Essential Right View

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Essential Right View

Postby clw_uk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:47 am

Greetings everyone


There are currently two topics being discussed here that involved what a Buddhist should and should not have to accept in order to practice accordingly


Ive noticed that many discussions that involve topics of rebirth, kamma, interpretations of Suttas and generally what one has to accept (if anything) as a follower of the Buddha basicaly boils down to what Right View is, what view will function as part of the Noble Eightfold Path and what view (or lack of) will hold one back


I started this thread because i think if we discuss in depth what exactly Right View is then we will come to an understanding of what must be accepted and what can be left in the "dont know" box (or denied box) and so answer a lot of questions in reguards to what doctrines are essential and since Right View is essential as its the forerunner of the whole path and practice, i think coming to an understanding of what is/isnt Right View is important


Realised i probably should have started the other thread as discussing this but didnt think of how all these contentious issused acctualy revolve around what is and what isnt right view in the Noble Eight Fold Path


Metta

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“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:59 am

The Discourse on Right View
The Sammaditthi Sutta and its Commentary
Translated from the Pali by
Bhikkhu Ñanamoli
Edited and Revised by
Bhikkhu Bodhi

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el377.html
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:02 am

Kalama Sutta wrote:"Of course you are uncertain, Kalamas. Of course you are in doubt. When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born. So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them.


this passage for me says it all about views, and accepting them, and addresses your question.

no accepting just knowing for yourself
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:04 am

We could look at Bhikkhu Bodhi's summary:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch2

Mundane Right View

Mundane right view involves a correct grasp of the law of kamma, the moral efficacy of action. Its literal name is "right view of the ownership of action" (kammassakata sammaditthi), and it finds its standard formulation in the statement: "Beings are the owners of their actions, the heirs of their actions; they spring from their actions, are bound to their actions, and are supported by their actions. Whatever deeds they do, good or bad, of those they shall be heirs."5 More specific formulations have also come down in the texts. One stock passage, for example, affirms that virtuous actions such as giving and offering alms have moral significance, that good and bad deeds produce corresponding fruits, that one has a duty to serve mother and father, that there is rebirth and a world beyond the visible one, and that religious teachers of high attainment can be found who expound the truth about the world on the basis of their own superior realization.6
...

Superior Right View

The right view of kamma and its fruits provides a rationale for engaging in wholesome actions and attaining high status within the round of rebirths, but by itself it does not lead to liberation. It is possible for someone to accept the law of kamma yet still limit his aims to mundane achievements. One's motive for performing noble deeds might be the accumulation of meritorious kamma leading to prosperity and success here and now, a fortunate rebirth as a human being, or the enjoyment of celestial bliss in the heavenly worlds. There is nothing within the logic of kammic causality to impel the urge to transcend the cycle of kamma and its fruit. The impulse to deliverance from the entire round of becoming depends upon the acquisition of a different and deeper perspective, one which yields insight into the inherent defectiveness of all forms of samsaric existence, even the most exalted.

This superior right view leading to liberation is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. It is this right view that figures as the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path in the proper sense: as the noble right view. Thus the Buddha defines the path factor of right view expressly in terms of the four truths: "What now is right view? It is understanding of suffering (dukkha), understanding of the origin of suffering, understanding of the cessation of suffering, understanding of the way leading to the cessation to suffering."10 The Eightfold Path starts with a conceptual understanding of the Four Noble Truths apprehended only obscurely through the media of thought and reflection. It reaches its climax in a direct intuition of those same truths, penetrated with a clarity tantamount to enlightenment. Thus it can be said that the right view of the Four Noble Truths forms both the beginning and the culmination of the way to the end of suffering.

...
This right view that penetrates the Four Noble Truths comes at the end of the path, not at the beginning. We have to start with the right view conforming to the truths, acquired through learning and fortified through reflection. This view inspires us to take up the practice, to embark on the threefold training in moral discipline, concentration, and wisdom. When the training matures, the eye of wisdom opens by itself, penetrating the truths and freeing the mind from bondage.

