the great rebirth debate

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:46 pm

Dan74 wrote:Throughout this discussion (and others) there is an assumption that everything written in the Suttas was spoken by the Buddha. I don't think we can be sure of that, can we?


Let's see. 2500 years old, verbally transmitted over many centuries, documented much later, then translated and interpreted again by many scholars in several languages, could have suffered cultural and religious (Hinduism) influences... I think the answer is somewhat obvious.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:53 pm

BlueLotus wrote: But I have a problem if someone tries to force a belief down my throat saying "It is there in sutta interpretations and not believing in it is ignorance".
I don't think anyone is trying to do that here, but I do think it is important to understand what the suttas say and not try to make them conform to modern notions of how one thinks things should be, and from there, in relation to the suttas, one can govern one's self according to one's own lights.
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.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:55 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Throughout this discussion (and others) there is an assumption that everything written in the Suttas was spoken by the Buddha. I don't think we can be sure of that, can we?


Let's see. 2500 years old, verbally transmitted over many centuries, documented much later, then translated and interpreted again by many scholars in several languages, could have suffered cultural and religious (Hinduism) influences... I think the answer is somewhat obvious.
I don't think it is at all that obvious.
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
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby daverupa » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:35 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Throughout this discussion (and others) there is an assumption that everything written in the Suttas was spoken by the Buddha. I don't think we can be sure of that, can we?


Let's see. 2500 years old, verbally transmitted over many centuries, documented much later, then translated and interpreted again by many scholars in several languages, could have suffered cultural and religious (Hinduism) influences... I think the answer is somewhat obvious.


So, composed between roughly 445 BCE - 300 BCE; transmitted orally before being written down about 250 BCE; earliest extant manuscripts (Gandhara) date to about 100 CE, but these come from the other side of the diaspora... and are comparable to what we find in the Nikayas.

Differences mostly revolve around the places where discourses were delivered, the occasion, the attainments had by the listeners as a result, and other such miscellany. Some suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya are in the Ekottara Agama, not the Madhyamagama, and so on. Overall, confidence can be fairly high that the Nikayas we have strongly resemble what was in circulation within the Sangha ca. 300 BCE.

"Creeping Brahmanism", composite suttas, and other hypotheses of deviation from earlier canonical collections have roughly a century to act, but it's fairly speculative stuff at that point... useful to bear in mind, useless to make hard and fast conclusions. I'm a fan of some hypotheses with respect to all this, but to say only they are true... well, it's no good.

:heart:
    "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: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Nyana » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:49 pm

BlueLotus wrote:First I think my "dubious claim" is supported by suttas.

The suttas assert that rejecting the view that their is a next world, etc., is wrong view, and puts one in opposition to the arahants who know that there is a next world. MN 60:

    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.

With wrong view the rest of one's practice is also wrong. Conversely, right view includes the acceptance that there is a next world, etc. MN 60:

    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.

And since stream entry is dependent upon the correct engagement of these factors of the noble path, there is no possibility of attaining stream entry without accepting this right view, and so on.

BlueLotus wrote:But as I said, some people interpret "dhukka" as inclusive of physical pains, sickness and old age.

Of course dukkha is inclusive of physical pains, old age, sickness, and death. These are explicitly stated in the first noble truth.

BlueLotus wrote:If that is the case then obviously the only way to end dukkha is to end existence. To such a person, there is no way to experience cessation of suffering while still being alive. How can he end suffering if old age is suffering, if sickness is suffering, if death is suffering. So, irrespective of what the suttas say of "cessation of suffering", they think the "only way out of suffering" is to end existing. So the whole "cycle of rebirth and samsara" come in to play.

There are two aspects of nibbāna. The nibbāna component with fuel remaining (saupādisesa nibbānadhātu) is attained while an arahant is still alive. Itivuttaka 2.44:

    And what is the nibbāna component with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose outflows have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, ended the fetter of existence, and is liberated through right gnosis. His five sense faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he is cognizant of the agreeable and the disagreeable, and experiences pleasure and pain. His elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion is termed the nibbāna component with fuel remaining.

And the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu) occurs upon the death of the arahant. Itivuttaka 2.44:

    And what is the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose outflows have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, ended the fetter of existence, and is liberated through right gnosis. For him, all that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here. This monks, is termed the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Papashaw » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:58 pm

alan... wrote:
Papashaw wrote:I feel a lot of compassion for beings in hell if there was a place, the torture wouldn't hurt as much as the boredom of being there for a 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000..... years.

