Navayana Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:32 pm

Jikan wrote:The Kalama Sutta has the Buddha addressing a general audience: it's not the sangha he is speaking to, but to the public at large (as in the bolded text above). Hence, his message is oriented around a matter of public concern: how to live a good life among others. It is not about attaining liberation.

If you want instructions on liberation, you have to look elsewhere. If you're content to live a carefree life in the present, which amounts to taking a carefree attitude toward samsara and the suffering of beings bound to it, then don't bother.


Agreed; this is my understanding, also.

:namaste:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:35 pm

nowheat wrote:This question seems to originate in a misunderstanding of dukkha ("suffering") that is intrinsic to the traditional belief that rebirth is integral to the dharma. Let me see if I can make this distinction clear:

Traditional understanding: dukkha is suffering of all sorts -- it is psychological pain (anger, frustration, grief, jealousy, greed, hatred, etc) but it is also physical pain (bodily decay, aging, sickness, death) -- and this suffering only ends completely after liberation AND the breakup of the body post-liberation (we know it must be after death because the Buddha still felt physical pain after his enlightenment). Because dukkha includes both physical as well as psychological pain, even ants experience dukkha. Since dukkha includes physical suffering, it requires a previous life to explain why individuals come into the world in painful conditions.

Non-traditional* understanding: dukkha is psychological pain -- it is what we do to ourselves as a result of holding the belief that we have a self, and it is specifically beliefs that we are capable of becoming aware of and doing something about (we know this because the Buddha tells us that babies have the underlying tendencies, but are not capable of being liberated -- they don't have the capacity for understanding, yet, that is required to make choices -- see sutta quote below). Therefore, creatures that don't have a concept of self or the ability to be aware of their concepts aren't suffering dukkha and don't need exposure to the dharma. Since dukkha is (almost literally) self-created -- created by the sense that we have a self, and created in this very lifetime -- previous lives are not needed to explain it.

What we have here are two separate views of what's going on, and each has internal consistency, but they don't have cross-consistency. The question "How can creatures be liberated without rebirth -- they get no exposure to Dharma" makes perfect sense when asked within the traditional understanding of the way the world works, but the question makes no sense when asked of the non-traditional, where it would probably be answered by the Buddha as: "Invalid question."

* specifically, mine -- I will not say that all non-traditional Buddhists understand dukkha this way, but many do.
:


You are basically describing a form of therapy: a method is applied to address a certain pathology (self-inflicted patterns of suffering). When you're done, you feel better. That's fine. However, it appears to be a recasting of the shravaka path into the language of contemporary psychotherapy. You're released from your pain; good for you. Think in Mahayana terms: How does this practice bring benefit to others?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:36 pm

nowheat wrote:
Jikan wrote:The Kalama Sutta has the Buddha addressing a general audience: it's not the sangha he is speaking to, but to the public at large (as in the bolded text above). Hence, his message is oriented around a matter of public concern: how to live a good life among others. It is not about attaining liberation.

If you want instructions on liberation, you have to look elsewhere. If you're content to live a carefree life in the present, which amounts to taking a carefree attitude toward samsara and the suffering of beings bound to it, then don't bother.


Agreed; this is my understanding, also.

:namaste:


So you admit it's a self-centered, in fact selfish, path: selfish insofar as it disregards the sufferings of others. Is that really your position?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:45 pm

nowheat wrote:It seems to me that, while sowing the seeds of good karma is a fine thing, as is living a carefree present life, the point of the Buddha's teaching is to *end karma* and be liberated instead. The reason the Kalama sutta doesn't talk about liberation and right view is because it isn't addressing understanding the Buddha's teaching, but is instead just showing that good moral grounding brings the good effects desired by just about anyone.
Hate to be the one to break it to you but karma vipakka is just about the outcomes of wholesome and unwholesome actions. It is this which will responsible for producing the causes and conditions we encounter in the future which will influence or ability to practice and achieve liberation. If you look back over the Sutta you will see that there are four assurances.

Why offer luck as the first (and only, here offered) alternative?
Because I couldn't be bothered listing all the other illogical alternatives. You may also have noticed that the offer was followed by a question mark.
Causes and conditions are the explanation of the variety of life circumstances. The sheer number of possible conditions that create life allows for a wide variety of circumstances that individuals encounter. Why was I born with a genetic disorder that pre-disposed me to end up with a wheat intolerance? Is it because some being in the past -- who is not me, not related to me in any way, and whose actions I have no way of seeing, knowing, or correcting, made bad ethical choices that mean I am saddled with this condition? Or is it that biology that can be trace backward passed on this gene that I can locate within my body?
And why did you have the genetic anomaly that leads to gluten intolerance and others do not? Why were you born to parents that had the genetic pattern that caused you to have gluten intolerance? Why out of the 2,000,000,000 human wombs that exist out there were you born into that specific womb? Why is it that your siblings, which were composed from the same genetic material as you since it came from the same source, do not have gluten intolerance? ad nauseum.

