On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Nyana » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:44 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:1) the view of no self is rooted in the very view of self, a denial of self, a destruction of self

Anatta is a recognition (anattasaññā) of the absence of self, and not a self-view (attadiṭṭhi; attānudiṭṭhi).


Please read above post: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11079#p167491 (especially the bolded bits).

That sutta passage is talking about mistaken ideas of possession due to the conceits of superimposing a subjective perspective. It is not saying that the appropriate recognition of the absence of self is a self-view.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:58 am

A big Sadhu! to the above.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:19 pm

Can you please explain further?

Thanks,
Scott
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Nyana » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:54 am

Buckwheat wrote:Can you please explain further?

What's being indicated here is the erroneous assumption of a personal subject who has no self. Thus, a mistaken view of personal existence is still functioning as the basis for inappropriate attention. Discernment hasn't successfully eliminated this subjective perspective -- the habitual filter of a separate observer.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby chownah » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:54 am

Nana,
In relation to what you have been saying what do you make of this?:
AN 6.38 PTS: A iii 337
Attakārī Sutta: The Self-Doer
translated from the Pali by
K. Nizamis
© 2011–2012
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html

(an excerpt)
"Then a certain brahman approached the Blessed One; having approached the Blessed One, he exchanged friendly greetings. After pleasant conversation had passed between them, he sat to one side. Having sat to one side, the brahman spoke to the Blessed One thus:

“Venerable Gotama, I am one of such a doctrine, of such a view: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer.’”[1]

“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]
"


I was very surprised to find this......from the copyright it seems that this is fresh from the translator....I'm still wondering what to make of it......
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:18 am

Greetings Chownah,

It would indeed be interesting to see the Pali from which it was translated.

:geek:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:56 am

This one is referenced in the notes to chownah's discovery:
And which, monks, is the burden-bearer? That of which it should be said: the individual person, [6] who is this venerable one, of such a name, of such ancestry. This, monks, is called the burden-bearer. [7]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Nyana » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:49 am

chownah wrote:Nana,
In relation to what you have been saying what do you make of this?:
AN 6.38 PTS: A iii 337
Attakārī Sutta: The Self-Doer

I previously gave a translation and of AN 6.38 and offered a few comments on it here.

chownah wrote:I was very surprised to find this......from the copyright it seems that this is fresh from the translator....I'm still wondering what to make of it......

It seems to me to be refuting the idea of strict determinism.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:58 pm

From the post cited above:

Ñāṇa wrote:This passage is refuting the notion that there is a permanent self as the agent controlling the aggregates or within the aggregates which is not subject to old age and death. It does not mean that there is no volitional freedom to choose available to us.

AN 6.38 Attakāra Sutta: …

Just because there is no permanent undying self as the agent controlling the aggregates or within the aggregates does not mean that there is no conscious, volitional self-agency operating.


Kalupahana was making a similar point in The Notion of suffering in early Buddhism compared with some reflections of early Wittgenstein, with reference to SN.12.20 Paccaya Sutta; that although all phenomena are causally conditioned (paṭiccasamuppanna), only some phenomena are dispositionally determined (saṅkhata)(p. 425) "...this human personality is nothing but a "bundle of dispositions" (sankhārapuñja). Yet, through attachment and confusion, man clings to the belief in a substantial self or a metaphysical subject (atta), permanent (nicca) and eternal (sassata), on the basis of the wrong understanding of “Thinker therefore I am” (manta asmi (22) = cogito ergo sum). … While there is no real self or soul that serves as an agent, sankhāras are real and active within their own sphere, within the world directed and determined by sankhāras, that is, the sphere of the sankhata.”(p.427)

22. Sutta-nipāta ed. D. Anderson and H. Smith (London: Pali Text Society, 1913), 916.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:49 pm

