Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

Two Modes of Speech

02/07/202016:11(Xem: 507)
Two Modes of Speech

Duc The Ton 11

(Talk given at Washington Vihara, 13th October, 1990)

Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya

In ordinary speech, we make statements such as “sunset”, “sunrise” and the like. But actually there is no such thing as the setting or rising of the sun. The so-called sunrise and sunset are but phenomena brought about by the rotation of the earth on its axis. We make such statements not to mislead our hearers but to follow and comply with the usage accepted by the people.

Suppose a teacher explains the very same phenomena to his students in his classroom. There he may explain to them how the earth rotates on its own axis, how consequently the phenomena such as night, noon, sunset, sunrise, etc. come to pass. Yet the very same teacher at other times seems to use such expressions as sunset and the like.

This makes it clear that there are two modes of speech, namely the expression according to what really happens and that how a happening appears. The former is called the absolute truth and the latter the conventional truth.

The fifth discourse in the third chapter of Ekaka-nipata of Anguttaragama refers to two kinds of discourses of the Lord Buddha under the names Nitattha-suttanta and Neyyattha-suttanta. Nittattha-Suttanta means, according to the commentary, the teaching which is with the primarily inferred sense, and Neyyattha-suttanta means the teaching to which the primary sense is to be inferred. The former one was later known as Paramattha-desana, the teaching of the truth in the ultimate sense, and the latter as Sammuti-desana, the teaching in the mode of the language or usage generally or universally accepted by the people, (the truth in general terms as accepted by a consensus of opinion of the people). So the Lord Buddha said: “They are expressions, terms of speech, designations in common use in the world.”

“Man, woman, table, tree, river, mountain” and the like are the words used to express a definite idea. They are used for convenience’s sake and for conventional purposes, but the convention or conception is subject to change. For instance, at one stage of man’s growth we call him an infant, some years later when he becomes twenty years of age we call him a youth, still later a middle aged man and at last ‘an old man’, after the change of his physique.

Now let us try to understand what the so-called ‘man’ really is. From the ultimate point of view, there is only a psycho-physical process, and there is no self-identical entity i.e. a thing that persists without any change. To make it clearer, let us take a box. What is a box? Some pieces of timber are prepared, arranged and put together in a particular way to give a certain form or shape, and then it is called ‘a box’. Suppose the so-called box is disjoined and its parts are put together to give them the appearance of a bench. It will then no longer be called a box. The parts remain the same, but as the form or shape changes, the name changes too. Suppose someone referring to the bench calls it a box, regardless of the convention of people, they will then accuse him of uttering falsehood. So, if we do not follow or go against the parlance of people it would be tantamount to telling lies.

Now with reference to the shape we call it a box. How did the shape come about and where is it born? First, the carpenter thinks out the shape or forms the picture in his mind and then draws it on a piece of paper, which we call a plan or design, from which or according to which he arranges and fastens the pieces of timber together and calls it a box. The pieces of timber are not the box. The box is the name given to the shape and if the very same pieces of timber are arranged to give the shape of a bench then it is called bench. The box and the bench are mere names given to the shapes which are conceived in the mind of their maker. Thus in the ultimate sense the imagined box-shape is but a concept.

Similarly, bench, chair, house, man, dog, mountain, sea, pond and all such things and beings are but concepts and hence there is no special substance that is to be called bench and so on in the ultimate sense.

Then what are they from the ultimate point of view?

First, let us examine a box and see what it consists of or what it is made of. When we examine it deeper and deeper, we will come to conclusion that it is a combination of atoms. From Buddhist point of view every atom is a compound of still smaller particles of matter and every smallest unit of matter consists of four Maha-bhutas, the primary qualities, namely hardness or Pathavi-dhatu, cohesion  or Apo-dhatu, heat or cold called Tejodhatu and vibration or Vayo-dhatu. All units of matter or dynamic, and are in a state of constant motion.

The afore-said Maha-bhutas or fundamental and primary qualities are indivisibly bound together and there is no material thing in the universe which is devoid of these Maha-bhutas.

Thus, after all, from the ultimate stand point, a box is a compound or combination of units of matter, a collection of ever changing material states.

Now, let us come to man. What is man according to the Ultimate truth? In the first analysis, he is a compound of mind and body – Nama and Rupa. When we analyse body and examine it deeper and deeper, we come to the understanding that it is an assemblage or combination of material parts, and that every such part is composed of a vast number of atomic units composed of primary material states,  which are subject to constant motion, in other words, a mass of changing states, a amass of waves and vibrations in which there is no substance, nothing stable, nothing static in its own nature.

