The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:21 pm

clw_uk wrote:Hey



Does anyone know what page this line is on

The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68.


In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, ive read and re-read by i cant find it


thanks



Does anyone have an online link or resource to that sutta it is not on Access to Insight.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:59 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Hey
Does anyone know what page this line is on
The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68.
In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, ive read and re-read by i cant find it

Does anyone have an online link or resource to that sutta it is not on Access to Insight.

I don't have BB's translation handy but I guess that it is here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
MN 82 PTS: M ii 54 Ratthapala Sutta: About Ratthapala
"Great king, there are four Dhamma summaries stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard them, I went forth from the home life into homelessness. Which four?

"'The world is swept away. It does not endure': This is the first Dhamma summary stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard it, I went forth from the home life into homelessness.

"'The world is without shelter, without protector': This is the second Dhamma summary...

"'The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind': This is the third Dhamma summary...

"'The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving': This is the fourth Dhamma summary...

Mike
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:40 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Hey
Does anyone know what page this line is on
The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68.
In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, ive read and re-read by i cant find it

Does anyone have an online link or resource to that sutta it is not on Access to Insight.

I don't have BB's translation handy but I guess that it is here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
MN 82 PTS: M ii 54 Ratthapala Sutta: About Ratthapala
"Great king, there are four Dhamma summaries stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard them, I went forth from the home life into homelessness. Which four?

"'The world is swept away. It does not endure': This is the first Dhamma summary stated by the Blessed One who knows & sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened. Having known & seen & heard it, I went forth from the home life into homelessness.

"'The world is without shelter, without protector': This is the second Dhamma summary...

"'The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind': This is the third Dhamma summary...

"'The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving': This is the fourth Dhamma summary...

Mike


Mmm, that passage is quite insightful and puts me at peace.

:anjali:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:52 am

Can someone transcribe Bhikku Bodhi's translation of that passage? I'm 20,000km from my copy...

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Can someone transcribe Bhikku Bodhi's translation of that passage? I'm 20,000km from my copy...

Mike

Great king, there are four summaries of the Dhamma that have been taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened. Knowing and seeing and hearing them, I went forth from the home life into homelessness. What are these four?

[Life in] any world is unstable, it is swept away: this is the first summary of the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened. Knowing and seeing and hearing this, I went forth from the home life into homelessness.

[Life in] any world has no shelter and no protector: this is the second summary of the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees ...

[LIfe in] any world has nothing of its own; one has to leave all and pass on: this is the third summary of the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees ...

[Life in] any world is incomplete, insatiate, the slave of of craving: this is the fourth summary of the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees.

(The note with regard to "no shelter" offered at the end of the book: There is no one able to offer it shelter or to console it with a refuge. This statement, of course, does not deny a refuge from the world, which is just what the Dhamma offers.)
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:46 pm

"The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God." MN II 68

This translation is mine, and I would defend it in this way:

Issara
Issara [Vedic īśvara, from īś to have power, cp. also P. īsa] lord, ruler, master, chief A iv.90; Sn 552; J i.89 (˚jana), 100, 283 (˚bheri); iv.132 (˚jana); Pv iv.67 (˚mada); Miln 253 (an˚ without a ruler); DhsA 141; DA i.111; PvA 31 (gehassa issarā); Sdhp 348, 431. -- 2. creative deity, Brahmā, D iii.28; M ii.222 = A i.173; Vism 598. page 123.

Brahmā [cp. Vedic brahmán, m., one who prays or chants hymns, nom. sg. Brahmā] 1. the god Brahmā chief of the gods, often represented as the creator of the Universe (vasavattī issaro kattā nimmātā) page 493. - Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary


Theragatha 713: Whatever has come to pass, or what ever existence has been obtained, all this is without a supreme ruler [ an + issara: anissara]; so it has been said by the great seer.

"If the pleasure and pain that beings feel are caused the creative act of
a Supreme God
[Issara-nimmana-hetu], then the Niganthas [Jains] surely
must have been created by an evil Supreme God."
MN II 222

There are, Bhaggava, some ascetics and Brahmins who declare as their
doctrine that all things began with the creation by a god
[issara, or
ishvara, skt], or Brahma. DN iii 28

And this singular god is characterized so:

"That Worshipful God, the Great God, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Organizer, the Protection, the Creator, the Most Perfect Ruler [issaro], the Designer and Orderer, the Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be, He by Whom we were created, He is permanent, Constant, Eternal, Unchanging, and He will remain so for ever and ever." DN i 19

The Pali of the line in question the world has no shelter and no protector is:

atāṇo [no shelter] loko anabhissaro [an (without) abhi {supreme) + issara].

