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Thread: The first explanation of the path

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    The first explanation of the path

    In a recent talk I heard the speaker said that there were two sutta's that claim to be the first explanation of the path given by the buddha to his five original companions, one sutta describes the four noble truths as we know them, the second explained dependant origination.

    Is there anyone familiar with the pali canon who could point me in the direction of the second sutta, or comment on where the speaker was refering

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    Hi Olderon

    Many thanks for the references, however I believe the one I was looking for was https://suttacentral.net/ud1.3/en/anandajoti

    The speaker was talking about what the Buddha actually taught just after he was awakened, this sutta references the period just after he awoke, the four noble truths and dependant arising seem to be a refined discourse put together after much time.

    The speakers point was that the Buddha probably discovered the principles of dependant arising on his awakening and from that the rest of the teaching flowed

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    According to tradition, the first sutta that the Buddha delivered after enlightenment (which was to the 5 companions) was SN 56.11. SN 22.59 is considered to have been the second discourse of the Buddha after enlightenment, also to the same 5 (now) disciples, the topic of discussion this time being anatta.

    1st discourse

    2nd discourse

    Please let me know if this is what you were looking for; I am aware that the 2nd was described as dealing with paticcasamuppada, so I'm unsure if the gentleman was referring to these or to another source of the first and second suttas.

    Last edited by manoPG; 10 Feb 19 at 07:27.

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    Thanks, ManoPG, it is interesting to see that the second discourse you refer to is on anatta.

    This points to emptiness, is the tradition that you refer to a Mahayana tradition ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by McKmike View Post
    Thanks, ManoPG, it is interesting to see that the second discourse you refer to is on anatta.

    This points to emptiness, is the tradition that you refer to a Mahayana tradition ?
    Hi McKmike, the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta, from what I gather, is considered the first discourse of the Buddha in all major schools of Buddhist thought and appears to be recorded in every major canon, from Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese.

    I scraped the wiki linked and found: The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is best-known from the Pāli Canon, Saṃyutta Nikāya chapter 56, sutta 11. In the Chinese Buddhist canon there are numerous editions of this sutra from a variety of different schools in ancient India, including the Sarvāstivāda, Dharmaguptaka, and Mahīśāsaka, as well as an edition translated as early as 170 by the early Parthian missionary An Shigao. Parallel texts can be found in other early Buddhist sources as well, such as the Sarvāstivādin Lalitavistara Sūtra and the Lokottaravādin Mahāvastu.[web 4]

    So it seems to be universally recognized as such, but if I'm wrong it wouldn't be the first time.

    Regarding the Pañcavaggi Sutta, the Buddha's second discourse, to the same group of listeners, it deals with the fundamental tilakhana, and how anicca, dukkha and anatta are interrelated.

    Its interesting you mention emptiness, because the Samyutta Nikaya, from which these two suttas are drawn from, also contain a rich basketful of suttas on the topic, such as the Suñña Sutta, which sounds like it could definitely be proto-prajnaparamita literature, albeit, material that came at least 4 to 500 years before Nagarjuna, the major difference being that the discourse is addressed to Ananda instead of Avalokitesvara:


    Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

    "Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

    "The ear is empty...

    "The nose is empty...

    "The tongue is empty...

    "The body is empty...

    "The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....085.than.html
    Last edited by manoPG; 10 Feb 19 at 16:48.

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    Hi manoPG

    Thanks for the information, very useful.

    The reason I asked what tradition is that I am currently reading Emptiness A Practical Guide for Meditators, by Guy Armstrong

    As I have just started the book I can not comment on it, but in the introduction page 3, he makes a distinction between emptiness in the Pali canon, "The Buddha, however, discerned that our human experience is empty of a self. This is the liberating teaching of not self. in this example, emptiness is more or less synonymous with the absence of self, this was one of the early meanings of emptiness in Buddhism.
    Later Buddhist schools used the term emptiness emphasize the lack of substance in the world"

    The book is comparing various sources in the explanation of emptiness, Theravada, Mahayana, and Yogacara.

