Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby piotr » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:13 pm

Hi,

here are some quotes about annihilationism (ucchedavāda) from Pāli Canon...

Sutta-piṭaka:

    Annihilationism
    There are, monks, some ascetics and Brahmins who are Annihilationists, who proclaim the annihilation, destruction and non-existence of beings, and they do so in seven ways. On what basis?

    Here a certain ascetic or Brahmin declares and holds the view: "Since this self is material, composed of the four great elements, the product of mother and father, at the breaking-up of the body it is annihilated and perishes, and does not exist after death. This is the way in which this self is annihilated." That is how some proclaim the annihilation, destruction and non-existence of beings.

    Another says to him: "Sir, there is such a self as you say. I don't deny it. But that self is not wholly annihilated. For there is another self, divine, material, belonging to the sense-sphere, fed on real food. You don't know it or see it, but I do. It is this self that at the breaking-up of the body perishes..."

    Another says to him: "Sir, there is such a self as you say. I don't deny it. But that self is not wholly annihilated. For there is another self, divine, material, mindmade, complete with all its parts, not defective in any sense organ ... It is this self that at the breaking-up of the body perishes..."

    Another says to him: "Sir, there is such a self as you say...There is another self which, by passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the perception of diversity, seeing that space is infinite, has realised the Sphere of Infinite Space. It is this self that at the breakingup of the body perishes..."

    Another says to him: "There is another self which, by passing entirely beyond the Sphere of Infinite Space, seeing that consciousness is infinite, has realised the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness. It is this self that at the breaking-up of the body perishes..."

    Another says to him: "There is another self which, by passing entirely beyond the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness, seeing that there is no thing, has realised the Sphere of No-Thingness. It is this self that at the breaking-up of the body perishes..."

    Another says to him: "Sir, there is such a self as you say. I don't deny it. But that self is not wholly annihilated. For there is another self which, by passing entirely beyond the Sphere of No-Thingness and seeing: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime', has realised the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception. You don't know it or see it, but I do. It is this self that at the breaking-up of the body is annihilated and perishes, and does not exist after death. This is the way in which the self is completely annihilated." That is how some proclaim the annihilation, destruction and nonexistence of beings. — Brahmajāla-sutta, DN 1 <DN i 34>; cf. Khuddakavatthu-vibhaṅga <Vibh 383> (Maurice Walshe transl.)


    "And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone (tathagata) is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone is untraceable even in the here & now.

    "Speaking in this way, teaching in this way, I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by some brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' But as I am not that, as I do not say that, so I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by those venerable brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' — Alagaddūpama-sutta, MN 22 <MN i 140> (Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu transl.)


    "Or he may have a view such as this: 'I would not be, neither would there be what is mine. I will not be, neither will there be what is mine.' This annihilationist view is a fabrication.

    "What is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by what is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that. And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. It is by knowing & seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the effluents." — Pālileyya-sutta, SN 22.81 <SN iii 98> (Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu transl.)


    "'The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]' amounts to the eternalist statement, 'Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.' 'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences' amounts to the annihilationist statement, 'For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.' Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma via the middle..." — Acelakassapa-sutta, SN 12.17 <SN ii 20> (Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu transl.)

Abhidhamma-piṭaka:

    Eternalist-view and annihilationist-view
    Therein what is eternalist-view? "Self and world are eternal" — this form of view, thicket of view, a wilderness of view, a contortion of view, a writhing of view, a fetter of view, seizure, holding on, inclination, hanging on, false path, wrong way, wrongness, sectarian guild, inverted seizure — this is called "eternalist-view".

    Therein what is annihilationist-view? "Self and world will be annihilated" — this form of view, thicket of view, a wilderness of view, a contortion of view, a writhing of view, a fetter of view, seizure, holding on, inclination, hanging on, false path, wrong way, wrongness, sectarian guild, inverted seizure — this is called "annihilationist-view". — Khuddakavatthu-vibhaṅga <Vibh 358>


    Three cravings
    Therein what are three cravings? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becming.

