Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:28 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hopefully you are not pushing people in to the position of being heretics :)


That's exactly what people who insist that "believing" in unverifiable aspects of the teaching is an essential pre-requisite are doing. It's unskilful and uncharacteristic of Buddhists if you survey 2500 years of tolerence and integration with indiginous beliefs.

Admitting you can't be sure on certain points is not only honest, but is more than adequate to support the eightfold path.

Of course denial is a problem, because the view is fixed if for no other reason, but it would be a shame if we needed to use the word heretic in Buddhism.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby LazyOne » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:34 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Ña?a wrote:
Human knowledge of the natural sciences has developed significantly in the last 400 years. Human knowledge of kamma, rebirth, and the noble eightfold path has not.
.
Possibly it could be said that the development is that less people now hold "belief" in rebirth, after life, unknown forces, superstition (if that is the case). Hopefully you are not pushing people in to the position of being heretics :)

From my experience Atheists and especially former Christians have a hard time accepting anything doing with spirituality that cannot be backed up by science. Not saying Atheists are bad people but they tend to have (for lack of a better term) and aversion to anything spiritual or religious.
User avatar
LazyOne
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:16 pm

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:01 pm

nowheat wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What I meant was that we take the possibility of nibbana on faith, and then we practice. As you say:
retrofuturist wrote:But that doesn't contradict your statement that "There is an appeal to authority by all non-ariyan Dhamma practitioners."


I say it does contradict. This is where the difference is, as far as I can tell. Mike is saying that faith comes first, and then practice bears it out, whereas I would say that practice comes first, then experience, then confidence, and faith has nothing to do with it.

And anyway, it seems to me that Mike's "taking the possibility of nibbana" isn't faith at all. It's accepting a possibility. Faith is *believing* in something, not accepting something as a possible.

Perhaps we just differ in our definitions, then.

Let me put it another way. Practice gives me some confidence that the suttas (and commentaries and modern teachers) have much information in them that is useful and correct. Therefore, I am inclined to have some confidence that nibbana is possible. However, my experience in no way proves it. It's taken on authority of the suttas (and, of course, on observing more advanced practitioners, and so on).

The possibility that dukkha can be completely eliminated is very radical, and goes way beyond anything I have every experienced. Since the suttas state that an annihilationist view (or eternalist, or various other views...) will make that elimination of dukkha impossible, I'm inclined to take that admonition rather seriously...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:19 pm

LazyOne wrote:From my experience Atheists and especially former Christians have a hard time accepting anything doing with spirituality that cannot be backed up by science. Not saying Atheists are bad people but they tend to have (for lack of a better term) an aversion to anything spiritual or religious.


And that is one of the reasons I like and have no problem with the term atheist or atheism associated with Buddhism. It is not unskillful and is actually skillful, as in skillful means. There are many attracted to the more rational teachings of Buddhism and many tend to be agnostic or atheist. Yes, there are teachings of celestial beings and other realms and other supernatural things, but they are not the essence; the teachings on suffering and they way out of suffering.

I remember well many assemblies of patricians, priests, householders, ascetics and gods…that I have attended. Before I sat with them, spoke to them or joined their conversation, I adopted their appearance and their speech whatever it might be and then I instructed them in Dhamma’ (DN II,109). The Buddha told his monks and nuns that when teaching Dhamma in foreign parts they should adopt the language of the people they were living with (MN III,235).
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8008
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:28 pm

nowheat wrote:Where does the Buddha say one must accept the actuality of the next world to attain stream-entry?

One has to align all eight factors of the noble eightfold path to attain stream-entry. Therefore, wrong views cannot be present.

nowheat wrote:How does changing the views of the people who go for refuge in the three jewels allow monks to beg alms in places where it is illegal?

Food can be brought to the monastery and prepared by a kitchen steward, and so on. This is commonly done and doesn't violate the vinaya, nor does it impede the generation of merit on the part of the lay donors.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:43 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
nowheat wrote:Where does the Buddha say one must accept the actuality of the next world to attain stream-entry?

