Lal wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:05 pm
Buddha Dhamma needs to be explained by the Buddha himself or a disciple who has grasped the essence of his teachings: What is the "dukkha" that he taught? What is in the First Noble Truth? Without that understanding, one can be going around in circles.
- If one learns a wrong version, of course one will have no chance of grasping the key ideas.
Well, the Buddha himself is apparently offering no further private audiences, so we can only have recourse to disciples who have grasped his teachings. The unresolved problem here, though, is that you are claiming that you have "grasped the essence of his teachings", and that other people who disagree with you have not; whereas those same people claim that they
have grasped the essence of his teachings, and that you are the one in error. Just asserting that one has understood does little, on the internet at least, to convince others.
Just because it is taught by a scholar or a bhikkhu does not mean it is the true Dhamma. Academic degrees don't matter here. What matters is whether one can describe a given concept in one's own words, so that another can truly understand
That sounds like a step forward, in that it is a suggested criterion for "true Dhamma". But if you merely mean that one can explain one's understanding such that another can come to a similar understanding, then it applies to many different understandings. (For example, one could explain that they understand viññāṇa
to mean "consciousness" rather than "defiled consciousness"; and according to the criterion, that would have to be accepted as "true Dhamma"). If, however, your claim depends upon another truly
understanding, then you need to explain what that "truly" means. If you just asserted that it means what you
mean, then your argument would be another example of petitio principii
, and we move no further forward.
For example, the word sankhara is normally translated as "formations", which does not convey any idea about what it really means. If one knows what is meant by "san" and "khara", the meaning is embedded in the word itself
Many people would explain that the term conveys exactly what it means. They would point to "sam" meaning something like "together", and "khara" meaning something like "making", and be perfectly able to explain the meaning, as they understand it. Introductory articles about Buddhism are full of this sort of thing. The issue here is you claiming that they are wrong, and that you are right. When confronted with a Pali scholar's assertion that "sam" means something like "com" in Latin, you need to have a good reason for asserting otherwise. If you don't, you will, I think, be endlessly challenged here by people who by inclination or training are dismissive of mere appeal to authority.