    Therein what is craving for becoming? Becoming-view accompanied by passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for becoming".

    Therein what is craving for non-becoming? Annihilationist-view accompanied by passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for non-becming".

    Therein what is craving for sensuality? Sensuality-property connected with passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for sensuality".

    [Therein what is craving for becoming?] Form-property and formless-property connected with passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for becoming".

    [Therein what is craving for non-becoming?] Annihilationist-view accompanied by passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for non-becoming". This are three cravings. — Khuddakavatthu-vibhaṅga <Vibh 365>


    Another three cravings
    Therein what are another three cravings? Craving for form, craving for formless, craving for cessation.

    Therein what is craving for form? Form-property connected with passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for form".

    Therein what is craving for formless? Formless-property connected with passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for formless".

    Therein what is craving for cessation? Annihilationist-view accompanied by passion, affection, & affection of mind — this is called "craving for cessation". — Khuddakavatthu-vibhaṅga <Vibh 366>
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:25 am

Looking at the Pali English dictionary, the word "ucchedavaada" is a compound word of "uccheda" and "vaada." "Uccheda" means the breaking up, annihilation, disintegration. "Vaada" means a theory or creed. So it is the theory of the annihilation.

If the question of what it actually means, the understanding of the various ancient schools of India can help us there. Most notably the materialist schools (Lokayata) seemed to posit a self but it was connected with the body that thus was no more when the body died. Thus it was a rejection of any sort of post death existence.

Why I believe the Buddha rejected this theory is not that it denied some idea of post existence for some entity. The real thing the Buddha rejected was the positing of any entity that was associated with me and myself, regardless of whether it existed post mortum or not.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:30 pm

I agree with DarkDream

The rejection of annihilationism by the buddha was becasue it still held a thought of self. Also for an unwise person holding such a view it could lead to negative behaviour and lead one away from nibbana
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:55 pm

Before I went ahead and answered in my previous post, I found this very illumination essay http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha263.htmthat answers this question.

I think it should be kept in mind that, at least in my opinion, that the Buddha was not a philosopher in the sense of promulgating theories and constructing a metaphysical ediface. For example the first Noble truth, that "there is suffering," is not trying to posit a universal metaphysical maximum that life is suffering. What he was trying to say is that the common person's experience of life contains suffering. The difference is an abstract generalized truth opposed to a directly experiential description. Why the Buddha was interesting in the experiential realm of suffering, was because in order to cause its cessation one needed to understand it.

As such, I don't think the Buddha really cared one way or the other that there was existence after death in some form or the other; I believe for him this question was not the important one. What the important question for him is how is one to escape suffering.

The reason he preached against such views of ucchedavada was that any form of identification with anything associated with a notion of self (some continuous essential entity) was a stumbling block to enlightenment because it is a source of great attachment, conceptual profliferation and conflict.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:39 pm

difficult question because trying to explain it, the novice might get the wrong ideas.

Now Buddha was not an annihilationist, mundane right view for the puthujana includes, that there is the next life, there is a result of kamma or good and bad actions..., there are other worlds (heaven and hell) etc...in other words that there is dependent co arising.

Buddha never said, after death, that's it.

Now explaining nibbana is something else altogether where even greater care is required in that Atta is not explained with the confusion of other contemplatives -- it is explained in terms of experience of sati or mindfulness -- body in body, feeling in feeling, mind in mind, dhamma in dhamma.

So Atta is described in terms of what it is NOT. It is NOT the 5 aggregates subject to clinging. It is NOT the 6 senses and it's objects.

In several suttas about anicca, dukkha, anatta Buddha states clearly:

If Form were Atta, one would be able to say, "let my form be thus"
If Feeling were atta (or self), one would be able to say, "let my feeling be thus"...etc.

