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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:29 am

Hello Teachers/Friends,

Considering the relevance, I moved my following discussion from the meditation subforum to this one, and revised it accordingly.

As I understand, the Buddha adopted the middle-road approach not to even "get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions [of the two extremes: "the soul is the same as the body" vs. "the soul is one thing and the body another"; or "there is "self" vs "there is no "self"]", but only to teach the four Noble truths to get out of suffering. He pointed out that " And when there is the view that the soul is one thing and the body another, there isn't the leading of the holy life. "

But as I understand from his other teachings (e.g. SN 22.59), the actual "how" he taught us to get out of suffering is by realization of the five aggregates as "ANATTA", which leads to disenchantment/dispassion of the five aggregates.

Were the "middle-way" teachings like SN12.35 & SN12.15 given much later than the ANATTA teachings like SN22.59 (which I believe was given at the very early period) or not? Toward the later period of his teaching career, did he still teach the ANATTA method or did he change to the ANICCA/Dukkha approach instead?

Metta to all,

Starter

PS -- SN 12.35:

"... If one were to ask, 'Which aging & death? And whose is this aging & death?' and if one were to ask, 'Is aging & death one thing, and is this the aging & death of someone/something else?' both of them would have the same meaning, even though their words would differ. When there is the view that the soul is the same as the body, there isn't the leading of the holy life. And when there is the view that the soul is one thing and the body another, there isn't the leading of the holy life. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata points out the Dhamma in between: From birth as a requisite condition comes aging & death." [The same applies to birth / becoming / clinging / craving / feeling / contact / six sense media / name & form / consciousness / fabrications]

SN 12.15

"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 [dukkha], 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. ...

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance [-- but how?? Through ANATTA of the five aggregates taught in SN22.59?] 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."

SN 22.59:

"Any form [feeling, perception, (mental) fabrications, consciousness] whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
Last edited by starter on Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:41 am

Hi Starter,

Are you wondering if there is a contradiction between the Suttas (I don't see any)?
Or why the Buddha emphasised different things to different audiences (standard learner-centred approach)?

PS, it would be helpful to give links to anything you quote, so readers can read around the context.
For example in SN 22.59 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html anicca and dukkha are used to lead on to the anatta message, so I don't see how you can say that anicca/dukkha are a "later idea":
"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:48 am

Greetings starter,

It's quite difficult to chronologise the individual suttas.

Validating your hypothesis would require a lot of scholastic investigation and presumably, a great deal of assumption.

Not to say you're right or wrong, or that it's not an interesting question... but it's going to be hard to prove one way or the other.

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: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:57 am

retrofuturist wrote:Validating your hypothesis would require a lot of scholastic investigation and presumably, a great deal of assumption.

And would also involve figuring out what parts of which Suttas are "original". As I understand it, the Vinaya gives the chronology of the
Dhammacakkappavattana http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
Anatta-lakkhana http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
Adittapariyaya http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
Suttas, but I've seen various scholars argue that the final form of those Suttas was not fixed for a century or two...

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby Vossaga (Element) » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:58 am

starter wrote:Were the "middle-way" teachings like SN12.35 & SN12.15 given much later than the ANATTA teachings like SN22.59 (which I believe was given at the very early period) or not?

Hello Starter

In his first sermon, the Buddha introduced the "Middle-Way", which begins with the right view of the Four Noble Truths.
The middle way discovered by a Perfect One avoids both these extremes; it gives vision, it gives knowledge, and it leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana. And what is that middle way? It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the middle way discovered by a Perfect One, which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and which leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana.

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

In his second sermon, the Buddha introduced anicca, dukkha (unsatisfactoriness) & anatta, as the three characteristics of all conditioned things, be they physical or mental:
What do you think of this, O monks? Is form permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

O monks, the well-instructed noble disciple, seeing thus, gets wearied of form, gets wearied of feeling, gets wearied of perception, gets wearied of mental formations, gets wearied of consciousness. Being wearied he becomes passion-free. In his freedom from passion, he is emancipated. Being emancipated, there is the knowledge that he is emancipated. He knows: 'birth is exhausted, lived is the holy life, what had to be done is done, there is nothing more of this becoming.'"

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

At a later time, the Buddha introduced Dependent Origination. SN12.35 & SN12.15 are more unusual discourses on Dependent Origination.