I'm too dense to follow your above arguments, so I'm looking for another approach so that I can appreciate your viewpoint. Do you agree with this paragraph?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... avada.html
No one can prove that the Tipitaka contains any of the words actually uttered by the historical Buddha. Practicing Buddhists have never found this problematic. Unlike the scriptures of many of the world's great religions, the Tipitaka is not regarded as gospel, as an unassailable statement of divine truth, revealed by a prophet, to be accepted purely on faith. Instead, its teachings are meant to be assessed firsthand, to be put into practice in one's life so that one can find out for oneself if they do, in fact, yield the promised results. It is the truth towards which the words in the Tipitaka point that ultimately matters, not the words themselves. Although scholars will continue to debate the authorship of passages from the Tipitaka for years to come (and thus miss the point of these teachings entirely), the Tipitaka will quietly continue to serve — as it has for centuries — as an indispensable guide for millions of followers in their quest for Awakening.


Please do me a favor and either quote the Canon where Buddha makes a direct statement about the metaphysical self, or indicate precisely what is wrong with Thanissaro's approach? How does it lead to suffering? Also, I'm very new to this debate, so please don't assume any knowledge on my part.

Thanissaro's approach says the metaphysical question leads to quarreling and should be put aside, and this thread may be evidence. His method is clearly intended to, in the end, eradicate any sense of self. Approaching anatta per Thanissaro made sense to me when I first heard it, because before that I spent years being mystified on how to incorporate anatta into my practice, and it once led me in a dangerous direction in my confusion. Now I see it as a task, and I see at least the first handful of steps that I need to work on. Is there something wrong with that? Seriously, I would like to know so that I can avoid any pitfalls.

Thanks,
Scott
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Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:04 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Thanissaro's approach says the metaphysical question leads to quarreling and should be put aside, and this thread may be evidence. His method is clearly intended to, in the end, eradicate any sense of self. Approaching anatta per Thanissaro made sense to me when I first heard it, because before that I spent years being mystified on how to incorporate anatta into my practice, and it once led me in a dangerous direction in my confusion. Now I see it as a task, and I see at least the first handful of steps that I need to work on. Is there something wrong with that? Seriously, I would like to know so that I can avoid any pitfalls.

No there isn't anything wrong with that and I would ignore any interpretations presented (regardless of their air of authority) which increase your confusion rather than decrease it.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby piotr » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:46 pm

Hi,

ancientbuddhism wrote:Kalupahana was making a similar point in The Notion of suffering in early Buddhism compared with some reflections of early Wittgenstein


Thanks for this essay, it's insightful.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:34 am

Buckwheat wrote:I'm too dense to follow your above arguments, so I'm looking for another approach so that I can appreciate your viewpoint. Do you agree with this paragraph?

I'm not sure who you're addressing, but if it's me, sure, I agree with that paragraph. But it doesn't mean that all interpretations are equally credible.

Buckwheat wrote:indicate precisely what is wrong with Thanissaro's approach?

I don't have the time right now to critique Ven. Ṭhānissaro's views in detail. There are probably other threads which deal with some of these issues. Just one example (related to both anatta and consciousness): Ṭhānissaro's latent fire theory presented and elaborated in Mind Like Fire Unbound cannot be sustained. The fire metaphor most commonly refers to the three fires of passion, aggression, and delusion. If the Indian Buddhist understanding of fire was really that an extinguished fire goes into a "latent state," then these three fires could re-combust within an arahant's mind as long as there is fuel remaining (i.e. saupādisesa nibbānadhātu: nibbāna element with fuel remaining). Of course, this would render nibbāna quite meaningless.

Buckwheat wrote:Now I see it as a task, and I see at least the first handful of steps that I need to work on.

Yes, we have to proceed one step at a time.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:I'm too dense to follow your above arguments, so I'm looking for another approach so that I can appreciate your viewpoint. Do you agree with this paragraph?

I'm not sure who you're addressing, but if it's me, sure, I agree with that paragraph. But it doesn't mean that all interpretations are equally credible.

Buckwheat wrote:indicate precisely what is wrong with Thanissaro's approach?

