The Questions of Metteyya

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:33 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:02 am I'd agree that the sage "not stuck in the middle" has attained supramundane right view. Specifically this would be deep insight into the workings of the 6 examples given in AN 6.61.

However I don't think AN 6.61 is anything to with the "middle way". If you look at the way the 6 examples in the sutta are set out, this idea doesn't really hold up.
The middle and the extremes is a recurring theme in the teachings. The teachings on Kamma for example, good and bad can be seen as the extremes while the path is kamma that goes beyond. Also the extremes are presented as nihilism and eternalism, or death and rebirth, while the path goes beyond both. In SN 12.15 the Buddha's teachings begins by stating the extremes of existence and non existence, and then the teachings by the middle begins with dependent origination of which ignorance is presented as the root. The supramundane path is the cessation of ignorance.

The six examples in AN 6.61 are different ways of presenting the extremes and the middle. The Buddha praised the mendicants but still asserted that he was referring to the cessation of contact as the way beyond. Why do you think that AN 6.61 has nothing to do with the middle way?
Simply because the two ends in the sutta examples don't look like "extremes", and the middles don't look like "beyonds". The Middle Way transcends dichotomies, and I don't see that principle with these 6 examples.

The 6 examples in the sutta look more like sets of things, or processes: contact, feeling, consciousness (x2), time and sense-experience.
And the seamstress of craving keeps us involved with all these, keeps us attached.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:04 am Simply because the two ends in the sutta examples don't look like "extremes", and the middles don't look like "beyonds".
The 6 examples in this sutta look more like sets of things, or processes. And the seamstress of craving keeps us involved with these, keeps us attached.
Contact = eternalism
The origin of contact = nihilism
The cessation of contact is the middle.

The same can be said about the rest of the six examples.

The middle way includes both conditionality and cessation hence the simile of the raft. Craving is what fuels the endless process of origination. The middle path begins with the gradual process of countering craving by developing dispassion through mundane insight (dependent on memory) until supramundane insight is attained, which is beyond doubt and not dependent on memory (the letting go of the raft).
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.
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:39 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:04 am Simply because the two ends in the sutta examples don't look like "extremes", and the middles don't look like "beyonds".
The 6 examples in this sutta look more like sets of things, or processes. And the seamstress of craving keeps us involved with these, keeps us attached.
Contact = eternalism
The origin of contact = nihilism
The cessation of contact is the middle.
Sorry, but that doesnt make sense. Eternalism and nihilism are a dichotomy, but contact and origination of contact are not.
Origination of contact and contact are a process, followed by cessation of contact.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:48 am Sorry, but that doesnt make sense. Eternalism and nihilism are a dichotomy, but contact and origination of contact are not.
Origination of contact and contact are a process, followed by cessation of contact.
The process manifests itself in the dichotomy (either/or) - (being/non being).

Contact without an origin is eternal - that without known beginning is without a known end
The origin of contact includes the end of contact (nihilism) - whenever there is birth, there is also death

The cessation of contact is: This not being, that is not. From the cessation of this, that ceases.
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.
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:59 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:48 am Sorry, but that doesnt make sense. Eternalism and nihilism are a dichotomy, but contact and origination of contact are not.
Origination of contact and contact are a process, followed by cessation of contact.
Contact without an origin is eternal - that without known beginning is without a known end
The origin of contact includes the end of contact (nihilism) - whenever there is birth, there is also death
You seem to be proposing unconditioned contact, but this is a contradiction in terms, and not something which is ever described in the suttas.
Contact is the "meeting of the three", and is always dependently arising. It always has an origination, and always has a cessation.

I think you're clutching at straws here.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:08 am You seem to be proposing unconditioned contact, but this is a contradiction in terms, and not something which is ever described in the suttas.
Contact is the "meeting of the three", and is always dependently arising. It always has an origination, and always has a cessation.

I think you're clutching at straws here.
Where did i propose unconditioned contact?
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.
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:12 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:08 am You seem to be proposing unconditioned contact, but this is a contradiction in terms, and not something which is ever described in the suttas.
Contact is the "meeting of the three", and is always dependently arising. It always has an origination, and always has a cessation.

