Beings with little dust in their eyes

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Bundokji
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Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Bundokji »

Namaste :namaste:

Are there any descriptions of "Beings with little dust in their eyes" apart from mentioning them in the Ayacana Sutta?

Thanks :anjali:
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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Dhammanando
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Dhammanando »

In chapter 68 of the Paṭisambhidāmagga the term is explained with reference to the five faculties.
A person with faith has little dust on his eyes; a person without faith has much dust on his eyes. An energetic person has little dust on his eyes; an idle person has much dust on his eyes. A person with established mindfulness has little dust on his eyes; a forgetful person has much dust on his eyes. A concentrated person has little dust on his eyes; an unconcentrated person has much dust on his eyes. A person with understanding has little dust on his eyes; a person without understanding has much dust on his eyes.
During vassa this year I shall be offline until the end of October.

Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
Bundokji
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Bundokji »

Dhammanando wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:49 am In chapter 68 of the Paṭisambhidāmagga the term is explained with reference to the five faculties.
A person with faith has little dust on his eyes; a person without faith has much dust on his eyes. An energetic person has little dust on his eyes; an idle person has much dust on his eyes. A person with established mindfulness has little dust on his eyes; a forgetful person has much dust on his eyes. A concentrated person has little dust on his eyes; an unconcentrated person has much dust on his eyes. A person with understanding has little dust on his eyes; a person without understanding has much dust on his eyes.
Thanks Bhante :anjali:

Have you encountered any work that discusses them through the range of the eye of the awakened one? or through his cosmic cycle?

Was the notion of "beings with little dust in their eyes" a recurring theme to other Buddha's in Buddhist literature? or is it exclusive to Gautama Buddha?
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Coëmgenu »

Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 1:11 pmWas the notion of "beings with little dust in their eyes" a recurring theme to other Buddha's in Buddhist literature? or is it exclusive to Gautama Buddha?
It's universal to Buddhism. It is the central device to gain new converts: flattery. Good wholesome roots as well as alleged deep connections with the Buddhadharma in past lives are both used like this. "You can't practice X without deep past-life connections to the Dharma." "Converts attracted to the Buddhadharma have less dust in their eyes (and necessarily were in the personal retinue of a Buddha in a past life)." You can see Buddhists saying stuff to this effect on the other wheel all the time.

It's even easier for the Tibetans, because they believe in "institutional Buddhahood" that follows the lines of reincarnation of enlightened masters, "human" bodhisattva mahāsattvas who, if they accept their training and live in the monastery from childhood to adulthood, will necessarily re-acquire all their gnostic goodness. It is like the teachings in the Pali Canon that say that a great monk has a certain ability to determine the next life. Mahayana and later Tantra goes wild with this.
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
Bundokji
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Bundokji »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 1:31 pm It's universal to Buddhism. It is the central device to gain new converts: flattery. Good wholesome roots as well as alleged deep connections with the Buddhadharma in past lives are both used like this. "You can't practice X without deep past-life connections to the Dharma." "Converts attracted to the Buddhadharma have less dust in their eyes (and necessarily were in the personal retinue of a Buddha in a past life)." You can see Buddhists saying stuff to this effect on the other wheel all the time.

It's even easier for the Tibetans, because they believe in "institutional Buddhahood" that follows the lines of reincarnation of enlightened masters, "human" bodhisattva mahāsattvas who, if they accept their training and live in the monastery from childhood to adulthood, will necessarily re-acquire all their gnostic goodness. It is like the teachings in the Pali Canon that say that a great monk has a certain ability to determine the next life. Mahayana and later Tantra goes wild with this.
Thank you for the interesting input. Such interpretations have benefits. The encounter between the lord Buddha and Brahma Sahampati where the notion of "beings with little dust in their eyes" was introduced implies that the Buddha's decision to teach was based on them (rather than the majority of beings), so they might have been identified from the outset. While providing reasoning through the logic of chronology as to "why" the Buddha taught, It presents the Buddha's dispensation as meditative attainments for few, and as a meditative experience for the majority who remain within the range of nama-rupa. Most importantly, it is a cause for less fixation and fantasies about the Arahant ideal.
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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Coëmgenu
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Coëmgenu »

Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:14 pmThe encounter between the lord Buddha and Brahma Sahampati where the notion of "beings with little dust in their eyes" was introduced implies that the Buddha's decision to teach was based on them (rather than the majority of beings), so they might have been identified from the outset.
I suppose so, yes. It's good for Buddhists to be humble because often (particularly Western converts) get interested in Buddhism specifically to declare themselves a fancy-fancy in that new system, the old system, likely Christianity or Secular Humanism, not having "space" for fancy people like themselves. I once had a Lebanese acquaintance from school, a Christine, tell me, "I like Christianity. It's good to love God. But Buddhism is about you. That's why I like it. Like, what about me?" Luckily, the conversation was interrupted and I didn't have to respond to her. She believed in celebrity lizardmen anyways.

