Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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samseva
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by samseva »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:19 pm If not distorted, then good :thumbsup:

According to following both definitions, Sangha is way up above me, let alone being equal or less advanced: [...]
The Sangha should be seen as our "equals," in that it's not a requirement for the path—it is a refuge (so it can't be "above you," your path, etc.). Some people of the Sangha are less advanced, of which you can help them progress, and some people are more advanced, of which they can guide you—monastics both preserve the teachings, and can guide you. Still, the real refuge is always the Dhamma (and truth/reality).

The Buddha, having reached parinibbāna, and now existing only in written/representative form, is now, in a way, also the Dhamma.
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

samseva wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:28 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:19 pm If not distorted, then good :thumbsup:

According to following both definitions, Sangha is way up above me, let alone being equal or less advanced: [...]
The Sangha should be seen as our "equals," in that it's not a requirement for the path—it is a refuge (so it can't be "above you," your path, etc.). Some people of the Sangha are less advanced, of which you can help them progress, and some people are more advanced, of which they can guide you—monastics both preserve the teachings, and can guide you. Still, the real refuge is always the Dhamma (and truth/reality).

The Buddha, having reached parinibbāna, and now existing only in written/representative form, is now, in a way, also the Dhamma.
  • Is Sangha not a requirement for the path?
    • Without Sangha, Buddha Dhamma have long been eradicated from the world eons ago already, imo.
  • How come truth & reality represent the real refuge? :thinking:
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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I already outlined and clarified what I meant by "equals." The Sangha is not a part of the Eighfold Path (your quote says "Sangha, Buddha, Dhamma," BTW). I'm not saying it's not important—or that it's not important as a whole for Buddhism—just that what is important is first and foremost the Dhamma.

I'm not going to take the time to explain why truth is "a real refuge." One of the meanings of "Dhamma" is "phenomena, reality."
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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samseva wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:17 pm ... " One of the meanings of "Dhamma" is "phenomena, reality."

That is the very point.
  • Phenomena are not "real refuge".
  • Reality is not "real refuge".
even if they happen to have the name dhammas/dhamma.




--------------
By the way, if you happen to be a monastic, please accept my apology for taking your time and I'll stop the conversation here. :anjali:


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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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I'm speaking in general—that's why I put the words in double-quotes... It's not written in the Suttas "reality is a refuge," but as Buddhists, truth and "seeing reality as it is" (which is in the Suttas), is what is important. It's the means to which ending suffering is possible. The erradiction of false views/ignorance (which is the direct cause of suffering), results in Nibbāna. We develop wisdom/paññā, because wisdom/truth allows us to "see reality as it is," and to uproot ignorarance/avijjā (which puts end to suffering).
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by samseva »

Ending of suffering
Nibbāna
Ignorance (avijjā)/false views uprooted
Truth
"Seeing reality as it is"
Wisdom/paññā
(Sīla, sati/samādhi)
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by mikenz66 »

samseva wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:04 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:35 am I don't see why it has to be a choice between the two extremes of "guru worship" vs. "just read the texts".
I think it's that a lot of followers, especially in more secular circles, almost entirely base their practice on a teacher. When the teacher dies, their practice takes a hit, and usually also fades away...
Yes, that would be one of the extremes I mentioned. I've not personally experienced that in either monastic-led or secularish groups, but I can see that it could be a problem.

In fact, I've actually seen the opposite in a secularish group, where some newcomers became confused by the variety of teachings and approaches...

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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by SarathW »

samseva wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:17 pm I already outlined and clarified what I meant by "equals." The Sangha is not a part of the Eighfold Path (your quote says "Sangha, Buddha, Dhamma," BTW). I'm not saying it's not important—or that it's not important as a whole for Buddhism—just that what is important is first and foremost the Dhamma.

I'm not going to take the time to explain why truth is "a real refuge." One of the meanings of "Dhamma" is "phenomena, reality."
I am sure what you meant was "Sangha is not part of the Noble Eightfold Path"
This is the wrong view.
You have to take the refuge of triple gems to acquire the right view.
If you think that Sangha is not part of the path how can you have the right-view?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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A Buddhist takes refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. Certainly if one can find a good teacher, then this person should work with this teacher. If one cannot find a good teacher, no teacher is much better than having a very bad one. I don't need to go into all the details of some of the exploits of bad teachers, there are plenty of other threads about that.

If one cannot find a suitable teacher, it is best to wander alone like a rhinoceros.
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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I have visited Deer Park, a TNH monastery near San Diego and found it a very nice place. One sort of "cultish" thing I found regarding guru-worship is that their library and bookstore contained hundreds of books -- all by TNH. There were no other authors, no Tripitaka.

However, it seems very well established and I think one of the senior nuns or monks will be able to take over after TNH's passing.

Ajahn Brahm is a very popular monk, but I think he is well established within the Theravada tradition and succession will also take a similar route when he passes; to a senior monastic.
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by SarathW »

Did Buddha say that we should keep Dhamma as our teacher?
Did Buddha ever mention about who should be the teacher after his Parinibbana?
Is it right to say anyone other than Buddha to be called the teacher?
What is the Pali word for teacher in this case?
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

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Remain with the Dhamma as an island, the Dhamma as your refuge, without anything else as a refuge.” Samyutta Nikaya 47.13 and also at Digha Nikaya 26.

From DN 16 Maha parinibbana Sutta:

31. And the Blessed One recovered from that illness; and soon after his recovery he came out from his dwelling place and sat down in the shade of the building, on a seat prepared for him. Then the Venerable Ananda approached the Blessed One, respectfully greeted him, and sitting down at one side, he spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Fortunate it is for me, O Lord, to see the Blessed One at ease again! Fortunate it is for me, O Lord, to see the Blessed One recovered! For truly, Lord, when I saw the Blessed One's sickness it was as though my own body became weak as a creeper, every thing around became dim to me, and my senses failed me. Yet, Lord, I still had some little comfort in the thought that the Blessed One would not come to his final passing away until he had given some last instructions respecting the community of bhikkhus."

32. Thus spoke the Venerable Ananda, but the Blessed One answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. Whosoever may think that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him, it is such a one that would have to give last instructions respecting them. But, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him. So what instructions should he have to give respecting the community of bhikkhus?

"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable.

33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

(i.e., No successor leader, no popes, let the Dhamma be your teacher.)
Last edited by DNS on Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added para. 31 from DN 16
SarathW
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by SarathW »

(i.e., No successor leader, no popes, let the Dhamma be your teacher.)
No.
What Buddha said was to take Dhamma as the refuge.
Taking refuge is not taking someone as your teacher.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by mikenz66 »

SarathW wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:50 pm
(i.e., No successor leader, no popes, let the Dhamma be your teacher.)
No.
What Buddha said was to take Dhamma as the refuge.
Taking refuge is not taking someone as your teacher.
Yes, and there are plenty of suttas where the Buddha talks about how a teacher works with a student, and how one should ask others if one is having problems.

As I said, my opinion is that: "Just read the suttas" is an extreme. "Just listen to one guru" is another extreme. Neither extreme is supported by the Buddha's teaching, and noone who I know does either.

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Re: Piya Tan's Teaching above Teacher

Post by SarathW »

My question is what is the meaning of the teacher?
For instance, if I by-heart all Sutta and preach, am I qualified to be called the (a) teacher?
A teacher or the teacher?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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