The Buddha's path to liberation

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
whynotme
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by whynotme » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:00 am

I see your effort. Actually this is the type of discussion I love, but I see my knowledge and experience is not enough yet. Just wish you best wishes

Regards.
Please stop following me

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:43 pm

Dear Hanzze, whynotme, and other friends,

Thanks for the comments.

I've to admit I don't really understand what exactly the noble right intention/thought is as explained in SĀ 785 & MN 117:

MN 117:
And what is the right resolve that is without "leaks", transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion (penetrate and resolve?), focused awareness, & verbal fabrications (?) of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without "leaks", who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without "leaks", transcendent, a factor of the path.

[PS: Horner translates:
"And what, monks, is the right purpose that is ariyan, cankerless, supermundane, a component of the Way? Whatever, monks, is reasoning,(takka) initial thought (vitakka) purpose, an activity of speech through the complete focusing and application of the mind in one who, by developing the ariyan Way, is of ariyan (thought), of cankerless (thought), and (is conversant with) the ariyan Way-- this, monks is right purpose that is ariyan, cankerless, supermundane, a component of the way."]

SĀ 785:
What is right intention/thought that is noble, supramundane, without "leaks", without grasping, that
rightly eradicates dukkha and turns towards the transcendence of dukkha? This is reckoned to be:
a noble disciple attends to suffering and contemplates suffering; attends to the cause of suffering and contemplates the cause; attends to the cessation of suffering and contemplates the cessation; attends to the path and contemplates the path; in the (temporary) absence of defilements (while in deep Samadhi) contemplates each Dhamma (non-sensuality/non-ill will/non-harming?), discriminates each (intention/thought) (as wholesome/beneficial or not?), resolves each (intention/thought as wholesome/beneficial or not?), understands each, count each ("verbal fabrications" as in MN 117, but what it means?) and make resolution for right intention/thoughts.

何等為正志是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊?謂:聖弟子苦、苦思惟,集……滅……道、道思惟,無漏思惟相應心法,分別、自決、意解、計數、立意,是名正志,是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊。

Hope to get some input about this. Metta to all!
Last edited by starter on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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daverupa
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by daverupa » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:10 pm

starter wrote:Hope to get some input about this. Metta to all!
Try setting the mundane/supramundane dichotomy to one side (and, as a result, definitions which revolve around that). It's not attested very often, is probably late, and reflects Indian thinking in general, rather than Dhammic thinking in particular, it seems to me. The whole thing generates more questions than it answers - rather, it seems to me to be ad hoc reasoning with the goal of squaring teachings on anatta with indigenous merit practices, and as such isn't at all important to an understanding of the Dhamma, as I understand it.

From the earlier paper:
Analayo wrote:Closer scrutiny of the discourse itself shows that some of the Pāli terms used in the Mahācattārīsaka-sutta’s definition of supramundane right intention, such as “fixing” (appanā) of the mind and “mental inclination” (cetaso abhiniropanā), are not found in other discourses and belong to the type of language used only in the Abhidharma and historically later Pāli texts.
:soap:

Try something simple: intentions of renunciation, non-ill-will, and harmlessness. These general guidelines, as a definition, are deficient in which way(s)?

:anjali:
  • "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]

santa100
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by santa100 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:47 pm

starter wrote:
"...verbal fabrications (?)..."
The MN 117 version as tranlasted by Ven. Thanissaro ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ):
"And what is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the four forms of verbal misconduct (lying, divisive talk, abusive speech, idle chatter) of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path."

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:18 pm

Hello daverupa, santa100 and other friends,

I listened to the sutta teaching of Ven. Bodhi on MN 117, and understood now in MN 117 a number of synonyms describing the same mental factor/faculty were used for the noble right intention/thought (intentional thinking): thinking, thought, intention, directing/inclination of the mind + fixation of the mind + absorption of the mind (on an intention/thought -- non-sensuality, or non-ill will, or non-cruelty); this mental factor is responsible for verbal formation (speech).