The encounter with Sahampati is difficult and fraught and Buddhists historically IMO don't really know what to do with it. It's like when the Buddha declares that the best part of his dispensation is only going to last 500 or so years. Buddhists don't know what to do with that. Some Buddhists decided that it was reasonable that there was another Buddha, a cosmic Buddha, perhaps several, whose Dharma does not decline (at least to such a degree) and who does not enter into Parinibbana so soon. In the Lotus Sutra, for instance, the Buddha gives a series of prophesies of events to come during the degenerate age that will essentially negate the Dharma-decline. So the Dharma's never really going away according to that text, despite the EBTs etc. with that "problematic" statement. Different sects also don't know how to treat Sahampati. I need to ask CD Patton about this, but the EA parallel to the episode seems to me to place it just before the Buddha's actual enlightenment, at variance with most account of how the matter went. CD Patton translates "soon after he had attained enlightenment" (得道未久) and I think that says "(was) to attain the way not long after." If this was my only point on Sahampati, I would not bring it up, since Patton is likely right here and I likely wrong. However, in Mahayana-ized documents of sectarian sources likely coming from Mahāsāṃghikas, I'm thinking of the Lalitavistara in particular here, we see things like Brahma (not "Sahampati" here oddly enough) only "making a show" of encouraging the Buddha so that sentient beings will greatly revere the Buddha like they greatly revere the god Brahma. The EA parallel also merely identifies the Buddha's interlocutor as "Brahma" from "the Brahma realm" and does not name him "Sahampati." The name "Sahampati" does appear in the Mahavastu and its commentary however. So the entire story of Sahampati is a difficult mystery if we take it seriously and do not consider it Buddhist mythology. Obviously, if we prefer one sectarian collection over another, there is no mystery. That's another way to navigate these things. Does it really matter who Sahampati was? A once-returner or Mahabrahma himself?

The real issue is, why did the Buddha have to be prompted to notice the beings with little dust? He couldn't see them beforehand? How did Sahampati convince him to teach when his decision to not teach was informed by and indeed the product of his recent Bodhi? Did he need to get a little more enlightened to figure that it was actually a good thing to teach?
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Coëmgenu »

Something else that comes to mind. Sahampati Brahma supposedly needing to ask the Buddha to teach is a little like Ven Ananda supposedly needing to ask for the Buddha to live a little longer (and failing to do so). Perhaps the idea was that Buddhas always tend toward inaction and do little without prompting. Anyways, back to the matter of the dusty eyes etc.
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
Bundokji
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Bundokji »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:36 pm The encounter with Sahampati is difficult and fraught and Buddhists historically IMO don't really know what to do with it. It's like when the Buddha declares that the best part of his dispensation is only going to last 500 or so years. Buddhists don't know what to do with that. Some Buddhists decided that it was reasonable that there was another Buddha, a cosmic Buddha, perhaps several, whose Dharma does not decline (at least to such a degree) and who does not enter into Parinibbana so soon. In the Lotus Sutra, for instance, the Buddha gives a series of prophesies of events to come during the degenerate age that will essentially negate the Dharma-decline. So the Dharma's never really going away according to that text, despite the EBTs etc. with that "problematic" statement. Different sects also don't know how to treat Sahampati. I need to ask CD Patton about this, but the EA parallel to the episode seems to me to place it just before the Buddha's actual enlightenment, at variance with most account of how the matter went. CD Patton translates "soon after he had attained enlightenment" (得道未久) and I think that says "(was) to attain the way not long after." If this was my only point on Sahampati, I would not bring it up, since Patton is likely right here and I likely wrong. However, in Mahayana-ized documents of sectarian sources likely coming from Mahāsāṃghikas, I'm thinking of the Lalitavistara in particular here, we see things like Brahma (not "Sahampati" here oddly enough) only "making a show" of encouraging the Buddha so that sentient beings will greatly revere the Buddha like they greatly revere the god Brahma. The EA parallel also merely identifies the Buddha's interlocutor as "Brahma" from "the Brahma realm" and does not name him "Sahampati." The name "Sahampati" does appear in the Mahavastu and its commentary however. So the entire story of Sahampati is a difficult mystery if we take it seriously and do not consider it Buddhist mythology. Obviously, if we prefer one sectarian collection over another, there is no mystery. That's another way to navigate these things. Does it really matter who Sahampati was? A once-returner or Mahabrahma himself?

The real issue is, why did the Buddha have to be prompted to notice the beings with little dust? He couldn't see them beforehand? How did Sahampati convince him to teach when his decision to not teach was informed by and indeed the product of his recent Bodhi? Did he need to get a little more enlightened to figure that it was actually a good thing to teach?
It is indeed a mystery and a cause for reflection. The Buddha included dukkha in his teachings, which makes it in a way immune to decline, so what is it that declines after 500 years? and if the decline is explained by the number of people who are capable of understanding it, then the Buddha's hesitation would not make any sense. This paves the way of a larger cosmic order and the role of the noble sangha in maintaining it. Brahma's exclamations in SN 6.1 ""The world is lost! The world is destroyed! The mind of the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One inclines to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma!" implies that Sahampati might have vested interest in maintaining the cosmic order of which he operates, and that does not necessarily make his pleas to the Lord Buddha less compassionate.

