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Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle

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Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/1/14 1:41 PM
Here is an interesting take on the 4 Noble truths. It is quite interesting in lining up the the four stages of awakening to the 4 noble truths. I don't know if I totally buy into the somewhat tenious connections but it is interesting. Has anyone explored this more? Any other arcticles about it?
http://www.tricycle.com/blog/four-ennobling-truths
It appears that arya became a technical term early on in the tradition, referring specifically to four stages on the path to nirvana, or more accurately, to those who have reached those stages: the four noble persons (aryapudgala). The first of the four are the stream-enterers (srotaapanna),those who have had an initial insight into the nature of reality, such that they have destroyed all causes for future rebirth as an animal, ghost, or in the hells, and who are destined to enter nirvana in seven lifetimes or less. The second are the once-returners (sakrdagamin), who have deepened that insight, such that they will only be reborn in our world, the sensuous realm (kamadhatu), once more. The third are the never-returners (anagamin), who have deepened that insight further so that they will never be reborn in our world again, but will achieve nirvana in “pure abodes” (suddhavasa) at the upper reaches of the heavens of the realm of subtle materiality (rupadhatu). The fourth type of noble person are the worthy ones or arhats, who have destroyed all causes for future rebirth and will never be reborn again, entering nirvana at death. The Buddha passed through all four of these stages on the night of his enlightenment, becoming an
arhat.Thus, the term that we know as the “four noble truths” should really be translated as the “four truths for the noble.” The truths themselves are not noble; the people who understand them are. And it is the understanding of these truths that makes them noble. Another translation might be the “four ennobling truths.”
There is an important teaching in this term: the four truths are not true for everyone. Anyone who has not achieved at least the level of stream-enterer is called an “ordinary person” or “common being” (prthagjana)—sometimes also called bala,meaning “childish” or “foolish.” We ordinary persons are foolish because we don’t know the truth. Specifically, we don’t know that existence itself is suffering, that suffering has an origin, that suffering can be brought to an end, and that there is a path to that state of cessation. We may know it intellectually, we might know it well enough to list it correctly on the midterm, but this does not make us noble. Only the person who has direct insight into the four truths is noble. And it is only for such people that the four truths are, in fact, true.

From Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta:
"Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of stress.' Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended.' Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:' This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.'

"Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the origination of stress'... 'This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned' [2] ... 'This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.'

"Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress'... 'This noble truth of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced'... 'This noble truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.'

"Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress'... 'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress is to be developed'... 'This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.' [3]

"And, monks, as long as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was not pure, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. But as soon as this — my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be — was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'"

The use of past tense is interesting. Anyone know of better translations you can point me to?
Thanks,
~D

RE: Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/1/14 3:14 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Hi DW,

For myself, a red flag goes off when anyone (myself included) adds demoting language to describe others as support to their description of something wonderful about/for themselves.
So this:
"There is an important teaching in this term: the four truths are not true for everyone. Anyone who has not achieved at least the level of stream-enterer is called an “ordinary person” or “common being” (prthagjana)—sometimes also called bala,meaning 'childish' or 'foolish,'"

If it's wonderful, then this wonder would speak for itself.
Mirum ipsa loquitur. 

So here is a description of that celebrated buddhist objective:
Etam santam, etam panītam, yadidam sabbasankhārasamatho sabbūpadhipatinissaggo tanhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānam.1
This is peaceful, this is excellent, namely the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all assets, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction. (from Bhikkhu Nanananda's 33 Discourses on Nibbāna).  

The sutta from which this comes also has plenty of demoting-other comment in it-- using ordinary others as a foil for the extraordinary arya. Boo. Nevertheless, I try to read this stuff and ask: what is worthwhile here and what may have been politically added? Same when I'm on retreat and the teacher may go into same conceit.

And I cherry-pick the sutta on "Who can teach" this stuff: from the Theravadin book of numbered stuff, Anguttara Nikaya 5.159:
Who can teach dharma:
--one who speaks step-by-step
--one who teaches cause and effect
--one who teaches with a mind of compassion
--one who teaches not for the purpose of material gain
--one who teaches without disparaging* self or others.

What did you think of the other translations available on Accesstoinsight (your link), such as Peter Harvey's translation? 

___
*Some translators say  that this "disparaging self or others" means not to promote own self and not to insult others. To me the person who does this sincerely, suffusively has learned something worth my attention.

RE: Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/1/14 4:51 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
Hi DW,

For myself, a red flag goes off when anyone (myself included) adds demoting language to describe others as support to their description of something wonderful about/for themselves.
So this:
"There is an important teaching in this term: the four truths are not true for everyone. Anyone who has not achieved at least the level of stream-enterer is called an “ordinary person” or “common being” (prthagjana)—sometimes also called bala,meaning 'childish' or 'foolish,'"

If it's wonderful, then this wonder would speak for itself.
Mirum ipsa loquitur. 
I agree it is impolite to add the translations of "common", 'childish' or 'foolish' when just using 'ordinary person' would probably have sufficed. He could have linked to a fuller definition such as http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/puthujjana.htm
katy steger:
What did you think of the other translations available on Accesstoinsight (your link), such as Peter Harvey's translation?

Just read it. I'm still thinking that correlating the 4 paths directly with the four truths are pretty tenuous. What do you think Katy?

RE: Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/1/14 8:11 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I'm still thinking that correlating the 4 paths directly with the four truths are pretty tenuous. What do you think Katy?
Yes, definitely: this is bridging two human-made language systems with another human-made language system (e.g., fortran to python anyone? Linnean taxomony to country's common species' names?).

I'm not saying this ~ the bridging of the Buddhist four truths with the Theravadin Buddhist four paths ~ is something I personally would write/perpetuate conceptually as a practice, but these are human-made systems that attempt to describe what is life, what am I, what is being, what can be known, what are ways of knowing/perceiving, then what is useful/reliable in being? etc. Some people also find non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-system is reliable skillful and turn into perceiving chaos/silence/stillness. 

This goes back to pointing at the moon is not the moon and talking about swimming ain't swimming : ]

So this conceptual bridging is useful to at least its author (Tricycle article you linked) for that moment; if it turns out to be too unique to that person's needs and lacks broad relevancy then it will pronbably fade away. The "progress of insight" may too have a limited lifespan.

What do you think, DW?

RE: Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/1/14 11:07 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
So this conceptual bridging is useful to at least its author (Tricycle article you linked) for that moment; if it turns out to be too unique to that person's needs and lacks broad relevancy then it will pronbably fade away. The "progress of insight" may too have a limited lifespan.

What do you think, DW?
I do love linking thoughts together and map making but researching it I just don't get warm fuzzies...
Limited lifespan? Like impermanence in all things? I'd hang my hat on it. At least til Maitreya kicks it up a notch. emoticon
~D

RE: Four Ennobling Truths - Tricycle
Answer
7/2/14 6:35 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Yeah, and just so we clear, in that same maha-malunkyafunkyier sutta on nibbāner*, there's this at the end:

"If he does not destroy desires on account of greed and interest for those same things, he arises spontaneously with the destruction of the five lower bonds not to proceed. ânanda, this too is a method for the dispelling of the five lower bonds for the sensual world."

So some people just wake up one day and bingo. The method being automaticity. Hm... 



[*homage to the great accents of Rhode Island]