Monday, January 23, 2023

Which suttas should I study first? How an oral tradition works.


Re: What texts should I study first?

Post by frank k » 

Gami47 wrote: Thu Dec 15, 2022 2:34 pm:namaste:
This will give you a strong foundation.

You shouldn't think of it like a college course where you go through an ordered series of suttas that you study, then move on and graduate from them.

Rather, the Dhamma contains not a large amount of important ideas, but you keep revisiting them and deepening your understanding of it.
The suttas were designed and composed for an oral tradition,
which means to get to most out of it, you should memorize the core ideas,
recite the instructions frequently, every day, think and ponder their meaning.
Then dots will start to connect, and you'll deepen your understanding contiuously over time.
Years later, decades later, you'll continue to discover deeper layers.

Friday, January 20, 2023

If they wanted to, Can a Sotapanna be reborn in the hell or animal realm?


Re: Can a Sotapanna be reborn in the hell or animal realm?

Post by frank k » 

[james] wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 12:45 pmIf not, why not? What is there about the woeful realms that might conflict with the maximum seven lifetimes rule of stream enterer progression?
That's an interesting question, and something occurred to me.
Just as regular beings can to some extent influence where they're reborn,
why would a stream enterer not be able to VOLUNTARILY be reborn into a lower realm, hell, animal realm, if they chose to?

If a stream enterer were to just follow their karmic inertia and just go with the flow at the time of death, we know from the suttas they are guaranteed at most 7 more lifetimes, in favorable realms (not animal, not hell) before attaining final nirvana.

Let's call a hypothetical stream enterer = "Steve" for convenience.
Suppose Steve had some unfinished business, or wanted to help out a family member who had been reborn as an animal, or in the hell realm?
Suppose Steve is a powerful yogi with the 5 mundane abhiñña, psychic powers, ability to visit beings in various realms in his current life, with strong sīla and qualified for any realm he wants to be reborn in, tusita, heaven of 33, brahma realm, and he has family or friend connections in all of those favorable realms he could easily be reborn into.
But suppose Steve wants to help his deceased mom, who was reborn as a bear on earth.
Now in the present life, Steve can wield many supernormal powers, appear as a mind made bear to communicate somewhat with his mom, but it's not enough to help her.
Steve wants to be reborn as a bear cub and help his mom develop some virtues to overcome her karmic obstacles.

I see no reason why Steve, even though he's a stream enterer with mighty psychic powers, could not be reborn as a bear if he wanted to.

But that's just a guess, I have no proof.

Re: Can a Sotapanna be reborn in the hell or animal realm?

Post by frank k » 

We all know the general rules, but there are interesting exceptions that don't have a great deal of explanation.
For example, the suttas say The Buddha, Mogallana, and probably other arahants with great psychic power,
if they wanted to,
could chose to extend their lifetime for the remainder of a cosmic aeon (kappa).
The Theravada commentary is wrong (they say kappa here means the remainder of a typical human lifespan, say 100 years).
How does that work exactly?
I take it to mean the arahant would enter a state similar to cessation of perception and feeling (a state in which their human form would remain impervious to fire, forceful destruction, presumably any decay of 4 elements), and manifiest mind made bodies to communicate when they wished.

So clearly there is some degree of upward and downward mobility for an arahant, even given that it's definite that at their time of pari nibbāna that would be the end.

Another example, an arahant who suffers a mortal wound, could commit suicide to escape the pain.

For nonreturners, once returners, stream enterers, there are even more potential options for upward and downward mobility.
Upward mobility would contain the obivous situation, such as a stream enterer could change their future rebirth by becoming an arahant.
For downward mobility, take the case of a non-returner.
What exactly are the pure abodes, how many of them are there?
Do they really have no choice as to which one they're reborn into?
Could they not be reborn into an arupa realm (outside pure abodes) if they chose to?
How about one of the rupa brahma realms?

