Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:37 pm

I will repeat my question Zom.

If I do not accept the schemata that you present does that make me;

a) Not a Buddhist, or simply
b) A second class Buddhist ?
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:49 pm

Zom wrote: As you see, suttas say about that, it is not my personal opinion.


Do you at least know that you're reading the suttas from your own personal view? :thinking: (It's the same with everyone else... myself included.) By the way, belief and Right View are two very different things.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:52 pm

I will repeat my question Zom.

If I do not accept the schemata that you present does that make me;

a) Not a Buddhist, or simply
b) A second class Buddhist ?


It depends on how to define this term "a buddhist". For example, if someone practises vajrayana tantric sex, can you call him buddhist or not?
So I never classify someone as "buddhist" or "not buddhist". But I can say that this person has complete Right Views, or he has partial Right Views, or in his case there is a an absence of Right Views. And I can do it using information from Pali Canon.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:57 pm

Do you at least know that you're reading the suttas from your own personal view? (It's the same with everyone else... myself included.) By the way, belief and Right View are two very different things.


Everyone reads everything from their own views. But that doesn't mean that everyone is mistaken because of that..
When speaking about belief in Dhamma, a word "saddha" is used. That one who has completed Right Views as a factor of the Path has this faculty fully developed. So we may say that saddha is included in this factor along with clear understaning of the essense of Dhamma and some portion of direct experience.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:59 pm

Zom wrote:
Does it say anything there about omniscience?


It is said about omniscience in another suttas. And in short common formula "Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." it is included in the phrase "an expert with regard to the world". In Visuddhimagga this formula is explained very thoroughly. Buddha's qualities are explained, for example, in Lion Roar Sutta (http://www.vipassana.com/canon/majjhima/mn12.php).



Ok, but is belief in the Buddha's omniscience specifically defined as part of Mundane Right View?

Thanks for the references, btw.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:01 pm

Zom wrote:Everyone reads everything from their own views. But that doesn't mean that everyone is mistaken because of that..
When speaking about belief in Dhamma, a word "saddha" is used. That one who has completed Right Views as a factor of the Path has this faculty fully developed. So we may say that saddha is included in this factor along with clear understaning of the essense of Dhamma and some portion of direct experience.


The wrong kind of saddha still doesn't work, though.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:12 pm

Ok, but is belief in the Buddha's omniscience specifically defined as part of Mundane Right View?


In Visuddhimagga it is. If you have a copy, take a look - "Recollection of the Enlightened One (Buddha)". Those whose Right Views factor is completed have "unshakable saddha" in Buddha's quialities. Omniscience included, as said in this chapter.

The wrong kind of saddha still doesn't work, though.


Yes, sure. I was speaking only about saddha in Triple Gem and Buddha in particular.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:18 pm

Zom wrote:
I will repeat my question Zom.

If I do not accept the schemata that you present does that make me;

a) Not a Buddhist, or simply
b) A second class Buddhist ?


It depends on how to define this term "a buddhist". For example, if someone practises vajrayana tantric sex, can you call him buddhist or not?
So I never classify someone as "buddhist" or "not buddhist". But I can say that this person has complete Right Views, or he has partial Right Views, or in his case there is a an absence of Right Views. And I can do it using information from Pali Canon.

Clearly then I had better stop polluting the forum with my absence of Right Views.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:27 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean to attack you personally or someone else here. I was just discussing only the matter, without any extrapolation on this or that forum member.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:28 pm

Zom wrote:
Ok, but is belief in the Buddha's omniscience specifically defined as part of Mundane Right View?


In Visuddhimagga it is. If you have a copy, take a look - "Recollection of the Enlightened One (Buddha)". Those whose Right Views factor is completed have "unshakable saddha" in Buddha's quialities. Omniscience included, as said in this chapter.


I'll take a look, thanks! But is the Visuddhimagga necessarily to be regarded as an infallible source?
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:30 pm

Zom wrote:Sorry, I didn't mean to attack you personally or someone else here. I was just discussing only the matter, without any extrapolation on this or that forum member.

You have made it clear that you know who is and who is not a Buddhist.

