Buddhism and Doctrine

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Buddhism and Doctrine

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:41 pm

There are a lot of discussions and arguments in modern Theravada about what is an important doctrine to the Buddhadhamma and what is not

For example some hold that post mortem rebirth is an important doctrine, others say it is not. Others raise questions about if there can only be one buddha, if the buddha can only be a man, if there are other realms and so on



What doctrines are central to ones practice of enlightenment and what ones are not, what i mean is what doctrines need to be kept otherwise the ability to be enlightened will be lost


Its not that im confused about these things, just thought it would be a good discussion to see what other peoples views are on what is central to Dhamma practice and what is not so central

Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism and Doctrine

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:14 pm

In my opinion the central teachings can be found in the 9 points unifying Theravada and Mahyana

1. The Buddha is our only Master (teacher and guide)
2. We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha (the Three Jewels)
3. We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God
4. We consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom (panna) leading to the realization of Ultimate Truth
5. We accept The Four Noble Truths, namely dukkha, the arising of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, and the path leading to the cessation of duḥkha; and the law of cause and effect
6. All conditioned things (saṃskāra) are impermanent (anicca) and dukkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things are without self (anatta)
7. We accept the 37 factors of enlightenment as different aspects of the Path taught by the Buddha leading to Enlightenment.
8. There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment: namely as a disciple (śrāvaka), as a pratyekabuddha and as a sammasambuddha (perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisatta and to become a sammasambuddha in order to save others.
9. We admit that in different countries there are differences regarding Buddhist beliefs and practices. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.

from Ven. Walpola Rahula, Ph.D.

And I would add to the above list (actually it is implied and mentioned in the teachings above) rebirth, not the rebirth of a permanent self or soul, but the transference of kammic energies. Without rebirth there would be sort of an instant "nibbana" or at least annihilation, at death, regardless of words, deeds, actions, during our lifetimes. Certainly not the teaching of the Buddha.
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Re: Buddhism and Doctrine

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:21 pm

Nothing we experience can be regarded as being good enough or rather as having an ultimately satisfactory nature in and of itself.

Regarding any experience in such a way only adds to our stress over this problem.

There are Beings who have realized how to transcend this problem and the Buddha is one.

The Buddha has left instructions on how to transcend this problem and without this transcendent realization there is no other solution to it not even death.


I think this is about all the doctrine one really needs. There are many variations on the instructions and I think the efficacy of them depends on individual circumstances.


Metta


Gabriel

P.S. I think the list above is pretty good too. :twothumbsup:
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Buddhism and Doctrine

Postby Element » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:23 am

The Ani Sutta explains the core doctrine.
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Re: Buddhism and Doctrine

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:47 am

clw_uk wrote:What doctrines are central to ones practice of enlightenment and what ones are not, what i mean is what doctrines need to be kept otherwise the ability to be enlightened will be lost[?]

These seem to me two separate questions. It is in the conflating of the two that people get into trouble. They come to understand a topic as not so important and so feel comfortable rejecting it altogether.

For example some hold that post mortem rebirth is an important doctrine, others say it is not. Others raise questions about if there can only be one buddha, if the buddha can only be a man, if there are other realms and so on

To reject any of these seems to me to set oneself against the path to awakening.
And yet none of them seem to me particularly important or central.

It confounds me why so many people spend so much time on these forums obsessing over these sorts of topics. There are so many topics much more relevant and important to our day to day practice.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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