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Re: [Triplegem] Beginner

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  • yap pak choong
    From: P C Yap (Malaysia) re:buddhist sutras(lotus sutra and diamond sutra) and abhidharma It is my pleasure to share with you that they are two ways to
    Message 1 of 12 , May 8, 2003
      From: P C Yap (Malaysia)

      re:buddhist sutras(lotus sutra and diamond sutra) and abhidharma

      It is my pleasure to share with you that they are two ways to approach Buddhism (historical/rational and religious/devotional aspects). What I had mentioned earlier belongs to the former whereas suelyn loh, the later.The two Mahayana sutras as mentioned above are two of the most important literature of the School.Mahayanists are devotional (historical facts), thus they would treat the teaching in the two sutras as genuine.On the other hand , Theravada buddhists are more rational, to them faith must base on rational understanding and not mere believing, though pious and very religiously devoted people like Mahayanists may argue that withou religious spirituality, one cannot develop well in spiritual path.

      2) As mentioned earlier, the part on buddha's teaching of abhidharma in tavatimsa heaven is mythological and non historical.I would leave it to you to decide whether you want to be too devotional or historical. The best way is,(please refer to an article by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi in Buddhist Publication Society's newsletter on this ) to follow the middle path, i.e.neither too historical/rational nor too devotional. The former tends to make one skeptical whereas the latter too superstious (mere belief without right or wrong).

      By the way Ven Bhikkhu Boddhi is in USA and one of the most respected authorities on subject regarding buddhism. I would read, compile and keep all his article.Please read his article which he addressed on Wesak day in United Nations.

      with metta, p c yap
      -------------------

      Taoist <taoist@...> wrote:
      Thank you for your replies but I have now come to the conclusion that I
      must be stupid.

      1) I thought that the sutras were the sayings of the Buddha, but P C Yap
      now says that some of them were compiled by philosophers hundreds of years
      after his death and that the essence of the sutras comform with the
      teaching of Buddha and thus were not the sayings of the Buddha. If this is
      so how is one supposed to take them?

      2) I find suelynn`s communication very difficult to understand - for
      example: "It is generally believed that the Buddha taught Abhidamma in the
      Tavatimsa heaven (heaven of the 33 ) to devas, with Queen Maya (Buddha's
      mother who was reborn as a deva in Tusita heaven) as the head of the
      celetial assembly. For three months the Buddha taught Abhidhamma to the
      devas who have gathered from the ten thousand fold world system, returning
      briefly to human realm each day to collect his alms -- I am sorry but
      this is all mystical gobblygook to me - Am I missing something. I was
      drawn to Buddhism because I thought it was rational and easy to understand
      without the mystic aspect of Xtianity but now I`m not so sure.

      Sorry if I have missed something,

      Metta

      patrick.






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    • suelynn loh
      Dear PC Yap and Patrick, Patrick, I am truely sorry if I made you even more confused that was definitely not my intention. PC, thanks for your learned
      Message 2 of 12 , May 8, 2003
        Dear PC Yap and Patrick,
        Patrick, I am truely sorry if I made you even more confused that was definitely not my intention. PC, thanks for your learned answers.I am no expert in Abhidhamma, I personally find it difficult. It would not be called "higher dhamma" if it is that easy. Yes, there was a lot of mysticism surrounding the origin of the Abhidhamma which I don't think I am in the position to comment. For beginners it is always helpful to start with the Suttas and to listen to discourses given by monks or lay teachers it is good policy to use the Kalama Sutta as your basis of investigation. Two Sri Lankan high priests made the following comparison between Abhidhamma and Sutta Tipika :"The Abhidhamma is like a powerful magnifying glass, but the understanding of the Suttas is like the eye itself, which performs the act of seeing (the truth). Again, the Abhidhamma is like a medicine container with a label giving an exact analysis of the medicine; but the knowledge gained from the Suttas is the medicine which alone is able to cure the illness and it's symptoms, namely craving rooted in ignorance, and the suffering caused by it." To me, learning about Buddhism is like seeing a Doctor/healer for the first time, we need to have a little faith initially before we develop full confidence and entrust him/her with our lives. Buddhism adopts a very open approach, all are invited to investigate and analyse the teaching by oneself and for oneself, if it does not live up to the test one can discard it, if it does then one should put it into practice. No baptism nor initiation ceremony involved. May all of find "truth". with metta,sue