If we regard Dependent Origination to simply be a more detailed explanation of the Four Noble Truths, then we will understand Dependent Origination, the same as the Four Noble Truths, is the Middle Way.
Now, the Blessed One has said, "Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising." And these things — the five aggregates subject to clinging— are dependently co-arisen. Any desire, embracing, graspin, & holding-on to these five aggregates subject to clinging is the origination of stress. Any subduing of desire & passion, any abandoning of desire & passion for these five aggregates subject to clinging is the cessation of stress.

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

Although the Four Noble Truths are highly venerated in Buddhism, in my opinion, which is probably not common, I regard the Four Noble Truths as a less profound teaching than Dependent Origination, in that the Four Noble Truths do not strongly display anatta (not-self). The Four Noble Truths simply state clinging to the five aggregates is suffering and this suffering originates from craving, liking & disliking, delight & lust that leads to new becoming.

So with the Four Noble Truths, in my opinion, a mind that still has the sense of 'self' can somewhat practise according to the Four Noble Truths by giving up the three kinds of craving.

Where as SN12.35, SN12.12 & SN12.15, which are about Dependent Origination, focus strongly on the notion of "being" or "becoming" and "existence". So when the question is asked: "Who experiences aging & death?" or "who craves?" or "who feels?", the Buddha answers: "This question is not valid" because there are causes & conditions that create "the being" or "the who".

Dependent Origination, as distinct from the Four Noble Truths, clinically dissects the causes & conditions that lead to "becoming/being" and suffering. So it is easy to extrapolate "anatta" from Dependent Origination. For example, extrapolating "anatta" or "sunnata" from Dependent Origination is quite popular in Mahayana.

Dependent Origination & the Four Noble Truths are the same. They are both teachings of conditionality/cause & effect (iddappaccayata) that describe how suffering originates in the human mind.

Whereas anicca, dukkha & anatta are the inherent charactistic of all conditioned things, be they physical or mental. Even if human minds do not experience or realise anicca, dukkha & anatta, these inherent charactistics of all conditioned things remain.

The Buddha said:
Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are inconstant. All processes are unsatisfactory. All phenomena are not-self.

The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it & makes it plain.

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

To end, the Middle Way/Four Noble Truths was the Buddha's first sermon. The Three Characteristics was the Buddha's second sermon. At a later time, the Buddha taught Dependent Origination as a more detailed explanation of the Four Noble Truths. However, in understanding and/or realising Dependent Origination, it can be understood and/or realised there is no true "self". The mind's thoughts & assumptions of "self" merely arise from causes & conditions. When the causes & conditions cease, the mind's thoughts & assumptions of "self" will also cease (and suffering will cease).

The Buddha, in combining Dependent Origination and the Three Characteristics said:
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 — assumes form to be the "self".

That assumption is a fabrication.

Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication?

To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication [of "self"] is born of that.

And that fabrication is impermanent (aniccā), fabricated (saṅkhatā), dependently co-arisen (paṭiccasamuppannā). That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is impermanent, fabricated, dependently co-arisen.

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

In the end, all of these teaching lead to one place, namely, letting go, non-attachment, Nibbana.

The Buddha said:
One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world). Unsustained, one is not agitated. Unagitated, one is totally unbound right within. One discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

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

With metta

:buddha1:
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:42 pm

Hello Vossaga,

Many thanks for your very kind and helpful post. I don't have time now to do more research and reading on this subject, but have come to the following understanding after reading your post:

It seems to me that the Buddha's three approaches to end suffering (of course all the three fit in the four noble truths) could suit three types of practitioners:

1) The very beginners:
Understand the four noble truths that "clinging to the five aggregates is suffering and this suffering originates from craving, liking & disliking ... that leads to new becoming", and that ending of craving is the way to end suffering.

2) Those who have understood the four noble truths, but still have a strong sense of self:
Understand anicca/dukkha/anatta of the five aggregates at a logic/inference level -- "Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change [and not under one's control], is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

But this approach only led to the inference of the five aggregates as Not-self. There might leave a kind of assumption/implication that there's a "self" that would be permanent/not subject to change, satisfactory, and under one's control. The question/notion "what's then the 'self'" could still remain.

