Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

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Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby SarathW » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:40 am

Above question raised as a result of a previous posting

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19474&p=272956#p272914
Based on that can I say:

A) Though you have a human body, you could be an Arahant, Deva or even an animal.
B) Can a animal with its animal body could be an Arahant, human or Deva? If not why?
C) Does that mean Arahant also some thing like Deva or human?


When answering above please also consider the fact that a person is questioned to verify that he/she is a human when s/he is ordained as a monk.
:juggling:
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:46 am

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19474&p=272956#p272914

"The Buddha's refusal to identify himself as a human being relates to a point made throughout the Canon, that an awakened person cannot be defined in any way at all. On this point, see MN 72, SN 22.85, SN 22.86, and the article, "A Verb for Nirvana." Because a mind with clinging is "located" by its clinging, an awakened person takes no place in any world: this is why he/she is unsmeared by the world (loka), like the lotus unsmeared by water."
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: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby manas » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:28 pm

SarathW wrote:When answering above please also consider the fact that a person is questioned to verify that he/she is a human when s/he is ordained as a monk.
:juggling:


Hi Sarath,

as I recall, there was a naga who assumed human form during the daytime, but while asleep, would revert back into naga form. Anyway, while in human form, he managed to get ordained in the Buddha's Sangha. One night, the monk he was sharing a hut with noticed that instead of his fellow monk, there was a naga (serpent-being) sleeping there. I imagine he would have gotten quite a shock. And, another Vinaya rule was born; because apparently, that is the reason why, before a monk ordains, he is asked the question "are you a human being". It's to make sure he isn't a non-human being. For some reason, I kind of look forward to having to answer that one, should I ever request ordination. (I'll be answering 'yes', by the way.) :)

kind regards,
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby kitztack » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:56 pm

am i correct in recalling that the Buddha himself said he was not to be worshipped as he was a mortal human being?

or from the context of Tiltbillings quote the Buddha just said he was not a god... :shrug:
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Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby seeker242 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:06 pm

"Even so, Vaccha, any physical form...(Any feeling... Any perception... Any fabrication...Any consciousness), by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form (feeling...perception...fabrication...consciousness), Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea.
~MN 72

If the Buddha classified himself as a human being, then he would not be "Freed from the classification of form, feeling... perception... fabrication... consciousness", since a "human being" is just a combination of "form, feeling, etc" and that's it.

Since the Buddha is now free "from the classification of form, feeling, etc.", he can't be classified as a "human being".
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby kitztack » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:52 pm

seeker242 wrote:

Since the Buddha is now free "from the classification of form, feeling, etc.", he can't be classified as a "human being".


this i understand now from the sutta quote. i have heard several supposed Buddha quotes in the last few years which seem to be mere paraphrases of the actual words written in the Suttas

e.g the secret of happiness for both body and mind is not to dwell on the past nor look to the future but to remain in the present at all times...

:namaste:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby binocular » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:29 pm

kitztack wrote:i have heard several supposed Buddha quotes in the last few years which seem to be mere paraphrases of the actual words written in the Suttas

Consult http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby SDC » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:25 pm

Dona Sutta

This sutta may help. Here he uses the analogy of the growth of a lotus flower to explain why he can no longer be called a human being. Although the flower is born in the water and grows in the water, it eventually rises above the water where it stands unsoiled by the water. The Buddha was born with the qualities of a human, grew up with the qualities of a human, but eventually rose above and beyond the reach of all human weakness.

EDIT - I see this sutta was addressed in the other thread, but perhaps it should be here as well.
Last edited by SDC on Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby Mkoll » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:25 pm

SarathW wrote:B) Can a animal with its animal body could be an Arahant, human or Deva? If not why?

Dear SarathW,

I think the following passage has an answer to your question.

:anjali:

When this was said, Citta the elephant trainer's son said to the Blessed One: "When there is a gross acquisition of a self, is it the case then that one's mind-made acquisition of a self and formless acquisition of a self are null & void, and only one's gross acquisition of a self is true? And when there is a mind-made acquisition of a self, is it the case then that one's gross acquisition of a self and formless acquisition of a self are null & void, and only one's mind-made acquisition of a self is true? And when there is a formless acquisition of a self, is it the case then that one's gross acquisition of a self and mind-made acquisition of a self are null & void, and only one's formless acquisition of a self is true?"

"Citta, when there is a gross acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a mind-made acquisition of a self or as a formless acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a formless acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a mind-made acquisition of a self. When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It is classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

"Suppose they were to ask you: 'Did you exist in the past? Did you not not exist? Will you exist in the future? Will you not not exist? Do you exist now? Do you not not exist?' Thus asked, how would you answer?"

"... Thus asked, lord, I would answer: 'I existed in the past. I did not not exist. I will exist in the future. I will not not exist. I exist now. I do not not exist.'... That's how I would answer."

"Suppose, Citta, they were to ask you: 'Whatever your past acquisition of a self: Is that alone your true acquisition of self, while the future & present ones are null & void? Whatever your future acquisition of a self: Is that alone your true acquisition of a self, while the past & present ones are null & void? Whatever your present acquisition of a self: Is that alone your true acquisition of a self, while the past & future ones are null & void?' Thus asked, how would you answer?"

"...Thus asked, lord, I would answer: 'Whatever my past acquisition of a self: on that occasion, that alone was my true acquisition of a self, while future & present ones were null & void. Whatever my future acquisition of a self: on that occasion, that alone will be my true acquisition of a self, while the past & present ones will be null & void. Whatever my present acquisition of a self: on that occasion, that alone is my true acquisition of a self, while the past & future ones are null & void.

