How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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zerotime
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by zerotime » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:02 pm

Peter wrote: I wonder... denial that rebirth occurs, or denial that the Buddha taught rebirth, or denial that the Buddha's teachings on rebirth are relevant to the Path... is that disenchantment or is it something else?
just the disenchantment of what SN 15 shows:

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."


by the way, in other translations the word "transmigration" is not used.

In this German translation in example, is "circulation of births"

Warum das? Unbekannten Anfangs, ihr Bhikkhus, ist dieser Umlauf der Geburten; nicht kennt man einen ersten Beginn [33] bei den Wesen, die, in dem Hemmnis des Nichtwissens, in der Fessel des Durstes gefangen, (von Geburt zu Geburt) umherwandern und umherlaufen.

[33] P. pubbā koti, bezieht sich nach dem Komm. II. 197.16 ebenso wohl auf den Anfang wie auf das nicht abzusehende Ende.
http://www.palikanon.com/samyutta/sam15.html#s15_3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


if somebody here is expert in Pali language, maybe he can explain the exact meaning of the pali word involved.
Anyway, I think one must be aware of the implicit dangers in using the word "transmigration" due the inoculated term "migration". Because there are many types of multiple birth, not only transmigration. We have metempsychosis, transmigration, reincarnation, rebirth, recorporation, metemsomatosis or palingenesy. Among many others.

You must ask the Western translators why they are using this word instead another one. On my side, I think much closer to Buddhist doctrine the use of another words like Palingenesy: http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/palingenesy/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

# (n.) That form of evolution in which the truly ancestral characters conserved by heredity are reproduced in development; original simple descent; -- distinguished from kenogenesis. Sometimes, in zoology, the abrupt metamorphosis of insects, crustaceans, etc.
# (n.) A new birth; a re-creation; a regeneration; a continued existence in different manner or form.

an important discussion can be the right use of the words "transmigration" or "rebirth" beyond the denial of a causal thread in the arise of beings. I think the causal thread is out of doubt inside the Buddhist doctrine. But this confussion of the Buddhist rebirth with a transmigration it can start in the bad choosing of translated words. Or perhaps unavoidable?

It can be an interesting topic to clarify with the people expert in Pali language (not me).

Anyway, I'm referring to the Buddhist rebirth of those passages involving other lifes, and used like support to explain other things like sila, craving, etc... Regarding those teaching of Budda which are directly referred to the Rebirth and its cease, all them are teachings for the present moment, here and now.

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nathan
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:09 pm

No such thing as rebirth guys.

I'd like you all to know that I don't mind at all if you want to rant on and on about this same tiresome thought every day for the rest of your lives because you can do what you like and I've simply come to ignore it almost entirely just like I ignore town drunks. I just wonder, every time I run into the same guys continually raving about this why you aren't also already bored out of your mind about it? I mean, yawn, you don't believe in rebirth. Fine, it's by no means 'newsworthy'. It must be pretty common knowledge around here to everyone by now wouldn't you think? Why not just put it in your signature "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LITERAL REBIRTH" and be done with it. Frankly the whole subject has become so tediously repetitive and pointlessly boring that I just leave this site and go elsewhere for something fresh to read. The whole largely useless argument has been reborn here so many times already that I figure its hopelessly mired in endless being and becoming hereabouts and never going to get free of itself. Why not start a whole BBoard devoted to rebirth denial and have a real party with all of your one lifetime pals and let everyone else have some peace as well?

upekkha
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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zerotime
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by zerotime » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:57 pm

if I have some part, I'm sorry.

My last message was about knowing possible alternatives to "transmigration" word. Just that.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:13 pm

zerotime wrote:if I have some part, I'm sorry.

My last message was about knowing possible alternatives to "transmigration" word. Just that.
No not in the least. You have, let's see, 24 posts. I'm speaking about the people who have mentioned that there is no literal rebirth in somewhere around 20,000 posts.

Please, post whatever you like.

metta & upekkha
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:32 pm

George Bernard wrote:I originally took great offence to this term "puttujana". But then, one day, I admitted my mind was "puttajanna". When this occurred, the pride in my mind fell away, with all of the other egositic baggage it was carrying. Suddenly my mind could concentrate & let go.

This is what inspired me to practice. It was like a stepping stone in truth. To admit my mind was a puttujana
I think this is a very important realization. It's something I've been thinking about for years - people's ego resistance to admitting they are puthujjana - and how much of a block to understanding the teachings this can be.
- Peter

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by appicchato » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:...it is meaningless.
To you, yes...but not necessarily to everyone else...statements such as this are an example of the very muck we're trying to rise from...and there are many more on these pages...why not give yourself a break...and us too?... :smile:

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:37 pm

Ben wrote:I actually think whether one person believes rebirth is literal (as I do) or whether someone doesn't - is irrelevant. Practice is the engine that generates wisdom.
For what it's worth, Ajahn Buddhadasa was not all that into denying 'literal rebirth.' There were times he provocatively seemed to do so but that is not his main issue by any means. Yes, he got into it at times, as much to challenge pervasive stuck-in-the-mud dogmatism as the specific issue. And there were plenty of times he talked in conventional/literal rebirth terms. As someone pointed out a couple days ago, most of his teachings were in Thai and for Thai audiences. And he was often being roundly abused by the "conservatives" in Siam. Actually most of the debate was driven by the vociferous defenders of literal rebirth who took Tan Ajahn's emphasis on 'ego rebirth' as an attack on their beliefs & the tradition as they understood it. Their dogmatism was (still is?) somewhat like that of the NRA (Natl Rifle Assoc) in the USA who oppose even the most innocuous & sane forms of gun control because they fear it is a slippery slope to the "government taking our guns away."

