PDA

View Full Version : Benefits of Reading the Suttas



Esho
22 May 12, 18:22
Talk given by Ajahn Brahmali pondering the importance the Pali discourses can have for our practice.

Comments relating to the video are welcome.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRNaPhBdxXg&feature=relmfu

The Thinker
28 May 12, 09:18
I am totally agree that Theravada Buddhist should only study the word of buddha shakyamuni. Because thats is our teachings. We can ask monks about some things we wonder about but in my view we should not have other teachers then buddha shakyamuni. I can only speak for my own understanding here. and other buddhist schools have other Buddhas they follow so that is the Buddhas they should then follow :)

Pali discourses are very important for me :)

Bundokji
28 May 12, 09:43
If the Buddha wanted us to follow the Suttas / his own words, why has not he instructed his disciples to record them when he was alive?

The Thinker
28 May 12, 09:50
I think that is because at Buddhas time it was more common to remember all the teachings orally. and only later it has been written down.

Bundokji
28 May 12, 10:09
Do you believe that someone as intellegent as the Buddha would not have thought of this issue (recording his teachings)? Are the suttas the original words of the Buddha or what has been remebered by Ananda?

If you agree with me that a mind that is capable of seeing the truth is a mind that is completely free from knowledge, then why should i accumulate knowledge and try to get rid of it later?

Have you noticed that some of the Buddha statues in Asia has no ears? why?

Element
28 May 12, 10:32
If the Buddha wanted us to follow the Suttas / his own words...
he did.


I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back.

Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html


Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn20/sn20.007.than.html


Past Buddhas,
future Buddhas,
& he who is the Buddha now,
removing the sorrow of many —

all have dwelt,
will dwell, he dwells,
revering the true Dhamma.
This, for Buddhas, is a natural law.

Therefore one who desires his own good,
aspiring for greatness,
should respect the true Dhamma,
recollecting the Buddhas' Teaching.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.002.than.html

Element
28 May 12, 10:34
Do you believe that someone as intellegent as the Buddha...
why cling to the buddha, as you are doing? :neutral:

The Thinker
28 May 12, 10:44
To your first question.

As i understand a divine being as Buddha was after he become enlightened he only needed to say the words for his disciples/ followers to understand and to become more enlightened them too. so yes he could have asked Ananda to have written it down, but did Ananda know how to write? I dont know the answer to that question, but i guess he could not write.

As far as i know the teachings of Buddha was only written down some generations after he was here giving his teachings. So the words that was spoken of Buddha can of course have been a bit changed in the time that has passed, also when translated into other languages some of the words can be misunderstood, all this i am aware of but in general Buddhas words are still our teaching and this is what we have to try to become enlighten from too.

Your question about mind completely free from knowledge : this i am not agree about. When you cultivate Buddhism the heavenly knowledge will be more and more opened for us when we read and study the text that we have today. and you dont need to get rid of it as you say, as i understand it, it is the attachment to all that we have to get rid of. you have to let your mind become totally free.

Your third question: -no i have not noticed that the Asian Buddha statues missing the ears :) and so i dont know why they do it.

best regards, The thinker

Bundokji
28 May 12, 10:48
Are you using the Suttas as a proof that the Buddha wanted us to follow the Suttas?! are you begging the question my Dear Element?


why cling to the buddha, as you are doing

If you regard describing the Buddha as intellegent is clinging, then so be it ;D

Aloka
28 May 12, 10:52
Did you watch the video, Bundokji ?

Bundokji
28 May 12, 11:19
Hello Aloka,

I watched the first 22 minutes of the Video few days ago when Esho posted it. My comment was a direct reply to the Ideas included in "The Thinker's" post.

Thanks for your reply "The Thinker", i am still in the office and your post will take time to reply so i will do it when i get back home.

Cheers ;D

The Thinker
28 May 12, 11:23
Hello Bundokji

You are very welcome :)
You do have some difficult question for me hehe, and i did my best to try to answer them. hope my answer to you make a sense :)

Friendly from The thinker :)

Deshy
28 May 12, 15:35
Do you believe that someone as intellegent as the Buddha would not have thought of this issue (recording his teachings)? Are the suttas the original words of the Buddha or what has been remebered by Ananda?



It is quite possible that he did since he had Ananda assigned as the treasurer of Dhamma and there were many enlightened disciples who were well-versed in dhamma just like him. Later after his death, a council of enlightened monks got together and consolidated the "original words of the Buddha". It has been verbally transmitted over time until documented in pali. Although Pali or sankrit were not the languages the Buddha talked, it is believed that he talked one which was very similar to the two so it is unlikely that there has been significant deterioration over time.

Anyway, the pali canon is the earliest available resource at the moment, as far as I know. In Buddhism, followers are not encouraged to treat the pali canon as the gospel. It is just a reference point. You are welcome to read it, follow it and realize dhamma for yourself. Without following it, you will never know if it is accurate and how deep it goes. All you are left with is speculation like "did Ananda remember it right? Are they the exact original words of the Buddha?" etc.

