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Re: [Pali] The Buddhist stand on other religions

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  • Piya Tan
    Dear Gunnar, On a lighter note, as you probably know the Thais call him Santa Papa (which is really Italia I think), but in Pali, it can mean peaceful evil
    Message 1 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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      Dear Gunnar,

      On a lighter note, as you probably know the Thais call him "Santa Papa" (which is
      really Italia I think), but in Pali, it can mean "peaceful evil" or better (I hope)
      "evil that has come to peace".

      Sukhi

      Piya

      Gunnar Gällmo wrote:

      > --- Ong Yong Peng <yongpeng.ong@...> wrote:
      >
      > > The Buddhist stand on other religions is always
      > > embrace and respect,
      > > and this discussion hardly leads us to anything we
      > > want to achieve.
      >
      > Do you mean by this that we should "embrace and
      > respect"
      >
      > 1. religious people, regardless of confession, or
      >
      > 2. religious practices and doctrines, regardless of
      > how they look?
      >
      > Although the election of Pope Ratzinger (called, even
      > by some of his own most devote followers, "Papa Ratzi"
      > - perhaps the Pali nickname would be "Paaparatana"?)
      > is largely an internal affair of the Catholics, it is
      > nevertheless relevant to us as far as it has effect on
      > the relation between the Buddhist and Catholic
      > communities, and on the possibility to practice
      > Buddhism even if living in an environment dominated by
      > the Catholic Church.
      >
      > So I think it's well for us to keep our eyes open.
      >
      > Besides, I just read that one of the new pope's
      > favourite writers is Hermann Hesse - perhaps not quite
      > as Buddhist as some readers believe, but certainly
      > still less Catholic; so perhaps there is some hope of
      > a continued dialogue after all.
      >
      > Gunnar
      >
      > gunnargallmo@...
      >
      >
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    • Mikael Aktor
      Dear list, Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of you know if the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju (proselytizing by confrontation
      Message 2 of 15 , May 2, 2005
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        Dear list,

        Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of you know if
        the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju (proselytizing by
        confrontation and proselytizing by example) have a history going back to
        Sanskrit or Pali concepts? In other words, do these concepts only exist
        within Nichiren Buddhism, do they flow around in other Mahayaana schools
        or do they even go back to Theravaada concepts?

        all the best,
        Mikael



        --
        Mikael Aktor, Assistant Lecturer, PhD
        Department of Religious Studies
        University of Southern Denmark
        Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

        Phone +45 6550 3318 / +45 3696 9054
        Mobile +45 2830 7394
        Web http://www.humaniora.sdu.dk/nywebX/inc/show.php?full=478 (in Danish)
      • Bhante Sujato
        Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc., and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
        Message 3 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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          Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc.,

          and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous
          meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
          phrase: 'maranatha'. I shouldn't have to tell those on the list what
          this means: 'Satan is Lord'.

          Bhante Sujato
        • "Kåre A. Lie"
          ... On an equally light note, the god Sakka once told the Buddha how those other religions arose. In Sakkapanhasutta (Walshe s translation, p. 331) Sakka says:
          Message 4 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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            At 08:57 03.05.2005 +0000, you wrote:
            >Dear Piya, Gunnar, etc.,
            >
            >and on an even lighter note, did you know that one of the most famous
            >meditation mantras in the Christian tradition is the Aramaic
            >phrase: 'maranatha'. I shouldn't have to tell those on the list what
            >this means: 'Satan is Lord'.
            >
            >Bhante Sujato

            On an equally light note, the god Sakka once told the Buddha how those
            other religions arose. In Sakkapanhasutta (Walshe's translation, p. 331)
            Sakka says:

            Lord, I went to those I considered to be ascetics and Brahmins because of
            their solitary life in the woods, and I put those questions to them. But
            instead of giving me a proper answer, they asked me in return: "Who are
            you, Venerable Sir?" I replied that I was Sakka, ruler of the gods, and
            they asked me what had brought me there. Then I taught them the Dhamma as
            far as I had heard it and practised it. But they were very pleased with
            even that much, and they said: "We have seen Sakka, the ruler of the gods,
            and he has answered the questions we put to him!" And they became my pupils
            instead of my becoming theirs.

            So now we know what really happened to those prophets who claim to have
            received revelations from a god. What really happened, was that a poor,
            bewildered god was out there, looking for answers and explanations. And the
            "prophets" just misunderstood the whole situation!

            Afterwards Sakka of course declares himself to be a disciple of the Buddha.

