Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
mal4mac
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by mal4mac » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:34 am

binocular wrote: Given all the free-style "quoting", one can easily come away with the impression that Buddhism is pretty much "anything goes."
Surely only the very ignorant would make that inference. Most people know that the Web is Wild, and *anything* goes on the Web. So Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Einstein,... anyone and everyone gets misquoted. Surely it's better to spread that message than to try and stop Buddhist misquotes on the web? That's the sort of activity King Canute might attempt*...

* In the "popular" myth about King Canute. Which is actually wrong, showing that school teachers and top politicians can be as bad as the Web in spreading misinformation... and at least the Web may have the correct information somewhere!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13524677

Sound like one of the wisest kings ever. Why are the good so often made out to be fools?

"Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless...," (King Canute, Historia Anglorum, ed D E Greenway).
- Mal

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BlackBird
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by BlackBird » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:10 am

The Kalama sutta is frequently removed entirely from it's context and used as a carte blanche to chop and change anything one wants and only accept what agrees with one's own beliefs. That couldn't be further from what message the Buddha was trying to put across. The Kalamas were a group of people that had been visited by one holy man after another each of which had torn down the previous holy man's teachings and rubbished them. They had said no teaching is true but mine, all other teachings are false. This left the Kalamas with a lot of doubts about holy men and their Dhammas. They were naturally as a result, quite confused. Thus when the Buddha came, they asked him what kind of Dhammas they were to believe - How were they supposed to discern what the truth was? The Buddha gave a tailor made teaching to them that would allow them to arrive at the Buddha-Dhamma, he was able to read the Kalama's minds and see what exactly it was he needed to say to them to get them to arrive at an acceptance of his teaching.

There are some people in today's world whom the Kalama sutta applies to, as they too have been in the Kalama's position, but it important that they remember the the boundaries of the Kalama sutta and do not take it as a blank cheque to be skeptical about the Buddha's teachings.

So to say
The following statements of The Buddha clarify what Theravada Buddhism is all about
...
-- Do not believe anything because you are shown the written testimony of some ancient sage.
...
That does not always apply to everyone's situation. For example, I have enough confidence in the Buddha from my own practice of his Dhamma to accept many things he has taught, on faith alone. I certainly do not think that the above teaching is what the Buddha's Dhamma is "all about" - I think it's all about suffering and the way to put and end to it.

metta
Jack
"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

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fig tree
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by fig tree » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:27 am

I think the fact that plausible inference and "pondering of views" can go wrong is very important here. The sutta implies that there is such a thing as knowledge, but it seems to me that we nearly always only reach a point where some notion is highly credible to us. The unfortunate paraphrases often seem to give the impression that this usual process is good enough so long as we don't bow too easily to authority instead. But it seems to me we're called upon to do better than content ourselves with just the kind of understanding we usually get.

I think it's good to read this sutta together with the Apannaka sutta, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html, which argues for using certain views without making excessive claims to know that they are the only correct views.

Fig Tree

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manas
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by manas » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:43 pm

I wonder if there is anyone else so frequently misquoted (in the sense of, not accurately quoted, or misrepresented) as the Buddha. Anyway my eldest daughter found a 'quote' while on 'Tumbler' like this:
A man once said to the Buddha, "I want happiness", and the Buddha replied, "First remove "I", which is ego; then take away "want", which is desire; and you are left with "happiness".
Very clever and kind of in tune, but...did he actually say that?? Or was this little quote made up by someone else, and attributed to the Buddha?

metta
:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Kim OHara
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:49 pm

manas wrote:I wonder if there is anyone else so frequently misquoted (in the sense of, not accurately quoted, or misrepresented) as the Buddha. Anyway my eldest daughter found a 'quote' while on 'Tumbler' like this:
A man once said to the Buddha, "I want happiness", and the Buddha replied, "First remove "I", which is ego; then take away "want", which is desire; and you are left with "happiness".
Very clever and kind of in tune, but...did he actually say that?? Or was this little quote made up by someone else, and attributed to the Buddha?

