Path to Buddhahood

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16275
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:46 pm

daverupa wrote:... very old scholastic traditions are valuable while modern scholastic efforts are not. The claim "most everything that was important to say about the Buddhadhamma was said in these Indian treatises prior to about 500 CE" is wholly without foundation..
It seems to be one of these modern scholastic ideas that the ancient commentaries are "scholastic". I would say that the commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta or the meditation advice collected from the commentaries into the Vissudhimagga are quite the opposite. These are summaries of knowledge from experienced practitioners, and are, in my opinion, the opposite of "scholastic".

What I would be inclined to label "scholastic" would be to try to work out the details of the Buddha's Path purely from analysis of the Suttas, thereby discounting the experience of ancient and modern practitioners.

:anjali:
Mike

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by Nyana » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:54 pm

daverupa wrote:This glosses over important differentiations between scholastic traditions, and is still an argumentum ad populum. "General principles", as a unifying variable, is hardly precise enough to support your claim that very old scholastic traditions are valuable while modern scholastic efforts are not.
It's not argumentum ad populum, rather, it's a matter of pragmatism: accepting and using established Buddhist conventions. Novel definitions and interpretations are a waste of time. They're unnecessary conceptual noise. Like it or not, barring global catastrophe, texts like the Visuddhimagga, the Abhidhammatthasangaha, and the Abhidharmakośabhāsya will still be studied and taught long after we are all dead and gone.
daverupa wrote:The claim "most everything that was important to say about the Buddhadhamma was said in these Indian treatises prior to about 500 CE" is wholly without foundation.
Humans are still just as stupid, greedy, and mean as they were 2500 years ago, and the dhammavinaya is still just as effective as it was 2500 years ago. The Pāli Tipiṭaka and commentarial literature are a complete presentation of the dhammavinaya. And the related traditions (Sarvāstivāda, Sautrāntika, and early Yogācāra) cover any alternative interpretations that have any relevance.
daverupa wrote:Akin to your use of "ancient treatises", you seem to be using terms which cover broad, unspecified realms of meaning in order to avoid addressing the stratification in these various texts.
I acknowledge the theories regarding stratification, and generally accept that their was historical development of Buddhist ideas. However, I don't accept that we can know with any degree of certainty just how and when those developments occurred, and I definitely don't accept that they were all deviations from an earlier pristine teaching. The entire enterprise of historical textual analysis is too imprecise and speculative to warrant a central position in the understanding and practice of the Buddhadhamma.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by daverupa » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:09 pm

:anjali:

:candle:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:14 am

David N. Snyder wrote:From another thread:
Dhammanando wrote: Well, the commentarial view is that all knowable things are potentially accessible to [the Buddha's understanding, paññā], but that they are not all simultaneously accessible. We haven't yet got around to the question of what is meant by a knowable thing, but this too is an important qualification, for nowhere is it asserted that all things are knowable things. And so the Buddha's "omniscience" as the commentators understand it, is far from being the Allah-like or Jehovah-like omniscience that some Mahayana Buddhists posit. For example, there must be at least some future things that are not knowable things, since for all future things to be knowable would require all future things to be predetermined, which would conflict with the Buddha's rejection of fatalism.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=132#p820" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
santa100 wrote:And that's all fine and dandy David. There's certainly no need to associate any Allah-like attribute to our Buddha. Now, there's an important point to notice, that the "commentarial view" in Dhammanando's quote is exactly that of the Theravada exegetical tradition. Here is the full note from Bhikkhu Bodhi in his MN book:

