The One True Dhamma?

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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby Dan74 » Sun May 23, 2010 10:10 am

I think it may be worth distinguishing (again!) saying "there is one true Dhamma" and saying "I have one true Dhamma". After all we are on a path and have not reached the destination.
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 23, 2010 10:15 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Let's just put Nanavira up against Buddhaghosa and be done with it.

I appreciate your personal preference for more hands-off, detached discussion and will keep it in mind.

The things is though, as I said above, I don't always by default take one side over another, so a Nanavira v Buddhaghosa showdown isn't going to do much for me personally. I'd rather put myself out there, explain my current understanding (conclusions, experiences, working hypotheses, source material, logic etc) and see how well they hold up in the heat of discussion. Many things I've learned have been learned through being corrected by others. Possibly, more importantly, many of the wrong views I have abandoned, have come through having them exposed by others - I have no fear of being wrong in discussions on the Dhamma... none at all. Being wrong is an opportunity to get it right. Not saying a word, not putting yourself out there, means your personal understanding will not be challenged and it will continue on as is, right or wrong. The Dhamma is far too important to me for that and I don't wish to hide behind the views of those whom I consider wise. That's the best support I can get from an online community - for people to respectfully tell me why they think I'm wrong. In turn, I won't be shy about what I disagree with either, but I will endeavour to keep my points specific, well directed and well reasoned, as I would expect from them. What other people make of my statements is for them to decide, according to their own logic and reason. I do not profess to be any kind of expert or teacher.

mikenz66 wrote:"According to ME, RETRO is mistaken".

Seriously, if you could explain why, I would be incredibly grateful for the feedback. I'm not here to be on the end of that which is 'palatable' - I'm here to learn. There is nothing wrong with "According to ME, RETRO is mistaken" - I would appreciate the directness and forthrightness, regardless of whether or not I agree with your analysis. What "self" is there to defend? There is nothing wrong with two people not agreeing on something. We don't all have to find the same conclusions and finish with a big group hug. We just need to challenge opinions and views with respect and hopefully find something useful out of some meaningful dialogue.

I've never heard someone put hand on heart and say what benefit they've gotten out of the Mahavihara approach to dependent origination. I'd be fascinated to know. When I see what they get out of it, I may be inspired to see what I can get out of it. If its just a dusty old set of books (with a "do not touch" sign affixed on top of them) for us to circumambulate, then I want nothing of it. I want to work out, "what can it do for me?"... I've tried working out "what can it do for me?", come up blank, and found a complete absence of positive testimony from others. How can I know if people defend the Mahavihara system out of deference and respect to venerable elders, or because they've actually gotten stuck in, and gotten something useful out of it? They don't come out and tell me - so how else to find out but ask?

So in the final rundown, the only person's understanding whose is really meaningful is that of the individual who has it, so to me it is my understanding that is my primary concern. Each person's focus should be on their own understanding and working to bring it in line with the Buddha's. Buddhaghosa and Nanavira could have understood things as much or as little as we like, but unless I can utilise and take on that wisdom, and use it to build and test my own understanding, the exercise of assembling a few quotations of a couple of dead people and postulating how one may have counted each others arguments seems far too abstract and academic for me.

I appreciate you taking the time to explain what kind of conversation style suits you. I hope the above gives you similar insight into mine. If that level of engagement is too much for people to comfortably handle, they only need to tell me and I'll stop exploring the Dhamma with them. I'm not here to cause discomfort.

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 23, 2010 11:31 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:I've never heard someone put hand on heart and say what benefit they've gotten out of the Mahavihara approach to dependent origination. I'd be fascinated to know. ...

It took me quite a lot of time this morning to research and write on the other thread the rather small amount that I did on how I view some of the Visuddhimagga explanations.
Since the way I understand the Dhamma in general, and DO in particular, is intertwined with my reading of the Suttas, Visuddhmagga, CMA, listening to various talks, and reading various books, I'm hardly likely to be able to answer your question in any detail without an immense amount of work. You might just as well ask: "What benefit do you get from the Dhamma?"

