The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:19 am

Hi retro, I was merely using what you quoted, which didn't include the "result" word. Do you disagree with the sutta that you quoted?

Surely when you are being swept away by a tsunami you can be experiencing unpleasant bodily or mental feeling?

Can you please be a little more specific you think CAN be the results of kamma? It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma.

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:58 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Hi retro, I was merely using what you quoted, which didn't include the "result" word.


But it did...?

"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.


mikenz66 wrote:Surely when you are being swept away by a tsunami you can be experiencing unpleasant bodily or mental feeling?


Yes, previous action may result in present vipaka..... and yes, a tsunami would result in many contacts, from which there would be diversity in kamma (actions based in fear, terror, awe etc.). The vipaka would be the mental resultant of the kamma.

And of course (and it should go without saying...) the tsunami didn't happen because of kamma, and it didn't intentionally hunt any people down for being naughty boys and girls either.

mikenz66 wrote:Can you please be a little more specific you think CAN be the results of kamma? It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma.


Kamma-samutthāna and kamma-vipaka, and I've already given examples of both which is why I'm surprised to see you feel that "It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma."

Far from it!

I just take guidance on what kamma is and is not from the Pali Canon rather than Hinduism and "pop kamma".

(EDIT: I should clarify, I'm not suggesting that you do... rather that it takes a concerted effort to filter out Mahayanan, Hinduistic and fatalistic Jatakan conceptions of karma when confronted by them and to not allow them to influence one's perception on what kamma is and isn't)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:11 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:I just take guidance on what kamma is and is not from the Pali Canon rather than Hinduism and "pop kamma".

So presumably you agree with the Buddha that the painful feeling that Angulimala felt when being pelted by stones was vipaka from the bad kamma of killing people? And therefore that the painful feeling being felt while being swept away by a tsunami could be a result of past kamma. Though, as I said, only a Buddha can know the details:

AN 4.77 Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?
...
"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma..
...


Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:25 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:So presumably you agree with the Buddha that the painful feeling that Angulimala felt when being pelted by stones was vipaka from the bad kamma of killing people?


I agree with the Buddha, but I don't agree with your sentence (which was based on Thanissaro Bhikkhu's poor translation). Let us read from Bhikkhu Bodhi's far superior translation...

"Bear it, brahmin! Bear it, brahmin! You are experiencing here and now the results of deeds because of which you might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years".

People acted (kamma) and threw sticks and postherds at Angulimala. They acted so (kamma) because of their beliefs with respect to Angulimala's previous deeds. In other words, the visual contact of seeing Angulimala conjoined with the contact of memory about his crimes, resulted in unwholesome action (kamma) on their part. As per the earlier quote, "what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play"

In this part of the text on Angulimala, the Buddha is effectively saying to him that he shouldn't be too surprised that people begrudge his earlier crimes and that he should simply bear it, and put this relatively minor incident (a cut head) in perspective by recognising that the vipaka (mental resultant) of his kamma would have plagued him for many years had he not attained arahantship. Having attained arahantship, he had transcended kamma and vipaka (of which he might have been tortured in hell for many years), and thus the feelings experienced from the cut head were not kamma-vipaka (n.b. which is why Thanissaro's translation is poor with respect to Bodhi's).

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?
...
"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma..
...


Exactly... they should not be conjectured about... this is what I was talking about before when I mentioned papanca.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:46 am

Hi Retro,

Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma:
"Bear it, brahmin! Bear it, brahmin! You are experiencing here and now the results of deeds because of which you might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years".

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:51 am

PS, there was an interesting discussion about Angulimala here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=20#p4724

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:59 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma


Of course he was talking about Angulimala's previous kamma! How else could Angulimala have created the seeds by which he "might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years"?

Alternatively, if you're suggesting that having someone throw a stick at an arahant, and then having someone else throw a potsherd at them is the vipaka resulting from committing 999 murders, then I certainly do disagree with you, for all the reasons stated above. Such an interpretation of events has no alignment with what the Buddha taught about kamma-vipaka.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma


Of course he was talking about Angulimala's previous kamma! How else could Angulimala have created the seeds by which he "might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years"?

Sorry I was confused by your comment that:
retrofuturist wrote:People acted (kamma) and threw sticks and postherds at Angulimala. They acted so (kamma) because of their beliefs with respect to Angulimala's previous deeds. In other words, the visual contact of seeing Angulimala conjoined with the contact of memory about his crimes, resulted in unwholesome action (kamma) on their part. As per the earlier quote, "what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play"

retrofuturist wrote:Alternatively, if you're suggesting that having someone throw a stick at an arahant, and then having someone else throw a potsherd at them is the vipaka resulting from committing 999 murders, then I certainly do disagree with you, for all the reasons stated above. Such an interpretation of events has no alignment with what the Buddha taught about kamma.

