Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:39 am

Dear friends,

I've just read MN 8 again and would like to share with you some new understanding about effacement and our teacher for effacement.

MN 8. Sallekha sutta [http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/transcribed-suttas/majjhima-nikaya/129-mn-8-sallekha-sutta-effacement.html]

1) Know what to efface (efface all the unwholesome states/qualities), and what to cultivate (all the wholesome states/qualities)
2) Incline the mind towards the wholesome
3) Practice the effacement by (with non-cruelty as foundation):
a. Abstaining from the ten unwholesome deeds (wash away the “gross sand”)
b. Cultivating the ten wholesome factors of the path (wash away the “fine sand”)
i. Effacing the five hindrances
ii. Effacing the various defilements
4) The way to lead upwards (by the wholesome): cultivate the wholesome
5) The way of extinguishing (defilements):
"Cunda, that one who is himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is impossible; that one who is not himself sinking in the mud should pull out another
who is sinking in the mud is possible. That one who is himself untamed, undisciplined, [with defilements] unextinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his
defilements] is impossible; that one who is himself tamed, disciplined, [with defilements] extinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his defilements] is
possible. So too: (1) A person given to cruelty has non-cruelty by which to extinguish it. …

To my understanding, the Buddha taught us here to use the wholesome (Dhamma) to extinguish the unwholesome, instead of relying on unliberated teachers. Only arahants, not any unliberated ones such as stream winners, can truly teach others to efface defilements. While helping others, an unliberated one should always point his students to the Dhamma as their ultimate teacher (instead of himself) and let them realize that what he taught might be wrong. We as students should always remember to rely on the Dhamma as our ultimate teacher and refuge, since we can’t judge if someone is fully enlightened or not.

The same principle was taught in AN 3.65 Kalama Sutta:

So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These teachings are unwholesome; these teachings are blameworthy; these teachings criticized by the wise; these teachings, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' ...

Now, Kalamas, ... When you know for yourselves that, 'These teachings are wholesome; these teachings are blameless; these teachings are praised by the wise; these teachings, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should adopt & carry them out. [Of course the highest teachings that can lead to the supreme happiness, nibbana, is the Buddha's teaching, the Dhamma.]

Happy Chinese New Year to all Chinese friends!

Metta to all,

Starter

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Hello starter

Good topic, thanks. I would just like to say my opinion regarding apropriate teachers. I think it's possible for a stream winner to help another person ataing stream entry. But it's possible that that's as far as s/he can help. And similarly to the other levels of atainment. Maybe this is a construction of mine or maybe it's based on reality.

However, I would like to point out that reading the teachings of the suttas as categorical statements is not helpful. Even though the Buddha (almost) never lied, the statements he does are both context dpendent and aproximations to the truth, not necessarily the exact and rigorous truth. An example is him saying that there are 1000 other worlds (if we can atribute this to him; that's another story). Why 1000? Is that the exact number or an aproximation? If we admit that the Buddha sometimes made aproximations to the truth when he spoke, instead of telling a detailed exposition on a subject which would be more true, but harder to understand, then we can't read the suttas as a set of categorical final statements about the dhamma. It's not as static as that. It's more fluid.

An example of an aproximation is the Buddha's teaching in short, which I'm sure you know: "Do good, avoid evil, purify your mind, that's the teaching of the Buddhas". While this is true, it's very hard to make something concrete about the dhamma from this statement.

So in conclusion, it's hard to mantain that only arahats can help other beings to completely erase their defilements. There's truth to that, of course, but for example, I can imagine that a non returner could help another person ataining arahatship by a teaching a mixture of his own experience and the dhamma that he knows from the scriptures, which would be doing what you said an unenlightened teacher should do.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:43 pm

Troubling question: Would we even have teachers right now if we followed the standard presented here, i.e. one should only learn from arahants or if not that, then just learn from 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: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:19 pm

Hello Modus and polarbuddha101,

Thanks for your comments. I'd like to clarify that I didn't intend to say we shouldn't have teachers, but should have the true Buddha's teaching (the Dhamma) as our ultimate teacher and refuge. I'd check if a teacher's teaching conforms to the Dhamma or not, instead of blindly following him. Although a real stream winner could help others to attain stream entry, I wouldn't be confident that a teacher is indeed a stream winner if I myself hadn't attained the stream entry and hence couldn't judge. A real streamwinner should truly understand, practice, and teach the 4NT and the Buddha's path, not his or his own teacher's teaching and path. It's far better to rely on the Dhamma.

Have the Dhamma as our teacher and refuge doesn't mean that we don't want any teachers and just read the suttas. I consider the Dhamma as the principle, which doesn't change according to contexts or statements. "Do good, avoid evil, purify your mind, that's the teaching of the Buddhas" is a very good summary of the Dhamma: "Cultivate the wholesome, abandon the unwholesome, purify the mind of defilements". All the teachings of the Buddha is teaching this principle.

Success with the Dhamma practice!

Starter
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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:26 pm

Hi I read the following teachings today on Sekha's website: http://www.buddha-vacana.org/.
You very likely have already read them. I hope that you don't mind my sharing them with you.

Thanks and metta!


— Mahāparinibbāna Sutta —

To some of you, Ānanda, it may occur thus: 'The words of the Teacher have ended, there is a Teacher no longer'. But it should not, Ānanda, be so considered. Indeed, Ānanda, that which I have taught and made known to you as the Dhamma and the Vinaya will be your Teacher after my passing away.

— Āṇi Sutta —

In future time, there will be bhikkhus who will not listen to the utterance of such discourses which are words of the Tathāgata, profound, profound in meaning, leading beyond the world, (consistently) connected with emptiness, they will not lend ear, they will not apply their mind on knowledge, they will not consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.

On the contrary, they will listen to the utterance of such discourses which are literary compositions made by poets, witty words, witty letters, by people from outside, or the words of disciples, they will lend ear, they will apply their mind on knowledge, they will consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.

Thus, bhikkhus, the discourses which are words of the Tathāgata, profound, profound in meaning, leading beyond the world, (consistently) connected with emptiness, will disappear.

Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train thus: 'We will listen to the utterance of such discourses which are words of the Tathāgata, profound, profound in meaning, leading beyond the world, (consistently) connected with emptiness, we will lend ear, we will apply our mind on knowledge, we will consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.' This is how, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves.

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby perkele » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:45 pm

starter wrote:Dear friends,

I've just read MN 8 again and would like to share with you some new understanding about effacement and our teacher for effacement.

MN 8. Sallekha sutta [http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/transcribed-suttas/majjhima-nikaya/129-mn-8-sallekha-sutta-effacement.html]

1) Know what to efface (efface all the unwholesome states/qualities), and what to cultivate (all the wholesome states/qualities)
2) Incline the mind towards the wholesome
3) Practice the effacement by (with non-cruelty as foundation):
a. Abstaining from the ten unwholesome deeds (wash away the “gross sand”)
b. Cultivating the ten wholesome factors of the path (wash away the “fine sand”)
i. Effacing the five hindrances
ii. Effacing the various defilements
4) The way to lead upwards (by the wholesome): cultivate the wholesome
5) The way of extinguishing (defilements):
"Cunda, that one who is himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is impossible; that one who is not himself sinking in the mud should pull out another
who is sinking in the mud is possible. That one who is himself untamed, undisciplined, [with defilements] unextinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his
defilements] is impossible; that one who is himself tamed, disciplined, [with defilements] extinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his defilements] is
possible. So too: (1) A person given to cruelty has non-cruelty by which to extinguish it. …

To my understanding, the Buddha taught us here to use the wholesome (Dhamma) to extinguish the unwholesome, instead of relying on unliberated teachers. Only arahants, not any unliberated ones such as stream winners, can truly teach others to efface defilements. While helping others, an unliberated one should always point his students to the Dhamma as their ultimate teacher (instead of himself) and let them realize that what he taught might be wrong. We as students should always remember to rely on the Dhamma as our ultimate teacher and refuge, since we can’t judge if someone is fully enlightened or not.

The same principle was taught in AN 3.65 Kalama Sutta:

So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These teachings are unwholesome; these teachings are blameworthy; these teachings criticized by the wise; these teachings, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' ...

Now, Kalamas, ... When you know for yourselves that, 'These teachings are wholesome; these teachings are blameless; these teachings are praised by the wise; these teachings, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should adopt & carry them out. [Of course the highest teachings that can lead to the supreme happiness, nibbana, is the Buddha's teaching, the Dhamma.]

Happy Chinese New Year to all Chinese friends!

Metta to all,

Starter


Thank you, Starter, for this thorough investigation and teaching!
It is most inspiring to see such wholehearted dedication to understanding the Dhamma.

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby SarathW » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:26 am

Anyone can be accepted as a teacher, as far as you have a clear goal and wisdom.
Buddha had many teachers who are not Arahants.
:)

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:32 am

starter wrote:Only arahants, not any unliberated ones such as stream winners, can truly teach others to efface defilements. While helping others, an unliberated one should always point his students to the Dhamma as their ultimate teacher (instead of himself) and let them realize that what he taught might be wrong.

I don't think one needs to be liberated to teach others. As long as one has both academic knowledge and practical experience, there is much that one can do. Whether the teaching is effective or not depends as much on the listener as on the speaker. Many monks became Arahants after studying the Dhamma under the Venerable Pothila, who was just a puthujjana AFAIK.

BTW You might not agree with me, but the link in your first post would be more useful if made active — MN 8. Sallekha sutta
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:22 am

Hi Starter,
starter wrote:— Mahāparinibbāna Sutta —
To some of you, Ānanda, it may occur thus: 'The words of the Teacher have ended, there is a Teacher no longer'. But it should not, Ānanda, be so considered. Indeed, Ānanda, that which I have taught and made known to you as the Dhamma and the Vinaya will be your Teacher after my passing away.

Dhammavuddho Thero wrote:Nowadays, there is a proliferation of books on the Buddha's Teachings. Studying these books would inevitably result in imbibing some of the views and interpretations of the various writers on what the Buddha actually taught, which would result in some wrong views. On the other hand, there are some meditation teachers who advise their students not to study at all but to only meditate. In effect, what they are suggesting is for their students to listen to them only. Avoiding the two extremes, we should practise the middle path taught by the Buddha - investigate His discourses (1) and practise the Noble Eightfold Path, as He advised. The importance of the Buddha's discourses for the practice of the Dhamma, whether by lay people or by monks, can hardly be exaggerated.
From: Liberation - Relevance of Sutta-Vinaya by Dhammavuddho Thero
This essay was based on the Dhamma talk "Importance of the Buddha's Discourses" delivered on 9th December 1997 by Venerable Dhammavuddho Thero. This article first appeared in THERAVADA (March 1999). The Journal of Theravada Society of Australia.

With metta / dhammapal.

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:37 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
starter wrote:Only arahants, not any unliberated ones such as stream winners, can truly teach others to efface defilements. While helping others, an unliberated one should always point his students to the Dhamma as their ultimate teacher (instead of himself) and let them realize that what he taught might be wrong.

I don't think one needs to be liberated to teach others. As long as one has both academic knowledge and practical experience, there is much that one can do. Whether the teaching is effective or not depends as much on the listener as on the speaker. Many monks became Arahants after studying the Dhamma under the Venerable Pothila, who was just a puthujjana AFAIK.


Dear Bhante Pesala and other friends,

Many thanks for all your input. As I explained in an earlier post, having the Dhamma as our teacher and refuge doesn't mean that we don't want any teachers and just read the suttas, but should have the true Buddha's teaching (the Dhamma/vinaya) as our ultimate teacher and refuge. I agree that one can teach others if he truly understand the Buddha's teaching and practice, but I'd rather use the word "share" instead of "teach" -- he shares his knowledge and understanding of the Buddha's teaching with his students, and should point his students to the Buddha (Dhamma/Vinaya) as their ultimate teacher instead of himself (and I believe that he'd better consider himself also as a disciple of the Buddha instead of a teacher of the Dhamma). I'm pretty sure that's what Venerable Pothila did.

MN 8:
"That one who is himself untamed, undisciplined, [with defilements] unextinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his
defilements] is impossible ..."

According to the avove teaching, an unliberated one cannot truly teach others to extinguish defilements, but of course he could point others to the Dhamma/vinaya for effacing their defilements.

Metta to all!

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:28 am

Greetings!

AN 5.159: Udayi Sutta [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.159.than.html]

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.' [For the Buddha's typical step-by-step teaching see Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta; to my understanding the step-by-step talk is more concerning the theoretical understanding, instead of the actual practice]

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of the path/practice (I changed the sequence "of the course and effect" into the sequence "of the path/practice", since the sequence of course and effect is included in the step-by-step theoretical talk; if the Buddha meant explaining course and effect, then he would more likely directly say "course and effect", instead of just saying "the sequence").'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'

As I understand from the above teaching, only a noble disciple who has fathomed/mastered the sequence of the path/practice (then s/he must be above a stream winner) can teach the Dhamma to others. Otherwise, he might just mislead others in their Dhamma practice.

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!
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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:41 am

hi Starter,
Venerable Analayo in the first series of lectures on the MA talks about this, I apologize I do not recall which lesson :(
In essence Teaching The Dhamma can be a way of consolidating what one knows and understanding of the subject fully. I see this as a means to help bring clarity and organize the information in a better way within the mind so the full path can be seen a little clearer and better reflection of actions... can happen in a more appropriate and proper context.

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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby pegembara » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:18 am

starter wrote:Greetings!

AN 5.159: Udayi Sutta [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.159.than.html]

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.' [For the Buddha's typical step-by-step teaching see Ud 5.3: Kuṭṭhi Sutta; to my understanding the step-by-step talk is more concerning the theoretical understanding, instead of the actual practice]

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of the path/practice (I changed the sequence "of the course and effect" into the sequence "of the path/practice", since the sequence of course and effect is included in the step-by-step theoretical talk; if the Buddha meant explaining course and effect, then he would more likely directly say "course and effect", instead of just saying "the sequence").'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'

As I understand from the above teaching, only a noble disciple who has fathomed/mastered the sequence of the path/practice (then s/he must be above a stream winner) can teach the Dhamma to others. Otherwise, he might just mislead others in their Dhamma practice.

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!


I agree. Only a noble disciple will have the qualities highlighted. In order to speak out of compassion means that person has already got a firm footing and can only then help others. Doing it without any expectation of reward and also able to teach without being hurt ie. getting personally involved are also marks of an ariya. But it does not mean that all noble disciples can teach since not everyone has the same inclinations or abilities.
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: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:22 am

starter wrote:As I understand from the above teaching, only a noble disciple who has fathomed/mastered the sequence of the path/practice (then s/he must be above a stream winner) can teach the Dhamma to others. Otherwise, he might just mislead others in their Dhamma practice.


In general, a teacher can be more effective if they have mastered the subject they teach. The five points of AN 5.159 result in the best outcome for the student and the teacher, and thus should be followed. However, this does not seem to be the same as saying that only a noble disciple's teachings are useful, or the same as saying that all noble disciples can teach effectively.

It may be possible for a person who has not themselves mastered the practice to happen to quote the right set of teachings to allow others to master the practice.

Gifts He Left Behind: The Dhamma Legacy of Ajaan Dune Atulo wrote:When I asked, "Have there ever been any run-of-the-mill people still thick with defilements who have nevertheless been able to teach other people to become arahants?" he answered,

"Haven't there been a lot of doctors who, even though they themselves are ill, have been able to cure other people of their illnesses?"


Similarly, someone who has mastered the practice themselves may not have mastered the ability to understand others and to communicate the practice clearly. Thus, despite having mastered the practice, they may mislead others.

MN 12: Maha-sihanada Sutta wrote:Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...
Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata's power...


Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Other arahants can certainly teach, and many do teach groups of disciples. Nevertheless, as teachers they do not compare with the Buddha. This is so in at least two respects: First, the Dhamma they teach others is one that comes from the Buddha, and thus ultimately the Buddha is the source of their wisdom; and second, their skills in teaching never match in all respects the skills of the Buddha, who is the only one who knows the path in its entirety. The Buddha can function so effectively as a teacher because his attainment of enlightenment — the knowledge of the four noble truths, which brings the destruction of the defilements — brings along the acquisition of several other types of knowledge that are considered special assets of a Buddha. Chief among these, according to the oldest sources, are the ten Tathāgata powers (see MN I 70-71), which include the knowledge of the diverse inclinations of beings (sattānaṃ nānādhimuttikataṃ yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇaṃ) and the knowledge of the degree of maturity of the faculties of other beings (parasattānaṃ parapuggalānaṃ indriyaparopariyattaṃ yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇaṃ). Such types of knowledge enable the Buddha to understand the mental proclivities and capacities of any person who comes to him for guidance, and to teach that person in the particular way that will prove most beneficial, taking full account of his or her character and personal circumstances. He is thus "the unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed." Whereas arahant disciples are limited in their communicative skills, the Buddha can communicate effectively with beings in many other realms of existence, as well as with people from many different walks of life. This skill singles him out as "the teacher of devas and humans."

