The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:23 pm

Drolma wrote:why was the Buddha teaching to people who had already attained arahantship?

He wasn't teaching them. He was exhorting them to go out and teach. Why? Maybe for a similar reason that Maha-Brahma asked the Buddha to teach.
- Peter

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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:42 pm

Peter wrote:
Drolma wrote:why was the Buddha teaching to people who had already attained arahantship?

He wasn't teaching them. He was exhorting them to go out and teach. Why? Maybe for a similar reason that Maha-Brahma asked the Buddha to teach.


Thanks :namaste:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:20 pm

Hi All
been contemplating on this, and read some of the recent posts
I think the intention was to inspire, to live as an example for others be they gods or men, or animals

remember the 11 benefits of metta
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby genkaku » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:36 pm

As a matter of curiosity, is it possible to know someone's intentions precisely? Surely we can hear the words and see the actions of our friends, enemies, parents, teachers, lovers or whatever. And we can say, "This is their intention." But if we were to take our own understanding and create some fershur point of view ... well, would this be understanding the intention or would it be simply creating one?

The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, for example, lay out some pretty good and sensible intentions. But shall I assume that my attempts to actualize these intentions are an actualization of Gautama's intention? Shall I assume that your attempts and mine are exactly the same ... because the intention was equally clear to both of us?

I am not trying to dissuade anyone from acting on what they perceive to be good intentions. I just wonder and am a little wary of ascribing those intentions to someone else.

Just a thought.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:43 pm

Greetings Drolma,

Drolma wrote:Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why was the Buddha teaching to people who had already attained arahantship?


I can't say for sure, but in this sense he, as the founder of the Sangha, 'marshalled the troops' so to speak in the interests of those who had only "a little dust" over their eyes, and had the potential to see the truths of the Dhamma. It wasn't really a conventional Dhamma talk.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:51 pm

retrofuturist wrote:This approach is expressed in such suttas as...

SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:goodpost:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:59 pm

Drolma wrote:Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why was the Buddha teaching to people who had already attained arahantship?

In Buddhism, there are three holy days, one each for the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha. The day of the Sangha commemorates when 1,250 arahants converged spontaneously to listen to a teaching of the Buddha. What did the Buddha teach them? Complex abhidhamma? Buddha taught them what is usually taught to children.
183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

184. Enduring patience is the highest austerity. "Nibbana is supreme," say the Buddhas. He is not a true monk who harms another, nor a true renunciate who oppresses others.

185. Not despising, not harming, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline, moderation in food, dwelling in solitude, devotion to meditation — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

In my view, Buddha did not want arahants to become like deities, using wrathful powers, etc, to subjecate people.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:08 pm

Hi All
Well I think the intention to inspire is secondary to living in a way conductive to Nibbana or living if Nibbana is already realised!
but if I was going to choose a spiritual teacher to learn from it would be someone I wanted to be like not someone who was like me.
many people go to a certain teacher, read their books etc because they are like them, but that is not something I am interested in. someone to aspire to be like than someone to go drinking with!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:23 am

Drolma wrote:
Bikkus, you should all wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all dieties and human beings.


Coming from vajrayana, I appreciated finding this gem, as there is a direct parallel between this and the encouragement I've received from all of my teachers to cultivate bodhicitta. Just wanted to share it here.

Kind regards,
Drolma
:buddha2:


Beautiful little gem, indeed, Drolma. Thank you for sharing that!

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Element » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:30 am

christopher::: wrote:Beautiful little gem, indeed, Drolma. Thank you for sharing that!

:heart:

Actually, this gem is usually translated 'for the many' rather than the 'majority'. Still, it is not as ignorant as 'all'. :reading:
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby christopher::: » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:57 am

Element wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Beautiful little gem, indeed, Drolma. Thank you for sharing that!

:heart:

Actually, this gem is usually translated 'for the many' rather than the 'majority'. Still, it is not as ignorant as 'all'. :reading:


Bikkus, you should all wander about for the benefit and happiness of the many, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all dieties and human beings.

:reading:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:37 am

Hi Will,

Will wrote:If an Arahant wanted to "wander about for the benefit and happiness of the majority, help the people of this world, support and provide well-being to all deities and human beings" for more than his (or her) present lifetime, could he?


No, they can only help beings after their death by what they do before it. For example, Mahākassapa kept up a very strict ascetic observance long after his own attainment of arahatta, and said that he was doing so out of compassion for later generations (i.e. as an example to future bhikkhus).

Or could an Arahant extend the length of his present lifetime, with the same motive?


No. In Theravada teaching a being's maximum life-span is determined at conception by the kamma that generated the relinking consciousness. One may shorten that life-span by akusala actions, unhealthy living etc.; one may perform kusala actions that will lead to a longer life-span in future lives; but there's nothing one can do, or that anyone else may do for one, to extend the span of the present life beyond what was fixed at conception.

The Mahayana has a tradition that several Arahants were asked by Buddha to protect his Dhamma until Maitreya Buddha comes - anything like that in Theravada?


In the Theravāda it is accepted that some noble disciples of a Buddha will still be around at the time of the next Buddha. These will consist of those disciples who were reborn in the higher Brahmā realms, e.g., non-returners in the five Pure Abodes. One example in the suttas is the Ghaṭikāra in the two Ghaṭikārasuttas, who attained non-returning under Kassapa Buddha and aeons later as a Suddhāvāsa deva visited Gotama Buddha. It's also accepted that some sense-sphere devas attained the ariyan path and that they'll be around for quite a while, though not long enough to meet the next Buddha. Some of these may exert a protective influence, notably Sakka, the chief of the Tāvātiṃsa heaven.

