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Dependent Origination, Kamma, and Rebirth

Interesting article here. The author believes that the modern concepts of Kamma and rebirth held by many Buddhists are the result of fundamental misunderstanding of dependent origination, due to it being such a profound concept.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books6/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Paticcasamuppada.htm

Long article, but worth the read.

bookwormlobsterHamsakaCinorjerupekkaeggsavior
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Comments

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Thank you @Amthorn.

  • One of the more interesting passages:

    IV.  There is no transmigrating consciousness (patisandhi vinnana; that which connects this life to the next) in the language of dependent origination. Therefore, the consciousness (vinnana) in dependent arising refers to the Six Consciousness (arising from contacts between the Six Roots and Six Objects). The Buddha never explained consciousness as transmigrating consciousness because his purpose is to let us clearly see the Six Consciousness of ordinary sense organs. Transmigrating consciousness was only mentioned in essays in latter period. These essays unconsciously introduced the concept of a continuing existence into Buddhism. They have encroached Buddhism like destructive insects. The truth is we already have consciousness due to ordinary sense organs or Consciousness from Ignorance in the process of dependent arising, and no longer need a transmigrating consciousness. 

    bookwormCinorjer
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited February 2015

    I have read that some time ago and unlike what many who read it think, because the author presents it that way, this is not news. At least in my understanding.

    It is not the from moment to moment DO VS the Reincarnation DO.
    It is both.

    If you look at the Great Forty sutta, there seems to be a division of how to practice.

    1. Worldly, not seeking nibbana

    And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

    1. Unworldly, seeking unbinding.

    And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html.

    But both are Right View!

    I also think this article is poorly written and in no way explains why to disconsider all the references to reincarnation there are in the suttas.

    That reincarnation only is mentioned only in later essays is directly wrong.
    Reincarnation is mentioned a zillion times in the canonical suttas themselves.

    /Victor

    Lonely_Traveller
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    If anybody has read a translation of Buddhadasas text from Chinese or the original text. It would be interesting to see if it says all the things this author alleges?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Amthorn said: > Interesting article here. The author believes that the modern concepts of Kamma and rebirth held by many Buddhists are the result of fundamental misunderstanding of dependent origination, due to it being such a profound concept.

    Thanks, interesting stuff which I'm familiar with. The problem is that Buddhadasa's interpretation of DO isn't supported by the suttas, particularly in terms of the nidana "definitions" in SN12.2 and MN9. The suttas simply don't support the idea of all 12 nidanas being a purely psychological sequence. But I've made this point before and will not rabbit on any further about it.

    I do agree with the emphasis on observing DO in the moment, though this only really works with the contact-feeling-craving section of the DO sequence.

    bookworm
  • What is your insight and experience?

    No independent ego/soul/spiritual woo woo or wifi cloud download of our attached memories? Nothing going on yet?
    See if somone will take you through the first gate <3
    http://liberationunleashed.com

    . . . then the perception changes . . .

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @SpinyNormal said:

    The suttas simply don't support the idea of all 12 nidanas being a purely psychological sequence. But I've made this point before and will not rabbit on any further about it.

    I've wondered about this, where the 12 ever somehow became purely or solely psychological, when that wasn't what I myself got out of the Pali canon (not like I even dream of being a scholar of it).

    It seems a useful interpretation, in theory, but maybe a bit too 'tidy'. We're very good at re-translating ancient wisdom into myths and calling it 'figurative', not literal. My question is how that got decided and by whom. By "whom" I mean by what authority. And does it actually matter, when all the relativity runs out of excuses?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:> It seems a useful interpretation, in theory, but maybe a bit too 'tidy'. We're very good at re-translating ancient wisdom into myths and calling it 'figurative', not literal. My question is how that got decided and by whom. By "whom" I mean by what authority. And does it actually matter, when all the relativity runs out of excuses?

