What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

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What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby smokey » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:38 am

"Through the round of many births I roamed without reward, without rest, seeking the house-builder. Painful is birth again & again. House-builder, you're seen! You will not build a house again. All your rafters broken, the ridge pole destroyed, gone to the Unformed, the mind has come to the end of craving." — Dhp 153-4

Was he reffering to the craving or mental fermentations?
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby smokey » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:47 am

Or perhaps to Mara as metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence?
Last edited by smokey on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:49 am

Greetings Smokey,

I would suggest that ""house builder" could be represented by the dependent origination sequence, going from ignorance through to jati. In other words, having overcome ignorance, the dependent origination sequence has ceased, thus craving has ended, and becoming and birth in their multifarious forms have ceased. Sure, you could call it "the entirety of conditioned existence"

In conjunction with this, consider also the following, from Bhikkhu Nanananda (Magic Of The Mind, p83) ...

"The Buddha realized that 'birth' and 'death' are inseparable collaries of the conceit of existence. The law of impermanence which holds sway even in heavenly realms would militate against any notion of immortal existence. Besides, the quest for immortal existence was only a symptom of the deep-seated fear of death. If only this obsessional fear could be removed the problem would be no more. Hence he advanced a novel type of solution to the problem of life and death. He pointed out that although immortal existence is impossible, one could still experience 'ambrosial' [1] deathlessness - and that even here and now. One had to recognise fully the truths of impermanence, suffering and not-self whereby 'existence', on which both 'birth' and 'death' depend is made to cease..... Thus instead of attempting to 'stifle' death artificially by heavenly ambrosia, the Buddha saw to it that death died a natural death in a sphere of transcendental experience of a Deathless attainable in this very mortal word"

[1] Itiv 62 - "Having touched with the body the Deathless Element which is Asset-less and realized the relinquishment of all assets, the Fully Enlightened One who is influx-free, teaches the Sorrowless, Taintless State


Existence (as bolded above) is to be understood as per SN 12.15 below.

No ignorance = no birth, aging and death.

SN 12.15 wrote:Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: 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.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

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: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby smokey » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:52 am

Thanks Retro.

Metta -smokey
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby Chloe9 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:09 am

smokey wrote:"Through the round of many births I roamed without reward, without rest, seeking the house-builder. Painful is birth again & again. House-builder, you're seen! You will not build a house again. All your rafters broken, the ridge pole destroyed, gone to the Unformed, the mind has come to the end of craving." — Dhp 153-4

Was he referring to the craving or mental fermentations?


This is not the only instance in Buddhism (or the Tipitakas) where words associated with the art and craft of Building is used by the Buddha and Ananda and the original followers of Buddha. It's just "invisible" when Buddhism is translated into English. Certain key things are often lost in translation.

First the word "Tipitaka" has an Building significance. It means "The Three Baskets." Most people never ask themselves why the imagery of Baskets is used and what its original significance was in 2500BC.

At a construction site way back then when masons and builder gathered to construct something baskets were used by the workers first to haul dirt out of an area so that a foundation can be laid down. After that the baskets were used to transport brick and stone to the work sight. If Tipitaka has a building significance, then we may ask if there are more words associated with Building? And there are, in fact, most key words associated with Buddhism have original building meanings.

Upasaka or Upasika also has a building significance. Up+as+aka/ika originally meant "One Who Serves," or "One Who Attends," or "One Who is Close By At Hand." In modern lingo we would call such people "gofers," or labourers, or attendants.

Believe it or not the original meaning of both the Sanskrit word "Karma," and the Pali word "Kamma" both means to "Build." A Karmika meant a Builder. The root word "Kar" today in Khmer still has the meaning of "To Work," "Labour," or a "Job." This word is still used to mean Builder or Architect:

There is a Great Architect in Vedic mythos named Vishvakarman meaning Great Architect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishvakarman

Vishvakarman makes a few cameo appearances in the Tipitakas (jataka) under his Pali name Vissukamma which means the same thing. In the Tipitaka Vissukamma inhabits a realm in the Kamasugati named "33" after the 33 founders of that realm, Vissukamma being one of them. In the Jataka Vissukamma follows orders from the Buddha. In one story he builds for the Buddha an emerald staircase so Buddha can descend to the earth. In Khmer he is known as Bisnukara. There is a ceremony and ritual held for Bisnukara when a new Wat (Temple) is going to be built in Khmer & Thai Buddhist culture.

- http://www.palikanon.de/english/pali_na ... akamma.htm

Kamma:

[Quote Source]
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/
Kamma (nt.) [Vedic karman, work esp. sacrificial process. For ending
˚man=Idg. *men cp. Sk. dhāman=Gr. dh=ma, Sk. nāman=Lat nomen] the
doing, deed, work; orig. meaning (see karoti) either building (cp. Lit. k�rti,
Opr. kūra to build) or weaving...

