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446 LESSON 24 11 2011 Harita
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446 LESSON 24 11 2011 Harita

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Metaphysics

THE BUDDHIST ON Metaphysics LINE
GOOD NEWS LETTER

COURSE PROGRAM
 LESSON 446

Practice a Sutta a Day
Keeps Dukkha Away




Harita
(Thag 1.29) {
Thag
29
}   


Harita, raise yourself
up- right and, straightening your mind — like a fletcher, an arrow — shatter
ignorance to bits.

Metaphysics- (used with a sing. verb) Philosophy The branch of
philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the
relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and
value.


Sunyatâ, the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness


The metaphysics of Buddhism center around the conception of emptiness. Much
quoted is: “emptiness is form and form is emptiness”. This even comes
back into popsongs. Let us see what H.P. Blavatsky says about this. First, in
the Theosophical Glossary she says under “Sunyatâ”: “Void,
space, nothingness. The name of our objective universe in the sense of its
unreality and illusiveness.”


This sums it all up. She links Sunyatâ to Space, her first principle in the
Secret Doctrine, to emptiness or nothingness, which is the excepted translation
of the term and to unreality and illusiveness, which are the same as the Hindu
term maya.


Before turning to the way a few Buddhists explain the term, let us look at
H.P. Blavatsky’s position in a bit more detail. Starting with what she says in
the Proem to the Secret Doctrine (p. 7):


“In the sense and perceptions of finite
“Beings,” THAT is Non-”being,” in the same sense that it is
the one BE-NESS; for, in this ALL lies concealed its coeternal and coeval
emanation or inherent radiation, which, upon becoming periodically Brahmâ (the
male-female potency), becomes or expands itself into the manifested Universe.
Nârâyana moving on the (abstract) waters of Space, is transformed into the
Waters of concrete substance moved by him, who now becomes the manifested WORD
or Logos.”


also on p. 8:


“the One All is, like Space - which is its only mental
and physical representation on this Earth, or our plane of existence - neither
an object of, nor a subject to, perception.”


Going backward in time, we find that in 1882, in the Theosophist H.P.
Blavatsky says the following on the Buddhist secret doctrine:


“The Buddhists, on the other hand, deny either
subjective or objective reality even to that one Self-Existence. Buddha
declares that there is neither Creator nor an ABSOLUTE Being. Buddhist
rationalism was ever too alive to the insuperable difficulty of admitting one
absolute consciousness, as in the words of Flint - “Wherever there is
consciousness there is relation, and wherever there is relation there is
dualism.” The ONE LIFE is either “MUKTA” (absolute and
unconditioned) and can have no relation to anything nor any one; or it is
“BADDHA” (bound and conditioned), and then it cannot be called the
ABSOLUTE; the limitation, moreover, necessitating another deity as powerful as
the first to account for all the evil in this world. Hence, the Arahat secret
doctrine on cosmogony admits but one absolute, indestructible, eternal, and
uncreated UNCONSCIOUSNESS (so to translate), of an element (the word being used
for want of a better term) absolutely independent of everything else in the
universe; a something ever present or ubiquitous, a Presence which ever was,
is, and will be, whether there is a God, gods or none; whether there is a
universe or no universe; existing during the eternal cycles of Maha Yugas,
during the Pralayas as during the periods of Manvantara: and this
is SPACE, the field for the operation of the eternal Forces and natural Law,
the basisSakti - the breath or power of a
conscious deity, the theists would say - the eternal energy of an eternal,
unconscious Law, say the Buddhists. Space then, or Fan, Bar-nang (Mahâ-Sûnyatâ)
or, as it is called by Lao-Tze, the “Emptiness” is the nature of the
Buddhist Absolute. (See Confucius’ “Praise of the Abyss.“)(1)
(as our correspondent [Subba Row] rightly calls it) upon which
take place the eternal intercorrelations of Akâsa-Prakriti, guided by the
unconscious regular pulsations of


The emptiness is getting closer. In a footnote she says in the same article
in the Theosophist:


Or, in other words, “Prakritie, Svabhavat or Akasa
is - SPACE as the Tibetans have it; Space filled with whatsoever substance
or no substance at all; i.e., with substance so imponderable as to be
only metaphysically conceivable. Brahman, then, would be the germ thrown
into the soil of that field, and Sakti, that mysterious energy or force
which develops it, and which is called by the Buddhist Arahats of Tibet -
FO-HAT. “That which we call form (rupa) is not different from that
which we call space (Sûnyatâ) . . . . Space is not different from Form.
Form is the same as Space; Space is the same as Form. And so on with the other
skandhas, whether vedana, or sanjna, or samskara or vijnana,
they are each the same as their opposite.” (Book of the Sin-king or
the Heart Sutra. Chinese translation of the Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra.
Chapter on the Avalokiteshwara, or the manifested Buddha.) (2)


Searching the internet on explanations of emptiness, I find that the focus
of Buddhism in this respect is more on the practical everyday use, than on the
metaphysical. This does not make comparison easier, but I find it is still
possible. Here goes:


Buddhism and Thai culture


from http://www.landfield.com/faqs/thai/culture/section-3.html


Central to buddhism is the concept of Three Characteristics (Trilaxana)
which proposes that all composite things (matter or mind, i.e. everything
excluding Nirvana) are:


1. Impermanent (anicca)
2. Of suffering/unsatisfactory nature (Dukkha)
3. Without Self entity/Empty (Anatta/Sunyata)


(1) is by now almost universal in the scientific world. But sciences only
address the materialistic part of things whereas Buddhism claims anicca in the
mental world as well. Implicit in this is also that there is no (permanent)
soul in Buddhism.


