The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
MayaRefugee
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The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby MayaRefugee » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:02 pm

Hi Guys,

I'm hoping someone here can steer me in the right direction.

I am intrigued as to how the Buddha saw ones responsibility to feed and protect the physical form if one has no-self i.e. anatta.

How does nourishment and self-protection fit into the Buddha's teachings?

Are there any terms, concepts or teachings that you know of that would help me learn more about this topic?

I know I'm only new but any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Peace.

yuuki
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby yuuki » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:01 pm

I have read that the Buddha remained agnostic about the self. What anatta means, and I think this is very important, is that none of the five aggregates are self. I tend to take Thanissaro Bhikkhu's view on this that he gives in "No-self or Not-self?": http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... self2.html

He also has an essay with more detail called "The Not-self Strategy": http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tself.html

I remember him saying in a dhamma talk that, like any other strategy, not-self must be used at the proper time. If not-self makes you want to not sustain your body with nourishment, then you may be applying not-self at the wrong time. The appropriate attitude in that situation might be metta; if anything we tend to not give ourselves the love we need.

The short answer to why I think we should care about our own nourishment: We can't develop the qualities of the path without support from our bodies, and the fruit of the path, nibbana, is what we wish for all beings, including ourselves. :)

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Cittasanto
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:14 pm

just because ultimately there is no self to be found, doesn't mean that what this self can be applied to doesn't exist.

there are useful conventions such as I, me, my . . . and then there are attachments to an I, me, my . . .


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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SDC
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby SDC » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:04 am



This may help explain. The Buddha describes his practice of austerities (not taking care of the body).

Edit - Maybe I should explain why I think this will help answer your question. The Buddha could not fully awaken while following a way of life in which he did not take care of himself. He needed to be nourished to the point where his mind would be able to function at the high level that his awakening would require. As far as this sutta having a relation to anatta; during his awakening he was able to fully realize that there is no self.

MayaRefugee
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby MayaRefugee » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:47 pm

SDC, just read the piece you linked.

It deals with the theme i'm pondering very well, thank you so much for your help.

yuuki, it's too late at the moment for me to read your links but I will definately read them tomorrow, thank you also for your help.

Peace.

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SDC
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby SDC » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:41 pm


MayaRefugee
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby MayaRefugee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:40 am

yuuki, just read your links - BRILLIANT!

Thanks so much...

Peace.

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Chula
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Chula » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:25 pm

Last edited by Chula on Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Chula
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Chula » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:31 pm

The next paragraphs of the introduction are also relevant and provide further clarification:

The second mistaken inference is that, given the thoroughness with which the Buddha teaches not-self, one should draw the inference that there is no self. This inference is treated less explicitly in this discourse, although it is touched upon briefly in terms of what the Buddha teaches here and how he teaches.

In terms of what: He explicitly states he cannot envision a doctrine of self that, if clung to, would not lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. He does not list all the possible doctrines of self included under this statement, but MN 2 provides at least a partial list:

I have a self... I have no self... It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self... or... This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

Thus the view "I have no self" is just as much a doctrine of self as the view "I have a self." Because the act of clinging involves what the Buddha calls "I-making" — the creation of a sense of self — if one were to cling to the view that there is no self, one would be creating a very subtle sense of self around that view (see AN 4.24). But, as he says, the Dhamma is taught for "the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding."

Thus it is important to focus on how the Dhamma is taught: Even in his most thoroughgoing teachings about not-self, the Buddha never recommends replacing the assumption that there is a self with the assumption that there is no self. Instead, he only goes so far as to point out the drawbacks of various ways of conceiving the self and then to recommend dropping them. For example, in his standard series of questions building on the logic of the inconstancy and stress of the aggregates, he does not say that because the aggregates are inconstant and stressful there is no self. He simply asks, When they are inconstant and stressful, is it proper to assume that they are "me, my self, what I am"? Now, because the sense of self is a product of "I-making," this question seeks to do nothing more than to induce disenchantment and dispassion for that process of I-making, so as to put a stop to it. Once that is accomplished, the teaching has fulfilled its purpose in putting an end to suffering and stress. That's the safety of the further shore. As the Buddha says in this discourse, "Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

yuuki
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby yuuki » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:09 pm


yuuki
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby yuuki » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:10 pm


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Chula
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Chula » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:11 pm


Sanghamitta
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:45 am

The term " No- self " is a thorny problem. " Anatta" literally means, " No Atman ". Atman is and was the Hindu concept that equates to the western term "soul". i.e. something permanent that exists apart from the body and mind. The Buddha was saying that the Atman does not exist. Not that there is no self. There is a self, but it is constantly changing, has no permanence, and its attempts to find something permanent results in Dukkha, in stress and unease. So we are a changing body and a changing mind, and they need taking care of as long as they last. There is no "us" that HAS a changing body and mind, that is what we are. A process of change.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:23 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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Dan74
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Dan74 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:46 am

I heard a teacher once say that before one is truly ready to let go of a self, one's got to have a strong healthy self.

What this means in practice is that if my life is in shambles because I am unable to carry out my responsibilities I may long for a "no-self" kind of thing as a release from this "burden" but this is completely wrong. Or if I think my life is fantastic and I am having so much fun, then the Dhamma appears to be pessimistic with it's talk of suffering, anatta etc. This is wrong too, because if one scratches the surface of such a happy life one inevitably finds a swarm of insecurities and anxieties that one needs constant distraction from. The provisional "middle way" is a well-adjusted person carrying out their responsibilities and living a moral life who recognizes the fact of dukkha and turns to Dhamma.

This is a good place to start from, but of course few of us do. So it's important not to misunderstand anatta teachings as a carte blanche to neglect one's responsibilities and become absorbed in oneself only.

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Kim OHara
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Re: The Buddha and Temporal "Neccessities".

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:27 am



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