    The idea of the nidanas being purely psychological is favoured by those with a more secular approach, but as I said this interpretation isn't supported by the suttas. No, it doesn't really matter, and there's no problem with having a modern take on traditional teachings. I just find it frustrating when people claim the suttas support this view, when in fact they don't.

    bookworm
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Right, @SpinyNorman I get your drift. What little I know and understand about sutta material, I agree. I sort of need my hand held while I study suttas but even I didn't see purely psychological phenomena. It might have helped that I studied this subject a bit 'with' Stephen Batchelor having motivated me to look. Batchelor questioned whether the last two or three nidannas were even original to the Pali canon, and not added in later (or am I thinking of something else . . )

    It's a bit of a relief to hear it doesn't matter 'in the great scheme of things', cuz what IS will be what happens whatever my level of comprehension or belief.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    If you look at some of the discussions over on the Dhamma Wheel forum you'll see that there isn't a consensus at all on how DO should be interpreted, there are all sorts of ideas floating around. There are some very bright people over there, also people who read Pali and monastics.

    I think practically speaking the important bit with DO is observing how feelings arise based on input through the sense gates, and how craving and aversion then arise in dependence on feeling. That's partly why maintaining mindfulness is important.
    What makes this tricky is that a lot of this stuff is deep-seated and habitual, almost instinctual. The same applies to self-view, that is deeply ingrained.
    So we can observe these habitual reactions and slow them down, put some space around them, but IMO it takes a lot of insight to "break the chain" in a meaningful sense.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited February 2015

    In a nutshell, whatever you think, see, hear, [emotionally] feel, or say, is all based primarily on your initial perception of whatever is the 'object/subject of your focus in that instant.

    The trick is to be aware "in the Present Moment" and at any given present moment, that whatever you are seeing, hearing, 'feeling' or saying is all created by your immediate recognition and reception of that object/subject.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Took me a while to put that into words, and even then, I'm sure some DW anal purist might argue it....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I sometimes use simple labelling like "seeing", "hearing", "feeling" to focus attention on the sense gates. But yes, there is a complex process of perceiving and conceiving, that gets in the way of knowing directly. I find these processes quite difficult to observe because they are so habitual and deeply ingrained.

  • I made the mistake of trying to read the essay at 5am, and got about halfway before my eyes refused to focus anymore. Deep stuff, but well written. I'll have to come back to it this evening.

    I think the hardest thing for people who are not Buddhists to understand (and many Buddhists, also) is that there is no one correct understanding or teaching of what Buddha and the sutras meant. Not only that, but we've been debating fundamental terms since the beginning and we're not about to stop now. So when I read something like this, I'm not trying to figure out if they're right or not. I'm trying to understand the point they're making, even if I don't agree with it, and how it fits into my own understanding.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @federica said:
    Took me a while to put that into words, and even then, I'm sure some DW anal purist might argue it....

    Oh, put those claws back in! If you have a question about the suttas DW is the go-to place, there are people over there who really know their stuff.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:> I think the hardest thing for people who are not Buddhists to understand (and many Buddhists, also) is that there is no one correct understanding or teaching of what Buddha and the sutras meant.

    Sure, there are layers of meaning, but in order to understand that you have to spend a lot of time studying the source material, ie the suttas and sutras. I think this is a challenge for a lot of people so they prefer to read commentaries and essays. That's fine, but people who aren't really familiar with the source material will find it very difficult to form any opinion on the validity or usefulness of a given interpretation.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @SpinyNorman said: Oh, put those claws back in! If you have a question about the suttas DW is the go-to place, there are people over there who really know their stuff.