All I can really say is that I don't have any particular problem with DO, other than that it is quite complicated (whichever commentator you prefer - and even the Buddha says so...). Of course, the much more serious problem is that I have not yet realised it directly...

But, intellectually, to me DO just describes how stuff arises from the past and will arise in the future. Sort of, but not exactly, an elaboration on the teachings on kamma expressed in paramattha terms.

It seems to me that your/Nanavira's objection to the commentarial interpretation revolves around an argument to do with statements about past and future being less phenomenological than you would like. That's probably where the fundamental disagreement is. As I have stated many times, to me there is no problem with the past and future. Any process involves time. It's creating a sense of self out of the past an future that is the problem. And, of course, as the suttas about not getting bound up in a sense of self about the past and future say, creating a sense of self out of the present is just as bad.

Mike
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 23, 2010 12:07 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:It took me quite a lot of time this morning to research and write on the other thread the rather small amount that I did on how I view some of the Visuddhimagga explanations.

Well it was greatly appreciated. That answer about how DO to be known with respect to the past and future and the role of inference was an important one for me, because it helps show me the level of "how much do you need to see directly for yourself experientially versus via inference?" is treated from a classical standpoint. Obviously we want to know what we need to know, but sometimes precisely what 'know' means is a bit of an open-ended question. See it? Think it? Believe it? Suppose it? Accept it? Infer it? A combination of the above?... many shades, a lot of scope by which to miss the point.

mikenz66 wrote:It seems to me that your/Nanavira's objection to the commentarial interpretation revolves around an argument to do with statements about past and future being less phenomenological than you would like.

The "than you would like" aspect is irrelevant, because it's not what we like that will lead us to the cessation of suffering. It's more that Nanavira, Nanananda, Buddhadasa, Patrick Kearney, Ajahn Sumedho, various Dhamma Wheel members, many others and myself all seem to believe the suttas (generally, and also with respect to dependent origination) are pointing towards something to be experienced and verified personally, here-and-now (rather than just inferred, or even more remote from that... an intellectual, philosophical or metaphysical explanation) and that there's apparent contradictions that get introduced unnecessarily through the three-life partitioning. But no need for us to rehash it here, there's other more relevant topics in which that can be pursued, if the appetite should even be there for such discussion. I'm happy to not discuss it with you, if you don't want to hear it. You seem like a nice guy and I don't want to cause you any consternation on account of our different paradigms. In my mind, it is enough to know simply that we are both sincere about the Dhamma.

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Sun May 23, 2010 12:19 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Peter,
PeterB wrote:Thats the whole point it seems to me. There is an assumption that to hold the view that there is is one true Dhamma is in and of itself negative.
I think that begs many questions. I think its actually a positive statement.

As I said what interests me is what that response puts aside..i.e. the need to think that there is not one true Dhamma.
I dont think it needs an over literal mind to see that the Buddha himself said that there was.

I agree. However, as I said in my last post, it's probably not very helpful to say something like:
"Member X is completely confused about the Dhamma and if only he'd listen to me things would be OK."

Mike

My apologies if i appeared to say that Mike.
:anjali:
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 23, 2010 12:22 pm

Greetings Peter,

No, I suspect Mike was indirectly referring to myself. I've not been his most favourite of people over the last week or two.

Hopefully the above explanation on how I approach the Dhamma and Dhamma discussion, might help allay that perspective a little.

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 23, 2010 1:20 pm

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:It seems to me that your/Nanavira's objection to the commentarial interpretation revolves around an argument to do with statements about past and future being less phenomenological than you would like.

The "than you would like" aspect is irrelevant, because it's not what we like that will lead us to the cessation of suffering. It's more that Nanavira, Nanananda, Buddhadasa, Patrick Kearney, Ajahn Sumedho, various Dhamma Wheel members, many others and myself all seem to believe the suttas (generally, and also with respect to dependent origination) are pointing towards something to be experienced and verified personally, here-and-now (rather than just inferred, or even more remote from that... an intellectual, philosophical or metaphysical explanation) ...

