What is right view?

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What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:28 pm

Hi everyone,

What is right view? My understanding is similar to that of Collins in the following work :

Selfless Persons : Imagery and thought in Theravada Buddhism.
By Steven Collins. Cambridge University Press 1982 ( Paperback 1990 ).

As far back as 1982 Collins explained that "right view" is used in at least three different ways. Why is this not common knowledge by now ? I will try to summarise his observations.

Chapter 3. The denial of self as "right view". 3.1 Different kinds of "right view". page 87.

Collins explains that many different views are condemned as "wrong view" and their opposites praised as "right view".

3.1.1. Collins explains his first meaning of "right view" as the adoption of a view of kamma and rebirth as a simple act of faith (saddha : confidence ). He gives, as an example of "wrong view" the following :

"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".

Collins says : "The corresponding affirmation of these things is right view".

3.1.2. As acquaintance with Buddhist doctrine. page 89. Collins explains his second meaning of "right view" as knowledge of certain key doctrines, such as the four noble truths, or the sequence of dependent origination ( see for example : MN 9 and MN 140 ).

3.1.3. As liberating insight.

Collins says : "When a monk arrives at the end of suffering, the attainment of Arahantship, he has right view in the third and last sense, of "seeing things as they really are". He is the highest of those who are "endowed with view", or who have "achieved view". The Arhat who has "crossed the flood, in his last life, knows things with the highest view". pages 91-92.

[ My own understanding is that right view in this sense is being developed as one progresses on the noble eightfold path.]

3.1.4. Differences between and within the individuals who hold "right view".

Collins explains : "There are, then, three overlapping but distinguishable senses in which Buddhism uses the term right view". "These three senses correspond to a classification of people into three groups which is found in the later parts of the Canon and in the commentaries. These are the "ordinary man" (puthujjano), the "learner" (sekho), and the "adept" (asekho) ; there are three types of wisdom appropriate to these three types of person".

[ The rest of chapter three is a detailed examination of the doctrine of anatta. The psychological realisation of anatta is a key component of this liberating insight ( right view in the third sense ).]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

My comments : The first factor of the noble eightfold path is right view. But not every use of the term "right view" is a reference to this first path factor. Right view in the first and second sense can not be the first factor of the noble
eightfold path ( because they are not capable of producing a psychological transformation ). Which only leaves right view in the third sense.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:50 pm

Hi Vincent,

Certainly. There are dozens of expositions of wrong views in the suttas:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... htm#ditthi
In the Brahmājala Sutta.D.1, 62 false views are classified and described, comprising all conceivable wrong views and speculations about man and world.


I'm curious that your selection of wrong views don't include the self views explicitly, and the common summary of right view as:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... .htm#magga
1. Right view or right understanding sammā-ditthi is the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths about the universality of suffering unsatisfactoriness, of its origin, its cessation, and the path leading to that cessation. - See the Discourse on 'Right Understanding' M. 9, tr. and Com. in 'R. Und.'.


[Above quotes from:
NYANATILOKA :
Central Internment Camp
Dehra-Dun, India
28-8-1946 ]

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Re: What is right view?

Postby Tex » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:07 pm

Right View is usually presented as mundane (understanding kamma) and supramundane (understanding the 4 Noble Truths).

I don't think the third distinction made above is necessary, as the "right view as liberating insight" is the supramundane Right View.

See the section in Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch2
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: What is right view?

Postby Waterearth » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:35 pm

Doesn't the right view avoid the extremes of nihilism and essentialism?
When the mind only minds the mind,
reality stands alone and shines,
this is wisdom in action,
its expression is compassion...
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Re: What is right view?

Postby nowheat » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:10 pm

Tex wrote:Right View is usually presented as mundane (understanding kamma) and supramundane (understanding the 4 Noble Truths).

Hi Tex, when you say "usually" can you name a few suttas that present it that way? Or what do you mean by "usually"?

:namaste:
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Re: What is right view?

Postby Tex » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:56 pm

nowheat wrote:
Tex wrote:Right View is usually presented as mundane (understanding kamma) and supramundane (understanding the 4 Noble Truths).

Hi Tex, when you say "usually" can you name a few suttas that present it that way? Or what do you mean by "usually"?


I meant "usually" as in Right View is usually/often explained in terms of two divisions (mundane and supramundane) as opposed to the three divisions listed in the OP. I only mentioned it because I'm not sure why the writer in the first post makes the third distinction - "right view as liberating insight" - because that's what supramundane right view is anyway, in my understanding. Maybe he's separating that as the completion of supramundane right view?

Anyway, I don't have time to look up many suttas as I'm heading out the door, but the mundane and supramundane right view are explained in Bhikkhu Bodhi's link in my first post, and also here -- "This right view is twofold: mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara)" -- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 7.html#pt2.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:33 pm

Hi mike,

On DN 1 the Brahmajala Sutta : it does not actually call the 62 views "wrong views". It is only when a monk is released from the six spheres of contact that he "knows that which goes beyond all these views". The implication is that they are wrong, but they are not eliminated until some high stage of the path is reached ( arahantship? ).