I think you're clutching at straws here.
Where did i propose unconditioned contact?
You proposed eternal contact, with no origination or cessation. Thats pretty much the definition of unconditioned.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:19 am You proposed eternal contact, with no origination or cessation. Thats pretty much the definition of unconditioned.
Can you quote me where i did that?
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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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:21 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:19 am You proposed eternal contact, with no origination or cessation. Thats pretty much the definition of unconditioned.
Can you quote me where i did that?
Several posts up. "Contact without an end is eternal - that without a known beginning is without a known end."
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:23 am Several posts up. "Contact without an end is eternal - that without a known beginning is without a known end."
This is what i said:

Contact without an origin is eternal - that without known beginning is without a known end
You also seem to overlook what i said about the cessation of contact. How can i propose unconditioned contact and emphasis its cessation?
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.
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:31 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:23 am Several posts up. "Contact without an end is eternal - that without a known beginning is without a known end."
This is what i said:

Contact without an origin is eternal - that without known beginning is without a known end
You also seem to overlook what i said about the cessation of contact. How can i propose unconditioned contact and emphasis its cessation?
Eternal = without beginning or end, ie, without origination or cessation.
Transient ("nihilist") = with beginning and end, ie with origination and cessation.

So with your logic, cessation of contact would have to be in the "nihilist" category, along with origination of contact.

And as I said, eternal contact is a contradiction in terms, given that contact is always dependent arising and transient in the suttas.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:44 am Eternal = without beginning or end.
Transient ("nihilist") = with beginning and end.

So with your logic, cessation of contact would be in the nihilist category, along with origination of contact.
The whole point was to show you that contact and the origin of contact as presented in AN 6.61 are the extremes of eternalism and nihilism, something you still refuse to admit. The cessation of contact is DO in reverse order, which is what i presented to you.

So far, you are only making assumptions and putting words in my mouth, To give you the benefit of the doubt, i guess something lost in translation between me and you in this exchange, because your last few posts do not make any sense in terms of flow of ideas and how the discussion unfolded.
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.
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:54 am
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:44 am Eternal = without beginning or end.
Transient ("nihilist") = with beginning and end.

So with your logic, cessation of contact would be in the nihilist category, along with origination of contact.
The whole point was to show you that contact and the origin of contact as presented in AN 6.61 are the extremes of eternalism and nihilism, something you still refuse to admit. The cessation of contact is DO in reverse order, which is what i presented to you.

So far, you are only making assumptions and putting words in my mouth, To give you the benefit of the doubt, i guess something lost in translation between me and you in this exchange, because your last few posts do not make any sense in terms of flow of ideas and how the discussion unfolded.
Sorry, but your interpretation doesn't hold together logically, which is what I've been trying to demonstrate throughout.

It isn't a case of "refusing to admit" something, I simply don't agree with you. No worries.
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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:58 am It isn't a case of "refusing to admit" something, I simply don't agree with you. No worries.
Well, we don't have to agree of course, Buddha forbids :tongue:
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: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Coëmgenu »

The parallel to this is very close, to the extent that it includes a transliteration of text similar to the Pali, with all of the below being transliterated with the exception of 問 (praśna, pañha).

波羅延低舍彌德勒所問
bō luó yán dī shě mí dé lēi (suowèn)
pārāyaṇe (??) maitreyapraśne
pārāyane metteyyapañhe

It includes this that is not in the Pali version, which might be interesting:
Moreover, he said: "Existence is the first end, the origination of existence is the second end, experience is the middle, and desire is that which sews," and it is like this explained until (coming to) "is liberated from suffering." Moreover, he said: "The body is the first end, the origination of the body is the second end, desire is that which sews," and like this it is explained until (coming to) "is liberated from suffering."
(Saṃyuktāgama 1164)

It is interesting, because it appears to preserve instructions to the reciter, something common in agama texts. I can think of another example of instructions to the reciter in the text, but it will take me a moment to find it.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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