On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:58 am

danieLion wrote:Gaoxing,
I'm confused by your syntax. Please rephrase.
Kindly,
dL
What part confuses you? I'll try if you can tell me where.

Having read my own bit again I believe I might have talked rubbish. I'll rephrase if you tell me where. please.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:01 pm

Buckwheat wrote: This is a point I think some people miss: Thanissaro's motive for the Not-Self strategy is not to leave things open for some mystical self, or to water it down, but to make anatta more powerful and applicable to all the actions of our daily life. Am I self-ing? How? What are the implications?


I tend to agree. "The five aggregates subject to clinging" is a summary for dukkha in the First Noble Truth, and craving / clinging is the proximate cause of suffering in the second Noble Truth - so a not-self strategy to reduce craving and clinging to the aggregates makes a lot of sense.

I find the broader question of no-self more difficult. But it is the case that in the suttas the Buddha consistently refused to make ontological statements about self/no-self ( among other things ). And something I find puzzling is the way in which no-self is equated with annihilationism in the Ananda Sutta, given that annihilationism is seen as wrong view.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2448
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: With the cockney chimney-sweeps in Mary Poppins

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:25 pm

Actually the Buddha’s methods of refusing to speak about no-self or self are simple when considering the audience.

Speaking to either extremes and answering both would be fatal to the minds of those who are either rooted in eternalism (the atta teachings in the time of the Buddha) or annihilation (the anatta teachings in the time of the Buddha). Actually the Buddha never denied the existence of a self but clearly taught that the existence of a self is an illusion to both extremes and that the self is not permanent and only a constantly changing construct of the changing Khandhas. The Buddha taught an atta that is in constant flux and interdependent. Dynamically changing.This atta that is in constant flux is Anatta to the extreme of ‘eternalists’ but is also atta to ‘annihilationists’ but it is neither to an audience holding both extreme views and therefore it is silence.

There is the Atta which is Anatta but this atta is neither the atta nor the Anatta of the extremes. The atta which is Anatta is not permanent neither nothing and neither is Anatta only applicable to small things outside of a so-called permanent atta like a stone or a well of water which were also seen as atta namely animism but it is applicable to all that is seen to be a permanent atta and even consciousness like in Advaita.

If the audience have the mind of seeing only the two extremes to which one could answer no there is no self or to the other that yes there is a self would be disastrous.

The Buddha taught sunnata (interdependence, thusness or voidness) and therefore neither not-self nor no-self but used both not-self and no-self as tools to guide the practice towards sunnata.

For the western mind the word 'self' mostly indicates something permanent or independent and therefore the use of no-self would be more appropriate than not-self, in general.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:07 am

Spiny Norman wrote:I find the broader question of no-self more difficult. But it is the case that in the suttas the Buddha consistently refused to make ontological statements about self/no-self ( among other things ). And something I find puzzling is the way in which no-self is equated with annihilationism in the Ananda Sutta, given that annihilationism is seen as wrong view.

I have a very pragmatic approach to all this, and it seems to be in agreement with the Suttas and with Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings on the matter.

Namely, my experience upon being told "You are this, you are that, this is who you really are" - ie. statements about what my true nature is, who I really am - is bewilderment, consistently so.
For example, when a Mormon tells me "You are a child of God," or a Hare Krishna tells me "You are part and parcel of God," or "You are a spirit soul in a body," or when a Western psychologist tells me "You are the epiphenomenon of the neuro-biological processes in your body," or when just someone tells me "You are an idiot" or "You're awesome" - what on earth am I supposed to do with that??! Those identifications are absolutely bewildering to me. I can neither accept them, nor reject them - although it seems clear enough that the person who identified me as this or that wants something from me, but it's not clear what.

Whatever identification of my true nature is proposed, there is a problem with it - and this is the problem with identifications of true nature:
If I am a child of God, then why doesn't God take better care of me? Or does God just not particularly care about me anyway? If so, why bother?
If I am a part and parcel of God, and I am unhappy, then this means that God - despite His omnipotence - is unhappy too. And that is a miserable outlook.
If I am a spirit soul in a body, then how come I don't experience myself that way?
If I am the epiphenomenon of the neuro-biological processes in my body - then why bother with anything, given that I am just a glorified robot?
If I am an idiot, then how come I have a sense of right and wrong?
If I am awesome, then why do I suffer?
If I am a Buddhist, then why am I not enlightened?
If I am not a Buddhist, then I can have no hope of ever becoming enlightened, so why bother with anything.
And so on.

And it is on the grounds of these considerations that I approach the teachings on anatta. Whatever I would take as the truth about myself, as the truth about who I really am, I end up confused, bewildered, and then paralyzed.
Having a view about "who I really am" is a recipe for the strenghtening of the hindrances.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:13 am

binocular wrote:If I am a Buddhist, then why am I not enlightened?
Because you have not done the work.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19369
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:If I am a Buddhist, then why am I not enlightened?
Because you have not done the work.

You've missed the point of my post ...
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:18 am

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:If I am a Buddhist, then why am I not enlightened?
Because you have not done the work.

You've missed the point of my post ...
And your point is?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19369
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:10 am

Gaoxing wrote:If the audience have the mind of seeing only the two extremes to which one could answer no there is no self or to the other that yes there is a self would be disastrous.


But this seems to assume that Indian thought at the Buddha's time was unsophisticated, and that his audience couldn't have coped with some clear statements about self/no-self. I'm not sure what those assumptions are based on.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2448
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: With the cockney chimney-sweeps in Mary Poppins

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:40 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Gaoxing wrote:If the audience have the mind of seeing only the two extremes to which one could answer no there is no self or to the other that yes there is a self would be disastrous.


But this seems to assume that Indian thought at the Buddha's time was unsophisticated, and that his audience couldn't have coped with some clear statements about self/no-self. I'm not sure what those assumptions are based on.
It's not about assumptions its about knowing who is who and what they believe in. It's also about the Suttas. You can't generalize matters in that way. Does India have one head?
Last edited by Gaoxing on Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:44 am

Binoc wrote:Having a view about "who I really am" is a recipe for the strenghtening of the hindrances.
Correct but it differs from person to person and where they are on the path.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:19 pm

Gaoxing wrote:It's not about assumptions.....You can't generalize matters in that way.


I agree - that's really the point I was making.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2448
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: With the cockney chimney-sweeps in Mary Poppins

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And your point is?

Like I already said: Having a view about "who I really am" is a recipe for the strenghtening of the hindrances.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:23 pm

binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And your point is?

Like I already said: Having a view about "who I really am" is a recipe for the strenghtening of the hindrances.
Then you did not make your point very clear in the above msg. Also, until you reach into the ariya levels, you are going to have a view about "who you really are" whether you want it or not.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19369
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:55 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Gaoxing wrote:It's not about assumptions.....You can't generalize matters in that way.


I agree - that's really the point I was making.
Bad thoughts? Sometimes the question do arise; " Why are the suttas so unsophisticated?"

Maybe the circumstances at the time did not allow for lengthy discussions due to a lack of the Internet or maybe it's a simple but modern matter of lacking insight or being bored.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:08 am

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And your point is?

Like I already said: Having a view about "who I really am" is a recipe for the strenghtening of the hindrances.
Then you did not make your point very clear in the above msg. Also, until you reach into the ariya levels, you are going to have a view about "who you really are" whether you want it or not.
This view of who I really am is very frustrating at the moment. Dammit! It's like having a big ball of hot gum stuck to the shoe. It's best to just take the damn shoe off because no matter where you tread it sticks and strings. How long does one have to sit?
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:39 am

In which sutta(s) does the Buddha teach that there is no self?
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby cooran » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:50 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7510
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:09 am

Gaoxing wrote: It's best to just take the damn shoe off because no matter where you tread it sticks and strings.
The problem is you cannot simply take off your shoe.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19369
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:17 am

danieLion wrote:In which sutta(s) does the Buddha teach that there is no self?
Parivatta Sutta
Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta
Maha-nidana Sutta

Have you read the Abhidamma?
Last edited by Gaoxing on Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Gaoxing » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Gaoxing wrote: It's best to just take the damn shoe off because no matter where you tread it sticks and strings.
The problem is you cannot simply take off your shoe.

:cry: :clap:
User avatar
Gaoxing
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:08 pm
Location: China

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests