Refuge in Oneself

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:40 pm

Another point that maybe kannada might find helpful?

Anatta doesn't mean non-existence, it means that we don't exist in the way we usually think we exist or feel like we exist. We come to "be" via the process of dependent origination. If anatta is removed from dependent origination it can be a little confusing. But in that context, it makes perfect sense. I'm unsure if this is a proper Theravadan explanation.

Best,
Drolma

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:04 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:There's a thread here in the "Discovering Theravada" section I started a while back called "The Not Self Strategy."
In that thread we discussed the distinction between no self and not self. I linked to an article by a Bikkhu that was called "The Not Self Strategy."
Maybe that would be a nice read too, for kannada. This minor difference of one letter in that phrase changes the meaning a lot.

Best,
Drolma

:anjali:


It really is not much of a distinction. I am not taken with Ven Thanisarro's point of view. All dhammas are anatta, empty of self, which is to say, on that level of speaking, there is no self to be found.

This is a key text:
SN iv 401: "Ananda, if I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self - were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism. If I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism. If I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self - were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena [dhammas] are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self - were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"


Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 385: "The Buddha declares that "all phenomena are nonself" (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means to seek a self anywhere one will not find one. Since "all phenomena" includes both conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self." CDB II 1457.


(The Thanisarro thread is still alive, so discussion of his point of view can happen there.)

The two options, as mentioned above in the text of eternalism and annihilationism, are grounded in the assumption of an ontology of being and non-being, an assumption that the Buddha rejects for an “ontology” of becoming (paticcasamuppada), but we also see in this text that anatta is not always used in that context when the Buddha says:”… would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena [dhammas] are not-self anatta?"

Who sees paticcasamuppada sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1.

Seeing the Dhamma is an expression indicating awakening. The word dhamma(s) (plural) could easily and reasonably be substituted for paticcasamuppada, given that components of the various expressions of paticcasamuppada are dhamma.

Who sees dhamma(s) sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees dhamma(s).

On that level, there is no self, anywhere, to be found in anyway.
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.

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:45 pm

Hi Tilt,

Thanks for that clarification. It's very interesting and I like reading these suttas.

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby Jechbi » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:17 am

Best thought of the thread:
Chris wrote:33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

In this context, taking refuge in oneself is taking refuge in Dhamma. If this notion of taking refuge in oneself is not discussed in context, it's easy to misinterpret what is being said, and what might be implied. There was a similar discussion in a previous thread about taking refuge in kamma. A person put forward without context that "kamma is our refuge." In that thread, I asked for the context.

When I hear the term "refuge," I think Triple Gem. So I think it's wise to tread carefully and understand the context when statements are made about "taking refuge in kamma" or "taking refuge in oneself." Yes, responsibility should be placed squarely where it belongs, and we each have our own work to do. But yes, I think kannada is perfectly justified in seeking to draw out the discussion for the sake of greater context and understanding.

tiltbillings wrote:The classic beginners mistake.
I'm not sure that's quite a fair characterization of kannada's remarks. In one sense, kannada appears to me to be absolutely correct to highlight the potential pitfalls of putting too much emphasis on some notion of "self," without simulteously acknowledging the anatta teaching. I read kannada's remarks as open-minded and cautionary. I don't regard that as a "beginner's mistake."

tiltbillings wrote:Language within the Dhamma is used various.
Yes, exactly, that's the point. And the term "refuge in oneself" seems invite some confusion, because ordinarily we might associate that kind of language with "refuge in Buddha, refuge in Sangha, refuge in Dhamma." So I can understand how a person might respond to the term "refuge in oneself" with some questions regarding context.

A few passages here that I really like:
tiltbillings wrote:The radical insight of the Buddha is that we are not a singular independent self, but we are, rather, a dynamic interdependent process where choice, feelings, sensations, the whole catastrophe plays itself out without a need for an unchanging self, no matter how rarified we imagine the “I am”, the self, the “being” to be. Though there is an intellectual component to this teaching of the Buddha to which we can give assent, it is really a matter of cultivating mindfulness that gives rise to the insight into seeing what we truly are.

