Practical implications of Sarvastivada?

The Sarvāstivāda (Sanskrit; Chinese: 說一切有部; pinyin: Shuō Yīqièyǒu Bù) were an early school of Buddhism that held to the existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future, the “three times”.
The Sarvāstivādins were one of the most influential Buddhist monastic groups, flourishing throughout Northwest India, Northern India, and Central Asia.
Wiki: Sarvastivada - Wikipedia

Does anyone know of any article or book on what were the practical implications of the early Buddhist school named Sarvastivada ?

To what extent the assumption of existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future (the “three times”) meant or not a different approach to the path and its goal?

Also, what were the implications of this assumption on the interpretation of the awakening by the Buddha and his disciples?

Thanks in advance for your answers!

:anjal:

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I am going to look for the quote that I am remembering from Ven @Dhammanando on DhammaWheel.

The implications are actually large for meditators, based on my understanding of what he seemed to say. The Sarvāstivāda believe that you can “hold on” to dharmāḥ and manipulate them, transform them, etc. This leads to later developments in meditational traditions that have a basis in Sarvāstivāda frameworks (like many Tibetan traditions). These traditions have you “hold on” to a certain state, even traditionally considered unskillful, like say anger, and “utilize/transform” it, etc.

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Interesting!
Yes, please share whatever you have got.
It is really hard to find answers from what I have been able to find so far on the web.
Authors usually leap into conclusions and mix their analysis with issues related to labelling and late Mahayana doctrinal aspects.

I am curious to how differently would a sarvastivadin approach for example the formal practice of mindfulness and immersion.

Also, how different would be for example a dhamma talk by a hypothetical sarvastivadin equivalent to an Ajahn Chah? Or maybe a sarvastivadin equivalent to out dear Ajahns @Brahmali and @sujato? :wink:

Can you get the sort of thought experiment I am trying to make here? :slight_smile:

Perhaps we can all look together. Go to Ven @Dhammanando’s profile on DW if you have an account, and try to search his posts for the text “sarvastivada” & “sarvāstivāda” etc.

I am absolutely certain I am remembering a post that exists, but the search function on DW is almost impossible to use. I can almost never use it without the site functionality stopping.

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Yes, better to Google: site:dhammawheel.com dhammanando sarvastivada
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Adhammawheel.com+dhammanando+sarvastivada

I think the post you’re looking for is this one: Sex positive movement - Page 3 - Dhamma Wheel
And see:
Buddhist (& Sarvāstivāda?) Metaphysics - Dhamma Wheel
The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate - Page 13 - Dhamma Wheel
"Two Emptinesses", śūnyatā & anattā - Dhamma Wheel

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Indeed:

Ven Dhammanando: The supposed transformation of passions posited by Tantric Buddhists (as opposed to the abandoning of them taught by the Buddha) is premised upon the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas, i.e. that dharmas are entities that persist through the three periods of time. If they didn’t persist in this way there would be no possibility of grasping hold of a nasty dharma, so to speak, and transforming it into a nice one. However, since the Sarvāstivādin conception of dharmas was soundly refuted by Moggalliputtatissa at the Third Council we may safely dismiss the Vajrayāna’s preaching.

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Don’t see too much. Most of this is drama over a typo by me, thinking that a character was in a text when it was not, I find my mistake at the end of the thread. And I didn’t know as much when I started it. I thought that the 3 times doctrine had something to do with time not existing or something sophomoric like that.

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Einstein believed that the 3 times existed simultaneously i.e. past and future exist and are as real as what we call the present. He believed it is our limited capacity to perceive the nature of reality that limits our experience to the present. One implication of the reality of the 3-times may be an ability to ‘remember’ the future instead of predicting it. This would be an alternative explanation for the iddhi of precognition. Actually ‘seeing’ future events before they have taken place in the narrow window of time we are normally confined to. It would also mean that any attainments that are realised on the path are already existing - in the future. What we call cause an effect is just an optical-delusion of consciousness - a limited ability to ‘see’ clearly. I think the philosopher: Hume, also questioned what we call ‘cause and effect’. My philosophy teacher at University believed that Hume’s analyses was irrefutable.

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This is my understanding , sarvastivada realism establishment was based on four different argument . First , in accordance to the sutta where the truthfulness and correctness of the words of the Buddha about proclamation of the three life ie past present future life reality , secondly based on the epistemological reality that two conditions give rise to consciousness . Thirdly is based on the ontological reality of external existence nature where the consciousness existence relying on the realm . The fourth is based on the Buddhism kamma causation principle.

My understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity (obtained from textbooks) is not consistent with this statement, but that may be due to my misunderstanding - I am not a physicist or philosopher. Do you have quotes of Einstein that support the view you ascribe to him?

Just a reminder, the idea of this topic is to discuss the practical implications of the sarvastivada’s assumption.

To what extent the assumption of existence of all dharmas in the past, present and future (the “three times”) meant or not a different approach to the path and its goal?

Also, what were the implications of this assumption on the interpretation of the awakening by the Buddha and his disciples?

How differently would a sarvastivadin approach for example the formal practice of mindfulness and immersion.

Also, how different would be for example a dhamma talk by a hypothetical sarvastivadin equivalent to an Ajahn Chah? Or maybe a sarvastivadin equivalent to out dear Ajahns @Brahmali and @sujato? :wink:

Can you get the sort of thought experiment I am trying to make here? :slight_smile:

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Here is a quote from Ajahn Chah (I am assuming my source is correct Ajahn Chah Quotes (Author of Food for the Heart))

“But when I know that the glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”

It seems to me that this does not quite fit with the sarvastivadin approach (in regard to the “preciousness” of the present experience), although I don’t understand sarvastivadin well enough to offer a substitute.

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Has anyone got any idea of whether Sarvastivadins would see the topics of death and rebirth in any way different that Theravadins? If so, how differently?

They had an antarabhāva (bardo) afaik. That’s one thing.

But to them experience time still flows from past to future , right? They didn’t believe rebirth could take place in the past, right!? :sweat:

The usual quote that gets thrown around is that all dharmāḥ allegedly persist through the three times. Nothing about them working backwards.

I don’t actually know what them persisting through those times is supposed to mean though, or how they are supposed to persist.

Someone actually messaged me on DharmaWheel recently with the same question about the Sarvāstivāda, assuming I would know, I had to tell them that all I had was random quotes like “persistent through the three times”, and no clue what it meant.

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Yeah, it is really unclear what it all meant and how much those standpoints changed the approach to the path, right view, etc