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Hello, i'm new to this group and would like to ask a few questions.

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  • samathasavaka
    Hello everyone, i m new to this mailing list, i don t know Pali or Sanskrit or Chinese, even though i have a few friends who do. i was inclined to join this
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 6, 2002
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      Hello everyone, i'm new to this mailing list, i don't know Pali or
      Sanskrit or Chinese, even though i have a few friends who do.
      i was inclined to join this e-group because of some inquiries i have
      regarding translations from the Nikayas.
      Also, english is not native languange, spanish is, so excuse me if my
      grammar is not proper.
      Here are the questions i'd like to ask:

      1. if a Jain can use Attan to mean Soul, how come a Buddhist can only
      use Attan as himself, herself, oneself, etc... ?

      2. When the nikayas were recorded using Pali, was there an agreement
      on the cognitive level of the times which dictated that if you were
      Buddhist and said the word Attan that that meant something else
      besides Soul and that if you were a Jain Attan was indeed Soul?

      3. In spanish, when i say Espiritu (Spiritus, Spirit), the word's
      meaning remains the same regardless of wether or not i believe in a
      Espiritu. How come in Pali is different?

      4. Is there any possibility that such strange characteristics of the
      Pali languague regarding the word Attan arise due to sectarian
      interpretations and that are not instrinstical problems of the
      languague itself?

      5. How come many Pali translators, like Bodhi, or Nyanatiloka, use
      Anatta as if to describe what the Attan is not? What use would there
      be to state what the Attan is not if all the word Attan meant was:
      himelf, oneself, herself, etc... within the Buddhist context?
      What use would there be to say that the 5 skandhas are Anatta if
      there was no Attan at all?


      Thank you all very much in advance.

      Good Day.

      Samatha Savaka.
    • Robert Eddison
      ... Welcome to the list. ... In fact both usages are found in Buddhist texts. The only difference is that when it is used in Buddhist texts to mean soul it
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 10, 2002
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        Samatha Savaka wrote:

        > Hello everyone, i'm new to this mailing list, i don't know Pali or
        >Sanskrit or Chinese, even though i have a few friends who do.
        >i was inclined to join this e-group because of some inquiries i have
        >regarding translations from the Nikayas.
        >Also, english is not native languange, spanish is, so excuse me if my
        >grammar is not proper.
        >Here are the questions i'd like to ask:

        Welcome to the list.

        >1. if a Jain can use Attan to mean Soul, how come a Buddhist can only
        >use Attan as himself, herself, oneself, etc... ?

        In fact both usages are found in Buddhist texts. The only difference is
        that when it is used in Buddhist texts to mean soul it will generally be
        part of some passage in which soul theories are rejected, whereas in a Jain
        text the soul's existence will be asserted. (By the way, although a few of
        the older Jain texts use aya -- a Prakrit cognate of attaa -- for the soul,
        the vast majority always use jiiva).

        As for the use of attaa for the reflexive pronoun, this is not limited to
        Pali Buddhist texts. You will find exactly the same usage in texts written
        in other Indian Sanskritic and Prakritic dialects, no matter whether their
        authors are Buddhist, Hindu or Jain.

        Even in a Hindu text that does propound a soul theory, if the text in
        question has a lot of narrative content (e.g. the Bhagavad Gita,
        Ramayana, Avadhut Gita and suchlike), you will find that the Sanskrit
        "aatman" more often functions as a reflexive pronoun than as a word for the
        soul.

        Example:

        Siitaa-devii praaptaprasavavedanam AATMAANAM atidu.hkhasa.mvegaad
        Gan.gaa-pravaahe nik.siptavatii

        "Queen Sita, when the pangs of childbirth were upon her, in the extremity
        of her suffering, threw *herself* into the Ganges."

        >2. When the nikayas were recorded using Pali, was there an agreement
        >on the cognitive level of the times which dictated that if you were
        >Buddhist and said the word Attan that that meant something else
        >besides Soul and that if you were a Jain Attan was indeed Soul?

        I wouldn't put it like that. The word attaa/aatman must have had some
        generally accepted denotations, else it would have been impossible for
        Buddhists, brahmins and Jains to talk to each other on the subject. On the
        other hand each sectarian group had its own take on what precisely the soul
        was, or on whether such a thing existed.

        >3. In spanish, when i say Espiritu (Spiritus, Spirit), the word's
        >meaning remains the same regardless of wether or not i believe in a
        >Espiritu. How come in Pali is different?

        In English when I say 'spirit' I might well be referring to gin, whiskey,
        vodka and suchlike. Strangely, when Germans say 'Geist' (spirit) they never
        mean anything of the sort. How come German is different?

        What exactly are you asking here? How come Pali isn't the same as Spanish?

        And are you seriously suggesting that in Spanish each word has only one
        meaning? I find it hard to believe the language could be that impoverished.
        In the case of espiritu does it not also mean espectro, ánimo, alma,
        respiración.... ?

