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July 10, 2011


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Clearly we have different understandings of the Dharma. It is my experience that argumentation and debate does not lead to changes of views, so let’s not. We’ve each shared our understanding and view on the matter. If your understanding leads you (or has led you!) to liberation which is the end of suffering, to wisdom and compassion then I applaud you.


Hi Clyde,
Not to belabor a point, but I don't want to be misunderstood. I'm talking about the Tevijja, not just "experiencing the jhanas". For a clear example of the connection:


If you weren't claiming that your acquaintance with the fourth jhana allowed you to similarly confirm or contrarily reject the tevijja or any interpretation of it, then ok, that was my inference from a rather ambiguous statement. But if you were, this is very....interesting and I don't know how to proceed and would in fact rather not delve into that. But it looks like you are not making that claim now.

But furthermore I found your next statement strange. How can you think that the Zennist's view on rebirth precludes the Buddha's doctrine that rebirth can be escaped? Going further, how could "liberation" from rebirth be even possible (without reversion to annihilationism) WITHOUT an immortal essence? Does not the term liberation imply a ridding only of the inessential for the sake of the essential? If the end of rebirth is only the annihilation of the inessential for the sake of nothing, how is that "liberation".


It is my understanding that experiencing the jhanas is not awakening. For example, Gotama, the Buddha-to-be experienced the jhanas, but that he still was not satisfied and so left his former teachers.

I understand that the Zennist does not hold the five khandhas (the persona) as the Self, but as I understand his view he holds that there is a personal Self that exists eternally which is reborn. I find this odd as my understanding of the Dharma is that the Buddha explicitly taught a path that liberated one from rebirth.

Yes, I agree “what changes isn’t what I am.”


Clyde: "Vaccha; I can’t speak for Batchelor, but I have experienced the fourth jhana and while I can see ways to authentically speak of ‘rebirth’, none of these seem to correspond to Zennist’s view of a personal Self that is reborn post-mortem."
So, are you implying that you have seen the truth of rebirth via the fourth jhana (it is not intended as a challenge to your claim to note that this is one way Bodhi is defined; you are implying you are a Buddha), yet you are defending Batchelor's agnostic/atheist rejection of rebirth? Puzzling.

By the way, if I understand all this correctly, the Zennist is not about a "personal Self". The five khandhas are the persona (literally: "mask"), not the Self. The persona is subject to birth and death and is not the same from one life to the next, and this is explicitly the reason why it is "non-self". Revisiting the gold lion simile you had so much trouble understanding, the gold is once a lion, gets melted down and then made into a medallion, gets melted down, made into a buddha. Is the form of the lion the substance? Of course not, that's just a changeable formation without any reality in comparison to the continuity of the gold itself, the substance, the self. This is why recollection of past lives might have something to do with enlightenment: If I see all these changes, I can understand that what changes isn't what I am.

sorry honey buns, but atta ca so loka ka DOES refer to a dirrect fallacy of metaphysical perspective of a binary atman+cosmos view

further in the passage in DN1 it states "eso dvayam na....". i.e. the 'binary' fallacy of the "atman in or of the world"

dont match wits against the best codger

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