SuttaCentral

Unverified and apparent teaching

dhamma
supernatural
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#1

Buddhism isn’t just about the known world. It contains within it some elements which cannot be verified. There’s no guarantee that it will be possible to verify some of these teachings such as rebirth, kamma etc. as some arahanth attain enlightenment without the ability to see rebirth, devas etc (see Susima sutta) SN 12.70: Susīma (English) - Nidāna Saṃyutta - SuttaCentral.

I say that the Buddha doesn’t go to the extreme of creating significant teachings (such as rebirth or devas) out of thin air as it were. He didn’t incorporate myth into the core teachings- the core teachings were verifiable for everyone regardless of whether they were able to sense the ‘mystical’ teachings suggesting that it wasn’t necessary believe/not believe/be agnostic about those more ‘esoteric’ phenomena. It does also seem that the Buddha while seeing more than others (he said he saw a forest but taught a handful of leave- what was necessary for attaining Nibbana) taught these esoteric bits and didn’t seek to leave them out. I believe this is because they had some usefulness in the practice of the Dhamma. If for some people jhanas and supernormal powers were developed then they would be able to see these things for themselves. It seems that when arahanths were able to do this their views were broadly in line with what everyone sees. However I am not talking about the literary inventions of the later texts here.

The Buddha said he thoroughly verified for himself whether there were devas before he even acknowledge they existed. He doesn’t talk about rebirth or kamma before he came to know kamma and rebirth on his own as far as I recall the EBT. It was a personal search so it wasn’t about teaching karma and rebirth to attract more followers. In fact there is a long debate about rebirth in the DN with a member of the laity who simply couldn’t accept rebirth on the say so of monk. I cannot agree that he simply adopted prevalent cultural beliefs, as he was a seeker of the Truth- an empirical ‘scientist’, and completely disregarded Brahma and Atma (Self) the core teachings that were widespread at the time.


#2

What Sariputta said with the Buddha´s approval is that there are there are these three knowledges:

1.10.142recollection of past lives, knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings, and knowledge of the ending of defilements.

That is quite the amazing list. And I do have faith that these three knowledges may be verifiable in this very life even with lack of current experience. I have come to know that the EBTś do have a very good track record for verifiability through personal experience. But I also cannot share that personal verification of anything I’ve read. All elements have to be verified through personal experience. Because of this, the suttas where the Buddha goes into long “proofs” are not as compelling to me. They ultimately all boil down to personal experience and are simply discourses trying to jog people out of habitual thinking.

What I do wish for is somewhat more detail on the “definition” of the mystical unfamiliar in the suttas. For example, is Siri a deva? I somewhat think so–she has multiple bodies but is unified in perception. OK. we have all seen devas then. And I have also heard friends wanting to “become in the machine” (ick).

2.3.31There are sentient beings that are diverse in body and unified in perception, such as the gods reborn in Brahmā’s Group through the first absorption.


#3

Interesting Dhamma talk by Sri Lankan monk in Sinhalese language.
He said that Buddha did not teach Kamma and Rebirth.
He even said four stages of sainthood not the teaching of Buddha.
He also indirectly claims that he attained Nibbana on 1997 and undiscovered the hidden Dhamma for 2600 years!
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=33305


#4

I’d note that in the suttas kamma is described across multiple time scales, some of which are verifiable:

And what is the result of deeds? The result of deeds is threefold, I say: in this very life, on rebirth in the next life, or at some later time.

We can sometimes see the immediate and later results of killing, for example, in the effect it has on one’s mind and how others react to the act. This, of course, doesn’t prove kamma or rebirth is real (especially because sometimes unwholesome deeds are praised and reward)—but it can allow one to apply/extend a principle seen in the present to future moments.


#5

Good point- karma that seems to happen immediately does seem to point to some aspects of kamma that the Buddha seems to be talking about.

You should not listen to such monks!


#6

I am used to Dhamma talks being immersive. Oddly, this talk was not immersive and I found myself preferring silence. His breath is rapid and agitated.


#7

Agree.
But try to understand his message.
I think he is agitated because there are so much wrong teacings out there or there are many teachers without understanding Buddha Dhamma.

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=33375


#8

I am reminded of the Buddhas exhortation regarding mixing with Noble ones, and listening to the true Dhamma, that this supports the development of wisdom, and leads to the extinguishing the 5 hindrances. I’d echo @Mat 's sentiments on this one :slight_smile: Choose wisely .


#9

Well, ok, when this arises, that arises. When I see a chocolate bar I also taste the aftertaste. So yes, he is right, the fading away is in the arising. And it is delusion to only see the arising and grasp after the arising. or to only see the fading away and try to avoid the fading away. The Buddha said as much in MN1 in three words:

Nandī dukkhassa mūlan’ti

I can’t understand his talk directly. Was there something else you wished us to know about?


#10

Not really.
If you understand it you have attained Nibbana.
:smiley:


#11

Yes, the Buddha’s rejection of Atman/Brahman is significant. Though he seems to have retained other elements of pre-Buddhist belief, eg kamma, rebirth, realms and devas.


#12

I wouldn’t say I would call it ‘retained’. His explanations of kamma, rebirth, realms and devas are described significantly differently to that of other religions. I would say that it points to his own discovery of these states, rather than rehashing alternative world views.


#13

Yes however now and then its own discoveries on the divine world seem to meet what’s proposed by other currents of spirituality as the vedic one…Kamaloka king Sakka as Indra (or vice-versa…) for instance…

I suppose it’s about a typing error but if it isn’t allow me to stress that there is a fundamental difference between “Brahma” and “Brahman”. Brahma is a god the Creator one (probably the Mahabrahma of buddhist cosmology?) and together with Vishnou symbolizing Preservation/Duration, and Shiva symbolizing Dissolution, all 3 constitute the hinduist Trimurti ruling the manifest / phenomenon world (curiously this evokes the buddhist "birth, duration and cessation"of every phenomenon…) whilst Brahman equates to “Pure Consciousness” (Vedic-Vedantin) pervading the said manifest world.


#14

Absolutely and personally i can’t envisage any other “mechanism” other than kamma to explain certain happenings in my own life.
One can really feel manomaya kosha presence…subjective of course.


#15

Mahabrahma isn’t a creator god in Buddhist cosmology. He certainly has the most amount of merit. I’m doubting whether vishnu appears in authentic early Buddhist texts.

This might be like Buddha nature of the Mahayana.

what’s manomaya kosha?


#16

It’s the mental/kammic body


#17

Manomaya kosha is from yogic philosophy. What is Manomaya Kosha? - Definition from Yogapedia. Thanks for a new word!


#18

Right, it’s not kosha, it’s “kaya” anyways according sinhala site. Since I do comparative studies I ended confusing kosha with kaya :smirk: … by new word I suppose you are referring to “kammic body” …:wink:

kammic body : like a brook at once adapting itself to the vicissitudes of its bed and/or in search of the best places of passage, with nibanna as its eventual outfall.


#19

the creator Brahma appears inside the Kevuddha Sutta from the Digha Nikaya:

“Monk, I am Brahma, Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful,the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be.”

well he thinks he is the creator of his own realm, and ask him questions about this issue are not proper or polite.


#20

I knew I had read it somewhere in the Suttas…strangely this reminds me of Western Gnostics : the Demiurge or Yahwe who thinks to be the Creator/First Cause of our galaxy which he sees as the whole Cosmos.
Now in Western Gnostics there is a First Cause : the indefinable Godhead.
Of course the Buddha knows better : the Buddha knows that Brahma the “Creator” is but an effect of another cause …