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Was the Buddha Obliged to Observe Vinaya Rules?, no 1.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Venerable Pandita, Thank you for sending me off line the pdf. Now I have no trouble quoting or copying the pdf whereas with the Relational Grammar paper I
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 15, 2009
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      Venerable Pandita,
      Thank you for sending me off line the pdf. Now I have no trouble
      quoting or copying the pdf whereas with the Relational Grammar paper
      I still cannot get it perfect, especially the footnotes.

      I shall just give a few additional remarks to your paper. I found
      your final conclusions interesting and I agree.
      Meanwhile I shall begin to make a few notes to the first parts of
      your paper and come to the conclusion later on. Forgive me for
      elaborating on the layperson's view of the Vinaya, but I think that
      some people have misunderstandings when they read about the rules,
      they may not see their deep meaning.
      -----------
      Juo-Hsüeh Shih suggests that nobody is above the law, not even a
      Buddha.

      When I read 'above the law' or 'above the rules', I wonder whether
      some people may not see the close connection of the Vinaya with the
      other parts of the Tipi.taka, which is the Buddha's teaching. Then
      one might not question so much whether the Buddha is above the law or
      not. The question may not even occur when one sees the connection of
      the Vinaya with the other parts of the teachings.
      Failing to see the connection is perhaps the reason that laypeople do
      not know that they can learn a great deal from rules pertaining to
      conduct in daily life. Laypeople may not see that the Vinaya is much
      more than a set of rules, they may not know that the Vinaya should
      not be separated from Satipa.t.thaana, nor from the Abhidhamma. When
      one reads about the transgressions and the rules given on account of
      them, one can be reminded of one's own defilements, even when they
      are more subtle. The Vinaya becomes very meaningful, also for
      laypeople, when it is remembered that the rules have to be observed
      with sati sampaja~n~na, awareness and understanding of all dhammas
      appearing through the six doors. The Abhidhamma is most helpful to
      understand the purpose of the rules, it goes to the source of good
      and evil, to the citta. We learn that we take for noble motives of
      our actions are in fact selfish motives. We are seeking gain for
      ourselves, or we find ourselves very important, conceit arises time
      and again. The Vibha"nga (Second Book of the Abhidhamma) gives many
      striking examples. The suttas repeatedly say that the monk should see
      danger in the slightest fault. Why is it not allowed to play with
      water, to decorate dwellings, to talk on Kings? The citta is akusala,
      most often it is rooted in lobha. Each of these rules stem from the
      Buddha's great wisdom and compassion.
      There were amendments for monks in the case of transgressions and
      this shows the Buddha's great compassion. We read that there is no
      offense in the case of taking what is not given <...if he is mad, if
      his mind is unhinged, if he is afflicted by pain, if he is a
      beginner.> (Horner p. 92, 93).
      -------
      You speak about Subhadda's ordination. He could skip the probation
      and be ordained immediately. <What was the Buddha’s excuse for this
      favour? He simply said: api ca m’ettha puggala-vemattatā viditā
      (Lit. “However, the distinction of individ-
      uals is known by me in this case”, i. e., “However, I know the
      distinction of
      individuals in this case”). Now we can clearly see that the Buddha
      ignored
      one particular Vinaya rule in the case of Subhadda’s going forth,
      and his us-
      age of the 1st person agent (me) seemingly implies that the right to
      do so was
      the privilege of the Buddha alone. >

      I would like to add from the Pa.tisambidhaamagga, Knowledge not
      shared by Disciples: Knowledge of others' faculties, and knowledge of
      beings' biases and underlying tendencies (Ch LXVIII and LXIX. ) Only
      the Buddha with his omniscience knew the dispositions and latent
      tendencies of beings. Out of compassion he made an exception.
      ------------
      Respectfully,
      Nina.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • ashinpan
      Nina ... Well, I have checked both files. They are produced by the same software (XeTeX) using the same set of fonts. I am at a loss why one is ok while the
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 17, 2009
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        Nina

        You wrote:

        > Thank you for sending me off line the pdf. Now I have no trouble
        > quoting or copying the pdf whereas with the Relational Grammar paper
        > I still cannot get it perfect, especially the footnotes.

        Well, I have checked both files. They are produced by the same software (XeTeX) using the same set of fonts. I am at a loss why one is ok while the other is not. Can you tell me the version of the Adobe Reader you are using?

        > Juo-Hsüeh Shih suggests that nobody is above the law, not even a
        > Buddha.
        >
        > When I read 'above the law' or 'above the rules', I wonder whether
        > some people may not see the close connection of the Vinaya with the
        > other parts of the Tipi.taka, which is the Buddha's teaching. Then
        > one might not question so much whether the Buddha is above the law or
        > not. The question may not even occur when one sees the connection of
        > the Vinaya with the other parts of the teachings.

        Some say that Mahayana Buddhism has such a belief, that the Buddha was obliged to observe the Vinaya rules. So it would be good if we can get some feedback from Mahayana Buddhist members. Does Mahayana school have such a belief? If it does, is this belief doctrinal or cultural?

