The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:26 pm
2. However, we all know that an average human does have an innate feeling of “me.” That is because the average human has not understood the “five aggregate analysis” of the Buddha.
yes that same downplaying of sense of self.

The average person doesn't have sense of self. It is very faint, almost not discernible, you need specifically search for it, it is hair thin strand.
And you do need before knowledge of that sense what you are aiming for to find.
Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:26 pm
There is a “self” (or the feeling/perception of a “me”) until one attains the Arahant stage.
so there can't be a feeling of the self and knowing that it is a feeling and not self?

Makes me wonder the reason why there is taught about the aggregates. I think one possible reason is that the aggregates feel like self and are really not discernible apart from being already so used to these feelings and perceptions, these waves cancel themselves out in a way what is felt is nothing there.. what then you can mistakenly think there is no self..

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:26 pm
The only thing I can recommend is to go through the posts on the Five Aggregates (and any and all my posts; they are all inter-related) and see whether it makes sense. Just disregard existing ideas about “self’ and “no-self” and contemplate what I have written at least while reading them.
I have no problem with making sense or getting the sense of progression. Sense of progression can be gotten and felt by doing any activity.
You are recommending to go through your posts, i commented your post by just doing that, i read your post.

you ask me to disregard existing ideas about self and no-self. How is that logical? if i lose any existing idea about self and no-self then the text becomes not comprehensible. Its not how it works, you suppose to find counterpoint to my idea like i do with your views.
Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:26 pm
6. That is why the Buddha said that it is also incorrect to say that there is “no-self.” There is a “self” (or the feeling/perception of a “me”) until one attains the Arahant stage.
- To put it in another way, that is the "middle path" of the Buddha.
that view echo's on several posts, what i have read. It seem to be the core idea you basing your confidence and faith.
Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:26 pm
You can comment if you like, but I don't think I have anything else to say (other than my upcoming posts) on this particular issue.
yet you make long posts about "mine" "me". I wonder how you do concentration without sense of self, craving and suffering. Turning your mind away from sensual perception will immediatly cause suffering. Yet you talk about how suffering is bad, nope it isn't bad it is what results from when not getting your candy.
You are not making teachings, your posts are dictations what then your followers suppose to repeat. In case of when there is questions you have no way to answer.

and you don't even grasp what is this is about, why i make those posts here. Just sad.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

You have a very simple solution. Just stop reading my posts if you don't want to. No one is forcing you to read.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:54 pm
You have a very simple solution. Just stop reading my posts if you don't want to. No one is forcing you to read.
sound more like you don't feel any worth talking with randoms. Even tho it is about views one harbors which should be not an issue of 'does one like to read or not'.

i think the 'self, 'i', 'me' etc is not relevant for your practice, but as a duty you make posts about? i mean seriously you don't have any idea how or why the sense of self is relevant?
it seem 'sense of self' doesn't have any obscuring factor for you as you making it to be in your dictations by telling you have a simple solution.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Difference Between “Me and Mine” and Sakkāya Diṭṭhi

Getting Rid of “Me and Mine” Is a Step-by-Step Process

1. In the previous post, we discussed that the perception of “me” and “mine” is the root cause of suffering. See, “Me” and “Mine” – The Root Cause of Suffering.”

- We discussed that one would not be able to remove that perception of “me” until attaining the Arahanthood.
- Therefore, that should not be the focus at the beginning of one’s practice.
- First, one needs to get rid of the ten types of wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi.) Until one comprehends the truth of kamma/vipāka, the existence of the rebirth process, the creation of a “mental body” (a gandhabba in the case of a human bhava) at the cuti-patisandhi moment, etc. one cannot get on the path to Nibbāna. See, “Micchā Diṭṭhi, Gandhabba, and Sōtapanna Stage.”
- The second step is to remove sakkāya diṭṭhi. We will discuss that in this post.

Diṭṭhi, Saññā, and Citta Vipallāsa – Three Obstacles in Getting Rid of Any Bad Habit

2. Vipallāsa means “distortions” in mind. If we do not have a clear understanding of the relevant concepts, we may take unwise actions based on our wrong views. Let us take an example to clarify.

- Consider an alcoholic, a person addicted to drinking. The addiction comes from the perception that it is good to have a drink to forget about any problems one may have, or just to enjoy that “drunken state of mind.”
- Urged on by a good friend, that person starts to learn about the consequences of drinking. It can affect one’s health adversely. Furthermore, it can make one do immoral deeds while drunk, and that can bring bad rebirth. Now he fully understands that he had wrong views about drinking, i.e., he had diṭṭhi vipallāsa about drinking. Now diṭṭhi vipallāsa about drinking are absent in his mind.
- Yet, he finds that the temptation to “have a drink” is still there. While he would not get drunk as before, the desire to “have a drink” can popup once-in-a-while. For example, if a friend is having a drink, he may join in. Thus, saññā vipallāsa is still there. To get rid of that, he needs to keep contemplating the adverse consequences of drinking and also keep resisting the urge to have another drink.

3. Then, if that person keeps up with that practice, he will lose that saññā vipallāsa too. But a trace of the desire may be left as citta vipallāsa. Under extreme temptation, he may think about “having a drink.” That is citta vipallāsa. Now, another effect of “continued practice” will take care of that too in a bit different way.

- With time, his body would not even tolerate a single drink. Instead of getting satisfaction from that drink, he might get a headache. That is when he would voluntarily give up even a single drink.
- That is because our bodily functions can be affected by the “state of mind”. That starts happening from the very beginning, even while one is trying to comprehend Tilakkhana (anicca nature.) But the effects become clear after one has made significant progress.
- That is a simple explanation. More details at “Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Sankhāra.”

Only Diṭṭhi Vipallāsa Removed at the Sotapanna Stage

4. At the Sotapanna stage, one would only “see with wisdom” that it is unfruitful to consider anything as “me'” or “mine”. As we saw in the previous post mentioned above, it is one’s body that one considers being “one’s own.”

- The Buddha dissected what we consider to be “me” into five parts. One physical and four mental entities. That comes from our perception of “me” as “my body” and “my mind.” Mind phenomena separate into four parts: we feel things happening (vedana) and recognize them (saññā.) Based on that, we think about how to respond (saṅkhāra) and act with certain expectations (viññāṇa.)
- We have discussed those five entities or aggregates in detail. See, “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha).”
- Our craving for those five aggregates (pañca khandhā) is pañcupādānakkhandhā.
- We crave those because we have the wrong view that those five aggregates are fruitful and provide long-lasting happiness. That wrong view is sakkāya diṭṭhi.

Sakkāya Means Pañcupādānakkhandhā

5. As stated in the Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44), sakkāya means pañcupādānakkhandhā (or pañca upādāna khandhā.)

