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Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta - Dhamma Wheel

Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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retrofuturist
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Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:44 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:48 am

Well one reason could be that while the time was appropriate he should of been asked? or the Buddha had already at the point the sutta is about, already decided the time is right to depart so asking him to change his mind would of been like asking an elephant to about turn while in full stampede?
he was in very poor health I believe at this point also so it wasn't the apropriate time and may of already initiated his death in some way that at this point was irreversable?
Last edited by retrofuturist on Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: verbatim quote of above post removed


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: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:17 am

Greetings Manapa,

I like the full stampede analogy. What you say seems plausible and consistent with the sutta.

Even still, the whole episode seems incredibly arbitrary to me. If it was a good idea and possible he would have done it, surely... not allowing something as minor as Ananda not being able to read between the lines to be the deciding factor as to whether or not to live another 20+ years.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:12 am

it is true, but if I remember the line correctly the Buddha also said that he has given all that is needed for the sangha and staying alive would not be any more useful than the natural process of death being allowed to take its course (my own words and interpretation obviously there).

When I read your opening post I remembered the events after the Buddhas nibbana (side thought there wonder if that could be called his parisamsara?? :)) how the story goes he spent 6 weeks(?) in meditation contemplating what to do, become another silent buddha or teach as the sammasambuddha ( :anjali: ) it seams relevent in my mind somehow but can not pin point the how, so as to put it into words (the thought came and went in a flash before I had a chance to express it)


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: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby piotr » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:44 am

Hi,

One thing that I would like to point to you is that what above is translated as 'will to live on' (ayusaṅkhāra) can also mean 'thing on which living depends' – it's nowhere explicitly stated in the Suttas what is this thing, but the Buddha abandoned it three months before his passing away. One sutta () suggests that heat is an ayusaṅkhāra, so it seems to me that by intentional gradual cessation of heat (energy, motion) in the body one can bring his body to dissolution. And it looks like this process is irreversible.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby gavesako » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:37 pm

There are a number of passages in the Digha Nikaya that remind us of the later developments which resulted in the so-called Mahayana movement. I am just also reading about the bodhisattva sutras where an interesting point comes up: (1) for the purpose of emulating the Buddha in his ascetic practices and trying to accumulate enough merit to become like him, it is not necessary to prolong his lifespan more than the usual human lifespan; (2) for the purpose of worshipping the Buddha as a higher supernatural being, e.g. Amitabha or Aksobhya Buddha, who is by definition limitless (appamano) and who can be contacted through ritual and meditation, it is vital to extend his lifespan in this way, so that his Buddha-field does not remain empty.

Although this might seem out-of-place in the context of Theravada, I am gradually becoming aware of more and more such links between what is known as 'early' and 'later' development. Will report more as I go along.

One interesting thing I found is in Maha Kassapa's Theragatha verses, reference to "buddha-khetta":

As far as this buddha-field extends
— except for the great sage himself —
I'm the one
outstanding
in ascetic qualities.
There's no one else
like me.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


It seems to be a late idiom which comes up in the bodhisattva sutras (buddha-ksetra). Maha Kassapa was obviously a role model for the ascetic forest bodhisattvas and also the first patriarch of the Chan school. Many stories from Ajahn Mun biography remind one of their practices too.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:47 pm

- Peter


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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:50 pm

I think more interesting than why the Buddha doesn't choose to live on is why he bothers to have the conversation with Ananda at all. Perhaps if indeed he needs to be asked to live on he was giving hints as the compassionate thing to do. Perhaps too even though Ananda is upset at the Buddha's passing, he really didn't need the Buddha to live on. When we consider that Ananda did in fact become arahant we can see that is true.
- Peter


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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Kare » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:35 pm

The texts are not stenographical reports of what was said and done at the actual moment. They are probably based on real events and real sayings, but they were edited before collected into Nikayas and later written down.

Sometimes the Commentaries mention the editors, as for instance in the Therigatha Commentary: Imā tisso gāthā saṅgītikārehi ṭhapitā, "These three verses were added by the editors". Here, saṅgītikārehi refers to the editors.

When reading the Pali Texts, we should remember that they have been passing through the hands of editors, and we should also ask ourselves what motives the editors may have had for inserting passages or editing the text into the shape that has reached us.

We know that Ananda had an important position. He was the personal assistant of the Buddha, which means that he always had access to him, and, still more important, he could grant or bar access to the Master for others.

How did other monks react to this? Did some of them feel envy? Did some of them grasp the opportunity for revenge by inserting passages in the Mahaparinibbanasutta intending to blame Ananda for the death of the Buddha?

It is difficult to say for sure, ... :thinking: ... but my personal feeling is that these passages may be the result of editors having a chip on their shoulder against Ananda.
Mettāya,
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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:50 pm

Greetings,

Thank you everyone for your well-considered, insightful thoughts.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:57 am



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: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:04 am



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: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:15 am

- Peter


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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Dan74 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:50 am

Perhaps the Buddha was teaching Ananda a lesson? Some exchanges such as these could surely be dependent on the context of the relationship of the Buddha and Ananda, on Ananda's progress on the path. For instance, his lamenting seems to show that he was perhaps too dependent on and too attached to the Buddha, which would help explain why he was only a stream-enterer upon the Buddha's Parinibbana. Such scolding together with the urging that came later in the sutta may have served to sever that dependence.

This is not to say that the words were not true.

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Kare » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:12 am

Mettāya,
Kåre

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby piotr » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:29 am

Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:08 pm

Last edited by kc2dpt on Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
- Peter


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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby karuna_murti » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:03 pm

I know a translation, complete, and well translated, but in Indonesian :tongue:
Also I remember all Sammasambuddha have a tradition not to live equal to human lifespan at Their era. In our case, human lifespan is 100 years, which means Buddha Gotama already know He will parinibanna when He is 80 years old.
That makes an interesting case, either Buddhavamsa and it's commentaries is not accurate, or Mahaparinibanna is not accurate. As if Buddha playing drama against Ananda.

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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby Fede » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:44 pm

I dunno....It seems overly harsh to me that the Buddha would chastise his own cousin and attendant in such a manner....
How awful Ananda must have felt to be advised that simply because he never saw the signals, nor took any initiative, his pleas would therefore fall on deaf ears....

I can see how the passage is doubted as being authentic and direct...., because one of the Buddha's primary lessons (other than teaching suffering and the end of suffering) is Brahma-Vihara - the cultivation of Compassion (Karuna), Loving kindness (metta), equanimity ( upekkha) and sympathetic Joy (mudita).....

(see? I do listen....)

here, he sounds like an old grouch.....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Ananda's appeal to the Buddha in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:50 pm

There are many suttas where he sounds like an old grouch. It's not unusual. Then again, we do not see his face nor hear his voice. As anyone who has spent a decent amount of time online will tell you, text often comes across harsher than live speech.
- Peter



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