(10) When our bodies are aching and racked with great torment
Of dreadful diseases we cannot endure,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have injured the bodies of others;
Hereafter let’s take on what sickness is theirs.
...
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have always had negative outlooks;
We have criticized others, seeing only their flaws.
Hereafter let’s cultivate positive feelings
And view our surroundings as stainless and pure.
...
(27) When strokes and diseases strike without warning,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have broken our vowed words of honor; [8]
Hereafter, let’s shun such nonvirtuous deeds.
The Wheel of Sharp Weapons

Traditional understanding: dukkha is suffering of all sorts ... where it would probably be answered by the Buddha as: "Invalid question."
Invalid answer! I asked what happens to beings that cannot practice Dharma in this lifetime, that have no chance at Nirvana, are they condemned to live one life, full of suffering, without any opportunity to achieve Nirvana? Coz if there is no rebirth then this is exactly what you are saying. If there is no rebirth then all beings will achieve a permanent end to suffering at death. Ignorant beings, enlightened beings, ALL beings! Thus your theory does not satisfy the fourth Dharma seal: Nirvana is the end of suffering. According to your theory death is the end of suffering.
MN 78 wrote:A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion 'intention,' so how should he have evil intentions beyond mere sulking?

This Sutta quote is completely out of context.
MN 78 PTS: M ii 22
Samana-Mundika Sutta: Mundika the Contemplative
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2003–2012
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now on that occasion Uggahamana, a follower of Mundika the contemplative,[1] together with a large following of about 500 wanderers, had taken up residence in the debating hall near the Tinduka tree in the single-pavilion park of Queen Mallika. Then Pañcakanga the carpenter left Savatthi in the middle of the day to see the Blessed One, but the thought occurred to him, "Now is not the right time to see the Blessed One, for he is in seclusion. And it is not the right time to see the mind-developing monks, for they too are in seclusion. Why don't I go to the debating hall near the Tinduka tree in the single-pavilion park of Queen Mallika to see Uggahamana, a follower of Mundika the contemplative?" So he headed to the debating hall near the Tinduka tree in the single-pavilion park of Queen Mallika.

Now on that occasion Uggahamana was sitting with his large following of wanderers, all making a great noise & racket, discussing many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not. Then Uggahamana saw Pañcakanga the carpenter coming from afar, and on seeing him, hushed his following: "Be quiet, good sirs. Don't make any noise. Here comes Pañcakanga the carpenter, a disciple of Gotama the contemplative. He is one of those disciples of Gotama the contemplative, clad in white, who lives in Savatthi. These people are fond of quietude, trained in quietude, and speak in praise of quietude. Maybe, if he perceives our group as quiet, he will consider it worth his while to come our way." So the wanderers fell silent.

Then Pañcakanga went to Uggahamana and, on arrival, greeted him courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat down to one side. As he was sitting there, Uggahamana said to him, "I describe an individual endowed with four qualities as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Which four? There is the case where he does no evil action with his body, speaks no evil speech, resolves on no evil resolve, and maintains himself with no evil means of livelihood. An individual endowed with these four qualities I describe as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments."

Then Pañcakanga neither delighted in Uggahamana's words nor did he scorn them. Expressing neither delight nor scorn, he got up from his seat & left, thinking, "I will learn the meaning of this statement in the Blessed One's presence."

Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, after bowing down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he told the Blessed One the entire conversation he had had with Uggahamana.

When this was said, the Blessed One said to Pañcakanga: "In that case, carpenter, then according to Uggahamana's words a stupid baby boy, lying on its back, is consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. For even the thought 'body' does not occur to a stupid baby boy lying on its back, so from where would it do any evil action with its body, aside from a little kicking? Even the thought 'speech' does not occur to it, so from where would it speak any evil speech, aside from a little crying? Even the thought 'resolve' does not occur to it, so from where would it resolve on any evil resolve, aside from a little bad temper? Even the thought 'livelihood' does not occur to it, so from where would it maintain itself with any evil means of livelihood, aside from its mother's milk? So, according to Uggahamana's words, a stupid baby boy, lying on its back is consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments.

"If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back. Which four? There is the case where he does no evil action with his body, speaks no evil speech, resolves on no evil resolve, and maintains himself with no evil means of livelihood. If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back.

"An individual endowed with ten qualities is one whom I describe as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. With regard to that point, one should know that 'These are unskillful habits,' I say. With regard to that point, one should know that 'That is the cause of unskillful habits'...'Here unskillful habits cease without trace'...'This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful habits,' I say.

"With regard to that point, one should know that 'These are skillful habits'...'That is the cause of skillful habits'...'Here skillful habits cease without trace'...'This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful habits,' I say.

"With regard to that point, one should know that 'These are unskillful resolves'... 'That is the cause of unskillful resolves'...'Here unskillful resolves cease without trace'...'This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful resolves' I say.

"With regard to that point, one should know that 'These are skillful resolves'...'That is the cause of skillful resolves'...'Here skillful resolves cease without trace'...'This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful resolves,' I say.

"Now what are unskillful habits? Unskillful bodily actions, unskillful verbal actions, evil means of livelihood. These are called unskillful habits. What is the cause of unskillful habits? Their cause is stated, and they are said to be mind-caused. Which mind? — for the mind has many modes & permutations. Any mind with passion, aversion or delusion: That is the cause of unskillful habits. Now where do unskillful habits cease without trace? Their cessation has been stated: There is the case where a monk abandons wrong bodily conduct & develops right bodily conduct, abandons wrong verbal conduct & develops right verbal conduct, abandons wrong livelihood & maintains his life with right livelihood. This is where unskillful habits cease without trace. And what sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful habits? There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful habits.

"And what are skillful habits? Skillful bodily actions, skillful verbal actions, purity of livelihood. These are called skillful habits. What is the cause of skillful habits? Their cause, too, has been stated, and they are said to be mind-caused. Which mind? — for the mind has many modes & permutations. Any mind without passion, without aversion, without delusion: That is the cause of skillful habits. Now where do skillful habits cease without trace? Their cessation, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk is virtuous, but not fashioned of virtue.[2] He discerns, as it actually is, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those skillful habits cease without trace. And what sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful habits? There is the case where a monk generates desire...for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the...development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful habits.

"And what are unskillful resolves? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. These are called unskillful resolves. What is the cause of unskillful resolves? Their cause, too, has been stated, and they are said to be perception-caused. Which perception? — for perception has many modes & permutations. Any sensuality-perception, ill will-perception or harmfulness-perception: That is the cause of unskillful resolves. Now where do unskillful resolves cease without trace? Their cessation, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. This is where unskillful resolves cease without trace. And what sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful resolves? There is the case where a monk generates desire...for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the...development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of unskillful resolves.

"And what are skillful resolves? Being resolved on renunciation (freedom from sensuality), on non-ill will, on harmlessness. These are called skillful resolves. What is the cause of skillful resolves? Their cause, too, has been stated, and they are said to be perception-caused. Which perception? — for perception has many modes & permutations. Any renunciation-perception, non-ill will-perception or harmlessness-perception: That is the cause of skillful resolves. Now where do skillful resolves cease without trace? Their cessation, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. This is where skillful resolves cease without trace. And what sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful resolves? There is the case where a monk generates desire...for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the... development & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This sort of practice is the practice leading to the cessation of skillful resolves.

"Now, an individual endowed with which ten qualities is one whom I describe as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments? One endowed with the right view of one beyond training, the right resolve of one beyond training, the right speech... the right action... the right livelihood... the right effort... the right mindfulness... the right concentration... the right knowledge... the right release of one beyond training. An individual endowed with these ten qualities is one whom I describe as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Pañcakanga the carpenter delighted in the Blessed One's words.

Notes

1. This can also mean "the shaven-headed contemplative," in which case Uggahamana might have belonged to one of the Jain sects.
2. The Pali here is: no ca sila-mayo. According to the Commentary, this means that he does not regard virtue as the consummation of the path. It may also mean that he does not define himself by his virtue. This term is apparently related to the state called atammayata, or non-fashioning. On this topic, see The Wings to Awakening, especially the introduction to section II/B and passage §179.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:48 pm

Jikan wrote:You are basically describing a form of therapy: a method is applied to address a certain pathology (self-inflicted patterns of suffering). When you're done, you feel better. That's fine. However, it appears to be a recasting of the shravaka path into the language of contemporary psychotherapy. You're released from your pain; good for you. Think in Mahayana terms: How does this practice bring benefit to others?


My answer comes from my own experience: by understanding why things go so badly in my life (that is, what dukkha is, its origin, that it can cease, and how I can make it cease) I come to see that this is not a problem unique to me. The whole process of coming to see what's going on involves paying keen attention not just to what's going on with me, but to what's going on with others, as well. I see how what I do affects others; I see how what they do affects me; I see how you and I are both driven by the same underlying tendencies and our ignorance of them, and when I see this really, really accurately, and see what it does to me, how can I not feel compassion for everyone else it happens to? Suddenly all my anger at People Who Do Stupid Things is dropping away (as I see that I'm one of Those People too). And, more than anything else, when I come to understand what's going on, and that I have the power to change the circumstances myself in my life, and I see others who are still caught up, I want to help them see the dharma, too.

I find that to be one of the most beautiful aspects of the path: that if you follow it, when you get it, compassion and the drive to help others just appear naturally. That's Buddha-nature, isn't it? Begin removing the obscuring ignorance and delusions, and that light that's always been there starts to come through clearly.

:namaste:
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Re: Dependent Origination

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:02 pm

nowheat wrote:Dependent origination (DO) isn't about literal past lives or literal rebirth after the breakup of the body. I understand that it is interpreted that way, and that modern translations and commentaries make it seem that way, and make a pretty good case for that being what DO is about, but I'm pretty sure that's not what it's teaching; that's not the point. It is about "old karma" in the sense that we come into the world with certain underlying tendencies (see sutta quote below), and it is about the way we make "new karma" by acting on those tendencies when we are able to make other choices. But the actions we take are those we can observe, that are within our control if we are but educated to understand the issues (thereby ending ignorance), and the consequences of those actions are those we can see for ourselves quite clearly -- within this very lifetime.
To quote somebody that you have a close affinity to: "So you say. I note you give no evidence for the statement, though. As it stands, this is just opinion, without any support."
This is why the Buddha makes the point over and over and over that he preaches liberation here and now; he's not talking about something that may eventually happen after many lifetimes; he says you can work toward good rebirths if you wish, or you could be liberated in this lifetime -- and which do you suppose is the one he's suggesting you choose: taking a long time or doing it soon?
Hogwash, even in the Theravadra Canon there are references to stream enterers, once returners, non returners and arhats, all as valid options for a Buddhist practitioner. You reckon the Buddha was just jiving us then?
How do I explain DO without recourse to past lives or karma? In one sense I don't -- the lives that led to ours (our parents and theirs on back for generations to what once seemed like "beginningless time") give us the conditions we come into the world with -- those underlying tendencies that cause us to generate a sense of self -- those are critical to understanding what DO is saying. And karma in the sense of intentional actions that have consequences for us in the future -- those are critical, also. So "past lives" and "karma" play a part, but when I speak of them, they don't mean the same thing you might mean when you speak of them.
You can't that's why you don't. It's our ignorance which is reborn not anybody elses. Just like it is up to us to overcome our ignorance in order to reach enlightenment.
Past lives and karma aren't about things some person unrelated to me did in the life just previous to mine, the consequences of which I have to deal with without knowing what they did or which conditions I deal with that relate to them. So in that sense, I explain DO without recourse to karma as coming from past lives.
And fail miserably.
The only thing that unravels is the traditional understanding; this isn't the same as the Dharma unraveling. The Buddha's dharma makes perfect sense without literal, after-death rebirth, and with karma being something we can see in action in this very life. This can be very hard to see, though, when one's understanding of Buddhism is entirely based on the traditional take.
It's not a case of traditional vs modern it's a case of Dharma vs adharma.
The problem we have here is very similar to the problems we have in explaining some of Buddhism to newcomers. The questions they ask about self and souls and rebirth and karma are grounded in the worldview they were raised with, so the questions can be difficult to answer in a way they will understand because there is a big paradigm shift between their words and what they mean in their worldview, and what those words mean in the Buddhist worldview. We have the same problem here, between the traditional and non-traditional view. Questions that are logical in the traditional view are sometimes outside the logic of the non-traditional view.
I think you will find that qualified teachers with right view are more than capable of answering these basic questions.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:09 pm

λήψης.jpg
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(88) We fail to explain what the Three Baskets teach,
But instead dwell on theories we’ve made up ourselves.
We lack deep conviction and faith in the teachings,
Whatever we say leaves disciples confused.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centered butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.
Wheel of Sharp Weapons
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:11 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Hate to be the one to break it to you but karma vipakka is just about the outcomes of wholesome and unwholesome actions. It is this which will responsible for producing the causes and conditions we encounter in the future which will influence or ability to practice and achieve liberation. If you look back over the Sutta you will see that there are four assurances.

This is not news to me. Why do you perceive that it would be something I would not know or would disagree with? Your perception of what I believe/know is somehow skewed from what I actually believe and know.

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:Causes and conditions are the explanation of the variety of life circumstances. The sheer number of possible conditions that create life allows for a wide variety of circumstances that individuals encounter. Why was I born with a genetic disorder that pre-disposed me to end up with a wheat intolerance? Is it because some being in the past -- who is not me, not related to me in any way, and whose actions I have no way of seeing, knowing, or correcting, made bad ethical choices that mean I am saddled with this condition? Or is it that biology that can be trace backward passed on this gene that I can locate within my body?
And why did you have the genetic anomaly that leads to gluten intolerance and others do not? Why were you born to parents that had the genetic pattern that caused you to have gluten intolerance? Why out of the 2,000,000,000 human wombs that exist out there were you born into that specific womb? Why is it that your siblings, which were composed from the same genetic material as you since it came from the same source, do not have gluten intolerance? ad nauseum.

Because of causes and conditions. Not every human will have every gene that every other human has.

We both see causes and conditions as the reason I have the celiac gene and my sister doesn't. The only difference between us is which causes and conditions. You see it as past karma, I see it as a genetic chain.

My question to you is this: Why do I have the celiac gene, then? Why did I, in particular, inherent the past karma that led to me having the gene? Why didn't my sister? Why didn't you?


(10) When our bodies are aching and racked with great torment ...

Nice quote. Your point in putting it there is...?

gregkavarnos wrote:
nowheat wrote:Traditional understanding: dukkha is suffering of all sorts ... where it would probably be answered by the Buddha as: "Invalid question."
Invalid answer! I asked what happens to beings that cannot practice Dharma in this lifetime, that have no chance at Nirvana, are they condemned to live one life, full of suffering, without any opportunity to achieve Nirvana? Coz if there is no rebirth then this is exactly what you are saying. If there is no rebirth then all beings will achieve a permanent end to suffering at death. Ignorant beings, enlightened beings, ALL beings! Thus your theory does not satisfy the fourth Dharma seal: Nirvana is the end of suffering. According to your theory death is the end of suffering.


Perhaps my understanding of what Nirvana is, is different from yours. My understanding is that it is freedom from dukkha -- so not "Invalid answer" at all. But we are perhaps having a paradigm shift discrepancy here. Beings who do not experience dukkha (which in the non-traditional view are generated by concepts of self that are within their power to change) are already free of dukkha -- see how that works? They don't have to be exposed to the Dharma to achieve Nirvana because they don't experience dukkha in the first place.

You say that "According to your theory death is the end of suffering" but I have no idea where you get this from. This isn't my theory at all. According to my theory, dukkha can end in this very life -- death has nothing to do with it. I did say that in the *traditional* view, where dukkha includes physical pain, only death after liberation would truly end dukkha -- so if you are a traditionalist who subscribes to the understanding that dukkha includes physical suffering, then you would be the one who believes that death ends the last little bit of suffering, not me.

:namaste:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:22 pm

nowheat wrote:[...]
You are saying that you know how I use language. You're saying that if I explain that the way I use language is different from the way you interpret it, what you heard me say (because of the way you interpret the words) is what I actually meant (despite me saying that it isn't). So, what, with my explanation, I'm lying? There is no possibility in your mind that your understanding of the words is different from mine? This seems to leave us little room for communication.

I am trying to make a point about belief in rebirth amongst Buddhists: that one can refrain from holding a belief in something without completely denying its possibility. I think we were actually agreed on this a few posts back. Perhaps we should back up to that point of understanding and drop the point where you tell me how I speak and what I mean when I do?

:namaste:

Use language as you prefer as long as I understand what you are saying. If you say you don't believe, the conclusion is that you reject it. If you say you don't believe, but don't disbelieve totally, you're not being very clear and may be contradicting yourself. You can say you find it implausible, but not impossible. Then I get you. I would have to ask you why you think it is implausible.
This: "one can refrain from holding a belief in something without completely denying its possibility" is not a bad way to put it, although it emphasizes negation of rebirth. The question is, why?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:27 pm

Gezzz man, what i came to realize after reading these last posts of yours is that you have no clue about Buddhadharma. :shock:
From a Buddhist perspective you have a nice fantasy going on there, but that's pretty much it. You're entitled to it though.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:31 pm

nowheat wrote:Because of causes and conditions. Not every human will have every gene that every other human has.
Yup and other beings with gluten intolerance do not have exactly the same gene structure as you. Some of them do not even have a remotely similar gene structure because they are not even human.
My question to you is this: Why do I have the celiac gene, then? Why did I, in particular, inherent the past karma that led to me having the gene? Why didn't my sister? Why didn't you?
Because we do not have the same past karma and if we do, we do not currently have the same causes and condition for the karma to ripen. Some people are born with gluten intolerance and others acquire it.
Perhaps my understanding of what Nirvana is, is different from yours. My understanding is that it is freedom from dukkha -- so not "Invalid answer" at all. But we are perhaps having a paradigm shift discrepancy here. Beings who do not experience dukkha (which in the non-traditional view are generated by concepts of self that are within their power to change) are already free of dukkha -- see how that works? They don't have to be exposed to the Dharma to achieve Nirvana because they don't experience dukkha in the first place.
Another invalid answer. Why? Well for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that you are now saying that the first and last Noble Truth are invalid. Your claim to being a Buddhist is wearing VERY thin.
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:32 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Use language as you prefer as long as I understand what you are saying. If you say you don't believe, the conclusion is that you reject it.