        The point to note is that Pali, Sanskrit and related languages didn't have
        any words that corresponded exactly to reflexives such as 'myself',
        'himself', 'oneself' etc. So in order to convey the idea of reflexivity (of
        an action falling back upon the agent) some other method had to be
        employed. One was to use the indeclinable particle saya.m ('by oneself').
        The other, much more common way, was to use attaa.

        >4. Is there any possibility that such strange characteristics of the
        >Pali languague regarding the word Attan arise due to sectarian
        >interpretations and that are not instrinstical problems of the
        >languague itself?

        As noted above, it is not a strange characteristic of Pali, but a shared
        feature of Aryan languages in the Indic group. It is very rare that
        sectarian concerns determine the everyday conventions of usage in any
        language.

        >5. How come many Pali translators, like Bodhi, or Nyanatiloka, use
        >Anatta as if to describe what the Attan is not?

        Firstly because this is linguistically correct. Secondly because both of
        the above translators subscribe to the mainstream Buddhist interpretation
        of anattaa, and not to any of the heterodox variants (e.g. those of the
        Puggalavadin schools in bygone days, or of Rhys Davids, George Grimm and
        Ven. Thanissaro in more recent times).

        >What use would there be to state what the Attan is not if all the word
        >Attan meant was: himelf, oneself, herself, etc... within the Buddhist
        >context?

        But whoever made such a claim? Though "himelf, oneself, herself, etc" are
        probably the most common meanings of attaa in narrative passages, they
        don't by any means exhaust the range of applications this word has in Pali.

        >What use would there be to say that the 5 skandhas are Anatta if
        >there was no Attan at all?

        Because worldlings don't know that there's no attaa at all and this
        non-knowing leads them into suffering.

        Best wishes,

        Robert
      • samathasavaka
        ... Thanks man ! :) ... difference is ... generally be ... in a Jain ... few of ... the soul, ... Um... From what i gather from the translations i ve read
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 10, 2002
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          --- In Pali@y..., Robert Eddison <robedd@i...> wrote:

          >
          > Welcome to the list.
          >

          Thanks man ! :)


          > In fact both usages are found in Buddhist texts. The only
          difference is
          > that when it is used in Buddhist texts to mean soul it will
          generally be
          > part of some passage in which soul theories are rejected, whereas
          in a Jain
          > text the soul's existence will be asserted. (By the way, although a
          few of
          > the older Jain texts use aya -- a Prakrit cognate of attaa -- for
          the soul,
          > the vast majority always use jiiva).
          >


          Um... From what i gather from the translations i've read (which are
          plenty) i've never seen the denial of a soul. I've only seen the
          denial to the claim that the soul's abode is within the khandas.
          Would you have an example from the Suttas were Buddha says there's no
          soul at all? that there's nothing which reaches the other shore?
          Thanks in advance.


          > As for the use of attaa for the reflexive pronoun, this is not
          limited to
          > Pali Buddhist texts. You will find exactly the same usage in texts
          written
          > in other Indian Sanskritic and Prakritic dialects, no matter
          whether their
          > authors are Buddhist, Hindu or Jain.
          >
          > Even in a Hindu text that does propound a soul theory, if the text
          in
          > question has a lot of narrative content (e.g. the Bhagavad Gita,
          > Ramayana, Avadhut Gita and suchlike), you will find that the
          Sanskrit
          > "aatman" more often functions as a reflexive pronoun than as a word
          for the
          > soul.
          >
          > Example:
          >
          > Siitaa-devii praaptaprasavavedanam AATMAANAM atidu.hkhasa.mvegaad
          > Gan.gaa-pravaahe nik.siptavatii
          >
          > "Queen Sita, when the pangs of childbirth were upon her, in the
          extremity
          > of her suffering, threw *herself* into the Ganges."


          Thanks, point taken.



          > I wouldn't put it like that. The word attaa/aatman must have had
          some
          > generally accepted denotations, else it would have been impossible
          for
          > Buddhists, brahmins and Jains to talk to each other on the subject.
          On the
          > other hand each sectarian group had its own take on what precisely
          the soul
          > was, or on whether such a thing existed.


          Yeah, thanks for bringing this up, which helps my theory, which is
          that Buddha's view on the soul were different from those who preached
          that the soul was to be found in the khandas, imho, the Buddha is not
          preaching that there's no soul at all. It'd be strange if that were
          the case, why do i think this? Because then, what would realize
          illumination? what is reborn? what suffers? what is liberated from
          suffering?



          > In English when I say 'spirit' I might well be referring to gin,
          whiskey,
          > vodka and suchlike. Strangely, when Germans say 'Geist' (spirit)
          they never
          > mean anything of the sort. How come German is different?
          >
          > What exactly are you asking here? How come Pali isn't the same as
          Spanish?
          >
          > And are you seriously suggesting that in Spanish each word has only
          one
          > meaning? I find it hard to believe the language could be that
          impoverished.
          > In the case of espiritu does it not also mean espectro, ánimo, alma,
          > respiración.... ?
          >
          > The point to note is that Pali, Sanskrit and related languages
          didn't have
          > any words that corresponded exactly to reflexives such as 'myself',
          > 'himself', 'oneself' etc. So in order to convey the idea of
          reflexivity (of
          > an action falling back upon the agent) some other method had to be
          > employed. One was to use the indeclinable particle saya.m ('by
          oneself').
          > The other, much more common way, was to use attaa.
          >


          I'm suggesting that when i use the word Espiritu within a certain
          context, in this case a philosophical context, i know the meaning of
          the word. For example, to use the example of the english word Spirit,
          i'd like to point out that to say Spirit by itself can be interpreted
          in the several meanings it has (same in spanish, you are right). But
          if i say: "I'm gonna go down the bar and drink spirits" Then i'd know
          that you ain't talking about a Soul/Essence.
          Within the Buddhist texts, however, the context is philosophically
          and religiously inclined to say the least. Thus, the reason why i
          asked the question.


