Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

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Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:58 am

I have read that "several distinguished forest monks" in Thailand claim to have realized a "true self."(1) I have heard that Maha Boowa, a disciple of Ajahn Mun and someone is who is considered by many to be an arahant, is among them. This would not be surprising, considering that he is often quoted online as having written, "The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies" in Arahatamaggae, indicating an awareness that is permanent, not subject to change. The following passages would seem to support this conclusion. (The italics are mine.)



1. Not-Self (anatta) does not apply to the true nature of the citta:

"BEING INTRINSICALLY BRIGHT AND CLEAR, the citta is always ready to make contact with everything of every nature. Although all conditioned phenomena without exception are governed by the three universal laws of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, the citta’s true nature is not subject to these laws... the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die. This deathlessness is a quality that lies beyond disintegration. Being beyond disintegration, it also lies beyond the range of anicca, dukkha, and anattã and the universal laws of nature."

http://www.forestdhammabooks.com/book/3 ... amagga.pdf at the top of p. 99.

(In the same paragraph Maha Boowa distinguishes between the citta involved with conditioned things and the citta's "own nature" or "true nature": "The citta is conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã only because things that are subject to these laws come spinning in to become involved with the citta and so cause it to spin along with them. However, though it spins in unison with conditioned phenomena, the citta never disintegrates or falls apart. It spins following the influence of those forces which have the power to make it spin, but the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die.")



2. "Simple knowingness" or "quiet mind" is "its own self":

"It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self on this level and it develops a strange, uncanny, and amazing feeling of pleasure."

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nsight.htm




I post these two passages, because I think that they may serve to clarify this Ajahn's teachings.





1. Paul Williams mentions that a group of forest monks are among the those in Thailand who are alleged to have had "realizations" of a true self, but he does not identify them by name. The Dhammakaya movement points to the "realizations" of these monks to justify its own teaching of Self. See Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition (New York: Routledge, 2009) p. 127. This discussion is only in the 2nd edition.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:04 am

Then this supposed citta is not a dhamma, or the Buddha was wrong to say all dhammas are anatta.
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: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:Then this supposed citta is not a dhamma, or the Buddha was wrong to say all dhammas are anatta.


Agreed.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:18 am

Could they be speaking simply of Awareness? That's what many Advaita vedanta teachers seem to be pointing to. Self as temporary localized expressions of simple unborn awareness. In this view the larger field (aka Brahman, Dharmakaya, Universal Mind) may exist eternally, but localized expressions merge back, eventually... Different then from conceptions of an atman which is separate and continuous...

Here's a description from Stephen Gray (Adyashanti), a Zen Buddhist teacher who seems to have reached some similar "conclusions"...

Realizing Your True Nature

Spiritual awakening is realizing what occupies the space called “me.” When you listen innocently, you’ll see that there really is something more here than a me. Your me is always experiencing this moment in relation to some other moment. Is this moment as good as it was two weeks ago? Will it be the same today as it was yesterday? The me worries about what it knows and whether or not it is good enough to get enlightened. Your me might call itself Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Advaitan, atheist, agnostic, believer, or nonbeliever, but no matter what your me is identified with, when you become very open and relaxed, you can suddenly be aware that something else is occupying your body-mind. Something else is looking out from your eyes, listening from your ears, and feeling your feelings. That something has no qualities. Realizing your true nature is realizing what is present without qualities. We can call it the emptiness of consciousness, the Self, or the No-Self. To directly experience this emptiness—the aliveness of it—is spiritual awakening. It is to realize yourself as beautiful nothingness, or more accurately, no-thing-ness. If we say it’s just “nothing,” we miss the point.
Last edited by christopher::: on Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:26 am

Christopher: Could they be speaking simply of Awareness?

Awareness is a product of viññana, which is one of the five aggeragates.

In this view the larger field (aka Brahman, Dharmakaya, Universal Mind) may exist eternally, but localized expressions merge back, eventually... Different then from conceptions of an atman which is separate and continuous...


