Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

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gavesako
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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by gavesako » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:48 pm

I have discussed the issue with some scholars working in Thailand and abroad on Tipitaka texts and they also expressed doubts whether those scholars (especially from Sri Lanka) would risk their professional reputation if they intentionally falsified the texts. This is what I wrote:

So it really seems to be some shady power games being played out through the media: Ven. Anil Sakya denies ever having given such an interview to journalists and is wondering why they are now referring to him in this connection. He just remembers talking to some students about the Dhammakaya Tipitaka project some time ago and saying that it is good if they study carefully what is written in the Tipitaka. He is actually now in America and only heard from friends in Thailand that this news appeared in the newspapers.

(We can only speculate what goes on behind the scenes in terms of Thai Sangha politics, but there must be a reason why someone released this information at this point.)

Whatever the case may be, the scholars just review the different manuscripts and create a database, and then their job is finished. After that the Dhammakaya people themselves can decide which readings to adopt (they can claim that they are "more original" due to being based on "oldest surviving manuscripts" from Northern Thailand -- which, it turns out, are full of scribe errors and obvious mistakes) and use them to support their teachings. It may be for example some more obscure passages in the Udana or similar ones that I am thinking of.

If you don't know, there is a parallel project going on in Thailand, namely the World Tipitaka project, which is obviously in competition with the Dhammakaya project. These people are particularly anxious to introduce this edition as the standard Tipitaka edition which has been approved by an international committee of monk-scholars at the 6th council (Sangayana) in Burma in 1956:

http://www.yellowrobe.com/history/buddh ... uncil.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://society.worldtipitaka.info/world ... man-script" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.facebook.com/worldtipitaka" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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JackV
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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by JackV » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:53 pm

I don't wish to keep this matter going, it seems to be quite settled now but I do need to know one thing.
Regardless of whether or not Dhammakaya are actually going to change the word Anatta, what would the translation of atta equate too?
I have heard mention of the fact that they would want to teach Nibanna as the "real self", how could this be accomplised by changing Anatta to atta?

Surely anyone with more than a cursory understanding of the Budhism would know Anatta is one of the central tennets. In schools they teach kids a basic understanding of Buddhism via contrast; that, unlike all other religions, Buddhism denies a permanent unchanging essence or self.

Atta is flour in Hindi (?)
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.

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Khemadhammo Bhikkhu
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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by Khemadhammo Bhikkhu » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:49 am

I have discussed the issue with some scholars working in Thailand and abroad on Tipitaka texts and they also expressed doubts whether those scholars (especially from Sri Lanka) would risk their professional reputation if they intentionally falsified the texts. This is what I wrote:

So it really seems to be some shady power games being played out through the media: Ven. Anil Sakya denies ever having given such an interview to journalists and is wondering why they are now referring to him in this connection. He just remembers talking to some students about the Dhammakaya Tipitaka project some time ago and saying that it is good if they study carefully what is written in the Tipitaka. He is actually now in America and only heard from friends in Thailand that this news appeared in the newspapers.

(We can only speculate what goes on behind the scenes in terms of Thai Sangha politics, but there must be a reason why someone released this information at this point.)
I am not sure what you mean by a reason, bhante. I do think that there are many people in positions of power in Thailand that don't need that much reason for slander and causing dissension. The Tipiṭaka project has just started, so that provides a good reason. Sadly, as you probably know, many people enjoy reading negative news about monks and wats -- it makes for good sensationalist news. The news on Wat Phra Dhammakāya is just some part of it. There is other negative news about gay monks, monks visiting prostitutes, etc., etc. One wonders whether there is not anything positive about Buddhism to write.
Whatever the case may be, the scholars just review the different manuscripts and create a database, and then their job is finished. After that the Dhammakaya people themselves can decide which readings to adopt (they can claim that they are "more original" due to being based on "oldest surviving manuscripts" from Northern Thailand -- which, it turns out, are full of scribe errors and obvious mistakes) and use them to support their teachings. It may be for example some more obscure passages in the Udana or similar ones that I am thinking of
.

