REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:49 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote: Finally, Gombrich is not an inappropriate authority to refer to so even if I am appealing to him it wouldn't be fallacious unless I assumed the conclusion was deductively true as opposed to just having a greater likelihood of being true because an expert in this topic believes it to be so.


Hi Polar Buddha,

I didn't say that he was the inappropriate authority, just that it seemed (at the time) like you were appealing to him to make your point, which would've been still fallacious.

The fallacy is: an expert says that something is true, therefore there is a consensus (of other experts) that it's true.

:anjali:


That's not what I'm saying.


I understood, that's why I said "at the time." So you agree that there is not a consensus?

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:However, to answer your question. From the OP:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=16405
danieLion wrote:To support the REAL "meditation"/originalist thesis one, as Venerable Pesala typifies, seems compelled to assume or depend upon the validity of the rebirth doctrine.

That seems to be a key point in your argument, so it seems logical that it is being discussed.

PS, here is a link to the post by Bhikkhu Pesala that the OP quoted. It is always useful to have the context.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=16391&p=233677#p233677

:focus:

:anjali:
Mike

I'm not making an argument. I'm trying to have a free exchange of ideas relevant to ALL THREE of the MAIN POINTS of the OP simultaneously. Anything else is OFF TOPIC.

Futhermore, I've already broadened my contextual understanding of Pesala's teachings in this thread beyond the link you provided. You must have overlooked that.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:10 pm

The Pataliya sutta: Samyutta 42.13

The Buddha:

I understand, headman, the destruction of life, and the result of the destruction of life, and I understand how one who destroys life, faring along, with the break up of the body, after death, is reborn in a state of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world, in hell.

I understand headman, the taking of what is not given... sexual misconduct... false speech... divisive speech... harsh speech... idle chatter... covetousness... ill will and and hatred... wrong view, and the result of wrong view, and I understand how one who holds wrong view, faring along, with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in a state of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world in hell.

There are, headman, some ascetics and brahmins who hold such a doctrine and view as this: 'Anyone at all who destroys life experiences pain and grief in this very life. Anyone at all who takes what is not given...who engages in sexual misconduct... who speaks falsely experiences pain and grief in this very life.'

Someone here, headman, is seen garlanded and adorned, freshly bathed and groomed, with hair and beard trimmed, enjoying sensual pleasures with women as if he were a king. They ask someone about him: 'Sir, what has this man done, that he has been garlanded and adorned... enjoying sensual pleasures with women as if he were a king?' They answer: 'Sir, this man attacked the king's enemy and took his life. The king was pleased with him and bestowed a reward upon him. That is why this man is garlanded and adorned... enjoying sensual pleasures with women as if he were a king.'

Then, headman, someone here is seen with his arms tightly bound behind him with a strong rope, his head shaven, being led around from street to street, from square to square, to the ominous beating of a drum, and then taken out through the south gate and beheaded to the south of the city. They ask someone about him: 'Sir, what has this man done, that with his arms tightly tied behind his back.. he is beheaded to the south of the city.' They answer: 'Sir, this man, an enemy of the king, has taken the life of a man or woman. That is why the rulers, having had him arrested, imposed such a punishment upon him."

What do you think headman, have you ever seen or heard of such a case?

Headman: I have seen this, venerable sir, and I have heard of it, and I will hear of it [still again].

The Buddha: Therein, headman, when those ascetics and brahmins who hold such a doctrine and view as this say: 'Anyone at all who destroys life experiences pain and grief here and now,' do they speak truthfully or falsely?

Headman: Falsely, venerable sir.

Buddha: Are those who prattle empty falsehood virtuous or immoral?

Headman: Immoral, venerable sir.

Buddha: Are those who are immoral and of bad character practicing wrongly or rightly?

Headman: Practicing wrongly, venerable sir.

Buddha: Do those who are practicing wrongly hold wrong view or right view?

Headman: Wrong view, venerable sir.

Buddha: Is it proper to place confidence in those who hold wrong view?

Headman: No, venerable sir.