(2) is a corollary of (1). If things are changing every moment then they are
not as they appear to be (permanent) , thus they are unsatisfactory by nature.
Both material and mental entities change continually according to causes and
conditions. This is buddhist’s objective way of looking at things as they are;
it’s not pessimistic nor optimistic. If one doesn’t see ’sufferings’ in all
these changing conditions of things then one is not mentally suit to be a
buddhist. To see ’sufferings’, however, does not mean that one has to feel
suffered for that. A true buddhist will enjoy life in a much more objective way
than others because s-he realizes that happiness itself is the result of
interplays of causes and conditions which are bound to change over time.
Suffering will definitely ensue if one does not understand the ever changing
nature of causes and conditions of happiness.


(3) is unique to Buddhism and is very difficult to understand. There are two
types of Emptiness: Ontological and Psychological. Buddhism claims that a thing
cannot exist INHERENTLY by its own self. Its existence depends on the
existences of other things, ad infinitum. In other words, there is no
permanent, pure element as a basis for the existence of anything. Things exist
because of the inter-dependency on one another. This is the basic argument
behind ‘ontological Emptiness’. It should be clear now that Emptiness in
Buddhism is not ‘nothingness.’ In fact, Emptiness means All and Everything
being co-dependent, co-arising. On the coarsest level, one can argue that
material thing exists only if mind exists first. Material is thus dependent on
mind. Mind is also dependent on its own self. Some buddhists refer to the
primordial Truth as ‘the original mind.’ This is simply a mind devoid of all
attachments, which is often regarded as the ‘core’ of a living entity or
‘Buddha nature’; but this is just a way of language and should not be confused
with Self or Atman in Hinduism for even the Buddha nature is also Empty. …


Sunyata (Pali: Sunnata)


Sunyata (Pali Sunnata) = Emptiness; The belief that all phenomena are
dependent on and caused by other phenomena, thus without intrinsic essense.


(From http://www.edepot.com/budglossary.html
: a Buddhist Glossary)




The heart of Buddhadasa’s teaching is that the Dhamma (Sanskrit,Dharma) or
the truth of Buddhism is a universal truth. Dhamma is equated by Buddhadasa to
the true nature of things It is everything and everywhere. The most appropriate
term to denote the nature of Dhamma is sunnata (Sanskrit, sunyata)
or the void. The ordinary man considers the void to mean nothing when, in
reality, it means everything–everything, that is, without reference to the
self. (3)


footnotes


(1)Collected Writings III, p. 422,423.


(2)Collected Writings III, p. 405,406. Henk Spierenburg, in his work
“The Buddhism of H.P. Blavatsky” found two other translations of this
same text (p. 160 footnote):


The translation of Leon Hurvitz, also from the
Chinese, we find in Lewis Lancaster (ed.), Prajnaparamita and Related
Systems: Studies in honor of Edward Conze,
Berkeley 1977, p. 107:
“Visible matter is not different from Emtiness nor is Emtiness different
from visible matter. Sensation, notion, action and cognition are also like
this.”


Edward Conze himself, translating from the Sanskrit:
The Short Prajnaparamita texts, London 1973, gives on p. 140:
“There are five skandhas, and those he sees in their own being as empty.
Here, O Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness
is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness; whatever is form that
is emptiness, whatever is emptiness that is form. The same is true of feelings,
perception, impulses and consciousness.”


(3)(from http://jbe.la.psu.edu/2/inada1.html, A Buddhist Response to
the Nature of Human Rights by Kenneth Inada [This article was first
published in Asian Perspectives on Human Rights, eds. Claude E.Welch,
Jr., and Virginia A. Leary (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1990), pp.91-103. The
editors are grateful to Claude E.Welch, Jr. and Kenneth Inada for permission to
republish it. The orthography of the original version has been retained.]
)


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445 LESSON 23 11 2011 Makkata Sutta The Monkey
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:17 am

445 LESSON 23 11 2011 Makkata Sutta The Monkey

FREE ONLINE
eN
ālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY &

BUDDHIST
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Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org

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The
Narratives for the Levels of Departmental Curricula- Course Descriptions-

Buddhist
philosophy

THE BUDDHIST ONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER
COURSE
PROGRAM

 LESSON
445

Practice a Sutta a Day Keeps Dukkha Away



SN 47.7

PTS: S v 148

CDB ii
1633

Makkata
Sutta: The Monkey

translated
from the Pali by

Thanissaro
Bhikkhu

© 1997–2011

Alternate
translation:
Olendzki

“There are in the Himalayas, the king
of mountains, difficult, uneven areas where neither monkeys nor human beings
wander. There are difficult, uneven areas where monkeys wander, but not human
beings. There are level stretches of land, delightful, where both monkeys and
human beings wander. In such spots hunters set a tar trap
in the monkeys’ tracks, in order to catch some monkeys. Those monkeys who are
not foolish or careless by nature, when they see the tar trap, avoid it from
afar. But any monkey who is foolish & careless by nature comes up to the
tar trap and grabs it with its paw. He gets stuck there. Thinking, ‘I’ll free
my paw,’ he grabs it with his other paw. He gets stuck there. Thinking, ‘I’ll
free both of my paws,’ he grabs it with his foot. He gets stuck there.
Thinking, ‘I’ll free both of my paws and my foot,’ he grabs it with his other
foot. He gets stuck there. Thinking, ‘I’ll free both of my paws and my feet as
well,’ he grabs it with his mouth. He gets stuck there. So the monkey, snared
in five ways, lies there whimpering, having fallen on misfortune, fallen on
ruin, a prey to whatever the hunter wants to do with him. Then the hunter,
without releasing the monkey, skewers him right there, picks him up, and goes
off as he likes.

“This is what happens to anyone who wanders into what is
not his proper range and is the territory of others.

“For this reason, you should not wander into what is not
your proper range and is the territory of others. In one who wanders into what
is not his proper range and is the territory of others, Mara
gains an opening, Mara gains a foothold. And what, for a monk, is not his
proper range and is the territory of others? The five strands
of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing,
charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable by the
ear… Aromas cognizable by the nose… Flavors cognizable by the tongue…
Tactile sensations cognizable by the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming,
endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These, for a monk, are not his proper
range and are the territory of others.

“Wander, monks, in what is your proper range, your own
ancestral territory. In one who wanders in what is his proper range, his own
ancestral territory, Mara gains no opening, Mara gains no foothold. And what,
for a monk, is his proper range, his own ancestral territory? The
four
frames of reference. Which four? There is the case where a monk
remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful —
putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains
focused on feelings in & of themselves… mind in & of itself… mental
qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside
greed & distress with reference to the world. This, for a monk, is his
proper range, his own ancestral territory.”

Press Information Bureau


(C.M. Information Campus)


Information and Public
Relations Department, U.P.


 


U.P. Chief Minister Ms.
Mayawati visits U.P. Pavilion,


 


Expresses Happiness over
Depicts


 


Pavilion showcases Formula-1
Race and tableaux dedicated to Dalit Icons


 


Visitors throng U.P. Pavilion


 


Lucknow : Nov. 16, 2011


 


The Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister, Ms. Mayawati visited the U.P. Pavilion at the India International
Trade Fair at New Delhi today. She evinced keen interest in the attractive
tableauxshowcasing the saga of development in Uttar Pradesh. She was all praise
for the tableaux showing the memorials at Lucknow and Noida, dedicated to the
saints, gurus and great souls born in the dalit and OBC communities. Uttar
Pradesh has the distinction of hosting the first Formula -1 Race at Noida. The
Chief Minister expressed happiness that the


detailed information about
the Race has been provided at the Pavilion. It may be noted that the
“Uttar Pradesh Day” also coincides today. She had a look at the
depicts pertaining to the


progress made by the State. As
mandated by the I.T.P.O., the theme for this year’s Trade Fair is, “Indian
Handicrafts, the Magic of Gifted Hands”. The Manyawar Shri Kanshi Ram ji memorial
at Lucknow, the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden at Noida, have
been elegantly


exhibited at the U.P.
Pavilion. U.P. Pavilion also offers detailed information on State’s
industrialization and export promotion. The exhibits at the U.P. Pavilion,
include world famous


exquisite woollen carpets of
Bhadohi made by perfect artisans, mini-tractors, battery lift cranes,
transformers and several products from Meerut. The Theme Hall showcases
handicraft items of the State that have earned world acclaim. Besides, a
glimpse of State’s


progress is presented through
the translight. The development works in Noida and Greater Noida also feature
at the Pavilion. In addition, the schemes, like pension and those relating to


maximization of production
and marketing, aimed at the promotion of handicraft items of the small and
cottage industries sector, being implemented by the State Government, have been
exhibited. Main depicts of this sector include brassware of Moradabad, leather goods
of Kanpur, perfumes of Kannauj, sports goods of Meerut, marble of Agra, zari
work, woodart of Bijnore, Chikan work of Lucknow, artistic woodworks of
Saharanpur, glasswork of Firozabad and export quality garments of Ghaziabad. U.P.
Pavilion is being visited by the people in large numbers for the last two days.
They are visiting the Pavilion to witness the


