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Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being - Dhamma Wheel

Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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christopher:::
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Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:43 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:17 am

That was interesting to see how the Agama reads vis a vis the Pali sutta.

I would say that samyutta means - connected or yoked - not miscellaneous - this is how Ven. Bodhi translates that word. And I trust Ven. Bodhi's translating skills over TNH's.

Y'know - I can't throw back tons of Pali suttas at you - but something about TNH's "inter-is" teaching just doesn't sit well with me. I certainly need to delve further into the Pali Canon, but that teaching just doesn't seem to jive with what is taught there (the P. Canon). I don't think (this is intuition here) that the Buddha was speaking of one great big melting pot of 'oneness' at all - which seems (to me at least) to be what TNH is positing in his particular teaching. TNH's teaching almost sounds like Vedic or Upanishadic texts I've read which implies a "oneness of the all" - or it reminds me of Marianne Williamson - A Course in Miracles Teaching "There is only ONE person here in this room".

I sometimes wonder if TNH isn't trying to 'adjust" Buddhism to suit Western audiences. I'm not accusing him of that - I'm just wondering ... His "Jesus and Buddha" as brothers (or something or other title) book really seems odd to - I don't think those two had anything in common. But it makes most mainstream Westerners happy when people try and "mind-meld" two very disparate systems. It just seems suspect to me. ":See? Buddhism is ok - it's not weird - see how Buddha and Jesus would have been friends. See - the two systems work together well - if you mash them together and conveniently ignore a lot of stuff".

TNH seems like a very nice guy though!

But that's just the view here from Mt. Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:06 am

Last edited by christopher::: on Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:32 am

Christopher,

I remember that thread over at E-sangha! And one thing that bothered me about it was that quite a few people seemed to completely overlook sunyata as a necessary context. It seems to me basically incorrect to view "interbeing" as a funky interpretation of dependent origination, and then fault TNH for misinterpreting the latter. Interbeing, as far as I can tell, is a synonym for Mahayana "emptiness". So we would have to assess it through that lens -- is it a valid restatement of prajnaparamita as conveyed in the Heart Sutra, etc.

As for the great melting pot of oneness, that brings us back to the argument about non-duality, right? It seems to be well-established that Theravada does not teach non-duality, and evidently Nagarjuna didn't either (see the duel over dualism at viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4956&start=20).

Linji, on the other hand....

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:51 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Fruitzilla » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:29 am


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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:19 am

As you say Chris TNH does not sit comfortably with a proportion of Theravadins. Something known to you for some time.
Those who are fans of TNH will see it as profound. Those who are not, wont...you know this.
So I have to wonder exactly what reaction you are looking for.
And why. We have got to know each others wee quirks quite well over the years and I think of you as a friend, I have also noticed that when you go "controversial" there is often a reason not directly obvious.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:20 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:27 am

I think that probably Lazy Eye is correct...Interbeing is actually TNH's take not on D.O. but on Sunyata. And as such represents what from a strictly Theravadin view verges on papanca.
Which means that what you are likely to get on Dhamma Wheel are the views of those sympatico to the Mahayana, and from the Theravadins..not so much.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:45 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:19 am

On the similar thread that you posted on ZFI Chris the discussion swiftly involves concepts from The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra , as it will in a Mahayana context.
It it is not too inaccurate to say that mainstream Theravada does not on the whole accept the authority of those Sutras in terms of their relationship to the historical Buddha.
There is therefore no Theravada hook on which to hang concepts like Sunyata. Clearly they have their origin in the concept of Anatta, but developed beyond what is deductible from the Canon. There are therefore widely seen in the Theravada as proliferation of ideas.

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:35 am

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:44 pm


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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:55 am

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:01 am

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby christopher::: » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:15 am

Hi Venerable. Do you have an idea of which sutra he is refering to as "Great Emptiness" within the Samyukta Agama, links at the bottom of this page?



