MEDIA FREE ONLINE TRAINING ON PRECEPTS AND TRADE-35
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THE WAY OF CULTIVATION
Therefore the five precepts of Buddhism should be considered the “basic morality” to be observed by every one. The ten wholesome conducts constitute an “enlarged and improved morality” for purifying the human mind and elevating human character. Cause and effect and karmic retribution are the unchanging “morality of good and bad” of this world. The six perfections are the moral basis of the practice of benefiting and awakening oneself and others.
COMPREHENSIVE PALI COURSE
Exercise – 1
Buddho Dhammam deseti.
The Awakened One teaches the Truth.
Samano gāmma gacchati.
The monk goes to the village.
Sāvakesu bālā natthi.
There are no ignorants among the
Dārākanam ācariyo na pandito hoti.
The teacher of the boys is not wise.
Buddhassa Sāvakā Dhammam
The disciples of the Awakened One
Buddho Pādena gāmma
The Awakened One goes to the village
Samano vihāro āgacchati.
The monk comes from the monastery.
Dārakassa āchriyo gāme vasati.
The teacher of the boy stays in the
Buddhassa natthi lobo, natthi doso,
For the Awakened One there is no
is no hatred, there is no delusion.
Samanā vihārato gāme passanti.
The monks see the villages from the
Manusssā maggena samanassa vihāram
Men go to the monastery of the monk
Dārakānam ācariyo vihāre na vasanti.
The teacher of the boys do not live
in the monas-
Dhammam na passanti.
The ingnorant do not understand the
teaching of the
Manussā gāmehi vihāram āgacchanti.
Men come to the monastery from the
Manussesu atthi bālā atthi panditā.
Among men are ignorant, there are
There is no teacher for the boy.
Gāme vihāro atthi.
There is a monastery in the village.
Panditānam moho natthi.
There is no delusion for wise ones.
ācariyo dārakānam Buddhassa Dhammam deseti.
The teacher teaches the Teaching of
the Buddha to
Gāmehi dārakā pādena maggato samanehi āgacchanti.
From the villages boys come with the
The path by foot.
Buddhassa Dhammassa Sangassa
hitāya saranam gacchāmi.
I go for refuge to the Buddha,
Dhamma, to the teaching, to
The Order for liberation, for
happiness, for welfare.
Donald Watson writes : “ Of the world’s major religions,
only Buddhism denies or is agnostic about the existence of a soul.”
Another scholar Richard Kennedy writes : “According to
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, each soul will be judged at the end of
the world…. It is the soul which will determine whether the individual
is punished by hell or rewarded by eternal life in heaven…. Buddhism
teaches that there is no such thing as a soul or true, permanent self.”
The Encyclopedia Americana writes : “ In Buddhism there
is no perduring or surviving self such as the atman. Meditation leads to
the awareness that the idea of self, or atman, is mere illusion.”
In A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, the teaching
of the existence of the soul is traced through every major religion throughout
history : primitive animistic, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Greek religion
in Homeric, Orphic, Pythagorean, and Platonic versions; Hindu, Zoroastrian,
Chinese, Muslim, Japanese, and Christian. But, as the writers state, “ Buddhism,
in its classic form, rejected the concept of atman as the essential,
Buddhism is divided into two major schools, Theravada
and Mahayana, which have, in some cases, major differences. But both schools
adhere to the anatta doctrine. H. von Glasenapp writes : “ The negation of
an imperishable Atman is the common characteristic of all dogmatic systems and, there is, therefore, no reason to assume
that Buddhist tradition which is in complete agreement on this point has
deviated from the Buddha’s original teaching.”
Although the anatta doctrine is so important, so distinctive,
and supposedly so universally accepted , it is still the most
misunderstood, the most misinterpreted, and the most distorted of all the
teachings of the Buddha.
