Re: AN2.1.1 Vajja Sutta (1/1)
- 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.
--- 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.
- 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
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ong Yong Peng wrote:
as planned, we begin with our translation exercise of AN2.