Author Topic: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!  (Read 266 times)

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« on: August 03, 2017, 03:35:31 am »
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"Now what do you think of this, O monks? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, what is impermanent, is that unsatisfactory or satisfactory?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, what is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard it as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

"Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever form, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that form must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.mend.html


Lesson 1:

Q: Above is an excerpt from the Pali suttas. How should it be read & understand?

A. It should be read & understand as follows:

1. Consciousness is impermanent .

2. Consciousness is unsatisfactory.

3. Consciousness is not-self.

In other words, it should not be read & not understood as follows:

1. There is no consciousness.

2. Consciousness has no inherent existence.

Instead, it should be as read & understood as it is written, namely:

1. Consciousness is impermanent .

2. Consciousness is unsatisfactory.

3. Consciousness is not-self.

 :teehee:


Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 03:41:19 am »
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Suppose, bhikkhus, that a magician or a magician’s apprentice would display a magical illusion at a crossroads. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a magical illusion? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in consciousness?

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.95

Lesson 2:

Q: Above is an excerpt from the Pali suttas. How should it be read & understand?

A. It should be read & understand as follows:

1. Consciousness is like a magician's trick, meaning it is something conjured up from where no one can know.

2. Consciousness is void, hollow, insubstantial, meaning it is not anything substantial.

In other words, it should not be read & not understood as follows:

1. There is no consciousness.

2. Consciousness has no inherent existence.

 :curtain:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 03:44:00 am »
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Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html


Lesson 3:

Q: Above is an excerpt from the Pali suttas. How should it be read & understand?

A. It should be read & understand as follows:

1. Emptiness (sunnata) means empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self

In other words, it should not be read & not understood as follows:

1. Emptiness (sunnata) is conditionality (idappaccayatā)

2. There is no consciousness.

3. Consciousness has no inherent existence.

Instead, it should be read:

1. Consciousness is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

In other words:

1. Even if consciousness was permanent & had inherent existence, it still would be empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

 :listen:
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 03:47:53 am by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 03:52:10 am »
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There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html


Lesson 4:

The above is about Nibbana. It should be read & understood that Nibbana is not-conditioned.

 :namaste:

Offline ground

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 03:54:29 am »
It is appropriate if you explain your individual approach to theravada view.

However

...
A. It should be read & understand as follows:

1. Consciousness is like a magician's trick, meaning it is something conjured up from where no one can know.

2. Consciousness is void, hollow, insubstantial, meaning it is not anything substantial.

In other words, it should not be read & not understood as follows:

...

2. Consciousness has no inherent existence.

 :curtain:

That consciousness is like a magician's trick, that it is void, hollow, insubstantial is not different in meaning from the expressions 'Consciousness does not  inherently exist' or 'Consciousness does not truly exist'.  :teehee:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 03:55:16 am »
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He directly knows Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having directly known Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself in Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself apart from Nibbāna, he should not conceive Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he should not delight in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he must fully understand it, I say.

Lesson 5:

The above sutta excerpt is also about Nibbana. It should be understood that he should not conceive Nibbāna to be ‘mine’.

In other words, it should be understand Nibbana is not-self (anatta) or empty of self (sunnata).

 :gawrsh:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 04:02:11 am »
That consciousness is like a magician's trick, that it is void, hollow, insubstantial is not different in meaning of the expressions 'Consciousness does not  inherently exist' or 'Consciousness does not truly exist'.  :teehee:

No it doesn't because the Pali words translated as void, hollow, insubstantial do not mean non-existence. The word 'existence' is not any way related to these Pali terms.

Also, when consciousness exists, it exists inherently as consciousness. In other words, it does not exist as a dog or a cat. it is consciousness because it cognises. But that cognition is not anything special. That is why it is void, hollow, insubstantial.

It is like a grain of sand. It has no special worth. It is void, hollow, insubstantial, as stated in the sutta.

 :curtain:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 04:07:29 am »
Quote
Lesson 4:

The above is about Nibbana. It should be read & understood that Nibbana is not-conditioned.

Lesson 5:

The above sutta excerpt is also about Nibbana. It should be understood that he should not conceive Nibbāna to be ‘mine’.

In other words, it should be understand Nibbana is not-self (anatta) or empty of self (sunnata)

Lesson 6 - combining suttas

If lesson 4 & lesson 5 are combined, they are read, together, as:

A: Nibbana is not-conditioned.

B: Nibbana is not-self (anatta) or empty of self (sunnata).

C: Therefore, not-conditioned can be sunnata.

D: In other words, 'sunnata' does not mean 'conditioned'.

 ;D

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 04:10:58 am »
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His release, being founded on truth, does not fluctuate, for whatever is deceptive is false; Nibbana — the undeceptive — is true. Thus a monk so endowed is endowed with the highest determination for truth, for this — Nibbana, the undeceptive — is the highest noble truth. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.140.than.html


Lesson 7

This sutta should be read as: "Nibbana does not fluctuate".

