And so you are saying sila, morality, plays no important role in the practice? Are you really willing to argue that position?
MN 117 is straightforward. It lists both mundane morality and noble morality. It states the mundane right view side with asava and acquisitions (burdens)
Ah, but if it is “Right View,” if it is put into practice by the worldling (one with “asavas and acquisitions”), it would not lead to “asavas and acquisitions.” And, as the text makes quite clear, in order to start with on the path to awakening, one starts with “mundane Right View.” And let us not forget, the Buddha taught only what was useful and true.
What interesting here is that rebirth, literal rebirth, is taken as a given and is a real as "mother and father." There is no denial of literal rebirth here. If anything it is affirmed, and it is affirmed as part of Right View that leads to awakening
Mundane right view is about the “view” that sides with morality rather than what is “real”. This is the same as transcendent right view being “right” because it leads to Nibbana. “Right” (samma) does not mean “real”. It means what is skilful; what is foremost.
Morality is not “real?” Mundane Right View leads to Nibbana. Can’t get there without it. “Transcendent” Right View is indicative of some degree of insight attained. In other words, you cannot have transcendent Right View until you attained some degree of Ariya status. Until then you are working with mundane Right View, and having been taught by the Buddha, mundane Right View is both useful and true. As I said: “There is no denial of literal rebirth here. If anything it is affirmed [as being useful and true], and it is affirmed as [as being useful and true] part of Right View that leads to awakening.”
As Ven Bodhi says about this in his footnote( p 1322): "We may understand that the conceptual comprehension of the four truths falls under mundane right view, while the direct penetration of the truths by realizing Nibbana with the path constitutes supramundane right view." In other words, you cannot have supramundane right view without some degree of awakening. Until that time it is all mundane Right View. This text does not dismiss kamma or rebirth. Don’t forget the Buddha stated:
"This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond."
SN I, 38
Falling back on Bhikkhu Bodhi places your interpretation in a precarious position because Bhikkhu Bodhi does not translate SN 1,38 the same as you. Bhikkhu Bodhi, consistent with mundane dhamma, translates SN 1,38 as “a being enters upon samsara, Kamma determines his destiny” (p. 129). Mundane right view cannot directly lead to awakening. The Buddha has said it leads to asava and acquisitions. My opinion is your translation of SN 1,38 is wrong.
And you think Ven Bodhi is really saying something different from me on this? Not at all.
satto sa.msaaramaapaadi, kamma.m tassa paraayanan ti
- SN i 38
The late and former (obviously) president of the Pali Text Society, I.B. Horner, translates this as:
"This being is bound to samsara, karma is his means for going beyond."
BUDDHIST TEXTS THROUGH THE AGES, page 80, selection 67.
Ven Bodhi's translation:
A being enters upon samsara; Kamma determines his destiny.
CDB I 129.
Without seeing Horner's first, Ven Bodhi's translation is a little weak, missing something of the significance of paraayana
, which can easily signify awakening as a goal - destiny vs going beyond. Also, "is his means" vs "determines." I think, as well as I can understand the grammatical structure of this verse, Horner's is by far the better translation.
And to futher make my point here: There is a short sutta in the same collection as our text in contention called The Destination, SN IV 373, CDB II 1379. The Destination, in Pali: Paraayana Sutta
. What is quite nice here is that the Buddha defines quite clealy what he means by paraayana
, destiny/going beyond:
And what, bhikkhus, is the destination [the going beyond (which is more literal)]? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called the destination [paraayana] [the going beyond].
And to drive home the point a bit further:
That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana/nirvana. -- S.N. IV 251 and IV 321
That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata/the conditioned. -- S.N. IV 359 and S.N. 362
In other words - and very clearly - the destination/the going beyond is nibbana/the "unconditioned"/awakening.
The point is that Ven Bodhi and I.B. Horner’s translation are saying the same thing; karma is a means for awakening. I just happen to prefer Horner’s translation. It is a bit more literal and clearer.
In regard to your opinion about the translation I used, that translation is spot on as is the point that the passage makes.
Mundane right view cannot directly lead to awakening. The Buddha has said it leads to asava and acquisitions
The Buddha said nothing of the sort. That is your eisegetical interpretation of MN 117. As Ven Bodhi stated: "We may understand that the conceptual comprehension of the four truths falls under mundane right view, while the direct penetration of the truths by realizing Nibbana with the path constitutes supramundane right view."