I don't have the time right now to critique Ven. Ṭhānissaro's views in detail. There are probably other threads which deal with some of these issues. Just one example (related to both anatta and consciousness): Ṭhānissaro's latent fire theory presented and elaborated in Mind Like Fire Unbound cannot be sustained. The fire metaphor most commonly refers to the three fires of passion, aggression, and delusion. If the Indian Buddhist understanding of fire was really that an extinguished fire goes into a "latent state," then these three fires could re-combust within an arahant's mind as long as there is fuel remaining (i.e. saupādisesa nibbānadhātu: nibbāna element with fuel remaining). Of course, this would render nibbāna quite meaningless.

Buckwheat wrote:Now I see it as a task, and I see at least the first handful of steps that I need to work on.

Yes, we have to proceed one step at a time.


Thanks, Nana. Can I ask you one more thing? I'm not so concerned with your critique of Thanissaro's views, I'm concerned with your critique of his method, his approach of stripping away self identities by looking at them one by one and letting go of them, except for holding onto the relatively healthy ones until you're pure enough to let go of those as well. Do you see anything wrong with his approach in that respect? From the last line of your previous post, I'm thinking you are OK with it.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:50 am

Hi to all contributors to this topic.

Thanks for keeping it so interesting.

I'm struggling to find time to contribute but there are tons of savory things (especially Nana's link to the Wittgenstein/Buddha article) which I hope to find time for asap.

Good-will to you all. :anjali:

Daniel
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:05 am

Buckwheat wrote:I'm concerned with your critique of his method, his approach of stripping away self identities by looking at them one by one and letting go of them, except for holding onto the relatively healthy ones until you're pure enough to let go of those as well. Do you see anything wrong with his approach in that respect?

I think there is really no other way to proceed. We all have to start from where we are, and begin by committing and re-committing to developing appropriate ethical conduct (sīla) and meditative composure (samādhi). This already involves a significant degree of focus and dedication: choosing to go for refuge in the three jewels; choosing to undertake training according to the five and/or eight precepts; choosing to develop renunciation and live a life of voluntary simplicity; choosing to practice sense restraint; and choosing to commit to a dedicated daily practice schedule. It can take quite some time to establish these aspects of gradual training and really begin to integrate them. And given that much of this will already challenge many preconceived notions and contemporary social and cultural beliefs and customs, it can be confusing at times, and even somewhat disorienting if we don't have the support of admirable, like-minded friends (kalyāṇamitta). Therefore, all of this is most skillfully approached through the orientation of the four noble truths. This is the view that concerns us as practitioners. Any other views are quite irrelevant.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:50 am

:thanks:, Nana.

Metta,
Scott
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Re: soul, do you have any?

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:02 am

Hi ancientbuddhism,
ancientbuddhism wrote:If you have been following along here and there,

Where? This is only the third post in this topic.
ancientbuddhism wrote:But when its central thesis is that the Buddha never denied the ‘Self’ (= Upaniṣadic ātman),
Where? I have never heard, read or seen Ven. Thanissaro make this specific claim.
good-will
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:12 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:
danieLion wrote:
manasikara wrote:

If you read this sutta {MN 2], then reread 'No-self or Not-self?' again, you will see that Venerable Thanissaro is right on track regarding anatta. I have never read him remotely suggesting that there is any kind of eternal upanishadic-style 'self' anywhere in existence, and I am surprised that anyone could think that!

Precisely.
D :heart:


By congratulating manasikara’s misunderstanding of what I have said, you only confirm your own. Do you have any thoughts on the points I raised?

Hi ancientbuddhism,
Those were points?
good-will
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:27 am

Ñāṇa wrote:I don't have the time right now to critique Ven. Ṭhānissaro's views in detail.


Perhaps you should make the time, otherwise you'll keep misunderstanding and misrepresenting him. Ven. Thanissaro does not have a
Ñāṇa wrote:latent fire theory

or teach that
Ñāṇa wrote:the Indian Buddhist understanding of fire was really that an extinguished fire goes into a "latent state,"
only. He balances this observation with many other observations.

Ñāṇa wrote:There are probably other threads which deal with some of these issues.

Where? I can't find any and all the links cited so far in this topic are loops or dead-ends.
good-will
Daniel
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