Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:43 am

christopher::: wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...
Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?
Where Vietnam gets its Dharma from and where that one word has its origins are different questions. We'd need someone with knowledge of Vietnamese Buddhism to go further with these technical issues, i think.
China. For both.

Try looking the two Chinese characters up in a Buddhist Dictionary, a Japanese Buddhist dictionary should give you something pretty similar, too.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:51 am

Hi Venerable. I didn't see Chinese characters for the Vietnamese term Tiếp Hiện , perhaps we were looking at different links. This is the primary page, in English. On the left is a link to Vietnamese. What (and/or where) are the Chinese characters you found?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Interbeing" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:05 am

Have to go now, will check in again later.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:57 am

As usual this has turned into a discussion about interpretation of Mahayana views.
I for one have no problem with that at all, it is after all in the Dhamma Free for All, but as usual as these debates proceed they have less and less to do with the Theravada.
I think this Forum is a generous host, as it should be. I can think of a number of Buddhist websites where the fact that the discussion had moved beyond the remit for that Forum would be less tolerated.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by legolas » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:39 am

Is not dependant origination a "bad" thing, since it is the process of our suffering. "Interbeing" seems to be described by TNH as a wonderful and beautiful expression of life.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:01 am

I think you have put your finger on an important issue Legolas.
Whereas in my view the Theravada emphasises the fact that D.O. starts with Ignorance...the tenor in TNH writings seems to be on some kind of affirmation of the world. I dont think actually that the Theravada sees D.O. as bad. I do think it sees the process it describes as leading to Dukkha and therefore to be transcended. Not in some way perfected or added to or improved.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:17 am

I don't see dependent origination as "bad" or "interbeing" as good. If one understands the Buddha's teachings on dependent origination with clarity it can lead to freedom, awakening, liberation. I don't think an understanding of inter-being alone will have the same effect. Interbeing is just another way of describing how no thing exists on its own, another way of looking at compounded things. Things may interbe, but the truth of anicca-dukkha-anattā is still primary.

You're body is composed of atoms from the Universe, and that's pretty cool, but everything dissolves, falls apart and decays, and this leads to unsatisfactory feelings if we cling to anything, hold too tightly to the world.

I think Ajahn Chah has described that very well...
With even a little intuitive wisdom, we will then be able to see clearly through the ways of the world. We will come to understand that everything in the world is a teacher. Trees and vines, for example, can all reveal the true nature of reality. With wisdom there is no need to question anyone, no need to study. We can learn from nature enough to be enlightened, as in the story of King Mahajanaka, because everything follows the way of truth. It does not diverge from truth.

Associated with wisdom are self-composure and restraint which, in turn, can lead to further insight into the ways of nature. In this way, we will come to know the ultimate truth of everything being ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''. Take trees, for example; all trees upon the earth are equal, are One, when seen through the reality of ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''. First, they come into being, then grow and mature, constantly changing, until they finally die as every tree must.

In the same way, people and animals are born, grow and change during their life-times until they eventually die. The multitudinous changes which occur during this transition from birth to death show the Way of Dhamma. That is to say, all things are impermanent, having decay and dissolution as their natural condition.

If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha?
The Buddha is in the Dhamma.
Where is the Dhamma?
The Dhamma is in the Buddha.
Right here, now!
Where is the Sangha?
The Sangha is in the Dhamma.

The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in our minds, but we have to see it clearly. Some people just pick this up casually saying, ''Oh! The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in my mind''. Yet their own practice is not suitable or appropriate. It is thus not befitting that the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha should be found in their minds, namely, because the ''mind'' must first be that mind which knows the Dhamma.

Bringing everything back to this point of Dhamma, we will come to know that, in the world, truth does exist, and thus it is possible for us to practice to realize it.
For instance, ''nāma dhamma'', feelings, thoughts, imagination, etc., are all uncertain. When anger arises, it grows and changes and finally disappears. Happiness, too, arises, grows and changes and finally disappears. They are empty. They are not any ''thing''. This is always the way of all things, both mentally and materially. Internally, there are this body and mind. Externally, there are trees, vines and all manner of things which display this universal law of uncertainty.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one know the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now.

~Ajahn Chah
Dhamma Nature
One doesn't need a concept like interbeing to understand what Ajahn Chah is saying. On the other hand, I don't see anything above which refutes the concept.

:anjali:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:24 am

i always took interbeing as an understanding of emptiness not dependant origination. did i miss something?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by legolas » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:47 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i always took interbeing as an understanding of emptiness not dependant origination. did i miss something?
dependant origination shows & explains the emptiness of self. Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:23 am

legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.
but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:03 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.
but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
Much worse.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by bodom » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:
legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.
but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
Much worse.
For as much criticism as he takes, he was my first real introduction to Buddhism. If it wasn't for him I would not be here. I would not have found my way to Therevadin Buddhism. For that, I owe him dearly.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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christopher:::
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:05 pm

As i said in the OP, Thich Nhat Hanh (along with Gil Fronsdal) are the only two popular Zen Buddhist teachers i've come across who present "Theravadan" ideas extensively to their students. The 7 factors of Awakening, 4 brahmaviharas, 4 foundations of mindfulness, etc. Most Zen Buddhists (that i've come in contact with) don't know what these are, and aren't even interested. Some of us are though, and TNH is one way we came to learn of these dhamma teachings.

But if he isn't presenting certain ideas accurately, that would be a problem. So, those of you with criticisms, i hope you will feel free to share. It's on topic i think to discuss this.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:24 pm

I dunno Chris. I think that one gets TNH or not, I think its less to do with logic and more to do with taste. You cant make someone love you, and I suspect you cant make people love a particular teacher or for matter, stop loving them.
If they help you fine. If they dont.... fine.
TNH is a teacher who tends to polarise opinion more than most. I know devout long term practitioners who have a lot of time for him. I also know similarly long term and devout people who dont consider that he represents the Buddha teaching at all and lump him in with the likes of Deepak Chopra.
I am not sure that a consensus view is either possible or particularly desirable. Horses for courses.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Post by dhamma follower » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:41 pm

christopher::: wrote:

Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:
The Vietnamese translation for Order of Interbeing is "Dòng tu Tiếp Hiện" so "Dong tu" probably means "Order of."
If you follow the first external link on that Wiki page, you'll see it, in big bold letters!
Yes, thank you Venerable, that's where i found it as well.
Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...
Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?
Where Vietnam gets its Dharma from and where that one word has its origins are different questions. We'd need someone with knowledge of Vietnamese Buddhism to go further with these technical issues, i think.
Paññāsikhara wrote:
I am vietnamese but not expert in Vietnamese Buddhism. What I can say is that before I got to know Ven TNH, I had never heard the word Tiếp Hiện, and without reading its english version "inter-being", I'd had no clue what it means. My guess is that it's a word entirely invented by the Ven, translated from the word "inter-being" (and not the other way around- it seems that this Order was founded when he was in the US in 1966- though I am not 100% sure), which is used to convey the idea of "continue to be" instead of "individuals" , in case of his Order of inter-beings. Note that when talking about birthdays, he uses the expression "continuation of birth".

Inter-being, when used to talk about the emptiness nature of all things in his books in vietnamese, is Vô Ngã, which is the standard translation of selflessness, anatta or sunyata.

His elaboration of Vô Ngã (translated by him as Inter-being) is not found in other vietnamese Buddhist books (to my knowledge), and if he chooses to translate it as "inter-being" instead of selflessness or emptiness, it is most probably because it is how HE understands it and thinks it's easier to be understood and accepted by westerners.

just my 2 cents.

D.F.

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