depicts and make big
purchases. The visitors are enchanted by the traditional handcraft products of
Uttar Pradesh. They are spontaneously praising the State’s handcrafts. It may
be recalled that the total industrial capital investment that stood at about
Rs. 4,600 crore during 2006-07, rose to Rs.10,446 crore in 2010-11, as a result
of the industry-friendly policies of the State Government. During the current
financial year, this figure touched Rs. 10,818 crore mark till October last.
About 5400 craftsmen have benefited so far under the craftsmanship skill development
scheme started by the Government. The State Government also provides a monthly
pension of Rs. 1000 to the awardee craftsmen. Besides, a financial assistance
of about Rs. 25 lakh is provided to the craftsmen and small scale entrepreneurs


participating at the Trade
Fair under the marketing development scheme, so that the participants are not
put to unnecessary difficulties. Uttar Pradesh accounts for about 2.5 lakh
weavers and 80 thousand handlooms. Employment was provided to as many as


21,582 weavers this year and
the figure is expected to go up further. Clusters are set up in weaver
dominated areas for ensuring benefites like base line survey, supply of raw
material, design development, development of infrastructure, advertisement, marketing
expenditure on project management and skill upgradation. Similarly, assistance
is given to handloom clusters for the strengthening and promotion of marketing.
Currently, as many as 17,000 weavers of 50 clusters are benefiting under the
scheme. In addition, 8000 weavers have been covered under the group approach.
About, 1,12,339 insurance cards have been distributed to the people engaged in
weaving under the group health insurance scheme. The success of these schemes
has been lively depicted at the Pavilion.

Buddhist
philosophy

Buddhist
philosophy

deals extensively with problems in metaphysics,
phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.

Some scholars assert that
early Buddhist philosophy did not engage in ontological
or metaphysical
speculation, but was based instead on empirical
evidence gained by the sense organs (ayatana).[1]
Buddha is said to have assumed an unsympathetic attitude toward speculative
thought in general.[2]
A basic idea of the Buddha is that the world must be thought of in procedural
terms, not in terms of things or substances.[3]
The Buddha advised viewing reality as consisting of dependently originated phenomena;
Buddhists view this approach to experience as avoiding the two extremes of reification and nihilism.[4]
Nevertheless, Buddhist scholars have addressed ontological and metaphysical
issues subsequently.

Particular points of
Buddhist philosophy have often been the subject of disputes between different schools of Buddhism. While
theory for its own sake is not valued in Buddhism, theory pursued in the
interest of enlightenment is consistent with Buddhist values and ethics.

Contents

 [hide

  • 1.3 Interpenetration
  • 1.4 Ethics
  • 2 History
  • 3 Comparison with other
    philosophies
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links
  • Philosophy

    Historical context

    The
    historical Buddha
    lived during a time of spiritual and philosophical
    revival in Northern India when the established mythologies and cosmological
    explanations of the vedas
    came under rational scrutiny. As well as the Buddha’s own teachings, new
    ethical and spiritual philosophies such as those of Mahavira
    became established during this period when alternatives to the mainstream religion
    arose in an atmosphere of freethought and renewed
    vitality in spiritual endeavour. This general cultural movement is today known
    as the Sramanic
    tradition and the epoch of new thought as the axial
    era
    . These heterodox groups held widely divergent opinions but were
    united by a critical attitude towards the established religion whose
    explanations they found unsatisfactory and whose animal
    sacrifices
    increasingly distasteful and irrelevant. In Greece, China
    and India there was a return to fundamental questions and a new interest in the
    question of how humans should live. In this atmosphere of freethought the
    Buddha discouraged his followers from indulging in intellectual disputation for
    its own sake, saying that this is fruitless and distracting from true
    awakening. The Buddha saw himself as a physician
    rather than a philosopher. Like a doctor he
    was concerned with identifying the fundamental problem of human existence
    (diagnosis), its cause (etiology), and treatment. However, the Buddha’s
    doctrine did have an important philosophical component: it negated the major
    claims of rival positions while building upon them at a new philosophical and
    religious level.

    The Buddha’s method of
    enquiry in disputation with others was like the Socratic
    method
    , his approach to metaphysical questions apophatic
    and his attitude to the accepted pantheon of gods and goddesses somewhat
    iconoclastic. He asserted the insubstantiality of the ego and in doing so countered
    those Upanishadic
    sages who sought knowledge of an unchanging ultimate self. The Buddha
    created a new position in opposition to their theories, and held that
    attachment to a permanent self in this world of change is the cause of
    suffering and the main obstacle to liberation. He broke new ground by going on to
    explain the source for the apparent ego: it is merely the result of
    identification with the temporary aggregates (skandhas)
    which constitute the sum total of the individual human being’s experience at
    any given moment in time. His avoidance of theological speculation or assertions
    and non-assertion of the existence of any Supreme Being or essential substance
    may be seen as evidence of his mystical apophasis rather than skepticism or
    nihilism. The Buddha was concerned with advancing human happiness by teaching
    people the correct method of liberation.

