"No, brahman, I am not a human being."

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"No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby Jechbi » Mon May 11, 2009 5:19 am

Dona Sutta

On one occasion the Blessed One was traveling along the road between Ukkattha and Setabya, and Dona the brahman was also traveling along the road between Ukkattha and Setabya. Dona the brahman saw, in the Blessed One's footprints, wheels with 1,000 spokes, together with rims and hubs, complete in all their features. On seeing them, the thought occurred to him, "How amazing! How astounding! These are not the footprints of a human being!"

Then the Blessed One, leaving the road, went to sit at the root of a certain tree — his legs crossed, his body erect, with mindfulness established to the fore. Then Dona, following the Blessed One's footprints, saw him sitting at the root of the tree: confident, inspiring confidence, his senses calmed, his mind calmed, having attained the utmost control & tranquility, tamed, guarded, his senses restrained, a naga. On seeing him, he went to him and said, "Master, are you a deva?"

"No, brahman, I am not a deva."

"Are you a gandhabba?"

"No..."

"... a yakkha?"

"No..."

"... a human being?"

"No, brahman, I am not a human being."

"When asked, 'Are you a deva?' you answer, 'No, brahman, I am not a deva.' When asked, 'Are you a gandhabba?' you answer, 'No, brahman, I am not a gandhabba.' When asked, 'Are you a yakkha?' you answer, 'No, brahman, I am not a yakkha.' When asked, 'Are you a human being?' you answer, 'No, brahman, I am not a human being.' Then what sort of being are you?"

"Brahman, the fermentations by which — if they were not abandoned — I would be a deva: Those are abandoned by me, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. The fermentations by which — if they were not abandoned — I would be a gandhabba... a yakkha... a human being: Those are abandoned by me, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Just like a red, blue, or white lotus — born in the water, grown in the water, rising up above the water — stands unsmeared by the water, in the same way I — born in the world, grown in the world, having overcome the world — live unsmeared by the world. Remember me, brahman, as 'awakened.'

"The fermentations by which I would go
to a deva-state,
or become a gandhabba in the sky,
or go to a yakkha-state & human-state:
Those have been destroyed by me,
ruined, their stems removed.
Like a blue lotus, rising up,
unsmeared by water,
unsmeared am I by the world,
and so, brahman,
I'm awake.
"
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 11, 2009 5:37 am

Greetings,

It's interesting... in Buddhist cosmology there's 31 planes of existence. To what extent did the Buddha consider himself to "exist" in those 31 planes?

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: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby cooran » Mon May 11, 2009 6:53 am

Hello Retro,

The Buddha didn't exist in those Planes - only the unenlightened flux of becoming did in various forms.

metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 11, 2009 9:24 am

Greetings Chris,

Yes, I agree. Somewhere there's a sutta where the Buddha defines what it means to "exist" but I can never find it when I'm looking for it.

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: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 11, 2009 9:27 am

Since a tathagata, even when actually present, is incomprehensible, it is inept to say of him – of the Uttermost Person, the Supernal Person, the Attainer of the Supernal – that after death the tathagata is, or is not, or both is and is not, or neither is nor is not SN III 118

Tathagata here is also inclusive of the arahant, according to the commentary.
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
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby piotr » Mon May 11, 2009 10:58 am

    Monks, the body of the Tathagata stands with the link that bound it to becoming cut. As long as the body subsists, Devas and humans will see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion of the life-span, Devas and humans will see him no more. Monks, just as when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, all the mangoes on it go with it, just so the Tathagata's link with becoming has been cut. As long as the body subsists, Devas and humans will see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion of the life-span, Devas and humans will see him no more. — Brahmajala-sutta (DN 1)
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby kc2dpt » Mon May 11, 2009 1:43 pm

I recall another thread on this sutta in which is was suggested by someone (Ven D maybe?) that there was a grammatical subtlety going on here. Something about the question not being about the present but about the future. "Are you going to become a deva? become a human?" etc.
- Peter

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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby piotr » Mon May 11, 2009 2:41 pm

Hi,

Peter wrote:I recall another thread on this sutta in which is was suggested by someone (Ven D maybe?) that there was a grammatical subtlety going on here. Something about the question not being about the present but about the future. "Are you going to become a deva? become a human?" etc.


Here's remark by bhante Ṭhānissaro:

    Dona phrases his question in the future tense, which has led to a great deal of discussion as to what this entire dialogue means: Is he asking what the Buddha will be in a future life, or is he asking what he is right now? The context of the discussion seems to demand the second alternative — Dona wants to know what kind of being would have such amazing footprints, and the Buddha's image of the lotus describes his present state — but the grammar of Dona's questions would seem to demand the first. However, A. K. Warder, in his Introduction to Pali (p. 55), notes that the future tense is often used to express perplexity, surprise, or wonder about something in the present: "What might this be?" "What on earth is this?" This seems to be the sense of Dona's questions here. His earlier statement — "These are not the footprints of a human being" — is also phrased in the future tense, and the mood of wonder extends throughout his conversation with the Buddha.

    It's also possible that the Buddha's answers to Dona's questions — which, like the questions, are put in the future tense — are a form of word-play, in which the Buddha is using the future tense in both its meanings, to refer both to his present and to his future state.

    The Buddha's refusal to identify himself as a human being relates to a point made throughout the Canon, that an awakened person cannot be defined in any way at all. On this point, see MN 72, SN 22.85, SN 22.86, and the article, "A Verb for Nirvana." Because a mind with clinging is "located" by its clinging, an awakened person takes no place in any world: this is why he/she is unsmeared by the world (loka), like the lotus unsmeared by water.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby clw_uk » Mon May 11, 2009 2:54 pm

Greetings

I cant see how its asking about the future, it is pretty obvious that he is refering to the Buddha in the present, i take it that he isnt a human being or deva etc because there is no identification in him (voidness), if one says "i am a deva" or "i am a human", this is identification or clinging


Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby Jechbi » Mon May 11, 2009 7:23 pm

Thanks, Tilt, for this:
tiltbillings wrote:Since a tathagata, even when actually present, is incomprehensible, it is inept to say of him – of the Uttermost Person, the Supernal Person, the Attainer of the Supernal – that after death the tathagata is, or is not, or both is and is not, or neither is nor is not SN III 118


Hi clw,

clw_uk wrote:.. there is no identification in him (voidness) ...

Voidness?

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 11, 2009 7:32 pm

Voidness?


That is the poor translation used in Buddhafasa book on "voidness," HEARTWOOD OF THE BODHI TREE.
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
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby clw_uk » Mon May 11, 2009 8:19 pm

Hey Jechbi


Voidness = Suññatā

Also known as emptiness


Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby Jechbi » Mon May 11, 2009 9:49 pm

Would that be the same term "sunyata" as it is used in this article?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby clw_uk » Mon May 11, 2009 9:55 pm

Jechbi wrote:Would that be the same term "sunyata" as it is used in this article?


Yes


Some people think that Voidness or Sunyata discussed by Nagarjuna is purely a Mahayana teaching. It is based on the idea of Anatta or non-self, on the Paticcasamuppada or the Dependent Origination, found in the original Theravada Pali texts. Once Ananda asked the Buddha, "People say the word Sunya. What is Sunya?" The Buddha replied, "Ananda, there is no self, nor anything pertaining to self in this world. Therefore, the world is empty."



All the Buddhas own teachings are connected with voidness/emptiness


Metta
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: "No, brahman, I am not a human being."

Postby Individual » Thu May 14, 2009 7:01 pm

The question, "What is the Buddha if he has abandoned all fermentations?" presupposes a self.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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