One has to align all eight factors of the noble eightfold path to attain stream-entry. Therefore, wrong views cannot be present.

nowheat wrote:How does changing the views of the people who go for refuge in the three jewels allow monks to beg alms in places where it is illegal?

Food can be brought to the monastery and prepared by a kitchen steward, and so on. This is commonly done and doesn't violate the vinaya, nor does it impede the generation of merit on the part of the lay donors.


Yes - this is done in countries like Australia where there is no understanding of Alms Rounds and where 'begging' is illegal. We have a monthly roster with most families taking a particular morning to bring the meal - our monk/s are strict and do not eat after midday. It works very well.

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 ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7475
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby nowheat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:55 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Again, materialism is a wrong view. Rejecting the actuality of the next world is a wrong view. Equivocating about the next world is a wrong view. It's impossible to attain the first noble path of stream-entry while maintaining a wrong view. Likewise, it's impossible to attain the higher paths and fruitions and full liberation while maintaining a wrong view. In other words, these wrong views are impediments to seeing the four noble truths.

nowheat wrote:Where does the Buddha say one must accept the actuality of the next world to attain stream-entry?

Ñāṇa wrote:One has to align all eight factors of the noble eightfold path to attain stream-entry. Therefore, wrong views cannot be present.


I am taking "rejecting the actuality of the next world" to mean that the opposite is necessary: "accepting the actuality of the next world". But if you mean "holding the dogmatic view that there cannot be a next world" then we are agreed. If you mean "accepting the actuality of the next world" then I would like to know where the Buddha says that accepting its actuality is necessary. I am not asking for a generalized statement that "it's part of the noble eightfold path" but where specifically it says one must accept the actuality of the next world to have right view.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:05 pm

nowheat wrote: If you mean "accepting the actuality of the next world" then I would like to know where the Buddha says that accepting its actuality is necessary. I am not asking for a generalized statement that "it's part of the noble eightfold path" but where specifically it says one must accept the actuality of the next world to have right view.

Not clear what you mean by acceptance, but I guess we agree that views like the following are said in the suttas to be a hindrance to the path:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. ...

Or various other quotes on this thread about annihilationism:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11852&start=20#p179703

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby daverupa » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:21 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
nowheat wrote:Where does the Buddha say one must accept the actuality of the next world to attain stream-entry?

One has to align all eight factors of the noble eightfold path to attain stream-entry. Therefore, wrong views cannot be present.


If so, that means sammasamadhi would also have to be present - which means jhana - but this is not necessarily the case, even for once-returners.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4096
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby rowboat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:24 pm

nowheat: I am not asking for a generalized statement that "it's part of the noble eightfold path" but where specifically it says one must accept the actuality of the next world to have right view.


One example is found in MN 117:

The Blessed One said, "Monks, I will teach you noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions. Listen, and pay close attention. I will speak."

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.

[1] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view?'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, 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.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
User avatar
rowboat
 
Posts: 428
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby daverupa » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:27 pm

rowboat wrote:One example is found in MN 117


It'll be useful to recollect this .pdf article by Ven. Analayo, which discusses the structure and language of this Sutta and the likelihood that its demarcation of "right view" and "right view with effluents" is traceable to a later Abhidhamma stratum of composition. This means that such a demarcation is possibly a later development, made much of by disciples but not made as much of by the Buddha. (Similar with the additions of the A2, B2 sections of the other Majjhima Nikaya Sutta which is often cited in this connection.)

One might call this sort of thing "creeping brahminism", if one was so inclined.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4096
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:38 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Not clear what you mean by acceptance, but I guess we agree that views like the following are said in the suttas to be a hindrance to the path:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Nobody is disputing that annihilationism is wrong view as defined in the quotes you posted and have been posted several times throughout the thread.

So on the flip side having agreed rejection is wrong the question is is acceptance mandatory.

What I believe nowheat is asking for is the reference that supports Nana's assertion that belief in (or acceptance of) a worldview that includes literal rebirth as a fact is a prerequisite to the eightfold path and/or a pre-requisite to stream entry.