    The Buddha’s teaching is
    rationalistic, scientific and empirical. Though he uses parables and similes in
    common with other religious teachers he is somewhat unique in bringing a highly
    logical and analytical approach to questions of ultimate significance for human
    beings. In this breaking down into constituent elements, the Buddha was heir to
    earlier element philosophies which had sought to characterize existing things
    as made up of a set of basic elements.[citation needed]
    The Buddha, however, eliminated mythological rhetoric, systematized world
    components into five groups, and used this approach not to characterize a
    substantial object, but to explain a delusion. He coordinated material
    components with psychological ones. The Buddha criticized the Brahmins’
    theories of an Absolute as yet another reification, instead giving a path to self-perfection as a
    means of transcending the world of name
    and form
    .[5]

    Epistemology

    Decisive
    in distinguishing Buddhism from what is commonly called
    Hinduism is the issue of epistemological justification. All schools of Indian
    logic

    recognize various sets of valid justifications for knowledge, or
    pramāa – Buddhism recognizes a set that is
    smaller than the others’. All accept
    perception and inference, for example, but for
    some schools of Hinduism and Buddhism the received textual tradition is an
    epistemological category equal to perception and inference (although this is
    not necessarily true for some other schools).
    [6]

    Thus,
    in the Hindu schools, if a claim was made that could not be substantiated by
    appeal to the textual canon, it would be considered as ridiculous as a claim
    that the sky was green and, conversely, a claim which could not be
    substantiated via conventional means might still be justified through textual
    reference, differentiating this from the epistemology of
    hard
    science
    .

    Some
    schools of Buddhism, on the other hand, rejected an inflexible reverence of
    accepted doctrine. As the Buddha said, according to the canonical scriptures:[7]

    Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by
    legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by
    analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the
    thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves
    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’ — then you should enter & remain
    in them.

    Early
    Buddhist philosophers and exegetes of one particular
    early school (as opposed to Mahāyāna), the Sarvāstivādins, created a pluralist metaphysical and phenomenological
    system, in which all experiences of people, things and events can be broken
    down into smaller and smaller perceptual or perceptual-
    ontological units called “dharmas“. Other schools incorporated some
    parts of this theory and criticized others. The
    Sautrāntikas, another early school, and the Theravādins, now the only modern survivor of the
    early Buddhist schools, criticized the
    realist standpoint of the Sarvāstivādins.

    The
    Mah
    āyānist
    Nāgārjuna, one of the most influential Buddhist
    thinkers, promoted classical Buddhist emphasis on
    phenomena and attacked Sarvāstivāda
    realism and Sautr
    āntika
    nominalism in his magnum opus, The Fundamental Verses on the Middle
    Way

    (M
    ūlamadhyamakakārikā).[8]

    Speculation versus direct
    experience

    According
    to the
    scriptures, during his lifetime the Buddha
    remained silent when asked several
    metaphysical questions. These regarded issues such as whether
    the universe is eternal or non-eternal (or whether it is finite or infinite),
    the unity or separation of the body and the
    self, the complete inexistence of a person
    after Nirvana and death, and others. One explanation for this silence is that
    such questions distract from activity that is practical to realizing
    enlightenment[9] and bring about the danger of
    substituting the experience of liberation by conceptual understanding of the
    doctrine or by religious faith.
    [10] Another explanation is that both
    affirmative and negative positions regarding these questions are based on
    attachment to and misunderstanding of the
    aggregates and senses. That is, when one sees
    these things for what they are, the idea of forming positions on such
    metaphysical questions simply does not occur to one.
    [11] Another closely related explanation is
    that reality is devoid of designations, or empty, and therefore language itself
    is
    a priori inadequate.[12]

    Thus,
    the Buddha’s silence does not indicate
    misology or disdain for philosophy. Rather, it
    indicates that he viewed these questions as not leading to true knowledge.
    [12] Dependent arising provides a framework
    for analysis of reality that is not based on metaphysical assumptions regarding
    existence or non-existence, but instead on direct cognition of phenomena as
    they are presented to the mind. This informs and supports the Buddhist approach
    to liberation via the Noble Eightfold Path.

    The
    Buddha of the earliest Buddhists texts describes Dharma (in the sense of
    “truth”) as “beyond reasoning” or “transcending
    logic”, in the sense that reasoning is a subjectively introduced aspect of
    the way humans perceive things, and the conceptual framework which underpins it
    is a part of the cognitive process, rather than a feature of things as they
    really are. Being “beyond reasoning” means in this context
    penetrating the nature of reasoning from the inside, and removing the causes
    for experiencing any future stress as a result of it, rather than functioning
    outside of the system as a whole.
    [13]

    Most
    Buddhists agree that, to a greater or lesser extent, words are inadequate to
    describe the goal of the Buddhist path, but concerning the usefulness of words
    in the path itself, schools differ radically.
    [14]

    In
    the Mahayana
    Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Buddha insists that while
    pondering upon Dharma is vital, one must then relinquish fixation on words and
    letters, as these are utterly divorced from liberation and the
    Buddha-nature. The Tibetan tantra entitled the “All-Creating
    King” (
    Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra) also emphasizes how Buddhist truth
    lies beyond the range of discursive/verbal thought and is ultimately
    mysterious. Samantabhadra, states there: “The mind of perfect purity …
    is beyond thinking and inexplicable…”
    [15] Also later, the famous Indian Buddhist
    practitioner and teacher,
    mahasiddha Tilopa discouraged any intellectual activity
    in his
    six
    words of advice
    .

