Secular buddhism align with early texts?

And that is perfectly valid and sensible. The difference though is that the suttas are presenting this information as directly visible. If we do not see it, the conclusion is not “it must therefore be otherwise” but rather “I do not yet see this for myself.”

The Buddha had specific meaning in mind when he used words, and the context/richness of this becomes clear from the early texts as a whole. If we then want to re-arrange them, it is not the word of the Buddha but the word of our own opinions that we based off of his quotes.

Always good to have people thinking outside of the box and questioning things for themselves :slight_smile: I don’t mean to push a textual authority as necessarily true on you if you do not feel the basis is there for you to make that assumption. I’m just emphasizing textual authenticity in the sense of understanding it rather than bending it. This is the same difference between people who say ‘the Buddha didn’t teach rebirth’ and those who say ‘we practice a modified version of Buddhism without rebirth to fit our needs.’ (Not that you have held either of these positions; it is only an analogy).


1 Like

No one has done that though.

The difference is that you and others are using the suttas to justify your belief in something, which I never said is a wrong belief. I never said it’s wrong for Puthujjanas to have mundane right view. I am using the suttas to justify my lack of belief in something, which dogmatic people take issue with. Their issue is a sign of their own craving.

And I never said you did. Rather I demonstrated that you have misunderstood the application of the term mundane and the context of rebirth in the Buddha’s teaching, the partial reasoning behind you

which is the ‘bending.’

I specified in my post that there is no issue in you not believing in something as well, nor is there issue with the justification of the Kālāma S. etc. to be agnostic about rebirth and the like. It’s your other assertions and forms of justification which incorrectly render the text to perform a personalized function.

People seem to take offence to the fact that rebirth is treated this way in the suttas, and then claim that ‘dogmatists’ are trying to force them to believe it or are upset that they are agnostic when they present the information already in the texts. But this is a straw-man and untrue; if this were actually happening it would be unfortunate and I would not agree with it. I think it must boil down to a lack of faith in the Buddha and instead a trust in much later commentators who have changed the message, especially in the West, and made people believe the suttas say otherwise.


You posited your own interpretation, which is your own “personalization of the suttas”, it doesn’t mean it’s true or “demonstrated”. You disagreeing with something doesn’t make it right, and the same goes for me. The difference is, is that my perspective and interpretation doesn’t lead to conflict with others, but yours does. I say you’re warranted in your own interpretation, you’re not warranted in determining for me mine. Sure, we can hash it out, debate it, have different people take sides, etc… at the end of the day, you’re going to be barbed by other people’s interpretation, and I’m not, and that’s the power of agnosticism, not being dogmatic, and sticking to what you know for yourself, and this is what I believe the Buddha means in the suttas where he is against monks saying “Only my view is correct”.

1 Like

How so? I’ve said your understanding and practice is perfectly fine, but that your interpretation of the suttas’ attitude towards rebirth is, as I understand it, flawed and demonstrably so. This assertion is not the same as saying “Only my interpretation is right;” I may have several interpretations up to debate. It simply demarcates that X is untrue. Moreover, we are both in a conversation about our individual interpretations: to claim that somehow ‘mine’ leads to ‘conflict’ and yours does not does not make sense. You’ve characterized my interpretation as violent, thereby villianizing it and passed all blame to me for instigating this apparent violence by respectfully responding with my understanding. On the other hand, you have tossed words like ‘putthujjana’ around in association with the views about rebirth which is potentially combative considering the connotations of the term in the suttas; I’ve left that alone and addressed the core of your statements instead. In my opinion, these are all examples of what you mentioned earlier as a thorn to good conversation: illogical argumentation.

Either way, I cannot nor do I want to force you to believe anything—which I also clarified. Someone can claim the suttas teach sensuality is not actually a problem for the path and that it doesn’t need to be given up; sometimes things are wrong, and it isn’t dogmatic to claim otherwise and try and demonstrate that respectfully. I think your practice and reasoning makes perfect sense and I don’t find it unwholesome or offensive in any way as far as cultivating a wholesome mind and being agnostic is concerned, let alone something to fight.

Best of luck with your practice, friend :slight_smile:


Then Anathapindika the householder went to where the wanderers of other persuasions were staying. On arrival he greeted them courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the wanderers said to him, “Tell us, householder, what views Gotama the contemplative has.”

“Venerable sirs, I don’t know entirely what views the Blessed One has.”

“Well, well. So you don’t know entirely what views Gotama the contemplative has. Then tell us what views the monks have.”

“I don’t even know entirely what views the monks have.”

“So you don’t know entirely what views Gotama the contemplative has or even that the monks have. Then tell us what views you have.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have. But please let the venerable ones expound each in line with his position, and then it won’t be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have.”