That is good Hinduism, but very bad Buddhism.
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: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby christopher::: » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:32 am

I wasn't passing a judgement good or bad. Just it does sound to me like this is what they are talking about.

sukhamanveti wrote: "Simple knowingness" or "quiet mind" is "its own self":

"It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self ...
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:55 am

christopher::: wrote:I wasn't passing a judgement good or bad. Just it does sound to me like this is what they are talking about.

sukhamanveti wrote: "Simple knowingness" or "quiet mind" is "its own self":

"It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self ...


If we are talking about Buddhism and not Advaita Vedanta, awareness is a function of viññana, which is one of the five aggregates. Citta, which is a term that is essentially a synonym of viññana, arises and falls. In the awakened individual, citta is not some thing unchanging nor is it other than a functioning aspect of the khandhas, the aggregates. It is, however, no longer conditioned by greed, hatred, and delusion.

The above stuff that sukhamanveti quoted does not quite match the Buddha’s teachings, which is why this stuff is, in the context of who is claiming it, controversial.

Oneness is easy on any number of levels, but it is not what the Buddha taught.

Adyashanti: but no matter what your me is identified with, when you become very open and relaxed, you can suddenly be aware that something else is occupying your body-mind. Something else is looking out from your eyes, listening from your ears, and feeling your feelings. That something has no qualities. Realizing your true nature is realizing what is present without qualities.


Been there, done that. It can lead to profound results, but I prefer the far more radical teachings of the Buddha that gets beyond the projection, albeit extremely subtle, of self that this sort of Advaita practice embodies.
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: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:37 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:I have read that "several distinguished forest monks" in Thailand claim to have realized a "true self."(1) I have heard that Maha Boowa, a disciple of Ajahn Mun and someone is who is considered by many to be an arahant, is among them. This would not be surprising, considering that he is often quoted online as having written, "The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies" in Arahatamaggae, indicating an awareness that is permanent, not subject to change. The following passages would seem to support this conclusion. (The italics are mine.)



1. Not-Self (anatta) does not apply to the true nature of the citta:

"BEING INTRINSICALLY BRIGHT AND CLEAR, the citta is always ready to make contact with everything of every nature. Although all conditioned phenomena without exception are governed by the three universal laws of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, the citta’s true nature is not subject to these laws... the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die. This deathlessness is a quality that lies beyond disintegration. Being beyond disintegration, it also lies beyond the range of anicca, dukkha, and anattã and the universal laws of nature."

http://www.forestdhammabooks.com/book/3 ... amagga.pdf at the top of p. 99.

(In the same paragraph Maha Boowa distinguishes between the citta involved with conditioned things and the citta's "own nature" or "true nature": "The citta is conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã only because things that are subject to these laws come spinning in to become involved with the citta and so cause it to spin along with them. However, though it spins in unison with conditioned phenomena, the citta never disintegrates or falls apart. It spins following the influence of those forces which have the power to make it spin, but the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die.")



2. "Simple knowingness" or "quiet mind" is "its own self":

"It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self on this level and it develops a strange, uncanny, and amazing feeling of pleasure."

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nsight.htm




I post these two passages, because I think that they may serve to clarify this Ajahn's teachings.





1. Paul Williams mentions that a group of forest monks are among the those in Thailand who are alleged to have had "realizations" of a true self, but he does not identify them by name. The Dhammakaya movement points to the "realizations" of these monks to justify its own teaching of Self. See Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition (New York: Routledge, 2009) p. 127. This discussion is only in the 2nd edition.


What interests me about discussions like these is how many people like to come forth implicitly or explicitly to claim this or that as if it were true. It reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephants.

I for one, would keep an open mind as to the truth of the good Ajahns' teachings, and bear witness to its truth or otherwise through my own consistent and determined practice.

But an open mind can be helpful for anyone in practice -- although I hasten to add I am not talking about the "anything/everything goes" concept of open mind; but moreso a willingness to park those things not yet known for oneself yet to the side - whilst one continues one's dedicated practice.