          > As noted above, it is not a strange characteristic of Pali, but a
          shared
          > feature of Aryan languages in the Indic group. It is very rare that
          > sectarian concerns determine the everyday conventions of usage in
          any
          > language.


          Right, maybe not sectarian concerns, but certainly the context where
          words are put will determine their meaning, would not you agree?


          >
          > Firstly because this is linguistically correct. Secondly because
          both of
          > the above translators subscribe to the mainstream Buddhist
          interpretation
          > of anattaa, and not to any of the heterodox variants (e.g. those of
          the
          > Puggalavadin schools in bygone days, or of Rhys Davids, George
          Grimm and
          > Ven. Thanissaro in more recent times).
          >


          So, in fact, there are different interpretations and methods when it
          comes down to translating a Buddhist pali text which are dependent
          upon which sectarian understanding you subscribe to ?
          It seems that there are several linguistically correct ways to
          translated the Suttas, but, the meaning they give are sometimes even
          contradictory ! What a puzzle !.




          > But whoever made such a claim? Though "himelf, oneself, herself,
          etc" are
          > probably the most common meanings of attaa in narrative passages,
          they
          > don't by any means exhaust the range of applications this word has
          in Pali.
          >


          Yeah, i was just making sure that within the Buddhist context the
          meaning of the word Attan is not dependent upon interpretations,
          rather, dependent upon what is it what is the "preacher" trying to
          convey. Thanks.



          > >What use would there be to say that the 5 skandhas are Anatta if
          > >there was no Attan at all?
          >
          > Because worldlings don't know that there's no attaa at all and this
          > non-knowing leads them into suffering.
          >


          Well, this answer you give me is not really related to pali, but to
          your interpretation of why is Anatta used to express that the five
          aggregates are empty.
          My question begs the answer to the philosophically analysed, because
          if the usage of the word Anatta to convey the message that the 5
          khandas are not the Attan, is taken for granted, then, we'll leave
          too much space for interpretations which may at times conclude things
          from things not being said. For example, when it is stated that The 5
          khandas are Anatta. Can we really and honestly and without fooling
          ourselves arrive at the conclusion that there is no Attan (as in
          Animus) at all? not even beyond the khandas?
          Thanks in advance.



          > Best wishes,
          >
          > Robert


          Thanks for your helpful reply. Hope to hear from you.

          Good Day. :)

          Samatha Savaka.
        • Andy
          Dear Venerables; Hi Group; Dear Robert; Thanks for the lovely and clear answers to the questions! In practical terms, I really like Ven. Maha Boowa s words on
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 10, 2002
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            Dear Venerables; Hi Group;

            Dear Robert;

            Thanks for the lovely and clear answers to the questions!

            In practical terms, I really like Ven. Maha Boowa's words on the mind of
            unawareness. To my mind, this is the clearest explanation I have found in
            Buddhist teachings of two key points:

            a) Why the mind of unawareness can trick a meditator into thinking that they
            have achieved full enlightenment.
            b) Why the experience of the mind of unawareness can make a meditator
            complacent and give them the impression that they have an "eternal soul".

            For instance, I really like this quote about all experiences in meditation:
            "*whatever makes an appearance, investigate it.*"

            The book is available at the "Access to Insight" web site.

            Straight from the Heart
            Thirteen Talks on the Practice of Meditation
            by Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno

            caveat meditator and peace from

            Andy

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Robert Eddison [mailto:robedd@...]
            Sent: Monday, June 10, 2002 11:24 AM
            To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Pali] Hello, i'm new to this group and would like to ask a
            few questions.


            Samatha Savaka wrote:

            > Hello everyone, i'm new to this mailing list, i don't know Pali or
            >Sanskrit or Chinese, even though i have a few friends who do.
            >i was inclined to join this e-group because of some inquiries i have
            >regarding translations from the Nikayas.
            >Also, english is not native languange, spanish is, so excuse me if my
            >grammar is not proper.
            >Here are the questions i'd like to ask:

            Welcome to the list.

            >1. if a Jain can use Attan to mean Soul, how come a Buddhist can only
            >use Attan as himself, herself, oneself, etc... ?

            In fact both usages are found in Buddhist texts. The only difference is
            that when it is used in Buddhist texts to mean soul it will generally be
            part of some passage in which soul theories are rejected, whereas in a Jain
            text the soul's existence will be asserted. (By the way, although a few of
            the older Jain texts use aya -- a Prakrit cognate of attaa -- for the soul,
            the vast majority always use jiiva).

