Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:36 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Huifeng's translation:

[i](三三五) [Sūtra] 335 [Paramārtha-śunyatā-sūtra ]

Thus it was heard by me.
. . . .
This reads like a later work than what is found in the suttas, and it seems to presuppose the Abhidharma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Huifeng's translation:

[i](三三五) [Sūtra] 335 [Paramārtha-śunyatā-sūtra ]

Thus it was heard by me.
. . . .
This reads like a later work than what is found in the suttas, and it seems to presuppose the Abhidharma.


Possibly so. But these things are hard to *prove*. And the same claims can be made for a fair amount of Pali sutta, too.
A key point to keep in mind would be, that in the end, the tail end of the sutta period and the start of the abhidharma period, both obviously overlap.
Still, it was considered canonical by a very large portion of the Buddhist community, and that is worth noting in itself.
I think that is a little more constructive, otherwise, Tilt, it sounds like your comments are kind of designed to stop any discussion in it's tracks, before it has begun.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:53 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Tilt, it sounds like your comments are kind of designed to stop any discussion in it's tracks, before it has begun.
No stopping in tracks. Just putting it into a probable context. It is that nothing that I have read in the Pali suttas quite reads like that text. On the other hand maybe Ñāṇa will post his stuff on emptiness from the Patisambhidamagga again, in this thread, giving a closer match.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:14 am

Still, getting back to the topic, the term used by Ven "inter-being" has not always run so smoothly for me. One may ask from whence does this term come? Does that system of thought actually concur with the sutras that are cited in the beginning of this thread? I'll throw this question out there, hoping that maybe Christopher can do the search and post the answers. I could do it myself, but that is not going to be my role today, and I don't like to spoon feed.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:51 am

Thank you for your insights Venerable.

And thanks for your note that sunnata is discussed in the Pali Canon. Chapt 122 Mahasunnata Sutta is one - page 971 VenNanamoli/VenBodhi. I think there's another in the connected discourses - Samyutta Nikaya - but would have to look it up to be sure.

As in my earlier post - 'inter being' doesn't 'feel' right to me. It doesn't seem to jive with the teachings in the Pali canon - from what I have read so far - the Tathagata taught in the negative mode - careful not to say 'what was' - but what was not - to help the student gain insight without fabricating concepts which lead to self or I making. The positive statement "things inter-are" - the melting pot of one-ness as I like to call it - seems to speak of a 'big self'. Even if that is not Ven. Hanh's intent - it could easily be construed that way - which seems in contradiction to the Buddhist teachings from the Pali canon.

I can't throw out sutta references like most of the folks here - so apologies - just going with what I've learnt so far, pondered upon so far and intuition.

'Doesn't smell right'

Respectfully,

V,.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:04 am

Thank you so much Venerable, for all this information, and especially for your time and effort. I'm pretty sure that i found something once that i had posted at e-sangha on the origins of the term "inter-being"... it may be an English translation of a Vietnamese term.

i'll look for it.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:52 am

Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Interbeing

The Order of Interbeing, or Tiếp Hiện in Vietnamese, was founded between 1964 and 1966 by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Tiếp means "being in touch with" and "continuing." Hiện means "realizing" and "making it here and now." "Interbeing" is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh to represent the Buddhist principles of impermanence and the nonself characteristic which reveal the inter-connected-ness of all things.


The Vietnamese translation for Order of Interbeing is "Dòng tu Tiếp Hiện" so "Dong tu" probably means "Order of."

In reading various articles on this topic writers often describe inter-being as a synonym TNH uses for dependent origination. My understanding is that Ven. Hanh has not made that assertion. As we've been discussing interbeing is a term he uses to explain emptiness and describe the interdependence of factors that give rise to compounded forms. When speaking of Dependent Origination he uses the phrase "Interdependent Co-Arising" as a translation for pratitya samutpada.

TNH talks about the 12 links extensively in that initial article i linked as well as in his book "The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings." But i haven't seen him present interbeing as a synonym for any one specific pali term or dhamma concept.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:13 am

christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...


Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Interbeing

The Order of Interbeing, or Tiếp Hiện in Vietnamese, was founded between 1964 and 1966 by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Tiếp means "being in touch with" and "continuing." Hiện means "realizing" and "making it here and now." "Interbeing" is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh to represent the Buddhist principles of impermanence and the nonself characteristic which reveal the inter-connected-ness of all things.


