On titles and locations

I agree to a point.

For astute people with wisdom that is enough. But for people for example who are more drawn to mythology than to actual Dhamma MN and SN have plenty of questionable stuff that could still lead them astray (to say nothing of DN).

But my experience is that in practice, at least in Asia, most people don’t read the suttas, since they seem to expect that all the teachings should come directly from the monks, who are not always into sutta-based talks.

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Speaking of Analayo, I was listening to a talk of his “respecting other traditions” and he pointed out we need to look at other traditions with a historical and geographical perspective. And that just seems dangerous to me if the traditions are coming from an entirely different canon. I can never wrap my mind around this point. And it’s rarely pointed out. Didn’t he specifically teach that he did not use esoteric methods. And that the true Dhamma would be corrupted do to the law of impermanence?

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What danger can there be?

Contradictory teachings…. It’s like if a monotheist studied the Tanakh, the Christian Bible, and the Koran simultaneously. Same god although they may disagree) and 3 differing doctrines

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That’s not necessarily a problem

Then where did you draw a line. If studying numerous traditions. Do you go outside Buddhism’s 3 majors? Can we learn from Mormon teaching? Not trying to be argumentative I’m senserely here to learn

If you have yoniso manasikara (fruitful attention) you can learn from many different sources. But only the true Buddha’s teaching points to the ultimate cessation of suffering.

In any case, when another tradition helps us understand what was the Buddha’s teaching and what has been falsely attributed to him, giving it fruitful attention may prove useful.

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Absolutely, we’ll put.
I myself have brought inspiration previously learned in Christianity and New Age (of all things) into my practice. I even listen to Tzem Rinpoche mainly because he is hilarious . But he’s actually taught me a thing or two about my own practice that I consider to be Pali centric. And he’s Tibetan. And just an interesting side note while on the subject of other traditions, although I know it’s no where in the Suttas that I’m aware of I could swear I’ve had a Dhamma protector encounter before. As I’m sure you know that’s a very Tibetan idea.

There’s a few suttas of what I call “signpost” suttas which teach you how to discern true dhamma from false dhamma.

Gotami sutta is one

"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome’: You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher’s instruction

and another

Upāli, you might know that certain things don’t lead solely to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. You should definitely bear in mind that such things are not the teaching, not the training, and not the Teacher’s instructions. You might know that certain things do lead solely to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. You should definitely bear in mind that such things are the teaching, the training, and the Teacher’s instructions.”

And also you don’t need to rely entirely on texts to begin with if you have Supermundane right view:

Please, Bhaddiya, don’t go by oral transmission, don’t go by lineage, don’t go by testament, don’t go by canonical authority, don’t rely on logic, don’t rely on inference, don’t go by reasoned contemplation, don’t go by the acceptance of a view after consideration, don’t go by the appearance of competence, and don’t think ‘The ascetic is our respected teacher.’ But when you know for yourselves: ‘These things are unskillful, blameworthy, criticized by sensible people, and when you undertake them, they lead to harm and suffering’, then you should give them up.

The sutta then goes into a talk about the 3 poisons.

This is basically the core dhamma right there, seeing the 3 poisons manifest and putting an end to them.

You can put an end to greed by using the preception of dispassion (i.e. the drawbacks anicca, dukkha, anatta) against a perception of passion (craving).

If you want to understand the core dhamma, which is that of giving up craving to stop suffering, then the 4 nikayas are sufficient.

Keep in mind, you’re not always going to have good memory or access to the texts, so it’s best to focus on what makes the dhamma unique, why is it different than everything else, what is the subtle and hard to see teaching. What makes one an Ariya? What is Supermundane right view? What is visible “here and now”?

And to start you off,

  • Giving up the identity view fetter means not assuming the 5 aggregates to be the self
  • A being or self is actually the 3 poisons (satta sutta)
  • The dhamma being visible here and now means seeing the 3 poisons (AN 6.47)
  • The dhamma being unique means the noble truths and dependent origination
  • All of the above combined is Supermundane right view, which basically means unwholesome actions, thoughts, and intentions are born of the 3 poisons, not some ambiguous self, and this unwholesomeness is suffering, and how this unwholesomeness manifests as suffering is dependent origination, and the way to put an end to it is the noble eightfold path, and once again this all visible here and now, not “there and later” as in some future life.
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Hello! I have been summoned as a “monastic who uses the agamas!”

Anyway…to explain myself. :thinking:

All educated Chinese speakers can read the language of the agamas, more or less. I’m not working seriously with these texts like @cdpatton. I am still impressed with myself when I do little things like remembering to use the correct monastic opening and sign offs in Chinese email, bahaha.

In respect of EBT matters, it’s probably better to ask Bhante Sujato. He has published in this area.

P.S. As of recently, I no longer do translation for this site, I have moved on to other things. While I am not precisely sure what some of those things are yet, I am currently just appreciating the opportunity to be fully present for Mettarama as the monastery grows up.


Chinese Buddhism in ancient times didn’t have a school that used the Agamas are their primary scriptures. There were schools of Buddhism in Central Asia like the Dharmaguptakas who accepted some Mahayana texts like the Prajnaparamita Sutras, and they were the main influence on Chinese Buddhism until Chinese monks started traveling to India. So, yes, it was possible to study both EBTs and Mahayana texts. There was a time when it wasn’t a black-and-white ideological divide like what exists today.