The floor, indeed the forum is yours. Enjoy.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:39 pm

I'll take a look, thanks! But is the Visuddhimagga necessarily to be regarded as an infallible source?


I know that many people boldly criticize it, and me too - in some aspects. But concerning this particular aspect (explanation of this common sutta formula descibing The Blessed One) - I believe it is correct, since suttas also say about omniscience of the Buddha.
For example, these:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Pasadika_Sutta


You have made it clear that you know who is and who is not a Buddhist.


Well, even if I do - it is still up to you to agree with my opinion or not.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:56 pm

Wow. Just read through this thread. So many views!

Well - just to chime in - what the hell - I say - "Let there be no sacred cows." Even the Buddha. I have great respect for the Tathagata - but he was human. A human with tremendous insights. But still, human. Some people get bent out of shape over that - one person in my class got a tad shirty to my common-place references of 'well, the Buddha probably was thinking ... ' saying that he was 'larger than life'. To which I responded - Let there be no sacred cows.

Sacred cows have caused a lot of dukkha over the many years of this planet. Regarding this person or that person as the "nes plus ultra" and unquestioningly buying into their teachings isn't good practise - yes - in MY view. But just look at history - what happens when people become blind followers. It's a mess. It happened back then and it's happening now.

And the canon is filled with redactions - any translator will tell you that. Ven. Bodhi speaks to that often and he's not the only one.

Things need to be read critically. :soap: ( I use a lot of soap on this forum).

Just my view from Mt. Meru,

V.

NB - I don't think the Buddha was at all like Gandalf! :D
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:41 pm

Zom wrote:I know that many people boldly criticize it, and me too - in some aspects. But concerning this particular aspect (explanation of this common sutta formula descibing The Blessed One) - I believe it is correct, since suttas also say about omniscience of the Buddha.
For example, these:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Pasadika_Sutta


Wouldn't you agree, though, that it's a matter of debate and interpretation as to whether a belief in the Buddha's omniscience is required for Right View? Because I don't see this included in the sutta expositions of either mundane or transmundane Right View. To say that it can be found somewhere in the teachings is one thing, to regard it as a core belief is another.

I'm not suggesting it's wrong to go with Buddhaghosa's explanation, just that it's not mandatory to do so. Wasn't the Visuddhimmaga written some eight centuries after the Buddha's parinibbana?

And, if I may, one other question. Have you personally ever come across a statement or claim in the scriptures which you find it difficult to accept as factual or literally true?

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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:32 pm

Wouldn't you agree, though, that it's a matter of debate and interpretation as to whether a belief in the Buddha's omniscience is required for Right View? Because I don't see this included in the sutta expositions of either mundane or transmundane Right View. To say that it can be found somewhere in the teachings is one thing, to regard it as a core belief is another.


Well, as I said above, perfect saddha in Buddha is included in complete factor of Right Views. And Buddha's omniscience is mentioned in different suttas as a quality of the Buddha. So it is natural that you have this belief, this confidence, that Buddha is such, if you really trust him. That is a belief that he had infinite possibility to understand anything in the world that he wants, and because of that he can't make any mistake in any question he is speaking about. If you think that Buddha can make a mistake, then you don't have perfect saddha in him and in his Dhamma. You still ponder that may be he speak something that he doesn't understand or know. You still don't trust him, no matter what is the topic. And in this case this is not a perfect saddha and First Factor of the Path is not full, you still hesitate.

Wasn't the Visuddhimmaga written some eight centuries after the Buddha's parinibbana?


Yes, but it wasn't Buddhagosa's personal opinion (at least not in everything). What he did is structured ancient commentaries. How ancient they were, no one knows.

Have you personally ever come across a statement or claim in the scriptures which you find it difficult to accept as factual or literally true?


