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 [Dhamma Talk]


AN 5.197

Five reasons for draught not seen with the eye.

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Index to available translations: AN 5.197

Hare has translated 'cakkhu,' the eye, here as 'seers' and has by that completely reversed the meaning of this sutta for surely it is by being a 'seer' that Gotama has seen what he is revealing in this sutta.

This is another sutta with ideas similar to those found in AN 4.70 which will be dismissed without thought by most people.

First, examining what is said in the sutta closely one can see that the first three explanations are now found in our science as unusual solar activity, the jet-stream, and water-spouts.

The ideas that the rain-cloud gods being lazy and that men not following Dhamma are also reasons for drought are more difficult to explain, but I suggest that the prudent course is to allow for the possibility that there are things in this world that are beyond the knowledge of modern science.

Somehow during the period of great re-thinking that was going on around 1600-1800 everything that came even close to the idea of superstition, with the exception of what was found in the Bible, was dismissed outright, with scorn and prejudice such that even venturing to suggest that there were things in this world which did not yield to 'scientific method' was a career-ender ... sometimes at the stake with a fire burning under one's feet, or on the rack with a kindly gentleman, with only the salvation of one's soul in mind, urging one to come to reason.

The Four Causes of Error

1. The influence of fragile or unworthy authority.
2. Custom.
3. The imperfection of undisciplined senses.
4. Concealment of ignorance by ostentation of seeming wisdom.

— From Remembrance Rock by Carl Sandberg, attributed to Roger Bacon. Note the following from Encyclopaedia Britanica, Eleventh Edition, Vol. 3-4, AUS to CAL, Bacon, Roger (c. 1214-c. 1204) p 153: "Phyical science, if there was anything deserving that name, was cultivated, not by experiment in the Aristotelian way, but by arguments deduced from premises resting on authority or custom. Everywhere there was a show of knowledge concealing fundamental ignorance," words not attributed to Bacon.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

The whole world is energy and all energy is inter-connected. That a deviation in the behavior of one sort of energy, say, human behavior/consciousness, would have an effect on other sorts of energy seems to be entirely within the realm of possibility to my eye.

For those unable to accept even these arguments and the suggested possibilities, and yet who do not dismiss the Buddha entirely, the suggestion is, in stead of outright rejecting this sutta, simply put it to one side as a matter of personal doubt. At a later time you may come to a reconsideration.

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