What's the difference between my statement about "what you would like" and your statement that "x, y, z seem to believe"? From my perspective you keep injecting what I see as completely spurious statements about how "intellectual and philosophical" certain things are. I'll ignore those for now.

Let's stick to the issue. There is a past, there is a present, there is a future. What we experience now is the present. What we know about the past is what we remember (which is experience) or infer (which is based on experience). What we know about the future is what we infer (based on experience). Nothing philosophical there. Is it philosophical to reflect on death? Plenty of that in the Suttas. Do you have a "present moment" way of interpreting that?

Where did I, or the Commentaries, or the Visuddhimagga, say that the Dhamma was not to be experienced for oneself in the present moment? The whole point of the exercise is to know whatever can be known in the present moment. The Visuddhimagga is a guide on how to get to that point.

What I see in your statement above is some kind of philosophical or wishful-thinking argument ("I believe everything should be knowable in the present moment"). In my opinion that argument is the one that is bogged down in an intellectual-philosophical approach.

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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Sun May 23, 2010 2:32 pm

Dan74 wrote:I think it may be worth distinguishing (again!) saying "there is one true Dhamma" and saying "I have one true Dhamma". After all we are on a path and have not reached the destination.

Personally neither particularly resonates with me. What does resonate is the Buddha saying that there is one true Dhamma..
Neither in fact does the path analogy ring my particular bell.
I think there is ample evidence that The Pali Canon offers the clearest view of what the Buddha taught, so its a matter rather of applying that.
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 23, 2010 11:16 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:What's the difference between my statement about "what you would like" and your statement that "x, y, z seem to believe"?

"What you would like" suggests a distortion based upon personal preferences. In other words, I would like for something to be a certain way, so I will interpret it thus according to my preferences, regardless of whether or not that is how it is. As mentioned elsewhere, I intend to fit to the Dhamma, not for the Dhamma to fit to me.

mikenz66 wrote:From my perspective you keep injecting what I see as completely spurious statements about how "intellectual and philosophical" certain things are. I'll ignore those for now.

You may ignore what you like of course, but even just this morning (i.e. after writing the post you responded to), I read the following in "Theravada Nyana" by Ven. Hegoda Khemananda, whom did not seem to find it so spurious...

"The act of realization constitutes its knowledge.
To perceive is to 'make it in one's eye'. It is to know through one's own faculties. Methodically and logically derived knowledge is inference [5]. The dhamma (noble truth) cannot be known by logic. Hence it is called 'beyond the scope of logic' (atakkavacara). The commentators have described those who draw conclusions based on logic as 'view-addicts' [6].

(There are footnotes for [5] and [6] but they're only in Pali - let me know if you want, and I'll type them for you).

Also, the use of the word "intellectual" was not arbitrary - you said it yourself at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4425&start=20#p67648 and viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4420&start=20#p67575

mikenz66 wrote:Let's stick to the issue. There is a past, there is a present, there is a future. What we experience now is the present. What we know about the past is what we remember (which is experience) or infer (which is based on experience). What we know about the future is what we infer (based on experience). Nothing philosophical there.

The transition points between these 'three lives' constitute the major problem. Sankhara gets stripped down to cetana, and consciousness becomes reliant on re-birth linking consciousness which is not found in the suttas. How to observe or infer the 'when this arises, that comes to be. when this ceases, that ceases to be' relationship there, other than as a "view"? Do you believe it can be inferred from past and present experience (setting aside recall of past lives)? At the other lifetime-delineation, how to observe the relationship between bhava and jati (mistranslated as "re-birth"), other than as a "view"? Do you believe it can be inferred from past and present experience (setting aside recall of past lives)? In relation to those two "life-crossings", have you directly experienced them? Do you have any idea how you intended to experience them, short of crossing lives? How did the arahants know that "jati is ended"? For that matter, how can dependent origination in its cessation (nirodha) mode be known? Must one be dead to know it?

mikenz66 wrote:Is it philosophical to reflect on death? Plenty of that in the Suttas. Do you have a "present moment" way of interpreting that?