Some scholars who have written on Buddhism had a great
respect for the Buddha, liked His teachings, revered Him, and honoured
Him, but they could not imagine that such a profound thinker had actually
denied the existence of a soul. Consequently they have tried to find
apparent loopholes in the teachings through which they have tried to insert
the affirmation of atta by the Buddha.
For example, two modern scholars, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
and I B. Horner in their book, The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha,
have devoted much of the book to the idea that Buddha taught a doctrine
of two selves, the great Self, spelled with an upper case ‘S’ to signify
the spiritual self or soul, and a small self, the personal ego, spelled
with a lower case ‘s’.
They claim that Buddha denied only this personal self
or ego when He spoke of anatta. These scholars base their ideas on mistranslation
of Pali terms, and later in these lectures I will devote considerable time
to analysing the Pali passages which they have mistranslated.
Another scholar John Blofeld, also claims that Buddha
was really teaching a doctrine of two selves, one true Self or Soul, and
one false personal self or ego. Notice in the following quote how he must
clarify that the Zen doctrine of Self or One Mind is not in the reality
the Atman :- The doctrine of Atman has always been the centre of Buddhist
controversy. There is no doubt that Gautama Buddha made it one of the central
points of his teaching, but the interpretations of it are various. The
Theravadins interpret it not only as “no self,” but also as “no Self,”
thereby denying man both an ego and all participation in something of the
nature of Universal Spirit or the One Mind. The Mahayanists accept the
interpretation of “egolessness,” holding that the real “Self” is none other
than that indescribable “non-entity,” the One Mind; something far less
of an “entity” than the Ãtman of the Brahmins.
The “Universal Spirit,” “One Mind,” and “Self” which Blofeld
finds within the anatta doctrine are really an Atman, an atta, of a finer
substance, “less of an entity “ as he says, but nevertheless an Atman.
These ideas of atta are therefore in conflict with the anatta doctrine
of the Buddha. Most Mahayanists accept the doctrine
of anatta, but later schools of Mahayana, such as the Chinese Zen of which
Blofeld writes, may have drifted into a soul-like theory.
The controversy over the anatta doctrine seems to be based
on a deep fear of the denial of the existence of a soul. People are often
very attached to their lives, so they like to believe that there exists
something everlasting, eternal, and permanent inside them. When someone
comes along and tells them that there is nothing permanent in them, nothing
by which they will continue eternally such as a soul, they may become frightened.
They wonder what will become of them in the future - they have the fear
Buddha understood this, as we can see in the story of
Vacchagotta, who, like many other people, was frightened and confused by
the anatta doctrine. Vacchagotta was an ascetic who once went to the Buddha
to discuss some important matters. He asked the Buddha, “ Is there atta ? ”
Buddha remained silent. Vacchagotta then asked, “ Is there no
atta ” But Buddha again remained silent. After Vacchagotta went away
Buddha explained to Ananda why he had remained silent.
Buddha explained that He knew that Vacchagotta was very
confused in his thinking about atta ( soul ), and that if He were to respond that
there does exist atta, then He would be expounding the eternalist view
the eternal soul theory with which He did not agree. But if He were to
say that atta did not exist, then Vacchagotta might think that He was expounding
the annihilationist view, the view that a person is nothing but a psychophysical
organism which will be completely annihilated at death.
Since this latter view denies kamma, rebirth, and dependent
origination, Buddha did not agree with this. Buddha teaches, in fact, that
people are reborn with patisandhi, “relinking consciousness,” a rebirth
consciousness which does not transmigrate from the previous existence,
but which comes into existence by means of conditions included in the previous
existences, conditions such as kamma.
Thus a reborn person is not the same as the one who has
died, nor is the reborn person entirely different from the one who has
died. Most importantly no metaphysical entity no soul, and no kind of spiritual
self continues from one existence to another in Buddha’s teaching.
But this teaching was too difficult for Vacchagotta, and
Buddha wanted to wait for a time when Vacchagotta would mature in intellect.
Buddha was not a computer who gave automatic answers to every Question.
