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Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan? - Page 25 - Dhamma Wheel

Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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cooran
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby cooran » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:40 am

Hello all,

I found these links (extracts below) quite helpful.

Extract from The Ten Perfections - A Study Guide by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

In the early centuries after the Buddha's passing away, as Buddhism became a popular religion, the idea was formalized that there were three paths to awakening to choose from: the path to awakening as a disciple of a Buddha (savaka); the path to awakening as a private Buddha (pacceka-buddha), i.e., one who attained awakening on his own but was not able to teach the path of practice to others; and the path to awakening as a Rightly Self-awakened Buddha (samma sambuddho). Each path was defined as consisting of perfections (parami) of character, but there was a question as to what those perfections were and how the paths differed from one another. The Theravadins, for instance, specified ten perfections, and organized their Jataka collection so that it culminated in ten tales, each illustrating one of the perfections. The Sarvastivadins, on the other hand, specified six perfections, and organized their Jataka collection accordingly.
All Buddhists agreed that the third path took by far the longest to follow, but disagreements arose as to whether the perfections developed along the different paths were quantitatively or qualitatively different. In other words, did a Buddha develop more of the same sort of perfections that an arahant developed, or did he develop perfections of a radically different sort? Those who believed that the perfections differed only quantitatively were able to take the early Buddhist canons as their guide to the path to Buddhahood, for they could simply extrapolate from the path of the arahant as described in those canons. Those seeking Buddhahood who believed that the perfections differed qualitatively, however, had to look outside the canons. People in this latter group often practiced a form of meditation aimed at inducing visions of bodhisattvas treading the path to full Buddhahood, along with Buddhas in other world-systems. These Buddhas and bodhisattvas — it was hoped — would provide an insider's knowledge of the full Buddha's path. The teachings that resulted from these visions were very diverse; not until the 3rd century C.E., with the development of the Yogacara school, was a concerted effort made to collate these various teachings into a single body — what we now know as the Mahayana movement — but the differences among these teachings were so great that the Mahayana never achieved true unity.
Thus, historically, there have been two major ways of following the path to full Buddhahood: following guidelines gleaned from the early canons, and following the traditions set in motion by the experiences of visionaries from the beginning of the common era. The materials in this study guide take the first course.
There's a common misunderstanding that the Theravada school teaches only the savaka path, but a glance at Theravada history will show that many Theravadins have vowed to become bodhisattvas and have undertaken the practice of the ten perfections as set forth in the Theravadin jatakas. Because these perfections differ only quantitatively for arahants, Theravadins who aspire to arahantship cite the perfections as qualities that they are developing as part of their practice outside of formal meditation. For example, they make donations to develop the perfection of generosity, undertake building projects to develop the perfection of endurance, and so forth.
For people in the modern world who are wrestling with the issue of how to practice the Dhamma in daily life, the perfections provide a useful framework for developing a fruitful attitude toward daily activities so that any activity or relationship undertaken wisely with the primary purpose of developing the perfections in a balanced way becomes part of the practice.
The perfections also provide one of the few reliable ways of measuring the accomplishments of one's life. "Accomplishments" in the realm of work and relationships have a way of turning into dust, but perfections of the character, once developed, are dependable and lasting, carrying one over and beyond the vicissitudes of daily living. Thus they deserve to take high priority in the way we plan our lives. These two facts are reflected in the two etymologies offered for the word perfection (parami): They carry one across to the further shore (param); and they are of foremost (parama) importance in formulating the purpose of one's life.
The material in this study guide is organized under the heading of the eighth perfection — determination — for several reasons. The first reason is that determination is needed for undertaking the path of perfections to begin with, in that it gives focus, motivation, and direction to the practice. The second reason is that the four aspects of skilled determination — discernment, truth, relinquishment, and calm — when studied carefully, cover all ten of the perfections: generosity, virtue, renunciation, discernment, persistence, endurance, truth, determination, good will, and equanimity. In this way, the material gathered here illustrates the general principle that each of the perfections, when properly practiced, includes all ten. The third reason is that the four aspects of skilled determination help guard against a common problem in using the perfections as a guide to practice: a tendency to indulge in the self-delusion that can justify any activity, no matter how inappropriate, as part of the path.
Passages in this guide are drawn from the Pali canon and from the teachings of Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo.
The four determinations: One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm.
— MN 140
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tions.html

Extract from A Treatise on the Paramis From the Commentary to the Cariyapitaka by Acariya Dhammapala translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

AAcariya Dhammapaala composed his "Treatise on the Paaramiis," which is found in at least two places in the Paali exegetical literature, in a complete version in the Cariyaapi.taka A.t.thakathaa, and in an abridged version in the .tiikaa or subcommentary to the Brahmajaala Sutta.
The work introduces itself as a treatise composed "for clansmen following the suttas who are zealously engaged in the practice of the vehicle to great enlightenment, in order to improve their skillfulness in accumulating the requisites of enlightenment." Followers of the suttas (suttantikas) are specified probably because those who aspired to follow the bodhisattva course had to work selectively from various suttas to determine the practices appropriate for their aim, as the text itself illustrates in filling out its material. The mention of the "vehicle to great enlightenment" (mahaabodhiyaana) does not indicate the historical Mahaayaana, but signifies rather the greatness of the bodhisattva career by reason of the loftiness of its goal and its capacity to provide for the emancipation of a great number of beings.
The "requisites of enlightenment" are the paaramiis themselves, the main topic of the treatise. The word paaramii derives from parama, "supreme," and thus suggests the eminence of the qualities which must be fulfilled by a bodhisattva in the long course of his spiritual development. But the cognate paaramitaa, the word preferred by the Mahaayaana texts and also used by Paali writers, is sometimes explained as paaram + ita, "gone to the beyond," thereby indicating the transcendental direction of these qualities.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el409.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---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: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:00 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby pt1 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:00 am


