Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

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Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:03 pm

is it possible to have a evil behaviour and still proceed to nirvana?
I ve readed about the zenmaster that was hitting his students...

And i ve readed about killers that was being enlightened after they heard about buddhas teachings.

How can this be?
dont hurt anyone in any sort of way
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:41 pm

Of course not. Moral virtue is the necessary foundation of any real spiritual practice.

As for Zen masters hitting students, well, sometimes it is the compassionate thing to do and not a product of anger.

And as for a killer reaching nibbana, that's after he had repented his old ways. No one is beyond hope.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.086.than.html
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby James the Giant » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:16 pm

IIRC there were some warlords in ancient Japan who were considered to be... perhaps not enlightened, but certainly past stream entry. They commanded their armies, fought battles, killed people, burned villages, etc.
I don't have any references or anything though...
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:18 am

James the Giant wrote:IIRC there were some warlords in ancient Japan who were considered to be... perhaps not enlightened, but certainly past stream entry. They commanded their armies, fought battles, killed people, burned villages, etc.
I don't have any references or anything though...

I'm very, extremely, skeptical of that notion. Considered by whom? There would have been a vested interest in giving their actions religious sanction...
"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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:34 am

Monks have blessed tanks in Sri Lanka and Zen "masters" have endorsed killing. Wars were waged in Christ's name, Thailand and Burma fought to steal great Buddha statues from each other. So what's new?
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:31 am

kirk5a wrote:
James the Giant wrote:IIRC there were some warlords in ancient Japan who were considered to be... perhaps not enlightened, but certainly past stream entry. They commanded their armies, fought battles, killed people, burned villages, etc.
I don't have any references or anything though...

I'm very, extremely, skeptical of that notion. Considered by whom? There would have been a vested interest in giving their actions religious sanction...
I agree.
james wrote:IIRC there were some warlords in ancient Japan who were considered to be... perhaps not enlightened, but certainly past stream entry.
James, one of the defining characteristics of a sotapanna is perfect sila.
kind regards

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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby alan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:48 am

Hi Ben, James;
D.T. Suzuki was an exponent of Japanese militarism, yet some consider him to be worth reading even today.
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:56 am

Hi Alan
Yes, I have read DT Suzuki myself and I also believe he is worth reading.
However, I maintain that a defining characteristic of a sotapanna is perfect sila.

As to DT Suzuki's involvement in WWII and claims of or speculation regarding his spiritual attainment - I'll leave that to others.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby plwk » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:05 am

Monks have blessed tanks in Sri Lanka and Zen "masters" have endorsed killing. Wars were waged in Christ's name, Thailand and Burma fought to steal great Buddha statues from each other. So what's new?

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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:17 am

Ben wrote:Hi Alan
Yes, I have read DT Suzuki myself and I also believe he is worth reading.
However, I maintain that a defining characteristic of a sotapanna is perfect sila.

As to DT Suzuki's involvement in WWII and claims of or speculation regarding his spiritual attainment - I'll leave that to others.
kind regards

Ben

Hi Ben

I'm curious how you regard "perfect sila" - what would that mean, in more detail?
"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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby alan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:36 am

I was just trying to tease out a reaction from our Zen friends.
Here are a couple of interesting reads. You may be surprised. http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/ZenAtWar.
http://www.racematters.org/zenatwar.htm
edit--cleaned the presentation.
There are other books telling the same sad story.
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:57 am

Hi Kirk
kirk5a wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Alan
Yes, I have read DT Suzuki myself and I also believe he is worth reading.
However, I maintain that a defining characteristic of a sotapanna is perfect sila.

As to DT Suzuki's involvement in WWII and claims of or speculation regarding his spiritual attainment - I'll leave that to others.
kind regards

Ben

Hi Ben

I'm curious how you regard "perfect sila" - what would that mean, in more detail?

Perfection in three ways:
1. abstaining oneself from performing any breach of sila
2. not encouraging others to break their sila and
3. not speaking in praise of the breaking of sila.


"One for whom these teachings are accepted thus after being pondered to a sufficient degree with wisdom is called a dhamma-follower, one who has entered the fixed course of rightness, entered the plane of superior persons, transcended the plane of the worldlings. He is incapable of doing any deed by reason of which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal realm, or in the domain of ghosts; he is incapable of passing away without having realized the fruit of stream-entry." SN 25.10
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:08 am

"The reaction from our Zen friends?" :)

I don't have feel the need to protect Japanese Zen clergy. Some people have poked holes in Brian Victoria scholarship - it seems that some of statements were taken out of context and somewhat misinterpreted. But in any case there was quite a bit of support for the war among the Zen teachers with a few exceptions that were clamped down on.

Even very insightful and intelligent people can get swept up by mass mentality like in Germany and Japan before the war. I wouldn't think they were enlightened but they could still possess a degree of insight in other matters. It is not a trivial task to be in the world but not of the world, to have the finger on the pulse and to see beyond the currents of time.