<Wanderers all say their views, you can insert your view here as well>

When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, “As for the venerable one who says, ‘The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have,’ his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress.”(Similarly for the other positions.)

So in short, regardless of what your view regarding rebirth is, it’s mundane, you should transcend it, and see it as impermanent and stressful.

Good luck!

1 Like

Please correct me if I misunderstand.

Is the text saying that having any - ultimate dualistic views is stressful?

No, it’s because the view isn’t born out of direct experience nor proper attention, and thus the view is born and maintained out of craving.

his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated.

If your view is born out of the words of another and/or improper attention, then it is not meta/transcendent/Supermundane enough to escape craving, thus suffering must ensue.

1 Like

thank you for your help, all the best! :pray:t2:

1 Like

Interesting how you’ve characterized my view (“there is this world and the other world; the Buddha did teach this was directly realizable”) as the same as the views which are the undeclared points that the Buddha refused to answer—the ones mentioned in this sutta, and how you group it with the people who say “only this is true” when all I’ve said is that this is what the suttas say not that it is true and you must agree to it. Note you’ve also implicitly deemed me as not having realized any of the views I hold for myself throughout this conversation.

You as well, friend.

I’ll be disengaging now :slight_smile:

Hi Kaccayanagotta. I doubt any of us can speak for the Buddha.

Its OK. The above is not occurring. Back to topic! :smiley:

The above is certainly an interesting idea. Where exactly did the Buddha did teach this was directly realizable? If this is referring to MN 117, it is interesting how this view is said to be accompanied by defilements, has the attributes of good deeds and ripens in attachment. :saluting_face: :thinking:

It seems Sariputta said, in the abiding of cessation of bhava, perception of that abiding can arise & cease.

My impression is Iti 44, due its use of terms not found in the numerous predominating stock suttas, may cause confusion rather than clarity.

If we research the Iti 44 term “bhavanetti”, while defined in a token SN sutta, it seems to predominate in a genre of suttas, such as the Thag, Thi Ap, mythology such as Angulimala, etc, therefore probably had the token late sutta inserted into the SN to Radha to define the term.

SN 23.3, similar to SN 23.2 about the term “satta” (“a being”), says:

Rādha, any desire, greed, relishing, and craving for form, feelings; perceptions; mental formations; consciousness; and any attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendencies— this is called the bhavanetti.

SN 23.3

I think we must keep in mind there are only three types of bhava in Dependent Origination & the suttas clearly say Arahants cannot be classified as any of these types of bhava.

  • sensual bhava
  • form bhava
  • formless bhava

Therefore, since SN 23.3 says the “bhavanetti” is simply ignorance (underlying tendencies), craving & attachment, it seems when the “bhavanetti” per Iti 44 is destroyed, any bhava that can be called “sensual”, “form” or “formless” is destroyed because both dependent origination and suttas such as AN 3.76 say these three types of bhava are produced by craving & attachment.

It follows it seems it remains unclear what Iti 44 is inferring with the use of the term “all bhava”. Since attachment is the condition for sensual, form & formless bhava; these three bhava must be destroyed in the Nibbana with residue. In other words, are there types of “bhava” in addition to the three bhava? :thinking:

In conclusion, the frequency & places of use of “bhavanetti” in the suttas seems to suggest Iti 44 is possibly a late sutta.

There are countless suttas that refer to the cessation of bhava therefore the ‘nibbana without residue’ in Iti 44 seems unrelated to these countless suttas. In other words, Iti 44 seems to not “clarify” anything but, instead, seems to be creating confusion. :no_mouth:

Again, it seems “nirujjhanti bhavāni sabbaso” in Iti 44 does not necessarily mean the “bhavanirodha” referred to in say MN 9. To correlate Iti 44 with MN 9 seems unsubstantiated and tenuous.

I have never read the suttas equate “bhava” with “life”. In fact, MN 121 refers to an absence of bhava with life (jivata) remaining, as follows:

‘ye assu darathā kāmāsavaṁ paṭicca tedha na santi, ye assu darathā bhavāsavaṁ paṭicca tedha na santi, ye assu darathā avijjāsavaṁ paṭicca tedha na santi, atthi cevāyaṁ darathamattā yadidaṁ— imameva kāyaṁ paṭicca saḷāyatanikaṁ jīvitapaccayā’ti.

MN 121

While the word “bhava” is used in many ways in the suttas, in relation to what we are discussing, “bhava” seems to primarily be an “asava”. AN 3.76 in particular says “bhava” is consciousness “established” via ignorance & craving in a sensual, material or immaterial element. Obviously, in one lifetime, all of the above three establishments can occur.

But “bhava” is a “defilement” (“asava”). Many suttas say the Arahants have ended the asava of bhava. :dizzy:

Tayome, āvuso, āsavā— kāmāsavo, bhavāsavo, avijjāsavo.

MN 9