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the teaching that Nibbāna is attā. Some people seem to think that the wat has come up with a new teaching, and that is a major goal of the wat to convey this to the world. In fact, whether Nibbāna is attā or anattā is a debate that has been going on for a long time already, and there are scholars and traditions within Theravāda supporting both viewpoints. It is not of Wat Phra Dhammakāya's interest to promote and spread the intellectual study about Nibbāna being attā. Luang Phor Dhammajayo, the wat's abbot, feels that is a question that can only be resolved by meditation practice and attainment, and each practitioner will have to discover these things by himself. There is no need to discuss about it much, for Nibbāna is something that cannot be understood intellectually.

It is quite common for any Buddhist meditation tradition, especially those which become well-known only recently, to try to find any evidence in the Tipiṭaka to support the teaching. For example, Mahasi Sayadaw's approach to vipassanā has been criticized by some scholars. Some scholar-practitioners therefore try to provide more evidence for their approach from the Tipiṭaka. Similarly, some forest tradition monks write about why samatha and vipassanā should be practiced simultaneously, in defense of their tradition.

Similarly, Wat Phra Dhammakāya does want to find out whether there is any evidence in the scriptures that support the meditation technique that is taught in the wat, that is the meditation technique of Luang Pu Sod Candasaro. But at the same time the people in our wat recognize that this maybe possible only to some extent, because the nature of meditation techniques is that they can only be partly be supported by scriptural evidence. The details of the technique are part of oral tradition, that which has been passed down from teacher to student.

The main purpose of the project, as said, is therefore to promote Buddhist scholarship and study, and for this purpose to cooperate with scholars from other countries. It is quite normal for any wat with an interest in pariyatti to want to promote such activities and to look for ways to cooperate with scholars from abroad.

It would be better if we focus our awareness on solving the problems that Buddhism faces in the present day. The number of monks Thailand is stronlgy declining, wats have no more monks and are left behind, monks in the South of Thailand cannot go on alsmround without risking their lives, etc. It would seem better to me if we just concentrate and work together to solve problems, rather than being led by misunderstandings that are spread around by the media.
In the Dhamma,
Phra Sander Khemadhammo.
He stopped and called out to the Blessed One: "Stop, recluse! Stop, recluse!"
"I have stopped, Angulimāla, you stop too."
(M ii.100)

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by gavesako » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:55 pm

Yes, I agree that the negative news about monks in Thailand is on the increase all the time and the faith of the lay people is declining. See for example this article that just appeared:

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 14,0,0,1,0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thailand: Bogus monks exploit Buddhism
The Bangkok Post, March 26, 2011
While many saffron-robed foreigners are genuinely interested in studying religion, some are entering Thailand illegally to beg for money from the public


(Actually I know a Thai lady who goes to teach them Thai language for free every week and also the abbot of the temple seems to be very active in promoting true Buddhist values, but by being too outspoken some of the politicians probably dislike him and so the temple becomes target for such a crackdown.)

And as you say, every meditation tradition will try to find evidence for their particular method in the Tipitaka. There is nothing new or strange about that.

Some groups therefore feel that it is better to start not with meditation, but rather with learning the teachings in the Suttas and "straightening out one's views". These kind of teachers are actually becoming more popular these days in Thailand and have a large following of educated urban Thais. So there is some hope for Buddhism...
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by Khemadhammo Bhikkhu » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:07 am

Yes, I agree that the negative news about monks in Thailand is on the increase all the time and the faith of the lay people is declining. See for example this article that just appeared:

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 14,0,0,1,0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thailand: Bogus monks exploit Buddhism
The Bangkok Post, March 26, 2011
While many saffron-robed foreigners are genuinely interested in studying religion, some are entering Thailand illegally to beg for money from the public


(Actually I know a Thai lady who goes to teach them Thai language for free every week and also the abbot of the temple seems to be very active in promoting true Buddhist values, but by being too outspoken some of the politicians probably dislike him and so the temple becomes target for such a crackdown.)
That's another sad example, bhante. This kind of news is appearing very frequent, and it very much influences public opinion. One of the reasons why the media can do this, I think, is that the Thai Saṅgha is strongly divided within, and therefore cannot actively respond to this kind of news.
And as you say, every meditation tradition will try to find evidence for their particular method in the Tipitaka. There is nothing new or strange about that.

