Homage to the Fortunate One, the Worthy One, the One Rightly and Completely Enlightened.
Back to: The Gift of the Buddha - A Happy Life.
|To see the essence in the unessential and the essence as unessential, means one can never get to the essence, wandering, as one is, on the path of wrong thought. 11|
|But to see the essence in the essential and the unessential as the unessential, means one does get to the essence, being on the path of right thought. 12|
I am using the word "text" in the broader sociological way, which incorporates spoken and remembered texts, not just written texts.
It is easy to say "The Buddha did not teach dogma", but it is hard to give up our dogma about the Buddha's teaching. He taught us to "make a thorough investigation" so that we might do so.
I'd like to express my appreciation to the past enlightened disciples of the Buddha [the Elders - Thera], who have maintained the records of the Buddha's teaching, such that his teaching is still knowable today. I am happy to say I have found comparatively few corruptions in the texts, due to their dilligence.
I am defining a contradiction as: two definitions that do not logically match, for example: one of the definitions has additional information, which is taken as a necessary or essential part of the definition. The nature of definitions, is obviously to define, which requires being precise. I generally find the more complicated and extended definition, is an example of "proliferation" [papanca], which the Buddha's teaching is said to negate [see the Discourse on the Eight Thoughts of a Great Man]. Therefore, my approach to the Buddha's teaching is a logical one.
I believe the Buddha's teaching is logical, but outside doctrine has been accepted as the Buddha's teaching. Those doctrines, on thorough investigation [MN 56 = MN i 379, A iv 183-4 etc] of the basic principles, are found to contradict those basic principles. They are therefore, to be rejected. This is in accordance with the advice the Buddha gave to determine if a theory is his teaching. To identify the outside doctrines, I believe one must identify the contradictions in the texts and determine which definition matches basic principles the best. For me, the alternative to this kind of logical approach to the Buddha's teaching, is blind faith, which involves statements like: "this cannot be comprehended unless we develop higher states of mind". Right Comprehension or Right View is a necessary initial step on the path, but it is not yet Right Insight or Wisdom. When we test our hypothesis or view, which we believe is right, and find it actually stops suffering in this very life, then we know, rather than just believe. Thus we have Wisdom.
Scholars consider the first four Paali Nikaayas as more original texts in the Collection of Discourses [Sutta Pi.taka - ref?]. Scholars also have found evidence to generally date these four Paali Nikaayas [ref?]. This is how they would be listed regarding general originality, with the most original first: Samyutta, Majjhima, Diigha, Anguttara. Of course any discourse even in a generally earlier or more original collection, could be corrupt to varying degrees. I think we will find in this study that proliferated ideas are found more in the later dated texts.
Of course, any source of early texts would be accepted, the most well regarded being the Pali Canon, but to have an unbiased approach, I think we should also include early text sources in other languages, e.g. Sanskrit, Chinese or Tibetan. Sanskrit is very poor as a language source for early texts, as many were burnt during invasions of India by people with little or no religious tolerance.
One Buddhist Scholar, Dr K Jamanadas, has suggested why many changes to the Pali Canon have been made and by whom. His conclusions offer a plausible explanation for many of the inconsistencies in the Pali texts. The few other inconsistencies not accounted for by his explanation could have been changes made by scholastic monks with good intentions, but who were working from untested theory which they held to as the truth [dogma].
A NOTE FOR WEBMASTERS: html anchor names have been added to the code of the table below and each item therein. So if you manage a website and want to link directly to the start of the table or the start of any item therein, you need to view the code of this page and see what the anchor name is, then create your link with the reference of: http://www.vicnet.net.au/~dhammadarsa/Pali_Text_Contradictions.htm#anchor_name.
|External Idea, adopted as the Buddha's Teaching [some ascribed to him too, but not compatible with basic principles].||Earlier Idea, ascribed directly to the Buddha [compatible with basic principles].|
|APPROACHING THE BUDDHA'S TEACHING|
|We need the commentators to understand the Buddha's teaching. I||"Anuttaro purisadamma saarathii - He is the unexcelled trainer of those to be tamed". If the Buddha is such, then he certainly does not need any help to teach us his teaching. This, of course, is quite different from needing translators.|
|We need the commentators to understand the Buddha's teaching. II||"Akaaliko Bhagavataa Dhammo - The Buddha's teaching [Dhamma] is timeless". If what the Buddha taught was timeless, then we don't need commentators to re-interpret it in our time. Any way, the commentators are definitely not of our time.|
|We need the commentators to understand the Buddha's teaching. III||The Buddha said he had no "secret doctrine". Authentic discourses of the Buddha are very clear and simple - down to earth. If he gave brief instructions that the listeners could not understand, the listeners asked him to elaborate and he did.
