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[dsg] Sangiiti Sutta Fours (314, sutta 50)and commentary.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, First a correction in sutta 49: As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for darkness, this is someone who is born into
    Message 1 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
      Dear friends,

      First a correction in sutta 49:
      As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for
      darkness, this is someone who is born into a low caste, of the
      untouchables (ca.n.daalaa), as the commentary explains. He has wrong
      livelihood, his outward appearance is unfavorable and he performs the
      three kinds of akusala..

      I translated dujjivita wrongly as wrong livelihood, but here, in this
      context it is: he lives in poor conditions as to food and drink. This
      is vipaaka, not akusala kamma. It is in contrast to the third case:
      bahuannapaana: much food and drink.
      As to the second case, a person who lives in darkness but who is
      bound for light, he lives in the same unfavorable circumstances but
      he performs kusala kamma. He will have a happy rebirth.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------
      sutta 50: Walshe

      DN 33.1.11(50) 'Four more persons: (a) the unshakeable ascetic
      (sama.nam-acalo), (b) the "blue-lotus" ascetic, (c) the "white-lotus"
      ascetic, (d) the subtly-perfect ascetic (sama.na-sukhumaalo).

      (Aparepi cattaaro puggalaa: sama.namacalo, sama.napadumo,
      sama.napu.n.dariiko, sama.nesu sama.nasukhumaalo.)

      ----------

      N: The Co states that the first person is a sotaapanna. He is
      unshakable as to other believes (outside the dispensation), just as a
      strong post before the citygate is unshakable by the four winds. He
      is endowed with unshakable confidence.

      Subco: unshakable by the winds from the four directions.

      The co refers to the Puggala Pa~n~natti (Human Types, the fourth book
      of the Abhidhamma, Ch 4, p. 87) which states that the sotaapanna who
      has destroyed the three fetters is a recluse with a firm footing.

      N: The magga-citta of the sotapanna eradicates the three lower
      fetters of personality belief, clinging to rules and rituals (wrong
      practice) and doubt. He has not eradicated sensuous desire and ill-
      will, but for him these are not as gross as in the case of the non-
      ariyan; they cannot lead to an unhappy rebirth.

      The Co states as to the second person, the sama.napadumo, translated
      here as blue lotus ascetic, that he is a once-returner,
      sakadaagaamii. The co refers to the Puggala Pa~n~natti: stating that
      he has attenuated sensuous desire and aversion, that he will return
      to this world only once and make an end of dukkha. Here paduma is
      translated as red lotus.

      The subco: in the case of the second person the pariyu.t.thaana
      kilesa, the defilements of the level of akusala citta have become
      attenuated. The defilements do not arise all the time, only now and
      then. They are weak and do not overcome him. The once returner is
      called a sama.napadumo, according to the subco a red lotus recluse
      because of the very weak nature of defilements and because of the
      splendour of his excellent qualities and of his gentleness (soracca).

      As to the third person, a white lotus recluse, this is the non-
      returner, the anaagaami.

      Co: Because of the absence of snesuous desire and aversion he will
      soon flower.

      The co, refers to the Puggala Pa~n~natti: stating that he has
      completely destroyed the five lower fetters which cause rebirth in
      the lower worlds. He becomes one of spontaneous rebirth and is not
      liable to return from that world, attaining final release there.

      N: As to the fetters: There are five lower fetters (orambhagiya-
      samyojana) which tie beings to the sensuous planes and five higher
      fetters (uddhambhagiya-samyojana) which tie beings to the higher
      planes, the rupa-brahma planes and the arupa-brahma planes.

      The lower fetters are:

      personality belief (sakkaya-ditthi)
      doubt (vicikiccha)
      clinging to rules and rituals (silabbata-paramasa)
      sensuous desire (kama-raga)
      ill-will (vyapada)
      The higher fetters are:
      lust for rebirth in rupa-brahma planes (rupa-raga)
      lust for rebirth in arupa-brahma planes (arupa-raga)
      conceit (mana)
      restlessness (uddhacca)
      ignorance (avijja)

      The anaagaami is no longer tied by the lower fetters, but he is still
      tied by the higher fetters. This shows how hard it is to eradicate
      these fetters. Only the magga-citta of the arahat can eradicate them.
      ---------
      As to the fourth person, he is a subtle recluse (sama.na sukhumaalo).
      The co. refers to the Puggala Pa~n~natti: stating that he has
      eradicated the aasavas and realised the emancipation of mind and of
      insight.
      The subco states that he has destroyed completely the higher fetters
      and is of superior refinement.

      N: We are reminded that the eradication of defilements is a long
      process. First wrong view has to be eradicated before other
      defilements can be eradicated. The sotaapanna is unshakable in his
      confidence in the teachings, he cannot be shaken by the views of
      those outside the dispensation. He has firm confidence as to the
      right Path and is sure to eventually attain arahatship. But he still
      has sensuous desire and aversion, although these cannot motivate
      akusala kamma that would produce rebirth in an unhappy plane of
      existence.
      As we have read, the sakadaagaami has not eradicated sensuous desire
      and aversion, but these have become attenuated. The anaagaami has
      eradicated them, but he is still tied by the higher fetters of
      attachment to rebirth in ruupa-brahma planes, to rebirth in aruupa-
      brahma planes, conceit (mana), restlessness (udhacca) and ignorance
      (avijja). Only the arahat has eradicated all defilements.
      -----------

      Nina.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Herman
      Hi Nina, 2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom ... Why do you repeat this stuff? Do you agree with it? Vicki and I have just spent a few days in
      Message 2 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
        Hi Nina,

        2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>

        > Dear friends,
        >
        > First a correction in sutta 49:
        > As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for
        > darkness, this is someone who is born into a low caste, of the
        > untouchables (ca.n.daalaa), as the commentary explains. He has wrong
        > livelihood, his outward appearance is unfavorable and he performs the
        > three kinds of akusala..
        >
        >
        Why do you repeat this stuff? Do you agree with it? Vicki and I have just
        spent a few days in India, and it certainly wasn't pretty. But blaming
        people for the circumstances into which they are born seems to me to be a
        pinnacle of ignorance. Would you similarly justify the plunder of SE Asia by
        the Dutch aristocrats on the basis of their birth or their kusala?

        Cheers

        Herman


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Hi Herman, sigh. :-(( Nina. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
          Hi Herman,
          sigh. :-((
          Nina.
          Op 23-okt-2009, om 12:23 heeft Herman het volgende geschreven:

          > Would you similarly justify the plunder of SE Asia by
          > the Dutch aristocrats on the basis of their birth or their kusala?



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • upasaka@aol.com
          Hi, Herman (and Nina) - In a message dated 10/23/2009 6:23:35 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, hhofmeister@gmail.com writes: Hi Nina, 2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom
          Message 4 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
            Hi, Herman (and Nina) -

            In a message dated 10/23/2009 6:23:35 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
            hhofmeister@... writes:

            Hi Nina,

            2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>

            > Dear friends,
            >
            > First a correction in sutta 49:
            > As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for
            > darkness, this is someone who is born into a low caste, of the
            > untouchables (ca.n.daalaa), as the commentary explains. He has wrong
            > livelihood, his outward appearance is unfavorable and he performs the
            > three kinds of akusala..
            >
            >
            Why do you repeat this stuff? Do you agree with it? Vicki and I have just
            spent a few days in India, and it certainly wasn't pretty. But blaming
            people for the circumstances into which they are born seems to me to be a
            pinnacle of ignorance. Would you similarly justify the plunder of SE Asia
            by
            the Dutch aristocrats on the basis of their birth or their kusala?

            Cheers

            Herman
            ==================================
            Herman, you may have missed the back & forth Nina and I had on this
            topic in which I came on far more strongly than you. A further clarification
            by Nina indicated the commentary says that the first two cases refer to
            people living in very difficult and unpleasant conditions in that society,
            i.e., those in low-castes and "untouchables" ("living in darkness"), some of
            whom were engaged in unwholesome intention and action (and thus "bound for
            darkness") and others of whom were engaged in wholesome intention and action
            (and thus "bound for light"), and the other two cases refer to high-caste
            people ("living in light"), some of whom were engaged in "good kamma" (thus
            "bound for light") and others of whom were engaged in "bad kamma" (thus
            "bound for darkness").
            So, the commentary on the one hand is saying that the conditions of
            birth are largely kamma-determined but one's current character and kamma need
            not be. This makes the commentary less racist, IMO, than first meets the
            eye, though I still find myself unhappy with what I view as an underlying
            bigotry, particularly the evaluation of lower-caste folks having "outward
            appearance [that] is unfavorable," a common evaluation of subjugated people
            in a society by the "ruling classes".
            The commentators were enmeshed in the mores of their society, but they
            were probably relatively "liberal" compared to the majority of the people
            at that time and place. The Buddha, of course, was fully free of the moral
            biases of his society. In fact, I had quoted him to show that in one of my
            posts to Nina.

