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11/06/11
429 LESSON 07 11 2011 Ghosa Suttas Voice
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429
LESSON 07 11 2011 Ghosa Suttas Voice

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Madhyāntavibhāga: The Distinction between the Middle and Extremes


AN 2.125-126


PTS: A i 87


II,xi,8-9


Ghosa Suttas: Voice


translated from the Pali
by


Thanissaro Bhikkhu


© 2006–2011


“Monks,
there are these two conditions for the arising of wrong view. Which two? The
voice of another and inappropriate attention. These are the two conditions for
the arising of wrong view.”


“Monks,
there are these two conditions for the arising of right view. Which two? The
voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for
the arising of right view.”

Note

1.

Woodward,
in the PTS translation, renders parato ghoso as “a voice from
another world,” and in a footnote interprets it as “clairaudience
from another (world).” To summarize his reasoning: If ordinary speech were
meant, the word vaacaa or vaacii would have been used instead of ghoso;
and if another person were meant, aññassa or aññatarassa would
have been used instead of parato. Finally, he notes that this passage
appears also in MN 43 following a statement of “abnormal
powers,” which apparently is meant to show that, in context, this
statement must refer to the type of psychic knowledge that derives from
abnormal powers.

There are several
problems with this interpretation, the first being that it leaves no room for
an event happening many times in the Canon: people gaining right view simply on
hearing the words of another person. One scholar has tried to get around this
objection, saying that the voice from another world must refer to the voice of
the Buddha or to one of the noble disciples who gained Awakening on hearing the
Buddha’s own voice. The implication here is that only the words of these two
classes of people can inspire right view. This position, however, is disproved
by the fact that in Mv.I.23.5 Ven. Sariputta, who at that point has not yet met
the Buddha, is able to inspire the arising of the Dhamma eye in Ven.
Moggallana. This passage appears in the long origin story leading up to the
rules dealing with ordination, and proves an important point in validating the
tradition of ordination: that a person who has not met the Buddha can still
inspire right view and even Awakening in the mind of another. So the Canon
itself disproves both of these otherworldly interpretations of this statement.

As for Woodward’s
linguistic arguments: It is hard for a non-native speaker of a dead language to
know the reasoning in the mind of a native speaker in that language, but it
might have been the case that the Buddha avoided the word aññassa for
“other” because it could have easily been confused for another
meaning of aññassa, “pertaining to the knowledge of an
arahant.” As for vaacii and aññatarassa, neither of them
fits the context. Vaacii is a stem-form used in compounds, and aññatarassa
means “of a certain person.” This leaves vaacaa,
“statement” as a possible alternative, but perhaps the Buddha chose ghoso
to leave room for the possibility that there are times when one can bring
another to his/her senses simply by clearing one’s throat.

Finally, concerning
the passage from MN 43: This sutta is a long series of questions
and answers that abruptly switch from topic to topic, so it’s hard to say that
the sutta provides a clear sense of context for any of its statements. That
said, however, it’s not even the case that this passage follows on a statement
about abnormal powers. It actually follows on two questions about discernment,
which in turn follow on a discussion of the formless jhanas — apparently the
“abnormal powers” mentioned by Woodward — and as AN IX.36 and MN 140 show, it’s possible to develop discernment
based on these attainments without psychic powers.

MN 43

AN IX.36

MN 140

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DOB 760 Madhyāntavibhāga: The Distinction between the Middle and Extremes - 2


credits


Delivery Mode: Residential &
Online


Course Description:


This course is an in-depth study of
Madhyāntavibhāga by Maitreya (ca. 4th century) - a


key work of Yogācāra Buddhist
philosophy - based on the commentary by Ju Mipham


(1846–1912), which delineates the
distinctions and relationship (
vibhāga) between the


middle view (madhya) and
extremes (
anta). We will systematically proceed
through its


five chapters: the Characteristics,
the Obscurations, Reality, the Path of Practice and the


Unsurpassable Vehicle.


Prerequisite: DOB 713

http://wn.com/Metta_Song_in_Pali

http://wn.com/Drum_Beat_Animation_%5Bfinal%5D


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