Did the Buddha really give discourses for us to read?

Does anyone seriously think that the Buddha gave them his speeches for you to read?
You are an intruder in the middle of a conversation among other people.
Do not be surprised that you do not understand. They are not talking to you.
If you really understood them, you would not read them.

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I agree. You need Heidegger, Satre, Nanananda, Nanavira or other postmodernist/existentialist/solipsist to understand the Buddha. You have no chance doing that by reading the suttas without the help of a postmodernist. You need to read between the lines to find that postmodernism/existentialism/solipsism that buddhism is really about.

Is this what you are tying to say ?

As for Buddha been a solipsist, there are numerous suttas destroying that idea. But since you do not believe in the authority of the suttas, then there is no point in me quoting them.

The only way to read the suttas comprehensively is through jhanas. With jhanas not only they understand but it is not necessary to look for them … they come alone.
Later, when Wisdom begins to enter, suttas are no longer necessary. You begin to see the Dhamma as it is. And there you start to see it from a phenomenological perspective where citta is what you experience and nama-rupa what you experience.
In addition all the sciences appear clearly, in particular the Physics, in particular the statistical physics. And art, above all art in the form of understanding music, plastic arts, dance, literature …
And the suttas take the dimension for what they serve: to prove that what you are already experiencing another as you experienced it the same. One speaking of wave functions, the other of rhinoceros horns … but each describing with his own language that which is unconditioned: Dhamma, our master.
While you are experimenting definitive physical changes.

I’d be very interested to hear your elaboration of this idea, as I study both Western philosophy and the dhamma.

Do you seriously think the Sangha would waste their time memorizing and writing down useless talks, incomprehensible for other people without any Jhana?

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My long opinions about attempts to mix buddhism with postmodernism are in this topic starting page 59: Ven. Ñāṇananda, Nibbana and Phenomenological Existentialism

The only way to read the suttas comprehensively is through jhanas. With jhanas not only they understand but it is not necessary to look for them … they come alone.

The Jhana that the historical Buddha taught is not some form of banana jhana. Those who achieved jhana in the sutta quickly achieved non returning. (ZERO sensual desire, ZERO aversion) Jhana is not attained by doing some exercise, it is something that comes out of seclusion. It’s quite difficult to achieve it as a layman, though it’s probably possible if one has the lifestyle of a monk. But it takes a lot of time. B.Bodhi for example has said he never achieved it. It takes real renunciacion to achieve. Check MN 39, MN 107, MN 125

And about matter not existing and the world been an ilusion, etc. These solipsist/philosophical idealism/ illusionist ideas are not what Buddha taught. Buddha taught something different, something subtle, something that can not be understood without reading the sutta pitaka. It’s easy to confuse Buddha teachings to be materialism or idealism or postmodernism. But they are something different, something difficult to grasp.

The buddha spent too little time reaching total Enlightenment.

That is why he could not explain.
Only 230 words out of 1,875,000 speak of actual instructions, incomplete but authentic instructions.
Only after finding the true method can one guess that the sutta tries to say the same thing.
The road to total Enlightenment employs a varied set of meditative exercises, many of which are used only once. At least, I have counted 34.
Jhanas are the outer door … from there, once found the Wisdom is she who designs these exercises.
Then come the four stages with their respective enjoyments.
It is a process of many months that requires:
1- Full time in a nice and solitary place away from everything.
2- Jhanas
3- Take refuge in oneself. Do not accept a priori anything even from the Buddha or the Suttas.
4- Many desires to learn

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Hi tommit,
Interesting observation:

Can you tell us which 230 words those are?

the corollary of your statement must be an inevitable pessimistic conclusion that without the Buddha to enunciate it the Dhamma is essentially dead and following the written Dhamma is like wandering about in the dark

but in some suttas he actually encourages to study and analyze the Dhamma and even forecasts its longevity long after his death, but of course these words might just be attributions

what would be interesting to find out in order to decide on the validity of your statement is whether or not the start of the oral tradition was coaeval with the Buddha’s lifetime

the fact that the first council had to be convened might indicate that this was the start of it, which fell on the period after his death


the written word might not be the Dhamma but it at least points at its direction and intimates about where to look for it

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Then why do we need the Buddha ? I taught now that there exist a Buddha sansa, we do not need to rediscover the higher teachings about aggregates, elements, sense bases, no-self, dependent origination etc. by ourselves.

I taught there is no need to become silent buddhas by ourselves today. But if you want to take that route, good luck.

