Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:28 am

reflection wrote:It is the 8-fold path.
Pay attention, be heedful.
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: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:It is the 8-fold path.
Pay attention, be heedful.


:goodpost:

...and whatever arises, don't cling to it.
_/|\_
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:14 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote:It is the 8-fold path.
Pay attention, be heedful.

"Avoid evil, cultivate good, purify the mind."

We can find many 'short versions' of what the Buddha taught. Somewhere in the SN, there is a section of all kinds of things that are "the path", like "concentration is the path", "the enlightenment factors are the path", "faith is the path", etc. etc.

All of those 'short versions' are right in a way and quotes like this can be quite inspirational or a good reminder. And it is ok to emphasize certain things more than others. But, it can become a problem when one loses perspective and think one teaching is in some way better, faster, or more essential than the other. The perspective I would advise is all the other discourses where the path is explained. And most of the time, this is by all of the 8 factors. If we neglect certain parts of the path, it won't be fast at all. It'll be like a car that misses some wheels; bound to not arrive at its destination, but crash somewhere along the way.

And I'm not saying you do, or anyone here does, but certainly some people in the world do, or at least wish there was some special shortcut to avoid the seemingly long path. They prefer a car with one wheel.

With metta, :buddha2:
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby alan » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:26 pm

Keep in mind that the Buddha crafted his comments to the needs, interests, and level of his audience. That's why we see succinct, direct teachings to people he knew where on the cusp of understanding, and more vague ideas and general concepts taught to average people.

Famous suttas like Bahiya and Kalamas ,when taken out of context, just create confusion and lead to pointless speculation.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:45 pm

reflection wrote: . . .
The bottom line is that the Eightfold Path cannot possibly be tread if one does not pay attention, is not heedful.
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: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby alan » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:14 pm

May be true, but does not answer the OP's question.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:15 pm

alan wrote:May be true, but does not answer the OP's question.
And in my opinion, it actually does rather neatly.
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: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:30 pm

I was interested the other day to see these remarks from a Japanese roshi, presenting the "essence" of Buddhism as follows:

Yamada Ryoun wrote:Whenever the New Year comes people think they have grown a year older and a year closer to death. But this is a big mistake. Where is that which has grown a year older, where is that which has made another step toward death? Shakyamuni pursued this question relentlessly. And he realized that this thing called the “self” had neither shadow nor form nor color nor smell nor weight nor anything at all. He realized that this “self” was no more than an image that human beings had arbitrarily produced in their heads. If “self” and “person” are no more than concepts, then “the death of a person” is no more than a concept formed from the workings of the mind. One speaks of “dying” but the “one” dying does not exist. To put it clearly, from the start “death” itself does not exist.


Is this close to the Malunkyaputta and Bahiya suttas? Sounded that way to me.

When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby reflection » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
reflection wrote: . . .
The bottom line is that the Eightfold Path cannot possibly be tread if one does not pay attention, is not heedful.

Yup. I agree.

But you could also say heedfulness is the path, as it says in the Dhammapada. Or you could say it is only a part of the path. Or you define the path with a totally different word. It's all true in a sense, but it is also all wrong in a sense. As I said, it's all fine as long as people don't loose perspective and think some teaching is meant to be somehow superior to others, faster or better than others, overruling others. And this seems to happen quite a lot, on all sorts of fronts, on the level of view up to the level of samadhi. People rip a page out of a book and think that's the whole story. So they hold it dearly. My advise is just to read the whole book and then you can throw it all away, including that single page.

With metta,
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby binocular » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:24 pm

Asking "What is the quickest, surest way to enlightenment?" could be done for several reasons.

It could be a genuine question.

It could also be a lazy question, or a question with which one tries to gloss over one's lack of faith in the Buddha.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:05 pm

Being able to state a teaching clearly and simply is not the same thing as putting it into practice. Even were we to agree that "Buddhism is simple: just drop your attachments and notions of self", how many of us could say we're even close to bringing that about?

