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Re: (2)Jataka /dhammapada/parami

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  • rjkjp1
    ... __________ Dear Yong peng, Sorry to be so long winded. Still at the risk of boring everyone I add more. As Frank and Cheang OO have indicated these Jataka
    Message 1 of 20 , May 3, 2003
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      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Ong Yong Peng" <ypong001@y...> wrote:
      > Dear Robert, Frank and friends,
      >
      > thanks. Robert, it's quite a mouthful.
      >
      > metta,
      > Yong Peng
      __________
      Dear Yong peng,
      Sorry to be so long winded.
      Still at the risk of boring everyone I add more.
      As Frank and Cheang OO have indicated these Jataka could all been
      myths added by monks in later times into the Tipitaka, perhaps they
      copied aesops fables. Or the Buddha could have just added them as
      stories not meant to be believed - like fairy stories. I can't be
      sure of any of it. Still I take the Tipitaka (belief only, no
      proof) to be a faithful complilation of his words and the words of
      the great monks. The Jatakas - as far as I believe- dated from the
      time of the Buddha. The commentaries to them also were at the same
      time (belief only).
      From the Anguttara nikaya book of sevens
      (Dhamma~n~nuu sutta.m)
      Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu dhamma~n~nuu ca hoti attha~n~nuu ca
      atta~n~nuu ca matta~n~nuu ca kaala~n~nuu ca parisa~n~nuu ca
      puggalaparovara~n~nuu ca.
      (1) Katha~nca bhikkhave bhikkhuu dhamma~n~nuu hoti. Idha bhikkhave,
      bhikkhuu dhamma.m jaanaati sutta.m geyya.m veyyaakara.na.m gaatha.m
      udaana.m itivuttaka.m ***JAATAKA.M*** abbhuutadhamma.m vedalla.m. No
      ce bhikkhave, bhikkhuu dhamma.m jaaneyya sutta.m geyya.m
      veyyaakara.na.m gaatha.m udaana.m itivuttaka.m jaataka.m
      abbhuutadhamma.m vedalla.m nayidha dhamma~n~nuti vucceyya
      4. Dhamma¤¤åsuttaü- Knowing the Teaching.
      007.04. Bhikkhus, the bhikkhu endowed with seven things is
      reverential, .re. the incomparable field of merit for the world.
      What seven?
      Here, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu knows the Teaching, the meanings, the
      self, the measure, the right time, the gathering and the individual
      here and beyond.
      Bhikkhus, how does the bhikkhu know the Teaching?
      Here, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu knows the Teaching in expositions, mixed
      prose and verse, in explanations, four lined verses, thus said
      sayings, birth stories (JATAKA), wonderful things and questions and
      answer expositions. Bhikkhus, if the bhikkhu did not know the
      Teaching in expositions, mixed verse and prose.re. and questions and
      answer expositions, he does not know the Teaching in this
      dispensation.

      The confounding of Saddhamma
      Anguttara Nikaya book of fives 155
      Abridged translation.
      Monks these five things lead to the confounding, the disappearance
      of Saddhamma. What five?
      Herein monks, the monks master not Dhamma:. The sayings,
      psalms...JATAKAS …..
      This monks is the first thing...
      The teach not others in detail as heard, as learned....
      They make not others speak it in detail....
      .They make no repetition of it in detail...
      Again monks, the monks do not in their hearts turn over and ponder
      upon Dhamma, they review it not in their minds.
      This monks is the fifth thing that leads to the confounding, the
      disappearance of Saddhamma

      Dutiya saddhammasammosa sutta.m)
      (Saavatthinidaana.m)
      5. Pa~ncime bhikkhave dhammaa saddhammassa sammosaaya
      antaradhaanaaya sa.mvattanti. Katame pa~nca:
      Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu dhamma.m na pariyaapu.nanti sutta.m geyya.m
      veyyaakara.na.m gaatha.m udaana.m itivuttaka.m **JAATAKA.M
      **abbhutadhamma.m vedalla.m. Aya.m bhikkhave, pa.thamo dhammo
      saddhammassa sammosaaya antaradhaanaaya sa.mvattati.
      Puna ca para.m bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathaasuta.m yathaapariyatta.m
      dhamma.m na vitthaarena paresa.m2desenti. Aya.m bhikkhave, dutiyo
      dhammo saddhammassa sammosaaya antaradhaanaaya sa.mvattati.
      Puna ca para.m bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathaasuta.m yathaapariyatta.m
      dhamma.m na vitthaarena paresa.m vaacenti. Aya.m bhikkhave, tatiyo
      dhammo saddhammassa sammosaaya antaradhaanaaya sa.mvattati.
      Puna ca paraü bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathàsutaü yathàpariyattaü dhammaü
      na vitthàrena sajjhàyaü karonti. Ayaü bhikkhave, catuttho dhammo
      saddhammassa sammosàya antaradhànàya saüvattati.
      RobertK
    • Ong Yong Peng
      Dear Robert, Cheang Oo and friends, thanks again. I am no expert, but, as a Buddhist, would like to share my humble personal opinion, actually wild guesses, on
      Message 2 of 20 , May 4, 2003
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        Dear Robert, Cheang Oo and friends,

