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Re: The Buddha as omniscient

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  • Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ... I am coming into this a little late and am surprised that no one has yet mentioned the Sandaka Sutta (MN 76). This would surely be the obvious starting
    Message 1 of 19 , Jun 1, 2006
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      Keren:
      > I'm looking for the Pali word for omniscient, and maybe a
      > reference...?

      I am coming into this a little late and am surprised that no
      one has yet mentioned the Sandaka Sutta (MN 76). This would
      surely be the obvious starting point for any discussion of
      sabba~n~nutaa in Pali Buddhism.

      Jaques:
      > I was not writing about omniscience but about the apparent
      > paradox of believing at the same time of us as being
      > conditioned and free which is typical of Buddhism, and a few
      > other philosophies.

      If anyone is interested in how this problem has been handled
      in western thought, there are four fine articles in the
      Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

      Timothy O'Connor, _Free Will_
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/
      Carl Hoefer, _Causal Determinism_
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/
      Michael McKenna, _Compatibilism_
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
      Randolph Clark, _Incompatibilism_
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/

      After reading these you will be ready to tackle Linda
      Zagzebski's _Divine Foreknowledge & Free Will_
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/
      which is perhaps the one most pertinent to the present
      discussion.

      Then, if you are still unsatiated, check out the wonderful
      collection of papers at The Determinism and Freedom
      Philosophy Website
      http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwIntroIndex.htm

      Best wishes,
      Dhammanando
    • lighthisertim
      ... Hi, Jaini, Padmanabh S. “On the Sarvanatva of Mahavira and the Buddha.” Collected Papers on Buddhist Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass
      Message 2 of 19 , Jun 1, 2006
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        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "keren_arbel" <keren_arbel@...> wrote:

        > I'm looking for the Pali word for omniscient, and maybe a reference...?

        Hi,

        Jaini, Padmanabh S. “On the Sarvanatva of Mahavira and the Buddha.” Collected Papers on
        Buddhist Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. 2001. 97â€" 121.

        hth,

        Tim Lighthiser
      • Stephen Hodge
        Dear Bhante Dhammanando, ... I am not sure how this gives much help with the question of a Buddha s omniscience . Could you indulge me and spell things out a
        Message 3 of 19 , Jun 1, 2006
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          Dear Bhante Dhammanando,

          > the Sandaka Sutta ... discussion of sabba~n~nutaa in Pali Buddhism.
          I am not sure how this gives much help with the question of a Buddha's
          "omniscience". Could you indulge me and spell things out a bit ?

          > If anyone is interested in how this problem has been handled
          > in western thought, there are four fine articles ...

          Thank you for these interesting URLs -- lots of reading there.

          Best wishes,
          Stephen Hodge
        • joseph
          ... Buddhism. ... Buddha s ... Hello friends theres an article here http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha234.htm (my only reserevation is that The Theory
          Message 4 of 19 , Jun 6, 2006
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            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Hodge" <s.hodge@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Bhante Dhammanando,
            >
            > > the Sandaka Sutta ... discussion of sabba~n~nutaa in Pali
            Buddhism.
            > I am not sure how this gives much help with the question of a
            Buddha's
            > "omniscience". Could you indulge me and spell things out a bit ?
            >
            > > If anyone is interested in how this problem has been handled
            > > in western thought, there are four fine articles ...
            >
            > Thank you for these interesting URLs -- lots of reading there.
            >
            > Best wishes,
            > Stephen Hodge
            >


            Hello friends
            theres an article here

            http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha234.htm
            (my only reserevation is that The Theory of Quantum Mechanics'
            which seem to establish That
            We perceive only our pre-conceived `givens'
            is actually science,
            although probably Different from the popular notion of it.)

            I wish to thanks The Venerable Dhammanando
            and hope The Venerable will not consider it improper
            as I tried some answer too:

            Free Will and Freedom
            Lessons from the Sandaka Sutta (M.N. 67) – The discourse with
            Sandaka

            In the Discourse, The Venerable Ananda , probably as a response to
            the Wanderer's lack of discipline, Explains about choices.
            Eight major ways that negate the holy life:

            Four kinds of `holy life without consolation'
            Since the fruit of these practices are not different from lay life.
            These ways may be accepted even in contemporary society
            And probably reflect more on the long term karmic effects.

