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The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions? - Dhamma Wheel

The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Jhana4
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The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:14 pm

I've been reading a book by Shaila Catherine, a meditation teacher who has studied meditation with teachers in several Buddhist traditions. In her book she states that the commentaries to suttas depict the Buddha joking around in good nature with some students. She made him sound like a real human being with a personality resembling a contemporary meditation teacher.............versus the sterile non-personality I see in English translations of the Pali Canon.

Do these commentaries that flesh out the personality exist in the Theravada tradition or were Catherine's comments like from suttas in other Buddhist traditions?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:13 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

plwk
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby plwk » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:23 am


alan
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby alan » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:51 am

After you've read the Suttas a few times a certain knowing wit does surface...I like Retro's idea of a "dry" attitude. Sometimes we see him throw out a jest that sails above the head of, say, King Pasenadi. There are texts that make subtle fun of opposing views. We have no way of knowing if he engaged monks with jokes, but my guess is that he didn't need to.
A bit of humor is nice to lighten the mood of a group of students, sure. But I'd like to think the Buddha's personal dignity was sufficient to gather the attention of his audience.

chownah
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby chownah » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:40 am

The Buddha does not anywhere indicate that he ever joked or said anything of a frivolous nature.....if I am wrong please bring a reference....I've been requesting a reference for this for a long time and so far no one has produced one......it could be that the humor we see in the texts is entirely of our own imagination....

If there was the concept of "sacrilige" in Buddhism then surely considering the Buddha's "personality" would be sacriligious in that the Buddha taught that we should have no doctrine of self....and certainly considering that the Buddha had a personality is a doctrine of self...................hahahhahahhaha................isn't that humorous?
chownah

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David N. Snyder
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:41 am

There are differences of opinions and interpretations among Theravada Buddhists, but there is possibly at least some subtle humor in the Pali Canon from the Buddha:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Humor
Image




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Ben
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:15 am

On the use of humour and metaphor, may I suggest Richard Gombrich's classic: "How Buddhism Began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings"
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:36 am

One example of the Buddha making a funny:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=737&p#p8996

chownah
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby chownah » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:24 am

The thing in the suttas I find the funniest is when one of the Buddha's friends exclaimed that good friendship was half of the holy life and the Buddha countered with....no no no....it is 100% of the holy life...........hahhahahahahahha

I think the Buddha was serious....I think its hilarious!!!!!!!
chownah

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Kim OHara
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:18 pm

I guess humour is where you find it.

FWIW, I'm with Retro and Alan on this one - in the suttas I often see a dry wit skillfully employed to make a serious point.

:namaste:
Kim

Jhana4
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:01 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

chownah
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:50 am


alan
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby alan » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:08 am

Paragraph 6.

shjohnk
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Re: The Buddha's Personality, only in other traditions?

Postby shjohnk » Thu May 12, 2011 2:16 am

For me, focussing on whether the Buddha had a sense of humour or not would distract me from the essence of what he said. I love the way he is so brutally efficient whenever someone tries to draw him on any topic that would not lead to a greater understanding or faith in the Dhamma :buddha1:
I can just imagine if i turned round now and he was behind me, maybe he'd be like: 'You know you don't need those other four web pages open,'
I hope I can move gradually (or rapidly!) towards removal of so much papanca that clogs my life and mind.


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