Mike

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:23 am

Manapa wrote:
Kalama Sutta wrote:"Of course you are uncertain, Kalamas. Of course you are in doubt. When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born. So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them.


this passage for me says it all about views, and accepting them, and addresses your question.

no accepting just knowing for yourself


Yes, but remember Manapa, the discourse was for a group of people who had not taken refuge in the Buddha who had asked him a question regarding how one could determine who was a worthy teacher. The advice was very specific to the audience. You will find that the advice given to the Kalamas is not repeated anywhere else in the Suttas where the Buddha addresses one or all of the four assemblies of His sangha.
Here, read this...
A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html
Kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby zavk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:02 am

Ben wrote: ...the discourse was for a group of people who had not taken refuge in the Buddha who had asked him a question regarding how one could determine who was a worthy teacher. The advice was very specific to the audience. You will find that the advice given to the Kalamas is not repeated anywhere else in the Suttas where the Buddha addresses one or all of the four assemblies of His sangha.


I think this info should be included whenever the Kalama Sutta is mentioned.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:09 am

hi Ben,
the part I quoted I take to refer to what to do with views we meet, as aristotle says it is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a view without accepting it.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby clw_uk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:38 pm

Greetings


There is an interesting sutta here reguarding Right View

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Few quotes

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.



Intrestingly though its not just Right View of rebirth that is said to have taints, it says it for other factors of path

Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood.

"And what is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right livelihood, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


I think it is saying that the parts of the path will be tainted until one removes the taints
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:42 pm

clw_uk wrote:I think it is saying that the parts of the path will be tainted until one removes the taints

Yes, this is what Bhikkhu Bodhi calls "mundane" right view and "superior" right view in the passage I quoted above. It's Suttas such as the one you quote that he's referring to.

In some previous conversations you seemed have the impression that mundane right view is "tainted" and therefore something to be abandoned as soon as possible because the aim is to have the "superior" right view. But it is clear from the Suttas, that "superior right view" actually isn't a view that you can adopt at all. It's simply what is developed by a noble disciple.

Mike

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby clw_uk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:43 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I think it is saying that the parts of the path will be tainted until one removes the taints

Yes, this is what Bhikkhu Bodhi calls "mundane" right view and "superior" right view in the passage I quoted above. It's Suttas such as the one you quote that he's referring to.

In some previous conversations you seemed have the impression that mundane right view is "tainted" and therefore something to be abandoned as soon as possible because the aim is to have the "superior" right view. But it is clear from the Suttas, that "superior right view" actually isn't a view that you can adopt at all. It's simply what is developed by a noble disciple.

Mike



Hi Mike, i did have that view but i has changed now since i understand the sutta better


Metta
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:10 pm

clw_uk wrote:i did have that view but i has changed now since i understand the sutta better

:hug:
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Re: Essential Right View

Postby zavk » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:50 pm

Hi friends,

Mike's post reminded about something I read. I remember reading about the qualification sammā. Sammā is usually translated as 'right'. But I believe it also means 'togetherness' or 'to be connected in one' or something like that (Maybe someone more learned can elaborate on this). This suggests to me that sammā is not just simply about establishing what is 'right' as opposed to 'wrong'. Sammā ditthi is not simply about right or wrong view. Rather, sammā (as 'togetherness'; 'to be connected in one) points to the need to incorporate the development of view into the noble eightfold path. And as we all know, the path includes other factors like effort, action, and speech.

It seems to me, then, that Right View isn't just about epistemology (what is right or not, what can be known or not) but also about ontology (what one is) and ethics (what one ought to do). Questions about right/wrong and knowledge are important, but the answers to these questions are to be discovered not simply in discourse but in what we do, the way we behave, how we live.

This then suggests that having Right View about kamma and rebirth is not just about establishing whether rebirth is right/wrong or knowable or not. This is not to say that it is useless to reflect on rebirth. Rather, it suggests that all the effort spent on discussing and analysing rebirth does not necessary lead one to Right View. Even if one has a nuanced argument about Right View that is supported by all the suttas, until that person starts to live with Right Action, Speech, etc, that view about rebirth is not "Right'. Nor is that person any closer to the truth of rebirth than another who doesn't talk about it.