No, I'm saying that the painful feeling of the stones hitting his head was a result of the kamma. I think this was discussed to death in the thread I mentioned. Here is Ven Dhammanando's comment:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=20#p4758
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Why is this interpreted in terms of the kamma? If the kamma ripens only in his mindstream then how does it condition the throwing of clods, stones, etc, by the bodies of other mindsteams?

As Robert mentioned, in the commentary it is said that the various projectiles were not deliberately aimed at Angulimala. As for the ripening, this consisted in the unwholesome resultant bodily consciousnesses accompanied by painful feeling.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:24 am

Greetings Mike,

If you believe it really was an "accident".... :shock:

To me, it doesn't seem particularly consistent with the text, when the text itself shows people's hostility towards Angulimala...

Now on that occasion great crowds of people were gathering at the gates of King Pasenadi's inner palace, very loud and noisy, crying: "Sire, the bandit Angulimala is in your realm; he is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings! Villages, towards, and districts have been laid waste by him! He is constantly murdering people and he wears their fingers as a garland! The king must put him down!"


Honestly, to me this "accidental" business sounds like an implausible attempt to shoehorn the sutta onto the commentarial theory, rather than a genuine attempt to read it on its own merits. What it seems like to you, is ultimately for you to decide.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:26 am

Hi Reto,

What it means to me is that Angulimala experienced pain due to his kamma.

Any issue with that?

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:32 am

Going back to the original question, here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's "The Noble Eightfold Path"

Emphasis mine...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
The most important feature of kamma is its capacity to produce results corresponding to the ethical quality of the action. An immanent universal law holds sway over volitional actions, bringing it about that these actions issue in retributive consequences, called vipaka, "ripenings," or phala, "fruits." The law connecting actions with their fruits works on the simple principle that unwholesome actions ripen in suffering, wholesome actions in happiness. The ripening need not come right away; it need not come in the present life at all. Kamma can operate across the succession of lifetimes; it can even remain dormant for aeons into the future. But whenever we perform a volitional action, the volition leaves its imprint on the mental continuum, where it remains as a stored up potency. When the stored up kamma meets with conditions favorable to its maturation, it awakens from its dormant state and triggers off some effect that brings due compensation for the original action. The ripening may take place in the present life, in the next life, or in some life subsequent to the next. A kamma may ripen by producing rebirth into the next existence, thus determining the basic form of life; or it may ripen in the course of a lifetime, issuing in our varied experiences of happiness and pain, success and failure, progress and decline. But whenever it ripens and in whatever way, the same principle invariably holds: wholesome actions yield favorable results, unwholesome actions yield unfavorable results.

To recognize this principle is to hold right view of the mundane kind. This view at once excludes the multiple forms of wrong view with which it is incompatible. As it affirms that our actions have an influence on our destiny continuing into future lives, it opposes the nihilistic view which regards this life as our only existence and holds that consciousness terminates with death. As it grounds the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, in an objective universal principle, it opposes the ethical subjectivism which asserts that good and evil are only postulations of personal opinion or means to social control. As it affirms that people can choose their actions freely, within limits set by their conditions, it opposes the "hard deterministic" line that our choices are always made subject to necessitation, and hence that free volition is unreal and moral responsibility untenable.


Whether one want to use an Abhidhamma paramattha dhamma approach, or use conventional conceptual language, I think that the important point is that:
The law connecting actions with their fruits works on the simple principle that unwholesome actions ripen in suffering, wholesome actions in happiness.


Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10136
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:06 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:What it means to me is that Angulimala experienced pain due to his kamma.

Any issue with that?


There are so many factors involved in what led to that circumstance, such that "Angulimala experienced pain due to his kamma" is an oversimplification which, if accepted at face value, would lead to an incorrect understanding. To break down the main factors involved, I'll number them...

1. Firstly, Angulimala was born... this was kamma-samutthāna and kamma-vipaka.

2. Angulimala murdered people... that was kamma.

3. Angulimala became an arahant... that was the transcending of all kamma and all vipaka (that's where the I disagree with the commentarial "accident").

4. People saw Angulimala and recognised him and his reputation... that was contact.

5. People threw stuff... that was their kamma, conditioned by 4.

6. Angulimala got hit by stuff. 1, 2 & 4 were supporting conditions for this... 5 was the proximate condition.

6. Angulimala felt pain.... 5 was a proximate condition for this, and 5 was dependent on 1, 2 and 4 (as well as all the other infinite number of supporting causes, such as the presence of the Earth, the sun, the universe etc.)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:09 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Whether one want to use an Abhidhamma paramattha dhamma approach, or use conventional conceptual language, I think that the important point is that:
The law connecting actions with their fruits works on the simple principle that unwholesome actions ripen in suffering, wholesome actions in happiness.


