The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

Moderator: mikenz66

Locked
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15172
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:28 am

The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony
Bhikkhu Bodhi

See: here for background:
This small book collects key teachings on conflict resolution, interpersonal and social problem-solving, and the forging of harmonious relationships. Most of the suttas are available on-line, but to read Bhikkhu Bodhi's commentary you will have to purchase the book.

I will add these suttas to our study cycle, working through the suttas chapter by chapter, inviting, in particular, comments on how these teachings can be applied to our lives. I will use the Sutta Central facility to highlight sutta sections, but sometimes will copy and paste text.
I. Right Understanding

The Buddha taught that right understanding, or "right view" is the forerunner of the path to liberation. In this first chapter Bhikkhu Bodhi has assembled a number of suttas on Right View. These texts emphasise the veiw of one's personal responsibility for one's actions, rather then the right view that leads to liberation.

1. Right View Comes First MN 117

2. Understanding the Unwholesome and the Wholesome MN 9

3. A Miscellany on Kamma AN 6.63

4. Beings Fare According to Their Kamma AN 8.11

5. When you Know for Yourselves AN 3.65

6. A Teaching Applicable to Oneself SN 55.7

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
  • Then those brahmin householders of Bamboo Gate approached the Blessed One. Having approached, some paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. Some greeted the Blessed One and, having exchanged greetings and cordial talk, sat down to one side. Some extended their joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One and sat down to one side. Some announced their name and clan to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. Some remained silent and sat down to one side. Sitting to one side, those brahmin householders of Bamboo Gate said to the Blessed One:

    “Master Gotama, we have such wishes, desires, and hopes as these: ‘May we dwell in a home crowded with children! May we enjoy Kāsian sandalwood! May we wear garlands, scents, and unguents! May we receive gold and silver! With the breakup of the body, after death, may we be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world!’ As we have such wishes, desires, and hopes, let Master Gotama teach us the Dhamma in such a way that we might dwell in a home crowded with children … and with the breakup of the body, after death, we might be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.”

    “I will teach you, householders, a Dhamma exposition applicable to oneself Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak.”

    “Yes, sir,” those brahmin householders of Bamboo Gate replied. The Blessed One said this:

    “What, householders, is the Dhamma exposition applicable to oneself? Here, householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die; I desire happiness and am averse to suffering. Since I am one who wishes to live … and am averse to suffering, if someone were to take my life, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to take the life of another—of one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die, who desires happiness and is averse to suffering—that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?’ Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from the destruction of life, exhorts others to abstain from the destruction of life, and speaks in praise of abstinence from the destruction of life. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 5838
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by bodom » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:23 pm

Picked up my copy last week. Looking forward to reading it .

:namaste:
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 mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

Phena
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 6:40 am

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by Phena » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:04 am

Thanks for taking the time to write this up Mike :anjali:

My copy of this book should arrive any day now.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15172
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:36 am

Here is a collection of suttas on right view, which have some overlap with Bhikkhu Bodhi's choices:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... ma-ditthi/

See also: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch2

Another common expression of right view is in terms of the Noble Truths:
“And what, bhikkhus, is right view? Knowledge of suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering, knowledge of the cessation of suffering, knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: this is called right view.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn45.8/4
However, the suttas that Bhikku Bodhi has chosen here are not the ones focussed on full liberation...

:heart:
Mike

JohnK
Posts: 441
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by JohnK » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:33 pm

mikenz66 wrote:...However, the suttas that Bhikku Bodhi has chosen here are not the ones focussed on full liberation...
Which makes sense given the title/subject of the collection, right?
(Also reminiscent of the first parts of his In the Buddha's Words.)
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by pink_trike » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:54 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony

“What, householders, is the Dhamma exposition applicable to oneself? Here, householders, a noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die; I desire happiness and am averse to suffering. Since I am one who wishes to live … and am averse to suffering, if someone were to take my life, that would not be pleasing and agreeable to me. Now if I were to take the life of another—of one who wishes to live, who does not wish to die, who desires happiness and is averse to suffering—that would not be pleasing and agreeable to the other either. What is displeasing and disagreeable to me is displeasing and disagreeable to the other too. How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?’ Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from the destruction of life, exhorts others to abstain from the destruction of life, and speaks in praise of abstinence from the destruction of life. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.[/list]
The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity, foundational to nearly all premodern / ancient cultures.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2323
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:28 pm

pink_trike wrote: The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity, foundational to nearly all premodern / ancient cultures.
It is indeed. What I find interesting is the fact that the noble disciple merely has to reflect upon it in order to follow it:
Having reflected thus, he himself abstains from the destruction of life, exhorts others to abstain from the destruction of life, and speaks in praise of abstinence from the destruction of life. Thus this bodily conduct of his is purified in three respects.
Those who are not noble disciples often know of this Golden Rule, and can even reflect on it, but use all manner of rationalisations and disavowals in order to flout it. Presumably the sotapanna, in abandoning self-view, treats the question
How can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?
as purely rhetorical. S/he can't inflict that on another, or can see no reason to.

However, killing does not feature in the six actions which cannot be committed by a sotapanna - excepting matricide, patricide, or the killing of an arahant.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I defining "noble disciple" too narrowly? Or perhaps I am misinformed about the six actions, and the sutta is merely about the disciple's intention to abstain?

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3696
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:33 am

Sam Vara wrote:Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I defining "noble disciple" too narrowly?
I think so. In the commentarial understanding ariyasāvaka in some contexts means "disciple who is an ariyan", while in others in means "disciple of the ariyans". In the latter sense the term includes virtuous worldlings (kalyāna putthujjana).

santa100
Posts: 2725
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by santa100 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:09 am

Sam Vara wrote:However, killing does not feature in the six actions which cannot be committed by a sotapanna - excepting matricide, patricide, or the killing of an arahant.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I defining "noble disciple" too narrowly? Or perhaps I am misinformed about the six actions, and the sutta is merely about the disciple's intention to abstain?
A Sotapanna cannot break the 1st precept per the suttas mentioned here.
For the definition of noble disciple, see the 7-fold and the 8-fold classifications here.
Also from Ven. Bodhi's note in "Numerical Discourses":
The Nikayas often set up a contrast between the "uninstructed worldling" (assutava puthujjana), the common person of the world who lacks training in the Buddha's teaching, and the instructed noble disciple (sutava ariya savaka), who has learned the teaching and undertaken the training. More broadly, a puthujjana is anyone who has not yet reached the path of stream-entry (sotapatti). An ariyasavaka is not necessarily a "noble one" in the technical sense, but any disciple, monastic or layperson, who has learned the teaching and earnestly takes up the practice.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2323
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:32 am

Thank you to Venerable Dhammanando and Santa100.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15172
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:49 am

Texts I.1-I.4 present right view in terms of the kammic results in Buddhist cosmology.

I.1. Right View Comes First MN 117 presents "mundane" right view ("subject to the influxes") as a rejection of nihilism, a recognition that actions do have consequennces.

I.2. Understanding the Unwholesome and the Wholesome MN 9 explains wholesome and the unwholesome behaviour, and presents greed, hatred, and delusion as the root cause of unwholesome behaviour.

I.3. A Miscellany on Kamma AN 6.63 explains that kamma involves volition, and is dependent on contact. Contact is defined in the following pericope:
“In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be; with feeling as condition, craving; with craving as condition, clinging…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
... [similarly for the other sense bases]
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.45
The diversity of kamma reflects the Buddhist cosmology of where kamma is experienced: in hell, animal, afflicted spirits, human, and deva realms.

I.4. Beings Fare According to Their Kamma AN 8.11 states that his knowledge of passing away and rebirth according to kamma was the second knowledge that he attained on the night of his awakening.

It seems that, for those of us who are unawakened, these suttas present the results of wholesome and unwholesome kamma as something that will have to be taken on faith.

:heart:
Mike

R1111
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by R1111 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:08 pm

santa100 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote: A Sotapanna cannot break the 1st precept per the suttas mentioned here.
Where is this Suttas reference friend? Inb4 :offtopic: so lets move it to other thread.

R1111
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by R1111 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:31 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I defining "noble disciple" too narrowly?
I think so. In the commentarial understanding ariyasāvaka in some contexts means "disciple who is an ariyan", while in others in means "disciple of the ariyans". In the latter sense the term includes virtuous worldlings (kalyāna putthujjana).
I wonder which commentaries do this and why, do you know Bhante?
I think it is to be able to claim some sort of Sutta foothold for the view that Unbroken sila of a Sotapanna means he cant break 5 precept. As i can see the need to choose correct definition doesn' t arise without assumption that he cant break five lay people precepts.

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3696
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:36 pm

R1111 wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I defining "noble disciple" too narrowly?
I think so. In the commentarial understanding ariyasāvaka in some contexts means "disciple who is an ariyan", while in others in means "disciple of the ariyans". In the latter sense the term includes virtuous worldlings (kalyāna putthujjana).
I wonder which commentaries do this and why, do you know Bhante?
I think they are just making explicit a distinction that in the suttas is only implicit. Take for example the Sarada Sutta:
  • Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, saradasamaye viddhe vigatavalāhake deve ādicco nabhaṃ abbhussakkamāno sabbaṃ ākāsagataṃ tamagataṃ abhivihacca bhāsate ca tapate ca virocati ca. Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, yato ariyasāvakassa virajaṃ vītamalaṃ dhammacakkhuṃ uppajjati, saha dassanuppādā, bhikkhave, ariyasāvakassa tīṇi saṃyojanāni pahīyanti: sakkāyadiṭṭhi, vicikicchā, sīlabbataparāmāso.

    “Bhikkhus, just as, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and cloudless, the sun, ascending in the sky, dispels all darkness from space as it shines and beams and radiates, so too, when the dust-free, stainless Dhamma-eye arises in the ariyasāvaka, then, together with the arising of vision, the ariyasāvaka abandons three fetters: personal-existence view, doubt, and wrong grasp of behavior and observances.
    (AN. i. 242)
Now we know that the arising of the Dhamma-eye is synonymous with arrival at stream-entry, but in this sutta the person is already being denoted 'ariyasāvaka' before the Dhamma-eye arises. Yet before the eye arises he is a worldling, not a noble. And so here one can only conclude that prior to the arising of the Dhamma-eye the person is being referred to as an 'ariyasāvaka' because he is a disciple of the noble ones, not because he is a noble one himself.

Just going by memory, I believe examples of this kind are quite common in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, but are found rarely (if at all) in the Majjhima and Saṃyutta Nikāyas; in these two nikāyas the persons denoted 'ariyasāvaka' are in nearly every case stream-entrants or higher.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 15172
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. Chapter I. Right Understanding

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:47 am

In contrast to:
mikenz66 wrote:Texts I.1-I.4 present right view in terms of the kammic results in Buddhist cosmology.
...
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 58#p421039
the final two suttas on Right View/Understanding make use of logic and observation, and don't depend on an acceptance of life-to-life kammic results.

I.5. When you Know for Yourselves AN 3.65 is an extract from the Kalama sutta, which argues that acting on the basis of greed, hatred, and delusion will lead to harm and suffering.

I.6. A Teaching Applicable to Oneself SN 55.7 uses, as Pink Trike noted above, the Golden Rule of Reciprocity - don't treat others in ways that you would find disagreeable if they were applied to you.

This is also echoed in other texts. This is from the Dhammapada:
All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

https://suttacentral.net/en/dhp#129
Mallikā Sutta:
Though in thought we range throughout the world,
We'll nowhere find a thing more dear than self.
So, since others hold the self so dear,
He who loves himself should injure none.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
:heart:
Mike

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests