Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Mr Man
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Mr Man » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:25 pm

mal4mac wrote:
SarathW wrote: The way I understand that Arhants do not have a consciousness after Parinibbana.
Surely they must be conscious of things like food & stumps? They still eat, and (hopefully) don't bump into things. Can Arhants be conscious but not suffer from the demands of consciousness?
Parinibbāna = death

Sylvester
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:04 pm

Samma wrote:Peter Harvey mentions hoti/atthi on p.240-1 of The Self Less Mind for those of interest. Sylvester I take it you see Thanissaro as mistranslating and somewhat mistaken, but pali grammar is too far down in the weeds for me. http://books.google.com/books?id=rcNdDilzilMC
Having read Prof Harvey's argument, respectfully, I would say that it falls on the same bed of nails as the defilements that atthi as Selfless, unsupported, and conditioned dhammas. His argument -
Nibbāna is said to 'exist (atthi)' (Ud.80), but 'hoti' is never applied to it.
does not makes sense in view of the function of hoti as a copula (is). When nominal sentences are constructed, you do not expect to see hoti pop up, since the early layer of Pali is generally zero-copula. This means that the hoti is there, simply unverbalised. You see an example here from Dh 203 -
nibbāṇaparamaṃ sukhaṃ

Nibbāna is the highest happiness.
The hoti is in there. Secondly, his point about atthi in Ud 80 misconstrues a point about the syntax. When atthi is placed right at the fore of the sentence, instead of the tail, it does not mean "Nibbāna exists". It means "There exists Nibbāna which is.....". I'm told that this sort of syntax is employed in Indian argument to make ontic commitments about things, rather than the ontological status of how they "are".

I think Ven T is misinterpreting, since his translation is good and makes sense, if the interpretation were correct.

mal4mac
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by mal4mac » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:23 pm

Mr Man wrote: Parinibbāna = death
Oops! Thanks for keeping me straight. Like Shakespeare, I have little Latin, and less Pali :)

Then again, isn't parinibbana another "term too many", another term that propagates metaphysical obfuscation? How can we know what happens to a arahat after he dies? The living arahat can say he's in a state he's never experienced before, a state we might reach through following N8P, and call that state nibbana, but he can't say 'I'm in a state like nibbana, let's call it parinibbana' , 'cause he's dead (!)
- Mal

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Mr Man
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Mr Man » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:44 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Mr Man wrote: Parinibbāna = death
Oops! Thanks for keeping me straight. Like Shakespeare, I have little Latin, and less Pali :)

Then again, isn't parinibbana another "term too many", another term that propagates metaphysical obfuscation? How can we know what happens to a arahat after he dies? The living arahat can say he's in a state he's never experienced before, a state we might reach through following N8P, and call that state nibbana, but he can't say 'I'm in a state like nibbana, let's call it parinibbana' , 'cause he's dead (!)
It is just the death of an arahant. Not something to be conceived. Where is the metaphysical obfuscation?

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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by mal4mac » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:54 pm

Samma wrote: mal4mac ... Why would mind necessitate self - repeatedly consciousness is referred to as not-self.
If mind/consciousness is "let go of", because it is not-self, then how can you say "the mind no longer has need for any strategies at all because it has found a happiness...". You let mind go! How can it find 'a happiness'... and shouldn't any kind of happiness... even "a-mystical-super-happiness..." have been let go of as well?
- Mal

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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:22 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Mr Man wrote: Parinibbāna = death
Oops! Thanks for keeping me straight. Like Shakespeare, I have little Latin, and less Pali :)

Then again, isn't parinibbana another "term too many", another term that propagates metaphysical obfuscation? How can we know what happens to a arahat after he dies? The living arahat can say he's in a state he's never experienced before, a state we might reach through following N8P, and call that state nibbana, but he can't say 'I'm in a state like nibbana, let's call it parinibbana' , 'cause he's dead (!)
To add to the complexity - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p209545

pulga
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by pulga » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:25 pm

Ajahn Amaro, The Island:
It is significant that, when the Buddha makes such statements as these, he uses a different Pali verb ‘to be’ than the usual one. The vast majority of uses of
the verb employ the Pali ‘hoti’; this is the ordinary type of being, implying existence in time and space: I am happy; she is a fine horse; the house is small; the days are long. In these passages just quoted, when the Buddha makes his rare
but emphatic metaphysical statements, he uses the verb ‘atthi’ instead. It still means ‘to be’ but some Buddhist scholars (notably Peter Harvey) insist that there
is a different order of being implied: that it points to a reality which transcends the customary bounds of time, space, duality and individuality.
Warder makes a similar distinction between the verbs as and in his Introduction to Pali. (cf. pgs 30-31)

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daverupa
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by daverupa » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:37 pm

There may be a pertinent discussion on these points in Chapter Six of Andries Breunis' The Nominal Sentence in Sanskrit and Middle Indo-Aryan.

Probably some of these posts should hive off into the Pali subforum...
  • "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]

pulga
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by pulga » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:09 pm

In the Suttas the present -- which is described as the manifestation of pancakhandha -- exists, the past and future do not exist (cf. Ánandasutta SN 22.38). But note the plasticity of the present, i.e. the thickness it has depending upon what is manifest (the 'present' moment, the 'present' minute, the 'present' hour, etc.). We're dealing with different orders of being. The present which transcends time is that of a higher order than the temporal parts that constitute it, and while the past and the future cannot be said to exist as particulars they get a footing in existence by being a part of something else - another set of pancakhandha - of just that higher order: a part to whole relationship. The present always exists: even when dealing with particulars within time, the present is equiprimordial with the past and the future: the present is "real", the past and future "imaginary" . And of course any whole is a part of something else of a yet higher order.

