Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Goofaholix
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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:20 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Equating religion with terrorism is fallacious.
Of course, however associating it with religious extremism is not, I never heard of terrorism being motivated by athiest's disdain of agnostics.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by vinasp » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:21 am

Hi Nana,

What is the Arahant's understanding of what will happen when his body dies,
and how does this differ from the nihilist view?

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:30 am

mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:
Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

From this I see that the problem is as much as anything letting your views back you into a corner, taking an open minded approach is the answer to this.

Over the centuries Buddhism has leaned much more towards Atthitaa, particularly our Mahayana friends. While I understand some may experience aversion to the Natthitaa we see prevalent in the west these days I don't think taking a stronger determined grip on Atthitaa is a good way of dealing with it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:40 am

Goofaholix wrote: Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.
Yes, that's an excellent point.

:anjali:
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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:40 am

Goofaholix wrote:This would be DN 2 Sāmaññaphala Sutta:, I've tried really hard but i have not been able to find the paragraph you posted on this page http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; so have no way of verifying that it is in fact the definition of natthika-diṭṭhi.
Different translation. Here's the full passage from the ATI translation:
  • Ajita Kesakambalin said to me, 'Great king, there is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves. A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.'
In The Notion of Diṭṭhi in Theravāda Buddhism, Fuller adds the following comments:
  • Three versions of this formula are found: the first is this one from the Sāmaññaphala-sutta (D I 47–86) at D I 55 where the view is attributed to Ajita Kesakambalī. A shorter version is often used which consists of the first paragraph. In the Vibhaga classification this is the ‘wrong-view that has ten bases’ (dasavatthukā micchā-diṭṭhi), also simply called ‘wrong-view’(micchādiṭṭhi). A third version, which is very short, consists of the following: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously born beings, there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions.

    The Dhammasaṅgaṇī uses the phrase ‘nonaccomplishment in view’ (diṭṭhi-vipatti) to refer to the view of nihilism and ‘accomplishment in view’ (diṭṭhi-sampadā) to refer to the opposite view, the right view which affirms that ‘there is what is given’, etc. This right-view shall be referred to as ‘the view of affirmation’ (atthika-diṭṭhi). According to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, all wrong-views are non-accomplishment in view, and all right-views are accomplishment in view. Right-views are fortunate views, and wrong-views are unfortunate views.
    views.
Goofaholix wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote: Rowe, William L. "Atheism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
  • [A]n atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology.
Nothing about rebirth then, but I'll stick with the english dictionary anyway thanks.
The view isn't limited to a denial of rebirth. As already indicated, it is inclusive of a denial of any type of gods, higher and lower realms, and entails a denial of post-mortem existence.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:45 am

vinasp wrote:What is the Arahant's understanding of what will happen when his body dies,
and how does this differ from the nihilist view?
An arahant isn't an atheist, nihilist or materialist. S/he isn't identified with the body in any way. Also, any view pertaining to the post-mortem existence or non-existence of an arahant is a fetter of view.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:48 am

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ...
Thickets of views? Veritable bomas [look it up if you need to!] of views!

Can I propose "Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma" is an Unskillful False Dhamma?

:toilet:

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:53 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Can I propose "Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma" is an Unskillful False Dhamma?
Atheism is a parasite trying to infect the Pāli dhamma and Theravāda Buddhism.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:57 am

Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:
Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.
The suttas are consistent in calling the above mentioned nihilist view a wrong view and untrue dhamma (asaddhamma). MN 60 Apaṇṇaka Sutta:
  • Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three skillful activities — good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three unskillful activities: bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans do not see, in unskillful activities, the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; nor in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.

    Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is no next world,' he makes himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is no next world,' that is persuasion in what is not true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, he exalts himself and disparages others. Whatever good habituation he previously had is abandoned, while bad habituation is manifested. And this wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, exaltation of self, & disparagement of others: These many evil, unskillful activities come into play, in dependence on wrong view.
And in regarding the opposite view as right view and true dhamma (saddhamma):
  • Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three unskillful activities — bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three skillful activities: good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans see in unskillful activities the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; and in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.

    Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is a next world' is his right view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is a next world,' that is his right resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is a next world,' that is his right speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is a next world,' he doesn't make himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is a next world,' that is persuasion in what is true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is true Dhamma, he doesn't exalt himself or disparage others. Whatever bad habituation he previously had is abandoned, while good habituation is manifested. And this right view, right resolve, right speech, non-opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is true Dhamma, non-exaltation of self, & non-disparagement of others: These many skillful activities come into play, in dependence on right view.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by piotr » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:58 am

Hi,
Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:
Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

From this I see that the problem is as much as anything letting your views back you into a corner, taking an open minded approach is the answer to this.

Over the centuries Buddhism has leaned much more towards Atthitaa, particularly our Mahayana friends. While I understand some may experience aversion to the Natthitaa we see prevalent in the west these days I don't think taking a stronger determined grip on Atthitaa is a good way of dealing with it.
Atthikadiṭṭhi and atthitā are not the same. First affirms kamma and so on, second affirms atta.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by vinasp » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:01 am

Hi Nana,

In my understanding the "official" position of the orthodox Theravada
tradition is that parinibbana is complete extinction.

Are you questioning this?

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Zom » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:04 am

What is the Arahant's understanding of what will happen when his body dies,
and how does this differ from the nihilist view?

“If, friend Yamaka, they were to ask you: ‘Friend Yamaka, in the case of a bhikkhu
who is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, with the breakup of the body, after death
, what happens to him?’—being asked thus, what would you answer?”

“If they were to ask me this, friend, I would answer thus: ‘Friends, form is impermanent.
What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering has ceased, has passed away.
Feeling … Perception … Volitional constructions … Consciousness is impermanent.
What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering has ceased, has passed away.’
Being asked thus, friend, I would answer in such a way.”


SN 22.85


The difference is in the view of self. Annihilationist does have a view of self. This self, according to such a view, is destroyed after death. Arahant (and all ariyas) doesn't have a view of self. So no self is destroyed when nibbana is reached and all that is felt completely ceases.
Last edited by Zom on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:07 am

Greetings,
vinasp wrote: In my understanding the "official" position of the orthodox Theravada
tradition is that parinibbana is complete extinction.
SN 22.86: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress."
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)

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:15 am

vinasp wrote:In my understanding the "official" position of the orthodox Theravada tradition is that parinibbana is complete extinction.
Yes, well, discussion of an arahant's death doesn't pertain to the topic at hand. The views under discussion in this topic pertain the birth and death of non-arahants.

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Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Post by vinasp » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:24 am

Hi Retro,

So the Five Nikaya's contradict the later Theravada interpretation.
What is your position on this?

1. The Five Nikaya's are correct.

2. The later Theravada interpretation is correct.

3. Both are correct.

4. Both are wrong.

Regards, Vincent.

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