nowheat wrote:Hmmm. Well, I disagree with paṭigha not being used in DN 15 as resistance, but I draw that conclusion from just a quick look at its roots and the way it is used elsewhere, and (more importantly) from the larger context of what's being said in DN 15 via the language of the creation myth that underlies the first five steps of DA (a subject I still need to take up).
If it's OK with you, could you pls furnish a citation of the pre-Buddhist text(s) that furnishes this Creation myth? I get the impression that there was not only one Creation myth (whether from the sacrifice or the food myths) and I would appreciate your thoughts on the weightage you ascribe to the "one" which you think the Buddha was responding to.
I would love to be able to point you to a particular "citation...that furnishes this Creation myth" but I've never found one neat portrayal of this type of creation myth in any ancient volume -- there are dozens of snippets scattered all over (they are found as far back as the RgVeda, as recent as the Upanisads), discussing various parts, changing up the stories, taking as assumed the particular variant for their time or perhaps lineage -- "worshipping" this or that element with poetry, or building their own theories on the structure, themselves. They seem to never sit down and tell the story neatly, from start to finish, as we would, but assume their audience is already familiar with it, and simply use it as background to their arguments. (Oh, say, that sounds familiar... isn't that what I'm saying the Buddha's doing? It always surprises me when I see another way in which what the Buddha is doing is modeled on what has been done again and again in the literature that came before him -- I think this adds to the evidence that he was a well-educated man.)
Since I speak of gurus of the time being obscure -- and you seem quite well-educated on these ancient texts -- I'm a little surprised you'd think that anyone could provide such a citation. I once asked Wendy Doniger (who wrote "The Hindus") if there is any one good source for the myths -- either in the original texts, or even any scholars who had written a book in which it was laid out (hoping for just such a citation as you've asked for here) and she was unable to give me any. All we have is tiny bits and pieces. But I rely on the scholarship of those who have spent their lives studying those texts to provide me with insight into them.
But these myths have been understood, here in the West, the way I'm describing them, for a while (a short enough history given what a little while ago we were clueless about the Hindus and even about Buddhist beliefs). I can give citations that show *that* if you like, here's one piece:
Vedic Mythology, pp13-14, Arthur Anthony Macdonell, PhD, 1897:
In a similar strain to RV 10,129 a Brahmana passage declares that 'formerly nothing existed, neither heaven nor earth nor atmosphere, which being non-existent resolved to come into being' (TB. 2,2,9.1 ff.). The regular cosmogonic view of the Brahmanas requires the agency of a creator, who is not, however, always the starting point. The creator here is Prajapati, or the personal Brahma, who is not only father of gods, men, and demons, but is the All...
or to show that we're still thinking about these interpretations using the same framework but with our own differing theories, here's Brian K. Smith in "Reflections on Resemblance, Ritual, and Religion" (1989) pp 51
In the beginning, the creative act of "emission" by the Lord of Creatures, Prajapati, is not a cosmogonic paradigm of sacred order but rather what Silburn rightly calls a 'profane act.' Put otherwise, cosmic procreation, in the imaginations of the Brahmins, does not engender a ready-made universal order but results in a problematic metaphysical excess. Similarly, at the level of individual human beginnings, birth and anthropogony are distinct and separate moments, the first being only the necessary precondition for the second. As cosmic creation is not cosmogony, biological reproduction is not the production of a true human being.
Oh, cool -- that was just the first page in the index under Prajapati, and I see that he is suggesting that *they* were talking about "necessary condition" as a condition for the big condition. (Perhaps I should credit Brian Smith with putting the key to the insight that that's what the Buddha was doing into my head in the first place.) And he is saying they were drawing the parallel between the creation myth and the creation of a human being that I am saying the Buddha was using on *three* levels rather than two: the creation myth, the creation of a human being, and the creation of what we mistake for a self.
The next paragraph begins:
It is characteristic -- and perhaps also close to definitive -- of Vedism that between mere procreation on the one hand and true cosmogony and anthropogony on the other is inserted a set of constructive rituals...
But if I go on quoting I will be abusing his copyright. I suggest reading his book, which is the most excellent on the subject I've read. But the quote above shows that it is understood that rituals were about the kinds of "construction" he was talking about above: this is what sankhara represents in the Buddha's system, both the desire for self and the acts that go into creating it.
Anyway, I think I have said, a couple of times, that I don't see the structure the Buddha used in DA as tying to one specific worldview (much less myth), but to a generalized one, which makes sense because, yes, there was not just one Creation myth. I do see the structure strongly matching the Prajapati myth -- in one or two very generalized versions of the popular variants. <edit/insert:> What I am trying to say is that the Prajapati myth may be one useful example of the type of myth the Buddha was generalizing about -- or it may be the primary one -- but what he is describing is meant to be generally representative of the way most people in his day looked at the world, rather than a direct refutation of that one myth. <end-edit> There's one in which Prajapati divides himself up, gaining senses through the individuality of name-and-form (I associate this with "form" in the canon), and in the other all the "pieces" having such similarity that they stuck together and were in constant contact (which I think of as matching "the formless" in the canon). Perhaps there were other myths out there that used a similar pattern, but the Prajapati myth (which was, earlier, associated with Purusa, and later associated with Brahma) matches up well enough to be used for the purposes of discussion. For references to the (bits and pieces in the) original texts that support the common understanding of those myths, I would point to Professor Jurewicz's paper, "Playing With Fire", which is chock full of citations -- she has far more knowledge of these things than I do. You can find a link to her paper on the same page of this forum as there is a link to mine, cited earlier: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3167&start=60#p192603
If it's also OK with you, I'd like to steer our discussion away from the issue of paṭigha as being 2 sememes (unless it is relevant in the context of pre-Buddhist pedagody and how you think the Buddha was responding to it) and come back instead to these -
It is relevant (see my mentions of form and formless above) but it is also okay with me to leave details aside since we've discussed it enough to have the needed background when it comes up again.
