Buddhagosa

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:22 am

gavesako wrote:Although somebody (Buddhaghosa, Buddhadasa, Bhikkhu Bodhi, ec.) may not "abide having touched with their body the deathless element" (amatadhatum kayena phusitva viharanti), they can very well "understand with their wisdom a difficult subject" and write about it, which can help others realize the Dhamma. So one should judge their writings merely on their own merits, I believe. (The opposite is also true: Someone who has realized the Dhamma themselves may not be very good at describing it to others.)
First, Buddhaghosa, Buddhadasa and Bhikkhu Bodhi teach differently. So clearly that are all not describing the Dhamma well.

Second, one of them may have touched with their mind the deathless element. (Regarding the body, it cannot touch the deathless element given the body cannot experience anything. Buddha taught, the deathless element is the cessation of greed, hatred and delusion thus it is touched with the mind).

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Ben
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:48 am

Hi Element
Element wrote:Regarding the body, it cannot touch the deathless element given the body cannot experience anything. Buddha taught, the deathless element is the cessation of greed, hatred and delusion thus it is touched with the mind).
It appears that the phrase 'touched with the body' seems to be synonymous as an 'eye-witness' to nibbana.
kāya-sakkhi: 'body-witness', is one of the 7 noble disciples (s. ariya-puggala, B.). He is one who "in his own person (lit. body) has attained the 8 deliverances (vimokkha, q.v.), and after wisely understanding the phenomena, the cankers have partly come to extinction" (Pug. 32). In A. IX, 44 it is said: "A monk, o brother, attains the 1st absorption (jhāna, q.v.), and as far as this domain reaches,- so far he has realized it in his own person. Thus the Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in certain respects. (The same is then repeated with regard to the 7 higher absorptions). Further again, o brother, the monk attains the extinction of perception and feeling (s. nirodha-samāpatti), and after wisely understanding the phenomena, all the cankers come to extinction. Thus, o brother, the Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in all respects."

-- Venerable Nyantiloka's Buddhist dictionary
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_k.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Kind regards

Ben
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Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:50 am

Ben wrote:It appears that the phrase 'touched with the body' seems to be synonymous as an 'eye-witness' to nibbana.
If so, I stand corrected. Thank you. :smile:

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clw_uk
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by clw_uk » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:18 am

Element wrote:To me, Buddhagosa's higher teachings do not have the flavour of Buddha-Dhamma. To me, they are philosophical and, most notably, very convoluted. The Buddha taught fluently and perfectly.

For example, the Buddhagosa quote made often: "There is no sufferer only suffering".

The Buddha's predominant teaching was about removing the "I" and "mine". Why? The "I" and "mine" are the essense of suffering. Thus, to say there is no sufferer and only suffering is problematic. Suffering is intimately linked to "the sufferer".

To say there is "no sufferer and only suffering" has the flavour of nihilism. These are the words of an unrealised being.

In an ultimate sense though there is no sufferer because there is no real self. To me it does keep with what the buddha said;

"it is only suffering that arises and it is only suffering that ceases"
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by genkaku » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:43 pm

Element wrote:To me, Buddhagosa's higher teachings do not have the flavour of Buddha-Dhamma. To me, they are philosophical and, most notably, very convoluted. The Buddha taught fluently and perfectly.

For example, the Buddhagosa quote made often: "There is no sufferer only suffering".

The Buddha's predominant teaching was about removing the "I" and "mine". Why? The "I" and "mine" are the essense of suffering. Thus, to say there is no sufferer and only suffering is problematic. Suffering is intimately linked to "the sufferer".

To say there is "no sufferer and only suffering" has the flavour of nihilism. These are the words of an unrealised being.
I would like to stick a very-uneducated oar in the water here. As an old, lazy Zennie, I don't mean to offend anyone.

I like the line, "there is no sufferer, only suffering." To my mind, it just means there is only enlightenment. Before there is some recognition of this fact, an effort is required of the imagined sufferer. Everything appears separate and uncertain. Things change and, as the bumper sticker wisely observes, "shit happens." And within this framework, sentient beings make their best efforts. Often it's a matter of blood, sweat and tears. It is no joke: All the talk in the world cannot compare with this good effort. And yet there is someone striving for something.

To infer that when no one strives for anything that it is somehow nihilistic is an obvious intellectual conclusion. The problem is that intellectual conclusions seldom bring peace to the heart. They may be good as far as they go, but the problem is that they don't go far enough.

It may feel insulting to all those with fine intellects and a good grasp of concepts, but a sneeze is really pretty instructive. When you sneeze, where is the sufferer you were so concerned about a moment ago? Seriously, take a look. Intellectually, we can say "I sneeze," but when sneezing, where is this "I" we talk about after the fact? And likewise we can say "I suffer," but where is this "I" we talk about with such confidence after the fact?

In the midst of sneezing, as in the midst of suffering, it's not nothing and yet it's not exactly something either. It's just sneezing, isn't it? It's just suffering, isn't it? If you call it "suffering," that's OK. If you call it "enlightenment," that's OK. But there is no need to believe it just because you say it or think it or emote about it or dissect it. Sneezing is sneezing ... what could possibly be missing? You want to write a book about it? OK. You want to build a philosophy around it? OK. But whatever you do, you still sneeze, don't you? Sneezing ... isn't that wonderful?

