Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:14 pm

vinasp wrote:It may also be the case that right view for puthujjanas was worked out first, and then the opposite set of views naturally became wrong view, which led to logical contradictions.
.

Yes.

It should be considered that nearly the whole of the Dharma teachings are now available to nearly everyone, and that nearly everyone now thinks that they are qualified to determine their meaning...as if words and phrases on paper or electronic screens have only one concrete correct meaning within the Dharma. This isn't how the Dharma was originally taught, and even now it isn't how thoroughly trained traditional Dharma teachers teach it. The Dharma was originally taught as a path with the implicit meaning of one carefully considered step at a time, each step expediently and skillfully revealed to the student according to the student's level of temperament, awareness and ability to understand. Teachings that could lead to confusion or nihilism in unprepared or incapable students were withheld, and paradoxical realizations were reserved for later on the path. In our "all you can eat" time the Dharma teachings are widely regarded as a pig regards the trough...everyone is free to snout through them looking for morsels that feed their unique hungers regardless of their temperament, awareness, ability, or previous training or lack thereof. The Dharma path is full of paradoxical twists and turns that teachers skillfully employ in their wisdom. What is taught as the meaning of something at one stage of the path can ultimately come to mean it's seeming opposite at higher elevations (or inner core) of the path, without a trace of inconsistency. Many people who consider themselves "Buddhists" are wading in waters over their heads in the absence of a teacher that they are confident will reveal the Dharma to them in a skillful way.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:10 pm

pink_trike wrote:In our "all you can eat" time the Dharma teachings are widely regarded as a pig regards the trough...everyone is free to snout through them looking for morsels that feed their unique hungers regardless of their temperament, awareness, ability, or previous training or lack thereof.

Thank you for the vivid and illuminating metaphor there, pink_trike. I'm sure your view represents the majority of what Buddhists worldwide believe to be the the case, that the only way to achieve deep and accurate understanding is to wait for the teacher to give you insight (and you didn't say it, but I'm sure you believe as I do, “and while waiting, practice, practice, practice”). In the balance of all things, both forces, for conservation and for change, are equally necessary, and I therefore have a great deal of respect for your conservative view of the dhamma and sangha, just as I do of the conservative view in politics and in environmental science. As regards the dhamma, however, my efforts are on the side of change. Still, I am glad you stepped forward and stated the conservative view. Now that that is out of the way, we can return to focusing on applying our intelligence and limited understanding to the sutta at hand.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:12 pm

vinasp wrote:I am not convinced by your arguments so far,


Are you saying that you think the list of three philosophers at the end has nothing to do with the sutta?

In DN 23 we find this view attributed to Prince Payasi :

"There is no other world, there are no spontaneously born beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil deeds".

Now, Payasi was a typical materialist and these are just the views one would expect. No next world - no post mortem existence. No devas. No result of deeds. I think that this is the original and refers to a particular person. My guess would be that this was expanded by adding more views to give a general list of wrong views. This then caused a problem because the views are not compatible. The view "this world does not exist" is of a completely different type to the view "the next world does not exist". No ordinary person would think "this world does not exist" it is a philosophers view. It needs to be understood correctly. Those philosophers who said "the world exists" meant that the cosmos was eternal, those who said "the world does not exist" meant that the cosmos was not eternal. The non-existence view is not a nihilist view, it does not deny the reality of the things we see.

I am not sure if you're saying that the phrase you quoted first in this block can only belong to one type of philosopher and you attribute it to the materialist school so it therefore cannot belong to what nihilists believe? Or if you're saying something else here. Please clarify?

On the analysis of MN 117.

I think the best method would be to break down the expanded list of views and identify each one correctly. I think that your division into three is an error, although coincidentally (1) and (2) fit the first and second doctrines. In most good translations (and in the romanised Pali) all the views are included in one complete sentence.

I gather that punctuation was a lot looser in those days of Pali-writing.

Are you then theorizing that in this sutta “Wrong View” represents the views of more than three different philosophies? I would welcome your best guess at such a list.

It may also be the case that right view for puthujjanas was worked out first, and then the opposite set of views naturally became wrong view, which led to logical contradictions. So a Buddhist lay follower is supposed to believe that "this world exists" what does that mean ? Just some thoughts.

“puthujjanas” being “just regular folk” – those still suffering from ignorance of the Buddha's teachings?