He taught according to the circumstances and temperaments of the people,
for their benefit. As it happened, Vacchagotta advanced spiritually through
Vipassana meditation, which allowed him to realize the suffering, impermanent,
and no-soul nature of all things, and he later became an Arahant. Unfortunately,
this story is used by some scholars to try to prove that Buddha did not
really deny the existence of atta.
Let us now examine the ideas contained in the term atta,
Before Buddha appeared in this world, Brahmanism, which was later to be
called Hinduism, prevailed in India. Brahmanism teaches the doctrine
of the existence of atta (in Sanskrit, atman), which is usually translated
as soul or self. When Buddha appeared, He claimed that there is no atman.
This doctrine was so important that Buddha proclaimed it only five days
after His first sermon, the sermon on the Four Noble Truths.
The five disciples who heard that first sermon became
“streamwinners” (Sotapannas) persons who have attained the first stage
of enlightenment. Five days later, Buddha assembled the five disciples
and taught them the anatta doctrine. By the end of that Sutta, all five
became Arahants, persons who have attained the highest stage of enlightenment.
What is this atta which the Buddha negated ? The word anatta
is a combination of two words : an (< na) and atta. An means not or no,
and atta is usually translated as soul or self ( sometimes with upper case
‘S’ to signify a spiritual entity). But atta has a wide range of meanings,
which we will now examine. These terms are discussed in two famous books
of Hindu scripture, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Many views of
atta are found in the Buddhist Brahmajala Sutta, which I will discuss later.
Atta is the inner core of anything. The inner core of
a tree is the hardest part and thus the core of something can imply permanency.
The core may also imply the best part of something, the part which is the
essence, the part which is pure, real, beautiful, and enduring. The idea
of atta as the core of things is found in the Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka
Another implication of atta is that of authority. Authority
is the ability to make others follow orders. If anything is to be called
atta, it must have the power to exercise authority over the nature of things,
as stated in the Kena Upanishad. In addition, atta is not subject to any
other authority : it is the highest authority (sayamvasi) one who is his
own master. It is like a lord or owner (sami). Atta is the lord of ourselves.
It is distinct from ourselves and abides in ourselves.
It is the dweller (nivasi) which is not part of the five
aggregates. Atta is also the agent of action, a doer (karaka) and it is
atta which actually does everything, good or bad. Atta is that by which
we act, that by which we enjoy or suffer In ignorance we identify ourselves
with the body and ego, forgetting that we are really atta.When we do something, it is really at the command of atta,
but we ignorantly believe that we as individuals actually control our lives..
Atta is thus a director and an experiencer.”
Another meaning of atta is that of soul, a spiritual entity
inside of all people. The soul, called atman in Hindu scriptures, is the
individual self, and it is identical with the Universal Self, the Supreme
Being, called Brahman. Atman resides in everyone and in every living
being. Like Brahman, atman is eternal. When the body dies, atman moves
to another body and makes that body its new home.
In this way it moves from one body to another discarding
the worn-out body and taking a new one. Liberation is, according to Hinduism,
the realisation that atman is identical with the Universal Atman or Brahman,
or that the individual atman is part of Brahman’.
Atman is eternal - no one can kill or wound atman. In
the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, one incarnation of the god Vishnu, has this
in mind when he instructs the great warrior Arjuna, to go into battle.
Arjuna was at first reluctant to go into battle in order to fight against
his own cousins, but Krishna tells him that no weapon can cut atman, no
fire can burn atman. Even if you kill someone, you kill only the body :
“If any man thinks he slays, and if another thinks he
is slain, neither knows the way of truth, The Eternal in man cannot kill ;
the Eternal in man cannot die. He is never born, and he never dies. He
is in Eternity : he is forever more.”
Krishna then urges Arjuna to do his honourable duty as
a member of the warrior caste and go into battle, which Arjuna does.
Buddha denied the atman theory According to Buddha, there is nothing we
can call an inner core which is eternal and blissful. There is also nothing
we can call upon to exercise authority over the nature of things. In Buddhism,
there is no doer apart from doing, and no experiencer apart from the experiencing.
