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#1 RobertK

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 11:23 PM

Sarah Abbott from dhammastudygroup kindly found this for me.

From the Commentary to the Parinibbana Sutta:

"But in the list [of four things] beginning with sutta, sutta means the three baskets [Suttanta, Vinaya, Abhidhamma] which the three Councils recited.

`Accordance with sutta' means legitimate by being in accord [with what is explicitly legitimate].

`The word of a teacher' means the commentary.

`One's own opinion' means one's own illumination through grasping an analogy or one's consequent understanding.

Of these, sutta should not be rejected, for he who rejects that rejects the Buddha himself. If what is legitimate by being in accord agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not. If the word of a teacher agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not.

One's own opinion is weakest of all, but if it agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not.

`The three Councils' are the one of five hundred monks, the one of seven hundred, the one of a thousand. Only a sutta transmitted through them is authoritative; any other is a contemptible sutta, not to be accepted. Even though words and syllables appear in the latter, they should be known `as ones which do not appear in the Sutta, are not found in the Vinaya.'"
<end quote>

*****

RobertK



#2 Wolfgang

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 02:25 PM


Dear Robert,

this is the quote from the commentary. And I readily accept it - if this quote is encouraging and helping you to understand and practice the noble eightfold path in your personal life.

But in my case, whenever I read only a little bid of the commentaries or the Abhidhamma: I either don't know why anyone would elaborate so complicated on something so clearly spoken by the Tathagata, and become bored - but overall I become totally discouraged.
That is why I stick to the practical Dhamma of the Suttas, which I really can enact.

I practiced once in Burmese monastery, where also Abhidhamma is practically known & seen in a very sophisticated Vipassana-style. I met there monks who have studied Abhidhamma their whole monks life. But only now - with this particular and complicated method - were able to put it, to the letter, into practice!

But as I already wrote elsewhere: Such monk's manner of behavior and personality - having been only scholars and rarely having put their vast knowledge into practice - compared to monks who pragmatically followed the Suttas their whole life - did not convince me at all, though there are exceptions;

- I am really so glad that my path started with practical Vipassana, and through my need to understand my experiences there better: to my limited study of the Suttas. Further on... to be really able to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma (meanwhile leaving Abhidhamma aside, because practically it is not helping me to enact the noble 8fold path) and the Sangha.

Nevertheless, my highest respect to every other particular approach to the understanding of the Dhamma.



#3 RobertK

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 03:14 AM

Dear Wolfgang,
Abhidhamma has always seemd to me to be entirely direct and pratical, but I know some people do think it is theory and study it as if it were an academic subject.
This is from Sitagu Sayadaw
http://www.abhidhamm...agu sayadaw.htm
QUOTE

Sitagu Sayadaw
Since Vipassana meditation takes the Abhidhamma as its sole object of contemplation, Vipassana and Abhidhamma cannot be separated. And while it may not be said that one can practice Vipassana only after one has mastered the Abhidhamma, Vipassana meditation and the study of Abhidhamma remain one and the same thing. Because mind, mental factors and matter are forever bound up with this fathom-long body, the study and learning of this subject, and the concentrated observation of the nature of mind, mental factors and matter are tasks which cannot be distinguished.
Since at the very least one would have to say that there can be no Vipassana without an understanding of mind and matter, surely then it is not possible to separate Abhidhamma and Vipassana. It is explained in the Abhidhamma that the root causes giving rise to the seven elements of mind and matter are ignorance (avijja), craving (tanha) and volitional action (kamma). It is further pointed out that the supporting conditions for these same seven elements are kamma, mind, climate (utu) and nutriment (ahara). Only by grasping these abhidhammic truths will one possess the knowledge which comprehends conditional relations (paccayapariggahanana), and achieve the purification of mind necessary for overcoming doubt. These excellent benefits are pointed out by paticcasamuppada and pathana. Therefore, since it is the case that Vipassana and Abhidhamma are not separate but are mutually dependent, it is rightly submitted that Vipassana yogis ought not let go of that wise method of learning about the human condition called the Abhidhamma

And this thread is relevant , you might like to comment in it.
http://www.abhidhamm...hp?showtopic=29

Robert

#4 Wolfgang

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 06:03 PM

Dear Robert,

here the relevant Suttas to this thread.



