omniscience of the Buddha

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omniscience of the Buddha

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:36 pm

Hello all,

Looking for Suttas and Classical explanations of the Omniscience of the Budda.

I lost my notes when I changed computers, and am hoping someone has the information I need.

with metta
Chris
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:42 pm

Greetings Chris,

Extract from MN 90: Kannakatthala Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Then King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One, "Lord, I have heard that 'Gotama the contemplative says this: "It is not possible that a priest or contemplative would claim a knowledge and vision that is all-knowing and all-seeing without exception."' Those who say this: are they speaking in line with what the Blessed One has said? Are they not misrepresenting the Blessed One with what is unfactual? Are they answering in line with the Dhamma, so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma would have grounds for criticizing them?"

"Great king, those who say that are not speaking in line with what I have said, and are misrepresenting me with what is untrue and unfactual."

Then King Pasenadi Kosala turned to General Vidudabha: "General, who brought this topic into the palace?"

"Sañjaya, the brahman of the Akasa clan, great king."

So King Pasenadi turned to one of his men, "Come, my good man. Summon Sañjaya the brahman of the Akasa clan, saying, 'King Pasenadi Kosala summons you.'"

Responding, "As you say, sire," the man went to Sañjaya the brahman of the Akasa clan and on arrival said to him, "King Pasenadi Kosala summons you."

Then King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One, "Could it be that something was said by the Blessed One in reference to something else, which a person could have misunderstood? In what way does the Blessed One recall having said [such] a statement?"

"Great king, I recall having said, 'It is not possible that a priest or contemplative could know everything and see everything all at once.'"

"What the Blessed One says, lord, seems reasonable. What the Blessed One says seems logical: 'It is not possible that a priest or contemplative could know everything and see everything all at once.'


Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:52 pm

Thanks Retro :clap:

There was another sutta and also Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes on the Sutta regarding just what Omniscience means with regard to the Buddha.
i.e. it doesn't mean knowing everything there is to know about all things all the time.

metta
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:59 pm

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1591&p=20881&hilit=+sabbe#p20881

you gave quite a long responce here and there is another thread linked in there which may be usefull?
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Laurens » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:06 pm

Thanks Retro

I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either.

(Imagine what it would be like to know everything and see everything all at once! My head would explode, just thinking about it!)

Best wishes
Laurens
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:19 pm

Manapa wrote:http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1591&p=20881&hilit=+sabbe#p20881

you gave quite a long responce here and there is another thread linked in there which may be usefull?

Hello Manapa,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :group:
I didn't think to do a search on Dhamma Wheel. Here is my post from that thread:

Chris wrote:Hello all,

Maybe what the Buddha himself said would be of interest?

Buddha's omniscience

Omniscience is 1 : having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight 2 : possessed of universal or complete knowledge. Omniscience doesn't mean having psychic powers ~ many beings attain those. The Buddha explains below just what omniscience means in the context of a Sammasambuddha.

You and I, even if we become arahants, will not achieve the same powers of Gotama Buddha. He was a Sammasambuddha ~ the indescribably rare being who comes into the world only when the Dhamma is completely forgotten and absent from the world. Don't mix up the Mahayana view that enlightenment means buddhahood. It is a different use of the same term and causes many misunderstandings.

The omniscience of the Buddha is covered in the suttas ~
Majjhima Nikaya 71 Tevijjavacchagotta Sutta 'To Vacchagotta on the
Threefold True Knowledge'
"Venerable sir, I have heard this: "The recluse Gotaka claims to be
omniscient and all-seeing, to have complete knowledge and vision
thus: "Whether I am walking or standing or sleeping or awake,
knowledge and vision are continuously and uninterruptedly present to
me." Venerable sir, do those who speak thus say what has been said
by the Blessed One, and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to
fact? Do they explain in accordance with the Dhamma in such a way
that nothing which provides a ground for censure can be legitimately
deduced from their assertion?"