This also suggests to me that until we gain deep insight into rebirth, we can adopt rebirth in ways that are not simply based on right/wrong, true/false. Perhaps, we can adopt rebirth as a kind of guiding narrative, a guiding metaphor, for us to live our lives and actions. If rebirth is to be realised, it realised through our actions; it is realised in the way our lives pan out. Right View is thus established in the context of our actions.

Metta,
zavk
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby AdvaitaJ » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:34 am

clw_uk,

I think you're on the right track bringing these discussions back to the noble eightfold path, but everything I've learned so far suggests you can't take the elements of the path one at a time; I've heard they need to be considered collectively as a system. The other thing that I think is brilliant about this tack is to remind everyone that it is a path. A person doesn't start a journey at its destination.

I've been following the discussions you referenced with great interest. For those of you whose views have formed over years of practice and study, I sometimes sense annoyance that these issues keep being brought up. However, for a beginner like me, the issue they raise is dangerously close to a binary solution set; either commit fully now and completely accept all the teachings or save yourself the effort and go do something else.

I want to continue my investigations and practice. In so many ways, Buddhism "fits" me. My practice these past months has significantly improved my life and the lives of those near me. However, I cannot (yet) wrap my head around rebirth and I don't know if I ever will. This is a problem because I read that attainment of jhana is essential to gaining the clarity of insight to "directly know" these more controversial aspects of the dhamma. The catch-22 comes about from something else I read that says you can't attain jhana without complete faith in the teachings!

I've spent a lot of time over the last days wrestling with the doubt these issues raise. That doubt was there before the threads were posted. For now, I've concluded to adopt resolve and continue but I remain thankful to those who posted these threads and to this forum for permitting them to do so.

:anjali:
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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:45 am

zavk wrote:Hi friends,

Mike's post reminded about something I read. I remember reading about the qualification sammā. Sammā is usually translated as 'right'. But I believe it also means 'togetherness' or 'to be connected in one' or something like that (Maybe someone more learned can elaborate on this). This suggests to me that sammā is not just simply about establishing what is 'right' as opposed to 'wrong'. Sammā ditthi is not simply about right or wrong view. Rather, sammā (as 'togetherness'; 'to be connected in one) points to the need to incorporate the development of view into the noble eightfold path. And as we all know, the path includes other factors like effort, action, and speech.

It seems to me, then, that Right View isn't just about epistemology (what is right or not, what can be known or not) but also about ontology (what one is) and ethics (what one ought to do). Questions about right/wrong and knowledge are important, but the answers to these questions are to be discovered not simply in discourse but in what we do, the way we behave, how we live.

This then suggests that having Right View about kamma and rebirth is not just about establishing whether rebirth is right/wrong or knowable or not. This is not to say that it is useless to reflect on rebirth. Rather, it suggests that all the effort spent on discussing and analysing rebirth does not necessary lead one to Right View. Even if one has a nuanced argument about Right View that is supported by all the suttas, until that person starts to live with Right Action, Speech, etc, that view about rebirth is not "Right'. Nor is that person any closer to the truth of rebirth than another who doesn't talk about it.

This also suggests to me that until we gain deep insight into rebirth, we can adopt rebirth in ways that are not simply based on right/wrong, true/false. Perhaps, we can adopt rebirth as a kind of guiding narrative, a guiding metaphor, for us to live our lives and actions. If rebirth is to be realised, it realised through our actions; it is realised in the way our lives pan out. Right View is thus established in the context of our actions.

Metta,
zavk


Wonderfully said

:anjali:

Gabriel
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Re: Essential Right View

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:51 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:for a beginner like me, the issue they raise is dangerously close to a binary solution set; either commit fully now and completely accept all the teachings or save yourself the effort and go do something else.

