We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:I can agree with that. I wonder, however, if there is a more important question of what do we need to take as being literally true and what do we take as mythic. And here I use "mythic" or mythological as referring to a way of relating truths via stories and cosmologies that need not be seen as being literally true to make a valid point.

Yes, in terms of traditional Buddhist hermeneutics this distinction is between sutta statements that are already fully drawn out, explicit, and definitive (nītattha) and those that are provisional (neyyattha). But alongside this analysis there needs to be consideration of the body of texts that are to serve as authentic scriptural authorities and the criteria that are to be used to establish what qualifies as definitive or provisional.

Personally I consider the four main Nikāyas and the sutta sections of the fifth Nikāya to be authentic scriptural authorities (as well as the surviving non-Pāli collections and fragments of collections that parallel these discourses) and I consider the teachings on anatta to be definitive and all other teachings to be provisional.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby cbonanno » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote: But such and understanding is impossible without a basic agreement as to which parts are authentic and which parts are not.
That is a dense thicket to traverse.


Yes, why chase the limitless with the limited?
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:28 pm

Ñāṇa wrote: Methods and practices are provisional, and as long as the application of the practice supports the lessening and eventual elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion, it accords with the Buddha's dhamma.


OK, but methods and practice are only one part of what is contained within the suttas.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:32 pm

porpoise wrote:OK, but methods and practice are only one part of what is contained within the suttas.

Yes. And?...
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:59 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
porpoise wrote:OK, but methods and practice are only one part of what is contained within the suttas.

Yes. And?...


How do we assess the validity of all the other stuff?
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:01 pm

porpoise wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
porpoise wrote:OK, but methods and practice are only one part of what is contained within the suttas.

Yes. And?...


How do we assess the validity of all the other stuff?


If we've already bracketed methods and practice, what does the rest matter?

And how does one assess the 'validity' of religious literature?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "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.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:11 pm

porpoise wrote:How do we assess the validity of all the other stuff?

I don't know how you assess it, but I consider the teachings on anatta to be definitive and everything else to be provisional.

However, just because I consider something to be provisional doesn't mean I think it should be dismissed or rejected. Without the provisional, fabricated path there is no way to realize the unfabricated goal.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Doshin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:43 am

porpoise wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
porpoise wrote:OK, but methods and practice are only one part of what is contained within the suttas.

Yes. And?...


How do we assess the validity of all the other stuff?


The same way we assess the validity of "the stuff" ?

In my opinion, we shouldn't take anything as valid, just because of its (possible) source, or the possibility of it being a certain source. We have to take "the stuff" evaluate it ourselves and make our own judgement about it. Our judgement isn't a universal truth, so what we find to be truth, might not be found as truth to others.

Taking refuge, is a commitment into exploring the Dhamma and assess its validity for ourself; not blindly taking it as to be truth.

Isn't it much more interesting if (subjects of) the Dhamma is true, rather then the possibility of its assumed origin ?
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:11 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote: But such and understanding is impossible without a basic agreement as to which parts are authentic and which parts are not.
That is a dense thicket to traverse.

And for the scholars to traverse, not me. I'll read along, listen and occasionally interject or pose a question; beyond that I assume it's a personal matter of saddhā, dhamma-vicaya, samvega and pasada.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:23 am

Doshin wrote:...we shouldn't take anything as valid...

This goes too far the other way (from scepticism/doubt). I take it as valid that the Buddha existed. I take it as valid that he said some of the most important things ever uttered. I take it for valid that those around him were so impressed (or annoyed) by the things he said (and did) that attempts to record his sayings and doings became inevitable. I take it for valid that great care was taken to retain their "originalness". I take it for valid that mistakes were made in these redactions, but that they were probably rare. I take it for valid that the redactors were usually but not always above the influence of politicians, culture and folk religion.

Etc....
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Mr Man » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:57 am

danieLion wrote:
Doshin wrote:...we shouldn't take anything as valid...

This goes too far the other way (from scepticism/doubt).


danieLion you need to take Doshin's whole sentence including "just because of its (possible) source, or the possibility of it being a certain source". What gives validity is it's results not where it comes from.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:44 am

Ñāṇa wrote:However, just because I consider something to be provisional doesn't mean I think it should be dismissed or rejected. Without the provisional, fabricated path there is no way to realize the unfabricated goal.


Good point.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:46 am

daverupa wrote:If we've already bracketed methods and practice, what does the rest matter?


So are you suggesting that we just work with the methods and practices bits, and leave all the other stuff to one side?
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:20 am

Mr Man wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Doshin wrote:...we shouldn't take anything as valid...

This goes too far the other way (from scepticism/doubt).


danieLion you need to take Doshin's whole sentence including "just because of its (possible) source, or the possibility of it being a certain source". What gives validity is it's results not where it comes from.
Perhaps. But it's also true that what gives it results is where it comes from.
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Re: We know about the Dhamma because of the suttas.

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:13 pm

porpoise wrote:
daverupa wrote:If we've already bracketed methods and practice, what does the rest matter?


So are you suggesting that we just work with the methods and practices bits, and leave all the other stuff to one side?


Well, why not?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "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.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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