The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:09 am

The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma.

I found the above topic is discussed in the following website.
I like to know whether this in line with Theravada teaching or whether this is in another branch of Buddism.
In your opinion what is not in line with Buddha's teaching or Tipitaka?
Can we call Buddha's teaching as the Grand Unified Theory?
If not what is the best way to describe it?
https://puredhamma.net/dhamma/the-grand ... of-dhamma/
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SteRo
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by SteRo » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:15 am

Since there is no 'one and only' "Theravada teaching" the question is obscure.

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Sam Vara
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:56 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:09 am
The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma.

I found the above topic is discussed in the following website.
I like to know whether this in line with Theravada teaching or whether this is in another branch of Buddism.
In your opinion what is not in line with Buddha's teaching or Tipitaka?
Can we call Buddha's teaching as the Grand Unified Theory?
If not what is the best way to describe it?
https://puredhamma.net/dhamma/the-grand ... of-dhamma/
It looks to me to be more of a systematisation or interpretation than a "theory"; a particular way of presenting the Dhamma which emphasises certain points and deals with them in a particular order.

It's worth noting that there are many competing ways of doing this (most Western introductions to Buddhism present their own systematisation, for example) and we all have our own personal ways of making sense of the huge number of interlinking ideas which the Buddha spoke about. The Dhamma doesn't come with a section which explains how it should, as a whole, be processed so as to be understood properly.

This example of a systematisation seems notable because it is extremely comprehensive, and extremely self-assured. As such, it comes across as a blueprint for a system of indoctrination, but that's probably because I have been trained by people who encouraged me to pragmatically make up my own mind rather than accept grand systems. I would find it a bit frustrating to read much of it, because as soon as I encounter something that I'm not sure about, I get stuck and need to backtrack to work out where my disagreement comes from. I don't think it was the Buddha's intention to set up a relentless and pristine vision of the Dhamma like a machine for systematically amending our understanding, but that's just me.

A lot depends on what you mean by "in line with Theravada teaching". It's certainly different in style, but it might be the case that a person following this particular systematisation would do just as well as those on more traditional paths. And it's huge; a couple of clicks in, I found reference to the "san" issue that Venerable Dhammanando (and, I think, Bhikkhu Pesala?) took issue with and showed to be idiosyncratic in the extreme. Who knows what else there is in there that would be equally controversial?

SarathW
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 pm

Buddha flatly rejected the idea of Nibbana as an objective reality.
In my opinion, the Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma is more in line with Mahayana.
Even the idea of Gandhabba also the idea of Mahayana, not Theravada.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

daveblack
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by daveblack » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:59 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 pm
Buddha flatly rejected the idea of Nibbana as an objective reality.
I feel like you could be playing a semantic game with the word "objective" because the word can be used different ways. Is there another way to phrase what you're trying to say?

SarathW
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:14 pm

daveblack wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:59 pm
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 pm
Buddha flatly rejected the idea of Nibbana as an objective reality.
I feel like you could be playing a semantic game with the word "objective" because the word can be used different ways. Is there another way to phrase what you're trying to say?
"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
======================

But he doesn’t identify with extinguishment, he doesn’t identify regarding extinguishment, he doesn’t identify as extinguishment, he doesn’t identify that ‘extinguishment is mine’, he doesn’t take pleasure in extinguishment.
nibbānaṃ nibbānato abhiññāya nibbānaṃ na maññati, nibbānasmiṃ na maññati, nibbānato na maññati, nibbānaṃ meti na maññati, nibbānaṃ nābhinandati.

https://suttacentral.net/mn1/en/sujato
=============
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

daveblack
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by daveblack » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:05 pm

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:14 pm
daveblack wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:59 pm
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 pm
Buddha flatly rejected the idea of Nibbana as an objective reality.
I feel like you could be playing a semantic game with the word "objective" because the word can be used different ways. Is there another way to phrase what you're trying to say?
"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
======================

