Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:30 pm

mfesmith wrote:
suttametta wrote:It's purely an objective matter.


You are not objective, unless of course you are claiming to be an awakened person.


Don't be silly, I don't have to be an awakened person to be objective.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:51 pm

Greetings,

(In what risks becoming something of a train wreck...)

May everyone, regardless of your perspectives, please endeavour to express them in a manner which is clear, calm and mutually respectful.

If we can do that, something useful take-outs from the discussion might actually be possible...


:thanks:

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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Alobha » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:33 pm

I find it quite interesting. The threadstarter came here to blame everyone because he finds they blame some other people. First one person steaming, then another, and out of a sudden none of them can see through the thick fog of steaming anger anymore.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The answer is in the thread title. Why would anyone say "Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes" and not just "Sectarian Attitudes" unless they had a sectarian attitude?


:anjali: I feel grateful that you care to act like a lighthouse to people here Bhante.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Nyana » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:49 pm

Alobha wrote:I find it quite interesting. The threadstarter came here to blame everyone because he finds they blame some other people. First one person steaming, then another, and out of a sudden none of them can see through the thick fog of steaming anger anymore.

It might be worth keeping in mind that your perceptions are your perceptions and no one else's. For example, I don't think that your characterization of this thread is accurate.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby manas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:01 am

The idea that the Dharma that the Buddha taught lay entombed solely in some exclusive collection of books is pure foolishness. People who have that idea need to examine themselves for they have been taught incorrectly.

M


Of course everyone needs to 'examine themselves' and that includes the op also. I just hope that's what we are doing, rather than once again getting involved in bickering, while as every second ticks away, we come closer to death. But of course that's just an abstraction, the idea that we could die at any moment...we will be alright, plenty of time to argue...we can meditate later.
(sorry for the sarcasm above but my intentions are good here)
metta.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Nyana » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:36 am

suttametta wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:That's not what Buddha said.

(i) No one knows what the Buddha said. All we have are different collections of records that are claimed to represent what the Buddha said.


Nowhere does it say all methods lead to the same result. Buddha seems to be pretty sure there are many methods that lead only to more samsara.

This is a non-starter. No one here has asserted that all methods lead to the same result.

suttametta wrote:You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?

I think your interpretation is misinformed. Not unlike your assertion a few weeks ago where you opined that the Theravāda is a broken system and Pāli translators don't understand Pāli. Around the same time you were trying to redefine the entire Yogācāra commentarial tradition. More recently you were trying to lump the Mahāyāna together with Vedic views, and simultaneously assert that guru yoga can't be accounted for without recourse to pantheism. And then there's the numerous times that you've gone off on erroneous tangents about dzogchen....

suttametta wrote:
(ii) In your attempts to lump nibbāna together with an eternal consciousness you haven't shown much knowledge of what the Buddha is claimed to have said in the Nikāyas.

You ad hom is duly noted.

Calling into question you understanding of the Nikāyas isn't an ad hom.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Dan74 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:49 am

I suspect we would save ourselves a lot of trouble if we replaced assertions by questions or phrased them as provisional explorations rather than statements of fact, when they are not. Goes back to the belief in ones objectivity and in having arrived at the Truth, I suppose.

It would also be a lot more fun in engage in such explorations rather than slanging matches.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:51 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The answer is in the thread title. Why would anyone say "Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes" and not just "Sectarian Attitudes" unless they had a sectarian attitude?


Well said, Bhante.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby ground » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:50 am

If one takes the aggregates as "mine" or identifies the aggregates as "I" then one may become a religious follower of any system of written words. Then, if one has not overcome ill-will one may have negative attitudes against what is not considered to be "I" or "mine".

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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:01 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:This is a non-starter. No one here has asserted that all methods lead to the same result.


There was a previous post you seemed to have been adopting which quoted some bhikkhu saying a method like "buddho" and all methods lead to the same result. I don't have time to hunt that down now.

Ñāṇa wrote:
suttametta wrote:You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?

I think your interpretation is misinformed. Not unlike your assertion a few weeks ago where you opined that the Theravāda is a broken system and Pāli translators don't understand Pāli. Around the same time you were trying to redefine the entire Yogācāra commentarial tradition. More recently you were trying to lump the Mahāyāna together with Vedic views, and simultaneously assert that guru yoga can't be accounted for without recourse to pantheism. And then there's the numerous times that you've gone off on erroneous tangents about dzogchen....


I'm very well informed. You just don't agree. I don't expect you to. This is an ad hom, by the way. You are impugning my personal credibility. You should understand that. Discuss the issues and you won't be ad homing.

Again, we can go into these issues if you like. I can assure you that I can hold my own based on a topical discussion. There is plenty of criticism to go around. It's not a bad thing. It's a good thing.

I am not the one who said Pali translators don't understand Pali, that comes from a teacher whom I respect, Ven. Madawala Punnaji. He stated many times that Theravada teachings are corrupted. He also says Theravada has lost the original teachings, and Pali translators tend to build on those misunderstandings with mistranslations.

