texts of the buddha debating adversaries

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago.

texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
A lot of the suttas consist of the Buddha saying things, and monks agreeing with him. I recently re-read this essay of Dan Ingram's, which ends:

Daniel Ingram:
P.S. For those not used to this sort of hard-hitting rhetoric, check out texts where the Buddha took on some dogmas he considered useless or harmful and see if he wasn*t even more forceful than me at points.

Does anybody have any suttas/lists/books/links to texts such as these?

I came across one, recently, MN 38:

Then the Blessed One said: "Sati, is it true, that such an pernicious view has arisen to you. ‘As I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else’?"

"Yes, venerable sir, as I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else."

"Sati, what is that consciousness?"

"Venerable sir, it is that which feels and experiences, that which reaps the results of good and evil actions done here and there."

"Foolish man, to whom do you know me having taught the Dhamma like this. Haven’t I taught, in various ways that consciousness is dependently arisen. Without a cause, there is no arising of consciousness. Yet you, foolish man, on account of your wrong view, you misrepresent me, as well as destroy yourself and accumulate much demerit, for which you will suffer for a long time."

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus, what do you think, has this this bhikkhu Sati, son of a fisherman, learned anything from this dispensation?" "No, venerable sir."

When this was said the bhikkhu Sati became silent, unable to reply back, and sat with drooping shoulders and eyes turned down. Then the Blessed One, knowing that the bhikkhu Sati had become silent, unable to reply back, and was sitting with drooping shoulders and with eyes turned down, told him: "Foolish man, you will be known on account of this pernicious view; now I will question the bhikkhus on this."


The rest of the sutta is - Buddha saying, and monks agreeing - ending on:

"Bhikkhus, remember this deliverance through the destruction of craving as taught in brief by me. But the bhikkhu Sati, the son of a fisherman, is caught in a net of much craving."


This isn't that much of a debate, though. Buddha calls Sati foolish, then goes on giving a discourse without talking to him again. No back-and-forth, I mean.

In any case, what are some others?
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
The Buddha did not take many positions which were open to debate. The Brahma's Net sutta is pretty clear on this. Even his reprimand to Sati amounts to "Don't indulge in speculative views, just get on with the practice I taught you!" What kind of productive debate could there be? (I know there are oceans of such debate recorded in forums like this one, I have even participated in more than my fair share, but it seems to be pointless, at least in the sense that the direct participants never, ever change their minds as a result.)
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
fivebells .:
The Buddha did not take many positions which were open to debate. The Brahma's Net sutta is pretty clear on this. Even his reprimand to Sati amounts to "Don't indulge in speculative views, just get on with the practice I taught you!" What kind of productive debate could there be? (I know there are oceans of such debate recorded in forums like this one, I have even participated in more than my fair share, but it seems to be pointless, at least in the sense that the direct participants never, ever change their minds as a result.)

That's a fair point. I guess I was more looking for texts where the Buddha interacts with somebody who doesn't agree with him. I'm curious about the ways he handled such situations.
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Ian And, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 784 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

I guess I was more looking for texts where the Buddha interacts with somebody who doesn't agree with him. I'm curious about the ways he handled such situations.

If you're really all that curious, you ought to pick up translations of the Majjhima and the Digha Nikayas, and begin reading through them. You're sure to find something of what you're looking for, in addition to being exposed to quite a bit of information on what Gotama thought about a variety of things and the way he responded to those who questioned him.

One discourse that comes to mind is MN 71 Tevijjavacchagotta Sutta where Gotama denies possessing complete knowledge of everything at all times and defines the three fold knowledge he does possess. The exchange takes place between himself and the wanderer Vacchagotta.

Another discourse in a similar vein is MN 72 Aggivacchagotta Sutta, where Gotama explains to the wanderer Vacchagotta why he does not hold any speculative views. Vaccha asks questions and Gotama responds. With the simile of an extinguished fire, Gotama tries to indicate the destiny of the liberated being.

In the Digha Nikaya, there are DN 11 Kevaddha Sutta and DN 13 Tevijja Sutta. In the former, Kevaddha urges Gotama to perform miracles to strengthen people's faith. But Gotama refuses, saying the only kind of miracle he approves is the "miracle of instruction." He tells the story of a monk who wanted to know "where the four great elements cease without remainder." By psychic power the monk ascended into the heavens, but none there could tell him — not even the Great Brahma, who referred him back to the Buddha for an answer.

In the latter, two young Brahmins are puzzled because different teachers speak of different ways to attain fellowship (or union) with Brahma, which to them is the highest goal. Gotama gets them to admit that none of their teachers, or even those from whom the tradition stems, have ever seen Brahma face to face, then instructs them in the Brahmaviharas, which do lead to that goal — which is not, of course, the goal of the Dhamma he teaches.

I'm sure there are other discourses within these volumes which portray Gotama in discussion with those who either disagree with him or are seeking his opinion on certain points, but off the top of my head they don't come to mind.
C C C, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 953 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

That's a fair point. I guess I was more looking for texts where the Buddha interacts with somebody who doesn't agree with him. I'm curious about the ways he handled such situations.

Beo ,

This reminded me of this quote from Milton Erickson: "Too many people who use hypnosis try to argue with skepticism. I don't bother. That is part of my prestige — I just don't argue". Nice.

The again, I do like Osho's hard hitting style. He rips into Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama and others very skilfully, making them look ridiculous. This is important work he did; he probably saved quite a few from following them down the wrong path.

Most of written communication is in the tone. And if you're with someone in person, silence is the best tone to use. I don't mean that you stop speaking, just that as you speak, there's a witness to it. So if someone writes something - anything - , I can tell immediately how much silence there was around him as he wrote. Adyashanti's writings have a hidden layer of silence that comes across to the reader. Other teachers are hard scientists, and they should not be teachers at all.
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James Yen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: texts of the buddha debating adversaries

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/27.1-Upali-S-m56-piya.pdf

^The Buddha debates a Jain, and converts him.

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/3.2-Refuge-2-Listening-beyond-the-ear.pdf

^Harsh assessment of the mother, towards the end.

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/3.13-Alagaddupama-S-m22-piya.pdf

^Chastises Arittha harshly.

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/24.8-Anussatitthana-Udayi-S-a6.29-piya.pdf

^Harsh to Udayi.

Just search for the six heretical teachers at the time of the Buddha (Nigantha Nataputta) etc.

You may be interested to read about them.

The Buddha was often harsh.

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