But he doesn’t identify with extinguishment, he doesn’t identify regarding extinguishment, he doesn’t identify as extinguishment, he doesn’t identify that ‘extinguishment is mine’, he doesn’t take pleasure in extinguishment.
nibbānaṃ nibbānato abhiññāya nibbānaṃ na maññati, nibbānasmiṃ na maññati, nibbānato na maññati, nibbānaṃ meti na maññati, nibbānaṃ nābhinandati.

https://suttacentral.net/mn1/en/sujato
=============
I would have to say I think someone accidentally included "unbinding" in a sutta that clearly was originally only about the 4 elements of earth, fire, wind, and water. Not delighting in unbinding, and the assertion that all delight leads to suffering, is plainly contrary to what is stated in MN 36 where Buddha is narrating how he first figured out that the Jhanas were the path to wisdom, saying:
“I considered: ‘I recall that when my father the Sakyan was occupied, while I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Could that be the path to enlightenment?’ Then, following on that memory, came the realisation: ‘That is indeed the path to enlightenment.’

“I thought: ‘Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?’ I thought: ‘I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states.’
This is plainly stating that delight in unbinding is not a problem because it is not at all associated with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states. Here it is plain that the idea that "delight is the root of suffering" applies only to delight in sensual pleasures.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:15 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:09 am
The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma.
...
...

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Self ...
  • "an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" :D ~ MN22

chownah
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:34 am

daveblack wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:05 pm
“I considered: ‘I recall that when my father the Sakyan was occupied, while I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Could that be the path to enlightenment?’ Then, following on that memory, came the realisation: ‘That is indeed the path to enlightenment.’

“I thought: ‘Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?’ I thought: ‘I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states.’
This is plainly stating that delight in unbinding is not a problem because it is not at all associated with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states. Here it is plain that the idea that "delight is the root of suffering" applies only to delight in sensual pleasures.
The sutta does not mention "delight" which I think has a particular meaning in the suttas....I think that to delight in anything (which is most often sensual pleasures but can also arise mentally) is suffering.
chownah

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mikenz66
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:13 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:09 am
The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma.

I found the above topic is discussed in the following website.
I like to know whether this in line with Theravada teaching or whether this is in another branch of Buddism.
In your opinion what is not in line with Buddha's teaching or Tipitaka?
Can we call Buddha's teaching as the Grand Unified Theory?
If not what is the best way to describe it?
https://puredhamma.net/dhamma/the-grand ... of-dhamma/
I suggest posting questions on the thread of the website author: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=384866&hil ... ma#p384866

:heart:
Mike

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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by JohnK » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:14 pm

daveblack wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:05 pm
This is plainly stating that delight in unbinding is not a problem...
I understand the quoted section to be referring to jhana not to unbinding.
:anjali:
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

daveblack
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by daveblack » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:47 am

JohnK wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:14 pm
daveblack wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:05 pm
This is plainly stating that delight in unbinding is not a problem...
I understand the quoted section to be referring to jhana not to unbinding.
:anjali:
But if jhana can be delighted in, why couldn't nibbana? To say that nibbana cannot be delighted in, but jhana can "because it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures or unwholesome states," would be to imply that nibbana does have to do with sensual pleasures or unwholesome states, which we know is contrary to the whole tenure of the canon. So therefore, MN 1 is in a corrupt state where someone accidentally included nibbana in a sutta that was originally only about not delighting in the 4 classical elements.

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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by JohnK » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:26 am

I'm with chownah: When "delight" shows up in English translations (and I don't know the Pali), it is typically in reference to craving, that is, it is not mere pleasant vedana (which may not have to feared). So the quote is neither about "delight" nor "nibbana," so it does not "plainly" state that delight in unbinding is not a problem.
Nibbana may be described as bliss, but delight/craving is not a part of it -- except, per MN1, for the uninstructed who conceives himself as Nibbana, as in Nibbana, apart from Nibbana, or Nibbana to be "mine" -- which all result in "delight" in [craving for] Nibbana. So, I'm not sure how MN 1 may be corrupted, but I'm no expert.
Just my take on it. :anjali:
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

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SDC
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by SDC » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:46 pm

daveblack wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:47 am
So therefore, MN 1 is in a corrupt state where someone accidentally included nibbana in a sutta that was originally only about not delighting in the 4 classical elements.
Is there any evidence that MN 1 was "originally only about not delighting in the 4 classical elements"? It is stated at the start of the sutta, "I shall teach you a discourse on the root of all things". If an uninstructed worldling were to perceive a perception of nibbānadhātuyā (the element of nibbana) he wouldn't understand it.

