Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:40 pm

Virgo wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
Virgo wrote:From the traditional point of view there are no more Arahants in the human realm right now. But people can still become liberated. There can still be sotapannas, sakadagami, and anagami. One will attain Arahatta in one of the other realms.

What about sakadagami? Doesn't this mean that the person will return to this world in the next life, attain nibbana in this world... which then makes him an arahant, right?

In the traditional texts many realms are outlined. Generally anagamis are born in a certain arupa plane.


That still doesn't explain the inconsistency that I see. If there are no more Arahants for this world, then how can there still be the possibility of a sakadagami right now? Since that means these people will return to this world once more, and then become arahants? (No more for this world, or any other worlds.)

Does this mean that entry #1 and #3 are the only possibilities right now? Does the people in the #1 have to make the leap to the #3 now? (Hence bypassing the #2 altogether... so that they won't risk coming back to this world and then invalidate the tradition by become arahants.) Does this sound right to you? Or is my interpretation mistaken?
User avatar
beeblebrox
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:37 pm

Hello Virgo,

Virgo wrote:This Commentary explains about the degrees of paññå of ariyans in the different periods after the Buddha¹s passing away. During the period of the first thousand years there were still arahats with the four ³analytical knowledges², paìisambhidå . In the following period of thousand years there were only arahats who are sukkha vipassaka, those who had not attained any stage of jhåna, but who had developed only insight. In the third period of thousand years there are only people who have attained the state of non-returner, anågåmí, in the fourth period of thousand years there are only sakadågåmís and in the fifth period of thousand years there are only sotåpannas."
[/list]


So does this mean that since ~1600 AD (2 thousand years after the Buddha), Arahantship is impossible?

So this means that since ~1600AD nobody can attain lowest type of stream entry (6 more lives in human realm until Arhatship in Human realm) without Jhana.
No one can attain the highest level of stream-entry (one more rebirth in human realm from which arhatship is obtained).
No one can achieve Sakadagami level resulting in rebirth in Human realm from which Arhatship is obtained?

???
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby Virgo » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:03 pm

Alex123 wrote:
So does this mean that since ~1600 AD (2 thousand years after the Buddha), Arahantship is impossible?

In the human realm, yes.



Alex123 wrote:
So this means that since ~1600AD nobody can attain lowest type of stream entry (6 more lives in human realm until Arhatship in Human realm) without Jhana.
No one can attain the highest level of stream-entry (one more rebirth in human realm from which arhatship is obtained).
No one can achieve Sakadagami level resulting in rebirth in Human realm from which Arhatship is obtained?

???

Yes, imo.
Virgo
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby Virgo » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:05 pm

beeblebrox wrote:That still doesn't explain the inconsistency that I see. If there are no more Arahants for this world, then how can there still be the possibility of a sakadagami right now? Since that means these people will return to this world once more, and then become arahants? (No more for this world, or any other worlds.)

Does this mean that entry #1 and #3 are the only possibilities right now? Does the people in the #1 have to make the leap to the #3 now? (Hence bypassing the #2 altogether... so that they won't risk coming back to this world and then invalidate the tradition by become arahants.) Does this sound right to you? Or is my interpretation mistaken?

Traditional Theravadins believe the Buddhas claim that there are multiple realms. It is still possible to attain Arahatta-magga in those realms at this time.

Kevin
Virgo
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby adeh » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:38 pm

I know all of this is mentioned in the commentaries, but the Buddha Himself says in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta: "But if these bhikkhus live rightly, the world will not be devoid of Arahants." So I think that implies that as long as the Dhamma followed correctly, liberation will always be possible-irrespective of what it says in the commentaries.
"bhikkhū sammā vihareyyuṁ asuñño loko Arahantehi assā." ti.
"(But) if monks should live well, the world will not be void of Worthy Ones."
Translation by Anandajoti Bhikkhu.
User avatar
adeh
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Mexico City

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby IanAnd » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:21 am

adeh wrote:I know all of this is mentioned in the commentaries, but the Buddha Himself says in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta: "But if these bhikkhus live rightly, the world will not be devoid of Arahants." So I think that implies that as long as the Dhamma followed correctly, liberation will always be possible-irrespective of what it says in the commentaries.
"bhikkhū sammā vihareyyuṁ asuñño loko Arahantehi assā." ti.
"(But) if monks should live well, the world will not be void of Worthy Ones."
Translation by Anandajoti Bhikkhu.

Good point. And what is more, there were no commentaries when he uttered that statement. Interesting that he did not anticipate any commentaries, don't you think. His greatest legacy was leaving the discourses of the Dhamma for others to study and to practice. And he even stated as much.

The Mahaparinibban Sutta is a good source for how the Buddha viewed things once was gone. It contained some of the very last and most important thoughts he had on the disposition of the sangha after his death.