Just so we are clear: this is a completely false dichotomy. The issue is not what you need to do right now. The issue is what you should strive for. And also the issue is what to classify you as now. That's all. If you knowingly do not adopt right view then you aren't a Buddhist. That doesn't mean you should stop learning and practicing and reading and going to temples and retreats and all that. How could one possibly get to the point of wanting to adopt right view if they stopped learning and practicing?

There is nothing shameful or wrong or problematic about not being a Buddhist. Every person, before they are a Buddhist, is a non-Buddhist.
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Re: Essential Right View

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:19 am

Peter wrote:
AdvaitaJ wrote:for a beginner like me, the issue they raise is dangerously close to a binary solution set; either commit fully now and completely accept all the teachings or save yourself the effort and go do something else.

Just so we are clear: this is a completely false dichotomy. The issue is not what you need to do right now. The issue is what you should strive for. And also the issue is what to classify you as now. That's all. If you knowingly do not adopt right view then you aren't a Buddhist. That doesn't mean you should stop learning and practicing and reading and going to temples and retreats and all that. How could one possibly get to the point of wanting to adopt right view if they stopped learning and practicing?

There is nothing shameful or wrong or problematic about not being a Buddhist. Every person, before they are a Buddhist, is a non-Buddhist.


Hi Peter,

I think the misunderstanding comes from Christian conditioning. My thinking is that we can hang loose to our classifications without diluting what we call the Dhamma. Thats just how I feel. I could be wrong.

Metta

Gabriel
"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: Essential Right View

Postby zavk » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:40 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:...My practice these past months has significantly improved my life and the lives of those near me.


Hi AdvaitaJ,

My teacher would always say that this is the only yardstick to measure 'progress' or to determine if the path is 'working' for you. :thumbsup:

AdvaitaJ wrote:I want to continue my investigations and practice... I've spent a lot of time over the last days wrestling with the doubt these issues raise. That doubt was there before the threads were posted. For now, I've concluded to adopt resolve and continue but I remain thankful....


This, to me, is the flowering of Right View (as well as all the other 'Rights'). :toast:

Your fellow wayfarer,
zavk
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:04 am

AdvaitaJ wrote: The other thing that I think is brilliant about this tack is to remind everyone that it is a path. A person doesn't start a journey at its destination.

Actually, one way of thinking about it is that the "mundane right X" are the journey, "superior" are the destination.

Mike

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:07 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:I think the misunderstanding comes from Christian conditioning.

I think that is likely.

My thinking is that we can hang loose to our classifications without diluting what we call the Dhamma. Thats just how I feel. I could be wrong.

My thinking is that when one says "One can be a Buddhist while actively rejecting (or actively refusing to accept) certain Buddhist teachings" this has the very real potential of misleading others into what is and is not a necessary part of the path to ending suffering. In other words, I equate "Buddhist" with "one on the path to ending suffering" as opposed to "one on a path which may or may not lead them on to the path to ending suffering". Every Buddhist was at one point not a Buddhist... but not everyone non-Buddhist will become a Buddhist. :yingyang:
- Peter

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Re: Essential Right View

Postby DarkDream » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:17 am

Ben wrote:Yes, but remember Manapa, the discourse was for a group of people who had not taken refuge in the Buddha who had asked him a question regarding how one could determine who was a worthy teacher. The advice was very specific to the audience.


Ben, I've read Bhikkhu Bodhi's argument, and did not quite understand it. I'm not sure if he is against pragmitism and reliance on one's own experience to be replaced by fate or what.

Ben wrote: You will find that the advice given to the Kalamas is not repeated anywhere else in the Suttas where the Buddha addresses one or all of the four assemblies of His sangha.


Simply not true. Here you can find in this translation (http://books.google.com/books?id=g5YfHBF10aoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=middle+length+discourses+of+the+Buddha#PRA2-PA357,M1) by Bhikkhu Bodhi himself. Here is the key passage where the Buddha is explicitly talking to monks:

"Do you speak only of what you have know, seen and understood for yourselves?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."


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