...

In the mean time - until we are awakened - we have to deal with this sense of self, this sense of “being”. We can tell it where to get off, but being stubborn, recalcitrant, and primal it won't get off. The sense of self, of “I am”, persists. So, in a very real sense, via the practice of the Dhamma, we cultivate the self, we train it, we tame it via Right View, the precepts and meditative practice, through giving and lovingkindness practice, all of which help thin the walls of delusion of permanence with which we surround the self and by which we build up the sense and idea of “being.” The insight - vipassana - from practice of the Buddha-Dhamma allows us to see the self's actual interdependent nature, which allows us to let go of that sense – delusion -- of self, of being, that we seem to think is so real.

...

"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.
Sn 705

That is all wonderful.

In my personal opinion, the best way to take refuge in oneself in this context is to be kind to oneself, be gentle with oneself, be patient with oneself. In other words, as much as possible, approach oneself selflessly. Then keep on working, step by step, with adhitthana and viriya for sure, and also with the understanding of the underlying dukkha, anicca and anatta nature of that which we experience. fwiw.
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:46 am

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The classic beginners mistake.
I'm not sure that's quite a fair characterization of kannada's remarks. In one sense, kannada appears to me to be absolutely correct to highlight the potential pitfalls of putting too much emphasis on some notion of "self," without simulteously acknowledging the anatta teaching. I read kannada's remarks as open-minded and cautionary. I don't regard that as a "beginner's mistake."


I am not sure I would characterize k as a beginner, but the bare statement is not at all uncommon among beginners, which pretty much all I meant by 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: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:56 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:There's a thread here in the "Discovering Theravada" section I started a while back called "The Not Self Strategy."
In that thread we discussed the distinction between no self and not self. I linked to an article by a Bikkhu that was called "The Not Self Strategy."
Maybe that would be a nice read too, for kannada. This minor difference of one letter in that phrase changes the meaning a lot. I hadn't paid as much attention to my phrasing before that as I do now.

Best,
Drolma

:anjali:

Hi Drolma,

I appreciate you thinking about my 'education' but I've read Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Not self strategy years ago. I didn't agree with it then and I don't think a re-visitation would change my mind...

Thanks anyway
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby imagemarie » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:32 am

Jechbi wrote:Best thought of the thread:
Chris wrote:33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

In this context, taking refuge in oneself is taking refuge in Dhamma. If this notion of taking refuge in oneself is not discussed in context, it's easy to misinterpret what is being said, and what might be implied. There was a similar discussion in a previous thread about taking refuge in kamma. A person put forward without context that "kamma is our refuge." In that thread, I asked for the context.

When I hear the term "refuge," I think Triple Gem. So I think it's wise to tread carefully and understand the context when statements are made about "taking refuge in kamma" or "taking refuge in oneself." Yes, responsibility should be placed squarely where it belongs, and we each have our own work to do. But yes, I think kannada is perfectly justified in seeking to draw out the discussion for the sake of greater context and understanding.

tiltbillings wrote:The classic beginners mistake.
I'm not sure that's quite a fair characterization of kannada's remarks. In one sense, kannada appears to me to be absolutely correct to highlight the potential pitfalls of putting too much emphasis on some notion of "self," without simulteously acknowledging the anatta teaching. I read kannada's remarks as open-minded and cautionary. I don't regard that as a "beginner's mistake."

tiltbillings wrote:Language within the Dhamma is used various.
Yes, exactly, that's the point. And the term "refuge in oneself" seems invite some confusion, because ordinarily we might associate that kind of language with "refuge in Buddha, refuge in Sangha, refuge in Dhamma." So I can understand how a person might respond to the term "refuge in oneself" with some questions regarding context.

A few passages here that I really like:
tiltbillings wrote:The radical insight of the Buddha is that we are not a singular independent self, but we are, rather, a dynamic interdependent process where choice, feelings, sensations, the whole catastrophe plays itself out without a need for an unchanging self, no matter how rarified we imagine the “I am”, the self, the “being” to be. Though there is an intellectual component to this teaching of the Buddha to which we can give assent, it is really a matter of cultivating mindfulness that gives rise to the insight into seeing what we truly are.

...

In the mean time - until we are awakened - we have to deal with this sense of self, this sense of “being”. We can tell it where to get off, but being stubborn, recalcitrant, and primal it won't get off. The sense of self, of “I am”, persists. So, in a very real sense, via the practice of the Dhamma, we cultivate the self, we train it, we tame it via Right View, the precepts and meditative practice, through giving and lovingkindness practice, all of which help thin the walls of delusion of permanence with which we surround the self and by which we build up the sense and idea of “being.” The insight - vipassana - from practice of the Buddha-Dhamma allows us to see the self's actual interdependent nature, which allows us to let go of that sense – delusion -- of self, of being, that we seem to think is so real.

...

"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.
Sn 705

That is all wonderful.

In my personal opinion, the best way to take refuge in oneself in this context is to be kind to oneself, be gentle with oneself, be patient with oneself. In other words, as much as possible, approach oneself selflessly. Then keep on working, step by step, with adhitthana and viriya for sure, and also with the understanding of the underlying dukkha, anicca and anatta nature of that which we experience. fwiw.


:goodpost: Thank-you :smile:
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:37 am

Tilt wrote:<snip>The classic beginners mistake.<snip> I am not sure I would characterize k as a beginner, but the bare statement is not at all uncommon among beginners, which pretty much all I meant by it.

Hi Tilt,

Personally I'm disinterested in people's views of me, but on a forum it can diverge attention away from the topic. My comment to imagemarie was "Who needs a refuge when there is no-one to shelter?" It is not dissimilar to my quote of Achan Chah who says "I live nowhere, there is no place you can find me. I have no age. To have age, you must exist, and to think you exist is already a problem. Don't make problems; then the world has none either. Don't make a self. There's nothing more to say." The good Achaan is certainly no beginner. I am fully aware of the implications of my statements, I am careful to only state what I understand and am willing to expand on those understandings when required if I feel it appropriate.

Chris wrote:the Buddha repeatedly mentioned his reservations when using conventional speech, e.g. in D. 9: "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect One (Tathāgata) uses without misapprehending them."

I believe I understand what you are saying. Words superimpose conditions on the unconditioned where previously there was none, creating 'thing-ness' (dhammas) at every expression.

Jechbi wrote:I read kannada's remarks as open-minded and cautionary.

Thank you, that was my intention.

Drolma wrote:Another point that maybe kannada might find helpful? Anatta doesn't mean non-existence, it means that we don't exist in the way we usually think we exist or feel like we exist.

Anatta means not (or non) self. A self is an 'existent' (existing as self), not-self is not existence for that self. Shunyata may be easier to understand for you as it is more direct in its negation. Shunyatta (shunya-atta) is derived from shunya (zuunya) means 'zero' atta means 'self' so shunyatta means 'zero-self' (not 'emptiness' as commonly interpreted).

All existents are products of assertion - that is the only way they can exist, definition distinguishes 'this' from 'that'. It is assertion that says 'I exist' for I know myself as 'I'. A tree or a brick do not (cannot) know of themselves as such, it is we who so assert them to be as 'brick' or 'tree'. Contradistinction asserts 'that' as seperate from 'myself' either implicitly or explicitly. 'That' object implies 'this' observer. Where contradistinction ceases both 'that' and 'this' cease to be together. This is a reversion from conditionality to unconditionality. The unconditioned 'arises' when conditionality ceases, just as darkness dissapears on sunrise.