metta
:anjali:
My feeling is that that phrasing is very recent - last ten years? - and Western. But it is neat and I've had it on my desktop for a while in cartoon form.
:namaste:
Kim
2012-08-02-happiness.jpg
2012-08-02-happiness.jpg (280.93 KiB) Viewed 2226 times

starter
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by starter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:56 pm

'Suppose a monk were to say: "Friends, I heard and received this from the Lord's own lips: this is the Dhamma, this is the discipline, this is the Master's teaching", then, monks, you should neither approve nor disapprove his words. Then, without approving or disapproving, his words and ex­pressions should be carefully noted and compared with the Suttas and reviewed in the light of the discipline. If they, on such comparison and review, are found not to conform to the Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be: "Assuredly this is not the word of the Buddha, it has been wrongly un­derstood by this monk", and the matter is to be rejected. But where on such comparison and review they are found to con­form to the Suttas or the discipline, the conclusion must be: "Assuredly this is the word of the Buddha, it has been rightly understood by this monk."

"'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, (knowers and) preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when false teachings arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.'

- DN 16 Mahāparinibbāna Sutta - The Great Passing, The Buddha's Last Days

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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by starter » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:34 am

Greetings!

Today I happened to see the following:

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dwell in the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Gautama Buddha"

I haven't encountered such a teaching in the suttas. For what the Buddha has actually taught concerning this topic, please see the following thread:

"Did the Buddha teach us to dwell only in the present?"
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18131

Metta to all!

Starter

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BlackBird
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by BlackBird » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:27 am

Hi there Starter

There's a sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya - Bhaddekaratta Sutta - 131, 2 & 3 (in it's various forms iirc), I forget the analysis but I have memorised the verse:

Let one not revive the past or on the future build his hopes
For the past has been left behind, and the future has not yet been reached
Instead with insight let him see, each presently arisen state.
Let him know it and be sure of it, invincibly, unshakeably.
Today the effort must be made, tommorow death may come, who knows?
No bargain with mortality can keep him and his hordes away.
Bit one who dwells thus ardently,
Relentlessly by day, by night
It is he, the Peaceful Sage has said,
Who has had a single excellent night."


So to say that the Buddha said: "Do not dwell in the past or the future but concentrate on the present" - Well it's not a direct quote, but I don't think it's all that far off - If one were to add that one should observe one's present state with insight (ie. the four foundations).

metta
Jack
"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

starter
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by starter » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:03 pm

Hello BlackBird,

Thanks for your input. We'd better read the more complete version of MN 131 Bhaddekaratta Sutta An Auspicious Day:

The Blessed One said: "Monks, I will teach you the summary & exposition of one who has had an auspicious day. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said:

You shouldn't chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past
is left behind.
The future
is as yet unreached.
Whatever dhamma (phenomenon) is present
you clearly see right there,
right there.
Not taken in, [not vanquished, invincible]
unshaken,
that's how you develop the heart.
Ardently doing
what should be done today,
for — who knows? — tomorrow
death.
There is no bargaining
with Mortality & his mighty horde.

Whoever lives thus ardently,
relentlessly
both day & night,
has truly had an auspicious day:
so says the Peaceful Sage.

"And how, monks, does one chase after the past? One gets carried away with the delight of [BB: "One nurtures delight there thinking] 'In the past I had such a form (body)'... 'In the past I had such a feeling'... 'In the past I had such a perception'... 'In the past I had such a volition'... 'In the past I had such a consciousness.' This is called chasing after the past.

"And how does one not chase after the past? One does not get carried away with the delight of [BB: "One does not nurture delight there thinking] 'In the past I had such a form (body)'... 'In the past I had such a feeling'... 'In the past I had such a perception'... 'In the past I had such a volition'... 'In the past I had such a consciousness.' This is called not chasing after the past.

