Dhamma as a raft

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Dhamma as a raft

Postby Stephen K » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:25 pm

A question about the Dhamma as a raft, which should be abandoned after reaching the further shore — what exactly is abandoned? Surely arahants do not abandon compassion, moral conduct, mindfulness, wisdom and any other positive qualities.

What do arahants abandon?
:anjali:
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana (Stephen)


My philosophy is simple: Saying 'yes' to the positive and 'no' to the negative; because the positive is so much better than the negative.

Stop the evil; start and continue the good.
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby meindzai » Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:38 pm

Those qualities have become established for them, so they don't need to "practice" anymore. They've "done what needs to be done" and are completely finished. They are quite naturally unable to break precepts or give rise to any unwholesome states of mind.

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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby Stephen K » Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:44 pm

meindzai wrote:so they don't need to "practice" anymore.

Oh I see... nice explanation.

So it doesn't mean that they abandon them, just that they don't practice them since they have been fully developed already. Right?
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana (Stephen)


My philosophy is simple: Saying 'yes' to the positive and 'no' to the negative; because the positive is so much better than the negative.

Stop the evil; start and continue the good.
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:01 pm

Greetings Stefan,

Are you able to provide a sutta quotation to assist us in putting this context, particularly as the word dhamma can have multiple meanings.

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


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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:11 pm

I think he is referring to the Alagaddupama Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Good introductory words by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and how sometimes this is misinterpreted. One does not give up on the Dhamma after crossing over.

Here is another good explanation:

http://www.yellowrobe.com/teachings/gen ... -raft.html
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:30 pm

Greetings David,

Yes, I assumed it was this sutta.

This line is interesting...

"Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas."


Here I've heard that the 'dhammas' actually let go of are positive, kammically active mindstates rooted in generosity, lovingkindness and wisdom, "to say nothing of" kammically active mindstates rooted in aversion, greed and delusion.

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)
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:03 am

Stefan wrote:
meindzai wrote:so they don't need to "practice" anymore.

Oh I see... nice explanation.

So it doesn't mean that they abandon them, just that they don't practice them since they have been fully developed already. Right?


Hi Stefan,

Right, they aren't abandoned. They've been incorporated and de-emphasized. For example:

When we start learning to ride a bicycle our first primary focus is on the practice of careful steering, eye/hand/feet coordination, balance... just the basics.

When we're competent in these practices then we let go of this primary focus. Our new primary focus becomes the practice of riding in traffic, being aware of potholes, obeying traffic laws, etc...(a more expansive view) while continuing to refine our steering, balancing, and coordinating eye/hand/feet practices in the background of awareness. This new primary focus and practices also continuously serve to refine the basic practices (steering, etc...)

To the degree that we refine these new practices and let go of primarily focusing on them, our view expands again and our primary focus becomes practicing to ride faster and effortlessly negotiate challenges and risks more effectively. This new primary focus and practices also serve to continuously refine all the previous practices we've learned that we continue to practice in the background of awareness.

This constant practicing/refining/letting go continues to expand our ability and our view - the more we refine practices, the less need there is to hold them in the foreground of awareness...we engage/practice/refine them organically in the background and our view expands in the foreground.

Then at some point we might find ourselves enjoying the ride immensely and effectively with no conscious effort or primary focus on the elemental practices that are continuously being employed and refined in the background. The continuous refining of practices in the background of awareness results in an en-joy-ing of the experience in the foreground of awareness which becomes our new expanded primary focus/view. The integration ( en- joining - ing ) of practice in the background of our awareness is further refined by the resulting organic unconstrained en - joy - ing in the foreground moment.

We de-emphasize elements of the raft (practices and various primary focus) as we go but we never lose their benefits. At some point we de-emphasize the entire raft - there being no further need for it in the foreground of awareness. We are the bike, balance, steering, coordination, the smell of the air, the noise, the traffic, the body, the mind, the speed, the curves, the potholes, the trees, the universe. Its all one ride. :tongue:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:07 pm

To the extent that the Dhamma is the raft it is abandoned. I think the Buddha made it very clear that the raft is to be abandoned....even suggests that it might just as well be sunk. All the stuff that one learns from the Buddha's teachings which help towards awakening are not meant to be objects to be cherished but to be tools to achieve an end and when the end is reached there is absolutely no need for the tools.....so they are abandoned....even the most cherished stuff just becomes excess baggage when the end is reached....I guess.
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Re: Dhamma as a raft

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:52 pm

Surely an important element in the metaphor of the raft is the fact that a raft is needed at all, because in that same metaphor a body of water needs to be crossed. Clearly that body of water is too wide and/or turbulent to be crossed unaided. So it follows that the raft can only be abandoned on reaching the other side. Which further means for the vast majority of us a situation that we can only speculate about, being firmly established on THIS side of the water, or at best a short distance from this shore..I think for most of us deciding at which point we are going to ditch the Dhamma is a tad presumptious.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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