Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nothing in the universe to everything in the universe


Dear Ko Moe,

What I am arguing is when you are at the second level of epistemology, I think insight into the third level is not that very far for a mature western social scientist who has been thoroughly searching himself and the purpose of life. As I enlightened the third non-dual awareness in meditation at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, anybody who takes the shade of a tree or a quiet place can also enlighten in the same way because we can never underestimate the unleashed potential and infinite prospect of human beings.

Let's do it in logic. It has been so long straddling years to be believed that no Pyitt Sa Ka Bodhi enlightenment can appear during the live period of Buddha’s Sarsana. If this saying had been true, any enlightenment must have been derived exclusively pure from the teaching of Buddha. But if you review Tripitika, the eight jana practices are that of Hinduism and Buddha always encouraged people to practice these steps. Apparently as he was not the founder of Hinduism, he was a person who could merely encourage these practices that have been established over thousands of years before his enlightenment. In this sense, for many of the people, these practices are unavoidable stepping stones to Nirvana Enlightenment. When you complete the Eighth step of Hindu janas, the one you need is just to drop off your identity. According to my memory, there are also very few western philosophers who deny the existence of I. As if a tailor who has a very good eye in sewing could seam different portraits to be enlivened on a single backdrop, a Hindu philosopher who accepted the non-existence of I, being zealous in finding himself by his traditional religious jana practices will also get the enlightenment of Nirvana in Buddhism.

Assuming this hypothetical case. a Hindu philosopher who suspects the existence of I can practice these Jana steps and can ultimately get insight into enlightenment of emptiness. I would also like to suggest you to understand first the interconnectedness of Sila, Samadhi and Pynnya, three attributes for self-development in Theravada Buddhism.
The simple and conventional wisdom will interpret these three great pillars as morality, concentration and wisdom. My unconventional thinking will be helpful for completeness in understanding the chain reaction of these tripod elements.

(1) Sila = mind as free from defilement
(2) Samadi = justice not to be biased +
(3) Pynn Nya = Right Analytical Power.

Maybe you find it awful to new view in interpretation of Sila, Samadi and Pynn Nya. What I feel is when I become older, I get more sense of what Buddha actually mean by his Pali words. You can see without No.(2), No.(3)can't appear by luck. The Buddhist monks seem to be still confused Pynn Nya with enlightenment and Samadi with the last step of Magga Truth, Sama Samadi that is an end for the eightfold steps and also a mean to Nirvana but not the prerequisite like Samadi, an equilibrium state of mind to get to the right analytical power of wisdom. The rightfulness of the direction is the most critical part to push you on the way of Magga Truth. No matter, how intelligent and assertive you are in cleaning the jungle, if you are cleaning the wrong jungle, this is a waste of time.

My standing is to see these 3 marble stones as pre-requirements of a lay man (Puthujana). Samadi as the second pillar of three attributes of self-development (pre-requirements) can't be the ultimate Upika to shake off everything at the doorstep of the Nirvana. Remember that the ten perfection practices of Buddha are like institutional fulfillment for the gaps of the former by the latter for the former’s incoherency in the direction of a Bodhisattva's path. I think the term Bodhisattva is also more appropriate in this respect because ten perfection practices are not to be exclusively fulfilled by Buddha and belong to all the worldly creatures who are searching for enlightenment of himself and others.

Continue analyzing. Number(2) also can't appear by luck by number(1) because free from defilement means the pain that makes your mind regressed by fear (Baya Agati)and also free from the pleasure that makes your mind regressed by love and happiness (Sandar Agati). It is a deep insight to elaborate why Buddha stressed Sila very much because Sila itself is the start of this middle way. (Please keep all these emails because when our rotten bodies get older, maybe I can't produce them again: that is why Buddha said the basic of men's prosperity is a good friend. Without the help of a good friend at the level of this philosophy, I can't get insight by my intrinsic capacity: You know the whales is happy only in the Great Ocean) And some Mahayanists who can't think enough the real philosophy of Sila try to justify pleasure practices (I remember what you said by tasting sexual practices to find the enlightenment, I don't remember the names of these branches) if you merely have the enough right view and great compassion to save the world.

If you can see the series of Sila, Samdhi and Pynn Nya, you can easily conclude this
tripartite can't be excluded from each other. I suggest that the referred Mahayanists can't get this merely right view without pre-fulfillment of the justice equilibrium.

It may probably be very difficult to get this insight of morality and justification because even Ven. Janaka Bivonta said it is his first priority to urge people to have a good heart. This may be true in the way for dealing and enduring the problems of society but not in the way to Nirvana at the spiritual level of our struggle for liberation. If we say a good heart as the initial key to everything, our religion is not different from Jesus and Mohammed because they also have superbly good hearts for the people.