For ending ˚man=Idg. *men cp. Sk. dhāman=Gr. dh=ma, Sk. nāman=Lat
nomen] the doing, deed, work; orig. meaning (see karoti) either building (cp.
Lit. k�rti, Opr. kūra to build) or weaving, plaiting (still in
mālākamma and latā˚ "the intertwining of garlands and
creepers"...
[End Quote]

Dhamma, like other key words, originally had an architectural significance also:

[Quote Source]
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/
Dhamma1 (m. & rarely nt.) [Ved. dharma & dharman, the latter a formation like
karman (see kamma for expln of subj. & obj. meanings); dhṛ (see
dhāreti) to hold, support: that which forms a foundation and upholds=
constitution

that which forms a foundation and upholds= constitution. Cp. Gr. qro/nos, Lat.
firmus & fretus; Lith. derme (treaty), cp. also Sk. dhariman form, constitution,
perhaps=Lat. forma, E. form] constitution etc
[End Quote]

Originally Dhamma has two meanings related to the craft of Building: 1) The Foundation of a structure & 2) The Blueprints or "constitution" an Master Architect draws out to be followed by his workmen.

The words the Buddha used: Kusala and Akusala which are mistranslated into English sometimes as "good," and "bad," which gives it some sort of moral quality. Both originally had non-moralistic Building meanings. Kusala actually means "Skillful," or "Trained," while Akusala means "Unskillful," or "Untrained."

Those two words in their original meanings has great significance in context and in conjunction with the word Kamma as the Buddha used the phrases: Kusalla kamma and Akusala Kamma.

Those two phrases are mistranslated in English as "Good Karma," and "Bad Karma," when in Pali the phrase has the semantic essence and quality of: Skilled Building/Work and Unskilled Building/Work.

This explains Buddha's ideation of Causation a whole lot better. The Mind of an architect draws the blueprints. The workers takes that blueprint and Works. If the Blueprint sucks the Temple (End Result/Fruit) will suck. And if the Workers are Unskilled, the Temple will come out sucky even if the blueprint/Dhamma is well drafted.

Skilled Work produces a Kusala Fruit. Unskilled Work yields Akusala Fruit in life.

"House-Builder" in this context would thus refer to Chitta in its Mortal State, because it is the House-Builder: Upasaka, Worker who follows the Dhamma drafted by Buddha.

Lastly in Thai and Khmer "Buddh-ism" is referred to as Preahput Sasana [Khmer] or Praput Sasana [Thai]. The word sasana also alludes to this building theme. Sasana doesn't mean "religion." It means a set of orders, commands, or instructions to be followed. In the same sense that the US Constitution is a set of orders, commands, and instructions to be followed.
“Do not believe in anything because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observing and analysis, when you find anything that agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya, Vol1, 188-193)
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:55 am

The " house builder " is the action of identifying anything as ourselves and as having permanent existence.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby cooran » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:02 am

smokey wrote:"Through the round of many births I roamed without reward, without rest, seeking the house-builder. Painful is birth again & again. House-builder, you're seen! You will not build a house again. All your rafters broken, the ridge pole destroyed, gone to the Unformed, the mind has come to the end of craving." — Dhp 153-4

Was he reffering to the craving or mental fermentations?


Hello smokey, all,

Dhammapada Verses 153 and 154
Udana Vatthu
Anekajatisamsaram
sandhavissam anibbisam
gahakaram gavesanto
dukkha jati punappunam. 153
Gahakaraka ditthosi
puna geham na kahasi
sabba te phasuka bhagga
gahakotam visankhatam
visankharagatam cittam
tanhanam khayamajjhaga. 154

Craving is the Builder of this house
Through many a birth I wandered in samsara, seeking, but not finding, the builder of the house. Sorrowful is it to be born again and again. 153

O house-builder! Thou art seen. Thou shalt build no house again. All thy rafters are broken. Thy ridge-pole is shattered.
My mind has attained the unconditioned. Achieved is the end of craving. 154


Story
Immediately after Enlightenment the Buddha uttered this paean of joy.

1. These two verses, the first paean of joy (udana) uttered by the Buddha immediately after His Enlightenment, are not found elsewhere. As the Venerable Ananda heard them from the lips of the Buddha they have been inserted here.

Here the Buddha admits his past wanderings in existence which entails suffering, a fact which evidently proves the belief in rebirth. He was compelled to wander, and consequently to suffer, as long as he could not discover the architect who built this house, the body. In his final birth He discovered by His own intuitive wisdom the elusive architect dwelling not outside but within the recesses of His own heart. The architect was Craving or Attachment (tanha) a self-created force, a mental element latent in all. The discovery of the architect is the eradication of craving by attaining Arahantship which, in this utterance, is alluded to as the end of craving.

The rafters of this self-created house are the defilements (kilesa). The ridge-pole that supports the rafters is ignorance (avijja), the root cause of all defilements. The shattering of the ridge-pole of ignorance by wisdom results in the complete demolition of the house. The ridge-pole and the rafters are the material with which the architect builds this undesired house. With their destruction the architect is deprived of the wherewithal to rebuild the house which is not wanted. With the demolition of the house the mind attains the unconditioned which is Nibbana.p. 140-141
The Dhammapade Jara Vagga Ch. 11 Old Age.trans. by Narada Thera ISBN 955-8129-82-8 Buddhist Cultural Centre Dehiwela, Sri Lanka.

with metta
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby smokey » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:54 am

Thanks guys. :anjali:
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby Agent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:04 pm

Great post, Chloe. That was very interesting. It's unfortunate so much is lost in translation.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.
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Re: What was the Buddha reffering to as "house-builder"?

Postby dhammapal » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:54 am

Dhammapada (vv. 153-154) According to the commentary, these verses are the
Buddha's "Song of Victory," his first utterance after his Enlightenment. The
house is individualized existence in samsara, the house-builder craving, the
rafters the passions and the ridge-pole ignorance.
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... pnotes.htm
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