    I know that, and will agree that if you want 'chapter and verse' reference, suttas, quotations, perspectives instructions and guidance, some folk over there is mighty good... I just haven't had entirely positive or great experiences over there, but that's a private issue, and one I deal with inwardly....;)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Fair enough. I haven't been over there for a while, but if I have questions about the suttas that's where I'd ask. Some of the discussions get very technical though!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited February 2015

    I think it can be a mistake to discount later writings in favor of just the canonical ones. Yes, there are some we can attribute directly to Shakyamuni/Guatama Buddha, but just because something is not attributed to him doesn't mean they didn't come from A buddha. If we are all Buddhas, I think it's fair to say the world has seen more than one and that other buddhas could certainly expound on such teachings so that particular cultures could incorporate them. I don't think that makes them wrong. Just perhaps makes them not the right path for particular people. I think sometimes Buddhists tend to look at Shakyamuni/Guatama Buddha as THE Buddha the way Jesus is THE Christ...the ONLY Christ. I don't think that is the case. Buddha wasn't special like Jesus in that way. (I personally think they were very similar but I mean from the point of view of the beliefs of the followers).

    Hamsaka
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @karasti said:> I think it can be a mistake to discount later writings in favor of just the canonical ones.

    I agree, though in my experience the problem more often arises the other way round, neglecting the source material in favour of commentaries or contemporary interpretations.

  • @SpinyNorman said:Sure, there are layers of meaning, but in order to understand that you have to spend a lot of time studying the source material, ie the suttas and sutras. I think this is a challenge for a lot of people so they prefer to read commentaries and essays. That's fine, but people who aren't really familiar with the source material will find it very difficult to form any opinion on the validity or usefulness of a given interpretation.

    But if you're reading the sutras in English, you're already reading an interpretation. And given the reality of problems translating esoteric terms from one language to another, those interpretations can make a real difference. Even Pali is a translation of the Buddha's actual words, but we have to start somewhere. So would you say a person has to learn Pali in order to get a real sense of what the Buddha taught?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I'd say they should look at several different translations and accumulatively consider for themselves whether (a) the versions more or less support one another or not, and (b) to take what most seems to fit in with their own understanding.
    Some cogitation and digestion is required for this.

    You don't just pick one house out of a selection of houses, simply because you like the paint colour..... you have to examine the interior and investigate other factors....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I find it quite difficult to study sutras. I am grateful I have a teacher to guide me on what reading he recommends (of course I read things I want regardless but I appreciate his input) and to answer questions. I can totally understand why someone picks up TNH or HHDL or whatever else in favor of the sutras. Even Bhikku Bodhi's "In Buddha's Words" is quite hard for me to trudge through. A foundation of Buddhism via the sutras might be ideal but I think that is asking a lot, especially of people who don't have teachers to help decipher them. Reading contemporary takes might be less harmful to their understanding than them attempting to read and understand sutras by themselves.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    You now what I find quite difficult about Theravada practice?

    The humour.
    There doesn't appear to be any.

    And I believe, if memory serves me correctly, the question about good humour, joking, laughing, was raised at Dhamma Wheel a while ago (maybe @SpinyNorman can remember whether my recollection is accurate), and many members came up with sutta references and quotes positively condemning any demonstration of laughter, fun, or personal mirthful enjoyment.

    I can't be dealing with that, myself....

    lobsterzenff
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Cinorjer said: So would you say a person has to learn Pali in order to get a real sense of what the Buddha taught?

    No, not necessarily, but it does require a lot of time and effort to develop a basic familiarity with the Pali Canon. And of course there are different translations to read and compare. My experience is that very few lay-Buddhists spend much time with the source material, which is a shame.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited February 2015

    @federica said:
    You now what I find quite difficult about Theravada practice? The humour.

    Yes, it can be a bit serious. But then I'm a pan-Buddhist at heart so I don't worry too much about that kind of thing. ;)

    ( pan-Buddhist? No, I don't mean I enjoy fry-ups in a pan....well, I do actually )

  • @Victorious said:
    I have read that some time ago and unlike what many who read it think, because the author presents it that way, this is not news. At least in my understanding.

    It is not the from moment to moment DO VS the Reincarnation DO.
    It is both.