Are you saying with your “logical contradictions” that the Buddha offered us a teaching here in MN 117 that contained such logical contradictions? When you say “was worked out first, and then the opposite set of views naturally became wrong view” whom do you conceive of as doing the “working out” and coming up with an opposite that was illogical?

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:35 pm

nowheat wrote:
pink_trike wrote:In our "all you can eat" time the Dharma teachings are widely regarded as a pig regards the trough...everyone is free to snout through them looking for morsels that feed their unique hungers regardless of their temperament, awareness, ability, or previous training or lack thereof.

Thank you for the vivid and illuminating metaphor there, pink_trike. I'm sure your view represents the majority of what Buddhists worldwide believe to be the the case, that the only way to achieve deep and accurate understanding is to wait for the teacher to give you insight (and you didn't say it, but I'm sure you believe as I do, “and while waiting, practice, practice, practice”). In the balance of all things, both forces, for conservation and for change, are equally necessary, and I therefore have a great deal of respect for your conservative view of the dhamma and sangha, just as I do of the conservative view in politics and in environmental science. As regards the dhamma, however, my efforts are on the side of change. Still, I am glad you stepped forward and stated the conservative view. Now that that is out of the way, we can return to focusing on applying our intelligence and limited understanding to the sutta at hand.

:namaste:


Many here are likely amused to read that you think I have a conservative view of the Dharma and Sangha. :jumping: Heh...I emphatically don't - although a lot of my view is influenced by years of conservative training, it is pronouncedly inconsistent with many of Buddhism's traditional views. I prefer the Dharma stripped of the institution and the mythology that grew on it, but I'm conservative about practice and traditional teaching methodology while optimistic that traditional teaching methodology can be adapted to the information age at the point that traditional Buddhist teachers welcome and learn how to use a wide array of online teaching tools and by doing so stake their position as teachers in cyber where they are notably absent.

My post was simply meant to point at how a phrase or segment of a teaching can be nuanced differently at different stages on the path and that the context of the time/place/audience needs to figure in our attempts to understand what any particular phrase or teachings originally meant to convey. Context is often not considered, which imo is relevant to the discussion taking place in this thread.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:56 pm

pink_trike wrote:My post was simply meant to point at how a phrase or segment of a teaching can be nuanced differently at different stages on the path and that the context of the time/place/audience needs to figure in our attempts to understand what any particular phrase or teachings originally meant to convey. Context is often not considered, which imo is relevant to the discussion taking place in this thread.

Ah. Sorry. I didn't get that from your “pig at the trough” metaphor at all.

So to clarify, you're saying part of the context we should be looking for is to do with who the Buddha was offering his teaching to at the time? I agree with that, though in this case we just have the information that he is addressing monks (in general, none specifically) and that it was late enough in his teaching career that Anathapindika's Park had been established in the area of Savatthi.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:21 am

nowheat wrote:
pink_trike wrote:My post was simply meant to point at how a phrase or segment of a teaching can be nuanced differently at different stages on the path and that the context of the time/place/audience needs to figure in our attempts to understand what any particular phrase or teachings originally meant to convey. Context is often not considered, which imo is relevant to the discussion taking place in this thread.

Ah. Sorry. I didn't get that from your “pig at the trough” metaphor at all.

So to clarify, you're saying part of the context we should be looking for is to do with who the Buddha was offering his teaching to at the time? I agree with that, though in this case we just have the information that he is addressing monks (in general, none specifically) and that it was late enough in his teaching career that Anathapindika's Park had been established in the area of Savatthi.

:namaste:

This is why I used the pig/trough metaphor. Having access to a sutra doesn't mean we're informed enough or wise enough to be able to ascertain the depth and breadth of its meaning - this is why having a relationship with a well-trained teacher or established sangha has always been considered important. I don't know what the criteria is in Theravada in order to teach, but in Tibetan Buddhism highly qualified teachers have completed a rigorous 16 year training that results in the equivalent of a Ph.D. degree. Likely teachers that emerge from this learning/practice environment know the broad context and skillful parameters of teachings.

Perhaps this helps explain my pig/trough metaphor a bit better...without training, what tools do we have to correctly analyze and interpret complex teachings from another time/place thousands of years ago that has multiple translations and interprations from a different language and that involved a people who viewed reality very differently than we do? Even the very way that we approach learning and information is very different than in this other time and place. In view of these things, and having had some years of being taught traditionally, I stick to practice and tend to let teachers have the first go at what a teaching means, or at least not to get ahead of my training in my attempts to understand sutras.

