Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:19 pm

Greetings Bhante


When, for example, the body ages and dies, if there is identification or clinging, there is the mistaken concept of "I am" ageing and dying (same for other khandas)

"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 (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.


The Buddhas khandas "aged" and "died" but "he" had attained the deathless, through non-identification (or Anatta) there is no ageing and dying, no sadness or grief since there is no longer the concept "I am this ..."

'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said? 'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'... 'I shall be possessed of form'... 'I shall not be possessed of form'... 'I shall be percipient'... 'I shall not be percipient'... 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace.

"Furthermore, a sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.


Birth ageing and death are for "those" who cling to khandas




Tilt

There is no justification for limiting "birth" in this passage as having only some sort of metaphorical meaning only, especially given the Buddha's own description of his awakening involves the recollection of past lives in a way that does not neatly allow for some sort of attempt to squeeze it into a metaphorical reading.


Recollection of past abodes, but even if it was past lives this just proves a point i made earlier, that if the Buddha did see past "lives", it was during his actual enlightenment. His entire motivation and view before that was an acknowledgement of what is "There is Dukkha". It wasnt "I will be reborn and so exp. Dukkha".

If people say that one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP then they must conclude that the Buddha himself had wrong view throughout his search since he didnt start with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" since he had no knowledge of this until his nibbana (if you take it to mean he seen past lives)

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Jechbi » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:48 pm

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:If people say that one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP then they must conclude that the Buddha himself had wrong view throughout his search since he didnt start with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" since he had no knowledge of this until his nibbana (if you take it to mean he seen past lives)


Samma ditthi isn't exclusively a matter of having correct versus incorrect viewpoints. It's a matter of understanding. The Bodhisatta Gotama did not have perfect samma ditthi, perfect right understanding. In all likelihood, the Bodhisatta Gotama had exactly the type of rebirth view that you are pillorying.

I don't believe I've seen anyone on this board assert that "one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP." I'm no longer sure what point you are trying to make. It does seem like beating a dead horse.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:57 pm

Hey

Samma ditthi isn't exclusively a matter of having correct versus incorrect viewpoints. It's a matter of understanding. The Bodhisatta Gotama did not have perfect samma ditthi, perfect right understanding. In all likelihood, the Bodhisatta Gotama had exactly the type of rebirth view that you are pillorying.


He did have correct understanding since he reached Nibbana, and this can only be done by following the NEFP which he did, even if he was aware of it or not during his search

If one has wrong view/understanding at the begining, then they wont reach nibbana since then they have wrong intention etc through the other parts of the path

If the Buddha had wrong understanding at the begining he would have either never left home or, if he did leave, he would have gone the "wrong way" further on down the line and stayed there

I don't believe I've seen anyone on this board assert that "one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP." I'm no longer sure what point you are trying to make. It does seem like beating a dead horse.


Saying that without rebirth view, there is a distortion of the teachings or Buddhadhama doesnt work or its not what the Buddha taught or not his teachings to exclude it, amounts to the same thing

I wasnt really trying to make a point to anyone i was just answering posts that were put to me

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:35 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Craig,

clw_uk wrote:In the Buddhas noble teachings, there is no rebirth after death nor any need or place for it

Ultimately true, conventionally false.

Be careful not to take the non-time-delineated model of dependent origination as a refutation of conventional rebirth.

To do so, you'd be extending the scope of the teaching beyond its domain... just as you're accusing others of doing.

Metta,
Retro. :)



Your right, the speculative view "there is no rebirth" is just the same as "there is rebirth"

I meant that neither view is in the Buddhas noble teachings since his noble teachings transcends all speculative views through the understanding of what is

paticcasamuppāda shows how dukkha comes to be (and so all speculative views included), its not a cosmological model for how or why a rebirth after death happens IMO

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:13 pm

If people say that one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP then they must conclude that the Buddha himself had wrong view throughout his search since he didnt start with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" since he had no knowledge of this until his nibbana (if you take it to mean he seen past lives)

This is a nonsensical statement. You are equating "having a view" with "having first hand knowledge". The view "rebirth happens" is quite common and has been so throughout history. First hand knowledge, however, is and always has been quite rare.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:01 pm

Craig: Recollection of past abodes, but even if it was past lives this just proves a point i made earlier, that if the Buddha did see past "lives", it was during his actual enlightenment. His entire motivation and view before that was an acknowledgement of what is "There is Dukkha". It wasnt "I will be reborn and so exp. Dukkha".