And for a bit more emphasis, in the Bhagavad Gita, chapter XVI, 8:

'The universe," they say, "is without truth [asat that which open to destruction and change, without an atman/brahman, the Absolute within each of us],"
Without basis/unstable [having no solid ground apratis.t.ham], without a God [Ishvara];
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'


This is a good caricature of the Buddhist position, and certainly the Buddhist position is that the world is unstable, constantly in change, without a basis or essence - an atman/brahman, and is without a god, ishvara, "Brought about by a mutual union," and "caused by desire," all of which could be used to describe the Buddhist position, but no one else of the time.
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:56 pm

As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:13 pm

Jechbi wrote:As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.


Missing the point? Not at all. The passages state what they state, which is that there is no outside force that is responsible for what we are, no outside force that can protect us from the nature of existence. Kamma is our refuge.
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:21 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.


Missing the point? Not at all. The passages state what they state, which is that there is no outside force that is responsible for what we are, no outside force that can protect us from the nature of existence. Kamma is our refuge.

What do you mean, kamma is our refuge?

You seem to be drawing two conclusions with your translation:
1) That a "protector" must be God; and
2) That if God exists, then God must by definition be a protector.

The problem I see with all this is that you're focusing on God. I think the other translations are much more defensible, because they don't offer up distractions like that.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:04 pm

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Jechbi wrote:As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.


Missing the point? Not at all. The passages state what they state, which is that there is no outside force that is responsible for what we are, no outside force that can protect us from the nature of existence. Kamma is our refuge.

What do you mean, kamma is our refuge?


Kamma is not our refuge?

You seem to be drawing two conclusions with your translation:
1) That a "protector" must be God; and
2) That if God exists, then God must by definition be a refuge.


I'll go with the Pali; also I'll go with not always using the commentaries when translating the suttas, given that they almost always miss the Brahmanical references in the suttas. What other protector of the world might there be than the god which supposedly created it?

God tends to be, in god religions, a refuge.

Anguttara Nikaya 3.61: "Again, monks, I [the Buddha] approached those ascetic and brahmins and said to them: 'Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a person experiences...all that is caused by God's creation?' When they affirmed it, I said to them: 'If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to God's creation that people kill, steal ...[and otherwise act badly]. But those who have recourse to God's creation as the decisive factor will lack the impulse and the effort doing this or not doing that. Since for them, really and truly, no (motive) obtains that this or that ought to be done or not be done...."'

The problem I see with all this is that you're focusing on God. I think the other translations are much more defensible, because they don't offer up distractions like that.


Focusing on god in the translation? Not really. Is the translation a distraction? Not at all. Simply drawing out what is in the text, which makes the point that kamma is our refuge, not some outside force. See immediately below:
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:45 pm

No, Tilt, you're layering on stuff. It appears to me that you're trying to translate this in a manner that aligns with your own hopes and views.

With regard to your statement that kamma is our refuge, please tell me the context and what you mean. Because in general, I'd say no, kamma is not our refuge. "The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known." But before I go misunderstanding you again, I'd like to ask you what you mean exactly when you say kamma is our refuge. That's why I asked. Perhaps you mean it in a way that I am not understanding.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby appicchato » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Kamma is not our refuge?


Mmm, no...if this were true we'd be in a lot more trouble than we already are...
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:30 pm

Jechbi wrote:No, Tilt, you're layering on stuff. It appears to me that you're trying to translate this in a manner that aligns with your own hopes and views.


Not that you have shown. I have presented a textually supported argument. You have done no more than gainsay.

With regard to your statement that kamma is our refuge, please tell me the context and what you mean. Because in general, I'd say no, kamma is not our refuge.


The Buddha seemed to have thought otherwise.

Owners of their kamma are beings, heirs of their kamma, kamma is their womb from which they are born, their kamma is their friend, their refuge. Whatever kamma they perform, good or bad, there of they will be the heirs. M 135 iii 206.

"This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond."
SN I, 38.

"If any one says that a man must reap according to his deeds, in that case there is no religious life nor opportunity afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow. But if any one says that what a man reaps accords with his deeds, in that case there is a religious life and an opportunity is afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow." AN I 249.

Which certainly does not contradict:

"The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known."

It is our choice to cultivate the precepts, to cultivate bhavana, to cultivate mindfulness, to cultivate Right View, to cultivate generosity, metta, anu-kampa. In other words, it by our choices, as they unfold from moment to moment, to cultivate the Eightfold Path, which results in increase in calm, in awareness, in the development of the protective paramis, all of which leads to awakening, the ending of kamma.

appicchato wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Kamma is not our refuge?


