Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:56 am

clw_uk wrote:My view is one only needs to check Vinaya/Suttas/Logic and Experience, the commentaries only as an extra option, the first four are enough

And why should we take your view over the view of the elders?
- Peter

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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:02 am

Who's saying you should?
“ 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: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:48 am

clw_uk wrote:My view is one only needs to check Vinaya/Suttas/Logic and Experience, the commentaries only as an extra option, the first four are enough

Peter wrote:And why should we take your view over the view of the elders?

clw_uk wrote:Who's saying you should?

I'm sorely tempted to post links to the Monty Python "Argument" sketch again...

But instead I'll post a follow-up...

If you are not trying to convince anyone of anything, as you last post implies, I really don't understand what you trying to achieve by writing so many posts asserting your opinion that the Abhidhamma (which you implicitly dismissed by omission above) and the Commentaries are not particularly useful. I think everyone knows that by now... And frankly, apart from having a certain amount of compassion towards all beings (despite my H*n*y*n* path), what you read or practise is of no particular interest to me, and I have no fixed views as to the necessity of reading or practising anything in particular.

As I said in another thread, what is useful in these sort of Forums is information.
There is zero information in the statement that you think that X is unnecessary.
My usual replies, along the lines of: "According to standard Theravada..." are almost as boring, but at least they do contain some factual information.

What would actually be interesting would be new information. Some particular commentarial view-point that you think is unclear or incorrect, or has caused you or someone else difficulties, backed up by suitable analysis, references, and/or detailed experience.

Metta
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:26 am

His question are legitimate.

What would actually be interesting would be new information. Some particular commentarial view-point that you think is unclear or incorrect, or has caused you or someone else difficulties, backed up by suitable analysis, references, and/or detailed experience.


Give him time.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:40 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:His question are legitimate.
...
Give him time.

OK... :anjali:

Sorry if I as over-reacting... :hug:

Actually, I would have no problem with questions. It was that this whole thread was about an assertion that I was getting a little frustrated about...

:meditate:
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:31 pm

Hi mike


I really wasnt trying to assert anything, not even my own point of view i just thought i would offer some friendly advice to the original OP of this thread(before it got split into to) and then everything after that was me answering questions and explaining about my statement



:anjali:
“ 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: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:26 pm

clw_uk wrote:For example i like the teaching style of Bhante Vimalaramsi who de-emphasizes the commentaries and teaches straight from the Suttas themselves

Thanks for that quote. That looks like a great quote to add to my Quotes from Venerables.

He was trained in the Burmese tradition which is very much attuned to the Abhidhamma, which is written much like a commentary, but he has also studied in many other areas and of course the Abhidhamma is still Canon.
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:03 pm

clw_uk wrote:i just thought i would offer some friendly advice

If you come to a Buddhist forum and your "friendly advice" is "Beware of what the tradition teaches because it will mislead you" then you need to be prepared to back that statement up with some hard facts.

I put "friendly" in quotes because it is hardly friendly to come into a forum for a particular religious tradition and tell people the teachings of that tradition are false.
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:10 pm

I'm sure the intention was good :)
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:23 pm

If you come to a Buddhist forum and your "friendly advice" is "Beware of what the tradition teaches because it will mislead you" then you need to be prepared to back that statement up with some hard facts.



Those are your words and your assumptions please dont put words in my mouth, i offered caution because i felt that the commentaries can sometimes be wrong on some points and so i felt caution should be taken when reading them so thought i would offer some advice (advice isnt telling is it) he doesnt have to take the advice

Now I take on what mike said, that there needs to be more information behind a statement than just a personal view and perhaps it would have been better to have said it in a PM


I put "friendly" in quotes because it is hardly friendly to come into a forum for a particular religious tradition and tell people the teachings of that tradition are false


I feel your going to an extreme here, just because i felt caution should be taken with commentaries doesnt mean i think a religous tradition is false, your once again putting words in my mouth. Furthermore if i was "telling" i would say something along the lines of "the commentaries are wrong and you must not read them" but thats not what i said, i said

My advice would be to read them with caution, although they do correctly elaborate on certain points, other times they can be wrong


This was advice coming from a personal standpoint, not a command or a telling of how it is

My intention was good but it seems people have pretty set minds about me and my intentions now
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:44 pm

Hi Craig

Perhaps in future it would be best when making statements such as the ones you've made, in relation to taking the commentaries with caution, with something that backs up your position, for example, a cited quote from your teacher or an academic, or whomever. This would go a long way in furthering discussion and for all of us to come to an understanding of each other's position in an environment of mutual respect.
Kind regards

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:53 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Craig

Perhaps in future it would be best when making statements such as the ones you've made, in relation to taking the commentaries with caution, with something that backs up your position, for example, a cited quote from your teacher or an academic, or whomever. This would go a long way in furthering discussion and for all of us to come to an understanding of each other's position in an environment of mutual respect.
Kind regards

Ben


Hi Ben,

I agree with you, i will make sure i do this in the future

Metta

Craig
“ 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: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:09 pm

my personal opinion about the commentaries and abhidhamma is they are unnessary for awakening(for some). i base this opinion on the fact that none of the arahants in the suttas studied the comentaries and as for the abhidhamma, the buddha (as far as i've understood) only taught it to sariputta and his students, meaning: it was not a teaching for the majority but rather for the select few (sariputta was the buddha's disciple formost in wisdom after all).

the buddha taught many things to many different people, there are of course "basic" threads running through all his teachings that bind them together, but there are different methods for different folks, a variety of meditation styles etc. what works for some wont work for everyone and not everyone is gonna even be able to follow the buddhist path (the buddha didnt convert everyone he met, and not everyone he did convert became an arahant).

now i'll dig around in the abhidhamma, and i've found some of it quite usefull, the rest i'll admit i'm just not understanding. i dont discredit it however and i'm not sure anyone who has studied it does, or would, i see it as a method of teaching, and of understanding, and i cant see anyone just writing it off as it's obviously helped quite a few people. (the only argument i've ever really even seen against the abhidhamma is a belief that the buddha didnt teach it, and as i dont know either way, i cant defend it on that basis, but if it is one's posistion that it didnt come from the buddha, then i would concede that for them there is no reason to study it)

the comentaries i have never studied, i've read bits and pieces here and there when teachers bring it up in notes or what not but thats about it. so again i am in no position to write them off either, i just dont have the time to find and read them, i am glad however that they are out there, so if for no other reason we have a historical record of buddhist thought.


for such an extreme liberal politically, i guess i'm a centrist when it comes to my dhamma :jawdrop:
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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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Re: Approaching traditional Theravada Commentaries with caution

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:10 am

clw_uk wrote:My advice would be to read them with caution, although they do correctly elaborate on certain points, other times they can be wrong

I would have put it like this: "My practice hasn't always matched up with the commentaries."
Then you are speaking truth.

Perhaps this is due to some error in the commentaries, as you said.
Or perhaps this is due to some flaw in your practice.
Or perhaps this is due to you misunderstanding the commentaries.

But it seems to me your statement goes too far.
- Peter

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