Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:You've never heard of anyone who believes in this view:

    The person is composed of the four great elements; when he dies, earth returns and goes back to the element of earth, water returns and goes back to the element of water, fire returns and goes back to the element of fire, wind returns and goes back to the element of wind, while the senses disappear into space.... Fools and wise alike are destroyed and perish at the breaking up of the body, they do not exist after death.


No, I've never heard of anyone touting a view natthika-diṭṭhi as defined in the link I posted above.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:44 am

Hi Zom,
Thanks for the interesting quote:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The annihilationist version — explicitly identified as uccheda-di††hi at 22:81 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html and
classed among the wrong views at 22:152 and 24:4 — reads: "no c’assaμ no ca me siyå,
na bhavissåmi na me bhavissati". At AN V 63–64 the Buddha describes this
creed as the highest of outsider views (etadaggaμ båhirakånaμ di††higatånaμ), the reason being
that one who accepts such a view will not be attracted to becoming nor averse to the cessation of becoming.
It is problematic how the optative clause in the annihilationist version should be interpreted;
perhaps it can be read as an assertion that personal existence, along with its world, is utterly fortuitous
(“It might not have been and it might not have been mine”). The clause in the future tense
is clearly asserting that personal existence and its world will terminate at death.


Here is that passage from AN 10.29 Kosala Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
[10] "There are some brahmans & contemplatives who proclaim the foremost Unbinding in the here-&-now. Now, of those who proclaim the foremost Unbinding in the here-&-now, this is supreme: liberation through non-clinging, having known, as they actually are present, the arising, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks of, & the escape from the six sense-contact media. And when I teach that, when I point that out, some brahmans & contemplatives accuse me of being false, unfactual, hollow, vain, [saying,] 'Gotama the contemplative does not declare the full comprehension of sensuality, does not declare the full comprehension of forms, does not declare the full comprehension of feelings.' But I do declare the full comprehension of sensuality, I do declare the full comprehension of forms, I do declare the full comprehension of feelings. Unhungering, unbound, cooled in the here-&-now, I declare total Unbinding from lack of clinging."

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:One of the reasons that atheism is an unskillful view to maintain and express, is that it is divisive and dismissive of other religious views. Moreover, people who are members of other religions have very low opinions of atheists. For example, a University of British Columbia study found that religious people distrust atheists as much as rapists. Buddhism is not atheistic, and shouldn't be associated with atheism.


Sorry but you don't get to change the english language to suit your needs, your definition is wrong plain and simple and you'd do your point better justice if you use more appropriate and less polarising terminology.

Also I think you'll find most people agree it is theism that is most divisive and dismissive of other religious views.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:53 am

vinasp wrote:My interpretation is that at this stage a monk understands that the four
great elements cease completely and permanently.

How do you understand this passage?

It pertains to understanding the four noble truths.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:57 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think it's a useful to change the focus from the question of "rebirth" to the question of "annihilation", which hopefully carries less baggage.


It has less baggage sure though presumably "no rebirth" and "annihilation" are synonyms, the latter sounds much more harsh and final I wonder if the use of the word "annihilation" would make those who have difficulty with believing in rebirth think again.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:59 am

Goofaholix wrote:No, I've never heard of anyone touting a view natthika-diṭṭhi as defined in the link I posted above.

I've provided you with a translation of part of the canonical definition. The full canoncial definition includes denial of the other world, and so on.

Goofaholix wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:One of the reasons that atheism is an unskillful view to maintain and express, is that it is divisive and dismissive of other religious views. Moreover, people who are members of other religions have very low opinions of atheists. For example, a University of British Columbia study found that religious people distrust atheists as much as rapists. Buddhism is not atheistic, and shouldn't be associated with atheism.

Sorry but you don't get to change the english language to suit your needs, your definition is wrong plain and simple and you'd do your point better justice if you use more appropriate and less polarising terminology.