A 'self' is a product of assertion, therein lies its existence. The assertions that constitute this 'self' are founded solely on delusion. Taking refuge in a 'self' is taking refuge in a delusion that owes its existence to its conceptual processes, when these processes cease the 'self' ceases. The Buddha and the Dharma are synonymous, each implies the other. The Dharma means 'as it is' or perhaps more accurately should be 'as is' for an 'it' implies thing-ness. Taking refuge in the Dharma simply means taking refuge in that clarity void of concepts - hopefully that will be your refuge for when those defining concepts cease there is no longer a 'me' to take refuge...

Best wishes to you all...
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:26 pm

kannada wrote:
Tilt wrote:<snip>The classic beginners mistake.<snip> I am not sure I would characterize k as a beginner, but the bare statement is not at all uncommon among beginners, which pretty much all I meant by it.

Hi Tilt,

Personally I'm disinterested in people's views of me, but on a forum it can diverge attention away from the topic. My comment to imagemarie was "Who needs a refuge when there is no-one to shelter?" It is not dissimilar to my quote of Achan Chah who says "I live nowhere, there is no place you can find me. I have no age. To have age, you must exist, and to think you exist is already a problem. Don't make problems; then the world has none either. Don't make a self. There's nothing more to say." The good Achaan is certainly no beginner. I am fully aware of the implications of my statements, I am careful to only state what I understand and am willing to expand on those understandings when required if I feel it appropriate.

The beginner's mistake, which is also a mistake made further down the road, is to think we can jump to Ajahn Chah's level. There is a great deal of work in betwixt and between here and there.
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: Refuge in Oneself

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:49 pm

kannada wrote:Hi Drolma,

I appreciate you thinking about my 'education' but I've read Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Not self strategy years ago. I didn't agree with it then and I don't think a re-visitation would change my mind...

Thanks anyway


Hi Kannada,

I've posted my inquiry in the beginner's section, hoping I can get thoughts and teachings.
I'm not a Theravada practitioner. Whatever comes up will come up, I suppose. So thanks for the input.

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby christopher::: » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:31 pm

kannada wrote:
Chris wrote:the Buddha repeatedly mentioned his reservations when using conventional speech, e.g. in D. 9: "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect One (Tathāgata) uses without misapprehending them."


I believe I understand what you are saying. Words superimpose conditions on the unconditioned where previously there was none, creating 'thing-ness' (dhammas) at every expression.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All existents are products of assertion - that is the only way they can exist, definition distinguishes 'this' from 'that'. It is assertion that says 'I exist' for I know myself as 'I'. A tree or a brick do not (cannot) know of themselves as such, it is we who so assert them to be as 'brick' or 'tree'. Contradistinction asserts 'that' as seperate from 'myself' either implicitly or explicitly. 'That' object implies 'this' observer. Where contradistinction ceases both 'that' and 'this' cease to be together. This is a reversion from conditionality to unconditionality. The unconditioned 'arises' when conditionality ceases, just as darkness dissapears on sunrise.

A 'self' is a product of assertion, therein lies its existence. The assertions that constitute this 'self' are founded solely on delusion. Taking refuge in a 'self' is taking refuge in a delusion that owes its existence to its conceptual processes, when these processes cease the 'self' ceases. The Buddha and the Dharma are synonymous, each implies the other. The Dharma means 'as it is' or perhaps more accurately should be 'as is' for an 'it' implies thing-ness. Taking refuge in the Dharma simply means taking refuge in that clarity void of concepts - hopefully that will be your refuge for when those defining concepts cease there is no longer a 'me' to take refuge...



Makes good sense to illusory "moi" ..!

So, its okay to use terms like self, Oneself, just be sure we understand what happens when we hold such conceptions too tightly in our minds....

That the Buddha himself had reservations about using conventional speech, as Chris pointed out...

Is that what you are suggesting, kannada?

:smile:
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~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:08 pm

The reality is, of course, one can only start from where one actually is.
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.