You can challenge him. Perhaps he's misinterpreting. I tend to agree with his conclusions. Most of my comments about Theravada comes from my understanding of his lectures.

As to Yogacara, I merely meant to point out that there is another way to interpret the Alayavijnana and 8 consciousnesses based on the teachings of the Driking Kagyu practice lineage instructions, where the "seed" is an amalgam of 5th-7th consciousnesses, leaving the 8th to be primordially pure such that there is no revolution of the basis, which would bring the thinking together with Dzogchen's explanations about the gzhi.

Clearly, Mahayana, simply by incorporating mantras, and the notions of dharma as primordial sound, as in the Prajnaparamita of a Single Sound, has incorporated Vedic notions about AUM, which is the primordial sound of ultimate truth in Vedism. It doesn't take some heavy scholarship to understand that. Anyone who seriously practices Vedantic Yoga/Tantra and Mahayana will instantly recognize the commonalities. Whereas, the Pali teachings about sati are uniquely different as to methodology, although not as different as one might think as to result, given the Buddha's statements about nibbana being an eternal radiant consciousness.

Again, Guru Yoga and it's recourse to Pantheism doesn't come from me. It came as a response to a question I had for Garchen Rinpoche. He's the one who told me that Guru Yoga works because the dharmakaya is all-pervasive and teacher and student have no separation. My remark to him was that he was chiming Vedic. He responded that Buddha only meant to distance his teachings from a Creator God, not from the impersonal notion of Brahman.

Finally, my comments about Dzogchen are in line with this issue of commonality with the Vedic systems, namely, the Dzogchen Tantras' claim of emanating directing from primordial sound, a la, the Vedas.

All of this gets me down to my main point that what we have generally is a large batch of distinctions without a significant difference. Whatever distinctions there are can always get reworked in the model so that they reflect a commonality. There's nothing inherently true about the various commentators' writings. We are equally endowed with the right to rework these issues, just as they did. My grind with folks like you and Malcolm is due to your undue clenching onto your scholarship. In my opinion, latching onto these old writers prevents new good work from bring excellent dharma to light. You scholar types have an undue amount of influence on many people because you can write neat diacritics. But you are missing something very big, which is the fluid nature of all this.

For example, I put Punnaji's teachings into practice and I instantly recognized what he's describing is a very fast method that can take you all the way. I found no significant difference in that result from those of the other very high methods I know from practicing Tibetan Buddhism. I think that is a very significant finding. What he has discovered through his research is amazing.

Ñāṇa wrote:Calling into question you understanding of the Nikāyas isn't an ad hom.


Yes, it is. You are impugning my knowledge. You would do better to raise a topical issue, then we would have nothing to discuss. I can only defend the comment, "you don't have enough knowledge," by responding with comments about myself, what I learned, what I know, etc. Rather, we can demonstrate such matters by discussing dharma topics openly.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby whynotme » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:26 pm

suttametta wrote:You ad hom is duly noted. It's a common tactic for you. You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?

Dear suttameta,

Could you point out what suttas describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness?

Regards
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:28 pm

whynotme wrote:
suttametta wrote:You ad hom is duly noted. It's a common tactic for you. You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?

Dear suttameta,

Could you point out what suttas describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness?

Regards


Ajata Sutta
Kevatta Sutta
Brahma-nimantanika Sutta
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:46 pm

suttametta wrote:Ajata Sutta
Kevatta Sutta
Brahma-nimantanika Sutta


Yes, you brought those up in this thread. Therein, anantam "boundless" is probably better than "infinite", given the problematic connotations of that latter term. Vinnana thus freed of greed, hatred, and delusion is truly unbound, boundless... but certainly not infinite in a temporal sense. Nibbana isn't a thing which lasts forever such that vinnana can forever contact it.
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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby whynotme » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:19 pm

suttametta wrote:
whynotme wrote:
suttametta wrote:You ad hom is duly noted. It's a common tactic for you. You are ignoring three suttas that describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness. So what of that?

Dear suttameta,

Could you point out what suttas describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness?

Regards

Ajata Sutta
Kevatta Sutta
Brahma-nimantanika Sutta

Many thanks,

I searched those suttas and your topic appeared. Ajata sutta is in khuddaka so I haven't read yet (and I don't put much faith in khuddaka) but I read those important things you noted in your topic. It doesn't clearly mean nibbana is eternal consciousness, and in that case, IMO, you should keep your mind open. It may be true as you said, but also may be other mean. IMO, you should keep your practice by follow simpler instructions (which is much clearer) and one day you will know for sure what those suttas really mean. Don't fall into the trap of using thinking or using reason to define nibbana

Regards

PS: Actually I still remember how many times I read Kevatta sutta because of that sentence. Maybe the most I've read, but I don't see its meaning clearly so I just let it go and hope someday I will see the meaning by my own eye
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:34 pm

daverupa wrote:
suttametta wrote:Ajata Sutta
Kevatta Sutta
Brahma-nimantanika Sutta


Yes, you brought those up in this thread. Therein, anantam "boundless" is probably better than "infinite", given the problematic connotations of that latter term. Vinnana thus freed of greed, hatred, and delusion is truly unbound, boundless... but certainly not infinite in a temporal sense. Nibbana isn't a thing which lasts forever such that vinnana can forever contact it.