And for stream enterers, what does 7 lives at most actually mean?
Sometimes the number 7 in the suttas, just means small finite number, not an exact figure totalling 7.
Let's rexamine Steve again, our hypothetical stream enterer.
Suppose Steve was reborn on Earth again,
but in Saudi Arabia in a rich family, with no contact with Buddha Dharma, but in a pious and virtuous family.
Steve in his new rebirth is a muslim, doesn't remember anything about his previous life.
Would it not surprise you if Steve took a litte more than 7 lives to get back on track towards Nirvana?


Mumfie wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:39 am
frank k wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:15 amI see no reason why Steve, even though he's a stream enterer with mighty psychic powers, could not be reborn as a bear if he wanted to.
In many suttas sotāpannas declare of themselves:
“Hell is ended (khīṇa-nirayo); animal wombs are ended (khīṇa-­ti­racchā­na­yoni ); the state of the hungry shades is ended (khīṇa-­petti­visayo); states of deprivation, destitution, the bad bourns are ended (khīṇ-ā­pāya­dugga­ti­vini­pāto)! I am a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe (avini­pāta­-dhammo), headed for self-awakening!”

and in many suttas the Buddha confirms that all of this is the case.

The sotāpannas don't declare of themselves:
“Hereafter, though we shall never again be compelled to take rebirth in hell, the animal realm or the sphere of petas, naturally we can always do so if we feel like it.”

(Śrotāpannālpajñātarahasya Sūtra / Discourse on the Stream-entrant's Little-known Secret, long hidden away in the dragon world, but rediscovered by the great tertön Mumfie)
Nor does the Buddha ever say this of them. The khīṇa in khīṇanirayokhīṇa­ti­racchā­na­yoni and khīṇa­petti­visayo rule out the possibility suggested by James. As does the -dhammo in avini­pāta­dhammo – just as living for ever is incompatible with being marana-dhammo (“of the nature to die”, “subject to death”), so a descent into states of woe is incompatible with being avini­pāta-­dhammo (“of the nature to be apart from realms of woe”).
Khīṇa [pp. of khīyati, Pass. to khayati] destroyed, exhausted, removed, wasted, gone; in cpds. ˚-often to be translated "without." It is mostly applied to the destruction of the passions (āsavā) & demerit (kamma).

Khīṇā jāti "destroyed is the possibility of rebirth," in freq. occurring formula "kh. j. vusitaŋ brahmacariyaŋ kataŋ karaṇīyaŋ nâparaŋ itthattāya," denoting the attainment of Arahantship. (See arahant ii, formula A) Vin i. 35; D i.84, 177, 203; M ii.39; Sn p. 16; Pug 61 etc. See expln at DA i.225= SnA 138. — khīṇaŋ mayhaŋ kammaŋ J iv.3, similarly khīṇaŋ purāṇaŋ navaŋ natthi sambhavaŋ Sn 235 (khīṇa=samucchinna KhA 194); pāpakamme khīṇe PvA 105.

Āsavakhīṇa: one whose cravings are destroyed Sn 370, cp. 162.

Khīṇāsava (adj.) whose mind is free from the four mental obsessions, Ep. of an Arahant Vin i.183; M i. 145; ii.43; iii.30; D iii.97, 133, 235; It 95; Sn 82, 471, 539, 644; Dh 89, 420; PvA 7 (=arahanto); cp. BSk kṣīṇāśrava Divy 542. — The seven powers of a kh.˚ (khīṇāsava-balāni) discussed at D iii.283; Ps i.35; ten powers at Ps ii.173, 176; cp. Vism 144 (where a kh. walks through the air).

Khīṇapunabbhava one in whom the conditions of another existence have been destroyed (=khīṇāsava) Sn 514, 656.

Khīṇabīja one who is without the seed (of renewed existence) (=prec.) Sn 235 (=ucchinna-bīja KhA 194).

Khīṇamaccha without fish (of a lake) Dh 155.

Khīṇavyappatha without the way of (evil) speech (vyapp˚=vācāya patho; expl. SnA 204 as na pharusavāco) Sn 158.

Khīṇasota with the stream gone, i.e. without water, in macche appodake kh˚ Sn 777.