I say I don't believe aliens are living here. Please don't extend that to mean I believe "aliens cannot exist or live here". I am asking you to hear the words and not read into them more than is there.

This: "one can refrain from holding a belief in something without completely denying its possibility" is not a bad way to put it, although it emphasizes negation of rebirth. The question is, why?


Why what, exactly?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Because we do not have the same past karma ...

How is it determined that it is my lot to get the particular karma that leads to me having the gene?


Another invalid answer. Why? Well for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that you are now saying that the first and last Noble Truth are invalid. Your claim to being a Buddhist is wearing VERY thin.


Your understanding of my understanding is what's thin. I do not say that there is no dukkha -- I say that there is dukkha. I do not say that there is no path to the end of dukkha -- I say that there is a path to the end of dukkha.

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:45 pm

Jikan wrote:So you admit it's a self-centered, in fact selfish, path: selfish insofar as it disregards the sufferings of others. Is that really your position?


I'm sorry, there's an unanchored "it" in the sentence above, so I'm not sure what exactly you are referring to.

I agreed that the Kalama Sutta is addressing a general audience, not the sangha. I agreed that for instructions on how to be liberated one has to look outside the Kalama Sutta (elsewhere). I agreed that those who are content to live carefree and ignore the suffering don't really need to look elsewhere.

I would agree, yes (if this is the "it" that you are talking about) that that would be a selfish path. Why would that not be my position?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:55 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Gezzz man, what i came to realize after reading these last posts of yours is that you have no clue about Buddhadharma. :shock:
From a Buddhist perspective you have a nice fantasy going on there, but that's pretty much it. You're entitled to it though.


Well, thanks for the permission, but it may just be that you haven't yet got a full understanding of my understanding of the Buddhadharma.

I understand (at least) the Theravada way of seeing it. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. There may be some confusion about what I understand and what I don't because I cross between making comments about its internal logic, and poking little holes in its internal logic as a way of asking traditional defenders to show me where I'm wrong (for example in saying that if dukkha includes physical pain, then one can't be totally free of dukkha till after that last death).

But I also understand the Buddhadharma in a non-traditional way that I find entirely logical, and well supported not only by what's in the Pali suttas, but by the history of the Buddha's time and place and the conversations going on at the time, and the language used. It's not something I can explain in a post or two -- actually I'm not sure it's something I can explain convincingly to anyone whose mind is already made up about what the Buddhadharma is. One has to be willing to actually hear and understand, and willing to step aside from what they are already so certain of, to be able to make a shift -- and I've found very few traditionalists are willing or able to do that.

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:07 pm

nowheat wrote:for example in saying that if dukkha includes physical pain, then one can't be totally free of dukkha till after that last death



When free of clinging, then one is free of dukkha.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:21 pm

nowheat wrote:
Well, thanks for the permission, but it may just be that you haven't yet got a full understanding of my understanding of the Buddhadharma.

I'm sure I don't. But judging for the part you presented, it isn't that special and I'm not that much interested.

I understand (at least) the Theravada way of seeing it. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. There may be some confusion about what I understand and what I don't because I cross between making comments about its internal logic, and poking little holes in its internal logic as a way of asking traditional defenders to show me where I'm wrong (for example in saying that if dukkha includes physical pain, then one can't be totally free of dukkha till after that last death).

Well, it seems to me that in fact you don't understand Theravada, or Buddhism as whole, for that matter.

But I also understand the Buddhadharma in a non-traditional way that I find entirely logical,

You understand something, but it isn't Buddhadharma for sure. Also, something may be logic and not true. You know that, I'm sure.
and well supported not only by what's in the Pali suttas, but by the history of the Buddha's time and place and the conversations going on at the time, and the language used.

What's well supported by the Pali suttas is the opposite view that you are presenting. Buddha didn't have to be mysterious, you know? He could have put it very plainly as there were schools more or less advocating your position at that time.

It's not something I can explain in a post or two -- actually I'm not sure it's something I can explain convincingly to anyone whose mind is already made up about what the Buddhadharma is.