For non-arahants experiencing samsara, yes... though its not a linear correlation, and there's no 'cosmic scales' to ensure balance.

It's also important not to reduce kamma to "just a morality teaching" though... because it's far more than some kind of incentive plan.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:37 am

Hello Retro, Mike, all,

We are all non-arahants. I think there is agreement that the Buddha taught that unwholesome intentional actions (kamma) accumulate in unpleasant results (vipaka). Maybe not immediately, but certainly.

Retro said: It's interesting... after reading quite a few suttas, I'm becoming increasing convinced that these random stray cows are simply a literary device to provide an opportunity for the Buddha to detail the status of a bhikkhu (e.g. arahant, non-returner) to others (bhikkhus, and in turn, us). There's a certain standardness to them.

This would probably be an unwise conclusion Retro ~ there are 200 million cows in India roaming free. At the time of the Buddha there would still have been huge numbers - as today - roaming narrow laneways between buildings, walking freely along footpaths, blocking traffic, sitting at cross roads and in main shopping centres. They are regarded as holy, and are not chased even in the centre of large commercial cities.

As one who has been tree-d by a cow - a cow that had personally known me and been fed, patted, stroked and groomed daily for three years by me - I understand how even a small cow with determination can kill a human being (my experience was with a beautiful brown-eyed, long-lashed small jersey house-cow).

We knew she was pregnant, but, unbeknownst to my family and I, my cow had given birth to a calf and hidden it in long grass. As some of us were walking down towards the creek, she appeared out of the scrub bellowing like a maniac and clearly intent on harming us. We still had no knowledge that she had calved, but appreciated that she wasn't mentally herself at that moment. The three of us sprinted towards the trees, found one with low branches, and climbed it like experienced chimpanzees - it's amazing what real fear will do. We spent two hours perched in the tree, while the rampaging bellowing cow thundered up and down below us. Eventually she calmed down and went away. By this time we had realized by physical signs that she had given birth. We quietly got out of the tree, climbed over the fence to the next door property and went home to a strong cup of tea. The cow was back to her normal quiet loving self the next day and brought the calf to show me. But, under the influence of hormones, if I had fallen or not temporarily had the speed of an Olympic runner, she would have killed or seriously wounded me. The cows in India are much larger than she was.

This article may be helpful also - if it can happen so frequently in the U.S.A. with no cows roaming free, then you can understand the large number of deaths in Inda where 200 million roam free.

The image of cows as placid, gentle creatures is a city slicker’s fantasy, judging from an article published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States. In some cases, the cows actually attack humans—ramming them, knocking them down, goring them, trampling them and kicking them in the head—resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest.
Mother cows, like other animals, can be fiercely protective of their young, and dairy bulls, the report notes, are “especially possessive of their herd and occasionally disrupt feeding, cleaning, and milking routines.”
The article, in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, discusses 21 cases in which people were killed by cattle from 2003 to 2007 in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/200 ... rous-cows/

So .... how many more are likely to be killed in India where the large cows wander the main highways and roads in the centre of cities? Very similar to the standard reports heard daily on your local television news of the number of people killed that day by cars on the roads. You wouldn't call that a literary device for (insert reason). .... Just a different cultures and different dangers.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7390
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:48 am

Greetings Chris,

Glad you evaded the wrath of the cow!

Whilst I don't disagree that cows can be deadly, it's awfully convenient that the only people in the Pali Canon who seem to be killed by them were relatively obscure bhikkhus who had approached the Buddha earlier that day for a teaching, achieved (insert level of nobility) virtually instantaneously, departed the Buddha, got killed by a bovine, and then had the bhikkhus ask the Buddha about said bhikkhu's fate. I'm not even saying that this sequence of events didn't happen once... but trawling through the Pali Canon it seems that the editors used the "copy and paste" function on this incident a few times.

I think there is agreement that the Buddha taught that unwholesome intentional actions (kamma) accumulate in unpleasant results (vipaka). Maybe not immediately, but certainly.


I'm pretty sure that the commentaries state that it is not certain... that not all kamma comes to fruition (alas, I can't find the classification scheme just at the moment).

EDIT: Oh here it is... productive kamma, supportive kamma, obstructive kamma and destructive kamma.

Luckily so, or attaining arahantship would be a painful experience!

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:51 am

Chris wrote:
Retro said: It's interesting... after reading quite a few suttas, I'm becoming increasing convinced that these random stray cows are simply a literary device to provide an opportunity for the Buddha to detail the status of a bhikkhu (e.g. arahant, non-returner) to others (bhikkhus, and in turn, us). There's a certain standardness to them.