On the other hand:
SN 1.59 wrote: Kiṃsu dutiyā purisassa hoti,
Kiṃsu cenaṃ pasāsati;
Kissa cābhirato macco,
Sabbadukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

“Saddhā dutiyā purisassa hoti,
Paññā cenaṃ pasāsati;
Nibbānābhirato macco,
Sabbadukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

What is a person’s partner?
What is it that instructs him?
Taking delight in what is a mortal
Released from all suffering?”

“Faith is a person’s partner,
And wisdom is what instructs him.
Taking delight in Nibbāna, a mortal
Is released from all suffering.”
(Added emphasis)

I can't, for the life of me, find the sutta - it was somewhere in Majjhima I think - where a puthujjana has the experience of nibbana, but takes it wrong. It is essentially what MN 1 says, but with less detail.

I'm doing quite a bit of digging for you these last few days, David. I appreciate the challenge and I hope some of it has been useful.

daveblack
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Re: The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma?

Post by daveblack » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:53 pm

SDC wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:46 pm
daveblack wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:47 am
So therefore, MN 1 is in a corrupt state where someone accidentally included nibbana in a sutta that was originally only about not delighting in the 4 classical elements.
Is there any evidence that MN 1 was "originally only about not delighting in the 4 classical elements"? It is stated at the start of the sutta, "I shall teach you a discourse on the root of all things". If an uninstructed worldling were to perceive a perception of nibbānadhātuyā (the element of nibbana) he wouldn't understand it.
Can I prove it like with manuscript evidence or something? No, but there aren't any widely available Critical Editions of the Suttas like there are of the New Testament with the Nestle-Aland 2Xth edition to show that "These manuscripts are missing this line" or something like that. I imagine once the state of Buddhist scholarship with regard to textual criticism is finally as advanced as New Testament textual criticism is now, we may have that evidence, because intuitively there's a problem here based on what other suttas say.

One thing I find interesting about MN1 is that the sermon is against "delight" and in the last line "the monks did not delight in Buddha's words." Oh the irony. I almost can't help but think that this sutta was intended as a sort of joke, of the sort that Jews tell on Purim, Purim Torah:
Purim Torah is humorous and satirical comments in the learned style of talmudic or halakhic comments customarily read, recited from memory or authored on or for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim Torah can be simple or elaborate.

Purim Torah authors, often displaying an amazing grasp of Jewish knowledge, playfully use some of the far-fetched methods of Talmudic logic and Biblical exegesis in order to reach absurd conclusions.[1] Another popular method is "play on words" where a reasonable word or phrase is purposefully misinterpreted as something absurd that sounds similar. For example the verse in the Megilla that states "Vashti made a feast for the women" sounds similar (in Hebrew) to "Vashti was born of two women".
This MN1 strikes me as employing the same kind of methods as Purim Torah. Take a teaching that is valid, like not delighting in the 4 classical elements, and extend its logic too far, i.e. quote Buddha as teaching against delighting in nibbana, and then bring in the punchline: the monks who listened to this discourse did not delight in Buddha's words.

Not saying it is a joke, but as it stands it reminds me of that kind of joke. I just have a gut feeling that due to the normal amount of repetition of always repeating the same paragraph with an X over and over and plugging different words into X, someone messed up and plugged nibbana in the X when they shouldn't have. And I doubt this is the only example of that kind of scribal mistake in the canon.

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