Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

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Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:30 am

In Bhikkhu Sona's 'Mystery of the breath Nimitta/The Case of the Missing Simile', there is a passage taken from Vis. VIII, 216.

Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: "In fact this resembles an occasion when a number of bhikkhus are sitting together reciting a suttanta. When a bhikkhu asks, ‘What does this sutta appear like to you?’, one says, ‘It appears to me like a great mountain torrent,’ another ‘To me it is like a line of forest trees’, another ‘To me it is like spreading fruit tree giving cool shade’. For the one sutta appears to them differently because of the difference in their perception. Similarly this single meditation subject appears differently because of difference in perception. It is born of perception, its source is perception, it is produced by perception. Therefore it should be understood that when it appears differently it is because of difference in perception (Vis. VIII, 216, p.278)."

Anyone know if Buddhaghosa cooked up this 'occasion' or if it came from the tipitaka?

AIso, I want to know the original purpose of the story of the monks' perceptions of the suttanta.
Last edited by lojong1 on Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:52 am

Greetings lojong1,

"Cooked up" isn't really a useful way to think about the Visuddhimagga and the Commentaries. According to the Theravada tradition, Ven Buddhaghosa translated the ancient commentaries from Sihalese back into Pali and most of the content of the Visuddhimagga that isn't from the Vinaya, Suttas, or Abhidhamma is summaries from the commentaries. I prefer to think of it as a collection of experiences and analysis collected by practitioners over hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, most of the Commentaries are not available in English, so it is difficult for most of us to get the whole picture or check where the various stories are from.

In this case, it seems clear that the story is not from a Sutta. But whether it's in one of the Commentaries, or whether it's just a nice little illustrative story much like any modern teacher would insert into a Dhamma talk, I don't know.

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Re: Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:03 pm

mikenz66 wrote:it seems clear that the story is not from a Sutta.

How's that? Stylistically? Because the source is not referenced?

I prefer to think of it as a collection of experiences and analysis collected by practitioners over hundreds of years.

Yeah like great family recipes! Grandpa B prophesied that Buddha-Dhamma would soon be owned by Monsanto. Can you imagine eating Mcwangler Burgers every day of the rains retreat--how would that affect meditation?
No disparagement, a man has to eat.
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Re: Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:18 pm

lojong1 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:it seems clear that the story is not from a Sutta.

How's that? Stylistically? Because the source is not referenced?

Both. There are a few Suttas where there is discussion about something that the Buddha said, such as MN133:
http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... tta-e.html
but this looks different from that. It sounds more like something from a commentary.

Here's an extract from the commentary for the Satipatthana Sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html
Regarding "the only way" there is the following account of a discussion that took place long ago.

The Elder Tipitaka Culla Naga said: "The Way of Mindfulness-arousing (as expounded in our Discourse) is the (mundane) preliminary part (of the Eightfold Way)."

His teacher the Elder Culla Summa said: "The Way is a mixed one (a way that is both mundane and supramundane)."

The pupil: "Reverend Sir, it is the preliminary part."

The teacher: "Friend, it is the mixed Way."

As the teacher was insistent, the pupil became silent. They went away without coming to a decision.
[Story continues...]

My impression is that most of the references that Ven Nanamoli gives are not in the Visuddhimagga itself, but were worked out by him and his teachers and colleagues by comparing locating the texts. And he may not have located everything.

lojong1 wrote:
I prefer to think of it as a collection of experiences and analysis collected by practitioners over hundreds of years.

Yeah like great family recipes! Grandpa B prophesied that Buddha-Dhamma would soon be owned by Monsanto. Can you imagine eating Mcwangler Burgers every day of the rains retreat--how would that affect meditation?
No disparagement, a man has to eat.

Please stick to the topic of Buddha-Dhamma. This is a Classical area, and these guidelines apply:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=373

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Re: Visuddhimagga VIII, 216: Also in suttas? Where?

Postby hamsa » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:27 pm

I agree with Mike. I think that the episode appears elsewhere only in Paṭisambhidāmagga-Aṭṭhakathā (PTS ii.498).
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