Interbeing ?

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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:42 pm

Its certainly not my cup of tea Anna....but it might be more than simply a matter of taste.
I think it dilutes a radical aspect of the Buddhas teaching.
But I am also aware that because TNH's style does nothing for me that I might be missing something.
Hence my asking what the pedigree of this concept is when viewed from a Classical Theravada pov.

I can see that it could be extrapolated from Mahayana teachings like "Buddha Nature ", which is I suspect its actual origin, but I cannot see a relationship to the Theravada.
Last edited by PeterB on Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:43 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
PeterB wrote:" Interbeing" is a concept found frequently on Buddhist forae.
I am interested to know if it is derived from, or can be equated to, any formulation found within the Classical Theravada schema.

I don't think that interbeing is a very common expression beyond TNH. Nevertheless, it's not uncommon to find pratītyasamutpāda (paticcasamuppāda) translated as "interdependent origination" etc., which is not the most accurate translation. Anyway, there is really no Pāli source for interbeing, as it is based on Chinese Huayan sources which were developments from the Avataṃsaka Sūtra.

All the best,

Geoff

Thanks Geoff, do you want to say a few words more about those developments ?
:anjali:
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Akuma » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:48 pm

What is "physicalism" and why is it a misconception?


The idea of matter being made up of atomic components and transforming into different forms according to the laws of physics, which usually presupposes matter to be somewhere "outside" and so on. This would be a misconception in regard to Theravadin philosophy as its not in accord with DO or with the 4 kinds of nutriment if this idea would have existed back then. There have been schools in time before and of the Buddha which preached materialism tho and the Buddha didnt liek that at all, especially not the deterministic one.

I am interested in whether in the view of those who have a depth knowledge of the Pali TNH's development can be extrapolated in a logical way that accords with the Classical view.


Well without being a Theravadin I see a problem with temporal causation. Eventho in your school rupas are not directly karmically caused, they are indirectly because they are witnessed at certain times by cittas, time being nothing more then the sequence of cittas arising. TNH on the other hand side is probably viewing objects (not paramattha dhammas) as being in space-time as the physicalists see it, so his whole causation-theory is different, time being either an absolute ticker or a relative one, which he will have trouble explaining. Its also problematic as his objects (book, sun etc) are from Therevada pov only concepts and therefore their causation and transformation is only conceptual, too, which leads to the problem that the only outcome will be the realisation of the emptiness of concepts. In addition - this is also a problem that the Buddha of the Nikayas himself has tho - the whole Theravadin philosophy doesnt accept neither a space nor a time "container" for dharmas to be in.
From a practical POV Theravada-Abhidhamma requests the trainee to realize the momentary and made-up-of-transient-dhammas nature of reality, matter then only being a temporary assembly of the 4 elements; the 3 marks being then seen on the so-perceived paramattha-dhamma, resulting in enlightenment. TNH on the other hand side seems to try to achieve enlightenment thru the realisation of the interconnectedness of things which for the Theravadin are double-unreal resulting in his idea to only lead to more delusion.
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Nyana » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:01 pm

PeterB wrote:Thanks Geoff, do you want to say a few words more about those developments ?

The view goes back to the metaphor of Indra's net in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, where there is a jewel at each intersection of a vast net, and each jewel reflects the image of every other jewel in the net. Thus, each jewel contains the image of every other jewel and is a representation of the whole. The Chinese Huayan tradition then developed this metaphor into a view of the "mutual interpenetration of all phenomena," an "oceanic reflection" meditation, and so on. These developments then influenced Chinese Chan as well as Japanese Zen teachers such as Dōgen Zenji.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:05 pm

So at what point Geoff did this rather beautiful metaphor start to be seen as a concrete reality ?
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:21 pm

PeterB wrote:
I think it dilutes a radical aspect of the Buddhas teaching.


Which, Peter?

But I am also aware that because TNH's style does nothing for me that I might be missing something.
Hence my asking what the pedigree of this concept is when viewed from a Classical Theravada pov.


I understand.
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Nyana » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:26 pm

PeterB wrote:So at what point Geoff did this rather beautiful metaphor start to be seen as a concrete reality ?

This metaphor was never really developed in the Indo-Tibetan tradition, where Mādhyamaka negation is employed. Someone like Ven. Huifeng would likely know the specific developments of these ideas within Chinese Buddhist thought.

All the best,

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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:26 pm

4.& 5. "Whatever living beings there may be — feeble or strong (or the seekers and the attained) long, stout, or of medium size, short, small, large, those seen or those unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born as well as those yet to be born — may all beings have happy minds.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html

Name-and-form
"'From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?"

"No, lord."

"If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

'Yes, master, we know how there is the descent of an embryo. There is the case where the mother & father have come together, the mother is fertile, and a gandhabba [the being about to be reborn] is standing present. The coming together of these three is the descent of the embryo.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think it can be debated either way. Who is to say there is a being now, much less in-between.

