Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

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theravada_guy
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Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by theravada_guy »

Greetings all,

I was reading on BuddhaNet about the differences between Buddhism and other world religions. It mentioned there are three things a Buddha cannot do, but did not elaborate. What are these three things?
With mettā,

TG

Kenshou
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Kenshou »

Well I don't know about any three things that specifically a Buddha cannot do, but I do know that there are a number of this it is said that an enlightened individual cannot do.

I figure the list would be the same for a Buddha as for any Arahant.
. . . the arhant monk . . . cannot transgress nine standards: a monk in whom the cankers are destroyed, cannot deliberately take life of any living thing; cannot, with intention steal, take that which is not given; cannot engage in carnal intercourse; cannot intentionally tell a lie; cannot enjoy pleasures from savings, as of yore when a householder; . . . cannot go astray through desire, cannot go astray through hate; cannot go astray through delusion; cannot go astray through fear. AN IV.370.

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theravada_guy
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by theravada_guy »

Thanks for that, Kenshou. I don't know where to even search for things like this. I tried Yahoo!, but to no avail. I did a search for "adhamma" on Google Saffron, and it didn't really get me what I wanted. So, like I said, I don't know where to really look, other than ask on here.
With mettā,

TG

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Sherab
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Sherab »

Hi Theravada Guy,

My best guess ...

No one, including the Buddha, can see the beginning of ignorance.
No one, including the Buddha, can do anything about a karma once it ripens.
Each of us has to purify our own karma. No one, including the Buddha, can do that for you. Realization of nirvana is individual.

... from the Theravada perspective anyway ... I think.

Sunrise
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Sunrise »

Maybe this will help:

Code: Select all

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

The Buddha-range of the Buddhas 

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world 

...
AN 4.77

5heaps
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by 5heaps »

the Buddha cannot do something that is impossible. apart from that he is omnipotent since he can do everything. :group:

some of the traditional examples of impossible things are, cant give good karma, cant take bad karma, cant be wrong (ie. cant have anything other than a valid yogic direct cognizer at all times), cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

Kenshou
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Kenshou »

cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
A Buddha does not disintegrate over time? Are you saying that a buddha is not anicca? Could you elaborate on that?

PeterB
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by PeterB »

A Buddha apparently ( if he is Buddha Shakyamuni ) cannot give an accurate idea of the origin of earthquakes. Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.


He is an Enlightened guy , not a god. He is Awake not omniscient.

5heaps
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by 5heaps »

Kenshou wrote:
cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
A Buddha does not disintegrate over time? Are you saying that a buddha is not anicca? Could you elaborate on that?
oops sorry, youre right, i forgot i was wearing my Theravada hat on this point. the mind and body of the Buddha do end and so they are indeed anicca.

in mindonly and middleway they make use of the transcendent existence of arhats and buddhas after their nirvana-with-no-remainder (after all, if an arhat ends what arhat reaches the nirvana? if a moment exists and then dies out how did it cause its death when it was longer there?) and so they say the mind in addition to being beginningless is also endless. and something which is endless cannot disintegrate, although it is momentary! this is a big thing that they write 10,000s of pages about..
PeterB wrote:cannot give an accurate idea of the origin of earthquakes
what did he say about it?
Last edited by 5heaps on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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Zom
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Zom »

Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.
"Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]

"If I were to say, 'I don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, 'I both know and don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be just the same. If I were to say, 'I neither know nor don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a fault in me.

(From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)

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Fede
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Fede »

I bet he can't crochet. I tried, and it's a pig.

The four unconjecturables are not what a Buddha cannot do: it's what an unenlightened person cannot do. They are unconjecturable, but only to an unenlightened mind.

And this, if you'll forgive me, sheaps - is nonsense.
the Buddha cannot do something that is impossible. apart from that he is omnipotent since he can do everything.

The Buddha is not omnipotent. he was a human being, and as such probably found an awful lot of things PHYSICALLY impossible to do, just as other human beings find them physically impossible to do.

some of the traditional examples of impossible things are, cant give good karma, cant take bad karma, cant be wrong (ie. cant have anything other than a valid yogic direct cognizer at all times), cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
The Buddha, grew old, took sick, died and decayed. Just like any human being. And I think that the Buddha could have been incorrect on some things. I might be wrong, that's conjecture. but simply because he was a Buddha and enlightened, that didn't make him infallible in every way.... though his errors would not have been deliberate, but accidental.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PeterB
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by PeterB »

Zom wrote:
Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.
"Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]

"If I were to say, 'I don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, 'I both know and don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be just the same. If I were to say, 'I neither know nor don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a fault in me.

(From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
He is quite clearly talking of a different order of reality to that described by science, and whats more he is talking about that different order of reality in metaphoric language. hence the Devas, Maras and Brahmas the lingua franca of the day when describing the cosmos. Not the language of astro physics or
mathematics. To project on to the Buddha a knowledge of Quantum mechanics or even gravity as a result of his Enlightenment is frankly to verge on the delusional.

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Fede
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by Fede »

From what I understand, he could not transform negative Kamma into positive kamma for anyone.
He could not destroy negative kamma for anyone, or bestow good kamma.
He could not escape death.

I think.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

5heaps
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by 5heaps »

Fede wrote:And I think that the Buddha could have been incorrect on some things. I might be wrong, that's conjecture. but simply because he was a Buddha and enlightened, that didn't make him infallible in every way.... though his errors would not have been deliberate, but accidental.
the topic isnt conjecture since the omniscience of a buddha is a type of samadhi. hopefully samadhi isnt conjecture.
Fede wrote:He could not escape death.
he escaped death by escaping birth :|
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

PeterB
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Post by PeterB »

Semantics.
He died.
We have a description of that event.

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