Suggesting a words regarding the Dhamma had many meanings at the time of the Buddha, is promoting a secret doctrine. It means the teaching needs to be explained by the one suggesting this, or some other. In effect, one doing so, is establishing themselves or their colleagues, as interpreters/teachers and fostering dependence on them. This is common in the development of religions, but is not a feature of the Buddha's teaching.
If we accept the Buddha's teaching is precise and he gave precise definitions to words that he stuck to, then our duty is to try to work out which of multiple meanings of words suggested by later texts, give life to the teaching, such that it is most relevant to ending suffering here and now.
|Many traditions of Buddhism establish certain disciples of the Buddha as authoritative, by praising them, or having the Buddha praise them, or by subverting the importance of the early texts all together. Then that tradition has those disciples promote its doctrines, or then develops a separate textual tradition altogether.||Take only the Buddha as the teacher, see here and here. Don't praise or blame individuals, speak only of right and wrong ideas/practices, see the Discourse on Non-Conflict. Surely there have been Enlightened Disciples in various traditions of Buddhism: Theravada [School of the Elders], Hinayana [Small Vehicle], Mahayana [Great Vehicle], Vajrayana [Diamond Vehicle], but the one tradition extablished [or maybe adopted or continued] by the Buddha was the Noble Tradition. Maybe we could say it is the Buddhayana [Buddha vehicle].
About one third of the 152 suttas in the Pali Majjhima Nikaya are attributed to disciples of the Buddha that have been established as experts/teachers assisting the Unexcelled Teacher.
|The Buddha's teaching [Buddha-saasanaa] may last about 5,000 years. We are over half way, but the texts have been maintained purely [without error].||The Buddha's teaching [Buddha-saasanaa] is a conditioned thing and impermanent. [Buddha-]Dhamma is unconditioned and permanent. The texts, a conditioned record of the Buddha's teaching, whether committed to memory or writing, are impermanent. They undergo changes over time, but the Buddha gave a study method for his teaching to identify corruptions.|
|There are three collections of the Buddha's own words: Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma. The Buddha taught the Abhidhamma to his mother who had been reborn as a god [angel] in heaven.||The Buddha never referred to the Abhidhamma, he mentioned the Dhamma and Vinaya. Some suggest he included the Abhidhamma in Dhamma, but that cannot be proven and there is ample evidence against it being the case. Some of this evidence is:
The Theravada history records that Mogalliputta Tissa, the preceptor of Asoka, was the President of the Third Monks' Conference in Asoka's reign. In that conference, the first six books of the Abhidhamma were recorded to be writings of Mahakassapa and Sariputta. The Theravada history records that Mogalliputta Tissa enlarged them, added one of his own books called "Kathaavatthu" and was the first to: 1. call those seven books "Abhiddhamma"; 2. call the first collection of the Buddha's words "Sutta"; and 3. refer to all three as Pi.taka - baskets.
The Sutta and Vinaya of the different schools are on the whole identical, the Abhidhamma is very different.
The Mahayana school does not regard the third Pi.taka as the Buddha's words. They consider it the collection of all later works, including commentaries.
The Buddha said his teaching is very subtle. Therefore we should pay close attention to what he said.
|We go to the temple and receive the "pa~nca siila" from a monk.||
It is well known that the Buddha taught three trainings: Morality/Ethics [Siila], Concentration/Meditation [Samaadhi] and Wisdom/Insight [Pa~n~naa]. They are called the “Tisikkhaa” and are trainings in the sense that we have to develop them, by our own efforts. Others can help us only in showing the way to develop them. This is a special feature of the Buddha’s teaching.
In other religions, one can pray to a spiritual being or god to purify us, or save us from consequences of certain actions, but not in the Buddha’s Teaching. He said that he cannot control who, or how many, or how much people end suffering, but he is only a guide, someone who shows the way and people must walk it themselves.
Ideas from other teachings, that are not compatible with the Buddha’s Teaching, are being accepted by Buddhist people, both monks and lay people. This is due to not thinking carefully about one’s speech or the meaning of one’s speech, or not understanding the meaning of Pali words. The Buddha said his teaching is very subtle. So one should be careful about it. One very common example of wrong ideas coming into Buddhist practice is: going to the temple to request the pa~nca siila and accepting the pa~nca siila from a monk.
Sila means “morality” or “ethics” and it is a training in the Buddha’s teaching. No one can give us siila; not the Buddha, not his Arahant disciples of long ago and not an Arahant, or lesser disciple in the present time. What a monk, or disciple of the Buddha CAN do, is to show us how we must train to develop siila. This is actually evident in the ceremony of taking “the pa~nca siila”. The monk does not, or SHOULD not say, “come to receive the five siila” or "these are the pa~nca siila". At the end of the ceremony the monk says:
Imani pa~nca sikkhaapadaani.
Siilena sugati.m yanti.
Siilena nibbuti.m yanti.
Tasmaa sila.m visodhaye.
It may be because the terms sikkhaapadaani and siila [siilena – “with siila”] appear so close together that confusion has arisen. The translation of these sentences is:
These are the five training rules.