"Therefore, Ananda, you should live as islands unto yourselves, being your own refuge, with no one else as your refuge, with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge....That, Ananda, is how a monk lives as an island unto himself, . . . with no other refuge. And those who now in my time or afterwards live thus, they will become the highest, if they are desirous of learning."

Nothing is written (or uttered) in stone. Not even by a Buddha. To blindly believe this or that condition will come about is to deny the power of human ingenuity to strive after liberation no matter what the obstacles, no matter what anyone says now or hereafter.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:21 am

Hello all,

The Buddha often spoke of the disappearance of the Sasana and of the True Dhamma. I have onlly had time for a quick look - I'm sure others can find more references -

The Disappearance Of The Discourses That Are Words(Sutta) Of The Buddha
"… in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness -- are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works -- the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples -- are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering. "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness -- will come about. Therefore, monks, train yourselves thus: To these very Suttas will we listen, give a ready ear, understand, recite and master them." Samyutta Nikaya Sutta XX.7
http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/sn20-7.htm
---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------
The Cause The True Dhamma Does Not Last A Long Time
"…when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher (The Buddha); live without respect, without deference, for the Sutta(The Buddha's Teachings)... the Sangha a (community of The Buddha's disciples and not any particular monk)... the Training(Vinaya/Discipline/Virtue)... concentration (samadhi/Jhanna in meditation)... heedfulness; live without respect, without deference, for hospitality. This is the cause, this is the reason why, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the true Dhamma does not last a long time". (Anguttara Nikaya Sutta VII.56, Samyutta Nikáya Sutta 16.13)
http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/an7-56.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Disappearance of the Sasana
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/24257

with metta
Chris
---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: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:26 am

But five things conduce to its [the Dhamma]
maintenance, clarity and non-disappearance --that monks and nuns,
laymen and laywomen live with reverence and deference for the
Teacher, for Dhamma, for the Order, for the training and for
concentration."
[SN II 224]
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: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:13 am

Hi Ian,
IanAnd wrote:Good point. And what is more, there were no commentaries when he uttered that statement. Interesting that he did not anticipate any commentaries, don't you think.

With respect, I disagree. The commentarial tradition began with the Buddha himself when after uttering a verse, left it to his senior monks, sometimes Mahakaccana, to expound its meaning, and by approving of suttas spoken by senior disciples.

The elaborator of brief statements

The Buddha honoured the Venerable Mahakaccana by naming him his foremost disciple in the ability to provide detailed expositions of his own brief statements. Mahakaccana earned this distinguished title principally because of eight suttas found in the Nikayas: three in the Majjhima, three in the Samyutta, and two in the Anguttara. Besides these, we find in the Nikayas several other discourses of Mahakaccana's that are not based on a brief utterance of the Buddha.
...
For this reason, no doubt, within the Theravada tradition each elder [Sariputta and Mahakaccana], has come to be regarded as the father of a particular methodology for interpreting the Dhamma that rose to prominence in the early centuries of Buddhist literary history. Sariputta is, of course , viewed as the original systematizer of the Abhidhamma, which (according to tradition) he elaborated based on the outlines that the Buddha taught him during his periodic visits to the human realm while expounding the Abhidhamma to devas in the Tavatimsa heaven. Mahakaccana is regarded as the author of an exegetical system embedded in two post-canonical works [Petakopadesa amd the Nettippakarana] that exerted an important influence on the early Buddhist commentators.

-- Helmeth Hecker and Nyanaponika Thera, Mahakaccana: master of doctrinal exposition in Great Disciples of the Buddha, Wisdom, 2003

kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16062
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Reliability of Mahāvihāra Commentaries?... Right View

Postby IanAnd » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:01 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Ian,
IanAnd wrote:Good point. And what is more, there were no commentaries when he uttered that statement. Interesting that he did not anticipate any commentaries, don't you think.

With respect, I disagree. The commentarial tradition began with the Buddha himself when after uttering a verse, left it to his senior monks, sometimes Mahakaccana, to expound its meaning, and by approving of suttas spoken by senior disciples.

Greetings Ben,

Good point. And with respect, while I do not disagree with its basic importance, from my POV it neglects one very important difference from the commentaries that have come after the Buddha's time and eventual demise. During the time you are speaking about, the Buddha had personal right of veto-ship over what his monks expounded. In other words, if he didn't agree with their take, he could always take them aside and question them or set them straight. I agree that, according to the discourses we currently have available to us, this didn't happen very often, because he had personally overseen the training of many of the more respected monks in his entourage. In other words, he was there to help guide if someone got off course. This was not the case when the written commentaries came into existence hundreds of years after his death. If these later commentators started to go beyond what he might have deemed judicial or prudent, he was not around to correct them. And in this sense, at least, he did not not seem to anticipate the influence that later commentators might have on the Dhamma he taught. That is, much beyond anticipating that eventually it would gradually degrade and go out of use, which I think we can all agree is a possibility.

Best regards,
Ian
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Previous

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests