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Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:20 am
by robertk
mabw wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:43 am
robertk wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:20 am

You say "we have the power to change things"/ Not the way I look at life; I find the teaching on conditionality is always verifiable and realistic , and by learning what is kusala there is a little appreciation of kusala in daily life. But not trying to change things: things, phenomena, arise as they must, it is their nature, it is pointless to try to manage this.
I don't get you. So, you're saying we cannot change things? There is no need for charity since those in need brought it upon themselves and there is no need to practise Buddhism either?
In the end it comes down to anatta. Any other way of understanding misses the target. Any other way is treating the symptoms not the causes. I don't try to manage or change what has arisen because - as I see it- it is irrelevant to the path..One might have the illusion of making changes and miss that the real change is when right view develops

Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic

Translated from the Pali by
Nanamoli Thera

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'
" ......
That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they approved his words.
Now during this utterance, the hearts of the bhikkhus of the group of five were liberated from taints through clinging no more.


Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:22 am
by mabw
robertk wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:20 am
In the end it comes down to anatta. Any other way of understanding misses the target. Any other way is treating the symptoms not the causes. I don't try to manage or change what has arisen because - as I see it- it is irrelevant to the path..One might have the illusion of making changes and miss that the real change is when right view develops
So the Buddha completely wasted his time preaching, didn't he? We are incapable of change, and hence it was completely a futile effort on his part?

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:41 pm
by denise
hello all....who is "we"?

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:59 pm
by SteRo
mabw wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:22 am So the Buddha completely wasted his time preaching, didn't he? We are incapable of change, and hence it was completely a futile effort on his part?
The authors who put down the narratives about "the Buddha" did not waste their time because they and their community seem to have derived great benefit from it and honestly I wouldn't want to miss their work because it is a source of great inspiration.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:21 am
by robertk
mabw wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:22 am
robertk wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:20 am
In the end it comes down to anatta. Any other way of understanding misses the target. Any other way is treating the symptoms not the causes. I don't try to manage or change what has arisen because - as I see it- it is irrelevant to the path..One might have the illusion of making changes and miss that the real change is when right view develops
So the Buddha completely wasted his time preaching, didn't he? We are incapable of change, and hence it was completely a futile effort on his part?
What I said was "real change is when right view develops".
And what is the cause for right view:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"Friend, there are two conditions for the arising of right view: the voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view."
The 'voice of another' is actually the teachings of the Buddha - so it was not futile for the Buddha to preach- it is the cause to develop right view.

In actuality there is no me or "we" (as Denise perhaps indicates) but there are elements like consciousness, that arise and cease. There is dukkha - that is what the khandhas are.
And there are the parami, the assistants of right view (and right view itself).

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:11 am
by mabw
robertk wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:21 am
What I said was "real change is when right view develops".
And what is the cause for right view:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"Friend, there are two conditions for the arising of right view: the voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view."
The 'voice of another' is actually the teachings of the Buddha - so it was not futile for the Buddha to preach- it is the cause to develop right view.

In actuality there is no me or "we" (as Denise perhaps indicates) but there are elements like consciousness, that arise and cease. There is dukkha - that is what the khandhas are.
And there are the parami, the assistants of right view (and right view itself).
I don't see how you have answered my questions.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:37 am
by robertk
mabw wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:11 am
robertk wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:21 am
What I said was "real change is when right view develops".
And what is the cause for right view:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"Friend, there are two conditions for the arising of right view: the voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view."
The 'voice of another' is actually the teachings of the Buddha - so it was not futile for the Buddha to preach- it is the cause to develop right view.