Nonsense. Buddhism is not atheism, and shouldn't be associated with atheism. Rowe, William L. "Atheism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    [A]n atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby cooran » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:06 am

Hello all,

Not a huge fan of Wikipedia – but it often gives pointers to other info and/or food for thought.

God in Buddhism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7381
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:07 am

Goofaholix wrote:Also I think you'll find most people agree it is theism that is most divisive and dismissive of other religious views.

Here is a good example of the type of atheistic extremism that is being touted by many these days:

Image

Equating religion with terrorism is fallacious.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:I've provided you with a translation of part of the canonical definition. The full canoncial definition includes denial of the other world, and so on.


This would be DN 2 Sāmaññaphala Sutta:, I've tried really hard but i have not been able to find the paragraph you posted on this page http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html so have no way of verifying that it is in fact the definition of natthika-diṭṭhi.

Ñāṇa wrote:Nonsense. Buddhism is not atheism, and shouldn't be associated with atheism.


That is your opinion, and so far you appear to be in a minority of one.

Ñāṇa wrote:Rowe, William L. "Atheism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    [A]n atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology.


Nothing about rebirth then, but I'll stick with the english dictionary anyway thanks.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:17 am

Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I think it's a useful to change the focus from the question of "rebirth" to the question of "annihilation", which hopefully carries less baggage.


It has less baggage sure though presumably "no rebirth" and "annihilation" are synonyms, the latter sounds much more harsh and final I wonder if the use of the word "annihilation" would make those who have difficulty with believing in rebirth think again.

What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11269
"The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence[2] or to non-existence.[3]

2. Atthitaa: "is-ness." The theory of "Eternalism" (sassatavaada).

3. Natthitaa: "is-not-ness." The theory of "Annihilationism" (ucchedavaada). All forms of materialism come under this heading.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:20 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Equating religion with terrorism is fallacious.


Of course, however associating it with religious extremism is not, I never heard of terrorism being motivated by athiest's disdain of agnostics.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby vinasp » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:21 am

Hi Nana,

What is the Arahant's understanding of what will happen when his body dies,
and how does this differ from the nihilist view?

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:30 am

mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:


Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

From this I see that the problem is as much as anything letting your views back you into a corner, taking an open minded approach is the answer to this.

Over the centuries Buddhism has leaned much more towards Atthitaa, particularly our Mahayana friends. While I understand some may experience aversion to the Natthitaa we see prevalent in the west these days I don't think taking a stronger determined grip on Atthitaa is a good way of dealing with it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:40 am

Goofaholix wrote:Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

Yes, that's an excellent point.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:40 am

Goofaholix wrote:This would be DN 2 Sāmaññaphala Sutta:, I've tried really hard but i have not been able to find the paragraph you posted on this page http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html so have no way of verifying that it is in fact the definition of natthika-diṭṭhi.

Different translation. Here's the full passage from the ATI translation:

    Ajita Kesakambalin said to me, 'Great king, there is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves. A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. Four men, with the bier as the fifth, carry the corpse. Its eulogies are sounded only as far as the charnel ground. The bones turn pigeon-colored. The offerings end in ashes. Generosity is taught by idiots. The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.'

In The Notion of Diṭṭhi in Theravāda Buddhism, Fuller adds the following comments:

    Three versions of this formula are found: the first is this one from the Sāmaññaphala-sutta (D I 47–86) at D I 55 where the view is attributed to Ajita Kesakambalī. A shorter version is often used which consists of the first paragraph. In the Vibhaga classification this is the ‘wrong-view that has ten bases’ (dasavatthukā micchā-diṭṭhi), also simply called ‘wrong-view’(micchādiṭṭhi). A third version, which is very short, consists of the following: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously born beings, there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions.

