Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:13 am

It appears that way, doesn't it? ;)

All the things we like to do, enjoy sensual pleasure, sex, food, distraction, games, you name it....it's not really conducive to attaining Nibanna, is it?

So....when we do indulge in what is pleasant, is it that we need to relax at times, or...what is it?

Thoughts, anybody? 8-)

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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Guy » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:17 am

Hi Annabel,

I think we need pleasure, plain and simple. Either we get it from the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) or we get it from the sixth sense (the mind). The Buddha praised the latter type of pleasure such as Metta, Jhana, etc.

With Metta,

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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby baratgab » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:20 am

Annabel wrote:So....when we do indulge in what is pleasant, is it that we need to relax at times, or...what is it?


I would say that it is because we suffer. :) The urge to do, the urge to experience (and of course, the whole state of being) comes from inherent dissatisfaction. If one is satisfied, there is no need to do anything, there is no motivation to do anything.* If you think about it, it's quite logical: doing is seeking satisfaction; and what else could be the motivation to seek satisfaction than the state of dissatisfaction?

*This could explain how it can be that one who awakens can simply cease without teaching any being. For me, it's quite easy to imagine that if there is no trigger (like Brahma's alleged invitation to teach in the case of Gautama), the wheel doesn't start to revolve.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:27 am

There is nothing wrong with pleasure, it's the craving that's associated with it that's the problem.

If one had nothing but pleasure then one would never develop the subtlety and strength of mind that develops by observing subtle differences in neutral feeling.

Also if one were lucky enough to be able to indulge in all of the pleasure one wanted for the rest of ones life it would soon become boring, one would eventually crave something else, anything but the same old pleasure over and over.

So if you think pleasure is going to satisfy you then go right ahead, I'm sure the Buddha would say there is a lesson to be learned.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:41 am

Annabel said: All the things we like to do, enjoy sensual pleasure, sex, food, distraction, games, you name it....it's not really conducive to attaining Nibanna, is it?


I think one of the things the Buddha pointed to, was that all of these things may bring temporary happiness .... they are impermanent, they stop or end, and therefore are conducive to suffering.
And, as others have noted, they don't decrease craving or delusion .... also conducive to the increase in suffering.

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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:58 am

The Dhamma goes against the current of the world.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:13 am

I don't think anything short of some intensive meditation practice can convince one that the Buddha rather than being a spoil sport offered a path to happiness.

Many of us have returned from retreats with a mind a touch sharper and the habits (temporarily) in check and discovered that what we thought brought us pleasure was actually not appealing at all, and the pleasure was not really pleasure but rather a knot of conditioned craving and belief, what is sometimes termed "inverted thinking".

But nothing short of experience tends to suffice and even the experience may not really last...

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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:31 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:The Dhamma goes against the current of the world.

:thumbsup:

Any attempt to ride the horse of the Dhamma at the same time as the horse of conventional pleasures will result in our failing to ride either without coming a cropper. We will be increasingly unable to pursue enjoyment in "compounded things," but will have the rewards of the Dhamma only in diluted form.
This is a matter that is easily verifiable for ourselves.
Basically its our choice.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby appicchato » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:35 am

What goes up has to come down... :juggling:
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Sekha » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:53 am

Magandiya was an hedonist samana and considered the buddha as a spoilsport:


MN 75 wrote:"Magandiya, suppose that there was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. His friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him, and thanks to the medicine he would be cured of his leprosy: well & happy, free, master of himself, going wherever he liked. Then suppose two strong men, having grabbed him with their arms, were to drag him to a pit of glowing embers. What do you think? Wouldn't he twist his body this way & that?"

"Yes, master Gotama. Why is that? The fire is painful to the touch, very hot & scorching."

"Now what do you think, Magandiya? Is the fire painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, only now, or was it also that way before?"