In actuality there is no me or "we" (as Denise perhaps indicates) but there are elements like consciousness, that arise and cease. There is dukkha - that is what the khandhas are.
And there are the parami, the assistants of right view (and right view itself).
I don't see how you have answered my questions.
In reaction to my earlier post you said the Buddha wasted his time preaching (based on what I said) - I think because I was emphasising right view rather than trying to change 'ourselves'.
What my subsequent post tried to show is that it is right view that develops by giving attention to the Buddha's words. And when right view develops then: ...
this is the forerunner and harbinger for the arising of the Noble Eightfold Path, that is, yoniso manasikara (wise attention). When a bhikkhu is accomplished in yoniso manasikara, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate this Noble Eightfold Path. (SN45.55)
Wherever we go, whether it's left or right, we are stuck.. We could live in a cave for 20 years but if there's not
the understanding of the nature of present moment, the conditioned realities, nothing great will be achieved.

In the Visuddhimagga it says that other religious teacher teach how to fix the
symptom of the disease, but the Buddha teaches how to eradicate the
cause.
It's like a dog, when you throw a stick at it, it snarls, and
bites the stick. But the lion brushes the stick aside and goes for
the man.

So it is of great value to consider the words of the Buddha as I see it.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:23 am
by mabw
mabw wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:43 am I don't get you. So, you're saying we cannot change things? There is no need for charity since those in need brought it upon themselves and there is no need to practise Buddhism either?
It was this that I wanted clarification, because you seem to be talking about kammic determinism. And then you went on to talk about right view, and i lost the plot.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:24 am
by mabw
mabw wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 2:57 pm
robertk wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:23 am
I think this post by Ven. Dhammando explains.
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1020&p=16611&hilit=nina#p16611
To me the examples you give and the conundra you raise regarding them merely highlight the limitations of expounding kamma and its ripening in conventional terms (i.e. in terms of conceptual realities such as "persons"). The conundra evaporate when the subject is expounded in terms of dhammas
.
I have read the referred thread and reflected some of the points raised. The point seems to be that while there are circumstances which are caused by kamma, we have the power to change things.

The gist from Ven Dhammanando's post seems to be we should not just see kamma conventionally in terms of affecting individual persons, but to look at it from the ultimate perspective, i.e. anatta. If my understanding is correct, then a few things come to mind:
- people will have less of a need to help others. Since no one is ultimately suffering from these circumstances, let it be.
- it will then perpetuate the apparently distorted view of kammic determinism.
- it seems unwise to undermine the conventional and to privilege the ultimate. It is also because of the conventional that there is Metta practice. The ultimate rests on the conventional, at least according to some views.

Could it be that there is tension here between social justice, something more pronounced in the West, and self-cultivation, something more prevalent in the East. David Loy spoke of this in one of his talks. Probably the right approach is somewhere in the middle. Social justice without first working on ourselves can be misguided and destructive. Self-cultivation to the exclusion of social justice will not create a very comfortable environment for anybody, even for the enlightened self-cultivator.

Is there actually any problem of treating this Jataka as metaphorical? I sense a certain hesitancy here to view it as such.
And this.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:50 am
by robertk
mabw wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:24 am



The gist from Ven Dhammanando's post seems to be we should not just see kamma conventionally in terms of affecting individual persons, but to look at it from the ultimate perspective, i.e. anatta. If my understanding is correct, then a few things come to mind:
- people will have less of a need to help others. Since no one is ultimately suffering from these circumstances, let it be.
- it will then perpetuate the apparently distorted view of kammic determinism.
- it seems unwise to undermine the conventional and to privilege the ultimate. It is also because of the conventional that there is Metta practice. The ultimate rests on the conventional, at least according to some views.

Could it be that there is tension here between social justice, something more pronounced in the West, and self-cultivation, something more prevalent in the East. David Loy spoke of this in one of his talks. Probably the right approach is somewhere in the middle. Social justice without first working on ourselves can be misguided and destructive. Self-cultivation to the exclusion of social justice will not create a very comfortable environment for anybody, even for the enlightened self-cultivator.