I feel strong fury whenever i see someone hurt anyone in this world. If I were to encounter hell as a observer I would be extremely driven to any sort of action possible, I would stand between a torturer and a hellbeing and refuse to even move. I understand actions sends someone to a lower place for a disproportionate time, but it should not be that way. Yama is so easily mistaken for some torturer god willing to please himself and his minions with the sights of horrible cruel slasher movie scenes. :stirthepot:

The attitude i notice here is that of "Oh sucks for that guy, lucky I found buddhism" instead of strong sympathy or pity if somewhere to go to a lower realm. In tibetan buddhism prayers are said for those in the lower realms to relieve their suffering, I guess in theravada though if someone ends up there they are fudged and worth forgetting as they have their intestine ripped out and blood fried longer than they have lived as a human.

Oh i feel so much passion, I must let go of it and not indulge it. I am spouting drivel for provoking other peoples replies to my views to better understand what is right and wrong. This must be the last time.

I do not see how even killing a single parent is equal to being in avici for 10^18 years having your skin burned and torn apart for a trillion trillion trillion years, I know my father or mother would forgive me but karma is blind and unfair, it is the way it is.



ever heard of dizang (ksitigarbha)? sounds like something you would like :smile:


I did some reading, perhaps i should drop by dharmawheel.com sometime.

The compassion of mahayana vs the cold bitter realism of theravada... to take attributes from both and combine them in my beliefs would be spineless unlike choosing a path, oh what do to.

I would still feel pity for all suffering beings especially since trillions of years of torture is still to much even for Stalin or Hitler by my westernized humanistic mindset, its an unfair law that i cant believe some see with satisfaction.

(ex."oh she killed her sexually abusive father, off to avici for 1 billion kalpas her lolololo!!!!" :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: but the rapist father who killed 1000000000 kittens only gets 1/100000000 of the time in hell in another place for perversion or he is born as a cow. :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: )

Stupid sarcastic example yes, but I can't think of another way to get across my thoughts, may I know the truth someday!
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:21 am

Papashaw wrote:Stupid sarcastic example yes, but I can't think of another way to get across my thoughts, may I know the truth someday!


Then put it aside for the time being. The essentials of the path is to develop in sila, samadhi and panna. Don't forget to engage in generosity, selfless service and dedicate your merits for the welfare of all.
Wishing you all the best,

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:00 am

daverupa wrote:So, composed between roughly 445 BCE - 300 BCE; transmitted orally before being written down about 250 BCE; earliest extant manuscripts (Gandhara) date to about 100 CE, but these come from the other side of the diaspora... and are comparable to what we find in the Nikayas.

Differences mostly revolve around the places where discourses were delivered, the occasion, the attainments had by the listeners as a result, and other such miscellany. Some suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya are in the Ekottara Agama, not the Madhyamagama, and so on. Overall, confidence can be fairly high that the Nikayas we have strongly resemble what was in circulation within the Sangha ca. 300 BCE.

"Creeping Brahmanism", composite suttas, and other hypotheses of deviation from earlier canonical collections have roughly a century to act, but it's fairly speculative stuff at that point... useful to bear in mind, useless to make hard and fast conclusions. I'm a fan of some hypotheses with respect to all this, but to say only they are true... well, it's no good.



I agree. I am not suggesting to throw away the entire Canon but it is expected that some of it may have suffered distortion over the years.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby vinasp » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:15 am

Hi everyone,

Spontaneous Arising - What is it?

"... there are beings who are reborn spontaneously ..." [BB, MLDB, page 935, MN 117.7]

The word in the original Pali is opapatika, the old PED entry reads as follows:

Opapātika (adj.) [fr. upapatti; the BSk. form is a curious distortion of the P. form, viz. aupapāduka Av. Ś ii.89 Divy 300, 627, 649] arisen or reborn without visible cause (i. e. without parents), spontaneous rebirth (Kvu trsl. 2832), apparitional rebirth (Cpd. 1654, q. v.) D i.27 55, 156; iii.132, 230 (˚yoni), 265; M i.34, 73, 287, 401 sq., 436 sq, 465 sq.; ii.52; iii.22, 80, 247; S iii.206 240 sq., 246 sq.; iv.348; v.346, 357 sq., 406; A i.232 245, 269; ii.5, 89, 186; iv.12, 226, 399, 423 sq.; v. 265 sq., 286 sq., 343 sq.; Pug 16, 62, 63; Vbh 412 sq. Miln 267; Vism 552 sq., 559; DA i.165, 313. The C on M i.34 explns. by "sesa -- yoni -- paṭikkhepa -- vacanaŋ etaŋ" See also Pug. A 1, § 40.

"...arisen or reborn without visible cause (i.e. without parents), spontaneous rebirth,
apparitional rebirth ..."

MN 12.32 explains the 'four kinds of generation' of beings. There is the egg-born
generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation, and spontaneous generation.

"What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation."
[BB, MLDB, page 169, MN 12.33]

I find this part of the teachings very difficult to understand. It seems that the beings
in the hells, and some (or all?) gods, are spontaneously arisen. Which means born without
the aid of parents. And yet some of these beings have bodies.