As the Buddha taught, it is appropriate to say "this is my conviction" if it is one's firm belief, but to say "it is the truth" may be a bit too much.

As the Buddha taught: practice, and know for yourself.

Myself, I have a great respect for the practice tradition of the Forest Monks but any realisations are only their own, and so it is so that each student must discover the gem for themself. If that is their inclination only.

Best wishes to all.
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby Jechbi » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:37 pm

Hi Sukhamanveti,

Looks to me like part of this may be a vocabulary-usage issue. In your first reference, the term "citta" appears to be being used in a broader sense than the way it is used in Abhidhamma discussions. (I hope someone will correct me if this impression is mistaken.) The passage you quote does not appear to me to contradict Abhidhamma descriptions.

From Arahattamagga:
Nothing is annihilated. Those elements have simply come together to form a lump in which the citta then takes up residence. The citta—the great master of delusion—comes in and animates it, and then carries the entire burden by making a self-identity out of it. “This is me, this belongs to me.” Reserving the whole mass for itself, the citta accumulates endless amounts of pain and suffering, burning itself with its own false assumptions.


Later, he discusses exactly this danger of associating "citta" with some kind of delusion of a luminous, eternal self:
There it is. Look at it: it is none other than the supreme ruler of the universe—avijjã. But you don’t recognize it. Never having seen it before, you will naturally be deceived by the radiance you encounter at this stage. Later, when mindfulness and wisdom are fully prepared, you will know the truth without any need of prompting. This is avijjã. The true avijjã is right here. It is nothing but a mesmerizing point of brilliance. Don’t imagine avijjã to be a demon or a beast; for in truth, it is really the most alluring and endearing paragon of beauty in the whole world.
True avijjã is very different from what you expect it to be. Therefore, when you encounter avijjã you fail to recognize it; and your practice gets caught there. If you have no teacher to advise you and point out a way to investigate, then you will be at an impasse for a long time before you realize its true nature and can go beyond it.

and then this:
All allusions to oneself, to the true essence of one’s being refer specifically to this genuine avijjã. They indicate that it is still intact. All investigations are done for its sake. This self is what knows; this self is what understands. This self is radiant, light and happy. “I” and “mine”—the genuine avijjã lies here. Everything is done for its sake. Once it finally disintegrates, so too does the personal perspective.

This seems like a classic example of the tension between pariyatti and patipatti. I think it's possible to get caught up with a preference to one or the other, and then talk at cross-purposes and from different angles about the same thing. Sounds like we're disagreeing when in fact, underneath it all, there is no substantial, meaningful disagreement. Sure, you can pick apart the words that Maha Boowa uses and say, "Here is self-view." But that misses the point. In this startling first-person account, Ven. Maha Boowa tries to put into words what cannot be expressed in words. So when we focus on the words, we don't see what he is describing.

With regard to your second reference, looks like the context of the discussion is, again, patipatti:
The heart at that point is very quiet and very amazing. The breath has disappeared without leaving a trace, and the body disappears at the same instant. What this means is that it disappears in your sense of feeling, not that the actual body goes away anywhere. It's still sitting right there, but your awareness isn't involved with any sense of 'body' at all. It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self on this level and it develops a strange, uncanny, and amazing feeling of pleasure.

As soon as the mind becomes quiet and disentangled from all activities, there's no sense of time or place, because the mind isn't giving meaning to anything with thoughts of time or place. There's simply knowingness maintaining itself in that state. This is the feeling of pleasure that can come from meditation. You can, if you want, call it one of the fruits of meditation.


The type of discussion in this thread comes up again and again. The core question posed here is: What is pativedha dhamma? What is Nibbana? One thing we know from the Buddha's teachings: An understanding of Nibbana is not the same thing as annihilationism. Another thing we know: We're not going to understand it until we have attained to the fruit of arahantship.

Metta
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:39 pm

floating_abu wrote:What interests me about discussions like these is how many people like to come forth implicitly or explicitly to claim this or that as if it were true. It reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephants.

I for one, would keep an open mind as to the truth of the good Ajahns' teachings, and bear witness to its truth or otherwise through my own consistent and determined practice.