And I very rarely am so bold as to offer my understanding of a sutra beyond the very basics, especially in an environment chocka'block full of newbies to the path for whom most sutras are still beyond their ability to understand, and that they likely would never have been exposed to so early on the path in a traditional teaching setting.

To quote a Talking Heads tune..."this ain't no disco, this ain't no party, this ain't no fool'in around". It isn't Western consumer buffet-style independent education either.
Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:22 am

pink_trike wrote:This is why I used the pig/trough metaphor. Having access to a sutra doesn't mean we're informed enough or wise enough to be able to ascertain the depth and breadth of its meaning . . . And I very rarely am so bold as to offer my understanding of a sutra beyond the very basics, especially in an environment chocka'block full of newbies to the path for whom most sutras are still beyond their ability to understand . . . To quote a Talking Heads tune..."this ain't no disco, this ain't no party, this ain't no fool'in around". It isn't Western consumer buffet-style independent education either.

In that case, we're back to the "you are conservative; I am not" and that would be a discussion for a different thread. Again, I appreciate your views; I simply disagree with them. I would be glad to debate those issues with you, but elsewhere, okay?

:focus: :namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:40 am

Part II.

You may recall that the structure of MN 117's section on Right View offers us three types of View: Wrong View; Right View with Effluents (“taints” in the Wisdom Pubs version); and Right View without Effluents. We have used our understanding of the context of the times, and the key provided by the Buddha in the form of named schools of thought (from the next to the last verse of MN 117), to gain a better understanding of the listed pieces of wrong view. These wrong views proved to be:

(1) Denying the efficacy of Brahmin rituals ("There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed")
(2) Denying the efficacy of karma ("There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions.") and
(3) Denying the validity of a whole bunch of ideas then current in the Buddha's world, that is, the nihilism of the day ("There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.")

Now we can move on to take a look at the first of the two Right Views, the one with “effluents” aka “taints” also mentioned earlier as “Mundane Right View”. Here is its translation on Access to Insight ((with my reference points inserted in double parens)):

And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed ((A)). There are fruits & results of good & bad actions ((B)). There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions ((C)).


It's quite clear that this Right View with Effluents is a reversal of the Wrong Views. Each set of wrong views is a perfect match for the set of right views, so we are still talking about the same things, but here it's the ordinary practioner's side, the positive view we're talking about rather than the nay-saying philosopher's view as it was in Wrong View. So it looks like this:

(A) Avowing the efficacy of Brahmin rituals (“There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed.”)
(B) Avowing the efficacy of karma (“There are fruits & results of good & bad actions.”)
(C ) Avowing the validity of a variety of ideas current in the Buddha's day (“There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.”)

My question is this: If (A), (B), and (C ) above are Right Views with Effluents, what is it that the Buddha was saying in this part of the teaching?
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Jechbi » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:23 pm

nowheat wrote:My question is this: If (A), (B), and (C ) above are Right Views with Effluents, what is it that the Buddha was saying in this part of the teaching?

Personally, I read it as an affirmation of the idea that causes and conditions have their results. This is why there is the Fourth Noble Truth. With regard to the specific views in question, I think there's enough wiggle room to create some degree of uncertainty over precisely what these "right views with effluents" might be in our modern-day context. But the underlying point seems to be that mundane right view involves recognizing that we are the owners of our kamma. I realize there are different ways of reading this, however.
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.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby vinasp » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:45 pm

Hi nowheat,

Q:Are you saying that you think the list of three philosophers at the end has nothing to do with the sutta?

A: Yes. That is my opinion at present. I have found a third sutta with this ending ( PTS. G.S. II page 34 A.N. II, 30 ). I do not think that it has any special significance.

Q. I am not sure if you're saying that the phrase you quoted first in this block can only belong to one type of philosopher and you attribute it to the materialist school so it therefore cannot belong to what nihilists believe? Or if you're saying something else here. Please clarify?

A: I think that the term nihilist is misleading I would prefer sceptic. I think a materialist can also be a sceptic about religious beliefs. In MN 60 the entire set of views "There is nothing given ..." ( as in MN 117 ) is called "nihilism".
Although this heading has been added by the translater I think it is correct. In this section a person who comes to the view " the next world does not exist" is called a natthikavada - sceptic. In fact, the other doctrines, denial of cause and denial of action are just specific kinds of scepticism.