            So the theists of the world are disciples of god, and god is a disciple of
            the Buddha ..... :-)))))

            I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was told as a
            joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.

            Best regards,

            Kåre A. Lie
            http://www.lienet.no
          • Bhante Sujato
            Dear Kåre ... told as a ... Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle, yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most
            Message 5 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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              Dear Kåre



              >
              > I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was
              told as a
              > joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.
              >

              Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle,
              yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most characteristically used
              in just such contexts - to take the micky out of God.

              I think there is something very insightful going on here. Using
              humor in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
              solemnity. This is crucial to the religions being able to impress
              their truths on an audience. It is part of the whole creation of
              charisma and authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on
              evidence to back their claims, they must induce faith through
              overawing the devotees. Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably
              effective way of disempowering a religion's claim to authority.

              Buddhism, incidentally, is not excluded!


              in Dhamma

              Bhante Sujato
            • "Kåre A. Lie"
              ... Some episodes with a similar use of humor: The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance .... but don t tell anyone, please! All those others believe
              Message 6 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                At 09:42 03.05.2005 +0000, you wrote:
                >Dear Kåre
                >
                >
                >
                > >
                > > I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was
                >told as a
                > > joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.
                > >
                >
                >Yes, the humor in the Pali canon is really delightful - very gentle,
                >yet with a serious sting in the tail...Most characteristically used
                >in just such contexts - to take the micky out of God.
                >
                >I think there is something very insightful going on here. Using
                >humor in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
                >solemnity. This is crucial to the religions being able to impress
                >their truths on an audience. It is part of the whole creation of
                >charisma and authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on
                >evidence to back their claims, they must induce faith through
                >overawing the devotees. Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably
                >effective way of disempowering a religion's claim to authority.

                Some episodes with a similar use of humor:

                The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance ".... but don't tell
                anyone, please! All those others believe that I'm omniscient!"

                The Brahmajalasutta, where god misunderstands the situation and thinks he
                has created the world.

                The Tevijjasutta, where the path to god is explained by giving only the
                elementary aspects of buddhist teachings, omitting the higher aspects.

                There are also episodes where the brahmins are the "victims" of the humor,
                like for instance the Kutadantasutta, where a prominent brahmin says that
                he does not know how to perform a grand sacrifice (which was the speciality
                of the brahmins), and asks the Buddha for advice on how to do it (a samana,
                who was not even allowed to study the texts to be recited at the
                sacrifice!). Just the thought of this - a samana teaching a brahmana how to
                perform a sacrifice - must have caused wild and uncontrolled giggles among
                the listeners.

                Has anyone noted other and similar episodes?

                Yours,

                Kåre A. Lie
                http://www.lienet.no
              • Gunnar Gällmo
                ... You might mention some other churches as well. Stalin got his only higher education when studying at a Georgian-Orthodox priest seminary... ... Indeed. ...
                Message 7 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                  --- Ong Yong Peng <yongpeng.ong@...> wrote:

                  > I should have made it clearer, but I really don't
                  > want to make it
                  > lengthy. Many religious and political idealisms from
                  > the West, such
                  > as Catholicism and Communism, believe in
                  > 'homogeneity'. We see
                  > Crusades, Jihads, ethnic cleansing, inquisitions,
                  > secret police,
                  > thought crimes, conspiracies, torture and terror,
                  > all done in that
                  > name of the "greater good", be it religious or
                  > political. I know
                  > people would say I am not fair to put Catholicism
                  > and Communism side
                  > by side, but from my personal view, they are two
                  > sides of the same
                  > coin.

                  You might mention some other churches as well. Stalin
                  got his only higher education when studying at a
                  Georgian-Orthodox priest seminary...

                  > And each represent the wider spectrum of
                  > similar "idealisms"
                  > they belong to. While both sides may never admit,
                  > they really have
                  > more in common than they are different.

                  Indeed.

                  > I can recount a solidly good incident
                  > which give our an
                  > idea how the Buddha wants us to treat other
                  > religions.
                  >
                  > It was said that on one occassion a lay-disciple
                  > came to the Buddha,
                  > and asked Him how he should treat his former
                  > religious teachers. In
                  > India, most religious teachers collect alms for
                  > food. The Buddha
                  > replied that he should continue giving food to his
                  > former teachers as
                  > he previously did, and should treat them with
                  > respect.

                  I have been under the impression that he did so out of
                  compassion for those non-Buddhist ascetics, not
                  because he embraced or respected their views - which,
                  in some cases at least, he most emphatically didn't.