So whether we can see a reason, or whether we can't see a reason, as a sotāpanna Steve is khīṇa­ti­racchā­na­yoni, knows himself to be so and is confirmed by the Buddha to be so. For Steve the conditions for becoming a bear no longer obtain. As a sotāpanna he is – so to sp

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

why doesn't Vism. cripple all the vipassana jhāna factors, only vitakka and vicāra?


Re: Sati in Hard Jhana

Post by frank k » 

This is a good question that most people don't ask, especially the Vism. followers, and their related ilk (Sujato, brahm with their corrupt EBT interpretation).

Vism. goes through great lengths to redefine vitakka and vicāra in first jhāna, to redefine jhāna into a frozen stupor.
Yet, for sati, sampajāno, and upekkha (explicit in 3rd and 4th jhāna), which all are involved in vipassana activity WHILE in the Buddha's EBT jhāna (see MN 111),
vism. doesn't cripple those definitions as they do with vitakka and vicāra.
Why is that?
It's yet another fatal flaw and damning evidence of their jhāna redefinition.
I believe had they done so, it would just look to ridiculous and obvious they're redefining every common word in the dictionary, such as:
"kāya/body" = not the physical body
"vitakka/thinking" = not thinking.
sati/remembering = only remembering the kasina image
sampajāno/lucid-discerning = only aware of the kasina, nothing else (such as flux of changing sensations, perceptions, thoughts).
upekkha/equanimous-observation = can only observe the kasina, nothing else.

It's all so blatant and contradicts suttas such as AN 9.36 and MN 111.

Alex123 wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 2:54 pmHello all,

Re-reading the suttas I've stumbled on this question:
In the standard stock phrase of the jhanas, the sati (mindfulness) appears in 3rd Jhana and in the 4th Jhana it reaches the state of "purity of equanimity & mindfulness".

If one is totally absorbed into one object, unable to make any sense at all of what is happening while one is in that state, what sort of "mindfulness" (sati) is there?


why are sutta instructions on meditation so brief?


Re: Brevity of Sutta meditation instructions

Post by frank k » 

The way into jhana, is just relax deeply and remove unnecessary verbal thinking.
That's it. Just those two things.

that's why sutta instructions on meditation are brief sometimes, because the description of the activity itself is really brief, and is a matter of skill and time put into practice, not from lack of verbal description.
More can be said on what, why, how to relax deeply and whether you're doing it correctly, and there are suttas that do that.
MN 19 and MN 20 for example give more details on curtailing unnecessary thought.
The jhana similes describe what happens physically after you've put enough time and correctly relax.
It's all there, laid out very concisely and clearly in the suttas, just not organized in a way that people can easily piece it together (scattered across all 5 nikayas).
The problem is there's plenty of counterfeit dhamma, corrupted dhamma, corrupted interpretations of suttas that confuse the audience so they don't know what to believe, who to trust.

But if you have the good fortune and discernment to follow meditators who actually know what they're doing, you'll find the suttas [with correct translation and interpretation] explain the process just fine.

Alex123 wrote: Fri Jan 13, 2023 9:44 amHello all,

Hard question:
Are meditation instructions in the suttas so short because:

a) Most of the material didn't make it into the suttas?
In this case, Why would such crucial piece of information be left out, while a lot of less practical material (such as Aganna sutta like materials, birth stories, miraculous stories & events, stories about Nagas, petas, devas, etc, etc) were left in? If there was "limited memory of reciters" to store every detail, why not store the most important ones and leave out less practically important?


b) The brevity of sutta meditation instruction is deliberate.

Perhaps it is meant that one has to use one's own ingenuity and wisdom to "flesh out" the specifics for oneself and develop accordingly. Perhaps there were many valid interpretations, and one had to find out the one which suited oneself.

Any comments, or thoughts? Any other interpretations?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

"orthodox", "classical" Theravada Buddhism


Re: What does it mean to interpret Suttas according to classical vs non-classical way?

Post by frank k » 

BrokenBones wrote: Sun Jan 08, 2023 3:29 amNon-classical refers to what was recited at the First Council. Classical refers to the Commentaries that appeared later... I know it sounds odd but that's the gist.
"Classical" is just a euphemism people created to try to feel better about themselves.