With morality one goes to a good birth.
With morality one obtains wealth successfully.
With morality one goes to the end of suffering.
Therefore purify morality.
One sutta listing these five is at SN ii 167 and it is called "Pa~ncasikkhaapadasutta'm".
The monk does not say, “these are the five moralities [pa~nca siila - or siilaani - plural]”. He says, “these are the five training rules [pa~nca sikkhaapadaani]”. When one trains in these rules, one develops sila, or morality. The training rules are not siila [morality], but siila comes from the training. One obtains and purifies morality by the training rules, if one has Right View. That is, if one understands correctly, especially about cause and effect, regarding our behaviour and our emotions, that how we behave affects how we feel.
If one does not understand this, one may think that after taking the five training rules, one immediately has perfect morality, but this is not the case. This is wrong view. If one did not have perfect morality immediately before the ceremony of accepting the five training rules, then one will not have it immediately afterwards, because a ceremony cannot purify us. The idea that we can become pure in various ways through a ceremony, may be a teaching of Brahmanism and Hinduism, but it is not the Buddha’s Teaching and it is not compatible with the Buddha’s teaching.
|The traditional Five Precepts are the definition of Noble Ethics. They are also a minimal practice of Ethics for lay people. [Taking them happens to be best done with a priest. That is, it is one Buddhist ceremony, one that defines a "Buddhist".]||There was a Stream Enterer who had a problem with alcohol. If we take Noble Ethics to mean the traditional Five Precepts, then a drunkard Stream Enterer is a contradiction, since all Noble People are said to have Unbroken Noble Ethics.
By comparative methods of the Dhamma and Vinaya, universal ethics is seen to be defined as the avoiding the Four Vices of Conduct [kamma-kilesa] or the avoiding the Four Cases of Defeat. With this definition, there is no contradiction regarding a drunkard Stream Enterer, as the traditional Fifth Precept is not one of those serious cases of defeat or one of the four vices of conduct, but a lesser training rule, the keeping of which may be seen as a "good habit". A Stream Enterer probably does not maintain all "good habits", but we are not told if an Arahant does. The discourse on Boons [Mangala Sutta] says "to be moderate in intoxicants is a superior boon" ["majjapaanaa ca sanynyamo... etammangalam-uttamang"].
Ethics is not received from a priest, but the method [the training rules or precepts] may be taught by a monk. Ethics is a training one undertakes on oneself.
|Ethics for monks is given a secondary category "lesser ethics" in this discourse, right after it defines Ethics for monks as observing the monks' rules [Patimokkha]!||When considering the monk's lifestyle, the books of the
Discipline show at Mv IV.16.12 = V i 172 that only the first two categories of the monks' rules [Patimokkha] are defined as Ethics, not all categories.
If one understands the second category of the monks' rules to be specific to the monk's life and not an essential part of the definition of ethics, then there is no contradiction with other places that point to ethics as only the first category of the monks' rules/the Four Vices of Conduct.
|At the First Sangha Council, 500 monks decided not to put aside any of the minor rules.||The Buddha allowed any community of monks to put aside any of the minor rules, if it deemed doing so consistent with being easy to support. This shows the Buddha's wisdom in recognising differences in cultural practices and shows that we should keep a proper perspective on the minor rules. They are MINOR and Ethics is more important to focus on as a necessary component of progress on the path.
Even though many monks will say "we will not put aside minor rules and thus follow the Elders' [Theras'] example at the First Council", in real life, rules are often "unofficially" put aside. Even though it is in accordance with the Buddha's allowance, to say one will not, but one then does, is hypocrisy.
Not only are rules said not to be put aside, but minor rules are given higher status in some communities of monks. Not accepting money for personal use is a minor rule, but some communities of monks will not join the recitation of the monks' rules [Patimokkha] with monks who accept money for personal use. In effect, that is raising a minor rule up to the status of the second category.
On top of this, some practices deemed as not necessary, or extra, are raised up to the status of essential. This is seen with the 13 Dhutanga practices [#2 and 4, not occurring in the suttas, see M iii 40 and A v 219, or Vinaya, see V 131, 198], where some monasteries only accept monks that follow the ones the Abbot follows. The Buddha said he sometimes followed some of these practices and other times he didn't. In those monasteries the Buddha would sometimes not be accepted.
On top of all this, extra "etiquette" which is not laid down by the Buddha in the Vinaya whatsoever, but would rather be culturally specific ideas and practices are made more important that any category of monks rules. One is judged by this etiquette rather than one's ethics/siila. This is, in effect, adding more rules that the Buddha had not established.
The Buddha said his teaching is very subtle. Therefore we should pay close attention to what he said.
|The Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana] are deep states of meditation and not all necessary for Enlightenment. Only the first of the four is necessary.||Right Concentration is defined as 'any concentration with the previous path factors' which can happen in everyday life. Right Concentration is also defined as the Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana]. These definitions are compatible if one understands the Four Form States to occur in everyday life too. This table shows how they might be so.