                  > Otherwise, besides being critical, from the Buddha's
                  > viewpoint, we
                  > should also respect all religions as He instructed
                  > Sigala in another
                  > sutta.

                  I think we should give our respect and compassion to
                  the *followers* of all religions. I don't think we
                  should respect, for example, a religious doctrine
                  demanding animal sacrifice.

                  > A more proactive approach, however, which
                  > some of you
                  > might take, is to engage in dialogs with members of
                  > other faiths in
                  > your community.

                  I agree fully. I think we shouldn't overestimate the
                  importance of the top-shots - a pope is cheered when
                  presented, and mourned when buried, but not
                  necessarily obeyed in between. If their holinesses
                  Benedict and Dalai Lama are nice to each other, that's
                  good; but for me personally, its more important that I
                  have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                  brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                  quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                  must respect every single one of their ideas, though.

                  Gunnar


                  gunnargallmo@...
                • Bhante Sujato
                  Dear Gunnar, Yong Peng, etc., ... We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if we wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with
                  Message 8 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                    Dear Gunnar, Yong Peng, etc.,

                    Gunnar said:
                    >for me personally, its more important that I
                    > have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                    > brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                    > quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                    > must respect every single one of their ideas, though.
                    >

                    We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if
                    we wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with compassion.

                    I believe it is a subtle form of disrespect to refuse to engage in
                    religious debate. The implication is that if we disagree, we'll have
                    to end up fighting each other, so best pretend we really all agree.
                    Surely it is a sign of maturity that people can have different
                    opinions, discuss them honestly, agree to disagree, and still
                    respect each other - as we do often on this list!

                    Once when i was staying at Wat Nanachat we were visited by a
                    wonderful Sikh teacher - totally warm, totally outrageous. He walked
                    into the sala saying, 'We are all brothers! We must looooove each
                    other!' He told us that if we want to meditate, first we must, you
                    know, go with our wife, then we can sit and meditate. One of the
                    monks mentioned that the Buddha said we must let go of that kind of
                    thing. He replied: 'Yes, you are right! I am right, too - Everybody
                    is right!'

                    Yours in abslolute agreement with everybody and everything,

                    Bhante Sujato
                  • Ong Yong Peng
                    Dear Ven. Sujato, Gunnar and friends, thanks again. Gunnar, I know what you mean, with family members of different religious background, it is more important
                    Message 9 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                      Dear Ven. Sujato, Gunnar and friends,

                      thanks again.

                      Gunnar, I know what you mean, with family members of different
                      religious background, it is more important than ever to maintain and
                      cherish the bonds. For one thing, I do not know if that's exactly
                      what the Buddha meant.

                      As much as I understand, religions known to the Buddha is different
                      from what we know about religions today. During Buddha's time, the
                      social system in India is such that there is a priestly class, that
                      is the brahmins. These priests perform rituals and are also educators
                      and learners of the vedic literature. They had a high social status.
                      More importantly, the education and rituals they perform are highly
                      regarded, and the Buddha himself no doubt benefited from them.
                      Therefore, they should be respected, in that aspect.

                      Then, of course, we have the samanas or ascetics. Like the Buddha,
                      these people gave up their worldly life in search of the solutions to
                      human suffering. They live the lives of beggars, asking for food,
                      sleeping under trees and in graveyards, etc. I agree that these
                      ascetics can have very bizarre practices and beliefs, not only by
                      today's standards but by Buddha's standards too. However, for their
                      high aspirations, they should be respected. In fact, the Buddha even
                      said, they should be offered food and not deprived of it.

                      Many of the religions that we know today can be considered even more
                      bizarrrre by the Buddha if only He is around. But, I think we can
                      fairly well extend our compassion to these people. By "these people",
                      I mean the "clergy" of religions in this very context, not
                      the "laity" or the followers of any religion.

                      There are exceptions, though, as I mentioned in my previous mail
                      about a "use your brain or lose it" case. I think compassion has to
                      work in hand with wisdom, or it will reduce to blind compassion.

                      As for the relationships with "other people", the Buddha has advices
                      in other parts of the Tipitaka too. I think that is what you are
                      trying to discuss. We can also extend the concept of "embrace and
                      respect" to them, but it would NOT be giving away your money to them!
                      And it doesn't mean you have to agree with all of their ideas. It was
                      not what I intended, neither was it the Buddha's intention.