Q.Are you then theorizing that in this sutta "Wrong View" represents the views of more than three different philosophies? I would welcome your best guess at such a list.

A. Perhaps better to think of it as a bunch of wrong doctrines rather than schools of philosophy. You can't neatly assign each doctrine to a single school, some doctrines were asserted by several schools. Also many of these doctrines could be arrived at by an ordinary person who would not be said to be following a particular school.

Q. "puthujjanas" being "just regular folk" those still suffering from ignorance of the Buddha's teachings?

A. The teachings contrast the "ordinary man" ( puthujjana ) with the "noble disciple" ( ariya savaka ). The first is said to be ignorant, the second is said to have wisdom. A lay person can be either, so can a monk. The ignorance is not about Buddhist teachings but about whether one can see and create the true path. Each person who becomes enlightened does so through a path "made by oneself".

Q. Are you saying with your "logical contradictions" that the Buddha offered us a teaching here in MN 117 that contained such logical contradictions? When you say "was worked out first, and then the opposite set of views naturally became wrong view" whom do you conceive of as doing the working out and coming up with an opposite that was illogical?

A. Just some speculations on my part. Probably muddled thinking. There may be no contradictions. I was struggling to find a way of understanding loka which makes sense. I am still working on it.

Best wishes, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1189
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:55 pm

Jechbi wrote:Personally, I read it as an affirmation of the idea that causes and conditions have their results. This is why there is the Fourth Noble Truth. With regard to the specific views in question, I think there's enough wiggle room to create some degree of uncertainty over precisely what these "right views with effluents" might be in our modern-day context. But the underlying point seems to be that mundane right view involves recognizing that we are the owners of our kamma. I realize there are different ways of reading this, however.

I hope to leave translation of the wisdom of this sutta into modern-day contexts out of this thread because that only introduces confusion into our efforts to focus on Buddha's-day context. For example, in modern Buddhism many understand kamma as a word for “cause and effect” but in the Buddha's day the philosophy named as “causation” had nothing to do with kamma: it was about the Brahminical ordering of the universe and the ways in which it was affected by ritual in the form of gifts, offerings, and sacrifices. In fact Brahmins were amongst the largest deniers of the theory of kamma and action – since they believed that “atman” was separate from the body-mind complex, and therefore the eternal soul/atman was untouched by the actions of the body-mind.

I can see that with (B) you can say that the Buddha was teaching that it is right view to believe in the traditional view of kamma. In the three philosophies he lists at the end, he does name non-action (2), which clearly addresses kamma – so that is one of the views he was arguing against denying, and including in its positive form in this Right View.

But in addition he specifies two other views he is arguing against. One of them is a denial of causation. As mentioned above, causation as a named philosophy was not, in his day, about kamma, but about the Brahminical ordering of the universe and its being affected by gifts, offerings, and sacrifices – it seems clear to me that he uses the words that mean “gifts, offerings, and sacrifices” in this teaching so that he's using two ways to be quite specific about its being Brahminical practice he's talking about; by using that particular set of words, and specifying that he's talking about causality – the Brahminical causality of his day. If, then, you're saying that in all three bits he is saying that it's about “cause and effect” in the sense that our actions have consequences (“we are the owners of our kamma”) and here he is talking about Right View, is he then saying that the Brahminical practices of gifts, offerings, and sacrifices have good effect? That a belief that they work has good effect?

I also wonder how you can stretch a belief in “spontaneously reborn beings” (part of (C)) to have anything at all to do with cause and effect? It seems to me to be quite the opposite of causality.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:00 pm

vinasp wrote:I think that the term nihilist is misleading I would prefer sceptic. I think a materialist can also be a sceptic about religious beliefs. In MN 60 the entire set of views "There is nothing given ..." ( as in MN 117 ) is called "nihilism".
Although this heading has been added by the translater I think it is correct. In this section a person who comes to the view " the next world does not exist" is called a natthikavada - sceptic. In fact, the other doctrines, denial of cause and denial of action are just specific kinds of scepticism.