You can also see compassion as the pleasure and wisdom as pain. Because it is very painful to get a better level of wisdom because you always have to quarrel with the pre-existing dog in your body (remember Philosopher Shwe Mya Ta of Min Thein Kha).
You will probably be surprised to see that when pleasure is trying to accept everything, wisdom is trying to reject everything. And Buddha said there is a middle way and for which Sila is a pre-requriement and Samadhi is the initial entry level into the right view that is the supra-pynn nya derived from your rightly directed analytical power based on samadi (equilibrium of non-biasedness). That is why Buddha never says Sama Sila among the steps of the eightfold pathway because Sila is the pre-requirement and not a constituent on the way to nirvana. The monks are confused by interpreting Sama Vasa,Sama Kammana and Sama Arjiva as the Sama Sila and try to adulterate these inalienable eight "processing" steps as being identical with 3 "pre-requirements".

Let's continue the hypothetical case. If we assume just non-identity and no difference as the way to see the emptiness, we can easily see that this Hindu Philosopher who has already enlightened the nirvana can still think that this is still not the nirvana and this nirvana is still just an illusion created by Saturn to diversify him. He will further seek to combine with God he trust and this becomes his decisive real enlightenment. That is why, nothing in the universe is apparently one of the highest steps and manifestations of matter the God create is the ultimate step in Hinduism. By this hypothetical case, I will frankly like to alert both Theravadist and Mahayanists for the fact that the Annattha principle in imperfect epistemic catching of an enthusiastic practitioner could be a just a jana step in Hinduism. Quite paradoxical and ironical, we try to practice Buddha’s meditation but unfortunately we used to end with a makeshift enlightenment of Hinduism.

Apparently the practitioner in Hinduism is rather easy to be adept in swapping to and fro from non-identity to diversity (Nothing in the universe to everything in the universe), (worm's eye to bird’s eye) than much more subtle and seemingly untouchable Vipassana practitioner. According to Buddha, these enlightenments in Hinduism are very good but so far not great enough to be acclaimed as ultimate truth because you can't reach the real emptiness by seeing emptiness as nothing is in the universe.

Let's see my logic again. If non-identity and no difference is the right view, we have to accept that a Hindu, a Christian or Siddartha can reach the emptiness we refer in our epistemology. But if non-identity is still not the right view, we can hold that only in our Magga way, we can get enlightenment. Because the middle way referred by Buddha for justification is "never ever" present in any philosophy or any religion. Some Christians or Muslim scholars can argue Buddhists easily that they are also non-identity religions because they believe nothing exists other than the One. I think this logic and example is enough to prove that the middle way is more important than Anatta principle that both Mahayanists and Theravadists assume themselves as the best and only invincible the One philosophy in the world.

Trying for unbiased justification,
Burmakin

32 comments:

Otm said...

I think you can't say Buddha is not the founder of Hinduism.The hermit, Kosala, who was the founder of Kosala Kingdom and the writer of Upanishads
that are the most primitive doctrines of Hindu Veda, was one of the reincarnations of our Gutama Buddha in the earliest world history.

Oattama

Anonymous said...

Dear Burmakin,

I totally agree with you in many perspectives of this web.Your approach for revolution is quite scientific and intuitive in nature rather than imaginary or hallucinatory as if many dissidents are currently thinking and fighting.

Seeing your web site, I began to understand more about the causes of the failures of people's revolution in these 4 decades and a half.Many revolutionists like we students and our backup Burmese have been thoroughly caught in a a fake history that we think we should be very proud of our history, our religion(Buddhism) and our racial identity.

If we say that we fight the military in our peacock Burmese spirit and also to hold up a history of our Burmese great tradition,we people's heroes can never be a better representative of the nature for a Burman than this arrogant Tibeto-Burmans army that rule the country now.A person's honor is never above the honor of institutional structure because Gandhi can never be above Hinduism and Bogyoke Aung San can never be above the historical Burma army.

More worse, no Kayin, Mon, Kachin or Shan will join us because there is no reason for the non-Burmese to fight with a Burmans's spirit.

I also believe that there are people in these revolutions who are even probably much braver than U Nu or Bogyoke Aung San in this era now. You know British just built up Insein Prison just to keep dissidents silent but there is no room 101s for brutal and psychological torture as in this military period. The failures of our revolutions are not because our heroes are gallants enough or our people are so submissive but because the counter side and institutional structures have no shame or no fear (Lokapala Dhamma) for doing any wickedness to the people.

