Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Buddha

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: Excellent old book

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:40 pm

BlackBird wrote: The craving for self relies upon feeling,
I understand that craving for ( pleasant ) experience relies upon feeling, but I'm still not making the connection with craving for self, or self-view. According to DO feeling arises on contact via the 6 sense bases - so is the problem identifying with the 6 sense bases, assuming that they are self?
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by ancientbuddhism » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:00 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:He may have been influenced by Theosophy or any of the other peculiarly 'New Age' movements which were swirling around Europe at the time (Gurdjieff, spiritualism, etc) but I see that generation of European scholars as being unable to escape the pervasive influence of Christianity. Christianity shaped the whole culture in a way that we have trouble imagining: everyone was Christian. Every philosopher, novelist, journalist and scientist of the previous couple of centuries was Christian, every religious building was Christian (apart from a few pagan ruins) ... and the whole business of Christianity was to give an eternal self a happy eternal life.
And this may be the dynamic from which attempts to reach out to movements such as Theosophy etc. came. I see this struggle with Buddhist seekers of Christian origin today with their syncretistic attempts to meld the two. A newbie will easily digest this. I was reading Alan Watts as a new Zen practitioner, books which now are mildly amusing. Another modern and popular attempt at this kind of syncretism is the Thích Nhất Hạnh movement.
Kim O'Hara wrote:In that context, anatta is almost unthinkable - and if someone did manage think it, they would find it almost impossible to stop old habits reasserting themselves. Every time there was any doubt, some kind of eternal self would be the completely automatic fallback position.
Which should find good company with those Dhamma seekers who were struggling with eternalist doctrines in the Nikāyas.
That's all true, AB, but it isn't quite what I was trying to get at with "unthinkable".
Have you ever tried living in a country where they drive on the other side of the road? If you have, you may remember the difficulty of adjusting to it: every time you looked at a car with one person in it, they looked like a passenger because they were sitting in "the passenger's seat". Every time you went to cross the street, you looked the wrong way. Every time a car came round a corner towards you, it was on the "wrong" side of the road. And so on.
It wasn't that you were trying to deny the reality of the new way of doing things, but that every habit connected to the activity led back to the old mind-set. And when you started driving there, you had to watch yourself all the time or you would come out of an intersection on the wrong side of the road. :shock:
That's what constantly happened to these writers, I think. But they didn't crash, so they didn't notice.
:namaste:
Kim
Point taken. The milieu of the Nikāyas was far more henotheistic and open. This “unthinkable” does fit, in part, with what I mentioned about Buddhist seekers of Christian origin today, only less intense I would think. I came from the same background but at some point early on I realised that syncretism between the two was flawed by mutually exclusive paradigms. Also, I suppose I was never convinced by the heaven for good people/əldoəd pɐq ɹoɟ lləɥ idea; so for me, rather than crashing into old beliefs, I found the lack of them a relief and moved on.

But to be fair, I have to consider that my experience is afforded by a 'less intense' and better informed world than theirs.
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Re: Excellent old book

Post by BlackBird » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:46 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
BlackBird wrote: The craving for self relies upon feeling,
I understand that craving for ( pleasant ) experience relies upon feeling, but I'm still not making the connection with craving for self, or self-view. According to DO feeling arises on contact via the 6 sense bases - so is the problem identifying with the 6 sense bases, assuming that they are self?
No it is not identification with the sense bases that is the root problem. As you are probably aware within the paticcasamupada formulation it usually does not stop with salayatana.

What happens in experience is that you are presented with a scene in the world, and the scene - whatever it is - that is the object of ones attention, that scene implies that there is a subject there to perceive it. It is because objects lend themselves to the view that there must be a subject that the worldling assumes there is a self.

Please forgive me in that I cannot answer all of your questions. I still have a lot of work to do myself, but know that I have profited most greatly from Venerable Nyanavira's work, and that you may also if you are of the a nature to keep an open mind. There may be one or two things I can help with were you to take up the study of his notes. I have laboured under them on and off for a good 2 or 3 years now, at times they have been my all consuming passion, and other times I have left them to tend to their own devices.

The link is in my signature. I would begin with the first note and work your way progressively through it. The letters may serve on occasion as lighter reading. Perhaps it would be best from now if we took any further correspondence to a more private area, as this sort of talk might cause consternation among those who think Ven. Nyanavira a fraud.

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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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by Ajatashatru » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:23 am

I put in an order for this book via Amazon. How does it compare to Rahula Walpola's book?

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Re: Excellent old book

Post by danieLion » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:42 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:For all of his meandering Ṭhānissaro’s ‘not-self strategy’ seems connected with his unique interpretation of a nibbānic consciousness that survives death, and a little eternalistic for a Theravādin bhikkhu.
Hi AB,
Show me just one passage or talk where Thanissaro even hints at being an eternalist or comes even a little bit close to claiming that nibbanic consciousness survives death (and rembember that even the Buddha--in the Vacchagotta Sutta--neither denied nor confirmed it).