    The Dhammasaṅgaṇī uses the phrase ‘nonaccomplishment in view’ (diṭṭhi-vipatti) to refer to the view of nihilism and ‘accomplishment in view’ (diṭṭhi-sampadā) to refer to the opposite view, the right view which affirms that ‘there is what is given’, etc. This right-view shall be referred to as ‘the view of affirmation’ (atthika-diṭṭhi). According to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, all wrong-views are non-accomplishment in view, and all right-views are accomplishment in view. Right-views are fortunate views, and wrong-views are unfortunate views.
    views.

Goofaholix wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Rowe, William L. "Atheism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    [A]n atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology.


Nothing about rebirth then, but I'll stick with the english dictionary anyway thanks.

The view isn't limited to a denial of rebirth. As already indicated, it is inclusive of a denial of any type of gods, higher and lower realms, and entails a denial of post-mortem existence.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:45 am

vinasp wrote:What is the Arahant's understanding of what will happen when his body dies,
and how does this differ from the nihilist view?

An arahant isn't an atheist, nihilist or materialist. S/he isn't identified with the body in any way. Also, any view pertaining to the post-mortem existence or non-existence of an arahant is a fetter of view.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:48 am

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ...
Thickets of views? Veritable bomas [look it up if you need to!] of views!

Can I propose "Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma" is an Unskillful False Dhamma?

:toilet:

Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3002
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:53 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Can I propose "Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma" is an Unskillful False Dhamma?

Atheism is a parasite trying to infect the Pāli dhamma and Theravāda Buddhism.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:57 am

Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:


Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

The suttas are consistent in calling the above mentioned nihilist view a wrong view and untrue dhamma (asaddhamma). MN 60 Apaṇṇaka Sutta:

    Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three skillful activities — good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three unskillful activities: bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans do not see, in unskillful activities, the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; nor in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.

    Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is no next world,' he makes himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is no next world,' that is persuasion in what is not true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, he exalts himself and disparages others. Whatever good habituation he previously had is abandoned, while bad habituation is manifested. And this wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, exaltation of self, & disparagement of others: These many evil, unskillful activities come into play, in dependence on wrong view.

And in regarding the opposite view as right view and true dhamma (saddhamma):

    Now, householders, of those contemplatives & brahmans who hold this doctrine, hold this view — 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves' — it can be expected that, shunning these three unskillful activities — bad bodily conduct, bad verbal conduct, bad mental conduct — they will adopt & practice these three skillful activities: good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, good mental conduct. Why is that? Because those venerable contemplatives & brahmans see in unskillful activities the drawbacks, the degradation, and the defilement; and in skillful activities the rewards of renunciation, resembling cleansing.

    Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is a next world' is his right view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is a next world,' that is his right resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is a next world,' that is his right speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he is says that 'There is a next world,' he doesn't make himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is a next world,' that is persuasion in what is true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is true Dhamma, he doesn't exalt himself or disparage others. Whatever bad habituation he previously had is abandoned, while good habituation is manifested. And this right view, right resolve, right speech, non-opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is true Dhamma, non-exaltation of self, & non-disparagement of others: These many skillful activities come into play, in dependence on right view.
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Atheism is an Unskillful False Dhamma

Postby piotr » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:58 am

Hi,

Goofaholix wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What I meant is that it is easier to dismiss stories of rebirth in various realms as fanciful additions than passages such as the one Geoff quoted, which are often embedded in the "technical" suttas such as in SN 12:


Yes, and the interesting thing about those passages is that they warn against both Atthitaa and Natthitaa and as always recommend the middle way.

From this I see that the problem is as much as anything letting your views back you into a corner, taking an open minded approach is the answer to this.

Over the centuries Buddhism has leaned much more towards Atthitaa, particularly our Mahayana friends. While I understand some may experience aversion to the Natthitaa we see prevalent in the west these days I don't think taking a stronger determined grip on Atthitaa is a good way of dealing with it.


Atthikadiṭṭhi and atthitā are not the same. First affirms kamma and so on, second affirms atta.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
User avatar
piotr
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Khettadesa

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: A fool from HK, clw_uk, hiriotapa, robertk, SarathW and 7 guests