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Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean? - Page 4 - Dhamma Wheel

Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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piotr
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby piotr » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:13 pm

Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:25 am

Looking at the Pali English dictionary, the word "ucchedavaada" is a compound word of "uccheda" and "vaada." "Uccheda" means the breaking up, annihilation, disintegration. "Vaada" means a theory or creed. So it is the theory of the annihilation.

If the question of what it actually means, the understanding of the various ancient schools of India can help us there. Most notably the materialist schools (Lokayata) seemed to posit a self but it was connected with the body that thus was no more when the body died. Thus it was a rejection of any sort of post death existence.

Why I believe the Buddha rejected this theory is not that it denied some idea of post existence for some entity. The real thing the Buddha rejected was the positing of any entity that was associated with me and myself, regardless of whether it existed post mortum or not.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:30 pm

I agree with DarkDream

The rejection of annihilationism by the buddha was becasue it still held a thought of self. Also for an unwise person holding such a view it could lead to negative behaviour and lead one away from nibbana
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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:55 pm

Before I went ahead and answered in my previous post, I found this very illumination essay that answers this question.

I think it should be kept in mind that, at least in my opinion, that the Buddha was not a philosopher in the sense of promulgating theories and constructing a metaphysical ediface. For example the first Noble truth, that "there is suffering," is not trying to posit a universal metaphysical maximum that life is suffering. What he was trying to say is that the common person's experience of life contains suffering. The difference is an abstract generalized truth opposed to a directly experiential description. Why the Buddha was interesting in the experiential realm of suffering, was because in order to cause its cessation one needed to understand it.

As such, I don't think the Buddha really cared one way or the other that there was existence after death in some form or the other; I believe for him this question was not the important one. What the important question for him is how is one to escape suffering.

The reason he preached against such views of ucchedavada was that any form of identification with anything associated with a notion of self (some continuous essential entity) was a stumbling block to enlightenment because it is a source of great attachment, conceptual profliferation and conflict.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:39 pm

difficult question because trying to explain it, the novice might get the wrong ideas.

Now Buddha was not an annihilationist, mundane right view for the puthujana includes, that there is the next life, there is a result of kamma or good and bad actions..., there are other worlds (heaven and hell) etc...in other words that there is dependent co arising.

Buddha never said, after death, that's it.

Now explaining nibbana is something else altogether where even greater care is required in that Atta is not explained with the confusion of other contemplatives -- it is explained in terms of experience of sati or mindfulness -- body in body, feeling in feeling, mind in mind, dhamma in dhamma.

So Atta is described in terms of what it is NOT. It is NOT the 5 aggregates subject to clinging. It is NOT the 6 senses and it's objects.

In several suttas about anicca, dukkha, anatta Buddha states clearly:

If Form were Atta, one would be able to say, "let my form be thus"
If Feeling were atta (or self), one would be able to say, "let my feeling be thus"...etc.

So here, Buddha does not deny that there is an Atta, but defines what the true self is capable of -- atta is that which is fully controllable.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:07 pm

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:21 pm


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:36 pm


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:02 pm


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:24 pm

So just to summarize -- Buddhism does not posit any eternal, permanent "TRUE SELF" that just exists somewhere out there...that would mean we don't have to do anything.

In Buddhism, "self" and control of this self is carefully developed through only the Triple Gem and meditation.

Now considering that Buddha said that other teachings don't have saints -- that means other teachings actually lack soul or atta. :popcorn: interesting indeed.

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:11 am

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby green » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:14 pm


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:36 am

Greetings,

A question here for anyone interested in the Abhidhamma, does denying the individual characteristics of dhammas count as annihilationism in the Abhidhamma schema?

I was under the impression that ucchedavada was belief that "self" is destroyed at death, whereas the above explanation seems very remote from that.

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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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby pt1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:28 am


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:31 am

Greetings pt1,

Maybe you'd like to frame a new topic in the Classical Theravada section to explore the hypothesis?

I'd recommend against putting it in the Abhidhamma section, since there may be Sutta material of relevance to the question which I'm sure you don't want to ignore during your investigations.

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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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually mean?

Postby pt1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:54 am


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby mogg » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:41 am


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:41 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby daverupa » Wed May 01, 2013 5:50 pm


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Re: Ucchedavada (annihilationism) - what does it actually me

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 01, 2013 7:08 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."


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