The above interpretation goes against the grain of presenting Buddhism as a doctrine of salvation which puts it at par with worldly religions.
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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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:36 pm
The real issue is, why did the Buddha have to be prompted to notice the beings with little dust? He couldn't see them beforehand? How did Sahampati convince him to teach when his decision to not teach was informed by and indeed the product of his recent Bodhi? Did he need to get a little more enlightened to figure that it was actually a good thing to teach?
Oh thee of little faith!

Buddhas are not preachers who hammer away at anyone & everyone, no matter if they are interested or not. Even today the tradition of a Bhante or Lama or spiritual friend not teaching unless requested still exists.

I read that event then & the practice today as saying the expressed need for bodhi of some sort must be there. A karmic tie requires a relationship and that means the field of seekers & the Buddha (or Bhante) must be linked with a buddha appearing & seekers asking for guidance.
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by cappuccino »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:36 pm The real issue is, why did the Buddha have to be prompted … ?
trying to teach is like getting into a fight


you might have to be motivated


compared to sitting peacefully
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
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Dhammanando
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Dhammanando »

Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 1:11 pm Have you encountered any work that discusses them through the range of the eye of the awakened one? or through his cosmic cycle?
Yes, this is basically what the Apadāna (one of the books of the Khuddaka Nikāya) and its commentary are all about. Apadāna stories are for arahants and paccekabuddhas what Jātaka stories are for sammāsambuddhas. The two genres differ in that whereas jātakas describe a bodhisatta's development of the ten perfections in multiple former lives, apadānas are only concerned with narrating the particular former life experience that was pivotal in motivating a person to set out on the path to arahantship or paccekabuddhahood.
Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 1:11 pmWas the notion of "beings with little dust in their eyes" a recurring theme to other Buddha's in Buddhist literature? or is it exclusive to Gautama Buddha?
In canonical texts the term is usually (perhaps always) found in contexts where the central focus is on the Buddha and his "Buddha eye" (or his Tathāgata power of discerning the faculties of beings - in the commentaries the two things are treated as synonymous) not the beings with little dust in their eyes, and so naturally not much is said about the latter. The passage I posted earlier is about as expansive as the canon gets on the subject and the commentaries don't add much more.

In the commentaries it's a recurring theme that EVERY Buddha puts on a show of not wanting to teach the Dhamma, precisely in order to induce Brahmā Sahampati to make an appearance. Then when word gets around that Sahampati himself has requested the Buddha to teach, it will give the teaching more credibility. The Buddhavamsa commentary goes as far as making this one of the thirty regularities (dhammatā) in the final life of every Buddha. And yes, after being requested, each Buddha will then survey the world with his Buddha eye.
During vassa this year I shall be offline until the end of October.

Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
Bundokji
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Bundokji »

Dhammanando wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 10:56 pm Yes, this is basically what the Apadāna (one of the books of the Khuddaka Nikāya) and its commentary are all about. Apadāna stories are for arahants and paccekabuddhas what Jātaka stories are for sammāsambuddhas. The two genres differ in that whereas jātakas describe a bodhisatta's development of the ten perfections in multiple former lives, apadānas are only concerned with narrating the particular former life experience that was pivotal in motivating a person to set out on the path to arahantship or paccekabuddhahood.
Thanks Bhante :anjali:

The distinction between paccekabuddhas and sammāsambuddhas might be relevant to my inquiry. The former may give moral teachings, but does not teach the dhamma and said to lack omniscience and mastery over the 'fruits'. Brahmā Sahampati does not make appeals to paccekabuddhas but only to sammāsambuddhas.

Are there distinctions between the dhamma eye awakened in noble disciples and the perfectly awakened eye of sammāsambuddhas? I assume that paccekabuddhas obtained the dhamma eye but unable to identify beings with little dust in their eyes hence they have no linage.

Do sammāsambuddhas grant their linage the ability to identify each other and to assist those with little dust in their eyes when the time is ripe?
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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Dhammanando
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Re: Beings with little dust in their eyes

Post by Dhammanando »

Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:39 pmAre there distinctions between the dhamma eye awakened in noble disciples and the perfectly awakened eye of sammāsambuddhas?
In the "five eye" scheme, the Dhamma eye is the seeing of the first noble path. As far as I know it's the same in the Buddha as in a disciple who attains stream-entry.

For the other four see the Atthasālinī.

https://archive.org/details/dli.granth. ... 2/mode/2up
Bundokji wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:39 pmDo sammāsambuddhas grant their linage the ability to identify each other and to assist those with little dust in their eyes when the time is ripe?
The Buddha eye by which this could be accomplished is a faculty unique to Buddhas. It's not shared even by very psychically accomplished disciples like Anuruddha and Moggallāna.
During vassa this year I shall be offline until the end of October.

Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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