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Thread: Culabyuha Sutta

  1. #1

    Culabyuha Sutta

    I was looking at this sutta from the Aṭṭhaka Vagga and it was the only translation I could find on the internet. There's a translation by Gil Frondsdal in his book "The Buddha Before Buddhism" but it has copyright restrictions:


    The Lesser Blind Alley : Cūḷabyūha Sutta


    878
    Questioner

    Maintaining their own fixed views,
    Contentious,
    Different experts say:
    “Whoever knows this knows Truth.
    Whoever rejects it is not perfected”.


    879

    Thus contentious, they squabble:
    “My opponent is a fool. He is no expert”.
    Given that they all claim to be experts,
    Which of these statements is true?


    880
    The Buddha

    If rejecting an opponent’s religious teachings makes one a “fool”,
    One of inferior wisdom,
    Then all of them are fools of very inferior wisdom,(2)
    All those who maintain that their own views are 'The Highest'.


    881
    But if each is intrinsically cleansed by their views,
    Of perfected wisdom,
    An expert,
    Intelligent,
    Then none of them are of inferior wisdom,
    For all of them are accomplished in their own views.


    882
    I definitely do not say
    “This [my view] is Truth”(3)
    As fools say to one another.
    They each make out their own views to be Truth
    And therefore brand their opponents as ‘fools’.


    883
    Questioner

    What some say is Actuality, Truth, others say is Vanity, Falsehood.(4)
    Thus contentious, they squabble.
    Why don’t ascetics say one and the same thing?


    884
    The Buddha

    The Truth is single.
    There is not another Truth about which mankind should contend.
    Ascetics proclaim their own various ‘Truths’;
    That’s why they don’t say one and the same thing.


    885
    Questioner

    But why do they proclaim differing Truths,
    These argumentative so-called experts?
    Have they come across many differing Truths
    Or are they merely speculating?


    886
    The Buddha

    Apart from the mere notion of it
    There are not many and various eternal Truths in the world.
    But by resorting to sophistry,
    The so-called experts say that, in respect to views,
    There is a fixed duality: Truth and Falsehood.


    887
    Tethered to what is seen, heard, or cognised,
    Or to precepts and practices
    A person shows contempt for others.
    Abiding by his fixed opinions,
    And pleased with himself,
    He says:
    “My opponent’s a fool. He is no expert”.


    888
    Upon whatever basis he regards his opponent a fool
    Is the same upon which he regards himself an expert.
    To the extent to which he rates himself an expert
    He despises anyone else who makes the same claim.


    889
    In his own overestimated view he is perfected.
    Drunk with pride,
    He supposes he is fully accomplished.
    In his mind he consecrates himself.
    His views, likewise, he regards as also perfect.


    890
    If by the word of somebody else one were inferior,
    That ‘somebody else’ would be of inferior wisdom also.(5)
    But if, by one’s own reckoning, one were knowledgeable and wise
    Then none among ascetics would be a fool.


    891
    “Those who proclaim religious teachings different from this have strayed from purity.
    They are not perfected”.
    Members of other sects each say this
    Because they are each burning with passion about their own views.


    892
    “Here alone is purity” they say,
    And say that there is no intrinsic purity in other religious teachings.
    Thus are members of other sects established at odds with each other,
    And thus are they committed to their own so-called paths.


    893
    Although someone is committed to his own so-called path,
    What person could he take to be a fool in regards to it?
    If he said that another person was a fool following impure religious teachings
    He would simply invite trouble on himself


    894
    Steadfast in his fixed opinions,
    Measuring others by his own criteria,
    He enters ever more disputes in the world.
    But the person who has abandoned all fixed opinions
    Creates no more trouble in the world.

    http://suttas.net/english/suttas/khu.../12-lesser.php

    Any thoughts about the sutta ?


  2. #2
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    Culaviyuha Sutta

    Question
    ...Which of these doctrines is the truth,
    Since all of them say they are experts?


    Buddha
    ...I don’t say, “This is how it is”


    Question
    ...Why don’t the ascetics teach one truth?

    (some extended ranting about the idiocy of those making assertions, and then:)


    Buddha
    Indeed the truth is one, there’s not another,
    about this the One who Knows
    does not dispute with another


    ...by leaving behind all theories,
    They don’t have any problems with the world.
    I think this idea can be taken too far; there are cases where views are indeed accurate. But the point of this text is a criticism of those making claims about the universe or fate or other metaphysical stuffs. These claims are only ever bound to come into conflict with others, and to have one's entire (renunciate) lifestyle revolve around this sort of thing is a waste of time at best, or ridiculous - or even painful.
    Last edited by daverupa; 08 Oct 17 at 22:06.

  3. #3
    I found another translation, this one is by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, it also has a different spelling of the sutta title in #1 (and has the same spelling as #2), which is probably why I missed other translations previously:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...4.12.than.html

    In the notes he says:


    "The truth is one": This statement should be kept in mind throughout the following verses, as it forms the background to the discussion of how people who preconceive their conjectures speak of the pair, true and false. The Buddha is not denying that there is such a thing as true and false. Rather, he is saying that all entrenched views, regardless of how true or false their content might be, when considered as events in a causal chain behave in line with the truth of conditioned phenomena as explained in the preceding discourse. If held to, they lead to conceit, conflict, and states of becoming. When they are viewed in this way — as events rather than as true or false depictions of other events (or as events rather than signs) — the tendency to hold to or become entrenched in them is diminished.


  4. #4
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    events rather than signs
    This is an interesting turn of phrase. If it means that one should always remain open to learning & thus avoid a sense of objective certitude about one's current ideas, then I think I agree.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    I found another translation, this one is by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, it also has a different spelling of the sutta title in #1 (and has the same spelling as #2), which is probably why I missed other translations previously:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...4.12.than.html

    In the notes he says:
    In the notes he said:
    The Buddha is not denying that there is such a thing as true and false. Rather, he is saying that all entrenched views, regardless of how true or false their content might be, when considered as events in a causal chain behave in line with the truth of conditioned phenomena as explained in the preceding discourse
    Here is a link to that "preceding discourse".....I think it is helpful in understanding what he is saying:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...4.11.than.html
    chonwah

  6. #6
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    I think Chownah is right. That "preceding discourse" is also excellent. I think the sutta is much more about conditioned phenomena. By binding our views and ideas with our ego we identify with the ego which leads to suffering and conflict. I take the lesson to be "don't stake your peace and happiness in conditioned phenomena" which includes even our thoughts, perception and consciousness.

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