[Note 714]: "MA explains that even though part of the statement is valid, the Buddha rejects the entire statement because of the portion that is invalid. The part of the statement that is valid is the assertion that the Buddha is omniscient and all-seeing; the part that is excessive is the assertion that knowledge and vision are continuously present to him. According to the Theravāda exegetical tradition the Buddha is omniscient in the sense that all knowable things are potentially accessible to him. He cannot, however, know everything simultaneously and must advert to whatever he wishes to know. At MN 90.8 the Buddha says that it is possible to know and see all, though not simultaneously, and at AN 4:24/ii.24 he claims to know all that can be seen, heard, sensed, and cognized. This is understood by the Theravāda commentators as an assertion of omniscience in the qualified sense. See too in this connection Miln 102–7."
With reference to the above quotes, Bodhi’s note for the “seen, heard, sensed…” at AN. 4.24, in his newly released translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya may be of interest:
  • 662 Mp: “By these terms (jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ) the plane of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi) is indicated.” In the History of Buddhism, as well as in modern scholarship, the question of whether the Buddha claimed omniscience has been the subject of debate. The Buddha certainly rejected the claim that one could know everything all the time (see MN 71.5, I 482, 4–18) as well as the claim that one could know everything simultaneously (see MN 90.8, II 127, 28–30). But he also says that to hold that he totally rejects the possibility of omniscience is to misrepresent him MN 90.5, II 126, 31–27, 11).Thus is seems to follow that what the Buddha rejected is the possibility of continuous and simultaneous knowledge of everything, but not discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known (which would exclude much of the future, since it is not predetermined).
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:04 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:
  • 662 Mp: “By these terms (jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ) the plane of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi) is indicated.” In the History of Buddhism, as well as in modern scholarship, the question of whether the Buddha claimed omniscience has been the subject of debate. The Buddha certainly rejected the claim that one could know everything all the time (see MN 71.5, I 482, 4–18) as well as the claim that one could know everything simultaneously (see MN 90.8, II 127, 28–30). But he also says that to hold that he totally rejects the possibility of omniscience is to misrepresent him MN 90.5, II 126, 31–27, 11).Thus is seems to follow that what the Buddha rejected is the possibility of continuous and simultaneous knowledge of everything, but not discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known (which would exclude much of the future, since it is not predetermined).
I know that I am a gawdawful heretic, thrashing about needlessly, but I'd rather take this compound, sabbaññu, as meaning knowing the all rather than all knowing, which could be grammatically possible, depending upon how the compound is parsed, but then, of course, it did not happen that way.
>> 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
ancientbuddhism
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:53 pm
Location: Cyberia

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
  • 662 Mp: “By these terms (jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ) the plane of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi) is indicated.” In the History of Buddhism, as well as in modern scholarship, the question of whether the Buddha claimed omniscience has been the subject of debate. The Buddha certainly rejected the claim that one could know everything all the time (see MN 71.5, I 482, 4–18) as well as the claim that one could know everything simultaneously (see MN 90.8, II 127, 28–30). But he also says that to hold that he totally rejects the possibility of omniscience is to misrepresent him MN 90.5, II 126, 31–27, 11).Thus is seems to follow that what the Buddha rejected is the possibility of continuous and simultaneous knowledge of everything, but not discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known (which would exclude much of the future, since it is not predetermined).
I know that I am a gawdawful heretic, thrashing about needlessly, but I'd rather take this compound, sabbaññu, as meaning knowing the all rather than all knowing, which could be grammatically possible, depending upon how the compound is parsed, but then, of course, it did not happen that way.
Bodhi’s caution does seem to meet with what is contextually plausible, the commentators’ penchant for superlative notwithstanding.

jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ” have always indicated a contemplative knowledge unburdened by ordinary conceptual habits, where one sees things truly as they are such (tādī). So wherever this quality of knowing is directed, one knows that clearly as “discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known”.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 19959
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:03 am

Greetings,
ancientbuddhism wrote:jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ” have always indicated a contemplative knowledge unburdened by ordinary conceptual habits, where one sees things truly as they are such (tādī). So wherever this quality of knowing is directed, one knows that clearly as “discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known”.
:goodpost:

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

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:16 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
  • 662 Mp: “By these terms (jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ) the plane of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi) is indicated.” In the History of Buddhism, as well as in modern scholarship, the question of whether the Buddha claimed omniscience has been the subject of debate. The Buddha certainly rejected the claim that one could know everything all the time (see MN 71.5, I 482, 4–18) as well as the claim that one could know everything simultaneously (see MN 90.8, II 127, 28–30). But he also says that to hold that he totally rejects the possibility of omniscience is to misrepresent him MN 90.5, II 126, 31–27, 11).Thus is seems to follow that what the Buddha rejected is the possibility of continuous and simultaneous knowledge of everything, but not discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known (which would exclude much of the future, since it is not predetermined).
I know that I am a gawdawful heretic, thrashing about needlessly, but I'd rather take this compound, sabbaññu, as meaning knowing the all rather than all knowing, which could be grammatically possible, depending upon how the compound is parsed, but then, of course, it did not happen that way.
Bodhi’s caution does seem to meet with what is contextually plausible, the commentators’ penchant for superlative notwithstanding.

