AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

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AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:15 am

AN 10.96 PTS: A v 196 Kokanuda Sutta: To Kokanuda(On Viewpoints)
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Ven. Ananda explains that wisdom is not based on subscribing to this or that point of view.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying near Rajagaha, at Tapoda monastery. Then, as night was ending, he got up & went to the Tapoda Hot Springs to bathe his limbs. Having bathed his limbs and having gotten out of the springs, he stood wearing only his lower robe, drying his limbs. Kokanuda the wanderer, as night was ending, also got up & went to the Tapoda Hot Springs to bathe his limbs. He saw Ven. Ananda from afar, and on seeing him said to him, "Who are you, my friend?"

"I am a monk, my friend."

"Which kind of monk?"

"A son-of-the-Sakyan contemplative."

"I would like to ask you about a certain point, if you would give me leave to pose a question."

"Go ahead and ask. Having heard [your question], I'll inform you."

"How is it, my friend: 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.' Is this the sort of view you have?"

"No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view."

"Very well, then: 'The cosmos is not eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.' Is this the sort of view you have?"

"No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view."

"Very well, then: 'The cosmos is finite... The cosmos is infinite... The soul & the body are the same... The soul is one thing and the body another... After death a Tathagata exists... After death a Tathagata does not exist... After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist... After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.' Is this the sort of view you have?"

"No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view."

"Then in that case, do you not know or see?"

"No, my friend. It's not the case that I don't know, I don't see. I do know. I do see."

"But on being asked, 'How is it, my friend: "The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless." Is this the sort of view you have?' you inform me, 'No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view.' On being asked, 'Very well then: "The cosmos is not eternal... The cosmos is finite... The cosmos is infinite... The soul & the body are the same... The soul is one thing and the body another... After death a Tathagata exists... After death a Tathagata does not exist... After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist... After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless." Is this the sort of view you have?' you inform me, 'No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view.' But on being asked, 'Then in that case, do you not know or see?' you inform me, 'No, my friend. It's not the case that I don't know or see. I do know. I do see.' Now, how is the meaning of this statement to be understood?"

"'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless,' is a viewpoint. 'The cosmos is not eternal... The cosmos is finite... The cosmos is infinite... The soul & the body are the same... The soul is one thing and the body another... After death a Tathagata exists... After death a Tathagata does not exist... After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist... After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless,' is a viewpoint. The extent to which there are viewpoints, view-stances, the taking up of views, obsessions of views, the cause of views, & the uprooting of views: that's what I know. That's what I see. Knowing that, I say 'I know.' Seeing that, I say 'I see.' Why should I say 'I don't know, I don't see'? I do know. I do see."

"What is your name, my friend? What do your fellows in the chaste life call you?"

"My name is Ananda, my friend, and that's what my fellows in the chaste life call me."

"What? Have I been talking with the great teacher without realizing that it was Ven. Ananda? Had I recognized that it was Ven. Ananda, I would not have cross-examined him so much. May Ven. Ananda please forgive me."

See also: AN 4.24; AN 4.42; AN 10.93; Snp 4.12.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:26 am

Note from Bhikkhu Bodhi:

“To the extent, friend, that there is a speculative view, a basis for views, [2131] a foundation for views, obsession with views, the origination of views, and the uprooting of views, I know and see this. When I know and see this, why should I say: ‘I do not know and see.’ I know, friend, I see.”

[2131] At 4:38 and 6:54, I render diṭṭhiṭṭhāna as “viewpoint,” but here as “basis for view.” I follow Mp, which glosses the word in its earlier occurrences as meaning views themselves, but here as “causes for views” (diṭṭhikāraṇa). Mp mentions eight such causes: the aggregates, ignorance, contact, perception, thought, careless attention, bad friends, and another person’s utterance (khandhā, avijjā, phasso, saññā, vitakko, ayoniso manasikāro, pāpamittā, paraghoso).

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by SarathW » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:18 am

These questions, "Thatagata exist or not" etc appears to be a very common question in Buddha's time.
I have seen these questions repeated in many Sutta's with different back ground story.
It is not surprising to me, as these questions are repeated many times in this forum too.
:)
By the way what is the bottom line of these questions and answers?
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by culaavuso » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:27 am

SarathW wrote: By the way what is the bottom line of these questions and answers?
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.intro.than.html]Introduction to the Avyākata Saṃyutta[/url] by Ven. Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu wrote: This samyutta is organized around questions that the Buddha left unanswered. Most of the discourses here focus on questions in a standard list of ten that were apparently the hot issues for philosophers in the Buddha's day: Is the cosmos eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it infinite? Is the body the same as the soul? Is the body one thing and the soul another? Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Both? Neither?

