Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by SarathW »

santa100 wrote: Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:01 pm
binocular wrote:I'm old enough and grew up in an old-fashioned enough culture where wrathfulness was normal for people over a certain age or of a certain socio-economic status.
The priest (regardless of his age) could yell at people (even hit grown up people, what to speak of hitting children); grandparents yelling at everyone who was younger than they in the family; teachers in school; police officers and other governmental officials; doctors; parents, obviously. People yelling at animals.
All this yelling, but I don't recall it ever being considered "anger" or "bad-tempered" in mainstream society up until maybe the last 20 years or so.

It's quite confusing for me, actually.
Consider that progress then. Things used to be over-normalized to extreme degree, like the story of Zen master Nanquan, alleged to have killed a cat in front of his students to teach some kun-an about emptiness. Or those samurai warriors, who attained high degree of samadhi such that they were able to cut off the opponent's head in one precise lightning strike that sent him straight to the Pure Land without feeling any pain. The head didn't fall off, it stayed in place, attaching to the body through the tiny piece of skin! And this is no BS, a few modern kendo masters demonstrated this kind of precision cut by having his student lying on the back with an apple placed at his throat, then the master cut the apple in half in one precision strike without touching the student's skin!
I don't think this is Buddhism.
This is not the Buddha's way.
In fact Buddha prohibited monks to perform supernormal activities.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
santa100
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by santa100 »

SarathW wrote:I don't think this is Buddhism.
Of course not. That's the point. Doesn't matter how advanced Nanquan was in his samadhi attainment, if it's true that he did kill the cat, then he'd have to spend some vacation days down there at the Niraya hotel just like everyone else, no exception.
justindesilva
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by justindesilva »

santa100 wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:23 am
SarathW wrote:I don't think this is Buddhism.
Of course not. That's the point. Doesn't matter how advanced Nanquan was in his samadhi attainment, if it's true that he did kill the cat, then he'd have to spend some vacation days down there at the Niraya hotel just like everyone else, no exception.
The statement that one finds paradoxical statements in Buddhism is a paradox itself. If I can find a Pali word close to this , it is prapanca. A prapanca is explained as a thought with which one will prolong samsara.
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dhammacoustic
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by dhammacoustic »

rolling_boulder wrote: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:19 pm Buddhism sometimes feels a little silly to me because of the following contradictions.

1. There is no separate self; everything is interconnected and interdependently arisen, we are completely and entirely social beings, we only exist with reference to our environment, our sphere of action is limited by our past conditioning, BUT, we are all separate individuals who are responsible for and individually receive results of our karma, our duty is to somehow act against our conditioning, and the final goal is complete disconnection of the "individual" from conditions. What is that, a soul? Some kind of Absolute Being? there is “ultimately” no separate self (that is, potentially, all beings are buddhas, they're not “actually” buddhas), otherwise “to exist” is to be separate. in brief, an unrealized person is a conditional organism, whereas a realized person is an unconditional absolute.

2. The mind is also not self, it is conditioned just like material nature, and it's also dependent on uncontrollable material factors (childhood traumas, brain chemicals, social conditions, wealth, access to resources) BUT we are supposed to make efforts to improve it. you will keep hitting yourself with a nunchaku until you've mastered it, same goes for the brain, it is a tool, it can be and should be trained, an average brain has huge amounts of potential if used properly.

3. Happiness is just a meaningless mind state, sadness is just a mind state, mind states are simply phenomena that we can observe coming and going, BUT, nibbana is the highest happiness. because nibbana is not a phenomenal happiness.

4. Arahantship is the complete and final extinguishment of negative mind states, they never arise again, BUT, actually they do (because of material conditioning) but the arahant just doesn't "pick them up-" Ajahn Chah was an arahant, BUT he still yelled angrily at people when he was losing his brain function. we can't really know what an arahant is, unless we are one ourselves. seems to me that it's a matter of faith, at least in the beginning. say you practiced the eightfold path sincerely and properly, and it still didn't do any good, then i guess it would be ok to leave it.