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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:37 pm

Tilt wrote:The beginner's mistake, which is also a mistake made further down the road, is to think we can jump to Ajahn Chah's level. There is a great deal of work in betwixt and between here and there.

Still plugging the same theme Tilt - you should learn to let go. If you're implying that I assume myself to be at the Achan's 'level' then you are very mistaken. I simply said that his and my comments were not dissimalar.
Last edited by kannada on Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:49 pm

Chris wrote:Makes good sense to illusory "moi" ..!

So, its okay to use terms like self, Oneself, just be sure we understand what happens when we hold such conceptions too tightly in our minds....

That the Buddha himself had reservations about using conventional speech, as Chris pointed out...

Is that what you are suggesting, kannada?

:smile:

As long as you don't get ahead of yourself, you can say anything you like Chris::: Just don't mistake yourself for the Buddha or something silly like that... :lol:
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:06 pm

kannada wrote:
Tilt wrote:The beginner's mistake, which is also a mistake made further down the road, is to think we can jump to Ajahn Chah's level. There is a great deal of work in betwixt and between here and there.

Still plugging the same theme Tilt - you should learn to let go. If you're implying that I assume myself to be at the Achan's 'level' then you are very mistaken. I simply said that his and my comments were not dissimalar.


I am not making any assumption about you at all. You personally do not figure into this. I am simply saying that it is a mistake, a serious one that some people make, to assume that one can - or needs to or should try to - jump to Ven Chah's level without all the stuff in between.
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: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kannada wrote:
Tilt wrote:The beginner's mistake, which is also a mistake made further down the road, is to think we can jump to Ajahn Chah's level. There is a great deal of work in betwixt and between here and there.

Still plugging the same theme Tilt - you should learn to let go. If you're implying that I assume myself to be at the Achan's 'level' then you are very mistaken. I simply said that his and my comments were not dissimalar.


I am not making any assumption about you at all. I am simply saying that it is a mistake, a serious one that some people make, to assume that one can - or needs - jump to Ven Chah's level without all the stuff in between.

If you quote someone and add your 'advice' under the quote then it would be logical to assume that the advice was meant for them - or that you are using them as an example of your assertion... Think about it...
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:53 pm

kannada wrote:
Tilt wrote:I am not making any assumption about you at all. I am simply saying that it is a mistake, a serious one that some people make, to assume that one can - or needs - jump to Ven Chah's level without all the stuff in between.

Then find someone who's doing that and tell them, but I don't need to know because I'm not that foolish and I resent the implication that I am. If you quote someone and add your 'advice' under the quote then it would be logical to assume that the advice was meant for them - or that you are using them as an example of your assertion... Think about it...


I was using is what you said as an example of where things can go wrong, but it does seem to go a bit further than that:

"Wouldn't this contradict the teaching of Anatta? Taking refuge in a 'self' that is nothing more than a utilisable misperception..."

In the context of what had already been posted by Ngawang Drolma, this first statement of yours was already a problem. There was nothing in what she said or in her quotation of the 17th Karmapa that would suggest that - to use your words “. . . one is is going to turn anatta into atta...”

And again:

”Exactly... Who(m) needs a refuge when there is no-one to shelter?’

What level is everyone else but you speaking on here? Ajahn Chah’s? Probably not. More on this level, as Chris posted above:

In the Dhammapada, the Buddha taught:

Dhammapada Verse 160 - Kumarakassapamatuttheri Vatthu

Atta hi attano natho
ko hi natho paro siya
attana hi sudantena
natham labhati dullabham.


Verse 160: One indeed is one's own refuge; how can others be a refuge to one? With oneself thoroughly tamed, one can attain a refuge (i.e., Arahatta Phala), which is so difficult to attain.
http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/ve ... ?verse=160


Which you follow again with: ” If I am not mistaken the Buddha also taught Anatta, the bedrock of Buddha Dharma, which the Sangha of Bhikkhus also faithfully preserved. So it seems there is indeed a self within which to take refuge which is not really a self?

I take refuge in me which I am not...”


