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The negative language of Theravada. - Dhamma Wheel

The negative language of Theravada.

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Individual
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The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:30 am

Somewhat related to the discussion in , I have to ask: Is it absolutely necessary to speak of the dhamma in terms of the negative, in order for the teaching to be clear?

What I mean is, I have a preference for more positive language in a way that, to me, seems to carry the same meaning but approaches the extinction of ego from a different angle that feels safer and more comfortable.

"Storehouse consciousness" instead of "all mental processes stop."

"Expanding infinitely in all directions," instead of "being extinguished".

True life and abiding happiness, not merely the "deathless" and the "cessation of suffering."

...That Nirvana is true self, Emptiness is true self, Buddha-nature is one's true nature... Are these ideas just different ways of stating Theravada Buddhist teachings or are they completely contrary to the Pali canon?
The best things in life aren't things.


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retrofuturist
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:36 am

Greetings Individual,

Yes, I think it is necessary, because otherwise the teachings would just point to the heavenly realms, and that's not what the Dhamma is about.

I see no reason though to think of them as negative (in a qualitative sense) simply because they negate something.

Renunciation is the key.

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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Ben
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:40 am

Hi Individual

I would ask you, are you talking about the same things?
One of the reasons that Nibbana is described with terms of negation is that it is so far removed from mundane human experience that the most precise method of describing nibbana is by defining it by negating what we know and experience.

Also, if you look at the canon and look at how the Buddha describes liberation, the translators have used the same linguistic conventions. Be careful that you do not associate negation as being morally or emotionally negative. Also be careful in substituting 'positive' synonyms, that you do not dilute the meaning of what is being said!
Metta

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.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Jechbi
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:41 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:43 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

Individual
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:00 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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retrofuturist
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:06 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

Element

Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Element » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:49 am


Element

Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Element » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:54 am


Element

Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Element » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:09 am


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Cittasanto
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:47 am

if something stops and ends it stops and ends
saying it is stored is saying it doesn't end.

interpreting things in an opposing way is not always possible


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.

Individual
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:16 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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genkaku
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby genkaku » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:33 pm

If it seems relevant, the medical profession adheres to the injunction, "Do no harm." It does not adhere to the injunction, "Do a lot of good." Why? My guess is that we invariably do harm of one kind or another and it behooves us to be on our toes. Further, once we utter the word "good," the world fills up with endless interpretations, many of them leading to a good deal of harm.
Smile just one smile




Individual
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:42 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


rowyourboat
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:24 pm

i think no one can guarantee permanant happiness- that would be a lie- as happiness itself is impermanant- the only truth is the cessation of suffering (it almost goes without saying- but it has been said clearly by the buddha that he is not leading his bikkhus towards suffering but to calm, mindful, blissful mental states- but even these arise and pass away- no doubt more frequently). Saying 'I teach more frequent happiness' doesnt quite have the same ring to it for me.
to talk of positives or negatives in terms of nibbana would be a falacy- at least talkng of nibbana in the negative is closer to the truth
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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kc2dpt
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:28 pm

- Peter


Individual
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:50 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


Element

Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby Element » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:18 pm


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kc2dpt
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:49 pm

- Peter


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retrofuturist
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Re: The negative language of Theravada.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:06 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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