Yes, there were a couple of "strange" points for me about devatas. But since I generally do believe that they exist, I finally accepted it. At the present moment I have read a lot of suttas (almost everything avaliable in english), translated many into my native language, and I agree with everything that I find in them, including such "unpopular" topics as cosmology discriptions, literal hell sufferings and the stuff -) (making allowance for those cosmology explanations were understandable in that place and time). Am I wrong accepting all that? Well, time will show, but this belief is a part of my practice. And that is a part of practice as seen for example from Gilana sutta where dying householder Citta instructs his relatives:

- "Then, master, instruct us, too."
- "Then you should train yourselves: 'We will be endowed with verified confidence (saddha) in the Buddha: "Indeed, the Blessed One [the Buddha] is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." "'We will be endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."


or Mahanama sutta:

"Have no fear, Mahanama! Have no fear! Your death will not be a bad one, your demise will not be bad. If one's mind has long been nurtured with conviction (saddha), nurtured with virtue, nurtured with learning, nurtured with relinquishment, nurtured with discernment, then when the body — endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, & dispersion — is eaten by crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, hyenas, or all sorts of creatures, nevertheless the mind — long nurtured with conviction, nurtured with virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment — rises upward and separates out.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby lojong1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:49 am

theravada_guy wrote:I don't know where to even search for things like this.

I googled 'sutta impossible'. Relevant hits?: Sutava sutta, bahudhatuka sutta, agganna sutta, and kinci sankhara sutta all have impossibles that might apply to a buddha, though I think they've all been covered.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby lojong1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:59 am

"Omniscience in the Pali Canon
In the Pali texts, two differing versions of omniscience are discernible and it will soon become clear that the connotations of the Pali term commonly rendered 'omniscience' are quite different from those of the English word [same old problem]. In the Tevijjavacchagotta Sutta (Majjhima Nikaaya, Sutta 71), the ascetic Vacchagotta approaches the Buddha. He wants to clarify the precise scope of the Buddha's knowledge and so questions him.

Venerable Sir, I have heard this: �The recluse Gotama claims to be omniscient [sabba��uu] and all-seeing [sabbadassaavii], to have complete knowledge and vision thus: 'Whether I am walking or standing or sleeping or awake, knowledge and vision are continuously and uninterruptedly present to me.' Venerable sir, do those who speak thus say what has been said by the Blessed One, and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact?[3]

According to the commentarial tradition, this statement encompasses to two different scopes of omniscience. Bhikkhu Bodhi writes,

According to the exegetical Theravaada tradition the Buddha is omniscient in the sense that all knowable things are potentially accessible to him. He cannot, however, know everything simultaneously and must advert to what he wishes to know."
--Dharmacari Naagapriya
http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vo ... cient.html
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:41 am

Zom wrote:
Well, as I said above, perfect saddha in Buddha is included in complete factor of Right Views. And Buddha's omniscience is mentioned in different suttas as a quality of the Buddha. So it is natural that you have this belief, this confidence, that Buddha is such, if you really trust him. That is a belief that he had infinite possibility to understand anything in the world that he wants, and because of that he can't make any mistake in any question he is speaking about. If you think that Buddha can make a mistake, then you don't have perfect saddha in him and in his Dhamma. You still ponder that may be he speak something that he doesn't understand or know. You still don't trust him, no matter what is the topic. And in this case this is not a perfect saddha and First Factor of the Path is not full, you still hesitate.
Are you saying that to be a true Buddhist one must accept the a literal, unquestioning belief in everything stated in the suttas?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby Zom » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:54 am

Are you saying that to be a true Buddhist one must accept the a literal, unquestioning belief in everything stated in the suttas?


If you have much saddha, you will accept. If you have not much saddha, you will not accept. The main point in this "accepting" is that it lessens or even removes your hindrance called "sceptical doubts", and this allows you to progress further without this obstacle, with more aroused effort because of saddha. And later you can check that out for yourself by direct experience and direct knowledge - what exactly was right or wrong. But that will be later - at first you have to tread the path. And if you don't accept and hesitate about all these thing at the beginning of the path, that is a problem for your progress. You don't have personal direct knowledge about all these things - what you do is speculating and hesitating: "may be all this is wrong.. maybe Buddha was mistaken.. maybe all suttas were written later by hindu priests and no authentic Buddha words left" and so on.
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Re: Three Things a Buddha Cannot Do?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:49 am

Zom wrote:
Are you saying that to be a true Buddhist one must accept the a literal, unquestioning belief in everything stated in the suttas?


If you have much saddha, you will accept. If you have not much saddha, you will not accept.
Accoding to you, but you are not the arbiter of other people's saddha.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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