The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:23 am

Greetings,

(Note: this is in the Early Buddhism section because it pertains to pre-sectarian Buddhism, but please do not feel that your responses need be backed up with scholarly evidence or any such things. Whilst they would be of interest and relevance, it would be of no more interest and relevance than what you yourself think).

For a Great Man with a Lion's Roar, it seems the only issue that ever gave rise to doubt in the Buddha was whether others could understand the profundity of the Dhamma he had discerned. The following sutta details the Blessed One's trepidation...

SN 6.1: Ayacana Sutta - The Request
http://www.vipassana.com/canon/samyutta/sn6-1.php

I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One was newly Self-awakened, he was staying at Uruvela on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the Goatherd's Banyan Tree. Then, while he was alone and in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: "This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."

Just then these verses, unspoken in the past, unheard before, occurred to the Blessed One:

Enough now with teaching
what
only with difficulty
I reached.
This Dhamma is not easily realized
by those overcome
with aversion & passion.

What is abstruse, subtle,
deep,
hard to see,
going against the flow --
those delighting in passion,
cloaked in the mass of darkness,
won't see.

As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.


Then Brahma Sahampati, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness, thought: "The world is lost! The world is destroyed! The mind of the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One inclines to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma!" Then, just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he knelt down with his right knee on the ground, saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart, and said to him: "Lord, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the One-Well-Gone teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma."

That is what Brahma Sahampati said. Having said that, he further said this:

In the past
there appeared among the Magadhans
an impure Dhamma
devised by the stained.
Throw open the door to the Deathless!
Let them hear the Dhamma
realized by the Stainless One!

Just as one standing on a rocky crag
might see people
all around below,
So, O wise one, with all-around vision,
ascend the palace
fashioned of the Dhamma.
Free from sorrow, behold the people
submerged in sorrow,
oppressed by birth & aging.

Rise up, hero, victor in battle!
O Teacher, wander without debt in the world.
Teach the Dhamma, O Blessed One:
There will be those who will understand.

Then the Blessed One, having understood Brahma's invitation, out of compassion for beings, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses -- born and growing in the water -- might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water -- so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, the Blessed One saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world.
Having seen this, he answered Brahma Sahampati in verse:

Open are the doors to the Deathless
to those with ears.
Let them show their conviction.
Perceiving trouble, O Brahma,
I did not tell people the refined,
sublime Dhamma.

Then Brahma Sahampati, thinking, "The Blessed One has given his consent to teach of Dhamma," bowed down to the Blessed One and, circling him on the right, disappeared right there.

I have bolded the aspects of this sutta that represent the challenge that faced the Buddha in communicating the "the refined, sublime Dhamma", which "is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise."

It is this particular challenge of communicating the Dhamma that I wish to discuss in this topic.

Firstly, is the challenge itself even real, or is it simply an opportunity for Brahma Sahampati to make great merit? Is it an apocryphal text? Hagiography? etc.

Secondly, assuming it is real, how do you think the fact he was dealing with a great diversity of "beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world" impacted the form of his teaching?

Thirdly, in terms of stating what would be difficult for others to see, the Buddha says that "For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me." Do you believe there is there any reason why he specifically mentioned aspects of the teaching directly connected with "this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising*", and omitted reference to other key teachings such as the five aggregates, six senses, four elements, kamma, jhana, the Noble Eightfold Path, rebirth etc.? Sure, he couldn't mention everything, but was the choice of subject matter that appears in the sutta intentional and of significance? Is all the Dhamma "hard to see", or just some aspects of it?

* - Including in cessation mode, as indicated by the sutta portion immediately following.

Feel free also to discuss any other specific issues that interest you under the broad heading of "The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma".

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:29 am

retrofuturist wrote: Is all the Dhamma "hard to see", or just some aspects of it?

How many aspects are there?

"Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so also this Dhamma and Discipline has one taste, the taste of release.

Ud 5.5
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby ground » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Thirdly, in terms of stating what would be difficult for others to see, the Buddha says that ... Do you believe there is there any reason why he specifically mentioned aspects of the teaching directly connected with "this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising*", and omitted reference to other key teachings ...

To say "other key teachings" is not appropriate from my perpective. There are simply teachings for different audiences with different faculties/capacities. I would express it that way: there are "core teachings" and there are "ornamental teachings". While core teachings directly aim at the core or the "heart of the matter" "ornamental teachings" serve to attract and generate inclinations.


"that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me." and "Perceiving trouble" is something to ponder about.


I think that the suttas actually shows that the Buddha's awakening was that of a Paccekabuddha.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby danieLion » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:40 am

danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:42 am

Greetings Kirk,

kirk5a wrote:
retrofuturist wrote: Is all the Dhamma "hard to see", or just some aspects of it?