There is nothing or no one which is omnipotent because everything is at
the mercy of the constant creation and dissolution of conditioned things.
Buddha taught that there are only five aggregates (khandhas) :
1 Corporeality - Rupa (material process, or form)
2 feelings ;
3 perceptions ;
4 metal formations ; and
Less specifically we may say that there are only two groups
of phenomena in this existence : mind and matter, nama and rupa. Apart from
mind and matter there exists nothing whatsoever that we can call atta..
The only thing that exists outside of the realm of nama and rupa is the
unconditioned (asankhata) Nibbana, Absolute Truth, but. as I will discuss
later in these lectures, even Nibbana is anatta.
Buddha taught that, for us, there are only the five aggregates.
We are a compound of five aggregates, and after we analyse and observe
them one by one with the deep insight of meditation, we will realise that
there remains nothing : no soul, no self, apart from the aggregates. The
combination of the five aggregates is what we call a person, a being, a
or a woman.
There is nothing apart from the five aggregates - corporeality
feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness - which are
interacting and dependent upon each other. No director, no doer no experiencer,
and no essence can be found. Atta is merely an idea which has no corresponding
In the sutras, we find a story of a very famous ascetic-scholar
named Saccaka. One day he heard that Buddha taught the anatta doctrine.
Since he was a very sharp debater he decided that he would go to the Buddha
and convince Him that the anatta doctrine was wrong. He was very confident ;
he claimed that if he were to debate with a stone pillar, that pillar would
sweat from fear. He claimed that, just as a strong man takes a goat and
flings it around his shoulders, so he would take hold of Gotama and fling
Him around in debate.
Saccaka and his followers went to the Buddha and there
exchanged greetings. He asked Buddha to explain the doctrines He taught.
Buddha replied that He taught anatta. Saccaka countered, “No. There
is atta. The five aggregates are atta.” Buddha replied, “Do you really
think that rupa (corporeality) is atta?” As it happened, Saccaka was very
ugly, and if he said that corporeality was atta, then Buddha could counter,
“Then why don’t you make yourself more handsome!”
Thus Saccaka was forced to say that rupa is not atta.
Here we can see Buddha striking down several characteristics that are attributed
to the atta. If Saccaka had an atta, he could call upon it to exercise
authority and power in order to change his appearance. After all, atta
is identical to Brahman, the supreme ruler the infinite, omnipotent creator
and source of all things, as explained in the Bhagavad Gita.
But, according to Buddha, there exist only the five aggregates,
the five khandhas, and these are not atta because they are subject to the
laws of impermanence, suffering, and no-soul. Rupa (material form) is not
atta ; it is not master and ruler of itself, and it is subject to affliction.
The other khandhas - feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness
- are also subject to the same laws. Saccaka was therefore defeated.
Although it may be easy to understand that rupa
(material form) is not atta, some people may find it difficult to understand
why the other khandhas - feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness
- which we may summarise as simply nama (mind) do not constitute an entity
which can be called atta. After all, many people believe that mind and
soul are identical or interrelated, and they define mind and/or soul as
that part of a person which gives life and consciousness to the physical
body and they further believe that, as such, it is the spiritual and psychological
centre of the person.
But, according to the Buddha, nama is not atta for the
same reasons that rupa is not atta : nama is equally subject to the laws
of impermanence, suffering, and no-soul, as we shall study further when
we analyse the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta in depth. Buddha treats nama and rupa
equally, and they are mutually dependent upon each other :
“Just as a wooden puppet, though unsubstantial, lifeless,
and inactive, may by means of pulling strings be made to move about, stand
up, and appear full of life and activity ; just so are mind and body, as
such, something empty, lifeless and inactive ; but by means of their mutual
working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand
up, and appear full of life and activity.