Why? Because the sutta literally states: ""Nibbana does not fluctuate".

 :namaste:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2017, 04:13:46 am »
Lesson 8 - combining suttas

If lesson 4, lesson 5. lesson 6 & lesson 7 are combined, they are read, together, as:

A: Nibbana is not-conditioned.

B: Nibbana is not-self (anatta) or empty of self (sunnata).

C. Nibbana does not fluctuate, i.e., Nibbana is permanent.

D: Therefore, not-conditioned can be sunnata.

E:  Therefore, permanent can be sunnata.

F: In other words, 'sunnata' does inherently mean 'conditioned' & "impermanent".

 ;D

Offline ground

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2017, 08:12:32 am »
That consciousness is like a magician's trick, that it is void, hollow, insubstantial is not different in meaning of the expressions 'Consciousness does not  inherently exist' or 'Consciousness does not truly exist'.  :teehee:

No it doesn't because the Pali words translated as void, hollow, insubstantial do not mean non-existence. The word 'existence' is not any way related to these Pali terms.
Again ... there is a difference between 'not existing' and 'not inherently (or truly) existing'.

But considering this comment of yours:
Also, when consciousness exists, it exists inherently as consciousness.
this clearly shows why you are not capable to distinguish between 'not existing' and 'not inherently (or truly) existing': you - and maybe theravada generally (?) - do hold an essentialist view.

In other words, it does not exist as a dog or a cat. it is consciousness because it cognises.
That's conventionally valid, yes. As is the conventional - but not true - existence of consciousness.

But that cognition is not anything special. That is why it is void, hollow, insubstantial.
'Void' and 'hollow' mean 'empty'. Empty of what? Empty of a consciousness specific substance. Therefore 'insubstantial' which means there is no inherent substance in consciousness that makes consciousness exist the way it appears to exist from its own side.


It is like a grain of sand. It has no special worth. It is void, hollow, insubstantial, as stated in the sutta.

 :curtain:
Well even though it is empty of true existence consciousness has special worth. E.g. you could not express yourself as you do without consciousness. There would be no scientific progress, like internet or medicine without consciousness. you could not read the suttas without consciousness.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 05:01:23 pm »
Again ... there is a difference between 'not existing' and 'not inherently (or truly) existing'

Just Mahayana non-sense unrelated to the Pali scriptures. The word "existence" is unimportant in the Pali suttas (unless it refers to "bhava", which is "ego-becoming"), as shown in the following sutta:
Quote
This world, Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality—upon the notion of existence and the notion of nonexistence. But for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

MN 122 includes speech about existence & non-existence as 'monkey' or 'animal' talk; for baboons, gorillas, donkey or hyena:
Quote
If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to speaking, he resolves that 'I will not engage in talk that is base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unbeneficial, that does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening, or Unbinding — i.e., talk about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.' In this way he is alert there.

The Pali sutta are only about suffering & the cessation of suffering. The cause of suffering is craving & attachment rather than the existence/presence of consciousness.

Just as rocks or trees do not inherently cause suffering, consciousness does not. If consciousness caused suffering, a Buddha would have suffering.

Lesson 10: Do not read Pali suttas with Mahayana Madness.  :smack:


Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 05:04:31 pm »
this clearly shows why you are not capable to distinguish between 'not existing' and 'not inherently (or truly) existing': you - and maybe theravada generally (?) - do hold an essentialist view.

"Essentialist view". I have not read this is the Pali suttas.

Lesson 9: Do not imagine things.  :listen:

Quote
Essentialism is the view that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function. Wikipedia

Offline ground

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2017, 07:59:20 pm »
Since I do neither hold a theravada view nor follow a theravada tradition but this is a thread for theravada beginners I will not further comment.  It may be up to theravada followers to comment on your lessons if they do not agree.

 
But since you actually are the only theravada follower versed in the suttas here in this forum readers may easily get the false impression that your individual interpretation of the suttas is unanimously shared among all theravada practitioners which is certainly not the case as one may see when one visits other buddhist forums where there are more theravada followers versed in the suttas than only one.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: For beginners: How to read the Pali suttas!
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2017, 08:09:44 pm »
Since I do neither hold a theravada view nor follow a theravada tradition but this is a thread for theravada beginners I will not further comment.  It may be up to theravada followers to comment on your lessons if they do not agree.

This sounds like an admission of either illiteracy or, otherwise, defeat.  :teehee:

But since you actually are the only theravada follower versed in the suttas here in this forum readers may easily get the false impression that your individual interpretation of the suttas is unanimously shared among all theravada practitioners which is certainly not the case as one may see when one visits other buddhist forums where there are more theravada followers versed in the suttas than only one.

This thread is about reading literally rather than "interpretation". The very fact that you believe Pali suttas are to be interpreted is an error. This shows why what you post is mostly wrong. You read/interpret 'cat' to mean 'dog', etc.

 :nopity: :reading: :taz: :argue: :rndr:

 


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