Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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cooran
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by cooran » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:33 am

Hello all,

No need to feel Dosa if people have different perspectives on the Buddha and his Dhamma. One of the most valuable Suttas for me over the years has been the Akkosa Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:17 am

Hi Dan,
Dan74 wrote:...most people here accept that the Buddha was fully enlightened.
I accept that, and have said nothing here in opposition to that. He was fully/perfectly enlightened/awakened by his definition and standards, which in part were derived from his culture.

But he was not perfect in all ways.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:04 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

No need to feel Dosa if people have different perspectives on the Buddha and his Dhamma. One of the most valuable Suttas for me over the years has been the Akkosa Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html

With metta,
Chris
Hi Chris,
Very REBT/CBT. But: (1) Which Pali word's getting translated as "anger" here? (2) There are several insatances in the suttas and vinaya where the Buddha clearly demonstrated anger towards others. (3) The other two translations (Buddharakkhita, Thanissaro) do not convey the "anger arising within" idea so much as what is done with anger after it arises within.
Kindly,
dL

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cooran
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by cooran » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:28 am

Hello all,

Worth the read to understand Defilements:

Don't Look Down on the Defilements, They will Laugh at you - by Sayadaw U Tejaniya
http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/ ... pp1-39.pdf

With metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:46 am

danieLion wrote:(2) There are several instances in the suttas and vinaya where the Buddha clearly demonstrated anger towards others.
You have some weird views. The very definition of an Arahant or Buddha is someone who has eradicated all traces of anger. From the sutta quoted above:
How could anger rise in him who's free,
Wrathless, all his passions tamed, at peace,
Freed by highest insight, by himself,
So abiding, perfectly serene?
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santa100
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by santa100 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:03 pm

The word "perfect" is very broad and will need to be defined in context. The Buddha's physical body wasn't perfect for it was still subjected to pains and injuries. Nor his health for he still got old and sick. He couldn't get rid of the terrible consequences sentient beings had to face due to their past negative kamma, etc. However, He's "perfect" in terms of morality, meditation, and wisdom. Same thing for His teaching. It's perfect in the sense that the 3 characteristics, 4NT, 8NP, 12 DO, etc.. are true and will remain so in this endless samsara..

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SDC
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by SDC » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:06 pm

danieLion wrote:He was fully/perfectly enlightened/awakened by his definition and standards, which in part were derived from his culture.

But he was not perfect in all ways.
Culture? I'm beginning to question your concept of awakening. Now I'm not saying you are not aware of the finer details, but if you were I don't think you would feel this way. You don't seem that impressed. If you cannot relate to the Buddha - if what he did was not impressive - if what he accomplished cannot be applied to your situation (as it seems through the above comment) - then you have likely gotten a superficial, impractical and/or inaccurate description of what he did. Or perhaps you just don't believe any of it was possible? I'm curious about what you think happened that night (AS IF ANY OF US COULD KNOW?!) But like we discussed earlier it is our ideas coupled with our imagination that drive us.

Although it is slightly on topic, since you are the OP, it is up to you if you want to discuss this any further.

EDIT - Grammar
Last edited by SDC on Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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equilibrium
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by equilibrium » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:48 pm

danieLion wrote:Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "understanding," but there are plenty people who understand what Buddhism is, many of which frequent this forum.
Hi danieLion,
Understanding comes in different depths just like the great oceans, there is a saying "One cannot see beyond what one cannot understand" so clearly one must know what ones limitation is and seek to know the unknown.

When we say "plenty people who understand".....do you not think one ought to be very careful here?.....Are we not assuming that they understand and blindly following them?.....and how do we know that they understand? We really don't, agree?
The Buddha noted something very interesting about his teaching too that we need to investigate it by ourselves and to verify it to be true before we accept it. So if we don't know others what they understand then how can we assume that they understand?.....Is this not a blind man leading a blind man?
On the same subject of "plenty people who understand", did the Buddha not advised us differently.....very few maybe!!?? and how do you see this reflection?

What is more important is whether you understand and not what you think if others understands, is it not?.....Have you heard of the saying "One must save oneself first before saving others".
Am interested to hear further on your own understanding on what Buddhism is as you have expressed "yes" under improvement and why?

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Kusala
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Kusala » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:27 pm

The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ening.html

"As the Buddha says at one point in describing his Awakening, 'Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose - as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, and resolute.' In other words, he gained liberating knowledge through qualities that we can all develop: heedfulness, ardency, resolution. If we are willing to face the implications of this fact, we realize that the Buddha's Awakening is a challenge to our entire set of values. The fact that the Unconditioned can be attained forces us to re-evaluate any other goals we may set for ourselves, whatever worlds we want to create, in our lives...