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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby alan » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:42 pm

The idea os TNH's baby. http://www.orderofinterbeing.org/aboutoi.html
My guess is that people who get into it don't care that it has no basis in the suttas.
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:54 pm

There are 86 posts here on Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5460
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:03 pm

Thanks for the link Chris, That thread as I read it comes from a different angle i.e, A Mahayanist looking for commonality, I was rather interested in any support for the idea of Interbeing from the POV of the Canon.
:anjali:
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:27 pm

PeterB wrote:Thanks for the link Chris, That thread as I read it comes from a different angle i.e, A Mahayanist looking for commonality, I was rather interested in any support for the idea of Interbeing from the POV of the Canon.
:anjali:

Just rummaging around, looking for clues :tongue:

Thanissaro Bhikkhu has a little to say on his understanding of the concept - inter-eating:

As for discernment: When the mind is strengthened with the food of good concentration, it can begin contemplating the drawbacks of having to feed. This is the part of the Buddha's teaching that — for many of us — goes most directly against the grain, because feeding, in every sense of the word, is our primary way of relating to and enjoying the world around us. Our most cherished sense of inter-connectedness with the world — what some people call our interbeing — is, at its most basic level, inter-eating. We feed on others, and they feed on us. Sometimes our relationships are mutually nourishing, sometimes not, but either way it's hard to imagine any lasting relationship where some kind of physical or mental nourishment wasn't being consumed. At the same time, feeding is the activity in which we experience the most intimate sense of ourselves. We define ourselves through the pleasures, people, ideas, and activities we keep returning to for nourishment.
So it's hard for us to imagine a world, any possibility of enjoyment — even our very self — where we wouldn't inter-eat. Our common resistance to the idea of no longer feeding — one of the Buddha's most radically uncommon teachings — comes largely from a failure of the imagination. We can hardly conceive of what he's trying to tell us. So he has to prescribe some strong medicine to jog our minds into new perspectives.
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... tains.html

with metta
Chris
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:38 pm

Thats interesting ...... :anjali:
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:33 pm

Hi Peter,
PeterB wrote:Ok its not subtle guys. I suspect that the "Interbeing" concept is an innovation that has no pedigree within the teachings of the Buddha.
I think it was invented. No doubt its inventor had good intentions, but we know what is paved with good intentions dont we.
I think it has actually become a barrier to understanding D.O.

I would like those with more knowledge of the Pali Canon than me to show me whether my thoughts on the matter are in accord with theirs.
And to show mw me either way from the Classical theravadin POV.
:anjali:


I am no Pali scholar, but I have not seen the term 'interbeing' or anything like it, or even 'interdependent origination' appear in the literature (canonical, commentarial, and later scholastic writings consistent with the classical Thv pov) that I have read. Sorry I can't be much more help!
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:00 pm

Greetings,

My readings mirror Ben's and I do not believe the example provided earlier by kirk5 on this/that conditionality correlates with interbeing either.

The main difference is that in Classical Theravada, dependent origination applies only to a single life-continuum. Interbeing is a bit more like the butterfly effect - therefore, vastly different.

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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: Interbeing ?

Postby phil » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:13 am

I've always felt that Anguttara VIII,39 with its teaching that when one abstains from breaking the precepts one "gives to immeasurable beings freedom from fear, freedom from hostility, freedom from oppression...and by giving to immeasurable beings freedom from fear, hostility and oppression, he himself will enjoy immeasurable freedom from fear, hostility and oppression" suggests a kind of interbeingness, and I find that reflecting on this teaching is one of them most powerful conditioning factors that I personally know for abstention. But I could easily be misinterpreting the sutta.



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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby lojong1 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:26 am

Straight lines parallel to the same straight line are also parallel to one another.
Theravadins can observe sunshine, rain, and crop growth, and speak about them in dhamma talks, hopefully for some greater purpose.
"This being so, that is..." is an interbeing-chain-bare-bones-D.O., and the '12-link' interbeing-chain-one-life-many-life-literal-yada-D.O. is one specific example--the one that buddha was most concerned with.

Nidana Sutta: "Just as when seeds are not broken, not rotten, not damaged by wind & heat, capable of sprouting, well-buried, planted in well-prepared soil, and the rain-god would offer good streams of rain; those seeds would thus come to growth, increase, & abundance..." hold on...none of that is Theravadin why? :shrug:
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby PeterB » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:44 am

It IS Theravadin. What is perhaps less so is the idea that the Nidanas reduce to some a priori shining cosmic custard that constitutes our "real nature"...
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:48 am

PeterB wrote:
I think it dilutes a radical aspect of the Buddhas teaching.


Which, Peter?
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Re: Interbeing ?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:15 pm

retrofuturist wrote:The main difference is that in Classical Theravada, dependent origination applies only to a single life-continuum. Interbeing is a bit more like the butterfly effect - therefore, vastly different.


I think that's right. I spent some time with Tich Naht Han sangha and as I recall it, "interbeing" is an expression of sunyata.

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