"Both now & before is it painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, master Gotama. It's just that when the man was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, his faculties were impaired, which was why, even though the fire was actually painful to the touch, he had the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'"

"In the same way, Magandiya, sensual pleasures in the past were painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; sensual pleasures in the future will be painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; sensual pleasures at present are painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; but when beings are not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — their faculties are impaired, which is why, even though sensual pleasures are actually painful to the touch, they have the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'

"Now suppose that there was a leper covered with sores & infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. The more he cauterized his body over the pit of glowing embers, the more disgusting, foul-smelling, & putrid the openings of his wounds would become, and yet he would feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction because of the itchiness of his wounds. In the same way, beings not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — indulge in sensual pleasures. The more they indulge in sensual pleasures, the more their sensual craving increases and the more they burn with sensual fever, and yet they feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction dependent on the five strings of sensuality.

"Now what do you think, Magandiya? Have you ever seen or heard of a king or king's minister — enjoying himself, provided & endowed with the five strings of sensuality, without abandoning sensual craving, without removing sensual fever — who has dwelt or will dwell or is dwelling free from thirst, his mind inwardly at peace?"

"No, master Gotama."

"Very good, Magandiya. Neither have I ever seen or heard of a king or king's minister — enjoying himself, provided & endowed with the five strings of sensuality, without abandoning sensual craving, without removing sensual fever — who has dwelt or will dwell or is dwelling free from thirst, his mind inwardly at peace. But whatever priests or contemplatives who have dwelt or will dwell or are dwelling free from thirst, their minds inwardly at peace, all have done so having realized — as it actually is present — the origination & disappearance, the allure, the danger, & the escape from sensual pleasures, having abandoned sensual craving and removed sensual fever."

Then at that moment the Blessed One exclaimed,


Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune.
Unbinding: the foremost ease.
The eightfold: the foremost of paths
going to the
Deathless,
Secure.
When this was said, Magandiya the wanderer said to the Blessed One, "It's amazing, master Gotama. It's astounding, how this, too, is well-stated by master Gotama: 'Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune. Unbinding: the foremost ease.' We have also heard this said by earlier wanderers in the lineage of our teachers: 'Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune. Unbinding: the foremost ease.' This agrees with that."

"But as for what you have heard said by earlier wanderers in the lineage of your teachers, Magandiya — 'Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune. Unbinding: the foremost ease' — which freedom from disease is that, which Unbinding?"

When this was said, Magandiya the wanderer rubbed his own limbs with his hand. "This is that freedom from disease, master Gotama," he said. "This is that Unbinding. For I am now free from disease, happy, and nothing afflicts me."

"Magandiya, it's just as if there were a man blind from birth who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... or pink objects; who couldn't see even or uneven places, the stars, the sun, or the moon. He would hear a man with good eyesight saying, 'How wonderful, good sirs, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean.' He would go in search of something white. Then another man would fool him with a grimy, oil-stained rag: 'Here, my good man, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean.' The blind man would take it and put it on. Having put it on, gratified, he would exclaim words of gratification, 'How wonderful, good sirs, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean.' Now what do you think, Magandiya? When that man blind from birth took the grimy, oil-stained rag and put it on; and, having put it on, gratified, exclaimed words of gratification, 'How wonderful, good sirs, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean': Did he do so knowing & seeing, or out of faith in the man with good eyesight?"

"Of course he did it not knowing & not seeing, master Gotama, but out of faith in the man with good eyesight."

"In the same way, Magandiya, the wanderers of other sects are blind & eyeless. Without knowing freedom from disease, without seeing Unbinding, they still speak this verse:


Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune.
Unbinding: the foremost ease.
"This verse was stated by earlier worthy ones, fully self-awakened:


Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune.
Unbinding: the foremost ease.
The eightfold: the foremost of paths
going to the
Deathless,
Secure.
"But now it has gradually become a verse of run-of-the-mill people.

"This body, Magandiya, is a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction. And yet you say, with reference to this body, which is a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction: 'This is that freedom from disease, master Gotama. This is that Unbinding,' for you don't have the noble vision with which you would know freedom from disease and see Unbinding."

"I'm convinced, master Gotama, that you can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I would know freedom from disease, that I would see Unbinding."

"Magandiya, it's just as if there were a man blind from birth who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... the sun or the moon. His friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him, but in spite of the medicine his eyesight would not appear or grow clear. What do you think, Magandiya? Would that doctor have nothing but his share of weariness & disappointment?"

"Yes, master Gotama."