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:33 pm

culaavuso wrote:It may be possible for a person who has not themselves mastered the practice to happen to quote the right set of teachings to allow others to master the practice.


As I explained in an earlier post, I agree that non-ariyan disciples could point others to the Dhamma/vinaya for effacing their defilements, but I'd rather use the word "share" instead of "teach" -- he shares his knowledge of the Buddha's teaching with others, and should point others to the Buddha (Dhamma/Vinaya) as their ultimate teacher instead of himself (and I believe that he'd better consider himself also as a disciple of the Buddha instead of a teacher of the Dhamma).

Thanks for all the input. Metta to all!

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:53 am

Greetings!

I recently happened to hear MN 9, and noticed that Ven. Sariputta was addressed as "Friend" by the other practitioners, instead of "Teacher" or "Master", when he was teaching them.

"Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There the venerable Sāriputta addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Friends, bhikkhus.”—“Friend,” they replied. The venerable Sāriputta said this:

“‘One of right view, one of right view,’ is said, friends. In what way is a noble disciple one of right view, whose view is straight, who has unwavering confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma?”

“Indeed, friend, we would come from far away to learn from the venerable Sāriputta the meaning of this statement. It would be good if the venerable Sāriputta would explain the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”

“Then, friends, listen and attend closely to what I shall say.”

“Yes, friend,” the bhikkhus replied..."

I linked this with the following (and other) teaching and came to the belief that at the Buddha's time, only the Buddha was named/considered the teacher, all the arahant disciples that the Buddha allowed to teach were not named/considered teacher but rather friend:

"Now the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "It may be, Ananda, that to some among you the thought will come: 'Ended is the word of the Teacher; we have a Teacher no longer.' But it should not, Ananda, be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Teacher when I am gone." (MN 16)

It's a pity that such vitally important tradition had somehow gotten lost among the Buddha's followers, and various disciples became "masters"/"teachers" of the Dhamma, who taught/teach their own teachings or their own interpretation of the Buddha's teaching which, as I mentioned before, led to the disappearance of the Dhamma in some countries and the disappearance (?) of genuine arahants.

I believe that it's very important and necessary to reestablish the tradition to call/consider only the Buddha as the "Teacher", and all others as "Friend". This will help remind both the teachers and the students to use the Four Great Referrals to judge what to follow, and what not to follow.

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby binocular » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:52 am

starter wrote:It's a pity that such vitally important tradition had somehow gotten lost among the Buddha's followers, and various disciples became "masters"/"teachers" of the Dhamma, who taught/teach their own teachings or their own interpretation of the Buddha's teaching which, as I mentioned before, led to the disappearance of the Dhamma in some countries and the disappearance (?) of genuine arahants.

I believe that it's very important and necessary to reestablish the tradition to call/consider only the Buddha as the "Teacher", and all others as "Friend". This will help remind both the teachers and the students to use the Four Great Referrals to judge what to follow, and what not to follow.

This kind of phenomenon appears in most major religions: when the founder of a religion passes away, all that is left are the scriptures, and numerous people each of whom claims to have the one and only right understanding (or at least the most right understanding) of the scriptures and of what the founder meant. And then these people argue with eachother (and anyone else who comes along) ...

starter
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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:30 pm

binocular wrote:
starter wrote:It's a pity that such vitally important tradition had somehow gotten lost among the Buddha's followers, and various disciples became "masters"/"teachers" of the Dhamma, who taught/teach their own teachings or their own interpretation of the Buddha's teaching which, as I mentioned before, led to the disappearance of the Dhamma in some countries and the disappearance (?) of genuine arahants.

I believe that it's very important and necessary to reestablish the tradition to call/consider only the Buddha as the "Teacher", and all others as "Friend". This will help remind both the teachers and the students to use the Four Great Referrals to judge what to follow, and what not to follow.

This kind of phenomenon appears in most major religions: when the founder of a religion passes away, all that is left are the scriptures, and numerous people each of whom claims to have the one and only right understanding (or at least the most right understanding) of the scriptures and of what the founder meant. And then these people argue with eachother (and anyone else who comes along) ...


I agree. Nevertheless, if the tradition to call/consider only the Buddha as the "Teacher" and all others as "Friend" can be reestablished, then at least the suttas will be used as the ultimate guide for the practitioners, instead of each teacher's own words. But now it's commonly accepted/believed that the teachers' words ("Dhamma") should be followed, without using the Four Great Referrals, as I see it. It reminds me the story of a long row of blinded men, one after another, led by a blinded man; but I'd change "blinded" into "with eyes closed" -- in this case, they only need to open their eyes to the Buddha's words, instead of following a "blinded" leader.

Metta to all!

Metta to all!

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:18 pm

starter wrote:But now it's commonly accepted/believed that the teachers' words ("Dhamma") should be followed, without using the Four Great Referrals, as I see it.


DN 16: Maha-parinibbana Sutta wrote:But in any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order are found.


AN 8.53: Gotami Sutta wrote:As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'


MN 135: Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta wrote:This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, to ask: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'


There are also records of the Buddha teaching others how to teach so the Sangha could continue the tradition. His instructions explain who he viewed as qualified to teach the Dhamma.

AN 5.159: Udayi Sutta wrote:Ven. Ananda saw Ven. Udayin sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma, and on seeing him went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Ven. Udayin, lord, is sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma."

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when these five qualities are established within the person teaching."

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby starter » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:32 pm

culaavuso wrote:
starter wrote:But now it's commonly accepted/believed that the teachers' words ("Dhamma") should be followed, without using the Four Great Referrals, as I see it.


DN 16: Maha-parinibbana Sutta wrote:But in any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order are found.


-- But immediately following this introduction in DN 16, the Buddha had explicitly indicated that only in his doctrine and discipline there is the noble eightfold path:

"In this Teaching and Discipline, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is found, here a true ascetic is found, here a second true ascetic is found, here a third true ascetic is found, here a fourth true ascetic is found.

Void are the outside doctrines of these other ascetics, Subhadda, but if [the Buddha's] monks should live well, the world will not be void of Worthy Ones.


AN 8.53: Gotami Sutta wrote:As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'


-- I'd think "qualities" (Dhamma?) here should probably be replaced by "teaching", and this sutta was probably meant to teach Ven. Gotami to discriminate which teaching is the true Dhamma and Vinaya spoken by the Buddha so that she could practice accordingly, and which ones are not. It seems that even during the Buddha's time, there were already falsely/mistakenly spread words of the Buddha. Since only the Buddha was THE Teacher at that time and the Buddha clearly defined the Dhamma and Vinaya as his words (or equivalent to his words as spoken by his arahant disciples), I don't think that this sutta meant to teach us we should accept others' teaching as THE Dhamma/Vinaya.

We should also consider Ven Gotami's introduction in this sutta:

"It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief such that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute".

It's clear that Ven Gotami was not to follow any other teacher (including the arahant disciples) but only the Buddha's words to practice alone in seclusion. Thus I also don't think this sutta meant to teach us to accept our teachers' words as the Dhamma/Vinaya.


MN 135: Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta wrote:This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, to ask: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'


There are also records of the Buddha teaching others how to teach so the Sangha could continue the tradition. His instructions explain who he viewed as qualified to teach the Dhamma.

AN 5.159: Udayi Sutta wrote:Ven. Ananda saw Ven. Udayin sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma, and on seeing him went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Ven. Udayin, lord, is sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma."

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when these five qualities are established within the person teaching."


-- As I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to think that "the sequence [of cause & effect]" should probably be "the sequence of [the path/practice]", since the sequence of course and effect is already included in [1] the step-by-step theoretical talk. If it were only the sequence of cause & effect, teachers from many other doctrines could teach the Dhamma since they understood karma.

The point I'm trying to make is not that we should not have teachers OR the disciples should not teach, but that both the teachers and students should use the Four Grand Referrals to judge if the teachings are in accordance with the Dhamma/Vinaya, and these teachings are not the words of the Buddha.

Thanks and metta!


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