You seem to be the one convinced to know enough about Buddhadharma to the point of safely being able to reform it without losing nothing. We are just discovering what Buddhadharma is, starting by not adulterating so that it fits our preconceived ideas about reality.

One has to be willing to actually hear and understand, and willing to step aside from what they are already so certain of, to be able to make a shift -- and I've found very few traditionalists are willing or able to do that.

:namaste:

Well, you convinced a few dabblers. Good for you! However I don't see that happening often when it comes to serious students and practitioners. We do have teachers you see? People who spent all their lives studying and practicing real Dharma. They seem to confirm our suspicions that maybe some of those core wild claims of Buddhist are actually true.

Just as an ending note and this is a personal opinion based on what you wrote, so feel free to disregard it: you are not even close to scratch the surface in terms of having real insight about Buddhadharma. Your interpretation of Buddhism makes it a pale shade of what it really is. It's your loss. It's a shame because you seem dedicated.
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Re: Dependent Origination

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:26 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:To quote somebody that you have a close affinity to: "So you say. I note you give no evidence for the statement, though. As it stands, this is just opinion, without any support."

Thanks for asking for more, kind of you -- I wouldn't want to give you the full explanation without being asked (I do have a paper coming out but it's 20K words -- me at my most concise! -- explaining it). Ready for that? :wink:

gregkavarnos wrote:
This is why the Buddha makes the point over and over and over that he preaches liberation here and now; he's not talking about something that may eventually happen after many lifetimes; he says you can work toward good rebirths if you wish, or you could be liberated in this lifetime -- and which do you suppose is the one he's suggesting you choose: taking a long time or doing it soon?
Hogwash, even in the Theravadra Canon there are references to stream enterers, once returners, non returners and arhats, all as valid options for a Buddhist practitioner. You reckon the Buddha was just jiving us then?

Oh no jive. I reckon (1) that becoming liberated is a process that takes effort and study and everyone has to start somewhere, and not everyone gets instant enlightenment which is why there are levels and (2) that he is making specific references with his returners -- to DO, actually. But the connection there is complex (you'd probably need to read the full paper to have the background to understand what I'd want to say about stream enterers and returners and arahats).

gregkavarnos wrote:
How do I explain DO without recourse to past lives or karma? In one sense I don't -- the lives that led to ours (our parents and theirs on back for generations to what once seemed like "beginningless time") give us the conditions we come into the world with -- those underlying tendencies that cause us to generate a sense of self -- those are critical to understanding what DO is saying. And karma in the sense of intentional actions that have consequences for us in the future -- those are critical, also. So "past lives" and "karma" play a part, but when I speak of them, they don't mean the same thing you might mean when you speak of them.
You can't that's why you don't.


Sorry? I can't and don't what? Explain DO without recourse to past lives or karma? I did, actually, but perhaps you missed it? I said that what I mean by "karma" isn't the same as what you mean by "karma". I demonstrated this when I said:

(1) It is about "old karma" in the sense that we come into the world with certain underlying tendencies
(2) it is about the way we make "new karma" by acting on those tendencies when we are able to make other choices.
(3) But the actions we take are those we can observe, that are within our control if we are but educated to understand the issues (thereby ending ignorance), and the consequences of those actions are those we can see for ourselves quite clearly -- within this very lifetime.

So that was it in a nutshell (less than 20K words!) but of course I can do more detail, and more detail, and more detail (right up to 20K words).

To make it more detailed I could say that (1) is the early steps (#1 ignorance through #5 senses) describe the initial conditions and underlying tendencies. (2) are the middle steps (#6 contact through #9 clinging) where we can see how we put those underlying tendencies into action. (3) is the end result, where how we are by nature, and how we behave by default become visible through our actions, and have the consequences we feel -- dukkha. All happening in this very lifetime, but starting from conditions that were there in us before we were ever born.

When I'm being my most precise, I actually don't use karma in explaining DO -- I notice the Buddha doesn't use karma when he's describing DO either -- it's more about dukkha, its causes, impermanence, and how to end it than it is about karma (particularly karma in relation to rebirth) so it can be explained entirely without karma (or rebirth), where (1) is just our underlying tendencies (2) are the things we do as a result of those underlying tendencies and (3) is how dukkha arises from (1) and (2) -- no need to discuss karma or past or future lives at all.

If you'd like still *more* detail, I welcome specific questions.

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Re: Dependent Origination

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:42 pm

nowheat wrote:The only thing that unravels is the traditional understanding; this isn't the same as the Dharma unraveling. The Buddha's dharma makes perfect sense without literal, after-death rebirth, and with karma being something we can see in action in this very life. This can be very hard to see, though, when one's understanding of Buddhism is entirely based on the traditional take.