3) Those who have comprehended anicca/dukkha/anatta of the five aggregates at the above-stated inference level, but still have strong underline tendency of "I"/"Mine" -making towards the five aggregates due to the fundamental ignorance -- ignorance of the pure mind as it originally is and delusion of the conditioned phenomena caused by incoming defilements as "self":
Comprehend dependent origination (DO) to truly understand anatta -- the emptiness of all conditioned phenomena, the chain of DO starting from ignorance and ending with birth/death and all dukkha. Through truly realizing such emptiness of the whole DO chain, one can become disenchanted / detached / let-go of "self", "likes" and "dislikes".

My appreciation and metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Hm, just realized that the Buddha has actually taught us HOW to end the entire mass of dukkha very explicitly:

"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." -- SN 12.15

To my understanding, the most efficacious and most important step is "the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance" -- the ignorance of the pure mind as it originally is (which has none of the DO chain) and delusion of the conditioned phenomena (the DO chain) caused by incoming defilements as "self". When this ignorance ceases, all the rest of DO chain ceases. All conditioned phenomena in the entire DO chain are all empty because they are all ANATTA.

Metta to all,

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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:44 pm

The 4-NT and chronology of first and essential discourses of the Buddha have been presented. And from all of our reading of the suttas we could surmise that the essential pathway toward liberation is the three-marks of the 5 aggregates, and various schedules of dependant origination analysis to delineate exactly where the pathway of ignorance – notion of ‘I am’ – and disquietude, begins and ends.

That the schedules of the three-marks and dependant origination would be ‘essentials’ may be found in the Susīma Sutta (SN. 2.1.7.10), where we meet with the term released through wisdom (paññāvimutta). The Buddha clarifies this paññāvimutta by stating “…first there is knowledge of the structure of phenomena , afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.” (“…pubbe kho, susima, dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇa”nti.”). Needing further clarification, the Buddha continues instructing Susīma with the three-marks and dependant origination in the classic interrogative style.

The instructions which develop contemplative knowledge leading directly to wisdom and release are these. And these seem to point mainly to contemplation of impermanence (anicca) and rise and fall (udayabbayānupassī, samudayo - atthaṅgamo etc.)
Last edited by ancientbuddhism on Tue May 31, 2011 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:14 pm

Retro gave the best response, imo. Your question is in the realm of academic buddhist studies.

Random food for thought (a pdf copy is floating around the internet):
"Inducing a Chronology of the Pali Canon", by Paul Kingsbury
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:59 pm

Hello Khanti,

Many thanks for your very helpful info.Is the Susīma Sutta (SN. 2.1.7.10) you referred to the same as the following?
SN 12.70
PTS: S ii 119
CDB i 612
Susima Sutta: About Susima

Metta

Starter

PS: Thanks other friends for the helpful input as well. By the way, I'm trying to do a scholarly research into the chronology of the Pali Canon, but only would like to know those most important teachings of the Buddha which were given at his later teaching career, considering the development of his teachings.
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:58 pm

English translation of the susima sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Pali in various transliterations can be found at tipitaka.org
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby seanpdx » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:02 pm

By the way, if you wish to further investigate the susima sutta, I recommend reading what Richard Gombrich has written on the subject. You can find some of his thoughts in How Buddhism Began.
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:12 pm

Hi seanpdx,

Thanks for the link. I read the susima sutta and happened to find a Chinese commentary related to this sutta in which two different Chinese versions of this sutta were compared with the Pali version. It might be interesting to know that this commentary pointed out the mistakes Dr. Richard Gombrich made concerning the comparison of Chinese and Pali suttas. One Chinese version (one of the Agamas) has clearly indicated that the arahants liberated by insights didn't obtain any jhana (several other suttas in the same Agama have the same statements), but another version (from another branch of the early Buddhism) doesn't have such statement. Both Chinese versions don't have the three characteristics of the 5 aggregates, but only the 12 links of DO.

Metta to all,

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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:30 am

starter wrote:Hi seanpdx,

Thanks for the link. I read the susima sutta and happened to find a Chinese commentary related to this sutta in which two different Chinese versions of this sutta were compared with the Pali version. It might be interesting to know that this commentary pointed out the mistakes Dr. Richard Gombrich made concerning the comparison of Chinese and Pali suttas. One Chinese version (one of the Agamas) has clearly indicated that the arahants liberated by insights didn't obtain any jhana (several other suttas in the same Agama have the same statements), but another version (from another branch of the early Buddhism) doesn't have such statement. Both Chinese versions don't have the three characteristics of the 5 aggregates, but only the 12 links of DO.

