Would you have recognized the Buddha?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Wind
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Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:41 am

One of my favorite story in the Pai Canon is the Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta. It tells about a clansman name Pukkusati who was a follower of the Buddha even though he had not meet the Buddha in person but have only heard of him and his teaching. He was in search of the Buddha. The story follows that on one particular night, he encounter the Buddha but of course he did not know who he was. The Buddha taught him the Dhamma and only then did he recognize the Buddha. So it got me thinking, would I have recognize the Buddha had I encounter him? Would you? I guess in our time, it would be the equivalent of saying would you have recognize an Arahant if you met one?

Here is the link to the story:

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

I love the ending.
Last edited by Wind on Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kc2dpt
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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:22 pm

I dunno. There's a lot of cues not conveyed in the written text. How something is spoken, how the body is held, other intangible cues. I have heard teachings given in an admirable way and I've heard the same teachings given in an unadmirable way. So I guess I'm saying... I'd have to be there.

I can tell you a perhaps related story. Back before I was a Buddhist, I had read a lot of Buddhist teachings but I was not inspired to implement them. Then I by chance met a monk. His demeanor, his composure, his way of speaking all impressed me and led me to think that if Buddhism made him who he was then maybe there was something to these teachings worth implementing. That was the key event which led to my becoming a Buddhist.

I imagine meeting the Buddha would be something like that. You'd feel something which would inspire you to listen to what he had to say, to learn it and to implement it.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:00 pm

Such an important point. The huge impact there can be in being in the same room as someone who lives the teachings. I had a similar experience, I had read a lot. then I met a particular Bhikkhu who lived the teachings and was inspired . No matter how long it took I wanted to be like that.
Later I met many of the nuns at Chithurst and was similarly inspired.
I would imagine that meeting the Buddha must have been like that multiplied greatly.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Wind
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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:24 pm

You guys have really touch on an important point. How meeting someone who is the embodiment of the noble way could be a life changing inspiration. It reveal more reasons why so many bramins and householders became the Buddha's disciple because of the encounter with him and also why the Buddha encourage us to associate with a wise teacher or friend. It really does make a difference.

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Goedert » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:48 am

Sure it does friend, Sure it does...

The presence of a living being say so much. The body movement and face show many things for the wise.

That was the impression that I have when seeing Bhante G. A living example for humankind.

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Sherab » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:54 am

There were many who did not recognize the Buddha while he was on this earth. So why would we not be one of them? I think the answer lies in whether we have the causes and conditions to recognize the Buddha as Buddha.

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Wind
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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Wind » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:44 am

Goedert wrote:Sure it does friend, Sure it does...

The presence of a living being say so much. The body movement and face show many things for the wise.

That was the impression that I have when seeing Bhante G. A living example for humankind.


Who is Bhante G? :smile:

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:48 am

Wind wrote:
Who is Bhante G? :smile:


Image

Bhante Gunaratana
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Wind
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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Wind » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:02 am

Thanks jc, that is a mighty big picture. It's like Bhante just pop out of laptop screen. :lol:


Bhante does have a very gentle smile.

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Jeffrey » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:21 am

Having just read the Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta, it seems to me the construction of the narrative is a bit contrived.

Why did the wander Pukkusati not recognize the Buddha? Does the Buddha conceal the mahā purisa lakkhaṇa, or does Pukkusati come from some culture so far away that he has never heard of these?

One of the main themes of the sutta is the ability of dedicated individuals to achieve high spiritual states independent of teachers. The author tries to highlight this by forcing the narrative,having Pukkusati killed while in search of a bowl and robe. I seem to recall suttas in which aspirants are given the going forth without the bowl and robe. Do you recall any such cases?

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:28 am

IMO "Buddha" (which means awakened one, knowing etc) exists here and now. It is directly knowable in all of us.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby santa100 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:00 am

Jeffrey wrote:Why did the wander Pukkusati not recognize the Buddha? Does the Buddha conceal the mahā purisa lakkhaṇa, or does Pukkusati come from some culture so far away that he has never heard of these?

Ven. Bodhi's note from the Comy.:
..The Buddha saw Pukkusati with his clairvoyant knowledge, and recognising his capacity to attain the paths and fruits, he journeyed alone on foot to Rajagaha to meet him. To avoid being recognised, by an act of will the Buddha caused his special physical attributes such as the marks of a Great Man to be concealed , and he appeared just like an ordinary wandering monk. He arrived at the potter's shed shortly after Pukkusati had arrived there intending to leave for Savatthi the next day in order to meet the Buddha.

Jeffrey wrote:The author tries to highlight this by forcing the narrative, having Pukkusati killed while in search of a bowl and robe. I seem to recall suttas in which aspirants are given the going forth without the bowl and robe. Do you recall any such cases?

We shouldn't jump to conclusions too soon. Ven. Piya Tan gave a bit more details about the kammic cause to Pukkusati's death:
..a stray cow running berserk, that Comy says was rushing after her wandering
young calf (MA 5:62). The cow is said to have been a yakshini (ogress) who was a cow in 100 births. In her last
birth as a cow, besides goring Pukkusāti to death (DhA 2:35), she also killed the monk Bāhiya Dāru,ciriya, the public
executioner Tamba,dāhika and the leper Suppabuddha (UA 289). In a past life, the cow was a courtesan and these
four men, the sons of wealthy merchants, took her to a park for the pleasure of her company. In the evening, they
killed her and took back the jewels and money they had given her. While dying, she vowed vengeance to kill them
in a hundred existences. (UA 289; DhA 2:35)

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Jeffrey » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:18 am

Thank you for the reply, Santa. In Christianity this is called apologetics, in science-fiction retcon. Is there a proper literary term in Pali or Sanskrit?

Regarding the going forth, I'm trying to find instances where no mention of bowls or robes is made. For example, in the Daruka-khandha Sutta: The Log:

"The cows, lord, have been led back to their owners. Let me obtain the Going-forth in the Blessed One's presence! Let me obtain the Full Acceptance!"

So Nanda the cowherd obtained the Going-forth in the Blessed One's presence, he obtained the Full Acceptance.

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


Or the Jata Sutta: The Tangle:

Let me obtain the going forth in Master Gotama's presence, let me obtain admission."

Then the brahman Jata Bharadvaja received the going forth & the admission in the Blessed One's presence.

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

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby silver surfer » Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:07 am

No doubt.

:anjali:

santa100
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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:21 am

Jeffrey wrote:In Christianity this is called apologetics, in science-fiction retcon. Is there a proper literary term in Pali or Sanskrit?

I don't think Buddhism has such concept. There is presenting of information, yes, but the presenter has no interest in "defending" his position. He's done his part after giving the info. The other side is free to use that info. or not. That's why the Buddha called His Dhamma "ehipassiko", "Come and see for yourself".
Jeffrey wrote:Regarding the going forth, I'm trying to find instances where no mention of bowls or robes is made

The thing is that "no mention of bowls or robes" does not prove whether bowls or robes are required or not required.

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Re: Would you have recognized the Buddha?

Postby Jeffrey » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:17 pm

I was thinking of apologetics more along the lines of ironing out inconsistencies, or filling in gaps, to make story elements agree, such as the Buddha hiding his marks. The commentaries contain quite a lot of backstory that do just this, so the idea is there, if not a name.

As for bowls and robes, their regular absence could suggest they were unnecessary (or perhaps so taken for granted they were not worth mentioning). It would be interesting to see what can be found.


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