    The progression of thought about the meaning of emptiness from a pragmatic description of the existential observation of reality to a more metaphysical understanding of the later schools.

    This I find interesting, I believe that some people do not see that the emptiness doctrine is as important to Theravada as it is to the Mayahana

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    Hi McKmike,

    I don't have enough doctrinal knowledge of Mahayana to make a justified statement on it.

    The classic formula for anatta is as such:

    “Monks, there are these four perversions of perception, perversions of mind, perversions of view. Which four? ‘Constant’ with regard to the inconstant is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. ‘Pleasant’ with regard to the stressful.… ‘Self’ with regard to not-self.… ‘Attractive’ with regard to the unattractive is a perversion of perception, a perversion of mind, a perversion of view. These are the four perversions of perception, perversions of mind, perversions of view.

    “There are these four non-perversions of perception, non-perversions of mind, non-perversions of view. Which four? ‘Inconstant’ with regard to the inconstant is a non-perversion of perception, a non-perversion of mind, a non-perversion of view. ‘Stressful’ with regard to the stressful.… ‘Not-self’ with regard to not-self.… ‘Unattractive’ with regard to the unattractive is a non-perversion of perception, a non-perversion of mind, a non-perversion of view. These are the four non-perversions of perception, non-perversions of mind, non-perversions of view.”

    Perceiving

    constancy in the inconstant,

    pleasure in the stressful,

    self in what’s not-self,

    attractiveness in the unattractive,

    beings, destroyed by wrong-view,

    go mad, out of their minds.

    Bound to Māra’s yoke,

    from the yoke they find no rest.

    Beings go on to the wandering-on,

    leading to birth & death.

    But when Awakened Ones

    arise in the world,

    bringing light to the world,

    they proclaim the Dhamma

    leading to the stilling of stress.

    When those with discernment listen,

    they regain their senses,

    seeing the inconstant as inconstant,

    the stressful as stressful,

    what’s not-self as not-self,

    the unattractive as unattractive.

    Undertaking right view,

    they transcend all stress & suffering.
    https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN4_49.html



    In other words, we are blind beings living in a state of perversion of perception.

    The idea of everything being devoid of 'self' and thus 'empty' is an ontological reality according to the Buddha as comes down to us through the Tipitika, something that we don't pay enough attention to, and therefore leads to our own unnecessary suffering.

    Anyone can half-heardedly contemplate the idea of anatta and say "ya, okay, I guess that makes sense," but the magga and phala of stream-entry only occurs truly when one experiences Nibanna firsthand by the actual realization of Anatta, or what the German Idealists would refer to as Transcendence.
    Last edited by manoPG; 11 Feb 19 at 22:16.

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    Hi manoPG

    Well said, I agree that we are blind beings living in a state of perversion of perception.

    I often say that the fruit of Buddhism for me is the change in perception, as for Nibanna's transcendence I will wait and see

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    Quote Originally Posted by McKmike View Post
    Hi manoPG

    Well said, I agree that we are blind beings living in a state of perversion of perception.

    I often say that the fruit of Buddhism for me is the change in perception, as for Nibanna's transcendence I will wait and see
    Thats a great way of looking at it Mike.

    I can only say I know vipassana has changed me by comparison of 'the old me'.

    The old me used to hunt and fish, and now I won't even catch-and-release fish.

    The old me shot guns and viewed homicide as sometimes justifiable (as in cases of self-defense), the new me sees no cases of homicide as ever justifiable.

    The old me had no love for anyone I didn't know and who wasn't like me, the new loves all living critters, bipeds and quadripeds a like.

    Much less stress already!

    Such simple changes can make life so much more pleasant, and it requires no money or anything difficult, just a simple change in perception, attuning to the vibes of empathy with other living beings.

    Regarding Nibanna, clearly its beyond description like you said we have to wait to experience it to know it, but we can at least know what its not: its not anicca or dukkha, its not material, its not connected to any of our sensory equipment and it has nothing to do with "I" "me" "mine" etc.

    Not much to go on, but its a start!

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