Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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starter
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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
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

Postby polarbear101 » 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
Last edited by starter on Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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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


SarathW
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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.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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

• • • • (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







starter
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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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


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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!
Last edited by starter on Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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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.

Regards
Cittasanto


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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

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



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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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


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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


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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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



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Re: Who can be the teacher of effacement?

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