On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:03 pm

mikenz66 wrote: (Nyanaponika's note #24) "To contemporaries, however, the meaning may have been quite clear since it was perhaps the stock formula for teachings that were well known."
This is a point Norman and Gombrich were making; that this discourse, and others, were making punning reference to the Upaniṣadic dogma of ātman, well known to the listeners.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:58 am

in several of his dhamma talks Thanissaro argues against Upanishadic self as well as all other ideas of self such as the Mahayana oneness idea. He jokes that interconnectedness is fine but its still suffering. He also credits belief in the metaphysical no self with creating a logical conundrum which the Mahayanas resolve by adding Buddha Nature as well as Absolute and Relative realities and claims those additions only muddy the water. He is not arguing for some mystical self. He is saying it is a question that should be put aside because it leads to quarelling such as this thread. What does not lead to quarelling is looking at all phenomena of experience and seeing them as not self.

I still see nothing wrong with NSS. I do have to dig more into this nirvana consciousness stuff but my gut instinct is there is a reasonable explanation. One thing I can say about that aspect is I read a lot of Thanissaro and the footnotes cited in this thread are the only place I've come across this. It does not seem to be central to his strategy. Frankly, I do not care if consciousness without surface is nirvana or how nirvana is perceived. Either way I need to become an arahant to experience such bliss and for that I have a lot of work left as we all do.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Zom » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:47 am

Either way I need to become an arahant to experience such bliss and for that I have a lot of work left as we all do.
The problem is that even if you will make it to higher jhanas - you will stick there because of the "eternal consciousness view". As Thanissaro notes in Sabba sutta translation: "At no point does the Canon say that nibbana is to be abandoned". Add this to "Nibbana = consciousness" and here you are: "At no point does the Canon say that consciousness is to be abandoned". Actually this did happen to Alara Kalama, Udakka Ramaputta and many other pre-buddhist ascetics.
That is why this is extremely important to have a right view about nibbana. And this is much better to establish such a view before reaching jhanas.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by vinasp » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:02 pm

Hi everyone,

In order to make progress on these questions two things are required:

1. A better understanding of what is meant by ditthi, which is usually
translated as "views". A more accurate translation would be either
delusion or obsession.

2. The two kinds of vinnana mentioned in this thread, is an early idea
found in only a few places. This distinction was later replaced with
the distinction between vinnana and panna (wisdom).
[ see: MN 43.4 - 6 ]

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by vinasp » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:08 am

Hi everyone,

On Wisdom:

"Monks, there are these four radiances. What four?
The radiance of the moon, of the sun, of fire and
of wisdom. These are the four. Of these four, monks,
the radiance of wisdom is the chief."

AN II 139, PTS Gradual Sayings Vol. 2 page 142
Translation by FL Woodward. See also SN I. 6

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by vinasp » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:09 am

Hi everyone,

On Views

MN 11.14 explains the four kinds of clinging, one of which is clinging
to views. MN 11.16 says that: "These four kinds of clinging have craving
as their source, craving as their origin ..."

Another description of views originating from craving ( and the rest ) is
found in the Parileyya Sutta SN 22.81

Here is an interesting passage from AN 7.51

The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern view, doesn't discern the origination of view, doesn't discern the cessation of view, doesn't discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns view, discerns the origination of view, discerns the cessation of view, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

Some translations of this passage have views (plural).

Any belief that involves feeling, craving and clinging is no ordinary belief.
So it should be understood as a delusion or an obsession.

The key point is that a view is NOT based on " Knowing and seeing things as
they really are". See also DN.1.3.44 ff

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Zom » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:33 am

And still there is a very important thing in practice like "Samma ditthi", that is "Right VIEW".
Notice, this is very different from Right Knowledge as 9th path factor, since Right View includes faith.

Plus to that, there is MN 22, where Buddha says that at first you must grip Dhamma properly and let it go only after you've done it to the further shore (that is - arahantship) - not before that. It would be foolish to let go of Right Views while you are still here and not there .)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by beeblebrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:03 pm

I see nothing in Vinasp's posts that is in conflict with that, Zom... :anjali:

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Zom » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:31 pm

As I see it, he means that we should not have any views at all (including samma-ditthi too).

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by chownah » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:22 pm

vinasp wrote: The key point is that a view is NOT based on " Knowing and seeing things as
they really are". See also DN.1.3.44 ff
vinasp,
In the Study Group forum the current topic is SN 12.15 Kaccaayanagotto Sutta and one of the foot notes defines Samma Ditthi as being:
"1. Samma Di.t.thi: the first step of the Noble Eightfold Path, lit. "Right Seeing." It is also rendered "Right Understanding," but the connotations of this are too exclusively intellectual. The rendering "Right Views" (plural) is to be rejected, since it is not a matter of holding "views" (opinions) but of "seeing things as they really are."
"
This Sutta was translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe and so I assume that he is the author of this footnote.....notice it says that Samma Ditthi (which I think is also known as "right view") is a matter of "seeing things as they really are."

I think this contradicts what you are saying.
chownah

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by vinasp » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:57 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks to Zom, beeblebrox and chownah, all good points.

I need to add the following clarifications to my first post on views.

Views - Some clarifications.

It seems that the root meaning of ditthi is "sight". When someone is
said to have a "view" this means "a way of seeing."

In Pali the word view (ditthi) is often used in the sense of a fixed
way of seeing. But a "way of seeing" is not, in itself, either right
or wrong.

However, those who are deluded see things in a wrong way, while those
who are free of delusion see things in a right way.

So "view" is just a way of seeing and applies to everyone including
enlightened individuals. To distinguish the right and wrong ways of
seeing, we need to add "right" or "wrong" to the word "view".

So the view "There is a self" is said to be wrong view.

What about the view "There is no self"?

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Zom » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:05 am

What about the view "There is no self"?
No problem with this view if it is not based on self ;)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by vinasp » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:40 am

Hi Zom,

I agree that there should be no problem about the view "there is no self"
if it is said by someone who is free of delusions, and is based on knowing
and seeing things as they really are.

Could you explain what you mean by "... if it is not based on self."

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Brizzy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:24 am

Zom wrote:
What about the view "There is no self"?
No problem with this view if it is not based on self ;)
Surely it should be the experiential view of..... 'THIS is not self', rather than the speculative view of..... 'There is no self'. It is a subtle distinction, but one that might safeguard oneself from falling into wrong view.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Zom » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:52 am

No.

For example, there can be a view like: "There is a self, though THIS is not self, THAT is not self, everything is not self ect.".
See what I mean? ;)


This is what I call "self-based position". No matter what your experience is, you are still SURE that somewhere somehow there MUST be my self.
It is on this self-based position such Right View like "There is no self" turns into Wrong View like "There is no self FOR ME" (look for details in MN 2).

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