So here, Buddha does not deny that there is an Atta, but defines what the true self is capable of -- atta is that which is fully controllable.
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:07 pm

So here, Buddha does not deny that there is an Atta, but defines what the true self is capable of -- atta is that which is fully controllable.


I feel that to state there is a true self goes against the teaching that all things are not-self, be they the aggregates or anything else. The problem with stating "there is no self" is that it involves clinging and a sense of self e.g. "I" have no self




"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'



As i understand it one must not hold any thought of self at all so one does not say there is self or there is no self since they both are forms of clinging and identity view, when one is enlightened the thoughts of if there is a self or not would not apply
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:21 pm

Now Buddha was not an annihilationist, mundane right view for the puthujana includes, that there is the next life, there is a result of kamma or good and bad actions..., there are other worlds (heaven and hell) etc...in other words that there is dependent co arising.

Buddha never said, after death, that's it.


I assume when you refer to right view you are paraphrasing the logical opposite of wrong view (from the Sāleyyaka Sutta):

There is no gift, no offering, no sacrifice. There is no fruit of good and bad actions. There is not this world nor a world beyond. There is no mother, no father, no beings who are spontaneously born. There are no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have themselves realised by direct knowledge and declare this world and the world beyond.


As you point out, it does seem like the Buddha does not deny that there is a next life, other worlds and so on. The problem is that this stock passage or pericope is borrowed from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta. I argue on my blog here http://dreamwhitehorses.blogspot.com/2009/01/pali-pericope-and-right-view.html that the Buddha never said this statement, and that later systemizers took the stock passage out of context and made it into a doctrinal statement.

I agree that the Buddha never said "that after death that's it." I think there are many answers for this. I believe he considered what happens after death to lead to fruitless speculation. For him, I believe, the notion of "death" was simply not the point. Death only exists for one who thinks that there is something that can die (any notion of a self). In short, I believe he did not consider the notion important for salvation.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:36 pm

DarkDream wrote:
Now Buddha was not an annihilationist, mundane right view for the puthujana includes, that there is the next life, there is a result of kamma or good and bad actions..., there are other worlds (heaven and hell) etc...in other words that there is dependent co arising.

Buddha never said, after death, that's it.


I assume when you refer to right view you are paraphrasing the logical opposite of wrong view (from the Sāleyyaka Sutta):

There is no gift, no offering, no sacrifice. There is no fruit of good and bad actions. There is not this world nor a world beyond. There is no mother, no father, no beings who are spontaneously born. There are no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have themselves realised by direct knowledge and declare this world and the world beyond.


As you point out, it does seem like the Buddha does not deny that there is a next life, other worlds and so on. The problem is that this stock passage or pericope is borrowed from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta. I argue on my blog here http://dreamwhitehorses.blogspot.com/2009/01/pali-pericope-and-right-view.html that the Buddha never said this statement, and that later systemizers took the stock passage out of context and made it into a doctrinal statement.

I agree that the Buddha never said "that after death that's it." I think there are many answers for this. I believe he considered what happens after death to lead to fruitless speculation. For him, I believe, the notion of "death" was simply not the point. Death only exists for one who thinks that there is something that can die (any notion of a self). In short, I believe he did not consider the notion important for salvation.

-DarkDream


Actually that passage is found in terms of mundane right view throughout the Pali canon and I doubt monks just thought, "let me insert this passage"... :smile:
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:02 pm

clw_uk wrote:
So here, Buddha does not deny that there is an Atta, but defines what the true self is capable of -- atta is that which is fully controllable.


I feel that to state there is a true self goes against the teaching that all things are not-self, be they the aggregates or anything else. The problem with stating "there is no self" is that it involves clinging and a sense of self e.g. "I" have no self




"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'



As i understand it one must not hold any thought of self at all so one does not say there is self or there is no self since they both are forms of clinging and identity view, when one is enlightened the thoughts of if there is a self or not would not apply



Exactly, here Buddha is talking about how NOT to confuse a novice meditator and refrains from putting ideas that Vacchagota is not able to understand...and indeed, if one declares "there is a self"...you're fettered.