            As for the use of attaa for the reflexive pronoun, this is not limited to
            Pali Buddhist texts. You will find exactly the same usage in texts written
            in other Indian Sanskritic and Prakritic dialects, no matter whether their
            authors are Buddhist, Hindu or Jain.

            Even in a Hindu text that does propound a soul theory, if the text in
            question has a lot of narrative content (e.g. the Bhagavad Gita,
            Ramayana, Avadhut Gita and suchlike), you will find that the Sanskrit
            "aatman" more often functions as a reflexive pronoun than as a word for the
            soul.

            Example:

            Siitaa-devii praaptaprasavavedanam AATMAANAM atidu.hkhasa.mvegaad
            Gan.gaa-pravaahe nik.siptavatii

            "Queen Sita, when the pangs of childbirth were upon her, in the extremity
            of her suffering, threw *herself* into the Ganges."

            >2. When the nikayas were recorded using Pali, was there an agreement
            >on the cognitive level of the times which dictated that if you were
            >Buddhist and said the word Attan that that meant something else
            >besides Soul and that if you were a Jain Attan was indeed Soul?

            I wouldn't put it like that. The word attaa/aatman must have had some
            generally accepted denotations, else it would have been impossible for
            Buddhists, brahmins and Jains to talk to each other on the subject. On the
            other hand each sectarian group had its own take on what precisely the soul
            was, or on whether such a thing existed.

            >3. In spanish, when i say Espiritu (Spiritus, Spirit), the word's
            >meaning remains the same regardless of wether or not i believe in a
            >Espiritu. How come in Pali is different?

            In English when I say 'spirit' I might well be referring to gin, whiskey,
            vodka and suchlike. Strangely, when Germans say 'Geist' (spirit) they never
            mean anything of the sort. How come German is different?

            What exactly are you asking here? How come Pali isn't the same as Spanish?

            And are you seriously suggesting that in Spanish each word has only one
            meaning? I find it hard to believe the language could be that impoverished.
            In the case of espiritu does it not also mean espectro, ánimo, alma,
            respiración.... ?

            The point to note is that Pali, Sanskrit and related languages didn't have
            any words that corresponded exactly to reflexives such as 'myself',
            'himself', 'oneself' etc. So in order to convey the idea of reflexivity (of
            an action falling back upon the agent) some other method had to be
            employed. One was to use the indeclinable particle saya.m ('by oneself').
            The other, much more common way, was to use attaa.

            >4. Is there any possibility that such strange characteristics of the
            >Pali languague regarding the word Attan arise due to sectarian
            >interpretations and that are not instrinstical problems of the
            >languague itself?

            As noted above, it is not a strange characteristic of Pali, but a shared
            feature of Aryan languages in the Indic group. It is very rare that
            sectarian concerns determine the everyday conventions of usage in any
            language.

            >5. How come many Pali translators, like Bodhi, or Nyanatiloka, use
            >Anatta as if to describe what the Attan is not?

            Firstly because this is linguistically correct. Secondly because both of
            the above translators subscribe to the mainstream Buddhist interpretation
            of anattaa, and not to any of the heterodox variants (e.g. those of the
            Puggalavadin schools in bygone days, or of Rhys Davids, George Grimm and
            Ven. Thanissaro in more recent times).

            >What use would there be to state what the Attan is not if all the word
            >Attan meant was: himelf, oneself, herself, etc... within the Buddhist
            >context?

            But whoever made such a claim? Though "himelf, oneself, herself, etc" are
            probably the most common meanings of attaa in narrative passages, they
            don't by any means exhaust the range of applications this word has in Pali.

            >What use would there be to say that the 5 skandhas are Anatta if
            >there was no Attan at all?

            Because worldlings don't know that there's no attaa at all and this
            non-knowing leads them into suffering.

            Best wishes,

            Robert



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          • Robert Eddison
            Dear Piya Tan & Andy, Thanks for you replies and encouragement. Also for the Acharn Maha Boowa reference. I will have a look at it when I have the time. Best
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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              Dear Piya Tan & Andy,

              Thanks for you replies and encouragement. Also for the Acharn Maha Boowa
              reference. I will have a look at it when I have the time.

              Best wishes,

              Robert

              >Thanks for the lovely and clear answers to the questions!
              >
              >In practical terms, I really like Ven. Maha Boowa's words on the mind of
              >unawareness. To my mind, this is the clearest explanation I have found in
              >Buddhist teachings of two key points:
              >
              >a) Why the mind of unawareness can trick a meditator into thinking that they
              >have achieved full enlightenment.
              >b) Why the experience of the mind of unawareness can make a meditator
              >complacent and give them the impression that they have an "eternal soul".
              >
              >For instance, I really like this quote about all experiences in meditation:
              >"*whatever makes an appearance, investigate it.*"
              >
              >The book is available at the "Access to Insight" web site.
              >
              >Straight from the Heart
              >Thirteen Talks on the Practice of Meditation
              >by Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno
              >
              >caveat meditator and peace from
              >
              >Andy
            • ypong001
              Dear Samatha, Robert, Andy, Piya and friends, as I am away from home, I am quite short of useful references, this is what I have got from the Web. #1.
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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                Dear Samatha, Robert, Andy, Piya and friends,

                as I am away from home, I am quite short of useful references, this
                is what I have got from the Web.