- We can see that by looking at the meaning of sakkāya, which comes from “sath” + “kāya.” Here “sath” means “good” and “kāya” means “collection.”
- In the five aggregates, we have five aggregates or ‘collections” or “piles.” For example, as we remember, the rūpa aggregate includes one’s internal rūpa and external rūpa. Those include the present rūpa, past rūpa, and our visualizations of “future rūpa.”
- Out of them, the most important is our own body or “internal rūpa” (its present status, our memory of its past, and our expectations of its future status.) Invariably, those “internal rūpa” are in the rūpa upādāna khandhā.
- That rūpa upādāna khandhā will also include external rūpa that we like or crave for. That may include one’s family, friends, possessions, etc.
- Then the other four aggregates would include our mental attributes involving rūpa.
- Since we assume all five upādāna khandhā to be good for us or fruitful, i.e., they are sath kāya (which rhymes as sakkāya.)
- More details at “Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paṭicca Samuppāda.“

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi Means the View That Pañcupādānakkhandhā Are Fruitful

6. Now we have a good idea of what is meant by sakkāya diṭṭhi. It just means we like/crave those parts of the five aggregates because we have the view that they are fruitful and will bring long-lasting happiness.

- We become happy when all those that we crave provide us pleasure. That means they stay exactly as we want them to be.
- If things do not proceed the way we want, then we worry and suffer.
- The Sakkāyadiṭṭhi Sutta (SN 22.155) summarizes what we discussed in #5 and #6.

7. “Sakkāyadiṭṭhi Sutta (SN 22.155)” states, “rūpe kho, bhikkhave, sati, rūpaṃ upādāya, rūpaṃ abhinivissa sakkāyadiṭṭhi uppajjati. Vedanāya sati … saññāya sati … saṅkhāresu sati … viññāṇe sati, viññāṇaṃ upādāya, viññāṇaṃ abhinivissa sakkāya diṭṭhi uppajjati.”

Translated: “When one is attached to various rūpa (especially one’s body), places a high value on them, sakkāya diṭṭhi (identity view) arises. When one attaches to vedana, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa associated with such rūpa, and places a high value on them, the identity view arises.”

- In other words, one has sakkāya diṭṭhi if one sees this world as fruitful and can lead to long-lasting happiness.
- With that wrong view, one is under the impression that it is possible to have total control of one’s future by making sure to accumulate “enough stuff” thereby ensuring long-lasting happiness.
- That perception of “having full control” is also expressed by “atta.” Note that the mundane meaning of “a person” is usually expressed by “attā” with a “long a.”
- Therefore, there are two meanings of the Pāli word “atta.” The ultimate or absolute (paramattha) meaning of “having full control” is expressed by “atta.” The ordinary or relative meaning (vohāra) is “attā” with a “long a” that refers to a “person.”
- Let us discuss this further.

Atta Can Have a Mundane (Vohāra) or an Absolute (Paramattha) Meaning

8. Even though a “person” does not exist in the paramattha sense, any living person has to use “me” and “mine” in interactions with others. Even the Buddha talked about “HIS” previous lives. He often started a discourse by saying, “let ME explain this concept.”

- Furthermore, the Buddha emphasized that one should abide by the accepted standard rules of society. It is unwise to try to enforce the fact that in ultimate reality, there is no “me” or a “self.”
- There were many wealthy people, and even kings, who had attained magga phala and still engaged in their mundane “householder” activities. Of course, at the Arahant stage, one has to become a bhikkhu.
- Throughout the Tipiṭaka, the word “atta” appears with several different meanings. It is important to be able to use the appropriate meaning in a given context.
- That is no different from using the word “right” in the following two contexts with entirely different meanings: “turn right” and “you are right.” In the first, it refers to the direction, and in the second, it means “correct.”

Atta Meaning “Me” in Mundane Usage

9. There are many Tipiṭaka verses, where “attā” means a “person.” The following are several examples.

- “Attānaṃ damayanti paṇḍitā” in Dhammapada verse 6.80 means “The wise persons control themselves”.
- “Attano sukhamicchati” in Dhammapada verse 21.291 means “one seeks one’s own happiness.” Also, note the word iccha (desire) in “sukhamicchati” is “sukham” + “icchati.”
- In the Attadīpa Sutta (SN 22.43), “attadīpā viharatha” means “make an island of yourself,” meaning “one has to seek one’s own refuge.”
- We will discuss the absolute or paramattha meaning of “attā” in a future post.

What is in “Me” (Attā)?

10. From ancient times, people have wondered about how to define “me” (or “attā” in Pāli.) Of course, one’s body is the priority. But one’s identity is also related to one’s mental activities. Thoughts, feelings, perceptions are unique to each person.

- Anything that one can think of as a part of “me” or ‘self” or “attā” is included in the five entities of rūpa, vedana, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa.
- It is only a Buddha that can do a thorough analysis and describes a person with those five “parameters.” That analysis is taught by all Buddhas.
- Of course, each Buddha figures that out each time, on his own.
- Normally there is at most one Buddha in a given eon. But our current eon is a special one with five Buddhas. Remnants of the teachings of the previous Buddha (Buddha Kassapa) prevailed through Vedic teachings and were there when Buddha Gotama was born.

That Terminology Was There Even Before Buddha Gotama – How Is That Possible?

11. Many people have the perception that Buddha Gotama “adopted” that five-fold analysis from the Vedas because those terms appeared in Vedic literature before Buddha Gotama.

- There was Buddha Kassapa on this Earth before Buddha Gotama. Buddha Kassapa’s teachings (especially the true meanings of key concepts) were lost with time. But many terms, including the concepts of kamma, kamma vipāka, five aggregates, and many others, were incorporated into Vedic teachings and transmitted through many generations. Of course, the Vedic teachings used the Sanskrit language, which was derived from Pāli or Magadha language. Sanskrit means “derived from” (“san” + “krutha” or සන් කෘත or සංස්කෘත in Sinhala.)
- The Pāli words like kamma, Nibbāna, Paṭicca Samuppāda were made “more impressive-sounding” by mostly adding the “r” sound. Those three Pāli words became karma, nirvāna, and Pratītyasamutpāda, respectively, in Sanskrit.
- The same is true for the concept of five aggregates or pañca khandha. The Vedic teachings adopted them as five skandhas.

Whose Concepts are Kamma, Nibbāna, Paṭicca Samuppāda, etc.?

12. A full account requires possibly a whole book. But there are several instances in the Tipiṭaka where Buddha Gotama explained to various Brahmins that many of their teachings originated with Buddha Kassapa.

- For example, in the Māgandhiya Sutta (MN 75), Buddha Gotama has a conversation with a Brahmin who quoted a verse from the Vedas. Buddha Gotama then says that verse was initially uttered by Buddha Kassapa and that it come down through generations in the Vedas without the true meaning. I have discussed that in the post, “Arōgyā Paramā Lābhā..“
- When Prince Siddhartha was born, such Vedic teachings were there. We have a somewhat similar situation right now, with many vital concepts misinterpreted.
- I mentioned the above because I see in online forums many people wonder whether Buddha Gotama “adopted” Vedic concepts. Those concepts originally came from Buddha Kassapa. But any Buddha discovers them by his own efforts.
- Then the question comes up as to the “evolution of humans.” There was no evolution of humans. Humans existed on Earth (with Brahma-like bodies) at the beginning of the Earth. This is why it would take a book to discuss all these things. I have given a brief account of the “beginnings” in “Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27).” I will post that latter post here in a few days since it is important.

We will discuss the concept of sakkāya diṭṭhi further in the next post in this series.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:46 am
8. Even though a “person” does not exist in the paramattha sense, any living person has to use “me” and “mine” in interactions with others. Even the Buddha talked about “HIS” previous lives. He often started a discourse by saying, “let ME explain this concept.”