However, for stream enterers and higher levels, one already has acheived understanding of basic not self:

Rūpaṃ bhikkhave anattā.
Rūpañca hidaṃ bhikkhave attā abhavissa,
Nayidaṃ rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya,
Labbhetha ca rūpe,
Evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosīti.
"The body, monks, is not self. If the body were the self, this body would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to the body, 'Let my body be thus. Let my body not be thus.' (same with feelings, and other

Buddhism does not agree with Hindus, that we have this permanent thing called "atta",
In Buddhism atta or self is developed through the Triple Gem ONLY through meditation.

An Arahant is "one of developed self" (bhāvit-atto) has "self-control" (atta-danto) and one "with a well-controlled self" (attanā sudantena);
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:24 pm

So just to summarize -- Buddhism does not posit any eternal, permanent "TRUE SELF" that just exists somewhere out there...that would mean we don't have to do anything.

In Buddhism, "self" and control of this self is carefully developed through only the Triple Gem and meditation.

Now considering that Buddha said that other teachings don't have saints -- that means other teachings actually lack soul or atta. :popcorn: interesting indeed.
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:11 am

Buddhism does not agree with Hindus, that we have this permanent thing called "atta",
In Buddhism atta or self is developed through the Triple Gem ONLY through meditation.



May i ask where you got this from?

I think to assert that Arahants have developed, realised or have a true self is dangerous, since it can instill a sense of permanency and eternalism. I dont see it that way at all, i think the Arahant has gone past conceptions of Atta etc so the views of self and no-self no longer apply

:anjali:
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:14 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Buddhism does not agree with Hindus, that we have this permanent thing called "atta",
In Buddhism atta or self is developed through the Triple Gem ONLY through meditation.



May i ask where you got this from?

I think to assert that Arahants have developed, realised or have a true self is dangerous, since it can instill a sense of permanency and eternalism. I dont see it that way at all, i think the Arahant has gone past conceptions of Atta etc so the views of self and no-self no longer apply

:anjali:


Atta is only a dangerous teaching because what is "anatta" can be mistaken for "Atta" -- however, for an Arahant, he has no more confusion -- because an Arahant no longer clings to anything.

It is the clinging that is dangerous.
Atta is,therefore, the non-clinging to any and all phenomenon, past, future and present

This dhamma of non-clinging is the refuge or atta:


Atta-dipa bhikkhave viharatha atta-sarana
ananna-sarana dhamma-dipa dhamma-sarana
ananna-sarana.
Kathan ca bhikkhave bhikkhu atta-dipo
viharati atta-sarano ananna-Sarano, dhamma-
dipo dhamma-sarano ananna-sarano?

Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu kaye kayanu-passi
viharati atapi sampajano satima, vineyya-
loke abhijjha-domanassam, veda-nasu . . .
cittesu . . . dhammesu dhammanu-passi
viharati, atapi sampajano satima, vineyya
loke abhijjha-domanassam. Evam kho bhikkhave
khu atta-dipo viharati atta-sarano
nna-sarano, dhamma-dipo dhamma-sarano
ananna-sarano.

Dwell, bhikkhus, with yourselves as an
island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no
one else as a refuge; with the Doctrine as
an island, with the Doctrine as a refuge,
with no other [doctrine] as a refuge.


And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu dwell
with himself as an island, with himself as a
refuge, with no one else as a refuge; with
the Doctrine as an island, with the Doctrine
as a refuge, with no other [doctrine] as a
refuge?

Here (in this Teaching), bhikkhus, a
bhikkhu lives, contemplating the body in the
body, contemplating the sensations in the
sensations, contemplating the consciousness
in the consciousness, contemplating mental
objects in mental objects, ardent,
attentive, mindful, having removed
covetousness and discontent with regards to
the world. Thus, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu
dwell with himself as an island, with
himself as a refuge, with no one else as a
refuge; with the Doctrine as a refuge, with
no other [doctrine] as a refuge.