Metta to all,

Starter
Please cite the sources for this.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:Please cite the sources for this.

Indeed. Clearly there is considerable room for discussion on these issues, but asserting that some unidentified source proves something is not particularly interesting.

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:22 pm

Another interesting sutta along this topic is the Khemaka Sutta (SN. 3.1.9.7). With reference to the three-marks analysis of the 5 aggregates, this discourse discusses the particular utility of A & P toward release (dependant origination – paṭiccasamuppāda lit. ‘cause of arising’ – is built-in anytime analysis of presence or absence, rise and fall of atta, ‘I am’ or dukkha is discussed).

The essentials of the story are that Ven. Khemaka is an anāgāmin, who referred to a peculiar dilemma he had: “…as for the five aggregates, I do not regard these as self or belonging to self, although I am not an Arahant. Of these five aggregates subject to taking up this ‘I am’ (even still) comes up, although I do not consider ‘I am this’” (‘…pañcasu upādānakkhandhesu `asmī'ti adhigataṃ, `ayamahamasmī'ti na ca samanupassāmī"ti.”). He likened this ‘I am’ that he was beset with to the scent of a lotus blossom, that although the scent cannot be ascribed to any one part of the flower, the scent still is identified with the flower.

His explanation concludes with: ‘So it is, friends, that when a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, that of the five aggregates subject to taking-up; the residual notion ‘I am’, intention of ‘I am’ and tendency of ‘I am’ is not uprooted. But at a later time if he abides contemplating the rise and fall (udayabbayānupassī) of the five bases subject to taking-up; ‘this is material-form, this is the coming into being (samudayo) of material-form, this is the decline (atthaṅgamo) of material-form. This is sensation of feeling … sense-perception … thought processes … this is consciousness, this is the coming into being of consciousness, this is the decline of consciousness; the residual notion ‘I am’, intention of ‘I am’ and tendency of ‘I am’ is uprooted.’

What is significant in Ven. Khemaka’s remarks is his clarity about the exact nuance of his own dilemma, and its remedy of detailed contemplation of rise and fall. The discourse concludes that at the end of Ven. Khemaka’s explanation, sixty elder bhikkhus were released of the unwholesome-outflows (āsava), including Ven. Khemaka who was released through his own desana.
Last edited by ancientbuddhism on Tue May 31, 2011 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:15 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
starter wrote:Hi seanpdx,

Thanks for the link. I read the susima sutta and happened to find a Chinese commentary related to this sutta in which two different Chinese versions of this sutta were compared with the Pali version. It might be interesting to know that this commentary pointed out the mistakes Dr. Richard Gombrich made concerning the comparison of Chinese and Pali suttas. One Chinese version (one of the Agamas) has clearly indicated that the arahants liberated by insights didn't obtain any jhana (several other suttas in the same Agama have the same statements), but another version (from another branch of the early Buddhism) doesn't have such statement. Both Chinese versions don't have the three characteristics of the 5 aggregates, but only the 12 links of DO.

Metta to all,

Starter
Please cite the sources for this.


The reference is in Chinese:

Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies, No. 8, pp. 9-49 (2004) ISSN: 1026-969X (It's a pity I can't copy the original PDF here).

It's better for the interested friends who know Chinese to read the original Chinese versions of Susima suttas in 《杂阿含第三四七经》and 《摩诃僧祗律》。

