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The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa - Dhamma Wheel

The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Element

The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:14 am

Dear Forum,

I thought to commence a thread on the teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa.

To start, the salient theme of Buddhadasa's teachings was his emphasis upon nature. Buddhadasa held that Buddhism had the nature of a science and was not a philosophy. This is because Buddhism teaches about "real things, which brings real results".

Buddhadasa used the following fourfold framework for the Buddha-Dhamma:

1. Nature. All things are nature. This is as the Buddha taught regarding all things as elements or dhatu, including Nibbana. In Pali, the words for nature are dhammajati and sabhavadhamma, which are close in meaning to the Pali word for elements, namely, dhatu. To realise all things are nature is the same as realising all things are empty of self.

2. Law of nature or natural truth. Dhammaniyama, saccadhamma. All things follow the law of nature, whether physical, social, psychological, mental or spiritual. The teachings of the Buddha are the expounding of the laws of nature.

3. Duty according to the law of nature. If we wish to live free from suffering, we are required to live according to the laws of nature. This is called duty.

4. Result of doing duty according to the law of nature. These are dhamma fruits or pativedhadhamma. The fruits of course is peace, harmony & happiness.

To end, this is part one about the scientific teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. If we ask the question, what thing did Bhikkhu Buddhadasa most emphasise, we can answer, nature.

With metta,

Element

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Dhammanando
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:12 pm

Hi Element,

One question I have: do you happen to know the provenance of Ajahn Buddhadasa's conception of "dhamma as duty"? Is it something that he attempts to ground in the Suttas? Or is it based on a lexical analysis of the word 'dharma'? Or a borrowing of the normative sense of 'dharma' in Hinduism? Or something else entirely?

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

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gavesako
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby gavesako » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:47 pm

That's a good question. I myself have often wondered why is it that the Thai teachers mention the word "duty" (naathee) so much in their talks, emphasising that such-and-such is our duty to do towards X. I would guess that because the Thai society is structured along so-called "patron-client" relationships, nobody can just swim in it as an independent entity: your identity is defined by your role or duty towards others above and below you. What Buddhadasa probably tries to point out is that there is a higher and more impersonal principle called simply Dhamma or Nature, and that we should be looking primarily towards that as Buddha's followers.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:55 pm

Last edited by Element on Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:03 pm


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bodom
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:05 pm

All contoversies about his teachings aside he was a wonderful teacher and continues to inspire my practice.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Dhammanando
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:13 pm

Hi Element,

Thanks for the clarification and link.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:20 am


Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:36 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:51 pm

Greetings Element,

To what extent did Buddhadasa believe that the Theravada commentarial interpretations had gotten the application of the two truths with respect to the Buddha's teachings mixed up?

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

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:53 pm


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Jesse Smith
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Jesse Smith » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:01 pm

I've heard the name, but never carried out further investigation. I found a link to a three-part bio on UTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgw97YTOriw
Many may already be familiar, but for those who aren't, this may be a start.

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bodom
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:27 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:53 pm


Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:56 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:06 pm

Greetings Element,

No, I didn't have a chance to, and then I forgot about it. :o

I have however read (twice) what he had to say in (the full book form of) Practical Dependent Origination about the subject.

Is there anything about it in those talks, over and above that?

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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halwilson
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby halwilson » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:01 am

Element et al,

It's been years since I've read it, but Peter Jackson's book, Buddhadasa: Theravada Buddhism and Modernist Reform in Thailand should be of interest to those participating in this discussion.

Cheers, Hal
"We had the experience, but missed the meaning" T. S. Eliot

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clw_uk
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby clw_uk » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:35 pm

What was his teachings reguarding Kamma.

Since he didnt teach it as part of dependent origination what was his view reguarding kamma being effective past a physical death? Did he state that it ended or that it carried on or didnt he specify?

Also what was his views reguarding the devas, hungry-shades etc, did he take them to be objective beings or just simply mental states?
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Element

Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby Element » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:13 pm


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clw_uk
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Re: The teachings of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

Postby clw_uk » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:51 pm

Thank you for the links, it is a very insightful book both into the dhamma and Buddhadasa's own teachings.

One problem I have though with the notion of Devas etc being purely psychological is the distinct presenation of them as actual living beings within the Suttas. I can see how they can be seen as both however.

Do you think he held them to be completely psychological or was this just focused on as a more important aspect.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken


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