As to those terms used in SĀ 785 and SĀ 789 describing the noble right intention/thought, they have a bit deeper meaning into the intentional thinking process: discriminate (between wholesome and unwholesome resolve/thinking), resolve, understand, repeatedly incline/direct the mind (計數?) and make resolution for right resolve/thinking. [何等為正志是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊?謂:聖弟子苦、苦思惟,集……滅……道、道思惟,無漏思惟相應心法,分別、自決、意解、計數、立意,是名正志,是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊。]

Also a number of synonyms describing the same mental factor (wisdom) were used for the noble right view in MN 117 and SĀ 785 : discriminate (a view as right or wrong view "分別邪正、真妄", "抉擇正見"), investigate and inquire, breakthrough and realize (what's wrong view and what's right view). [何等為正志是聖、出世間、無漏、不取、正盡苦、轉向苦邊?謂:聖弟子苦苦思惟。集(集思惟)。滅(滅思惟)。 道道思惟。無漏思惟相應。於法選擇。分別推求。覺知黠慧。開覺觀察。]

These three suttas (MN 117, SĀ 785 and SĀ 789) are indeed different from the other suttas in how they defined the N8P -- instead of defining the path factors in terms of results, they defined the path factors more in terms of mental faculties/processes, helping us understand how to obtain those results. The most helpful aspect of the two Agama suttas is that they teach those who have understood 4NT how to perfect each path factor by using the transcendental/supramundane approach of 4NT, instead of only the mundane approach of the Kamma law. The mundane understanding of Kamma causation-consequence can only lead to rebirth in a good destination because such understanding is not enough to eradicate ignorance, sensual desire and desire for continued existence, and hence it's the mundane path. Only the comprehension of 4NT and its application in our practice can lead to Nibbana, and hence it's the supramundane path. It's not that the noble path throws away the 8 path factors, but that it employs a more powerful approach (together with the mundane approach) to perfect each path factor, to my understanding.

It's important that we use our independent/critical thinking to discriminate and investigate if a sutta teaching is genuine or not, instead of depending upon inference/here sayings -- this is exactly the noble right view that these three suttas teach us.

Metta to all!
Last edited by starter on Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vinasp
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by vinasp » Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:09 pm

Hi starter,

Even though I have been studying the Nikayas for twenty years, I still do not understand MN 117.

"And what is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without asava's, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path."

Here are some thoughts, which may, of course, be completely wrong.

1. The phrase 'noble path'. Could it be that that the 'transcendent' sections are not
talking about the noble eightfold path, but about a noble path? Perhaps the noble
eightfold path is what is called the learners path (sekha), and that there is a final
section for the non-learner (asekha). This is sometimes called the 'tenfold path' and
sometimes the 'arahants path'.

2. The phrase '(one) whose mind is without asava's'. This is very puzzling. Many
passages which seem to be describing enlightenment speak of the destruction of the
three asava's. It is usually understood that an arahant has destroyed these three
asava's, and that this represents the end of the path.

But, perhaps the destruction of the three asava's represents the completion of the
learners path. This would mean that the 'transcendent' sections of MN 117 are speaking
of a non-learner.

This could be discussed on another thread if you wish.

Regards, Vincent.

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:55 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi starter,

Even though I have been studying the Nikayas for twenty years, I still do not understand MN 117.
--It might be too bold for me to comment on your understanding of the sutta as a starter who has studied it for only a couple of times; but I'll try.

"And what is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without asava's, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without asava's, transcendent, a factor of the path."

Here are some thoughts, which may, of course, be completely wrong.

1. The phrase 'noble path'. Could it be that that the 'transcendent' sections are not
talking about the noble eightfold path, but about a noble path? Perhaps the noble
eightfold path is what is called the learners path (sekha), and that there is a final
section for the non-learner (asekha). This is sometimes called the 'tenfold path' and
sometimes the 'arahants path'.
--I agree with you that the 'noble path' here means a particular path (Right intention/thought) instead of the whole N8P. The section for the non-learner (who hasn't understood 4NT) is what I call the mundane path, which aims at the effacement of 10 unwholesome deeds, establishment of the 8 path factors and the understanding of 4NT. The section for the trainee (sekha, who has understood 4NT) is what I call the Noble path, which aims at the perfection of the 8 path factors leading to the fruits of Right knowledge and Right liberation ("10-fold path").