The Buddha taught only the Four FormLESS States [4 Aruupa-jhaana] are not necessary for Enlightenment, but he said they are good to develop, e.g. as a natural suppressant of the pains of old age. It is generally accepted that the Four FormLESS States [4 Aruupa-jhaana] are deep states of meditation. It was the first two of them that Siddhattha, the Buddha-to-be, was taught as enlightement by his yogic teachers.
|The Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana] have only 5 factors: vitakka, vicaara, piiti, sukha, ekodibhaava [or ekagataa], stopping at concentration/samaadhi.||The Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana] have 10 factors: viveka, the five mentioned to the left, upekkhaa, sati, sampajanya, pari-suddhi [or visuddhi]. The Buddha often changed/extended the common understanding of his day. Possibly the later texts present the common understanding of the day, which saw Samaadhi culminating in equanimity, as Enlightenment. I believe this idea is still current in some Hindu circles.|
|Kindness [metta] and the other Sublime Abidings are not necessary practices, but optional extras.||M 21 : M i 126-129: In the Simile of the Saw, the Buddha teaches, Loving Kindness is a defining characteristic of his disciples. He says that one who develops anger towards a person who mistreats one, is not his disciple. Most people get angry at simply a few unwelcome words from another, but in the discourse mentioned above, the Buddha spoke about being cut up limb by limb by another. The decisive difference is Right View confirmed in experience [= Right Insight]. That is attaining at least Stream Entry Fruit, [the second level of the Noble discipline].
A 1.53-55 : A i 10-11: "Mendicants, if a mendicant cultivates goodwill for as long as a finger snap, he is called a mendicant. He is not destitute of awareness [jhaana], he carries out the Master's teaching, he responds to advice, and he does not eat the country's alms food in vain. So what should be said of those who make much of it?" So if one has this kind of unshakable Kindness, one is a Noble Disciple and has [ruupa-]jhaana; from comparative study of early discourses, I suggest they have only the first [ruupa-]jhaana though.
|The Five Hindrances are: H1 = sensual desire - kaama chanda, H2 = ill will - byaapaada, H3 = sloth and torpor - thiina-middha, H4 = distraction and worry - udhacca-kukkucca, H5 = doubt - vicikicchaa.||A comparative study shows that the traditional placing of the fifth hindrance is probably wrong. Matching the second of the 10 Fetters, it would have to come in first place in the list of hindrances.
This misplacement would be due to the idea given by the Nun Dhammadinna at MN 44, that Right View and Right Aspiration of the Noble Eightfold Path, were the Wisdom Training and came *after* concentration. It could also reflect the experience of later study monks looking after the texts, who had not yet developed one of the fruits of Stream Entry, unshakable faith, but probably who thought they were Noble Ones [= conceit].
|Sati, translated as: mindfulness or awareness, is the most important ingredient to develop in meditation.||Mindfulness or awareness is the most important ingredient to develop in meditation and surely the Buddha spoke about it very often. The Pali word "sati", on the other hand, is spoken of very little by the Buddha in the discourses and it is sometimes used with the still current meaning of "memory" in the Hindu tradition. I think this is evidence of "semantic change".
On the other hand, current Pali texts have the Buddha speaking of the Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana] many many times. For example, nearly every second discourse in the Majjhima Nikaaya explains them. A detailed comparative study of the Four Form States [with their 10 factors mentioned above] shows them to be a full presentation of the path, not simply the definition of Right Concentration. [So the simpler definition of Right Concentration, mentioned above, takes it's true place.]
"Zen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word "Chan[rising tone]" which is the Chinese pronunciation of the Indian word "jhaana". "Jhaana" as a translation for mindfulness or awareness would seem to match some Zen traditions' idea of meditation and the Insight Meditation Tradition's focus on Mindfulness.
|The Buddha found a suitable place for striving: a shady tree, by the river and near a village for alms food. He  sat under the Bodhi tree and  determined not to move from that place [sitting posture] until he attained enlightenment.||The Buddha found a suitable place for striving: a shady tree, by the river and near a village for alms food. He  determined not to move from that place until he attained enlightenment. Then he  started sitting meditation under the Bodhi tree.
The order of the two events has been reversed. This has the effect of changing the meaning of "determined not to move from that place", to "determined not to move from that [sitting] posture". This affects the way one understands the way the Buddha practiced.
Thinking the Buddha determined to sit and not move till he attained enlightenment, contradicts his later teaching that practice is to be done in all four postures. It leads to clinging to sitting as "real practice" and possibly sitting for long periods and thus indirectly inflicting pain on oneself, which is a subtle version of "self-mortification."