This sutta demonstrates that only a multi-life model of kamma is compatible with the Buddha's teachings. A doctrine of no kamma is wrong view according to the Buddha and a doctrine of kamma in one life is wrong view according to the Buddha. Thus, the doctrine of kamma expounded by the Buddha necessarily entails rebirth. It is rather obvious and I don't see how anyone could disagree without ignoring the suttas.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:14 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
I understood, that's why I said "at the time." So you agree that there is not a consensus?

:anjali:


I don't know if there's a consensus of other experts and I don't really care. Although, if there isn't a consensus on this matter then I imagine that the experts aren't really so expert because I believe that my position, which just so happens to be the same as that of Gombrich, is thoroughly and undeniably supported by the suttas which is that the Buddha's doctrine of kamma is inseparable from the Buddha's doctrine of rebirth.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:17 pm

Hi Polar Buddha,

I think you missed these words from the sutta, "Anyone at all." It's clearly a wrong view... not everyone will experience the pain and grief in this very life, for what they've done.

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:23 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Hi Polar Buddha,

I think you missed these words from the sutta, "Anyone at all." Of course not... I think it's clear that not everyone will experience the pain and grief in this very life.

:anjali:


I didn't miss it, but those words don't change my point, which is that according to the Buddha's doctrine of kamma some people will have to be reborn in order to experience the vipaka of their kamma.

To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their kamma, heir to their kamma, born of their kamma, related through their kamma, and have their kamma as their arbitrator. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.'
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:27 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Hi Polar Buddha,

I think you missed these words from the sutta, "Anyone at all." Of course not... I think it's clear that not everyone will experience the pain and grief in this very life.


I didn't miss it, but those words don't change my point, which is that according to the Buddha's doctrine of kamma some people will have to be reborn in order to experience the vipaka of their kamma.


I thought that your argument was that kamma and rebirth were inseparable?

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:31 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Hi Polar Buddha,

I think you missed these words from the sutta, "Anyone at all." Of course not... I think it's clear that not everyone will experience the pain and grief in this very life.


I didn't miss it, but those words don't change my point, which is that according to the Buddha's doctrine of kamma some people will have to be reborn in order to experience the vipaka of their kamma.


I thought that your argument was that kamma and rebirth were inseparable?

:anjali:


It is, but that doesn't mean that the fruit of every action necessarily comes to fruition in the next life, just that sometimes it must because it hasn't come to fruition in this life, and they aren't arahants, and so the being is reborn accordingly.

The Doctrine of Kamma according to the Buddha is inseparable from rebirth but individual instances of kamma might have their vipaka in the same lifetime. This is key, I'm talking about the doctrine of kamma, not every individual instance of kamma or vipaka.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:51 pm

Hi Polar Buddha,

Personally, I agree that there is rebirth, but it's not something I would hold against others, or to try create a strife with. I would prefer if there's just practice.

For example, with the sutta that you just quoted... if someone becomes upset that someone doesn't seem to experience the fruit of bad kamma in this life, I would just say that it's not how the kamma works.

If the person doesn't believe in rebirth, then I'm not gonna bring that up. I will just say that we'll see the result later on, even after when the person dies. That is still in accord with the teaching.

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:00 pm

beeblebrox wrote:For example, with the sutta that you just quoted... if someone becomes upset that someone doesn't seem to experience the fruit of bad kamma in this life, I would just say that it's not how the kamma works.

If the person doesn't believe in rebirth, then I'm not gonna bring that up. I will just say that we'll see the result later on, even after when the person dies. That is still in accord with the teaching.

:anjali:

But if that same person thinks, "Why practice? I have enough wealth and comfort to enjoy life heedlessly, and then when I die, nothing happens."

What would you say then?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:01 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:For example, with the sutta that you just quoted... if someone becomes upset that someone doesn't seem to experience the fruit of bad kamma in this life, I would just say that it's not how the kamma works.

If the person doesn't believe in rebirth, then I'm not gonna bring that up. I will just say that we'll see the result later on, even after when the person dies. That is still in accord with the teaching.