"Vaccha, those who say thus do not say what has been said by me, but
misrepresent me with what is untrue and contrary to fact."

note 714 says: MA explains that even though part of the statement is
valid, the Buddha rejects the entire statement because of the portion
that is invalid. The part of the statement that is valid is the
assertion that the Buddha is omniscient and all-seeing; the part that
is excessive is the assertion that knowledge and vision are
continuously present to him. According to the Theravada tradition
the Buddha is omniscient in the sense that all knowable things are
potentially accessible to him. He cannot, however, know everything
simultaneously and must advert to whatever he wishes to know. At MN
90.8 the Buddha says that it is possible to know and see all, though
not simultaneously, and at AN 4.24/ii.24 he claims to know all that
can be seen, heard, sensed, and cognised, which is understood by the
Theravada tradition as an assertion of omniscience in the qualified
sense. See too in this connection Miln 102-7.
--------------------------
Majjhima Nikaya 90 Kannakatthala Sutta 'At Kannakatthala'

5. "Then King Pasenadi of Kosala said to the Blessed One: 'Venerable
sir, I have heard this: 'The recluse Gotama says "There is no recluse
or brahmin who is omniscient and all-seeing, who can claim to have
complete knowledge and vision; that is not possible." 'Venerable
sir, do those who speak thus say what has been said by the Blessed
One, and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact? Do they
explain in accordance with the Dhamma in such a way that nothing that
provides a ground for censure can be legitimately deduced from their
assertions?"

"Great King, those who speak thus do not say what has been said by
me, but misrepresent me with what is untrue and contrary to
fact." <<<<<snip>>>>>>

"I recall having actually made the utterance in this way, great
king. 'There is no recluse or brahmin who knows all, who sees all,
simultaneously; that is not possible'.
note 846 says: MA: There is no one who can know and see all - past,
present and future - withone act of mental adverting, with one act of
consciousness; thus this problem is discussed in terms of a single
act of consciousness (ekacitta). On the question of the kind of
omniscience the Theravada tradition attributes to the Buddha, see n.714 above.


metta
Chris
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:24 pm

i only thought because I know I had started a thread and another thread was on Sabbe if I remember it!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:25 pm

Laurens wrote:Thanks Retro
I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either.

(Imagine what it would be like to know everything and see everything all at once! My head would explode, just thinking about it!)

Best wishes
Laurens

I'm not claiming omniscience, for myself or anyone else, but exploding-head syndrome should not be a concern: to 'know' something is not the same as to have it in consciousness. The same goes for being able to see everything: only the thing/s we are paying attention to are in visual consciousness.
For instance, an ordinary person can know that Norway is a cold country without that knowledge crowding out the knowledge that Australia is a hot country. In exactly the same way, an extraordinary person can know that 1.12 metres of snow fell on Oslo city hall last night without that knowledge crowding out the knowledge that the temperature in Cunnamulla reached 37.1C yesterday.
So relax!
:smile:

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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:01 am

This will no doubt turn into an interesting thread.

Above, Lauren's writes "I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either."

I think that it may be worth pointing out that the quotes from the suttas are not the only perspective that the Theravadins have on this. If one goes into the commentarial tradition, one will find a somewhat different story. To me, though no doubt many will disagree, it may be useful to distinguish between the "sutta-vadins" and the "thera-vadins", the "thera-vada" referring to the commentaries of the Theras on the suttas. And this is very pertinent given that this thread is in the "Classical Mahavihara Theravada" Forum.

Problem is, in the English language at least, we have little access to the commentaries, and often (mis)take the sutta-vada for the thera-vada. I'll try to find some thera-vada quotes for you all, to add here.

I think it best to first have as much info as possible on the subject, before coming to conclusions about what the Classical Mahavihara position actually is.
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Laurens » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:04 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Above, Lauren's writes "I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either."


I admit that I couldn't think of anything other that 'Theravadin's' to say, I would have chosen a more appropriate term, if I knew of any!
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Re: omniscience of the Buddha

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:01 am

Laurens wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Above, Lauren's writes "I wasn't sure where Theravadin's stood on this matter either."


I admit that I couldn't think of anything other that 'Theravadin's' to say, I would have chosen a more appropriate term, if I knew of any!


Oh, I certainly empathize, and your use of the term is not wrong at all. It is a complex issue, to say the least.
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