I think non-classical may also be referring to modern (after "classical" period), which may be subject to other sources of views that deviate from "orthodox".
For example, modern secular may have heretical beliefs such as no karma, no rebirth.
What you're referring to with first council, is EBT (early buddhist teachings) before Abhidhamma became part of the Theravada canon.

Both "classical" and "orthodox" are LBT (later buddhist teachings) that came after EBT.
EBT was before Abhidhamma was added to canon.
EBT was before Theravada "orthodox" commentary was considered authoritative interpretation of the Buddha's teaching.

The problem is, Both "classical" and "orthodox" contain gross and very obvious contradictions with the EBT.
So if you want to take them as authoritative, know that those labels are just euphemisms and propaganda for those schools to pretend their lineage is pure and authentic interpretations of the Buddha's word.
Much like how Mahayana, Vajrayana, modern secular Buddhism all contain new ideas that contradict the EBT, but they lie to themselves in order to believe that their version of Buddhism is a legitimate interpretation of the Buddha's original teachings.

Pretty much just human nature.
No one wants to believe they're following a deviant heterodox version of Buddhism that contain gross contradictions with the Buddha's original teachings.

From the point of view of EBT, "orthodox classical Theravada" is heretical non-orthodox in many important respects.
And the label "Theravada" (sayings of the elders), is quite a joke because those "elders" ignored and contradicted THEIR elders!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

ez reader: sensible paragraph formatting standard for digital books

To demonstrate its virtues, I compare the traditional paragraph formatting here using Chapter 6 of Thanissaro's new book:

with what I propose as a much more readable paragraph standard here (click on links to see full chapter section)

4nt-than2023 6
 The Second Noble Truth

    4nt-than2023 6.1 Craving for sensuality:

    4nt-than2023 6.2 Craving for becoming:

    4nt-than2023 6.3 Craving for non-becoming:

Comparing just a small piece of text from the chapter:

original traditional formatting:

These becomings can exist on any of three levels: the level of sensuality, the level of form, and the level of formlessness. A becoming on the level of sensuality would include the experience of pleasures or pains of the five physical senses. A becoming on the level of form would include the experience of the form of the body as felt from within. A becoming on the formless level would include the experience of such formless dimensions as infinite space or infinite consciousness.

my improved "ez reader paragraph" formatting:

These becomings can exist on any of three levels:
the level of sensuality, the level of form, and the level of formlessness.
A becoming on the level of sensuality would include the experience of pleasures or pains of the five physical senses.
A becoming on the level of form would include the experience of the form of the body as felt from within.
A becoming on the formless level would include the experience of such formless dimensions as infinite space or infinite consciousness.

Which style of formatting is easier to read, easier to re-read to find something specific?

Why doesn't everyone do it the 'ez way'? 

Back in the days of the printing press, you cut down trees, made paper, printed text on paper. 

So to save on costs, you tried to jam as much ink and word count into a single page as you possibly can.


Most people don't read things on physical paper anymore. 

On digital ink, you won't waste trees and physical paper by arranging your digital text in an organized, readable manner. 

What's easier to read, and find what you're looking for.

Sujato's version:

“Mendicants, an unethical person, who lacks ethics, has destroyed a vital condition for having no regrets. When there are regrets, one who has regrets has destroyed a vital condition for joy. When there is no joy, one who lacks joy has destroyed a vital condition for rapture. When there is no rapture, one who lacks rapture has destroyed a vital condition for tranquility. When there is no tranquility, one who lacks tranquility has destroyed a vital condition for bliss. When there is no bliss, one who lacks bliss has destroyed a vital condition for right immersion. When there is no right immersion, one who lacks right immersion has destroyed a vital condition for true knowledge and vision. When there is no true knowledge and vision, one who lacks true knowledge and vision has destroyed a vital condition for disillusionment and dispassion. When there is no disillusionment and dispassion, one who lacks disillusionment and dispassion has destroyed a vital condition for knowledge and vision of freedom.