    Professor
    C. D. Sebastian describes the nature of enlightenment according to one Mahayana
    text:[16]

    Bodhi is the final goal of a Bodhisattva’s career and it is indicated by such
    words as buddha-jnana (knowledge of Buddha), sarvjnata
    (omniscience), sarvakarajnata (the quality of knowing things as they
    are), … and acintyam jnanam (inconceivable knowledge) … Bodhi
    is pure universal and immediate knowledge, which extends over all time, all
    universes, all beings and elements, conditioned and unconditioned. It is
    absolute and identical with Reality and thus it is
    Tathata.
    Bodhi is immaculate and non-conceptual, and it, being not an outer
    object, cannot be understood by discursive thought. It has neither beginning,
    nor middle nor end and it is indivisbile. It is non-dual (advayam)…
    The only possible way to comprehend it is through
    samadhi by the yogin

    The
    early texts, in contrast, contain explicit repudiations of attributing
    omniscience to the Buddha.[17][18] Furthermore, the non-duality ascribed
    to the nature of enlightenment in the early texts is not ontological.
    [19]

    Mahayana
    often adopts a
    pragmatic
    concept of truth
    :[20]
    doctrines are “true” in the sense of being spiritually beneficial. In
    modern
    Chinese
    Buddhism
    ,
    all doctrinal traditions are regarded as equally valid.
    [21]

    Theravada
    promotes the concept of
    vibhajjavada (Pāli,
    literally “Teaching of Analysis”) to non-Buddhists. This doctrine
    says that insight must come from the aspirant’s experience, critical
    investigation, and reasoning instead of by blind faith. As the Buddha said
    according to the canonical scriptures:[22]

    Do not accept anything by mere
    tradition … Do not accept anything just because it accords with your
    scriptures … Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your
    pre-conceived notions … But when you know for yourselves—these things are
    moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these
    things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness—then
    do you live acting accordingly.

    Dependent origination

    Main article: Dependent origination

    What
    some consider the original positive Buddhist contribution to the field of
    metaphysics is
    dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda).
    It states that events are not
    predetermined, nor are they random, and it rejects notions of direct
    causation, which are necessarily undergirded by a substantialist metaphysics.
    Instead, it posits the arising of events under certain conditions which are
    inextricable, such that the processes in question at no time, are considered to
    be entities.

    Dependent
    origination goes on to posit that certain specific events, concepts, or
    realities are always dependent on other specific things. Craving, for example,
    is always dependent on, and caused by, emotion. Emotion is always dependent on
    contact with our surroundings. This chain of causation purports to show that
    the cessation of decay, death, and sorrow is indirectly dependent on the
    cessation of craving.

    Nāgārjuna asserted a direct connection between,
    even identity of, dependent origination, selflessness (anatta), and
    emptiness (
    śūnyatā). He pointed out that implicit in the
    early Buddhist concept of dependent origination is the lack of any substantial
    being (anatta) underlying the participants in origination, so that they
    have no independent existence, a state identified as emptiness (
    śūnyatā),
    or emptiness of a nature or essence (svabh
    āva).

    Interpenetration

    The
    doctrine of “interpenetration” or “coalescence” (Wylie: zung-’jug;
    Sanskrit: yuganaddha; Chinese:
    通達)[23][24]
    comes from the Avatasaka Sūtra, a Mah
    āyāna
    scripture, and its associated schools. It holds that all phenomena (Sanskrit: dharmas)
    are intimately connected (and mutually arising). Two images are used to convey
    this idea. The first is known as Indra’s
    net
    . The net is set with jewels which have the extraordinary property that
    they reflect all of the other jewels. The second image is that of the world
    text. This image portrays the world as consisting of an enormous text which is
    as large as the universe itself. The words of the text are composed of the
    phenomena that make up the world. However, every atom of the world contains the
    whole text within it. It is the work of a Buddha to let out the text so that
    beings can be liberated from suffering. The doctrine of interpenetration
    influenced the Japanese monk Kūkai, who founded the Shingon
    school of Buddhism. It is iconographically represented by yab-yum.[citation needed]
    Interpenetration and essence-function are mutually informing in the East
    Asian Buddhist traditions, especially the Korean
    Buddhist
    tradition.

    Ethics

    Main article: Buddhist
    ethics

    Although
    there are many ethical tenets in Buddhism that differ depending on whether one
    is a monk or a layman, and depending on individual schools, the Buddhist system
    of ethics can be summed up in the
    eightfold
    path
    .