- Furthermore, the Buddha emphasized that one should abide by the accepted standard rules of society. It is unwise to try to enforce the fact that in ultimate reality, there is no “me” or a “self.”
- There were many wealthy people, and even kings, who had attained magga phala and still engaged in their mundane “householder” activities. Of course, at the Arahant stage, one has to become a bhikkhu.
- Throughout the Tipiṭaka, the word “atta” appears with several different meanings. It is important to be able to use the appropriate meaning in a given context.
- That is no different from using the word “right” in the following two contexts with entirely different meanings: “turn right” and “you are right.” In the first, it refers to the direction, and in the second, it means “correct.”
That's wrong and based on the notion that there weren't any self to begin with. What you are doing is you treat this sense based reality as fake like instead there is something real out there after death, like your gandhabba theories etc and project this imaginary world onto how this world actually is and only arhant can see and comprehend it.

atta is as real as contact is to be felt, when you put your finger in the water. Buddha is satta, sentient being means he has atta too like any other living organism.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Here is a brief introduction to Aggañña Sutta that I promised in the past post. I will get back to the discussion on sakkāya diṭṭhi in the next post.

Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)

Introduction

1. Aggañña Sutta is one of several complex suttā that requires a lengthy explanation. To understand the sutta, one needs to have a broad background in Buddha Dhamma. I have been very reluctant to write even this post because it could lead to many questions in many people who do not yet have that necessary background.

- “Agga” means “highest,” and thus, the word “Aggañña” means “highest knowledge,” in this case, about our world.
- The Buddha delivered the Aggañña sutta to two brahmins (Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja), to explain the “human origins.” That not only Vedic brahmins — but ALL LIVING BEINGS — on this Earth came from Brahma realms at the beginning of the Earth. In other words, each living being on this Earth right now was a Brahma at the beginning of the present Earth).
- I must forewarn that some features are in contradiction to existing “scientific theories.” Please do not bring them up. I am aware of them. That is why I have been reluctant to write this post.
- However, there are some benefits, at least for those who have faith in Dhamma, in seeing how self-consistent Buddha Dhamma is.

Summary of Sutta

2. Following is a summary:

(i). The universe has no traceable beginning, just like for life.
(ii). The universe has “clusters or groups” of stars. Our Solar system is one of 10,000 “star systems” (cakkavāla or planetary systems; chakrawāta in Sinhala). There is an infinite number of such cakkavāla in the universe.
(iii). When a star in the vicinity of our Sun blows up in a few billion years, that blast will destroy 10,000 other star systems in the neighborhood. Such a “star explosion” has a particular name, a supernova, in modern science.
(iv). Such a cluster of 10,000 world-systems blows up from time to time in the universe. Again, scientists observe such supernovae every year.
(v). What science does not know yet is that those destroyed star systems re-form over billions of years.
(vi). Not all 31 realms get destroyed when our Solar system blows up at the end of a mahā kappa. Higher lying Brahma worlds (where there is very little of “destructible matter”) survive. That is where all living beings on this Earth ends up before the destruction of the Earth.
(vii). How all living beings end up in the Brahma realms is a long story by itself.
(viii). Then when the Earth re-forms, those Brahmā — at the end of their lifetimes in those worlds — are reborn as humans with very light, Brahma-like bodies at first.
(ix). Then the life on Earth evolves to other lifeforms too. That is a “reverse evolution” compared to the “theory of evolution” currently accepted by science. After billions of years, the realms below the Ābhassara Brahma realm will be destroyed again. After billions of more years, it will re-form.
(x). So, that is the life cycle. It happens all over the universe at any given time. That is why scientists observe several supernovae even in our galaxy each year (which has billions of cakkavāla).

Model of the Universe

3. Therefore, life exists in an infinite number of “star systems” where a star provides the energy to sustain life. In our “Solar system,” life exists in 31 realms centered on Earth that are located inside, on the surface, and extending out into space. Of course, the Sun is our star.

- In the post “31 Realms of Existence“, these 31 realms are listed. The information there comes from several suttā. In particular, the “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta” names many of those spheres. Most versions of the sutta skip that section. The following pdf file has the full text of the sutta: https://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploa ... utta-3.pdf

4. A Buddha appears only in one cakkavāla out of that cluster of 10,000 such cakkavāla in that group; that is our Earth. Brahmā and devas from those 10,000 systems (dasa sa­has­si loka­dhātu) can come and listen to Dhamma on the Earth.

- Of course, humans from those worlds do not have access to Buddha Dhamma.
- So, we can see how rare it is for a human to be able to “have access” to Buddha Dhamma. Even on our Earth, there are many mahā kappā without a single Buddha appearing!

Model of the Solar System (Cakkavāla)

5. The Buddha stated that the length of a great eon (mahā kappa or mahā kalpa in Sinhala) unimaginably long. He gave the following comparison. In that time, a man can wear away a mountain of solid granite one yojanā (about 7 miles) around and one yojanā high, by stroking it once every hundred years with a silk cloth.

- The Pabbata Sutta (SN 15.5) has the above analogy; see, “Saṃsāric Time Scale, Buddhist Cosmology, and the Big Bang Theory” at puredhamma.net.

6. A mahā kappa consists of 4 “antakkappa” (or simply kappā), as explained in the Kappa Sutta (AN 4.156):

Cattārimāni, bhikkhave, kappāsa asaṅkhyeyyāni. Katamāni cattāri? Yadā, bhikkhave, kappo saṃvaṭṭati,..kappo saṃvaṭṭo tiṭṭhati,..kappo vivaṭṭati,..kappo vivaṭṭo tiṭṭhati, ..”

- “There are four incalculable kappā. Destruction takes place for a kappa, remains in that state (void) for a kappa, re-formation takes place over a kappa, and then it exists in that state for a kappa.”
- That last stage is where the Earth is now.

7. The Earth (and the whole Solar system) keeps going through this cyclic process that takes roughly 40 billion years per cycle, i.e., for a mahā kappa.

- The Solar system will last another 5 billion or so. Thus the total time in the existence of the current Sun (and Earth) is about 10 billion years. That is the existence phase lasting a kappa.
- The other three kappā take 10 billion years each, and that is how the time for a complete cycle takes 40 billion years.
- This cycle will keep repeating. There was no “Big Bang” beginning. Scientists are beginning to find a few problems with the "Big Bang" theory. For example, they recently found evidence of a star that precedes the "Big Bang."

Migration of Living Beings at Destruction/Re-Formation of Earth

8. When the Sun dies in the future, it will start expanding and will expand to reach the Earth. Long before that, all life on Earth would have been destroyed.

- So, what happens to all the living beings on Earth? We remember that while humans and animals live on the Earth, those beings belonging to the other three lower realms live on or underneath the Earth’s surface. All those will perish.
- It is a long story, but all those beings move to higher realms as the Earth starts to get hot.

9. We remember that the deva and Brahma realms lie above the Earth. But the “density” at those realms are well below the “density” of things at the surface. As we know, deva bodies are much less dense than human bodies, and Brahma "bodies" are even more subtle.

