RE: [Pali] Re: Meaning of Dhamma
- Dear Gabriel,
thank you for your questions, it shows that you consider the meanings
of dhamma thoroughly.
G: There are some references on dhamma implying absence of an entity
or living soul, without a soul.
Soul here is the translation of which pali term?
N: dhamma as nissattanijjiivata" ni-satta, no being, ni-jjiivata, no
life or living being.
This is the purpose of the teaching, to learn that in the ultimate
sense there is no self or person, but mere dhammas appearing one at
a time through the six doorways.
G:I always get confused when reading the word soul, heaven, hell etc in
Buddhist texts, as this words have a very established meaning in our
culture through Christianity.
N: yes, but they acquire a different meaning in the Buddhist texts.
G: 2. dhamma causes one to reach heaven. For we westerners reading this
sentence naturally comes the idea that dhamma leads to a kind of
Jesus taught about.
I thought dhamma leads to liberation, to enlightment, not to heaven.
would be the pali term for this heaven which dhamma leads.
N: adhammo niraya.m neti, dhammo paapeti suggatin"ti.
adhamma leads to hell, dhamma causes one to reach heaven.
Heaven: a happy plane of existence: suggati. Gati is destination.
You are right that the goal of the teachings is liberation from the
cycle of birth and death. But it is also true that good deeds, kusala
kamma, can produce a happy reuslt such as rebirth in a heavenly plane
of existence. This is a matter of cause and effect.
3. There is Dhamma meaning gu.na, and the translation for gu.na was
virtue or merit.
Is that really virtue or merit? In the Indian culture we have gu.na
indicating "qualities", as in the three gu.nas.
N: Yes, it is quality, and in this context: good or excellent quality.
G: I have seen translations with virtue meaning Kusala, merit meaning
and qualities meaning gu.na.
Afterwards I we see the translation "punna" for virtue, in the
Saddaniti explains dhamma as pu~n~na, virtue:
Following we read: dhamma means merit (or kusala), gu.na.
It seems that there a similarity between these terms, as sometimes guna
means virtue, merit, and virtue was used too for punna, and merit was
too for kusala.
What are the distinctions between Kusala, punna and guna?
N: In these contexts they are the same: that which is wholesome and
gives a desirable result: The Saddaniti explains dhamma as pu~n~na,
merit, by the same passage as used by the Atthasaalinii to explain
dhamma as gu.na, merit:
<Na hi dhammo adhammo ca, ubho samavipaakino;
dhamma and adhamma bear no equal fruit:
adhammo niraya.m neti, dhammo paapeti suggatin"ti.
adhamma leads to hell, dhamma causes one to reach heaven.>
In the Dependent Origination we find the woord pu~n~na for kusala
kamma: pu~n~naabhisa"nkhaara which conditions vi~n~naa.na, vipaakacitta.
So, it also depends on the context what term is used.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Good find, Dmytro.
Based on the description below, what they call "jiiva" seems to be a combination of non-kaaya khandhas, while their "atma" (which is of course atta in Pali) seems to be what we call "viññaana", consciousness.
So if we were to discuss with them and say that there's no jiiva, they would find it very odd. It's like saying at least some of non-kaaya khandhas don't exist.
So rather than to say that there's no soul or jiivaor atma in the way they understand itwe can just say that our teachers taught us that they are anicca, dukkha, anatta.
Dmytro Ivakhnenko wrote thus at 04:55 PM 26-08-07:
>> I have found some information about dhamma which I thought would be of some
>> use to the present discussion.
>> 1. A book on the subject is John Ross Carter, Dhamma. Discusses the concept
>> from every conceivable angle.
>The link to article by John Ross Carter is the first one given in the
>reference I posted recently:
>'Jiva' is originally a Jain term. Thus by mentioning 'jiva' Buddha
>referred to Jain (Niggantha) beliefs of his time.
>"In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva is the immortal essence of a living
>being, subject to maya. A jiva that is free of maya, i.e. is not tied
>to a body or earthly existence in any way, is called ãtmã .
>The vedic concept of jiva is analogous, but by no means identical, to
>the concept of soul as presented in abrahamic religions, and the
>Sanskrit word "jiva" is therefore best left untranslated."
>With metta, Dmytro