Laziness or bad faith is seen when one equates declaring the goal of the path with actually having achieved that goal.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SamKR » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:47 pm

In my original post I don't mean to say that any part of the eight-fold path is not essential. We must practice all of eight-fold path, no doubt. But then there is also a hierarchy of practice as mentioned in Cula Saropama Sutta. Here the Buddha says:
"Brahman, this holy life doesn't have as its reward gain, offerings, & fame, doesn't have as its reward consummation of virtue, doesn't have as its reward consummation of concentration, doesn't have as its reward knowledge & vision [ñāṇadassanā], but the unprovoked awareness-release [akuppā cetovimutti]: That is the purpose of this holy life, that is its heartwood, that its final end."


So the highest purpose of holy life, according to this sutta, is akuppā cetovimutti which is to be realized in jhanas after ñāṇadassanā. If I am right Bahiya and Malunkyaputta sutta fall under ñāṇadassanā. So, the teachings to Bahiya, and Malunkyaputta are not the end in themselves. I am a bit confused, but I guess it is correct to say that ñāṇadassanā and jhanas constitute "the essence of" higher-level teachings for the purpose of the holy life.
But again this particular sutta could be tailored by the Buddha to Piṅgalakoccha. And as said before maybe we cannot generalize.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Samma » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:56 pm

Some other translation of akuppa-ceto-vimutti are: steadfast/unshakable deliverance/freedom/release of mind
i.e. asava free mind of arahant.

As I suggested on the first page, Bahiya story is essentially one of dispassion (viraga), leading to knowledge & vision of release (vimutti-nana-dassana). I'd say that is comparable to the above. Not sure exact relation between viraga and knowledge and vision, but they seem to be pretty catch all terms.

Here is another telling:
Discipline is for the sake of restraint, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquility, tranquility for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of concentration, concentration for the sake of knowledge and vision of things as they have come to be, knowledge and vision of things as they have come to be for the sake of disenchantment, disenchantment for the sake of dispassion, dispassion for the sake of release, release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release, knowledge and vision of release for the sake of total unbinding through non-clinging. — Pv.XII.2

I don't think Theravadins care much for talk of higher level teachings, as other sects might of secret teachigns and such. As others have said, better to talk about what teaching is appropriate to the individual. There is a graudal path, and for whatever reason (wisdom), some skip steps or go though them quickly.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:55 pm

In spite of my earlier post about different teachings, techniques for different folks, personalities; I find myself looking for the essence too :tongue: or at least for what works for me.

Another good teaching / list from the suttas that seems to really get to the heart of the practice and teachings is the 37 factors ("wings") of enlightenment. An analysis of it by Buddhaghosa revealed several recurring concepts running through the 37:

saddha (2 times) [faith, confidence]
samādhi (4 times) [concentration, tranquility]
paññā (5 times) [wisdom]
sati (8 times) [mindfulness]
viriya (9 times) [energy]

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhipakkhiyadhamma
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Kamran » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:18 pm

Sankhitta is brief and seems more complete to me ( brahma viharas and 4 foundations of mindfulness mastered in terms of the Jhana levels)

Sankhitta Sutta: In Brief
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

May the Blessed One teach me the Dhamma in brief.....then monk you should train yourself thus


I am sure there is briefer sutta, but I think this is the essence:
Mn 24
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-3

When asked if the holy life is lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of virtue, you say, 'No, my friend.' When asked if the holy life is lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of concentration... view... the overcoming of perplexity... knowledge & vision, you say, 'No, my friend.'

For the sake of what, then, my friend, is the holy life lived under the Blessed One?

The holy life is lived under the Blessed One, my friend, for the sake of total Unbinding through lack of clinging.


Buddhism should be called "Letting-Go-ism" :)
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:48 pm

Isn't the essence of Buddhism obvious? It's release from suffering. That theme is carried throughout his teachings.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SarathW » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:32 pm

Thanks for the question. I say definitely yes. I came to this conclusion through my meditation.
But it took me years of study and meditation to realise this though many teachers say this to me many times.
That is the only difference. :)
Please don't get me wrong. I am not an Arahant :)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby BlackBird » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:27 am

How could the essence of the Buddha's teachings be anything other than the Four Noble Truths?
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SarathW » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:51 am

Hi Blackbird
This is how I see it. Say you want to go sky diving. You get in to the plane with all gear and ready to jump and hanging to the bar outside the plane.
You have to let the hands go off the bar to accomplish it.
Letting go is the essence. :)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:55 am

Greetings,

This talk of "essence" is somewhat ironic given that sabbe dhamma anatta.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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