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      • Htoo Naing
        Dear Chris, There are courses for the beginner.As a start read as much as possible.Read any kind.With passage of time you will become to know what is what and
        Message 3 of 12 , May 12, 2003
          Dear Chris, There are courses for the beginner.As a start read as much as possible.Read any kind.With passage of time you will become to know what is what and their essence.After reading,seek for clarification in person or through correspondence.Attending meditation courses after you have learned some time will empower you to proceed forward.Dhamma is always there.If you do practice you will find it one day. With Metta, Htoo Naing

          seekerontheway <asktheshadow@...> wrote:Dear Group Members and Moderator,

          I have studied Buddhism (mainly the theravada tradition) but to no
          great depth. My study was many years ago - and I now find myself
          reconsidering Buddhism.

          My problem is this - where is best to begin? Buddhism is a huge,
          complex subject. Is there a place (a set of texts, or a 'primer' of
          some kind) which would be best to consider first?

          Thankyou - this group is very impressive in its depth and its
          generosity of spirit as shown in correspondence between the members.

          Chris



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        • Htoo Naing
          Dear New Members, Although there are three baskets(Sutta,Vinay,Abhidhamma),all are inter-related. Vinayas are seemingly for Bhikkhus but if it is look into,it
          Message 4 of 12 , May 12, 2003
            Dear New Members, Although there are three baskets(Sutta,Vinay,Abhidhamma),all are inter-related. Vinayas are seemingly for Bhikkhus but if it is look into,it will lead to Nibbana as it is shown how to live as Dhamma practitioners.If a person can stick to the whole rules he will soon find Dhamma. Suttas well describe dhammas in different ways and The Buddha preached according to the audience(a single Satta or a group of Sattas).Suttas alone will probably suffice to practice Dhamma. Abhidhamma,where it is quite difficult,it is still worth to learn as understanding of Abhidhamma will greatly help in Dhamma practice.Studyiny Dhamma should not be limited to any areas or books or particular subject. Final goal has to be on the right path and to go diligently on the right way to the goal(Nibbana).What matter is to be on the practice all the time.Then Dhamma will be your at a time. With Great Metta, Htoo Naing

            Taoist <taoist@...> wrote:


            Hi Welcome to the group.

            In Theravada Buddhism the main body of study is known as the Tipitaka.
            This can be translated as Three Baskets, because in the early days of
            buddhism when the Dhamma was written down on leaves, which were kept in
            a basket-so I believe.
            There are three collections, which are the Suttas, Vinaya and
            Abhidhamma.
            Each were compiled from the teachings that the Buddha gave during his
            45 year ministry.
            The Suttas mainly deal with meditation practises for Bhikkus(Monks)and
            the Laity.
            The Vinaya deals with the code of rules laid down for the guidance of
            Bhikkus and Bhikkunis.
            The Abhidhamma is about ultimate realities and is complex and lengthy.
            _________________________________________________________________________



            A question from another beginner:
            In the Tipitaka I see no reference to many Suttas that I have seen books
            on - ie. The Lotus Sutta and The Diamond Sutta to name just two. They
            claim to be the words of the Buddha so why is there no mention of them in
            the Tipitaka?
            I apologise if this question has been asked before but when I try to find
            out I keep getting conflicting answers. Either a Sutta was or was not
            spoken by the Buddha - if not how can they claim to be the words of the
            Buddha?

            Also I was told that the Abhidhamma was written many years after the
            Buddhas death. I read this on another newsgroup.

            Could someone try and clear up these matters for me.

            Thank you,
            Blessings.

            patrick.


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