Buddha Dhamma for an Inquiring Mind

Welcome! Forums Questions About Puredhamma Posts Buddha Dhamma for an Inquiring Mind

Viewing 9 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #15061
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I just published the first part of a series on “Buddha Dhamma for an Inquiring Mind”:
      Buddha Dhamma for an Inquiring Mind – Part I

      All discussions on this series of posts can be done under this topic.

    • #15093
      Akvan
      Participant

      Hi Lal,

      Under the sub-heading The Four Noble Truths you state that suffering and the truth about suffering is two different things.

      How I see the distinction between suffering and the truth about suffering is that, the truth about suffering refers to a mind made thing and therefore something that can be got rid of permanently. So here suffering can include bodily pain but this is not part of the truth about suffering.

      When the Buddha attained enlightenment, he got rid of suffering permanently at that point. However, he did feel bodily pain, got sick and eventually died. So obviously the bodily pain, getting sick and dying is not the suffering he was referring to as the truth about suffering. So, I think the truth about suffering refers to the mind made suffering (the lamentation) that is experienced together with pain and sickness.

      If we actually think about most of the suffering we experience it has nothing to do with any real tangible pain. (By suffering here, I mean sorrow, sadness, stress, depression and all those related synonyms). So, when contemplating on this it can be seen that the truth about suffering, is simply a mind made concept that we can get rid of.

      This is the same for the happiness and elation we experience as well. It is mostly a mind made concept and not anything tangible. That is why, something that makes one happy may not have any effect on another. (I think this is explained well on the site).

      Of course, by attaining nibbana, one will also end the bodily pain in future lives as well. So you do eliminate the potential future suffering as well.

      The post also states; Understanding the truth about suffering requires an understanding of the wider world of 31 realms, and that most of that future suffering would be in the four realms or the apāyas (of which animal realm is one).

      By looking at suffering the way I have explained earlier one may not even need an understanding of the wider world of 31 realms to understand the truth about suffering to a certain extent. If one must believe in the 31 realms to see the truth about suffering it may not be very practical. Because if it were the case then we would need to try and prove the existence of such realms without any doubt before getting along on the path.

      I for one, am not 100% certain that there are such realms. However, I am very open to such a possibility. And I tend to believe in it based on the fact that it is part of a very comprehensive (no holes) theory, of which I have not been able to disprove any aspect of the theory yet.

      So, what I am trying to say is that understanding of the 31 realms may not have to be a pre-requisite to understand the truth about suffering. I think this is explained on the site, but just by looking at this post it can be a bit misleading.

      Akvan

      • #15162
        inflib
        Participant

        In reply to the existence of the lower four realms, having had experienced with dark beings, I have no doubt of their existence.

        At a naive point, I unfortunately dipped into a meditation practice that taught revocation of anything that was thought to be causing issues(actually kamma vipaka). I revoked the wrong the beings and I suffered energetic stabbing pain (like w/a fire iron) in different areas of my body and saw a giant scary being. The knowing that I’d opened the wrong door was clearly coming through. It was seriously bad and not worth “the proof” of lower realms.

        BTW, I’ve received help from benevolent beings as well. So, grateful to them and Lal…words can’t do justice.

        There’s a lot of dark in this world that we can see. Honestly, where do you think all those dark people/minds go?

        With metta,
        Donna

    • #15095
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Hi Akvan,
      As you said, the Buddha’s Enlightenment did not remove his bodily pains. The suffering that is removed at the Buddhahood (or Arahanthood) is the future suffering.

      The body that the Buddha had was a result of previous causes. Those causes had already yielded results and they cannot be fully stopped. Once a sankata arises due to causes, then that sankata (in this case the physical body) will run its course.

      The mental pain that you talk about in the fourth paragraph is “samphassa ja vedana”. That is not due to previous causes. Once one attains Arahanthood, “samphassa ja vedana” is stopped too; see, “Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways“.

      Of course “samphassa ja vedana” includes elation or “mental happiness” too. They are both mind-made at that time due to avijja one has at that time.