And you offer nothing in your subsequent postings to reconcile the differing levels which so very obviously are a significant part of the Buddha’s teachings and are being drawn out by others in this thread; rather, you continue, for whatever reason, to make the beginner’s mistake of focusing on the higher level at the expense of the conventional level - or so it seems.

Maybe you could simply explain yourself a bit more skilfully here in light of such texts as Chris has quoted and in light of what others are saying who see the utility of using both the conventional and higher levels of speaking, understanding the connexion between the two, that one does not negate or supersede the other.
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: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kidd » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:13 pm

If we fully embrace the truth (the dhamma), do we not become a refuge to ourselves?

:juggling:
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Re: Refuge in Oneself

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:29 pm

kidd wrote:If we fully embrace the truth (the dhamma), do we not become a refuge to ourselves?


One would think so, though what is meant by "embrace" is an interesting thing to consider.
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: Refuge in Oneself

Postby kannada » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:40 am

I was using is what you said as an example of where things can go wrong, but it does seem to go a bit further than that:

"Wouldn't this contradict the teaching of Anatta? Taking refuge in a 'self' that is nothing more than a utilisable misperception..."

This remark is quite in accord with Buddhist doctrine on atta. If atta is a delusion, taking refuge in atta is taking refuge in a delusion.

In the context of what had already been posted by Ngawang Drolma, this first statement of yours was already a problem. There was nothing in what she said or in her quotation of the 17th Karmapa that would suggest that - to use your words “. . . one is is going to turn anatta into atta...”

My initial comment was a reply to the thread title (as quoted), not anything written by Drolma or the Karmapa.

And again:


”Exactly... Who(m) needs a refuge when there is no-one to shelter?’

This was my expression of concord with imagemarie, a rhetorical expression of understanding with her.

What level is everyone else but you speaking on here? Ajahn Chah’s? Probably not. More on this level, as Chris posted above:

The level of logic and clear understanding. Though I much admire some Buddhist masters, I do not parrot their expressions but formulate my own conclusions. If I care to quote someone I will provide credits.
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha taught:

Verse 160: One indeed is one's own refuge; how can others be a refuge to one? With oneself thoroughly tamed, one can attain a refuge (i.e., Arahatta Phala), which is so difficult to attain.
http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/ve ... ?verse=160

Which you follow again with:

” If I am not mistaken the Buddha also taught Anatta, the bedrock of Buddha Dharma, which the Sangha of Bhikkhus also faithfully preserved. So it seems there is indeed a self within which to take refuge which is not really a self?

I take refuge in me which I am not...”

Refuge is taken in the Buddha, the Dharma and the sangha. There is no mention for taking refuge in oneself. I assume the above quote to mean that the work of cessation cannot be performed on one's behalf by another. The work is performed by oneself, for oneself in order to remove the delusion of oneself. Though I respect the body of works that constitute Buddhism I also have a healthy scepticism regarding authenticity, undisputable authenticity cannot be guaranteed. I am a practitioner, not a believer.

And you offer nothing in your subsequent postings to reconcile the differing levels which so very obviously are a significant part of the Buddha’s teachings and are being drawn out by others in this thread; rather, you continue, for whatever reason, to make the beginner’s mistake of focusing on the higher level at the expense of the conventional level - or so it seems.

I do not see the teachings of Buddha-dharma as a series of levels. I see them as a clearly defined methodology that produce certain results. Anatta is a fact of Buddhist life and adherents of Buddhism should understand it accordingly. Without this understanding practice is a waste of time.

Maybe you could simply explain yourself a bit more skilfully here in light of such texts as Chris has quoted and in light of what others are saying who see the utility of using both the conventional and higher levels of speaking, understanding the connexion between the two, that one does not negate or supersede the other.

I see no problem in my explanations, they are formulated by an estimate of the receivers understanding. I don't accept your theory of 'levels' if the teachings be competently taught.
Just a view - nothing more...
kannada
 
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