Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

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DooDoot
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Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by DooDoot »

Dear CT subforum

I read the following on the internet:
Classical Theravada followers had the interpretation of the word "Thatagata" as the "Being/Satta/Atta" in those (Abyakata Vagga) specific suttas's commentaries. Therefore, most of the non-classical Theravadins who disrespect the commentaries, have the risk of being trapped in to "Puggala Vada".
Can someone kindly explain in plain English what is being attempted to be said above?

Thank you
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plabit
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:33 am Dear CT subforum

I read the following on the internet:
Classical Theravada followers had the interpretation of the word "Thatagata" as the "Being/Satta/Atta" in those (Abyakata Vagga) specific suttas's commentaries. Therefore, most of the non-classical Theravadins who disrespect the commentaries, have the risk of being trapped in to "Puggala Vada".
Can someone kindly explain in plain English what is being attempted to be said above?

Thank you
Is it saying "Buddha exists but you don't, plebe"?
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confusedlayman
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by confusedlayman »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:33 am Dear CT subforum

I read the following on the internet:
Classical Theravada followers had the interpretation of the word "Thatagata" as the "Being/Satta/Atta" in those (Abyakata Vagga) specific suttas's commentaries. Therefore, most of the non-classical Theravadins who disrespect the commentaries, have the risk of being trapped in to "Puggala Vada".
Can someone kindly explain in plain English what is being attempted to be said above?

Thank you
Being comes from conception due to wronf view or habit or both.. taking 5 aggre or one of the 5 aggre as self
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
pegembara
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by pegembara »

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle ...."

From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
plabit
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:19 am "'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle ...."
What amazes me is how someone misunderstood this statement and then changed it to saying any particular thing exists or any particular thing doesn't exist, and then suttas got written based off that false understanding. Whereas all this was saying is its extreme to say everything exists or that nothing does, not that saying X exists or X doesn't exist is extreme where X is not everything nor nothing.
pegembara
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by pegembara »

plabit wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:50 am
pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:19 am "'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle ...."
What amazes me is how someone misunderstood this statement and then changed it to saying any particular thing exists or any particular thing doesn't exist, and then suttas got written based off that false understanding. Whereas all this was saying is its extreme to say everything exists or that nothing does, not that saying X exists or X doesn't exist is extreme where X is not everything nor nothing.
Do beings or the self exist or not?

These two positions cannot be reconciled and lead to arguments and disagreement. It is not possible to put an end to dukkha by holding onto either position.

The Buddha is freed from such dogmatic positions. After all, existence or non-existence are mental creations and missing the point.
"What is the contemplative's doctrine? What does he proclaim?"

"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim."

"If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Conqueror as the Conqueror... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
plabit
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:39 am
plabit wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:50 am
pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:19 am "'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle ...."
What amazes me is how someone misunderstood this statement and then changed it to saying any particular thing exists or any particular thing doesn't exist, and then suttas got written based off that false understanding. Whereas all this was saying is its extreme to say everything exists or that nothing does, not that saying X exists or X doesn't exist is extreme where X is not everything nor nothing.
Do beings or the self exist or not?

These two positions cannot be reconciled and lead to arguments and disagreement. It is not possible to put an end to dukkha by holding onto either position.
The Second Noble Truth says the cause of dukkha is craving, not believing there is a being or a self. Later theories came in trying to alter the Second Noble Truth simply because getting rid of craving is hard but saying "hehe I don't exist" is easy. Its like a form of "faith alonism" an attempt to make the religion easier, and of course it becomes the most popular version quickly because people love a quick-fix.
pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:39 am The Buddha is freed from such dogmatic positions. After all, existence or non-existence are mental creations and missing the point.
Existence and non-existence are not mental creations. Did Buddha exist or not? If he didn't, then why do you keep talking about The Buddha says this or that? If he did, then your theory is exploded.
"What is the contemplative's doctrine? What does he proclaim?"

"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim."

"If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Conqueror as the Conqueror... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

What's the point of knowing water as water, wind as wind, and so on, if these things don't exist, or worse, if you can't say they either do or don't exist? Again, theory exploded.
pegembara
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by pegembara »

plabit wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:28 am What's the point of knowing water as water, wind as wind, and so on, if these things don't exist, or worse, if you can't say they either do or don't exist?

The Second Noble Truth says the cause of dukkha is craving, not believing there is a being or a self.
Do beings or the self exist or not?

What is your answer? Yes or no.
If someone were to call you a fool, would you feel hurt and why? Answer truthfully.

And what about this?
"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Or this?
By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.

Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Craving is the creator of being/self.
Last edited by pegembara on Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
plabit
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:03 am
plabit wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:28 am What's the point of knowing water as water, wind as wind, and so on, if these things don't exist, or worse, if you can't say they either do or don't exist?
Do beings or the self exist or not?

What is your answer? Yes or no.
Its enough to say the question is answerable, without answering it, and to say the answer is either yes or no. Then let everyone decide for themself (sic) whether they do or not have or are or are not a self.

After all, if I say concerning cups that they are always empty, that is not true of all cups, nor is that they are all full true of all cups. I can say that it can be answered whether a cup is empty or full. But you have to look at the cup in question to answer whether it in particular is empty or full.
plabit
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:03 am And what about this?
"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Or this?
By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.

Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Craving is the creator of being/self.
Why do you believe such long-winded illogic is authentic? These strike me as late creations due to the length of the chain of illogic. Buddha is more terse.
pegembara
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Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by pegembara »

The Second Noble Truth says the cause of dukkha is craving, not believing there is a being or a self.
No cherry-picking and choosing only parts you like to suit your interpretation.
Where does it say in the suttas that the belief in a self or atta is not dukkha?
"This, monks, is the path of practice leading to self-identification. One assumes about the eye that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about forms... One assumes about consciousness at the eye... One assumes about contact at the eye... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

"One assumes about the ear...

"One assumes about the nose...

"One assumes about the tongue...

"One assumes about the body...

"One assumes about the intellect that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about ideas... One assumes about consciousness at the intellect... One assumes about contact at the intellect... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
I submit that the cause of dukkha is all about the "self".
"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"?

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
plabit
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 2:49 am

Re: Does Classical Theravada believe in "beings" and "selves"?

Post by plabit »

pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:23 am
The Second Noble Truth says the cause of dukkha is craving, not believing there is a being or a self.
No cherry-picking and choosing only parts you like to suit your interpretation.
Where does it say in the suttas that the belief in a self or atta is not dukkha?
In the 4 main nikaya, only the suttas that literally dileneate the 4 Noble Truths are of unquestioned authenticity and everything else is questionable. In the khudaka, only the Dhammapada is of unquestionable authenticity.
pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:23 am
"This, monks, is the path of practice leading to self-identification. One assumes about the eye that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about forms... One assumes about consciousness at the eye... One assumes about contact at the eye... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

"One assumes about the ear...

"One assumes about the nose...

"One assumes about the tongue...

"One assumes about the body...

"One assumes about the intellect that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about ideas... One assumes about consciousness at the intellect... One assumes about contact at the intellect... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
But who assumes their eye or ear or tongue is their self to begin with? Its silly. The body they might assume is, but rebirth blasts that apart: if there is rebirth, how can you be the body? Can't be. That is all this ultimately means "You ain't the body sillies, because there is rebirth, so you ain't even always got the same body."
pegembara wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:23 am I submit that the cause of dukkha is all about the "self".
Its about mistaking the body as the self, so in that sense its about the self, but its about misidentifying it as being the body.

This is where you pull the old "consciousness" trick, but consciousness in the 5 aggregates is only the senses and not "consciousness" as the term is meant in modern contexts outside a hospital. So that's a mere magician's trick.
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