Everyone's Been Our Mother.

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SkyFox
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Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by SkyFox »

How literally is this? According to this, I've also been my mother's mother? Wasn't there some story in the sutra where a monk talks about a man eating his own father that reincarnated as a sheep?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Ultimately there is no “you”.

But, because you should treat every being
as though they had been your mother,
Then your conduct is exactly the same as if
they really were your mother.
So to emphasize that:
“every being has been your mother”.
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Bristollad
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Bristollad »

SkyFox wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2024 8:52 pm How literally is this? According to this, I've also been my mother's mother? Wasn't there some story in the sutra where a monk talks about a man eating his own father that reincarnated as a sheep?
Yes, you've probably been in every sort of relationship with every sentient being at some time: beginningless time x beginningless mindstream.

And as PVS points out, even if should somehow meet a sentient being you have no prior connection with, you should still treat them as if they were your most precious relation.
The antidote—to be free from the suffering of samsara—you need to be free from delusion and karma; you need to be free from ignorance, the root of samsara. So you need to meditate on emptiness. That is what you need. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
muni
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by muni »

It could help freeing from habitual perception by preferences. Because when there are any preferences, these cause grasping/ suffering by the experience of "my self".

So all have been mother - or father, if that helps better. Thanks mom. :anjali:
When you have lost courage, remember Lama. _/\_ _/\_ _/\_
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Aemilius
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Aemilius »

Mother, Mātu Sutta (SN 15:14–19), tr. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

"Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find.… A being who has not been your father.… your brother.… your sister.… your son.… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

“Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.” "
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 10:29 am Mother, Mātu Sutta (SN 15:14–19), tr. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

"Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find.… A being who has not been your father.… your brother.… your sister.… your son.… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

“Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.” "
But “why is that” doesn’t actually address how everyone could have been your mother. It just mentions beginningless-ness.
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Lazy_eye »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2024 10:21 pm Ultimately there is no “you”.

But, because you should treat every being
as though they had been your mother,
Then your conduct is exactly the same as if
they really were your mother.
So to emphasize that:
“every being has been your mother”.
:good:
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Aemilius
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Aemilius »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 6:25 pm
Aemilius wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 10:29 am Mother, Mātu Sutta (SN 15:14–19), tr. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

"Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find.… A being who has not been your father.… your brother.… your sister.… your son.… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

“Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.” "
But “why is that” doesn’t actually address how everyone could have been your mother. It just mentions beginningless-ness.
The beginningless process of rebirth is self-evident and it doesn't need to be taught or mentioned to the Buddha's audience present on that occasion.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 9:49 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 6:25 pm
Aemilius wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 10:29 am “Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.” "
But “why is that” doesn’t actually address how everyone could have been your mother. It just mentions beginningless-ness.
The beginningless process of rebirth is self-evident and it doesn't need to be taught or mentioned to the Buddha's audience present on that occasion.
That still doesn’t mean or explain how everybody had been your mother.
EMPTIFUL.
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Bristollad
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Bristollad »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 12:27 pm
Aemilius wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 9:49 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 6:25 pm
But “why is that” doesn’t actually address how everyone could have been your mother. It just mentions beginningless-ness.
The beginningless process of rebirth is self-evident and it doesn't need to be taught or mentioned to the Buddha's audience present on that occasion.
That still doesn’t mean or explain how everybody had been your mother.
Why not? It explains it for me. Where do you see the problem?

On another tangent, I've seen this same sutra translated as saying it's hard to find a being who hasn't been a mother. And if we've all been mothers, then anyone could have previously been our child. So, we will reach the same point—develop compassion for every sentient being.
The antidote—to be free from the suffering of samsara—you need to be free from delusion and karma; you need to be free from ignorance, the root of samsara. So you need to meditate on emptiness. That is what you need. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Vajrasvapna »

SkyFox wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2024 8:52 pm How literally is this? According to this, I've also been my mother's mother? Wasn't there some story in the sutra where a monk talks about a man eating his own father that reincarnated as a sheep?
Unlike some spiritual traditions where the cosmos had a beginning, in Buddhism, you have a beginningless cosmos where many universes can coexist in a causal chain. The concept of motherly beings is just a way to generate compassion. The Machig text also states that beings who help us at one time could harm us at another time, to prevent attachment and dualistic grasping. Even Bodhisattvas could be attached to beings in some sense, but they would see all of them as empty appearances, thus avoiding grasping.
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2024 10:21 pm Ultimately there is no “you”.