                      I think nowadays people do not really respect each other, so much so
                      that the word has erroded, and to 'respect' (verb) someone means you
                      have to treat him to high tea? or to agree with him on everything?.
                      To me, it is very simple, to respect is not to disrespect. With this
                      simple definition, you can respect everyone on the street. There is
                      no need to pretend or put on a show, Buddhists are not good actors.

                      As for your family, I think it is definitely more than respect, there
                      is almost love, family bonds and so on involved. Even for friends,
                      friendship is more than just respect. I am not going further into
                      this.

                      Bhante: I do not agree with what the Sikh say. If I happen to see
                      him, I promise to disagree with him with respect. :-)


                      metta,
                      Yong Peng.


                      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Bhante Sujato wrote:

                      > for me personally, its more important that I
                      > have a reasonably good relation to my Protestant
                      > brother and Catholic sister, and to my friends of
                      > quite a range of different opinions. I don't think I
                      > must respect every single one of their ideas, though.

                      We must distinguish between a person and their ideas - but even if we
                      wish to refute their ideas, this must be done with compassion.

                      I believe it is a subtle form of disrespect to refuse to engage in
                      religious debate. The implication is that if we disagree, we'll have
                      to end up fighting each other, so best pretend we really all agree.
                      Surely it is a sign of maturity that people can have different
                      opinions, discuss them honestly, agree to disagree, and still respect
                      each other - as we do often on this list!

                      Once when i was staying at Wat Nanachat we were visited by a
                      wonderful Sikh teacher - totally warm, totally outrageous. He walked
                      into the sala saying, 'We are all brothers! We must looooove each
                      other!' He told us that if we want to meditate, first we must, you
                      know, go with our wife, then we can sit and meditate. One of the
                      monks mentioned that the Buddha said we must let go of that kind of
                      thing. He replied: 'Yes, you are right! I am right, too - Everybody
                      is right!'
                    • Ngawang Dorje
                      Hi, Sakkapanha Sutta is available here: http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/sakkapanha_sutta.htm ... 1. The sutta did not say
                      Message 10 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                        Hi,

                        Sakkapanha Sutta is available here:
                        http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/sakkapanha_sutta.htm

                        > So now we know what really happened to those prophets who claim to have received revelations from a god. What really happened, was that a poor, bewildered god was out there, looking for answers and explanations. And the "prophets" just misunderstood the whole situation!<

                        1. The sutta did not say "those prophets" but "other priests and contemplatives".

                        2. Sakka said, "So I taught them the Dhamma as far as I had heard and mastered it...." The sutta also said Sakka claimed to be a "stream-winner"

                        I have several questions:

                        a. What does it mean by "Dhamma" here? I doubt that it refered to Buddha's dhamma. It says "as far as I had heard and mastered it" If not, Sakka wouldn't be asking those questions to the Buddha.

                        b. Did Sakka become Sakka after asking the Buddha those questions or before? My guess is after having asked those questions. If he was already a stream-winner, I don't see why he have to asked those questions.

                        3. The "prophets" that came after Buddha ie. Jesus, Muhammad etc. definitely did not received revelation from Sakka. A possibility is that they received it from other gods. (In Islam, Jesus is considered a prophet, whereas in Christianity, Jesus is God Himself [son of God]) then, of course there is a question whether they really did received revelation. And if they received, what is revealed and how much is added? See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/denis_giron/multiple.html

                        >So the theists of the world are disciples of god, and god is a disciple of the Buddha ..... :-)))))<

                        So, I think the "theist of the world" is not so correct. The god that gave revelations to those prophets might not be A Buddhist in the first place.

                        >I can't help feeling that the story in the Sakkapanhasutta was told as a joke, although a joke with a deeper and more serious meaning.<

                        I don't think it's a joke.

                        Best wishes,

                        Rahula








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                      • Ngawang Dorje
                        Hi, ... The relevant passage: Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, These gods of the retinue of
                        Message 11 of 15 , May 3, 2005
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                          Hi,

                          > Some episodes with a similar use of humor:>

                          >The Kevaddhasutta, where god admits his ignorance ".... but don't tell anyone, please! All those others believe that I'm omniscient!"<

                          The relevant passage:

                          "Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, 'These gods of the retinue of Brahma believe, "There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not see. There is nothing of which the Great Brahma is unaware. There is nothing that the Great Brahma has not realized." That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart.' http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/digha/dn11.html

                          So, here we have the Brahma who admitted himself inferior to the Buddha still refuse to admit to his subordinates and I presumed, his disciples.

