2008年4月15日 星期二

Note_20080408-- What the Buddha Taught


What the Buddha Taught


Note_20080408, at DDBC class



- Key point of chapter VI: THE DOCTRINE OF NO-SOUL: ANATTA



1.    What is Soul or Self?

(1) there is a permanent, everlasting and absolute entity[1]

(2) which is the unchanging substance behind the changing phenomenal world[2]


à This soul or self in man is the thinker of thoughts, feeler of sensations, and receiver of rewards and punishments for all its actions good and bad. Such a conception is called the idea of self.[3]


à [4]According to the teaching of the Buddha, the idea of self[5] is:

(1)   an imaginary,

(2)  false belief which has no corresponding reality, and

(3)  it produces harmful thoughts of ‘me’ and ‘mine’, selfish desire, craving, attachment, hatred, ill-will, conceit, pride, egoism, and other defilements, impurities and problems.




2.    God and Self:

-          Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man; self-protection and self-preservation.[6]


-          self-protection:

For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent.[7]


For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul or Ātman, which will live eternally.[8]


à In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.[9]




3. Teaching "Against the Current"


-          The Buddha’s teaching does not support this ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, but aims at making man enlightened by removing and destroying them[10], striking at their very root. According to Buddhism, our ideas of God and Soul are false and empty.





-          His teaching was ‘against the current’ (patisotagāmi), against man’s selfish desire.





-          I have realized this Truth which is deep[11], difficult to understand[12]… comprehensible only by the wise… Men who are overpowered by passions and surrounded by a mass of darkness cannot see this Truth, which is against the current, which is lofty, deep, subtle[13] and hard to comprehend[14].





-          In the same way in this world, there are men at different levels of development. Some would understand the Truth. So the Buddha decided to teach it.






4. Analytical and Synthetic al methods


-          The doctrine of Anatta or No-Soul is the natural result of, or the corollary to, the analysis of the Five Aggregates and the teaching of Conditioned Genesis (Paticca-samuppāda).





-          We have seen earlier, in the discussion of the First Noble Truth (Dukkha), that what we call a being or an individual is composed of the Five Aggregates, and that when these are analysed and examined, there is nothing behind them which can be taken as ‘I’, Ātman, or Self, or any unchanging abiding substance. That is the analytical method. The same result is arrived at through the doctrine of Conditioned Genesis which is the synthetical method, an according to this nothing in the world is absolute. Everything is conditioned, relative, and interdependent. This is the Buddhist theory of relativity.






5. Conditioned Genesis


-          When this is, that is (Imasmim sati idam hoti);[15]

This arising, that arises (Imassuppādā idam uppajjati); [16]

When this is not, that is not (Imasmim asati idam na hoti);

This ceasing, that ceases (Imassa nirodhā idam nirujjhati).





-          On this principle of conditionality[17], relativity[18] and interdependence[19], the whole existence and continuity of life and its cessation are explained in a detailed formula which is called Paticca-samuppāda ‘Conditioned Genesis.





-          十二因緣流轉門 & Conditioned Genesis公式詮釋十二因緣[20]

1. Through ignorance are conditioned volitional actions or karma-formations (Avijjāpaccayā samkhārā).


With ignorance as condition, volitional actions arise.(無明緣行)。


2. Through volitional actions is conditioned consciousness (Samkhārapaccayā viňňānam).


With volitional actions as condition, consciousness arise.(行緣識)。


3. Through consciousness are conditioned mental and physical phenomena (Viňňānapaccayā nāmarūpam).


With consciousness as condition, mental and physical phenomena arise.(識緣名色)。


4. Through mental and physical phenomena are conditioned the six faculties (i.e., five physical sense-organs and mind) (Nāmarūpapaccayā salāyatanam).

With mental and physical phenomena as condition, the six faculties arise.


5. Through the six faculties is conditioned (sensorial and mental) contact (Salāyatanapaccayā phasso).

With six faculties as condition, (sensorial and mental) contact arise.


6. Through (sensorial and mental) contact is conditioned sensation (Phassapaccayā vedanā).

With (sensorial and mental) contact as condition, sensation arise.


7. Through sensation is conditioned desire, ‘thirst’ (Vedanāpaccayā tanhā).

With sensation as condition, desire, ‘thirst’ arise.


8. Through desire (‘thirst’) is conditioned clinging (Tanhāpaccayā upādānam).

With desire, ‘thirst’ as condition, clinging arise.


9. Through clinging is conditioned the process of becoming (Upādānapaccayā bhavo).

With clinging as condition, the process of becoming arise.


10. Through the process of becoming is conditioned birth (Bhavapaccayā jāti).

With the process of becoming as condition, birth arise.


11. Through birth are conditioned (12) decay, death, lamentation, pain, etc. (Jātipaccayā jarāmaranam…).

With birth as condition, decay, death, lamentation, pain, etc. arise.



-          十二因緣還滅門[21]

This is how life arises, exists and continues. If we take this formula in reverse order, we come to the cessation of the process: Through the complete cessation of ignorance, volitional activities or karma-formations cease; through the cessation of volitional activities, consciousness ceases; … through the cessation of birth, decay, death, sorrow, etc., cease.