But an open mind can be helpful for anyone in practice -- although I hasten to add I am not talking about the "anything/everything goes" concept of open mind; but moreso a willingness to park those things not yet known for oneself yet to the side - whilst one continues one's dedicated practice.

As the Buddha taught, it is appropriate to say "this is my conviction" if it is one's firm belief, but to say "it is the truth" may be a bit too much.

As the Buddha taught: practice, and know for yourself.

Myself, I have a great respect for the practice tradition of the Forest Monks but any realisations are only their own, and so it is so that each student must discover the gem for themself. If that is their inclination only.

Best wishes to all.


Hi floating abu,

I don't mean to suggest that I know what nibbana is or anything like that. I would say that I know very little with absolute certainty, apart from such things as "I'm feeling sleepy." :smile: I do think that it is fair and honest, useful even, for people to say, "Given the data that we have, it looks to me like X was taught by the Buddha or Y was not taught by the Buddha" or "This doesn't look like Buddhism to me" or "This doesn't fit what I have learned." I think that this is what many people are really saying in these discussions. It doesn't mean that we are pretending to have personally realized profound truths when we reach conclusions based on the information or the experience that we have. In fact this is how I understand your argument when you say, "As the Buddha taught, it is appropriate to say 'this is my conviction' if it is one's firm belief, but to say 'it is the truth' may be a bit too much." How does this differ from someone saying something like, "As the Buddha taught, 'a being' is a designation for a confluence of five aggregates, no more, no less, and none of these aggregates are an immutable Self"? What makes the first one appropriate and the second one inappropriate? (I realize I may be misunderstanding you here, just as I may be misunderstanding Acariya Maha Boowa. This is how I am reading you, however.)

I actually agree with your "willingness to park those things not yet known for oneself yet to the side - whilst one continues one's dedicated practice." I also respect Thai Forest Tradition. I have learned from Thanissaro Bhikkhu's writings.

Thank you for the reminder to focus on practice and to look out for dogmatism. That is always good advice. :hug:

Peace.

Ed
Last edited by sukhamanveti on Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:01 pm

Jechbi wrote:Hi Sukhamanveti,

Looks to me like part of this may be a vocabulary-usage issue. In your first reference, the term "citta" appears to be being used in a broader sense than the way it is used in Abhidhamma discussions. (I hope someone will correct me if this impression is mistaken.) The passage you quote does not appear to me to contradict Abhidhamma descriptions.

From Arahattamagga:
Nothing is annihilated. Those elements have simply come together to form a lump in which the citta then takes up residence. The citta—the great master of delusion—comes in and animates it, and then carries the entire burden by making a self-identity out of it. “This is me, this belongs to me.” Reserving the whole mass for itself, the citta accumulates endless amounts of pain and suffering, burning itself with its own false assumptions.


Later, he discusses exactly this danger of associating "citta" with some kind of delusion of a luminous, eternal self:
There it is. Look at it: it is none other than the supreme ruler of the universe—avijjã. But you don’t recognize it. Never having seen it before, you will naturally be deceived by the radiance you encounter at this stage. Later, when mindfulness and wisdom are fully prepared, you will know the truth without any need of prompting. This is avijjã. The true avijjã is right here. It is nothing but a mesmerizing point of brilliance. Don’t imagine avijjã to be a demon or a beast; for in truth, it is really the most alluring and endearing paragon of beauty in the whole world.
True avijjã is very different from what you expect it to be. Therefore, when you encounter avijjã you fail to recognize it; and your practice gets caught there. If you have no teacher to advise you and point out a way to investigate, then you will be at an impasse for a long time before you realize its true nature and can go beyond it.

and then this:
All allusions to oneself, to the true essence of one’s being refer specifically to this genuine avijjã. They indicate that it is still intact. All investigations are done for its sake. This self is what knows; this self is what understands. This self is radiant, light and happy. “I” and “mine”—the genuine avijjã lies here. Everything is done for its sake. Once it finally disintegrates, so too does the personal perspective.