    And this, monks, is the noble truth of
    the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering — precisely this
    Noble Eightfold Path – right view, right intention, right speech, right action,
    right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
    [25]

    The
    purpose of living an ethical life is to escape the suffering inherent in
    samsara. Skillful actions condition the mind
    in a positive way and lead to future happiness, while the opposite is true for
    unskillful actions. Ethical discipline also provides the mental stability and
    freedom to embark upon mental cultivation via
    meditation.

    History

    Early development

    Certain
    basic teachings appear in many places throughout the early texts, so most
    scholars conclude that the Buddha must at least have taught something of the
    kind:[26]

    Some
    scholars disagree, and have proposed many other theories.
    [27] According to such scholars, there was
    something they variously call “
    earliest
    Buddhism
    “,
    “original Buddhism” or “pre-canonical Buddhism”. The Buddha
    rejected certain precepts of
    Indian
    philosophy

    that were prominent during his lifetime.
    [28] According to some scholars, the
    philosophical outlook of earliest Buddhism was primarily negative, in the sense
    that it focused on what doctrines to reject more than on what doctrines
    to accept. This dimension is also found in the
    Madhyamaka school. It includes critical
    rejections of all
    views, which is a form of philosophy, but it
    is reluctant to posit its own.

    Only
    knowledge that is useful in achieving
    enlightenment is valued. According to this theory,
    the cycle of philosophical upheavals that in part drove the diversification of
    Buddhism into its many schools and sects only began once Buddhists began
    attempting to make explicit the implicit philosophy of the Buddha and the early
    suttas. Other scholars reject this theory. After the death of the Buddha,
    attempts were made to gather his teachings and transmit them in a commonly
    agreed form, first orally, then also in writing (the
    Tripiaka).

    Cataphatic presentations

    The tathāgathagarbha
    (or Buddha-nature)
    doctrine of some schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism,
    the Theravāda doctrine
    of bhavaga, and
    the Yogācāra store consciousness were all
    identified at some point with the luminous
    mind
    of the Nik
    āyas.

    The tathāgatagarbha sutras, in a departure from
    mainstream Buddhist language, insist that the true self lies at the very heart
    of the Buddha himself and of nirvana, as well as being
    concealed within the mass of mental and moral contaminants that blight all
    beings. Such doctrines saw a shift from a largely apophatic (negative)
    philosophical trend within Buddhism to a decidedly more cataphatic
    (positive) modus. The tath
    āgatagarbha does not, according to some scholars,
    represent a substantial self; rather, it is a positive language expression of emptiness
    and represents the potentiality to realize Buddhahood through Buddhist
    practices. In this interpretation, the intention of the teaching of tath
    āgatagarbha is soteriological
    rather than theoretical.[29][30]
    The word “self” (atman) is used in a way idiosyncratic to
    these sutras; the “true self” is described as the perfection of the
    wisdom of not-self
    in the Buddha-Nature Treatise, for example.[30]
    Language that had previously been used by essentialist non-Buddhist
    philosophers was now adopted, with new definitions, by Buddhists to promote
    orthodox teachings.

    Prior to the period of
    these scriptures, Mah
    āyāna metaphysics
    had been dominated by teachings on emptiness
    in the form of Madhyamaka philosophy. The
    language used by this approach is primarily negative, and the tath
    āgatagarbha genre of sutras can be seen as an
    attempt to state orthodox Buddhist teachings of dependent origination using
    positive language instead, to prevent people from being turned away from
    Buddhism by a false impression of nihilism. In these sutras the perfection of
    the wisdom of not-self is stated to be the true self; the ultimate goal of the
    path is then characterized using a range of positive language that had been
    used previously in Indian philosophy by essentialist philosophers, but which
    was now transmuted into a new Buddhist vocabulary to describe a being who has
    successfully completed the Buddhist path.[31]

    Comparison with other
    philosophies

    Baruch
    Spinoza
    , though he argued for the existence of a permanent reality,
    asserts that all phenomenal existence is transitory. In his opinion sorrow is
    conquered “by finding an object of knowledge which is not transient, not
    ephemeral, but is immutable, permanent, everlasting.” Buddhism teaches
    that such a quest is bound to fail. David
    Hume
    , after a relentless analysis of the mind, concluded that
    consciousness consists of fleeting mental states. Hume’s Bundle
    theory
    is a very similar concept to the Buddhist skandhas,
    though his denial of causation lead him to opposite conclusions in other areas.
    Arthur Schopenhauer’s
    philosophy had some parallels in Buddhism.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein’s
    “word games” map closely to the warning of intellectual speculation
    as a red herring to understanding,
    in a similar fashion as the Buddhist Parable of the Poison
    Arrow
    . Friedrich Nietzsche, although
    himself dismissive of Buddhism as yet another nihilism, developed his
    philosophy of accepting life-as-it-exists and self-cultivation, which is
    extremely similar to Buddhism as better understood in the West. Heidegger’s
    ideas on being and nothingness have been held by some to be similar to Buddhism
    today.[32]

    An alternative approach to
    the comparison of Buddhist thought with Western philosophy is to use the
    concept of the Middle Way in Buddhism as a
    critical tool for the assessment of Western philosophies. In this way Western
    philosophies can be classified in Buddhist terms as eternalist or nihilist. In
    a Buddhist view all philosophies are to be considered non-essential.[33]

    See also

    Buddhist philosophers

    Notes

    Notes

    1.   
    ^ David
    Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The
    University Press of Hawaii, 1975, page 70.

