A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

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A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:49 pm

Sorry for another one but i have another seperate question



Id like to get some advice and opinions from everyone


Can ones practice be frutiful (and lead to nibbana) without referring to the commentaries?

I only ask because I hardly ever look at them anymore i just rely on my experience, the suttas and Dhamma talks however ive noticed that other people seem to use them a lot and some stress there use so i wanted to get some advice if other people think its wise not to use them?


:anjali:
Last edited by retrofuturist on Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Topic changed for clarity
“ 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: Another Commentary topic

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:26 pm

In my opinion it is important to either be familiar with them yourself or to have a teacher who is familiar with them. The suttas are simply too vague in too many places to rely on them alone. Vagueness leave plenty of room for an unawakened practitioner to insert his own deluded interpretations. Never forget that the reason we suffer is because of delusion; the reason the Buddha taught is because he was free from delusion. We need to rely on the teachings of others if we are to get free from this maze.

People who believe all they need to awaken is read some suttas are, in my opinion, allowing themselves to be lead by their pride. Of course, such a person will read this statement and their pride will not let them believe it. :shrug:
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Re: Another Commentary topic

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:23 pm

Peter wrote:In my opinion it is important to either be familiar with them yourself or to have a teacher who is familiar with them. The suttas are simply too vague in too many places to rely on them alone. Vagueness leave plenty of room for an unawakened practitioner to insert his own deluded interpretations. Never forget that the reason we suffer is because of delusion; the reason the Buddha taught is because he was free from delusion. We need to rely on the teachings of others if we are to get free from this maze.

People who believe all they need to awaken is read some suttas are, in my opinion, allowing themselves to be lead by their pride. Of course, such a person will read this statement and their pride will not let them believe it. :shrug:



Thanks peter


I agree with you that reading the Suttas isnt enough


:anjali:
“ 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: Another Commentary topic

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:58 pm

Greetings Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Can ones practice be frutiful (and lead to nibbana) without referring to the commentaries?

There were plenty of Noble Ones before anyone even thought of creating commentaries... so the answer is yes, of course.

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: Another Commentary topic

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:08 am

Hello Retro,

Can you tell us about some of them, and how you know they were Noble, and how you know they were never aware of the explanations in the Commentaries?

metta
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Re: Another Commentary topic

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:17 am

Greetings Chris,

Can you tell us about some of them?


They are the Noble Ones of the Pali Canon - that includes the Buddha of course.

how you know they were Noble?


When the suttas say they were noble, I believe them.

how you know they were never aware of the explanations in the Commentaries?


Because the Mahavihara was but a twinkle in the Buddha's eye.

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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:34 am

The first five Arahants :jumping:



:anjali:
“ 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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:52 am

I think you forget that those first disciples had extraordinary kamma and a stock of paramitas that not only gave them direct access to the Buddha, but a mind so developed that with the vipassana developed while listening to one discourse, liberation.
I think its also a mistake to compare ourselves with the Buddha's first disciples. Not only for the reason I gave above. These people who arose in a culture very similar to the Buddha, spoke his language, and were given discourses tailored to their state of mind and their personal inclinations. We are far removed from those particular contexts and we view the words of the Buddha through a matrix of conditionings, translation problems and our own delusions.

Having said that, let me add that the commentarial tradition began while the Buddha was alive. Often when monks approached the Buddha, He would give a brief discourse which would then be elucidated by Sariputta and MahaKaccana. On a number of occassions, the Buddha praised the explanation of the Dhamma by his senior monks and said that if he were to explain it himself it would not be any different. Nyaniponika Thera in 'Abhidhamma Studies' also asserts that while the core of the Abhidhamma Mantikas were probably composed by the Buddha, it was Sariputta and Sariputta's students who fleshed it out. The Commentarial tradition began with the Buddha and his senior disciples as a method to explain the Dhamma to those who were less realised or did not have the paramitas to penetrate the Dhamma unassisted.
Kind regards

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Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:10 am

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:Nyaniponika Thera in 'Abhidhamma Studies' also asserts that while the core of the Abhidhamma Mantikas were probably composed by the Buddha, it was Sariputta and Sariputta's students who fleshed it out.


This leaves though the historical fact that it is only the Theravada tradition that possesses the Abhidhamma. None of the other early schools possessed the Abhidhamma Pitaka of the Theravadins, even though they all shared the common inheritance of the suttas.

Ben wrote:The Commentarial tradition began with the Buddha and his senior disciples as a method to explain the Dhamma to those who were less realised or did not have the paramitas to penetrate the Dhamma unassisted.

Sure, there's always been Dhamma teachers who teach the Buddhadhamma to others, but unless the Buddha was there to state that he would have explained it the same way etc., then how can it be known that the Buddha really would endorse such an explanation? From a strict Theravadin perspective, all the other teachers of all the different Buddhist schools went wrong somewhere along the line with their Dhammic exegeses... what makes us so certain that in the Theravadin tradition not a single teaching up until about a millennium after the Buddha's parinibbana, was in some way a deviation from what the Buddha said or intended? We see all the variations in perspectives which exist nowadays, yet must also honestly face that differences in understanding have always existed and that the first 1000 years of Theravada Buddhism are not somehow immune to this. Even the Mahavihara was in disagreement with their rival schools...

Another implication of the hypothesis that the commentaries are required for nibbana is that every single Buddhist school with the exception of Theravada is somehow completely barren with respect to stream-entrants or higher. Is that a consequence we really wish to insist on?

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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:14 am

Well said retro, :goodpost:
“ 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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:27 am

A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?