            With metta,
            Howard

            Seamless

            /A change in anything is a change in everything/

            (Anonymous)





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Nina van Gorkom
            HI Howard, ... N: Of course. But being born with an ugly body is the result of kamma. Here is another sutta, quoted from my Abhidhamma in Daily Life. This
            Message 5 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
              HI Howard,
              Op 23-okt-2009, om 17:18 heeft upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

              > The Buddha, of course, was fully free of the moral
              > biases of his society.
              ------
              N: Of course. But being born with an ugly body is the result of kamma.
              Here is another sutta, quoted from my Abhidhamma in Daily Life. This
              sutta elaborates more on the unhappy circumstances that are vipaaka:

              < There are many degrees of each of these nineteen types of
              paìisandhi-citta because kamma can be of many degrees. It is due to
              kamma that people are born ugly or beautiful and that they are born
              in unpleasant or in pleasant surroundings. The fact that one is born
              into miserable circumstances does not mean that one's next birth will
              also be into miserable circumstances. It all depends on the kamma
              which has been accumulated and which produces result. As regards
              people who are born into happy circumstances, if akusala kamma
              produces their next birth, this will be an unhappy one.
              We read in the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Fours, chapter IX, §5,
              Darkness):

              Monks, these four persons are found existing in the world. What four?
              He who is in darkness and bound for darkness; he who is in darkness
              but bound for light; he who is in light but bound for darkness; he
              who is in light and bound for light.
              And how, monks, is a person in darkness bound for darkness?
              In this case a certain person is born in a low family, the family of
              a scavenger or a hunter or a basket-weaver or wheelwright or sweeper,
              or in the family of some wretched man hard put to it to find a meal
              or earn a living, where food and clothes are hard to get. Moreover,
              he is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame
              or paralysed, with never a bite or sup, without clothes, vehicle,
              without perfumes or flower-garlands, bed, dwelling or lights. He
              lives in the practice of evil with body, speech and thought; and so
              doing, when body breaks up, after death, he is reborn in the waste,
              the way of woe, the downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who
              is in darkness and bound for darkness.
              And how, monks, is a person in darkness but bound for light?
              In this case a certain person is born in a low family... without bed,
              dwelling or lights. He lives in the practice of good with body,
              speech and thought... and so doing, when body breaks up, after death
              he is reborn in the happy bourn, in the heaven-world.
              And how, monks, is a person in light but bound for darkness?
              In this case a certain person is born in a high family...
              And that man is well-built, comely and charming, possessed of supreme
              beauty of form. He is one able to get clothes, vehicle, perfumes and
              flower-garlands, bed, dwelling and lights. But he lives in the
              practice of evil with body, speech and thought. So doing, when body
              breaks up, after death he is reborn in the waste, the way of woe, the
              downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who is in light but
              bound for darkness.
              And how, monks, is a person who is in light and bound for light?
              In this case a person is born in a high family... able to get
              clothes... bed, dwelling and lights. He lives in the practice of good
              with body, speech and thought. So doing, when body breaks up after
              death, he is reborn in the happy bourn, in the heaven-world. Thus,
              monks, is one who is in light and bound for light.
              These, monks, are the four persons found existing in the world.>

              Nina.




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • upasaka@aol.com
              Hi, Nina - In a message dated 10/23/2009 2:23:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, vangorko@xs4all.nl writes: HI Howard, ... N: Of course. But being born with an
              Message 6 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
                Hi, Nina -

                In a message dated 10/23/2009 2:23:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                vangorko@... writes:

                HI Howard,
                Op 23-okt-2009, om 17:18 heeft upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                > The Buddha, of course, was fully free of the moral
                > biases of his society.
                ------
                N: Of course. But being born with an ugly body is the result of kamma.
                ------------------------------------------
                Yes, it *is* the result of that and of other conditions as well, but
                it is an individual matter, and kamma should not serve as a basis for
                collectivist thinking. Ugliness as viewed in a given society is quite often not
                biologically objective, but is "in the eye of the beholder," and, more to
                the point, it is to be found amongst all strata of society, not being
                inherent in a race, ethnic group,religion, social class, culture or nationality.
                It does not apply universally to disadvantaged groups in a society any more
                than to the upper crust. To think it does is to be racist. At the time of
                slavery in the U. S. and also during the years of subsequent discrimination
                and much worse, Africans were said to "look like monkeys". In Nazi Germany
                and many other societies, Jews were charicatured as hook-nosed and ugly.
                Similarly for the Chinese during the building of the railroads in the U. S.
                West.
                -------------------------------------------


                Here is another sutta, quoted from my Abhidhamma in Daily Life. This
                sutta elaborates more on the unhappy circumstances that are vipaaka:

                < There are many degrees of each of these nineteen types of
                paìisandhi-citta because kamma can be of many degrees. It is due to
                kamma that people are born ugly or beautiful and that they are born
                in unpleasant or in pleasant surroundings. The fact that one is born
                into miserable circumstances does not mean that one's next birth will
                also be into miserable circumstances. It all depends on the kamma
                which has been accumulated and which produces result. As regards
                people who are born into happy circumstances, if akusala kamma
                produces their next birth, this will be an unhappy one.
                We read in the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Fours, chapter IX, §5,
                Darkness):