This is a distinction without a difference. “the ‘unsatisfactoriness’ of impermanent phenomena,” vs “mental torment, or psychic irritants”
This is without doubt a distinction with a difference.
Not that you have shown.
What do we see here? Mental torment and psychic irritations driven by grasping after that which changes.
Yes. But when mental torment ends, change does not end. Similarly, when mental torment ends, the unsatisfactoriness of conditioned things does not end. Conditioned things remain unsatisfactory, whether they are attached to or not (just like my ex-husband remains unsatisfactory).
If your husband is still dukkha to you, that is because you are still clinging to him. Don’t cling to what changes, no dukkha. What is compounded is dukkha to cling to. Dukkha is an experiential quality -- that is, it is has meaning only in terms of someone experiencing it. Cling to what changes and you get dukkha, thus all compounded this are dukkha.
And the Buddha did not use the word roaming. The point is that samsara, the word the Buddha did use, involves a greatness of time, far exceeding one’s mere singular lifetime. Trying to read this text in terms of a singular lifetime requires a contortionism that makes the Buddha look stupidly inept at explaining what he is teaching.
SN 22.99 describes samsara as running around and circling around that very form... that very feeling... that very perception... those very fabrications... that very consciousness...assuming the five aggregates to be the self. I find your interpretation materialistic and your personal opinion about what you think the Buddha said unconvincing. Bhikkhu Bodhi translated the text as roaming. Patrick Kearney translates it as “running” (in his translation of MN 38) .
I have been told this Pali word “sandhāvati” (saŋ+dhāvati: to run through) is related to “dhāve”, which is used in MN 65 in reference to a horse “galloping”.
You find it materialistic and unconvincing, but you have made no reasoned, exampled argument to support your assertion. On the other hand:
Saŋsāra [fr. saŋsarati] 1. transmigration, lit. faring on D i.54; ii.206 (here=existence); M i.81 (saŋsārena suddhi); S ii.178 sq.; A i.10; ii.12=52; Sn 517; Dh 60; J i.115; Pv ii.1311; Vism 544 (in detail), 578, 603 (˚assa kāraka); PvA 63, 243. For description of saŋsāra (its endlessness & inevitableness) see e. g. S ii.178, 184 sq., 263; iii.149 sq.; VbhA 134 (anta -- virahita) & anamatagga (to which add refs. VbhA 45, 182, 259, 260). -- 2. moving on, circulation: vacī˚ exchange of words A i.79.
-- cakka [cp. BSk. saŋsāra -- cakra] the wheel of tr. Vism 198, 201; VvA 105=PvA 7. -- dukkha the ill of tr. Vism 531; VbhA 145, 149. -- bhaya fear of tr. VbhA 199. -- sāgara the ocean of tr. J iii.241.
PTS: S ii 184
CDB i 656
Danda Sutta: The Stick
translated from the Pali by
At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration [samsara]. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Just as a stick thrown up in the air lands sometimes on its base, sometimes on its side, sometimes on its tip; in the same way, beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, transmigrating & wandering on, sometimes go from this world to another world, sometimes come from another world to this.
"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."[/b]
PTS: S ii 263
CDB i 706
Nakhasikha Sutta: The Tip of the Fingernail
translated from the Pali by
Staying at Savatthi. Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"
"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn't even count. It's no comparison. It's not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.
"In the same way, monks, few are the beings reborn among human beings. Far more are those reborn elsewhere. Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will live heedfully.' That's how you should train yourselves."
There is no question that the Buddha meant for us to see samsara in terms large amount of time and multiple lifetimes. He states so here directly. I’ll go with a more traditional translation of samsara.
What I said makes perfect sense. When a loved one dies, we often repeatedly cry & weep about them, sometimes many years later, sometimes for the entirety of our lives.
But that really does not address the fullness of the text in question.
”mundane right view” If it is right view, albeit mundane, it will lead to awakening, if acted upon as the Buddha taught. If mundane right view leads only to “asavas and acquisitions” then there is no way out. This is a very strange position for a Buddhist to take. What the heck does that say about the Buddha’s teachings?
What the Buddha taught seems clear to me. The Buddha taught by following the mundane right view there is no way out. But the noble right view provides the way out.
If there is no way out following mundane Right View, then it would not be Right View, but the Buddha called it Right View. Your explanation makes absolutely no sense: Right View that is not Right View.