            1 no reward for good deeds
            2 no retribution for evil.
            3 no merit, no purification possible, no cause, no effect.
            4 The universe is determined, as shown in varied speculations about
            the natural and the supernatural, no individuality or personal
            development is possible, one's Kamma is utterly fixed and
            unalterable.

            All these ways are based on wrong view, which is wrong knowledge,
            wrong assumptions about reality, hence, any application of choice
            does not make any sense. And do not leave any meaning to a `free
            choice'.

            Further four ways that `a wise man would certainly not live the
            holy life
            Or will not attain', thereby.
            The faults of this second group are more obvious, can be easily
            noticed in casual
            Encounter and easily rejected.
            As `free choice', obviously, has to be an intelligent one as well.

            1 abandonment, no understanding of cause and effect, one is driven
            by destiny alone.
            2 adherences to tradition, no freedom, as some ideas and observances
            are right, some are wrong.
            3 same, but based on logic, same results.
            4 skeptic, a denial of any possibility of positive knowledge or
            development.

            Next, the Buddhist path is expounded, with its fruit and benefits.

            The Dhamma leads one on' and that takes heart and faith.
            Faith is caused by suffering (and/or the understanding of the first
            noble truth)
            `Dhukha pahoti Saddha' (UpanisaSutta)

            `Self will' raises the question of a self,
            `selfless ness' – `Anatta' as a fundamental `emptiness' -
            No center, no possibility of control, no tenable position.

            "Dhammata' is the natural way,
            A different choice surely indicates a delusional mind.

            `Freedom is a choiceless state' (J. Krishnamurth),

            This point, which we try to investigate, is questioned further by
            Sandaka.
            In the form of three questions, all deeply concerning the subject of
            free choice:

            1 an arahat can never transgress,
            And by interpretation,
            The Five percepts, the primary `choice' of a Buddhist,
            Are, then, simulations of the `Normal Mind'.

            2 The second, by extension, is that an accomplished one
            Knows a fact only when he puts his mind to it.
            (a direct answer to the omnisience question, although only a variant
            of an answer we allready had)

            3 the third is about the `emancipators' – `Niyyaataaro'
            The creation of Sankharas – mental determinations – is described as
            "By oneself or influenced by others",
            The inquiry, discipline and practice generate
            .`KussalaDhammaa - Wholesome mind objects' as the cause of
            liberation.

            Metta
            Jothiko

            What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters
            compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson
          • Dhammanando Bhikkhu
            Dear Stephen, Sorry for the late reply. I have not been reading the posts for some time. ... I m inclined to agree, it really doesn t help at all. The reason I
            Message 5 of 19 , Jul 18, 2006
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              Dear Stephen,

              Sorry for the late reply. I have not been reading the posts
              for some time.

              Dhammanando:
              >> I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned the Sandaka Sutta
              >> (MN 76). This would surely be the obvious starting point for
              >> any discussion of sabba~n~nutaa in Pali Buddhism.

              Stephen Hodge:
              > I am not sure how this gives much help with the question of
              > a Buddha's "omniscience".

              I'm inclined to agree, it really doesn't help at all. The reason
              I called it "the obvious starting point for a discussion" is not
              because it helps but because in my experience most discussions on
              this topic DO in fact start by somebody citing the Sandaka Sutta
              as negative evidence against the omniscience claims made in the
              Pa.tisambhidaamagga, Milindapa~nhaa and Commentaries. Of course
              they have to interpret the sutta in their own way rather than the
              Pali commentaries' way in order to claim that it supports their
              position. As a result, much of the discussion of sabba~n~nutaa
              comes down in the end to a wrangle about just how the Sandaka
              Sutta should be read. In the traditional reading it is assumed
              that the Buddha is ridiculing only the omniscience claims of
              titthiya teachers; but certain modern scholars (Jayatilleke and
              Kalupahana come to mind) read the sutta as ridiculing the very
              idea of omniscience.

              Best wishes,
              Dhammanando
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