                Monks, these four persons are found existing in the world. What four?
                He who is in darkness and bound for darkness; he who is in darkness
                but bound for light; he who is in light but bound for darkness; he
                who is in light and bound for light.
                And how, monks, is a person in darkness bound for darkness?
                In this case a certain person is born in a low family, the family of
                a scavenger or a hunter or a basket-weaver or wheelwright or sweeper,
                or in the family of some wretched man hard put to it to find a meal
                or earn a living, where food and clothes are hard to get. Moreover,
                he is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame
                or paralysed, with never a bite or sup, without clothes, vehicle,
                without perfumes or flower-garlands, bed, dwelling or lights. He
                lives in the practice of evil with body, speech and thought; and so
                doing, when body breaks up, after death, he is reborn in the waste,
                the way of woe, the downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who
                is in darkness and bound for darkness.
                And how, monks, is a person in darkness but bound for light?
                In this case a certain person is born in a low family... without bed,
                dwelling or lights. He lives in the practice of good with body,
                speech and thought... and so doing, when body breaks up, after death
                he is reborn in the happy bourn, in the heaven-world.
                And how, monks, is a person in light but bound for darkness?
                In this case a certain person is born in a high family...
                And that man is well-built, comely and charming, possessed of supreme
                beauty of form. He is one able to get clothes, vehicle, perfumes and
                flower-garlands, bed, dwelling and lights. But he lives in the
                practice of evil with body, speech and thought. So doing, when body
                breaks up, after death he is reborn in the waste, the way of woe, the
                downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who is in light but
                bound for darkness.
                And how, monks, is a person who is in light and bound for light?
                In this case a person is born in a high family... able to get
                clothes... bed, dwelling and lights. He lives in the practice of good
                with body, speech and thought. So doing, when body breaks up after
                death, he is reborn in the happy bourn, in the heaven-world. Thus,
                monks, is one who is in light and bound for light.
                These, monks, are the four persons found existing in the world.>
                -------------------------------------------------
                Nina, the section *common* to the first and second cases, that says
                "Moreover, he is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked,
                lame or paralysed ..." is very disappointing to me, for it asserts that
                whether bound for darkness or bound for light, a person in a "low class" of
                society, whether of bad character or good, is ugly. The other characteristics
                mentioned are due to being disadvantaged, so I am deemphasizing them. The
                main problem that I have with this, even with regard to the other physicaL
                characteristics of "dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame or paralysed"
                is the universality of application. I doubt that this section is the word
                of the Buddha, for it is inconsistent with what he has taught elsewhere, and
                moreover it is clearly false.
                -------------------------------------------------------------



                Nina.
                ===========================
                With metta,
                Howard

                Seamless

                /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                (Anonymous)





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Herman
                Hi Howard (and Nina), Yes, I did miss that exchange, and thank you for the clarifications. I agree with your observations on the differences between the
                Message 7 of 19 , Oct 23, 2009
                  Hi Howard (and Nina),

                  Yes, I did miss that exchange, and thank you for the clarifications. I agree
                  with your observations on the differences between the position of the Buddha
                  and the commentaries.

                  The Buddha's position is incisively unambiguous ( and was a frontal assault
                  on the thinking prevalent then, and regretfully still today).

                  From Sutta Nipata

                  596. O! Gotama, we have a dispute on birth,. Bhàradvàja says by birth is a
                  brahmin"

                  And I say by action" This is our dispute wise one.

                  ...........

                  649. Ignorantly entangled in views for a long time,

                  The not knowing tell us, that by birth a brahmin is born.

                  650. By birth a brahmin is not born, by birth a non-brahmin is not born,

                  By actions a brahmin is born, by actions a non-brahmin is born..