"And how does one place expectations on the future? One gets carried away with the delight of [BB: "One nurtures delight there thinking] 'In the future I might have such a form (body)'... 'In the future I might have such a feeling'... 'In the future I might have such a perception'... 'In the future I might have such a volition'... 'In the future I might have such a consciousness.' This is called placing expectations on the future.

"And how does one not place expectations on the future? One does not get carried away with the delight of [BB: "One does not nurture delight there thinking] 'In the future I might have such a form (body)'... 'In the future I might have such a feeling'... 'In the future I might have such a perception'... 'In the future I might have such a thought-fabrication'... 'In the future I might have such a consciousness.' This is called not placing expectations on the future.

"And how is one taken in with regard to present phenomena? [BB: And how, bhikkus, is one vanquished in regard to presently arisen states?] There is the case where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person who has not seen the noble ones, is not versed in the teachings of the noble ones, is not trained in the teachings of the noble ones, sees form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

"He/she sees feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.

"He/she sees perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception.

"He/she sees volitions as self, or self as possessing volitions, or volitions as in self, or self as in volitions.

"He/she sees consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. This is called being taken in with regard to present phenomena.

"And how is one not taken in with regard to present phenomena? [BB: And how, bhikkus, is one invincible in regard to presently arisen states?]There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones who has seen the noble ones, is versed in the teachings of the noble ones, is well-trained in the teachings of the noble ones, does not see form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

"He/she does not see feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.

"He/she does not see perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception.

"He/she does not see volitions as self, or self as possessing volitions, or volitions as in self, or self as in volitions.

"He/she does not see consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. This is called not being taken in with regard to present phenomena."

As I mentioned in the thread “Did the Buddha teach us to dwell only in the present?”, it all boils down to a matter of appropriate or inappropriate attention/reflection/consideration. If it's yoniso manasikara, one can dwell on the past as well as on the future, as taught in MN 131, MN 61, MN 111, and other suttas. If it's not yoniso manasikara (e.g. longing for / sorrowing over the past or the future), one can't even dwell so on the present. I think it’s important for the starters to cultivate yoniso manasikara and right thinking, including reflecting over the past and future actions, during the first stage (sila) of practice. Present-moment awareness can be cultivated more later in the second stage (Samadhi) after the practice of sila.

Metta to all!

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Last edited by starter on Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mkoll
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by Mkoll » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:32 pm

Suhemanta

When the goal has 100 marks and bears 100 signs, the person who sees but one part is a fool, but he who sees 100 is clever.
-Verse 106 from the Theragatha, trans. by K.R. Norman

I find this a good thing to keep in mind when looking at any single aspect of Dhamma, e.g. quotations or single suttas.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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BlackBird
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by BlackBird » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:07 pm

Hi Starter. You're preaching to the converted mate :)
But I much prefer Ven. Bodhi's translation to the one you've posted, that may be a matter of personal preference however.
"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

starter
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by starter » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:01 pm

Hello "Converted Mate",

I've added Ven. Bodhi's key translation in the above-sited sutta. To me, both translations have the same meaning -- we should practice yoniso manasikara regarding the past, the future and the present.

I was not trying to convert you, but just to convey my own reflection. :anjali:

Thanks and metta,

Starter

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BlackBird
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by BlackBird » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:07 pm

Hi starter, I didn't mean that you were trying to convert anyone. The idiom 'preaching to the converted':
"to try to persuade people to believe things they already believe "

:)
"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

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Kim OHara
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:49 pm

BlackBird wrote:Hi starter, I didn't mean that you were trying to convert anyone. The idiom 'preaching to the converted':
"to try to persuade people to believe things they already believe "

:)
Hi, BlackBird,
Your miscommunication may have been caused by punctuation, not idiom: "You're preaching to the converted mate," is not the same as, "You're preaching to the converted, mate."
Blame your primary school English teacher. :tongue:

:namaste:
Kim

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BlackBird
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Re: Are these the teachings of the Buddha?

Post by BlackBird » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:11 am

I think laziness is more to blame than my dear old primary school teachers. But rest assured the irony is no longer lost on me, so thanks for your post ;)
"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

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