The thing is that the more there is understanding of kamma and result the more there will be efforts to give, to assist, to sympathize with others. There would be understanding that actions, every moment even, has implications for the future. So the man who understands kamma from the 'ultimate perspective' would not despise others- they would know the killer or cheat will soon reap the results. They would have mudita easily when seeing someone perform good deeds and karuna when seeing another do bad.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:52 am
by robertk
Is there actually any problem of treating this Jataka as metaphorical? I sense a certain hesitancy here to view it as such.
Well it it is not how the Theravada tradition sees it. It is said to be an event that did happen.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:09 am
by mabw
robertk wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:50 am
The thing is that the more there is understanding of kamma and result the more there will be efforts to give, to assist, to sympathize with others. There would be understanding that actions, every moment even, has implications for the future. So the man who understands kamma from the 'ultimate perspective' would not despise others- they would know the killer or cheat will soon reap the results. They would have mudita easily when seeing someone perform good deeds and karuna when seeing another do bad.
Okay, sounds reasonable.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:19 am
by mabw
robertk wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:52 am Well it it is not how the Theravada tradition sees it. It is said to be an event that did happen.
Okay, I can work with that. I sort of foresaw this response. I too am not inclined to dismiss something just because it doesn't make sense at this point. I suppose the answer lies somewhere in between treating it as historical fact vs a metaphor.

This is one of the reasons why I raised the thread on the Nettipakarana since I initially thought it might give me some tools to view such texts. But on checking sphairos' recommendation of K.N. Norman's Pāli Literature, the Netti is mainly for people who already know the teachings and want to teach it to others. So I guess that text won't really fit the purpose at the moment.

Re: Vessantara Jataka

Posted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:58 pm
by whynotme
johnsmitty wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:27 pm
sphairos wrote: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:58 pm I've just come across this passage from the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, an important Yogācāra treatise, ch. 16. The passage is about the conduct of a bodhisattva:

44. With his compassion, he always freely gives away his lives,
wealth, and wives to beings
; and he is overjoyed. How then would
he not maintain his refusal of these (things from others)?

"Refusal of these" is refusal of life, wealth, and wife belonging to others.
This shows the excellence of his morality, opposed to the three evil physical actions.

(tr. Robert Thurman)

Very Mahāyāna idea.
See where the rejection of celibacy as a prerequisite for enlightenment leads? To so-called "bodhisattvas" who engage in human trafficking and become pimps prostituting out theire wives and kids. Disgusting.
Your great insight here.

Of course from our time point of view, it's not acceptable. But you should consider the time and context.

In known history, there were many events like an outsider king ask your daughter as a gift for peace between two kingdoms, what can you do? Of course a weaker king often must accept it for peace, bc war means the death of much more of his ppl. Is this prostitution? What can you do in that position as a weaker king? This is very normal in history, you give the girl, maybe a hundred girls and money for peace.

The bodhisattva may be the same, giving everything he has to gain something worthy, in his case enlightenment. As somebody said, this is the behaviour of an unenlightened being, he doesnt know how to get enlightenment, so he gives everything possible. Even in his last life, after learned the very high state of meditation in a very quick time, he suddenly turned 180 degree to practice severe asceticism for 6 years, bc he didnt know the way. He made every sacrifice possible.

And even in our time, great sacrifice is still a normal thing, especially in emergency time like military and mass disease. In a battle, when enemy is strong, a commander may direct his men in a suicide like mission, equally killing his men. But that is the needed sacrifice, even in our modern time. Does the commander make the crime of murder? You must consider time and context.

In our time, rule or law may give rights and protection to the wife and children, its normal for our time. But our modern law does not protect animals from human. So humans can trade animals whatever they want. But from enlightened point of view, animals and humans are just the same, but the law allows slavery and killing of animals. So in ancient time, viewing the wife and children as property of the man is not that unacceptable.

It's not that I protecting the Vessantara. I'm just like you, don't know much whether the story is true or not. But I think your points and arguments are interesting, so I try to give some points to make the discussion more opened.