A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 19932
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:58 am

Greetings Ben,

No, no such assumption made... my point was expressed solely within the confines of the topic at hand.

My perspective is much like that of Tilt, "Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word."

Certainly not critically important though to the point that stream-entry could not be obtained without recourse to them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:clw_uk,

I do not know if you have read any actual commentaries,so here is a commentaries of the Satipatthana Sutta. Take some time; read through it carefully.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word.

I only have a copy of the Visuddhimagga so thats the one im most familiar with


Thank you for the link
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:09 am

Read through the Satipatthana Sutta line-by-line commentary. I think you will find it useful. Also, it is worth knowing exactly what it is that is being talked about when commentaries are being discussed.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:My perspective is much like that of Tilt, "Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word."
Precisely!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:27 am

Hello Retro, all,
Retrofuturist said: This leaves though the historical fact that it is only the Theravada tradition that possesses the Abhidhamma.
You may find this of interest:
Abhidharma (Sanskrit) or Abhidhamma (Pali) is a category of Buddhist scriptures, and the ideas contained in and based on them, that attempts to use Buddhist teachings to create a systematic, abstract description of all phenomena. In the particular case of describing the human ego experience, the abhidharma provides a precise technical language for Buddhist practitioners to communicate their meditation experiences. According to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004), it started as elaboration of the teachings of the sutras(suttas), but later developed independent doctrines. According to L. S. Cousins described by Professor Richard Gombrich as the leading authority in the field in the West, the suttas deal with sequences and processes, abhidhamma deals with occasions and events.
Origins
Many scholars generally believe that the Abhidharma emerged after the time of the Buddha, as the growth of monastic centers and support for the Buddhist sangha provided the resources and expertise necessary to systematically analyze the early teachings. However, some scholars believe that the Abhidhamma represents an expansion of a set of teachings and categorisations that were employed during the earliest period of Buddhism and were then later developed and elaborated upon.

Traditionally, Theravada Buddhists have held that the Abhidhamma was not a later addition to the tradition, but rather represented the first, original understanding of the teachings by the Buddha. According to legend, shortly after his awakening the Buddha spent several days in meditation, during which he formulated the Abhidhamma. Later, he traveled to the heavenly realm and taught the Abhidhamma to the divine beings that dwelled there, including his deceased mother Mahamaya, who had rearisen as a celestial being. The tradition holds that the Buddha gave daily summaries of the teachings given in the heavenly realm to the monk Sariputra, who passed them on. The Abhidhamma is thus presented as a pure and undiluted form of the teaching that was too difficult for most practitioners of the Buddha's time to grasp. Instead, the Buddha taught by the method related in the various suttas, giving appropriate, immediately applicable teachings as each situation arose, rather than attempting to set forth the Abhidhamma in all its complexity and completeness. Thus, there is a similarity between the traditions of the Abhidhamma and that of the Mahayana which also claimed to be too difficult for the people living in the Buddha's time.

Numerous apparently independent Abhidharma traditions arose in India, roughly during the period from the 2nd or 3rd Century BCE to the 5th Century CE. The 7th Century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang reportedly collected Abhidharma texts from seven different traditions. In the modern era, only the Abhidharmas of the Sarvastivadins and the Theravadins have survived intact, each consisting of seven books, with the addition of the Sariputra Abhidharma. The Theravada Abhidharma, the Abhidhamma Pitaka (discussed below), is preserved in Pali, while the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma is mostly preserved only in Chinese - the (likely Sanskrit) original texts having been lost, though some Tibetan texts are still extant. A small number of other Abhidharma texts of unknown origin are preserved in translation in the Chinese canon. These different traditions have some similarities, suggesting either interaction between groups or some common ground antedating the separation of the schools.

