Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

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Alex123
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Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by Alex123 »

In the last page of Visuddhimagga (in Sinhalese edition) there is this:
By the performance of such merit As has been gained by me through this And any other still in hand So may I in my next becoming Behold the joys of Tavatimsa,
Glad in the qualities of virtue And unattached to sense desires. By having reached the first fruition, And having in my last life seen Metteyya, Lord of Sages, Highest Of persons in the World, and Helper Delighting in all beings' welfare, And heard that Holy One proclaim The Teaching of the Noble Dhamma,
May I grace the Victor's Dispensation By realizing its highest fruit.
Did the Buddhaghosa just admit to not even being a stream enterer? The wording is not clear. While it says about first fruition in the past tense ("By having reached the first fruition"), so does it says in past tense about the far future where he would meet Buddha Metteyya ("And having in my last life seen Metteyya").

It doesn't sound very reassuring that the Venerable hopes to gain merit through this book, rather than through its study and practice, to see the next Buddha under whom he would become (stream enterer and then an) Arhat.

Any comments?

With best wishes,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cooran
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visudhimagga

Post by cooran »

Hello Alex,

Which Venerable wrote this? Is it the translator, or is it a layperson who paid for the printing of a book, or are you saying it was Ven. Buddhaghosa?

How can we check the quote? Is it on-line?

If not, what is the point of asking the question - knowing that many 'modern' theravadins have never read the available text translation?

with metta
Chris
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by daverupa »

Australian Buddhist monastic Shravasti Dhammika writes: "Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed, step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript he says he hopes that the merit he has earned by writing the Vishuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya (Maitreya) appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment."

source
Last edited by daverupa on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Alex123
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visudhimagga

Post by Alex123 »

cooran wrote:Hello Alex,
Which Venerable wrote this? Is it the translator, or is it a layperson who paid for the printing of a book, or are you saying it was Ven. Buddhaghosa?
How can we check the quote? Is it on-line?
If not, what is the point of asking the question - knowing that many 'modern' theravadins have never read the available text translation?
with metta
Chris

It is in FIFTH EDITION edition Translated from the Pali by BHIKKHU NANAMOLI 1991

on the page 743
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by daverupa »

Page 13/80 of Broken Buddha.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by tiltbillings »

That Buddhaghosa, what a joker. Best to burn that book.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by santa100 »

The next paragraph in the Critics section of the wiki page seems to clarify it (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhaghosa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;):

"The section of text from the Visuddhimagga mentioned above exists only in the Sinhalese texts, not in the original Pali, and could therefore have been added by someone other than the author. In the final words of the conclusion of the original Pali text he writes: "This Path of Purification was made by the elder who is ... an ornament in the lineage of the elders who dwell in the Great Monastery and who are shining lights in the lineage of elders with unblemished enlightenment ..." Here, he clearly implies that he did accomplish the goal of enlightenment using the Theravada practice outlined in his manual. It would not be logical to assume that the section following it, about Metteyya Buddha, was in fact written by him, since it contradicts his previous statement"
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tiltbillings
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by tiltbillings »

santa100 wrote:The next paragraph in the Critics section of the wiki page seems to clarify it (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhaghosa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;):

"The section of text from the Visuddhimagga mentioned above exists only in the Sinhalese texts, not in the original Pali, and could therefore have been added by someone other than the author. In the final words of the conclusion of the original Pali text he writes: "This Path of Purification was made by the elder who is ... an ornament in the lineage of the elders who dwell in the Great Monastery and who are shining lights in the lineage of elders with unblemished enlightenment ..." Here, he clearly implies that he did accomplish the goal of enlightenment using the Theravada practice outlined in his manual. It would not be logical to assume that the section following it, about Metteyya Buddha, was in fact written by him, since it contradicts his previous statement"
And looking at Ven Nanamoli's translation, he clearly acknowledges that. In other words, dismissing Buddhaghosa on the basis of that passage does not hold much water, if any at all.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by Akuma »

Alex123 wrote:In the last page of Visuddhimagga (in Sinhalese edition) there is this:
By the performance of such merit As has been gained by me through this And any other still in hand So may I in my next becoming Behold the joys of Tavatimsa,
Glad in the qualities of virtue And unattached to sense desires. By having reached the first fruition, And having in my last life seen Metteyya, Lord of Sages, Highest Of persons in the World, and Helper Delighting in all beings' welfare, And heard that Holy One proclaim The Teaching of the Noble Dhamma,
May I grace the Victor's Dispensation By realizing its highest fruit.
From this version it is really not clear. If someone else than Buddhaghosa wrote this then "Metteya" here indicates Buddhaghosa himself, as the Theras of the Mahavihara who proofread the VSM were so awe-struck by it according to tradition that they exclaimed that "surely this [man] must be Metteya Buddha himself".

Perhaps this is clearer version:

"At the last birth as a human being, seeing Metteyya who is the great sage, who is the foremost of all men, who is the lord and who is devoted to the welfare of all beings and listening to the preaching of the true law of the wise, I may shine in the Order of the Jina, having obtained the best fruit."

(Anthne attabhavaihbi Metteyyaih munipungavaiii, lokaggapuggalaih natham sabbaaattahite ratam Diavanatassa dhlrasaa sutva saddhammadesanam adhigantva phalani aggam sobheyyaifa Jinaaaaanarhti)
(from life and work of buddhaghosa)
It doesn't sound very reassuring that the Venerable hopes to gain merit through this book, rather than through its study and practice, to see the next Buddha under whom he would become (stream enterer and then an) Arhat.

Any comments?
Taking for granted Buddhaghosa wrote it:
The reason for him to wait for a future Buddha is for the walking of the third path. He clearly wanted to take the vows of the Bodhisatta in the presence of Metteya to become a Buddha at later time.
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Ben
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visudhimagga

Post by Ben »

Hi Chris
cooran wrote:Hello Alex,

Which Venerable wrote this? Is it the translator, or is it a layperson who paid for the printing of a book, or are you saying it was Ven. Buddhaghosa?

How can we check the quote? Is it on-line?

If not, what is the point of asking the question - knowing that many 'modern' theravadins have never read the available text translation?

with metta
Chris
I remember Ajahn Dhammanando writing about this way back on e-Sangha. I think there are several issues, one is the authorship and the translation.
Unfortunately, I did not think to copy and save what Ajahn mentioned about the closing pages of the Vism.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by robertk »

As has been explained so mnay time this last paragraph was added by the copyist. Enscribing the visuddimagga onto palm leaves was a long task and merit worthy.
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by cooran »

robertk wrote:As has been explained so mnay time this last paragraph was added by the copyist. Enscribing the visuddimagga onto palm leaves was a long task and merit worthy.
Dear Rob,

Thanks for clearing this up. :bow:

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by rowyourboat »

Phew!!
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by pilgrim »

Perhaps, future editions should strike out this page. After all, it is Buddhaghosa's VSM that we want, not the copyists aspirations, although much merit is due to him.
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Re: Buddhaghosa on Visuddhimagga. Did he believe in it?

Post by daverupa »

pilgrim wrote:Perhaps, future editions should strike out this page.
There is a tendency to only add to Dhamma writings, not strike items from them, as far as I can tell. I think it's probably for the best; an editorial footnote would suffice.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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