Nobody can deny that our 88 revolution in Burma is much more greater forces and earning support from people than 1985 ESDA revolution of Philippines, a small country of very fragmented islands. However in Philippines,General Ramos has a conscience to do the right thing that is not to shoot the people.For Burma,it was pathetic that there are only dogs to bite back our hands. We can't say that Philppinese got the victory and we Burmans didn't get it because Philippines in their fighting spirit is much more stronger than we Burmese have. I think not very well-known reason but the most critical part is because both the military leaders and we Burmese poor people are caught up in a gravely wrong philosophical and historical network as your web is focusing now and I totally agree with you at this point.

When we used to talk the wrong concepts for many times, we begin to believe it as true and we implement according to guidance of our wrong beliefs.Many good people are fighting thinking that they are to write a good history of we Burmese but these good people are not cautious that military is also the most responsible fighter for defending a good history and retain the identity of Burmese(from Bagan empire up to the current era)
When both offenders and defenders are still fighting in a wrong concept and wrong direction,this determines the many more miserable fates in the future.

May Burmese have a thought revolution soon,

Best wishes
CN Tarr

MG said...

You are very right!You should also add millions of Indians and Chinese living in breadth and length of Burma to the list of non-Burmese.

So my question to you is if we can't follow the idea of fighting in Burmese's spirit,in what spirit we all should fight the military government for involvement of all non-Burmese who were native born of Burma but never have assumed themselves as Burmese in this land.

MG

Voyager said...

Dear Ko Burma Kin,
I would like to suggest followings:
1) constituency -> constituent
2) please also consider the word
Serenity or equanimity for equilibrium

3) This is the most important portion for this post.

Anatta principle principle means that nothing persists(such as God or soul or I or thinking being). It is not a jana step nor feeling emptiness. Please consult literature carefully and correct following passage

"Quite paradoxical and ironical, we try to practice Buddha’s meditation but unfortunately we used to end with a makeshift enlightenment of Hinduism"

because your writing is misleading and will have unintended consequences on readers' thinking.

Again, Nirvana is not also about seeing emptiness. By seeing or knowing, there is still seer or knower, that means something still exist.

It is also not about the lost of consciousness.If that is the case, you would have been Nirvana every night. I experienced some meditators reported to instructors about being in Nivarna but actually they felt sleep during meditation.

One feature of Nirvana according to literature is that when one enlightens he/she knows it. But for me, I have never enlightened and do not know how it looks like. (Digression: I have been through a few jana steps and it was really peaceful like you said facing emptiness but it was not Nirvana and only get there after 2 months of full time meditation(16 hours a day) and after overcoming very severe pains. Not sure I can do it again because I was young at that time).

Please careful about what you write because a lot reader may not have very strong knowledge about Buddhism and it might poison their mind.

Thanks you.
Sansara Voyager

Nun to voyager said...

Dear Voyager,

I think Burmakin doesn't say that Nirvana is one step in Hindu jana practices. Before his concluding remark,he preempted "imperfect epistemic catching of emptiness".

This means meditation practitioners can be easily mistaken for "Nothingness in the universe" (that is no.6 Jana in both Hindu & Buddhism practices)with the emptiness of Nirvana.Very deep Wipattana doctrines also said about this confusion already and he didn't say anything new for this matter except in his very good English.

But I am really surprised about his point that a Hindu could also be insightful for enlightenment of Nirvana.At a glance,it looks like that he is poisoning the whole Buddhism of Burma.However,when I studied carefully, what he is arguing is if we can't prove that the middle way in Buddhism is ever never present in any philosophy of the world or other religions,the meaning of our stonewall theory that says "only in this Ocean of Buddha's religion and eightfold pathway, there is a way for liberation and enlightenment" can be staunching to be valid.

I appreciate both your comment and his writing.I wish Buddhists in Burma study in-depth like you two are for Pariyatti Sarsana to be able to present boldly to the world class literature.

Nun Khaymar

Nun Khay Mar said...

In my previous post,"Nun to voyager",
please read "can't be staunching to be valid" instead of "can be staunching to be valid".

So sorry for this mistake!

NKhm

Voyager said...

Dear Nun Khay Mar,
What do you mean by "cannot be staunching to be valid"?
I don't understand and could you rephrase it.
Thanks you.
Voyager

Anonymous said...

ဗမာလိုလဲဒီမွာ႐ိုက္လို႔ရတယ္။
http://www.mysteryzillion.com/project/webtext/

NKhm said...

(I rephrased my comment for clarification)

I think Burmakin doesn't say that Nirvana is one step in Hindu jana practices. Before his concluding remark,he preempted "imperfect epistemic catching of emptiness".