Something i've been struggling to pin down also.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby rowboat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:44 pm

It'll be useful to recollect this .pdf article by Ven. Analayo, which discusses the structure and language of this Sutta and the likelihood that its demarcation of "right view" and "right view with effluents" is traceable to a later Abhidhamma stratum of composition. This means that such a demarcation is possibly a later development, made much of by disciples but not made as much of by the Buddha. (Similar with the additions of the A2, B2 sections of the other Majjhima Nikaya Sutta which is often cited in this connection.)


The above may or may not pertain to the question; yet for me it's not a concern as I'm able to directly and clearly recollect several previous lives--including my most recent previous life in the catumaharajika deva realm.

Re MN: 117. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi gives three extensive lectures on the Maha-cattarisaka Sutta, found under VI: The Practice In Detail
http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html
Last edited by rowboat on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5
User avatar
rowboat
 
Posts: 428
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:46 pm

Hi Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:What I believe nowheat is asking for is the reference that supports Nana's assertion that belief in (or acceptance of) a worldview that includes literal rebirth as a fact is a prerequisite to the eightfold path and/or a pre-requisite to stream entry.

Something i've been struggling to pin down also.


Have a read of the Buddha's advice to a group of rebirth skeptics in MN 60: Apannaka Sutta.
It makes for some interesting reading and should put your mind at rest.
with Metta,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16046
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:54 pm

rowboat wrote:One example is found in MN 117:


I think this supports the point, it goes on to say;

"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


I don't know about you but I think I'd much rather have right view that is without effluents, not that the two are mutually exclusive but the Buddha is clearly favouring one over the other.

Right view with effluents (aka pollutants) seems to be around the pre-Buddhist teachings on kamma, rebirth, morality etc which are shown to be important but are about the problem and the context for the Buddhadhamma not the Buddhas solution to these problems. I believe "baggage" would be an appropriate modern term for effluents.

It seems pretty clear, but let me know if i'm barking up the wrong tree here.

Right view without effluents seens to be mostly about wisdom, discernment, nobility, the kinds of qualities you'd expect to develop practising the eightfold path.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:11 pm

Ben wrote:Have a read of the Buddha's advice to a group of rebirth skeptics in MN 60: Apannaka Sutta.
It makes for some interesting reading and should put your mind at rest.
with Metta,


I agree with this that avoiding an annihilationist view is a safer bet "If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a good throw twice". It's interesting how the Buddha is happy to talk in terms of "If there really is a next world" however according to some people we aren't allowed to do so today. This passage encourages reflection and reason, not faith or blind belief I'd have thought.

This passage still doesn't answer the question though, a safe bet is not the same as a prerequisite.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:11 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Not clear what you mean by acceptance, but I guess we agree that views like the following are said in the suttas to be a hindrance to the path:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Nobody is disputing that annihilationism is wrong view as defined in the quotes you posted and have been posted several times throughout the thread.

So on the flip side having agreed rejection is wrong the question is is acceptance mandatory.

It seems clear that not holding a materialist-annihilationist view is mandatory.

Could we discuss what that would mean in practice?

:coffee:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:It seems clear that not holding a materialist-annihilationist view is mandatory.

Well, Goof did just say, and has been saying throughout that "Nobody is disputing that annihilationism is wrong view".

mikenz66 wrote:Could we discuss what that would mean in practice?

By that, I'm assuming you mean "not holding a materialist-annihilationist view".

In practice, this means not holding a materialist-annihilationist view. Is there more to it than that?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:21 pm

retrofuturist wrote:In practice, this means not holding a materialist-annihilationist view. Is there more to it than that?

I think you need to be a little more detailed than that, given the context of this thread. What sort of attitudes towards the idea of post-mortem rebirth does it require?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:24 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:What sort of attitudes towards the idea of post-mortem rebirth does it require?

Right, which takes us back to the line Goofaholix was pursuing...

goofaholix wrote:What I believe nowheat is asking for is the reference that supports Nana's assertion that belief in (or acceptance of) a worldview that includes literal rebirth as a fact is a prerequisite to the eightfold path and/or a pre-requisite to stream entry.

Something i've been struggling to pin down also.

I too would like to see this.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: puppha and 9 guests