Fixed Views

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Fixed Views

Postby cooran » Fri May 01, 2009 7:43 am

Hello all,

Every weekend when I go to the Dhammagiri Forest Monastery, Kholo, we recite the
Karaniya Metta Sutta - this version:

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

I'm wondering exactly what is meant by "fixed views" at the end of the Sutta:

"This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html

It reminds me of the sutta where Ven. Ananda is answering questions put by
Kokanuda the wanderer:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
which has always been a little unclear to me.

Thoughts?

metta
Chris
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 01, 2009 9:55 am

Greetings Chris,

I think the following sutta might help you find answers to those questions.

MN 95 - Canki Sutta (excerpt)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

... in particular, this excerpt from the excerpt...

There are five things that can turn out in two ways* in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked... truly an unbroken tradition... well-reasoned... Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn't proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless."

"But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth? To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the safeguarding of the truth."

"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

"If a person likes something... holds an unbroken tradition... has something reasoned through analogy... has something he agrees to, having pondered views, his statement, 'This is what I agree to, having pondered views,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

* according to Bhikkhu Bodhi, these two ways refer to "true" or "false"

I believe the "sublime abiding" referred to in your quote, refers to that "awakening to the truth" which the Buddha then goes on to detail. Likewise, the "fixed views" relate to that which one takes as "'Only this is true; anything else is worthless" in the absence of having awakened to the truth (i.e. known experientially for oneself).

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)


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


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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Dan74 » Fri May 01, 2009 10:10 am

Perhaps this is relevant:
"Bhikkkhus, as purified and bright as this view is, if you covet, cherish, treasure and take pride in it, do you understand this Dhamma as comparable to a raft, taught for the purpose of giving up [i.e. crossing over] and not for the purpose of grasping?" "No, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, as purified and bright as this view is, if you do not covet, cherish, treasure and take pride in it, would you then know this Dhamma as comparable to a raft, taught for the purpose of giving up [i.e. crossing over] and not for the purpose of grasping?" "Yes, venerable sir."


from Majjhima Nikaya 38, Mahatanhasankhayasuttam, The Longer Discourse on the Destruction of Craving
http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm

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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Ben » Fri May 01, 2009 11:41 am

Dear all
A reminder that posts that do not comply with the guidelines for the Classical forum will attract moderator review and maybe removed without warning.
Kind regards

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Dan74 » Fri May 01, 2009 12:06 pm

Ben wrote:Dear all
A reminder that posts that do not comply with the guidelines for the Classical forum will attract moderator review and maybe removed without warning.
Kind regards

Ben

:oops: I thought I was quoting from Pali Tipitaka...

Is that not allowed? :shrug:

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Re: Fixed Views

Postby kc2dpt » Fri May 01, 2009 1:07 pm

Dan, Ben is probably referring to other posts already removed.

Chris, did you look at the alternate translations?

Buddharakkhita:
Holding no more to wrong beliefs,
With virtue and vision of the ultimate,
And having overcome all sensual desire,
Never in a womb is one born again.
meaning seems obvious; wrong views are bad

Piyadassi:
Not falling into wrong views
being virtuous, endowed with insight, lust in the senses discarded
verily never again will he return to conceive in a womb."
same as above

Ñanamoli:
But when he has no trafficking with views,
Is virtuous, and has perfected seeing,
And purges greed for sensual desires,
He surely comes no more to any womb.
I would say 'views' are here being contrasted with 'perfected seeing'; views are OK but seeing is better

Thanissaro:
Not taken with views,
but virtuous & consummate in vision,
having subdued desire for sensual pleasures,
one never again
will lie in the womb.
similar to above

There does seem to be a sense of "views are bad" in some of these translations, but I wonder if it's more accurately "moving on from views" or "no longer dependent on views" because of "perfect seeing".