Whose commentaries? Theravadin? Sarvastivadin? Or any number of other schools? Why priviledge one sret of commentaries over another?

The commentaries have their place and role to play, but they are not the suttas or Vinaya texts. In working with the suttas (without the commentaries) is important to keep a "don't know" mind and not to jump to a hasty conclusion about what a particular text is saying. But the answer to the eponymous question is yes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:30 am

Whose commentaries? Theravadin? Sarvastivadin? Or any number of other schools? Why priviledge one sret of commentaries over another?



Any school's commentary



:anjali:
“ 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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:42 am

Any school's commentary


Commentaries are particular sets of interpretations by knowledgeable individuals. Also, commentarial stances of a particular school may change over time, or nor be quite in sync from one text to another. Are they absolutely necessary? No, but they should not be dismissed easily, given, in part, that represent a school's understanding of the Buddha's teachings.
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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:44 am

Retro

I sense in your post an assumption that we accept the commentaries in blind faith. I am not suggesting that. I think that we continually test the Dhamma by practicing it and analyzing it and continually comparing and contrasting our own experiences with material in the tipitaka and the commentaries. If there was a serious error in the commentaries than I think that it would become the subject of ongoing discourse and correction as highly realised individuals found that their right understanding was out of phase with the erroneous commentary. An example of this was Venerable Ledi Sayadaw who corrected earlier commentaries of the Abhidhamma in his Paramatthadipani Tika and other works.
Kind regards

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Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:50 am

clw_uk,

I do not know if you have read any actual commentaries,so here is a commentaries of the Satipatthana Sutta. Take some time; read through it carefully.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word.
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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:58 am

Greetings Ben,

No, no such assumption made... my point was expressed solely within the confines of the topic at hand.

My perspective is much like that of Tilt, "Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word."

Certainly not critically important though to the point that stream-entry could not be obtained without recourse to them.

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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:clw_uk,

I do not know if you have read any actual commentaries,so here is a commentaries of the Satipatthana Sutta. Take some time; read through it carefully.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word.



I only have a copy of the Visuddhimagga so thats the one im most familiar with


Thank you for the link
“ 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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:09 am

Read through the Satipatthana Sutta line-by-line commentary. I think you will find it useful. Also, it is worth knowing exactly what it is that is being talked about when commentaries are being discussed.
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.

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Re: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:My perspective is much like that of Tilt, "Commentaries may not be the final word, but they are important word."


Precisely!
"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: A fruitful practice and nibbana, without the commentaries?

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:27 am

Hello Retro, all,

Retrofuturist said: This leaves though the historical fact that it is only the Theravada tradition that possesses the Abhidhamma.

You may find this of interest:
Abhidharma (Sanskrit) or Abhidhamma (Pali) is a category of Buddhist scriptures, and the ideas contained in and based on them, that attempts to use Buddhist teachings to create a systematic, abstract description of all phenomena. In the particular case of describing the human ego experience, the abhidharma provides a precise technical language for Buddhist practitioners to communicate their meditation experiences. According to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004), it started as elaboration of the teachings of the sutras(suttas), but later developed independent doctrines. According to L. S. Cousins described by Professor Richard Gombrich as the leading authority in the field in the West, the suttas deal with sequences and processes, abhidhamma deals with occasions and events.
Origins
Many scholars generally believe that the Abhidharma emerged after the time of the Buddha, as the growth of monastic centers and support for the Buddhist sangha provided the resources and expertise necessary to systematically analyze the early teachings. However, some scholars believe that the Abhidhamma represents an expansion of a set of teachings and categorisations that were employed during the earliest period of Buddhism and were then later developed and elaborated upon.

Traditionally, Theravada Buddhists have held that the Abhidhamma was not a later addition to the tradition, but rather represented the first, original understanding of the teachings by the Buddha. According to legend, shortly after his awakening the Buddha spent several days in meditation, during which he formulated the Abhidhamma. Later, he traveled to the heavenly realm and taught the Abhidhamma to the divine beings that dwelled there, including his deceased mother Mahamaya, who had rearisen as a celestial being. The tradition holds that the Buddha gave daily summaries of the teachings given in the heavenly realm to the monk Sariputra, who passed them on. The Abhidhamma is thus presented as a pure and undiluted form of the teaching that was too difficult for most practitioners of the Buddha's time to grasp. Instead, the Buddha taught by the method related in the various suttas, giving appropriate, immediately applicable teachings as each situation arose, rather than attempting to set forth the Abhidhamma in all its complexity and completeness. Thus, there is a similarity between the traditions of the Abhidhamma and that of the Mahayana which also claimed to be too difficult for the people living in the Buddha's time.

Numerous apparently independent Abhidharma traditions arose in India, roughly during the period from the 2nd or 3rd Century BCE to the 5th Century CE. The 7th Century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang reportedly collected Abhidharma texts from seven different traditions. In the modern era, only the Abhidharmas of the Sarvastivadins and the Theravadins have survived intact, each consisting of seven books, with the addition of the Sariputra Abhidharma. The Theravada Abhidharma, the Abhidhamma Pitaka (discussed below), is preserved in Pali, while the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma is mostly preserved only in Chinese - the (likely Sanskrit) original texts having been lost, though some Tibetan texts are still extant. A small number of other Abhidharma texts of unknown origin are preserved in translation in the Chinese canon. These different traditions have some similarities, suggesting either interaction between groups or some common ground antedating the separation of the schools.

More at:
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Abhidhamma

metta
Chris
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