Arahants and magic tricks

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bundokji
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Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

I know this might be a silly question, but is it possible that Arahants get deceived by a magic trick?

What i mean is: they do not necessarily get impressed by it, but can the trick work on them without knowing how it works?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
SteRo
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:55 pm I know this might be a silly question, but is it possible that Arahants get deceived by a magic trick?

What i mean is: they do not necessarily get impressed by it, but can the trick work on them without knowing how it works?
See, you are aware of asking a silly question. Then why should one respond to that? You are asking because you are in doubt. Can your doubt be removed by any responses to your post?
You are in doubt about Theravada doctrine which includes arahants.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
SarathW
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SarathW »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:55 pm I know this might be a silly question, but is it possible that Arahants get deceived by a magic trick?

What i mean is: they do not necessarily get impressed by it, but can the trick work on them without knowing how it works?
Didn't Buddha say that the consciousness is a magicians trick?

========
"Now suppose that a magician or magician's apprentice were to display a magic trick at a major intersection, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a magic trick? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

SteRo wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:04 pm See, you are aware of asking a silly question. Then why should one respond to that? You are asking because you are in doubt. Can your doubt be removed by any responses to your post?
You are in doubt about Theravada doctrine which includes arahants.
The possibly silly part of my question is that magicians make a living out of trickery, amusement, getting attention and generating passion, none of which has value in Buddhism in general. This is why, i used the word "might" when i described my question.

On the other hand, Arahants are known to have transcended delusion of which the criteria of defining delusion might have similarities and differences with worldly affairs.

In religions, magic is a recurring theme. For example, in Abrahamic religions, Moses is said to have encountered magicians whom through trickery, they made ropes appear as snakes. The story goes as Moses was tricked by the appearance, but god asked him to throw his stick which swallowed their ropes and led them to faith.

In Buddhism, SN 22.29 utilized the example of a magician as per the following:
"Now suppose that a magician or magician's apprentice were to display a magic trick at a major intersection, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a magic trick? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?
It is also commonly said that Arahants have no gaps in their citta. This approach might be an opportunity to investigate what that means.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
SarathW
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SarathW »

It is important to consider the Bhaiy Sutta as well.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn ... .irel.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:08 pm Didn't Buddha say that the consciousness is a magicians trick?
I am aware of that, which is based on being playful with reference points. Where does the trickery lies: the magician inside consciousnesses? or the consciousness where the magician appears? or both? or none?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:24 pm It is important to consider the Bhaiy Sutta as well.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn ... .irel.html
What correlations do you see between the Bahiya sutta and the question raised in the OP? could you elaborate further?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
SarathW
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SarathW »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:26 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:08 pm Didn't Buddha say that the consciousness is a magicians trick?
I am aware of that, which is based on being playful with reference points. Where does the trickery lies: the magician inside consciousnesses? or the consciousness where the magician appears? or both? or none?
When Buddha say consciousness, he was talking about any consciousness, internal, external and internalexternal.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SteRo »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:22 pm ...
In Buddhism, SN 22.29 ...:
"... In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?
:!:
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
SarathW
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SarathW »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:28 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:24 pm It is important to consider the Bhaiy Sutta as well.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn ... .irel.html
What correlations do you see between the Bahiya sutta and the question raised in the OP? could you elaborate further?
Say you hear a sound of dog barking.
- That could be a real dog barking
- That could be someone playing a record player
- That could be sound like a dog comming from another source
So for an Arahat he notes the sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:29 pm
Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:26 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:08 pm Didn't Buddha say that the consciousness is a magicians trick?
I am aware of that, which is based on being playful with reference points. Where does the trickery lies: the magician inside consciousnesses? or the consciousness where the magician appears? or both? or none?
When Buddha say consciousness, he was talking about any consciousness, internal, external and internalexternal.
The point emphasized by the Buddha is that consciousness is without substance. In the case of magicians, the act is described as a trick in contrast with what is real, which is usually a more common reference point where the laws of nature are perceived to operate in predictable ways. The magician trick is appealing because it defies what is known as the laws of nature or logic.

In the case of Buddhism, where the trickery lies is not very clear. Denying the laws of nature is described as nihilism and a wrong view. There is no clear reference point of which consciousness is described to be deceptive except through a vague word "nibbana"
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
SarathW
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by SarathW »

When Buddha say consciouness he inluded any consciousness, future,past,present,internal, external, far,near,subtle,gross etc.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Bundokji
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Bundokji »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:34 pm Say you hear a sound of dog barking.
- That could be a real dog barking
- That could be someone playing a record player
- That could be sound like a dog comming from another source
So for an Arahat he notes the sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
So, by your analogy, the arahant cannot distinguish if the sound is coming from a real dog barking or a record player? Surely, the arahant knows that the sound is empty either way.

This is why, i ruled out the possibility that the Arahant would be impressed by the magician trickery. Knowing emptiness implies dispassion.

However, to investigate the extent of Arahant's knowledge using this example, psychic powers are described in the suttas, which is somehow similar to magic tricks. The difference between the two is not clear, but if i remember correctly, Devadatta used his psychic powers to impress a prince. The Buddha prohibited monks from showing off their psychic powers.

This brings us to the issue of citta, its gaps and speed. We are told that speed is part of trickery, and in psychoanalysis, its part of subliminal messaging. The relationship between knowledge and speed proves that consciousness is indeed a construct, and yet, questions about the limits and abilities of Arahants remains unclear.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
form
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by form »

All arahants are enlightened but not all are clever.
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Mahabrahma
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Re: Arahants and magic tricks

Post by Mahabrahma »

Think of it in the sense that an Arhat understands the nature of all phenomena but does not always show it, and even within themselves there are various levels of consciousness which they are going through the Expedient Means of. Though they may have nothing more to learn, they are still none the less looking into phenomena and asking questions for the sake of others.
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