I recall learning sometimes in the scriptures "views" actually means "wrong views" and sometimes means "all views". :shrug:

Chris wrote:It reminds me of the sutta where Ven. Ananda is answering questions put by
Kokanuda the wanderer:

Those views being discussed are all self views (Bhikkhu Bodhi explains this in detail in one of his MN lectures). So this seems to be an example of "views" meaning "wrong views".
- Peter

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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Jechbi » Fri May 01, 2009 2:48 pm

Here's another translation, from Ven. K Sri Dhammananda:
Not falling into error,
virtuous and endowed with insight,
he discards attachment to sensuous desires.
Truly, he does not come again;
to be conceived in the womb.

Here's the Pali (not in the correct font):
Ditthinca anupa gamma silava
Dassa-nena sampanno
Kamesu vineyya gedham
Nahi jatu gabbha seyyam punaretiti.

I don't know Pali anywhere near well enought to benefit from the Pali, but I know some of you do.

My reading of the English translations leads me to believe that the OP is essentially raising a question about Anatta. Fixed viewpoints as described in the Kokanuda Sutta seem to be an element of the encrusted self-view. Ananda seems to be saying that sublime wisdom has nothing to do with that, because such wisdom involves seeing things and knowing things for what they are.
Metta
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Ben » Fri May 01, 2009 10:48 pm

Hi Dan

Dan74 wrote:
Ben wrote:Dear all
A reminder that posts that do not comply with the guidelines for the Classical forum will attract moderator review and maybe removed without warning.
Kind regards

Ben

:oops: I thought I was quoting from Pali Tipitaka...

Is that not allowed? :shrug:

_/|\_


Peter is right. I placed the reminder after removing a flagrantly off-topic post.
There is nothing wrong with your post and the referencing of the Tipitaka or the ancient commentaries within this forum is a requirement for this forum!
I apologise if I caused you, or anyone else, any anxiety.
Anyway, let's get back to topic!
Metta

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Dan74 » Fri May 01, 2009 10:57 pm

A double-doze of the blood-pressure pills did the job - no worries! :hug:

Just a question - is one allowed to post one's own understanding of the texts? Like the second one Chris posted involving Ananda and the understanding of the arising of views?

I assume, yes, since others are doing so...

from AN 10.96 Kokanuda Sutta (Chris's second reference):

The extent to which there are viewpoints, view-stances, the taking up of views, obsessions of views, the cause of views, & the uprooting of views: that's what I know. That's what I see. Knowing that, I say 'I know.' Seeing that, I say 'I see.'


It seems that Ananda is saying that it is knowing the cause of views and the uprooting of views, etc which is the important thing here (rather than knowing the truth or falsity of this view). Of course, the view in question is one concerning cosmic matters that the Buddha referred to as unnecessary for liberation:

On one occasion the Blessed one took up a few simsapa leaves in his hand and asked the bhikkhus as to which was more, the few leaves in his hand or those in the forest. The bhikkhus replied that the leaves in the hand are few, but those in the forest are more and numerous. Then the Buddha said "So too, bhikkhus the things I have directly known but have not taught you are numerous, while the things I have taught you are few like these leaves in my hand". And why bhikkhus have I not taught those many numerous things? Because they are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of holy life, do not lead to dispassion, to peace, to direct experiential knowledge, to Enlightenment, to Nibbana. Therfore I have not taught them. "And what have I taught is this- There is suffering, there is cause of suffering, there is cessation of suffering and there is path leading to cessation of suffering. Why? Because this is benefical and relevant to the fundamentals of holy life, leading to dispassion, to peace, to direct experiential knowledge, to Enlightenment, to Nibbana. Therefore bhikkhus make effort to understand that there is suffering, there is cause for suffering, there is cessation of suffering and there is path leading to the cessation of suffering".(Simsapa Forest- Samyutta Nikaya).


This is to contrast with the Right View on the path, which is important to have to the purpose of guidance in one's inquiry and cultivation of wholesomeness. But not to cling to.

