Commentaries, jhana, vipassana

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: Commentaries, jhana, vipassana

Post by MMK23 » Wed May 27, 2009 1:58 pm

Hello all,
retrofuturist wrote:If anyone wants to present a passage or something specific then I'm happy to discuss. However, my reticence for speaking in specifics to date is out of respect towards the greater Pali tradition, an acknowledgement of my own limitations, and a disinclination against academic argument for academic sakes. Unless there is a practical basis or application for the discussion, it risks being idle chatter.
Retro, your reticence is understandable and clearly sensitive. I am bemused by your reference to academic argument for academic sakes, it is disappointing. We are in the privileged positions that we are in now precisely because many generations of committed and often primarily scholastic Theravada monks went to enormous, almost mind-boggling efforts, to preserve and protect the precious Pali Canon - the living and breathing word of the Buddha, and her precious commentaries - the living and breathing exegeses of great Elders. Theravada is not a arbitrary denominational sectarianism, it is living tradition that among other things honours the efforts of two millenia of extraordinary scholarship - efforts (such as Buddhaghosa's) which are almost unfathomable without our modern complement of computers, libraries and dictionaries. Indeed, as Buddhaghosa and the Arahant Upatissa point out in the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga respectively, dedicated study of the scriptures, even in this mundane way we do so on Dhamma Wheel, is a means of cultivating wisdom and is afforded a special place throughout the Pali Canon. There is nothing insignificant or tilting at windmills about study of the Dhamma.

Additionally, with all due respect, if the issue is the soteriology of the Buddhadhamma, and the implications are most directly relevant to meditative theory (which seems to be a common insight), then I would posit that this argument is neither idle or chatter. Indeed, so far as it specifically relates to our liberation, these are matters of the gravest importance not only for what we do on the cushion, but indeed for our ability to heed the precious teachings of the Buddha and use this rare human life for exactly what it is good for - attaining to the end of suffering.


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