Parinibbana Sutta, Digha Nikaya 16:

QUOTE
Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ananda, "Now, if it occurs to any of you - 'The teaching has lost its authority; we are without a Teacher'
- do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma & Vinaya I have pointed out & formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone."



Gopaka Moggallana Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 108:

QUOTE
"No, Brahman. There isn't any one monk authorized by the Sangha and appointed by a large body of elder monks [with the words] 'He will be our arbitrator after the Blessed One is gone,' to whom we now turn."

"Being thus without an arbitrator, Master Ananda, what is the reason for your concord?"

"It's not the case, Brahman, that we're without an arbitrator. We have an arbitrator.
The Dhamma is our arbitrator."


Four Great Authorities Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya IV, 180:

QUOTE
'And what, monks, are the four great authorities?
In this case, monks, a monk might say: "Face to face with the Exalted One, your reverence, did I hear it
"In such and such a dwelling place resides an Order (of monks) together with an elder monk, a leader
"In such and such a dwelling-place resides a great number of elder monks, widely learned, versed in the doctrines, who know Dhamma by heart, who know Vinaya by heart who know the Summaries by heart
"In such and such a dwelling-place resides a single elder monk, of wide learning, versed in the doctrines, one who knows Dhamma by heart, who knows Vinaya by heart, who knows the Summaries by heart
... face to face with him did I receive it. This is Dhamma, this is Vinaya, this is the Master's teaching.

'Now, monks, the words of that monk...are neither to be welcomed nor scorned, but without welcoming, without scorning, the words and syllables thereof are to be closely scrutinized, laid beside Sutta and compared with Vinaya.
If, when thus laid beside Sutta and compared with Vinaya, they lie not along with Sutta and agree not with Vinaya, to this conclusion must ye come: Surely this is not the word of that Exalted One, Arahat, the Fully Enlightened One, and it was wrongly taken by that monk.
So reject it, monks.

"Face to face with the Exalted One, your reference, did I hear it. Face to face with him did I receive it. ... it was rightly taken by that monk. Then bear this in mind as the first / second / third / forth great authority. So these, monks, are the four great authorities.'



The Peg Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya XX. 7:

QUOTE
Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata - deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness - are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering.

But they will listen when discourses that are literary works - the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples - are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata - deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness - will come about.
- "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata - deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness - are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.'
That's how you should train yourselves."




For me the words of the Awakened remain unparalleled in their clarity.

#5 RobertK

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 07:27 AM

Very nice sutta quotes Wolfgang.
Your input into this new forum is most helpful.

#6 RobertK

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 02:27 AM

from Bhikkhu Dhammanando:

There are actually two sets of four great standards (mahāpadesa), one for settling Vinaya issues and the other Dhamma issues.

For Vinaya issues the standards are given in the Mahāvagga of the Vinaya Piṭaka:

QUOTE
Now at that time scruples arose in the monks as to this and that occasion, thinking: "Now, what is permitted by the Blessed One? What is not permitted?" They told this matter to the Blessed One. He said:

1) Whatever, monks, has not been objected to by me, saying: 'This is not allowable', if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable to you.
2) Whatever, monks, has not been objected to by me, saying: 'This is not allowable', if it fits in with what is alllowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable to you.
3) And whatever, monks, has not been permitted by me, saying: 'This is allowable', if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable to you.
4) Whatever, monks, has not been permitted by me, saying: 'This is allowable', if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable to you.
(Vin. i. 250-1; trans. I.B. Horner)


Then for Dhamma issues the standards are given in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta:

QUOTE
1) "Here, monks, a monk may say thus: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, friend, have I heard, face to face with him have I received this. This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the message of the Teacher.'
"Monks, the speech of that monk should neither be welcomed nor reviled. Non-welcoming, non-reviling, every word and syllable should be well studied, placed beside the Sutta and compared with the Vinaya. When placed beside the Sutta and compared with the Vinaya, should they not fit in with the Sutta, nor accord with the Vinaya, you should come to the conclusion: 'Truly this is not the word of the Blessed One, and has been wrongly grasped by that monk.' Thus, monks, you should reject it. If they fit in with the Sutta and accord with the Vinaya, then you should come to the conclusion: 'Truly this is the word of the Blessed One and has been rightly grasped by that monk.' Monks, understand this as the first great standard.