This means meditation practitioners can be easily mistaken for "Nothingness in the universe" (that is no.6 Jana in both Hindu & Buddhism practices)with the emptiness of Nirvana.Very deep Wipattana doctrines also said about this confusion already and he didn't say anything new for this matter except in his very good English.

But I am really surprised about his point that a Hindu could also be insightful for enlightenment of Nirvana.At a glance,it looks like that he is poisoning the whole Buddhism of Burma.However,when I studied carefully, what he is arguing is if we can't prove that the middle way in Buddhism is ever never present in any philosophy of the world or other religions,the meaning of our stonewall theory that says "only in this Ocean of Buddha's religion and eightfold pathway, there is a way for liberation and enlightenment" can't be staunching to be valid.

If you see a white crow, the conventional knowledge:"All crows
are dark" can no longer be true.
In this sense, if you want to proclaim your knowledge and approaches of practice as the way to Nirvana,your path must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive from the any other path in the world practitioners' history.

Burmakin's point is quite a shock to me: a Hindu practitioner with non-self philosophy can also get enlightenment.Then you have to choice between the dilemma of eligibility of "single way to nirvana" and " non-self is not the real middle way".

I appreciate both your comment and his writing.I wish Buddhists in Burma study in-depth like you two are for Pariyatti Sarsana to be able to present boldly to the world class literature.

Nun Khaymar

December 3, 2007 10:03 PM

Voyager said...

Dear Nun,
I only do not understand the phrase
" can't be staunching to be valid".
May be my english is poor. Anybody who understand please explain me.
Thanks,
Voyager

Nun Khm said...

Dear voyager,

Thanks for your curious mind.

Staunch is a powerful term to describe about the loyalty or faithfulness.

Eg.Mr Laurence is a staunch protestant.

Another usage for staunch is a description of standing position to prevent the flow of sth like water current. If you have a strong faith ,you have a firm standing against the blows from different directions.If you see the term "staunch" for description of a position,you can see in your mental eye a sense of being unflappable/invincible or simply not moving away or not bowing to anything else.

You can probably notice I also said "stonewall theory" beforehand.By saying the term "stonewall" in the first coming sentence and "staunching" in the following sentence, I describe validity of Buddhism as "not being able to stumble down by blows from different directions".

But for this stonewall validity not to be moved away from any current,the middle way needs to be mutually exclusive and exhaustive from anything else.

Nun Khm

Technician said...

It is great, Nun.

The root word of staunch is coming from "sta" that means to stand, to be in place. Similar examples can be

Static equilibrium,Homeostasis,
obstinate (Like today army leaders of Burma),constitute: that shows stability of a position. Wow!!
stability itself is composed of "sta"!!

An example of opposite usages can be "apostate" who moves from one loyalty to an old religion. Or destitute that means without stability of existence e.g destitute Burmese people

Research man

Voyager said...

Dear Nun,
I have a few points with usage of words. But first, I have to admit that I usually read only magazines and online news and seldomly read literature. If you have encounter previous use of the words I am going to point out in the same meaning as you intended, please kindly discard my suggestions.

First, stonewalling in prosaic writing implies to engage in delaying tactics by not responding or cooperating. I think you can consider to use other words like impeccable. You can see the full meaning of stonewall at http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?query=stonewall&srchst=ref.

Second, for the phrase can't be staunching to be valid cannot be read smoothly. Rather, I think, the phrase should be can't be staunchly valid.

For these suggesions, I do not have any intention to nitpick or patronize you. I just want every burmese to have a good english. You can also point out any of my mistake freely. I am admired and wondered that you as a nun have so good english. May I know how long have you been abroad and where have you studied? I think Sasana need a lot of monks and nuns like you to spread Buddha teachings to the world.

With metta,
Voyager (sansaravoyager@gmail.com)

Voyager said...

Sorry, correction,
I am admired and wondered -> I admire and wonder

Voyager said...

Correct link should be.

http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?frow=0&n=10&srcht=s&query=stonewall&srchst=ref&hdlquery=&bylquery=&daterange=full&mon1=01&day1=01&year1=1981&mon2=12&day2=28&year2=2007&submit.x=23&submit.y=8

Ruth H said...

I think her sentence has just an iota of grammatical solecism rather than the misapplication of vocabularies that you referred.The staunch is a transitive verb so she should have added,after the verb a following object like "an avalanche of historical philosophies and practices".This means "the only way" philosophy can never been deluged with the flow of alien classical philosophies.

It is also eligible to use staunch
in the continuous tense. I think your idea is better to use an adj so that the sentence can be succinct to the point.But if you see the penultimate sentence of her last post,she had an implicit nuance for a hidden meaning of "ACTIVE obligation to be done to stop the counter flow" rather than "loyalty" that is the PASSIVE sense of the adjective form that you want as its conciseness.