The Buddha said his teaching is very subtle. Therefore we should pay close attention to what he said.
|Wisdom is the outcome of Right Concentration, a natural consequence.||Wisdom is the third of three trainings [tisikkhaa]. It is not a natural consequence of the second training [meditation], but a training in itself, which requires effort. See Right Effort below. If it were a natural outcome of meditation, the Buddha-to-be's former yogic meditation teachers would have developed wisdom.|
|The First Noble Truth is: There is suffering.||"There is suffering" translates as "dukkham atthi" or "dukkham hoti", which we do not find the Buddha ever saying. The Buddha says "in summary: the five clinging components are suffering" [panca-upaadaanakkhandaa dukkhaa], which may be summarised as "CLINGING is suffering". To leave out "clinging" is to miss the essential point.
"There is suffering" as a summary/paraphrase of the First Noble Truth, is simply foolish, because the Buddha said in the First Discourse that the Four Noble Truths were unheard of before. This would mean the society he lived in did not know suffering existed! There were ascetics and philosophers in the Buddha's time already trying to solve the problem of suffering.
|The First Noble Truth is: Life is suffering.||"Life is suffering" translates as "jiivitam dukkham", which we do not find the Buddha ever saying. The Buddha says "in summary: the five clinging components are suffering" [panca-upaadaanakkhandaa dukkhaa], which may be summarised as "CLINGING life is suffering". To leave out "clinging" is to miss the essential point.
"Life is suffering" as a summary/paraphrase of the First Noble Truth, is based on the first part of the definition of suffering in the First Discourse, which speaks of "birth, aging and death". These, of course, can be interpreted in a purely physical way. These three items can also be interpreted in a psychological way, in line with the psychological meaning the Buddha gave to other terms such as "the 'world' is found in this fathom long body with its senses and perceptions," (S i 61 = SN 2.3.6 = SN 2.26) "intention is action" A 6.63 = A iii 415 ; A 3.(1).3 = A i 104 ; A 3.(15).141 = A i 292) "'hell' is a name for painful emotions," (S iv 206) "'a god' is a moral person." (A 4.(6).54 = A ii 58-9). That psychological view is: birth, aging and death of an ego identity or self-image, which relates directly to the " 'I am' conceit". This way of understanding can be tested, here an now, in this very life. It does not require blind faith. Therefore it is compatible with basic principles.
The definition of suffering in the First Discourse has a short "a" at the end of the word "dukkha" in "soka-parideva dukkha". It is translated as "pain", the sixth item in the list: "birth, aging and death..., sorrow, grief, pain...", but I suggest it should be a long "a", as with "Jaatipi dukkhaa, jaraapidukkhaa and domanass(a)-upaayaasaapi dukkhaa" and should be the end of the sentence meaning: "Sorrow and grief are suffering". The other single items: sorrow, grief, distress & despair are obviously psychological. So having a short "a" and translating the word as "pain" would be the odd one out, being the only one that is obviously physical.
|The Second Noble Truth is: Craving is the cause of suffering.||Craving is one of the later links in Dependent Origination. There the first cause is traced back further to "ignorance". "Ta.nhaa", which is the Pali word translated here as "craving", is taught in Hinduism as the cause of suffering.|
|The Third Noble Truth is: To end the result we must end the cause.||In deep [trance-like] states of meditation, higher mental functions, including craving, temporarily stop. This is why those outside the Buddha's teaching, think of those states as liberation. In the Buddha's teaching, liberation is to experienced in everyday life. He left the teachers he studied with before Enlightenment, because their teaching could not give him that. They taught deep meditative states were Enlightenment.
To end suffering one must end ignorance of when we are clinging. Ignorance is the original cause in Dependent Origination and the last fetter to be eradicated on the path. [See the 10 fetters.]
|The Fourth Noble Truth is: The path to the ending of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path. It is the only path the Buddha taught. It is summarised by the Nun Dhammadinna in Culavedalla Sutta - MN 44, as Wisdom, Ethics and Meditation.||The Middle Path is summarised as Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom [in that order only] and each authentic discourse of the Buddha is a presentation of the path in simpler or more extended form. More than 50 different presentations have been identified in the discourses of the Buddha.
We must see the letter and the spirit of the Buddha's teaching, or we will cling to just one presentation as THE ONE and ONLY.
The Noble [Tenfold] Path is the same as the traditional Noble Eightfold Path except it has two extra items at the end: Right Insight and Right Liberation. Right Insight obviously matches Wisdom. All authentic presentations of the path fall into the phases of Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom and do not change the order of these three trainings, as is done when the traditional Noble Eightfold Path is taken as the complete path [ending with Samaadhi, see the note above re the factors of the Four Form States and this table].
|Right Effort in the traditional Noble Eightfold Path is of four kinds.||Right Effort is of four kinds, but Right Effort in the traditional Noble Eightfold Path must be understood to be only one of those four, otherwise we have to give up the idea of a logical and practical path altogether, as having ALL types of effort at that point in the path, would imply that there is NO effort made before that point in the path. See this table.|
|The Buddha is said to have attained partial enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at age 35 and full enlightenment [pari-nibbaana] at the end of his life, age 80. The enlightenemnt under the Bodhi Tree is said to be "with a remainder" [sa-upaadi-sesa] and enlightenment at the end of his life is said to be "without a remainder" [an-upaadi-sesa]. "Upaadi" is interpreted as the five aggregates/components which make up experience/life.||The Buddha said he "IS liberated without remainder", which would have happened under the Bodhi Tree at age 35. Partial enlightenment would have happened earlier when he realised Stream Entry. The Buddha refers to the end of the life of a Arahant as "the breaking up of the body" [kaayassa bhedaa], not as "parinibbaana" which is a later coined term.