If people say that one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP then they must conclude that the Buddha himself had wrong view throughout his search since he didnt start with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" since he had no knowledge of this until his nibbana (if you take it to mean he seen past lives)


There are any number of things wrong with what you have said here, but I focus on just this:

"So I [the Buddha], monks being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."

...

"Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, this instructed by me
[the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana [nirvana] -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." Majjhima Nikaya I 167 and 173.

This certainly indicates that the Buddha had direct knowledge of the fact that he could be reborn - liable to birth. Having attained to high jhana levels before his awakening, there is no reason not to think that he did not have direct knowledge of rebirth.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:49 pm

This is a nonsensical statement. You are equating "having a view" with "having first hand knowledge". The view "rebirth happens" is quite common and has been so throughout history. First hand knowledge, however, is and always has been quite rare



The Buddha didnt leave with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" he started with the view "There is suffering". His view was of what is, not what might be

He even states that it is good for monks who have gone forth that they have the view "I am a victim of ....." not "I will be reborn and be a victim of ...."


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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:01 pm

Greetings Tilt



So I [the Buddha], monks being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."


Liable to birth because of self, as in when there is self there is oppurtunity for more ignorance to lead on to more birth of "I am" and more dukkha etc


The Buddha understood how he was liable to birth (of another "I am") because of self since a sense of "self" is based on that which ages and dies (through ignorance) and so that "I" will age and die which leads onto dukkha and ignorance which will lead to another "I am" due to clinging and so, because of Anicca, another death of "I am" and so more dukkha and more ignorance which will lead on again to clinging and another sense of "I am" which will "die" and so lead onto dukkha and more ignorance and so on if wisdom is not there, but with wisdom one sees the escape of this pointless merry go around

(which includes the merry go around of speculative views that come from "I am" such as rebirth, no rebirth, will i be, wont i be, annihilationism, eternalism, atheism, nihilism, theism, monotheism, polytheism, and some weird exsistence and non exsistence as well of all the other views of "am i now, was i then, will i be there, who am i, where do i come from etc)

What is the perils in what is liable to birth? When there is birth of "I am" there is clinging to that which is marked by Anicca, when there is change in that which is clung to there will be dukkha



"Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, this instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana [nirvana] -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." Majjhima Nikaya I 167 and 173.


Once again if you take birth as meaning rebirth then you make it out that the Buddha had a speculative view, his own teachings were ending all dukkha here and now, which includes putting an end to all speculative views about past and future (which rebirth view is)

The Buddha and his wisdom are beyond all speculative views as he has understood the khandas fully and so doesnt cling to them as self

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."


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



"Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, this instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana [nirvana] -- won freedom from birth [ajata], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." Majjhima Nikaya I 167 and 173.


Only if you put rebirth in


1st Noble Truth
This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.


The last bit is important for understanding, it states that all that was mentioned before can be summed up in brief via "aggregates being subject to clinging". So therefor when there is clinging to the aggregates there is birth, as in birth of "I am" not physical birth of khandas which are Void of a self

(btw there is clinging to the aggregates all the time rising and falling throughout life so jati here means birth of "I am" not physical birth since this, as we know, only happens once in life)

As I said because of clinging to khandas there is "I am". When there is "I am" there is identiciation with the Khandas, when there is identification there is ageing, sickness and death (and also the whole not wanting to get sick, grief, anger etc that go hand in hand with that)

So even the first noble truth doesnt include rebirth specualtive view

Metta
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:05 pm

Peter wrote:
If people say that one must have rebirth view in order to start and practice the NEFP then they must conclude that the Buddha himself had wrong view throughout his search since he didnt start with the view "I will be reborn and suffer" since he had no knowledge of this until his nibbana (if you take it to mean he seen past lives)

This is a nonsensical statement. You are equating "having a view" with "having first hand knowledge". The view "rebirth happens" is quite common and has been so throughout history. First hand knowledge, however, is and always has been quite rare.