Of course some commentators (like Thomas Cleary) believe that Zen in Japan has degenerated but from what I hear there are still pockets of the real deal here and there and hopefully the revival of Western interest will help to reinvigorate Japanese Zen and reconnect it with its origins where such connection has been weakened or lost.

I remember on the defunct ESangha, a Japanese Soto practitioner matilda often came into conflict on substantial issues with Western Zen teachers which also shows that may be assuming too much when we extrapolate from Western Zen to Japanese Zen. What we see is often just the tip of the iceberg (and often the wrong iceberg!) and there is invariably much more to the tradition.
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:12 am

Dan74 wrote:What we see is often just the tip of the iceberg (and often the wrong iceberg!) and there is invariably much more to the tradition.
Indeed!
Learn this from the waters:
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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby alan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:14 am

What we see is a tradition that was pro-war for generations.
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:21 am

Hi Alan,
Its getting off-topic.
Let's try and stay focused on Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?
Thanks

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:23 am

alan wrote:What we see is a tradition that was pro-war for generations.


I am not sure. Do you want to back this up? I read some Dogen, Hakuin, Bankei, Muso Soseki and Kanzan and don't recall anything that condoned violence or war.

Of course you can always find priests who would suck up to the government and spout the propaganda, but it is a big leap to equate them with the tradition.

PS Ooops - I see Ben's post above. PM me if you are interested or start another thread, I guess. There is also plenty of reading, citations and opinions here http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=1298
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby poto » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:16 am

I disagree with Ben. While an arahant may have perfect sila, a sotapanna might not.

Sotapannas have not yet extinguished anger, hatred, aversion and many forms of craving. Ignorance may also arise in a sotapanna. An arahant OTOH has extinguished all of these things.

It seems to me the sutta Ben quoted regarding the fruits of stream entry could be taken to mean an ariya further along on the path. I do not think it is wise to assume that mere stream entry equates with automatically receiving the fruits of stream entry. I think it would still require one to be diligent and strive in earnest in order to bear the fruit of stream entry.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:28 am

Greetings Poto,

I'm inclined to agree.

I think I can recall instances of ariya breaking minor Vinaya rules, but I've got no idea where to start looking in order to back that claim up. No wait, maybe I do... oh wait, forget it... Channa's suicide, that will do. Attempted suicide is a low-level Vinaya offense. If a bhikkhu breaks (or more importantly, can break) Vinaya, how can they be said to have perfect sila?

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: Being kind of violent and still reach stream-enter?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:38 am

Greetings,

Better still..... from Nanavira's Letter #50. http://www.nanavira.org/

Nanavira Thera wrote:I venture to think that if you actually read through the whole of the Vinaya and the Suttas you would be aghast at some of the things a real live sotāpanna is capable of. As a bhikkhu he is capable of suicide (but so also is an arahat—I have already quoted examples); he is capable of breaking all the lesser Vinaya rules (M. 48: i,323-5; A. III,85: i,231-2); he is capable of disrobing on account of sensual desires (e.g. the Ven. Citta Hatthisāriputta—A. VI,60: iii,392-9); he is capable (to some degree) of anger, ill-will, jealousy, stinginess, deceit, craftiness, shamelessness, and brazenness (A. II,16: i,96). As a layman he is capable (contrary to popular belief) of breaking any or all of the five precepts (though as soon as he has done so he recognizes his fault and repairs the breach, unlike the puthujjana who is content to leave the precepts broken).

There are some things in the Suttas that have so much shocked the Commentator that he has been obliged to provide patently false explanations (I am thinking in particular of the arahat's suicide in M. 144: iii,266 and in the Salāyatana Samy. 87: iv,55-60 and of a drunken sotāpanna in the Sotāpatti Samy. 24: v,375-7). What the sotāpanna is absolutely incapable of doing is the following (M. 115: iii,64-5):

To take any determination (sankhāra) as permanent,
To take any determination as pleasant,
To take any thing (dhamma) as self,
To kill his mother,
To kill his father,
To kill an arahat,
Maliciously to shed a Buddha's blood,
To split the Sangha,
To follow any teacher other than the Buddha.
All these things a puthujjana can do.

Why am I glad that you are shocked to learn that a sekha bhikkhu can be fond of talk (and worse)? Because it gives me the opportunity of insisting that unless you bring the sekha down to earth the Buddha's Teaching can never be a reality for you. So long as you are content to put the sotāpanna on a pedestal well out of reach, it can never possibly occur to you that it is your duty to become sotāpanna yourself (or at least to make the attempt) here and now in this very life; for you will simply take it as axiomatic that you cannot succeed. As Kierkegaard puts it,

Whatever is great in the sphere of the universally human must...not be communicated as a subject for admiration, but as an ethical requirement. (CUP, p. 320)
This means that you are not required to admire a sotāpanna, but to become one.

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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