing - thorns stabbing
bases on which it depends - relying on the root - dependence on the senses
deception - vain and deceptive - deceit
an abscess - carbuncles and sores - place of cancer
actions of the foolish common person - the conducts of stupid people - ignorant action

Worthy of meditation.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:26 pm

Now ten alternatives for the Second Truth:

In this Sahā World, the Āryas’ truth of the accumulated causes of suffering is:

fetters - being bound up - bondage
destruction - decay and ruin - disintegration
the concept of affection-based attachment - the meaning of love and attachment - attachment to goods
erroneous awareness - false enlightenment and thoughts - false consciousness
progressive entry - tending toward and entering - pursuit and involvement
definite certainty – decisive - conviction
a net - the web
frivolous discourse - idle speculation - fancified conceptualizing
subsidiary actions - following along - following
being based in inverted views - the root of inversion - awry faculties
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:39 pm

Here is Thomas Cleary giving a compressed survey of this chapter eight. He gives more than ten by including how some of the other world systems teach them:
This book follows the lead of the preceding book, gIving various
names and descriptions of the four holy truths of pristine Buddhism
(the existence of suffering, the cause of the accumulation of suffering,
the possibility of extinguishing suffering, and the way to the
extinction of suffering) as they are projected in various worlds, thus
presenting basic Buddhist teachings from various angles.

Some examples of the different names of the truth of suffering are oppression,
clinging to objects, dependence on the senses, ignorant action,
the sense of striving and seeking, contention, total lack of power to
analyze, fantasy, fear, change, regret, false views, continuous revolving.

Some of the different names of the cause of accumulation
of suffering are bondage, false consciousness, pursuit and involvement,
attachment to things, conviction, ignorance, grasping, the
evil of excess, haste, grasping and clinging, fancy, revolving in circles,
confusion, regression, wishing, disharmony.

Some of the various names of the truth of the extinction of suffering are
tranquillity, absence of inherent nature, extinction, essential reality, emancipation,
freedom from greed, goal of goals, what should be seen, detachment
from discrimination, constant equanimity, nonfabrication,
thoroughly cleared, harmony, independence, extinction of
confusion, breaking the seal, no label, nondoing, casting off the
heavy burden, stability, freedom from folly.

Among the names of the truth of the path to extinction of suffering are progress toward
serenity, bold generalship, transcendence, having skill in means,
impartial eye, detachment from extremes, comprehensive understanding,
and contemplating the four truths.
Last edited by Will on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:19 pm

On to the Third Truth:

In this Sahā World, the Āryas’ truth of the cessation of suffering is:

non-contention
leaving filth - freedom from defilement
still quiescence – tranquility & dispassion
markless - signlessness
non-submersion - without demise - deathlessness
absence of intrinsic existence - without a self-nature - absence of inherent nature
absence of obstacles - freedom from impediments - absence of hindrance
extinction
having truth as its essence - true and actual substance - essential reality
abiding in essential nature - abiding in the self-nature - abiding in one' s own essence
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:22 pm

And lastly, the Fourth:

In this Sahā World, the Āryas’ truth of the path to the cessation of suffering is:

one vehicle
progression toward stillness - inclining toward stillness - progress toward serenity
being guided along - instructing and guiding - guidance
becoming finally free of discriminations - ultimately without difference - ultimate freedom from discrimination
uniform equality - level equality - equanimity
relinquishing burdens - renouncing one’s burden - putting down the burden
having no place to which one is progressing - without tendencies - having no object of pursuit
accordance with the intent of the Āryas - according with the sagely intent - following the intent of the saint
the practice of the rishis - the conduct of immortals - practice of sages
ten treasures - ten treasuries

[Ten treasuries are faith, moral precepts, sense of shame, dread of blame, learning, giving, wisdom, recollection, retention, and eloquence; see ch. 22 of sutra for more.]
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:26 pm

Cleary's summary of the Ten Treasuries chapter 22, which is one way to describe the Fourth Truth of the Path:
1. Faith: believing all things are empty, sign less, wishless, noncreative,
nonconceptual, unreliable, immeasurable, difficult to transcend, and unborn
2. Ethics: universal altruism, nonpossessiveness, nondwelling,
having no resentment, noncontention, not injuring others, nondefilement,
having no greed, being free from error and transgression
3. Shame: being ashamed of past wrongs
4. Conscience: being ashamed to do wrong
5. Learning: learning the various enlightening teachings
6. Generosity: liberality in giving
7. Wisdom: truly knowing the causes of suffering and the end of suffering
8. Remembrance: remembering life stages, Buddhas' teachings,
faculties, natures, afflictions, and states of mind
9. Preservation: maintaining the Teachings
10. Elocution: expounding the Teachings
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Kim OHara
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:09 pm

Thanks, Will.
"Connections to other Paths" is the right place, in terms of DWT, and "presenting basic Buddhist teachings from various angles", as Cleary describes it, is always useful since some words and examples strike us more personally than others.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:33 pm

Here is the entire chapter eight with comments by Ven. Master Hsuan Hua:

http://www.cttbusa.org/fas8/fas8.asp
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:26 am

Will wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:33 pm
Here is the entire chapter eight with comments by Ven. Master Hsuan Hua:

http://www.cttbusa.org/fas8/fas8.asp
Simsapa Sutta: The Simsapa Leaves https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html is the Pali source of the little parable in your linked chapter. It isn't so explicit in saying "this is all you need to know" but does suggest it.