2. The phrase '(one) whose mind is without asava's'. This is very puzzling. Many
passages which seem to be describing enlightenment speak of the destruction of the
three asava's. It is usually understood that an arahant has destroyed these three
asava's, and that this represents the end of the path.

-- The Chinese translation of asavas ("leaks") can mean not only the three root defilements ("leak" for sensual desires, "leak" for being/becoming, and "leak" for ignorance), but also not intact/perfect in something -- only when something has a "leak", the "influxes" can come in and "effluxes" can go out. I'd interpret the phrase 'the right resolve that is without asava's' as 'the right resolve that is being perfected', therefore "who is fully possessed of the noble path (of right solve)".

I tend to interpret the phrase '(one) whose mind is without asava's' as '(one) whose mind is without wrong resolve (being perfected in right resolve'), especially because it's immediately followed by the phrase 'who is fully possessed of the noble path'.


Just my two cents, which could be wrong. Metta to all!

vinasp
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by vinasp » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:54 pm

Hi starter,

It seems that you have not understood my post correctly. This is my fault, I should
have taken more trouble to explain clearly.

The passage which I quoted was just an example to show the words used. I took one of your
quotes, and edited it. But I was commenting on the whole of MN 117.

starter: "I agree with you that the 'noble path' here means a particular path (Right intention/thought) instead of the whole N8P."

You misunderstood me here. What I meant was that the path from stream entry to
non-returner, which has eight factors, is called the learners (sekha) course (path).
The final part, from non-return to arahant, which has ten factors, is called, in MN 117,
'the noble path'.

starter: " The section for the non-learner (who hasn't understood 4NT) is what I call the mundane path, which aims at the effacement of 10 unwholesome deeds, establishment of the 8 path factors and the understanding of 4NT."

In the four Pali Nikaya's, the asekha (non-learner) is a higher stage than the sekha
(learner). The one who has not yet understood the 4NT is the puthujjana (worldling,
or the ordinary man).

starter: "The section for the trainee (sekha, who has understood 4NT) is what I call the Noble path, which aims at the perfection of the 8 path factors leading to the fruits of Right knowledge and Right liberation ("10-fold path")."

What I would say is this: The section for the trainee (sekha, who has understood 4NT)
is what I call the 'trainee's course', it has eight factors and is the first, and main
part of the noble eightfold path, up to non-returner. Beyond this the path has ten
factors. This final part of the path is called, in MN 117, the noble path.

Because 'this world' has ceased for a non-returner, and he has arisen in the 'other
world', the last part of the path is called 'lokuttara' (world transcending, supramundane, transcendent.)

These are just some ideas, do not worry if they make no sense to you.

Kind regards, Vincent.

SarathW
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by SarathW » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:21 am

[quote="starter"]Dear daverupa, Hanzze and other friends,

Thanks for the very helpful comments and reference, which led to the finding of the following Agama sutta, which clearly explained the two paths (mundane 8-fold path and supramundane 8-fold path):

Hi Starter- Thanks for providing some infomation about Agama sutta. Can a none Buddhist possess Mundane Right View. For example say Bodhisatta or Jesus Christ?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:13 pm

Hello SarathW, vinasp and other friends,

Thanks for your comments. As to SarathW's question about mundane right view, here is the Buddha's definition:

'And what is the right view that has assavas ["leaks" (not being perfected)], sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' [MN 117]

It seems to me that a none Buddhist can possess mundane right view. However, since s/he isn't following the Buddha's teaching, s/he wouldn't be walking the Buddha's 8-fold path toward the understanding of 4NT (the supramundane right view), and won't enter the Noble 8-fold path toward Nibbana. Therefore, a Bodhisatta will have to stay in Samsara until all his paramis are perfected and then become a self-enlightened Buddha, without a teacher. We are lucky to be born in an era when the Buddha's teaching is still accessible, so as long as we follow his teaching and walk the 8-fold path we can become enlightened and liberated even within this life time.