:anjali:

But if that same person thinks, "Why practice? I have enough wealth and comfort to enjoy life heedlessly, and then when I die, nothing happens."

What would you say then?


That's his choice.

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Viscid » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:13 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:But if that same person thinks, "Why practice? I have enough wealth and comfort to enjoy life heedlessly, and then when I die, nothing happens."

What would you say then?


That's his choice.


Perhaps it's better to use the concept of rebirth as a means to get him to practice rather than to leave him to his misguided choices?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:46 am

Viscid wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:But if that same person thinks, "Why practice? I have enough wealth and comfort to enjoy life heedlessly, and then when I die, nothing happens."

What would you say then?


That's his choice.


Perhaps it's better to use the concept of rebirth as a means to get him to practice rather than to leave him to his misguided choices?


Hi Viscid,

Lonesome Yogurt posted that scenario when I said that I would prefer to just tell the person who doesn't believe in rebirth that we'll still see the result beyond a lifetime.

If you think that the concept of rebirth will turn this person around, then I think that's good. Apparently, Lonesome Yogurt thought that my explanation of kamma was separate from the idea of rebirth.

:anjali:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby daverupa » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:27 am

Viscid wrote:Perhaps it's better to use the concept of rebirth as a means to get him to practice rather than to leave him to his misguided choices?


I don't think so; rebirth and metaphysical retribution is liable to drive away secular and materialist inquirers, in my experience.

Instead, appeal to a common human morality offers a much more fruitful beginning. Cause and effect with respect to wholesome & unwholesome states of body and mind dovetails well with this approach, and offers a practical experience of kamma prior to emphasizing ideation about it, avoiding two of the more knotty topics for newcomers.

Meditation further builds on this approach, per the gradual training - delightfully and joyfully free of worry about these things.

: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: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Viscid » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:11 am

daverupa wrote:
I don't think so; rebirth and metaphysical retribution is liable to drive away secular and materialist inquirers, in my experience.

Haha, I think I was more thinking with regard to historical instances where this may have been the case. That the concept of rebirth had value in making people adhere to moral principles. It would be a horrible idea today, I agree. :tongue:
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:02 am

Hi,

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Here's a diagram I made to explain the interlocking, self-contained nature of the experiential process. It's based on a chart on Wikipedia that I can't find anymore, so I did it from memory. I think it's accurate


One of the corrections is that consciousness is interconditioned with nama-rupa.

Here's my diagram:

http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm

Even though it has inaccuracies, the references below help to build the correct picture.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:18 am

Hi Mr Man,

Mr Man wrote:I asked them because I was hoping you would answer and we could take it from there.


I don't see how the discussion of my personal experience would lead to anything worthwhile.

If you say "It's not so difficult to get in touch with past lives" surely my question is fair?


For example, I say "it's not so difficult to see in mind's eye a four-dimensional cube". The only test would be to test this personally, and ask others who have done it.

If you assert "In ancient times, even more people than today, were simply able to remember past lives." I am interested as to how you came to that conclusion.


From ancient texts.

Or if you say "many children" I think it is fair to question what many would mean in a population of say 1.2 Billion


What for? Are interested in what I'm saying, or interested to disprove what I'm saying?

Are you writing me off here?


I just wrote what this reminds me off, and suggested a solution.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:48 am

danieLion wrote:So, the perspective goes like this, from my point of view: You secular or modernist Buddhists don't have the REAL, original teachings of the Buddha on "meditation," but I (insert contemporary teacher's name) do and will teach it to you. But first, you have to believe in rebirth so when you have questions about progress variance, I can easily dismiss your inquiries and over-simplistically tell you that it depends on the work you've done in previous lives. Again, so as not to be misunderstood, I am open-minded about whether or not rebirth is in fact real. I'm not against it and I'm not for it and will modify my conviction one way or another as time goes by and I'm confronted with new data. However, to say, in effect, "I teach only original Buddhist meditation and in order to do it right you have to beleive in rebirth," seems not only provincialistic but also exclusionary. It also implies that some degree of BLIND FAITH is required to progress on The Path, something even the Buddha never demanded.

