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On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings - Page 8 - Dhamma Wheel

On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
vinasp
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:40 am

Hi everyone,

OK, lets take a close look at SN 44.10 - Ananda.

I will use the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation, page 1393.
My comments will be in brackets [ .... ]

"Then the wanderer Vacchagotta approached the Blessed One ...
and said to him:
"How is it now, Master Gotama, is there a self?"
When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.
"Then, Master Gotama, is there no self?"
A second time the Blessed One was silent.
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta rose from his seat and
departed. Then, not long after the wanderer Vacchagotta
had left, the Venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One:
" Why is it, venerable sir, that when the Blessed One
was questioned by the wanderer Vacchagotta, he did not
answer?"

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta
"Is there a self?" I had answered, "There is a self", this
would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins
who are eternalists. And if, when I was asked by him
"Is there no self?" I had answered, "There is no self", this
would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who
are annihilationists."

[ The Buddha's explanation of his silence is in two parts and
this is the first part. It assumes that Vacchagotta believes
that there is a real, unchanging self. And that he is asking
whether this self is eternal, or is destroyed when the body
dies, in accordance with the two main theories of the time.
Both of these are theories of a real, unchanging self, and
these theories are always rejected by the Buddha. So if
Vacchagotta was asking his questions from the standpoint of
these two theories, then the Buddha will not wish to confirm
either of them.]

My comments on the second part of the Buddha's explanation will
follow shortly.

Regards, vincent.

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Goofaholix
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:02 am


vinasp
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:16 am

Hi Goofaholix,

The main explanations and descriptions of eternalist and annihilationist
views is found in DN.1 The Brahmajala Sutta.

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:27 am

Hi everyone,

To continue with SN 44.10

"If, Ananda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta,
"Is there a self?" I had answered, "There is a self", would
this have been consistent on my part with the arising of the
knowledge that "all phenomena are nonself?"
"No, venerable sir."

[ This is the start of the second part of the Buddha's explanation
and seems to assume that Vacchagotta's questions may have been
about a real, present self and whether it exists or not. The
Buddha seems to me to be saying that had he said "There is a self"
this would not be consistent with the knowledge which arose at the
time of his enlightenment.]

"And if, when I was asked by him, "Is there no self?" I had answered
"There is no self", the wanderer Vacchagotta, already confused,
would have fallen into even greater confusion, thinking, "It seems
that the self I formerly had does not exist now." { End of Sutta}

[ The only reason given for not saying, "There is no self", is that
Vacchagotta is confused and such an answer would not be helpful for
him at that time. One should not conclude from this that the view
"There is no self" is a wrong view.]

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:03 am

Hi everyone,

Here are the descriptions of eternalism and annihilationism from DN.1
The Brahmajala Sutta, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

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

1. Eternalism (Sassatavāda): Views 1–4

30. "There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are eternalists, and who on four grounds proclaim the self and the world to be eternal. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honorable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

4. Annihilationism (Ucchedavāda): Views 51–57

84. "There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honorable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

85. "Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Zom » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:34 am

Both Ucchedavāda and Sassatavāda posit "a self". In the first case it is annihilated, in the second - it lives forever.
Buddha's apporach is less complex ,) - since there is no self at all ,)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:17 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:17 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:39 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


vinasp
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby vinasp » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:08 pm

Hi everyone,

The passage about the "six wrong views" in MN 2 the Sabbasava Sutta
has also contributed to these misunderstandings.

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self...
[ Thanissaro Bhikkhu ]

19. "In a person who thus considers improperly there arises one of the six [wrong] views. The view 'I have self'[16] arises in him really and firmly. Or, the view 'I have no self' arises in him really and firmly...
[ Burma Pitaka Association ]

"When he attends unwisely in this way, one of six views arises in him.
The view "self exists for me" arises in him as true and established;
or the view "no self exists for me" arises in him as true and
established; ... [ Bhikkhu Bodhi MN.2 ]

I will focus here on the first two of these six views. It is the second
view which causes the confusion.

The whole section is about an "untaught ordinary person". But the view
"I have no self" is very easy to misunderstand.

Those on the higher stages of the path, such as non-returners, may no
longer see any self, but still have the conceit "I am". See, for example
SN 22.89 Khemaka Sutta. So they might say something like; "I have no self".
But this should not be confused with the passage in MN. 2.

How then should the MN 2 passage be understood? The problem arises from
the translation of "atta" as self. For most of us, the word "self" has no
implication of something which is eternal. We did believe in an immortal
soul in the past, but our word for this eternal thing was "soul" and not
"self".

At the time of the Buddha many people believed that "atman" was eternal,
In Pali "atman" is "atta". But "atta" is also employed just like "self"
in English. So it has a wide range of meanings including something like
an eternal self/soul.

Now see what happens if we substitute soul for self in these first two
views. We get the view "I have an (eternal) soul" or the view "I have
no (eternal) soul". This is why the commentators often identify views
such as these, as being the "eternalist" or "annihilationist" views.

But these are views about the future state of the self, not views
about a present self, they both accept the existence of a present
self.

Regards, Vincent.

danieLion
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:20 pm


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Alex123
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:40 am

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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cooran
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:30 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:41 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

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby danieLion » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:41 am


Buckwheat
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:27 pm

Retro,
Good post.

Metta,
Scott
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Ariya Suriya
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Ariya Suriya » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:10 pm

Some people are scared at the fact that in parinibbana there is no conciousness... ;)

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Cittasanto
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:58 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Ariya Suriya
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Ariya Suriya » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:29 pm

You want proof that in parinibbana there is no conciusness or proof that some people are scared at this fact? or proof of both?

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Cittasanto
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:40 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.


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