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Better Extreme in the First Sutta

dhamma
extremes
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#1

We all know there are two extremes mentioned in the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta as kamasukhallikanuyoga and attakilamatanuyoga. Some says the attalilamatanuyoga extreme is better than kamasukhallikanuyoga because its is categorised as hina(lower) in the suttta. So they say that the people come from Attakilamatanuyoga backgrounds generally have more potential of success in Dhamma than the people come from Kamasukhallikanuyoga backgrounds.

Kamasukhallikanuyoga : low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial.
Attakilamatanuyoga : painful, ignoble, unbeneficial.

What are your opinions?

“Bhikkhus, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial; and the pursuit of self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, unbeneficial. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata has awakened to the middle way, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.


#2

Maybe the people you heard such view from are somehow influenced by what we find in suttas like MN70 in which the Buddha supports the precept of giving up the evening meal as that relates to the case in which:

I have known, seen, understood, realized, and experienced this with wisdom:
‘When someone feels this kind of pleasant feeling, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decline.’
Since this is so, that’s why I say: ‘You should give up this kind of pleasant feeling.’

Other suttas worth quoting are AN10.94:

When undergoing certain mortifications, unskillful qualities grow while skillful qualities decline. I say that you shouldn’t undergo those mortifications.
When undergoing certain mortifications, unskillful qualities decline while skillful qualities grow. I say that you should undergo those mortifications.
When undertaking certain observances, unskillful qualities grow while skillful qualities decline. I say that you shouldn’t undertake those observances.
When undertaking certain observances, unskillful qualities decline while skillful qualities grow. I say that you should undertake those observances.

And MN114:

You should not cultivate the kind of bodily behavior which causes unskillful qualities to grow while skillful qualities decline. And you should cultivate the kind of bodily behavior which causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow.

As per the above, the Buddha was not in the business of making generalist affirmations about things and others. He was actually interested in giving us frameworks for us to evaluate ourselves what is worth or not pursuing.

Having that in mind, I understand that someone who is prone to just ‘enjoy life’, getting drunk in the sensual pleasures, should be less likely to even consider the evaluation proposed.

On the other hand, someone already giving a try to some austerities, even if doing it the wrong way, is in the best position to apply the evaluation framework proposed and then discard what he/she understands as worth discarding, and pursuing further what he/she understand is yielding results and allowing for progress in the path.

:anjal:


#3

Kamasukhallikanuyoga : pleasant now but painful later
Attakilamatanuyoga : painful now & painful later

Kamasukhallikanuyoga seems to be the lesser of two evils


#4

It gives up sensual pleasures. This is its advantage. But i don’t think it’s a gradual path or there is any facility to truly give up cravings.


#5

I dont quite follow. can you elaborate ?


#6

Attakilamatānuyoga I meant