- One critical thing we learn from science is that “more dense stuff” burn first. For example, in an incinerator, we can burn anything dense. But of course, gases are not burned (i.e., not decomposed.)
- There is virtually nothing much of what we call “material” in those realms. Whatever is there will gradually decay and replaced by other “fine matter.” Of course, all beings in those realms will have long but finite lifetimes too.
- The deduction is that all those realms above the Ābhassara Brahma realm will not destroy in the destruction phase. That is why the lifetimes of some Brahmā are many mahā kappā.

10. The bottom line is that eventually, all realms below the Ābhassara Brahma realm will be destroyed. By that time, all the living beings would have “migrated” up to that realm.

- How do all these living beings, including those in the apāyā, migrate to higher realms?
- That is related to the fact that when the Earth starts getting “hot,” those “mind pleasing sense objects” will be destroyed over time. Living beings will have less and less “sense attractions,” and thus, their minds will be temporarily freed from “upādāna.”
- That needs a detailed explanation, but those who understand Paṭicca Samuppāda may be able to at least a glimpse of how it happens.

11. When the Earth is re-formed about 20 billion years after its destruction (10 billion years remaining in the destructed state, and 10 billion years for the re-formation,) those Brahmā will start coming down to those newly-formed lower realms.

- That also will take some explaining. But the critical point is that with time, old “gati” (which have been lying dormant as anusaya) start to re-surface, and the activation of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles will ensure those “downward paths.”

Conflicts with Current Scientific Theories

12. Now, we immediately run into difficulties with the current scientific knowledge of Earth’s history. According to current understanding, first humans appeared only about 2 million years ago. Note that a billion years is 1000 million years!

- Therefore, what we described above is a “reverse evolution” compared to the “theory of evolution” currently accepted by science.
We need to go back only 500 years to see how a prevailing world view changed and became compatible with Buddha Dhamma. See #13 below.
- I have discussed how Buddha Dhamma has so far withstood past such “contradictions”; see, “Dhamma and Science – Introduction.“ I hope the next revision in science will happen during my lifetime.

13. For example, only 500 years ago, the accepted “world view” was that Earth was at the center of the universe with all the stars embedded in a “celestial spheres.“

- If someone tried to explain that the Earth was rotating around the Sun, he would have had a hard time. Galileo spent the rest of his life in solitary confinement after providing evidence that the Earth was rotating around the Sun.
- Of course, no one will be prosecuted for proposing any theory these days. Still, they will not be taken seriously by the scientific community.
- As new experiments/observations provide further evidence, an accepted scientific view changes to accommodate the new evidence. For example, the above change in the world view took place after the invention of the telescope by Galileo.
- Of course, it is only rational to adopt that scientific method for mundane purposes. That is the only way science can make progress.
- However, when one comprehends Buddha Dhamma, one can get to a better understanding of our world.

The Rarity of Buddha Dhamma in the World

14. There have been four Buddhas in this mahā kappa, and one more Buddha will appear before the destruction of this Earth and the Solar system.

- Then after 30 billion more years, the Earth will come to exist again in this cyclic process (not the same Earth).

15. In the Vepullapabbatta Sutta (SN 15.20), the Buddha provides the names of the three Buddhas on this Earth (in this mahā kappa) before him: Kakusandha, Koṇāgama, and Kassapa. He describes how a particular mountain had three different names and three different heights during those Buddha’s times.

- The point here is that those Buddhas had been on this Earth at times far part from each other. Considering that the age of the Earth is about 4.5 billion years, it is reasonable to assume that they were about a billion years apart.
- One piece of evidence in the Tipiṭaka for material from previous Buddhas transmitted via Vedic teachings (with superficial meanings) is given in the post, “Arōgyā Paramā Lābhā..” (see #8 there).

16. By the way, the existence of Buddha Kassapa before the Buddha Gōtama help explain many questions that people have on the connection between Vedic terms and Buddhist terms. Some examples are kamma (karma), Bhikkhu (Bhikshu), paññā (pragnā), jhāna (dhyāna), Nibbāna (Nirvāna), and so on.

- After the end of the Kassapa Buddha Sāsana, his teachings were transmitted as Vedic teachings, of course, without the deeper meanings. I will need to write some posts just on this issue.
- A good example is the Ānāpāna bhāvanā, which got transmitted as “breath meditation.”
- After re-gaining Buddha Kassapa’s interpretation during the time of our Buddha, by the current time, the Vedic description has retaken hold. It will be restored in the coming years. But, of course, it will again disappear to be re-discovered by the Maitreya Buddha in the future.

17. Furthermore, there have been only 7 Buddhas within the past 91 mahā kappā; see, “Mahāpadāna Sutta (DN 14)“.

- There have been 30 mahā kappā without a single Buddha before the current mahā kappa. That is 1200 billion years or over a trillion years!
- An even in this kappa, the Gōtama Buddha Sāsana would last only 5000 years, a negligible time in terms of a kappa. That is why we should not waste this rare opportunity.

Origins of the World – Limits of Inquiry

18. The human mind is naturally curious. We want to know everything, especially regarding this wondrous place called the universe. It is mind-boggling, but exciting at the same time. I used to spend a lot of time reading science fiction as well as speculations about the origins of the universe, etc. when I was growing up.

- One time, Ven. Moggallāna, who was only second to the Buddha in psychic (abhiññā) powers, wanted to explore the universe and see for himself how far he could go. He got lost! Buddha had to come to his rescue.
- Then there is the account about a yogi, Rohitassa, who developed abhiññā powers. He wanted to see the end of the world and took off looking for it, got lost and died. He was reborn a deva, came to see the Buddha, and told the Buddha about his quest. See, “Rohitassa Sutta: To Rohitassa.“

19. Cosmology is one of the things that the Buddha declared “unthinkable (acinteyya)” for an average human; see, “Acinteyya Sutta (AN 4.77)“:

“There are these four things that should not be conjectured about and would bring anxiety and madness to anyone who speculates. Which four? (i) capabilities of a Buddha, (ii) subject of jhānā, (iii) detailed knowledge of kamma/kamma vipāka, (iv) origins of the world.

- One can spend a lifetime looking into the details of those subjects and getting nowhere.
- However, as we saw above, some insights can be gained by having a rough idea about those subjects. One gets into trouble when one tries to get into details.
- We will explore some more aspects in the future, that are beneficial for progressing on the Path.

20. There are a few things we can learn from the sutta, but it is useless to get into arguments about how it contradicts scientific findings at present.

- This post material was discussed at the forum at puredhamma.net and more information is there: “Post on “Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)” : https://puredhamma.net/forums/topic/pos ... tta-dn-27/
- The posts on “Origin of Life” started on Jun 29, 2019, discuss the necessary background material for future posts on the Aggañña Sutta. https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 55#p518755

2600htz
Posts: 543
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Lal wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:41 am
Here is a brief introduction to Aggañña Sutta that I promised in the past post. I will get back to the discussion on sakkāya diṭṭhi in the next post.

Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)

Introduction

1. Aggañña Sutta is one of several complex suttā that requires a lengthy explanation. To understand the sutta, one needs to have a broad background in Buddha Dhamma. I have been very reluctant to write even this post because it could lead to many questions in many people who do not yet have that necessary background.

- “Agga” means “highest,” and thus, the word “Aggañña” means “highest knowledge,” in this case, about our world.
- The Buddha delivered the Aggañña sutta to two brahmins (Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja), to explain the “human origins.” That not only Vedic brahmins — but ALL LIVING BEINGS — on this Earth came from Brahma realms at the beginning of the Earth. In other words, each living being on this Earth right now was a Brahma at the beginning of the present Earth).
- I must forewarn that some features are in contradiction to existing “scientific theories.” Please do not bring them up. I am aware of them. That is why I have been reluctant to write this post.
- However, there are some benefits, at least for those who have faith in Dhamma, in seeing how self-consistent Buddha Dhamma is.

Summary of Sutta

2. Following is a summary:

(i). The universe has no traceable beginning, just like for life.
(ii). The universe has “clusters or groups” of stars. Our Solar system is one of 10,000 “star systems” (cakkavāla or planetary systems; chakrawāta in Sinhala). There is an infinite number of such cakkavāla in the universe.
(iii). When a star in the vicinity of our Sun blows up in a few billion years, that blast will destroy 10,000 other star systems in the neighborhood. Such a “star explosion” has a particular name, a supernova, in modern science.
(iv). Such a cluster of 10,000 world-systems blows up from time to time in the universe. Again, scientists observe such supernovae every year.
(v). What science does not know yet is that those destroyed star systems re-form over billions of years.
(vi). Not all 31 realms get destroyed when our Solar system blows up at the end of a mahā kappa. Higher lying Brahma worlds (where there is very little of “destructible matter”) survive. That is where all living beings on this Earth ends up before the destruction of the Earth.
(vii). How all living beings end up in the Brahma realms is a long story by itself.
(viii). Then when the Earth re-forms, those Brahmā — at the end of their lifetimes in those worlds — are reborn as humans with very light, Brahma-like bodies at first.
(ix). Then the life on Earth evolves to other lifeforms too. That is a “reverse evolution” compared to the “theory of evolution” currently accepted by science. After billions of years, the realms below the Ābhassara Brahma realm will be destroyed again. After billions of more years, it will re-form.
(x). So, that is the life cycle. It happens all over the universe at any given time. That is why scientists observe several supernovae even in our galaxy each year (which has billions of cakkavāla).

Model of the Universe

3. Therefore, life exists in an infinite number of “star systems” where a star provides the energy to sustain life. In our “Solar system,” life exists in 31 realms centered on Earth that are located inside, on the surface, and extending out into space. Of course, the Sun is our star.

- In the post “31 Realms of Existence“, these 31 realms are listed. The information there comes from several suttā. In particular, the “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta” names many of those spheres. Most versions of the sutta skip that section. The following pdf file has the full text of the sutta: https://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploa ... utta-3.pdf

4. A Buddha appears only in one cakkavāla out of that cluster of 10,000 such cakkavāla in that group; that is our Earth. Brahmā and devas from those 10,000 systems (dasa sa­has­si loka­dhātu) can come and listen to Dhamma on the Earth.

- Of course, humans from those worlds do not have access to Buddha Dhamma.
- So, we can see how rare it is for a human to be able to “have access” to Buddha Dhamma. Even on our Earth, there are many mahā kappā without a single Buddha appearing!

Model of the Solar System (Cakkavāla)

5. The Buddha stated that the length of a great eon (mahā kappa or mahā kalpa in Sinhala) unimaginably long. He gave the following comparison. In that time, a man can wear away a mountain of solid granite one yojanā (about 7 miles) around and one yojanā high, by stroking it once every hundred years with a silk cloth.

- The Pabbata Sutta (SN 15.5) has the above analogy; see, “Saṃsāric Time Scale, Buddhist Cosmology, and the Big Bang Theory” at puredhamma.net.

6. A mahā kappa consists of 4 “antakkappa” (or simply kappā), as explained in the Kappa Sutta (AN 4.156):

Cattārimāni, bhikkhave, kappāsa asaṅkhyeyyāni. Katamāni cattāri? Yadā, bhikkhave, kappo saṃvaṭṭati,..kappo saṃvaṭṭo tiṭṭhati,..kappo vivaṭṭati,..kappo vivaṭṭo tiṭṭhati, ..”

- “There are four incalculable kappā. Destruction takes place for a kappa, remains in that state (void) for a kappa, re-formation takes place over a kappa, and then it exists in that state for a kappa.”
- That last stage is where the Earth is now.

7. The Earth (and the whole Solar system) keeps going through this cyclic process that takes roughly 40 billion years per cycle, i.e., for a mahā kappa.

- The Solar system will last another 5 billion or so. Thus the total time in the existence of the current Sun (and Earth) is about 10 billion years. That is the existence phase lasting a kappa.
- The other three kappā take 10 billion years each, and that is how the time for a complete cycle takes 40 billion years.
- This cycle will keep repeating. There was no “Big Bang” beginning. Scientists are beginning to find a few problems with the "Big Bang" theory. For example, they recently found evidence of a star that precedes the "Big Bang."

Migration of Living Beings at Destruction/Re-Formation of Earth

8. When the Sun dies in the future, it will start expanding and will expand to reach the Earth. Long before that, all life on Earth would have been destroyed.

- So, what happens to all the living beings on Earth? We remember that while humans and animals live on the Earth, those beings belonging to the other three lower realms live on or underneath the Earth’s surface. All those will perish.
- It is a long story, but all those beings move to higher realms as the Earth starts to get hot.

9. We remember that the deva and Brahma realms lie above the Earth. But the “density” at those realms are well below the “density” of things at the surface. As we know, deva bodies are much less dense than human bodies, and Brahma "bodies" are even more subtle.

- One critical thing we learn from science is that “more dense stuff” burn first. For example, in an incinerator, we can burn anything dense. But of course, gases are not burned (i.e., not decomposed.)
- There is virtually nothing much of what we call “material” in those realms. Whatever is there will gradually decay and replaced by other “fine matter.” Of course, all beings in those realms will have long but finite lifetimes too.
- The deduction is that all those realms above the Ābhassara Brahma realm will not destroy in the destruction phase. That is why the lifetimes of some Brahmā are many mahā kappā.

10. The bottom line is that eventually, all realms below the Ābhassara Brahma realm will be destroyed. By that time, all the living beings would have “migrated” up to that realm.

- How do all these living beings, including those in the apāyā, migrate to higher realms?
- That is related to the fact that when the Earth starts getting “hot,” those “mind pleasing sense objects” will be destroyed over time. Living beings will have less and less “sense attractions,” and thus, their minds will be temporarily freed from “upādāna.”
- That needs a detailed explanation, but those who understand Paṭicca Samuppāda may be able to at least a glimpse of how it happens.

11. When the Earth is re-formed about 20 billion years after its destruction (10 billion years remaining in the destructed state, and 10 billion years for the re-formation,) those Brahmā will start coming down to those newly-formed lower realms.

- That also will take some explaining. But the critical point is that with time, old “gati” (which have been lying dormant as anusaya) start to re-surface, and the activation of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles will ensure those “downward paths.”

Conflicts with Current Scientific Theories

12. Now, we immediately run into difficulties with the current scientific knowledge of Earth’s history. According to current understanding, first humans appeared only about 2 million years ago. Note that a billion years is 1000 million years!

- Therefore, what we described above is a “reverse evolution” compared to the “theory of evolution” currently accepted by science.
We need to go back only 500 years to see how a prevailing world view changed and became compatible with Buddha Dhamma. See #13 below.
- I have discussed how Buddha Dhamma has so far withstood past such “contradictions”; see, “Dhamma and Science – Introduction.“ I hope the next revision in science will happen during my lifetime.

13. For example, only 500 years ago, the accepted “world view” was that Earth was at the center of the universe with all the stars embedded in a “celestial spheres.“

- If someone tried to explain that the Earth was rotating around the Sun, he would have had a hard time. Galileo spent the rest of his life in solitary confinement after providing evidence that the Earth was rotating around the Sun.
- Of course, no one will be prosecuted for proposing any theory these days. Still, they will not be taken seriously by the scientific community.
- As new experiments/observations provide further evidence, an accepted scientific view changes to accommodate the new evidence. For example, the above change in the world view took place after the invention of the telescope by Galileo.
- Of course, it is only rational to adopt that scientific method for mundane purposes. That is the only way science can make progress.
- However, when one comprehends Buddha Dhamma, one can get to a better understanding of our world.

The Rarity of Buddha Dhamma in the World

14. There have been four Buddhas in this mahā kappa, and one more Buddha will appear before the destruction of this Earth and the Solar system.

- Then after 30 billion more years, the Earth will come to exist again in this cyclic process (not the same Earth).

15. In the Vepullapabbatta Sutta (SN 15.20), the Buddha provides the names of the three Buddhas on this Earth (in this mahā kappa) before him: Kakusandha, Koṇāgama, and Kassapa. He describes how a particular mountain had three different names and three different heights during those Buddha’s times.

- The point here is that those Buddhas had been on this Earth at times far part from each other. Considering that the age of the Earth is about 4.5 billion years, it is reasonable to assume that they were about a billion years apart.
- One piece of evidence in the Tipiṭaka for material from previous Buddhas transmitted via Vedic teachings (with superficial meanings) is given in the post, “Arōgyā Paramā Lābhā..” (see #8 there).

16. By the way, the existence of Buddha Kassapa before the Buddha Gōtama help explain many questions that people have on the connection between Vedic terms and Buddhist terms. Some examples are kamma (karma), Bhikkhu (Bhikshu), paññā (pragnā), jhāna (dhyāna), Nibbāna (Nirvāna), and so on.

- After the end of the Kassapa Buddha Sāsana, his teachings were transmitted as Vedic teachings, of course, without the deeper meanings. I will need to write some posts just on this issue.
- A good example is the Ānāpāna bhāvanā, which got transmitted as “breath meditation.”
- After re-gaining Buddha Kassapa’s interpretation during the time of our Buddha, by the current time, the Vedic description has retaken hold. It will be restored in the coming years. But, of course, it will again disappear to be re-discovered by the Maitreya Buddha in the future.

17. Furthermore, there have been only 7 Buddhas within the past 91 mahā kappā; see, “Mahāpadāna Sutta (DN 14)“.

- There have been 30 mahā kappā without a single Buddha before the current mahā kappa. That is 1200 billion years or over a trillion years!
- An even in this kappa, the Gōtama Buddha Sāsana would last only 5000 years, a negligible time in terms of a kappa. That is why we should not waste this rare opportunity.

Origins of the World – Limits of Inquiry

18. The human mind is naturally curious. We want to know everything, especially regarding this wondrous place called the universe. It is mind-boggling, but exciting at the same time. I used to spend a lot of time reading science fiction as well as speculations about the origins of the universe, etc. when I was growing up.

- One time, Ven. Moggallāna, who was only second to the Buddha in psychic (abhiññā) powers, wanted to explore the universe and see for himself how far he could go. He got lost! Buddha had to come to his rescue.
- Then there is the account about a yogi, Rohitassa, who developed abhiññā powers. He wanted to see the end of the world and took off looking for it, got lost and died. He was reborn a deva, came to see the Buddha, and told the Buddha about his quest. See, “Rohitassa Sutta: To Rohitassa.“

19. Cosmology is one of the things that the Buddha declared “unthinkable (acinteyya)” for an average human; see, “Acinteyya Sutta (AN 4.77)“:

“There are these four things that should not be conjectured about and would bring anxiety and madness to anyone who speculates. Which four? (i) capabilities of a Buddha, (ii) subject of jhānā, (iii) detailed knowledge of kamma/kamma vipāka, (iv) origins of the world.

- One can spend a lifetime looking into the details of those subjects and getting nowhere.
- However, as we saw above, some insights can be gained by having a rough idea about those subjects. One gets into trouble when one tries to get into details.
- We will explore some more aspects in the future, that are beneficial for progressing on the Path.

20. There are a few things we can learn from the sutta, but it is useless to get into arguments about how it contradicts scientific findings at present.

- This post material was discussed at the forum at puredhamma.net and more information is there: “Post on “Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)” : https://puredhamma.net/forums/topic/pos ... tta-dn-27/
- The posts on “Origin of Life” started on Jun 29, 2019, discuss the necessary background material for future posts on the Aggañña Sutta. https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 55#p518755
Hi Lal:

a) You said:
There was no “Big Bang” beginning. Scientists are beginning to find a few problems with the "Big Bang" theory. For example, they recently found evidence of a star that precedes the "Big Bang."
I got lost there. To my understanding the big bang theory would be consistent with that sutta, actually many big bangs.
Also what do you say about the translations of suttas having this phrase: "many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan..."

Please explain.

b)Where can i find this reference?
One time, Ven. Moggallāna, who was only second to the Buddha in psychic (abhiññā) powers, wanted to explore the universe and see for himself how far he could go. He got lost! Buddha had to come to his rescue.
Regards.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I got lost there. To my understanding the big bang theory would be consistent with that sutta
No. The Big Bang theory says that there was nothing in existence before the Big Bang.
See, the Wikipedia article, "[html]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang[/html]"
Also what do you say about the translations of suttas having this phrase: "many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan..."
Please quote the sutta and I can take a look. I am not sure what the translator meant by that verse. I need to look at the Pali verse.
b)Where can i find this reference?
Offhand, I don't have the Tipitaka reference for the account of Ven. Moggalana getting lost in "space." I will try to find it. I heard Waharaka Thero mention that in a discourse. If someone knows the sutta, please post.

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lavantien
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by lavantien »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:51 am
Offhand, I don't have the Tipitaka reference for the account of Ven. Moggalana getting lost in "space." I will try to find it. I heard Waharaka Thero mention that in a discourse. If someone knows the sutta, please post.
The event seems could not be found in the Pali Canon.
However, it maybe derived from SN Sagāthavagga, rohitassasutta, and KN Jātaka, javanahaṅsajātaka's commentary, which bodhisatta had helped the past life of moggallana.
Or the story could be based on SN 40.5 where the Buddha use iddhi to come and instruct Moggallana on stabilizing his akasanancayatana attainment.
"Then the Teacher, being sympathetic, and having compassion for the whole world,
said to me, “Come, monk!” That was my ordination.
Staying alone in the wilderness, meditating tirelessly,
I have completed what the Teacher taught, just as the victor advised me.

