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two kinds of language

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  • two kinds of language

    dear venerables,

    this is my second post and i have more questions. i don't know if my questions are a result of healthy scepticism or the hindrance of doubt, how do you tell the difference?

    buddhadasa bhikkhu talks about two kind of language, ordinary and dhamma, that the buddha spoke. he says that when the buddha talks of rebirth he is using dhamma language and is referring to the birth of the ego or i in the moment. he goes on to say there is no physical rebirth.

    is buddhadas bhikkhu considered a rebel or heretic, or is he a respected therevadin monk?

    with respect, michael

  • #2
    Dear Michael,

    Venerable Buddhadassa's interpretation of rebirth seems to greatly contradict the suttas. Take, for instance, the Sammaditti sutta, MN 9. (OK, this was spoken by Sariputta, not the Buddha):

    And what is birth? ... The birth of beings in the various orders of beings, their comming to birth, precipitation [in a womb], generation, manifestation of the aggregates, obtaining the bases for contact - this is called birth
    And again in the Bhayabherava sutta, MN 4, the Buddha explains the process of enlightenment:

    When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of past lives. ... There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an apperance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere...
    Fairly straightforward you would have to agree?

    Yours in the Dhamma,



    • #3
      Dear Venerable and Michael,

      Just additional information on the topic.

      By sheer co-incidence, I've just read an article that talks about Buddhadassa's two languages: one for those who still hold a strong view in 'self' and the other for deeper dhamma, which usually is behind the former. Another article cites P.A. Payutto as talking about two types of meanings for interpretating suttas in order to understand them correctly: Neyarattha (sp?) or indirect meaning and Nidarattha (sp?) or direct meaning.

      Yours in the dhamma,



      • #4
        Thank you venerable for your reply, and Dheerayupa for your reply. I have not heard the name P. A. Payutto and appreciate you taking the time post his name and refer to the two meaning of interpreting the suttas. I briefly read some of the his writings and it refers to dependent origination arising in the present moment, the same as Buddhadassa. Does the dependent origination of the Buddha refer to one or two processes?


        • #5
          Dear Michael,

          P.A. Payutto (formerly Phra Dharnmapitaka and currently Phra Brahmagunabhorn) is one of the most, if not the most, respected scholar monks and authorities of the Tipitika in Thailand. As for his writing on dependent origination, I'm not qualified to answer your question. Truly sorry.




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