I would really appreciate hearing you thoughts one these matters as I find them to be serious issues for Buddhists living in the modern world.

As we have no direct access to what the Buddha actually taught during his lifetime, there is no way of substantiating appeals to "original Buddhism." Aside from that, it seems that there are a couple of related questions here.

First, what is the function of meditation in the Buddhist path of liberation according to the extant sources that claim to be the teachings of the Buddha (and that are generally agreed upon by the ancient Buddhist traditions and modern scholars to be the earliest records)?

And second, what is the place and function of the teachings on rebirth in relation to the Buddhist path of liberation?

In order to develop an intellectual understanding of the role of meditation in the Buddhist path of awakening, I would recommend the following:

1. On the Practice of Buddhist Meditation According to the Pāli Nikāyas and Exegetical Sources by Rupert Gethin.
2. The Four Satipaṭṭhānas in Early Buddhism by Tse-fu Kuan.*
3. Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pāli Canon by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.
4. The Buddhist Path to Awakening by Rupert Gethin.

For sources on the role of the teachings on rebirth, there is the following:

1. Dhamma Without Rebirth? by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
2. Does Rebirth Make Sense? by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
3. The Truth of Rebirth: And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.
4. Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist by B. Alan Wallace.




* Toward the end of this paper there are a couple of dubious statements about saññā & saṅkhāra which were abandoned by the author himself in later publications. Otherwise, it is a decent survey of the suttas on the subject of the satipaṭṭhānas.
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Mr Man » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:51 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Mr Man,

Mr Man wrote:I asked them because I was hoping you would answer and we could take it from there.


I don't see how the discussion of my personal experience would lead to anything worthwhile.

If you say "It's not so difficult to get in touch with past lives" surely my question is fair?


For example, I say "it's not so difficult to see in mind's eye a four-dimensional cube". The only test would be to test this personally, and ask others who have done it.

If you assert "In ancient times, even more people than today, were simply able to remember past lives." I am interested as to how you came to that conclusion.


From ancient texts.

Or if you say "many children" I think it is fair to question what many would mean in a population of say 1.2 Billion


What for? Are interested in what I'm saying, or interested to disprove what I'm saying?

Are you writing me off here?


I just wrote what this reminds me off, and suggested a solution.


Hi Dmytro
What is the difference between relating your personal experience and the experience of your friends? If I were to say "it's not so difficult to see in mind's eye a four-dimensional cube" the implication would be that I could do it and if someone was to ask me to clarify I would answer - no big deal. I'm interested and I don't want to disprove but I certainly think it is worth questioning. Actually there is nothing to disprove - we are not in that arena.

It's interesting that there are now many people in the "west" (possibly more than in asia) who believe that they have had a genuine experience of a past life or that this it is possible to have one. Why would that be?
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Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:35 pm

Hello Dhamma chat folks,

I'd like to add an extra question that I think may fill out the original OP. Lets say a person accepts this ...

(LonesomeYogurt)"the impersonal stream of experience does not begin at birth or end at death, but continues in a cycle of arising and ceasing across multiple lifetimes as propelled by ignorance."
,

but that person remains skeptical about the possibility of recalling past life particularities or at least skeptical that there is any way that kind of cognition could be authenticated either subjectively or objectively? What do folks here or tradition as we know it tell us about how this bears on the efficacy of our practice?



on a personal note...

I post this question to point out that there is not an either or situation but a few nuances to how one might view rebirth. I personally accept the first part about as much as anything I have ever accepted based on circumstantial evidence. I'm uncertain about accepting the possibility that past life particularities can be recalled at all and if they can be I cant see how one would ever authenticate them no matter how detailed the recollection is. For that matter I may be having past life recall pretty regularly. I'm not kidding about that. I seem to recall some stuff which is totally out of context for me personally. I am not interested in authenticating this stuff from the perspective of this life much less any past one. I'm interested in letting go and with that stuff I find it easy. It's a bunch of other clearly proximate and contextual stuff which I find very sticky.


I hope we all find a way to practice ardently.

Metta

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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