Belief in the Pali Canon

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Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Nibbida » Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:38 pm

Tangential the the thread on accepting rebirth, I wonder about belief in other aspects of the Pali Canon.

I understand that rejecting rebirth is outright contrary to the Pali Canon because it's inconsistent with the fundamental principles. That much is evident.

But what about belief in the existence of other aspects such as devas and supernatural powers (e.g. clairaudience, etc.), Would an agnostic or outright skeptical attitude toward these elements be contrary to Buddhist practice or a hindrance to development? My guess is not necessarily since they are not essential to the Eightfold Path, that they are not essential to the causes and cessation of suffering. But I'm not certain if this is the Theravadin view.

Can anyone say with greater certainty?
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:45 pm

Is it the Apannaka Sutta or the Canki Sutta where the Tathagata teaches that agnsticism is basically the best position to take rather than total acceptance or total rejection? I forget, but I recall it being there somewhere... a list of things in which people usually put faith (from ancient texts to their own experience and everything in between) and in each case there were two outcomes: it might be true and it might not.

I can't remember, but someone here will know :D
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Nibbida » Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:29 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Is it the Apannaka Sutta or the Canki Sutta where the Tathagata teaches that agnsticism is basically the best position to take rather than total acceptance or total rejection? I forget, but I recall it being there somewhere... a list of things in which people usually put faith (from ancient texts to their own experience and everything in between) and in each case there were two outcomes: it might be true and it might not.

I can't remember, but someone here will know :D



AAAAAGGGHHH!! :-)
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:44 pm

Nibbida wrote:AAAAAGGGHHH!! :-)

?
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:07 pm

That thar's pirate-speak, ye maties! Arrrr.

from a different thread:
Ben wrote:Have a look at the following:
MN 60: Apannaka Sutta: The Incontrovertible Teaching
and...
MN 74: Dighanakha Sutta: To Dighanakha
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:44 pm

Here's the Canki Sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I don't think it's agnosticism that is being advocated, more the idea that there is a possibility that unless one is fully enlightened one may not have the whole truth:
"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.
[and so on for ".., likes something... holds an unbroken tradition... has something reasoned through analogy... has something he agrees to, having pondered views,...

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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:00 pm

I have been recently thinking about the topic "Dhamma: Idea or Ideology?" Ven. Nyanamoli proposed to translate dhamma as "idea" (as in "leading idea"), whereas ideology would be a misapprehension through view-clinging (cf. ditthi-thana or "standpoints for views" in MN 22).

I shall probably make a video series on this promising topic... (Don't like ideologies.)
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:25 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I don't think it's agnosticism that is being advocated

Yeah, I think maybe the word 'agnostic' was not quite appropriate... you do a much better job of explaining it than I do :)
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Individual » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:29 pm

Nibbida wrote:Tangential the the thread on accepting rebirth, I wonder about belief in other aspects of the Pali Canon.

I understand that rejecting rebirth is outright contrary to the Pali Canon because it's inconsistent with the fundamental principles. That much is evident.

But what about belief in the existence of other aspects such as devas and supernatural powers (e.g. clairaudience, etc.), Would an agnostic or outright skeptical attitude toward these elements be contrary to Buddhist practice or a hindrance to development? My guess is not necessarily since they are not essential to the Eightfold Path, that they are not essential to the causes and cessation of suffering. But I'm not certain if this is the Theravadin view.

Can anyone say with greater certainty?

The Pali canon is not the Buddhist Bible or Qu'ran. In my opinion, it is more comparable to Gray's Anatomy. Buddhists do not blindly accept literal words as dogma, but penetrate the meaning of the text, to find what is useful. Belief is only important in as much as it is connection to action. An agnostic or outright skeptical attitude could be a hindrance, yes, but there different kinds of agnosticism and skepticism, some good and some bad.
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:17 pm

Nibbida wrote:But what about belief in the existence of other aspects such as devas and supernatural powers?

Devas are a part of right view in the same way rebirth is.
Supernatural powers does not appear to be.
- Peter

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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby Nibbida » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:06 am

Peter wrote:
Nibbida wrote:But what about belief in the existence of other aspects such as devas and supernatural powers?

Devas are a part of right view in the same way rebirth is.
Supernatural powers does not appear to be.


Right, this is more of what I was getting at. Recognizing impermanence, conditionality, anatta, Buddhist rebirth, etc. are non-negotiable. They are core elements. If you exclude those then it's not what the Buddha taught.

I didn't know if it made any difference or not what one believed about devas, since Theravada Buddhism is not a devotional religion (i.e. doesn't pray to devas to deliver us from suffering). We frequently hear that the supernatural powers are developed through concentration and are not necessary for insight and awakening.
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Re: Belief in the Pali Canon

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:22 am

Greetings Nibbida,

Nibbida wrote:I didn't know if it made any difference or not what one believed about devas, since Theravada Buddhism is not a devotional religion (i.e. doesn't pray to devas to deliver us from suffering).


It's more the different realms of existence than the devas themselves that are the important aspect.

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


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