And it--not your misrepresentation of it--is not "unique." Several Theravadin Bhikkhus agree with Thanissaro.
Kindly,
dL

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Re: Excellent old book

Post by Sylvester » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:30 am

danieLion wrote:....
.... (and rembember that even the Buddha--in the Vacchagotta Sutta--neither denied nor confirmed it).
Psst, psst. Some old thoughts about the Buddha's refusal to give a categorical answer to Mr V's query - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p215021

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:34 pm

I've read the book in german. Although Georg Grimm assumes some kind of "true self" outside of the world (loka), it seems to me, he represented most of the Buddha's teachings in a correct way (as far as I can tell). It's definitely worth the read. While the Buddha preferred to be quiet about what lies beyond range, Georg Grimm strangely comes to the conclusion that atta according to his interpretation of the Dhamma must be outside the All. It may be a strange view but there's no way to discuss that statement genuinely because there is simply no ground on what we could base any view about it. What lies beyond range lies beyond range and there's nothing else to say about it. Anyhow there are lots of interesting and valuable approaches presented by Georg Grimm in his book and I recommend to not jump to conclusions because of the odd statements about a "true self" beyond range. At least Georg Grimm doesn't consider anything within the world to be the self or belonging to a self, that's why he clearly says about his view of his "true self", "I am beyond all this, beyond the world".

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.

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by Digger » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:28 pm

For Acinteyyo: Thank you for post. Maybe you are better stating my original intent of this thread. I didn't intend to start an annata debate.

For Ajatashatru: My opinion is that Walpola Rahula book is more of an introductory/beginner book, the Grimm book is written for someone who already has at least a "mid" or above level of understanding and a familiarity with the Pali texts. Please let us know your thoughts after you have read the book.

For all: Again I offer , as in my first post, I will send a free new copy of the book to anyone interested (my way of contributing). Just send a me a PM.
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Benjamin
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Re: Excellent old book

Post by Benjamin » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:53 pm

danieLion wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:For all of his meandering Ṭhānissaro’s ‘not-self strategy’ seems connected with his unique interpretation of a nibbānic consciousness that survives death, and a little eternalistic for a Theravādin bhikkhu.
Hi AB,
Show me just one passage or talk where Thanissaro even hints at being an eternalist or comes even a little bit close to claiming that nibbanic consciousness survives death (and rembember that even the Buddha--in the Vacchagotta Sutta--neither denied nor confirmed it).

And it--not your misrepresentation of it--is not "unique." Several Theravadin Bhikkhus agree with Thanissaro.
Kindly,
dL
I just posted this in a different thread (about Thanissaro), but:

Thanissaro Bhikku has said himself on audio recording that viññanam anidassanam is "the consciousness of nibbana".

The Five Aggregates - Thanissaro Bhikku

At one hour and 30 minutes in (1:30:00), you will find viññanam anidassanam brought up. I suggest you listen until at least 1:40:00.

Now, it is up to debate I suppose whether viññanam anidassanam survives death, but he has made the above statement.

Everyone should know that he isn't alone in this view either. Luang Por Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro wrote a chapter on it in The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on Nibbana.

Cheers,
Benjamin
"Don't believe everything you read."
-The Buddha

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:01 pm

Sylvester wrote:
danieLion wrote:....
.... (and rembember that even the Buddha--in the Vacchagotta Sutta--neither denied nor confirmed it).
Psst, psst. Some old thoughts about the Buddha's refusal to give a categorical answer to Mr V's query - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p215021
For what it's worth, I posted a reply with reference to misunderstandings on Vacchagotta's query here.
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:29 am

Thanks AB. That is a very agreeable analysis.

I've just been reading Olivelle's translation of the Upanisads, and to my surprise I find an unusual use of "atman". Besides the 2 we are familiar with (ie as Atman and as a reflexive pronoun), it apparently also means "body". Not the physical body, for which śarīra is used (eg in BAU 2.1.18), but apparently to refer to the conglomeration of or vessel for the vital functions (prāṇa) -

- breath
- speech
- vision
- hearing
- olfaction
- taste
- touch
- mind
- perception
- thought

This looks about as close a listing to the MN 44 concept of the 3 sankhāras. I suspect that the Buddha was turning the old competition for supremacy between the prāṇas on its head, by showing that the breath is not supreme after all.

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:39 am

Sylvester wrote:I've just been reading Olivelle's translation of the Upanisads, and to my surprise I find an unusual use of "atman". Besides the 2 we are familiar with (ie as Atman and as a reflexive pronoun), it apparently also means "body". Not the physical body, for which śarīra is used (eg in BAU 2.1.18), but apparently to refer to the conglomeration of or vessel for the vital functions (prāṇa) -
In the Upaniṣads the Ātman and prāṇa are synonymous, or rather, prāṇa is descriptive of the support of Ātman to the living organism. This was also discussed in Brian Black’s The Character of Self in Ancient India: Priests, Kings and Women in the Early Upaniṣads, that ātman and prāṇa are ‘interdependent’, that “…the composers of the Upaniṣads did not associate the life breaths of the human body with the lungs, but rather the breaths are usually described in terms of how they move and where they operate within the body.” Black cites Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad I.3.19, I will give Radhakrisnan’s translation:
  • “He is (called) Ayāsya Āṅgirasa for he is the essence of the limbs. Verily, life-breath is the essence of the limbs, yes, life breath is the essence of the limbs. Therefore, from whatever limb life-breath de[arts, that, indeed, dries up; for, it is, verily, the essence of the limbs.”