This seems like a classic example of the tension between pariyatti and patipatti. I think it's possible to get caught up with a preference to one or the other, and then talk at cross-purposes and from different angles about the same thing. Sounds like we're disagreeing when in fact, underneath it all, there is no substantial, meaningful disagreement. Sure, you can pick apart the words that Maha Boowa uses and say, "Here is self-view." But that misses the point. In this startling first-person account, Ven. Maha Boowa tries to put into words what cannot be expressed in words. So when we focus on the words, we don't see what he is describing.

With regard to your second reference, looks like the context of the discussion is, again, patipatti:
The heart at that point is very quiet and very amazing. The breath has disappeared without leaving a trace, and the body disappears at the same instant. What this means is that it disappears in your sense of feeling, not that the actual body goes away anywhere. It's still sitting right there, but your awareness isn't involved with any sense of 'body' at all. It's simply knowingness pure and simple, entirely on its own. This is called 'a quiet mind.' The mind is its own self on this level and it develops a strange, uncanny, and amazing feeling of pleasure.

As soon as the mind becomes quiet and disentangled from all activities, there's no sense of time or place, because the mind isn't giving meaning to anything with thoughts of time or place. There's simply knowingness maintaining itself in that state. This is the feeling of pleasure that can come from meditation. You can, if you want, call it one of the fruits of meditation.


The type of discussion in this thread comes up again and again. The core question posed here is: What is pativedha dhamma? What is Nibbana? One thing we know from the Buddha's teachings: An understanding of Nibbana is not the same thing as annihilationism. Another thing we know: We're not going to understand it until we have attained to the fruit of arahantship.

Metta
:smile:



Thank you for your thoughts, Jechbi. You make an excellent point. You may be right. It could be a difference of vocabulary. I really don't have enough information to know.

I do know that a real debate has been going on in Thailand since 1939 about Not-Self that is not a matter of a difference of vocabulary. Some have truly been arguing that meditation & the Three Marks of Existence are to be used to cease identification with conditioned things so that one may uncover one's unconditioned "true self" and identify with it. In other words, some see limits to Not Self and do propose a True Self. To quote an erudite former Sangharaja who was actually an advocate of this Self teaching, making just this point, "the uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine of anatta is realized once atta [Self] has been attained. The Buddha discovered that nibbana is atta and only by doing so was he able to say that the five aggregates are anatta... the Buddha realised that atta is different from conditioned dhammas." Maha Boowa's choice of words often sounds remarkably similar to the words used by proponents of this view to me.

Of course, I could be making connections where there aren't any.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby nathan » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:36 pm

It certainly does seem as if the older and more respected the bhikkhu the more cautious they must be with every word. I offer them all my respect as I don't really think it is up to me to sort this out in any final sense for anyone else. Hopefully mindfulness will still my tongue long before it completely stills anything else.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby cooran » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:50 pm

Hello sukhamanveti, all,

sukhamanveti: I have heard that Maha Boowa, a disciple of Ajahn Mun and someone is who is considered by many to be an arahant, is among them. This would not be surprising, considering that he is often quoted online as having written, "The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies" in Arahatamaggae, indicating an awareness that is permanent, not subject to change. The following passages would seem to support this conclusion. (The italics are mine.)


I realise that Luang-ta Boowa is held in high esteem, but it is always best to be very careful of any teacher, irrespective of popular sentiment, and return always to the words of the Buddha.

Luang-ta Boowa is not viewed with universal acclamation within the ordained Sangha:

You may as well know that Luang-ta Boowa’s biography of Achan Mun has been sharply criticized by the Dhammayut hierarchy since its publication in Thai (1969 – I was told although the English edition has it at 1971). Phra Achan Somchai Thitawiriyo, the late abbot of Wat Khao Sukim and disciple of Achan Mun had been on record stating “My teacher did not speak this way.”

