Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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clw_uk
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:31 pm

How about giving equal bandwidth to cautioning people against taking too seriously the modern teachers who tend to downplay the Commentaries, such as Venerables Buddhadasa, Vimalaramsi, Sumedho, Thanissaro, and Brahm? And especially those pesky western "insight" teachers...

I agree with you caution always needs to be there in reguards to any teaching, i only mentioned it because the commentaries can sometimes be seen by some beginers as very authoritative


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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by Ben » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:58 pm

Well said Mike!
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:07 pm

Hi Craig, I think beginners might have got your caution by now... :tongue:
clw_uk wrote: I agree with you caution always needs to be there in reguards to any teaching, i only mentioned it because the commentaries can sometimes be seen by some beginers as very authoritative
Well, of course, the standard Theravada view is that they ARE very authoritative. :thinking:

That's what makes it "Theravada", after all...

As Ven Dhammanando reminded us, the priority is:
1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.
So beginners should be particularly strongly cautioned not to put too much weight on the current generation of teachers without checking the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries... :reading:

Mike

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clw_uk
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:19 pm

Hi mike

So beginners should be particularly strongly cautioned not to put too much weight on the current generation of teachers without checking the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries...

My view is one only needs to check Vinaya/Suttas/Logic and Experience, the commentaries only as an extra option, the first four are enough


Well, of course, the standard Theravada view is that they ARE very authoritative.

That's what makes it "Theravada", after all...

Well i see it as the Classival view, maybe not modern Theravada

I dont think taking the commentaries as authoritative is what makes Theravada
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:27 pm

clw_uk wrote: I dont think taking the commentaries as authoritative is what makes Theravada
What would make it Theravada rather than "Nikaya-based Buddhism" then?

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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:37 pm

What would make it Theravada rather than "Nikaya-based Buddhism" then?

I would say the major difference would be the teaching of Analysis, other schools had differenct doctrines. Possibly the Abhidhamma as well
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by pink_trike » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
So beginners should be particularly strongly cautioned not to put too much weight on the current generation of teachers without checking the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries... :reading:
Well said.

Also, beginners should be cautioned against putting too much weight on their own perception of the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries and any conclusions that may arise for them - without checking with the current generation of teachers, without having examined them within the context of consistent practice, and without having held them up to the the light of contemporary knowledge.

We listen to the teachers, we practice, we study the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries, etc..., depending on our path, and we hold all three up to the light of current realities - these are 3 necessary checks and balances that help us understanding the teachings, and that bring order and clarity to the experience of mind in the context of this current moment - which in the end is something that we can only do on our own.

As beginners, it is cherishing the mind's spittle and drool that we should be cautioned against first and foremost. :cookoo: :tantrum: :rolleye: :stirthepot: :zzz: :soap: :guns:

Edited for clarity: 03/21/09 20:04 pm
Last edited by pink_trike on Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:07 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:37 am

We listen to the teachers, we practice, we study the Vinaya/Suttas/Abhidhamma/Logic/Commentaries

Not everyone studies the Abhidhamma or Commentaries nor needs to IMO


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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:59 am

clw_uk wrote: Not everyone studies the Abhidhamma or Commentaries nor needs to IMO
And you know this how?

Actually, perhaps you're right. It seems to me that many Westerners would be advised to develop their dana, sila, and faith before reading the Tipitika, and then starting with Paritta (Protective) Suttas ,such as the Ratana, Mahāmaṅgala, Mettā...

But if you're determined to jump to Suttas that might be described as "proto-Abhidhammic" (the suttas on elements, sense bases, dependent origination, etc) the Commentaries and Abhidhamma might be helpful to make sense of them...

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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:07 am

And you know this how?

Actually, perhaps you're right. It seems to me that many Westerners would be advised to develop their dana, sila, and faith before reading the Tipitika, and then starting with Paritta (Protective) Suttas ,such as the Ratana, Mahāmaṅgala, Mettā...

But if you're determined to jump to Suttas that might be described as "proto-Abhidhammic" (the suttas on elements, sense bases, dependent origination, etc) the Commentaries and Abhidhamma might be helpful to make sense of them...

Mike
Because if everyone did this then i would do it but i dont, ive also met others who dont


I agree developing dana sila and faith are important before studying the suttas, i didnt jump to suttas if your refering to me

In reguards to those suttas i find them deeply insightful and helpful, for the most part, on their own


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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:56 am

clw_uk wrote:My view is one only needs to check Vinaya/Suttas/Logic and Experience, the commentaries only as an extra option, the first four are enough
And why should we take your view over the view of the elders?
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:02 am

Who's saying you should?
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:48 am

clw_uk wrote:My view is one only needs to check Vinaya/Suttas/Logic and Experience, the commentaries only as an extra option, the first four are enough
Peter wrote: And why should we take your view over the view of the elders?
clw_uk wrote:Who's saying you should?
I'm sorely tempted to post links to the Monty Python "Argument" sketch again...

But instead I'll post a follow-up...

If you are not trying to convince anyone of anything, as you last post implies, I really don't understand what you trying to achieve by writing so many posts asserting your opinion that the Abhidhamma (which you implicitly dismissed by omission above) and the Commentaries are not particularly useful. I think everyone knows that by now... And frankly, apart from having a certain amount of compassion towards all beings (despite my H*n*y*n* path), what you read or practise is of no particular interest to me, and I have no fixed views as to the necessity of reading or practising anything in particular.

As I said in another thread, what is useful in these sort of Forums is information.
There is zero information in the statement that you think that X is unnecessary.
My usual replies, along the lines of: "According to standard Theravada..." are almost as boring, but at least they do contain some factual information.

What would actually be interesting would be new information. Some particular commentarial view-point that you think is unclear or incorrect, or has caused you or someone else difficulties, backed up by suitable analysis, references, and/or detailed experience.

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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:26 am

His question are legitimate.
What would actually be interesting would be new information. Some particular commentarial view-point that you think is unclear or incorrect, or has caused you or someone else difficulties, backed up by suitable analysis, references, and/or detailed experience.
Give him time.
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:40 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:His question are legitimate.
...
Give him time.
OK... :anjali:

Sorry if I as over-reacting... :hug:

Actually, I would have no problem with questions. It was that this whole thread was about an assertion that I was getting a little frustrated about...

:meditate:

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