On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by acinteyyo » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:12 am

Hi Alex123,
Alex123 wrote:
Acinteyyo wrote: In my eyes the phrase doesn't tell us anything more than it's impossible to explain anything about what lies beyond range, period.
Impossible to explain does NOT mean that it doesn't exist.
But I still don't get why you seem to place so much emphasize on that while leaving out that impossible to explain equally doesn't mean that it exists. We can only speak of existence and non-existence with reference to something in range.
I think to hold a speculative view about existence or non-existence with reference to what lies beyond range is of no use.
Alex123 wrote:Of course implying that Atta exists is wrong view.
I tend to think that this oversimplifies the matter. I would say, of course implying that atta exists within the aggregates, within range is wrong view. But it's important not to neglect that implying that atta exists as well as implying that it doesn't exist beyond range is also wrong view because it would be an assumption without base.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by kirk5a » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:05 pm

Hm. I think people who love to quote SN 35.23 really need to read all "the all" suttas to be in line with what is being conveyed there. That would be SN 35.23 through 35.52. SN 35.23 does not stand alone as some kind of philosophical/metaphysical trump card. That simply establishes the scope of what the Buddha is talking about in the following suttas. The emphasis is on abandoning the all, understanding the all, experiencing revulsion and dispassion for the all, uprooting all conceivings.... for the sake of ending suffering, the liberation of the mind by non-clinging.
Last edited by kirk5a on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:09 pm

acinteyyo wrote:I'm not talking about the doctrine of no ontological self as being the truth about how things really are. Neither do I approve that such a doctrine is about how things really are.
The point I'm trying to make clear is that any doctrine of self leads to confusion. It doesn't matter whether it's a doctrine of "there is" a self or a doctrine of "there is" no self or the self "is" like this or that or the self "is not" like this or that.
It's important to get the frame of reference correctly. Anything considered being the self (permanent and so on) within the All is to ignore the characteristics of the All as being impermanent, not-self (not mine, not me, not what I am) and stressful.
Anything else lies beyond range and it isn't appropriate to consider what is beyond range in the first place.
No disagreement here. This is essentially Thanissaro Bhikkhu's view, for which some Buddhists criticize him.

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:19 pm

reflection wrote:But I don't think the dhamma is to be practiced and proven for oneself by disproving all other possibilities one by one.
If one to become a Buddhist, convert to Buddhism, then it has to be at the exclusion of all other paths.

reflection wrote:Your own experience is all you've got, it's all you have to work with.
This is one step away from solipsism!!

And by looking deeply like this, for me, the existence of something like the old Viking gods is more likely than the existence of a sort of seventh consciousness. Why? The gods may hide themselves, but if the outside-of-aggregates-consciousness would exist, it would be for me to experience. And I don't. And well, frankly I think nobody does and people mistake some form of mind-consciousness as God consciousness or nibbana consciousness.
It depends on what one means by "God." There are many doctrines on "God."

But what views and way of investigating makes me peaceful, I feel I should share sometimes.
Why, if there's no you?

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:Yes, those who assume in various ways. There may be problems for those who assume, this is well-established.
The passage you quoted doesn't say anything about people who might have revelation from God.
And that assumes that there is some sort of god thing from which one can have a revelation.
I anticipated this objection.

Unless one, in ontological terms, declares there is no God (and thus no revelation from God), one has to allow for the possibility that God may exist (and that thus, may give people revelations about Himself).

Given the various claims of revelation from some sort of god things can be highly contradictory, that god thing must have a very perverse sense of humor. The Kosha quote is to the point.
Not at all, unless we settle for a rather superficial view of what the various theisms have to offer. Operating out of a sub-standard definition of "God" is bound to lead to problems.


acinteyyo wrote:I think to hold a speculative view about existence or non-existence with reference to what lies beyond range is of no use.
Sure. But this also means we take for granted that what we now consider to be the range, is indeed all there is to the range. This way, we may actually sell ourselves short, by assuming too much, or too little about what is possible and what isn't.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:30 pm

kirk5a wrote:Hm. I think people who love to quote SN 35.23 really need to read all "the all" suttas to be in line with what is being conveyed there. That would be SN 35.23 through 35.52. SN 35.23 does not stand alone as some kind of philosophical/metaphysical trump card. That simply establishes the scope of what the Buddha is talking about in the following suttas. The emphasis is on abandoning the all, understanding the all, experiencing revulsion and dispassion for the all, uprooting all conceivings.... for the sake of ending suffering, the liberation of the mind by non-clinging.
Good point Kirk. I don't think it's a talking about the Universe, it's talking about experience.
The Blessed One said, "And which All is a phenomenon to be abandoned? The eye is to be abandoned. Forms are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the eye is to be abandoned. Contact at the eye is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Or Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
“And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma for abandoning all? The eye is to be abandoned, forms are to be abandoned, eye-consciousness is to be abandoned, eye-contact is to be abandoned, [16] and whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is to be abandoned.
:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
reflection
Posts: 1116
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by reflection » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:50 am

binocular wrote:
reflection wrote:But I don't think the dhamma is to be practiced and proven for oneself by disproving all other possibilities one by one.
If one to become a Buddhist, convert to Buddhism, then it has to be at the exclusion of all other paths.

reflection wrote:Your own experience is all you've got, it's all you have to work with.
This is one step away from solipsism!!

And by looking deeply like this, for me, the existence of something like the old Viking gods is more likely than the existence of a sort of seventh consciousness. Why? The gods may hide themselves, but if the outside-of-aggregates-consciousness would exist, it would be for me to experience. And I don't. And well, frankly I think nobody does and people mistake some form of mind-consciousness as God consciousness or nibbana consciousness.
It depends on what one means by "God." There are many doctrines on "God."

