Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SarathW » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:23 am

Hi Retro.
Agree. let go off that too.

By the way glad to see you back. :)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby BlackBird » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:29 am

There's nothing about letting go that makes it unique to the Buddha's teachings Sarathw. Anyone can practice meditation and letting go.
Only people trying to understand the Buddha's teachings make an effort to try and comprehend 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 Virgo » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:32 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think the traditional way of practice is to develop the jhānas first, then insight, but the teaching of bare-awareness was given to individuals who wanted to develop insight in the shortest possible time.

The Elder Poṭhila (empty-headed Poṭhila) had been teaching the Dhamma to others and was a well-respected teacher with hundreds of disciples, many of whom were Arahants.

Bahiya was an experienced ship's captain who had been ship-wrecked, and was the only one to escape with his life. He then travelled right across India to meet the Buddha after hearing about his Enlightenment.

Mālukyaputta was already 80 years of age when he ordained.

All of them would have had a great sense of urgency to gain insight, due to not expecting to live for much longer.

Nowadays, many who take up meditation practice have limited time available for practice. They must earn a living and look after their families, or if they are young, they may be pursuing University degrees with a view to having good career prospects. There are few who are able or willing to renounce and become monks or nuns.


Even among monastics, many of us feel the need to study and teach to preserve the true Dhamma before the practical knowledge of insight meditation is lost.

The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw taught the Mālukyaputta Sutta repeatedly and in many places. The practice of bare awareness is the most vital teaching for those who have limited time to devote to meditation. Others may have more time to develop samatha practices before proceeding to vipassanā.

Excellent post, Bhante.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings

Postby alan... » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:12 am

SamKR wrote:Thank you, Mike for the link.
But the question is still there. These suttas seem to be the actual "meditation" instructions, and they are, of course, in line with MahaSatipatthana Sutta.


i'm conflicted on this being in line with mahasatipatthana. obviously it's not OUT of line with it, but are they identical? i wonder if, as others have said, the refrain of the satipatthana suttas is actually a step by step process and "or else mindfulness that 'there is a body' is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness" is the final step, in which case it sounds quite similar to these suttas you are referencing.

however "contemplating in the body it's nature of arising" (the beginning of the refrain and "first step" if you're seeing it that way) doesn't sound like there is JUST the body, but rather a viewing of it's arising and falling. but then again, this leading to the final step, they are one and the same.


who knows though? i'm conflicted on the whole thing clearly, and i'm no expert. just my thoughts.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SarathW » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:36 am

BlackBird wrote:There's nothing about letting go that makes it unique to the Buddha's teachings Sarathw. Anyone can practice meditation and letting go.
Only people trying to understand the Buddha's teachings make an effort to try and comprehend the Four Noble Truths.


I agree with you. That is the preparation for the final jump. You have to let go of it ,for diving to Nirvana. :)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:21 am

SamKR wrote:Can we safely say that Malunkyaputta Sutta and Bahiya Sutta represent the most direct -- and the briefest -- essence or core of the high-level-teachings of the Buddha that could be practiced to realize nibbana?

Both Malunkyaputta and Bahiya were old and they had not much time left. Both were in a rush to know and practice Dhamma.
In both cases the Buddha taught in brief. Malunkyaputta even asked the Buddha to teach Dhamma in brief.
In both cases the students became Arahants after practicing:

"Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. 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."


"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. 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, Bāhiya, 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."


All that arises passes away and is not self.
Sabbe sankhara anicca/ sabbe dhamma anatta.

"Here, Ānanda, for the Tathāgata feelings are known as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear; perceptions are known as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear; thoughts are known as they arise, as they are present, as they disappear. Remember this too, Ānanda, as a wonderful and marvelous quality of the Tathāgata.” MN123

"In the same way, friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated." Khemaka Sutta

“Venerable sir. There are six openings in a mound, which an iguana makes his home. If you want to catch the iguana, close up the five exits from the mound, and wait for it to come out from the last exit. There are six doors through which sense-objects can enter. If you close five of them, and keep watch at the mind-door, your task will be accomplished." The Elder Potthila
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SamKR » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:23 am

BlackBird wrote:How could the essence of the Buddha's teachings be anything other than the Four Noble Truths?

