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One Viewset of Dharma

CloudCloud Veteran
edited November 2010 in Philosophy
It is said that the Buddha’s true teachings would be lost in 500 or 1000 years. No one can say, but if they were, would it not be the interference of self-centered delusion? This is just one viewset, not particularly of one school or another (or myself, as I’m on the fence about much)… not as an argument piece, but maybe a different way we might examine our views without a hint of "personal" re-emergence after this life. The idea came about when contemplating that the metaphoric may have been misconstrued as literal at some point and the teachings distorted. Seriously don’t get all mad at me and call me a heretic or anything, this is just an exercise. :)

This is a future without the “I” in it, declining an eternity view or a doctrine of self, or any view that gives rise to “personal” involvement beyond this temporary life. It’s the most difficult view for a human to handle, fully accepting their impermanency and that life goes on without them, recycling their borrowed atoms; yet in positive fashion preserving, either known or unknown to humankind, the good they have done. Each word spoken, each act done in skillful fashion generates wholesome conditions; if toward other life, those conditions are “passed on”. This could be viewed as the Bodhisattva ideal, if not for other differing views associated with that concept.

Samsara = suffering born of Ignorance that leads to unsatisfactoriness/frustration (Dukkha), recurring throughout a human’s life until all Ignorance has been abated through acquisition of Insight into the reality of mind and all phenomena.

Karma (personal) = thoughts, speech and actions which create conditions (seeds) that have the potential to ripen as wholesome or unwholesome mental states. Also as “cause and effect”, karma can bear immediate fruit. The focus of this teaching is on mental processes alone; concerned with suffering and the cessation of suffering that results from Ignorance. Hearing the Dharma can give rise to conditions leading to this path.

Karma (impersonal) = the sum total of conditions that give rise to each moment, marking the interdependence of all temporary things. Based upon this impersonal karma are temporary formations arisen (even children require the karma of both parents and more); the more impact, the longer the effect on clinging-based (history/tradition) humans (i.e., the continuing effects of the speech/actions of The Buddha and Jesus).

Nirvana = the cessation of Samsaric suffering through elimination of Ignorance. Never separate, never born (unborn). No further identity/self view, knowing all things are impermanent and conditioned, acting out of compassion for the suffering of others with full right view of reality with no thought of personal gain.

Rebirth (metaphorical & personal) = the re-arising of unwholesome states of mind that lead to suffering, each conditioned moment of “Samsara”. With an understanding of Karma (cause and effect) as it applies to the chain of Dependent Origination to cause suffering, proper effort is taken to bring about conditions leading to Nirvana. Rebirth & Karma are two necessary parts of the same teaching.

Rebirth (literal & selfless) = the transformation of all temporary phenomena into new temporary phenomena, as governed by Impermanence, Karma and Conditionality.

EDIT: It is useful to reflect that in the earlier teachings, the focus is on liberation. In the next evolution, the focus is pulled back and the perspective shifts to be rebirth-oriented (though of course moving to emphasize compassion in lieu of wisdom). In the next-next evolution, even a framework for the rebirth in-between state (bardo) comes to be and personal reincarnation takes root. I absolutely could not say for sure, but doesn't it seem like it's exactly moving toward "self"-preservation, perhaps in very subtle fashion that speaks to our underlying self-centered desires? And what about Pure Land? It's very confusing, and we forever argue because of these differing perspectives. (This is not to advocate or denigrate any particular schools. IMHO they all contain teachings that can lead to the truth and are worthy of respect for the things they each do well also. It's just something to ask yourself, and hopefully have your own honest opinion about even taking into account the school you've chosen for yourself as your self-assessed preference, no affront intended whatsoever trust me. :))


  • edited November 2010
    I think the sasana will disappear one day much like the ancient religions of old. It is then Maitreya will go from Tushita Heaven and will be reborn as a human. It may occur naturally, (the teaching becoming forgotten) or a human-caused disaster (that will lead to the deaths or the end of the people who know the Dharma). Humanity will have to recover from the age of darkness and the Dharma will return. No reason to fear.
  • Floating_AbuFloating_Abu Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Cloud wrote: »
    It is said that the Buddha’s true teachings would be lost in 500 or 1000 years. No one can say, but if they were, would it not be the interference of self-centered delusion?


    §1. Practice is what keeps the true Dhamma pure.

    The Lord Buddha taught that his Dhamma, when placed in the heart of an ordinary run-of-the-mill person, is bound to be thoroughly corrupted (saddhamma-patirupa); but if placed in the heart of a Noble One, it is bound to be genuinely pure and authentic, something that at the same time can be neither effaced nor obscured.

    So as long as we are devoting ourselves merely to the theoretical study of the Dhamma, it can't serve us well. Only when we have trained our hearts to eliminate their 'chameleons' (see § 10) — their corruptions (upakkilesa) — will it benefit us in full measure. And only then will the true Dhamma be kept pure, free from distortions and deviations from its original principles.

    §2. To follow the Buddha, we must train ourselves well before training others.

    purisadamma-sarathi sattha deva-manussanam buddho bhagavati

    Our Lord Buddha first trained and tamed himself to the point where he attained unexcelled right self-awakening (anuttara-sammasambodhiñana), becoming buddho, one who knows, before becoming bhagava, one who spreads the teaching to those who are to be taught. Only then did he become sattha, the teacher and trainer of human and divine beings whose stage of development qualifies them to be trained. And thus, kalyano kittisaddo abbhuggato: His good name has spread to the four quarters of the compass even up to the present day.

    The same is true of all the Noble Disciples of the past. They trained and tamed themselves well before helping the Teacher spread his teachings to people at large, and so their good name has spread just like the Buddha's.

    If, however, a person spreads the teaching without first having trained himself well, papako saddo hoti: His bad name will spread to the four quarters of the compass, due to his error in not having followed the example of the Lord Buddha and all the Noble Disciples of the past.

    Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Thera
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited November 2010
    ...actually, one of the last concepts to "go" is that of time. (hmm)
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