And what might the corresponding Pali sutta be?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:21 am

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:22 am

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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:28 am

The other one, SA 335

《雜阿含經》卷13:「(三三五)
如是我聞:
一時,佛住拘留搜調牛聚落。
爾時,世尊告諸比丘:「我今當為汝等說法,初、中、後善,善義善味,純一滿淨,梵行清白,所謂第一義空經。諦聽,善思,當為汝說。
「云何為第一義空經?諸比丘!眼生時無有來處,滅時無有去處。如是眼不實而生,生已盡滅,有業報而無作者,此陰滅已,異陰相續,除俗數法。耳、鼻、舌、身、意亦如是說,除俗數法。俗數法者,謂此有故彼有,此起故彼起,如無明緣行,行緣識……」廣說乃至「純大苦聚集起。又復,此無故彼無,此滅故彼滅,無明滅故行滅,行滅故識滅……」如是廣說,乃至「純大苦聚滅。比丘!是名第一義空法經。」
佛說此經已,諸比丘聞佛所說,歡喜奉行。」(CBETA, T02, no. 99, p. 92, c12-26)

Huifeng's translation:

(三三五) [Sūtra] 335 [Paramārtha-śunyatā-sūtra ]

Thus it was heard by me.
One time, the Buddha was dwelling amongst the Kurus, at the village of Kalamāṣadamya.
At that time, the Bhagavan told the bhikṣus: “I shall teach you the Dharma, [which is] good in the beginning, [good] in the middle, and [good] in the end; of good meaning, of good expression; singularly and completely pure; white and pure of the Holy Life (brahma-carya); that is to say, the Sūtra on Ultimate Śūnyatā.”
“Listen well! Consider well! I shall teach [this] for you.”
“What is the Sūtra on Ultimate Śūnyatā? O bhikṣus!, when the eye arises, [it does] not come from any location; when [the eye] ceases, [it does] not go to any location. In this way, the eye is unreal, yet arises; and on having arisen, it ends and ceases. There is action (karma) and result (vipāka), and yet no actor agent (kāraka). On the cessation of these skandhas, another [set of] skandhas continues elsewhere (anyatra). There are merely dharmas classified as conventional, [ie.] the ear, nose, tongue, physical body and mind, are also declared as such.
“‘Merely dharmas classified as conventional’, ‘Merely dharmas classified as conventional’, that is to say –‘when this exists, that exists; when this arises, that arises’. Just as ignorance conditions saṃskāras; saṃskāras condition cognition; in detailed explanation, up to; the arising of this sheer great mass of duḥkha.”
“Moreover – ‘when this does not exist, that does not exist; when this ceases, that ceases’. Due to the cessation of ignorance, saṃskāras cease; due to the cessation of saṃskāras, cognitions cease; in detailed explanation, up to; the cessation of this sheer great mass of duḥkha.”
“O bhikṣus! this is named the Sūtra on the Dharma of Ultimate Śūnyatā.”
On the Buddha having taught this sūtra, all the bhikṣus heard that taught by the Buddha, and joyously put it into practice.


A strong connection between dependent origination, nominal designation and emptiness. All tied in with the basic truths of dissatisfaction and the cessation of dissatisfaction (expand a little to the four aryan truths).
Last edited by Paññāsikhara on Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thich Nhat Hanh: Dependant Co-arising & Inter-Being

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:33 am

There are a couple of tricky bits in the text, but thanks to some pointers from Bhikkhu Santi, who pointed out parts of the Mula-sarvastivadin Samghabheda-vast, and the Skt / Chinese versions of the Bimbisara Sutra, they are easily resolved. Lamotte has back translated this, also in Choong's book (as above). The core passage is cited in the Abhidharmakosa, for which we have de la Vallee Poussin's translation from Xuanzang's Chinese, but nowadays, also the Sanskrit too. I've taken all these into account in the rendering of the passage. It is also cited in the *Satyasiddhi-sastra, and Skilling's has some comments in his Mahasutras series. Both of these two texts - Greater Discourse on Emptiness, and Discourse on Ultimate Emptiness - are within the Mahasutra range of texts (depending on which list one cites).
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .


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