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Chinese/Dhamma12.pdf
089.须深盗法
有一阵子,佛陀在摩揭陀国首都王舍城游化,住在城北郊外的迦兰陀竹园。
那时,摩揭陀国的国王,以及当地的许多大臣、婆罗门、富有的长者、居士与一般民众们,都对佛陀
及比丘大众十分敬重,所以对他们的供养,如衣、食、医药、日用品等特别丰富。相对的,当地其它外道
所能得到的供养,就很少了。
住在王舍城的外道们,为因应供养少,生活困难的困局,共同集会商量,最后想出一个点子,推举他
们之中一位名叫须深的聪明青年,要他到佛陀那边去出家,看看能不能学一些佛陀的秘籍回来,好让他们
也能得到大家的信仰与尊重,期望能恢复往日供养的水准。
背负特别任务的须深来到迦兰陀竹园,向一群比丘请求出家。经由比丘们的引见,佛陀也同意他在僧
团中出家了。
半个月过去了,有一天,他听到一些比丘自称是证得解脱的阿罗汉,觉得这下机会来了,赶紧前去向
他们请教,怎样才能学得初禅而得解脱。
然而,这些比丘却告诉须深,他们不会初禅,也不会神足神通。
须深不相信,就继续要求这些比丘教他第二禅、第三禅、第四禅等其它禅定。但是这些比丘都说他们
不会,更不会他心神通、宿命神通。
须深对这些比丘的回答很不满,质疑、指责他们前后所说互相矛盾,哪有不会禅定,而还可以自称是
解脱阿罗汉的!
这些比丘就告诉须深,说他们是慧解脱者。
须深根本不了解,也不相信这样的回答,就去向佛陀求证。
佛陀告诉须深说:
「须深!修学的前后次第是:先知『法住智』,后知『涅盘智』。那些比丘就是以这样的次第,从专精
思惟、安住于不放逸,而修得离我见、不起诸烦恼而证入解脱的。」
须深完全听不懂佛陀在说什么,就请求佛陀为他详加解说。
佛陀解说道:
「须深!不管你知不知道,修学的必然顺序,就是要先知法住智,后知涅盘智。
须深!你认为如何?有出生所以会老死,不离出生而有老死,是吗?」
「是的,世尊!」
「像这样,生、有、取、爱、受、触、六入处、名色、识、行、无明;有无明所以有行业,不离无明
而有行业,是吗?」
「是的,世尊!」
「反过来说,不出生就不会老死,不离生之灭而老死灭,是吗?」
「是的,世尊!」
「像这样,生、有、取、爱、受、触、六入处、名色、识、行、无明;无明灭所以行灭,不离无明灭
而行灭,是吗?」
「是的,世尊!」
「须深!让我再问你:色是常,还是无常呢?」
「世尊!是无常。」
「无常的事物,会带来苦呢?还是乐?」
「世尊!是苦。」
「既是无常、苦,那是变易之法了,能在变易之法中,找到所谓不变的『真我』吗?」
「世尊!不能。」
同样地,佛陀又分别以「受、想、行、识」一一提问,并且由现在扩展到过去、未来等,说明这一切
都是无常,是苦的,其中不存在所谓的「真我」。然后,佛陀作了个小结论说:
「须深!多闻圣弟子对色、受、想、行、识有这样的理解而生厌,因厌而离贪爱,因离贪爱而解脱,
因解脱而生解脱之智:我的生死已尽,清净的修行已经确立,该作的都已完成,不再有往生下一辈子的后
有爱了。
须深!有了这样的所知所见,就会各种禅定,各种神通了吗?」
「不会的,世尊!」
「须深!这就是先知法住智,后知涅盘智。那些比丘就是这样专精思惟,安住于不放逸,而修得离我
见,不起诸烦恼而得解脱的。」
佛陀说到这里,须深当下远尘离垢,得法眼清净:见法、得法、觉法而自己解决了对法的疑惑,心中
无所畏惧。
这时,悟入正法的须深,向佛陀顶礼,忏悔他出家盗法的不当动机,并请求佛陀的原谅。
佛陀接受了须深诚心的忏悔,并且告诉他说,若以名闻利养的动机来出家盗法,日后其心里的不安折
磨,将会更胜于盗贼被国王行刑,慢慢凌迟至死的痛苦。