Question: Where do they get their bodies from?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:I don't think anyone is trying to do that here, but I do think it is important to understand what the suttas say and not try to make them conform to modern notions of how one thinks things should be, and from there, in relation to the suttas, one can govern one's self according to one's own lights.


Here's my point. Suttas are not always as explicit as commentaries. Suttas usually get interpreted in different ways by different people which is why there is so much dispute and debate over matters like rebirth, gods, planes of existence. I am not refusing the possibility that rebirth is true, planes of existence are true. There is a good possibility these things really exist although our modern mindset is to seek scientific proof to "everything" or simply ridicule what we do not understand.

BUT none of this is absolutely necessary to practice. That is my whole point. Even if a person chooses to not believe these things 100% he can still focus on the present life and present moment and continue his practice. Personally for me, coming from a Mahayana background to Thai forest teachings which focus on the moment is a breath of fresh air.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:17 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The suttas assert that rejecting the view that their is a next world, etc., is wrong view, and puts one in opposition to the arahants who know that there is a next world. MN 60:


Thanks, I have read the sutta. It says para loka which means "other worlds". You can interpret it as life-after if you like but that is not explicit. It is not the ONLY worldview there is and not a necessity to practice.

Also, this is right view is with effluents and something that doesn't lead to nibbana. The Buddha explained right view which leads to nibbana and right view which leads to effluents and accumulation. Anyone else can interpret this as "belief in other worlds is right for morality, accumulation and effluents and no such belief is involved in the noble right view which leads to cessation and dispassion". Don't get me wrong. I am not saying you are wrong but your idea of "you either believe in it or you are not in the right track" is just another interpretation.

Ñāṇa wrote:Of course dukkha is inclusive of physical pains, old age, sickness, and death.

There are two aspects of nibbāna. The nibbāna component with fuel remaining (saupādisesa nibbānadhātu) is attained while an arahant is still alive.


That's fine. According to you, complete cessation of suffering happens at the time an arahath dies. According to you he cannot attain complete cessation when still alive. Yet again there are suttas which talk about "total cessation of suffering here and now". Again, your interpretation is just one way of looking at it.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:37 am

BlueLotus wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The suttas assert that rejecting the view that their is a next world, etc., is wrong view, and puts one in opposition to the arahants who know that there is a next world. MN 60:


Thanks, I have read the sutta. It says para loka which means "other worlds". You can interpret it as life-after if you like but that is not explicit. It is not the ONLY worldview there is and not a necessity to practice.
You read Pali? If you do, you will know that it is a highly idiomatic language. What do think "paraloka"is an idiom for?

Also, this is right view is with effluents and something that doesn't lead to nibbana.
If it is right view, it leadsto nibbana, and and as an unawaened individual "right view is with effluents" is exactly where you start from.
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.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:53 am

BlueLotus wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I don't think anyone is trying to do that here, but I do think it is important to understand what the suttas say and not try to make them conform to modern notions of how one thinks things should be, and from there, in relation to the suttas, one can govern one's self according to one's own lights.


Here's my point. Suttas are not always as explicit as commentaries. Suttas usually get interpreted in different ways by different people which is why there is so much dispute and debate over matters like rebirth, gods, planes of existence.
This debate is a modern thing, not a traditional thing. Nothing like exists in any of the ancient literature. The Kathavatthu, which catalogues the extensive debates does not show anything like what we see here over the question of rebirth, the nature of the devas and the various realms.

I am not refusing the possibility that rebirth is true, planes of existence are true. There is a good possibility these things really exist although our modern mindset is to seek scientific proof to "everything" or simply ridicule what we do not understand.
You do not have to believe that rebirth is true. That is your choice, but literal rebirth is an integral part of the Buddha's teachings, as the suttas show.

BUT none of this is absolutely necessary to practice. That is my whole point. Even if a person chooses to not believe these things 100% he can still focus on the present life and present moment and continue his practice. Personally for me, coming from a Mahayana background to Thai forest teachings which focus on the moment is a breath of fresh air.
And being very much within the framework of traditional Buddha-Dhamma, all that stuff is there in the Thai forest tradition. You might want to read the biography of Ajahn Mun sometime. You do not have to believe in those things to practice, but you cannot meaningfully re-frame the teachings to say that those things are not part of the teachings.
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
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Nyana » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:55 am

BlueLotus wrote:Thanks, I have read the sutta. It says para loka which means "other worlds". You can interpret it as life-after if you like but that is not explicit. It is not the ONLY worldview there is and not a necessity to practice.

DN 23 Pāyāsi Sutta makes it quite clear what para loka means. Kumārakassapa spends the entire discourse trying to convince the prince Pāyāsi to abandon his view that there is no next world, which is considered a wicked view (pāpaka diṭṭhigata).