Even for those who are not ready to make that kind of investment, the Awakening assures us that happiness comes from developing qualities within ourselves that we can be proud of, such as kindness, sensitivity, equanimity, mindfulness, conviction, determination, and discernment. Again, this is a very different message from the one we pick up from the world telling us that in order to gain happiness we have to develop qualities we can't take any genuine pride in: aggressiveness, self-aggrandizement, dishonesty, etc."
Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

chownah
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by chownah » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:05 am

What is the world?
It is the six sense media.
What is the Buddha in the world?
It is a sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, and idea.
Is the Buddha perfect?
Only as perfect as sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, and idea can be.
chownah

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clw_uk
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by clw_uk » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:50 am

The very nature of this Dhamma is perfection. It has perfection as it's source and perfection is it's goal. This Dhamma is free of patchwork, the doctrine cannot be improved upon, to suggest otherwise is arrogance that will lead to harm and suffering. Unfortunately for some, it is not seen that a starting point of real progress in this Dhamma is the admission of one's own blindness to the true nature of existence. One cannot make progress if one thinks one already knows best... This is the point I was trying to make last night when I got called out for being bombastic by a certain member.

Isn't "perfection" a subjective ideal?
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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SDC
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by SDC » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:27 pm

BlackBird wrote:Ultimately, if one reads these quotes and still doesn't agree, then either one has not got faith in the Buddha, one does not believe him to be telling the truth, or one thinks he is overestimating himself, or one thinks the Suttas are made up by some person or other.
I think "one is still in the process of developing faith in the Buddha" is a legitimate reason as well. In my experience the development of saddha has been gradual, requiring a great deal of contemplation and reflection.

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:42 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
danieLion wrote:(2) There are several instances in the suttas and vinaya where the Buddha clearly demonstrated anger towards others.
You have some weird views. The very definition of an Arahant or Buddha is someone who has eradicated all traces of anger. From the sutta quoted above:
How could anger rise in him who's free,
Wrathless, all his passions tamed, at peace,
Freed by highest insight, by himself,
So abiding, perfectly serene?
Hi Pesala,
I agree that some of my views at times are not typical, but how exactly do you think they're "wierd"? Are all of your views non-wierd? I might be wrong, but the "very definition of an Arahant or Buddha" is not that he eradicates all traces of anger but that he roots out hate. Chris didn't answer my question about which Pali word is being translated as "anger." I looked at the Pali and it's not dosa. Perhaps you could tell me what the Pali is here? Maybe I'm wrong, but when the Buddha called Devadatta a lickspiddle, he was showing anger; and he frequently called others foolish/misguided/worthless; and it sure looks to me like he got angry at Ananda frequently. If being honest about the how the suttas portray the Buddha is "wierd" then I guess I'm wierd.
Kindly,
dL
Last edited by danieLion on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

danieLion
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by danieLion » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:46 am

SDC wrote:
danieLion wrote:He was fully/perfectly enlightened/awakened by his definition and standards, which in part were derived from his culture.

But he was not perfect in all ways.
Culture? I'm beginning to question your concept of awakening. Now I'm not saying you are not aware of the finer details, but if you were I don't think you would feel this way. You don't seem that impressed. If you cannot relate to the Buddha - if what he did was not impressive - if what he accomplished cannot be applied to your situation (as it seems through the above comment) - then you have likely gotten a superficial, impractical and/or inaccurate description of what he did. Or perhaps you just don't believe any of it was possible? I'm curious about what you think happened that night (AS IF ANY OF US COULD KNOW?!) But like we discussed earlier it is our ideas coupled with our imagination that drive us.

Although it is slightly on topic, since you are the OP, it is up to you if you want to discuss this any further.

EDIT - Grammar
What? You think the Buddha lived in a cultural vacuum? He impresses me a lot, but as a human being, not a perfect being. Faith/confidence does not require a super-human Buddha.
Kindly,
dL

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Improving Buddhism/The Imperfect Buddha

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:35 am

danieLion wrote:I agree that some of my views at times are not typical, but how exactly do you think they're "wierd"?
Your spelling is weird too ;)

Not all criticism is rooted in anger or aversion. Sometimes, the Buddha spoke words that were true, displeasing to others, but beneficial. Not all speech that is displeasing to others is the unwholesome kamma of harsh speech. If it's true, and aimed at benefit, then it's rooted in compassion.

The Buddha's Perfect Speech

Sometimes, the Buddha spoke words that were displeasing and harmful to some, but beneficial to others, e.g. when offered Māgaṇḍiyā as his bride he said that he would not touch her body, which he said was a bag full of urine and excrement. She hated him, but her parents become Non-returners.

The Buddha and the Arahants are free from all traces of mental defilements. There are various translations used for the various Pāḷi terms used, one would have to look carefully at the context to see which is a more appropriate translation.

Anger = kodha (and dosa)
Ill-will = byāpāda
Aversion = paṭigha
Malice = upanāha
Envy = issā
Meanness = macchariya
Disrespect = thambha
Hatred = dosa
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