Your reformed ideology is no longer Buddhism.

The Buddha's dharma was originally about how to overcome cyclic existence, i.e., involuntary rebirth.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:11 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Well, it seems to me that in fact you don't understand Theravada, or Buddhism as whole, for that matter.

I'm participating so that you can correct any misunderstandings you perceive that I have.

What's well supported by the Pali suttas is the opposite view that you are presenting.

Yes, the modern Theravadan interpretation is well-supported by the Pali suttas. But the view I am presenting is not it's *opposite*. It is essentially the same with one difference: belief in rebirth. The dharma I understand does not endorse belief in things for which one has too little evidence; it endorses holding *no* views about things for which one has inadequate evidence, and instead focusing on what one can see -- cause and effect -- for oneself. Beyond that it is essentially the same.

Buddha didn't have to be mysterious, you know? He could have put it very plainly as there were schools more or less advocating your position at that time.

I'd be interested to know what you perceive as "my position" -- I suspect there was only one school advocating it at the time.

The Buddha wasn't being mysterious -- he was being as clear as clear could be, but he was being clear in the context of his times. The only thing that makes it seem mysterious is that we have lost the context.

You seem to be the one convinced to know enough about Buddhadharma to the point of safely being able to reform it without losing nothing. We are just discovering what Buddhadharma is, starting by not adulterating so that it fits our preconceived ideas about reality.

It's not in my capacity to reform the Buddhadharma -- it is what it is, has always been, and will always be. I started reading suttas not holding to any preferred view of what I wanted to find there -- all I have ever wanted is to understand what the Buddha actually is saying: not what people tell me he says, not what I would like him to be saying, but what is he actually saying? I have studied what teachers and authorities say he says, then I go to the suttas to see if I can find him saying what they say he says -- sometimes I find it, sometimes I find something else being said. I put what I find into practice to check my understanding. My approach is also "just discovering what Buddhadharma is, starting by not adulterating so that it fits... preconceived ideas about reality". I understand that you can't see that this is what I am doing, because your view is that you have the correct understanding, so I *must* be bending what's there to fit; I understand also that you have no interest in seeing it any other way:

Dechen Norbu wrote: But judging for the part you presented, it isn't that special and I'm not that much interested.


But this is what the Buddha is talking about in DO: we develop a view, we make it so much a part of us that we reject anything that doesn't seem to fit. -"Not even going to waste time on it -- obvious nonsense -- why would I want to try to understand what's actually being said?"- This is also why my views are constantly being misinterpreted here (my view is *the opposite* of what's in the Pali suttas?) because it is so easy to just paint them as saying whatever is easiest to dismiss. It's downright threatening to actually try to understand what's being said -- good gosh there might actually be sense in it! We might actually be tempted to give up a little chunk of ourselves/our views.

This is where this whole thread comes from: that fear. And the irony is that it's the very thing the Buddha was trying to point out to us, that clinging to self/views, the way we feel threatened. If we are actually, truly, fully confident of our understanding of the Buddhadharma, there is no threat at all in hearing other's (mis)understandings, is there? It gives us the opportunity to practice explaining fully what the Buddhadharma is (in our -- presumably correct, if we are that confident in it -- understanding). Only if we have some doubt about our own understanding -- either our grasp or its actual accuracy -- can we be threatened by discussing other ways of seeing it.

The true Buddhadharma -- whatever it is (your understanding, a Zen Master's, mine, someone else's, something in between; none of these) -- only wins through straightforward, honest, heartfelt, serious, open-minded discussion and putting it into practice in life to test it. It wins through increased understanding; that doesn't happen through the closing of minds.

Well, you convinced a few dabblers. Good for you! However I don't see that happening often when it comes to serious students and practitioners. We do have teachers you see? People who spent all their lives studying and practicing real Dharma. They seem to confirm our suspicions that maybe some of those core wild claims of Buddhist are actually true.

As far as I know, I haven't convinced anyone of anything. Those who understand dukkha more or less the way I do have come to that understanding -- as far as I know -- the way I did -- by reading the suttas and putting what they found there into practice in their own lives.

Your teachers "seem to confirm" your suspicions? or they do confirm? They have personal experience of rebirth? or are they doing what the Buddha declared Brahmins do, each one, back seven generations, telling you the way without ever having been there themselves? The dharma I talk about is that which one can see for themselves, which is the dharma the Buddha suggested we talk about.

MN 38 wrote:"Is it the case that you speak simply in line with what you have known, seen, & understood for yourselves?"


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