Furthermore, we must remember that nama-rupa or khandhas
are merely abstract classifications made by the Buddha, and, as such, they
have no real existence as groups. That is, there is never the functioning
of an entire entity or group known as corporeality or feeling or perception
or mental formations or consciousness, but only the functioning of individual
representatives of these groups.
For example, with one unit of consciousness, only one
single kind of feeling can be associated. Two different units of perception
cannot arise at the same moment, and only one kind of consciousness, for
example seeing consciousness, can arise at one time. A smaller or larger
number of mental formations can arise with every state of consciousness.
The groups never arise as a totality ; only constituents
or bits from a certain group can arise depending on conditions. There are
no integrally functioning groups that can be called a self or a mind. Moreover
the single constituents of these apparent groups are all equally subject
to the laws of impermanence, suffering, and no-soul.
Another way to study the Question of why nama is not atta
is simply to go back to the definition of khandhas given by the Buddha
in Samyutta Nikaya XX, 56. Here we will see that the four khandhas, which
can be classified simply as nama (mind) are in no way to be understood
as an abiding mind substance or as anything that can be called atta. Rather,
the khandhas are completely interdependent, and the constituents of each
group condition the arising of the others. There is no self existing, abiding
entity in any part of the following definition, but only constituents which
mutually condition each other and arise only when they interact :
“What, 0 monks, is the corporeality-group ?
The four primary elements and corporeality depending
What, 0 monks, is the feeling-group ?
There are six classes of feeling : due to visual impression,
to sound impression, to odour impression, to taste impression, to bodily
impression, and to mind impression….
What, 0 monks, is the perception-group ?
There are six classes of perception : perception of visual
objects, of sounds, of odours. of tastes, of bodily impressions, and of
What, 0 monks, is the group of mental formations ?
There are six classes of volitional states : with regard
to visual objects, to sounds, to odours, to tastes, to bodily impressions,
and to mind objects….
What, 0 monks, is the consciousness-group ?
There are six classes of consciousness : eye-consciousness,
ear-consciousness. nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness. body-consciousness,
Based on the above definitions, it is easy to see that
Joshi, suggested “I
say one should throw this money in Maya’s face and tell her ‘If you get
raped, I’ll give you one crore’ [£125,000],” Joshi told an audience in
Moradabad.they should shame Mayawati by offering her more money if she were herself raped.
Mayawati denounced the remarks as “unpardonable” and
her supporters claimed they amounted to incitement to rape the UP chief
Joshi has now
been booked under section 153 A for (delivering inflammatory speeches), section
109 of IPC (using abusive language), 7 Criminal Law Amendment Act besides SC/ST
Atrocities Prevention Act. Virtually all these sections are non-bailable.
Despite all round protests and angry voices raised from the Congress
central leadership, it is clear Mayawati is determined to make Joshi pay for her
Joshi has appealed to Congress workers to do a
roadblock and hold protests. But no MLAs, MLCs or senior party functionaries
have been seen at the Congress state headquarters. The state leadership says it
is still waiting for directions from the central leadership before showing any
concrete opposition to the arrest and attack.
“In UP if SC/ST are
raped then officials go there give them Rs 20,000. Is this the value for a SC/ST
lady. If the same thing happens with Mayawati we are ready to give her
conpensation of one crore,” Bahugana had said in Muradabad yesterday (June 16)
when addressing a small gathering.
Following this speech, Joshi
hastily apologised saying she regretted her words.
“I regret what I said in a fit of anger. Then I regret it,” she said. “I am myself a woman and I should
not have spoken these words.
MEDIA FREE ONLINE TRAINING ON PRECEPTS AND TRADE-35
THE WAY OF CULTIVATION
Therefor the five precepts of Buddhism should be considered the “basic morality” to be observed by every one. The ten wholesome conducts constitute an “enlarged and improved morality” for purifying the human mind and elevating human character. Cause and effect and karmic retribution are the unchanging “morality of good and bad” of this world. The six perfections are the moral basis of the practice of benefiting and awakening oneself and others.