What sources have you drawn on for your understanding of the Buddha's fellow heretics? I'd be interested in having a look at the references you use to draw such conclusions; they are certainly quite different from all my sources.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby Jechbi » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:36 pm

nowheat wrote:... is he then saying that the Brahminical practices of gifts, offerings, and sacrifices have good effect? That a belief that they work has good effect?
I think you might be overthinking this. My understanding is that the Buddha expropriated the language of the day and used it to convey Dhamma ideas in a sense that redefined the very words he was using. So probably he was doing that in this case, basically using language that the listeners would understand, but in a manner that conveyed Dhamma. So this would not need to be an affirmation of Brahminical practices.

nowheat wrote:I also wonder how you can stretch a belief in “spontaneously reborn beings” (part of (C)) to have anything at all to do with cause and effect? It seems to me to be quite the opposite of causality.
Why do you think so? I think in traditional Buddhist cosmology, that's the way some heavenly beings take rebirth: spontaneously appearing. But this spontaneous rebirth is still conditioned by kamma.

Metta
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.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:17 pm

Hi, NoWheat,

I'm not sure why you keep saying that the passage supports the Brahmin view. I agree with Jechbi (and Bhikkhu Bodhi and other commentators) that it's about causality and kamma.
nowheat wrote:I also wonder how you can stretch a belief in “spontaneously reborn beings” (part of (C)) to have anything at all to do with cause and effect? It seems to me to be quite the opposite of causality.

This refers to beings born in the deva realms. Devas do not come from a womb, so are "spontaneously born".

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10124
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:38 pm

Jechbi wrote:
nowheat wrote:... is he then saying that the Brahminical practices of gifts, offerings, and sacrifices have good effect? That a belief that they work has good effect?
I think you might be overthinking this. My understanding is that the Buddha expropriated the language of the day and used it to convey Dhamma ideas in a sense that redefined the very words he was using. So probably he was doing that in this case, basically using language that the listeners would understand, but in a manner that conveyed Dhamma. So this would not need to be an affirmation of Brahminical practices.

However, he didn't do that without making it clear (that's how we know he did bend words) so you would need to demonstrate to me where he specifically spoke of using both the phrase and the word and bent them to another meaning for this to convince me. If we don't demonstrate that this "bending of words" is clearly what the Buddha is doing in any specific case, then all his words become bendable, and the whole of his teachings lose meaning. In other words, that he did sometimes bend words is not license for us to bend them for him, without solid evidence. I will look for evidence in my future readings, though.

Jechbi wrote:
nowheat wrote:I also wonder how you can stretch a belief in “spontaneously reborn beings” (part of (C)) to have anything at all to do with cause and effect? It seems to me to be quite the opposite of causality.
Why do you think so? I think in traditional Buddhist cosmology, that's the way some heavenly beings take rebirth: spontaneously appearing. But this spontaneous rebirth is still conditioned by kamma.

There is a logical contradiction there. If it is conditioned by kamma then they are not spontaneously reborn. Once again, if you can offer me a sutta in which the Buddha makes it somehow logical that for him to say that "spontaneously reborn" = "conditioned by kamma" I could be convinced. Otherwise, it seems to me you might be overthinking this, bending things to fit your existing view.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby enkidu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:01 pm

nowheat wrote:There is a logical contradiction there. If it is conditioned by kamma then they are not spontaneously reborn.


I understand "spontaneously reborn" as to be reborn with all faculties fully developed, not as referring to some extra-causal rebirth. What indicates to you that "spontaneously reborn" means "not conditioned by kamma", or that a rebirth that is conditioned by kamma (which is to say, all rebirth) must necessarily not be spontaneous rebirth?
enkidu
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:55 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:48 pm

enkidu wrote:
nowheat wrote:There is a logical contradiction there. If it is conditioned by kamma then they are not spontaneously reborn.


I understand "spontaneously reborn" as to be reborn with all faculties fully developed, not as referring to some extra-causal rebirth. What indicates to you that "spontaneously reborn" means "not conditioned by kamma", or that a rebirth that is conditioned by kamma (which is to say, all rebirth) must necessarily not be spontaneous rebirth?

I was responding to Jechbi's post in which he said “But this spontaneous rebirth is still conditioned by kamma.” This is not my belief at all.

Do you have evidence in the suttas themselves for your understanding of “spontaneously reborn” as meaning “with all faculties fully developed”? It would help to hear this in the Buddha's words, in the context of a talk.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:54 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I'm not sure why you keep saying that the passage supports the Brahmin view. I agree with Jechbi (and Bhikkhu Bodhi and other commentators) that it's about causality and kamma.

