Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

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Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby theravada_guy » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:48 am

Greetings all,

I was reading on BuddhaNet about the differences between Buddhism and other world religions. It mentioned there are three things a Buddha cannot do, but did not elaborate. What are these three things?
With metta,

Justin
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:06 am

Well I don't know about any three things that specifically a Buddha cannot do, but I do know that there are a number of this it is said that an enlightened individual cannot do.

I figure the list would be the same for a Buddha as for any Arahant.

. . . the arhant monk . . . cannot transgress nine standards: a monk in whom the cankers are destroyed, cannot deliberately take life of any living thing; cannot, with intention steal, take that which is not given; cannot engage in carnal intercourse; cannot intentionally tell a lie; cannot enjoy pleasures from savings, as of yore when a householder; . . . cannot go astray through desire, cannot go astray through hate; cannot go astray through delusion; cannot go astray through fear. AN IV.370.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby theravada_guy » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:21 pm

Thanks for that, Kenshou. I don't know where to even search for things like this. I tried Yahoo!, but to no avail. I did a search for "adhamma" on Google Saffron, and it didn't really get me what I wanted. So, like I said, I don't know where to really look, other than ask on here.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Sherab » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:54 am

Hi Theravada Guy,

My best guess ...

No one, including the Buddha, can see the beginning of ignorance.
No one, including the Buddha, can do anything about a karma once it ripens.
Each of us has to purify our own karma. No one, including the Buddha, can do that for you. Realization of nirvana is individual.

... from the Theravada perspective anyway ... I think.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Sunrise » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:03 am

Maybe this will help:

Code: Select all
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

The Buddha-range of the Buddhas

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world

...


AN 4.77
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:07 am

the Buddha cannot do something that is impossible. apart from that he is omnipotent since he can do everything. :group:

some of the traditional examples of impossible things are, cant give good karma, cant take bad karma, cant be wrong (ie. cant have anything other than a valid yogic direct cognizer at all times), cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:11 am

cant disintegrate over time (as we do)


A Buddha does not disintegrate over time? Are you saying that a buddha is not anicca? Could you elaborate on that?
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:48 am

A Buddha apparently ( if he is Buddha Shakyamuni ) cannot give an accurate idea of the origin of earthquakes. Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.


He is an Enlightened guy , not a god. He is Awake not omniscient.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:52 am

Kenshou wrote:
cant disintegrate over time (as we do)
A Buddha does not disintegrate over time? Are you saying that a buddha is not anicca? Could you elaborate on that?

oops sorry, youre right, i forgot i was wearing my Theravada hat on this point. the mind and body of the Buddha do end and so they are indeed anicca.

in mindonly and middleway they make use of the transcendent existence of arhats and buddhas after their nirvana-with-no-remainder (after all, if an arhat ends what arhat reaches the nirvana? if a moment exists and then dies out how did it cause its death when it was longer there?) and so they say the mind in addition to being beginningless is also endless. and something which is endless cannot disintegrate, although it is momentary! this is a big thing that they write 10,000s of pages about..

PeterB wrote:cannot give an accurate idea of the origin of earthquakes

what did he say about it?
Last edited by 5heaps on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:53 am

Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.


"Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]

"If I were to say, 'I don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, 'I both know and don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be just the same. If I were to say, 'I neither know nor don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a fault in me.

(From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Fede » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:58 am

I bet he can't crochet. I tried, and it's a pig.

The four unconjecturables are not what a Buddha cannot do: it's what an unenlightened person cannot do. They are unconjecturable, but only to an unenlightened mind.

And this, if you'll forgive me, sheaps - is nonsense.

the Buddha cannot do something that is impossible. apart from that he is omnipotent since he can do everything.

The Buddha is not omnipotent. he was a human being, and as such probably found an awful lot of things PHYSICALLY impossible to do, just as other human beings find them physically impossible to do.


some of the traditional examples of impossible things are, cant give good karma, cant take bad karma, cant be wrong (ie. cant have anything other than a valid yogic direct cognizer at all times), cant disintegrate over time (as we do)

The Buddha, grew old, took sick, died and decayed. Just like any human being. And I think that the Buddha could have been incorrect on some things. I might be wrong, that's conjecture. but simply because he was a Buddha and enlightened, that didn't make him infallible in every way.... though his errors would not have been deliberate, but accidental.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:13 am

Zom wrote:
Probably because he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.


"Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & priests, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]

"If I were to say, 'I don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, 'I both know and don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be just the same. If I were to say, 'I neither know nor don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a fault in me.

(From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)

He is quite clearly talking of a different order of reality to that described by science, and whats more he is talking about that different order of reality in metaphoric language. hence the Devas, Maras and Brahmas the lingua franca of the day when describing the cosmos. Not the language of astro physics or
mathematics. To project on to the Buddha a knowledge of Quantum mechanics or even gravity as a result of his Enlightenment is frankly to verge on the delusional.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Fede » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:32 am

From what I understand, he could not transform negative Kamma into positive kamma for anyone.
He could not destroy negative kamma for anyone, or bestow good kamma.
He could not escape death.

I think.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:48 am

Fede wrote:And I think that the Buddha could have been incorrect on some things. I might be wrong, that's conjecture. but simply because he was a Buddha and enlightened, that didn't make him infallible in every way.... though his errors would not have been deliberate, but accidental.

the topic isnt conjecture since the omniscience of a buddha is a type of samadhi. hopefully samadhi isnt conjecture.

Fede wrote:He could not escape death.

he escaped death by escaping birth :|
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:57 am

Semantics.
He died.
We have a description of that event.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:00 am

after all, if an arhat ends what arhat reaches the nirvana?


The group 5 aggregates which we conventionally refer to as the "arhat" has become nirvana-ized.

Or not?
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Sunrise » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:19 am

PeterB wrote:Semantics.
He died.
We have a description of that event.


Frankly, it's as simple as that :jumping:
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:30 am

PeterB wrote:We have a description of that event.

yes he died.. he died so well there was not a single bit of craving left.
and so he will never be born again, meaning he escaped the death of it



Kenshou wrote:The group 5 aggregates which we conventionally refer to as the "arhat" has become nirvana-ized. Or not?

the party line is that yes they do become nirvanaized

but how do they cause the end of themselves when they need to be around to cause it?

this problem can be said for any object.. or any MOMENT of any object (for all those momentariness=anatta nerds)
.
.
.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:37 am

Just because there is no "atta" does not mean that there are no choices or actions or intentions. Just that actions and intentions are dependently originated.

When wisdom is mature self-identification is abandoned. But that doesn't mean that the ability to do things is abandoned with it.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:46 am

Kenshou wrote:Just because there is no "atta" does not mean that there are no choices or actions or intentions. Just that actions and intentions are dependently originated.

When wisdom is mature self-identification is abandoned. But that doesn't mean that the ability to do things is abandoned with it.

im amazed that that is what you saw implied. can you explain your reasoning?
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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