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Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please - Dhamma Wheel

Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
nowheat
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Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:25 pm

I have a different way of reading a particular sutta than is the standard. I'd like the opportunity to present it and have the kind and scholarly folks here have a look at it so that I can have a go at defending it, and maybe you can convince me I'm wrong. I never took debate class and I dislike arguing, so I'm not asking in order to Score Points. Also, I'm not sure how many regular Sutta Readers visit the Dhammic free-for-all category or if anyone would be interested in helping me out, so I thought I'd ask before I go writing anything up. My plan would be to take it slowly, one piece of the sutta at a time.

What say ye?

:namaste:

vinasp
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby vinasp » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:12 pm

Hi nowheat,

If your interpretation is non-standard then this is probably the right section. Yes, go ahead.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:32 pm

why dont you just have a go in our sutta study section, then your ideas about the sutta of the week are right there along everyone eles who desides to join in?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:51 pm

If you have a comment or interpretation then take the time to put it in writing. We will then either respond or not. I think that someone will respond.

Take care

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

Individual
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:56 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:27 am


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:30 am


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:43 am

[I apologize in advance for the length of these posts. Brevity is not my strength. I am going to post this in two pieces, a sort of "Position Statement" first, followed by the first portion of the sutta that I'd like help examining.]

It's my thought that it's not reasonable to expect that human beings could perfectly transmit the teachings of one man across 2,500 years; errors surely have crept in; maybe just small ones, maybe large ones. We can't know until we, first, look for them, and second, test them through our own insight – just as the Buddha would have taught us to do. What I felt was most necessary to being able to get a fresh interpretation of the Pali suttas was to have a deeper understanding of the times in which the Buddha gained his insight, and walked and taught. The context for particular reasoned arguments would be critical to understanding the subtleties of the points made, as well as the choices of words. This context would also be among the first things to grow muddled and vague in the understanding of those passing on the Buddha's Dhamma, which would make it easy for an early shift in meaning to be passed on and codified within the traditions. In order to gain this context I've been reading a lot about the times in which the Buddha lived, including what is known about competing philosophies, both Brahminical (“orthodox”) and heretical (“heterodox”). What I've seen since is that though the context may not have been considered when interpreting the suttas, it has often been carried forward nonetheless, as background. It has been faithfully transmitted with little change because it was considered part of the canon and as such rather “holy”. It seems to have been thought unnecessary to understand the context itself – so it did not get interpreted and reinterpreted, which means that change to descriptions of context will have had no easy way to creep in.

:namaste:

nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:59 am

I have been looking for any corroboration one way or another as to where any changes in Pali suttas have occurred, and felt I could see patterns but had no strong case to make one way or another until a recent discussion in E-Sangha directed me toward MN 117 “The Great Forty” as the best evidence that the Buddha taught karma as a necessary part of his path. What I read said that it was included as part of “Right View” and a quick skim of that sutta supported that reading. The sutta is about the requisites for concentration and though methods of meditation are not directly addressed, the structure of the sutta indicates that Right View is the primary support. It further states that Right View, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness work particularly well together (-“run a circle round right view”-) and then goes on to outline other supports: right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood.

[I will be using the Access to Insight translation here – though it is somewhat shortened – you are of course welcome to use any version you like, you should be able to follow along just as well and perhaps even provide different wording of translations, which could help.]

The part we will be most concerned with comes early in the sutta, and is, in fact, the beginnings of the heart of the teaching, since “Right View is the forerunner” throughout the sutta, and here we begin by dealing with Right View, which is discussed in three varieties: (1) Wrong View, (2) Right View with effluents, and (3) the Right View without effluents.

I would like to start looking for context in this sutta in the section on “Wrong View” and get your thoughts on it. We have a series of things apparently spoken by those who hold wrong views. The first phrase quoted shows that they say, “There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed.” What would someone mean when they say this? Surely not that they believe no one ever gives anything, never offers anything, never sacrifices anything; I feel sure it's not a face-value statement though if you think it is, I'd be glad to hear your reasoning. If not face value, what exactly do you think the wrong view is that involves a negation of what is given, offered, sacrificed?

The same question needs to be asked of “There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions.” Who holds this view and why?

And who would hold the view that “There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings”? Who would say there are “no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves”? Are each of these separate items in a list of views that different individuals hold? In other words, does one person hold the wrong view that “There is no this world, no next world” and another holds the wrong view that “There is no mother, no father”? Or is this one long set of negative views that represent one philosophy?

These are the questions I began by asking myself, and I'd like your views, also.

:namaste: and thanks in advance for looking at this with me

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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:43 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Ben
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:49 am

Hi Nowheat
Doyou have access to Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya? Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to the suttas make his translations invaluable. If I get time later on, I'll transcribe some of the notes to MN117.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:58 am


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Dan74
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Dan74 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:08 am

_/|\_

nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:18 am


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:28 am


Paññāsikhara
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:54 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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catmoon
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:47 am


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:37 am


nowheat
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:38 am


vinasp
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Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby vinasp » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:54 am

Hi everyone,

Here is a version with explanatory insertions in brackets from :
Selfless Persons : Imagery and thought in Theravada Buddhism. By Steven Collins. Cambridge University Press 1982.

"There is no (gain from making) gifts, offerings, sacrifice ; there is no fruition, no ripening of good and bad deeds ; this world and the other world do not exist ; there is no (benefit from duties towards) mother and father ; there are not beings of spontaneous birth ; there are not to be found in the world ascetics and brahmins who, living and practising rightly, proclaim
(the existence of) both this world and the next, having personally experienced them by superior knowledge".

Best wishes, Vincent.


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