Digha-nikaya III 58, 77
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:36 am

Greetings,

A question here for anyone interested in the Abhidhamma, does denying the individual characteristics of dhammas count as annihilationism in the Abhidhamma schema?

I was under the impression that ucchedavada was belief that "self" is destroyed at death, whereas the above explanation seems very remote from that.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby pt1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:28 am

Hi retro,
retrofuturist wrote:A question here for anyone interested in the Abhidhamma, does denying the individual characteristics of dhammas count as annihilationism in the Abhidhamma schema?

That's my hypothesis at the moment. I'll try to collect the relevant quotes in that regard in one post a bit later when I find time, though I was thinking perhaps you can move this specific issue in the meantime into a separate thread of its own because it's very technical - it really relates more to the issue of what is a "dhamma" I think. Not sure whether putting it in some specialised forum like mahavihara or abhidhamma might be useful as well. I'll leave it to you to decide what's most suitable.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:31 am

Greetings pt1,

Maybe you'd like to frame a new topic in the Classical Theravada section to explore the hypothesis?

I'd recommend against putting it in the Abhidhamma section, since there may be Sutta material of relevance to the question which I'm sure you don't want to ignore during your investigations.

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: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby pt1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:54 am

Hi retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Maybe you'd like to frame a new topic in the Classical Theravada section to explore the hypothesis?

I'd recommend against putting it in the Abhidhamma section, since there may be Sutta material of relevance to the question which I'm sure you don't want to ignore during your investigations.

Sounds good, will do that.

Best wishes

EDIT: This is the new thread
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby mogg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

stuka wrote:People who are beyond such views nonetheless are sick to death of being accused by crusading fatuous dilletanti of being annihiliationists.


Yes, hence my reasons for starting this topic and keeping it distinct from the melee of the Great Rebirth Debate. Even myself, I've been accused of denying rebirth in the past simply because I find non-time-delineated models of dependent origination (a la Buddhadasa) more practical than the three-lives commentarial version. :shrug:

Metta,
Retro. :)

It is my understanding that the Ven. Buddhadasa's explanation of DP is not what the Buddha actually taught. Its clear from the suttas that when the Buddha talks about 'birth' in DP, he is talking about literal birth, not 'being born into each moment' or some similar notion.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:41 pm

A very widespread belief that "there is no self" is Ucchedavāda.

If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationismSN44.10


Maybe what it also means in a modern terminology is nihilism.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby daverupa » Wed May 01, 2013 5:50 pm

Alex123 wrote:A very widespread belief that "there is no self" is Ucchedavāda.

If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationismSN44.10


Maybe what it also means in a modern terminology is nihilism.


Nihilism is different from annihilationism. The latter speaks of the destruction of an existent thing, in this case a self; the former speaks of how knowledge and values have no objective foundation - nothing can truly be known, life is meaningless, etc. There are degrees of this view.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 01, 2013 7:08 pm

daverupa wrote:Nihilism is different from annihilationism. The latter speaks of the destruction of an existent thing, in this case a self; the former speaks of how knowledge and values have no objective foundation - nothing can truly be known, life is meaningless, etc. There are degrees of this view.


Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism) is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist (not only objects in space, but also objects existing in time do not have any temporal parts), and only basic building blocks without parts exist, and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with parts is a product of human misperception (i.e., if we could see clearly, we would not perceive compositive objects).link


Some non-buddhists during Buddha's time had a similar view:

A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance.DN2

Bhikkhu Bodhi trans wrote:[Herein, there is no killer, no slaughterer, no hearer, no speaker, no knower, no intimater.] Even one who cuts off another’s head with a sharp sword does not deprive anyone of life; the sword merely passes through the space between the seven bodies. SN24.8


Sounds to similar too what some say today...
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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