"Upaadi" is said to be a contraction of "upaadaana" which can mean "clinging". In the definition of suffering [the First Noble Truth] it is mostly translated as clinging.
The Buddha spoke of the five-aggregates as separate things from the five-clinging-aggregates. It is the latter that he gave as the summary of suffering in the First Noble Truth. The Arahant, having eradicated the five-clinging-aggregates, has eradicated suffering and only has the five aggregates left, without suffering.
|All conditioned things are suffering.||In the Discourses [D 25 : D iii 56] and Discipline [Book of the Discipline iii 1-6 = V i 1-6] the Buddha taught to end all unwholesome action only, not ALL action. See also the well know Dhammapada verse 183: "To not do all evil, to cultivate the wholesome, To purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of all Awakened Ones." If the Buddha taught "All conditioned things [sankhaaraa] are suffering." then it must be read in the context of "sankhaara-upaadaana-khandha dukkhaa" - part of the definition of suffering. That is, all conditioned things CLUNG TO are suffering. Reading things out of context is a common feature of religious blind faith.|
|The Seven Types of Noble Disciples mentioned at M 70 = M i 477-480, are phases experienced by people of different personality types.||The Seven types of Noble Disciples mentioned at M 70 = M i 477-480, are phases experienced by the same person as they progress along the path and change their unwholesome/ignoble personality type to a wholesome/noble one. See this comparative table.|
|"I, me and mine" with "I-making and mine-making" vs "I, me, myself" with the ' "I am" conceit'.||The Buddha said his teaching is very subtle. Therefore we should pay close attention to what he said. There are a large number of texts that refer to both "I, me and mine" and "I, me, myself". We must understand these terms in relation to the basic conceit the Buddha spoke of, the ' "I am" conceit'. Conceit is the second last fetter to eradicate on the path [see the 10 fetters], but we must understand the difference between this and the Hindu teaching that thoughts of "I" and "my" are illusory [Maaya] and delusory.
The first trans-like meditative state [Aruupa-jhaana] of "awareness of infinite space" involves the ending of the mental function of discriminating one's own form [body] from other things in the universe. A person outside the Buddha's teaching who experiences it, would identify with this state as "I am one with the universe." The other three trans-like meditative states are even more subtle and blissful than the first. As mentioned above in the section on Meditation, these trans-like meditative states were tested by the Buddha and found not to be Enlightenment or the path to it.
The Dalai Lama has said he would not encourage his followers to practice in a way contrary to modern science. I believe the Buddha's teaching incorporates the knowledge of modern science and goes beyond it. I don't believe it contradicts modern science in any way. Psychology teaches that discriminating between oneself and others is a necessary part of healthy mental development. This matches the Buddha's teaching that the trans-like meditative states are not Enlightenment or the path to it.
I have found avoiding thinking "I, me, myself" regarding the five clinging components, which is done in the form of "I am...", is more beneficial than avoiding the thoughts of "I, me and mine" and "I-making and mine-making", which turns out to be avoiding the idea of "self", the Hindu idea of the path to salvation. An impermanent self that experiences impermanent suffering, is not in conflict with the Buddha's teaching and is actually necessary for progress on the path, as it is that impermanent self that must take responsibility for wholesome and unwholesome mental, verbal and bodily action [kamma] and then want to purify itself of them.
|The Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa] are not all necessary for complete Enlightenment, only some of them are.||The Buddha developed the Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa A 3.(6).58 : A i 165 ; A 10.103-115 etc : A v 212-230 ; A 10.102 : A v 211 etc] on the night of his Enlightenment. They are essential to his teaching, for he said he has taught what is essential. The only things I know of that he taught that were not essential, he made clear that they were not, that is, the FormLESS States of Trance-like Meditation [Aruupa-jhaana, see above].
In the suttas, the Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa] appear in the place of the Wisdom phase of the path, that is, right after the Meditation phase. Due to poor translation, the Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa] have been misunderstood. The first of the three deals with the past and this is were "past lives" is commonly thought to be taught by the Buddha. The second deals with the present and this is were "the arising and passing of [external] beings" is commonly thought to be taught by the Buddha. The third deals with the future and is generally not mistranslated.
|The first of the Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa] is the knowledge of one's past lives.||Three words are commonly ALL "translated" as "life" in the passage in the original text, but here is no use of "jiivitam" in the original text, which is the Pali word for "life".