        > Failing to see the connection is perhaps the reason that laypeople do
        > not know that they can learn a great deal from rules pertaining to
        > conduct in daily life. Laypeople may not see that the Vinaya is much
        > more than a set of rules, they may not know that the Vinaya should
        > not be separated from Satipa.t.thaana, nor from the Abhidhamma. When
        > one reads about the transgressions and the rules given on account of
        > them, one can be reminded of one's own defilements, even when they
        > are more subtle. The Vinaya becomes very meaningful, also for
        > laypeople, when it is remembered that the rules have to be observed
        > with sati sampaja~n~na, awareness and understanding of all dhammas
        > appearing through the six doors. The Abhidhamma is most helpful to
        > understand the purpose of the rules, it goes to the source of good
        > and evil, to the citta. We learn that we take for noble motives of
        > our actions are in fact selfish motives. We are seeking gain for
        > ourselves, or we find ourselves very important, conceit arises time
        > and again. The Vibha"nga (Second Book of the Abhidhamma) gives many
        > striking examples. The suttas repeatedly say that the monk should see
        > danger in the slightest fault. Why is it not allowed to play with
        > water, to decorate dwellings, to talk on Kings? The citta is akusala,
        > most often it is rooted in lobha. Each of these rules stem from the
        > Buddha's great wisdom and compassion.
        > There were amendments for monks in the case of transgressions and
        > this shows the Buddha's great compassion. We read that there is no
        > offense in the case of taking what is not given <...if he is mad, if
        > his mind is unhinged, if he is afflicted by pain, if he is a
        > beginner.> (Horner p. 92, 93).

        I agree. Vinaya and Abhidhamma are closer than what people are generally aware of. I intend to write a paper on that topic.

        In the meantime, I would like to remark that if you meet the Buddha as a teacher in suttas, you can meet him as an administrator in Vinaya.


        > I would like to add from the Pa.tisambidhaamagga, Knowledge not
        > shared by Disciples: Knowledge of others' faculties, and knowledge of
        > beings' biases and underlying tendencies (Ch LXVIII and LXIX. ) Only
        > the Buddha with his omniscience knew the dispositions and latent
        > tendencies of beings. Out of compassion he made an exception.

        I do agree with you. However, I cannot add your contribution to my paper because the prevalent opinion of modern scholars is that Pa.tisambhidhaamagga belongs to the "post-canonical" phase (See von Hinuber "Handbook of Pali Literature" 59-60). So I cannot cite Pa.tis to support my argument unless I can prove that Pa.tis belongs to the so-called phase of "Early Buddhism". This is a different sort of game, you know. (Sometimes I ask myself why I am playing such an intellectual game. The answer is: this is one of the few things that I love to do and also do well. And I also hope that my work will somehow contribute towards the common good.)

        with metta

        Ven. Pandita
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Venerable Pandita, ... N:I do not know about this, but I have to ask the technicians of the shop. Thank you, please do not trouble. ... N: Now, that would be
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 17, 2009
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          Venerable Pandita,
          Op 17-dec-2009, om 9:50 heeft ashinpan het volgende geschreven:

          > Well, I have checked both files. They are produced by the same
          > software (XeTeX) using the same set of fonts. I am at a loss why
          > one is ok while the other is not. Can you tell me the version of
          > the Adobe Reader you are using?
          -------
          N:I do not know about this, but I have to ask the technicians of the
          shop. Thank you, please do not trouble.
          ----------
          > > Failing to see the connection is perhaps the reason that
          > laypeople do
          > > not know that they can learn a great deal from rules pertaining to
          > > conduct in daily life. .... (snipped)
          ----------
          >
          > P: I agree. Vinaya and Abhidhamma are closer than what people are
          > generally aware of. I intend to write a paper on that topic.
          --------
          N: Now, that would be truly wonderful and much needed. And please
          include satipa.t.thaana. Abhidhamma and satipa.t.thaana/vipassanaa go
          hand in hand.
          -------
          >
          > P: In the meantime, I would like to remark that if you meet the
          > Buddha as a teacher in suttas, you can meet him as an administrator
          > in Vinaya.
          --------
          N: I am thinking of the Buddha's wisdom, compassion and purity. It is
          said that specifically compassion is seen in the Vinaya, but it is
          also said that in the Vinaya all three excellent qualities are
          evident. For my feeling (this is personal) the word administrator
          does not point enough to the Buddha's excellent qualities.
          ----------
          >
          > > I would like to add from the Pa.tisambidhaamagga, Knowledge not
          > > shared by Disciples: Knowledge of others' faculties, and
          > knowledge of
          > > beings' biases and underlying tendencies (Ch LXVIII and LXIX. ) Only
          > > the Buddha with his omniscience knew the dispositions and latent
          > > tendencies of beings. Out of compassion he made an exception.
          --------
          >
          > P: I do agree with you. However, I cannot add your contribution to
          > my paper because the prevalent opinion of modern scholars is that
          > Pa.tisambhidhaamagga belongs to the "post-canonical" phase (See von
          > Hinuber "Handbook of Pali Literature" 59-60).
          ------
          N: But there is no need to add my contribution to your paper, this is
          not of any importance. I know that some scholars think that the
          Pa.tisambhidhaamagga belongs to the "post-canonical" phase. I do not
          mind, but I just look at the contents and I find these most helpful.
          I do not go into arguing about historical facts since there is no end
          to it.
          ---------
          > P: So I cannot cite Pa.tis to support my argument unless I can
          > prove that Pa.tis belongs to the so-called phase of "Early
          > Buddhism". This is a different sort of game, you know. (Sometimes I
          > ask myself why I am playing such an intellectual game. The answer
          > is: this is one of the few things that I love to do and also do
          > well. And I also hope that my work will somehow contribute towards
          > the common good.)
          -------
          Respectfully,
          Nina.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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