How many aspects are there?

I do not see how quantity is important.

The point I was making is that some things are harder to see than others.

For example, seeing nibbana is more difficult than seeing that upholding five precepts leads to a more peaceful life, or seeing that unwise attention brings bad results etc.

Some aspects are seen by few, whereas some are seen by many. Would you dispute that point?

To quote from the same sutta you just quoted...

Ud 5.5 wrote:Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:47 am

Interesting questions Retro,
retrofuturist wrote: Is it an apocryphal text? Hagiography? etc.
...
The Buddha says that "For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see.
... Do you believe there is there any reason why he specifically mentioned aspects of the teaching directly connected with "this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising, and omitted reference to other key teachings such as the five aggregates, six senses, four elements, kamma, jhana, the Noble Eightfold Path etc.?


Bhikkhu Bodhi notes in his SN translation:
The most eminent of the brahmās devoted to the Buddha is Brahmā Sahampati, who appears several times in SN. Soon after the enlightenment he descends from his divine abode and reappears before the Blessed One to beseech him to teach the Dhamma to the world (6:1). He applauds the Buddha’s reverence for the Dhamma (6:2), extols an arahant bhikkhu on alms round (6:3), reproaches the evil Devadatta (6:12), and shows up again at the Buddha’s parinibbāna, where he recites a verse of eulogy (6:15). He will also appear in other sạyuttas (at 11:17; eulogy (6:15). He will also appear in other samyuttas (at 11:17; 22:80; 47:18, 43; and 48:57).


Though in the passage you quote, the deep teaching is dependent origination, in other passages Brahmā Sahampati confirms the four establishments of mindfulness:

SN 47:18
Just after the Buddha's awakening...
Then Brahmā Sahampati, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his drawn-in arm or draw in his extended arm, disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared before the Blessed One. He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, raised his joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One, and said to him: “So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One! Venerable sir, this is the one-way path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the passing away of pain and displeasure, for the achievement of the method, for the realization of Nibbāna, that is, the four establishments of mindfulness. What four? Here a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. This is the one-way path for the purification of beings … that is, the four establishments of mindfulness.”


And the faculties:

SN 48.57
Just after the Buddha's awakening...
Then Brahmā Sahampati, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his drawn-in arm or draw in his extended arm, disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared before the Blessed One. He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, extended his joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One, and said to him: “So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One! Venerable sir, the five faculties … The faculty of faith, the faculty of energy, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, the faculty of wisdom ... have the Deathless as their final goal.


:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10117
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:57 am

Greetings Mike,

Thanks for the excellent cross-referencing on Brahma Sahampati.

It is interesting to note that in the suttas you quote, he "confirms" the teaching in question with a "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One!" refrain but he does not do so in SN 6:1.

There could be reasons put forward pertaining to the depth of the teaching of dependent origination, but it seems more plausible that at the time in question Brahma Sahampati didn't know that "so it is", because the Buddha had yet to teach Dhamma. Therefore, he had no basis upon which to proclaim ""So it is, Blessed One!"

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby Viscid » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:05 am

Was this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising an original teaching of The Buddha? To what extent did similar teachings of the 'five aggregates, six senses, four elements, kamma, jhana, the Noble Eightfold Path' exist prior to Gautama's exposition? Perhaps he specifically mentions dependent origination and cause/effect because it's what really separated him from other teachers at the time.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
User avatar
Viscid
 
Posts: 879
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:The point I was making

I thought you were asking questions. That's what came to my mind at that one.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Do you believe there is there any reason why he specifically mentioned aspects of the teaching directly connected with "this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising*", and omitted reference to other key teachings such as the five aggregates, six senses, four elements, kamma, jhana, the Noble Eightfold Path etc.?

I haven't been following the discussion which (I think) led to this thread too closely, but I'd just like to suggest for your consideration that the other key teachings which you listed above also relate directly to idappaccayatā and paṭiccasamuppāda.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:10 am

Greetings Kirk,

kirk5a wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:The point I was making

I thought you were asking questions.

The point of the question...

kirk5a wrote:That's what came to my mind at that one.

Fair enough. I hope the above clarification of what I meant helps.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:11 am

Viscid wrote:Was this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising an original teaching of The Buddha?

Yes.

Viscid wrote:Perhaps he specifically mentions dependent origination and cause/effect because it's what really separated him from other teachers at the time.

Yes, and it informs all other aspects of the Buddhadhamma.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:11 am

Hi retro,

retro said;

"Firstly, is the challenge itself even real, or is it simply an opportunity for Brahma Sahampati to make great merit? Is it an apocryphal text? Hagiography? etc."