In the Acariya Mun Bhuridatto, dhutanga kammatthaana thread:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&p=478867

metta
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby Jechbi » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:15 am

sukhamanveti wrote:I do know that a real debate has been going on in Thailand since 1939 about Not-Self that is not a matter of a difference of vocabulary. Some have truly been arguing that meditation & the Three Marks of Existence are to be used to cease identification with conditioned things so that one may uncover one's unconditioned "true self" and identify with it. In other words, some see limits to Not Self and do propose a True Self. To quote an erudite former Sangharaja who was actually an advocate of this Self teaching, making just this point, "the uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine of anatta is realized once atta [Self] has been attained. The Buddha discovered that nibbana is atta and only by doing so was he able to say that the five aggregates are anatta... the Buddha realised that atta is different from conditioned dhammas." Maha Boowa's choice of words often sounds remarkably similar to the words used by proponents of this view to me.

Wow. Where's that quote from about "the uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine ..." ?

Chris wrote:I realise that Luang-ta Boowa is held in high esteem, but it is always best to be very careful of any teacher, irrespective of popular sentiment, and return always to the words of the Buddha.

Thanks for the important reminder.
:anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby floating_abu » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:28 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:
floating_abu wrote:What interests me about discussions like these is how many people like to come forth implicitly or explicitly to claim this or that as if it were true. It reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephants.

I for one, would keep an open mind as to the truth of the good Ajahns' teachings, and bear witness to its truth or otherwise through my own consistent and determined practice.

But an open mind can be helpful for anyone in practice -- although I hasten to add I am not talking about the "anything/everything goes" concept of open mind; but moreso a willingness to park those things not yet known for oneself yet to the side - whilst one continues one's dedicated practice.

As the Buddha taught, it is appropriate to say "this is my conviction" if it is one's firm belief, but to say "it is the truth" may be a bit too much.

As the Buddha taught: practice, and know for yourself.

Myself, I have a great respect for the practice tradition of the Forest Monks but any realisations are only their own, and so it is so that each student must discover the gem for themself. If that is their inclination only.

Best wishes to all.


Hi floating abu,

I don't mean to suggest that I know what nibbana is or anything like that. I would say that I know very little with absolute certainty, apart from such things as "I'm feeling sleepy." :smile: I do think that it is fair and honest, useful even, for people to say, "Given the data that we have, it looks to me like X was taught by the Buddha or Y was not taught by the Buddha" or "This doesn't look like Buddhism to me" or "This doesn't fit what I have learned." I think that this is what many people are really saying in these discussions. It doesn't mean that we are pretending to have personally realized profound truths when we reach conclusions based on the information or the experience that we have. In fact this is how I understand your argument when you say, "As the Buddha taught, it is appropriate to say 'this is my conviction' if it is one's firm belief, but to say 'it is the truth' may be a bit too much." How does this differ from someone saying something like, "As the Buddha taught, 'a being' is a designation for a confluence of five aggregates, no more, no less, and none of these aggregates are an immutable Self"? What makes the first one appropriate and the second one inappropriate? (I realize I may be misunderstanding you here, just as I may be misunderstanding Acariya Maha Boowa. This is how I am reading you, however.)

I actually agree with your "willingness to park those things not yet known for oneself yet to the side - whilst one continues one's dedicated practice." I also respect Thai Forest Tradition. I have learned from Thanissaro Bhikkhu's writings.

Thank you for the reminder to focus on practice and to look out for dogmatism. That is always good advice. :hug:

Peace.

Ed


The "Not Self" Strategy seems like a good article in response to your bolded point above - Thanissaro Bhikkhu can say it much better than I :)

Bows,

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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby floating_abu » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:33 pm

Chris wrote:Hello sukhamanveti, all,

sukhamanveti: I have heard that Maha Boowa, a disciple of Ajahn Mun and someone is who is considered by many to be an arahant, is among them. This would not be surprising, considering that he is often quoted online as having written, "The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies" in Arahatamaggae, indicating an awareness that is permanent, not subject to change. The following passages would seem to support this conclusion. (The italics are mine.)