                  Cheers

                  Herman


                  2009/10/24 <upasaka@...>

                  > Hi, Herman (and Nina) -
                  >
                  > In a message dated 10/23/2009 6:23:35 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                  > hhofmeister@... writes:
                  >
                  > Hi Nina,
                  >
                  > 2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
                  >
                  > > Dear friends,
                  > >
                  > > First a correction in sutta 49:
                  > > As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for
                  > > darkness, this is someone who is born into a low caste, of the
                  > > untouchables (ca.n.daalaa), as the commentary explains. He has wrong
                  > > livelihood, his outward appearance is unfavorable and he performs the
                  > > three kinds of akusala..
                  > >
                  > >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Nina van Gorkom
                  Hi Howard, ... N: I understand your feelings and I agree what you write here. This time I quoted a sutta. The Co as you see here is in complete agreement with
                  Message 8 of 19 , Oct 24, 2009
                    Hi Howard,
                    Op 23-okt-2009, om 21:31 heeft upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                    > The
                    > main problem that I have with this, even with regard to the other
                    > physicaL
                    > characteristics of "dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame or
                    > paralysed"
                    > is the universality of application. I doubt that this section is
                    > the word
                    > of the Buddha, for it is inconsistent with what he has taught
                    > elsewhere, and
                    > moreover it is clearly false.
                    -------
                    N: I understand your feelings and I agree what you write here. This
                    time I quoted a sutta. The Co as you see here is in complete
                    agreement with the suttas, the co does not deviate from the sutta.
                    Let us see again whether or not you misunderstand the sutta.
                    In other suttas too the Buddha spoke about beings with many illnesses
                    or with a few illnesses, all the result of kamma.
                    The result of kamma, vipaakacitta: this citta experiences pleasant or
                    unpleasant objects (colour, sound, tangibles) through the senses. It
                    is not by accident that one is born with a weak body. The Buddha
                    spoke about a given situation in that society in India at that time.
                    He did not say that he approved of it, but it was an existing
                    situation. Born in a sweeper's family, this was not by accident. It
                    is an example of the opportunity to experience unpleasant objects
                    through the senses. And it is wonderful that inspite of this one
                    develops kusala and this will bring a happy rebirth in the future.
                    The Abhidhamma gives it more precisely: a human may be born with two
                    sobhana hetus, or three sobhana hetus, pa~n~naa included. Or without
                    sobhana hetus: ahetuka kusala vipaakacitta. In that case he is
                    handicapped from the first moment of life. But it is still kusala
                    vipaakacitta. There are degrees of kamma: and birth that is ahetuka
                    kusala vipaaka is the result of a weak kusala kamma.
                    Those are all given situations, no judgement, not looking down on
                    anybody.The Buddha spoke in a language and gave examples that people
                    at that time could understand.
                    He also said that one is not a brahmin by birth: <By actions a
                    brahmin is born, by actions a non-brahmin is born>. The criteria are
                    spiritual. This is completely right.
                    -------
                    Nina.





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • jonoabb
                    Hi Howard (and Herman) (101577) ... I think you are rushing to judgment here. The interpretation you are giving to this passage does not seem consistent with
                    Message 9 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                      Hi Howard (and Herman)

                      (101577)
                      > So, the commentary on the one hand is saying that the conditions of
                      > birth are largely kamma-determined but one's current character and kamma need
                      > not be. This makes the commentary less racist, IMO, than first meets the
                      > eye, though I still find myself unhappy with what I view as an underlying
                      > bigotry, particularly the evaluation of lower-caste folks having "outward
                      > appearance [that] is unfavorable," a common evaluation of subjugated people
                      > in a society by the "ruling classes".
                      > ===============

                      I think you are rushing to judgment here. The interpretation you are giving to this passage does not seem consistent with the commentaries as I know them. Is it possible you are misreading the reference to "unfavorable outward appearance"?

                      Jon
                    • upasaka@aol.com
                      Hi, Jon (and Herman) - In a message dated 10/26/2009 7:04:21 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, jonabbott@netvigator.com writes: Hi Howard (and Herman) (101577) ...
                      Message 10 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                        Hi, Jon (and Herman) -

                        In a message dated 10/26/2009 7:04:21 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                        jonabbott@... writes:

                        Hi Howard (and Herman)

                        (101577)
                        > So, the commentary on the one hand is saying that the conditions of
                        > birth are largely kamma-determined but one's current character and
                        kamma need
                        > not be. This makes the commentary less racist, IMO, than first meets
                        the
                        > eye, though I still find myself unhappy with what I view as an
                        underlying
                        > bigotry, particularly the evaluation of lower-caste folks having
                        "outward
                        > appearance [that] is unfavorable," a common evaluation of subjugated
                        people
                        > in a society by the "ruling classes".
                        > ===============

                        I think you are rushing to judgment here. The interpretation you are
                        giving to this passage does not seem consistent with the commentaries as I
                        know them. Is it possible you are misreading the reference to "unfavorable
                        outward appearance"?
                        ---------------------------------------------------
                        It would be wonderful if that were the case. How do you read it?
                        --------------------------------------------------



                        Jon
                        ===============================
                        With metta,
                        Howard

                        P. S. Do you believe that all commentaries came from the same source? Do
                        you view them all as equally trustworthy?