The Vietnamese translation for Order of Interbeing is "Dòng tu Tiếp Hiện" so "Dong tu" probably means "Order of."


If you follow the first external link on that Wiki page, you'll see it, in big bold letters!

Track down where that term comes from. Very interesting.

...
But i haven't seen him present interbeing as a synonym for any one specific pali concept.


Could that be because he simply isn't taking this from Pali Buddhism, or even any form of early Buddhism, or maybe any sort of Indian Buddhism at all?

Happy hunting!
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:22 am

I guess my posts are so much chopped liver - that's pronounced "livah"
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:35 am

Vepacitta wrote:
As in my earlier post - 'inter being' doesn't 'feel' right to me. It doesn't seem to jive with the teachings in the Pali canon - from what I have read so far - the Tathagata taught in the negative mode - careful not to say 'what was' - but what was not - to help the student gain insight without fabricating concepts which lead to self or I making. The positive statement "things inter-are" - the melting pot of one-ness as I like to call it - seems to speak of a 'big self'. Even if that is not Ven. Hanh's intent - it could easily be construed that way - which seems in contradiction to the Buddhist teachings from the Pali canon.

I can't throw out sutta references like most of the folks here - so apologies - just going with what I've learnt so far, pondered upon so far and intuition.

'Doesn't smell right'

Respectfully,

V,.


Hi V,

Most definitely TNH sometimes puts a positive spin on things that dilutes his message. In the passage i quoted about emptiness and the flower, he said "you are as wonderful as the Universe."

A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to "inter-be" with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be. The word inter-be can reveal more of the reality than the word "to be". You cannot be by yourself alone, you have to inter-be with everything else. So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible.

So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It's the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos. You are as wonderful as the cosmos, you are a manifestation of the cosmos. So non-self is another guide that Buddha offers us in order for us to successfully practice looking deeply. What does it mean to look deeply? Looking deeply means to look in such a way that the true nature of impermanence and non-self can reveal themselves to you. Looking into yourself, looking into the flower, you can touch the nature of impermanence and the nature of non-self, and if you can touch the nature of impermanence and non-self deeply, you can also touch the nature of nirvana, which is the Third Dharma Seal."


That kind of statement goes in the opposite direction of the key point he was making (about there being no selves) and is not helpful. If we take that statement out, it's a stronger presentation, imo.

Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:
The Vietnamese translation for Order of Interbeing is "Dòng tu Tiếp Hiện" so "Dong tu" probably means "Order of."


If you follow the first external link on that Wiki page, you'll see it, in big bold letters!


Yes, thank you Venerable, that's where i found it as well.

Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...


Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?



Where Vietnam gets its Dharma from and where that one word has its origins are different questions. We'd need someone with knowledge of Vietnamese Buddhism to go further with these technical issues, i think.

Paññāsikhara wrote:
...
But i haven't seen him present interbeing as a synonym for any one specific pali concept.


Could that be because he simply isn't taking this from Pali Buddhism, or even any form of early Buddhism, or maybe any sort of Indian Buddhism at all?



Right, exactly. Not familiar with Vietnamese, i just don't know.

But it looks like he's created this new English term to draw our attention to truths that Buddha did teach, about the nature of compounded things, how every thing arises dependently, how every thing is impermanent and empty of a singular self nature. The term is a conceptual tool, nothing more. It can be helpful or unhelpful, depending on how we think about this.

We can say that for all words and concepts.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:43 am

christopher::: wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Okay, here's what i could find, the term inter-being's origins are indeed Vietnamese, Tiếp Hiện (Tiep Hien)...


Well, that is the Vietnamese, but that's not where it comes from. Where does Vietnam get it's Dharma from?



Where Vietnam gets its Dharma from and where that one word has its origins are different questions. We'd need someone with knowledge of Vietnamese Buddhism to go further with these technical issues, i think.


China. For both.