Some groups therefore feel that it is better to start not with meditation, but rather with learning the teachings in the Suttas and "straightening out one's views". These kind of teachers are actually becoming more popular these days in Thailand and have a large following of educated urban Thais. So there is some hope for Buddhism...
Yes, I think that in these things it is important to strike a good balance. It is interesting to observe that in the traditional teaching on the ten bases of meritorious deeds, straightening out one's views can be found together with giving, moral discipline and mental development/meditation. This shows that there many kinds of virtues/goodness in Buddhism, and that the traditional advice certainly is to find a proper balance between them all.
In the Dhamma,
Phra Sander.
He stopped and called out to the Blessed One: "Stop, recluse! Stop, recluse!"
"I have stopped, Angulimāla, you stop too."
(M ii.100)

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by plwk » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:33 am

I fail to see how all this Dhammakaya stuff has its relevance with this Classical Theravada forum...can someone show me otherwise?
Would 'Modern Theravada' be more apt?

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by gavesako » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:18 pm

Well, the original topic (which is now probably exhausted) was about how classical Theravada texts get transmitted until the present, which is quite relevant.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by nyanasuci » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:56 am

Dear Phra Sander,

Could you explain to us what is your understanding of connection between atta and nibbana? And what is Dhammakaya's grasp of it. Thank you.
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by M.G.A. » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:49 am

Another question regarding the Dhammakaya movement, if that is OK...?

I just found this article on the Buddhist Channel: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 25,0,0,1,0

The article is about foregin English teachers, working at temples in Thailand, and one of them being Wat Luang Phor Sodh in Ratchaburi.

In the article I read the following quote:
"Numerous teacher volunteers have been able to meditate to experience nirvana, and get advice from Buddha or the Noble Disciples," he said. "This is an undreamed of, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
When the thing about getting "advice from Buddha or the Noble Disciples" was brought up I at first belived that this was nothing but a slightly imprecise way of refering to sutta studies. But then the text goes one:
"Of 16 teachers since the very beginning, six experienced nirvana temporarily. An additional three transcended beyond this world to Dhammakaya, and another three more achieved trance states like heavenly bliss. The remaining four only attained inner peace."
(...)
Asked about their purported temporary experience of nirvana, Dr. Yanathiro replied: "I am using the official definition, where one actually sees and communicates with Lord Buddha and his disciples.

Most amazing is the personal instruction some have gotten directly from Buddha. (...)

"They see Buddha and the disciples. Communication is by direct telepathy, so language is irrelevant. One does get clear verbal communications, but more impressive are their descriptions of experiences such as feeling oneself becoming a tree."
Any comments on this anyone?


With metta,
The customs and rituals of people with kilesas are numerous beyond description, unlike the ways of Dhamma which are always constant and unalterable.
- Ãcariya Maha Boowa Ñāṇasampanno

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by nyanasuci » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:12 am

Hello,

It is interesting: when there are critics against Dhammakaya, its members immediately responded, and offered some explanations. 'kentsiam' even sign-up to this forum just to give his/her defend, and 'Khemadhammo Bhikkhu' was able to give some more words on the topic. It is easy to defend and argue against in such worldly way what is the aim of Dhammakaya and what not. And, of course, Ven. Khemmadhammo thinks that Dhammakaya teaches according to Dhamma-Viniya, and therefore he speaks accordingly. But as 'my view' is usually taken as 'the right view' there can be many contradictory views and misunderstandings in our conversation. And this is reason why I questioned about the Venerables' views directly, hoping for Dhamma dialogue. I asked: “Could you explain to us what is your understanding of connection between atta and nibbana? And what is Dhammakaya's grasp of it?” But now none of the two members were able to give a any respond. That was expected.

