Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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retrofuturist
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:29 pm Really?
Yes, which is why I said it.
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:29 pm To be fair, perhaps there is an implied "in my opinion" in your post that I didn't pick up on.
I have no idea what you do or do not pick up on, but what I wrote was simply an accurate on-topic account of Nanavira Thera's position. Substantiation has since been provided, so as to counter your disruptive misrepresentations.
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:29 pm As for derailing, I actually thought this thread was actually very helpful and useful, and I thought is was ironic that you made your post around the time SDC was posting this:
SDC wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:37 pm Whatever the reason, it’s just nice to see less aggressive attitudes from both supporters and critics. Based just on his body of work, things should’ve never gotten so tense.
Making true statements and correcting falsehoods is not aggressive, and I sympathize if you find it so.

All the best.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
Jack19990101
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by Jack19990101 »

There is no way our experiences of dependent origination would format into the interpretation of traditional commentary.
Nanavira version is simply much closer to actual insight arising when Dhamma is seen.

Hence I think traditional commentary interpreted from a non-experiential aspect. It is more cosmetical & more scholastic.
Nanavira's version appeal to some practitioners as it resembles their personal experience, or it articulated what they saw.

If you are a new practitioner, if you read Commentary, you will definitely dwell more on a timeline.
You would never think you can see d.o. in a short session of meditation. And you would need some sidis to see the whole process.
If you read Nanavira, you have the opposite. Dependent origination is ready to lay bare to you in your practice, all within this lifetime.

Nanavira's version has flaw as well - it is written shortly after his breakthrough. The link avijja-sankhara is purely scholaristic speculation and lack of experiential clarity.
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by mikenz66 »

retrofuturist wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:38 pm Making true statements and correcting falsehoods is not aggressive, and I sympathize if you find it so.
I do agree they are true representations of your and Nanavira's opinions. And I sympathise that you find my posts intrusive.

Be well.
:heart:
Mike
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Alex123
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by Alex123 »

dharmacorps wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 8:34 pm For me it is his suicide but also his statements that everything he wrote before his supposed stream entry was wrong. If any dhamma author discards their own previous work like that it makes me lose interest in what they write.
So many people cling to their views and avoid admitting being wrong at all costs...
IMHO, that is a big plus if a person discards his/her previous views for the better. The worst, IMHO, if the person dies with the exact same views he was born with. Now that was a wasted life.
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by Alex123 »

AlexBrains92 wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 12:07 am 4) He committed suicide.
Not affirming (or condemning) the above, weren't there bhikkhus (Ven. Channa, Ven Vakkali, if my memory serves me correctly) in the Buddha's time who did that and became Arhats in the last moment? There was also a bhikkhu (Citta Hatthirohaputta) who disrobed 6 times, re-ordained and then became an Arhat.

IMHO, it is wrong to judge another person. We weren't in his shoes, we don't know what it is like, we cannot telepathically read his true intentions and states of mind.

It is too easy to be an "arm-chair critic". IMHO.
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by dharmacorps »

Alex123 wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:37 pm
IMHO, that is a big plus if a person discards his/her previous views for the better. The worst, IMHO, if the person dies with the exact same views he was born with. Now that was a wasted life.
Sure. Holding stubbornly to views is not a good thing. But you don't get points for just changing your views at the drop of a hat, the question is are your new views more skillful that your old ones.

Only a Buddha can know someone's attainments such as if a person became an arahant at the last second. Discernment is a good thing. If someone killed themself because of suffering and depression, that is common in this world. Killing onesself as an arahant because the work is done and one is ill with no hope of getting better is quite rare. Nobody is judging Ven Nanvira, the question is why he is controversial. The reasons given here do explain that.
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
dharmacorps wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:22 pm Sure. Holding stubbornly to views is not a good thing. But you don't get points for just changing your views at the drop of a hat, the question is are your new views more skillful that your old ones.
I think you're trivializing the transition to sotapanna somewhat. From that date, he could see through the Dhamma Eye, and had developed the understanding that would ultimately take him through to nibbana. Prior to that he was a puthujjana, destined for indefinite wanderings in samsara. It's a significant insight, and yes... understanding things better after that transition, should render many old (puthujjana) views redundant, and he should be able to see the error in them. I'd be more concerned if he didn't.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Ontheway
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by Ontheway »

How you know that he is a Sotapanna? Because he said so in Pali? :shrug:

He also said that Sister Vajira is a Sotapanna. But she later had mental breakdown and disrobed, back to Germany and be a factory worker. If Nanavira was correct that she is a Sotapanna, what can possibly drives her to make such decision? Is that particular sangha imperfect? She can always change monastery, but she didn't do that. :shrug:
"The Buddha is like the rising sun; the Dhamma as already stated is like the web of his rays; and the Sangha is like the world rid by him of darkness."