    If you look at the Great Forty sutta, there seems to be a division of how to practice.

    1. Worldly, not seeking nibbana

    And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

    1. Unworldly, seeking unbinding.

    And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html.

    But both are Right View!

    I also think this article is poorly written and in no way explains why to disconsider all the references to reincarnation there are in the suttas.

    That reincarnation only is mentioned only in later essays is directly wrong.
    Reincarnation is mentioned a zillion times in the canonical suttas themselves.

    /Victor

    I think that the point the author is making is that rebirth does not imply a transmigration of consciousness. If consciousness is conditional from moment to moment, then how could it transmigrate after physical death? Rebirth in the context of continual death and rebirth of the ego, from moment to moment, makes more sense to me. I can't see any rational reason to believe in transmigration after death, regardless of what the suttas may or may not say. The aspects of Buddhism that appeal to me personally are the logical ones, not the metaphysical ones. Hell being a state of mind/ego rather than some mystical plane makes infinitely more sense to me. I am not a person who cares for belief, faith, religion, or mysticism. I only have my own senses and reason to go on. From my reading thus far, the Buddha also taught that these were the only things we could base any sense of causal reality on.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    ( pan-Buddhist? No, I don't mean I enjoy fry-ups in a pan....well, I do actually )

    Lol . . . Well, to be fair, I go back and forth between Theravada and Vajrayana sanghas, and both groups are lots of fun.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    No, not necessarily, but it does require a lot of time and effort to develop a basic familiarity with the Pali Canon. And of course there are different translations to read and compare. My experience is that very few lay-Buddhists spend much time with the source material, which is a shame.

    I make an effort, access to insight has a lot of it available. It can be daunting, but I would rather fill my head with suttas than pop culture. I don't see it as a gospel, just some of the best self-help books ever written!

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    I like to read the sutta/sutra and then the commentary or commentaries. If my understanding of the teaching differs from the commentary I like to examine why. Sometimes my view on it deepens and other times my view is unchanged but at least I know why.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Amthorn how do you manage to work with vajrayana sanghas without getting into the metaphysical?

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    If I may Amthorn?

    There is a lot of subjectivity in this statement. Excuse me if I point it out below.

    @Amthorn said:
    I think that the point the author is making is that rebirth does not imply a transmigration of consciousness. If consciousness is conditional from moment to moment, then how could it transmigrate after physical death?

    I am sorry but there is nothing in that reasoning that contradicts the transmigration of the self from one life to another?

    Being conditional from moment to moment does not contradict transmigration after physical death. Since that also is only transmigration from moment to another moment.

    I think what you mean is that it is not clearly understandable how consciousness might transmigrate from body to another body?

    I agree. But that was not the understanding of the passage you quoted.

    First of all I do not think we are talking transmigration at all. From moment to moment or life to life.

    Because if something transmigrates then there still is something continuous. And then it becomes problematic to explain what that is in both models without contradicting Anatta.

    @Amthorn said:
    Rebirth in the context of continual death and rebirth of the ego, from moment to moment, makes more sense to me.

    It might make more sense to you just as the reincarnation view might make more sense to someone else but that is just your subjective opinion and again that was not the issue.

    The issue is how to explain that the other explanation (reincarnation) is wrong way to see it as this text claims objectively. At that this article fails.

    I can't see any rational reason to believe in transmigration after death, regardless of what the suttas may or may not say.

    Yes but neither can you see any rational reason to believe that there is no transmigration after death. True? To claim such a thing is actually a logical fallacy.

    The aspects of Buddhism that appeal to me personally are the logical ones, not the metaphysical ones. Hell being a state of mind/ego rather than some mystical plane makes infinitely more sense to me. I am not a person who cares for belief, faith, religion, or mysticism. I only have my own senses and reason to go on.

    That is all that is needed!

