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The Buddha spoke of five factors of the path with effluents like this:

  1. Right view - ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions.
  2. Right intention - The intention of renunciation, the intention of non-ill will, and the intention of non-cruelty: this is right intention that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.
  3. Right speech - Abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, abstinence from gossip: this is right speech that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.
  4. Right action - Abstinence from killing living beings, abstinence from taking what is not given, abstinence from misconduct in sensual pleasures: this is right action that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.
  5. Right livelihood - Abstinence from killing living beings, abstinence from taking what is not given, abstinence from misconduct in sensual pleasures: this is right action that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

Here is how wrong view is described in the same sutta:

"There’s no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife. There’s no obligation to mother and father. No beings are reborn spontaneously. And there’s no ascetic or brahmin who is well attained and practiced, and who describes the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight."

MN 60

Which is exactly the view that is described as coming from the materialist Ajita Kesakambali in DN 2:

"Great king, there is no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife. There’s no obligation to mother and father. No beings are reborn spontaneously. And there’s no ascetic or brahmin who is well attained and practiced, and who describes the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight."

DN 2

The Buddha also spoke of five untainted factors (in the same sutta MN 60) of the path and described them as Noble. Are we to understand that these five untainted factors completely overthrow the five above? Are we to understand that the Noble right view overthrows the tainted one in such a way as to transform tainted right view into wrong view?

The Buddha described Noble right view and how to integrate it with mundane right view to Seniya:

“Seniya, the first teacher who has the view that in the present world there truly is a self and who speaks according to his understanding, he is reckoned as having the view of annihilation.

“The second teacher who has the view that in the present world and in the future world there truly is a self, and who speaks according to his understanding, he has the view of eternalism.

“The third teacher who does not have the view that in the present world there truly is a self, and who also does not have the view that in the afterlife there is a self ― this is the Tathāgata, the arahant, the fully awakened one, who in the present has abandoned craving, become separated from desire, has made them cease, and has attained Nirvāṇa.”

SA 105


Heaps of questions:

  • So what does it mean that the Buddha "does not have the view that in the present world there truly is a self"? Does that mean that people don't exist? Does it mean there is no harm in killing since people don't exist? Does it mean killing doesn't exist?

  • Does not having the view of truly existing people in the present life mean thinking people are utterly not existing at all? Since the Buddha was not to be regarded as a real and genuine fact does that mean that the Buddha utterly did not exist at all?

  • If not having the view that in the present world there truly is a self DOES NOT MEAN utterly not existing at all... then, doesn't that also mean that not truly existing in future lives DOES NOT MEAN utterly not existing in future lives?

  • If Noble right view is interpreted to utterly deny rebirth, then doesn't it also utterly deny that people in this present life exist? Isn't that quite dangerous?

  • If Noble right view is interpreted to utterly deny rebirth in futures lives, but to not deny the total non-existence of people in the present life, then haven't you just arrived right back at the first teacher that the Buddha described to Seniya? Aren't you right back to Kesakambali's wrong view?

The Buddha also said to Seniya:

This is a very profound matter, which is difficult to see and difficult to understand. The very profound has to be illuminated in its subtle aspects until it is comprehended by the wise. Living beings of the common type are not able to distinguish and understand it. Why is that? It is because living beings have for a long time had a different view, a different acceptance, a different quest, and a different aspiration.

PS: Maybe this will help ... examples of utterly non-existents include the horns of a rabbit and the son of a barren woman. I'd say coming to grok the utter non-existence of these and how that is so is key to generating the correct understanding via the middle. It's a good tool in your toolbox.