But what views and way of investigating makes me peaceful, I feel I should share sometimes.
Why, if there's no you?
What I meant is that Buddhism is not like science in the way that everything which is not proven to be false may still be true. It's like eating an unknown fruit which tastes like a banana. As soon as you taste it you know it is not an apple or a mango. You don't have to try all other fruits in the world to say "this is a banana". And so here I mean you don't have to go through all possible states of mind to come to a conclusion.

I'm not familiar with solipsism, but I said "it's what you have to work with" as a practical advise, not a philosophical point of view. I mean even the Buddha can stand right in front of us and explain the path, but if we don't walk it, we still get nowhere. So in this sense our own experience is what matters.

And to the last point I could also say "why not?". But I say the things I say with the hope of helping people. If anything just to give another possible perspective on the matter for those who may need it.

:namaste:

chownah
Posts: 7377
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by chownah » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:I don't think it's a talking about the Universe, it's talking about experience.
But the Universe is just one part of our experience....so whatever applies to our experience also applies to the Universe!
chownah

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:39 am

chownah wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't think it's a talking about the Universe, it's talking about experience.
But the Universe is just one part of our experience....so whatever applies to our experience also applies to the Universe!
chownah
Perhaps I should have said "the whole Universe"...

:anjali:
Mike

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

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:12 am

    • It is in this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind, that, I declare, lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world.[26] — SN 2.26
    26. The import of this significant declaration can be understood in the context of those suttas in which the Buddha defines the concept of the world. The 'world,' for the Buddha, arises in the six sense-spheres (See above Note 21). Hence its cessation too, is to be experienced there, in the cessation of the six sense-spheres (salaayatananirodha). "I will teach you, monks, how the world comes to be and passes away... What monks, is the arising of the world? Dependent on eye and forms, arises visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling, craving. Conditioned by craving, grasping. Conditioned by grasping, becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth. And conditioned by birth, arise decay, death, grief lamentation, suffering, despair. This is the arising of the world.
    And what, monks, is the passing away of the world? Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling is craving. By the utter fading away and cessation of that craving, grasping ceases, by the ceasing of grasping, becoming ceases, by the ceasing of becoming birth ceases, by the ceasing of birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, despair, cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire man of Ill.

    This, monks, is the passing away of the world." (Such it is also in the case of the other senses).

    The same sermon is introduced in the preceding sutta with the words: "I will teach you monks, the arising and passing away of suffering..."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tml#fnt-26
>> 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

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Sylvester » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:47 am

Thanks Tilt.

If we combine that sutta with AN 3.61, it becomes obvious that the "world" = suffering = the 5 Aggregates Afflicted by Clinging.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5774
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:45 am

Alex123 wrote:Please note: The sutta doesn't say that nothing exists outside of "The All". It merely states that one cannot explain it. Furthermore, saying "it lies beyond range" appears to hint that there may be "something".
Yes, and IMO "The All" is a strategy very similar to Thanissaro's not-self strategy.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

chownah
Posts: 7377
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by chownah » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:
chownah wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I don't think it's a talking about the Universe, it's talking about experience.
But the Universe is just one part of our experience....so whatever applies to our experience also applies to the Universe!
chownah
Perhaps I should have said "the whole Universe"...

:anjali:
Mike
I don't want to make a pest of myself but the whole Universe is just one part of our experience....or one might think that the whole Universe comprises the entirety our experience.....so whatever applies to our experience also applies to the whole Universe....or one might think that it also applies to some part of the whole Universe.

Can you think of any part of your experience which is not part of the whole Universe?......and conversely can you think of any part (or the entirety) of the whole Universe which is not part of your experience?

chownah

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by binocular » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:31 pm

chownah wrote:and conversely can you think of any part (or the entirety) of the whole Universe which is not part of your experience?
Another person's privacy - another person's kamma, for example.

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Post by binocular » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:37 pm

reflection wrote:I'm not familiar with solipsism, but I said "it's what you have to work with" as a practical advise, not a philosophical point of view.
Solipsism (Listeni/ˈsɒlɨpsɪzəm/; from Latin solus, meaning "alone", and ipse, meaning "self") is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure. The external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. As such it is the only epistemological position that, by its own postulate, is both irrefutable and yet indefensible in the same manner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism


Solipsism sometimes arises as an unintended consequence of some lines of reasoning.

tiltbillings wrote:
    • It is in this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind, that, I declare, lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world.[26] — SN 2.26
    26. The import of this significant declaration can be understood in the context of those suttas in which the Buddha defines the concept of the world. The 'world,' for the Buddha, arises in the six sense-spheres (See above Note 21). Hence its cessation too, is to be experienced there, in the cessation of the six sense-spheres (salaayatananirodha). "I will teach you, monks, how the world comes to be and passes away... What monks, is the arising of the world? Dependent on eye and forms, arises visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling, craving. Conditioned by craving, grasping. Conditioned by grasping, becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth. And conditioned by birth, arise decay, death, grief lamentation, suffering, despair. This is the arising of the world.
    And what, monks, is the passing away of the world? Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling is craving. By the utter fading away and cessation of that craving, grasping ceases, by the ceasing of grasping, becoming ceases, by the ceasing of becoming birth ceases, by the ceasing of birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, despair, cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire man of Ill.

    This, monks, is the passing away of the world." (Such it is also in the case of the other senses).

    The same sermon is introduced in the preceding sutta with the words: "I will teach you monks, the arising and passing away of suffering..."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tml#fnt-26
Does anyone here think that the above is a form of solipsism?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 54 guests