True.

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

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

Metta,
Retro. :)

The word essence can be used in a different sense without implying any real core or self of Dhamma, I guess.
But then English is my second language, and I may have chosen a wrong word.
:)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby SamKR » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:29 am

alan... wrote:
SamKR wrote:Thank you, Mike for the link.
But the question is still there. These suttas seem to be the actual "meditation" instructions, and they are, of course, in line with MahaSatipatthana Sutta.


i'm conflicted on this being in line with mahasatipatthana. obviously it's not OUT of line with it, but are they identical? i wonder if, as others have said, the refrain of the satipatthana suttas is actually a step by step process and "or else mindfulness that 'there is a body' is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness" is the final step, in which case it sounds quite similar to these suttas you are referencing.

I'm as conflicted as you are :).
But I guess the teaching in the suttas mentioned in the OP is a subset of what is taught in MahaSatipatthana Sutta.

alan... wrote:however "contemplating in the body it's nature of arising" (the beginning of the refrain and "first step" if you're seeing it that way) doesn't sound like there is JUST the body, but rather a viewing of it's arising and falling. but then again, this leading to the final step, they are one and the same.

I think "sensed in reference to the sensed" covers the contemplation of body in body. When viewing body we "should" be actually viewing inconstancy and disgust regarding the body.
When there is "sensed in reference to the sensed" there is just arising and passing away of the sensed (and no "sensor" sensing) -- a shimmering flux without any core or substance or special features -- besides that all concepts born out of that inconstant flux (including concept of time which gives the sense of continuity) are mere fabrications, mere illusions. Interesting thing is concepts are being fabricated out of other concepts -- creating the world. That's my view --right or wrong, not fully sure. :)
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Re: Essence of the Buddha's teachings?

Postby mogg » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:41 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think the traditional way of practice is to develop the jhānas first, then insight, but the teaching of bare-awareness was given to individuals who wanted to develop insight in the shortest possible time.

The Elder Poṭhila (empty-headed Poṭhila) had been teaching the Dhamma to others and was a well-respected teacher with hundreds of disciples, many of whom were Arahants.

Bahiya was an experienced ship's captain who had been ship-wrecked, and was the only one to escape with his life. He then travelled right across India to meet the Buddha after hearing about his Enlightenment.

Mālukyaputta was already 80 years of age when he ordained.

All of them would have had a great sense of urgency to gain insight, due to not expecting to live for much longer.

Nowadays, many who take up meditation practice have limited time available for practice. They must earn a living and look after their families, or if they are young, they may be pursuing University degrees with a view to having good career prospects. There are few who are able or willing to renounce and become monks or nuns.

Even among monastics, many of us feel the need to study and teach to preserve the true Dhamma before the practical knowledge of insight meditation is lost.

The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw taught the Mālukyaputta Sutta repeatedly and in many places. The practice of bare awareness is the most vital teaching for those who have limited time to devote to meditation. Others may have more time to develop samatha practices before proceeding to vipassanā.

This confuses me. The Buddha taught one path, the eightfold path. Its aim is to realise the four noble truths for one's self. It makes no sense to me that there would be a 'quicky path' that the Buddha would hold up his sleeve for people with little spare time. The Buddha would have taught the most expeditious path that existed to everyone, not just those with time constraints (which is everyone as far as I'm concerned).

The whole idea of separating Insight from samatha makes no sense to me, and I can't find supporting documentation in the suttas, nor do I find support from the Sangha that I have come into contact with for this kind of teaching.

If I have misunderstood something or have made an error in my statements I apologise, it is merely due to my own ignorance and limited understanding.

With metta.
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