Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

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Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby ihrjordan » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:09 am

Hello everyone. When I had first gotten into Buddhism one of the first books I read was one by Thich Nhat Hanh titled "Peace is Every Step". In that book I read things about how everything is "interdependent" for example: the clouds couldn't be here if there wasn't rain, rain couldn't be here if there wasn't sun and so on basically with everything in the universe.. It was only recently (much deeper into Buddhism than previously) that I remembered reading this nice little book; and of course after my understanding of dependant origination broadened, that I got to thinking, "Why is it that Thich Nhat Hanh put such a peaceful and joyful spin on dependant origination"? The same thing we in the Theravada call "Bondage". Is it simply different views that opened up from the same core teaching? e.g the differences between mahayana or zen buddhism and theravada are on one side more of what one might call an optimistic nature and on the side something that might seem depressing or pessimistic. Why do some Buddhists seen samsara and dependent origination in this light and we see it in a negative light? Why aren't we "celebrating" dependant origination in being that we are all one and just embracing and living forever in samsara with this knowledge of "interdependence" in mind? :thanks:
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:21 am

Interdependence is a doctrine that has it's roots in the Mahayana.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a major proponent of interdependence.
Dependent origination describes the process of becoming and un-becoming as per our mental and physical phenomenology - it is not about how we are 'connected' to some warm fuzzy notion such as "inter being".
Keep in mind the heart of the Buddha's teaching is suffering and liberation from suffering. Liberation is achievable but requires determination and great effort.
Walking on the path and progressing on the path of Dhamma is something to be celebrated.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby santa100 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:21 am

“Gotamī, those things of which you might know: ‘These things lead (1) to passion, not to dispassion; (2) to bondage, not to detachment; (3) to building up, not to dismantling; (4) to strong desires, not to fewness of desires; (5) to non-contentment, not to contentment; (6) to company, not to solitude; (7) to laziness, not to the arousing of energy; (8) to being difficult to support, not to being easy to support,’ you should definitely recognize: ‘This is not the Dhamma; this is not the discipline; this is not the teaching of the Teacher.’
But, Gotamī, those things of which you might know: ‘These things lead (1) to dispassion, not to passion; (2) to detachment, not to bondage; (3) to dismantling, not to building up; (4) to fewness of desires, not to strong desires; (5) to contentment, not to non-contentment; (6) to solitude, not to company; (7) to the arousing of energy, not to laziness; (8) to being easy to support, not to being difficult to support,’ you should definitely recognize: ‘This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the teaching of the Teacher.’” ~~ AN 8.53
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:27 am

This is by my teacher, SN Goenka and distils the motivation to practice.



Rare is human life,
rare to encounter the Dhamma.
We are fortunate to have both;
let us banish the torment of becoming.

–S.N. Goenka
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Mkoll » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:31 am

Ben wrote:Interdependence is a doctrine that has it's roots in the Mahayana.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a major proponent of interdependence.
Dependent origination describes the process of becoming and un-becoming as per our mental and physical phenomenology - it is not about how we are 'connected' to some warm fuzzy notion such as "inter being".
Keep in mind the heart of the Buddha's teaching is suffering and liberation from suffering. Liberation is achievable but requires determination and great effort.
Walking on the path and progressing on the path of Dhamma is something to be celebrated.

:goodpost:
Peace,
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby ihrjordan » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:32 am

Ben wrote:Interdependence is a doctrine that has it's roots in the Mahayana.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a major proponent of interdependence.
Dependent origination describes the process of becoming and un-becoming as per our mental and physical phenomenology - it is not about how we are 'connected' to some warm fuzzy notion such as "inter being".
Keep in mind the heart of the Buddha's teaching is suffering and liberation from suffering. Liberation is achievable but requires determination and great effort.
Walking on the path and progressing on the path of Dhamma is something to be celebrated.

I guess another way to word my questions into one, "Is there something to all this fuzzy interdependent coexistence stuff?" I think that might be something the hindus believe (moksha) in the idea of realizing that "we are one" would it be possible to train oneself to accept all of the suffering of samsara and instead of seeing it as "stressful" seeing it as the "dance or rhythm" of life and coming to peace with it forever while still in the round of rebirths? and thank you for the quote :) But I must add that I'm simply asking out of curiosity and not because of my wanting to stay
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby santa100 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:44 am

Ven. Thanissaro's excellent essay "Affirming the Truths of the Heart" provides good insight to this matter..
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:54 am

ihrjordan wrote:Why aren't we "celebrating" dependant origination in being that we are all one and just embracing and living forever in samsara with this knowledge of "interdependence" in mind?


Paṭiccasamuppāda, variously translated as "dependent origination" or "dependent co-arising" among other terms, is an expanded version of the second noble truth of the origin of stress. The duty the Buddha explained with regard to the noble truth of the origin of stress is that it is to be abandoned.

SN 12.2: Vibhaṅga Sutta wrote:nd what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.