Also keep in mind that the jhanas Buddha reached before enlightenment were the hindu jhanas. The buddhist jhanas are reached though another method. The jhanas you think you have reached might very well be the hindu jhanas not the buddhist jhanas witch require real renunciacion to achieve. Check MN 39, MN 107, MN 125

But most important of all is right view. If you do not have right view then you will practice wrongly:

At Savatthı. “Bhikkhus, whether for a layperson or one gone
forth, I do not praise the wrong way. Whether it is a layperson or
one gone forth who is practising wrongly, because of undertaking
the wrong way of practice he does not attain the method,
the Dhamma that is wholesome. And what, bhikkhus, is the
wrong way? It is: wrong view … wrong concentration. This is
called the wrong way. Whether it is a layperson or one gone forth
who is practising wrongly, because of undertaking the wrong
way of practice he does not attain the method, the Dhamma that
is wholesome.

How do you know you are not practicing wrongly, achieving wrong concentration ?

That’s an interesting question indeed.

My working assumption is that everything he did say and do after the fruition of arahantship and the decision to teach was definitely put out with a mind of compassion and generosity. Hence it was so not only for people to remember and keep for posterity but as well to inspire them to investigate and see for themselves.

While this working assumption gives me a reference point, inspiration and motivation to give it a try myself it does not give me the right to make his words mine or an excuse to not make my own effort to see and find out things on my own.

I wonder what could be other working assumptions around this topic and what can people really do and benefit from adopting them! :slight_smile:

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I think we have a good deal of authentic teaching in the suttas. But in some cases the exact form of the discourse probably reflects additions from a student of the Buddha expounding at greater length what the Buddha had taught in brief, or is simply some listener’s best attempt to reconstruct from memory a conversation at which they were present. And then there are all the stylized pericopes filling in gaps with standard repeated speeches. Also, some of the discourses seem to be later scholarly summaries for the benefit of students. It’s hard for me to believe, for example, the Buddha ever taught a discourse like the one in DN listing dozens upon dozens of statements about “what the teaching is not.”

These are actual instructions for attaining the first jhana. Thus, as they are literally, they can not be followed. They only serve to recognize the method after having discovered it for yourself:

And how, monks, does a monk dwell contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body?

Here, monks, a monk who has gone to the wilderness, or has gone to the root of a tree, or has gone to an empty place, sits down. After folding his legs crosswise, setting his body straight, and establishing mindfulness at the front, being very mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

While breathing in long, he knows “I am breathing in long”, or, while breathing out long, he knows “I am breathing out long”; or, while breathing in short, he knows “I am breathing in short”, or, while breathing out short, he knows “I am breathing out short”.

Experiencing the whole body I will breathe in, like this he trains, experiencing the whole body I will breathe out, like this he trains; calming the bodily process I will breathe in, like this he trains, calming the bodily process I will breathe out, like this he trains.

Just as, monks, a clever turner or turner’s apprentice while making a long turn knows “I am making a long turn”, or, while making a short turn knows “I am making a short turn”, just so, monks, a monk while breathing in long, knows “I am breathing in long”, or, while breathing out long, he knows “I am breathing out long”; or, while breathing in short, he knows “I am breathing in short”, or, while breathing out short, he knows “I am breathing out short”.

Experiencing the whole body I will breathe in, like this he trains, experiencing the whole body I will breathe out, like this he trains; calming the bodily process I will breathe in, like this he trains, calming the bodily process I will breathe out, like this he trains.

Thus he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself and in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination in the body, or he dwells contemplating the nature of dissolution in the body, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination and dissolution in the body, or else mindfulness that “there is a body” is established in him just as far as (is necessary for) a full measure of knowledge and a full measure of mindfulness, and he dwells independent, and without being attached to anything in the world.

In this way, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body.

Also, a frustrating aspect of many of the discourse is that they often don’t really explain things. They sometimes just present concise lists or synopses, and the reader has to patch the interpretations together by putting together many pieces from many sources - if even that will help.

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To patch are the jhanas, precisely

Parts of DN are latter additions and the book itself was meant for propaganda. Also, 12 suttas from 152 of MN are very possible latter additions.

Also, a frustrating aspect of many of the discourse is that they often don’t really explain things. They sometimes just present concise lists or synopses, and the reader has to patch the interpretations together by putting together many pieces from many sources - if even that will help.

This is because of the purpose the 3 big volumes have. MN was meant as a beginner book that covers most teachings. SN is the book that contains the higher teachings and is the only one structured in order, that is why it’s called “connected discourses”. AN is not structured in order and is about different other things and clarifications that have not been said in SN or MN.