Anyone that can resolve these tangles for me, gets my respect
dhammacoustic / rolling_boulder
sentinel
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by sentinel »

dhammacoustic wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:34 am because nibbana is not a phenomenal happiness.

Ajahn Chah was an arahant, BUT he still yelled angrily at people when he was losing his brain function.
Now the antinomy appears to be :

No one knows nibbana in actuality except the definition described in the texts or those so called ariya .


So it seems if arahant brains unfortunately malfunction and loses the consciousness , the nibbana state would be lost .
You always gain by giving
justindesilva
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by justindesilva »

sentinel wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:29 am
dhammacoustic wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:34 am because nibbana is not a phenomenal happiness.

Ajahn Chah was an arahant, BUT he still yelled angrily at people when he was losing his brain function.
Now the antinomy appears to be :

No one knows nibbana in actuality except the definition described in the texts or those so called ariya .


So it seems if arahant brains unfortunately malfunction and loses the consciousness , the nibbana state would be lost .
No person other than Lord Buddha could assess whether another person was an arhath or not. With all due respect to Ajhan Chaa, we cannot assess his Aryan status.
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Pascal2
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Pascal2 »

rolling_boulder wrote: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:19 pm Buddhism sometimes feels a little silly to me because of the following contradictions.

1. There is no separate self; everything is interconnected and interdependently arisen, we are completely and entirely social beings, we only exist with reference to our environment, our sphere of action is limited by our past conditioning, BUT, we are all separate individuals who are responsible for and individually receive results of our karma, our duty is to somehow act against our conditioning, and the final goal is complete disconnection of the "individual" from conditions. What is that, a soul? Some kind of Absolute Being?

2. The mind is also not self, it is conditioned just like material nature, and it's also dependent on uncontrollable material factors (childhood traumas, brain chemicals, social conditions, wealth, access to resources) BUT we are supposed to make efforts to improve it

3. Happiness is just a meaningless mind state, sadness is just a mind state, mind states are simply phenomena that we can observe coming and going, BUT, nibbana is the highest happiness

4. Arahantship is the complete and final extinguishment of negative mind states, they never arise again, BUT, actually they do (because of material conditioning) but the arahant just doesn't "pick them up-" Ajahn Chah was an arahant, BUT he still yelled angrily at people when he was losing his brain function

Anyone that can resolve these tangles for me, gets my respect
Add to the above.
We must be compassionate beings but eating meat and do not protest when a war (started by our own countries) happens is OK.
Putting our own opinions before facts is the root of all fanaticism?
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Pascal2
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Pascal2 »

Dhammanando wrote: Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:29 pm
dharmacorps wrote: Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:31 pm
rolling_boulder wrote: Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:19 pm
Ajahn Chah was an arahant, BUT he still yelled angrily at people when he was losing his brain function
Please cite what you base this accusation on. What is your basis for this claim?
When asked, Ajahn Chah denied that he was an arahant and said that he still had a lot more work to do. So I was told by my former preceptor, Ajahn Khemadhammo.

As I recall, the arahantship accusation started to be levelled against him almost immediately after his death in 1992. By about 1994 it had become a fait accompli that Ajahn Chah had been an arahant when alive, despite his own protestation to the contrary. I don't know why. Perhaps it was a case of devoted disciples thinking: "the true Messiah always denies his own divinity".
This is news to me
I was at Wat Pah Nanachat a few times and I always thought that Ajahn Chah had been considered an arahant
How is now possible that this is not the case?
I am confused
Putting our own opinions before facts is the root of all fanaticism?
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Dhammanando
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Dhammanando »

Pascal2 wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:06 pm This is news to me
I was at Wat Pah Nanachat a few times and I always thought that Ajahn Chah had been considered an arahant
How is now possible that this is not the case?
I am confused
You've misunderstood what I wrote. My point wasn't that he was formerly acclaimed an arahant but now isn't. It's the other way round. He wasn't formerly acclaimed an arahant but now is.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
santa100
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by santa100 »

Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:31 pm
Pascal2 wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:06 pm This is news to me
I was at Wat Pah Nanachat a few times and I always thought that Ajahn Chah had been considered an arahant
How is now possible that this is not the case?
I am confused
You've misunderstood what I wrote. My point wasn't that he was formerly acclaimed an arahant but now isn't. It's the other way round. He wasn't formerly acclaimed an arahant but now is.
The Christians were way ahead of the Buddhists in this Canonization/Beatification game. Seems like we're overtaking them then... :jumping:
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Pascal2
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Pascal2 »

Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:31 pm You've misunderstood what I wrote. My point wasn't that he was formerly acclaimed an arahant but now isn't. It's the other way round. He wasn't formerly acclaimed an arahant but now is.
I fully understood what you wrote
My point is how can such confusion arise as he died recently
Putting our own opinions before facts is the root of all fanaticism?
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SDC
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by SDC »

Pascal2 wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:48 pm
Dhammanando wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:31 pm You've misunderstood what I wrote. My point wasn't that he was formerly acclaimed an arahant but now isn't. It's the other way round. He wasn't formerly acclaimed an arahant but now is.
I fully understood what you wrote
My point is how can such confusion arise as he died recently
Ven. Sariputta - an arahant - was unable to recognize another monk was an arahant. Even when Ven. Channa described his attainment, Sariputta still had to ask the Buddha:
SN 35.87 wrote:Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, the Venerable Channa has used the knife. What is his destination, what is his future bourn?”

“Sāriputta, didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare his blameless-ness right in your presence?”

“Venerable sir, there is a Vajjian village named Pubbavijjhana. There the Venerable Channa had friendly families, intimate families, hospitable families.”

“The Venerable Channa did indeed have these friendly families, Sāriputta, intimate families, hospitable families; but I do not say that to this extent one is blameworthy. Sāriputta, when one lays down this body and takes up another body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in the case of the bhikkhu Channa. The bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly. Thus, Sāriputta, should you remember it.”
I also recall a sutta where an arahant stepped on some bugs and fellow monks went to report the issue, to which they were told the other monk was an arahant and that he likely didn't know and that it was blameless.

There is also the account of a harsh talking arahant. Same deal. Yes the speech was externally unpleasant but the monk was an arahant nonetheless.

My point is that there is no clear external measure of an arahant and the suttas have many accounts where they were unrecognizable.

Unless anyone is prepared to say that members of the Thai Sangha (or whoever made this claim) have a greater clarity in this matter than Sariputta...?
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Pascal2
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Pascal2 »

SDC wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:44 pm Ven. Sariputta - an arahant -
If arahants are unrecognizable and they themselves do not profess to be arahants how would you even know for sure that Ven. Sariputta was an arahant?
Putting our own opinions before facts is the root of all fanaticism?
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SDC
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by SDC »

Pascal2 wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:50 pm
SDC wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:44 pm Ven. Sariputta - an arahant -
If arahants are unrecognizable and they themselves do not profess to be arahants how would you even know for sure that Ven. Sariputta was an arahant?
I won't know until arahantship. I am inspired by Sariputta and by the Buddha and I have faith in both that they were telling the truth, but the measure is only accurate when I know it. Do the suttas disagree? Did the Buddha say to just believe him?
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Pascal2
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Re: Buddhist Paradoxes I Still don't understand

Post by Pascal2 »

SDC wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:57 pm I won't know until arahantship. I am inspired by Sariputta and by the Buddha and I have faith in both that they were telling the truth, but the measure is only accurate when I know it. Do the suttas disagree? Did the Buddha say to just believe him?
And since 99% plus of us will not get to arahantship we are all condemned to die without knowing for sure..
Putting our own opinions before facts is the root of all fanaticism?
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