SN 56.11: Dhamma­cakka­ppavattana Sutta wrote:This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned


Saṃsāra, sometimes translated as transmigration, does not seem to be celebrated in the Nikāyas

AN 4.199: Taṇhājālinī Sutta wrote:I will teach you craving: the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations.


SN 15.3: Assu Sutta wrote:"This is the greater: the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father... the death of a brother... the death of a sister... the death of a son... the death of a daughter... loss with regard to relatives... loss with regard to wealth... loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."


The idea that we are all one and living forever appears to match a description of wrong view

MN 22: Alagaddūpama Sutta wrote:Monks, there are these six view-positions (ditthitthana). Which six? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma
...
He assumes about what seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

He assumes about the view-position — 'This cosmos is the self. After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity': 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:14 am

ihrjordan wrote:I guess another way to word my questions into one, "Is there something to all this fuzzy interdependent coexistence stuff?" I think that might be something the hindus believe (moksha) in the idea of realizing that "we are one"


On the physical level it's perfectly in line with science, we are all made of the same atomic stuff, we are interdependant with our environment nobody can exist in a vacuum we are all dependant on the air, food, warmth, and support from our environment and other beings within it. There's nothing new or profound about this teaching other than as a topic of reflection it can help reduce our sense of isolation, which is probably why TNH emphasises it.

ihrjordan wrote:would it be possible to train oneself to accept all of the suffering of samsara and instead of seeing it as "stressful" seeing it as the "dance or rhythm" of life and coming to peace with it


This is the practice, this is just what we're supposed to be doing. We find freedom from Dukkha by fully understanding it, embracing it rather that reacting to it with aversion and thus creating more Dukkha. We don't find freedom from Dukkha by pretending it's not there, then we just let if feed off itself. If we see the "dance or rhythm" as you say rather than reacting with craving, aversion, or delusion that is coming to peace with it. So again nothing new.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:17 pm

santa100 wrote:Ven. Thanissaro's excellent essay "Affirming the Truths of the Heart" provides good insight to this matter..


Yes, Thanissaro frequently takes issue with the "joyful interdependence" interpretation of paticcasamuppada. Here is another example:

• When the conditions give rise to one another, they lead to suffering.
Unlike later Buddhist teachers, the Buddha did not see the
interconnectedness of conditions as something to celebrate. He saw that it
inevitably leads to stress, suffering, and pain. This is because:
• The causal system is essentially unstable. Nothing caused can be
permanent, for there are no permanent causes. Any happiness based on
impermanent causes will have to be impermanent as well. When a cause
passes away, its effect will—either immediately or over time—pass away, too


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf
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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Kusala » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:17 am

ihrjordan wrote:Hello everyone. When I had first gotten into Buddhism one of the first books I read was one by Thich Nhat Hanh titled "Peace is Every Step". In that book I read things about how everything is "interdependent" for example: the clouds couldn't be here if there wasn't rain, rain couldn't be here if there wasn't sun and so on basically with everything in the universe.. It was only recently (much deeper into Buddhism than previously) that I remembered reading this nice little book; and of course after my understanding of dependant origination broadened, that I got to thinking, "Why is it that Thich Nhat Hanh put such a peaceful and joyful spin on dependant origination"? The same thing we in the Theravada call "Bondage". Is it simply different views that opened up from the same core teaching? e.g the differences between mahayana or zen buddhism and theravada are on one side more of what one might call an optimistic nature and on the side something that might seem depressing or pessimistic. Why do some Buddhists seen samsara and dependent origination in this light and we see it in a negative light? Why aren't we "celebrating" dependant origination in being that we are all one and just embracing and living forever in samsara with this knowledge of "interdependence" in mind? :thanks:


"Destined I am for tears
tears of misery and helplessness
Uncontrolled tears that have no reason
Except the fact I swim in the ocean of samsara"


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Re: Chains of bondage or chains of gold?

Postby Ananda Thera » Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:49 am

Based on my understanding, interdependence mentioned by TNH, and dependent origination taught in Theravada, are different. The interdependence doctrine has its roots in Mahayana. This doctrine was discovered by an ancient Indian sage called Nagarjuna, the founder of the middle way school or Madhyamaka. Modern Mahayana and Vajrayana schools today have all adopted this doctrine of interdependence into their respective teachings, including Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. This doctrine empathizes on the dependent relationship between everything, and all things are empty of their own inherent existence, this the teaching of interdependence and emptiness. The nature of this teaching makes it somehow much more cheerful as all life and things in the universe is connected and you are connected to nature and the universe.

In Theravada, the doctrine on dependent origination states the the cause and affect relationship that explains the existence of rebirth and the arising of Dukkha, and also the possibility to revert this process in order to liberate oneself from this "bondage." There are twelve links each causing the next to arise immediately. For example, with the existence of ignorance, there arises fabrications. With the existence of fabrications, there is consciousness... With the existence of the six sense bases, contact is inevitable...

This doctrine explains the causes of birth, which in turn, gives rise to suffering. So it actually teaches the origin of suffering and the way to liberate oneself.

Given this, the teaching on interdependence and dependent origination are different teachings with different meanings, goals, and flavors. I hope this helps.


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