    2.   
    ^ Gunnar
    Skirbekk, Nils Gilje, A history of Western thought: from ancient Greece to
    the twentieth century.
    7th edition published by Routledge, 2001, page 25.

    3.   
    ^ Gunnar
    Skirbekk, Nils Gilje, A history of Western thought: from ancient Greece to
    the twentieth century.
    7th edition published by Routledge, 2001, page 26.

    4.   
    ^ David
    Kalupahana, Mulamadhyamakakarika of Nagarjuna. Motilal Banarsidass,
    2006, page 1.

    5.   
    ^
    Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of
    Intellectual Change.
    Harvard University Press, 2000, page 202. [1]

    6.   
    ^ The Theravāda commentary, ascribed to Dhammapala,
    on the Nettipakaraa, says (P
    āli pamāa
    is equivalent to Sanskrit pram
    āa):
    na hi p
    āito
    añña

    pam
    āatara atthi (quoted in Pali
    Text Society
    edition of the Nettipakara
    a, 1902, page XI) which Nanamoli
    translates as: “for there is no other criterion beyond a text” (The
    Guide
    , Pali Text Society, 1962, page xi).

    7.   
    ^ Kalama
    Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya III.65, [2].

    8.   
    ^
    Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of
    Intellectual Change.
    Harvard University Press, 2000, pages 221-222.

    9.   
    ^ MN
    72 (Thanissaro,
    1997)
    . For further discussion of the context in which these statements was
    made, see Thanissaro
    (2004)
    .

    10.^
    “Experience is … the path most elaborated in early Buddhism. The
    doctrine on the other hand was kept low. The Buddha avoided doctrinal
    formulations concerning the final reality as much as possible in order to
    prevent his followers from resting content with minor achievements on the path
    in which the absence of the final experience could be substituted by conceptual
    understanding of the doctrine or by religious faith, a situation which
    sometimes occurs, in both varieties, in the context of Hindu systems of
    doctrine”, Karel Werner, Mysticism and Indian Spirituality. In
    Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press, 1989: p. 27.

    11.^
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “Introduction
    to the Avyakata Samyutta”

    12.^
    a
    b
    Gadjin M. Nagao, Madhyamika and Yogachara. Leslie S. Kawamura,
    translator, SUNY Press, Albany 1991, pp. 40–41.

    13.^ Sue
    Hamilton, Early Buddhism. Routledge, 2000, page 135.

    14.^ Philosophy
    East and West
    . Vol. 26, p. 138

    15.^ The
    Sovereign All-Creating Mind
    tr. by E. K. Neumaier-Dargyay, pp. 111–112.

    16.^
    Professor C. D. Sebastian, Metaphysics and Mysticism in Mahayana Buddhism,
    Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 2005, p. 274)

    17.^ A. K.
    Warder
    , Indian Buddhism. Third edition published by Motilal
    Banarsidass Publ., 2000, pages 132-133.

    18.^ David J. Kalupahana, A History of Buddhist
    Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities.
    University of Hawaii Press,
    1992, page 43: [3].

    19.^
    Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. 2007, page 109.

    20.^
    Williams, Mahayana Buddhism, Routledge, 1989, p. 2

    21.^
    Welch, Practice of Chinese Buddhism, Harvard, 1967, p. 395

    22.^ Kalama
    Sutta
    , Anguttara Nikaya III.65

    23.^ [4]

    24.^ http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/zung_’jug

    25.^ Samyutta
    Nikaya
    LVI.11

    26.^
    Mitchell, Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 2002, page 34 and table of
    contents

    27.^
    Skorupski, Buddhist Forum, vol I, Heritage, Delhi/SOAS, London, 1990,
    page 5; Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies,
    vol 21 (1998), part 1, pages 4, 11

    28.^ See
    for example Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s commentary on the Mulapariyaya Sutta, [5].

    29.^
    Heng-Ching Shih, “The Significance Of ‘Tathagatagarbha’ – A Positive
    Expression Of ‘Sunyata.’” http://zencomp.com/greatwisdom/ebud/ebdha191.htm.

    30.^
    a
    b
    Sallie B. King, The Doctrine of Buddha Nature is Impeccably Buddhist, http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/nlarc/pdf/Pruning%20the%20bodhi%20tree/Pruning%209.pdf
    )

    31.^
    Sallie B. King, The Doctrine of Buddha-Nature is impeccably Buddhist. [6],
    pages 1-6.

    32.^ God Is Dead:
    What Next

    33.^ Robert Ellis A
    Buddhist theory of moral objectivity
    (Ph.D. thesis)

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