Bundokji
28 May 12, 20:00
Hello "The Thinker",

Sorry for the late reply.


As i understand a divine being as Buddha was after he become enlightened he only needed to say the words for his disciples/ followers to understand and to become more enlightened them too. so yes he could have asked Ananda to have written it down, but did Ananda know how to write? I dont know the answer to that question, but i guess he could not write.

I am not sure what do you mean by divine being??!! Let us face the truth, the Buddha was born 2500 years ago and i am not sure what archaeological evidence we have that he truely existed!! have you read the story of Mahavira (Jainism)? have you noticed the similarities between his story and the Buddha's story and between the two religions?

The Buddha was born in an era when many other thinkers/philosophers appeared. I am not drawing any conclusions but only warning myself before others from blind belief.


As far as i know the teachings of Buddha was only written down some generations after he was here giving his teachings. So the words that was spoken of Buddha can of course have been a bit changed in the time that has passed, also when translated into other languages some of the words can be misunderstood, all this i am aware of but in general Buddhas words are still our teaching and this is what we have to try to become enlighten from too.

I am happy to be corrected if i am wrong, but the pali canon was written down on palm leaves during the fourth council (1st century BCE) when not only the Buddha, but all his immediate disciples were turned into dust. So we are not only depending on Ananda's memory, but also on the memories of those who came in the era between the first and the fourth councils. In addition, we dont know how accurate the translation is (unless we learn the language so we have to trust the translators) ;D


Your question about mind completely free from knowledge : this i am not agree about

When you want to investigate, you have to be completely neutral (objective/mind independent). This is what scientists try to do my friend.

Bundokji
28 May 12, 20:17
Hello Deshy,

I am not going to answer the first part of your post becuase the answer is already inculded in my reply to "The Thinker" to avoid repeating myself.


Anyway, the pali canon is the earliest available resource at the moment, as far as I know. In Buddhism, followers are not encouraged to treat the pali canon as the gospel. It is just a reference point. You are welcome to read it, follow it and realize dhamma for yourself. Without following it, you will never know if it is accurate and how deep it goes. All you are left with is speculation like "did Ananda remember it right? Are they the exact original words of the Buddha?" etc

I am not surprised when reading your pragmatic point of view (as usual). What i find most confusing is what draws the line between what is necessary part and what is the extra wieght.

In other words, do we really need to read the Pali canon at all? I am not sure if you heard the story of Suddhipanthaka who was dull and had a very bad memory that he could not understand anything from the Buddha's teachings. According to legend, he Buddha assigned him to sweep the ground and he kept doing so untill he got enlightened.

Do we really need all this knowledge to become free? or knowledge is the bondage?

Element
28 May 12, 20:23
Do we really need all this knowledge to become free?
the knowledge of buddha is merely a handful of leaves. all of the buddha's teachings are found in his first three sermons, which can be read in 15 minutes

The Thinker
28 May 12, 20:47
Hi again Bundokji

You was writing a long answer so dont worry that it took some hours hehe :)

When i say divine being then i mean Gods and Buddhas and all the other beings who are in heaven or are at the Earth as enlighten beings.
And in my view Buddha is a tittle of someone who are Enlightened in Tatagata level.

I cant give you any proof of the historical Buddha was here except for the teachings but i guess that is same in Christianity and about Jesus. so i guess it will be words against words for those who beliefs and on them who dont beliefs :)

Buddha was born in an area when people was more open to religion then we are today and that is in my opinion why we have so many who dont believe in any religion. and that make me worried.

The the part where you say we have to be neutral to the things we believe in there i have to disagree with you :) I dont need scientists to tell me what i should believe in, i have the text of Buddha and thats how i can call my self a Buddhist. i take refuge in the Buddha, Sangha and Dhamma :)

Deshy
29 May 12, 14:01
In other words, do we really need to read the Pali canon at all?

I recommend that you read selected suttas if not the entire thing. But if you have already made up your mind not to, stop asking if you need to because such questions indicate that you are not sure of your decision.


knowledge is the bondage?

knowledge is not the bondage. Attachment to knowledge is the bondage. I invite you to investigate this for yourself.

Rhysman
29 May 12, 17:05
To your first question.

As i understand a divine being as Buddha was after he become enlightened he only needed to say the words for his disciples/ followers to understand and to become more enlightened them too. so yes he could have asked Ananda to have written it down, but did Ananda know how to write? I dont know the answer to that question, but i guess he could not write.

First, I would agree that Ananda and most of the Buddhas disciples could not write. That is why it was written down later.

I have to point out that Gautama Buddha was not a divine being neither before or after his enlightenment. He was a human being. We are fortunate to have human form because it is the best opportunity for us to realize our inherent Buddhanature.

The Thinker
29 May 12, 17:12
I can agree i was a bit wrong in choosing the word divine being and i should maybe have used Enlighten being instead :) thank you for correcting my text :)