Next, let us come to the other constituent of the so-called man, the mind. So far as we have studied what the man’s physical body is, we see that it is a flux of waves, a stream of volumes of material states void of any static substance. It is the same with the mind too. But the states which are conventionally called mind flow far more rapidly. The nature of mind, the psychic side of man, resembles the nature of a flame to some extent. A flame is a mere continuity of flickering moments, rising and falling on what it feeds during its continual flux. It is never the same for two consecutive moments. Even so is the nature of mind, for it is but a stream of consciousness, an unending stream of thought-moments which rise and fall successively. Hence, there is nothing permanent in this psychic process and the only constancy about it is its incessant change.

Now we have come to the last point. From the ultimate or absolute point of view every animate thing, every man, every animal is but a stream of mental and physical states. A man who does not see this rapidly changing nature of mind-matter process mistakes the whole or a part of this process for an identity and imagines that there is an abiding ego entity. Every animate being, which has a mind and body, is an absolute combination of these two interdependent streams – one physical and the other psychical – each undergoing momentary change. Thus what man , in the ultimate sense, is a psycho-physical process in which there is not a single unchanging substance. All inanimate things such as stones, earth, fire, water, rays, air and the like are but various kinds of flow of the aggregates of the fundamental elements or primary states.

Thus according to Buddhist philosophy, man is an interdependent flow of consciousness, mental characteristics and material states co-operatively combined.

If anybody takes any part either of body or of mind as permanent or as an ego-entity, or distorts mind as matter or matter as mind, or any of their constituents as an ego, a self or soul, he is regarded as one holding an erroneous view.

A person who, when talking, changes or distorts the commonly accepted usage is regarded by people as a liar.

The Lord Buddha, when instructing people, used both these ways of expression, the way of commonly accepted expression and the way of direct expression of ultimate truth, suitink gthe purpose.

Now I have so far explained to you the difference between the two kinds of truths, Sammuti sacca, the, truth according to common usage and the Paramattha-sacca, the ultimate truth.

As regards the Paramttha-sacca or the Ultimate truth, it has two divisions, the Sabhava-siddha-paramattha and ariya-sacca-paramattha. Sabhavasiddha-paramattha means the self-evident truth according to our every day experience. Ariya-sacca-paramattha means the four Noble truths. I am now going to point out the difference between these two. There are three kinds of feelings according to the Sabhava-paramttha, namely Sukha-vedana, dukkha-vedana and upekkha-vedana, happy or pleasant feeling, unhappy or unpleasant feeling and neutral feeling. But from the highest or Ariya-sacca point of view all these feelings of the Vedanupadanakkhandha are the parts of Dukkha, suffering or unsatisfactoriness. Thus what is regarded as happy feeling according to Sabhava-siddha-paramattha is included in Dukkha or suffering according to Ariya-sacca-paramttha.

Let us take the case of Lokiya-kusalas, the morally good karmas which are the causes of the birth in happy abodes in the world. We know good karma belonging to sensuous realm or Kama-loka causes the rebirth in a happy abode in the same realm (Kama-sugati), Rupavacara-kusala, the developed Rupa-jhana causes the rebirth in subtle material realm called Rupa-bhava, and arupa-jhana-kusala in non-material realm or arupa-bhava. These three kinds of good karmas are kusalas or wholesome causes of happiness according to the Sabhava-paramattha. But according to Ariya-sacca-paramattha, all these three realms of existence are Dukkha, Suffering or unsatisfactory states and the afore-mentioned kusalas or wholesome Karmas are the causes of those unsatisfactory states, hence they are no more wholesome from the ariya-sacca-point of view. The Lokiya-Kusalas either Kamavacara, Rupavacara or Arupavacara are included in Samkharas and Kammabhava which cause the continuity of samsara and are the Factors of Anulomaspaticcasamuppada. Thus the sabhava-siddha-paramattha wanes and loses its brilliance before the Ariya-sacca-paramattha. Ariya-sacca-paramattha, the four Noble truths are the only ultimate truths, perfect in all aspects.