Yes, M.G.A., it is unusual teaching. Simple bliss is nibbana. My goodness, I know many monks who got such attainments, but nobody would dared to think that this is nibbana! So, it seems that Dhammakaya lowered down the goal, so that their supporters can get 'attained' much faster and easier. Moreover, I cannot believe that 'going to' nibbana is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It seems there is no cessation of bhava in their nibbana. Weird teachings... I just wonder if they are aware of the consequences of such actions.

I do not know the monks directly. There are some Dhammakaya monks who settled down in the city near our monastery. But they didn't come here to pay respect to our abbot. That is, according to Thai customs, quite disrespectful action. But perhaps dark-brown-robed monks are having also too dark-browned minds. Perhaps that is small matter, but it does indicate that there is a split of traditions. Some Thais told me that when they go to Dhammakaya monastery in UK and offered them some donation there is set up a live broadcast to Thailand, so that their relatives in Thailand can see how they are making donations! Better to go to Dhammakaya, especially if you like to be seen on TV!

I can somehow understand that Thai likes such simplified teachings which is according to their inspirations: building up merits (more your have richer you get), neat and shiny appearances, hierarchical system, praying to Buddhas and Arahats, etc, etc. But I do not understand why also Westerners are getting attracted to such movement.

More here http://www.rickross.com/reference/gener ... al644.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


http://pathpress.org | http://nanavira.org | http://ajahnchah.org

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by Khemadhammo Bhikkhu » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:21 am

nyanasuci wrote:Dear Phra Sander,

Could you explain to us what is your understanding of connection between atta and nibbana? And what is Dhammakaya's grasp of it. Thank you.
I have just travelled back from Indonesia, and have not been online for a number of days. I am now just back online and happy to see your question, bhante. It is a good thing that we can have these kind of discussions, to clarify things and develop mutual understanding.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our wat feels that the nature of Nibbāna is something that is beyond intellectual understanding, and our abbot and our wat feels there is little use in going into debate about it. Our wat therefore has not much interest in propagating their views on Nibbāna to the general public. But if asked what is taught in our wat, then I can respond that we teach in accordance with Luang Pu Sod Candasaro's views on Nibbāna. His views were view coming from meditation experience, and are difficult to intellectually grasp or translate into English. Roughly then, Luang Pu made a distinction between Nibbāna as an attainment of mind, which in Thai he called phra niphan, and as an āyatana, which he called nipphan, existing outside of the sense-sphere realm, the rūpa and arūpa realm. Luang Pu taught that the attainment of Nibbāna is attā, because when someone has attained it, it is a state that is permanent, happiness and true self. Luang Pu Sod Candasaro did not intend to cause any controversy -- and nor does Wat Phra Dhammakāya -- he was simply describing his visions in meditation, and encouraging his students to attain the same. He also taught that the Buddha taught about anicca, dukkha and anattā, so that we would seek for that which is beyond these -- and opposite to it.

In the history of Theravāda Buddhism, there have been both scholars who said that Nibbāna is attā, and those who said that Nibbāna is anattā. Even in the Thai forest tradition, there is as you know Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, who has views on this matter which differ from mainstream opinion. I think it is a question which is hard to resolve by discussion. Surely the only way to really understand Nibbāna is to meditate.
"Of 16 teachers since the very beginning, six experienced nirvana temporarily. An additional three transcended beyond this world to Dhammakaya, and another three more achieved trance states like heavenly bliss. The remaining four only attained inner peace."
(...)
Asked about their purported temporary experience of nirvana, Dr. Yanathiro replied: "I am using the official definition, where one actually sees and communicates with Lord Buddha and his disciples.
In Luang Pu's original meditation method, attainments in meditation takes a lot of preparation and practice, and a firm foundation of moral discipline, patience, etc. Its is normally not something that people attain overnight, unless in very rare cases like in the Buddha's time. There is therefore no lowering of the goal of Nibbāna. It normally requires a lot of practice to attain it.

