Thread: Clinging to views

  1. #1

    Clinging to views

    This is an excerpt from Chapter 14 of "The Dawn of the Dhamma" by Ajahn Sucitto:

    Unenlightened beings cling to their views and perceptions. Our conscious world is full of positions and attitudes that we alternately favor and despise. It is peopled with friends and enemies; those we are attracted to and those we are repelled by; those to whom we feel loyal, such as “my family;” and those we feel separate from and take no responsibility for. We can act in good and bad ways, we have bodies with masculine or feminine features, and we can be grouped according to racial type. We have minds that formulate things according to differences. But in emphasizing differences or seeking to establish ourselves as identities, we add to the sum total of divisive and conflicting energy in ourselves and in the world.

    We may dismiss our intuitive side and repress the rational or lose contact with rational discernment. We may attach to traditions or to not having traditions. We may adopt a viewpoint and neglect others—or even cling to the view that one shouldn’t have a viewpoint. All these become sources of identity, and as long as we hold on to views about ourself or each other, no matter how valid they seem, we prevent the possibility of being liberated from self. Then there is the teaching of the Buddha:

    “What is the teaching of the samana, what are his views?”
    “According to my teaching, Sir … there is no contending with anyone in the world, because of which the Pure One is not obsessed with ideas as he practices. He remains unattached to sense-pleasures, without confusion, free from regret, empty of the desire to be something or to be nothing. This is my teaching, this my view.”

    (Madhupindika Sutta; Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta 18)
    Because his mind has realized Nibbana, the Buddha was content to teach using the viewpoints and conventions of the time rather than create another set of polarities to establish “Buddhism.” So he taught within the conventions of the Vedic culture—kamma, Dhamma, Nibbana, heaven realms—to the societies of samanas, brahmins, monarchs and ordinary folk. His way of teaching was often to ascertain what his audience’s position was, and, from that position, expound a Path to Ultimate Truth, the experience of no conflict, no suffering, Peace, the Unconditioned, Nibbana. So he taught the Way independent of any personal position or philosophical viewpoint, presenting themes that relate to the way that human beings in general experience and live their lives.

    The fundamental position that we can all reach is the basis of the Buddha’s teaching: we all suffer and nobody likes it. The nature of the human realm is that we are sensitive and affected by everything. Because of this, we tend to take positions for or against different experiences; these positions harden into the boundaries and habits of self. All that creates separation, loneliness and conflict. Yet we all want to get off this one-way road going nowhere, and the wish to get beyond the self-view can bring us together.

    Any comments/reflections ?

  2. #2
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    I think it useful, from time to time, to think of Buddhism as it was initially- the responses of an enlightened person to those who continue to suffer, using the terminology and culture and concepts of the time, but pushing the boundaries to enable others to achieve what he did too. The challenge then becomes to reinterpret for our own time without losing the accumulated wisdom of the Dhamma.

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