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
31/03/202115:17(Xem: 292)
Today, once again, I have another opportunityto talk to you through this online Dharma Talk, proposed by Master Hui Siong. He is Vice President of the World Buddhist Sangha Counciland General-Secretary for Chinese Language Department. He is alsoabbot of Beeh Low See Temple, Mahakaruna Buddhist Center and Vihara Mahavira Graha Medan Temple in Singapore and Indonesia. The connections which lead to this opportunity could be traced back through the founding Congress of the WBSC in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1966 and the second Congress held at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969 by the Most Venerable Thich Tam Chau, co-founder of WBSC. At that time, I had just moved from Hoi An to Saigon; so I did not have theopportunity to participate.
25/02/202107:49(Xem: 561)
Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, on the 12 February 2021 of western calendar. From the faraway Germany, I have had the honor of being invited by the most Venerable Master Hui Siong, abbot of Beel Low See Temple in Singapore and other temples in Malaysia and Indonesia, to have a talk online with you all today. First, I want to thank Master Hui Siong for the invitation, also his secretary miss Jackie and all of you for this opportunity. Buddha has taught us that everything arises with conditions, and the true nature of everything is emptiness. I am sure, as Buddhists, you are familiar with this teaching. He also taught us other teachings, according to Theravada traditions such as: impermanence, suffering and non-self or according to Mahayana traditions: impermanence, suffering, emptiness and non-self. No matter which traditions, these teachings are the common guidelines for us to practice Buddhism. So, when things as sufferings arise, how do we approach and deal with i
12/08/202013:37(Xem: 1684)
Hungry Ghosts is a suspenseful, character-driven ghost story with heart, humour and scares. Set in contemporary Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, four families find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past. As these hauntings intensify, they threaten to unleash their deepest fears and expose secrets long buried. Through an ensemble of characters, both Vietnamese and Anglo, Hungry Ghosts explores the concept of the inherent trauma we pass down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity - long after the events themselves. Can you ever really leave behind the trauma of your past? Is it possible to abandon both spiritual and physical culture, or does it form part of your fundamental DNA? To free themselves and those they love, each character in Hungry Ghosts must atone for their sins and confront their deepest fears or risk being swallowed by the shadows of their p
08/07/202009:09(Xem: 4409)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading. Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020: · You cannot have more than five visitors in your home · You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people · Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open · Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
22/06/202013:23(Xem: 1678)
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero (Sinhala: අග්ග මහා පණ්ඩිත බලංගොඩ ආනන්ද මෛත්‍රෙය මහා නා හිමි;23 August 1896 – 18 July 1998) was a Sri Lankan scholar Buddhist monk and a personality of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century.[3][4] He was highly respected by Sri Lankan Buddhists, who believe that he achieved a higher level of spiritual development through meditation.[2][5] Sri Lankan Buddhists also considered Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero as a Bodhisattva, who will attain Buddhahood in a future life.
23/05/202015:18(Xem: 2112)
Dr. Gagan Malik Interview: Mother Nature's Fury with Human Beings | 4 ways to 'overcome' Covid-19, With the rapidly rising number of covid-19 cases in the world's second most populous country, India, and the world's largest lockdown still continuing, I caught up with my friend who is a Bollywood actor, UN Peace Ambassador for South-East Asia and a passionate Buddhist, Dr. Gagan Malik. In this fascinating 47min interview, he shares his various concerns about the covid-19 situation, such as the lack of clear information available on how covid-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, the wastage of time during the lockdown, our mistreatment of Mother Nature/Earth, and also addresses his Buddhists friends on some concerning matters. He also provides some wise suggestions to everyone from a Buddhist point of view on how we can make the most of the lockdown and how collectively as a human race, we can do something about our current dire plight. Thank you so much Dr. Malik for al
21/05/202009:20(Xem: 1748)
Victorian United Nations of Vesak 2644 (Saturday, 23 May 2020)
23/04/202020:05(Xem: 2090)
In June of 1957, the senior members of the Youth Circle of the Penang Buddhist Association formed a committee to explore the possibilities of forming a Dharma school to convene each Sunday morning for the systematic instruction of Buddhist children in the truths of our religion. Fifteen members of this committee volunteered to prepare themselves to take over teaching duties. This group of volunteers found no great lack of material suitable for instructing adults in the Dharma, but when they turned their search towards lesson material for children, they found a most startling lack of anything remotely approaching the needs of a modern Sunday school. A certain amount of Buddhist literature for children was found in Chinese and Japanese language presentations, but there are few Chinese in Malaya who are completely at home in written Chinese. Moreover, even the children enrolled in the Dharma classes are well versed only in colloquial Chinese, in Penang usually the Hokkien dialect, and the
22/03/202010:11(Xem: 2317)
Hòa Thương Thích Như Điển đã làm lễ khánh thọ lần thứ 70 trong năm qua. Thầy đã mang truyền thống dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam sang nước Đức và là người truyền thừa có ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Phật Giáo tại đây. Đồng thời, Thầy đã đóng góp triệt để cho sự hội nhập của người Việt trong nước Đức – và do đó cũng là một đoạn đường quan trọng cho tính đa dạng của Phật Giáo trong đất nước này. Trong bài tiểu luận này, ông Olaf Beuchling đã vinh danh cuộc sống và những Phật sự của vị Pháp Sư đồng thời giới thiệu tổng quan dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam.] Người ta đứng chen chúc trong khuôn viên an bình của ngôi Chùa Viên Giác tại Hannover: Có hàng ngàn người khách hiện diện trong những ngày hè của tháng sáu năm 2019. Họ đến hỷ chúc 70 năm khánh thọ của Hòa Thượng Phương Trượng Chùa Viên Giác – Thầy Thích Như Điển, vị Tỳ Kheo người Đức gốc Việt.
14/03/202009:22(Xem: 4450)
The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.