      You said, “.. If one must believe in the 31 realms to see the truth about suffering it may not be very practical. Because if it were the case then we would need to try and prove the existence of such realms without any doubt before getting along on the path.”

      You may want to think long and hard about that critical point. It is very clear that the 10 types of micca ditthi includes that view. Unless one realizes that there are other realms (especially apayas), then one may still not have removed micca ditthi. The whole point is that there is much suffering in future lives and most of it is in those lowest realms; see the comment that I just made in another discussion: “Micca Ditthi“.

      The existence of other realms may not “provable” by today’s scientific standards. But when one comprehends Dhamma at deeper levels, one will realize the truth of that.

      Let me give an example. When the Buddha said there are innumerable “world systems” (meaning uncountable planetary systems like our Solar system), there was no scientific proof. In fact, even 50 years ago, science knew about only a handful of planetary systems like ours. It is only within the past 10 years or so that scientists have accepted that there are an uncountable number of such planetary systems.

      So, we need to find the truth WITHIN Buddha Dhamma. We cannot rely on science. This is a key point that I am trying to make. When one builds faith (not blind faith but faith based on one’s understanding of Dhamma), one does not need any outside “evidence”.

      This is why the Buddha said, “the world has not seen this Dhamma before”. It is a Dhamma or a “world view” that is not described anywhere else. Trying to prove those concepts using scientific evidence would not work. Science has discovered only a fraction about our world and that is limited to knowledge about matter. It knows virtually nothing about the mind, as I explained in this new post (science says this is the only life that we have, which is ucceda ditthi).

      Of course, it is up to each person to decide for himself.

    • #15116
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      I saw someone commmented in a Youtube video. I shall reproduce his comments here:

      “I dont understand how cravings or desires are evil. Without cravings or desires there is no purpose in living. In reality cravings like to get a better job,to live a better life,to spend more time with family,to help others are all good. Without desires you will be a person without dreams. Still cannt understand why Buddha told like that.”

      When one has been properly exposed to Buddha Dhamma, one can clearly see the ‘problems’ the above commenter has. We can pick up clues of strong javana citta, abhisankhāra, ignorant to Tilakkhana, ignorant to the four noble truths…etc. Sorry to say that this is the mentality of a common-folk, and the mentality of many people of other religions whose teachings are deeply rooted in greed.

      Another commenter has much better wisdom:

      “Even craving to help others or doing “good” will lead us to suffering. All things in moderation is a simpler way to translate what Buddha meant about “cravings”. The Middle Way neither into the extreme of piousness nor into the complacent.”

    • #15117
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      To supplement my earlier post, from SNP 3.12 – Observation of Dualities

      “‘That which is regarded as truth by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be false’, this is one observation. ‘That which is regarded as false by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be true’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”
      .
      .
      .
      “That which is regarded as pleasure by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be suffering’, this is one observation. ‘That which is regarded as suffering by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be pleasure’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

      Sights, sounds, tastes, and smells,
      Touches, mental phenomena, the lot;
      Are wished for, desirable, pleasing,
      As long as it is said: “They exist”.
      These are agreed by the world
      With its gods to be pleasurable,
      But when they cease,
      That, they agree, is suffering.
      The uprooting of identity
      Is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable;
      But this contradicts
      What the whole world sees.
      What others see as pleasure,
      The noble ones see as suffering;
      What others see as suffering,
      The noble ones see as pleasure.
      See this principle, so hard to understand,
      Which confuses the ignorant.
      Shrouded in darkness,
      Blind, they cannot see.
      The good can see as by a light
      When the curtain is drawn back.
      But beasts who are unskilled in Dhamma,
      Do not understand, even when it is right there.
      Overcome by desire for new life,
      Flowing down the stream of rebirth,
      They are reborn in Māra’s realm:
      This is not the Teaching of the Buddha.
      Who beside the noble ones
      Is worthy of waking up to that state?
      Fully understanding that state,
      One is quenched, without corruptions.