Please note that Wat Sod Dhammakāyaram is a different temple from Wat Phra Dhammakāya. Although they are also a wat in the tradition of Luang Pu Sod Candasaro, their approach to meditation is different from our wat. I wouldn't be able to describe those differences in detail, since I have never tried their method. But I can tell you that the meditation experiences described in the previous post certainly do not quite reflect the meditation practice of Wat Phra Dhammakāya.

Frankly speaking, in my own opinion, I think that the main point in which our wat quite distinguishes itself, is not the attā-anattā affair, but rather the approach in spreading Dhamma, which some people find too big/too noticeable/etc. Sometimes the ceremonies in our wat are joined by great numbers of people, which contrasts with the traditional image of the Thai wat as quiet place with a few monks, deeply hidden in the forest, remote from civilization. This then leads people to find fault withour wat in other matters, such as being commercial, honoring UFO's, using hypnosis, etc., all of which I have found to be untrue.
Better to go to Dhammakaya, especially if you like to be seen on TV!
I would say that there are people in many places in Thailand who have imperfect intentions in doing good. But then again, I don't believe there is any teaching in the Dhamma that says we can't show others our goodness. To do good, and to give others the opportunity to rejoice in such goodness, would seem to me quite allright, and quite different from wanting to be famous. Our wat emphasizes the rejoicing in others' merit quite a lot, but we don't emphasize fame.

As for not cooperating with other wats, in fact our wat cooperates with many wats in Thailand. In many days throughout the year, we invite monks from other wats in Thailand to join ceremonies for food offering, to join ceremonies for rejoicing in the achievements of Pāli graduates, etc. I am not aware of there being any enmity with any other wats to the extent that you are describing. In what city is your wat located?

As for the satellite television channel (DMC), this is a free channel with Dhamma on it, which is promoted by our wat. It has many programs with Dhamma on it, for people of all ages to study the Dhamma in a moder format. The reasons why DMC was started, was to encourage people to study the Dhamma in their free time rather than to watch other television channels, which often promote wrong view and immoral values.
I can somehow understand that Thai likes such simplified teachings which is according to their inspirations: building up merits (more your have richer you get), neat and shiny appearances, hierarchical system, praying to Buddhas and Arahats, etc, etc. But I do not understand why also Westerners are getting attracted to such movement.
Speaking for myself, I have felt attracted to the teachings and practice of Wat Phra Dhammakāya, because I like their meditation technique. I also felt I could apply the Dhamma teachings well in daily life. Finally, I think their approach in spreading the Dhamma is quite active, and i think can truly change society for the better. I don't feel that our wat is just about neat and shiny appearances, I do think that Luang Pu Sod Candasaro and our current abbot, Luang Phor Dhammajayo, have always been very sincere in their intentions to study, practice and teach the Dhamma so that the teaching of the Buddha can be in this world for a long time.


I have sometimes seen people refering to this website. I think the website is quite biased because of its focus on the dangers of religion, rather than its benefits. (Usually anti-cult organizations are set up by cult victims.) Most of their information comes from Thai news papers, about which I already expressed my opinion quite extensively.
I hope this helps.
In the Dhamma,
Phra Sander.
He stopped and called out to the Blessed One: "Stop, recluse! Stop, recluse!"
"I have stopped, Angulimāla, you stop too."
(M ii.100)

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by nyanasuci » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:55 pm

Dear Tan Sander,

Thank you for taking time to reply to my question. Much appreciated. Also I am pleased that you are happy of receiving not so positive comments on Dhammakaya at this forum, and that you are not taking all that so personally.
Khemadhammo Bhikkhu wrote: our wat feels that the nature of Nibbāna is something that is beyond intellectual understanding, and our abbot and our wat feels there is little use in going into debate about it.
You are right that we cannot grasp Nibbana only intellectually. I do not know anybody who succeeded just in such way. We do get many smart guys, but it is rare to see the Noble Ones. It takes a lot of effort and time to adopt the Buddha's views into our views. But I will not say that intellect is wrong. Who understands Nibbana and experience it for himself can still intellectually think about it and talk about it. Intellect element is anything what we describe, even when we try to describe undescribable (i.e. Nibbana). Therefore I do not follow 'the abbot of your wat' what we cannot talk about Nibbana but about all other 'little Dhammas'. I say, when we talk Dhamma (in right way, indeed) we always talk about Nibbana, and there is no separation. But it seems that your 'abbot' perceives two realities 'conventional' and 'ultimate', which would be approved by Mahayana. But nothing of that would be approved by me.