The view that illness was caused by spirits, witches, ghosts, Satan, etc... has also been common throughout history, with no first hand knowledge. In fact, there is quite a long list of "views" that were quite common throughout history with no first hand knowledge - that caused an awful lot of suffering and confusion. "First hand view" is an essential part of rationality. Views with no first hand knowledge are fertile ground for irrationality. Best not to go there.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:10 pm

Views with no first hand knowledge are fertile ground for irrationality. Best not to go there.


And of course the Buddha was not irrational, since his wisdom was based on what is not what may or not be
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:20 pm

Agreed. It seems to me that the speculative elements - "what may or may not be" - was added later.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:47 pm

Greetings,

Gettings us slightly back on topic, and away from the theme of rebirth itself for now, here's an interesting extract from "Gods and the Universe in Buddhist Perspective: Essays on Buddhist Cosmology" by Francis Story, (BPS Wheel 180/181).

page 16 wrote:The world of human being and animals is physically the same word, and forms part of the Sense-desire Sphere. Below it, but still in the same category, are the realms of beings in states of deeper misery, while above it are the realms of the Sense-Desire Devas. The boundaries between the human world and those immediately above and below it are not always sharp, and there is the possibility of communication between them. In the case of human beings and animals, although the worlds they inhabit are distinct worlds, there is no physical difference between them; the boundary is purely psychological. This fact gives us the key to the truth that the reality of all the separate spheres of being lies in the realm of consciounsess rather than in that of objectivity.


I'm inclined to agree with Francis Story when he writes...

page 9 wrote:"The perfection if insight-wisdom is to abolish the artificial constructions of subject and objective which are both equally void of reality. This being so, it is not important what view we choose to take, and one is as valid as another"


Putting a moderator hat on for a moment...

Can we please ensure that we get back on topic and that matters of whether rebirth is true or otherwise are dealt with in an appropriate topic, such as the Great Rebirth Debate.

Thank you.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:08 am

I like your moderator hat, Paul; it's cool and sporty.

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:
I'm inclined to agree with Francis Story when he writes...

page 9 wrote:"The perfection if insight-wisdom is to abolish the artificial constructions of subject and objective which are both equally void of reality. This being so, it is not important what view we choose to take, and one is as valid as another"


This is sounding very Atiyoga-ish - the unification of path and goal that leads one to Buddhahood in this life, in Dzogchen.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:34 am

It is not possible, Retro. Rebirth deniers cannot simply ignore a thread about rebirth. They are compelled to argue about it. They cannot abide the idea that Buddhists teach something they dislike so much.

Strange... I do not like teachings on Buddha-nature, yet I do not scour internet forums looking for Buddha-nature threads to start debates in. I simply do not read those threads and instead read other threads. You would think someone who does not like teachings on rebirth would see a thread about being reborn into hell and decide that is not a thread for them. :shrug: "Compelled" is the only word that comes to mind.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:40 am

Craig: Once again if you take birth as meaning rebirth then you make it out that the Buddha had a speculative view, his own teachings were ending all dukkha here and now, which includes putting an end to all speculative views about past and future (which rebirth view is)


If the Buddha was talking metaphorically, as you would have us believe, there would be no reason for it. He could have easily stated what he knew in direct language. There is no reason to assume the Buddha was talking in a speculative or metaphorical manner in the text I quoted, which only results in a complicated, convoluted attempt at trying to make the rebirth language into metaphor as you have and other here have shown us. Basically, you are continuing to try to cram the Buddha into the small box of views that you think are indicative of what the Buddha taught, twisting it this way and that.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:18 am

Peter wrote:It is not possible, Retro. Rebirth deniers cannot simply ignore a thread about rebirth. They are compelled to argue about it. They cannot abide the idea that Buddhists teach something they dislike so much.

Peter, I've never seen you avoided a rebirth thread. :rofl: And no one in this thread is denying rebirth...as you well know.

Some very highly esteemed and realized teachers don't always parrot the idea of "post-mortem rebirth"...what are we to make of them? There are some teachers in a couple of traditions (including Theravada) that have been quite upfront with some students that some teachings are stated in ways that simple people could easily incorporate into their limited world view and unsophisticated psychology. Are we to assume that we know more than these teachers? Do we dismiss their ability to teach to many different types of people, as needed? Do we doubt their skillful means in order to preserve our own views? Is our view/path the _only_ effective one, and the only one worth clinging to in order to preserve tradition (or our personal comfort level)? That's how religious wars get started. We've been around the block a couple of times on this one...but I say it again here because your post is so concretely dismissive of any view but one...the one you feel most comfortable in.

note to mods: this isn't a question about "rebirth" - it is a question about Peter's reference to "Buddhists that teach something they dislike so much", and my observations over the years of teachers that don't teach an orthodox view (of a variety of subjects) in all situations, or to every type of student.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Basically, you are continuing to try to cram the Buddha into the small box of views that you think are indicative of what the Buddha taught, twisting it this way and that.


This is where dialogue breaks down and gets pointless - because obviously defenders of post-mortem rebirth are, of course, doing the exact same thing. It's in the Bib..er, Canon, I believe it, end of story. The Canon isn't interpretable for them, except literally - it is law. It is no longer a dynamic set of teachings - it is now static, for some people.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Jechbi » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:38 am

Howdy clw,

clw_uk wrote:If one has wrong view/understanding at the begining, then they wont reach nibbana since then they have wrong intention etc through the other parts of the path
Don't follow you here. First I think it's misleading to interpret "samma" exclusively as "right" in the sense of "correct" versus "incorrect." So all this talk about "wrong" view, "wrong" intention, etc., is pointing the "wrong" way.

Second, the Buddha frequently talked about his time when he was "still an unenlightened bodhisatta." At that time when he was still an unenlightened bodhisatta, it seems pretty clear that he had not yet attained to perfect right understanding.

In that sense, we all start with what you might describe as "wrong view/understanding." There is no other place to start, unless you already are enlightened.

clw_uk wrote:If the Buddha had wrong understanding at the begining he would have either never left home or, if he did leave, he would have gone the "wrong way" further on down the line and stayed there.

When the Buddha left home, he was still an unenlightened bodhisatta. And in fact he did go the "wrong way," practing severe austerities until he nearly died before realizing that that was the wrong way. I think it might be a Mahayana notion that Gotama was actually an enlightened being throughout his existence even before his renunciation, and that he just put on a big show about becoming enlightened because that was a good way to teach people. But I think the Theravada perspective is that the Buddha actually meant what he said, namely, that before his enlightenment he was not enlightened.
---------------------

Howdy Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:This certainly indicates that the Buddha had direct knowledge of the fact that he could be reborn - liable to birth. Having attained to high jhana levels before his awakening, there is no reason not to think that he did not have direct knowledge of rebirth.
I stand to be corrected, but doesn't the tradition maintain that the Buddha did not have recall of past lives until the very night of his enlightenment, just before he attained to full perfect enlightenment?

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:12 am

pink_trike wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Basically, you are continuing to try to cram the Buddha into the small box of views that you think are indicative of what the Buddha taught, twisting it this way and that.


This is where dialogue breaks down and gets pointless - because obviously defenders of post-mortem rebirth are, of course, doing the exact same thing. It's in the Bib..er, Canon, I believe it, end of story. The Canon isn't interpretable for them, except literally - it is law. It is no longer a dynamic set of teachings - it is now static, for some people.


Now, now, now. Shame on you. I am not arguing that post-mortem rebirth is true. I am simply arguing that it is what the Buddha taught, what the texts state is so. Whether what the texts state is true is true is a whole other issue.

What I see with the rebirth deniers is a lot of pretzellating of what the texts state to get the texts to state what it is that think the texts should state.

While I have no problem with the "moment-to-moment" idea as being true (though not the whole story), I do have a problem with trying to make everything in the suttas conform to that, which really ends up ignoring and distorting what the texts plainly say. Again, I am not arguing that what the texts say is unquestionably true; what I an arguing is that rebirth is what the texts state, true or not.
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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