MN 72 lists the reasons why the Buddha does not take a position on any of these questions. In each case he says that such a position "is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full awakening, Unbinding."

These reasons fall into two categories. The first concerns the present drawbacks of taking such a position: It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, and fever. The second category concerns the effects of such a position over time: It does not lead to awakening or Unbinding. AN 10.93 further explores the first category of reasons. MN 63 further explores the second.

Some of the discourses in this samyutta explore a third category of reasons for why the Buddha does not take a position on any of these questions: Such a position is based on attachment to and misunderstanding of the aggregates and sense media. When one sees these things for what they are, as they're actually present, the idea of forming them into any of these positions simply does not occur to one.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by SarathW » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:34 am

Thanks C.
I think this is applicable mainly for monks not for lay people.
Today scientists spend so much time to explore the universe.
More they look more they see.
They will die without realising the Buddha's teaching.
However this knowledge may relevant to lay people.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:53 am

SarathW wrote:Thanks C.
I think this is applicable mainly for monks not for lay people.
Today scientists spend so much time to explore the universe.
More they look more they see.
They will die without realising the Buddha's teaching.
However this knowledge may relevant to lay people.
:thinking:
Hi, Sarath,
I think we need to look at those ten questions again:
Is the cosmos eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it infinite? Is the body the same as the soul? Is the body one thing and the soul another? Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Both? Neither?

The first four concern the nature of the physical world and can, in theory, be answered by science. (I have to add that science has not yet got good answers to any of them but in principle the questions are as answerable as "Is the world round?" or "Is the world flat?") Both monks and lay people should be perfectly comfortable saying, "We don't know. We might find out some day but it doesn't make any difference to our lives now anyway."
The next two - body and soul - may some day have scientific answers but that looks unlikely, and the last four - life after death - are harder still for science to deal with. And our answers to all six of them do make a difference to how we will choose to live our lives, so they are still important religious questions - to monks and lay people.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:11 pm

Many thanks for this, Mike. A new one for me.
"No, my friend, I don't have that sort of view."

"Then in that case, do you not know or see?"

"No, my friend. It's not the case that I don't know, I don't see. I do know. I do see."
The question running through this sutta seems to be whether one "knows and sees" as a result of holding views, or because one knows and sees the views as views and nothing more. Kokanuda initially thinks it is the former, because Ananda's not holding views leads him to question his knowledge and vision.

Is Ananda's response pointing to the inherent impossibility of ever knowing such views to be true? (Or, less strongly, the impossibility of one such as Kokanuda knowing?) Or is it a more positive emphasis on the importance of knowing how the mind behaves around views?

It is, of course, perfectly possible to affirm one or more of Kokanuda's hypotheses while still insisting that psychology is more fruitful than cosmology, and that introspection is of more benefit than speculation.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:24 pm

Kim OHara wrote:[
Is the cosmos eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it infinite? Is the body the same as the soul? Is the body one thing and the soul another? Does the Tathagata exist after death? Does he not exist after death? Both? Neither?

The first four concern the nature of the physical world and can, in theory, be answered by science. (I have to add that science has not yet got good answers to any of them but in principle the questions are as answerable as "Is the world round?" or "Is the world flat?") Both monks and lay people should be perfectly comfortable saying, "We don't know. We might find out some day but it doesn't make any difference to our lives now anyway."
The next two - body and soul - may some day have scientific answers but that looks unlikely, and the last four - life after death - are harder still for science to deal with. And our answers to all six of them do make a difference to how we will choose to live our lives, so they are still important religious questions - to monks and lay people.
Thanks, Kim, you make some thought-provoking points here. (A minor quibble, but I'm not sure whether the first four questions can be answered by science, even in principle. Infinity and eternity seem to be questions of a different type than questions about the shape of a particular bit of matter. The latter are subject to falsification, but it would be hard to generate a hypothesis about eternity or infinity which could be falsified or even tested.)