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    Question is extremely broad containing a lot of complex questions - I count 10 questions total in this post. Should be either closed for being "too broad" or have the questions heavily limited (to maximum 3-4 questions). Jul 6 at 14:48
  • "The Buddha also spoke of five untainted factors of the path and described them as Noble", do you have more details? Jul 6 at 15:10
  • I've added the link to MN 60. The Noble and tainted factors are described in the same sutta. Jul 6 at 15:12
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    I feel there's too many questions in one, just as what Jade Empire thinks. Shouldn't you split this into multiple questions? One question should focus on one problem only and be focused and clear.
    – ruben2020
    Jul 6 at 15:40
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    Will do. Thanks! Jul 6 at 15:42
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It just means that he is done with desire. All views are born from desire: 1) "There is a self", 2)"There is no self", 3)"There is a self and there is no self at the same time" and so on. He is released from craving, therefore he is released from views as well. That's all.

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  • With this answer I still don't know if you equate "not having the view that in the present world there truly is a self" means having the view that people don't exist. I also don't know if you think the above means killing doesn't exist. Nor do I know whether you think "not having the view that in the afterlife there is a true self" means a denial of rebirth. Jul 6 at 15:21
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    1) They're not equal 2) It's an absurd to even hint that Lord Buddha would downplay the gravity of killing 3) They're different things
    – Danilo
    Jul 6 at 15:38
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The Buddha spoke of five factors of the path with effluents like this:

  1. Right view - ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions.

In regards to the bolded part. This as i understand it is to be understood in light of verses like these;

"'This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk, considering it thoughtfully, takes food — not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification — but simply for the survival & continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life, [thinking,] 'Thus will I destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not create new feelings [from overeating]. I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in comfort.' Then he eventually abandons food, having relied on food. 'This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

"'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'I hope that I, too, will — through the ending of the fermentations — enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.' Then he eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. 'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now. Then why not me?' Then he eventually abandons conceit, having relied on conceit. 'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

This is akin to desire being abandoned in dependence on the desire to abandon it. Therefore the Right View with effluents is necessary for the acquisition of the necessary merit ripening in the attainment of the highest good.

As to whether a person exist and those questions. I will just say that it's analogical to how in physics understanding the world in terms classical mechanics isn't wrong but if one was to get really technical about it then one has to abandon classical mechanics and start thinking in terms of special relativity and quantum mechanics which do not admit of realities held to be true in classical mechanics.

To ask which is truest is really missing the point because the two systems of understanding complement eachother as QM merely puts CM in a proper context by cutting off any wrong views that are associated with grasping in terms of CM.

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  • Your presentation of what "affected by taints" means seems correct to me. However, I still don't know if you think "does not have the view that in the present world there truly is a self" means that people don't exist and that therefore killing doesn't exist. I also don't know if you think "also does not have the view that in the afterlife there is a self" means that rebirth doesn't exist. Jul 6 at 15:11
  • I mean if i describe the eventuality of a car crash in terms of quantum mechanics then i will not be talking about a car at all, i won't even be talking about the same electron persisting over time and to then explain as a car crash i would have to abstract the model to explain it in temporal terms pertaining to the movement of objects. Therefore if i talk about ideas, i can talk about the variety of ideas or i can talk about origination of ideas, these are two very different contexts like the story of a film and it's production. Jul 6 at 15:21
  • How can you possibly describe a car crash in QM with no connection to "car"? Doesn't any description of a car crash have to connect back to the meaning generalization of "car" in some form or fashion? I don't think QM says "car" is utterly non existent, do you? If someone starts out talking about a car crash and then continues in a laborious fashion with many words and concludes saying, "therefore a car is utterly non-existent like the horns of a rabbit or the son of a barren woman" I'd say they were talking gibberish. Jul 6 at 15:24
  • In terms of QM. I think one would describe the electromagnetic process in terms of a observer dependent collapse of the wave function as a requisite for a particular measurement, not the movement of bodies through space. I think your point is good, if you start out talking about a car crash in classical terms then you can talk about it in QM terms. This is right and how they complement each other but aren't the same thing. Jul 6 at 15:29
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    exception being an arahant, for them there is no next life because all causes & conditions for the arising of percepience pertaining to the conditioned have been exhausted and in as far as that frame of reference goes all becomes completely cooled. Jul 6 at 15:59

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