    • #15122
      y not
      Participant

      Lal, Akvan, Johnny:

      Lal said: ‘The mental pain that you talk about in the fourth paragraph is “samphassa ja vedana”. That is not due to previous causes’.

      How so? Or, more correct to ask, How always so? There is a difference between the suffering when one just ‘feels down’ or falls into a sad mood for no apparent reason and when that sadness surfaces due to an event that took place in the past that involved another person, for instance. Here ,clearly, there is a cause and one can point to it as the cause: ‘If that did not happen, this would not be happening now.’ And as I see, this sorrow or sense of regret about the course of those past events leading to mental pain now would need, now or later, the other person too for the elimination of that pain,(no inner ‘spritual effort’ works) for ‘trying to forget all about it and moving on’ does not work, only the ‘moving on’ does, and that only because life must go on somehow, otherwise…..

      It may be a ‘mind-made concept’, as Lal has it, but it is more of a ‘mind-retained’ concept; the cause was an event or events in the past, and the mind registered it.It did not create it. Or did it, if one goes deep enough? Please elaborate on this.

      The other point I would like to comment on is the apayas. I come from a Catholic background, or environment is a better term in my case(for I never felt that what was I was being taught made sense, it never ‘clicked’), one of those teachings being the concept of an eternal hell. It seemed to me to be too much of a punishment, overly disproportionate to condemn someone to suffer forever, however many and however heinous the crimes committed. I feel the same about the apayas. Why should someone suffer for so long, millions of years, and in intense, unimaginable agony for just one act, however odious, and however many and full of hatred in the mind the days that led to the crime. Had anyone else but a Buddha said it, I would reject the teaching outright. Of course, I have no problem with the scale or proportion or disproportion of the cause to the effect when it comes to the rewards in the deva realms!! One short life here generating a deva bhava results in a deva birth lasting millions of years. Comments on this please.

      y not

    • #15123
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Johnny quoted from someone else: ““I dont understand how cravings or desires are evil..”

      This is why it is important to learn and UNDERSTAND the meaning of Pali words and not just use English words.

      The word “craving” is used inappropriately to translate Pali words like tanha, chanda, and kamaccanda.

      What is bad is tanha: To get “attached” something bad via lobha, dosa, and moha.

      On the other hand, chanda (which translated as craving and sometimes liking) is one of the satara iddhipada: chanda, citta, viriya, vimansa. In order to seek Nibbana, one needs to have chanda (liking or desire) for it. Again, one must see that this “desire” for Nibana is without lobha, dosa, moha.

      Kamaccanda is “kama” + “icca” “anda” or becoming blind due to desire for sense pleasures (and thus tempted to do immoral things). The word “desire” is used commonly to translate kamaccanda and that could be problematic. “Defiled desire” is a better translation, but it may be awkward to use.

      This is why it is better to just use the Pali word, especially if there is a possibility of ambiguity. The key is to see whether asobhana cetasika (bad mental factors) are involved, especially lobha, dosa, moha.

      So, one must be able to know the meaning of the Pali word, and not just use apparent meaning of English words that are being used indiscriminately today.

      @y not: “Lal said: ‘The mental pain that you talk about in the fourth paragraph is “samphassa ja vedana”. That is not due to previous causes’.”

      I was talking in the context of kamma vipaka, meaning kamma done in previous lives. In particular, the physical body that arises due to kamma vipaka from previous lives.

      Nothing happens without a cause. “Samphassa ja vedana” arises due to one’s defiled gati, and that did not just materialize at that moment. But if one can get rid of all defilements (i.e., become an Arahant), those “samphassa ja vedana” will stop arising from that moment. But an Arahant cannot get rid of the physical suffering due to one’s body until the death of the physical body. That is what I meant.

      Y not said: “Why should someone suffer for so long, millions of years, and in intense, unimaginable agony for just one act, however odious, and however many and full of hatred in the mind the days that led to the crime.”