But yes, Dhamma is beyond the sphere of intellect and reasons, and this is why we have to translate intellectual knowledges into our experience. And Nibbana is 'extinction' (lit.) of our foolish grasp of the world, and not a realm on its own.
Khemadhammo Bhikkhu wrote: Our wat therefore has not much interest in propagating their views on Nibbāna to the general public.
The Buddha didn't hide anything from the public. It seems that you are suggesting that some teachings are for 'general public' and other for elite. (Btw. How much one has to pay for such Abhi level?)
Khemadhammo Bhikkhu wrote: an āyatana, which he called nipphan
Are you saying that Nibbana is āyatana?
Khemadhammo Bhikkhu wrote: Luang Pu taught that the attainment of Nibbāna is attā, because when someone has attained it, it is a state that is permanent, happiness and true self.
So, there is still attā even when there is cessation of conceiving (maññata)?

It seems that Dhammakaya just turned over aniccā dukkha anattā into niccā sukhā attā, like, again, as natures of two different realities. Nothing of that can be suggested from the Suttas. When we take something to be attā and it is based on what is impermanent and suffering, we realize that there cannot be nothing to be identified with. But you suggest that attā can be based on permanent and pleasurable. If that is so, it seems that attā is still determined. I think that Dhammakaya should go a bit deeper in subtlety of Dhamma. Anyway, to make sure that I understand you correctly, could you tell me what is that True Self for you?

As I wrote on my last post, it seems that Dhammakaya (intentionally or unintentionally) simplify Dhamma. Telling people that this is enough for realization only blocks their progress: and that will lead only to harm.

Anyway, now it confirms that Dhammakaya does actually like to change in some places anattā into attā. I am sure they are doing that will good intention and to protect the Dhamma. However they are still doing it without 'Right Intention'. But what we can do than try to safe ourself as soon as possible. The Buddha's Teaching are now dying, and what Dhammakaya is doing is just the 'natural process' which was probably expected by the Buddha.

And, Tan Sander, do you and your fellow monks carry and own money?

I am not going to respond on commercialization of Dhammakaya. I think that most of members at this forum are of the same thought as I.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... aya#p11382" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... dhammakaya" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


http://pathpress.org | http://nanavira.org | http://ajahnchah.org

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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by nyanasuci » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:06 pm

I tried to visit http://www.dhammakaya.net/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; but my Mozila blocked it and warned me saying:
Trustworthiness Very poor
Vendor reliability Very poor
Privacy Very poor
Child safety Very poor
:computerproblem:
Before I open the page did anybody had any problems with virus, etc.?
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


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dharmapravicaya
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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by dharmapravicaya » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:30 am

*If true* this would be rather shocking, and Ven.Anil should be congratulated for detecting what had been done. It should be easy though – many Thais would know ‘sabbe dhammā anattā’ by heart, and hence they would be able to notice the oddness of prayer books that change that. I think very strongly, though, that this piece of news should be double checked. It sounds very strange to me, in fact, that Ven.Anil would make a public appearance and make such declarations. I wasn’t able to find any reference to this matter on the Bangkok Post, hence, I remain a bit doubtful about the authenticity of the information.

About Oxford, let me notice that ‘critical scholarship’ is often not as ‘critical’ as it may appear. In my opinion, some scholars of Pāli coming from an Oxford background have a tendency to be a bit over self-confident about their ability to reconstruct the Buddhist past basing themselves on purely philological considerations. Their methods are often highly speculative and, to my mind at least, not as conclusive as they present them to be.