You are entitled to your opinion. "Ananta," given it's usual meaning in Sanskrit and Pali straightforwardly means "infinite," "endless," "eternal," "unending..." "Boundless" should be read in this context to have both a temporal and spatial connotation just as all these other words do, especially in light of the the word "sabatto": "everywhere," "all-around," "in all respects," "through and through." In any event, "boundless," given its usual meaning satisfies all these meanings anyway.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:35 pm

suttametta wrote:a teacher whom I respect, Ven. Madawala Punnaji.


:thumbsup:

Ven. Punnaji on Nibbana:

• Nibbāna is not a “Presence” of something – it is an Absense
• We are speaking of withdrawal from a disastrous experience called “Dukkha”
• The gradual way to awaken from the dream of existence is the SUBLIME EIGHTFOLD WAY
• What is not mine is not my “SELF” (Anattā);
• This line of thinking is the awakening from the Dream of Existence.

http://bhantepunnaji.com/pdf/110328_EIGHTFOLDWAY.pdf
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:12 pm

whynotme wrote:
suttametta wrote:
whynotme wrote:Dear suttameta,

Could you point out what suttas describe nibbana as an eternal consciousness?

Regards

Ajata Sutta
Kevatta Sutta
Brahma-nimantanika Sutta

Many thanks,

I searched those suttas and your topic appeared. Ajata sutta is in khuddaka so I haven't read yet (and I don't put much faith in khuddaka) but I read those important things you noted in your topic. It doesn't clearly mean nibbana is eternal consciousness, and in that case, IMO, you should keep your mind open. It may be true as you said, but also may be other mean. IMO, you should keep your practice by follow simpler instructions (which is much clearer) and one day you will know for sure what those suttas really mean. Don't fall into the trap of using thinking or using reason to define nibbana

Regards


I appreciate your concern. It is important to vet the meanings of the Buddha's sentences, as Buddha stated in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta.

Malcolm turned me on to Peter Harvey's "The Selfless Mind." It is an excellent treatment of just these issues. Please refer to section 12.3-6. In that passage, Harvey translates "anantaṃ" as "infinite." He also shows through passage citations that nibbana is not just an object of discernment (viññāna), but a discernment in itself. I would argue that "a discernment" is synonymous with consciousness. Typically in the suttas, "vi"+"ñāna" essentially means "to pick apart" attributes, i.e., attribution. The faculty doing this act is conscious, alive. What is being highlighted is that nibbana is nondual, where the featureless object of discernment is itself a featureless discerning faculty. I would also urge all readers that the tempting urge to distance Buddhism from all ontological categories has its limits. Nibbana is that limit. And while the ontics are notably large and vague, it does have its own nature to be discerned through the methods presented, rather than through argumentation. As for the argumentation, please refer to the suttas themselves. I would submit that the urge to create this ontic distance actually creates distance from one's realization of it. Clearly, Buddha does not avoid identifying nibbana's qualities.
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:17 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Ven. Punnaji on Nibbana:

• Nibbāna is not a “Presence” of something – it is an Absence


The absence of all things dukkha reveals the "pabham" shining vinnana of nibbana. So it cannot be a complete absence. Punnaji also calls it "immortality."
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby santa100 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:51 pm

suttametta wrote:
"Clearly, Buddha does not avoid identifying nibbana's qualities"

Nibbana is not a conditioned entity, thus it's free of all dualistic attributes. Although one could describe its qualities, the qualities themselves are not Nibbana. Just like fire has the quality of warmth and brightness and yet, warmth and brightness are not fire itself. That's why when it comes to describing Nibbana, the "apophasis" approach is employed. Apophasis means the use of negation statments to express an ineffable supramundane state that could only be "touched" by personal experience. We are still the fishes living underneath the deep ocean that are yet to have the firsthand glimpse of the sun. So, until then, we just have to trust the Buddha and His apophatic descriptions of Nibbana..
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Re: Theravāda Sectarian Attitudes

Postby suttametta » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:58 pm

santa100 wrote:suttametta wrote:
"Clearly, Buddha does not avoid identifying nibbana's qualities"

Nibbana is not a conditioned entity, thus it's free of all dualistic attributes. Although one could describe its qualities, the qualities themselves are not Nibbana. Just like fire has the quality of warmth and brightness and yet, warmth and brightness are not fire itself. That's why when it comes to describing Nibbana, the "apophasis" approach is employed. Apophasis means the use of negation statments to express an ineffable supramundane state that could only be "touched" by personal experience. We are still the fishes living underneath the deep ocean that are yet to have the firsthand glimpse of the sun. So, until then, we just have to trust the Buddha and His apophatic descriptions of Nibbana..


Yes. There are definitely two ways to look at this matter.
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