How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:59 pm

Greetings Craig,

I'd like to share a bit of my own experience with you.

I believe in post-mortem continuation (not "reincarnation"), because I trust the Buddha's teachings on the matter. It is therefore part of my View, with regards to the Dhamma. Just because it is my view however, doesn't mean I'm craving or willing that for it be so. It is not attachment.

For example, when George W Bush was the U.S. President, it was my "view" that he was the president but that certainly didn't mean that I was attached to him being the president, and was somehow craving for him to be the president for eternity (far from it, in fact).

If someone could conclusively prove, here and now, that there is no post-mortem continuance, I would be neither saddened nor pleased. The two possible outcomes (post-mortem continuance vs death as the end) seem about equally appealing to me. Alternating dukkha and sukha... or total nothingness... it's hard to pick a winner.

Do you see now how the view of rebirth (despite what some might tell you) needn't be seen as clinging to "I" or eternalism. I'm perfectly happy to "wait and see" what happens, but until then, I will take my view from the Buddha... he's guided me well this far.

:buddha2:

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: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:50 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote::goodpost:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

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: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:16 am

I have enjoyed reading a little of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu from time to time.

I'm a Mahayana practitioner with a great liking for the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. (Which is why I like to come here occasionally to read the discussions)

Actually at this point in my life I don't have too much interest in either position regarding rebirth - I'll just focus on my meditation when death approaches at a future date. Meanwhile I'll try my best to follow the teachings as a lay practitioner.

Thank you for allowing my participation.

With Kind wishes to all,

Dazzle :anjali:
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:28 am

Dazzlebling wrote:I'll just focus on my meditation when death approaches at a future date.


Milarepa said that one should not be content, death strikes like lightning.
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: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:31 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dazzlebling wrote:I'll just focus on my meditation when death approaches at a future date.


Milarepa said that one should not be content, death strikes like lightning.



Hi Tiltbillings,

Yes indeed! I didn't mean that was the only time I'd be meditating ! I've always found Milarepa's songs inspirational and have both volumes of his Hundred Thousand Songs.

I'm also hoping to have an interview with Ven Ajahn Sumedho in the next couple of months in connection with meditation.

Dazzle :anjali:
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:30 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Dazzlebling wrote:I'll just focus on my meditation when death approaches at a future date.


Milarepa said that one should not be content, death strikes like lightning.



How do you think one should one practice in relation to this suggestion you made, Tiltbillings?


:anjali:
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'm not sure about the whole question. Who really cares what "modern Western Theravadins" think? What would that prove?

[The following is based, in part, on comments from Ajahn Tiradhammo, so of course have a certain slant...]

Ajahn Buddhadasa produced books containing quite complex expositions of Dhamma, and this was one reason (as I understand it) why he became very popular with modern urban Thai people, as well as Westerners. On the other hand, he had relatively few actual students. It appears to me that his legacy is "intellectual" rather than "personal", though of course a large number of people did have the good fortune to hear his talks.

Metta
Mike


I'm not so interested in the comparison w/ Ajahn Chah, who I deeply respect. I do beg to differ w/ the idea that Ajahn Buddhadasa had few students. Might depend on how one defines or understands the term. Sure, his influence on Westerners was in some ways limited and he only directly trained a few of us. On the other hand, Ajahn Sumedho, for one, has read many of his books & has been influenced. Then again, he downplayed the whole student/disciple thing.

Those who only got an "intellectual" understanding from him perhaps missed what he was syaing about practice. Sometimes people miss the aspect of practice that deals with how we think, inquire, and reflect. He figured that helping people establish Right Understanding was crucial. With it, they'd know how to practice; without, they might just imitate techniques and customs. Of course, he put a lot of energy into teaching Anapanasati as well.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:22 am

Greetings Santikaro,

I would just like to say what an honour it is to have you join us and contribute to this discussion.

Metta and respect,
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: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:26 am

Peter wrote:I find the most ardent and vocal proponents of new interpretations of scripture, interpretations which diverge wildly from traditional understanding, almost universally cite Ven. Buddhadasa as their source. Whether this was because Ven. Buddhadasa himself held these idiosyncratic views or because his teachings are easily misunderstood I do not know. Nevertheless, the result is if you cite this Venerable it will for me raise a red flag.


There is an important difference b/w citing him in loose, unreferenced paraphrase (which might masquerade the citers own views) and quoting him directly w/ honesty about context & intent and appropriate references.

If he was idiosyncratic, he was no less so than Buddhaghosa, who spearheaded a commentarial tradition that often diverged from the suttas. I guess it's a matter of preference whether one prefers the suttas over the commentaries. Tan Ajahn preferred the suttas. If that's idiosyncratic, he wouldn't mind. I don't think his teachings are hard to understand if one has some insight into the ariyasacca, anatta, & paticcasamuppada and access to enough of the Thai texts. Unfortunately, not enough English translation is available (tho a broadly representative anthology is being planned).

