SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

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SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:08 am

SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

https://suttacentral.net/sn16.12

On one occasion the Venerable Mahakassapa and the Venerable Sāriputta were dwelling at Baraṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa. He exchanged greetings with the Venerable Mahakassapa and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:

“How is it, friend Kassapa, does the Tathagata exist after death?” [310]

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this: ‘The Tathagata exists after death.’”

“Then, friend, does the Tathagata not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this either: ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death.’”

“How is it then, friend, does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this: ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.’”

“Then, friend, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this either: ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’”

“Why hasn’t the Blessed One declared this, friend?”

“Because this is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has not declared this.”

“And what, friend, has the Blessed One declared?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has declared: ‘This is suffering,’ and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’ and ‘This is the cessation of suffering, ’ and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

“And why, friend, has the Blessed One declared this?”

“Because, friend, this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has declared this.”

Note

[310] Spk glosses “Tathāgata” here as satta, a being, on which Spk-pṭ comments: “As in past aeons, in past births, one has come into being by way of kamma and defilements, so one has also come now (tathā etarahi pi āgato); hence it is said ‘tathāgata.’ Or else, according to the kamma one has done and accumulated, just so has one come, arrived, been reborn in this or that form of individual existence (tathā taṃ taṃ attabhāvaṃ āgato upagato upapanno).”

This explanation seems implausible, especially when other texts clearly show that the philosophical problem over the Tathāgata’s post-mortem state concerns “the Tathāgata, the highest type of person, the supreme person, the one who has attained the supreme attainment (tathāgato uttamapuriso paramapuriso paramapattipatto)” (22:86 (III 116,13-14) = 44:2 (IV 380,14-15)).

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by L.N. » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:36 am

The teachings are essential. The rest is chatter.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by L.N. » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:08 am
“The Blessed One, friend, has declared: ‘This is suffering,’ and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’ and ‘This is the cessation of suffering, ’ and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

“And why, friend, has the Blessed One declared this?”

“Because, friend, this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has declared this.”
Here is the real emphasis. I love this sutta because there's really nothing to say. We can try to squeeze the concept of the Tathagata into our limited perceptions of past and future, near and far, but ultimately what is important is that there is a way leading to the cessation of suffering. Mind-boggling. Much more so than mundane questions such as what happens after death.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by unveiledartist » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:29 am

Wow. Nice. I was just trying to wrap my head around rebirth and mind stream. This sutta is a good wake up call. Thanks for posting. Good timing. :woohoo:
(Buddha said), "Monks, do not wage wordy warfare, saying: 'You don't understand this Dhamma and discipline, I understand this Dhamma and discipline'; 'How could you understand it? You have fallen into wrong practices: I have the right practice."~AN 4.183. Dont speak ill of other people and traditions with whom teach The Dharma. Right speech is respect in agreements and disagreements alike.

:anjali:

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:29 am

I would have preferred a straight answer to the question. :stirthepot:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:29 am
I would have preferred a straight answer to the question. :stirthepot:
"does the Tathagata exist after death?"

But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers? :smile:

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by cookiemonster » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:21 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:
Because "no" is a view that involves attachment?

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:26 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:
I think that was already addressed. :smile:

“Because this is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna."

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:05 pm

“Then, friend, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?”
Can you give a "yes" or "no" answer to this question?
If you say "yes" what it means?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:08 pm

Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
Why did he ask this question?
I expect only someone like Vattcagota to ask this sort of question.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by JohnK » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:21 pm

I did not read anything in this sutta about "wrong" answers (or "yes" or "no" answers), just that the Buddha "has not declared..."

It seems closer perhaps to consider the questions "wrong," but that was not exactly said either -- just that the whole Q&A is not what was taught to end suffering through knowledge, dispassion and nibbana, the goal of the teachings. (And what was taught for this is the 4 Noble Truths.)
It seems to say that worrying about right or wrong answers or wanting more direct answers to these questions is not productive in the context of the path, that's all.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:43 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:08 pm
Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
Why did he ask this question?
I expect only someone like Vattcagota to ask this sort of question.
This is to support that Sariputta is an Arahant.
https://ia800405.us.archive.org/15/item ... rdrfrn.mp3
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by JohnK » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:14 am

SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:43 am
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
From the book Great Disciples of the Buddha, p.126 (Nyanaponika Thera & Hellmuth Hecker):
We have no explanation why Sariputta posed these questions, which for an arahant should be fully clear. It is, however, no impossible that this conversation took place immediately after Kassapa's ordination and before his attainment of arahantship, and that Sariputta wanted to test his understanding; or perhaps the questions were asked for the sake of other monks who may have been present.
(FWIW, I like the second possibility -- the sutta being a co-teaching from them both.)
http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default ... review.pdf
(This link is just to the book's Introduction.)
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:30 am

perhaps the questions were asked for the sake of other monks who may have been present.
Thanks, John.
Yes, I think the same.
Perhaps this is a catechism style teaching.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:21 am

Can we apply these questions to chariot simile?

ie:
“How is it, friend Kassapa, does the chariot exist after its dissemble?”
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by JohnK » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:40 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:21 am
“How is it, friend Kassapa, does the chariot exist after its dissemble?”
Interesting -- the chariot simile is about what Thanissaro calls "not-self." He cites suttas to indicate that, like the subject sutta, the Buddha suggests that questions about the actual existence of self and no-self just lead to a thicket of views; but the "perception" of not-self can lead one along the path to dispassion and nibbana and the loss of any interest in questions of existence and being.
(Sorry I don't have time right now to quote him, buy I don't think I am misrepresenting him.)
On the other hand, there are teachers who do not see it the way Thanissaro does.
They might answer your chariot question this way:
"The chariot did not exist before its disassembly."
(The chariot being a simile for a self that is somehow distinct from the operations of the aggregate parts.)
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by santa100 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:17 pm

It's important to keep in mind that "yes" and "no" are not the sufficient answers that cover all bases to the truth. And we don't need to talk about the higher truth just yet, they show their limitation even in mundane disciplines. For example, in geometry, how would one answer the question whether 2 parallel lines will ever meet? yes, or no? Well, that depends on the context. It'd be a No in the context of Euclidean geometry, but it'd be a definite Yes in the context of spherical geometry. This also serves as the basis to that common brainteaser about where on the earth can a man walks southward for 1 mile, then eastward for 1 mile, then northward 1 mile, and end up in the same exact original spot.

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Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Post by equilibrium » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:19 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:29 am
I would have preferred a straight answer to the question.
The question is also framed wrongly because in that dimension, birth & death doesn't apply. Therefore to ask existence which has death is therefore conditioned. Buddha is beyond this:.....under MN121:
..... Ven. Ananda, coming out of seclusion, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "On one occasion, when the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans in a Sakyan town named Nagaraka, there — face-to-face with the Blessed One — I heard this, face-to-face I learned this: 'I now remain fully in a dwelling of emptiness.' Did I hear that correctly, learn it correctly, attend to it correctly, remember it correctly?"

[The Buddha:] "Yes, Ananda, you heard that correctly, learned it correctly, attended to it correctly, remembered it correctly. Now, as well as before, I remain fully in a dwelling of emptiness.....

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