                #1. Britannica: Soul

                Immaterial aspect or essence of a person, conjoined with the body
                during life and separable at death. The concept of a soul is found in
                nearly all cultures and religions, though the interpretations of its
                nature vary considerably. The ancient Egyptians conceived of a dual
                soul, one surviving death but remaining near the body, while the
                other proceeded to the realm of the dead. The early Hebrews did not
                consider the soul as distinct from the body, but later Jewish writers
                perceived the two as separate. Christian theology adopted the Greek
                concept of an immortal soul, adding the notion that God created the
                soul and infused it into the body at conception. In Hinduism, each
                soul, or atman, was created at the beginning of time and imprisoned
                in an earthly body; at death, the soul passes to a new body according
                to the laws of karma. Buddhism negates the idea of a soul, asserting
                that any sense of an individual self is illusory.

                :-) What I understand is that the concept of an unchanging permanent
                soul was already in existence during Buddha's time. It is a prevalent
                teaching of the Vedic/Brahmanic religious teachings. The Buddha
                belongs to the Sramana (philosophical) era when there was a great
                evolutionary leap in ideas. During this era, there are many
                philosophers proposing new ideas for a paradigm change. This
                phenomenon is also observed during almost the same period in China
                and Greece. So, if you like, the Buddha and his followers belongs to
                a bigger and wider group of people generally called the Sramana
                movement. And, yes, you may have guessed so - the founder of Jainism,
                can be said (academically) to belong to this new movement too. The
                general characteristics of the Sramana movement is it opposed many
                things that are considered norms in the Vedic fold. However, mere
                opposition would be carry the movement to any great length. Indeed,
                each of the groups proposed new ideas to replace the Vedic/Brahmanic
                philosophy. Although the main idea is to replace the Vedic
                philosophical system in its entirety, it is possible that some groups
                retain certain concepts of Brahmanism. One example, which I think is
                now very clear, is Jainism's retaining the idea of 'soul' from
                Brahmanism. It is of course NOT true to say that Buddhism has nothing
                in common at all with Brahmanism. Buddhism has the concept of
                karma/kamma, this term has a similar "baseline" meaning as its usage
                in Brahmanism. It means action in both religion. But if we were to
                further study the doctrine of kamma in both religions, we will notice
                that there is a great difference.

                #2. PTS Dictionary: Attan

                The soul as postulated in the animistic theories held in N India in
                the 6th and 7th cent. B. C. It is described in the Upanishads as a
                small creature, in shape like a man, dwelling in ordinary times in
                the heart. It escapes from the body in sleep or trance; when it
                returns to the body life and motion reappear. It escapes from the
                body at death, then continues to carry on an everlasting life of its
                own. For numerous other details see Rh. D. Theory of Soul in the
                Upanishads J R A S 1899. Bt. India 251--255. Buddhism repudiated all
                such theories, thus differing from other religions. Sixteen such
                theories about the soul D I.31. Seven other theories D I.34. Three
                others D I.186/7. A "soul" according to general belief was some thing
                permanent, unchangeable, not affected by sorrow S IV.54 = Kvu 67; Vin
                I.14; M I.138.

                :-) The dictionary describe the word attan as soul in Vedic animistic
                theories. Buddhism is definitely far from being an animistic
                religion. I do not know how Jainism describe soul. By referring to
                #1, we know that each religion has an almost different interpretation
                of such an entity. But Buddha denies its existence, and it is
                noteworthy to know that he wasn't the only one who denies it. There
                are several Sramana groups that deny the existence of a soul. Of
                course, each has its own reasoning. Buddha was a well-learned person,
                both from his childhood education and his 6-year pre-enlightenment
                learning. If we look under #2, the Buddha mentioned 16 theories in
                total in regard to soul in just the Digha Nikaya alone. His chief
                objective was to point out the futility of such views.

                :-) The idea of not having a soul seems very peculiar. Maybe not from
                a secular viewpoint, but definitely from a religious standpoint. All
                religions, with the exception of perhaps only Buddhism, talk about
                soul or spirit. It is therefore not surprising that throughout
                history, even long after the Buddha, buddhists and non-buddhists
                alike are trying to grasp the possibility of salvation without a
                soul. (Just as people would wonder how they could speaking to each
                other without a face-to-face meeting.) Many buddhist philosophers has
                carried the concept of "soullessness" to creatively new levels.
                Especially in the Mahayana schools, there are several convincing
                reasoning for this topic.

                :-) Soullessness, impermanence and suffering are three interlinked
                concepts in Buddhism. Impermanence refers to the transient nature of
                life, it is this transient nature of life that the Buddha have
                clearly understood, while others either indulge in pleasures that are
                not lasting or are ignorant of the underlying facts of existence:
                soullessness, impermanece and suffering.