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Last edited by Dan74 on Sat May 02, 2009 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Nadi » Fri May 01, 2009 11:50 pm

Jechbi wrote:Here's another translation, from Ven. K Sri Dhammananda:
Not falling into error,
virtuous and endowed with insight,
he discards attachment to sensuous desires.
Truly, he does not come again;
to be conceived in the womb.

Here's the Pali (not in the correct font):
Ditthinca anupa gamma silava
Dassa-nena sampanno
Kamesu vineyya gedham
Nahi jatu gabbha seyyam punaretiti.

I don't know Pali anywhere near well enought to benefit from the Pali, but I know some of you do.

My reading of the English translations leads me to believe that the OP is essentially raising a question about Anatta. Fixed viewpoints as described in the Kokanuda Sutta seem to be an element of the encrusted self-view. Ananda seems to be saying that sublime wisdom has nothing to do with that, because such wisdom involves seeing things and knowing things for what they are.
Metta
:anjali:


I understood it to be something similar. Since it mentions not returning to a womb, does it seems to be talking about an anagami? It can't be full enlightenment because it only mentions getting rid of sensual desire. So basically it talks about the first five fetters. This is just how I see it, but 'wrong view' here could be sakkaya ditti (self view). Or could maybe even include seelabbata paramasa (attachments to rites and rituals) and vicikicca (doubt). And sensual desire here, could also include ill will (which probably can't exist without sensual desire anyway).
Last edited by Nadi on Sat May 02, 2009 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
With Metta,
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat May 02, 2009 12:18 am

Since this is mentioned in the context of the Metta Sutta, it could be referring to the tendency we have when stubbornly attached to a view to throw compassion out the window. Often seen in internet debates, for example and in almost all political, religious, or philosophical debates. We're so fixed on our view we can't see the other person's point of view. Just a thought. Kind of like this:

SN 56.9
Viggahika Sutta
"Monks, do not wage wordy warfare, saying: 'You don't understand this Dhamma and discipline, I understand this Dhamma and discipline'; 'How could you understand it? You have fallen into wrong practices: I have the right practice'; 'You have said afterwards what you should have said first, and you have said first what you should have said afterwards';1 'What I say is consistent, what you say isn't'; 'What you have thought out for so long is entirely reversed'; 'Your statement is refuted'; 'You are talking rubbish!'; 'You are in the wrong'; 'Get out of that if you can!'

"Why should you not do this? Such talk, monks, is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or to Nibbana. When you have discussions, monks, you should discuss Suffering, the Arising of Suffering, its Cessation, and the Path that leads to its Cessation. Why is that? Because such talk is related to the goal... it conduces to disenchantment... to Nibbana. This is the task you must accomplish."


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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Dhammanando » Sun May 03, 2009 3:26 pm

In the commentarial understanding the first nine stanzas of the Mettā Sutta are concerned with the development of sīla and samādhi, and the tenth —the subject of this thread— with insight. The views referred to are those concerned with self.

This is Buddhaghosa's commentary on the tenth stanza of the sutta:


    In this way [i.e., as described in verses 1-9] the Blessed One taught those bhikkhus mettābhāvanā in its various aspects. But now, since mettā is close to wrong view of self (attadiṭṭhi) due to its having living beings as its object, he therefore completed the teaching with the following stanza:

    diṭṭhiñca anupaggamma, sīlavā dassanena sampanno.
    kāmesu vineyya gedhaṃ, na hi jātuggabbhaseyya punaretīti.

    "Not getting involved in wrong view, possessed of virtue, with perfected seeing, having become purged of greed for sensual pleasures, he assuredly does not come to lie again in a womb."

    He did this as a preventative against the monks' straying into the thicket of views (see the Sabbāsava Sutta, MN. 2) by showing them how the plane of the nobles (ariyabhūmi) can be attained by making that same mettā-jhāna the basis for insight.

