Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
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Jojola
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Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:28 am

Greetings with Metta,

I recently (within the last week) became known of this peculiar, self-proclaimed stream-winner, and successfully-suicidal Bhikkhu; and thanks to the abbot of the monastery at which I reside (my teacher) informing me of his voluminous work Clearing the Path, have also became familiar with the ambiguous general consensus about him among the Theravada community while researching the reception of said work.

Unable to stand for ambiguity about such an interesting and seemingly dedicated seeker, especially a contemporary one, I thus began to explore it/him myself, my reaction has been fascination. I've since decided to take it upon myself to commit to doing what it takes to understand the only thing he took seriously in his life - his personal self-claimed quest for the genuine dhamma- in hopes that it might deepen my understanding of not only the Pali Suttas, but also where I personally stand on the path. If through aforementioned commitment I find his view is too far out of align with my own convictions it will only affirm them even more, on the other hand if I find to the contrary I will benefit all the same. There is also another effect to consider, if he really was on to something and if I can help propagate it- it might not only justify the way he spent his life, but maybe also the way he ended it.

Such is my project as I abide by the bounds of precepts 'till I put the computer away, drop everything, and begin my rains retreat this July.

So, I am studying Clearing the Path while at the same time creating an abstract analysis of it more easily digestible, or to put another way, to make his message more readily available to the interested while retaining the essence of said message. This will be slow work, and I can't promise how steady. I open this topic now to see if this would interest anyone here in the community, if not I can just as happily keep it to myself; if the former is so then I'd like to continue to "publish" here what I gradually add to this project as I complete each milestone (chapter), in-between I welcome discussion, questions, and critique.

The version I am using is here: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdn ... e-Path.pdf

To start I have completed and attached my overview of the preface (which I deemed important to not skip over hastily to the meat and potatoes), 8 pages worth of content summed up into 1, just this took me two days. However a considerable deal of that was spent accomplishing some preliminaries: such as key mapping pali characters to my keyboard, troubleshooting complications in format, citations, and footnotes- all in Microsoft Word which I didn't know how to do initially- thankfully now it's all done and out of the way I wont have to do again.

May our penetration into appearances deepen, and our spectrum of understanding broaden.
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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aflatun
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by aflatun » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:06 am

I applaud your effort and will be following and reading with avid interest (and participation if you so desire).

FYI the book link was broken for me! I'm assuming this text http://www.nanavira.org/libraries/ctp_book_v1.pdf is the same?

:anjali:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Jojola
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:03 pm

aflatun wrote:I applaud your effort and will be following and reading with avid interest (and participation if you so desire).

FYI the book link was broken for me! I'm assuming this text http://www.nanavira.org/libraries/ctp_book_v1.pdf is the same?

:anjali:

Participation is more than welcome :twothumbsup:
Including other peoples interpretations, or even critique if they feel I misrepresent him somewhere.

And Yes it is the same! Did the link to my pdf work at least?

perhaps I did the url wrong,
let me try this:
http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdn ... e-Path.pdf
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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Jojola
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:08 pm

Here is an update including a very important point (that I overlooked) he makes regarding the recent (and false , according to him) idea that there is common ground between modern scientific inquiry into the lack of self and the Buddhas teaching on anatta, (further strengthening his basic premise on the existentialist "starting point".)

In light that updates will probably be common, I'm going to try to find a way to be uploading my updates to an online and publicly open source so that way with just one link one could go and see the most recent version without having to download over and over, maybe google docs?

Till then here is the update..
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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aflatun
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by aflatun » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:12 pm

Jojola wrote:
aflatun wrote:I applaud your effort and will be following and reading with avid interest (and participation if you so desire).

FYI the book link was broken for me! I'm assuming this text http://www.nanavira.org/libraries/ctp_book_v1.pdf is the same?

:anjali:

Participation is more than welcome :twothumbsup:
Including other peoples interpretations, or even critique if they feel I misrepresent him somewhere.

And Yes it is the same! Did the link to my pdf work at least?

perhaps I did the url wrong,
let me try this:
http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdn ... e-Path.pdf
Excellent, I will stick around then.

When I click the link for the PDF I get a 502 bad gateway! Your document in the OP worked last night, I will take a look at your revision/expansion now and let you know.

PS: Unfortunately I can't be of much help here as I don't know how to use most of the posting functions, IMG, URL, Video, etc :shrug: Does this forum come with an instruction manual :tongue:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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aflatun
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Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by aflatun » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:22 pm

Jojola wrote:Here is an update including a very important point (that I overlooked) he makes regarding the recent (and false , according to him) idea that there is common ground between modern scientific inquiry into the lack of self and the Buddhas teaching on anatta, (further strengthening his basic premise on the existentialist "starting point".)