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SarathW
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by SarathW »

Ontheway wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:57 pm How you know that he is a Sotapanna? Because he said so in Pali? :shrug:

He also said that Sister Vajira is a Sotapanna. But she later had mental breakdown and disrobed, back to Germany and be a factory worker. If Nanavira was correct that she is a Sotapanna, what can possibly drives her to make such decision? Is that particular sangha imperfect? She can always change monastery, but she didn't do that. :shrug:
It does not say that a Sotapanna can't disrobe though. In my opinion, even an Anagami can disrobe except an Arahant.

:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
Ontheway wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:57 pm How you know that he is a Sotapanna? Because he said so in Pali? :shrug:
He made this distinction between two periods of his writing, and gave recommendations on how to relate to the earlier period.

Whether I think or know he was sotapanna is utterly irrelevant to that.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by dharmacorps »

I suppose the question everyone is dancing around is, was Nanavira a Sotapanna? or just overestimating his progress (common among all practitioners) and seriously depressed?-- unanswerable of course.

Additionally, would a sotapanna kill themselves?

If they did, with confirmed confidence in the Buddha and his teachings, they would have to know it is blameworthy in the Buddhasasana to do so short of arahantship. To me, that is trivializing the attainment. If you can reach sotapanna why not go for sakadagami? It doesn't mean they can't kill themselves. Someone can reference the acts a sotapanna is incapable of here as the suttas say.
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
dharmacorps wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:28 am Additionally, would a sotapanna kill themselves?
...
If you can reach sotapanna why not go for sakadagami?
If you were to read his Letters, you would know the answer to this.

TL;DR - It takes Samma Samadhi to progress to subsequent levels and his ailments precluded that advancement. His body could not support it, so he went in for a new one.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by SarathW »

retrofuturist wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:49 am Greetings,
dharmacorps wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:28 am Additionally, would a sotapanna kill themselves?
...
If you can reach sotapanna why not go for sakadagami?
If you were to read his Letters, you would know the answer to this.

TL;DR - It takes Samma Samadhi to progress to subsequent levels and his ailments precluded that advancement. His body could not support it, so he went in for a new one.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Agree.
I think his sickness was a major roadblock for him to progress.
It appears he has undergone tremendous pain.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by pulga »

dharmacorps wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:28 am
If they did, with confirmed confidence in the Buddha and his teachings, they would have to know it is blameworthy in the Buddhasasana to do so short of arahantship.
Suicide is only a minor offense in the Vinaya.
As regards Vinaya and Dhamma I am well aware of the situation and do not need to seek the advice of others. Suicide, though a fault, is not (contrary to a widespread opinion) a grave offence in Vinaya (it is a dukkata);[1] and as regards Dhamma I know better than anyone else how I am placed. Taking all these matters into consideration I do not find, at least as far as my own personal situation is concerned, any very strong reason (though I regret the dukkata) to restrain me from taking my life (naturally, I am speaking only of my own case—for others there may be, and most probably are, very grave objections of one kind or another to suicide). My condition and my state of mind vary from time to time; and whereas on some days I may think weeks or possibly even months ahead, on others it is painful and distasteful to me to think even a few days ahead.~ Ven. Ñanavira, [L. 45 | 52] 28 April 1963

[45.1] dukkata: In the Vinaya, or monastic Code, offences are grouped according to seriousness, the most serious being pārājika, involving expulsion from the Order (cf. L. 56) and sanghādisesa, involving confession and temporary suspension of certain privileges. Dukkata (lit. 'wrongly done') is the least offence except for dubbaca ('wrongly said').
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
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Re: Why is Ñānavīra considered controversial?

Post by Ontheway »

retrofuturist wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:49 am Greetings,
dharmacorps wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:28 am Additionally, would a sotapanna kill themselves?
...
If you can reach sotapanna why not go for sakadagami?
If you were to read his Letters, you would know the answer to this.

TL;DR - It takes Samma Samadhi to progress to subsequent levels and his ailments precluded that advancement. His body could not support it, so he went in for a new one.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Sounds Eternalism to me. :rolleye:
"The Buddha is like the rising sun; the Dhamma as already stated is like the web of his rays; and the Sangha is like the world rid by him of darkness."

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(The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning)
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