Mmm, no...if this were true we'd be in a lot more trouble than we already are...


If it is not by our own actions, by our own choices, by own deeds to follow the Eightfold path, who is going to do it for us? God? Some bodhisattva?
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby imagemarie » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:35 pm

i'm sorry, but what then of "right effort"? That we are able to "(1)prevent unwholesome states of mind from arising,(2) to get rid of
unwholesome states that have already arisen, (3) to produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome states of mind
not yet arisen, (4) to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already present".

Is this "energetic will" ( Right Effort - Walpola Rahula), not kamma? And does it not provide a "refuge" then?
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:38 pm

imagemarie wrote:i'm sorry, but what then of "right effort"? That we are able to "(1)prevent unwholesome states of mind from arising,(2) to get rid of
unwholesome states that have already arisen, (3) to produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome states of mind
not yet arisen, (4) to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already present".

Is this "energetic will" ( Right Effort - Walpola Rahula), not kamma? And does it not provide a "refuge" then?


You have nailed it.
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:40 pm

Hi Tilt,

How can we take refuge in our kamma if we know that we are bound to samsara due to our ignorance? This is like circular thinking. Many of our actions and intentions arise due to ignorance, craving, greed, delusion, etc.

If this weren't the case, we would have already gone beyond. That includes going beyond kamma and vipāka.

How could proper refuge be anything outside of the triple gem? :?

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:00 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:How can we take refuge in our kamma if we know that we are bound to samsara due to our ignorance?


How do think we get out of the cycle, if not by making choices to follow the Eightfold Path, by going for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha?

This is like circular thinking. Many of our actions and intentions arise due to ignorance, craving, greed, delusion, etc.


That is why awakening can be a long process, but if an action is less colored by ignorance than another, it pushes us a bit further down the path, does it not?

How could proper refuge be anything outside of the triple gem?


It is our choice to go for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, and this is an ongoing - moment to moment - thing as we, by our choices, cultivate the precepts, mindfulness, and Right View. Kamma is not a mechanical process, as the texts I gave above show, which is why we can in time step out of its hold.
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: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:02 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I have presented a textually supported argument. You have done no more than gainsay.
That's not a fair assessment of what I've done. Go back and look at the four summaries of the Dhamma as presented in the text. What is their context? Your idea to draw God into the discussion is your idea. You can pretend that you've supported this with texts, but that's not what you've done.

tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha seemed to have thought otherwise.
Hmmmm ... there seems to be a whole lot of atta in your anatta.

The Buddha did not advise that we take refuge in kamma. The quotes that you offer need to have their appropriate context and understanding. You said, "Kamma is our refuge." To me that appears to be a statement frought with misunderstanding about what it means to take refuge.

---------
Hi Marie,
imagemarie wrote:i'm sorry, but what then of "right effort"? That we are able to "(1)prevent unwholesome states of mind from arising,(2) to get rid of
unwholesome states that have already arisen, (3) to produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome states of mind
not yet arisen, (4) to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already present".

Is this "energetic will" ( Right Effort - Walpola Rahula), not kamma? And does it not provide a "refuge" then?
You still have to watch out for that stubborn self-identity-view with regard to right effort. You may find it helpful to think in terms of nutriment. What are you feeding this mass of suffering? Also remember that right effort is one of eight spokes in the wheel. Underlying it all is an understanding of anatta.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:16 pm

One could say this, and it's perfectly sound:

I take refuge in the Buddha's teachings on kamma.

:anjali:

Tilt, I'm thinking over what you wrote. Will respond after having chewed on it...
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:21 pm

It is our choice to go for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, and this is an ongoing - moment to moment - thing as we, by our choices, cultivate the precepts, mindfulness, and Right View. Kamma is not a mechanical process, as the I gave shows, which is why we can in time step out of its hold.


Oye, this is sort of problematic. It's true that it's our intention, choice, and action when we go for refuge. Absolutely, that's kamma.
But here we're claiming that it's our own choices in which we seek refuge rather than the teachings. But the teachings do exist outside of our own action. So the triple gem remains, despite our relationship to it. We should pursue the path as you said, and rejoice in our merits and wholesome activities, but not literally go to them for refuge. If we look to our own selves, no matter how wholesome our activities are, I think that's misguided. If nothing else, it would certainly extend our time in samsara!

So I think it's still the Buddha Dhamma and Sangha that are proper objects of refuge. Regardless of our relationship to them at any given moment.

What do you think?
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