2. Early Buddhism: The Renunciate Tradition

2.1 Sangha and the Early Community - July 11, 2019

Bruce discusses the changing circumstances of the early monastic community.

2.2 "Happy is the tapas of the shramanas!" - July 18, 2019

An enumeration of some Pratimoksa rules:

This talk and the following talk aim to build an understanding of the monastic code of conduct. Many rules, but only one fundamental principle: abandon self-centeredness.

Bhikkhu Patimokkha

2.3 Praktimoksa Part 2 - "Restraint in all aspects of life..." - July 25, 2019

Further enumeration of the Vinaya...

Serenity is valued most of all...

Guidelines and rules concerning the teaching of the Buddhadharma...

2.4 "...less desire... more freedom..." - Aug. 1, 2019

  • Trees and forests...
  • Reading from "The Bequeathed Teaching Sutra" - circa 400 CE
    • An online translation can be found here
    • "The more desires you have, the more vexations you have. The fewer desires you have, the more freedom you have..."
    • "Those who do not know satisfaction are poor even if they are rich..."

2.6 The First Buddhist Women, Part 2 (Nuns, trees, the moon, no views, and forests, too...) - August 15, 2019

No View

(Drawn from Suddhatthakka Sutra and Parmatthaka Sutra)
One who is detached from all phenomena,From all that is seen, heard, or sensed—What can anyone in the world say About those whose nature is pure openness?
They do not construct views, they do not esteem viewsThey do not insist, “This is the highest view.”They let go of the knot of dogmatic clingingAnd do not long for anything in the world
For the noble one who transcends the limitOf what is known and seen, who does not chase after thingsNot excited by lust or attached to dispassionSuch a one does not declare anything as “highest”
Those who hold onto certain viewsSaying, “This view is the highest and best”Disparaging other views as inferior Are never free from disputes
When one sees personal advantage for oneselfFrom something that is seen, heard and sensed,Or in good behavior, and observancesHaving become enamored of what one has realizedSees everything else as inferior
But those who know rightly call this a trapBeing attached to one’s own view and seeing others as inferiorTherefore the disciplined one should not trustIn that which is seen, heard or sensed
A disciplined person does not engender viewsBy means of knowledge, or good behavior, or observancesThey do not think of oneself in terms of “equal”, “superior”, or “inferior”
Having abandoned self-seeking, not holding onto anythingNot taking sides among those who are dividedOne does not fall back on any view at all
Such a person who has no desire to strive after this or thatOr for states of existence here or beyondSuch a person no longer grasps after any viewFor they do not require the solace that view’s offer
They do not even formulate subtle thoughtsAbout what can be seen, heard or sensed So how could anyone categorize such a personThis noble one who is free of all views?
They do not construct, they have no preferencesEven the teachings are not embraced by themA noble one such as this cannot be led by rule and riteThe one who has gone beyond view Has reached the other shoreAnd does not return

Alavaka Sutra

“By faith, one crosses the floodBy mindfulness one crosses the seaBy energy, one overcomes sufferingBy wisdom one is fully perfect

Five Faculties Commentary

“When one has faith, energy takes hold When energy takes hold,Mindfulness attends one.When one is attended by mindfulnessOne’s mind becomes concentratedWhen one’s mind is concentratedOne knows things as they really areThis is wisdom.”
“One should relate to faith as one’s motherEnergy as one’s servantMindfulness as one’s treasurerSamadhi as one’s kingWisdom as one’s guru”
“Faith is nourished by conductSamadhi is nourished by energyWisdom is nourished by mindfulness”

2.8 The Debate of King Milinda - Sept. 5, 2019

2.9 Rebirth, Death, Befuddlement - Sept. 12, 2019

2.10 - The Debate of King Milinda continued - September 19, 2019

Unfortunately, the audio of this talk is inaudible and too damaged to post.

Bruce continued reading from and discussing the The Debate of King Milinda with the Abhidharma master, Nagasena - Chapter 3, "The Beginning of Time.".

The following notes were taken:

  • There limitations to the Abhidharma (psychological / philosophical / ethical system...
  • The Mahayana will begin to redress and balance an overly analytical approach to dharma.
  • "Time means past, present, and future..."
  • Time is connected to person / self: projecting back into past and forward into the future.
  • For the Buddha, there is no such thing as time.
  • "What is the root... of time?"
  • Ignorance... (the 12 nidanas unfold from there)
  • Everything is perfect and complete and takes care of itself. We can just relax.
  • The process of being caught and going around and around (samsara) is without beginning or end.
  • "Are there any formations that are not produced?"
  • All formations are produced.
  • There are no formations that are not produced.
  • The coming together of our minds and the world...
  • Don't believe your thoughts about reality.
  • Move into a direct experiential relationship with reality.
  • "Is there... such a thing as the one who knows?"
  • ...
  • Effort: Where are we willing to take on suffering?
  • Open to your karma. Some anxiety is useful.
  • Children: nothing generates a bodhisattva quicker!
  • Bodhisattvas have a little detachment...
  • Nagasena and the Abhidharma: c. 100-200: enamored with analytical and rational approaches, however...
  • Spirituality is a matter of the heart rather than the head.