Interconectedness

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Interconectedness

Postby greggorious » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:56 pm

I'm still fairly ignorant abotu Theravada. I'm more familiar with Mahayana (Being a zen practitioner for many years). Though since discovering Vipassana meditation I don't wanna look back.
What I wanted to know is that so far I don't see any writings on the interconectedness of all beings and the universe. The mahayana schools see this as very important, as well as the fact that science, or to be more specific, quantum physics has now proved this, at least on a mechanical level. Is this one of the reasons that the Bodhisattva exists in mahayana and not theravada?
Is there anything at all in the pali canon that suggestions the oneness of the universe? If not are theravada Buddhists now accepting this?
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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Re: Interconectedness

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:35 am

greggorious wrote:I'm still fairly ignorant abotu Theravada. I'm more familiar with Mahayana (Being a zen practitioner for many years). Though since discovering Vipassana meditation I don't wanna look back.
What I wanted to know is that so far I don't see any writings on the interconectedness of all beings and the universe. The mahayana schools see this as very important, as well as the fact that science, or to be more specific, quantum physics has now proved this, at least on a mechanical level. Is this one of the reasons that the Bodhisattva exists in mahayana and not theravada?

There is a Bodhisatta career path in the Theravada but its not so heavily subscribed to as in the Mahayana. Some writers believe that the Bodhisatta path in the Theravada was a post-canonical adoption. As you develop on the path there is a natural tendency to also help others. So many Theravadins probably feel that the Bodhisattva precepts are probably redundant (for them).

greggorious wrote:Is there anything at all in the pali canon that suggestions the oneness of the universe?

To my knowledge - no.

greggorious wrote:If not are theravada Buddhists now accepting this?

I think you'll find that many Theravadins acknowledge interconnectivity but I believe it is based on observation rather than support from the ancient texts.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Interconectedness

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:40 am

I hope yuo don't mind but one of my favorite Dhamma talks by Ven. Thanissaro is specifically on this topic: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Uncollected/ePublished%20Dhamma%20Talks/030907%20Interconnectedness.pdf

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Re: Interconectedness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:43 am

Greetings,

Ben wrote:I think you'll find that many Theravadins acknowledge interconnectivity but I believe it is based on observation rather than support from the ancient texts.

Yes, and many Theravadins acknowledge that it is a different concept/thing/phenomenon to the Buddha's teaching of paticcasamuppada (dependent origination).

Interconnectivity just means that things are inter-related whereas paticcasamuppada provides details on how samsaric/conditioned experience arises, dependent upon avijja (ignorance).

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Re: Interconectedness

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:20 am

Hi greggorious,

I think this is quite a complex issue. My impression is that such Mahayana teaching are easily misunderstood (by me) due to lack of knowledge. To a certain extent the interconnectedness teachings are the outward-looking version of the anatta (not-self) teachings - another way to see through the delusion of self-making.

I don't have any really good references but there are some useful hints in:
Seeking the heart of wisdom: the path of insight meditation
By Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield
http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=O_Td ... &q&f=false
A sense of interconnectedness leads to the realization that all our activities can be undertaken as service to the world around us. Following the path brings us face-to-face with selflessness and nonseparation as surely as our inner meditation does.


An interview with Joseph Goldstein: To the Forest for Refuge
Andrew Olendzki (From Fall 1998 issue of Insight) September 1, 1998.
http://www.dhammaweb.net/interview/view.php?id=6
Students new to the Buddhist tradition always seem to eventually ask the question, If all is emptiness, why is there compassion? How is it that this ethical quality is somehow built into the fabric of the universe?

For a few reasons, I think; and maybe this also can be seen on a couple of different levels.

One might come out of an investigation of what the root of greed or fear or hatred in the mind really is. Even looking at the matter conceptually, but then more experientially from a meditative awareness, these afflicted states seem to me very clearly rooted in a sense of self. Someone is greedy for something, or someone is angry, or fearful, or whatever—in each case it is the notion of the self that actually feeds those unwholesome states. And so, in the absence of that sense of self, in emptiness, from where would greed arise? From where would hatred or anger arise?

This perspective is expressed in the traditional teachings when they speak of the effects of seeing through the illusion of self. Even though the other defilements, out of habit, may still arise, the root has been cut. And from that point forward those defilements will wither away, because they are no longer nourished by the sense of self. This is one way of looking at it.

From another perspective, we can see compassion arising out of an experience of non-separation. As long as there remains a sense of self, the very notion of self predicates other. With the self, there’s other than self. And other than self is everyone else and everything else! And so the very notion of self carries within it, implicitly, the notion of separation. From the perspective of absence of self, there’s no one there to be separate. So then it’s just the interplay, the dance of elements, experience, phenomena; there’s just the dance of all this—interconnected, interrelated—with a real sense of non-separation. And non-separation, I think, is another word for love. Again, it is not a matter of someone loving someone else, but goes beyond this to a simple manifestation of love.


And don't forget that generosity is a teaching emphasised by the Buddha in many suttas and considered by the Theravada as an essential foundation for the eight-fold path...

:anjali:
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Re: Interconectedness

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:34 am

I don't think it's ever specifically taught they way it is in Mahayana.

I don't think there is any reason to believe though that this means the Theravadin view is that we all exist separately in some kind of silo or vacuum.

Interdependence or interconnectedness I think kind of goes without saying, it's pretty obvious to anyone with with a basic understanding of science.

In addition to that there is the teaching of dependent origination, surely whatever is dependently originated is dependant, and whatever is dependant is not independent, and whatever is not independent is interconnected.

Most of that is pretty superfluous and not worth making a song and dance about, so I'm not sure why Mahayana does, however dependent origination is woerth looking into because that's where we can examine and learn to break the causal relationship leading to suffering.
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Re: Interconectedness

Postby dhamma_newb » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:34 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:I hope yuo don't mind but one of my favorite Dhamma talks by Ven. Thanissaro is specifically on this topic: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Uncollected/ePublished%20Dhamma%20Talks/030907%20Interconnectedness.pdf

May it be of benefit. Mettaya!


Thank you Khalil Bodhi great Dhamma talk!
:anjali:
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Dhp 36

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Re: Interconectedness

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:52 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think this is quite a complex issue. My impression is that such Mahayana teaching are easily misunderstood (by me) due to lack of knowledge. To a certain extent the interconnectedness teachings are the outward-looking version of the anatta (not-self) teachings - another way to see through the delusion of self-making.


Yes, I think you could say the Mahayana "externalised" anatta and developed the teaching on sunatta. So dependent arising ( DO ) became dependent co-arising.

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Re: Interconectedness

Postby reflection » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:01 am

Interconnectedness and no-self are the same thing. The latter is a common therevadan concept and so is interconnectedness.

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Re: Interconectedness

Postby pegembara » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:02 am

Since there is no independent self, it follows that all things are interconnected. But it does not mean that everything is Self, Universe or God or All is One.


"'Everything exists' is the senior form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then, Master Gotama, does everything not exist?"

"'Everything does not exist' is the second form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then is everything a Oneness?"

"'Everything is a Oneness' is the third form of cosmology, brahman."

"Then is everything a Manyness?"

"'Everything is a Manyness' is the fourth form of cosmology, brahman. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.etc etc

Lokayatika Sutta: The Cosmologist
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Re: Interconectedness

Postby greggorious » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:47 pm

Thanks for all your replies. You know the thing I love about Buddhism the most? It's the diverse opinions, even in one tradition alone people interpret things differently, and what's more, we don't get violent about it and cause wars like other religions do.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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