50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Rhino
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Rhino » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:45 am

clw_uk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
English Bhikkhu Nanavira Thera attained sotapatti (stream-winner):
Says who?

I think he says so himself in one of his letters or books
The quote in my first post is from a letter to the Colombo Thera.
During his stay in Colombo the author handed over L. 1 to the Colombo Thera. The envelope of L. 1 was inscribed: 'In the event of my death, this envelope should be delivered to, and opened by, the senior bhikkhu of the Island Hermitage, Dodanduwa. Ñānavīra Bhikkhu, 20th September 1960.' Apparently the letter had been kept at Bundala until 1964, when it was handed over already opened and its contents were then discussed. This discussion became known to others, and thus the author's attainment of sotāpatti came to be known (and accepted and denied and debated) even before his death.
Source: http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... d=51#n97-2
With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Ben » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:28 am

Dear Bhante
gavesako wrote:"Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer."

--Ajahn Chah

:anjali:
That is an interesting quote from Luang Por Ajahn Chah. However, it appears to this deluded human being (me) that Ajahn is not only discouraging one from attaining the noblest aspirations, but also seems to be contra to the Buddha's teaching that ariya aṭṭhangika magga is the way to the end of suffering.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
woini
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:53 am
Location: Las Vegas, U.S.

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by woini » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:43 am

http://dharmafarer.googlepages.com/majjhimanikaaya" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
see M 144 pdf
suggests commentaries and Canon are opposed to suicide & euthanasia
the ven. in suttas attained enlightenment after using the knife, not before (acc. to commentaries)
it is never encouraged it is not the heinous offense it is sometimes popularly thought to be, and that the consequences of the act will vary according to circumstances—for the puthujjana they can be disastrous, but for the arahat (the Venerable Channa Thera—S. XXXV,87: iv,55-60—for example) they are nil. (acc. to Nanavira)


Is it down to Nanavira vs. commentaries ? or do other Buddhists suggest euthan. as sometimes acceptable ?
Dhamma Wheel on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9 ... 623&ref=nf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Ben » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:10 am

Hi Woini,
woini wrote:Is it down to Nanavira vs. commentaries ? or do other Buddhists suggest euthan. as sometimes acceptable ?
Except for those instances in the suttas where the Buddha detailed the context of the condition of the mind of the monk who has committed suicide, I've never seen the practice of suicide justified or deemed acceptable by reputable teachers.
In my mind, Venerable Nanavira's suicide calls into question his claimed attainments.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:17 am

Ben wrote:
gavesako wrote:"Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer."
--Ajahn Chah
That is an interesting quote from Luang Por Ajahn Chah. However, it appears to this deluded human being (me) that Ajahn is not only discouraging one from attaining the noblest aspirations, but also seems to be contra to the Buddha's teaching that ariya aṭṭhangika magga is the way to the end of suffering.
I interpret it as a more flowery way of saying that the implied "wanting" and the "me" ("you" in the quote) are the problem.

Like in this quote:
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Listening ... _Words.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Let's consider: For what purpose are we living? What do we want from our work? We are living in this world; for what purpose are we living? We do our work; what do we want to get from our work? In the worldly way, people do their work because they want certain things and this is what they consider logical. But the Buddha's teaching goes a step beyond this. It says, do your work without desiring anything. In the world, you do this to get that; you do that to get this; you are always doing something in order to get something as a result. That's the way of worldly folk. The Buddha says, work for the sake of work without wanting anything.

Whenever we work with the desire for something, we suffer. Check this out.
Personally I have a bit of an aversion (hmm, something to work on...) to Ajahn Chah "soundbites". Often context is important...

Mike

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1737
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by gavesako » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:55 am

Ben wrote:Dear Bhante
gavesako wrote:"Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer."

--Ajahn Chah

:anjali:
That is an interesting quote from Luang Por Ajahn Chah. However, it appears to this deluded human being (me) that Ajahn is not only discouraging one from attaining the noblest aspirations, but also seems to be contra to the Buddha's teaching that ariya aṭṭhangika magga is the way to the end of suffering.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Metta

Ben

Hello Ben,

It all comes down to the language people use and also the conceptual framework that we use in order to interpret such statements. I noticed that some people's mind-set requires highly structured descriptions and detailed step-by-step explanations, and there danger there is rather than just taking them as pedagogical tools (i.e. approximations) they will be grasped as a particular "view" (ditthi-upadana) and will block someone's progress on the path, which requires loosening even more subtle forms of grasping. So this is what I see Ajahn Chah as doing, but it is also necessary to look at the context of course.

Compare this other quote from him about the eightfold path:
Today I would like to ask you all. ''Are you sure yet, are you certain in your meditation practice?'' I ask because these days there are many people teaching meditation, both monks and lay people, and I'm afraid you may be subject to wavering and doubt. If we understand clearly, we will be able to make the mind peaceful and firm.
You should understand the eightfold path as morality, concentration and wisdom. The path comes together as simply this. Our practice is to make this path arise within us. ...
Morality has one function, concentration has another function and wisdom another. These factors are like a cycle. We can see them all within the peaceful mind. When the mind is calm it has collectedness and restraint because of wisdom and the energy of concentration. As it becomes more collected it becomes more refined, which in turn gives morality the strength to increase in purity. As our morality becomes purer, this will help in the development of concentration. When concentration is firmly established it helps in the arising of wisdom. Morality, concentration and wisdom help each other, they are inter-related like this.
In the end the path becomes one and functions at all times. We should look after the strength which arises from the path, because it is the strength which leads to insight and wisdom.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Path_in_Harmony1.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
Rhino
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Rhino » Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:57 am

Ben wrote:In my mind, Venerable Nanavira's suicide calls into question his claimed attainments.
Yes, I think so too. Nanavira Thera never suggested suicide. Reading the whole correspondence makes it comprehensible to me. As he quoted:
If anyone is going to commit suicide—not that I advocate it for anyone—it is a great mistake to do it when one is feeling at one's most suicidal. The business should be carefully planned so that one is in the best possible frame of mind—calm, unmoved, serene—when one does it.
and
The ravages of amoebiasis play havoc with the practice of mental concentration, and if I cannot practise mental concentration I have no further use for this life.
It makes sense to me that someone whose body is not appropriate to achieve the goal of liberation from suffering wants to get rid of his useless body. In his mind he attained sotapatti and could be sure to reach nibbana within seven lifes. Nanavira was absolutely aware of the consequences of suicide and what the Buddha taught about it. Once again Nanavira (Letter 47):
And the Buddha himself warns (in the Mahāsuññata Sutta—M. 122: iii,109-18) that one who becomes a layman after following a teacher may fall into the hells when he dies. There is no doubt at all that, whatever public opinion may think, a bhikkhu is probably worse advised to disrobe than to end his life—that is, of course, if he is genuinely practising the Buddha's Teaching. It is hard for laymen (and even, these days, for the majority of bhikkhus, I fear) to understand that when a bhikkhu devotes his entire life to one single aim, there may come a time when he can no longer turn back—lay life has become incomprehensible to him. If he cannot reach his goal there is only one thing for him to do—to die (perhaps you are not aware that the Buddha has said that 'death' for a bhikkhu means a return to lay life—Opamma Samy. 11: ii,271).
With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by cooran » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:12 am

Hello all,

Saying one is a Sotapanna doesn't make it so.
The person may be one - or he equally may be deluded.

What is important is not so much what a being living over 2,500 years after the parinibbana of the Buddha says, but what the Fully Enlightened Sammasambuddha taught.

Attending to our own practice based on the Teachings of the Buddha is all that is required of us.

We don't need to debate, take sides, believe, disbelieve or argue over whether Nanavira Thera had or had not reached any level of enlightenment.
It is not important.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Rhino
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Rhino » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:59 am

Chris wrote:We don't need to debate, take sides, believe, disbelieve or argue over whether Nanavira Thera had or had not reached any level of enlightenment.
It is not important.
Fully agreement. Unfortunately most discussions about Nanavira are predominantly about his suicide and whether sotapanna or not. Important are his writings and his understanding of the Dhamma. He was unquestionable controversial because of his refusal of most traditional commentaries and most buddhists can or will not agree with his view. Nanavira knew that:
On the other hand, I fear that, even without the references to the A.P., bhikkhus of the traditional school—the majority, naturally—cannot be expected to like the book if they read it; and it is vain to hope that it is going to win general approval. I do not for a moment imagine that the general atmosphere of Buddhist studies is going to be in the least affected by the Notes; but I do allow myself to hope that a few individuals (...) will have private transformations of their way of thinking as a result of reading them. The question is, how to reach these individuals. (Letter 84)
In my opinion it would be more constructive to discuss the content of the Notes on Dhamma than such negligibilities as sotapanna or suicide. The topic is although the anniversary of Nanaviras sotapatti, but the intention was more a rememberance that there was once a monk who had perhaps personal insight into the Dhamma combined with the mental ability to note it down. Maybe someone will be interested and read the Notes on Dhamma (which are just now again available in a new version).
With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1737
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by gavesako » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:17 pm

Compare:

SUICIDE IN BUDDHISM -- POST-CANONICAL DEFLECTIONS

Bhikkhu Professor Dhammavihari

http://www.metta.lk/english/suicide.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6625
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:20 pm

I keep thinking teeth when I read the posts in this thread.

if a tooth was or is causing problems due to decay, do you keep it or let it go, have it removed?

I think this is relevant to whether those on the path to enlightenment (sotapanna and above) would undergo euthanasia (to distinguish from seuiside as this to me is more about the worldly conditions and trying to get away from them rather than accepting the situation and working with it in a manner)

also the Karaniya Metta Sutta comes to mind

This is to be done by one skilled in aims
who wants to break through to the state of peace:
Be capable, upright, & straightforward,
easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited,
content & easy to support,
with few duties, living lightly,
with peaceful faculties, masterful,
modest, & no greed for supporters.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by clw_uk » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:21 am

Ben wrote:Dear Bhante
gavesako wrote:"Do not be a bodhisattva, do not be an arahant, do not be anything at all. If you are a bodhisattva, you will suffer, if you are an arahant, you will suffer, if you are anything at all, you will suffer."

--Ajahn Chah

:anjali:
That is an interesting quote from Luang Por Ajahn Chah. However, it appears to this deluded human being (me) that Ajahn is not only discouraging one from attaining the noblest aspirations, but also seems to be contra to the Buddha's teaching that ariya aṭṭhangika magga is the way to the end of suffering.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Metta

Ben
My understanding is if one wants to become one then that blocks it off. Also the idea "I am/will be a ...." is an ignorant view that leads to dukkha

I think i heard a similar teaching from Ajahn Sumedho (although my memory may be wrong) that its not a case of becoming a stream-winner or becoming enlightened but letting go more and more to be with the present moment without delusion and attachment

metta
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:04 am

clw_uk wrote:My understanding is if one wants to become one then that blocks it off.
And then if one wants not to become one because wanting to become one block it off, then that too blocks it off, which, off course, is a myopically one-eyed view of the Buddha's teachings. Motivation is part of practice. Like Nanda, as one gains insight, one's practice matures. Wanting to be a streamwinner may be, in fact, an appropriate motivation for an individual, and in terms of practice, this is very different from 'the idea "I am/will be a ...."'.
>> 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
BlackBird
Posts: 1928
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by BlackBird » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:37 am

When I was staying at the NZ Branch Monastery - Bodhinyanarama, there was a photo of Ajahn Chah with the quote Venerable Gavesako has posted here. When I first arrived it pissed me off.

I thought: "Who does this guy think he is..."
"I want to get enlightened, shouldn't I be striving for this?"
"Why are there so many photos of this guy around, he doesn't seem so special to me!"

The more time that went by, the more I came to realise the truth in Luang Por Chah's words.
It's not that you shouldn't strive for enlightenment
It's that the way to strive for enlightenment is by letting go.

Let go of being a Bodhisattva.
Let go of being an arahant.
In fact, let go of all your attachments.
That is the path.

Now when I think of Ajahn Chah, it's with a heart full of affection, for a man who's words shouldn't always be taken at face value.

With karuna
Jack.
Last edited by BlackBird on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1928
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: 50th Anniversary of Nanavira's sotapatti

Post by BlackBird » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:53 am

tiltbillings wrote: Which likely puts him in violation of the Vinaya, but it is all too easy for one to assume that one's experiences are more than they are. It happens all the time. How was Nanvira's supposed attainment verified, by whom?
Of which rule are you refering to friend? Parajika 4?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], rightviewftw and 102 guests