        thanks again. I am no expert, but, as a Buddhist, would like to share
        my humble personal opinion, actually wild guesses, on this issue. In
        all aspects, I consider myself more readily open to new suggestions.

        I have read that it is possible that the literature body that now
        known as the Tipitaka was not formed at the First Council. I think it
        is possible that certain suttas were put to writings earlier than
        others. For example, the Sutta Nipata is currently considered to be
        one of the earliest written Buddhist scriptures, earlier than the
        Nikayas. There are also books which are not directly from the Buddha,
        for example, the Dhammapada is just a compilation of important
        Buddha's sayings in verses. There are also suttas scattered
        throughout the Nikayas which are not expounded by the Buddha but his
        disciples, chiefly Sariputta. Such suttas are however orthodox and so
        became part of the canon. Most of these findings we can accept, the
        tricky part is that of Jataka. Orthodox it may be, but many may find
        certain things hard to accept on face values. In countless of
        lifetimes past, there is no doubt that the Buddha had been born as
        animals. However, for animals that exhibit qualities that are so
        human-like, or qualities surpassing that of an average person makes
        it hard to believe at times. What actually makes Jataka appealing to
        me is the intelligence behind the story to bring out the message on
        moral values, not whether the animal-hero was Buddha in one of His
        past life. This is probably something useful for Buddhist/dhamma
        teachers who need a constant source of inspiration to make their
        classes interesting. This I think is another way we can appreciate
        the Jataka.

        metta,
        Yong Peng
      • nina van gorkom
        Dear Cheangoo, I read your post with interest. I would like to give an example of another commentary, apart from the Co to the Caryiapi.taka, which gives all
        Message 3 of 20 , May 4, 2003
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          Dear Cheangoo,
          I read your post with interest.
          I would like to give an example of another commentary, apart from the Co to
          the Caryiapi.taka, which gives all the perfections. I translated this in the
          context of A. Sujin's book about the subject:
          <The Paramatthadípaní, the Commentary to the Khuddaka Nikåya, Commentary to
          the ³Theragåthå², Nidåna Kathå, states:

          The perfection of paññå which supports and fulfils all the perfections, the
          perfection of generosity and the others, of all Bodhisattas,
          brings gradually to maturity and complete fulfilment the awakening wisdom of
          the Buddha by which he attained Buddhahood. Also respectively, in the case
          of the Silent Buddhas and the disciples: it brings gradually to maturity and
          complete fulfillment the awakening wisdom of the Silent Buddhas and the
          disciples...
          The highest patience in the development of kusala, dåna etc., for the
          awakening wisdom of the Silent Buddhas and of the disciples is considered as
          effort or energy (viriya).
          The endurance when refraining from anger is considered as patience.
          The performing of generosity (dåna), the undertaking of síla etc., and the
          abstaining from speech which deviates from the truth is considered as
          truthfulness (sacca).
          Decisiveness which is unshakable, firm, and which accomplishes what is
          beneficial in all respects is considered as determination (adi.t.thåna).
          Intentness on the benefit of other beings which is the foundation for
          performing dåna, síla etc., is considered as loving-kindness (mettå).
          Evenmindedness towards improper deeds done by other beings is considered as
          equanimity (upekkhå).
          Therefore, when dåna, síla and bhåvanå (mental development), or síla,
          samådhi and paññå are present, the perfections, viriya etc., can be regarded
          as completed.>