Try looking the two Chinese characters up in a Buddhist Dictionary, a Japanese Buddhist dictionary should give you something pretty similar, too.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:51 am

Hi Venerable. I didn't see Chinese characters for the Vietnamese term Tiếp Hiện , perhaps we were looking at different links. This is the primary page, in English. On the left is a link to Vietnamese. What (and/or where) are the Chinese characters you found?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Interbeing
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:05 am

Have to go now, will check in again later.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:57 am

As usual this has turned into a discussion about interpretation of Mahayana views.
I for one have no problem with that at all, it is after all in the Dhamma Free for All, but as usual as these debates proceed they have less and less to do with the Theravada.
I think this Forum is a generous host, as it should be. I can think of a number of Buddhist websites where the fact that the discussion had moved beyond the remit for that Forum would be less tolerated.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby legolas » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:39 am

Is not dependant origination a "bad" thing, since it is the process of our suffering. "Interbeing" seems to be described by TNH as a wonderful and beautiful expression of life.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:01 am

I think you have put your finger on an important issue Legolas.
Whereas in my view the Theravada emphasises the fact that D.O. starts with Ignorance...the tenor in TNH writings seems to be on some kind of affirmation of the world. I dont think actually that the Theravada sees D.O. as bad. I do think it sees the process it describes as leading to Dukkha and therefore to be transcended. Not in some way perfected or added to or improved.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:17 am

I don't see dependent origination as "bad" or "interbeing" as good. If one understands the Buddha's teachings on dependent origination with clarity it can lead to freedom, awakening, liberation. I don't think an understanding of inter-being alone will have the same effect. Interbeing is just another way of describing how no thing exists on its own, another way of looking at compounded things. Things may interbe, but the truth of anicca-dukkha-anattā is still primary.

You're body is composed of atoms from the Universe, and that's pretty cool, but everything dissolves, falls apart and decays, and this leads to unsatisfactory feelings if we cling to anything, hold too tightly to the world.

I think Ajahn Chah has described that very well...

With even a little intuitive wisdom, we will then be able to see clearly through the ways of the world. We will come to understand that everything in the world is a teacher. Trees and vines, for example, can all reveal the true nature of reality. With wisdom there is no need to question anyone, no need to study. We can learn from nature enough to be enlightened, as in the story of King Mahajanaka, because everything follows the way of truth. It does not diverge from truth.

Associated with wisdom are self-composure and restraint which, in turn, can lead to further insight into the ways of nature. In this way, we will come to know the ultimate truth of everything being ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''. Take trees, for example; all trees upon the earth are equal, are One, when seen through the reality of ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''. First, they come into being, then grow and mature, constantly changing, until they finally die as every tree must.

In the same way, people and animals are born, grow and change during their life-times until they eventually die. The multitudinous changes which occur during this transition from birth to death show the Way of Dhamma. That is to say, all things are impermanent, having decay and dissolution as their natural condition.

If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha?
The Buddha is in the Dhamma.
Where is the Dhamma?
The Dhamma is in the Buddha.
Right here, now!
Where is the Sangha?
The Sangha is in the Dhamma.

The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in our minds, but we have to see it clearly. Some people just pick this up casually saying, ''Oh! The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in my mind''. Yet their own practice is not suitable or appropriate. It is thus not befitting that the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha should be found in their minds, namely, because the ''mind'' must first be that mind which knows the Dhamma.

Bringing everything back to this point of Dhamma, we will come to know that, in the world, truth does exist, and thus it is possible for us to practice to realize it.
For instance, ''nāma dhamma'', feelings, thoughts, imagination, etc., are all uncertain. When anger arises, it grows and changes and finally disappears. Happiness, too, arises, grows and changes and finally disappears. They are empty. They are not any ''thing''. This is always the way of all things, both mentally and materially. Internally, there are this body and mind. Externally, there are trees, vines and all manner of things which display this universal law of uncertainty.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one know the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now.

~Ajahn Chah
Dhamma Nature


One doesn't need a concept like interbeing to understand what Ajahn Chah is saying. On the other hand, I don't see anything above which refutes the concept.

:anjali:
Last edited by christopher::: on Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:24 am

i always took interbeing as an understanding of emptiness not dependant origination. did i miss something?
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby legolas » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:47 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i always took interbeing as an understanding of emptiness not dependant origination. did i miss something?


dependant origination shows & explains the emptiness of self. Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:23 am

legolas wrote: Interbeing is candyfloss Buddhism. Just my opinion.

but that's TNH, he doesnt seem to be trying to do much else than present a happy buddhism so whats the problem? there are far worse things from him than his interbeing stuff
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