On the other hand, the Theravāda doesn't accept the Mahāyāna belief that Mahākaśyapa is currently sitting in some kind of samādhi on Kukkuṭagiri Mountain, with the same human body but now invisible, and waiting for Maitreya. Even in an auspicious aeon the intervals between Buddhas are just too great for human beings to live that long. Moreover, Mahākaśyapa's parinibbāna is reported in the Pali commentaries and one of his teeth is enshrined in a stupa in Sri Lanka.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:56 am

Hi Dhammanando
I put this earlier on the previous page
Hi All
Well I think the intention to inspire is secondary to living in a way conductive to Nibbana or living if Nibbana is already realised!
but if I was going to choose a spiritual teacher to learn from it would be someone I wanted to be like not someone who was like me.
many people go to a certain teacher, read their books etc because they are like them, but that is not something I am interested in. someone to aspire to be like than someone to go drinking with!

but I think I will change one part to
Well I think the intention to inspire is secondary to living in a way conductive to Nibbana if unenlightened or if Nibbana is already realised, being an inspiration
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Anders » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:34 am

Dhammanando wrote:On the other hand, the Theravāda doesn't accept the Mahāyāna belief that Mahākaśyapa is currently sitting in some kind of samādhi on Kukkuṭagiri Mountain, with the same human body but now invisible, and waiting for Maitreya. Even in an auspicious aeon the intervals between Buddhas are just too great for human beings to live that long.


Angels dancing on a pin question here: What does the mahavihara make of the statement that the Buddha could extent his lifetime for a kalpa? Does it go with the 'it means 100 years line', or that he literally could extent his life for a kalpa if he wanted to? And if so, is that purely a privilege of samyaksambuddhas?
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:33 pm

Hi Anders,

Anders Honore wrote:Angels dancing on a pin question here: What does the mahavihara make of the statement that the Buddha could extent his lifetime for a kalpa? Does it go with the 'it means 100 years line', or that he literally could extent his life for a kalpa if he wanted to?


At the Third Council the Theravādins rejected the view that kappa in this context means an aeon (Points of Controversy 258-60). The contrary view is attributed to the Mahāsanghikas. The commentary to the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta takes kappa to mean the human life-span (āyukappa) at the time a person is living, hence 100 years or so at the time of Gotama.

And if so, is that purely a privilege of samyaksambuddhas?


According to the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta it's anyone who has "developed the four roads to power practised them frequently, made them his vehicle, made them his base, established them, become familiar with them and properly undertaken them." So that would seem to leave open the possibility of persons other than Buddhas doing this, but I've never encountered any anecdotes in which this happens and the commentary doesn't say anything one way or the other.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

P.S., an interesting article about angels dancing on a pin:
http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html

It seems it wasn't so stupid after all.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Anders » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:07 pm

thank you, bhante.

PS. I'm not entirely unsympathetic to the arguments in that article either.
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Re: freedom

Postby Will » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:42 pm

Dhammanando wrote:...In the Theravāda it is accepted that some noble disciples of a Buddha will still be around at the time of the next Buddha. These will consist of those disciples who were reborn in the higher Brahmā realms, e.g., non-returners in the five Pure Abodes. ...
Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Many thanks Bhante.

It sure seems an odd way to look at "liberation" though. When free of uncontrolled rebirth, I would hope freedom to have controlled, deliberate rebirths would remain. But it sounds like the Theravada view is clear - one is liberated from all dukkha & the skandhas & any altruistic multi-lifetime vows too - no matter what.

So if one chose and vowed over many lives, as one's goal, not the 4th and final stage of Arahant, but the lesser one of Non-Returner, then one could help beings over periods of time longer than our normal 80 years or so? But would such Non-Returners be confined to living only in their specific deva realm and could not "come down" here - even if they wanted to?
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: freedom

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:45 am

Hi Will,

Will wrote:It sure seems an odd way to look at "liberation" though.


To me it's just baby-talk to suggest that liberation might consist in anything but bhavanirodha.

    "Bhikkhus, just as even the tiniest piece of excrement has an evil stink, even so, I praise not even the tiniest state of existence, not even that which lasts for only one snap of the fingers."
    (AN.i.34)

When free of uncontrolled rebirth, I would hope freedom to have controlled, deliberate rebirths would remain.


The Buddha of the Pali Suttas seems to have been a little forgetful on this subject of "controlled deliberate rebirths". :smile:

But would such Non-Returners be confined to living only in their specific deva realm and could not "come down" here - even if they wanted to?


The suttas have accounts of non-returner devas from the Pure Abodes coming to visit the Buddha. So, it seems they can come down to us if they feel like it. But I've never heard of them actively intervening in human affairs like some of the sense-sphere devas are reported to do.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:59 am

Hi all,

I looked up bhavanirodha and the best definition I could find is that it's the subjugation of becoming. And if I'm understanding Bhante, that is the nature or essense (sorry for the loaded word) of liberation. Is this accurate?

Thank you,
Drolma /\
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Re: The Intentions of Lord Buddha's Teachings

Postby Will » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:18 am

Bhante D: To me it's just baby-talk to suggest that liberation might consist in anything but bhavanirodha.


Translation please Bhante.
Last edited by Will on Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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