More at:
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Abhidhamma" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
kc2dpt
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:46 am

clw_uk wrote:Can ones practice be frutiful (and lead to nibbana) without referring to the commentaries?
It depends on the "one" who's practice we are talking about. For some it will be necessary and for others it won't. What you are really asking is if it is necessary for you. The answer is: How should I know? I don't know you. :shrug:

But really, I see no difference between this question and asking if you need to read the Digha Nikaya and the Majjhima Nikaya or if only one nikaya is enough. My answer is: why look for shortcuts? If you find the time and inclination to read more then read more. If you feel your practice is progressing fine as it is then don't read more. It's up to you to monitor your own practice.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

User avatar
salmon
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:55 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by salmon » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:29 am

did supposed arahants like Ajahn Mun & Mahasi Sayadaw refer to commentaries?
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:40 am

did supposed arahants like Ajahn Mun & Mahasi Sayadaw refer to commentaries?
I dont know much about Mahasi Sayadaw but im pretty sure Ajhan Mun didnt, id have to check his biography though
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16165
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:42 am

salmon wrote:did supposed arahants like Ajahn Mun & Mahasi Sayadaw refer to commentaries?
Mahasi Sayadaw certainly did. He played a major role at the Sixth Buddhist Council, translated the Visuddhimagga into Burmese, and so on...
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/BioMaha ... ahasi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta
Mike

User avatar
salmon
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:55 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by salmon » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:52 am

clw_uk wrote:
did supposed arahants like Ajahn Mun & Mahasi Sayadaw refer to commentaries?
I dont know much about Mahasi Sayadaw but im pretty sure Ajhan Mun didnt, id have to check his biography though
I suppose we can use them as safe guides as to whether commentaries are needed or not?
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~

User avatar
kc2dpt
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by kc2dpt » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:17 pm

Remember, it's not just about if a person personally studies the commentaries. Everyone learns from a teacher. If that teacher teaches in line with the commentaries then you've still got a practice that's commentary based. The issues people have with commentaries is not that they don't want to read a particular book, but rather that they want to understand the teachings in a way that is at odds with the commentarial tradition.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by gavesako » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:03 pm

clw_uk wrote:
did supposed arahants like Ajahn Mun & Mahasi Sayadaw refer to commentaries?
I dont know much about Mahasi Sayadaw but im pretty sure Ajhan Mun didnt, id have to check his biography though
Of course Ajahn Mun did, too. When you look at the teachings of the Thai forest tradition, the Pali terms they use come to a large extent from the commentaries. Why? Because the Dhamma textbooks that they used when they were young monks were composed partly from Suttas and partly from commentaries. In fact, I think most of the Thai monks would not know which teachings come from which source. Often you can hear them say things like "The Buddha taught the 40 meditation subjects" (which is a Visuddhimagga categorisation) or "the Buddha taught about khanika, upacara and appana samadhi" (all three are purely commentarial terms) or "the mind state wich the Buddha called bhavanga" (this might have been understood differently than defined in the Abhidhamma) and so on. In Asia, they often learn Buddhism in an ahistorical way: if it has been handed down as a tradition, it is simply accepted as such. It was only Ajahn Buddhadasa who was coming from a different angle and who distinguished between the two.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:03 pm

Of course Ajahn Mun did, too. When you look at the teachings of the Thai forest tradition, the Pali terms they use come to a large extent from the commentaries. Why? Because the Dhamma textbooks that they used when they were young monks were composed partly from Suttas and partly from commentaries. In fact, I think most of the Thai monks would not know which teachings come from which source. Often you can hear them say things like "The Buddha taught the 40 meditation subjects" (which is a Visuddhimagga categorisation) or "the Buddha taught about khanika, upacara and appana samadhi" (all three are purely commentarial terms) or "the mind state wich the Buddha called bhavanga" (this might have been understood differently than defined in the Abhidhamma) and so on. In Asia, they often learn Buddhism in an ahistorical way: if it has been handed down as a tradition, it is simply accepted as such. It was only Ajahn Buddhadasa who was coming from a different angle and who distinguished between the two.

Thank you Bhante, some new information for me there :)


Metta
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 77 guests