          I would like to ask the readers whether this is the same as what is stated
          in the suttas, or different?
          Prescriptive, descriptive, I would say, I myself like a practical approach.
          The Buddha showed cause and effect. If you develop vipassana, but you
          neglect the daily practice of the perfections, you will always be a selfish
          person. How can you then let go of the idea of self or become detached?
          When you lack patience, how can you develop understanding of all phenomena
          of life?
          Just a few thoughts,
          Nina.

          op 02-05-2003 01:51 schreef cheangoo op cheangoo@...:
          > In the
          > local Malaysian context, this view of paramis as qualities to be
          > perfected is accepted by many Buddhists unquestioningly, together
          > with Jataka tales, which often is not very conducive to a deeper
          > understanding and further practice of the Theravadan path.
        • nina van gorkom
          Dear Yong Peng and all, ... N: I have the Translation of the PTS, of different hands. In order to obtain the message, we have to read the verses, whereas the
          Message 4 of 20 , May 4, 2003
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            Dear Yong Peng and all,
            op 02-05-2003 12:40 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@...:
            >
            > I feel that the Jataka is an integrated part of the Theravada
            > tradition. It is very much a part of the Mahayana tradition too. It
            > is possible that the Jataka tales can be traced back all the way to
            > Buddha's time. The stories are interesting and encoded with morals
            > for the living. Being ignorant of the entire Jataka, I think it stop
            > short of encouraging the practice of the training of the mind.
            > Nevertheless, it is a good way of imparting children with good
            > values, and is good for light reading too. The Jataka is a unique
            > form of literature different from the four Nikayas.
            N: I have the Translation of the PTS, of different hands. In order to obtain
            the message, we have to read the verses, whereas the prose is Commentary.
            However, of the Co not all has not been translated. Comparing some parts
            with the Thai, I found the English transl. of the Co. not always so clear or
            defective. However, the verses contain the essence. Is this just light
            reading, just for children? I like to give one example: the
            "Silavimamsa-Jãtaka" (no. 330). I wrote about this before and I will quote:
            <It is said that a hawk seized a piece of meat and was pecked at by other
            birds who also wanted it, until he let go of it. Then another bird seized it
            who was harassed in his turn until he let go of it, and then the same
            happened to other birds who seized that piece of meat. Whoever let go of it
            was left in peace. The Bodhisatta said:

            These desires of ours are like pieces of meat. To those that grasp at them
            is sorrow, and to those that let go is peace.

            In the same Jãtaka we read about another example of the sorrow caused by
            clinging. A female slave Pingala had made an appointment with her lover and
            was waiting for him, but he did not turn up. So long as she was waiting and
            hoping (asa) for his arrival she was restless and could not sleep
            peacefully. Hope brings sorrow and the absence of hope (nirasa) brings peace
            is the lesson taught by this example. >
            I would like to invite the reader to consider for himself whether this
            message is the same as what he can find in the Suttas: clinging brings
            sorrow, dukkha (second noble Truth) and the cessation of clinging brings
            peace (third noble Truth). Or: dependent origination in order (anuloma) and
            the reverse of it (patiloma), the factors leading to the end of the cycle.
            Do we profit to the full of the sutta texts (such as Jon regularly hands us)
            and the other messages in other parts of the Tipi.taka, such as in the
            Jatakas? Do we relate them to our own life, verify our own citta: kusala or
            akusala? Then we shall penetrate the deep meaning.
            Y: I have read that these tales are actually Indian folk tales modified such
            that the
            > Buddha become the hero of the story. However, I have yet to know of
            > any Indian folk tales that are similar to a Jataka story. What do you
            > think?
            N: It does not matter to me whether old folk tales are used, the Buddha gave
            an unique meaning to them. We also find this in the Diigha Nikaaya. For
            example the three Vedas. The Buddha used notions people had at that time,
            but made these into something new, quite unique.
            Y: Would an increased
            > emphasis of Jataka results in a paradigm shift from the Vipassana
            > practice in the Theravada tradition?
            N: As Rob K indicated, after the Buddha related a Jataka, we read at times
            that people attained enlightenment. We read about backsliding monks who
            returned to the right practice. We read about a monk who was so afraid of
            death, even the sound of a dry leaf caused panick, but this could be
            overcome by right understanidng. This could not have happened without
            developing vipassana, right understanding of all phenomena of life. To get
            the message, to profit from it, leads to being encourage to develop
            understanding. It leads to vipassana, the way leading to the end of dukkha.
            Nina.
          • Ong Yong Peng
            Dear Nina and friends, thanks for the post, Nina. I would say that most of us would agree to leave the verification of the originality of Jataka to the
            Message 5 of 20 , May 4, 2003
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              Dear Nina and friends,

              thanks for the post, Nina. I would say that most of us would agree to
              leave the verification of the originality of Jataka to the experts.
              Thanks for pointing out that the Jataka actually only contain the
              verses, while the stories are from the commentaries. However, Jataka
              actually mean Birth Stories, so I would say that stories have a
              stronger link to the verses than that in Dhammapada.