In the first watch of the night, I recollected my past lives.
In the middle watch of the night, I purified my clairvoyance.
In the last watch of the night, I shattered the mass of darkness."
- KN Thag 12.2

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The event seems could not be found in the Pali Canon.
Thanks.

I also took a look at the Sutta Pitaka, and could not find it there.
- It is still possible that it is in the Vinaya Pitaka. I will post it if I find it.

Here is the link to the Rohitassa Sutta (AN 4.45) that was also referenced in my post regarding the yogi with abhiññā powers who got lost in space: https://suttacentral.net/an4.45/pli/ms

2600htz
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:51 am
I got lost there. To my understanding the big bang theory would be consistent with that sutta
No. The Big Bang theory says that there was nothing in existence before the Big Bang.
See, the Wikipedia article, "[html]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang[/html]"
Also what do you say about the translations of suttas having this phrase: "many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan..."
Please quote the sutta and I can take a look. I am not sure what the translator meant by that verse. I need to look at the Pali verse.
b)Where can i find this reference?
Offhand, I don't have the Tipitaka reference for the account of Ven. Moggalana getting lost in "space." I will try to find it. I heard Waharaka Thero mention that in a discourse. If someone knows the sutta, please post.
Hi Lal:

Thanks!.

-Im no scientist, so i just have a basic notion of big bang theory as a universe that begins very small and starts to expand.
I dont know if the theory contemplates contraction after that expansion, but in my mind i see it that way (universe begining with expansion, universe ending with contraction, the universe ends, then it starts all over again in an endless loop. :juggling: )

-If big bang theory says that there was nothing in existence before big bang, do you mean it would not be compatible with a "previous universe"?, or do you mean this universe did not start with a big bang.

-SN 12.70 , Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation is one of the suttas where "many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan..." is present.


Regards.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Im no scientist, so i just have a basic notion of big bang theory as a universe that begins very small and starts to expand.
I dont know if the theory contemplates contraction after that expansion, but in my mind i see it that way (universe begining with expansion, universe ending with contraction, the universe ends, then it starts all over again in an endless loop.
Let me summarize the key points in the “Big Bang Theory”.

1. There was NOTHING before the Big Bang. It started with a “Big Bang” when all the matter that exists today came into being! That is mind-boggling!

2. Here is a simple way to get an idea of how big the universe is today (remember that all the matter came to existence in the Big Bang.
-The closest star (possibly with a set of planets) to us is 4 light years away. That means if a rocketship travels at the speed of light, it would take four years to get there. For comparison, the distance from the Earth to our star (Sun) would take only 8 minutes. To the Moon (the furthest humans have gone) only 1.25 SECONDS at the speed of light! So, you can get a good idea about the distance to our NEAREST star.
-There are 250 BILLION stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
-There are billions of such GALAXIES in the universe!

3. So, the Big Bang theory says the “matter” in all those stars (and their planets) came to existence in a single moment!

4. There are some scientists who speculate that there will be a contraction of all that “stuff” to “nothing” in the future. Then there will be nothing, and another Big Bang may happen. If so, that cycle may keep repeating.

Here is what the Buddha taught:

1. There are an uncountable number of stars (with their planetary systems) in the universe.

2. Once every 10 billons or so (that is a rough estimate that I made using an analogy given by the Buddha) a cluster of 10, 000 stars explodes and is annihilated. Then over an equally long time, those stars would re-form.

3. That happens periodically to ten thousand-star systems all throughout the universe.

4. Therefore, the universe has been like what we see today at any time in the past. Stars (or star systems) are destroyed and comeback into being regularly.

5. Furthermore, when a star (like our Sun) is destroyed, only the realms where living-beings with dense bodies are destroyed. All living-beings “migrate up” into higher-lying realms. They “come back down” once the star system re-formation is complete. It is a very lengthy process as described in the Agganna Sutta.

6. While those living-beings spend their time in Brahma realms while the Earth is gone, their defilements remain hidden as anusaya. After the reformation of the Earth, they come back with fine (subtle) bodies like those Bahamas. But their hidden defilements come back to the surface (as asava) and they evolve into humans with dense bodies first, and then gradually into animals. So, it is really a “reverse evolution” that takes place, according to the Buddha.

7. With time, of course, the Buddha will be shown to be correct by further findings in science.

For example, the Buddha’s description of the destruction of ten thousand-star systems matches a phenomenon called supernova already discovered by scientists. Some old stars explode in a supernova and that destroys many other star systems around it. That happens a few times a year in our galaxy.

So, the answer to the next question,
If big bang theory says that there was nothing in existence before big bang, do you mean it would not be compatible with a "previous universe"?
According to the current Big Bang model, nothing existed before the Big Bang. As I mentioned, there are some who speculate that there could have been Big Bangs in the past.
SN 12.70 , Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation is one of the suttas where "many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan..
Yes. That is consistent with the Buddha’s model, not the Big Bang theory.
- As I explained above, a given living-being survives the destruction of our Sun by “migrating up” to higher-lying Brahma realms. When the Sun (and Earth and rest of the planets) are re-formed, they come back and basically go through the same process.
- That has been happening from a beginning that is not discernible even to a Buddha. Basically, there was no “beginning.”
-The translator has not done a good job of explaining. In most cases, translators just translate word-by-word, without providing an idea of what happens. Of course, that would take a lot more writing too.

If you read my post again, you may see more clearly. A descriptive explanation would require a lot more writing. My post is just an introduction to the Agganna Sutta.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The following is the post referred to in #15 of my post on June 25, 2020.
- This post provides a few references to the Tipitaka on how Vedic teachings transmitted many concepts taught by the previous Buddha (with mundane interpretations.)

Arōgyā Paramā Lābhā..

Arōgyā paramā lābhā
Santuṭṭhiparamaṃ dhanaṃ
vissāsa paramā ñāti
Nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ


(Dhammapada verse 204)

1. As with many Dhammapada verses (and sutta interpretations), the conventional (or “padaparama“) interpretation is the one that is widely known, which goes as: “Health is the ultimate profit, happiness is the ultimate wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbāna is the ultimate bliss”.

- The deeper meaning remains hidden for many. In some hospitals in Sri Lanka, the verse, “Arōgya Parama Lābhā“ is displayed in big letters to emphasize the benefits of being healthy.
- While it is good to abide by those conventional meanings while we live this life, we should also try to grasp the deeper meanings to embark on the Noble Eightfold Path; see, “Buddha Dhamma in Chart” and “What is Unique in Buddha Dhamma“.

2. First “parama” means “ultimate” or “prominent”. By the way, the word “padaparama” above means the interpretation that makes the “conventional meaning of a word prominent”; “pada” is “word”. Now let us look at the other words in the verse.

3. “Rōga” means “disease”, so arōgya means not subject to disease. The bodies of all beings below the Deva lokā (human and below) are subject to disease. We cannot remove the possibility of the disease until we remove causes for us to be reborn in the human realm or the lowest four realms, i.e., attain the Sakadāgāmi stage of Nibbāna.

- “Lābha” is “profit”. The ultimate profit (better than any amount of wealth) of “disease-free” status is attained at the Sakadāgāmi stage of Nibbāna.