The women authors are differently cryptic in the style of writing from their male counterparts.They could have many hidden attitudes and abstruse meanings in their literature.They are also used to depict their mental and psychological crescendos in an intricate and resplendent manner in their writing.If you have not been acquainted to the classical English women writers,it will be difficult to understand these kinds of subtleties.As English literature is ostensibly very eclectic in vocabularies for expressing the graduations of mentality,a male green horn can find it rather exacting to understand what a woman author means.

ရန္ကင္း said...

dear brother or sister
This is one of my favourite blog.I'll often come and try to read your blog posts.thanks for your invitation.
with best wishes
kotay

MG said...

Dear Ko Yan Kin,

A teashop of Yan Kin's Sett Nit Lone Than was Burmakin's and my favorites.Seeing your name, I really missed our days in Burma and our days of respite in that shabbled tea shop in Yan Kin.

I also really missed the famous Yan Kin Sett Nit Lone Than "Bain Moke"(Burmese opioid bakery)as a match for this bad-quality tea that we ever liked very much.

Teacher

Phyu said...

This article and comments are very good!!

I have two things to say- If a person is mindful, she will not stop at her makeshift enlightenment.It is also plausible to use the Hindu practices as the stopgaps if somebody can't exercise directly Vipassana.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it. this gy is just confusing and made a mess to buddhism

Thi Ha said...

Dear Burmakin,

This is a really wonderful argument.While I appreciate your position of Samadi as the unbiasedness or justification,you still don't give a precise definition of Sila that you say is the precondition of Samadi.

I like to know if you define Theravada Sila to keep yourself calm and serene as the absolute morality.For me,a powerful saint who is selfish for himself and arrogant of his Jana (Sila Pavarapattu Padan) can not be as good as a drunkard vagabond who is willing to help people as much as he can without any care for himself.

In my opinion,to donate a feed to a poor malnourished child can be a superior conduct than popular offers to the prestigious monasteries which are already superfluous.By your writing,I believe you are a well-reasoned man and will probably agree with my thorny statements to Theravada definition of Sila in Burmese community.

Then what is your position about Sila? I list questions here for you.

(1) Is morality (sila) absolute or contextual?
(2) What kind of factors can be ascribed to the validity of an attribute to be defined as morality?
(3) How human beings can vindicate an attribute as morality?
(4) Morality is experiential result of human beings? Is morality always necessary to be redefined?
(5) Is morality just a creation of human beings?

Don't think of me that I am quite meddlesome.I am very happy to find a person like you among Burmese blogs to have the same highly spiritual interest as I am.I believe you are a very rare person to discuss with me for these in-depth questions.

Take care,
Thi Ha

Burmakin said...

Dear Ko Thiha,

Thank you for your thoughtful questions.I appreciate it as the levels of the questions are very high.

I like to answer these questions later as I need to accumulate more knowledge.Perhaps,these opinions can be considered at the moment.

(1)Sila is more likely to be contextual than an absolute one
but if I say like this, it will contradict the principle of the "absolute purity of sila" in seven stages of purity(Sila vitokedi).One weakness in this argument is that we can't establish the breadth and length of Varaiktha Sila (Sila that needs to be performed as an obligation) and can't weight Variktha Sila against Saraikha Sila (Sila to be performed by self-abnegation)Theravadists tend to be more absolute by emphasizing their practice on self-abnegation but Mahayanists tend to be more contextual by emphasizing the obligations.Then this is looking like the debate between Tharavada and Mahayana.

(2)I surrender to No.2 for the moment.Maybe we should ask Arainmettaya in Sutita:))

(3)I think this is the only question I am a little bit close to answer.Only the people on Bodhisattva's path can vindicate an act as Sila.There are three levels of people in the world in practicing Sila.

Basic- Men who wants fame so he practices Sila

Middle- Men who really love to do it not because he wants fame

Advance- Men who love Sila because he believes it is the adorable practice of Bodhisattvas

So we can probably conclude that only Bodhisattvas can vindicate Sila, not the intermediate ones and basic level people.For e.g. Lay people can justify Rambo's action on soldiers but a level at Gandhi can't justify it and Gandhi as a Bodhisattva has to define his Ahaimsa as the only correct way.

(4)This is also a very difficult question. Perhaps morality can't be experiential in the pragmatic level. Because Parittsa Samaputta says we are drown in Samsara because of ignorance. Then it is more likely that our conscience is occluded by the contextual situations.All human beings,even these unscrupulous Burmese dictators seem to have in their original form an illuminating conscience they don't notice by this time.Maybe it is because Buddha stressed on mindfulness rather than learning from experience.Maybe Buddhism is a shortcut to knowing yourself.But the shortcuts can be not very exciting to the people who like to learn from experiential lessons.

(5) If 4 is correct,we need to answer that Sila is not created.
If 4 is not correct, we can probably think sila is a creation of human beings.At this time,my position is that Sila is not a man-made one, but it is rather contextual.Nevertheless Sila is also original if we stepped out from our shoes of ignorance.

Thanks,
Burmakin

NKhm said...

Dear Burmakin,

Thanks for clarification of your position.I post interesting questions for you.

How do you stand for the worth of morality? (Are human beings should be deserved according to their moral worth?)

If the moral worth is deserved to be distributed accordingly, how it should be performed?

The last question is how do you weigh morality rather than defining absolute or contextual?

e.g If you have to beat your daughter because you want her not to be free from some nasty habits.
Then you have a negative weight for violating Ahaintha (non-torture)and Khandi (tolearance) but you have a positive weight for a good intention of putting her to become a good person.Then how will you measure the aggregate output of your conduct?

The last question is also very important to think about because it is discussing how people can consider an act as a moral worth?

Apamadaina Samadaitha,
Nun Khay Mar

NKhm said...

In my previous post, in the second last paragraph,replace

"If you have to beat your daughter because you want her not to be free from some nasty habits" with

"If you have to beat your daughter because you want her to be free from some nasty habits"

Thanks for tolerance,
Nun Khay Mar

MG said...

You guys on this post are doing a Socratic method- making questions and answers to understand the material more.Wonderful!

Thank you all,
Teacher

Anonymous said...

Hi MG,

You are right. There are many Plato and Socrates in this blog.Many discussions,I find myself struggling to understand but I am so happy that I could improve a lot by listening to them.

If we have either 100 Plato or 100 Socrates in the country,our country will be free soon.

Thanks
Research man

Voyager said...

In my opinions to Thi Ha's comments,

I understand Sila as restraining one away from wrong doings as it will help the person in purifying his or her mind. It is the definition at the conceptual level. But for practice, I think Buddha also defined very strict rules for each act of Sila to avoid confusing and misinterpretation.

For example, the first precept (do not kill) clearly defines four attributes to constitute a successful break down. They are:
1) Victim must be a living creature(not in a video game).
2) The actor must know it that it is a living thing and willing the victim death (not accidentally).
3) The actor must act.
4) The victim must die.

So, I believe there is a clear boundary for each Sila stricture to avoid misinterpretation. Being contextual is vague and high risk of misinterpretation. Contextual means interpretation by somebody and the meaning is highly dependent on that interpreter. If the person is ignorant then we cannot rely on contextual implementation of Sila.

I have already seen a smack of this confusion in your letter saying helping drunkard vagabond might be better than a selfish Sangha or donation to a malnourished child might be better than donation to a prestigious monastery.A drunkard vagabond has already broken the fifth precept and it is more likely that he will make trouble to others(to family etc..) than helping anybody. A selfish but faithful Sangha at least has to maintain very strict 227 vinaya and is carrying Sasana to next generation. There is also another assumption that a prestigious monastery is superfluous but it is the vital place to continue the spreading of Sasana and refuge for Sangha. So, you can see how dangerous a contextual misinterpretation can be.

Frankly, I am not expert on Buddhism but I know a lot of Buddhism experts cannot write very well in English. Anyway, thanks for your curiosity. It is much better to ask somebody then keeping some doubts yourself. Especially, ask some knowledgeable monks in Burmese and donate something so that Sasana can continue to exist. (Donation to drunken vagabond is up to you.You will get back what you deserved. I think Buddha also mentioned in detail about what are the factors that constitutes the degree of a successful donation.
1) The quality of recipient(such as Sila)
2) The intention of donor(how noble it is)
3) The timing (how the donation affects on recipient, whether it is needed etc..)(This is not exact attributes, but just for your information, please consult literature or a nearest knowledgeable monk).



For nkhm exmaple,
Please try other ways to prohibit a nasty habit of a daughter. Because in Buddhism, kusala-kamma(doing good things) and akusala-kamma(doing bad things) cannot be canceled out each other.So, you will get kusala for good intention but will get akusala for doing bad things to the degrees of your intensity of acts and intentions. But in my opinion, beating a daughter very lightly will be very small akusala and it may possibly disappear without appropriate result(A null deed - Ahallthi karma, expelling not correct). So, one should mindful about every act to minimize akusala.

Thanks you both Thi Ha & nkhm for your discussion.

Wish everybody enlightened and escaped from Sansara.

Voyager

Voyager said...

Correction to previous post,
(A null deed - Ahallthi karma, expelling not correct)->(A null deed - Ahallthi karma, spelling not correct)

Voyager

Nun Khaymar said...