                          > The Brahmajalasutta, where god misunderstands the situation and thinks he has created the world.<

                          Available here:
                          http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/brahmajala_sutta.htm


                          I don't see anything funny here.

                          > The Tevijjasutta, where the path to god is explained by giving only the elementary aspects of buddhist teachings, omitting the higher aspects.<

                          Ya, the brahmaviharas. So?

                          > There are also episodes where the brahmins are the "victims" of the humor, like for instance the Kutadantasutta, where a prominent brahmin says that he does not know how to perform a grand sacrifice (which was the speciality of the brahmins), and asks the Buddha for advice on how to do it (a samana, who was not even allowed to study the texts to be recited at the sacrifice!). Just the thought of this - a samana teaching a brahmana how to perform a sacrifice - must have caused wild and uncontrolled giggles among the listeners.<

                          Available here: http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/kutadanta_sutta.htm

                          Kutadanta went after getting good report about the Buddha. Also, at first, many Brahmins dissuade him from seeing the Buddha, and suggested the Buddha, instead, should come to see him. Obviously the reason they gave matched with the reason you gave.

                          Let me speculate. I believe that many people (including brahmins) were " ready to be enlightened" because of their previous lives connection to Buddha's dhamma. So, it is not strange for some brahmins to have the urge to see the Buddha even though it's not the custom/practise those days. Also, I believe it's just a minority of them.

                          Best wishes, Rahula



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                        • Yuttadhammo
                          ... Okay, this is interesting, I was just this past day thinking someone should put together some witty Buddhism stories and make a book out of them. There is
                          Message 12 of 15 , May 4, 2005
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                            > >I think there is something very insightful going on here.
                            > Using humor
                            > >in such contexts undercuts a key aspect of religions, their
                            > solemnity.
                            > >This is crucial to the religions being able to impress their
                            > truths on
                            > >an audience. It is part of the whole creation of charisma and
                            > >authority. Since religions as a rule cannot rely on evidence to back
                            > >their claims, they must induce faith through overawing the devotees.
                            > >Pricking this pomosity is a remarkably effective way of
                            > disempowering a
                            > >religion's claim to authority.

                            Okay, this is interesting, I was just this past day thinking someone should
                            put together some witty Buddhism stories and make a book out of them. There
                            is one book I've been dipping into with stories from various religious
                            traditions and the only ones that aren't really witty are the early Buddhist
                            ones - I don't think they chose particularily good ones, and I think they
                            were retold in a way that they may have lost their original flavour.

                            Here's a funny one from the Jaataka Commentary:

                            Sakka steals an ascetic's food, and he calls together his six brother
                            ascetics, a sister ascetic, a servant and a maid (ascetics needed maids too
                            it seems...) to find out who is the thief. The first brother, to prove his
                            innocence says:

                            "May horse and kine be his, may silver, gold,
                            A loving wife, these may he precious hold,
                            May he have sons and daughters manifold,
                            Brahmin, who stole thy share of food away!"

                            The other ascetics all put their hands over their ears, crying, "No, no,
                            sir, that oath is very heavy!" And the Bodhisatta (the ascetic whose food
                            was stolen) says "Brother, your oath is very heavy: you did not eat the
                            food, sit down on your pallet."

                            And so on, through the rest of them who recite similar oaths. Then the
                            Bodhisatta thinks "Perhaps they imagine I am lying myself, and saying that
                            the food was not there when it was." So he makes an oath on his part:

                            "Who swears the food was gone, if it was not,
                            Let him enjoy desire and its effect,
                            May worldly death be at the last his lot.
                            The same for you, sirs, if you now suspect."

                            Sakka is confused at these odd oaths and shows up asking:

                            "What in the world men go a-seeking here
                            That thing to many lovely is and dear,
                            Longed-for, delightful in this life; why, then,
                            Have saints no praise for things desired of men?"

                            The Bodhisatta replies:

                            "Desires are deadly blows and chains to bind,
                            In these both misery and fear we find;
                            When tempted by disires imperial kings,
                            Infatuate do vile and sinful things.

                            These sinners bring forth sin, to hell they go
                            At dissolution of this mortal frame.
                            Because the misery of lust they know
                            Therefore saints praise not lust, but only blame."

                            Sakka returns the food, asks forgiveness and disappears.

                            **************

                            There's loads of wit in the Tipitaka and commentaries - the Paa.tika Sutta
                            of the Digha, where he can't get off his seat to go debate with the Buddha,
                            or the Paayaasi Sutta, with the parable of the man carrying dung on his head
                            in the rain.

