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Aloka
20 Sep 10, 09:01
I was reflecting on how I might be rather closed minded in some of my attitudes.

Inspired from seeing and listening to Ajahn Sumedho yesterday giving a talk called "Seeing through Delusion", I'd like to quote some of his comments in 'The Sound of Silence' from Page 185- -


" There is so much scripture in Buddhism ; the Tipitaka (the Pali Canon) is enormous. You start reading it and you feel a bit overwhelmed - you will never quite finish it all. But then trust your own intuition, in your life, the things that are really meaningful to you, that stand out, that reach out to you when you are reading the suttas. In the Sutta Nipata there is a quote: " There is an island, an island that you cannot go beyond " (v.1094). This particular metaphor always meant a lot to me. An island you cannot go beyond, this centrepoint - you can't get beyond it. When you reach the centre, when you recognise the centre, then if you go outside it you are off on the periphery again. So an island as a metaphor works in that way. Or the concept of axis mundi, the centrepoint of the universe, of the world.

If we don't recognise the centrepoint, then we are always out on the periphery, out in samsara. We might be looking for the centre out on the periphery rather than being the centre itself. So with awareness, this taking refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha isn't taking refuge in something out on the periphery of thought or the universe, or some vague forces or unseen energies that we assume - or maybe doubt. They are concepts whose purpose is to recognise the centre of this moment, the centre of being present here and now. So then, from the centre, if my personality is out in the samsara, you know me as a person. The convention, even the Theravada Buddhist conventions, are out there, that's the conventional world that is samsara.

So the aim isn't to bind yourself to the conventions of Buddhism but to use the conventions for awareness, for centering.

In silabbata- paramasa, the second fetter, this is attachment to conventions out of ignorance, we bind ourselves to the conventions. We in the Buddhist world all have different views. Here in Britain you have strong views, sectarian view, views for and against Hinayana, Mahayana, Tibetan Buddhism, Vajarayana, Zen. Then there is Advaita, Bhakti, Sufism, Christian mysticism, Jehova's witnesses, Mormans.

We are very much attached to a particular convention.We become the convention itself, and this is a fetter, an obstruction. And it is divisive. If my main identity is that I am a Theravada Buddhist, then I feel Mahayana is different. So you hold opinions about being Theravadan, and when you see somebody who says. "I am a Mahayana Buddhist," you see them as separate. Or somebody who is a Christian you see them as separate, or a Morman. Even within Theravada there are plenty of views and opinions.........



...... So then recognising this, this centrepoint has no opinion. For an opinion to arise I have to become "Ajahn Sumedho"and then come from that - so we're back in the 3 fetters of sakkaya-ditthi, silabbata-paramasa, and vicikiccha. Even though things like the Theravada convention are good, attachment to convention is a fetter. A fetter binds you, limits you, separates you. The fetter is not the convention itself but ignorance and attachment to it, because the conventions themselves are expedient means, skillful means; they are not ends. If I make the convention an end in itself, then I have to convince everyone to become a Theravada Buddhist; and if they don't, I cast them out as apostates, heretics, not real Buddhists. And that's division. I say I'm right, and if you don't agree with me you are wrong obviously.

Right and wrong come from thinking; true and false and good and bad, this is the thinking process, the discriminative intellect. The term vicikiccha is translated as doubt. Well how does doubt arise? Through thinking. If you think too much you end up doubting all the time. Because language is like that, it is what we project; its an artifice, a man made creation, the convention, the ego, these things are created by us onto the present. I'm creating myself in the present. "I am Ajahn Sumedho, a Theravada Buddhist. " And then if I bind myself to those views, I am coming from this ignorance, avijja, not knowing the Dhamma. "



COMMENTS ?

Dharma Dave
20 Sep 10, 22:19
Hi

Can someone explain to me the 3 fetters of sakkaya-ditthi, silabbata-paramasa, and vicikicch. Of course doubt is mentioned for vicikicch, but explanation of the other two would be appreciated.

Cheers

Dave

Aloka
20 Sep 10, 23:04
Hi Dave,


sakkaya-ditthi means personality view/self view.

silabbata-paramasa is attachment to rites and rituals, clinging to precepts and practices.

vicikiccha is doubt


You will find this Pali dictionary in our Study links section

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bud-dict/dic_idx.htm

You could also bookmark this one:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html

Here's a sutta which mentions the fetters:




AN 10.13 Sanyojana Sutta: Fetters


"There are these ten fetters. Which ten? Five lower fetters & five higher fetters.

And which are the five lower fetters? Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts & practices, sensual desire, & ill will. These are the five lower fetters.

And which are the five higher fetters? Passion for form, passion for what is formless, conceit, restlessness, & ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. And these are the ten fetters."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.013.than.html




Kind regards,

Dazzle

Dharma Dave
21 Sep 10, 14:56
Cheers for that Dazzle, I shall plod through it later :-)

Hurtgen
27 Sep 10, 12:41
Discrimiinative intellect, that's where thinking gets you , how refreshing .

thank's for that Dazzle , Hurtgen .

Snowmelt
27 Sep 10, 18:44
To recognise adherence to one form of Buddhism or another as a potentially dangerous attachment is wise, I think. I have sometimes fallen into the error of implying that someone else's path was wrong. I would have done better to remember to rules of Right Speech on those occasions, since it is hard to see any good coming out of speaking without all possible care in such a delicate situation. All words and concepts and all vehicles are discarded when we have reached the goal.

inji
26 Oct 10, 03:25
"attach yourself to absolutely nothing"
buddhadasa

it all boils down to attachment to self,

KoolAid900
26 Oct 10, 12:30
To recognise adherence to one form of Buddhism or another as a potentially dangerous attachment is wise, I think. I have sometimes fallen into the error of implying that someone else's path was wrong. I would have done better to remember to rules of Right Speech on those occasions, since it is hard to see any good coming out of speaking without all possible care in such a delicate situation. All words and concepts and all vehicles are discarded when we have reached the goal.

yes, me 2