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The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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DarwidHalim
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:24 am

It is not a challenge.

Buddha himself know he is the 4th Buddha coming to this earth. He himself know all previous buddha has disciples that can be saved. He himself know in the future Buddha Maitreya will come after him and the dharma will be alive again.

He knew all of that.

With this background, thinking he cannot see there are people with little eyes in their eyes, are a joke.

If I know previous buddha has so many disciples that can be saved, and in the future Buddha Maitreya will again have so many disciples that also can be saved, I really cannot see the point why at this moment, there are no people with little dust that I can save.

Talking about clairvoyance, it seems that Brahma Sahampati can read Buddha's mind. This is not possible if Buddha doesn't have the intention for him to know. Buddha disciple can have cliarvoyant such as reading the mind of ordinary people, but they cannot read the mind of Buddha. They have to ask. There are level of clairvoyant. You may be able to read his mind, but it doesn't mean you can read her mind. It depends on whether his dust is more or less than you.

So, the act of the challenge, actually is Buddha idea for the request of turning the dharma wheel, which in this case can be for the higher realm where that Brahma belong to.

This is another perspective to see the issue.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Zom
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby Zom » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:35 am

Last edited by Zom on Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:37 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:23 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:34 am

Greetings Mike,

It is the Dhamma that is profound, hard to realize etc.... and that is so independent of the concepts the Buddha used to express it.

Whether the concepts themselves are profound, hard to realize etc. is another matter, but it is certainly related to the challenge the Buddha had at hand. Whether the concepts are simple or multi-layered etc. they must still be pointing to that which is profound, hard to realize etc. If they are interpreted in such a way that they point to the facile and obvious, there may be grounds for concern.

The Blessed One was communicating something very profound, hard to realize etc. and (as had been pointed out by others above) had to pitch different messages to different audiences of different capabilities. It's not unsurprising perhaps, in the scheme of the "gradual teaching", with gradual progress with it's long slope (i.e. beginning, middle and end), that various aspects of the Dhamma of increasing subtlety or profundity (both of which are probably a better choice of word than "complexity") are introduced at different points along that learning curve.

For example, I don't think (from the sutta evidence available, at least) that the Buddha would sit down a complete noob layperson and explain the ins-and-outs of dependent origination to them. There would be no point. Something simple, morality-based, uncontroversial (i.e. to not unncessarily upset the listener) would produce better results than something that resulted in bewilderment.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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mikenz66
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:35 am

Hi Retro,

Sure, but what does "hard to realise" actually mean?

Something can be hard to realise because it takes practice and persistence, like training to run marathon distances, but it's quite clear what has to be done.
Or it can be hard to realise because, in addition to taking time, it is very difficult to understand the technicalities, like studying for a degree in mathematics.

I think the interesting thing about your questions is whether or not realising the Dhamma hinges on understanding some intricate technicalities, like the math example. Or whether, to paraphrase a number of teachers: "Doing this practice is extremely simple, keeping up the effort is hard."

:anjali:
Mike

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fig tree
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby fig tree » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:47 am

The idea that an "awake one" would in any meaningful sense be reluctant to help out has always seemed very out of place to me.

I have no way of knowing, but my gut reaction has been to suspect that what really happened is that the Buddha described to some of his followers how upon awakening he had reflected on the comfort of awakening, the challenges of leading anybody else to it, and the benefits to the many of deciding to do so in spite of those challenges (with or without a friendly deva to serve as a sounding board), and that the story that has come down to us is a kind of dramatization.

It provides an opportunity to highlight the merits of the gradual path, that benefits people of all levels of nearness to awakening.

Fig Tree

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:26 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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kirk5a
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:05 am

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:09 am

Greetings,

Thanks Kirk. :thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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mikenz66
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:03 am

So does it mean technically difficult, like math or philosophy? It doesn't seem so, judging from the sutta descriptions of how the Buddha taught lay people:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#gradual
and how the gradual path for monks is described:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/index.html

However it would be interesting to hear from a Pali expert.

:anjali:
Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:32 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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mikenz66
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:34 am

You mean, in English, the Dhamma is straightforward, not complicated?

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:39 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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mikenz66
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:11 pm


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kirk5a
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:53 pm

Really nicely said, Mike. My mind is gladdened by reading it. And now, the laundry.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:50 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

nowheat
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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:29 am

Interesting topic.

1) A genuine story or saint-making storytelling? Is it true that the dhamma is difficult to teach?

I'd assume the story is original to the time and that the Buddha had a hand in its creation. Did the events actually happen? No, but it's great representative storytelling. Does it make a valid point? Yes -- teaching the dhamma is a challenge.

2) How did the wide variety of people he was speaking to affect the form of his teaching?

As far as I can tell, he taught by trying to understand where people were in their lives and practices, and to speak to them in the paradigm they were familiar with, bending its terms to match his dhamma.

3) Why does he mention dependent arising? Is all the dhamma hard to see or just the bits he mentioned?

Now that's a tough question to answer, because the answer is complex.

As mentioned above, the things he specifically names are either directly dependent arising or liberation from it. The Buddha is naming the difficulties as seeing the process and how hard it is to imagine what it would be like to be free of it.

Is it actually hard to see? This might depend on one's background and life experience. To anyone who has never delved into any actual "science of the mind" the concept itself could be difficult. Even for those of us who started from science, a beginner's grasp of what's being said can result in an uncomfortable feeling in the gut (speaking from personal experience), and perhaps even a reluctance to grasp the full implications. And then once one has really understood it, seeing it in action -- finding ALL the ways it plays out in one's own life -- that's *really* challenging.

Is the rest of the teaching as hard to see? As mentioned by Ñāṇa, the rest of the teaching *is the same stuff* (it is all dependent arising and the escape from it) so in that sense, yes. But the rest of the teaching has more of an "entry level" access to it that provides a great "front door" for the teaching. It offers a place to start to see things in one's own life, and the skills to make that possible, so at that level it's not as difficult. But because all the apparently "entry level" teachings are actually trying to get us to see dependent arising and how to escape from it, it's really not as easy as it seems.

:namaste:

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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby nowheat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:38 am


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Re: The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:21 am



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