Have you read MN 39, MN 107, MN 125 ? Do you have any opinions about them ?

They are only descriptions of neurotransmitters: piti is Dopamine, sukkha is Serotonin …
Not an set of instructions

https://buddhistas.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/la-meditacion-correcta-eso-que-nunca-has-hecho/

Automatic translation:

And no wonder.
The Buddha tried to teach his method to reach the jhānas as it is collected in three suttas, very important that if: Mahasatipatthana, Satipatthana (that is a summary of the previous one) and Anapanasati Suttas.
However, the method, although correct, is completely insufficient because it is not complete, it does not explain what it does or what effects it has and, of course, it says nothing of the neurological implications. And even less for what it’s worth.
Thus, hundreds of millions of their Buddhist followers have heard of “meditation on the breath”, which is not in “breathing” at all, and have tried to attain jhānas using their meager method, which is practically impossible.
Thus, for thousands of years, other “masters” have made all sorts of variations, interpretations, imaginative, curious and even delirious of these few instructions. It is not necessary to name anyone, but there is in the market of the spiritual a whole range of “meditations on the breath”. And always with hopeless results.
So what happened happened and the Buddha warned even to the nausea: if the Right Concentration was abandoned, the true Dhamma would be lost forever, as it happened a long time ago.
You will say that there are many Buddhist “schools”, that there are many “masters”, that there are many monasteries, to which I will reply you with the words of the Blessed One: they use beautiful words, words in verse that teach the black Dhamma and with them they drag you to hell.
And there you go: hell walk.
The correct meditation, from now on you will allow me to refer to it as “meditation” because the other is no more than the same warming-up exercise of zafú that is used to corrupt the mind, as the Buddha also said , Tries to reach Altered States of Consciousness, through which to take absolute control of the mind.
And that is only achieved through the use of drugs.
The bad news is that a good part of these drugs can not be introduced into the brain by not crossing the blood-brain barrier. The good news is that all of them are generated by the brain itself and are very good, what the Buddha himself verified when he illuminated as he relates in the

MN 85 - With Prince Bodhi:
"Then, prince, I remembered, 'One day, when my father, from the clan of the sakyas, was working, I was sitting there taking the fresh one under the shade of a tree. There, separated from the desires of the senses, apart from what is harmful, I reached and remained in the first meditative abstraction, in which there is joy and happiness born of isolation and accompanied by ideation and reflection. Could not that be the path to enlightenment? '
"And in the light of that memory I understood: ‘This is the way to enlightenment.’
"Then I thought, ‘Why fear a happiness that has nothing to do with the pleasures of the senses or what is harmful?’
"And I said to myself: ‘I do not fear that happiness that has nothing to do with the pleasures of the senses nor with the harmful’.
"Then, prince, I thought: ‘It is not easy to achieve happiness with a body that has been so exhausted, and if it were to eat something solid, boiled and curdled rice?’
"So I had some solid, boiled and curdled rice. On that occasion I was accompanied by five monks who thought, ‘If the ascetic Gotama attains the Teaching, he will tell us.’
(This episode is very interesting, because serotonin consumes an enormous amount of glucose, and without glucose you can not reach very high doses, in fact, it can produce a hypoglycaemic crisis, and you also need to have high levels of tryptophan).
Meditation is NOT sitting to think.
Meditation IS drugging with your own endogenous drugs. For that is not thought, for that is considered nothing. I just drug you And very much.
In principle through meditation you can generate all the neurotransmitters that the brain uses to alter its functioning.
In my experience, at least eleven can be easily removed:
Dimethyltryptamine, which is a hallucinogen with which you can see colored fractals. In some cases even with the eyes open, but it is not the common thing.
Dopamine, responsible for what you call “pleasure.” Cocaine induces the production of dopamine by crushing the reward center of the brain.
Serotonin, what you call “happiness” and it is what many ignorant think that to produce it continuously is the goal of life. It can occur in overdose of happiness that runs with various adverse symptoms among them convulsions. You have to be careful with her.
Anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid that makes you very happy, so much that you can not stop laughing, similar to tetrahydrocannabinol that is very similar, that’s why marijuana works for you.
Epinephrine, which is an exciting.
Encephalins, which is a group of opiates whose effect is very similar to that of heroin.
All of the above are required simultaneously to achieve the first

SN is the one I had in mind most with respect to the absence of explanations. There are multiple, repeated taxonomies of various phenomena, but few discourses that give deeper accounts of what these taxonomies are about.