I realise that Luang-ta Boowa is held in high esteem, but it is always best to be very careful of any teacher, irrespective of popular sentiment, and return always to the words of the Buddha.

Luang-ta Boowa is not viewed with universal acclamation within the ordained Sangha:

You may as well know that Luang-ta Boowa’s biography of Achan Mun has been sharply criticized by the Dhammayut hierarchy since its publication in Thai (1969 – I was told although the English edition has it at 1971). Phra Achan Somchai Thitawiriyo, the late abbot of Wat Khao Sukim and disciple of Achan Mun had been on record stating “My teacher did not speak this way.”

In the Acariya Mun Bhuridatto, dhutanga kammatthaana thread:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&p=478867

metta
chris


We are fortunate then that no-one seems held in universal acclaim - and even Lord Buddha himself was criticised by some in his Sangha. This does not mean his teachings aren't true - and at least for this one, they have proven as such in my life and practice - but that only practice tells true, at the end of the day. "To be known for oneself"

Until then, much is hearsay and praise and blame have little to do with the truth of things in actuality.

This is not to defend any teacher or teaching which needs no defence, and which I know little about, but to point out the wider context of the point you bring above. And perhaps to dare point out that regardless of opinion of this teaching or teacher or that, the relevance is not as high as one might imagine. The Four Noble Truths are just like this.

:namaste:
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby sukhamanveti » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Jechbi wrote:
sukhamanveti wrote:I do know that a real debate has been going on in Thailand since 1939 about Not-Self that is not a matter of a difference of vocabulary. Some have truly been arguing that meditation & the Three Marks of Existence are to be used to cease identification with conditioned things so that one may uncover one's unconditioned "true self" and identify with it. In other words, some see limits to Not Self and do propose a True Self. To quote an erudite former Sangharaja who was actually an advocate of this Self teaching, making just this point, "the uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine of anatta is realized once atta [Self] has been attained. The Buddha discovered that nibbana is atta and only by doing so was he able to say that the five aggregates are anatta... the Buddha realised that atta is different from conditioned dhammas." Maha Boowa's choice of words often sounds remarkably similar to the words used by proponents of this view to me.

Wow. Where's that quote from about "the uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine ..." ?

Chris wrote:I realise that Luang-ta Boowa is held in high esteem, but it is always best to be very careful of any teacher, irrespective of popular sentiment, and return always to the words of the Buddha.

Thanks for the important reminder.
:anjali:


Paul Williams, Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition (New York: Routledge, 2009) p. 126. (I am giving the pagination of the paperback of the 2nd edition here.) Interestingly, it was Ajahn Buddhadasa who disputed this issue with the Sangharaja (see p. 125).

The full discussion of true self in Thailand is found on pp. 125-128. (Only the 2nd edition contains this section.) It also mentions the debate between Phra Payudh Payutto (a hero of mine) and Phra Rajyanvisith (responding for the Dhammakaya movement). Williams sees this issue as relevant to the evolution of the Mahayana concept of the tathagatagarbha ("embryo or matrix of the tathagata") or buddhadhatu ("buddha nature" or "buddha element"), which is sometimes viewed as a Great Self within some parts of Mahayana. At other times it is seen as merely a potential for enlightenment or the absence of inherent existence of the mind.
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby Individual » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Christopher: Could they be speaking simply of Awareness?

Awareness is a product of viññana, which is one of the five aggeragates.

In this view the larger field (aka Brahman, Dharmakaya, Universal Mind) may exist eternally, but localized expressions merge back, eventually... Different then from conceptions of an atman which is separate and continuous...


That is good Hinduism, but very bad Buddhism.

It is a Mahayana idea, which isn't necessarily bad.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:57 pm

It is a Mahayana idea, which isn't necessarily bad.


Bad? Depends, but it is incomplete, and not all Mahayanists would agree with it.
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: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:54 pm

putting meditation experiences in to words is difficult enough- but i think this kind of statement by Maha Boowa leads to a lot of people being misled - i was at a famour uk forest monastery the other day - some people were talking about the 'true self' like it was in fashion... :shrug:
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