That part of the discussion came quite early in the thread, Mike, but I will summarize the Brahminical aspect here one more time. Essentially it's because, first of all, the Buddha mentions at the end that this sutta defeats those who believe in non-causality, and causality is the Brahmin view. Second of all because the verbal evidence in the sutta is about sacrifice and that is a Brahmin practice, not a Buddhist practice. Thirdly, the pattern of the descriptions of the wrong views exactly parallels the named views at the end of the sutta. And in new evidence I have yet to get to here (nor have I finished working on it), the following passages maintain that order in support of it being those schools of thought.

But for those of you who disagree with the premise, that's fine; there is no need for you to continue protesting that part; I understand your position. I welcome new evidence for your position if it comes up.

Basically, if you can see the pattern, and your mind is still open to the possibility that the Buddha was actually saying what he meant, rather than speaking in metaphors throughout, this discussion may be of value to you. If you don't believe the premise, that's okay because the Buddha says his teachings are good at any level and I personally have seen that this is so; I don't have any need to convince those who are satisfied by their understanding of Buddhism that they are wrong -- I have often said there are as many dhammas as there are those who see it -- as long as your feet are on the path, it's good.

For some of us, however, the majority view of the Buddha's teaching fails an internal logic test that's critical to our ability to follow this path. Yes, we can just merrily go our own way, being a happy iconoclast believing what we wish to believe, practicing cafeteria Buddhism, without evidence; also without concern for all those who turn away from Buddhism. Because there are those who seek the truth in its teachings and end up turning away from what they most need because what they get told repeatedly is that the way the elders (of any tradition of Buddhism) teach it is the way it was originally taught, and that is that. However, that teaching is not internally consistent. Those of us who take the time to defend the position that there may be a different, historically correct, and internally consistent teaching are often silenced for a variety of reasons, one of them being that we have no evidence. So here I am presenting evidence. I am open to arguments against if they, too, present evidence. But my major focus is on demonstrating to those who have long believed that the Buddha's teachings are simple, clear, and internally consistent that there is good evidence for that belief.

mikenz66 wrote:
nowheat wrote:I also wonder how you can stretch a belief in “spontaneously reborn beings” (part of (C)) to have anything at all to do with cause and effect? It seems to me to be quite the opposite of causality.

This refers to beings born in the deva realms. Devas do not come from a womb, so are "spontaneously born"

see post above responding on this point to Jechbi.

Thanks!
:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:36 pm

Hi NoWheat,

Here's Ven. Nyanatiloka's summary:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... %C4%81tika
Opapātika: lit. 'accidental' from upapāta accident; not from upapatti as PTS Dict. has; 'spontaneously born', i.e. born without the instrumentality of parents. This applies to all divine and infernal beings.;After the disappearing of the 5 lower mental chains samyojana, he the Anāgāmi appears in a spiritual world opapātika...


The expression is very common: E.g.:
MN 22: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
43. "Monks, in this Teaching that is so well proclaimed by me and is plain, open, explicit and free of patchwork, those monks who have abandoned the five lower fetters will all be reborn spontaneously(in the Pure Abodes) and there they will pass away finally, no more returning from that world.


Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10124
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Sutta Readers: Shoot Me Down, Please

Postby enkidu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:57 pm

nowheat wrote:
enkidu wrote:
nowheat wrote:There is a logical contradiction there. If it is conditioned by kamma then they are not spontaneously reborn.


I understand "spontaneously reborn" as to be reborn with all faculties fully developed, not as referring to some extra-causal rebirth. What indicates to you that "spontaneously reborn" means "not conditioned by kamma", or that a rebirth that is conditioned by kamma (which is to say, all rebirth) must necessarily not be spontaneous rebirth?

I was responding to Jechbi's post in which he said “But this spontaneous rebirth is still conditioned by kamma.” This is not my belief at all.

Do you have evidence in the suttas themselves for your understanding of “spontaneously reborn” as meaning “with all faculties fully developed”? It would help to hear this in the Buddha's words, in the context of a talk.

:namaste:


MN 12 Mahasihanada Sutta Translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera edited and revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi
What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.


In the Buddha's words: an anthology of discourses from the Pāli canon By Bhikkhu Bodhi
Those who are spontaneously reborn (opapātika) take rebirth without dependence on a mother and father.


Though this does not indicate "with all faculties fully developed", it does not appear to indicate a violation of causality. What I mean is, the expression "if it is conditioned by kamma then they are not born without dependence on a mother and father" does not follow.

So I must assume that "spontaneous rebirth" means something else to you, something that would make that expression true.
enkidu
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:55 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], retrofuturist and 10 guests