按语:
一、本则故事取材自《杂阿含第三四七经》、《相应部第一二相应第七○经》。
二、《杂阿含第三四七经》与《相应部第一二相应第七○经》主要内容是相同的,但有两处细节不同:
(一)须深问那些阿罗汉比丘的内容,前者是会不会初禅、第二禅等禅定,后者是会不会各种神通。(二)
佛陀为须深解说的内容,前者只说十二缘起,后者先说无常、苦,后说十二缘起。关于第一点,从《杂阿
含第四九四经》中说:「习禅思,得神通力。」《清净道论》〈说神变品〉也说:「在生起(初禅等)定以前
或以后或于同一剎那之间所起的定力的殊胜妙用,名为定遍满神变。」(引自《中华佛教百科全书》解说「神
通」一词)来看,神通与禅定,两者是相关的,唯一般多以神通的开发,需透过第四禅的定力才行,一如
佛陀在菩提树下的修学过程。不过,菩提比丘英译本批注,说《相应部注》的解说为「没有禅定」,则又
与《杂阿含第三四七经》相同。关于第二点,前者说须深要求佛陀解说法住智,后者则没特别指明法住智,
似在解说「先知法住智,后知涅盘智」两句,所以稍有不同。
三、如果比对两经经文,可知法住智是指十二缘起等世间因果的必然性,也就是缘起法了。而「先知
法住,后知涅盘」的意思,就如同佛陀回答须深说:「那位比丘就是以这样的次第,从专精思惟,安住于
不放逸,而修得离我见,不起诸烦恼而证入得解脱的。」也就是说,「修学者先彻了因果的必然性──如实
知缘起;依缘起而知无常,无我无我所,实现究竟的解脱──涅盘寂灭。」(印顺法师《印度佛教思想史》
〈自序〉第一页)因此,个人以为「先知法住,后知涅盘」的内容,以先谈「十二缘起」,再谈「五蕴无
常、苦、无我」似乎比较合理,因为十二缘起是法住智,再依缘起而观无常、苦,从中契入无我,才得以
「不起诸漏,心得解脱」。
四、依定发慧而得解脱,从来是佛教界所无异议的,所依的定力,从初禅到第四禅都行(参考故事第
二〈佛陀的修学历程〉按语六)。部派佛教时期,说一切有部的著名论典《法蕴足论》,则说是「七依定」
(大正二六册第四九四页),后来的《大毘婆娑论》则解说为从初禅到无想定的七种根本定(大正二七册
第九二九页),加上六个这七种定的「中间定」,与一个尚未到初禅的「近分定」(大正二七册第六七二页)。
其中,尚未到达初禅的「近分定」一项,值得特别注意,那位不会初禅等根本定的慧解脱阿罗汉,应当就
是透过所谓「近分定」这类的定力成就的。
六、「先知法住,后知涅盘」,是佛陀时代的主流教说。后来,流行于公元初的一系列般若经思想,则
有所转变,展现了「直从涅盘」下手的风格(参考印顺法师《印度佛教思想史》第九二至九三页),成为
当时的一股流行思潮,一直要到公元二世纪后的龙树菩萨,在《中论》中说:「若不依俗谛,不得第一义」
(大正三○册第三三页),才又重新阐扬佛陀时代的主流教说。
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Re: The Buddha's approach to nibbana?

Postby starter » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:08 pm

Hello Khanti,

Many thanks for kindly recommending the Khemaka Sutta [SN 22.89 http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 9-piya.pdf]. After reading this sutta, I understand more why the Buddha seemed to have changed his focus from the early teaching of anicca/dukkha/anatta (focused on anatta based upon logical inference) to the seemingly later focus on direct contemplation of anicca (e.g. also in Anapanassati sutta and etc.), to remain the middle way.

As Ven. Khemaka explained:

"I do not say ‘I am’ form, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from form.
I do not say ‘I am’ feelings, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from feelings.
I do not say ‘I am’ perception, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from perception.
I do not say ‘I am’ formations, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from formations.
I do not say ‘I am’ consciousness, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from consciousness.

However, avuso, although the notion ‘I am’ in regards to the five aggregates of clinging has come to me, I do not regard any of them as ‘This I am’ (which is different from "No Self") [and neither do I regard any of them as "This 'I am' apart from" -- this is probably the difficult/complicated issue associated with the approach of anatta, which can easily lead to confusions and extremes unless one really comprehends it and can stay in the middle way]]".

"Avuso, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, yet in regards to the five aggregates of clinging, there still lingers in him a residual[subtle] conceit ‘I am,’ a desire ‘I am,’ a latent tendency ‘I am’ that has not yet been uprooted. ... As he dwells contemplating arising and passing away in the five aggregates of clinging, this residual conceit ‘I am,’ this desire ‘I am,’ this latent tendency ‘I am,’ that has not yet been uprooted become uprooted."

-- To me, it doesn't seem to require jhanas to contemplate arising and passing away in the five aggregates, but good concentration certainly helps dramatically (strong samadhi can tranquilize both mind and body, which can remain peaceful also in the daily life). Since it's difficult for the busy lay practitioners to achieve and stabilize jhanas, it might work better to use wisdom/vipassana to remove/supress the major hindrances first which will help both concentration and insight. Your input would be appreciated.

Thanks and metta,

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