                With this, I wish you peace.

                metta,

                Yong Peng.
              • robertkirkpatrick.rm
                Dear Samatha Savaka (and Robert Eddison),-- In ... were ... Dear Friend, Just in case Robert Eddison is busy this quotation from The Visuddhimagga might help:
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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                  Dear Samatha Savaka (and Robert Eddison),-- In
                  Pali@y..., "samathasavaka" <samathasavaka@y...> wrote:
                  --- , imho, the Buddha is not
                  > preaching that there's no soul at all. It'd be strange if that
                  were
                  > the case, why do i think this? Because then, what would realize
                  > illumination? what is reborn? what suffers? what is liberated from
                  > suffering?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > +++++++++++++++++++++++=
                  Dear Friend,
                  Just in case Robert Eddison is busy this quotation from The
                  Visuddhimagga might help:
                  567 VRI Su~n~natekavidhaadiihiiti-ettha su~n~nato taava paramatthena
                  hi sabbaaneva saccaani vedakakaarakanibbutagamakaabhaavato
                  su~n~naaniiti veditabbaani. Teneta.m vuccati–
                  "Dukkhameva hi, na koci dukkhito;
                  kaarako na, kiriyaava vijjati;
                  atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa;
                  maggamatthi, gamako na vijjatii"ti.
                  (thanks to Andy Shaws brilliant Pali trans 2.o)

                  Translation from nanamoli xvi 90
                  ...As to void, single fold and so on: firstly, as to void: in the
                  ultimate sense all the truths should be understood as void because
                  of the absence of any experiencer, any doer, anyone who is
                  extinguished and any goer. hence this is said:

                  For there is suffering, but none who suffers;
                  Doing exists although there is no doer;
                  Extinction is but no extinguished person;
                  Although there is a path there is no goer'""

                  BTw Robert, amazing reply to the previous letter.
                  best wishes
                  robert
                • ypong001
                  Dear Samatha and friends, ... with ... death ... The definition DOES come from the authoritative Britannica. I put it as the first quote merely to illustrate
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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                    Dear Samatha and friends,

                    --- In Pali@y..., "samathasavaka" <samathasavaka@y...> wrote:
                    > Hello Yong Peng, i'd like to note that this definition you give us
                    > along with the comentary is a bit strange, because not only in
                    > Hinduism the idea of 'something' (to not call it Soul for those
                    with
                    > aversion to the word) does in fact goes to a new body after the
                    death
                    > of the current one. We have in the Suttas hundreds of tales were
                    > Gotama Buddha recalls his past lives for example.

                    The definition DOES come from the authoritative Britannica. I put it
                    as the first quote merely to illustrate that different religions take
                    a different stand to soul theory. In fact, we can say that it is for
                    the convenience of academic study that we generalise them as 'soul's.
                    But from an individualistic perspective, the Egyptian dual soul is
                    different from the Christian better refined soul. The concept of a
                    soul is nonetheless, on a theological basis, to support and reinforce
                    concepts such as creation and soforth.

                    > I see that the main difference between Vedic religion and the one
                    > Gotama Buddha preached was essentially with regards to the way to
                    > attain the fruit the religion preached, which include rituals,
                    prayer
                    > and other methods. Gotama's Buddha revolution, in my view, was to
                    > properly understand what was being said in the Vedas and
                    Upanishads,
                    > thereby ending with the confusion that prevailed regarding wether
                    or
                    > not the religion was effective.

                    Do you mean that Buddhism and Brahmanism/Hinduism share the same
                    religious goal? From both a theological and buddhist viewpoint, you
                    are wrong. From a theological viewpoint, Hinduism is basically a
                    polytheism while Buddhism is atheism. They are both fundamentally
                    different in their views and goals. The claim you have made is what
                    had actually caused Buddhism to disappear in India. So beware. From a
                    buddhist viewpoint, the Buddha was no revolutionary, he is a
                    discoverer and share with the Indian people of his time his
                    discoveries. He had to communicate with them in the proper context,
                    he had to speak in their language. Many of the suttas have to be read
                    in this light. Furthermore, some of the older English translations
                    can be quite "crude" in the use of words, but they do reveal the
                    audience characteristic the Buddha was addressing.

                    I would not say that Buddha hated or disliked any Brahmanic theories.
                    That's not the way Buddhism works, definitely not "passionistic".
                    Rather, he was revealing the fact that such theories are unnecessary
                    and even obstructive to understand the true nature of life and
                    attaining enlightenment. You are not wrong to say that the Buddha did
                    point out faults of the Vedic belief. If you read the Tipitaka, there
                    are many areas where the Buddha dismisses concepts of different
                    belief systems, not just Vedic but Sramanic too. These are generally
                    classified as 'wrong views'. And I see there is no reason why the
                    Buddha, as a compassionate person on one hand and a philosopher on
                    another, would not contrast his religion with others.

                    > I have never come across a passage in the Suttas/Sutras that denies
                    > the existence of a soul, like i said in another post, i've only
                    seen
                    > Buddha denying the khandas to be the soul, or denying dharmas
                    > (phenomena, things) to be the soul.

                    Neither have I, I guessed the main contents of the Tipitaka is not to
                    promote a soul or deny a soul, but on the four noble truths and noble
                    eightfold path. Fortunately, the authors of the Tipitaka did not get
                    the priority wrong. :-) However, I am pretty sure that there are many
                    passages where the Buddha directly or indirectly dismiss the soul
                    theory. I hope that other members on list can give us some relevant
                    quotations.

                    > I bring this up in regards the Animistic comments, for if the
                    khandas
                    > are animated (live) due to their own grace, why are they said to be
                    > empty and without substance?

                    Animism has nothing to do with animation. The word animistic means
                    the belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit
                    natural objects and phenomena. For example, the belief of tree
                    spirits and so forth. It is a category consisting of many primitive
                    religions.

                    > Salvation in Buddhism, imho, is reaching the other shore, where we
                    > realize freedom from dukkha. What realizes this freedom though?

                    Well, certainly not a soul. Btw, just a short question. What is
                    needed to gain enlightenment? You may like to meditate on this. :-)

                    Yours sincerely,

                    Yong Peng.
                  • Lee Dillion
                    ... Hi SS: Courtesy of Tang Huyen over on usenet, responding to the claim that the ... The Buddha says: There are four stations for consciousness. What are
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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                      samathasavaka wrote:

                      > I have never come across a passage in the Suttas/Sutras that denies
                      > the existence of a soul, like i said in another post, i've only seen
                      > Buddha denying the khandas to be the soul, or denying dharmas
                      > (phenomena, things) to be the soul.

                      Hi SS:

                      Courtesy of Tang Huyen over on usenet, responding to the claim that the
                      soul can be found beyond the aggregates:

                      -------

                      "The Buddha says: "There are four stations for consciousness. What are
                      the four? Approaching form, consciousness, standing, stands,
                      takes-as-its-object form, with form as platform, delights in it, waters
                      it and grows it; approaching feeling, consciousness, standing, stands,
                      takes-as-its-object feeling, with feeling as platform, with notion,
                      compositions as platform, delights in them, waters them, and grows them.
                      Monks! In them consciousness comes, goes, dies, gets born and grows. If
                      one was to declare consciousness' coming, going, dying, getting born,
                      and growing apart from them, that would only be speech (Skt.
                      vag-vastu-matram), and if asked one would be unable to answer, it would
                      increase one's stupidity (Skt. sammoham apadyeta), for it would be
                      beyond one's sense-field (Skt. avisayatvat). When passion with regard to
                      the modality of form is done away with, the contact occasioned by mind
                      getting entangled with form is cut, and when the contact occasioned by
                      mind getting entangled with form is cut, the taking-as-object ends, when
                      the taking-as-object ends, consciousness has no place to stand on, and
                      will no longer grow. When passion with regard to the modalities of
                      feeling, notion, and compositions is done away with, the contact
                      occasioned by mind getting entangled with them is cut, and when the
                      contact occasioned by mind getting entangled with them is cut, the
                      taking-as-object ends, when the taking-as-object ends, consciousness has
                      no place to stand on, and, unestablished (apatitthita), will no longer
                      grow. As it no longer grows, it no longer composes (na abhisankharoti),
                      when it no longer composes, it is stable (thita), when it is stable, it
                      knows that it has enough (thitatta santusito), when it knows that it has
                      enough, it is liberated (santusitatta [vimutto]), when it is liberated,
                      with regard to the world it has nothing to grasp ([vimuttam] na kiñci
                      loke upadiyati, Skt. na kiñcil loka upadatte), not grasping he is
                      unperturbed, unperturbed, internally he fully blows out (aparitassam
                      paccattaññeva parinibbayati, Skt. aparitasya atmaiva parinirvati). Birth
                      is ended, the chaste life has been lived, what has to be done is done,
                      one knows for oneself that there is no further becoming. I say that that
                      consciousness will not go east, west, south, north, the zenith or nadir,
                      the intermediaries, or any other direction (nanyatra), in the present
                      things it is shadowless (nischaya), blown-out (parinirvvati or
                      parinirvrta), cooled, become pure (brahmi-bhuta)." SA, 39, 9a, 64, 17a,
                      SN, III, 54-55 (22, 54), 58 (22, 55), Vyakhya, 271-272, 668.

                      The important part, which survives in the Chinese _Conjoined Agama_
                      (Samyukta-Agama) and in Sanskrit fragments, says very clearly that
                      anything outside of the six sense-spheres (or the five aggregates) is
                      "only a thing of speech (Skt. vag-vastu-matram)", or more completely:

                      "If one was to declare consciousness' coming, going, dying, getting
                      born, and growing apart from them [the four stations for consciousness,
                      which are the four aggregates outside of consciousness], that would only
                      be speech (Skt. vag-vastu-matram), and if asked one would be unable to
                      answer, it would increase one's stupidity (Skt. sammoham apadyeta), for
                      it would be beyond one's sense-field (Skt. avisayatvat)."