              In another mail, you mention "prescriptive, descriptive", allow me to
              suggest 'reflective'. That is to say to treat the story as a mirror
              reflecting our own personality. To see the human world through the
              eyes of animals, I think. Then the stories are products of great
              brilliance. However, besides reflective, I would say the stories are
              hypothetical, a possible situation in our lives, therefore I would
              also like to boldly suggest the solutions are hypothetical in nature
              as well. That is there is no one right way of handling a situation,
              we just have to use our intuition and what we have learnt from the
              dhamma and apply to the situation. For example, the story of the
              bird. True enough, it is good to "pass around and share", but there
              are things that we probably wouldn't like to share, say perhaps your
              husband or wife. I may just have stated an extreme case, but
              hopefully I bring my point across. So, I would say, yes, attachment
              brings to suffering. But it is very hard to be completely without
              attachment, and share everything with others, not for laypeople, I
              would say.

              Therefore, it would be bad, as Frank had mentioned, to use the Jataka
              as a checklist to live our lives, or worse to judge others. That
              would reduce Buddhism to a set of rules just like the books of law in
              the Old Testament. We should leave Buddhism in its original
              undogmatic and unauthoritarian form.

              When it comes to applying the dhamma, my experience tells me it is
              very hard to strike a balance. But here, it is not balancing between
              serving your self-interests and God, rather it is balancing between
              our present actions and future destiny (outcomes). For myself, as
              long as I have minimised possbile negative future karma, I am quite
              happy.

              metta,
              Yong Peng
            • nina van gorkom
              Dear Yong Peng, Cheango and all, people may have doubts about the stories of the Jatakas. I think it is helpful to know the difference between the teaching of
              Message 6 of 20 , May 5, 2003
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                Dear Yong Peng, Cheango and all,
                people may have doubts about the stories of the Jatakas. I think it is
                helpful to know the difference between the teaching of ultimate truth,
                paramattha desanaa and the teaching of conventional truth, vohaara desanaa.
                The Buddha used these two kinds of teaching. If we remember this we can
                profit from the lessons in the Jatakas, they are, as Yong Peng says, like a
                mirror for us personally. We can then understand the essence of the story
                taught by way of ultimate truth.
                Ultimate truth: kamma, and its result, vipaaka, the Dependant Origination,
                kusala, akusala. All those qualities of the Bodhisatta which are valuable at
                all times, for all people, such as his unlimited mettaa, his patience, his
                determination to attain Buddhahood.
                As to the teaching of conventional truth: those are the stories, the
                circumstances, the people, the animals.
                I am not sure whether experts always understand the difference between these
                two kinds of teaching and hence reject important parts of the teachings, or
                make issues out of what is not an issue.
                In olden times people had already doubt about the Vessantara Jataka. We find
                this discussed in the Questions of King Milinda: Dilemmas VIII, 1: Do all
                Bodhisattas give away their wife and children? It is explained that he knew
                that his grandfather could not keep his children as slaves. We also read
                that Sakka wanted to test the Bodhisatta. We have to understand all this in
                the right way, not as a dogma you have to believe. It depends on the
                individual to believe it or not believe it. What is the essence: his
                unlimited compassion to become the sammasambuddha and help all beings to
                find the way out of the cycle. It is not said in this Jataka that we have to
                do likewise.
                Was the Buddha also a wise animal in some lives? This is not an issue. You
                may believe it or not. I am inclined to think, why not, we also were animals
                in past lives, since we have had countless lives. Animals which talk, why
                not? But I like to believe this, since I have a lot of affinity with
                animals. That is personal. These are not real issues, they are not dogmas.
                Nina.
                op 05-05-2003 02:17 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@...:
                >
                > In another mail, you mention "prescriptive, descriptive", allow me to
                > suggest 'reflective'. That is to say to treat the story as a mirror
                > reflecting our own personality.
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