Thus there is an inherent transcendency that is inescapable in any experience, be it that of a puthujjana or of an arahat. But this transcendency does not imply a self - a subject – because although it is infinite its existence is founded upon the existence of a lived moment, i.e. the existence of the whole is dependent upon the existence of one of its parts -- the part present through what the Suttas refer to as phassa or contact.

If we take consciousness to be the presence of a thing, this is where Ven. Thanissaro's "unestablished consciousness" becomes superfluous to the Buddha's teaching of anatta. And I might add where the teaching becomes much closer to our own verifiable experience.
Last edited by pulga on Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

socratessmith
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by socratessmith » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:17 pm

Jeebus Crikes, all of this text citation. All of these minute details. All of this classical Buddhist eel-wriggling. This rubric from Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice may be useful. I assume most of you will cry "too obscure!" or "too French!" or whatever. But maybe one or two of you will see the merit of the basic contention, and be thereby helped. (And before you accuse me of sour grapes: I am fluent in reading Pali.)

Exemplificative braggadocio. Also known as the x-buddhistic “detail fetish.” It refers to a form of behavior. It is a manner of argumentation in which minute details about x-buddhism are made load-bearing structures in arguments about various facets of reality. X-buddhist exemplificative braggadocio is a primary manifestation of x-buddhist faith in the principle of sufficient Buddhism. It is the way of x-buddhist commentators to cite as evidence for their position an example: sutta/sutra/tantra-a-b-c maintains x, y, z; buddhistic-school/teacher-a-b-c maintains x, y, z, etc. I could add, without exaggeration, that they cite their examples ad infinitum. For, exemplification is an essential feature of dharmic discourse. Given the long history and vast cultural-geographic range of the dispensation, there is virtually no end to the x-buddhists’ salvo of dharmic exemplification. That is why I say that x-buddhism is a world-conquering juggernaut from which nothing can escape: there is nothing under the sun for which x-buddhism cannot provide an example. The examples it proffers, moreover, derived as they are from buddhistic decision, ensure that “x-buddhist” names a person who, as Ray Brassier says of philosophers, “views everything (terms and relations) from above.” Like Wittgenstein his slabs and Heidegger his hammer, the x-buddhist is entranced by his examples.

Contrary to x-buddhism, non-buddhism sees the perpetual crowing of dharmic exemplification not as the specular instantiations of reality that those examples are meant to demonstrate (concerning mind, matter, consciousness, perception, sensation, etc.) but rather as symptomatic displays in need of analysis. It is, in fact, via an analysis of buddhistic exemplification that I arrived at my specific adaptation of Laruelle’s axiom of decision in relation to x-buddhism. Endless dharmic exemplification presents the most rigorous basis for the operation of decisional circularity, or what Laruelle calls “auto-position” (specularity), in all of x-buddhism. It is worth repeating Brassier again in this regard:

"[d]ecisional specularity ensures the world remains [x-buddhism’s] mirror. [Buddhistically theorizing] the world becomes a pretext for [x-buddhism’s] own interminable self-interpretation. And since interpretation is a function of talent rather than rigor, the plurality of mutually incompatible yet unfalsifiable interpretations merely perpetuates the uncircumscribable ubiquity of [x-buddhism’s] auto-encompassing specularity. Absolute specularity breeds infinite interpretation—such is the norm for the [x-buddhist] practice of thought." (26-27)

The illuminating irony of x-buddhists’ citing diverse examples to other x-buddhists is that, from a non-buddhist perspective, they are only exhibiting—meta-exemplifying!—the unity of buddhistic syntax. Doing so is all the more illuminating because their examples are not, as they purport to be, examples from and of reality, but from and of x-buddhism itself, and only itself.

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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by pulga » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:35 pm

If Paglia were to see that she'd have a heart attack.

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Mr Man
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Mr Man » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:45 pm

socratessmith wrote:Jeebus Crikes, all of this text citation. All of these minute details. All of this classical Buddhist eel-wriggling. This rubric from Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice may be useful. I assume most of you will cry "too obscure!" or "too French!" or whatever. But maybe one or two of you will see the merit of the basic contention, and be thereby helped. (And before you accuse me of sour grapes: I am fluent in reading Pali.)
I'm not sure if you haven't just come here to try and sell some books or gain converts. You're not one of the authors are you?

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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by socratessmith » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:47 pm

Mr. Man and Pulga:

Completely predictable, and useless, Buddhist responses to a feasible argument directly related to a practice you both frequently engage in.

Throw away your Buddhist books and use your brains!

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Mr Man
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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by Mr Man » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:25 pm

socratessmith wrote:Mr. Man and Pulga:

Completely predictable, and useless, Buddhist responses to a feasible argument directly related to a practice you both frequently engage in.

Throw away your Buddhist books and use your brains!
Hi socratessmith
I'm not sure how my post/un-answered question could be seen as a "Buddhist" response to your own post, which to me seemed like gobbledegook. Have you just come to make evangelical proclamations and peacock your superior intelligence? What was the point you were trying to make in the last post and what is x-Buddhism?

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Re: Does Thanissaro Bhikkhu believe in a soul?

Post by socratessmith » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:57 pm

Mr. Man. Never mind.

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