    Its meaning is this: After emerging from the abiding in mettā-jhāna, which was specified with the words, "This is Divine Abiding here, they say," he discerns the immaterial dhammas that were there [while in that jhāna], starting with applied thought (vitakka) and examining (vicāra), which he defines as 'nāma'.

    Then, following on the defining etc., of these jhāna factors as 'nāma', he discerns the material phenomena (rūpa-dhamma) that were there [while in that jhāna], which he defines as 'rūpa'.

    By means of this delimitation of mentality-&-materiality (nāmarūpa-pariccheda), he does not get involved in wrong view (diṭṭhiñca anupaggamma), for he avoids this by his discerning that there exists "a heap of mere formations (saṅkhāra); no living being can be found herein" (Vajirā Sutta, SN. i. 135), till he eventually becomes "possessed of virtue" with the kind of virtue that is supramundane (lokuttara-sīla) since he is now "perfected" (sampanno) in the right view belonging to the path of stream-entry, which is called "seeing" (dassana), and which is associated with that supramundane virtue.

    After that, whatever "greed" (gedhaṃ) there is in him still remaining unabandoned in the guise of sensual desire as subjective defilement "for sensual pleasures" (kāmesu) as objects, of that he becomes "purged" (vineyya). That is, he becomes cured by the attenuation of certain defilements and by the abandoning of certain others without remainder (see the Ākaṅkheyya Sutta, MN. 6) by means of his attaining the paths of the once-returner and the non-returner.

    "He assuredly does not come to lie again in a womb" (na hi jātuggabbhaseyya punareti): absolutely never again coming to any womb, he is reborn only in the Pure Abodes, where he reaches arahantship and is extinguished.


Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby cooran » Sun May 03, 2009 9:36 pm

Hello Ajahn,

Thank you for this detailed explanation.

metta and respect,
Chris
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 03, 2009 10:17 pm

This is a useful discussion because I think it's important to draw attention to that last verse, and exactly what it means. I've heard some teachers interpret the Sutta as meaning that Metta itself sufficient for enlightenment, downplaying the importance of insight.

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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Jechbi » Sun May 03, 2009 11:15 pm

Here's more.

And from here:
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:So - That a person who has achieved metta-jhana, "ditthinca anupagamma" - being undesirous of clinging to this attaditthi, nay, since attaditthi has been expelled by Vipassana knowledge, "silava" - is not only accomplished with the insight-knowledge of Vipassana. As such, "kamesu" - the sensations of sensual pleasures, "gedham" - to which the desires of kamatanha, human passions, are clinging, "vinaya"" - being rejected with anagami-magga-nana, nay, having been already rejected, "gabbhaseyyam" - formation of new existence which requires conception in a mother's womb, "puna" - again, "na hi jati eti" - will not definitely take place, or in other words, he will enter into Parinibbana without again conceiving in a mother's womb.


Here's a little more.

fwiw
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Re: Fixed Views

Postby Jechbi » Mon May 04, 2009 3:32 am

This is great -- it was posted over at esangha:
Huifeng wrote:Diṭṭhin

Diṭṭhin (adj. -- n.) one who has a view, or theory, a follower of such & such a doctrine Ud 67 (evaŋ˚+evaŋ vādin).

Diṭṭhi

Diṭṭhi (f.) [Sk. dṛṣṭi; cp. dassana] view, belief, dogma, theory, speculation, esp. false theory, groundless or unfounded opinion. ...

But, the "Diṭṭhiñ" is (sandhi changed for subsequent "ca") originally "diṭṭhiṃ". This is the accusative form of feminine "Diṭṭhi" (add the "-ṃ" at the end), "to view" not "Diṭṭhin" which is the form of possession, ie. "one with view".

"diṭṭhiṃ" + "ca" ==> "Diṭṭhiñca"

Of course, in Pali, the "ca" (and) particle comes after the word that it qualifies.
So, literally: "Not going to view(s) ...".

Huifeng :namaste:
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