                        Seamless

                        /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                        (Anonymous)




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Nina van Gorkom
                        Hi Howard, ... N:We are referring mostly to Buddhaghosa and the subcommentaries of Dhammapala who lived at the same time as Buddhaghosa. They used ancient
                        Message 11 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                          Hi Howard,
                          Op 26-okt-2009, om 13:59 heeft upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                          > Do you believe that all commentaries came from the same source? Do
                          > you view them all as equally trustworthy?
                          ------
                          N:We are referring mostly to Buddhaghosa and the subcommentaries of
                          Dhammapala who lived at the same time as Buddhaghosa. They used
                          ancient commentaries which are now lost but which were rehearsed at
                          the first Council. Buddhaghosa edited the ancient commentaries, he
                          did not write something new. Seldom he gave his own opinion and when
                          he did he mentioned it. He also mentioned the opinions of different
                          teachers: 'Some say...'
                          We do not always understand the commentaries, we need to consult
                          several passages sometimes. But here 'unfavorable bodily appearance'
                          is the result of kamma, the passive side of life. The Buddha speaks
                          in the suttas of weak and strong bodies as a result of kamma. It is a
                          given situation. But, as said, how are our deeds now, that is more
                          important.
                          Nina.



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • upasaka@aol.com
                          Hi, Nina - In a message dated 10/26/2009 11:22:50 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, vangorko@xs4all.nl writes: But here unfavorable bodily appearance is the
                          Message 12 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                            Hi, Nina -

                            In a message dated 10/26/2009 11:22:50 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                            vangorko@... writes:

                            But here 'unfavorable bodily appearance'
                            is the result of kamma, the passive side of life. The Buddha speaks
                            in the suttas of weak and strong bodies as a result of kamma.
                            ==============================
                            I don't dispute that in the slightest. What I take exception to is
                            imputing unfavorable bodily appearance to all the members of a subjugated
                            societal group. That is racist.

                            With metta,
                            Howard

                            Seamless

                            /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                            (Anonymous)



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Nina van Gorkom
                            HI Howard, ... N: I do not read this in the co. Results of kamma are individual. There is no collective kamma. Nina. [Non-text portions of this message have
                            Message 13 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                              HI Howard,
                              Op 26-okt-2009, om 16:27 heeft upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                              > I don't dispute that in the slightest. What I take exception to is
                              > imputing unfavorable bodily appearance to all the members of a
                              > subjugated
                              > societal group. That is racist.
                              -------
                              N: I do not read this in the co. Results of kamma are individual.
                              There is no collective kamma.

                              Nina.



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Ken O
                              Dear Nina We cannot stop people from expressing their views, however we could look ourselves at realise there are only realities be it pleasant or
                              Message 14 of 19 , Oct 26, 2009
                                Dear Nina

                                We cannot stop people from expressing their views, however we could look ourselves at realise there are only realities be it pleasant or unpleasant. 

                                The Perfections: pg 175
                                "Equanimity has the characterisitcs of promoting the aspect of neutrality; its function is to see things impartially; its manifestation is the subsiding of attraction and replusion; reflection upon the fact that all beings inherit the results of their own kamma as its proximate cause."

                                Visud pg 288 No 2
                                "No higher rule, the Buddha say, than patience,
                                And no nibbana higher than forebearance' (D.ii.49; Dh.184)

                                cheers
                                Ken O

                                Send instant messages to your online friends http://asia.messenger.yahoo.com
                              • jonoabb
                                Hi Howard (101659) ... I can t be sure of the exact reading, without further studying the text. However, I certainly wouldn t jump to the conclusion that the
                                Message 15 of 19 , Oct 29, 2009
                                  Hi Howard

                                  (101659)
                                  > I think you are rushing to judgment here. The interpretation you are
                                  > giving to this passage does not seem consistent with the commentaries as I
                                  > know them. Is it possible you are misreading the reference to "unfavorable
                                  > outward appearance"?
                                  > ---------------------------------------------------
                                  > It would be wonderful if that were the case. How do you read it?
                                  > ===============

                                  I can't be sure of the exact reading, without further studying the text. However, I certainly wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the comment is a racist one, unless I was quite sure that no other interpretation was reasonably open.

                                  Jon
                                • sarah abbott
                                  Hi Howard & all, I m glad you ve persisted with this issue, because clearly it s remained a concern and others have raised the same points. Please be patient
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Oct 29, 2009
                                    Hi Howard & all,

                                    I'm glad you've persisted with this issue, because clearly it's remained a concern and others have raised the same points. Please be patient with yet another attempt to 'clarify'!