Dear U Voyager,

Thank you for your discussion.

Ko Thi Ha's example could be polarized to compare the drunkard and the saint.I will present another good example to show that Sila could be regarded as contextual.

In medicine,let's see such as mercy killing.Let's define it by your four boundaries of non-killing.

(1)the person who's suffering from terminal illness is alive

(2)the mercy killer has the volition to terminate his life

(3)the mercy killer takes action

(4)the patient dies due to his action

However patients and all his family agree to mercy killing as the patient doesn't want to suffer any longer and the family doesn't want him to tolerate his pain any more.

Then the mercy killer commits the killing according to theravada definition, (even when you say he has good volition to release the patient from intolerable suffering, he can't avoid volition of acting for terminating the life of the patient).On the other side, he is acting for relieving the pain of the patient and can have a good mind for doing his final act.

You can still argue that let's the patient die for himself for your adherence to sila.But the patient is mercifully imploring you to terminate his suffering.You can't avoid a duty to be fulfilled when you have the position and strength to do it (Waraikta Sila that Burmakin says).Then you face the dilemma of abstinence of killing and non-fulfillment of your obligation of helping the person at peace for her last journey.

This is only a dilemma of an individual's . Another example is if terrorists hijacks an air craft and try to direct the aircraft to hit the Shwedagon Square on the full moon day of Kason where thousands of people are wandering,if the army has the missiles to shoot the plane, should the army adhere to the absolute morality boundary?

The municipalities have to kill the rats,bugs and mice for the public health of the people. They violate all four boundaries.The farmers have to put insecticides for growing plants and crops we eat daily. They are violating these four principles so that they should go to hell? The butcher has to kill the animals everyday for our nutrition. Is he blamed for serving the world a good food? Whether you are vegetarian or the meat eater, somebody is violating the absolute boundaries for your nutrition.

When the world and people become more complex,the definition of sila at the practical daily lives could probably be regarded as more and more contextual.Before his parinibbana, Buddha ordered monks as the contexts got to change in next ages, the monks could drop out some principles that were no more relevant to contexts.This is a great evidence Buddha himself seemed to see sila as contextual rather than absolute.Furthermore, this last decree of Buddha was also the start of division of orthodox(theravada) and the heterodox= contextual (mahayana) Buddhism.

If Sila is contextual, then what is the scale for weighting a person as moral or immoral? Perhaps,there is no definite answer but still an implicit reference dhamma.I mentioned it as my favorite concept in Buddhism that most people seem to neglect.

Perhaps, the only remaining importance for the middle way to liberation for Nirvana is "mindfulness" that Buddha focused until his last breath.

Apamadaina Samadaitha,
Nun Khaymar

Voyager said...

Dear Nun,

Let face the truth. Mercy killing is a killing whatever the motive of the killer. All examples you gave constitute killing. It is like a law. You cannot stab a person because you don't want to see him or her suffering. If you wish, of course, you can do it. For hijacked airplane example, if you killed the terrorists, it is a killing. But I don't say, "Do not kill the terrorist". In the case, I will also kill the terrorist breaking the first precept. But for consequences, nobody knows it because Karma will decide what will be result. Karma is so complex that Buddha already mentioned that it is one of four things out of reach of human reasoning and please do not calculate it(most burmeses do). So, all we can do is to try to minimize akusala by mindfulness.

For contextual thing, Buddha did allowed to modify small vinaya rules (I think lower 3 levels of vinaya rules by agreement of All Sanga) to adjust for changing ages. But people stretch too much and distort everything over time. If you don't believe it, please check Mahayana Buddhism. There, Buddha is eternal breaking the very basic rule of annica and not much different from eternal god of other religions.

I think the best way you can define Sila is that it is contextual but within the boundaries of rules(It is paramount important, otherwise, you will be free to do anything within your conscience whether right or wrong(like jihadists or Nazi)). Being contextual,the purity of Sila has different levels such as perfect white, blotting Sila etc. Blotting Sila did not break the rule but on the fringe to break it.

PS: please do not call me U. I am not that old. Are you a real nun or just the name contains "nun"?

Voyager

NKhm said...

Dear Maung Voyager,

This is good to discuss with you.I am glad that you are a flexible man to accept Sila as the contextual.

I need to clarify more about Mahayana Buddhism.There are only two religions that are atheistic in this world.One is Buddhism established by Siddhartha Gautama and Jainism established by Mahawira.At this point,atheistic Buddhism means both theravada and mahayana and the honor to be atheistic is not confined to the Theravada religion alone and this title is equally shared by the Mahayanist sect.