1. When ignorance ceasing, volitional actions ceases.



2. When volitional actions ceasing, consciousness ceases.



3. When consciousness ceasing, mental and physical phenomena ceases.



4. When mental and physical phenomena ceasing, the six faculties ceases.



5. When six faculties ceasing, (sensorial and mental) contact ceases.



6. When (sensorial and mental) contact ceasing, sensation ceases.



7. When sensation ceasing, desire, ‘thirst’ ceases.



8. When desire, ‘thirst’ ceasing, clinging ceases.



9. When clinging ceasing, the process of becoming ceases.



10. When the process of becoming ceasing, birth ceases.



11. When birth ceasing, decay, death, lamentation, pain, etc., ceases.




Conditioned Genesis should be considered as a circle, and not as a chain.





6. Question of Free Will


-          The question of Free Will has occupied an important place in Western thought and philosophy. But according to Conditioned Genesis, this question does not and cannot arise in Buddhist philosophy. If the whole of existence is relative, conditioned and interdependent, how can will alone be free?





-          Will, like any other thought, is conditioned.



-          So-called ‘freedom’ itself is conditioned and relative.



-          There can be nothing absolutely free, physical or mental, as everything is interdependent and relative.



-          Not only so-called free will is not free, but even the very idea of Free Will is not free from conditions.



-          According to the doctrine of Conditioned Genesis, as well as according to the analysis of being into Five Aggregates, the idea of an abiding, immortal substance in man or outside, whether it is called Ātman, ‘I’, Soul, Self, or Ego, is considered only a false belief, a mental projection. his is the Buddhist doctrine of Anatta, No-Soul or No-Self.






7. Two kinds of Truths


-          There are two kinds of truths: conventional truth and ultimate truth.



-          When we use such expressions in our daily life as ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘being’, ‘individual’, etc., we do not lie because there is no self or being as such, but we speak a truth conforming to the convention of the world. But the ultimate truth is that there is no ‘I’ or ‘being’ in reality. As the Mahāyāna-sūtrālankāra says: ‘A person (pudgala) should be mentioned as existing only in designation (prajňapti) (i.e., conventionally there is a being), but not in reality.






8. Some erroneous views[22]


-          He hears the Tathāgata or a disciple of his, preaching the doctrine aiming at the complete destruction of all speculative views… aiming at the extinction of “thirst”, aiming at detachment, cessation, Nirvāna. Then than man thinks: “I will be annihilated, I will be destroyed, I will be no more.” So he mourns, worries himself, laments, weeps, beating his breast, and becomes bewildered.





-          One is that, according to the Buddha’s teaching, a being is composed only of these Five Aggregates, and nothing more. Nowhere has he said that there was anything more than these Five Aggregates in a being.




The second reasons is that the Buddha denied categorically, in unequivocal terms, in more than one place, the existence of Ātman, Soul, Self, or Ego within man or without, or anywhere else in the universe.





-          All conditioned things are impermanent’ (Sabbe SAMKHĀRĀ aniccā), and ‘All conditioned things are dukkha’ (Sabbe SAMKHĀRĀ dukkhā).



All dhammas are without self’ (Sabbe SAMKHĀRĀ anattā).



-          The term samkhāra denotes the Five Aggregates, all conditioned, interdependent, relative things and states, both physical and mental.





9. The Buddha definitely dentles ‘Atman’[23]


-          All dhammas are without Self’, there is no Self, no Ātman, not only in the Five Aggregates, but nowhere else too outside them or apart from them.



-          There is no self either in the individual (puggala) or in dhammas.



-          ‘One is one’s own refuge’ or ‘One is one’s own help’ or ‘support’.



-          It has nothing to do with any metaphysical soul or self. It simple means that you have to rely on yourself, and not on others.




-          ‘Dwell[24] making yourselves your island (support), making yourselves your refuge, and not anyone else as your refuge.’




-          [25]Dwell making yourselves your island (support), making yourselves, not anyone else, your refuge; making the Dhamma your island (support), the Dhamma your refuge, nothing else your refuge.





-          Further, The Buddha explained to Ānanda how one could be one’s own island or refuge, how one could make the Dhamma one’s own island or refuge: through the cultivation of mindfulness or awareness of the body, sensations, mind and mind-objects (the four Satipatthānas).





-          Your island  以自為舟

Your refuge  以自為依



- 什麼叫做無我?

1. 五蘊、人、法無我

2. 自依止、法依止




10. The Buddha’s silence


-          Much has been written on the subject of the Buddha’s silence when a certain Parivrājaka (Wanderer) named Vacchagotta asked him whether there was an Ātman or not.





-          The Buddha why he did not answer Vacchagotta’s question? Why the Buddha was silence?


-          The Buddha explains his position[26]:

  1. When asked by Vacchagotta the Wanderer: “Is there a self?”, if I had answered: “There is a self”, then, that would be siding with those recluses and brāhmanas who hold the eternalist theory (sassata-vāda).[27]
  2. And, when asked by the Wanderer: “Is t