Your point about the continuing importance of these questions is I think excellent. I have occasionally seen them summarily dismissed on the authority of a sutta like this one, but it is clear that they have a continuing importance for us. Even Kokanuda who asks them as a "standard set" seems to be a good and genuine person.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by vinasp » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:48 am

Hi everyone,

From MN 63 [ATI - Thanissaro.]

"Malunkyaputta, it's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is eternal,' there is the living of the holy life. And it's not the case that when there is the view, 'The cosmos is not eternal,' there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, 'The cosmos is eternal,' and when there is the view, 'The cosmos is not eternal,' there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now."

The same is repeated for all ten views.

In other words, one cannot hold any of these views and live the holy life.
The 'holy life' is explained elsewhere as the noble eightfold path.

It seems that these ten are not just dogmatic views which involve clinging, but that they also depend on first holding the view of self (sakkaya ditthi).

That the 'cosmos is eternal' is related to the eternalist view which is a view about the supposed real present self. That the 'cosmos is not eternal' is related to the annihilationist view which is also a view about self.

Here, I simplify the last bit of the quotation - read carefully.

'WHEN there is the view, 'the cosmos is eternal', THERE IS STILL birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, and distress WHOSE DESTRUCTION I MAKE KNOWN RIGHT IN THE HERE AND NOW."

When the stream-winner eliminates the view of self, these ten views become untenable and any of these views that one was holding cease. The same is true of the sixty-two views listed in DN 1 the Brahmajala Sutta.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by vinasp » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:28 am

Hi everyone,

"Fettered by the fetter of views, the untaught ordinary person is not freed from birth, ageing, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair; he is not freed from suffering, I say." [BB, MN 2.8]

"And how is there the yoke of views? There is the case where a certain person does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views. When he does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, & the escape from views, then — with regard to views — he is obsessed with view-passion, view-delight, view-attraction, view-infatuation, view-thirst, view-fever, view-fascination, view-craving. ..." [AN 4.10 -Yokes, ATI, Thanissaro.]

This 'view-craving' is interesting.

The sixty-two views are often simplified to just two views, the Eternalist view, and the Annihilation view.

These are also called 'existence-view' (bhava-ditthi), and 'non-existence-view' ( vibhava-ditthi), see MN 11.6 - [according to the Commentaries].

In the second noble truth craving is said to be of three kinds: two of these are 'existence-craving' (bhava-tanha), and 'non-existence-craving' (vibhava-tanha).

These could be the cravings involved with these two views, although any individual would only have one of these not both.

When the craving is eliminated the view ceases. This has been done by a stream-winner, so he does not have either of these two views.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by chownah » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:10 pm

The fetter of views should be broken. I think that a good way to start at the breakup of this fetter is to realize that when expressing a view you are only guessing and that you really shouldn't be too sure about your view.......I guess.....don't know for sure.....
chownah

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by Pondera » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:28 am

I don't think all of the 62 views are wrong. The eel wriggler views are wrong. But the view of space as Infinte in all directions is "technically" correct. That "view" is instrumental to the path. Also, the eternalist view is founded in four ways - 3 by past life recollection and 1 by sophistry. The Buddha himself admitted to viewing countless past lives. The difference is - not finding an end - he did not see that the self is "eternal". He saw that the self is subject to stress and impermanent - and not therefore suitable of it's own title.

Many of these views are known to the Buddha - including the obviously wrong views. He knows, as another example, that the eel wriggler cannot tell right from wrong because the eel wriggler does not know how the coming and goings of beings works according to kamma.

So, for that reason, I would say the "net" of views exists such that it ensnares beings in samsara. The views, thus arrived at, thus comprehended, thus "assumed" lead to: "here and there". To further stress, in other words.

He understands all of these things and more - including the path that leads away from further roaming in the net. On the net. Not the Internet. But, beings are also bound to roam the Internet. And why? That is because of craving; craving for being, and for non-being. :|
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

No one in the audience knew. They shrugged their shoulders, however the wise man only laughed and shook his head. He didn't explain any further.

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by yikeren » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:37 am

In gratitude for the information provided in this forum, I'd like to share a little presentation that I've prepared on the Sutta. It uses some of the information provided here and some that from elsewhere. As a Powerpoint, it's inherently brief. Thus, it may not make sense for some.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/756 ... 0Sutta.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: AN 10.96: Kokanuda Sutta — To Kokanuda

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:35 am

Thanks yikeren, that's great.

:anjali:
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