                      Again, if you do not take that to be explicit enough about the "all",
                      the Buddha makes the famous declaration:

                      "All (sarva), that is the twelve places (dvadasayatanani), from the eye
                      and forms to the mind and objects-of-mind, that is how the Tathagata
                      makes known the all (sarvam ca prajñapayati) and the concept of the all
                      (sarva-prajñaptim ceti). If any recluse and brahman was to declare:
                      'this is not the all, I shall revoke it and declare another all,' that
                      would only be speech (vag-vastu-matram), and if asked one would be
                      unable to answer, it would increase one's stupidity (sammoham apadyeta),
                      for it would be beyond his sense-field (a-visayatvat)." SA, 319, 91a,
                      Zitate, 507, SN, IV, 15 (35, 23), Maha-vibhasa, T, 27, 1545, 378b-c."

                      -------

                      So you can continue to claim all over the internet that the soul is
                      beyond the aggregates, but, as noted by the Buddha, such a claim "would
                      only be speech (vag-vastu-matram), and if asked one would be unable to
                      answer, it would increase one's stupidity (sammoham apadyeta)." The
                      commentary to this sutta reads "Tassa vacavatthur ev assa. Spk: It would
                      be just mere utterance. But if one passes over the twelve sense bases,
                      one cannot point out any real phenomenon."

                      ----
                      Lee Dillion
                    • Bruce Burrill
                      An excellent book to study concerning these issues would be Steven Collins SELFLESS PERSONS. It is a very careful, considered look at the Pali text.
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jun 11, 2002
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                        An excellent book to study concerning these issues would be Steven Collins'
                        SELFLESS PERSONS. It is a very careful, considered look at the Pali text.
                      • robertkirkpatrick.rm
                        Dear Samatha Savaka, Thanks for your reply. I gave no personal interpretation: the quote came from Buddhaghosa and is simply a succint summary of reality
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 12, 2002
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                          Dear Samatha Savaka,
                          Thanks for your reply. I gave no personal interpretation: the quote
                          came from Buddhaghosa and is simply a succint summary of reality
                          according to the Theravada. As it happens, I believe it is the
                          correct view.
                          I don't know the 'Awakening of Faith Shastra', but your comments
                          about an 'unchanging essense... [that] we have never been apart
                          from' is contrary to the texts of the Theravada.
                          best wishes
                          robert
                          >
                          > Robert, thanks for your reply, but, the interpretation which you
                          > seem to imply through the quote you posted seems a bit odd, why?
                          > first, it proposes that effects manifest without a cause. Second,
                          it
                          > assumes that the passage means there's no Essence, when it can
                          also
                          > be interpreted in this way: That since all there has always been
                          is
                          > an unchanging, deathless essence, and since we have never been
                          apart
                          > from it, then, there's no going or comming. An interpretation
                          which
                          > is possible due to the comentaries and other Suttas/Sutras which
                          > tells us this, like the Awakening of Faith Shastra.
                          >
                          > Good Day :)
                          >
                          > Samatha Savaka. In Pali@y..., "samathasavaka" <samathasavaka@y...>
                          wrote:
                          > --- In Pali@y..., "robertkirkpatrick.rm" <robertkirkpatrick@r...>
                          > wrote:
                          > > Dear Samatha Savaka (and Robert Eddison),-- In
                          > > Pali@y..., "samathasavaka" <samathasavaka@y...> wrote:
                          > > --- , imho, the Buddha is not
                          > > > preaching that there's no soul at all. It'd be strange if that
                          > > were
                          > > > the case, why do i think this? Because then, what would
                          realize
                          > > > illumination? what is reborn? what suffers? what is liberated
                          > from
                          > > > suffering?
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > +++++++++++++++++++++++=
                          > > Dear Friend,
                          > > Just in case Robert Eddison is busy this quotation from The
                          > > Visuddhimagga might help:
                          > > 567 VRI Su~n~natekavidhaadiihiiti-ettha su~n~nato taava
                          > paramatthena
                          > > hi sabbaaneva saccaani vedakakaarakanibbutagamakaabhaavato
                          > > su~n~naaniiti veditabbaani. Teneta.m vuccati–
                          > > "Dukkhameva hi, na koci dukkhito;
                          > > kaarako na, kiriyaava vijjati;
                          > > atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa;
                          > > maggamatthi, gamako na vijjatii"ti.
                          > > (thanks to Andy Shaws brilliant Pali trans 2.o)
                          > >
                          > > Translation from nanamoli xvi 90
                          > > ...As to void, single fold and so on: firstly, as to void: in
                          the
                          > > ultimate sense all the truths should be understood as void
                          because
                          > > of the absence of any experiencer, any doer, anyone who is
                          > > extinguished and any goer. hence this is said:
                          > >
                          > > For there is suffering, but none who suffers;
                          > > Doing exists although there is no doer;
                          > > Extinction is but no extinguished person;
                          > > Although there is a path there is no goer'""
                          > >
                          > > BTw Robert, amazing reply to the previous letter.
                          > > best wishes
                          > > robert
                          >
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