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The Complete Book of Buddhas Lists – Explained is Dr. David N. Snyders approach to Buddhism through the the many lists of the Buddha.
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According to Buddhadhasa,. Therefore, Birth and Death must be explained as phenomena within the process of dependent arising in everyday life of ordinary people.

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Right Mindfulness is lost during contacts of the Roots and surroundings. Thereafter, when vexation due to greed, anger, and ignorance is experienced, the ego has already been born. It is considered as one 'birth'". Some contemporary teachers tend to explain the four truths psychologically, by taking dukkha to mean mental anguish in addition to the physical pain of life, [] [] and interpreting the four truths as a means to attain happiness in this life.

Yet, though freedom and happiness is a part of the Buddhist teachings, these words refer to something different in traditional Asian Buddhism.

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According to Fronsdal, "when Asian teachers do talk about freedom, it is primarily in reference to what one is free from — that is, from greed, hate, delusion, grasping, attachment, wrong view, self, and most significantly, rebirth". In contrast, freedom in the creative modern interpretation of Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path means living happily and wisely, "without drastic changes in lifestyle". According to Anderson, "the four truths are recognized as perhaps the most important teaching of the Buddha. According to academic scholars, inconsistencies in the oldest texts may reveal developments in the oldest teachings.

Information of the oldest teachings of Buddhism, such as on the Four Noble Truths, has been obtained by analysis of the oldest texts and these inconsistencies, and are a matter of ongoing discussion and research. According to Bronkhorst, the four truths may already have been formulated in earliest Buddhism, but did not have the central place they acquired in later buddhism.

According to Feer and Anderson, the four truths probably entered the Sutta Pitaka from the Vinaya, the rules for monastic order. Scholars have noted inconsistencies in the presentations of the Buddha's enlightenment, and the Buddhist path to liberation, in the oldest sutras. They offer that these inconsistencies show that the Buddhist teachings evolved, either during the lifetime of the Buddha, or thereafter.

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Instead, they are a rather late theory on the content of the Buddha's enlightenment. According to Vetter and Bonkhorst, the ideas on what exactly constituted this "liberating insight" was not fixed but developed over time. Later on, prajna was replaced in the suttas by the "four truths". When he understood these truths he was "enlightened" and liberated, [note 33] as reflected in Majjhima Nikaya "his taints are destroyed by his seeing with wisdom. Bronkhorst points to an inconsistency, noting that the four truths refer here to the eightfold path as the means to gain liberation, while the attainment of insight into the four truths is portrayed as liberating in itself.

According to Schmithausen, the four truths were superseded by pratityasamutpada , and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person. Schmithausen further states that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon:. In contrast, Thanissaro Bikkhu presents the view that the four truths, pratityasamutpada and anatta are inextricably intertwined [].

In their symbolic function, the sutras present the insight into the four truths as the culmination of the Buddha's path to awakening. In the Vinayapitaka and the Sutta-pitaka they have the same symbolic function, in a reenactment by his listeners of the Buddha's awakening by attaining the dhamma-eye.

In contrast, here this insight serves as the starting point to path-entry for his audience. Yet, in other sutras, where the four truths have a propositional function, the comprehension of the four truths destroys the corruptions. According to Anderson, following Schmithausen and Bronkhorst, these two presentations give two different models of the path to liberation, reflecting their function as a symbol and as a proposition.


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According to Anderson there is a strong tendency within scholarship to present the four truths as the most essential teaching of Buddhism. The presentation of the four truths as one of the most important teachings of the Buddha "has been [done] to reduce the four noble truths to a teaching that is accessible, pliable, and therefore readily appropriated by non-Buddhists. According to Harris, the British in the 19th century crafted new representations of Buddhism and the Buddha. The writings of British missionaries show a growing emphasis on the four truths as being central to Buddhism, with somewhat different presentations of them.

Hendrik Kern proposed in that the model of the four truths may be an analogy with classical Indian medicine, in which the four truths function as a medical diagnosis, and the Buddha is presented as a physician.

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According to Anderson, those scholars who did not place the four truths at the center of Buddhism, either "located the four truths in a fuller reading of the Theravada canon and the larger context of South Asian literature", or "located the teaching within an experience of Buddhism as practiced in a contemporary setting. The developing Buddhist tradition inserted the four truths, using various formulations, at various sutras.

The teachings form a network, which should be apprehended as such to understand how the various teachings intersect with each other. I directed my mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the intoxicants [suffering Bronkhorst dismisses the first two knowledges as later additions, and proceeds to notice that the recognition of the intoxicants is modelled on the four truths.