Bodhi's version (he jams everything into 1 paragraph also, but at least he numbers the items)

“Bhikkhus, (1) for an immoral person, for one deficient in virtuous behavior, (2) non-regret lacks its proximate cause. When there is no non-regret, for one deficient in non-regret, (3) joy lacks its proximate cause. When there is no joy, for one deficient in joy, (4) rapture lacks its proximate cause. When there is no rapture, for one deficient in rapture, (5) tranquility lacks its proximate cause. When there is no tranquility, for one deficient in tranquility, (6) pleasure lacks its proximate cause. When there is no pleasure, for one deficient in pleasure, (7) right concentration lacks its proximate cause. When there is no right concentration, for one deficient in right concentration, (8) the knowledge and vision of things as they really are lacks its proximate cause. When there is no knowledge and vision of things as they really are, for one deficient in the knowledge and vision of things as they really are, (9) disenchantment and dispassion lack their proximate cause. When there is no disenchantment and dispassion, for one deficient in disenchantment and dispassion, (10) the knowledge and vision of liberation lacks its proximate cause.

Or Frank's EZ-reader formatting?

AN 10.3 Paṭhama-upanisa [Sīla] -sutta
AN 10.3 first-proximate-cause [Virtuous Behavior] discourse
1. “Dus-sīlassa, bhikkhave, sīla-vipannassa
1. (for an) im-moral [person], **********, (for one of) moral-deficiency,
hat-ūpaniso hoti a-vippaṭisāro;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) **** non-regret.
2. a-vippaṭisāre a-sati a-vippaṭisāra-vipannassa
2. (When) non-regret (is) not-there, (for one with) non-regret-deficiency,
hat-ūpanisaṃ hoti pāmojjaṃ;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) **** mirth.
3. pāmojje a-sati pāmojja-vipannassa
3. (When) mirth (is) not-there, (for one with) mirth-deficiency,
hat-ūpanisā hoti pīti;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) **** rapture.
4 pītiyā asati pīti-vipannassa
4. (When) rapture (is) not-there, (for one with) rapture-deficiency,
hat-ūpanisā hoti passaddhi;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) pacification.
5. passaddhiyā a-sati passaddhi-vipannassa
5. (when) pacification (is) not-there, (for one with) pacification-deficiency,
hat-ūpanisaṃ hoti sukhaṃ;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) pleasure.
6. sukhe a-sati sukha-vipannassa
6. (when) pleasure (is) not-there, (for one with) pleasure-deficiency,
hat-ūpaniso hoti sammā-samādhi;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) righteous - undistractable-lucidity.
7. sammā-samādhimhi a-sati sammā-samādhi-vipannassa
7. (when) righteous - undistractable-lucidity (is) not-there, (for one with) righteous - undistractable-lucidity -deficiency,
hat-ūpanisaṃ hoti yathā-bhūta-ñāṇa-dassanaṃ;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) knowledge & vision of things as they really are.
8. yathā-bhūta-ñāṇa-dassane a-sati yathā-bhūta-ñāṇa-dassana-vipannassa
8. When there is no knowledge and vision of things as they really are, for one deficient in the knowledge and vision of things as they really are,
hat-ūpaniso hoti nibbidā-virāgo;
destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) disenchantment and dispassion.
9. nibbidā-virāge a-sati nibbidā-virāga-vipannassa
9. When there is no disenchantment and dispassion, for one deficient in disenchantment and dispassion,
10. hat-ūpanisaṃ hoti vimutti-ñāṇa-dassanaṃ.
10. destroyed-(is the)-proximate-cause (for) the knowledge and vision of liberation.

Come on people. 

It's 2023.

Stop being so stingy with the carriage returns.

And try using numbers in lists, it really makes it easier to find things.


also see: 🔗📚 free Dhamma book makers, please make EPUB versions: PDF's are a horrendous nuisance to read

Forum discussion
AlexCoventry·18 hr. ago

The main thing I would want in a revised format is more anchors so I can link to the specific relevant text.

level 2

lucid24-frankkOP·just now

great point. all my newer sutta translations and long articles have massive amounts of anchors.

For example, MN 125

every numbered item in there is an anchor.

want to go to section 3.11.1 ?

just add 3.11.1 to the end of