When did the gods become literate?

J.S.Pitanga jspitanga at OPENLINK.COM.BR
Tue Nov 9 20:06:00 EST 1999

>>Rather, it seems that what the Buddha condemned was to speculate
>>about what *does not exist*, such as a self, and neither Hiinayaanists nor
>>Mahaayaanists seem to have incurred such fault.

>[Nanda Chandran:]
>Then why do you think he replies in the negative to the brAhmana
>samnyAsin Vacchagotha, when the latter questions him about the
>eternality or non-eternality of the world?

If even persons are not a self than could be either eternal or
non-eternal, let alone other phenomena such as the world.

>Is that anything in relation to the self?

To be a self means to be endowed with self-existence, whereby neither
persons nor other phenomena such as the world are a self that could be
either eternal or non-eternal, whence the irrelevance of Vacchagotha's

>And why too does he say that the TaghAgatha is free from all views

Views is short for views of a self.

>because none of the views is conducive to withdrawing from the

Views (of a self) are what bind one to the sa.msaara.

>to the understanding the of four noble truths,

Views (of a self) prevent one from understanding the four noble truths.


Views (of a self) prevent the appearance of the object of right meditation,
the lack of a self.

>and nirvAna?

Views (of a self), binding one to sa.msaara, prevent the attainment
of nirvaa.na.

>The Buddha condemned "all" views and not merely the view of the Self.

This is absurd, because he explicitly asserted the view of non-self.

>And please show me one single instance from the historical PAli canon
>- just one - where he positvely says that there's "NO" self

To be a self means to be endowed with self-existence, and since
no phenomenon such as skhandas, dhaatus, and aayatanas is so
endowed, there remains nothing to be a self.

Now if you assert a phenomenon that is not included in the skhandas,
dhaatus, and aayatanas, then it is your own responsibility to show its
existence, so that it could be verified whether or not it is a self, or
is endowed with self-existence.

>- not where he says the skandhas are not the Self, the mind is not the
>Self etc

If the Buddha really said it, he would be assuming the existence, and
thus propounding the view of a "Self", which contradicts your above
assertion that "[t]he Buddha condemned "all" views and not merely the
view of the Self."

>by which only the non-identity of the thing referred to, with the Self is
>negated, but not the Self itself - but where without doubt he absolutely
>denies the Self.

Again, since you have just asserted that "[t]he Buddha condemned "all"
views and not merely the view of the Self," you must recognize that he
condemned the view of a "Self", lest you incur self-contradiction.

>This misinterpretation of the Buddha's anatta is a misinterpretation
>of the Middle Way itself and a very usual one in places where only
>Buddhism prevails (Tibet, Lanka etc).

However, your understanding of Buddha's anatta and Middle Way is
simply self-contradictory, as just shown, whereas you could not find
fault in my offered interpretation, be it faithful or not to whatever
may be found in Tibet, Lanka etc.

>For without knowledge of BrAhmanic philosophy, Bauddha philosophy
>itself cannot be understood in its proper perspective.

Buddha's teachings counter the [mis]conception of a self, which is
both innate and held by non-Buddhist systems in general, not just
by Braahmanic philosophy.

>For both grew together and without knowledge of one, knowledge
>of the other is like knowing only one side of the coin and is on shaky

Still, your understanding of Buddha's teachings has been shown to
be self-contradictory, no matter how much you may suppose to know
Braahmanic philosophy, whereas my own understanding remains
undamaged, no matter how much you may suppose me to ignore
Braahmanic philosophy.

>To know why a permenant Self - ofcourse it may not be right to call it
>Self - is needed to explain empirical experience and knowledge, please
>read ShankarAchArya's Brahma SUtra BhAshyam.

Actually I read this book some years ago, but could not find anything
much convincing in it; however, if you did, please show me, I would be

>>Your very interpretation of what the Buddha condemned seems to
>>assume the existence of some self-existent Reality, precisely what
>>the Buddha condemned.

>[Nanda Chandran:]
>In the chapter on "Examination of nirvAna" in the MUlamAdhyamaka
>KArikA, NAgArjuna says if one truly understood what existance and
>non-existance means, then one would know why nirvAna is neither.

Existence and non-existence are simply the two extremes avoided
by the Buddha. Persons and other phenomena are neither a self nor
utterly non-existent. Nirvaa.na is just the same.

>Please understand this well, before making your conclusions about
>the Buddha's or NAgArjuna's view of Reality.

Buddha's and Naagaarjuna's view of Reality (now you agree that the
Buddha has a view, I see) is just as above, and nothing else.

>>>[Nanda Chandran:]
>>>So it would be better if we considered Buddhism in its three
>>>different categories - TheravAda, HinayAna and MahAyAna.

>>What is called Theravaada falls into what is called Hiinayaana by
>>those who call themselves Mahaayaanists, both in terms of tenets
>>and purpose.

>[Nanda Chandran:]
>I just made that distinction so that we could distinguish between
>the PAli schools and the Samskrutic schools.

Still, there would be no reason to consider Theravaada apart from
Hiinayaana in general, from a Mahaayaana point of view, both in
terms of tenets and purposes.

>And if I remember right, in MahAyAna polemics, the MahAyAnists
>themselves differentiate the Bauddhas into three classes - let me
>confirm this.

Yes, they are S'raavakas, Pratyekabuddhas and Bodhisattvas, the first
two included in Hiinayaana and the third in Mahaayaana.


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