Metta to all!

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:26 pm

Today I read an article on how to remove craving. It says mindfulness is the way -- objective observation and meditation on mindfulness of body, feelings, mind and Dhammas should be practiced; the Buddha said, “This is the only direct way for this purpose.”

It reminded me some other readings about Satipatthāna practice. Since at the end of MN 10 the Buddha's words were recorded as "If anyone would develop these four establishments of mindfulness in this way for seven days [up to seven years], one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return." Some practitioners were diligently practicing these four mindfulness for many years but didn't become enlightened and were wondering why.

I believe that the Buddha's teaching on the four mindfulness was meant as part of the N8P, instead of practicing only the mindfulness in isolation, without the foundation of Sila (including not only observing precepts but more broad --- right view, right resolve/thinking, right speech/action/livelihood) and the establishment of Samadhi (also more broad as I understand -- including right effort, right mindfulness and right Samadhi). I believe that objective observation of body, feeling, mind and Dhammas alone wouldn't be sufficient for enlightenment, which needs the effacement of the unwholesome and the cultivation of the wholesome. I also wonder if the Buddha's teaching on Satipatthāna has been misunderstood/misinterpreted, and if emphasizing such mindfulness practice in isolation of the other path factors is the reason for the failure of enlightenment.

I believe the way to eliminate craving (the 3rd Noble Truth) is the complete N8P (the 4th Noble Truth), which starts from right view, is guided by right resolve/thinking, has fulfilled right speech/action/livelihood, and established right effort, right mindfulness and right Samadhi, which will lead to right knowledge/insight and right liberation -- ending of craving/Nibbana.

Your input would be appreciated. Thanks and metta!

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daverupa
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by daverupa » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:33 pm

starter wrote:I believe that the Buddha's teaching on the four mindfulness was meant as part of the N8P...
The term "samma-" isn't translated well by the English "right-", I think. I'm naught but a myopic Pali hobbyist, but I read samma- as "integrative", which is to say that each path aspect must integrate, support, and be found in a practical web of interaction with the other aspects.

So, "right mindfulness" is misleading - better might be "integrative mindfulness", mindfulness which integrates the preceding aspects of the Path and develops them into a proper foundation for what follows. There's a lot of feedback, back and forth, among aspects of the Path. Running and circling, as it were...
  • "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]

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:06 am

Greetings!

In the following suttas, the buddha clearly outlined the sequence of the practice for the path:

SN Chapter I - 45 Maggasamyutta Connected Discourses on the Path,

1 (1) Ignorance

“Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along. For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up. For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up. For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up. For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up. For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up. For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.

“Bhikkhus, true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing following along. For a wise person who has arrived at true knowledge, right view (of 4NT) springs up. For one of right view, right intention (and thinking) springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up.”

2 (2) Half the Holy Life

“And how, Ānanda, does a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path? Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu develops right view, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops right intention (and thinking) … right speech ... right action ... right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right concentration, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path.

Metta to all!

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:05 pm

Greetings!

I truly realized today that one must have a sound understanding of the Buddha's teaching and path before walking the path. I previously thought that at least a practitioner can walk the path by first practicing dana/caga (and metta, ...) before comprehending the teaching and path, and practicing dana/caga (and metta, ...) would help him understand the teaching. But when I saw that some practitioner(s) might not be following (unknowingly) the Buddha's teaching on dana/caga (and metta, ...), and might get distracted, e.g. by trying to become a world saver, ..., I realized that in order to practice dana/caga (and metta ...) in the right way, one must first establish Right View of the Buddha's teaching on dana/caga (and metta ...) as one's guide. Before walking the path, one must understand the path well enough, otherwise one could easily go astray.

If I become distracted or go astray in the path, I would greatly appreciate the camaraderies' alert. Thanks and metta!

Starter

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:46 pm

Just figured out why stream winners are destined to nibbana. It's because they have entered the stream of the Dhamma and have become independent of others in the Teacher's teaching -- they know how to rely on the Teacher's teaching to walk the path without being misled by others or going astray.

Thanks and metta!

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