Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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Grigoris
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Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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Poussin then goes on to talk about the different schools and their relationship to Abhidharma. He concludes that:

"This is why this work has been neglected for such a long time. Or, better, why,
even though it solicited the attention of many seekers, no one has yet set his hand
to work on it. A knowledge of Sanskrit is insufficient; one must join a knowledge
of Tibetan and Chinese to this, for until recently it was solely in its Tibetan and
Chinese versions that there existed, integrally, the book of Vasubandhu, Karika
and Bhasya."

He then gives an extensive bibliography of the Kosa, since the text draws from various sources and traditions.

He continues with an attempt to locate Vasubandhu historically as a person as existing: "...middle or end of the fifth century, or - why not? - into the sixth century." Hell, why not? If Nagarjuna can live a thousand years... :tongue:

The next section talks about the fact that the Sarvasivadins recognise the authority of seven Abhidharma treatises:

"the Prakaranapdda of Vasumitra, Vijndnakdya of DevaSarman, Dharmaskandha of Sariputra
(or of Maudgalyayana, according to Chinese sources), Prajnaptisdstra of Maudgalyayana,
Dhdtukdya of Purna (or of Vasumitra, Chinese sources), and Sangitiparydya
of Mahakausthila (or of Sariputra, Chinese sources)."

And then goes on to give an outline of these texts, many (most) of which are not translated into English.

Poussin also lists the masters of the Vibhasa that are quoted in the Kosa.

One point that drew my interest and that I want to discuss is Dharmatarata's view that "intelligent animals are capable of committing a transgression with an immediately successive retribution."
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Queequeg
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:03 am One point that drew my interest and that I want to discuss is Dharmatarata's view that "intelligent animals are capable of committing a transgression with an immediately successive retribution."
I suppose that's just another difficulty of the animal realm, right? Watching those nature shows, I vaguely recall there comes a time when the old silverback just can't maintain, and some young dude kicks his ass. If that young gorilla happens to be the silverback's son, well, he might rule the pack in life, but he'll be falling into avici on his death.

Its been a while since I read jatakas - I don't recall any animals falling into hell for committing any of the five offenses.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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jake
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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Queequeg wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:23 am
Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:03 am One point that drew my interest and that I want to discuss is Dharmatarata's view that "intelligent animals are capable of committing a transgression with an immediately successive retribution."
I suppose that's just another difficulty of the animal realm, right? Watching those nature shows, I vaguely recall there comes a time when the old silverback just can't maintain, and some young dude kicks his ass. If that young gorilla happens to be the silverback's son, well, he might rule the pack in life, but he'll be falling into avici on his death.

Its been a while since I read jatakas - I don't recall any animals falling into hell for committing any of the five offenses.
When I saw this it brought to mind a fuzzy memory of reading about the Elephant that tried, while enraged, to killed Shakyamuni. For the life of me I can't recall where I read this, but recall there being some debate over the karmic implications for that Elephant.

This also brings to mind a nice passage I just read for another bookclub: "He replied that he was wishing for the animal to give rise to the mind of awakening in a future life. This is part of the forty-fifth secondary precept, in which a disciple of the Buddha is strongly encouraged to be compassionate in mind whenever he encounters any living being..." (M. Batchelor, pg 2-3).
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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jake wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:23 pmWhen I saw this it brought to mind a fuzzy memory of reading about the Elephant that tried, while enraged, to killed Shakyamuni. For the life of me I can't recall where I read this, but recall there being some debate over the karmic implications for that Elephant.

This also brings to mind a nice passage I just read for another bookclub: "He replied that he was wishing for the animal to give rise to the mind of awakening in a future life. This is part of the forty-fifth secondary precept, in which a disciple of the Buddha is strongly encouraged to be compassionate in mind whenever he encounters any living being..." (M. Batchelor, pg 2-3).
Two mediaeval Sinhalese texts, the Anāgatavaṃsa and Dasabodhisattuppattikathā, maintain that both of the celebrity elephants in the Buddha's life (Pārileyya who fed him after the Kosambī schism and Nāḷāgiri who was goaded into trying to kill him) were already bodhisatvas, with Pārileyya destined to become the Buddha Sumaṅgala and Nāḷāgiri the Buddha Tissa.
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Grigoris
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

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Queequeg wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:23 am
Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:03 am One point that drew my interest and that I want to discuss is Dharmatarata's view that "intelligent animals are capable of committing a transgression with an immediately successive retribution."
I suppose that's just another difficulty of the animal realm, right? Watching those nature shows, I vaguely recall there comes a time when the old silverback just can't maintain, and some young dude kicks his ass. If that young gorilla happens to be the silverback's son, well, he might rule the pack in life, but he'll be falling into avici on his death.

Its been a while since I read jatakas - I don't recall any animals falling into hell for committing any of the five offenses.
Can we establish that gorillas (and other intelligent animals) have the same notion of what mother and father means to humans? If not, then how can we project onto them the same moral laws (and outcomes) that govern human behaviour?

Okay, maybe in general, but we are talking about a very specific karma with a very specific outcome.

Do the other four actions leading to successive retribution also apply to intelligent animals?

If the elephant that was goaded into attacking the Buddha managed to wound him, would it have been committing one of the five? Can an elephant know it is attacking a Buddha and not just a human? Can we know this? :shrug:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Queequeg
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Queequeg »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:13 pm Can we establish that gorillas (and other intelligent animals) have the same notion of what mother and father means to humans? If not, then how can we project onto them the same moral laws (and outcomes) that govern human behaviour?

Okay, maybe in general, but we are talking about a very specific karma with a very specific outcome.

Do the other four actions leading to successive retribution also apply to intelligent animals?

If the elephant that was goaded into attacking the Buddha managed to wound him, would it have been committing one of the five? Can an elephant know it is attacking a Buddha and not just a human? Can we know this? :shrug:
We can't definitively, but there's at least anecdotal evidence that animals know each other in certain ways - maybe not quite falling into the categories we have. A search of videos available online can show the distress of animals watching their fellows get killed. We can see that they are not happy - its often quite disturbing. I'm sure there are notions of malice in the minds of some - I remember dealing with macaques in India who I am pretty certain were mean and malicious little creatures.

The Jatakas, on the other hand, pretty clearly attribute human feelings and thoughts to animals.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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PeterC
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

Post by PeterC »

It shouldn’t be controversial that animals can create and exhaust karma. It’s difficult to achieve the merit for a human birth in the animal realm - which implies of course that it’s possible. Higher animals demonstrate social activity, adherence to codes of behavior, in the case of elephants even something close to funerary rites.

The question is whether the offences of immediate retribution function in the same way in the animal realm. Does vipaka function in the same way? Do the offences have such serious consequences because in part a human should understand how serious they are - and can an animal be expected to understand that too? Can all animals?
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii b: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:16 am It shouldn’t be controversial that animals can create and exhaust karma. It’s difficult to achieve the merit for a human birth in the animal realm - which implies of course that it’s possible. Higher animals demonstrate social activity, adherence to codes of behavior, in the case of elephants even something close to funerary rites.

The question is whether the offences of immediate retribution function in the same way in the animal realm. Does vipaka function in the same way? Do the offences have such serious consequences because in part a human should understand how serious they are - and can an animal be expected to understand that too? Can all animals?
Animal karma is weaker because their discrimination, memory, etc. is much weaker, and thus their ability to generate various karmas is more limited. But we are way ahead of ourselves here. These issues are not discussed until well into chapter 4.
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