5

This question mainly came up to my mind as I thought about how interconnected some concepts and practices of Buddhism are with other spiritual practices, such as meditation, and the concept of letting go.

Was the Buddha ever questioned about something of this nature, and did he ever make this clear at any point in his teachings?

2

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn11 for the Buddha's statement that there are no true recluses beyond the Sangha.

“Bhikkhus, only here is there a recluse, only here a second recluse, only here a third recluse, only here a fourth recluse. The doctrines of others are devoid of recluses: that is how you should rightly roar your lion’s roar."

The Buddha is careful not to deny the achievements of others, but framing achievement through the understanding of the four kinds of clinging, he implies that others may reach a very close goal, yet through having wrong view with regards to Self, through not penetrating anatta, are still clung to it, and hence have not cut off clinging (and therefore craving, which correlates directly with suffering) at the root, when declaring so.

"Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of clinging. What four? Clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, they do not completely describe the full understanding of all kinds of clinging. They describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures without describing the full understanding of clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. Why is that? Those good recluses and brahmins do not understand these three instances of clinging as they actually are. Therefore, though they claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging, they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures without describing the full understanding of clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging…they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures and clinging to views without describing the full understanding of clinging to rules and observances and clinging to a doctrine of self. Why is that? They do not understand two instances…therefore they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures and clinging to views without describing the full understanding of clinging to rules and observances and clinging to a doctrine of self.

Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full understanding of all kinds of clinging…they describe the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self. They do not understand one instance…therefore they describe only the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, and clinging to rules and observances without describing the full understanding of clinging to a doctrine of self."

With regards to the way to the goal, since the purpose of recluseship at the time was to comprehend experience (stress/suffering) as it actually is, with direct insight, there will only be one correct answer. In a world of anicca, anatta follows naturally, unless one relies on a transcendental (beyond experience) notion of Self. Therefore, the above quote is a fair statement.

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn26 The Buddha himself had two teachers to whom he went to before his enlightenment, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, who came very close to cessation in meditation, but not having the insight into impermanence, could not arrive at the true cessation of suffering.

Patanjali states that 'The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.', which is the cessation the Buddha practiced (the ceasing of mental fermentations). However, Patanjali then infers a transcendental notion of Self (I assume it is implied that once modifications to the mind cease, the True Self is said to be left), which, if it is to Be, is logically beyond conditioned experience as it is an independent entity, and hence not verifiable in the here and now. Such a position naturally creates doubt and does not lead to final release.

The only path within Buddhism is the Noble Eightfold Path, which encompasses right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. Yogis may be accomplished in many of these and that would be a great attainment for them and their students, but all other than the Buddha stumbled at right-view - the first step, because they conceived of their notions of Self.

1

The Dhammapada states the Buddha's path is the only path to complete purification. This is obviously the truth since it is the only path that completely seeks to uproot all self-identity.

273. Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best; of all the truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all things passionlessness is the best: of men the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best.

274. This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight. Tread this path, and you will bewilder Mara.

However, Buddhism does not deny other spiritual paths may provide lesser positive benefits.

1

In short, the Buddha said, there is one path for the purification of beings. Some meditation techniques the objective is blissful states. Buddhism does not say there is one path for this. Some of that the Yogis teach might very well work for this but if you are looking for the Buddhist goal of Nirvana there is only one path. What a Yogi teachers you may take you to some other goal like birth in Deve or Brahma realm but this is not the Buddhist goal. For the Buddhist goal of Nirvana there is only one and only path.

The path of the Yogis is futile in trying to achieve the Buddhist goal through they may achieve what the goal of the technique is supposed to achieve.

0

As the phrasing is stated, no, he avoided such a general remark. In fact, he criticized those who think that way through a common phrase found in the pali canon: "Only this is true, anything else is wrong".

For example, in MN 95, we read him saying:

it is not proper for a wise man who preserves truth to come to the definite conclusion: ‘Only this is true, anything else is wrong.’”

On specifics, however, he did criticize things like methods against goals, causes against effects and whether things are a certain way or not.

“When he says thus: ‘It seems that one who kills living beings… has wrong view, will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,’ I do not concede that to him.

...

“Now when a monk or brahman says thus: ‘It seems that there are no evil kammas, there is no result of misconduct,’ I do not concede that to him.

-- MN 126

He's also known for having taught other people's doctrines. For example, in one of the suttas, he taught a brahmin the practice that leads to meeting the Brahma (I can't really find the reference right now, sorry).

That comes as someone who is evaluating whether what people are doing produces the results that they claim will happen, and not for someone who is criticizing others for not looking for what he looked for.

In this case, it appears that if all brahmins want is to join Brahma, and if the Buddha recognizes that what they are doing indeed would make that happen, it seems unlikely that he would be that critical. By what is shown in the suttas, I guess he would let the brahmins be or just point out to his own disciples that, as far as suffering goes, they are not free from suffering.

Therefore, this also means that if someone claims that something leads to cessation of suffering when it doesn't (by the Buddha's understanding), he could decide to say so (and I'm fairly certain he did so a few times).

Also, he does state that all paths that lead to cessation of suffering have the eightfold path within them (in maha parinibbana sutta if IIRC).


Now, there's some minor controversies of wording in some suttas, related to mindfulness, which is referred to as the "the one-way path". Some people interpret it as the Buddha saying "this is a way that only leads to / directly leads to nirvana" while others might read as "this is the only way that leads to nirvana".

  • Are you quoting "Only this is true, anything else is wrong" out of context? Wasn't this a phrased used by the Brahmans and the Buddha replied this phrase shouldn't be used without evidence? – Dhammadhatu Mar 24 '17 at 12:06
  • @Dhammadhatu i wrote that that phrasing can be found at many places, and illustrated one of them. The context is available thru the link, and i presume one can then search around the canon and see how that phrase comes about when spoke by the buddha and make their own judgement. My opinion is stated at the beginning: i think he wasn't keen on declaring statements like this – Thiago Mar 24 '17 at 19:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.