    so 'yāsya āṅgiraso 'ṅgānāṃ hi rasaḥ, prāṇo vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ, prāṇo hi vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ, tasmād yasmāt kasmāccāṅgāt prāṇa utkrāmati tad eva tac chuṣyati, eṣa hi vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ (BṛhUp_1,3.19)
Sylvester wrote: - breath
- speech
- vision
- hearing
- olfaction
- taste
- touch
- mind
- perception
- thought

This looks about as close a listing to the MN 44 concept of the 3 sankhāras. I suspect that the Buddha was turning the old competition for supremacy between the prāṇason its head, by showing that the breath is not supreme after all.
I’m not sure as yet how it would fit, but it also reminds me of the ‘body of the breath’ associated with ānāpānasati.
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:08 am

Thanks AB!

Breath in the BAU strikes me as corresponding to MN 44's kāyasaṅkhāra, while speech has a tenuous connection to vacīsaṅkhāra. MN 44's cittasaṅkhāra concerns perception and feeling, and I wonder if that has any correspondence with the faculties, and perceiving (saṁjñāsti at BAU 2.4.12). To be certain, I've not actually seen feelings discussed much in the context of the prāṇa, except at BAU 2.4.11 where the sensory prāṇa are discussed in terms of sparśā/phassā .

Have you perchance seen feeling discussed as vedanā in the Ups?

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:20 pm

Sylvester wrote: Breath in the BAU strikes me as corresponding to MN 44's kāyasaṅkhāra …
Yes, that’s right, Dhammadinnā Theri’s dialogue with Visākha makes this distinction from the usual wholesome and unwholesome volitions for the 3 sankhāras.
Sylvester wrote:Have you perchance seen feeling discussed as vedanā in the Ups?
I haven't seen vedanā in the Upaniṣads in my search for corresponding terms in the Pāli Nikāyas. But Keith mentions that we wont find any.

Arthur Keith in The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upaniṣads – Vol. 2 mentions (translations of Keith's references are added for convenience):
  • “On the side of feeling the terminology of the Upaniṣads marks a great advance in the normal employment of Sukha to denote pleasure generically and Duḥkha, based upon it, for misery. A generic term to cover both forms of feeling is not found before the Vedanā of the Pāli texts. But we have the definite statement [2] that, when a man experiences pleasure, he acts, when he experiences pain, he refrains from action, while the Kauṣītaki [3] asserts that pleasure and pain are felt by means of the body.”

    [2]Chāndogya Upaniṣad VII.22 (translation – S. Radhakrishnan)

    “When one obtains happiness (sukhaṃ), then one is active (karoti). One who does not obtain happiness is not active.

    yadā vai sukhaṃ labhate’tha karoti, nāsukhaṃ labdhvā karoti …

    [3] Kauṣītaki-Brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad I.7

    “…‘By what, pleasure and pain?’ ‘By the Body.’…”

    …kena sukha-duḥkhe iti, śarīreṇeti …
However, this does not give us what we are looking for with reference to vedanā or an equivalent to it in the Upaniṣads, but rather the somatic base for it.
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Post by Sylvester » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:08 am

Very much obliged!

Given your research into the philological correspondences, are you any closer to solving that wretched anidassanaṃ viññāṇaṃ issue? Of the phenomena which DN 11 says are brought to an end with the cessation of consciousness -
Ettha dīghañca rassañca, aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
Ettha nāmañca rūpañca, asesaṃ uparujjhati;

Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
we find an precedent in Yājnavalkya's reply to Gārgi's query on the basis of space (ākāśā). Taking Olivelle's translation -
sa hovāca: etad vai tad akṣaram, gārgī, brāhmaṇā abhivadanti, asthῡlam, anaṇu, ahrasvam, adīrgham, alohitam, asneham, acchāyam, atamaḥ, avāyv anākāśam, asaṅgam, arasam, agandham, acakṣuṣkam, aśrotram, avāk, amanaḥ, atejaskam, aprāṇam, amukham, amātram, anantaram, abāhyam; na tad aśnāti kiṁ cana, na tad aśnāti kaś cana.

He replied: 'That, Gārgi, is the imperishable (akṣaram), and Brahmins refer to it like this - it is neither coarse nor fine (asthῡlam, anaṇu); it is neither short nor long (ahrasvam, adīrgham); it has neither fat nor blood (not in DN 11); it is without shadow or darkness (acchāyam, atamaḥ - perhaps idiomatic for day and night?); it is without air or space; it is without contact; it has no taste or smell; it is without sight or hearing; it is without speech or mind; it is without energy, breath or mouth; it is beyond measure; it has nothing within it or outside of it; it does not eat anything; and no one eats it.
2 pairs are in common in DN 11 and BAU 3.8.8, not counting a tenuous half in sneha possibly corresponding to subha. Certainly not enough out of which to make a mountain of dogma, but intriguing nonetheless.

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