Re: Hello, i'm new to this group and would like to ask a few questions.
- 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
> aversion to the word) does in fact goes to a new body after the
> 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,
> and other methods. Gotama's Buddha revolution, in my view, was to
> properly understand what was being said in the Vedas and
> thereby ending with the confusion that prevailed regarding wether
> 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
> 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
> I bring this up in regards the Animistic comments, for if the
> 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
> 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. :-)
- samathasavaka wrote:
> I have never come across a passage in the Suttas/Sutras that deniesHi SS:
> 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.
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."
- 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.
- 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
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.
> 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,
> assumes that the passage means there's no Essence, when it canalso
> be interpreted in this way: That since all there has always beenis
> an unchanging, deathless essence, and since we have never beenapart
> from it, then, there's no going or comming. An interpretationwhich
> is possible due to the comentaries and other Suttas/Sutras whichwrote:
> tells us this, like the Awakening of Faith Shastra.
> Good Day :)
> Samatha Savaka. In Pali@y..., "samathasavaka" <samathasavaka@y...>
> --- In Pali@y..., "robertkirkpatrick.rm" <robertkirkpatrick@r...>realize
> > 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
> > > illumination? what is reborn? what suffers? what is liberatedthe
> > > 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
> > 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
> > ultimate sense all the truths should be understood as voidbecause
> > 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