In light that updates will probably be common, I'm going to try to find a way to be uploading my updates to an online and publicly open source so that way with just one link one could go and see the most recent version without having to download over and over, maybe google docs?

Till then here is the update..
Notes on Nanavira's 'Clearing the Path'_name censored.pdf
The PDF on the other hand works, and reads wonderfully so far!

His rejection of this common ground between modern scientific inquiry and not self was like music to my ears the first time I read it. In my opinion this is a huge mistake, and rests on a misreading of anatta as a speculative exercise in reductive materialism or even nihilism. (Nanananda launches his own criticism of the 'scientific view' from another angle, demolishing the world of "things" that allegedly populate its "objective world")

:popcorn:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Jojola
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:16 pm

I've been going over Fundamental Structure and am having a hard time determining how I would write an overview on this. :thinking:
It is two chapters, "Static Aspect" and "Dynamic Aspect", which both are really about the same thing; demonstrating invariance in transformation, and transformation in invariance.

He demonstrates this with logical exercises. It took me like four times going over, it really wasn't until I read the chapters the 3rd time while deliberately skipping over the footnotes and parenthesis (which were mainly just tautological), so I could seamlessly follow a sentence, that I started to see what he was trying to reveal to the reader.

Really from what I can tell this is about Anicca, which matches what he says in his Anicca chapter: "Aniccatà or ‘impermanence’, in the Buddha’s Teaching, is sometimes taken as a ‘doctrine of universal flux’, or continuous change of condition. This is a disastrous over-simplification." - Nanavira

The characteristics of dukkha and anicca should, under this view of impermanence, be more understood that all things lead to decay and disappointment rather than everything changes.

"invariance in transformation, and transformation in invariance" as pertains to anicca and anatta, I think is "intertwined" with "form is emptiness and emptiness is form" as pertains to namarupa and paticcasamuppada
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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Jojola
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:51 pm

Went over his Note on Paticcasamupadda and I typed this up last night as a short summary of my first impression of it; I definitely want to go over it again trying to understand it as much as possible to type up a detailed review the way I did with his introduction earlier in this thread...
"Time is a perception (responsible for the experiential suffering of birth, aging, and death) arisen from, conditioned by, and dependent on not seeing, i.e. on “not-knowing-directly”, the structural principle of the conditionality and dependency of all experiential phenomena, i.e. the nature of rising and falling; the crux of this matter regards "self view", where we either recognize it as an invalid query or we don't, just this is the middle pivot point between seeing and not seeing the structural principle/nature (knowing-directly only time [birth & death] vs. knowing-directly both time and The Timeless [non-birth & non-death])"
Which I think rings well with the Dhammapada verse "Long is the night to the sleepless, long is the road to the weary traveler, and long is the wandering of Samsara for those who do not know The Truth".

I find his assertion of Paticcasamupadda being structural and not temporal far more satisfying in explaining the meaning of the Dhamma and thus revealing its purpose as to our existential situation. However the traditional (temporal) view he is deviating from is actually not as traditionally accepted in our time as it was then. Ajahn Chah, Ven. P.A. Payutto, and Buddhadasa have also talked about teaching Paticcasamupadda in a similar manner.

An easier reading that explained this well is by Payutto who explained that nirodha, or cessation, in dependant origination does not mean stopping something that has begun, thus logically rendering Paticcasamupadda as a structural model and not model of a temporal succession.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Payut ... tm#problem

Also I believe this is reinforced by, and reinforces, the teaching that all views of self are wrong. Even if you say the self is impermanent, or doesn't exist, you are still delineating a notion of self, or in other words- it's only when the word "self" is erroneous to us in the first place will we have come to right view, or at the very least when we can understand and accept that as hypothesis will we have come to right faith, or right conviction.
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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Jojola
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by Jojola » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:06 pm

I'm probably not going to continue this thread, having just recently read the threads on this forum which already have extensively gone over his work and now definitely having an understanding of it myself (at intellectual exhaustiveness but spiritual reward), it has dawned on me that due to my health I am able to practice dhamma the way Nanavira would've liked to but couldn't, and taking advantage of that is more important than becoming on expert on his work or even learning Pali till fluency.
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:

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CedarTree
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Re: Analyzing the view of Nanavira Thera

Post by CedarTree » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:54 pm

Jojola wrote:I'm probably not going to continue this thread, having just recently read the threads on this forum which already have extensively gone over his work and now definitely having an understanding of it myself (at intellectual exhaustiveness but spiritual reward), it has dawned on me that due to my health I am able to practice dhamma the way Nanavira would've liked to but couldn't, and taking advantage of that is more important than becoming on expert on his work or even learning Pali till fluency.
I may have misunderstood what your saying here but I think practicing versus learning pali fluency is probably a good bet :)


Practice, Practice, Practice


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