In my opinion, the difficulty of teaching awakening is a real one. It is
not like other subjects which can be understood conceptually. One is being
invited to bring about a profound psychological transformation. This involves
a sort of "psychological death" which can be difficult for many people. It runs
counter to all our social conditioning, and to normal human psychology.

I am not even sure that it is possible for most of us living in a modern
consumer society. But there are always exceptions of course.

No matter how good a teacher is, language itself has limitations, and one
must do the real work oneself.

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1188
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:12 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Viscid wrote:Was this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising an original teaching of The Buddha?

Yes.

Viscid wrote:Perhaps he specifically mentions dependent origination and cause/effect because it's what really separated him from other teachers at the time.

Yes, and it informs all other aspects of the Buddhadhamma.
And it is the underlying structure of the Four Noble Truths.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19194
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:13 am

Greetings Ñāṇa,

Ñāṇa wrote:I'd just like to suggest for your consideration that the other key teachings which you listed above also relate directly to idappaccayatā and paṭiccasamuppāda.

I agree, they do.

But to follow on from viscid's point, some of these teachings already existed in some form prior to the Buddha. It was the Buddha who subtly modified the meaning of these prevailing notions in order to connect them to idappaccayatā and paṭiccasamuppāda.

Given that idappaccayatā and paṭiccasamuppāda were indeed teachings unique to the Buddhasasana, it is not possible that the "other key teachings" had this connection previously in their pre-Buddhistic form. Thus, he took something that was comparatively "straightforward" and embued them with the profound depth of idappaccayatā and paṭiccasamuppāda.

In "The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma", it appears that he preferred to adapt and enhance the lexicon of the time, rather than create his own terminology from scratch unless it was necessary to do so. This exposes the potential risk of taking something as "straightforward", which is really intended to be far more subtle and deep than a "straightforward" (and potentially Brahmanic) interpretation of the lexicon might allow.


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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:18 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:It is interesting to note that in the suttas you quote, he "confirms" the teaching in question with a "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One!" refrain but he does not do so in SN 6:1.

There could be reasons put forward pertaining to the depth of the teaching of dependent origination, but it seems more plausible that at the time in question Brahma Sahampati didn't know that "so it is", because the Buddha had yet to teach Dhamma. Therefore, he had no basis upon which to proclaim ""So it is, Blessed One!"

But note that those two suttas are also placed during that time before he did any teaching.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10117
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:25 am

Greetings Mike,

Interesting - what do you make of that?

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:The point of the question...

kirk5a wrote:That's what came to my mind at that one.

Fair enough. I hope the above clarification of what I meant helps.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Not really. So what you meant by asking "Is all the Dhamma "hard to see", or just some aspects of it?" was that you wanted to make the "point" that "some things are harder to see than others - which ones do you think are harder?"

And when you asked that, apparently you didn't want to hear what I had to say about just how many aspect to "this Dhamma" in question there might be, or whether looking at "this Dhamma" in terms of various aspects which are to be understood, is quite what, at bottom, the Buddha was talking about when he spoke about "this Dhamma."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:03 am

Greetings Kirk,

kirk5a wrote:And when you asked that, apparently you didn't want to hear what I had to say about just how many aspect to "this Dhamma" in question there might be

Not at all - I just said that "I do not see how quantity is important" in the context of the Buddha's teaching challenge. That doesn't mean I don't want to hear it, it just means I don't see the connection. I assume then that the following from you is an attempt to demonstrate the connection, but I apologise that I do not understand the distinction you are trying to draw.

kirk5a wrote:.. or whether looking at "this Dhamma" in terms of various aspects which are to be understood, is quite what, at bottom, the Buddha was talking about when he spoke about "this Dhamma."

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14622
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It is interesting to note that in the suttas you quote, he "confirms" the teaching in question with a "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One!" refrain but he does not do so in SN 6:1.

There could be reasons put forward pertaining to the depth of the teaching of dependent origination, but it seems more plausible that at the time in question Brahma Sahampati didn't know that "so it is", because the Buddha had yet to teach Dhamma. Therefore, he had no basis upon which to proclaim ""So it is, Blessed One!"

But note that those two suttas are also placed during that time before he did any teaching.

retrofuturist wrote:Interesting - what do you make of that?

The quick obvious answer would be that Brahma Sahampati was written (spoken :)) into the Suttas as a "voice of authority" to confirm that the Buddha is on the right track.

By the way, Ajahn Sucitto mentions Brhahma Sahampati's statement about the spiritual faculties at the start of the talk that Aloka kindly referred to here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&start=2720#p178228

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10117
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Next

Return to Early Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests