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Thread: Discussion on Right View

  1. #1

    Discussion on Right View

    Hello friends,

    Having spent some time discussing the Four Noble Truths (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3801), as well as their interpretations and applications, I am setting up this topic for discussion of the first aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path--Right View. The two readings for this subject provide (to me) an interesting contrast between the practice of an Arahant vs. a full Buddha's practice.

    Please find below both a translation of the K?ty?yana Gotra S?tra from the ?gamas, as well as an excerpt from the Sammaditthi Sutta, wherein the Buddha and Ven. Sariputta respectively expound on Right View. As the Pali Sutta is rather long and of a repetitive nature (as Matt has kindly pointed out in a different thread), I have abridged it to the first iteration, and added the subjects of the later iterations of Ven. Sariputta's discourse.


    Sammaditthi Sutta: Right View
    translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Sariputta addressed the monks, "Friends!"

    "Yes, friend," the monks responded.

    Ven. Sariputta said, "'Right view, right view' it is said.[1] To what extent is a disciple of the noble ones a person of right view, one whose view is made straight, who is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma, and who has arrived at this true Dhamma?"

    "We would come from a long distance, friend, to learn the meaning of these words in Ven. Sariputta's presence. It would be good if Ven. Sariputta himself would enlighten us as to their meaning. Having listened to him, the monks will bear it in mind."

    "Then in that case, friends, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

    "As you say, friend," the monks responded.

    Skillful & unskillful

    Ven. Sariputta said, "When a disciple of the noble ones discerns what is unskillful, discerns the root of what is unskillful, discerns what is skillful, and discerns the root of what is skillful, it is to that extent that he is a person of right view, one whose view is made straight, who is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma, and who has arrived at this true Dhamma.

    Now what is unskillful? Taking life is unskillful, taking what is not given... sexual misconduct... lying... abusive speech... divisive tale-bearing... idle chatter is unskillful. Covetousness... ill will... wrong views are unskillful. These things are termed unskillful.

    And what are the roots of what is unskillful? Greed is a root of what is unskillful, aversion is a root of what is unskillful, delusion is a root of what is unskillful. These are termed the roots of what is unskillful.

    And what is skillful? Abstaining from taking life is skillful, abstaining from taking what is not given... from sexual misconduct... from lying... from abusive speech... from divisive tale-bearing... abstaining from idle chatter is skillful. Lack of covetousness... lack of ill will... right views are skillful. These things are termed skillful.

    And what are the roots of what is skillful? Lack of greed is a root of what is skillful, lack of aversion is a root of what is skillful, lack of delusion is a root of what is skillful. These are termed the roots of what is skillful.

    "When a disciple of the noble ones discerns what is unskillful in this way, discerns the root of what is unskillful in this way, discerns what is skillful in this way, and discerns the root of what is skillful in this way, when — having entirely abandoned passion-obsession, having abolished aversion-obsession, having uprooted the view-&-conceit obsession 'I am'; having abandoned ignorance & given rise to clear knowing — he has put an end to suffering & stress right in the here-&-now, it is to this extent that a disciple of the noble ones is a person of right view, one whose view is made straight, who is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma, and who has arrived at this true Dhamma."

    Same basic exposition for: Nutriment, Stress, Aging & Death, Birth, Becoming, Clinging, Craving, Feeling, Contact, Sense Media, Name-and-Form, Consciousness, Fabrication, Ignorance, and Fermentation. Lines of inquiry are changed for each subject. -- from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    K?ty?yana Gotra S?tra
    Sa?yukta ?gama 301
    Translated from Taish? Tripi?aka volume 2, number 99
    Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was dwelling in the village of N?dika, at a residency deep in the forest. At that time, K?ty?yana Gotra approached the place of the Buddha. Bowing his head at the feet of the Buddha, he then withdrew to one side, and addressed the Buddha, saying: “Bhagav?n, as the Bhagav?n speaks of right view, what is right view? What does the Bhagav?n establish as the right view?”

    The Buddha told K?ty?yana Gotra, “The worldly have two kinds of support to which they grasp and adhere: existence and non-existence. This grasping and adhering is either supported by existence or supported by non-existence. Suppose one is without this grasping, not grasping at a mental realm which causes suffering, not dwelling, and not discerning a self. When suffering arises, it arises, and when suffering ends, it ends. He regards these without doubt and without confusion, and then without these, he has self-realization. This is called the right view, and what the Tath?gata establishes as the right view. Why is this so? One who sees the arising of the world, is not one who holds to its non-existence. One who sees elimination of the world, is not one who holds to its existence. This is called freedom from the Two Extremes, which is spoken of as the Middle Path. That is to say, this existence is the cause of that existence, and this arising is the cause of that arising. These are caused by ignorance, including even the entire arising of the pure mass of suffering. When ignorance ends, then from this comes the end of such actions, including even the end of the pure mass of suffering.
    After the Buddha had spoken this s?tra, Venerable K?ty?yana Gotra heard what the Buddha had truly said. Not giving rise to outflows, his mind obtained liberation, and he attained arhatship. -- from http://www.lapislazulitexts.com/T02_009 ... sutra.html
    So, Ven. Sariputta, as an Arahant teaches that taking the precepts, investigation and understanding of the beginning and ending (i.e., transient nature) of all phenomena is practicing Right View.

    The Buddha seems to be suggesting that Right View is not grasping at existence or non-existence (clinging and aversion) for phenomena, but rather seeing them as they are at any point with no clinging. This to me reeks of Shikantaza.

    Additionally, the Buddha defines the Middle Path as neither clinging to the world coming or going. Simply letting go of this clinging is Right View and, coincidentally, Awakening.

    Metta,

    Saijun

    EDIT: Upon reading the Chinese Sutra a second time, am I the only one who can hear the Heart Sutra murmuring through it?

  2. #2

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Hi Saijun,

    Here is an interpretation of 'Right View' that was part of our 'Buddha-Basics' series on “The Noble Eightfold Path.”

    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2939

    But, I do not see any real 'conflict' between the various perspective(s) offered. It is much as we were talking about on another thread today ...

    the Buddha was preaching to different people, in different circumstances with varying needs, and thus the content can vary quite a bit ... even within the pages of the same Sutta/Sutra. Rather like cookbooks, there is no one right way to make a delicious tomato soup! Different cooks and different tastes, but the same delicious tomato at heart!

    So, the later writer seems to emphasize the medicine of 'emptiness' a bit more, of seeing through and seeing shining right through the dichotomies such as existence/non-existence and the like. But this is all a way to taste the freedom expressed in the older writing ... being free of "Greed ... aversion ... delusion" and all else that is "unskillful". That is precisely what the 'medicine' of emptiness allows one to do.

    No conflict there, and all ways of expressing the Tomato of tomato soup!

    In fact, all the Buddhist teachings come alive in this way, as in the 'Buddha-Basics' posting:

    'Right View' ... is to study and to come to understand the world through fundamental Buddhist perspectives and philosophies, and to make those ways of seeing a natural part of one’s life. The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, The Precepts, Impermanence, the Middle Way, Non-existence of the “self,” Cause and Effect, Dependent Co-Origination, Buddhist views on time, life and death, the workings of the senses and mind… the words and insights of the Buddha and later teachers… the list goes on… Our Zazen Practice brings life to these doctrines, while each doctrine helps give shape and meaning to our Zazen.
    All the same soup!

    Gassho, J

  3. #3

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Well, I don't have much to say on this one. To me it's always been pretty basic. Orient yourself correctly. Actually, I like to use a visual metaphor for this as well. I envision myself at the center of a compass. There are infinite paths to choose (religions/philosophy). Choose the "right" one, and the path is the most rewarding. So Right View would be finding the proper compass direction with which to orient oneself, then setting off on that path.

    In our case, the "right" one is the Soto school of Zen Buddhism. "Right" is subjective of course. Actually I prefer the word "Wise" instead of "Right," as "Right" implies some sort of judgment. REally, it's about what is "wise" for each individual. So I always mentally substititute "wise" for "right" when reading about the Eightfold Path.

    Gassho,
    Matt

  4. #4

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Matt,

    It may appear to be blunt ...
    Your take has a delicious yet quite school-like perspective.
    Wise for right, no.
    Our tradition is a tradition of non-duality.
    Your explanation of right view is clearly still a very dual one.

    So I always mentally substititute "wise" for "right" when reading about the Eightfold Path.
    Please, don' mentally do anything here, live the Eightfold path and allow thoughts to arise from that experience. Not a single thought will take you through the gate.

    I quite like your hint of direction though.


    gassho

    Taigu

  5. #5

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    When we look or observe something, we are doing two things. We are seeing, and we are analyzing, making up stories about what we see, comparing it to others things that have happened similar on we go on and on to the point that we are no longer seeing what is in front of us, we are merely seeing our idea of what is in front of us. To me Right View means; to see, perceive and take in what the world gives you, as is, without the constant mental commentary. To see the actual reality of things instead of our idea of the reality of things...

    Just some ramblings from my end...

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  6. #6

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Very close, Seiryu, IMHO.
    The thing is not even to take in, in that case: back to square one.
    The right view arises from the reality experienced as undivided, not ne here and you there and so forth...
    The pair of opposites have collapsed. Not picking up and choosing as the Shin Jin Mei (Faith mind poem) states.
    I am sure it will be great fun chat this summer.

    gassho

    Taigu

  7. #7
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    When we look or observe something, we are doing two things. We are seeing, and we are analyzing, making up stories about what we see, comparing it to others things that have happened similar on we go on and on to the point that we are no longer seeing what is in front of us, we are merely seeing our idea of what is in front of us. To me Right View means; to see, perceive and take in what the world gives you, as is, without the constant mental commentary. To see the actual reality of things instead of our idea of the reality of things...

    Just some ramblings from my end...

    Gassho

    Seiryu
    Maybe to see 'things' as both 'things' and 'not-things' and to see our commentary about these things without solidifying it into an identity that must choose sides. We pull the weeds even though we see there is nothing wrong with weeds being weeds.

    At some times in our lives, informed by our compassion or even just our basic physical needs, we must perform tasks. The very next moment may require that we do a seemingly contradictory task and it will be very hard to do that if we've created an identity about any of it. For instance, I do the job 'nursing' now. It could chance to happen though, that my ability to remain a nurse is somehow threatened or blocked off to me. If I cling to the thought, 'I am a nurse' even as my ability to do that as a job is ended, I will suffer and not be able to easily do 'whatever comes next'.

    Hence, I would say that Right View is a recognition that each moment's action or non-action is a function of conditions, not a function of our ego or its clinging.

    But perhaps I am very wrong.

    *gassho*

    Chet

  8. #8

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    To me, Right View is the View that is unobstructed. Obstructions can happen at any and every stage of "seeing". Sometimes the obstruction is physical, sometimes mental, perseptional, egotistical, societal, etc. Probably I would venture that if you are making a judgement on the nature of whatever you are "viewing" then this is a diversion from Right View. To "view" something and realize its essential nature, appreciate it for being wholly what-it-is, and not becoming attached to it, this to me is Right View. It is also important to view whatever you are viewing as being "empty", but in this sense I think of "emptiness" simply as being empty of the expectations, or misconceptions we have about the object, person, situation, feeling, etc. in question. Right View, is that view which allows me to "see" most clearly, most free from hinderance.

  9. #9

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Hello friends,

    You know, I've never been *really* clear about Right View. Accepting the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, fine. But there's always been...more...to it, or so I've suspected. Perhaps it's just seeing "things as it is," to quote Rev. Suzuki. Gradually, I'm coming to a place where even more-so, it's not knowing, not having a View (big V) to cling to. A mind, like a mirror, simply reflecting what is without judgment.

    As Rev. Taigu has kindly referenced the Faith Mind Poem...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tseng Ts'an
    Illusions, flowers in the air--
    Why try to grasp them?
    Wink, lose, right, wrong--
    Put it all down!
    Metta,

    Saijun

  10. #10

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Matt,

    It may appear to be blunt ...
    Blunt is good! I don't need to be coddled

    Wise for right, no.
    What is the meaning of "right"? I thought it implies "correct"... I don't know.

    Our tradition is a tradition of non-duality.
    Your explanation of right view is clearly still a very dual one.
    Can you explain this more? If there is "right view", is there also not "wrong view"? Isn't the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path inherently dual? That is, you must choose a path, and choice implies duality.

    I am more confused now!

    Gassho,
    Matt

  11. #11

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Matt,

    It may appear to be blunt ...
    Blunt is good! I don't need to be coddled

    Wise for right, no.
    What is the meaning of "right"? I thought it implies "correct"... I don't know.

    Our tradition is a tradition of non-duality.
    Your explanation of right view is clearly still a very dual one.
    Can you explain this more? If there is "right view", is there also not "wrong view"? Isn't the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path inherently dual? That is, you must choose a path, and choice implies duality.

    I am more confused now!

    Gassho,
    Matt
    The Buddha knew very well that the moment he opened his mouth to teach it would cause all sorts of problems. Since we do not see clearly we must choose a path, but since what we seek is something we are all born with, our birth right, there is no path to give us that. We just have to realize that.

    Although, me be very dualistic I really have no idea about any of this.

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  12. #12
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Matt,

    It may appear to be blunt ...
    Blunt is good! I don't need to be coddled

    Wise for right, no.
    What is the meaning of "right"? I thought it implies "correct"... I don't know.

    Our tradition is a tradition of non-duality.
    Your explanation of right view is clearly still a very dual one.
    Can you explain this more? If there is "right view", is there also not "wrong view"? Isn't the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path inherently dual? That is, you must choose a path, and choice implies duality.

    I am more confused now!

    Gassho,
    Matt
    The Buddha knew very well that the moment he opened his mouth to teach it would cause all sorts of problems.
    It's not the Buddha's teaching that causes the problems, it's one's mind - in which case, there already are problems. IMHO.

  13. #13

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    If there is "right view", is there also not "wrong view"?
    Was wondering that myself the other day. Best I can figure is that if one dedicated his (or her) whole life to locate the solution to the problem of "suffering", then once he saw "it", understood "it", was able to apply "it", and eventually had to attempt to explain "it"; calling it "maybe view" or "somewhat OK view" just wouldn't work.

    I suppose "right" denotes a sense of certainty from seeing the principle in action or perhaps through action rather than being an opposition to something that is "not-right".

    That's just a "maybe" view though.

    ~Rod

  14. #14

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Another take on what Seiryu was saying, the Buddha wanted to explain to others something that only he completely understood. Once the Dharma was translated into human words, the limitation of human vocabulary started to confuse people. Only when others came to a more complete understanding did they realize the non-duality of what they previously thought of as dual.

  15. #15

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Hi Matt,

    What is generally translated by right ( as opposed to wrong) comes from a Sanskrit word which means one with. Of course, one way to look at it is that we have to make a good choice, a choice that benefits ourselves and the world. This understanding is absolutely fine until you realize that you are not facing here a list of things that should be done and how they should be done, but the very flowers of sitting itself. This path cannot be seperated from sitting. Zen literature and poetry are filled with this direction of not choosing, not picking, but living the truth from practice itself.
    Of course you may stick to this previous understanding, the relative side of the coin as opposed to the absolute which I am refering to. What I simply want to emphazise is that one should be very careful not to boil this reality down to a set of rules and principles.

    Of course i make choices, but I tend not to make choices out of this mental twisted map of the world but to let them arise from the space of as-it-isness. First thought, best thought as Trungpa used to put it.

    Glad to know you are confused , simply because when we tend to think we understand , we feel that everything is clear : that is exactly where confusion lives.


    gassho


    Taigu

  16. #16

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Can you explain this more? If there is "right view", is there also not "wrong view"? Isn't the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path inherently dual? That is, you must choose a path, and choice implies duality.
    Oh, I think there is most clearly "wrong views" ... meaning views driven by greed, anger, ignorance (and their subsets such as division, jealously, bigotry, addiction, attachment and clinging and excess and the like).

    Our way is not "dualistic", for "All paths on the mountain are just the mountain" ...

    nonetheless, some lead off a cliff or into the poison ivy! :shock:

    Gassho, J

  17. #17

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi Matt,

    What is generally translated by right ( as opposed to wrong) comes from a Sanskrit word which means one with.
    Ah... that helps!

    Of course, one way to look at it is that we have to make a good choice, a choice that benefits ourselves and the world. This understanding is absolutely fine until you realize that you are not facing here a list of things that should be done and how they should be done, but the very flowers of sitting itself...What I simply want to emphazise is that one should be very careful not to boil this reality down to a set of rules and principles.
    I see what you mean now. Thank you very much for the further commentary!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Our way is not "dualistic", for "All paths on the mountain are just the mountain" ...

    nonetheless, some lead off a cliff or into the poison ivy!
    Ha! I see what you mean. But then I start overthinking it and suddenly it no longer makes sense. Think less, sit more...maybe I should adopt that as my mantra

    Gassho,
    Matt

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion on Right View

    then I start overthinking it and suddenly it no longer makes sense
    Ah, the demon "Thinking" :shock:


  19. #19

    Re: Discussion on Right View

    Glad it helps, Matt.
    Yes, practice first, think after. the opposite of what is taught at school...

    gassho


    Taigu

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