But, because you should treat every being
as though they had been your mother,
Then your conduct is exactly the same as if
they really were your mother.
So to emphasize that:
“every being has been your mother”.
Conventionaly also, since conventional truth is equal to the imaginary nature and even the Chandrakirti would only disagree about the ultimate with Yogacara sources.
Last edited by Vajrasvapna on Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Bristollad wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 3:53 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 12:27 pm
Aemilius wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 9:49 am

The beginningless process of rebirth is self-evident and it doesn't need to be taught or mentioned to the Buddha's audience present on that occasion.
That still doesn’t mean or explain how everybody had been your mother.
Why not? It explains it for me. Where do you see the problem?
Where’s the connection? By the same logic, at one time or another you’ve lived on every planet in the universe and had every dog and cat as a house pet and have been their house pet. You’ve eaten every animal and have been eaten by every animal.

Stating that:
From an inconceivable beginning comes the wandering-on. A beginning point is not discernible, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries—enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released
doesn’t make any mention as to why such relative exchanges would necessarily occur. If doesn’t mention them at all. It simply mentions “beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on”.
EMPTIFUL.
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Bristollad
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Bristollad »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:18 pm Where’s the connection? By the same logic, at one time or another you’ve lived on every planet in the universe and had every dog and cat as a house pet and have been their house pet. You’ve eaten every animal and have been eaten by every animal.
Yes. Is this idea a problem for you?
The antidote—to be free from the suffering of samsara—you need to be free from delusion and karma; you need to be free from ignorance, the root of samsara. So you need to meditate on emptiness. That is what you need. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Miorita »

The point is that you're motivated to gentler feelings like those shown by a parent

Because the relative truth is grim:

Image
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Bristollad wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 5:54 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:18 pm Where’s the connection? By the same logic, at one time or another you’ve lived on every planet in the universe and had every dog and cat as a house pet and have been their house pet. You’ve eaten every animal and have been eaten by every animal.
Yes. Is this idea a problem for you?
People can believe whatever they want.
The question raised by the OP was about the “mother in a past life” concept.
My point is that there’s nothing substantiating it as anything to be taken literally, and the quote presented by Amelius doesn’t add anything.

Whether it works for some people is also irrelevant. The God concept works for even more people. That doesn’t make it valid.
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Bristollad »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 6:58 pm
Bristollad wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 5:54 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:18 pm Where’s the connection? By the same logic, at one time or another you’ve lived on every planet in the universe and had every dog and cat as a house pet and have been their house pet. You’ve eaten every animal and have been eaten by every animal.
Yes. Is this idea a problem for you?
People can believe whatever they want.
The question raised by the OP was about the “mother in a past life” concept.
My point is that there’s nothing substantiating it as anything to be taken literally, and the quote presented by Amelius doesn’t add anything.

Whether it works for some people is also irrelevant. The God concept works for even more people. That doesn’t make it valid.
To be honest, I don't understand your problem. This idea has always seemed natural and obvious to me, so the Sutra doesn't seem to need metaphorical interpretation. Whatever. As long as we understand the need to have compassion for all beings, whether you want to take the teaching on mothers as a metaphor or literally doesn't matter to me.
The antidote—to be free from the suffering of samsara—you need to be free from delusion and karma; you need to be free from ignorance, the root of samsara. So you need to meditate on emptiness. That is what you need. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by narhwal90 »

I think the idea is to act like its true.
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Bristollad wrote: Sat Jun 22, 2024 8:15 pm To be honest, I don't understand your problem.
To be honest, I was addressing the question in the OP that is actually the topic of this thread.
:thinking:
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by Aemilius »

Richard Dawkins writes in his book The Ancestor's Tale, in the chapter The Tasmanian's Tale, p. 32, that when going backwards in time, measured in human generations:
"it doesn't take long before we hit the point in which everybody in that population is either a common ancestor [to all future humans] or has no surviving descendants."
He also says on the same page, " In fact, about 80 per cent of individuals in any generation will in theory be ancestors of everybody alive in the distant future."

There is a good graphic in the book illustrating this on page 28, as it may be difficult to believe and understand this.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: Everyone's Been Our Mother.

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2024 11:53 am Richard Dawkins writes in his book The Ancestor's Tale, in the chapter The Tasmanian's Tale, p. 32, that when going backwards in time, measured in human generations:
"it doesn't take long before we hit the point in which everybody in that population is either a common ancestor [to all future humans] or has no surviving descendants."
He also says on the same page, " In fact, about 80 per cent of individuals in any generation will in theory be ancestors of everybody alive in the distant future."

There is a good graphic in the book illustrating this on page 28, as it may be difficult to believe and understand this.
So? Of course we all share a common ancestor or ancestors. But we aren’t also their ancestors.

If we don’t take ‘have been your mother in the past’ literally, then whatever is being referred to as “you” fits with the principle of sunyata and dependent arising.

And if one does take “all beings have been your mother and you have been the mother of all beings” literally, then what is the “you” referring to?

That’s the point.
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