    I think that Susima sutta will appeal to you.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.070.than.html

    From my reading thus far, the Buddha also taught that these were the only things we could base any sense of causal reality on.

    Really? From where? Interesting. It seems to contradict a large portion of the texts that talk about gods, heaven, karma and reincarnation.

    I would be much obliged if you could give a reference to a text?

    /Victor

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Yes, I would just like to add, @Amthorn , that any claims, from anyone of having seen, read, learnt, been taught 'this, that or the other" need to be accompanied by verifiable links and reference.
    It's sadly not sufficient to say 'I read that the Buddha said'.... if 'the Buddha said' anything, it needs backing up, as a matter of course.

    Many thanks. :)

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited February 2015

    @Amthorn
    Look I think that your approach to Dhamma is fine. And from that perspective I think I understand why this text speaks good to you.

    But you do not need to rely on poorly written "later essays" to support your course/cause as the one you posted here.

    Here are som original canonical suttas.

    I have already mentioned this one. Susima sutta. It explaines that belief in superrnormal stuff, reincarnation etc is not necessary to reach unbinding.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.070.than.html

    There is also the famous Kalamasutta that explains that you should practically verify the teachings before taking them to heart.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html

    And then the Great Forty cited in my first answer
    That shows that the path to unbinding does not involve belief in gods or karma etc.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html

    Further to start of your practice read the karaniya metta sutta

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.than.html

    And the Anapanasati sutta that will probably speak to you more that karaniya metta sutta. If I understand your personality correctly.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

    The last will build the mental tools you need to start to experiment on your own and to start understanding the Dependent Origination on which there is tons written.

    I will not recommend any text specially here because understanding the DO is experiential and experimental. It will be the implementation of all you have learned about the Dhamma.

    But do google and read all you can about it.

    When you do this you will learn that indeed your instinct on what rebirth and the choice of which DO appeals to you was right (probably). But do not take my word for it. Try it out yourself and you will know for yourself that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness'

    And then you can truly adopt them without any encouragement from a poorly written article on the net.

    I wish you well
    /Victor

    bookworm
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I love the Great Forty Sutta, it is a really important sutta, and it is one of my favorites.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    I am a sutta buff. I just love reading my suttas, though for some reason, I am not a sutta quoter, except when the situation strictly calls for it.

    I received this gorgeous tiny leaflet by Nyanatiloka Mahathera, "Fundamentals of Buddhism," which I find wonderful to understand certain key Buddhist concepts.
    I highly recommend it:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanatiloka/wheel394.pdf

    It consists of four lectures: "The essence of Buddhism," "Kamma and rebirth," "Dependent origination" and "Mental Culture."

    Victoriousbookworm
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Have downloaded it and will look forward to reading it at leisure....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited February 2015

    I'd recommend having a look at Sutta Central, I think it has the full set whereas ATI is quite limited really, lots of stuff missing.
    http://suttacentral.net/
    Click on the sutta tab first, it's a very impressive list.

    Victorious
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    No, not necessarily, but it does require a lot of time and effort to develop a basic familiarity with the Pali Canon. And of course there are different translations to read and compare. My experience is that very few lay-Buddhists spend much time with the source material, which is a shame.

    I respectfully disagree.
    It amazes me how people can get absorbed in intellectual hairsplitting over complicated concepts put in Pali.
    What do they get out of it? What’s the relevance?
    The way I see it, the whole thing is a huge distraction.

    lobsterkarasti
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    The fact remains that many lay-Buddhists don't read the suttas and rely on contemporary explanations which are many and varied. I think the source material is important for anyone with a serious interest.

    Sure, I get the Zen view, a special transmission outside the scriptures and all that, but that is just the view of one school. Theravadans do spend more time with the suttas, it's part of the approach in that school.

    Victorious
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited February 2015

    From a Theravada perspective: if you know your English translation of the Satipatthana Sutta, you know more than enough.
    The rest is practice.

    edit: If you want to run a marathon, you don’t need a degree in sports fysiology.
    You need a rough understanding of what you’re doing and of what can go wrong; but then you “just do it”.

