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Re: AN2.1.1 Vajja Sutta (1/1)

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  • Ong Yong Peng
    Dear Robert, thank you for this meaningful discussion. I appreciate that you share your opinions and views. In fact, I look forward to your greater
    Message 1 of 49 , Mar 6, 2007
      Dear Robert,

      thank you for this meaningful discussion. I appreciate that you share
      your opinions and views. In fact, I look forward to your greater
      participation, especially in our translation exercises.

      People come to the Pali canon from different background and with
      different levels of understanding and knowledge of what is known as
      Buddhism. Buddhism, with a history of 2500 years, and spanning diverse
      cultural divisions, is very different from religions such as
      Christianity and Islam which always attempt to homogenize its
      followers in all aspects of their lives. As a result, no one
      individual Buddhist holds the same exact views about Buddhism.
      Fortunately, we still agree on most of the issues, and believe in
      religious tolerance and non-hostility.

      I have noticed a slight trend of certain western Buddhists being
      agitated or intolerant of different views. I hope westerners from
      [staunch] Christian background(s) do not introduce religious hostility
      into the Buddhist fold.

      I undertake this discussion with complete goodwill. I do not talk
      religion with most people. As an intellectual, I take this as an
      opportunity, to share my personal views on topics, which I would
      hardly get here in Brisbane, Australia. On the other hand, it is also
      a chance to get my views counterchecked by others. I believe it's a
      good way to learn.

      Thanks for posting the closing section of the Kalama Sutta. You made
      an excellent remark that the Kalamas did not disagree with what the
      Buddha taught (earlier in the same sutta). And, what was it? It was
      about the importance of making proper examination on all teachings.
      The Kalamas accepted that it is important to carefully appraise any
      teachings presented. This is really the essence of the sutta.

      Thanks also for the quote from Horner, I can see a slight flavour of
      sectarian views in it. I have no doubt about the objectives of the
      commentaries, the very reasons that they are being composed and
      written. However, I believe that the suttas, even with their age, can
      inspire better. We should also note that the commentaries themselves
      are not very recent too. The commentaries mean nothing if left
      standing alone. My point is that the relationship is always such that
      the commentaries are peripheral to the suttas. I am not aware if any
      monk, nun or scholar is suggesting otherwise. What I think of the
      commentaries is that they create a new dimension to the understanding
      of the suttas. As to whether one should confine his or her
      understanding to the commentaries, I would say read the Kalama Sutta.
      Then, there are the subcommentaries, what do we do with them?

      We can simply take what scholars give us as "gospel truth", accept
      what monks teach us as "holy words", and we can adopt a hostile
      attitude to people with different views. We can keep cool appearances
      but fill ourselves with hatred and ignorance. We can deny the
      teachings in the Kalama Sutta.

      Or we can learn to be understanding, to develop wisdom and compassion,
      and agree with the teachings in the Kalama Sutta that it is important
      to equip with ourselves the ability of discernment.

      Yong Peng.

      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, rjkjp1 wrote:

      I see. Unfortunately I think you are veering in a dangerous direction.

      WE are lost in view, hence the Dhamma is not about about interpreting
      suttas depending on our feeling about what they mean, if we do so we
      are giving full rein to deeply held wrong views that are innate to all

      Even scholars in the PTS understand the neccessity of relying on
      Atthakathaa. IB Horner writes ""The prime object of every Commentary
      is to make the meanings of the words and phrases in the canonical
      passages it is elucidating abundantly clear, definite, definitive
      even....This is to preserve the Teachings of the Buddha as nearly as
      possible in the sense intended, and as conveyed by the succession of
      teachers, acariyaparama. Always there were detractors, always there
      were and still are "improvers" ready with their own notions. Through
      friends and enemies alike deleterous change and deterioration in the
      word of the Buddha might intervene for an indefinite length of time.
      The Commentaries are the armour and protection against such an
      eventuality. AS they hold a unique position as preservers and
      interpreters of true Dhamma, it is essential not only to follow them
      carefully and adopt the meaning they ascribe to a word or phrase each
      time they commnet on it. They are as closed now as is the Pali canon.
      No aditions to their corpus or subtractions from it are to
      contemplated, and no commentary written in later days could be
      included in it.""endquote Horner. pxiii Clarifier of the Sweet
      Meaning" PAli Text Society 1978.

      As for the Kalama sutta note what the Kalamas said after the Buddha
      finished his discourse:

      @@@Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright
      what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one
      who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes
      could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many
      lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. We go to the Blessed One
      for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May the Blessed
      One remember us as lay followers who have gone to him for refuge, from
      this day forward, for life."

      I think you will find no references to these same kalamas doubting or
      disagreeing with the Dhamma after this first meeting.
    • Ong Yong Peng
      Dear friends, according to our plans, we will be having a sutta translation exercise next weekend. The exercise will go on as planned. We will be working
      Message 49 of 49 , Jun 30, 2007
        Dear friends,

        according to our plans, we will be having a sutta translation exercise
        next weekend. The exercise will go on as planned. We will be working
        through three suttas from AN2, namely,

        AN2.1.2 Padhaana Sutta
        AN2.1.3 Tapaniiya Sutta
        AN2.1.4 Atapaniiya Sutta

        Since these are three individual suttas, I will be posting them in
        three separate mails, rather than one. I shall look forward to your
        participation then.

        Yong Peng.

        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ong Yong Peng wrote:

        as planned, we begin with our translation exercise of AN2.
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