4. “Santuṭṭhi” comes from “san” + “tuṭṭhi” or removing “san“. Santutthi and the more common Sinhala word “santhosa” means happy. When one removes “san“, one gains the niramisa sukha of Nibbāna or “cooling down”.

- “Dhanaṃ” means “wealth”; Sinhala word is “dhanaya“. Thus ultimate wealth is achieved by getting rid of “san” or defilements of greed, hate, and ignorance; see, “What is “San”?”.

5. “Vissāsa” comes from “vis” + “āsā”, where “āsā” means “āsava” or cravings. Thus it means getting rid of cravings that make one bound to the saṃsāra (round of rebirths).

- “Ñāti” means “relative.” Thus ultimate relative or refuge is reached via giving up the cravings for worldly things.

6. The last one, Nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ, or “Nibbāna is the ultimate bliss” is the only one that has the same meaning as the conventional or “padaparama” version in #1 above.

Therefore, when one embarks on the Sotāpanna magga, one should be able to understand the correct version.

7. Buddha dhamma has no language, cultural, social barriers. But the Buddha advised never to translate Tipiṭaka to any language, particularly to Sanskrit, because the meanings of certain words can get distorted; see, “Preservation of the Dhamma“.

- It is ironic that this is exactly what has happened during the past 1500 years or so, at least since Buddhaghosa wrote Visuddhimagga, probably even earlier. The most damaging are the replacement of Pāli words anicca and anatta by the Sanskrit words anitya and anātma. The latter is likely to have happened more recently. See, “Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars.”https://puredhamma.net/historical-backg ... -scholars/
- On the other hand, the Buddha also advised that what really matters is to get the “meaning of a given word or phrase across”. He said to use the words and phrases (and examples) appropriate for a given locale to convey the MEANINGS of these key Pāli words. While we should keep the Tipiṭaka intact in Pāli, we should interpret its content in a way that most conducive to get the ideas across depending on the audience.
- The correct way to interpret the Tipiṭaka material is outlined in “Sutta – Introduction“.

8. It is interesting to note that this verse was a popular one among the Vedic brahmins of the day of the Buddha. In the Māgandhiya Sutta (MN 75), it is described how Māgandhiya brahmin tells the Buddha that his teacher also taught him the same verse. When the Buddha asked him to explain the meaning that his teacher taught him, Māgandhiya gave the same interpretation that was given in #1 above.

- The Buddha told Magandhiya that this gāthā (verse) came to the Vedic literature from the previous Buddha (Buddha Kassapa), whose Buddha Sāsana had since disappeared: “Pubbakehesā, māgaṇḍiya, arahantehi sammā­sambud­dhehi gāthā bhāsitā.
- (It is important to note that there had been three Buddhas before Buddha Gotama in this mahā kappa, and there will be another, Maithree Buddha, in the future after the present Buddha Sāsana disappears in about 2500 years).
- This is why only “conventional meanings” of pure Dhamma survives when Ariyā (Noble Persons) who can correctly interpret the deep meanings in the suttā and verses like this are absent for long times in this world. Either a Noble Person or a Buddha has to be born to bring back the true meanings.
- This is exactly what has happened during the past hundreds of years, where true meanings of many keywords like anicca, dukkha, anatta, Paṭicca Samuppāda, and Ānāpānasati bhāvanā, have been not known; see, “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations“.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Lal wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:54 am
- The Buddha told Magandhiya that this gāthā (verse) came to the Vedic literature from the previous Buddha (Buddha Kassapa), whose Buddha Sāsana had since disappeared: “Pubbakehesā, māgaṇḍiya, arahantehi sammā­sambud­dhehi gāthā bhāsitā.“
why you name vedic literature?
https://suttacentral.net/mn75/en/sujato wrote:“But Māgaṇḍiya, when you heard that wanderers of the past said this,“Yaṃ pana te etaṃ, māgaṇḍiya, sutaṃ pubbakānaṃ paribbājakānaṃ ācariyapācariyānaṃ bhāsamānānaṃ:
what is that health? And what is that extinguishment?”‘ārogyaparamā lābhā, nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhan’ti, katamaṃ taṃ ārogyaṃ, katamaṃ taṃ nibbānan”ti?
When he said this, Māgaṇḍiya stroked his own limbs with his hands, saying:Evaṃ vutte, māgaṇḍiyo paribbājako sakāneva sudaṃ gattāni pāṇinā anomajjati:

“This is that health, Master Gotama, this is that extinguishment!“idantaṃ, bho gotama, ārogyaṃ, idantaṃ nibbānaṃ.
For I am now healthy and happy, and have no afflictions.”Ahañhi, bho gotama, etarahi arogo sukhī, na maṃ kiñci ābādhatī”ti.
Sounds more like materialism. To compare with now-a-days people would say the same thing, a life destroyer when seeing ascetics or monks. Some materialist "Christians and Jews" go so far to tell meditation is from Satan.
https://suttacentral.net/mn75/en/sujato wrote:“Well, it’s a sad sight, Mister Bhāradvāja,“Duddiṭṭhaṃ vata, bho bhāradvāja, addasāma;
a very sad sight indeed,duddiṭṭhaṃ vata, bho bhāradvāja, addasāma.
to see a bed for Master Gotama, that life-destroyer!”Ye mayaṃ tassa bhoto gotamassa bhūnahuno seyyaṃ addasāmā”ti.

Even if I was to see Master Gotama face to face, Mister Bhāradvāja, I would say to his face:“Sammukhā cepi mayaṃ, bho bhāradvāja, taṃ bhavantaṃ gotamaṃ passeyyāma, sammukhāpi naṃ vadeyyāma:
‘The ascetic Gotama is a life-destroyer.’‘bhūnahu samaṇo gotamo’ti.
Why is that?Taṃ kissa hetu?
Because that’s what it implies in a discourse of ours.”Evañhi no sutte ocaratī”ti.
Ascetics are doing discipline which is about not indulging in sense pleasures. = life destroyers in the eyes of materialist.

hence also the similes,
https://suttacentral.net/mn75/en/sujato wrote:“What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya?“Taṃ kiṃ maññasi, māgaṇḍiya,Is it only now that the fire is really painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching, or was it painful previously as well?”idāneva nu kho so aggi dukkhasamphasso ceva mahābhitāpo ca mahāpariḷāho ca udāhu pubbepi so aggi dukkhasamphasso ceva mahābhitāpo ca mahāpariḷāho cā”ti?

“That fire is painful now and it was also painful previously.“Idāni ceva, bho gotama, so aggi dukkhasamphasso ceva mahābhitāpo ca mahāpariḷāho ca, pubbepi so aggi dukkhasamphasso ceva mahābhitāpo ca mahāpariḷāho ca.
..
https://suttacentral.net/mn75/en/sujato wrote:..
That person was affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, their sense faculties were impaired. So even though the fire was actually painful to touch, they had a distorted perception that it was pleasant.”

“In the same way, sensual pleasures of the past, future, and present are painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching.
i don't think so that you need be arhant to understand it.. but i know people who don't undertand it and they are materialists even despite believing in spirituality, soul, god etc..so there is other reason why they believe in spirituality..in that case it is as you say only arhant(freed person) can understand.

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