    Victorious
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    That's a dumb analogy.
    If you want to run a marathon, you need to put dedicated training in, eat the right foods and apply yourself seriously to the punishment you'll be putting your body through.
    You may not need a degree in 'fysiology' but you sure damn well need to know exactly what you're letting yourself in for, and reading up a few blog pages and Facebook entries from amateur runners isn't going to cut it.
    You need to research the experiences of those in the know to equip yourself as thoroughly as possible in order to reach the finishing line in a healthy state and good frame of mind.

  • @federica
    The analogy isn’t dumb. You may find it not fitting and maybe come up with a better one, if you can.
    My point was that (in my opinion) people can easily over-think their Buddhism.
    It is a practice. You don’t need to understand Pali for that.

    I’m not being zennish here. I think intellectual hairsplitting can be found in every school of Buddhism, also in Zenbuddhism.

    The 4 the 5 and the 8; wasn’t that your way of telling people to keep it simple?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Yes, but simple doesn't mean easy.

    At some point, you have to quit thinking and do some serious studying.

  • I did complete the marathon, by the way, and I think that most things I read about the subject didn’t matter a lot.
    The instructions for running the marathon fit on one sheet of paper. The rest is running-experience and personal fine-tuning.

    How about one sheet of paper of instructions for enlightened life?
    I think it’s possible, if it is clear that it is a guideline for practice and that people need a lot of experience and personal fine-tuning for completing it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited February 2015

    Really, I think to be honest, as usual, there's a "Middle Way" to consider.

    There are those who feel more assured and confident, within their practice and implementation, if they immerse themselves in deep study, analysis, research, investigation, reading, interpreting, discerning....

    And others who simply look at the basics, and do their best to adhere to the fundamentals.

    Neither one is more - or less - right, than the other....

    I'm reminded of a lovely little passage from "The house at Pooh Corner"

    "Now," began the Owl, "The customary procedure in such cases is as follows...."

    "Please," asked Pooh, "What does 'crustimoney proceed-cake' mean? For I am a Bear with very little Brain, and long words bother me."

    I guess I fall into that category.
    I find all this Pali-sutta in-depth reading too much for me.

    Does that make me any worse, less intellectual, less a Buddhist?

    I don't think so. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

    the fundamental question has to be - which leads more quickly to enlightenment?

    The deep scholastic academic path, or the doofus-simple trail?

  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited February 2015

    Okay, I think we can reach a compromise.

    At times, and for some people more than for others, reading and studying in depth is fun and not harmful. For goodness sake I’ll admit that it may even be helpful in the right circumstances.
    And yes, I confess that once or twice I read a book myself and enjoyed it.

    Studying is not “The Way” but I suppose some people manage to blend it in nicely.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @zenff said:> From a Theravada perspective: if you know your English translation of the Satipatthana Sutta, you know more than enough.
    The rest is practice.

    Well, again that's rather a Zen view, but I take your point. I'd say there are 4 or 5 "essential" suttas, including the Satipatthana, but I've only come to that conclusion after extensive study and discussion, and I wouldn't just take somebody else's word for it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @federica said:> Really, I think to be honest, as usual, there's a "Middle Way" to consider.

    Sure, people are different, and they go through different stages of practice and interest. It's also about different schools and teachers, and skillful means, knowing what people need at any one time. For example Ajahn Chah would discourage western students from reading stuff, but the Ajahn himself was very well versed in the suttas.

    I know some people find the suttas a bit daunting, but the effort really is worthwhile, there's an incredible richness there, layered meaning, you find something new each time you go back.
    For example a few years back I did extensive study and practice on the Anapanasati Sutta, reading different translations, all the commentaries I could find, intensive retreats on the four tetrads. It was challenging but also very rewarding.

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