According to Bronkhorst, those are added the bridge the original sequence of "I directed my mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the intoxicants. My mind was liberated", which was interrupted by the addition of the four truths. Bronkhorst points out that those do not fit here, since the four truths culminate in the knowledge of the path to be followed, while the Buddha himself is already liberated at that point.

According to the Buddhist tradition, the first talk of Gautama Buddha after he attained enlightenment is recorded in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta "Setting in Motion the Wheel of Dhamma", Samyutta Nikaya The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta provides details on three stages in the understanding of each truth, for a total of twelve insights. The three stages for understanding each truth are: [] [] [] [] []. These three stages of understanding are emphasized particularly in the Theravada tradition, but they are also recognized by some contemporary Mahayana teachers.

According to Cousins, many scholars are of the view that "this discourse was identified as the first sermon of the Buddha only at a later date. The First Discourse cannot be treated as a verbatim transcript of what the Buddha taught in the Deer Park, but as a document that has evolved over an unspecified period of time until it reached the form in which it is found today in the canons of the different Buddhist schools. According to Bronkhorst this "first sermon" is recorded in several sutras, with important variations.

The versions of the "first sermon" which include the four truths, such as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta , omit this instruction, showing that.

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According to Bronkhorst, this indicates that the four truths were later added to earlier descriptions of liberation by practicing the four dhyanas, which originally was thought to be sufficient for the destruction of the arsavas. According to Bronkhorst, the "twelve insights" are probably also a later addition, born out of unease with the substitution of the general term "prajna" for the more specific "four truths".

What are these four? They are the noble truth of suffering; the noble truth of the origin of suffering; the noble truth of the cessation of suffering; and the noble truth of the way to the cessation of suffering. But now, bhikkhus, that these have been realized and penetrated, cut off is the craving for existence, destroyed is that which leads to renewed becoming, and there is no fresh becoming.

Through not seeing the Four Noble Truths, Long was the weary path from birth to birth. When these are known, removed is rebirth's cause, The root of sorrow plucked; then ends rebirth. The Maha-salayatanika Sutta , Majjhima Nikaya plus , give an alternative presentation of the four truths:. When one abides inflamed by lust, fettered, infatuated, contemplating gratification, [ When one abides uninflamed by lust, unfettered, uninfatuated, contemplating danger [ One's bodily and mental troubles are abandoned, one's bodily and mental torments are abandoned, one's bodily and mental fevers are abandoned, and one experiences bodily and mental pleasure.

According to Carol Anderson, the four truths have "a singular position within the Theravada canon and tradition. The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta , the Buddha's teaching on the Four Noble Truths, has been the main reference that I have used for my practice over the years.

It is the teaching we used in our monastery in Thailand. The Theravada school of Buddhism regards this sutta as the quintessence of the teachings of the Buddha. This one sutta contains all that is necessary for understanding the Dhamma and for enlightenment. Within the Theravada-tradition, three different stances on nirvana and the question what happens with the Arhat after death can be found. According to Bronkhorst, this. The former occurs at death, the latter in life.

According to Walpola Rahula , the cessation of dukkha is nirvana , the summum bonum of Buddhism, and is attained in this life, not when one dies. According to Spiro, most lay Theravada Buddhists do not aspire for nirvana and total extinction, but for a pleasurable rebirth in heaven. According to B. Ambedkar , the Indian Buddhist Dalit leader, the four truths were not part of the original teachings of the Buddha, but a later aggregation, due to Hindu influences. According to Makransky the Mahayana Bodhisattva ideal created tensions in the explanation of the four truths.

According to Makransky, "[t]o remove those causes was, at physical death, to extinguish one's conditioned existence, hence to end forever one's participation in the world Third Truth. According to Geshe Tashi Tsering , within Tibetan Buddhism , the four noble truths are studied as part of the Bodhisattva path. They are explained in Mahayana commentaries such as the Abhisamayalamkara , a summary of and commentary on the Prajna Paramitra sutras, where they form part of the lower Hinayana teachings.

The truth of the path the fourth truth is traditionally presented according to a progressive formula of five paths , rather than as the eightfold path presented in Theravada. Some contemporary Tibetan Buddhist teachers have provided commentary on the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta and the noble eightfold path when presenting the dharma to Western students.

For many western Buddhists, the rebirth doctrine in the Four Noble Truths teaching is a problematic notion. Since the fundamental problems underlying early Indian Buddhism and contemporary western Buddhism are not the same, the validity of applying the set of solutions developed by the first to the situation of the second becomes a question of great importance.

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