:namaste:
Kim

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:25 pm

Walshe's version seems clearer:
"What I have revealed is: 'This is Suffering, this is the Arising of Suffering, this is the Cessation of Suffering, and this is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering.' And why, monks, have I revealed it?

"Because this is related to the goal, fundamental to the holy life, conduces to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment and Nibbaana, therefore I have revealed it.

"Therefore, monks, your task is to learn: 'This is Suffering, this is the Arising of Suffering, this is the Cessation of Suffering, this is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering.' That is your task."
Therefore, if one aspires to the goal, our task is to learn and then practice the fundamentals.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:41 am

Not sure which sutra Master Hua is quoting or just paraphrasing...
At that time Manjushri Bodhisattva asked, “Is all the Dharma which the Buddha hasn’t spoken yet included within the Four Holy Truths? If it is included within the Four Holy Truths then the Buddha has already spoken it. If it is not included within the Four Holy Truths then there needs to be a fifth.”

Then the Buddha said, “Although the Four Holy Truths include all dharmas, there are still many principles within the Four Holy Truths that I haven’t explained yet —as many as the grass and leaves on the entire earth. So though I have spoken of the Four Holy Truths, I have only spoken a very minute part of their entire meaning. I haven’t spoken very much.” And so, the Buddhadharma is inconceivable, for though the Buddha had spoken the Four Holy Truths, he only spoke a small part.
I suppose many Theravadins would agree it is true that the Four Truths have more and deeper meanings that Buddha did not teach, but they are not relevant or helpful on the Path. What say you all - is that the traditional consensus?
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1


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Kim OHara
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:19 am

Will wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:41 am
Not sure which sutra Master Hua is quoting or just paraphrasing...
At that time Manjushri Bodhisattva asked, “Is all the Dharma which the Buddha hasn’t spoken yet included within the Four Holy Truths? If it is included within the Four Holy Truths then the Buddha has already spoken it. If it is not included within the Four Holy Truths then there needs to be a fifth.”

Then the Buddha said, “Although the Four Holy Truths include all dharmas, there are still many principles within the Four Holy Truths that I haven’t explained yet —as many as the grass and leaves on the entire earth. So though I have spoken of the Four Holy Truths, I have only spoken a very minute part of their entire meaning. I haven’t spoken very much.” And so, the Buddhadharma is inconceivable, for though the Buddha had spoken the Four Holy Truths, he only spoke a small part.
I suppose many Theravadins would agree it is true that the Four Truths have more and deeper meanings that Buddha did not teach, but they are not relevant or helpful on the Path. What say you all - is that the traditional consensus?
I would have said, rather, that the Four Truths have more and deeper meanings than Buddha had time to teach, and that they are relevant or helpful on the Path but they are all consistent with the 4NT and can all be extrapolated from them (with enough thought, naturally).

:namaste:
Kim

[edit - fixed typo :embarassed: ]

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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:25 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:01 am
i do not understand on account of what is any of it in it self or when taken as a whole constitute a Noble Truth?
(Also for Will)
The most common and widely known formulation of the Buddha's teaching is that which the Buddha himself announced in the First Sermon at Benares, the formula of the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha declares that these truths convey in a nutshell all the essential information that we need to set out on the path to liberation. He says that just as the elephant's footprint, by reason of its great size, contains the footprints of all other animals, so the Four Noble Truths, by reason of their comprehensiveness, contain within themselves all wholesome and beneficial teachings. ...
:reading: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ay_20.html

:namaste:
Kim

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Will
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Re: 400 Noble Truths

Post by Will » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:34 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:01 am
i do not understand on account of what is any of it in it self or when taken as a whole constitute a Noble Truth?
If you are focused on the use of 'Noble', that is used for Arya - meaning ordinary folk (not-arya) only get the surface truthful meaning of these Four. An Arya is 'noble' because of their more profound, deeper insight and practice based on said truth.

As Bhikkhu Bodhi in his Nobility of the Truths article wrote:
The word "noble," or ariya, is used by the Buddha to designate a particular type of person, the type of person which it is the aim of his teaching to create. In the discourses the Buddha classifies human beings into two broad categories. On one side there are the puthujjanas, the worldlings, those belonging to the multitude, whose eyes are still covered with the dust of defilements and delusion. On the other side there are the ariyans, the noble ones, the spiritual elite, who obtain this status not from birth, social station or ecclesiastical authority but from their inward nobility of character.
Last edited by Will on Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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