"In the same way, Citta, when there is a gross acquisition of a self... it's classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self... When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

"Just as when milk comes from a cow, curds from milk, butter from curds, ghee from butter, and the skimmings of ghee from ghee. When there is milk, it's not classified as curds, butter, ghee, or skimmings of ghee. It's classified just as milk. When there are curds... When there is butter... When there is ghee... When there are the skimmings of ghee, they're not classified as milk, curds, butter, or ghee. They're classified just as the skimmings of ghee.

"In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self... it's classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self... When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

"Citta, these are the world's designations, the world's expressions, the world's ways of speaking, the world's descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them."
- DN 9, trans. Ven. Thanissaro
Peace,
James
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby SarathW » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:13 am

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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:09 pm

No one knows the content of the buddha's DNA and if he said he was not human then I believe him.......a better question to pursue is that if he was not human then what was he?
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby manas » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:31 pm

chownah wrote:No one knows the content of the buddha's DNA and if he said he was not human then I believe him.......a better question to pursue is that if he was not human then what was he?
chownah


Hi chownah,

I think you are taking that 'not a human' quote the wrong way. It's not about his body, it's about his mind. It's not about his DNA, it's about his total lack of clinging:

"The Buddha's refusal to identify himself as a human being relates to a point made throughout the Canon, that an awakened person cannot be defined in any way at all. On this point, see MN 72, SN 22.85, SN 22.86, and the article, "A Verb for Nirvana." Because a mind with clinging is "located" by its clinging, an awakened person takes no place in any world: this is why he/she is unsmeared by the world (loka), like the lotus unsmeared by water."
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19474&p=272956#p272914


As I understand it - we too can be like this one day, not just the Buddha. I recall this passage from 'The Water-Snake Simile Sutta':

"And how is a monk a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered? There is the case where a monk's conceit 'I am' is abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. This is how a monk is a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata) is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now.


metta,
manas.
:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby seeker242 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:41 pm

SarathW wrote:Buddha was a human being

Page 18

http://buddhispano.net/sites/default/fi ... dies-I.pdf


The body that walked around, ate food and talked, that was called "siddhartha gautama, AKA Shakyamuni, etc.", was obviously a human being because all homo sapiens bodies are. However, didn't he continually teach "this body is not me, not mine, not myself"?
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:04 pm

manas wrote:
chownah wrote:No one knows the content of the buddha's DNA and if he said he was not human then I believe him.......a better question to pursue is that if he was not human then what was he?
chownah


Hi chownah,

I think you are taking that 'not a human' quote the wrong way. It's not about his body, it's about his mind. It's not about his DNA, it's about his total lack of clinging:

"The Buddha's refusal to identify himself as a human being relates to a point made throughout the Canon, that an awakened person cannot be defined in any way at all. On this point, see MN 72, SN 22.85, SN 22.86, and the article, "A Verb for Nirvana." Because a mind with clinging is "located" by its clinging, an awakened person takes no place in any world: this is why he/she is unsmeared by the world (loka), like the lotus unsmeared by water."

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19474&p=272956#p272914


As I understand it - we too can be like this one day, not just the Buddha. I recall this passage from 'The Water-Snake Simile Sutta':

"And how is a monk a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered? There is the case where a monk's conceit 'I am' is abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. This is how a monk is a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata) is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now.


metta,
manas.
:anjali:

Greetings, manas,
I think you are taking my post the wrong way. I tried to find things that no one would disagree with.....like no one knows the contents of his DNA. I don't see how this can be controversial. Also, like if he said he was not human then I believe him. This would be controversial if it was presented just anywhere but I,think that here this can be presented without much controversy at least. And then I suggested a good thing to discuss would be what he was. Seems like a good idea to me and even though some might disagree with me on this I don't think that it would stir up much controversy.

The DNA comment should have dispensed with those looking for a biological interpretation of his non-humanity and a quick mental review of the highlights of the scriptures does not seem to hold any information even hinting that his DNA was a concern at all so I thought that this would have helped people to see that there was somethingg other than biology that the Buddha was talking about when he said he was not human. Of course there will always be those who are so infatuated with the concept of humanity as having only to do with biology and so infatuated with their construing some sort of DNA makeup for the Buddha that they would not be able to follow along with my suggestion to look elsewhere.

So....my intention was to deal a death blow to the biological interpretation of this topic but it looks like I have done just the opposite and drawn attention to what seemed like a dead horse for more kicking. My apologies to all......but don't worry, I am still in a Happy Place and think I will go to that thread and announce it.
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby binocular » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:06 pm

chownah wrote:I tried to find things that no one would disagree with.....like no one knows the contents of his DNA. I don't see how this can be controversial.

If DNA is what makes something human, then my pillow is human. :pig:
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby chownah » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:57 am

binocular,
Key word here: contents.
It is the contents that matters, not just having it.
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby manas » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:07 am

Hey chownah,
this is on phone, so briefly, I was sincerely just trying to clarify things, sorry if I came across too bossily - I am just learning here too, all of us...
manas :anjali:
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby binocular » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:39 am

chownah wrote:Key word here: contents.
It is the contents that matters, not just having it.

What contents?
Is there a Buddha liver? A Buddha kidney?
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:06 am

binocular,
The contents of the DNA is what matters.....not the mere fact that DNA is present.
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Re: Why did Buddha say that he was not a human being?

Postby binocular » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:54 am

You mean guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine? Then there's no difference between an ape and the ... uh, I can't even use those two words in the same sentence ...
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