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Schools of Buddhism => Theravada => Topic started by: VisuddhiRaptor on June 18, 2017, 12:56:23 pm

Title: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on June 18, 2017, 12:56:23 pm
Dhamma-friends & truth-freedom-seekers

The Vāseṭṭha Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 98) includes the following translations:

Quote
I shall analyse for you,
in order due and as they are,
the types of “birth” among living things,
for many are the sorts of birth.

First, there’s grasses and the trees,
though of themselves they nothing know,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Next come beetles, butterflies,
and so on to the termites, ants,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Then, know of those four-footed kinds,
both the tiny and the huge,
each species possessing its own marks
for many are the sorts of birth.

Know those whose bellies are their feet,
that is, the long-backed group of snakes,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Know too the many kinds of fish,
living in their watery world,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Then know the varied winged ones,
the birds that range the open skies,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

While in those births are differences,
each having their own distinctive marks,
among humanity such differences
of species—no such marks are found
.

In human bodies as they are,
such differences cannot be found:
the only human differences
are those in names alone
. (Khantipalo)

Distinction among human beings is purely verbal designation
For name & clan are assigned, originating in conventions. (Bhikkhu Bodhi)

Whoever makes his living among men by agriculture is called a ‘farmer’…

Whoever makes his living among men by merchandise is called a ‘merchant’…

That is how the wise truly see…seers of dependent origination.

MN 98 & Snp 3.9

https://suttacentral.net/en/snp3.9

What do we think here about how the matter of "verbal designation" & "conventions" is related to the matter of "birth"?

 :namaste:
Title: Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
Post by: Solodris on June 18, 2017, 01:22:26 pm
There is no verbal designation in relation to birth.

There are no conventions in relation to birth.

Only by conduct there is relation to birth.
Title: Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
Post by: Spiny Norman on June 19, 2017, 01:10:54 am
There seems to be some confusion in the passage between genus and species.  So for example there are are many species of fish with different physical characteristics, but this diversity is compared to the singular human species with uniform physical characteristics.  So we can tell fish apart because of the many different species, with humans it is more difficult because they are a single species - one way of distinguishing them is by their name, or by the role they play. 
Title: Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
Post by: stillpointdancer on June 19, 2017, 01:54:22 am
It's about whether a Brahmin is born or made by what he does. A talk about the caste system in India at the time, so was quite revolutionary and probably made him more than a few enemies.
Title: Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
Post by: Pixie on June 19, 2017, 02:21:29 am
Deleted.
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