                                    Here, Nina quoted from a sutta:

                                    --- On Sat, 24/10/09, upasaka@... <upasaka@...> wrote:
                                    N: >We read in the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Fours, chapter IX, §5,
                                    Darkness):

                                    >Monks, these four persons are found existing in the world. What four?
                                    He who is in darkness and bound for darkness; he who is in darkness
                                    but bound for light; he who is in light but bound for darkness; he
                                    who is in light and bound for light.
                                    And how, monks, is a person in darkness bound for darkness?
                                    In this case a certain person is born in a low family, the family of
                                    a scavenger or a hunter or a basket-weaver or wheelwright or sweeper,
                                    or in the family of some wretched man hard put to it to find a meal
                                    or earn a living, where food and clothes are hard to get. Moreover,
                                    he is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame
                                    or paralysed, with never a bite or sup, without clothes, vehicle,
                                    without perfumes or flower-garlands, bed, dwelling or lights. He
                                    lives in the practice of evil with body, speech and thought; and so
                                    doing, when body breaks up, after death, he is reborn in the waste,
                                    the way of woe, the downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who
                                    is in darkness and bound for darkness.
                                    <...>
                                    S: And the B. Bodhi (Bk of 4s 85)translation puts it in a similar way:

                                    "....Here some person has been reborn in a low family - an outcast family or a family of bamboo workers or a family of hunters or a family of carters or a family of flower-scavengers - a poor family in which there is little food and drink and which subsists with difficulty, one where food and garments are obtained with difficulty. And he is ugly, unsightly, deformed, chronically ill - purblind or crock-armed or lame or crippled. He is not one who gains food, drink, clothing and vehicles; garlands, scents and unguents; bedding, housing and lighting....."
                                    ...
                                    >Nina, the section *common* to the first and second cases, that says
                                    "Moreover, he is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked,
                                    lame or paralysed ..." is very disappointing to me, for it asserts that
                                    whether bound for darkness or bound for light, a person in a "low class" of society, whether of bad character or good, is ugly.
                                    ....
                                    S: I don't read it as saying this at all. It is using conventional language to describe the worst kind of results of kamma for a human, the greatest "darkness" that some are born into, indicating as the sutta goes on, how even these people can perform kusala kamma and find "light".

                                    It is referring to both akusala vipaka, the experiences of the senses, such as bodily experiences which encounter undesirable tangible objects, through hunger, for example. It also refers to to rupas, bodily phenomena conditioned by akusala kamma in the past. For example, we know that being born paralysed or blind is (usually) a result of unwholesome kamma.

                                    It is not referring to aspects of beauty which are in the "eye of the beholder". It is not saying that everyone who is born into a poor family and experiences akusala vipaka by way of seeing, hearing and experiencing of unpleasant objects also has to endure rupas, such as in paralyis, conditioned by kamma. Clearly, this would be nonsense.

                                    It is also not saying that those born into poverty only experience akusala vipaka, whilst those born into wealth only experience kusala vipaka. This too would clearly be nonsense.

                                    It is just saying, as I read it, that those dealt the worst hand as a human, in terms of results of kamma, may or may not perform various kinds of wholesome deeds, leading to further good or bad results. The same applies to those dealt the best hand as a human.
                                    ...
                                    >The other characteristics mentioned are due to being disadvantaged, so I am deemphasizing them. The main problem that I have with this, even with regard to the other physicaL characteristics of "dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, lame or paralysed" is the universality of application. I doubt that this section is the word of the Buddha, for it is inconsistent with what he has taught elsewhere, and moreover it is clearly false.
                                    ...
                                    S: He could have referred to more categories, such as a) those born into poor, hungry families, but with good features and strong bodies, b) those born into rich families with good food, but paralysed and sickly.

                                    The point is just to show that whatever the combination, whatever the results of kamma, the "true brahmin" is the one that "engages in good conduct with the body, speech and mind". In turn, it is such behaviour which leads to good results in future.

                                    This is what all the suttas and commentaries quoted so far on this topic indicate as I read them.

                                    Metta

                                    Sarah
                                    ========
                                  • upasaka@aol.com
                                    Hi, Sarah (and Nina) - In a message dated 10/29/2009 8:21:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, sarahprocterabbott@yahoo.co.uk writes: Hi Howard & all, I m glad
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Oct 29, 2009
                                      Hi, Sarah (and Nina) -

                                      In a message dated 10/29/2009 8:21:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                      sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                                      Hi Howard & all,

                                      I'm glad you've persisted with this issue, because clearly it's remained a
                                      concern and others have raised the same points. Please be patient with yet
                                      another attempt to 'clarify'!
                                      <Snip>
                                      ===================================
                                      Thank you for writing on this, Sarah. I do indeed hope your analysis
                                      is correct, though it doesn't seem so to me. Perhaps the translation is
                                      faulty or the formulation of the Pali as recorded was less than optimal or,
                                      less likely, the Buddha was unclear in his original formulation, or perhaps
                                      the sutta became corrupted in it's being passed down. In any case, for the
                                      record, I do *not* believe that the Buddha himself had a racist perspective.
                                      In fact he made it quite clear in other suttas that he did not in the
                                      slightest - quite the opposite in fact.

