Thread: Right in Fact, Wrong in Dhamma

  1. #1

    Right in Fact, Wrong in Dhamma

    This is a reflection from Ajahn Amaro which I thought I'd post here:

    Right in Fact, Wrong in Dhamma

    by Ajahn Amaro

    "I proclaim such a teaching that espouses non-contention with anyone in the world."

    Madhupiṇḍika Sutta (‘The Honeyball’) M 18.4

    The phrase ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ is the archetypal expression of our tendency to attach to views and opinions: ‘If I think it, it must be true, and if you think differently, sorry, but you’re wrong. You might be a good person, but you’re just wrong.’ This is the very opposite of the attitude expressed in the last four lines of the Mettā Sutta (SN 1.8):

    By not holding to fixed views, the pure hearted one, having clarity of vision, being freed from all sense desire, is not born again into this world.

    ‘Not holding to fixed views’ means letting go, not clinging. In a number of his teachings the Buddha talked about four different kinds of clinging, four different zones of attachment. The first kind is clinging to sense-desire, sense-pleasure (kām-upādāna). The second kind is clinging to precepts and practices: rules, observances, conventions (sīlabbat-upādāna); the blind belief in conventional structures. This can include rules of religious behaviour, but also be things like the value of money. The next kind of clinging is clinging to the feeling of self, attavād-upādāna, the ‘I, me and my’ feeling. But the kind of clinging examined here is clinging to views and opinions, as in the line from the Mettā Sutta: ‘not holding to fixed views’, diṭṭhiñca anupagamma in Pali. This final type of clinging is called diṭṭh-upādāna.

    In our culture we tend to hold opinions in very high regard. The tendency to take our opinion or view as an ultimate reality is a strong habit for all of us; if I see something in a particular way, what I think is right, and so I’m right! But if we attach to that way of thinking, if we take it to be absolutely valid, we will find ourselves in conflict with those who think differently: ‘If you think differently from me, you must be wrong.’ This can lead to friction, contention and all kinds of quarrels at the family, social or political level, even to the point of leading to warfare over a view, or a simple difference in understanding. This is an important issue in our lives and if we don’t understand its core, how it works in our own minds, there’s no real hope of solving it on a broader scale. So we need to explore that quality of contention, that divisiveness, that polarity. Where does it come from and what can we do about it?’

    CONTINUES at the link:

    Any comments in connection with the article?

  2. #2
    Forums Member
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    Apr 2017
    In contrast, if one doesn't believe that one knows "how things really are," that sometimes gets interpreted that such a person is at least weak or confused, if not mentally ill. Hence the strong tendency against philosophy (given that philosphers wonder about what is real and what isn't, and how to know "how things really are" and whether we can actually know "how things really are" at all).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajahn Amaro
    The tendency to take our opinion or view as an ultimate reality is a strong habit for all of us; if I see something in a particular way, what I think is right, and so I’m right!
    But not holding one's opinions in such a high regard can come at a steep cost, as one can be perceived by others as weak or mentally ill, and easily taken advantage of.

  3. #3
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Aug 2016

    This makes me think that all reality is socially constructed.

    What is real and what is not real?


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