Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

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Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:56 am

I think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby ground » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:50 am

dhammapal wrote:I think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts.


The chariot is a simile. Actually since it implies physically detectable parts it can only be applied to the body.

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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:00 am

Hello Dhammapal,

The Buddha used 'chariots' in many similes, click on link to read suttas:

Chariot:{anger} Dhp 222; {the body} Dhp 151; {concentration} AN 5.28; {mindfulness} MN 119; {world} Dhp 171
Chariots, relay:{stages of insight} MN 24
Charioteer:{sense-restraint} Dhp 94
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-similes.html#c

with metta
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:09 am

Greetings,

dhammapal wrote:I think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts.

What is this view founded on? Anything in the suttas, or just some gut feel of yours?

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Alexei » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:28 am

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being can be pinned down.

Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word, chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of living being.

Sister Vajira Sutta

In later Questions of King Milinda:
...
‘'Very good! Your Majesty has rightly grasped the meaning of "chariot." And just even so it is on account of all those things you questioned me about (the thirty-two kinds of organic matter in a human body, and the five constituent elements of being) that I come under the generally understood term, the designation in common use, of "Nâgasena. For it was said, Sire, by our Sister Vagirâ in the presence of the Blessed One: '"Just as it is by the condition precedent of the co-existence of its various parts that the word 'chariot' is used, just so is it that when the Skandhas are there we talk of a 'being .'"'


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajira
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:43 pm

Is a car more than the sum of its parts?

2066997439_95cf390380.jpg
2066997439_95cf390380.jpg (151.09 KiB) Viewed 1282 times


There is no car.

Suñña Sutta:
"It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"
"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html

There is no spoon either.

photo_movieMatrix-quoteSpoon.jpeg
photo_movieMatrix-quoteSpoon.jpeg (30.22 KiB) Viewed 1282 times
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:56 pm

I think this thread that I've created might belong in the Dhammic Free-for-all section.

Fritjof Capra wrote:An extremely unfortunate consequence of the view of living things as machines has been excessive use of vivisection in biomedical and behavioral research. Descartes himself defended vivisection, believing that animals do not suffer and asserting that their cries meant nothing more than the creaking of a wheel; today the inhuman practice of systematically torturing animals still exists in the life sciences.
From: p110 The Turning Point by Fritjof Capra

I concede that the parts of the chariot simile includes feeling and consciousness and but says that the five aggregates are like parts of a machine.

With metta / dhammapal.
Last edited by dhammapal on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:36 am

Alexei wrote:Sister Vajira Sutta


:thumbsup:

The famous story from the Milindapanha actually comes from the bhikkhuni Varjira.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Individual » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:33 am

Nibbida wrote:Is a car more than the sum of its parts?

2066997439_95cf390380.jpg


There is no car.

Suñña Sutta:
"It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"
"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html

There is no spoon either.

photo_movieMatrix-quoteSpoon.jpeg

It's the manner in which they are arranged and are continually being re-arranged.

A chariot, a car, a being is nothing more than a particular (and temporary) arrangement.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:12 am

In the Questions of King Milinda.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:17 am

Greetings,

Paññāsikhara wrote:In the Questions of King Milinda.

That's where the detailed account lies, but there's also this...

In Bhikkhuní Samyutta 10 <S.i,135> we find these verses.

Mára the Evil One:
By whom is this creature formed? Who is the creature's maker?
Who is the arisen creature? Who is the creature that ceases?

Vajirá the nun:
Why do you refer to 'the creature', Mára, are you involved in (wrong) view?
This is a pile of pure determinations; there is, here, no creature to be found.
Just as for an assemblage of parts there is the term 'a chariot',
So, when there are the aggregates, convention says 'a creature'.
It is merely suffering that comes into being, suffering that stands and disappears,
Nothing apart from suffering comes into being, nothing other than suffering ceases.


Nanavira Thera critiques the Milinda-style eisegesis here - http://www.nanavira.110mb.com/paramsac.htm

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: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:43 am

dhammapal wrote:I think this thread that I've created might belong in the Dhammic Free-for-all section.

Fritjof Capra wrote:An extremely unfortunate consequence of the view of living things as machines has been excessive use of vivisection in biomedical and behavioral research. Descartes himself defended vivisection, believing that animals do not suffer and asserting that their cries meant nothing more than the creaking of a wheel; today the inhuman practice of systematically torturing animals still exists in the life sciences.
From: p110 The Turning Point by Fritjof Capra

I concede that the parts of the chariot simile includes feeling and consciousness and but says that the five aggregates are like parts of a machine.

With metta / dhammapal.


This is why the Buddha said that we need to have Right view and Sila before practising satipatthana (hence vipassana). The latter breaks down the 'person' into all these components and sees their ephemeral insubstantial nature.

with metta

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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby dhammapal » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:06 am

Hi Retro, Alexei,

Here is the full sutta:
Samyutta Nikaya 5.10
Vajira Sutta: Sister Vajira
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

At Savatthi. Then, early in the morning, Vajira the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day. Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & addressed her in verse:
By whom was this living being created? Where is the living being's maker? Where has the living being originated? Where does the living being cease?

Then the thought occurred to Vajira the nun: "Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from concentration."

Then, having understood that "This is Mara the Evil One," she replied to him in verses:
What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara? Do you take a position? This is purely a pile of fabrications. Here no living being can be pinned down. Just as when, with an assemblage of parts, there's the word, chariot, even so when aggregates are present, there's the convention of living being. For only stress is what comes to be; stress, what remains & falls away. Nothing but stress comes to be. Nothing ceases but stress.

Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "Vajira the nun knows me" — vanished right there.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's note: This discourse dramatizes a problem that often arises in meditation practice — a speculative question arises that, if followed, pulls one out of concentration. Sister Vajira shows how to deal with the situation: recognize that the terms in which the question is expressed are just that — terms — and that whatever reality there is in the issue raised by the question can be reduced to phenomena observable in the immediate present. In ultimate terms, this comes down to the arising and passing away of stress, which should be observed and comprehended to the point where one can see through to that which neither arises nor passes away.

A few interesting points. Mara's question provides the context for the no-self teaching. Sister Vajira is responding to Mara's ignorance of not seeing things in terms of the Four Noble Truths rather than self/others, being/non-being. Interesting that Mara's questions were not just aimed at making her fall away from concentration but to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her. So the Chariot no-self teaching and the Four Noble Truths are a teaching with the purpose to overcome fear and terror.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:54 pm

Hi Dhammapal

I wonder if you still think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts- mental and physical?

with metta

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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby dhammapal » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:36 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Dhammapal

I wonder if you still think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts- mental and physical?

with metta

Matheesha

I found this quote by Bhikkhu Bodhi, who has been working on a translation of the Anguttara Nikaya (see this thread for news of progress)
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:In Anguttara Nikaya, persons are as a rule not reduced to mere collections of aggregates, elements and sense-bases, but are treated as real centers of living experience engaged in a heartfelt quest for happiness and freedom from suffering.
(from Intro to Samyutta Nikaya)

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:53 pm

Nibbida wrote:Is a car more than the sum of its parts?

There is no car.

Suñña Sutta:
"It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"
"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html


Great photo! Ironically, this doesn't take the concept far enough. It's actually limitless in its subdivisions:

Image

Image


resources for further study: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aquafloria ... /lightbox/

http://teachers.web.cern.ch/teachers/ar ... telist.htm
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:14 pm

Greetings Dhammapal,

dhammapal wrote:I found this quote by Bhikkhu Bodhi, who has been working on a translation of the Anguttara Nikaya (see this thread for news of progress)
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:In Anguttara Nikaya, persons are as a rule not reduced to mere collections of aggregates, elements and sense-bases, but are treated as real centers of living experience engaged in a heartfelt quest for happiness and freedom from suffering.
(from Intro to Samyutta Nikaya)

I'd suggest that what Bhikkhu Bodhi is intending to say is that the general theme of the Anguttara Nikaya is such that it does not focus on the deep teachings of anatta, but glazes over that reality such that other matters can be addressed more easily through the use of conventional language. I can understand your confusion coming from Bhikkhu Bodhi's words though, as he sometimes speaks very fluently and poetically in flowery language that doesn't always pay fine attention to the particular details and implications of what he actually says.

Neither you, nor Bhikkhu Bodhi, nor the Puggalavadins (an early Buddhist school who actually endorsed the reality of a 'person') could actually identify any "sum greater than the parts" or "real center of living experience". As the Buddha says...

SN 35.24 - Sabba Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Then again, if you are a Puggalavadin, you may as well learn what they believed...

Pudgalavāda Buddhist Philosophy
http://www.iep.utm.edu/pudgalav/

The first paragraph wrote:The Pudgalavāda was a group of five of the Early Schools of Buddhism. The name arises from their adherents’ distinctive doctrine (vāda) concerning the self or person (pudgala). The doctrine holds that the person, in a certain sense, is real. To other Buddhists, their view seemed to contradict a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, the doctrine of non-self. However, the Pudgalavādins were convinced that they had had preserved the true interpretation of the Buddha’s teaching.

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: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby phil » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:12 pm

dhammapal wrote:I think that human beings are more than the sum of their parts.


Hi Antony

I do too. At my level of understanding, pretending I believe otherwise would be dishonest. However, I try to stay open to the deep teaching and reflect on it as often as possible. That's where the liberation lies, obviously. But in the meantime, the deluded belief that the person has some kind of ongoing identity and existence rather than being an assembly of parts, so to speak, is here and it's not going anywhere soon by virtue of trying to read or think it or even meditate it away...as long as we keep in mind that there are delusions at work. I personally refuse to claim the understanding that there are no people (well, let's say no beings) until such an understanding comes to be. I think a proper understanding of the Dhamma as the Buddha intended it (as we know, he didn't teach deep teachings until he knew the listeners minds were ready for them) involves easing our way into the deeply liberating teachings, not going straight at them with full gusto and greed for fast understanding. I'm not saying that people here do that, but I know I did for awhile. On the other hand, it would be a shame to close the door on the deep teachings because of some belief that I will never be ready. So I do read them and reflect on them quite often. But for now, of course there are people and of course they are more than a sum of their parts. And of course the Dhamma says otherwise. That is as far as my weak understanding goes, and I refuse to try to forcefully appropriate deep understanding and slather it onto my world view! I will continue to concentrate on sila (and concerns about people are very helpful there) so that there is a freedom from remorse, and the mind can better settle in concentration. And then perhaps there will be a turning deeper into the deep teachings. No way to know if and when that will come, I will continue to emphasize sila and guarding the sense doors (a full time job!) and see what happens. Just my opinion.:smile:

p.s my apologies if I don't follow up on any comments on what I've written, just popping by for my weekly visit. Thanks!
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(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby pegembara » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:00 pm

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Is the Chariot No-self Simile in the Pali Canon?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:26 pm



Thank you for these, pegembara. Very good teaching methods demonstrated.

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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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