"In the same way, Magandiya, if I were to teach you the Dhamma — 'This is that freedom from disease; this is that Unbinding' — and you on your part did not know freedom from disease or see Unbinding, that would be wearisome for me; that would be troublesome for me."

"I'm convinced, master Gotama, that you can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I would know freedom from disease, that I would see Unbinding."

"Magandiya, it's just as if there were a man blind from birth who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... the sun or the moon. Now suppose that a certain man were to take a grimy, oil-stained rag and fool him, saying, 'Here, my good man, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean.' The blind man would take it and put it on.

"Then his friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him: purges from above & purges from below, ointments & counter-ointments and treatments through the nose. And thanks to the medicine his eyesight would appear & grow clear. Then together with the arising of his eyesight, he would abandon whatever passion & delight he felt for that grimy, oil-stained rag. And he would regard that man as an enemy & no friend at all, and think that he deserved to be killed. 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by that man & his grimy, oil-stained rag! — "Here, my good man, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean."'

"In the same way, Magandiya, if I were to teach you the Dhamma — 'This is that freedom from Disease; this is that Unbinding' — and you on your part were to know that freedom from Disease and see that Unbinding, then together with the arising of your eyesight you would abandon whatever passion & delight you felt with regard for the five clinging-aggregates. And it would occur to you, 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by this mind! For in clinging, it was just form that I was clinging to... it was just feeling... just perception... just fabrications... just consciousness that I was clinging to. With my clinging as a requisite condition, there arises becoming... birth... aging & death... sorrow, lamentation, pains, distresses, & despairs. And thus is the origin of this entire mass of stress.'"
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:09 am

Some more from the Buddha

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
MN 14 Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta: The Lesser Mass of Stress
"Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, still — if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that[4]— he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality.

[4] The rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, is a factor of the first or second jhana. "Something more peaceful than that" would be any attainments higher than the second jhana.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 36.31 Niramisa Sutta: Unworldly
"There is, O monks, worldly joy, there is unworldly joy, and there is a still greater unworldly joy. There is worldly happiness, there is unworldly happiness, and there is a still greater unworldly happiness. There is worldly equanimity, there is unworldly equanimity, and there a still greater unworldly equanimity. There is worldly freedom, there is unworldly freedom, and there is a still greater unworldly freedom.
...


Dhp XXI Pakinnakavagga: Miscellaneous
290. If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater.


Metta
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:36 am

“Of paths, the eightfold is the excellent way, of the truths, the four truths when spoken, freedom from craving the most excellent of states, and of beings, the Buddha is the most excellent.”
“This is the only path; there is no other way for insight to be born into purity. Therefore, you should follow this path to overwhelm mara.”
“You should follow this path for the calming and ending of stress; I declared this path, having understood it, for the removal of your arrows.”
Dhammapada verses 273-275

“Because of rejecting duties that should be done, yet by doing what should not be done, acting heedlessly & proud, this increases the flow of ideas, which intoxicate the mind.”
“But, for those who thoroughly and constantly practice mindfulness of the body, and on account of that do their duties, not acting otherwise, always mindful & clearly know which ideas intoxicate the mind, they move for their welfare.”
Dhammapada verses 292-293
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Sekha » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:Some more from the Buddha

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
MN 14 Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta: The Lesser Mass of Stress
"Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, still — if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that[4]— he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality.

[4] The rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, is a factor of the first or second jhana. "Something more peaceful than that" would be any attainments higher than the second jhana.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 36.31 Niramisa Sutta: Unworldly
"There is, O monks, worldly joy, there is unworldly joy, and there is a still greater unworldly joy. There is worldly happiness, there is unworldly happiness, and there is a still greater unworldly happiness. There is worldly equanimity, there is unworldly equanimity, and there a still greater unworldly equanimity. There is worldly freedom, there is unworldly freedom, and there is a still greater unworldly freedom.
...


Dhp XXI Pakinnakavagga: Miscellaneous
290. If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater.


Metta
Mike



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Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:06 pm

Annabel wrote:So....when we do indulge in what is pleasant, is it that we need to relax at times, or...what is it?


People have been responding vigorously to the thread title, but what about the question which Annabel posed above? I gather that not everyone here has given up their worldly pursuits. I see occasional posts here about chess, movies, sex and the Super Bowl. Is that a case of "riding the horse of the Dhamma at the same time as the horse of conventional pleasures", or does one temporarily switch horses?