jānāmi, abbhaññāsiṃ, viditaṃ” have always indicated a contemplative knowledge unburdened by ordinary conceptual habits, where one sees things truly as they are such (tādī). So wherever this quality of knowing is directed, one knows that clearly as “discrete and intentional knowledge of whatever can be known”.
This works.
>> 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
robertk
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by robertk » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:27 am

From Nina van Gorkom:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/21233" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In the Commentary to the Brahmjala Sutta, Tr. by Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi, (The
All-embracing Net of Views, p. 128) we find under <Deep, difficult to see> a
discussion about it that the plural <dhammas> is used for the objects of
omniscience, sabba~n~nuta~naa.na. I only quote parts, it is rather long. It
is said:
<Because it takes a multiplicity of objects... It knows the entire past,
thus it is knowledge of omniscience, thus it is the unobstructed knowledge,
etc (Pts I.1.73). Therefore, because it is associated with multiple classes
of consciousness, and because it takes a multiplicity of objects on the
successive occasions of its arising, it is described in the plural.>
There is a discussion in the Subco. :<Query: If this is so, how is it
possible for a single, limited type of knowledge to penetrate without
omission the entire range of the knowable with its inconceivable,
immeasurable subdivisions?
Reply: Who says the Buddha-knowledge is limited?.... With the abandoning of
the entire obstruction of the knowable, the Exalted One gained unobstructed
knowledge which occurs subject to his wish and is capable of comprehending
all dhammas in all their modes. By means of this knowledge the Exalted One
was capable of penetrating all dhammas in continuous succession (santanena);
therefore he was omniscient or all-knowing in the way fire is called
"all-consuming" through its ability to burn all its fuel in continuous
succession. He was not, however, omniscient in the sense that he could
comprehend all dhammas simultaneously. >
This text refers to the Tika of the Visuddhimagga, VII, 29, footnote 7,
where there is the same discussion.
The Visuddhimagga, in the "Recollection of the Buddha" explains all the
words we use when paying respect to the Buddha. As to "Endowed with clear
vision and virtuous conduct, vijja carana sampanno", we read VII, 32:
<
Herein, the Blessed One's possession of clear vision consists in the
fulfilment of Omniscience (Ps. I, 131) , while his possession of conduct
consists in the fulfilment of the Great Compassion (Ps. 1, 126). He knows
through omniscience what is good and harmful for all beings, and through
compassion he warns them of harm and exhorts them to do good. >
The text of the Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga) about omniscience
has been referred to in the previously quoted texts. I shall only quote a
part of it. We read in Ch 72 (p. 131):

<
What is the Perfect One's omniscient knowledge?
It knows without exception all that is formed and unformed, thus it is
omniscient knowledge: it is without obstruction there, thus it is
unobstructed knowledge.
All that is past it knows, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is without
obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.
All that is future it knows,...
All that is presently-arisen it knows...
Eye and visible objects: all that it knows...
Ear and sounds: all that it knows...
Nose and odours:all that it knows...
Tongue and flavours:all that it knows...
Body and tangible objects: all that it knows...
Mind and ideas (dhammas): all that it knows...>
After that the objects are the extent of the meaning of the three
characteristics of dhammas, knowledge of the extent of the meaning of direct
knowledge, etc. , of the khandhas, dhatus, bases (ayatanas) etc. Further on
we read:
<
To the extent of what is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, encountered,
sought, considered by the mind, in the world with its deities, its Maras and
its Brahma Gods, in this genertaion with its ascetics and brahmans, with its
princes and men: all that it knows, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is
without obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.

Here in this world is naught unseen by him,
Naught uncognized, and naught unknowable;
He has experienced all that can be known:
Therefore the Perfect One is called All-seer...

User avatar
male_robin
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by male_robin » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:42 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Geoff, Tilt, etc,
...

My understanding, and the point that I thought Tilt was making, was that:

1. The Arahant's awakening/liberation from Samsara/whatever you want to call it/ is the same as a Buddha's. He is fully liberated.

2. A Buddha has some extra skills, as in the Suttas you quoted, because he had to develop them to become a Buddha.

I don't see any contradiction...