A good example of that is the work of Dr.Alexander Wynne, who has basically argued that the ‘earliest’ of the Buddha’s teachings entail that the aggregates are not the self, but they do not entail that the self doesn’t exist at all. In the articles wherein he forwards such a line of argument, he shows himself to be extremely erudite and careful in citing the original sources. However, it seems to me that the arguments themselves contain some possible fallacies – in particular the main argument is, I believe, circular.

It so happens that scholars with good erudition and with a prestigious institutional background feel rather confident in asserting conclusive statements about what the Buddha taught or thought basing themselves on a few sentences, whose chronology they claim to know better than anyone else. When we look at the arguments themselves, however, we can see that they are far, very far from conclusive.

Dr.Wynne’s positions would actually give credence to the Dhammakaya contentions and teachings. In themselves, I do not find their teachings so objectionable – well, at least not in the version taught in their source monastery, Wat Pak Nam. I do not find the teaching to be so easily comparable to the non-Buddhist teachings about ātman; my impression is that, in the end, it is not so easy to assess.

Changing the Suttapiṭaka intentionally seems an act of great demerit. However, please do consider that scholars too, often effectively do re-write the Tripiṭaka. While their claim is to reconstruct a philologically probable original, what often happens is that their reconstruction contains a great level of arbitrariness and depends on the perceptions and expectations they may have about both the content and the language of the texts. If you would like to know more about what I mean, please consider the very long lived polemics that has surrounded the nature and content of the Aṅgaññasutta, with scholars such as Gombrich and Gethin taking up very different positions. In my opinion, this is partly occasioned by (mis?)understanding Buddhism as a purely textual tradition, hence disregarding the continuous practice of interpreting and understanding the text that is still alive to this day: questioning traditional methods and positions is one thing – overlooking them, is another.

A further and clear example of ‘revisionism’ is the edition of Buddhist texts in Sanskrit. Many scholars have tended to ‘regularize’ the syntax and spelling of these texts, according to an idealized and probably rather artificial idea of how Sanskrit should look like. In recent years the attitude towards Buddhist texts in Sanskrit has changed, so that now editorial decisions of some earlier scholars are being questioned. And so forth. (Incidentally, a preconceived idea about the nature and regularity of Pāli may be one reason why the study of Pāli texts composed in South East Asia has been rather neglected for decades; this too, has created a rather artificial idea about ‘Theravāda’ Buddhism. I recommend Prof.Peter Skilling’s articles on that matter).

To me, it still seems unlikely that the Dhammakaya might do such a thing. Their strategy has been different – they have concentrated on the sections of the Pāli Canon that lend more credit to their views, and they have looked for texts from other Buddhist traditions that also may support their interpretation: all of this seems much more legitimate and acceptable. Of course it is a complex procedure, since the Tathāgatagarbha texts (which do use the term ātman) are difficult to interpret and often explain that ātman is nothing but a synonym of nairātmya (‘self’ is used to indicate the ‘selflessness’ is always the case).

In brief, I am arguing that although here a very straightforward dividing line has been set between the Dhammakaya methods of revising texts and the ‘critical scholar’ contentions about his/her own work of revision, I think that the difference is not so much. In both cases, a remarkable degree of arbitrariness and a priori assumptions is necessary. If we invest ‘critical scholars’ with such a higher degree of prestige and trust, we should really ask ourselves why – and we should really ask ourselves whether we are being critical at all.

I personally believe that institutional prestige should be thrown out of the window, especially when we are referring to modern universities, who have a very short history in terms of their tradition of Buddhist studies. Can any single western university claim to have fostered the study of Buddhism at a high level for anything more than a hundred years?

P.S.: If the main piece of information in the initial post were to be confirmed to be false, wouldn't it be desirable to create a new post with a corrective title? I believe it would be fair and polite towards the Dhammakaya.

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nyanasuci
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Re: Dhammakaya replaces "anatta" with "atta" in their Tipitaka!

Post by nyanasuci » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:27 pm

Sadhu, dharmapravicaya!

:goodpost:
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


http://pathpress.org | http://nanavira.org | http://ajahnchah.org

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