Sanghamitta wrote:Any attempt to ride the horse of the Dhamma at the same time as the horse of conventional pleasures will result in our failing to ride either without coming a cropper. We will be increasingly unable to pursue enjoyment in "compounded things," but will have the rewards of the Dhamma only in diluted form.
This is a matter that is easily verifiable for ourselves.
Basically its our choice.


You seem to be saying there is no gradual path. It's either stick to worldly joys or renounce them completely. Anything else brings a bleak result...namely, a partially disenchanted person who no longer enjoys worldly life but can't really make progress in the dhamma either. Is that the outlook for the lay Buddhist? It sounds a bit neurotic, frankly. Might it not make more sense just to skip the meditation and dhamma study for now, and work on building merit for some future rebirth?

How do you handle the two "horses" in your own life, if you don't mind me asking?
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:41 pm

Given the reactive tone of your reply, I do mind rather.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:47 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Given the reactive tone of your reply, I do mind rather.


Really sorry if my post came off that way! It wasn't intended at all -- I was just trying to articulate my question as clearly as I could. My apologies...tone can be difficult to convey in a text-only format. :thinking:
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:12 pm

I think throwing words like nuerotic around doesnt actually add light to a discussion, but apology accepted.

I find the basic premise implied in the thread title lacking in any kind of subtlety. I think it probably stems from a current crisis in saddha on the part of the questioner. Which is quite ok in fact it can be a good thing if we stay with it.
There comes a point for most practitioners of the Dhamma when they have to decide their priorities. Are they going to go all out in this lifetime ? In which case what is needful is clear. The cost is everything pretty much that is seen as normative in our culture. Or are they going to go for punya and a favourable rebirth as you say. Or is there is third position. What you have described as the gradual position. I would say that this possibilty exists, and will take us so far, and that this situation will be far more advantageous than simply living a conventional life.
However it needs to be seen clearly that if we choose that option for whatever reason, what we can achieve in this present life will have a built in limitation. We cant as the expression says have our cake and eat it. It may be however that with skill and instruction we can have more of our cake than seems currently possible. But it is a matter of great mindfulness and great perserverance.
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Guy » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:23 pm

Hi Lazy Eye,

Lazy_eye wrote:People have been responding vigorously to the thread title, but what about the question which Annabel posed above? I gather that not everyone here has given up their worldly pursuits. I see occasional posts here about chess, movies, sex and the Super Bowl. Is that a case of "riding the horse of the Dhamma at the same time as the horse of conventional pleasures", or does one temporarily switch horses?


Personally, I am a horse switcher. I am gradually trying to spend more time on the "horse of Dhamma", though I definitely spend time on the "horse of conventional pleasures", to be sure. Whenever I do decide to go for the worldly pleasures I try to keep in mind that "it's just this much" which definitely seems to help to lessen the burn of craving, though I certainly haven't eliminated craving altogether.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:31 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:I think throwing words like nuerotic around doesnt actually add light to a discussion, but apology accepted.


Yes, you're right, it's a loaded term and I should have been careful in using it. Wasn't directing it at you or anyone on the board. I meant it as a description of a certain psychological condition -- it seems to me that someone who has crippled their ability to be happy in any arena (spiritual, emotional, material) fits the definition of "neurotic". Maybe I've just seen too many Woody Allen movies.

Thanks for the follow-up post; what you're saying makes sense. I asked about personal experience because sometimes these discussions stay at a fairly abstract level, but the "devil is in the details", as the saying goes.

Have a good Monday...we're digging out of Snowmaggedon here.

Namaste,

LE
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Re: Was Buddha a spoil sport?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:37 pm

Guy wrote:
Personally, I am a horse switcher. I am gradually trying to spend more time on the "horse of Dhamma", though I definitely spend time on the "horse of conventional pleasures", to be sure. Whenever I do decide to go for the worldly pleasures I try to keep in mind that "it's just this much" which definitely seems to help to lessen the burn of craving, though I certainly haven't eliminated craving altogether.

With Metta,

Guy


Guy,

That sounds similar to my experience too, so far.
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