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby vinasp » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:57 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is the full quotation from Vism. VIII.39 [from Steven Collins, Selfless Persons]:

"In the ultimate sense, the life-moment of living beings is extremely short, being only as much as the occurrence of a single conscious moment. Just as a chariot wheel, when it is rolling, rolls [that is, touches the ground] only on one point of [the circumference] of its tyre, and when it is at rest, rests only on one point, so too, the life of living beings lasts only for a single conscious moment. When that moment is ceased, the being is said to have ceased, according as it is said 'In a past conscious moment he did live', not 'he does live', not 'he will live'. In a future conscious moment not 'he did live', not 'he does live', [but] 'he will live'. In the present conscious moment, not 'he did live', [but] 'he does live', [and] not 'he will live'." (34)

Note 34: Vism. VIII.39, translated and glossed by Nanamoli 'In the ultimate sense ... single conscious moment' (paramatthato hi atiparitto sattanam jivitakhano ekacittapavattimatto yeva).

And some clarification on where the numbers come from:

"Various attempts were made by the tradition to compute the actual temporal length of such moments : for example, that each day contains 86,400 seconds, which equal 6,449,099,980 moments - thus 1 / 74,642 of a second per moment (4). Frequently, the idea of a finger-snap is used to designate the smallest perceptible unit of time (5); and a finger-snap itself is said to contain sixty-four, or even billions of moments (6)."[page 234]
Note 4. See Conze (1962) p. 282. ...
Note 5. 'Finger-snap' (acchara) ( A.I.10, 34, 38, IV.396; Miln.102; Thag.405, Thig.67; et freq.).
Note 6. Sixty-four at Lamotte (1967) pp. 667-8; billions at Aung (1910) p. 125 n.5.

Collins continues:

"In fact, we read, no simile can illustrate the shortness of the moment (7); that is to say, what appears in Buddhist theory as a 'moment' is not in itself an object of conscious perception, nor even capable of being illustrated by anything else which is. In dealing with the idea of momentariness therefore, we are in a wholly conceptual, non-empirical realm."

Note 7. A.I.10; Asl.60-1.

From the Bibliography:

Aung, S. Z. (1910) Compendium of philosophy (Pali Text Society).
Conze, E. (1962) Buddhist Thought in India (London).
Lamotte, E. (1967) Histoire du Bouddhisme Indien (2nd ed., Louvain).

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:26 pm



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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby bodom » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:15 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:22 pm



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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby meindzai » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:47 pm


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:16 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:48 pm

I have avoided posting in this long and heated discussion, because I had a feeling this might morph into a debate between "Classical Theravada" and "Modern Theravada."

The "Classical" position reveres the Tipitaka, the Commentaries, and sub-commentaries.
The "Modern" position reveres the Suttas and Vinaya and for some, also the Abhidhamma.

Retro, tilt, and I am sure several others have shown that although the individual paramitas are mentioned in the Suttas, they are not codified as a single list. The paramitas are wonderful qualities to develop, but not mentioned as a whole except in the Commentaries. I think the Buddhavamsa makes some reference to them in passing? (I don't have my copy with me right now); but the Buddhavamsa is considered a later text by most scholars.

In my view, both interpretations are Theravada.

Without getting into a discussion of all the various early schools, If we look at a quick timeline of what Buddhism was called, early Buddhism before the Commentaries was called Theravada:

* The time of the Buddha: "Buddhism" is called Dhamma-Vinaya
* First Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (483 BCE)
* Second Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (350 BCE)
* Third Council: Vibhajjavada ("doctrine of analysis") and shortly thereafter: Theravada (250 BCE)
* Fourth Council: Theravada (100 BCE)

The Abhidhamma became a part of the Canon at the Third Council.
The Commentaries were written from 300 CE to 13 century CE, after the Fourth Council.

Thus, someone who follows the "Theravada" as it was set to be from the First to Third Councils, would be a "Theravadin" although today they might be known as "Modern Theravada."

Those who hold the Commentaries in high regard are also Theravadins, since they also use the Tipitaka as their teachings, but simply have added the teachings of the later elders.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:11 pm

:goodpost:
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:33 pm

I see this thread as an excellent opportunity to practice one's

Dana (generous action)
Sila (virtue)
Nekkhamma (renunciation)
Pañña (wisdom, discernment)
Viriya (energy, effort)
Khanti (patience)
Sacca (truthfulness)
Adhitthana (determination, resolution)
Metta (loving-kindness, goodwill)
Upekkha (equanimity)
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Wind » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:29 pm


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:39 pm

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Wind » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:49 pm


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby pt1 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:38 am


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:46 am

Hi pt1

Thanks for the quote from Vism. Unfortunately, it doesn't mention anything about the paramita development during that period, only the period of time available in recollecting past lives by different classes of disciples. Is there anything from the Vism that links past-life recollection to paramita development?
I'll check my copy tonight.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby pt1 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:03 am


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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:22 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:51 am

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