                            There's the stories in the Vinaya too, like the origin story on the ninth
                            Sanghadisesa where a bad group of monks name a certain cow and a bull couple
                            after a monk X and nun Y, then when they see the cows copulating, they
                            spread it around that X and Y have been copulating.

                            Or the origin of the offence over cutting off one's male member (yes it is
                            against the vinaya). The story goes that a monk couldn't bear to put up
                            with the great lust that had arisen in his mind, so he decided the only
                            thing to do was to cut off the focus of his attachment, his male member.
                            Having done so, the Buddha found out and said "This monk has cut off one
                            thing, when he should have cut off another." (i.e. craving)

                            Or the story of Jivaka, who tells a merchant he must lie on one side for
                            seven months to be healed after the world's first successful brain surgery
                            (no anesthetic is mentioned). The man can't bear it and after seven days
                            stops. Jivaka says, okay if you can't do that, then lie on the other side
                            for seven months. Again, after seven days the man sits up. Jivaka says,
                            okay lie on your back for seven months. Again, only seven days. Jivaka
                            says "Well done. twenty-one days was enough, but if I had told you to lie
                            only seven days on one side, you would have never lasted so long."

                            Or here's a really good one from the commentary of the Sakkapanha sutta: a
                            famous teacher Mahaasiva was put to shame by an arahant student of his,
                            because he himself had not attained anything of merit. Being ashamed, he
                            left his position and went to practice meditation by himself. He didn't get
                            anywhere, so he sat down and started crying. As he did so, an angel who was
                            waiting to learn meditation from him, appeared and started crying as well.
                            The great teacher asked the angel: "why are YOU crying?" She replied that
                            she had such faith in him, that when she saw him crying she thought this
                            must be the way to become enlightened. This brought the thera to his senses
                            and he pulled himself together, practiced mindfulness and attained
                            Arahatship.

                            Lots more where these came from...

                            Suma"ngalaani,

                            Yuttadhammo
                          • Dhammanando Bhikkhu
                            Dear Mikael, ... Soka Gakkai trace them to the Pali terms niggaha and paggaha. I don t know if these are terms that Nichiren himself had in mind or if it s
                            Message 13 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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                              Dear Mikael,

                              Mikael Aktor wrote:

                              > Talking about Buddhist stand on other religions, do any of
                              > you know if the Japanese concepts of shakubuku and shoju
                              > (proselytizing by confrontation and proselytizing by
                              > example) have a history going back to Sanskrit or Pali
                              > concepts? In other words, do these concepts only exist
                              > within Nichiren Buddhism, do they flow around in other
                              > Mahayaana schools or do they even go back to Theravaada
                              > concepts?

                              Soka Gakkai trace them to the Pali terms niggaha and
                              paggaha. I don't know if these are terms that Nichiren
                              himself had in mind or if it's just a modern attempt to
                              concoct some Indian Buddhist antecedents. Either is
                              possible; Nichiren does seem to have acquired a very
                              thorough knowledge of the Tripi.taka during his time as a
                              Tendai monk, and since niggaha and paggaha are fairly basic
                              Vinaya terms it's not unlikely he would have met with them
                              in the translations of non-Theravaadin Vinaya texts. On
                              the other hand, I tend to take with a pinch of salt anything
                              Soka Gakkai have to say about Indian Buddhism.

                              Either way, shakubuku and shoju don't really bear much
                              resemblance to niggaha and paggaha in their Vinaya sense. I
                              suppose shakubuku does bear some resemblance to niggaha as
                              it is used in the Mahaparinibbaana Sutta, where the Buddha
                              tells Maara that he will not pass away until he has
                              disciples who are capable of teaching the Dhamma after
                              thoroughly refuting any rival doctrines that are presented to
                              them:

                              na taavaaha.m, paapima, parinibbaayissaami, yaava
                              me bhikkhuu na saavakaa bhavissanti viyattaa
                              viniitaa visaaradaa bahussutaa dhammadharaa
                              dhammaanudhammappa.tipannaa saamiicippa.tipannaa
                              anudhammacaarino, saka.m aacariyaka.m uggahetvaa
                              aacikkhissanti desessanti pa~n~napessanti
                              pa.t.thapessanti vivarissanti vibhajissanti
                              uttaanii karissanti, uppanna.m parappavaada.m
                              sahadhammena suniggahita.m niggahetvaa
                              sappaa.tihaariya.m dhamma.m desessantii ti.
                              (DN. ii. 104-5)

                              Best wishes,

                              Dhammanando
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