As I say, I don't want to disrespect anyone with these words. I just liked "there is no sufferer, only suffering."

Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:40 pm

clw_uk wrote:In an ultimate sense though there is no sufferer because there is no real self. To me it does keep with what the buddha said;

"it is only suffering that arises and it is only suffering that ceases"
Hi Craig

I must disagree.

In a practical sense, if a mind realises 'no real self', it would be free from suffering.

When 'self' arises, suffering arises; when 'self' ceases, suffering ceases.

This is the Buddha's practical teaching for our personal salvation. This is the Noble Truths.

Kind regards,

Element

Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:44 pm

genkaku wrote:I would like to stick a very-uneducated oar in the water here. As an old, lazy Zennie, I don't mean to offend anyone.

As I say, I don't want to disrespect anyone with these words. I just liked "there is no sufferer, only suffering."
G'day Genkaku

I don't want to disrespect anyone with these words either, but I would imagine an old, lazy Zennie would like "there is no sufferer, only suffering." :smile:

This phrase is classic Californian Zen. :ugeek:

Be happy. Have fun.

Element

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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by genkaku » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:48 pm

This phrase is classic Californian Zen.
And quite possibly classic Buddhism from a time l-o-n-g before California was even a twinkle in its daddy's eye.

Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:51 pm

genkaku wrote:And quite possibly classic Buddhism from a time l-o-n-g before California was even a twinkle in its daddy's eye.
For me, the phrase is nihilistic. It is the view of "all is empty, thus why do anything and do everything".

From a Mahanyana perspective however, the phrase is evangelical. It can help people at the time they must face a real challenge. [EDIT: Comments about brainwashing removed. - Retro. ] One day it may bear fruit.

For example, a nuclear holocaust. All the material & sensual delights destroyed. Family destroyed. All alone. If we have heard about emptiness enough, we may resign ourselves to the fact, all is empty.

:smile:

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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by clw_uk » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:30 pm

What about if you just take the first bit, "there is no sufferer"

This is correct because there is no real "I" to suffer is there not?
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by appicchato » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:41 pm

Element wrote:For me, the phrase is nihilistic. It is the view of "all is empty, thus why do anything and do everything".
Not quite...your view, maybe, but not necessarily anyone else's...and while the Buddha did say that 'this world is empty', he didn't throw his hands in the air and say 'why do anything?'...

Be well... :smile:

Element

Re: Buddhagosa

Post by Element » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:04 am

appicchato wrote:...and while the Buddha did say that 'this world is empty', he didn't throw his hands in the air and say 'why do anything?'...
The Buddha said the 'world is empty' so listerners would free their minds of selfing and dukkha. There cannot be suffering in a mind that has realised emptiness. That is impossible. That is natural law or ultimate truth. There cannot be suffering without a sufferer. That is impossible. All suffering is rooted in the delusion or illusion of "self". Whilst the world is empty of "real selves", it is full of "delusionary selves". These delusionary selves are suffering.

Regarding "doing", there are two kinds of doing. The "doing" I was referring to is not the "doing" your were referring to Appicchato.

With metta

Element

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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by cooran » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:59 pm

Hello Element,

What are you definitions of nihilism, annihilationism, eternalism?

I don't use the term nihilism at all - and I don't recall where the Buddha ever used it either.

"From: A Dictionary of Buddhism | Date: 2004 | Author: DAMIEN KEOWN | A Dictionary of Buddhism 2004, originally published by Oxford University Press 2004.
uccheda-vāda (Skt., the teaching of cutting off). Also known as uccheda-dṛṣṭi, ‘the doctrine of Annihilationism’, one of the ‘two extremes’ condemned by the Buddha. This is the view that there is no rebirth or fruition of karma, and that the individual is utterly annihilated at death. It is considered especially pernicious since it encourages moral irresponsibility and hedonism. The Buddha raised two objections to this notion: that it is disproved by recollection of past lives, and it implies the existence of a self (ātman) that is destroyed at death. The other extreme view is Eternalism (śāśvata-vāda).śāśvata-vāda (Skt.; Pāli, sassatavāda). Eternalism, one of the two ‘extreme views’ condemned by the Buddha, the other being Annihilationism (uccheda-vāda). Eternalism postulates the existence of a self (ātman) that is eternal and unchanging, while the latter postulates the existence of a self that is cut off and utterly destroyed at death. According to the Buddha, both of these two extremes misrepresent the reality of the situation and the truth of the matter is to be found by reference to the principle of the ‘Middle Way’ (madhyamā-pratipad). Thus the self is neither eternal nor is it cut off at death: rather there is a dynamic continuity of the individual from one life to the next."

How does your understanding hold up, if you considered that there never was a self in the first place - either to be annihilated or to continue on unchanging? .... all that exists are latent tendencies and kammic accumulations - no me, no you, no one.

metta
Chris
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by clw_uk » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:02 pm

The buddhas said "the world is void of a self or anything pertaining to a self"

The line "there is no sufferer only suffering" seems in line with this as the suffering that rises does not have a self.
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Re: Buddhagosa

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:51 pm

Greetings everyone,
Chris wrote:What are you definitions of nihilism, annihilationism, eternalism?

I don't use the term nihilism at all - and I don't recall where the Buddha ever used it either.
The Buddha argued against nihilism in MN 60: Apannaka Sutta in paragraphs 5-12 (Bhikkhu Bodhi translation).

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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