2) "Again, monks, a monk may say: 'In such and such a residence lives a community of monks with an elder, a leader. Face to face with that community of monks have I heard, face to face with it have I received this. This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the message of the Teacher.'
"Monks, the speech of that monk should neither be welcomed nor reviled ... Monks, understand this as the second great standard.

3) "Again, monks, a monk may say: 'In such and such a residence live many elder monks, of great knowledge who have mastered the tradition, Dhamma-bearers, Vinaya-bearers, tabulated summary-bearers. Face to face with these elders have I heard, face to face with them have I received this. This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the message of the Teacher.'
"Monks, the speech of that monk should neither be welcomed nor reviled ... Monks, understand this as the third great standard.

4) "Again, monks, a monk may say: 'In such and such a residence lives a monk, an elder, of great knowledge, who has mastered the tradition, a Dhamma-bearer, a Vinaya-bearer, a tabulated summary-bearer. Face to face with this elder have I heard, face to face with him have I received this. This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the message of the Teacher.'
"Monks, the speech of that monk should neither be welcomed nor reviled. Non-welcoming, non-reviling, every word and syllable should be well studied, placed beside the Sutta and compared with the Vinaya. When placed beside the Sutta and compared with the Vinaya, should they not fit in with the Sutta, nor accord with the Vinaya, you should come to the conclusion: 'Truly this is not the word of the Blessed One and has been wrongly grasped by that elder.' Thus, monks, you should reject it. If they fit in with the Sutta and accord with the Vinaya, then you should come to the conclusion: 'Truly this is the word of the Blessed One and has been rightly grasped by that elder.' Monks, understand this as the fourth great standard."
(Kheminda trans.)





Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

#7 RobertK

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 02:28 AM

They are:

1) The "well-said" (sutta), defined as the whole of the Tipi?aka.
2) The "conforming to the well-said" (suttanuloma), meaning utterances than can be shown to be Dhamma or Vinaya by using either of the two sets of four great standards.
3) The "disquisition on meaning", "commentary" (atthakatha), meaning the works preserved in Sinhalese that the Mahavihara commentators used as their source texts. The contents of these were held to date from the First Council, and so were viewed as authoritative unless contradicted by sutta or suttanuloma.
4) The "personal opinion [of an acariya]" (attanomati), said to be the weakest source of authority.

QUOTE
and where does Buddhaghosa himself fit on the scale?


His commentaries contain samples of all four classes. When he is quoting the Tipitaka it is sutta. When he is drawing an inference from the Tipi?aka it is suttanuloma provided there is no flaw in his reasoning. When he is giving a straight translation from the Maha-atthakatha, Maha-paccari or Kuru??i (his main Sinhalese source texts) then it's atthakatha. When he offers a personal opinion it is attanomati. In a typical Buddhaghosa Sutta commentary I would estimate the proportions to be something like:
sutta 15%
suttanuloma 15%
atthakatha 70%
attanomati less than 0.5%

In his Vinaya Commentary there is a steep increase in the amount of personal opinion, mainly on account of disagreements between his Sinhalese sources; in these cases he will quote all the opinions he knows of and then express a preference for one or another of them.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

#8 RobertK

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 05:45 AM

. And there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Now, bhikkhus, I shall make known to you the four great references. Listen and pay heed to my words." And those bhikkhus answered, saying:

"So be it, Lord."

8-11. Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'


"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."

Maha-Parinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoi...digha/dn16.html