Thich Nhat Hahn's understanding of 'The Three Dharma Seals'

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JamesNhatHahn
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Re: Thich Nhat Hahn's understanding of 'The Three Dharma Seals'

Post by JamesNhatHahn »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:21 am
JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:25 am It's common knowledge in Buddhism that the word "suffering" does not quite capture the exact meaning of Dukkha.
I don't like 'suffering'. I prefer unsatisfactory.
Dukkha does not have one meaning in the suttas. There are three main meanings per context:

1. dukkha vedana = unpleasant feelings

2. dukkha lakkhaṇa = unsatisfactoriness (of impermanent things), per the three characteristics

3. upadana dukkha = suffering/torment of attachment, per the 1st noble truth
JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:25 amI would generally agree reincarnation is suffering. Because the Buddha said birth is suffering.
Birth (jati) does not appear to mean reincarnation. Even the commentary the Vissudhimagga says the word "birth" has many meanings, included "what is formed"; "clan"; etc
JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:25 amBut people who have a problem with Dukkha being translated as suffering are reincarnation deniers?? I don't know where you get that idea from?
His idea is about "birth". He believes "jati" means "reincarnation" instead of merely "bringing forth", "identity", etc. Obviously the word "jati/jato" does not mean "reincarnation" below:
“In that case, Aṅgulimāla, go to that woman and say this:

“Tena hi tvaṃ, aṅgulimāla, yena sā itthī tenupasaṅkama; upasaṅkamitvā taṃ itthiṃ evaṃ vadehi:

15.6‘Ever since I was born in the noble birth, sister, I don’t recall having intentionally taken the life of a living creature. By this truth, may both you and your baby be safe.’”

‘yatohaṃ, bhagini, ariyāya jātiyā jāto, nābhijānāmi sañcicca pāṇaṃ jīvitā voropetā, tena saccena sotthi te hotu, sotthi gabbhassā’”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn86/en/sujato#15.5
Ah yes thank you for reminding me about the different meanings of dukkha and context. I've only been a practitioner for a few years and there is so much information to digest.

In regards to rebirth, let me ask you a question dootdoot...would I be right in saying that the Buddha never used a word that would be analogous or consistent with "rebirth" in his teachings? He just described birth following death again and again if conditions are correct..

Who is a good interpreter of Pali? I usually listen to Bhikku Bodi's dhamma talks and interpretations.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Thich Nhat Hahn's understanding of 'The Three Dharma Seals'

Post by Coëmgenu »

Coëmgenu wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:32 amI can say more about this tomorrow, but the Saṃyuktāgama parallel doesn’t actually say “All dharmas are nirvāṇa” like Venerable Nhất Hạnh implies. Sūtra No. 262 actually says:
All formations are inconstant. All phenomena are selfless. Nirvāṇa is peace.
(T99.66b12, Chandakasūtra)

Similarly, the version in the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa (which is not by Venerable Nāgārjuna but is only apocryphally attributed to him) has sarvasaṁskārā anityāḥ, sarvasaṁskārā duḥkhāḥ, sarvadharmā anātmānāḥ, śāntaṁ nirvāṇam, but I need to wait to find a more precise citation.
So the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa actually does have a version identical to the Chandakasūtra in a few places, but when it gets down into the meat of the matter, the normal three dharma seals appear:
1) Among ordinary people (pṛthagjana), there are three kinds of contemplations (anupaśyanā). To try to escape from desire (kāma) and form (rūpa), they contemplate the coarseness (pāruṣya), deceitfulness (vañcana) and corruption (kaṣāya) of the desire realm (kāmadhātu) and the form realm (rūpadhātu).

2) Among the Buddha’s disciples, there are eight kinds of contemplations (anupaśyanā): [for them, everything is] impermanent (anitya), suffering (duḥkha), empty (śūnya), egoless (anātmaka), like a sickness (roga), an ulcer (gaṇḍa), like an arrow (śalya) stuck in one’s body, like an agony (agha).

3) These eight kinds of contemplations, applied to the four noble truths (āryasatya), make sixteen aspects (ākāra) grouped into fours. These are:

The four aspects of contemplation on suffering (duḥkha): i) anitya, impermanent; ii) duḥkha, suffering; iii) śūnya, empty; iv) anātmaka, egoless.

The four aspects of the contemplation on the origin of suffering (duḥkhasamudaya): i) samudaya, origin; ii) hetu, cause; iii) pratyaya, condition; iv) prabhava, process.

The four aspects of the contemplation on the cessation of suffering (duḥkhanirodha) : i) nirodha, cessation; ii) śānta, tranquility; iii) praṇīta, excellence; iv) niḥsaraṇa, deliverance.

The four aspects of the contemplation on the Path (mārga): i) mārga, Path; ii) nyāya, rational; iii) pratipad, attainment; iv) nairyāṇika, definitive release.
(Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa Ch. 16 on "All aspects")

The treatise interpolates "śūnya" before "anātmaka." As others have pointed out and I've no reason to, "nibbāna" is never a characteristic of "all dharmas" in Theravāda Buddhism. Ven NH teaches that "nibbāna" is a quality of all phenomena.
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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DooDoot
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Re: Thich Nhat Hahn's understanding of 'The Three Dharma Seals'

Post by DooDoot »

JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:03 am Ah yes thank you for reminding me about the different meanings of dukkha and context.
Thank you. I think the three meanings of dukkha i posted is very important because it allows one to be able to consider, analyse & hopefully understand various suttas properly. Often, the translators choose the wrong meaning.
JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:03 amIn regards to rebirth, let me ask you a question dootdoot...would I be right in saying that the Buddha never used a word that would be analogous or consistent with "rebirth" in his teachings? He just described birth following death again and again if conditions are correct..
The above is very complex. Too complex to answer here. However, if we are familiar with the Pali suttas, we will find many different words that the translators translate as "rebirth" and often these words are found in contexts that do not imply "rebirth". For example, the word most commonly translated as "will be reborn" ("upapajjati") is found in MN 148 in a context totally unrelated to "rebirth", which Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as "tenable".
JamesNhatHahn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:03 amWho is a good interpreter of Pali? I usually listen to Bhikku Bodi's dhamma talks and interpretations.
I cannot answer the above because i have only found myself for myself reliable. The Buddha emphasised each student should study for themselves for their own realisation.

Kind regards. Be sure to remember the 3 meanings of dukkha. :smile:
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.

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