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 [Come Beggar!]


 

Put away personal ambition for worldly gain; the #1 cause of acrimony in the discussion groups today.

"Hard, beggars, are fame, favors and gains;
cutting, rough, obstructions
to securing the ultimate refuge from bondage."

Wherefore, beggars, train yourselves this way:
"When fame, favors and gains come to us,
we will let them go,
and not let them take lasting hold on our heart."
SN NV 17.1

 

§

 

He's not 'your Buddha', he doesn't need defending. Correct erroneous statements of others concerning what the Buddha said or did keeping in mind both your own and others well being and happiness both now and in the future.

"Beggars, if those of other views should speak about the Tathagata in disparaging terms you should not for that reason get riled up, worked up, or upset, for if for that reason you were to get angry, resentful, and bear ill will, that would be an obstruction for you. If those of other views should speak about the Tathagata in disparaging terms and for that reason you were to get riled up, worked up, or upset would you then be able to determine how far what was said was well or badly said?"

"Well then, Beggars, when those of other views should speak about the Tathagata in disparaging terms you should simply break down the matter and explain that just this and that are not correct statements about the Buddha; just this and that are not to be found in him." — DN1

We are told that when we understand our own skills to be sufficient to the task, we should, even if it means an uncomfortable exchange, take the trouble to make the effort to bring someone from the darkness to the light.

The Buddha's own instructions about how to resolve the sorts of conflict that come up in debate aimed towards such effort:

First: Reflect on yourself before you utter criticism!
"Is this fault also to be found in me?"
Doing this you will find it is possible to eliminate almost all nasty remarks as, as a careful reading of posts with hostile criticisms will show, virtully everyone posting such materials could be said to be speaking about themselves.

Do not accept as true or act upon advice simply because:
It is the word of some authority; the pronouncement of some authority, the law of the land;
It is tradition; the custom of my people, or is found in some book;
It appeals to one's reason;
Because one has heard that it is true.

How come?

Because statements originating from such sources can be shown to have two flaws right here and now:
Some statements made by authorities, held as tradition, which appeal to reason, or which one has heard are true can be shown to be not true; some statements made by those who are not authorities, which are not held as tradition, which do not appeal to reason, or which one has heard are false, can be shown to be true.

What should you do?

Examine things for yourself. When conditions consistant with the goal (becoming generous, becoming well-grounded in ethical culture, becoming self-disciplined, developing the mind to insight into the painful nature of existance, and letting go) increase and bad conditions (the opposite of these) decrease, because of putting a statement into practice, then continue to put that statement into practice; otherwise drop it.

Compare Sutta with Sutta:

Do not accept the statement of individuals or groups of whatever fame or status as to the fact of a statement having been made by the Buddha, but resort to original documentation found in the suttas.

"Well then, beggars, what this Beggar says is neither to be accepted nor rejected, but without bias, the words and syllables are to be carefully examined, placed side-by-side with the Suttas, side-by-side with the Vinaya. If after having been placed side-by-side with the Suttas, side-by-side with the Vinaya, there is disparity and lack of agreement between what is compared with Sutta and what is compared with Vinaya, then it is fair to conclude: This is not the word of the Bhagava, that Arahant, the Number One Wide-Awakened One. This has been misheard by that Begggar. And one should reject it.

Face to face/agreement accept it

An order said/disagreement/reject it Agreement/accept it

Some Monk/disagreement/ reject it Agreement/accept it

A great number of elder monks/disagreement/reject it Agreement/accept it

A single elder monk/disagreement/reject it Agreement/accept it"

Now what, exactly, constitutes a sutta can then be debated which complicates matters, but if the recommended method is followed, we compare the commentaries with the word of the Buddha as found in the core suttas (Digha, Majjhima, Samyutta, Anguttara), and the Vinaya that should, with debators interested in their own and the greater good, be sufficient to accomplish an agreement that the following may be accepted from the commentaries and Abhidhamma or anywhere else: any statement that is in complete agreement with any statement made in the core suttas.

In other words, it is NOT a valid argument to say that: "This is in the Abhidhamma, vouched for by 2000 years of tradition and scores of elders, and is therefore the word of the Buddha."

Put simply: If we only have a 'between-thoughts' (a term for this life) to get our stuff together here, the supreme authority is the utterance of the Buddha as found to be unconflicted throughout the literature, and that will always and only first be found in the core suttas. To go to some other authority first is a highly dangerous side trip — (not to mention the fact that it constitutes placing one's own judgment above that of the Buddha and is therefore the height of hubris), and to asert that it is a necessary one because of the complexity of digging out the Dhamma from the suttas is to ignore another statement made by the Buddha: "Well taught by me is the Dhamma.")

This study is almost by definition the hardest, most complicated, most subtly deceptive mental work we will ever do in our lives; we need to learn to live with this — this Dhamma is not for the lazy. Do a little actual thinking about things. The Buddha is saying that it can be done with just what he gave us in the suttas.

If you believe in the Abhidhamma, or in the Bible for that matter, put forth your arguments concerning doctrine, not concerning the medium. When challenged, the final resort here is the core suttas.

Three, me beggars, are the fields of debate. What three?

How it was in a period of time in the past may be debated, saying:
"Thus it was in a period of time in the past."
How it will be in a period of time in the future may be debated, saying:
"Thus it will be in a period of time in the future."
How it is in a period of time in the present may be debated, saying:
"Thus it is in a period of time in the present."

It may be determined from debating experience, beggars, whether or not a man is say'n something or just talking.

If, beggars, a man, asked a direct question does not answer similarly with a direct answer;
asked an analytical question does not answer analytically;
asked a counter-question question, does not answer with a counter-question;
and does not stand aside from a question that should be stood aside;
in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has just been talking.

If, beggars, a man, asked a direct question answers similarly with a direct answer;
asked an analytical question answers analytically;
asked a counter-question question, answers with a counter-question;
and stands aside from a question that should be stood aside;
in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has been say'n something.

It may be determined from debating experience, beggars, whether or not a man is say'n something or just talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, does not stick to set conditions, does not stick to conclusions, does not stick to known experience, does not stick to the point, in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has just been talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, sticks to set conditions, sticks to conclusions, sticks to known experience, sticks to the point, in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has been say'n something.

It may be determined from debating experience, beggars, whether or not a man is say'n something or just talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, retorts with another on another turns the discussion to externals gets upset, angry and unresponsive in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has just been talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, does not retort with another on another does not turn the discussion to externals does not get upset, angry and unresponsive in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has been say'n something.

It may be determined from debating experience, beggars, whether or not a man is say'n something or just talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, berates, crushes, derides, and fault-finds, in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has just been talking.

If beggars, a man asked a reasonable question, does not berate, does not crush, does not deride, and does not fault-find, in this case, beggars, it can be said that that man has been say'n something.

It may be determined from debating experience, beggars, whether or not a man is well-grounded or not well-grounded.

He who does not lend ear, beggars is not well-grounded; he who lends ear is well-grounded.

He who is well-grounded is cognizant of one thing, comprehends one thing, lets go one thing, is eye-witness to one thing.

He who is cognizant of one thing, comprehends one thing, lets go one thing, is eye-witness to one thing, touches the highest freedom.

This is the point, beggars, of talk, this is the point of meditation, this is the point of being well-grounded, this is the point of listening to the experienced, that is to say the hearts release from getting involved.

When reasoned talk by arrogance is blocked,
by ignoble bias, carelessness, and bickering back and forth,
And each in the others confusion, errors, and perplexity takes delight,
not then does the Aristocrat debate.
If he would talk, the wise man knows the time and speaks directly to the Dhamma goal
talking talk, well-grounded, unfaultering, and modest,
uninvolved, unhesitant, and without injury.
Contributing without complaint as best he knows,
not glad to catch up one who slips,
not seeking to reprove nor finding fault not berating,
not crushing, not speaking misdirected thoughts.
Knowing, attained to vision, recollected
Thus the Aristocrat counsels
and such the way he speaks.
Thus the clever speak without hypocracy.

AN 3 67


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