BlueLotus wrote:Also, this is right view is with effluents and something that doesn't lead to nibbana. The Buddha explained right view which leads to nibbana and right view which leads to effluents and accumulation.

There is no possibility of attaining stream entry while holding a wrong view. And denying the existence of the next world is a wrong view.

BlueLotus wrote:Again, your interpretation is just one way of looking at it.

It's not my interpretation. It's explicit in the suttas previously quoted and maintained by the commentarial tradition.

Now, you're entirely free to do and think whatever you want, but merely following the whims of your own head-trip isn't the Buddha's teaching.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby santa100 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:54 am

And it's important to keep in mind that it's not only about wrong view. We're talking about a cascading effect that's potentially going to throw off the entire Eightfold Noble Path, as pointed out in MN 60 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ):

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
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby robertk » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:01 am

I merged the 'rebirth' and 'hell and hungry ghosts' topics as arguments on both sides are similar.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:37 am

Papashaw wrote:
alan... wrote:
Papashaw wrote:I feel a lot of compassion for beings in hell if there was a place, the torture wouldn't hurt as much as the boredom of being there for a 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000..... years.

I feel strong fury whenever i see someone hurt anyone in this world. If I were to encounter hell as a observer I would be extremely driven to any sort of action possible, I would stand between a torturer and a hellbeing and refuse to even move. I understand actions sends someone to a lower place for a disproportionate time, but it should not be that way. Yama is so easily mistaken for some torturer god willing to please himself and his minions with the sights of horrible cruel slasher movie scenes. :stirthepot:

The attitude i notice here is that of "Oh sucks for that guy, lucky I found buddhism" instead of strong sympathy or pity if somewhere to go to a lower realm. In tibetan buddhism prayers are said for those in the lower realms to relieve their suffering, I guess in theravada though if someone ends up there they are fudged and worth forgetting as they have their intestine ripped out and blood fried longer than they have lived as a human.

Oh i feel so much passion, I must let go of it and not indulge it. I am spouting drivel for provoking other peoples replies to my views to better understand what is right and wrong. This must be the last time.

I do not see how even killing a single parent is equal to being in avici for 10^18 years having your skin burned and torn apart for a trillion trillion trillion years, I know my father or mother would forgive me but karma is blind and unfair, it is the way it is.



ever heard of dizang (ksitigarbha)? sounds like something you would like :smile:


I did some reading, perhaps i should drop by dharmawheel.com sometime.

The compassion of mahayana vs the cold bitter realism of theravada... to take attributes from both and combine them in my beliefs would be spineless unlike choosing a path, oh what do to.

I would still feel pity for all suffering beings especially since trillions of years of torture is still to much even for Stalin or Hitler by my westernized humanistic mindset, its an unfair law that i cant believe some see with satisfaction.

(ex."oh she killed her sexually abusive father, off to avici for 1 billion kalpas her lolololo!!!!" :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: but the rapist father who killed 1000000000 kittens only gets 1/100000000 of the time in hell in another place for perversion or he is born as a cow. :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: :strawman: )

Stupid sarcastic example yes, but I can't think of another way to get across my thoughts, may I know the truth someday!



spineless? far from it. what i do is work from the pali canon as my base and use whatever else i choose as long as it does not conflict with the buddhas teachings as recorded in the canon. or you can spin it however you want! i feel it's more reasonable to pick a base to work from, otherwise things can get very confusing and conflicting.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:25 pm

BlueLotus wrote: Personally for me, coming from a Mahayana background to Thai forest teachings which focus on the moment is a breath of fresh air.


I can remember feeling something similar when I began practising Zen Buddhism after a long period as a Tibetan Buddhist.
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:28 pm

daverupa wrote:"Creeping Brahmanism", composite suttas, and other hypotheses of deviation from earlier canonical collections have roughly a century to act, but it's fairly speculative stuff at that point... useful to bear in mind, useless to make hard and fast conclusions. I'm a fan of some hypotheses with respect to all this, but to say only they are true... well, it's no good.


Yes, these uncertainties exist, at least in the minds of some scholars. But on balance of probabalities, do you think the suttas are a reasonable approximation of what the Buddha taught?
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:44 pm

porpoise wrote:But on balance of probabalities, do you think the suttas are a reasonable approximation of what the Buddha taught?


Well, I can't answer this question in a simple way because "the suttas" is fairly broad. I would want to examine the question in terms of each Nikaya, as well as in terms of certain topics which seem to be late additions (formless attainments, cessation of perception and feeling, and pertinent here, the chronological development of "this world & the next" --> various realms (not always six) --> the many deva realms and the developed cosmology, and so on - none of this springs full-formed from the texts, but instead a development can be discerned).

In general, two things: it doesn't seem to be the case that what the Buddha taught was changed; it does seem to be the case that the Buddha is said to have said more than he probably actually said. It might be worth a new thread.
    "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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