                                      With metta,
                                      Howard

                                      Seamless

                                      /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                                      (Anonymous)




                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • sarah abbott
                                      Hi Howard, ... ============ ========= ========= ===== H: Thank you for writing on this, Sarah. I do indeed hope your analysis is correct, though it
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Nov 1, 2009
                                        Hi Howard,

                                        --- On Thu, 29/10/09, upasaka@... <upasaka@...> wrote:
                                        >I'm glad you've persisted with this issue, because clearly it's remained a concern and others have raised the same points. Please be patient with yet another attempt to 'clarify'!
                                        <Snip>
                                        ============ ========= ========= =====
                                        H:> Thank you for writing on this, Sarah. I do indeed hope your analysis
                                        is correct, though it doesn't seem so to me. Perhaps the translation is
                                        faulty or the formulation of the Pali as recorded was less than optimal or, less likely, the Buddha was unclear in his original formulation, or perhaps the sutta became corrupted in it's being passed down. In any case, for the record, I do *not* believe that the Buddha himself had a racist perspective.
                                        In fact he made it quite clear in other suttas that he did not in the
                                        slightest - quite the opposite in fact.
                                        ...
                                        S: Yes, I don't think anyone's suggesting that you're suggesting that the Buddha had a racist perspective, rest assured.

                                        I think that we always have to read individual suttas or commentaries, for that matter, in the light of the Tipitaka as a whole. As I mentioned to James, it's actually a lot easier to appreciate the main points of the sutta without any misunderstanding if one just considers the dhammas involved and doesn't get swayed by the particular conventional language and examples. Just as there are different kinds of seeds and some are well-nurtured, while others aren't, so too with the vipaka experienced and the effect of the deep-rooted asaya-anusaya (wholesome and unwholesome latent tendencies). That's how I view it, anyway...

                                        Metta

                                        Sarah
                                        ==========
                                      • freawaru80
                                        Hello Herman, ... don t let these kind of sutta confuse you. They don t mean what people make them to mean. They are written in a very special language
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Nov 1, 2009
                                          Hello Herman,

                                          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hi Nina,
                                          >
                                          > 2009/10/23 Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
                                          >
                                          > > Dear friends,
                                          > >
                                          > > First a correction in sutta 49:
                                          > > As to the first case, a person who lives in darkness and is bound for
                                          > > darkness, this is someone who is born into a low caste, of the
                                          > > untouchables (ca.n.daalaa), as the commentary explains. He has wrong
                                          > > livelihood, his outward appearance is unfavorable and he performs the
                                          > > three kinds of akusala..
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > Why do you repeat this stuff? Do you agree with it? Vicki and I have just
                                          > spent a few days in India, and it certainly wasn't pretty. But blaming
                                          > people for the circumstances into which they are born seems to me to be a
                                          > pinnacle of ignorance. Would you similarly justify the plunder of SE Asia by
                                          > the Dutch aristocrats on the basis of their birth or their kusala?
                                          >
                                          > Cheers
                                          >
                                          > Herman
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >

                                          don't let these kind of sutta confuse you. They don't mean what people make them to mean. They are written in a very special language (Buddhadasa Bhikkhu calls it Dhamma language). It is a technical language and just like all other technical languages it uses terms from every-day language (of the time of the speaker, in this case Gautama) to denote specific concepts only found in the specific context. Like "bug" in the context of computers does not refer to a biological insect.

                                          "Light" refers to what we would term today "lucidity", "darkness" to it's opposite. Some beings are lucid and bound for lucidity, some beings are lucid but bound to fall again into "darkness" and so on. The analogy to temporal social structures of one single country is just that: an analogy. Dhamma refers to truths, not to singular cultural appearances in spacetime.

                                          Regarding lucidity and "darkness" there are just these two options. You will have noted that only three lokas are mentioned. No hungry ghost for example. A yogi who is in jhana is in the deva realm, but most yogis are bound for darkness again, falling to hell when the "body" (not referring to the physical body but to a body of jhanic beings that one needs to be in jhana) ceases to stay stable. It is very unpleasant to fall from jhana, to loose it's lucidity. Remember the definition of human, hell being and deva, suttas like this are about Dhamma and not about accepting social unfairness.

                                          Kusala, right speech and so on, it is not like "once been able to always been able to". It comes and goes. We all go through times of darkness and times of light - at least until sotapanna. Only aryans are not bound for hell any more, lucidity is lasting.

                                          Freawaru
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