      This is an important point: Kamma vipaka that can be experienced once born in a certain realm, is almost never due to just one act, even though one act is likely to act as the primary cause at the cuti-patisandhi moment.

      When one is born in a certain realm due to a given primary kamma, that body can now receive many more kamma vipaka appropriate for that body.

      We get this human body due to a good kamma done in a previous life. But once born a human, this human body is able to receive many other good and bad kamma vipaka that this physical body can “cope with” (. For example, a human body cannot experience good kamma vipaka that can be experienced with a finer deva body. It also cannot experience the harsh vipaka that can only be experienced with a body of a “hell being”. We may have both those kinds form the past. Unless one attains a magga phala all those can bring vipaka in the future when born in the appropriate realm. This is what is important to understand.

      For those who like to dig deeper: samanantara determines what vipaka can be extracted from anantara: “Annantara and Samanantara Paccaya“.

      P.S. Another important point: It is true that the kamma beeja grasped at the cuti-patisandhi moment determines the DURATION of the particular bhava. But we need to realize that a kamma beeja is almost never due to just one act, even though one act could act as the primary cause, for example an anantariya kamma. Usually, a kamma beeja has contributions from many similar kamma. One does an exceptionally bad act because, in general, one has such gati that have been cultivated over many lives. Kamma is complex. The Buddha said not to try analyze it in detail, because other than a Buddha cannot.

    • #15127
      y not
      Participant

      Lal:

      I see what you meant exactly now by “Samphassa ja vedana” .

      So in what terms would the suffering caused by one person to another be described? If A hurts B, then it would be B’s turn to hurt A in this life or in a future one. Even should B refuse to hurt A back now in this life, is it possible to make a strong determination for when the cuti-patisandhi moment comes in order to carry that determination over to the next life in which B meets A again, to prevent oneself (B) from hurting A back? Otherwise, will this cycle of ‘tit-for-tat over lifetimes’ ever be terminated?

      y not

    • #15128
      Lal
      Keymaster

      y not said, “If A hurts B, then it would be B’s turn to hurt A in this life or in a future one.”

      It does not normally work that way, even though it can happen in some specific cases.

      Especially in “samphassa ja vedana”, it is not due to a specific kamma. As the name says (“san” + “phassa” rhymes as samphassa), it arises due to “san” (lobha, dosa, moha) that is in one’s mind as one’s gati.

      Samphassa ja vedana” is explained in the post, “Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways“, as I mentioned earlier in the discussion.

      It is imperative that one must understand the key concepts:
      Key Dhamma Concepts“. This is a general comment, not directed at anyone in particular. I have no way of knowing who knows how much.

    • #15165
      y not
      Participant

      Inflib:

      This is scary stuff. Yet if it is an aspect of Reality, it is important to know of its existence.

      So, do you mean to imply that trying to ‘open the door’ALWAYS exposes you to the danger? WOULD THERE THEN BE NO WAY of contacting benevolent beings for assistance WITHOUT exposing yourself to these dangers.?

      I am reminded of what I myself had written in another post, quoting Mme
      Blavatsky: ‘….once the door is open, it is open to all. And one cannot tell who will be the next to enter’

      y not

      • #15189
        inflib
        Participant

        Here’s what I’ve noticed and Lal confirmed. Based off your current gati, corresponding vaci and kaya sankhara and stage on the Path (at that weird time, lack of Dhamma knowledge or a Path), you can be in contact with some dark beings. Now with Dhamma teachings I no longer experience those type of beings.

        Yes, the door was open. With the revocations I thought I was eliminating/dissolving them in the present from past life experiences, but what actually happened was just creating the right conditions for a kamma beeja to proliferate. I was digging up some old seeds with ignorance of how the nature of this world works.

        With regards to benevolent beings, they’ve noticeably assisted when I was in trouble. So, contacting them is not useful in my experience. If you really need assistance, you’ll receive helpful hints/clues or words to ponder if what you’re doing is right or wrong.

Viewing 9 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.