:anjali:
Mike
That makes sense to me. The Samma Sambuddha has cultivated specialized skills necessary to understand the needs and capacities of common wordlings in need od Dhamma Instruction.

I see all kinds of logical problems with the view that Complete Awakening is the exclusive attainment of the Samyak Sambuddhas. For one, it would mean that Sambodhi can not be attained without the presence of common wordlings in need of instruction. If there were no beings bound by kamma, afflicted by the 4 distortions, plagued by hindrances, and so on; then no one could attain complete Awakening.

Moreover, if we take the concept of omniscience to its logical conclusion; then the Samma Sambuddha should have all possible cultivated skills. He would be more than a master teacher and psychologist; he would also know how to build airplanes and split atoms.

I am unclear on at which stage of cultivation the Savaka can allegedly still change paths and elect to be a Bodhisatta. I have been told it is impossible once one attains the fruition of Stream Entry. Others say it is still possible prior to attaining Nibbana. It seems safe to say that the Samma Sambuddha requires Savaka to instruct, and some of his followers will inevitably become Arahants; will attain Nibbana, and they will never be Samma Sambuddhas. That would mean, to attain Complete Awakening, one must prevent at least some other beings from attaining Complete Awakened.

suttametta
Posts: 289
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by suttametta » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:19 pm

Nyana wrote:
  • The report that has been spread about Master Gotama is true, sir, and not otherwise; and Master Gotama is one such as this and not otherwise. He possesses the thirty-two marks of a Great Man.

    Master Gotama sets his foot down squarely — this is a mark of a Great Man in Master Gotama. On the soles of his feet there are wheels with a thousand spokes and ribs and hubs all complete … He has projecting heels … He has long fingers and toes … His hands and feet are soft and tender … He has netted hands and feet … His feet are arched … He has legs like an antelope's … When he stands without stooping, the palms of both his hands touch and rub against his knees … His male organ is enclosed in a sheath … He is the colour of gold, his skin has a golden sheen … He is fine-skinned, and because of the fineness of his skin, dust and dirt do not stick on his body … His body-hairs grow singly, each body-hair growing alone in a hair socket … The tips of his body-hairs turn up; the up-turned body-hairs are blue-black, the colour of collyrium, curled and turned to the right … He has the straight limbs of a Brahma … He has seven convexities … He has the torso of a lion … The furrow between his shoulders is filled in … He has the spread of a banyan tree; the span of his arms equals the height of his body, and the height of his body equals the span of his arms … His neck and his shoulders are even … His taste is supremely acute … He is lion-jawed … He has forty teeth … His teeth are even … His teeth are without gaps … His teeth are quite white … He has a large tongue … He has a divine voice, like the call of the Karavika bird … His eyes are deep blue … He has the eyelashes of an ox … He has hair growing in the space between his eyebrows, which is white with the sheen of soft cotton … His head is shaped like a turban - this is a mark of a Great Man in Master Gotama. Master Gotama is endowed with these thirty-two marks of a Great Man.
These are just a few examples, without even taking into consideration passages from the Khuddakanikāya, etc.
But then these qualities of the mahapurusha are also shared by great emperors. They don't signify a buddha. They signify a leader. The meaning is that Buddha led the way.

suttametta
Posts: 289
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:55 pm

Re: Path to Buddhahood

Post by suttametta » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:24 pm

Nyana wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The problem with the "here" is in the question of what is bodhi. The 32 marks aren't bodhi as described in the suttas, nor is omniscience. And the one thing we do see in the suttas is that what the Buddha attained in terms of bodhi is what the arahant attains. So, the question is: What is bodhi as defined by the suttas?
Already addressed: AN 4.24 implicitly accounts for the stage of omniscience (sabbaññutabhūmi). SN 6.1 implicitly accounts for the knowledge of degrees of maturity in the faculties of sentient beings (indriyaparopariyattañāṇa) and the knowledge of the dispositions and underlying tendencies of sentient beings (āsayānusayañāṇa).

Both explanations are straight out of the Theravāda commentaries on the suttas, and in addition to what was offered from the canonical Psm here, renders your opinion that, "The "enlightenment" -- bodhi -- of the arahant is no different from that of the Buddha," an example of modernist secular revisionism that has no precedent in the history of Theravāda Buddhism.
The sutta does not imply these powers are exclusive to Buddha.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mirco, rightviewftw and 65 guests