"Jaati" is translated as "life". "Jaati" means "birth". Taking "jaati" - "birth" to be physical, the translator extends the meaning to "life". Thus the translation becomes "knowledge of past lives" rather than "knowledge of past births" which, if understood psychologically, specifically 'the birth of ego [egotistic states of mind]', can occur many times in this very life.
"Aayu" is translated as "life" from the understanding of "the whole period of life", but it can be understood also as a period of time within a life.
"Nivaasa" is translated as "life" in "pubbe-nivaasa-anussati-nyaa.na", thus we have "the knowledge of recollection of past lives", but it means "habitation", "dwelling" or "home".
|The second of the Three Knowledges [Tevijjaa] is the knowledge of the arising and passing of [external] beings.||"Satta" - "beings" in "sattaanam cutuupapaatanyaa.na" is understood in a physical way and thus thought of as external, but it can be understood in a psychological way too, that is, being egotistic, or an egotistic [way of] being.|
|The Stream Enterer has a maximum of seven more lives before attaining Full Enlightenment.||As seen above, this would be a mistranslation of "jati/births" [or "punnabhava/rebecomings"]. The tradition does not say what those seven are, but comparing other teachings it becomes clear that they are the other phases of the fruit and path of the Noble Path.|
|In the 10 Fetters [S v 61, A v 13] towards the end, conceit [maana] is eradicated [therefore it is #8], THEN restlessness [uddhacca] is eradicated [therefore it is #9] and ignorance [avijjaa] is eradicated last [therefore it is #10].||Comparing other suttas, it is clear that restlessness [uddhacca] needs to be eradicated as part of the training in Meditation and conceit [maana] is eradicated in the training in Wisdom, specifically, dealing with the ' "I am" conceit'. Therefore the order should be: #8 restlessness [uddhacca - traditional #9], #9 conceit [maana - traditional #8] and ignorance [avijjaa - traditional #10].
One can see how this change could easily have been made by scholar monks who didn't practice meditation much and therefore downplayed it, which is in line with the later idea of the "dry insight arahant" - one without the complete Four Form States [4 Ruupa-jhaana].
|FOCUSSING ON THE EXTERNAL IS THE PREOCCUPATION OF COMMON FOLK|
|The Buddha had 32 strange physical characteristics.||A disciple of the Buddha happened to seek shelter in a barn where the Buddha was staying, but the disciple had never met the Buddha before. So the disciple didn't recognise him as the Buddha, until after they had talked for a while. This shows the Buddha didn't look strange at all, otherwise the disciple would have at least thought: "This may be the Buddha".|
|The Wheel of the Dhamma [dhamma-cakka] is an external symbol of the Buddha's teaching. In later [Chinese] versions of the First Discourse of the Buddha, it appeared magically turning in the sky.||The Eye or Vision of the Dhamma [dhamma-cakkhu] is an inner quality developed from the Threefold Training. The similarity of the sound of both compound words, in a time of oral transmission, could easily have lead to mixing them up, or it was a good opportunity for those that focussed less on internal/personal development and more on the external/religious paraphernalia, to be more distracted by developing Buddhist iconology.
The wheel symbol probably predated the Buddha image, which probably came via Alexander the Great's conquests [which reached North Western India, possibly overlapping the area the Buddha's teaching had spread to] and the Greek's love of making statues. One of the supposed "32 physical signs of the Buddha" was curly locks of hair - not native to Indians. But guess what, that is a feature of Greek statues!
