4NT "Light" Version

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

4NT "Light" Version

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:03 am

As many people -in particular newcomers- seem to be turned off by the emphasis on dukkha in Buddhism, which means suffering, distress, unsatisfactoriness, frustration, and affliction, I suggest that there is an equivalent formulation of the four noble truths, which could be phrased as follows:

1. Life is unhappy.
2. The way to happiness is to overcome clinging and craving.
3. Happiness is attainable.
4. There is a path to attaining happiness.

Let's call it the "4NT Light". It is meant for those people who are a little sensitive and don't like being told the truth if it is unpleasant. My contention is that this is functionally equivalent to the traditional version, so we might -in certain cases- use this phrasing for marketing purposes. :lol:

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby appicchato » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:25 am

Happiness isn't the goal...liberation is...

To say 'Life is unhappy' is not even close to what He said...to say 'In life there is unhappiness' would be closer...but even this is not what was being referred to in the Four Noble Truths...

We've been down this road before (here and elsewhere)...numerous times...there seems to be a penchant (mostly 'Western') to revamp the words of the Master...it's a mystery (to me) where this penchant comes from (i.e. the need to modify)...

The very term 'Light' got it's start in reference to booze...not good...

Marketing?...marketing?...
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby genkaku » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:14 pm

Without derailing the conversation too much ....

Isn't it interesting that no matter what words are used -- whether Gautama's or anyone else's -- the perception of the listener molds the meaning? Pretending there is a single meaning (something "authentic" perhaps) just doesn't compute in terms of human experience.

If this is anywhere close to being true, two dangers arise: 1. The danger of thinking that anything you say is OK ... nice, 'lite' Buddhism, perhaps and 2. That there really is some perfect expression of what is truly Buddhism (the 'authentic' crowd). Each danger also carries with it a positive force. On the one hand, Gautama tailored his talks to his audiences and the circumstances in which they found themselves ... and there's no reason to imagine that audiences would not tailor the teachings to suit their lives and thus encourage their own further study. On the other hand, the strict constructionists offer positive input by reining in the free-wheeling spirit ... discipline, after all, is not just a bowl of cherries.

But whether anyone tries to mold thinking into a kinder, gentler format or, by contrast, attempts to expound some one-exact-teaching aspect, still the only thing that will settle anyone's hash is to practice and find out. This, to my mind, is the strongest part of Buddhist teaching ... practice, not palaver. Palaver may be encouraging, but practice tells a tale that even the most wondrous philosophy or religion cannot approach.

My view is pretty much this: "Believe anything you like. Think inside the box or outside the box. Just lose the box."

Just some noodling.
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:40 pm

appicchato wrote:Happiness isn't the goal...liberation is...


Ven. Appicchato,

I hope you could gather from the laughing smilie at the end of my initial post, that this was not meant entirely seriously. I would suggest "Buddhism Lite" at best as a temporary surrogate that eventually leads to the real thing... but then again Buddhism Lite is better than no Buddhism at all. :lol:

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:55 pm

appicchato wrote:Happiness isn't the goal...liberation is...


Sadhu Bhante, Sadhu!
I was actually also going to suggst that liberation is the emphasis.
I also think that the Four Noble Truths are the Dhamma, in condensed form.
Metta

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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby appicchato » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:06 pm

Pannapetar wrote:I would suggest "Buddhism Lite" at best as a temporary surrogate that eventually leads to the real thing... but then again Buddhism Lite is better than no Buddhism at all.


True...and let's hope so...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:23 pm

For those who think Buddhism is pessimistic, focusing on dukkha in the First Noble Truth, it just needs to be explained to them, that it is the un-enlightened life that is suffering. The Arahant does not suffer.
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:35 pm

happiness arises, is therefore impermanant -therefore cannot be achieved- someone would have to acuse the buddha of lying if such a formula had been used.... BUT things can come to an end if the causes dont arise any more. Suffering CAN come to an end. Which paves the way for more frequent arising and passing away of happiness.

"I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the gross acquisition of a self, such that, when you practice it, defiling mental qualities will be abandoned, bright mental qualities will grow, and you will enter & remain in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for yourself in the here & now. If the thought should occur to you that, when defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, one's abiding is stressful/painful, you should not see it in that way. When defiling mental qualities are abandoned and bright mental qualities have grown, and one enters & remains in the culmination & abundance of discernment, having known & realized it for oneself in the here & now, there is joy, rapture, serenity, mindfulness, alertness, and a pleasant/happy abiding.
Potthappada sutta
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby genkaku » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:52 pm

I also think that the Four Noble Truths are the Dhamma, in condensed form.


Kind of a 'Dharma Lite,' Ben? :tongue:
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:34 pm

Hi Adam

genkaku wrote:
I also think that the Four Noble Truths are the Dhamma, in condensed form.


Kind of a 'Dharma Lite,' Ben? :tongue:


To call it Dharma Lite would indicate that the Tipitaka was full of fuff. Instead, maybe a better grocery metaphor would be along the lines of 'concentrated'
Cheers

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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby genkaku » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:59 pm

Ben -- Outside of "fuff" (love the word even if I'm not entirely sure what it means), what have we got to work with?

Best wishes.
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:07 pm

I beg your pardon Adam
Its Sunday morning here and the grey cells are slowly waking up.
I meant 'fluff'!!
Anyway, I'll try and cogitate your other question a little later, perhaps after 8-year-old footall.
Cheers

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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby BlackBird » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:07 am

Although I'm not sure that I agree with the idea of "Lite version." I would like to discuss how I came across the Dhamma and how it relates to this notion of happiness.

I remember there was 4 defining moment which brought me to the path.
1. The first was the concious awareness between the different forms of feeling
2. The second was craving after a lasting happiness (in reality just pleasurable feeling)
3. The third was a realisation that nothing in the world could provide me with a lasting happiness.
4. The fourth was the quest and discovery of "the answers to the question of life."

So to cut my blab session short, I think a disenchantment with secular worldly life is needed before one can make serious progress upon the path. Something, I question whether a "lite version" is able to do.

What happens when you pull the muffins out of the oven early?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby appicchato » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:26 am

genkaku wrote:..."fuff" (love the word even if I'm not entirely sure what it means)...


Ditto Adam...only I think the term is 'fluff'...something without much weight (figuratively speaking), inconsequential...dare I say 'light'?...

:focus:
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby Macavity » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:14 am

I don't see anything wrong in referring to the Buddhist goal as 'happiness', provided that happiness here is not taken to be some kind of vedana. The Buddha himself calls Nibbana "the highest happiness" (paramam sukham) in Dhammapada 203 and in the Magandiya Sutta, MN. 75.
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:01 am

Hi Blackbird

Disenchantment is important. The second step of the path- right intention- contains nekkhamma or renunciation/letting go- early on in the noble eightfold path (along with non violence and non anger)- showing us that it all the subsequent steps lead on from there.
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:55 pm

Nibbana is the highest happiness




Pleasure (which isnt happiness) is anicca dukkha and anatta and pain is anicca dukkha and anatta


Hapiness is freedom from dukkha = Nibbana

So happiness is what is left when dukkha is gone


Thats my reasoning any way


metta
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: 4NT "Light" Version

Postby BlackBird » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:13 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Blackbird

Disenchantment is important. The second step of the path- right intention- contains nekkhamma or renunciation/letting go- early on in the noble eightfold path (along with non violence and non anger)- showing us that it all the subsequent steps lead on from there.


It is well my friend.
However,
I would caution a linear approach to the Noble Eightfold Path.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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