Btw, I consider myself an ardent proponent of his understanding, tho I have not been vocal here & have been slow finishing translations.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Santikaro,

I would just like to say what an honour it is to have you join us and contribute to this discussion.

Metta and respect,
Retro. :)


Honored, pardon my American, to participate. A friend mentioned this BB and questioned reference to mer, so I thought to have a peak while recovering from flights to southern Brazil.

I'll try to be constructive and not indulge in arguments. Best wishes.
Nothing is worth clinging to as me or mine.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby appicchato » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:43 am

Santikaro wrote:...I consider myself an ardent proponent of his understanding...


Ditto...
Last edited by appicchato on Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:08 am

Individual wrote: I think it's obvious he's highly respected in western Buddhism. I'd be more interested in knowing what Asian monastics and "traditionalist" or "conservative" Buddhists might think of him.


Back in the 70s & 80s (he died in 1993), the traditionalists declared him heretic, Mahayanist, Christian, and Communist for various reasons, including their own myopia and biases. Some of these were ludicrous, even downright ignorant, such as Thai monks who accused him of being a Mahayanist for teaching sunyata. I guess the never read the Majjhima-nikaya and other relevant bits on sunyata.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:21 am

Dear Santikaro

A warm welcome to Dhamma Wheel! It is wonderful to have you here. I look forward to your contributions regarding the Ajahn's teachings with great interest.
Metta

Ben
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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: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:31 am

mikenz66 wrote:Craig,
Ajahn Buddhadasa wrote:Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. ...

He doesn't go on to say "the Buddha taught that there is no rebirth", he goes on to say that it is not a useful question to ask.

Metta
Mike


Tan Ajahn emphasized that there is no rebirth of a being, entity, self, or essence. It's a conventional term, so he sometimes spoke in that way while generally preferring the anatta perspective. For him, nobody would realize the quenching of dukkha by believing in or imaging rebirth, tho such believe can (albeit not necessarily) have some useful moral benefits.

For those who claim that the Buddha taught rebirth, I wonder where he actually lays this out as a teaching. More often, it's a general reference, similar to how we nowadays refer to evolution. The usual citation is to the first of the 3 nyanas under the bodhi tree, but that overlooks the not-yet-awakened (tho almost) situation of the bodhisatta. Tan Ajahn considered the 3rd nyana far more important, that is, causal for the great awakening. Some may not agree but that doesn't make rebirth an essential teaching for awakening.
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:38 am

PaulC wrote: In respect to Zen ... As of 1983 I'm pretty sure the books on Hui Neng and Huang Po (in Thai translations) were the only two he'd read ...

Paul


Actually, he translated those two books into Thai from English. I'm pretty sure he read a number of others, including modern Zen teachers like Suzuki Roshi & Thich Hnat Hanh. He liked to read; I hope that doesn't disqualify him as a practitioner ;-)
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:42 am

Hello Santikaro,

Would it be fair to say that Tan Ajahn understood that all "a being" consists of is kammic accumulations and latent tendencies, which 'travel on' unless and until cessation is accomplished?

metta and respect,
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:42 am

Welcome Santikaro,
I'm pleased that you can join us here. I've enjoyed hearing your various talks about Ajahn Buddhadasa.

I hope that I am not mis-representing Ajahn Buddhadasa too much.
Santikaro wrote:I'm not so interested in the comparison w/ Ajahn Chah, who I deeply respect. I do beg to differ w/ the idea that Ajahn Buddhadasa had few students. Might depend on how one defines or understands the term. Sure, his influence on Westerners was in some ways limited and he only directly trained a few of us. On the other hand, Ajahn Sumedho, for one, has read many of his books & has been influenced. Then again, he downplayed the whole student/disciple thing.

I think, as you say, it depends on what you mean by "students". My impression was that the number of monks he directly trained was not very large. You seem to be confirming this. However, as you say, he was very influential, not only on Ajahn Sumedho, but on the UK based "Insight" groups (via Christopher Titmus, etc).

Metta
Mike
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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:48 am

Santikaro wrote:For those who claim that the Buddha taught rebirth, I wonder where he actually lays this out as a teaching.

How about every time someone asks the Buddha about someone who had just died and the Buddha declares them sotapanna or sakadagami? What could it possibly mean to say a dead person will be born no more than seven (or one) more time? Of those who claim the Buddha did not teach rebirth, I have never heard any address this question.
- Peter

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Re: How are the views of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu regarded?

Postby Santikaro » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

Well there we go... that firmly places the onus on those who claimed Buddhadasa Bhikkhu denied any form of post-mortem continuance to find real evidence (i.e. not just out of context snippets) to back up their claims.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I heard him say, sometimes w/ me translating for him, that there's no rebirth; however, his meaning was that there's no rebirth of a being or atta. In private conversation when I tried, somewhat rigidly and dogmatically, to pin him down about what happens at death, he responded that it depends on idappaccayata. Of course, to assume that there was an atta or somebody to end at death is also refuted by the Buddha. In this, where is the Middle Way?
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