|The Triple Gem is: the Buddha, The Dhamma and the Bhikkhu-Sangha [Community of Monks]. We have some discourses that end with the listener taking refuge in this Triple Gem.||The Triple Gem is: the Buddha, The Dhamma and the Ariya-Sangha [Noble Fourfold Community]. The Noble Fourfold Community is made up of those Monks, Nuns, Laymen and Laywomen who have entered the Path.|
|WHEN FOCUSSING ON THE EXTERNAL HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, THEN RITES AND RITUALS TAKE HOLD|
|If we compare Buddhism to a tree, ceremonies [rites and rituals] are the outer protective bark of the tree; generosity [daana, or ethics/siila] is the soft inner bark; meditation is the sapwood; and wisdom is the heartwood.||At MN 29 the Buddha said that if his teaching is compared to a tree: gain, honour and renown that a person may receive because of his practice of the teaching are the twigs and leaves; ethics is the outer bark of the tree; meditation is the soft inner bark; knowledge and vision [wisdom] is the sapwood; and [panynyaa-visuddhi] perpetual liberation, unshakable liberation of mind is the heartwood. So ceremonies are not mentioned at all and therefore would not have a part in his teaching. Of course, rites and rituals are necessary for a priest's role.|
|Ceremonies are not essential, but they are part of the Buddha's teaching.||There are many examples of the Buddha negating religious ceremonies: Sigalovaada Sutta DN 31 - he turns a religious ceremony into the practice of being dutiful in the various social relationships one has; in the Maha-Parinibbaana Sutta (DN 16, Section 5 Para 3 – 5.3) : D ii 138, the Buddha said: Rather [than offering flowers, scents etc], the male or female mendicant, male or female lay disciple who keeps practising the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma [which could be understood as Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom], who keeps practising masterfully, who lives in accordance with the Dhamma: that is the person who worships, honors, respects, venerates and pays homage to the One-Thus-Come with the highest homage; and so on... We have a saying in English: "Imitation is the highest compliment". Of course, rites and rituals are necessary for a priest's role.|
|The Buddha taught us to take refuge in the Triple Gem. [This happens to be best done with a priest. That is, it is one Buddhist ceremony, one that defines a "Buddhist".]||The Buddha taught us to develop unshakable FAITH in the Triple Gem, not to take refuge in it. Having faith is an inner quality and cannot be obtained by a ritual. The Buddha taught to take refuge in oneself, or the Dhamma [which is realised in oneself], or in one's actions [kamma-patisara.no], which lead to the realising of the Dhamma. The Buddha also only took refuge in the Dhamma, S i 140 : SN 7.1.2. The closest text I have found to “take the three refuges” or to “take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha” is verses 188 - 192 of the Dhammapada, which according to Dhammajoti (1995) is the same in the Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese. I do not know any other occurrence of this idea of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha ascribed to the Buddha, but the Buddha very many times taught to develop FAITH in the Triple Gem. Lay people spontaneously taking refuge in the Triple Gem does often occur as a [suggested later tacked-on] ending to discourses. Of course, rites and rituals are necessary for a priest's role.|
|CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS - COMMON CULTURE IS NOT NOBLE CULTURE, BUT NOT ALL ASPECTS OF COMMON CULTURE ARE OBSTRUCTIVE|
|In some cultures one must not criticise, even if it is constructive. One must instead make indirect hints.||The Buddha taught in the Vinaya that "the sangha grows due to mutual admonition and mutual rehabilitation". One sutta says: 'Therefore Mendicants, however people may speak about you, whether are the right time or not, appropriately or not, courteously or rudely, wisely or foolishly, kindly or maliciously, you must train yourselves thus: Unsullied shall our minds remain, neither shall evil words escape our lips. Kind and compassionate ever shall we abide with hearts harbouring no ill-will. We shall envelop those speaking in that way, with streams of kind thoughts unfailing. Beyond them, we shall radiate the whole world with constant thoughts of kindness, ample, expanding, measureless, free from enmity, free from ill-will. Thus you must train yourselves, mendicants.' Another sutta says that on such an occasion a mendicant would then investigate himself for any slight fault that may have triggered the speech of that person.
Feedback from others, done with a kind heart, has been shown by the Buddha as very useful for progress.
|In some cultures one has to use a higher level of language to show respect. Therefore the Pali texts have to be translated into the highest level of language. This means the average person cannot read them and even the most highly educated monks have trouble.||The Buddha forbade teaching in Sanskrit, which was the language for the educated/high class and said to teach in the language of the common people. The principle behind this is more easily seen in the second part of this advice. Obviously Pali is not Sanskrit, but it also is not the language of the common people. The Dhamma should be translated into the language of the common people.
Christianity is about 500 years younger than Buddhism, but it has more adherents. Part of the reason for this would be, they started to follow this advice of the Buddha a few centuries ago.
|Monks should not drink milk, but can eat cheese after noon.||Go figure! There are many different ideas on what is allowable after noon and conflicting ones like this one will have their internally seemingly logical explanations. The spirit [purpose] of the Buddha's teaching on this topic is to avoid nourishing foods, especially protein which is needed for muscle growth and the production of semen. Milk has a low source of protein, cheese a higher source. Therefore if either of these were to be disallowed it would be cheese. Semen production is not important for monks who are maintaining chastity.|
|Monks are to follow the Vinaya, that is what keeps them living in harmony. The Buddha was from the aristocracy. He taught a level of behaviour [and culture] for the monks which reflected his upbringing. So that monks could be accepted by the aristocracy.||The Dhamma and Vinaya are what keep the Noble Fourfold Sangha prosperous and living in harmony. There is no reflection of worldly class, or caste in the Noble Fourfold Sangha. It is only the eradication of the three roots of unwholesome action, or the 10 fetters, that determine the different classes of Noble Ones in the Buddha's teaching.
Monks are to reflect daily on ten points, one being that they are no longer part of society, that they are an outcast. There are many monks' practices that would not be acceptable to aristocrats that have not been brought up in a Buddhist culture. Therefore this idea is conditioned and worldly. We have the story of the Buddha's own father being upset at seeing him going on alms round.