This would probably be an unwise conclusion Retro ~ there are 200 million cows in India roaming free. At the time of the Buddha there would still have been huge numbers - as today - roaming narrow laneways between buildings, walking freely along footpaths, blocking traffic, sitting at cross roads and in main shopping centres. They are regarded as holy, and are not chased even in the centre of large commercial cities.
Just a side note. How cows are regarded now in India, is likely was not how they were regarded then. In volume two of R. C. Majumdar's THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE INDIAN PEOPLE, dealing with the time between 600 B.C. and 320 A.D., we find this statement[3]:

In spite of the growing spirit of ahimsa fostered by the Jains and Buddhists, and enforced by emperors like Asoka, various kinds of fish and meat, not excluding beef, were extensively taken by the people.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19215
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:15 am

Hello Tilt, Retro, all,

I've been to India three times in the last 8 years and am going again in five weeks time to once again visit the sites of the Buddha's lifetime. Most are in the poorest rural areas in India, teeming with camels, cows and horses. The cows mainly wander free. What I was saying about cows was what I saw myself on these trips. Even on a side-trip to the Taj Mahal - there were cows wandering on the footpaths and streets outside.

You would be aware that the Pali Suttas were not written down initially, so no 'copy and paste'. Only unimportant things like business transactions were written down at that time. For the really important things like religious teachings (i.e. the suttas) memorisation and group chanting (beginning while the Buddha was alive) were used. The Buddha didn't make attainments of bhikkhus up, just to underline a lesson he was teaching others. The Chanting Together was done by very large groups of bhikkhus (bhanakas) dedicated to preserving the Teachings unchanged and 'unedited'.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7390
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:23 am

Greetings Chris,

Chris wrote:You would be aware that the Pali Suttas were not written down initially, so no 'copy and paste'.


Sure, but there was certainly what Bhikkhu Bodhi calls "stock text". Ranging from sentences to a couple of pages of text, these blocks of "stock text" made memorization of the teachings easier for the bhikkhus, saving them from having to remember textual variations that added little or no value.

Many suttas were also constructed to fit certain structural templates. For example, often, if the location of a particular teaching was not known, the commentators advise us that the editors often placed the location in one of the major cities. So "at Savatthi" might not always mean "at Savatthi"! But then, location is just a peripheral aspect to a sutta, as is a bhikkhu's mode of death... the important thing is the Dhamma teaching, and I feel very confident that the bhikkhus did a fine job collectively transmitting these suttas orally until they were finally put to leaf.

Repetition is a common theme within the Pali Canon, but this is not inherently a bad thing. In many ways it's very practical.

Apologies for the off-topic detour.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14629
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:25 am

Chris wrote:Hello Tilt, Retro, all,

I've been to India three times in the last 8 years and am going again in five weeks time to once again visit the sites of the Buddha's lifetime. Most are in the poorest rural areas in India, teeming with camels, cows and horses. The cows mainly wander free. What I was saying about cows was what I saw myself on these trips. Even on a side-trip to the Taj Mahal - there were cows wandering on the footpaths and streets outside.

You would be aware that the Pali Suttas were not written down initially, so no 'copy and paste'. Only unimportant things like business transactions were written down at that time. For the really important things like religious teachings (i.e. the suttas) memorisation and group chanting (beginning while the Buddha was alive) were used. The Buddha didn't make attainments of bhikkhus up, just to underline a lesson he was teaching others. The Chanting Together was done by very large groups of bhikkhus (bhanakas) dedicated to preserving the Teachings unchanged and 'unedited'.

with metta
Chris

I am well aware of how the suttas were preserved. My comment was simply an aside - a small footnote -, making the point that how cows are regarded now in India - as holy - is not necessarily how they were regarded in India at the time of the Buddha.That cows could be found wondering freely back then, is obviously so, but they could also, back then, be seen as lunch, a situation generally not the case now.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19215
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:36 am

Retro said: Many suttas were also constructed to fit certain structural templates. For example, often, if the location of a particular teaching was not known, the commentators advise us that the editors often placed the location in one of the major cities. So "at Savatthi" might not always mean "at Savatthi"! But then, location is just a peripheral aspect to a sutta, as is a bhikkhu's mode of death...


Could you give a link to where the commentaries state this please? Then those who wish can read for themselves.
A bhikkhus' mode of death, particularly one with attainments, and particularly when stated by the Buddha in answer to a direct question, is not a peripheral aspect to a sutta.

Repetition is used in the Suttas for those portions which were to be emphasised.

metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7390
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

PreviousNext

Return to Discovering Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests