Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
pitithefool
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by pitithefool »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:47 am To me, the above says:

1. develop metta for metta release

2. then, later, develop samadhi for jhana
When I read that, I could cite texts, teachers and commentary that would all disagree with it. I would say that the sutta seems to describe moving from the first to the second jhana using metta as the object, and I could get into nitty-gritty detail about how the object is treated and what the suttas seem to say.

But that seems counter to the teaching as it gives rise to conflict.

Rather, the question that really bears on my mind with this is "how much does such classification actually matter?"

I got in a very drawn-out argument with Ceisiwr for the sake of arguing for inclusivity towards interpretations. I feel validated in my studies in that regard but is debating worth it? I don't think I'm looking for validation so much as trying to discern truth. The truth seems to be pragmatic though. If it works, then it was right. And if that's the case, then what's the point of arguing? Sport? Defending a manual? Trying to be right? There's no reason for that, no reason to act like teenagers, like Eko Care said.
Please note: This profile picture is not actually a picture of the user.
User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 10693
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:25 am When I read that, I could cite texts, teachers and commentary that would all disagree with it.
But not sutta. Anyway, good to see you found a brother in Eko Care. U 2 could become the next SteRo & ConfusedLayMan comedy duo.
pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:25 amI would say that the sutta seems to describe moving from the first to the second jhana using metta as the object, and I could get into nitty-gritty detail about how the object is treated and what the suttas seem to say.
Definitely not. The sutta u posted is not clear. But MN 19 is perfectly clear.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
User avatar
pitithefool
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by pitithefool »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:30 am But not sutta. Anyway, good to see you found a brother in Eko Care. U 2 could become the next SteRo & ConfusedLayMan
Maybe so. I do not wish to argue though.
Please note: This profile picture is not actually a picture of the user.
User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 10693
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by DooDoot »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:42 am I do not wish to argue though.
You mean the discussion ends due to your scholarly defeat?

The topic u started is: "Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?" yet you are unwilling to discuss or accept the suttas don't appear to teach Buddhaghosa's metta-jhana. You clutch at straws with one single vague sutta from thousands of suttas. This is ignoble search; looking for a vague single sutta that contradicts the many suttas to support the mind's defilements.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi PTF,
pitithefool wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:47 pm I'm not trying to rile anything up or to try and push for rejecting texts. I'm asking you guys what you think the best way to approach this type of situation is.

Are suttas ever at odds with commentaries?

Are commentaries ever at odds with each other?

What do we do when faced with this?

For example:

AN 8.63 and SN 46.54 appear to both explicitly state that all four jhanas can be developed by using brahmaviharas as an object.

However, the Visuddhimagga appears to state that absorption from metta is not possible.

Is this right? How is this best addressed?
Did you forget to include:
"Are suttas ever in conflict with each other"?

:heart:
Mike
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 12039
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:24 pm
I've been reading the Visuddhimagga and it does indeed seem to be invaluable.
Try the Vimuttimagga too. It’s earlier, probably 1st - 2nd century.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
User avatar
pitithefool
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by pitithefool »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:06 am Did you forget to include:
"Are suttas ever in conflict with each other"?

:heart:
Mike
Not really. I was kindof trying to imply that that they don't seem to be at odds with one another.

That doesn't really appear to be true though.

The more stuff I read, commentary, other suttas, other people's interpretations, the less I care about apparent inconsistencies.
Please note: This profile picture is not actually a picture of the user.
User avatar
pitithefool
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by pitithefool »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:15 pm
pitithefool wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:24 pm
I've been reading the Visuddhimagga and it does indeed seem to be invaluable.
Try the Vimuttimagga too. It’s earlier, probably 1st - 2nd century.
I will read it. Is this a good transliation? http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf
Please note: This profile picture is not actually a picture of the user.
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 12039
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:30 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:15 pm
pitithefool wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:24 pm
I've been reading the Visuddhimagga and it does indeed seem to be invaluable.
Try the Vimuttimagga too. It’s earlier, probably 1st - 2nd century.
I will read it. Is this a good transliation? http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf
Yes. Its the same as my hard copy. There is actually only 1 translation available at the moment I believe.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 12039
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:30 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:15 pm
pitithefool wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:24 pm
I've been reading the Visuddhimagga and it does indeed seem to be invaluable.
Try the Vimuttimagga too. It’s earlier, probably 1st - 2nd century.
I will read it. Is this a good transliation? http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf
A little hint. Whenever the Visuddhimagga says "some say" it is referring to the Vimuttimagga. For example, under mindfulness of breathing when it says "some say the sign is like a cool breeze" etc. Compare the section on mindfulness of breathing to the Vimuttimagga and you will see the reference. For the Vimuttimagga the nimitta is tactile, whilst the Visuddhimagga recognises both tactile and visual (lights and so on).
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
User avatar
pitithefool
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by pitithefool »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:37 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:30 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:15 pm

Try the Vimuttimagga too. It’s earlier, probably 1st - 2nd century.
I will read it. Is this a good transliation? http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf
A little hint. Whenever the Visuddhimagga says "some say" it is referring to the Vimuttimagga. For example, under mindfulness of breathing when it says "some say the sign is like a cool breeze" etc. Compare the section on mindfulness of breathing to the Vimuttimagga and you will see the reference. For the Vimuttimagga the nimitta is tactile, whilst the Visuddhimagga recognises both tactile and visual (lights and so on).
Thank you :anjali:
This is going to take some time lol. It seems the VSM is 850 pages or so and the VMM is almost 500 pages.
Please note: This profile picture is not actually a picture of the user.
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 12039
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:43 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:37 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:30 pm

I will read it. Is this a good transliation? http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf
A little hint. Whenever the Visuddhimagga says "some say" it is referring to the Vimuttimagga. For example, under mindfulness of breathing when it says "some say the sign is like a cool breeze" etc. Compare the section on mindfulness of breathing to the Vimuttimagga and you will see the reference. For the Vimuttimagga the nimitta is tactile, whilst the Visuddhimagga recognises both tactile and visual (lights and so on).
Thank you :anjali:
This is going to take some time lol. It seems the VSM is 850 pages or so and the VMM is almost 500 pages.
Whilst it is good to read both of them fully, personally I've found comparing the sections on meditation and wisdom to be more interesting. There are some differences but on the whole they do not diverge all that much to be honest. Sometimes you can find a better explanation in one than in the other. Sometimes a method of meditation is different and you might find one is better for you than the other, without the method really changing the nature of the meditation itself. For example, for the kasina exercises the Vimuttimagga recommends gazing at the mandala for as long as possible whilst the Visuddhimagga recommends opening and closing your eyes in succession to gain the image. Personally I find it better to follow the Vimuttimagga, but its a minor difference IMO with no real bearing on the meditation itself. Some might find the Visuddhimagga method more preferable. Both would end up with Jhana based on the Kasina imo. These are just variations in meditation methods coming from different teachers, like what we find today.

One good thing about the Vimuttimagga is that it tells us where the method of counting, fixing etc come from in relation to mindfulness of breathing. They come from the ancient Theras. This is something the Visuddhimagga does not mention. They are also found in the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra. This method for approaching mindfulness of breathing must then be very old indeed.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
User avatar
Eko Care
Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:13 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Eko Care »

mikenz66 wrote
thereductor wrote:
Thank you Adeh and Gavesake for your take on the vimuttimagga verses the visuddhimagga. Although I haven't read the visuddhimagga to an appreciable length, I would still contend that it is very dry... so how much dryer could the vimuttimagga be? I shudder to think. :smile:
I think the mistake people make is to read those books like a novel, or, worse, a PhD thesis. If you skim through the whole thing to get an idea of the shape and then read some of the bits that seem interesting in detail then the Visuddhimagga has some cool stuff. Nice little stories, helpful meditation tips. As I've said before, I picture it as a bunch of extracts from Dhamma talks of various ancient teachers (Buddhaghosa just collected them together in one place and gave it some sort of thematic sequence). Just as when you go to a modern talk, they vary...
Virgo wrote:
wrote:mikenz66 wrote:... I picture it as a bunch of extracts from Dhamma talks of various ancient teachers (Buddhaghosa just collected them together in one place and gave it some sort of thematic sequence). Just as when you go to a modern talk, they vary...
Mike
I agree to a degree Mike, except that Buddhaghosa was a master of the Tipitika and it's Commentaries.
Yes, but my point was that most of the material in the Visuddhimagga exists in the Vinaya, Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentaries. It's not just some stuff dreamed up by a some scholar.
Eko Care wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 7:12 pm
asahi wrote:
Hi if may ask , which part of the text that describe caste discrimination ? If you could show us the chinese statement then it would be great .
I'm not good in Chinese, so hard to find likns now (may be later).
Nevertheless,we have read Professor Bapat's opinions about Vimuttimagga.
Professor Bapat:
"Let us note one peculiar fact about Upatissa. He seems to have some kindof contempt for, or low opinion of, a Canddla" (p. xlvi).

"At another place, to see a Canddlaon the way is considered to be a sufficient reason for the laxity in the observance of the practice of sapaddna-cdrikd (going from house to house in successionfor begging one's food)" (p. xlvi).

"Upatissa says that if a mendicant sees a Canddla on the way, he should cover his begging-bowl and may skip over some houses and gofurther. In the third place we find a lack of conscientiousness (ahirika) is compared to a Canddla" (pp. xlvi-xlvii).
Yet another way of getting clues:
Eko Care wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:58 pm
Any one who have common sense about modern people's arya titles,
may quickly judge the book and it's followers, seeing the above comment.
What is more reliable? Visuddhi Magga or Vimuttimagga?
Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Vimuttimagga is the oldest ..
So it is closer to the Canon in Pali.
and so it can be more reliable.
Is the above a good way of judging reliability ?
Someone might end up concluding Mahasamghika doctrine as more reliable, If you use this dating technique.
Do you think you know better than the ancient Sangha ?
classicaltheravada.wordpress.com
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by mikenz66 »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:29 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:06 am Did you forget to include:
"Are suttas ever in conflict with each other"?

:heart:
Mike
Not really. I was kindof trying to imply that that they don't seem to be at odds with one another.

That doesn't really appear to be true though.

The more stuff I read, commentary, other suttas, other people's interpretations, the less I care about apparent inconsistencies.
The problem with the suttas is that they are not organised like a text book. There are a variety of teachings given to a variety of people with a variety of skills and obstacles at the time of each sutta. Trying to turn them into a unified entity is not easy, and perhaps is not always useful.
Bikkhi Boddhi, In the Buddha's Words, Introduction wrote: Though his teaching is highly systematic, there is no single text that can be ascribed to the Buddha in which he defines the architecture of the Dhamma, the scaffolding upon which he has framed his specific expressions of the doctrine. In the course of his long ministry, the Buddha taught in different ways as determined by occasion and circumstances. Sometimes he would enunciate invariable principles that stand at the heart of the teaching. Sometimes he would adapt the teaching to accord with the proclivities and aptitudes of the people who came to him for guidance. Sometimes he would adjust his exposition to fit a situation that required a particular response. But throughout the collections of texts that have come down to us as authorized “Word of the Buddha,” we do not find a single sutta, a single discourse, in which the Buddha has drawn together all the elements of his teaching and assigned them to their appropriate place within some comprehensive system.

While in a literate culture in which systematic thought is highly prized the lack of such a text with a unifying function might be viewed as a defect, in an entirely oral culture—as was the culture in which the Buddha lived and moved—the lack of a descriptive key to the Dhamma would hardly be considered significant. Within this culture neither teacher nor student aimed at conceptual completeness. The teacher did not intend to present a complete system of ideas; his pupils did not aspire to learn a complete system of ideas. The aim that united them in the process of learning—the process of transmission—was that of practical training, self-transformation, the realization of truth, and unshakable liberation of the mind.
:heart:
Mike
User avatar
Eko Care
Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:13 am

Re: Are any of the ancient texts ever at odds with each other?

Post by Eko Care »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:46 pm
Bikkhi Boddhi, In the Buddha's Words, Introduction wrote: ... in an entirely oral culture—as was the culture in which the Buddha lived and moved—the lack of a descriptive key to the Dhamma would hardly be considered significant. Within this culture neither teacher nor student aimed at conceptual completeness. The teacher did not intend to present a complete system of ideas; his pupils did not aspire to learn a complete system of ideas.
Was Bhikkhu Bodhi writing this with the assumption of "Abhidhamma didn't exist at that time for sure" ?

Is there any evidence or reason to assume that "neither teacher nor student aimed at conceptual completeness, because it was an oral culture"?
Do you think you know better than the ancient Sangha ?
classicaltheravada.wordpress.com
Post Reply