I was only quoting Collins who does not try to list all the wrong views. Is the view of self actually called wrong view ?
What is actually meant by the "understanding of the four noble truths" ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:08 pm

Hi Tex,

It does not say anywhere in the five nikayas that supramundane right view is the understanding of the four noble truths. This seems to be a later interpretation. Only MN 117 uses the term supramundane. But its descriptions of the mundane path factors matches those of the noble eightfold path. What do you think is meant by "understanding the four noble truths" ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:14 pm

Hi Waterearth,

Yes, right view avoids those two views. So what, then, is right view ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby Waterearth » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:56 pm

Right view starts from the observance that all things are composite and therefore not self-existent.
Seeing how certain actions cause pain and others happiness, this is understanding the ways of cause and effect.
Right view is not to remain fixed upon certain concepts or ideas, but to let thought and understanding evolve along with this changing world.

Am i remotely correct?
When the mind only minds the mind,
reality stands alone and shines,
this is wisdom in action,
its expression is compassion...
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Re: What is right view?

Postby Tex » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:51 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi Tex,

It does not say anywhere in the five nikayas that supramundane right view is the understanding of the four noble truths. This seems to be a later interpretation. Only MN 117 uses the term supramundane. But its descriptions of the mundane path factors matches those of the noble eightfold path.


It may very well be a later interpretation.

vinasp wrote:What do you think is meant by "understanding the four noble truths" ?


Per Bhikkhu Bodhi in the link above:

"This superior right view leading to liberation is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. It is this right view that figures as the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path in the proper sense: as the noble right view. Thus the Buddha defines the path factor of right view expressly in terms of the four truths: "What now is right view? It is understanding of suffering (dukkha), understanding of the origin of suffering, understanding of the cessation of suffering, understanding of the way leading to the cessation to suffering."10 The Eightfold Path starts with a conceptual understanding of the Four Noble Truths apprehended only obscurely through the media of thought and reflection. It reaches its climax in a direct intuition of those same truths, penetrated with a clarity tantamount to enlightenment. Thus it can be said that the right view of the Four Noble Truths forms both the beginning and the culmination of the way to the end of suffering."
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:35 pm

Hi Tex,

So bhikkhu Bodhi says that the path factor of right view is the understanding of the four noble truths. This is said in MN 141.
Everything now depends on what is meant by understanding the four noble truths. What about the variant versions of the truths should these be included ? What about the one which replaces the second and third truth with dependent origination ?
How does the doctrine of no self relate to the four truths ? Did bhikkhu Bodhi ever attain the noble eightfold path ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
Last edited by vinasp on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby nowheat » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:36 am

Tex wrote:I meant "usually" as in Right View is usually/often explained in terms of two divisions

Thanks for the link.

:namaste:
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Re: What is right view?

Postby nowheat » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:43 am

Do I understand correctly, then, that those of us who understand the basic truth of the dhamma intellectually have Mundane Right View?

:namaste:
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:36 am

Hi nowheat,

My answer would be as follows: A conceptual understanding must come first, before liberating insight can arise. But because I understand the noble eightfold path to be mundane, even liberating insight is still mundane. For me, supramundane is the level above the arahant. This is not the usual interpretation. What do the other contributors think ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:45 am

Hi everyone,

I do not think that "mundane" is a good translation of lokiya, if loka means "cosmos" then lokiya means "in this cosmos" and lokuttara means "beyond this cosmos".

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: What is right view?

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:21 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

I do not think that "mundane" is a good translation of lokiya, if loka means "cosmos" then lokiya means "in this cosmos" and lokuttara means "beyond this cosmos".

Best wishes, Vincent.


Thanks Vincent but I think I prefer Nyantiloka's translation:

Lokiya
...
worldly, mundane, when opposed to lokuttara.
-- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... 1:825.pali


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Re: What is right view?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:25 am

Greetings Vincent,

I think you're overcomplicating it somewhat.

Extract from SN 56.11: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

"Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

"The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.

"Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.

"The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

"'Suffering, as a noble truth, is this.' Such was the vision, the knowledge, the understanding, the finding, the light, that arose in regard to ideas not heard by me before. 'This suffering, as a noble truth, can be diagnosed.' Such was the vision, the knowledge, the understanding, the finding, the light, that arose in regard to ideas not heard by me before. 'This suffering, as a noble truth, has been diagnosed.' Such was the vision, the knowledge, the understanding, the finding, the light, that arose in regard to ideas not heard by me before.

"'The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this.' Such was the vision... 'This origin of suffering, as a noble truth, can be abandoned.' Such was the vision... 'This origin of suffering, as a noble truth, has been abandoned.' Such was the vision... in regard to ideas not heard by me before.

"'Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this.' Such was the vision... 'This cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, can be verified.' Such was the vision... 'This cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, has been verified.' Such was the vision... in regard to ideas not heard by me before.

"'The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this.' Such was the vision... 'This way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, can be developed.' Such was the vision... 'This way leading to the cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, has been developed.' Such was the vision... in regard to ideas not heard by me before.

"As long as my knowing and seeing how things are, was not quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, I did not claim in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, with its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. But as soon as my knowing and seeing how things are, was quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, then I claimed in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. Knowing and seeing arose in me thus: 'My heart's deliverance is unassailable. This is the last birth. Now there is no renewal of being.'"


Emphasis mine.

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Re: What is right view?

Postby BudSas » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:57 am

Right View was explained in details in a BPS Wheel Series book, based on Sammaditthi Sutta MN 9 (Discourse on Right View) spoken by Ven Saiputta, and its Commentary. You can read it in full at:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/wheel377.html

For those who are in a hurry, you can read the Introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

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Re: What is right view?

Postby vinasp » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:22 am

Hi retrofuturist,

I did not understand your post. Could you explain what you mean by overcomplicating it. Also what is the passage from SN 56.11 intended to establish ? Thanks.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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