As I understand this, you still have the impression that somehow DA's very factual-sounding descriptions of a life in a world in which rebirth is the order of the day undermines my thesis that DA isn't describing rebirth, even though I've tried to detail how the Buddha uses the factual to (1) show the pattern of how things happen in a "as in this large literal context it happens, so it happens in what I'm trying to point out to you" sort of way while simultaneously (2) providing the object of meditation we should be looking at to see what is going on -- look in the large field to find the weeds we need to pull...
I still do not get from the above how you make the leap to the proposition that DA was -
The reason he needs to put the succinct definition of nutriment in with DA is because the way he's using DA is not succinct. Instead of a few brief sentences to describe "this is what everyone thinks x is" followed by "this is what I mean by x" which leads to the insight that "what everyone thinks x is" still counts as background, as necessary ground for what follows, in DA we have the bulk of the structure of DA describing "this is what everyone thinks life is about": rebirth -- whether cyclical or once and your done (go to bliss, or go to your ancestors). In the bulk of DA he is describing what everyone believes *because it is what everyone believes that is the ground for the problem he's pointing out and the solution he offers is tied up to it*.
Yes, I can well understand why you'd be confused. Let *me* try to be succinct. In the parts of his talks about DA where he sounds like he is talking about literal rebirth, he is -- talking about literal rebirth, about what people believe about how they came into being. He isn't, at that point, wanting to discuss the overall structure of his argument, but he is lasered in on how people perceive what is happening. This is why it sounds literal. Because he is talking about what people take to be the literal truth of how things work. Consciousness appears in the womb, and in dependence on that, there is the individuality of name-and form, and because of the existence of name-and-form, consciousness can be.
That what's being pointed out has more significance than that comes from the structure of DA, as well as from the way the Buddha speaks in general, as in nutriment.
Let me use the Buddha's method to explain it: a metaphor. Let's say you've signed up for a course on scheduling, and in this part of the seminar, I'm talking about the relationship between the days of the week and why we might want to put different emphasis on different approaches to work on certain days of the week. I'm explaining about Mondays. "Mondays are really bad," I say, "because they follow a day off, Sunday, and they are followed by four more workdays." This statement doesn't mean that *I* believe that Mondays are bad, or even that workdays are bad. It says *nothing* about what I believe. I'm not endorsing the badness of Mondays. And I don't stop and explain that "In general, people believe that Mondays are bad" -- I'm not explicit -- because you already know the context of what I'm talking about. But, shorn of the larger context, you could well take it to mean that I personally believe Mondays are bad, and that I'm explaining *why* they are.
In order for the student to get all the juice out of his explanation of what people understand to be the workings of the literal cycle of life, they need to have already understood that DA is multileveled. They could get this understanding from the way he describes nutriment when he puts it in with his DA lessons, because what he does with it is a microcosm of what he's doing with DA. Or they could get it from hearing the short version of DA and recognizing that he's not endorsing rebirth; he's not even talking about rebirth itself but about our views about rebirth ("ignorance" tells us that). Or they could get it from the way he tends to talk on multiple levels at once, in general, if they are able to recognize how often he does this. Or they could get it the way (I believe -- though it's not instantly clear to the whole world that this is what's going on) Sariputta got it when he was fanning the Buddha while listening to him talk to Longnails, and heard him say, "A monk whose mind is thus released does not take sides with anyone, does not dispute with anyone. He words things by means of what is said in the world but without grasping at it."
In the descriptions the Buddha gives of elements of DA where he sounds like he is describing literal rebirth as if it is-what-is he is describing not what-is but what people "know" (or think they know). He is not, in those portions, detailing his reasons for describing "what everybody knows" because his audience should have already understood from the above what he is doing and why he is doing it. *We* don't get it because we have *not* understood even what he's doing in nutriment, nor have we recognized the structure of DA as three pieces describing a generic version of Vedic life in a way that makes clear to us that "ignorance" and "aging and death" are out of sync with the rest. That's what I meant by "not being succinct" -- I really meant "not being explicit".
If I may trouble you to expand on this on how you think the Buddha's audience actually "thought" rebirth was about and furnish some internal (sutta) or external (Vedic) evidence to that effect. I think this is an important point of departure for me, since I accept the SN 12.10 & 11 narratives as being historically informative about how the Bodhisatta himself awoke to DA and DC. The Bodhisatta woke up to a totally novel way of looking at things and there does not seem to be any record that I know of in the suttas that the Buddha was designing the DA exposition in response to a very specific worldview (why Brahmanical only, when DA is supposed to operate at all levels to describe the 2nd Noble Truth?).
Sorry? I am not sure what you're asking for in the above. Are you asking me to show that the Buddha's audience all thought the same way about rebirth? Or are you asking me to show how the Buddha's audience thought *he* thought about rebirth? Or some sort of proof I could show you of how I know what he thought about rebirth? Or what? I'm only too glad to try to comply with any reasonable request for evidence, but I need to understand the request (and, of course, that it asks me to support what I am actually saying).