The deity religions believe that there is only the ONE in the world and nobody has the right to become as or be equal to this ONE. Everything you face, you sense, you smell and even yourself always fall within the creative matrix of this Supreme ONE and everything in the world has ever originated from Him.

To contrary,the Mahayanism allows that there are many Buddhas in many world systems.There are some sects that believe that Gautama Buddha will persist until nobody is left in Samsara but this is not the essential ideology of Mahayanism.
The essential belief in Mahayanism is "universalism" that grants "the greatest degree of FREEDOM" to every being on earth. Universalism is the belief that every being on earth will become a Buddha at one time and the pre-existent Buddhas or Bodhisattas have the obligation to give their hands to the future Buddhas who may be at this time a bug or a lice or a voyager.(Please re-notice what Burmakin says about Varaikta Sila and he said Varaikta is the main differential point of Mahayana from Theravada)

The salvation concept in Mahayanism is not by the supreme power of God to grant a paradise to anybody as He wishes. This is by the unimaginable efforts of numerable Bodhisattas to commit themselves to great sacrifices for the ignorant people for their enlightenment. These Bodhisattas have to reincarnate,born by women,have physiologic functions the same as human beings and does not possess even a vestige of magic power at all for their great help to the people.Still they have two inherent and evolutionary attributes that make them different from the ordinary. They are the "compassion and wisdom".Even though they have already enlightened for Nirvana, they turned their direction back to the mundane world to live and suffer together with the ignorant people who may probably in their great ignorance, brutalize, torture or even decapitate these noble ones who are still compassionate at their killers not less than the love adored upon a son by a father.

Mahayanism never believes about the deity or creator for the universe. But some sects believe there is the pure land,an institution of Buddhas and Bodhisattas for their meditation at peace and getting some preparation to come back again to the world for their unfinished missions. Some people call this pure land as "Shambhala".The Burmese author Mintinka fiction Shambhala in many of his novels like "Saturday Maung Maung","Return to land, Saturday Maung Maung" and "Shwe Mya Tar".Nevertheless, this pure land is just a mystical institution in Himalaya for Bodhisattas' missions and not the divine heaven like in the deity's religions and the approaches of salvation are as mentioned before,completely different.

There are the same concepts in Theravada Buddhism Burmese don't notice themselves that the mavers are trying to help the world in their own way rather than their conventional thinking that after Nirvana, nobody else remains.In one theravadism's story, there were one hundred thousand world eons nobody had been able to enlighten as Buddha to tame the barbarian people.So Heaven was deplete of residents and Hell is overcrowded with immoral ones.So embarrassed to see the empty heavens,a saint Bhrama (Arahat level angel) tried to seek somebody could probably become a Buddha. One day, in the Ocean, a young man who was a victim from the wreck of his sail boat by a storm was swimming shouldering his mother on his back.
The Bhrama immediately approached the young man in the Ocean and urged him to "make a VOW for becoming Buddha". This young man became the Sumaydha Hermit after a number of eons to meet Depinkara Buddha for his affirmation of Bodhisatta's path.

There is also another point that most Theravadists don't notice until today's age of wisdom.According to Theravadism theory,at the time of Buddha's first appearance, there should be nobody in the universe to have already known the four noble truths. But in the same theravadism doctrines, when Buddha had disinclination to preach the people thinking that people were so ignorant to understand his very high level dhamma,the already arahat Tahamati Bhrama, (saint angel) approached Buddha and argued that there were still wise people who could understand his Dhamma.Buddha abjured his initial thinking and agreed with Tahamati Bhrama to start preaching.This was a very firm evidence that there were already arahats who already mastered four noble truths at the enlightenment of Buddha and even Buddha was guided by these already enlightened ones to get on the good direction.But don't be confused these already enlightened ones with the Gods or Deities in the monotheism or pantheistic religions.

Be mindful for compassion and wisdom,
Nun Khaymar

Thiha said...

Dear Burmakin,Voyager and Nun,

Thank you for your delightful discussions.I am happy to read your thoughtful ideas and also pleased to meet the colleagues of the same interest in spirituality.

I like to add a few more questions that you can be interested for further discussion.I arrange the questions in a fashion of multiple choices.

(1)Is Buddhism

(a)behaviorism
(b)determinism
(c)GESTALT
(d)idealism
(e)nihilism
(f)Ockham's razor
(g)pragmatism
(h)relativism
(i)Darwinism
(j)solipsism
(k)stoicism ?

(2)Does Buddhism accept the above isms?

(3)Does Buddhism reject the above isms?

(4)Does Buddhism ever mention the above isms?

(5)Does Buddhism never mention the above isms?

Looking forward to your answers,
Thiha