That depends precisely what shade of "philosophical" you're taking. It's not "speculative", if that's what you mean, and its a wise reflection for promoting dispassion.

mikenz66 wrote:Where did I, or the Commentaries, or the Visuddhimagga, say that the Dhamma was not to be experienced for oneself in the present moment? The whole point of the exercise is to know whatever can be known in the present moment. The Visuddhimagga is a guide on how to get to that point.

The answer to this may lie in how you answer my question above in relation to the life-spanning nidana crossings.

mikenz66 wrote:What I see in your statement above is some kind of philosophical or wishful-thinking argument ("I believe everything should be knowable in the present moment"). In my opinion that argument is the one that is bogged down in an intellectual-philosophical approach.

Again, you presume to think my views are how I wish for things to be. I've told you repeatedly that's not how I approach the Dhamma, yet you presist to represent my views as an arrogant distortion of the Dhamma, established to suit my own proclivities. In essence, this repeated assertion is no less than accusing me of arrogance and inventing my own Dhamma.

:jawdrop:

Don't mistake sectarian orthodoxy for "The One True Dhamma"... all Buddhist traditions fall into this trap at one time or another and it's not a sound form of argumentation. I wouldn't believe a Mahayanist when they do it, and see no a priori reason why I should accept it from a Mahaviharist.

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby alan » Mon May 24, 2010 4:23 am

Oh my! I thought I was bad. But now I see two heavyweights going at it.
I think I'll just have a drink and watch. This is all over my head, but, hey, why not sit back and enjoy? :popcorn:
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby alan » Mon May 24, 2010 5:01 am

Ok. Nanavira vs. Buddhaghosa. I'm rooting for the guy in red.
Seriously--this is over my head. Maybe one of you can clarify?
Fight all you want but let's have some idea of what you are disputing...please?
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 24, 2010 5:13 am

Greetings Alan,

alan wrote:Fight all you want but let's have some idea of what you are disputing...please?

Well, firstly I'd like to think that it wasn't fighting...

alan wrote:Seriously--this is over my head. Maybe one of you can clarify?

It relates to how people approach the Dhamma, and in turn, how people approach discussion on the Dhamma.

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby alan » Mon May 24, 2010 5:30 am

Greetings to you Retro and Mike.
I like and respect you both. Discuss all you want.
I'll just have to go and do some research. It's not your job to teach me.
Ok then...
Round 4--go at it!
Edit--they are not fighting. It's a heated discussion.
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby nathan » Mon May 24, 2010 6:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Obviously we want to know what we need to know...
Retro. :)

We are directed to know:

Cessation.
The complete cessation of being and becoming is to be known. Directly. We must knowingly, willingly turn consciousness off. Then all Four Noble Truths become obvious.

3. Cessation is known. Therefore, 4. The path to cessation is known. Therefore, 2. Desire, the path to 1. Suffering is known. Suffering is all the qualities of objective experience of being and becoming that arising and passing consciousness in co-dependence with the other aggregate conditions can know.

I hope this cuts through the complications a little.
:anjali:
Last edited by nathan on Mon May 24, 2010 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 24, 2010 6:14 am

Thank you Nathan.

I read your most recent posts in the jhana topic and see these words against that context.

nathan wrote:I hope this cuts through the complications a little.

Yes, and anything that does is a blessing.

:anjali:

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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby nathan » Mon May 24, 2010 6:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:Thank you Nathan.

I read your most recent posts in the jhana topic and see these words against that context.

nathan wrote:I hope this cuts through the complications a little.

Yes, and anything that does is a blessing.

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
No doubt. Knowing is not having to think about, anymore.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 24, 2010 6:22 am

nathan wrote:No doubt. Knowing is not having to think about, anymore.


:woohoo:

:anjali:
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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby nathan » Mon May 24, 2010 6:26 am

retrofuturist wrote: :woohoo:

:anjali:


:console:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 24, 2010 6:30 am

:)

Thanks.

:anjali:
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


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Re: The One True Dhamma?

Postby imagemarie » Mon May 24, 2010 6:58 am

Nathan and Retro...
pretty cool :smile:

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