It would be interesting if, perhaps, in the West it's the rebirth deniers who are more dogmatic & polarizing. I don't know if that's the case. Maybe it's both sides. That may say more about Buddhism in the West or Western/Modern educated Buddhists in Asia than it does about Buddhism of the Suttas and Commentaries.

Btw, recent research on fundamentalism is pretty clear in pointing out how Biblical & other textual literalism are modern phenomena. We moderns may read early Buddhist texts more literally than the compilers, such as Ven Buddhaghosa, intended. That may be hard to prove, of course. But it's possible. Or are we really supposed to believe that the Buddha literally made heads split open?
Last edited by Santikaro on Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:46 pm

clw_uk wrote:Ajahn Chah took a similar line of thought, although he did still discuss rebirth in the conventional way on occasion. There is no reason to assume that other Venerables down the centuries havent seen the same as Buddhadasa, perhaps they were just to few in number?
Tan Ajahn's views on some of these matters were influenced by certain senior monks in Bangkok who he regularly visited, especially one very senior Thammayut elder. These elders may not have agreed with everything Tan Ajahn said but they didn't mind him saying what they felt they couldn't because of their positions within the hierarchy. Self-censure as well as active censorship are other reasons for certain perspectives to not be recorded. For example, friends who've been to Burma a fair amount, have told me that in these last couple decades there are monks with 'idiosyncratic' views who have been forbidden to speak in public.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:55 pm

Ben wrote:What I do care about is evangelism and the attitude that Venerable’s interpretation is the only way to interpret the Dhamma.
Might I insert a couple words: "the attitude that one's interpretation of the Venerable’s interpretation is the only way to interpret the Dhamma."

Btw, I find it funny that all the criticisms of 'evangelicalism' are aimed at supposed Buddhadasa disciples. Little one-sided don't you think? Perhaps a bias or axe to grind or something? Without mentioning specific names, I've read quite dogmatic & evangelical claims from some of the other esteemed teachers being mentioned here.

More to the point, I don't see how labels such as 'evangelical' help us understand Buddha-Dhamma and Dhamma practice.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I have not used the word heretic, but idiosyncratic is an appropriate description of Ven Buddhadasa; by the virtue of his own statements he has put himself outside of the Theravada mainstream.
Interestingly, he had a fairly strong influence on the educated, monastic mainstream.

I realize, tho, that this begs the question of what 'the mainstream' is.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:07 pm

Ben wrote: I understand that the Ajahn underscored the primacy of practice. If you have the time and inclination, I would appreciate it if you could relate some anecdotes or statements Venerable said on the importance of practice.
However one interprets paticcasamuppada, this may be relevant: If foolish at contact, suffering. If mindful at contact, won't be foolish. And won't suffer. So be mindful at contact. [From a pithy little verse, rendered from memory.]

Tan Ajahn thought anapanasati a great way to train the requisite mindfulness; after all, anapanasati comes with a pretty good pedigree. Nevertheless, any way that manifests the required mindfulness is good enough.

His understanding of the 'best way' didn't exclude other best ways.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:11 pm

Being such an idiosyncratic guy, Tan Ajahn thought that cultivating sila, samadhi, and panya was a good way to go.

The essence of sila is non-harming. The essence of samadhi is wholehearted focus on Nibbana, the quenching of dukkha. The essence of panya is seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, hard to bear, undependable, not-self, concocted, and empty. [For all I know, these were lifted from VSM.]

If there's clinging to it w/ me or mine, it isn't the middle way.
Nothing is worth clinging to as me or mine.

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Santikaro » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:15 pm

Walking without a walker.
Breathing without a breather.
Living without a liver.
Nothing is worth clinging to as me or mine.

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Ben
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by Ben » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks Santikaro
Santikaro wrote:Being such an idiosyncratic guy, Tan Ajahn thought that cultivating sila, samadhi, and panya was a good way to go.

The essence of sila is non-harming. The essence of samadhi is wholehearted focus on Nibbana, the quenching of dukkha. The essence of panya is seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, hard to bear, undependable, not-self, concocted, and empty. [For all I know, these were lifted from VSM.]

If there's clinging to it w/ me or mine, it isn't the middle way.
Actually, I would gave thought that the above was not idiosyncratic but spot on the money.
Metta

Ben
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Post by nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:25 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again and if I am unique in it then so be it but I do the Bhavana first. When I actually encounter something previously unseen or unknown then I go to the text and lo and behold, there it is, just where it should be in relation to the rest. Every time. Doesn't matter if it is the broad strokes or the strawberry cream filling in the fraction of a moment of citta. Dhamma, abhidhamma or yo mama, when I look at the thing, right before me, then go to the Tipitaka, the teachings are always correct. It is for this reason that, although scholars are interesting fellows to read and commentators are interesting fellows to read, I do not much care if they are right or wrong. The Lions roar is always right and true and always is good enough for me.
:anjali:
upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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