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Author of Theravada Wikipedia Article[edit]

Who's the author of the article and does he have email? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:06, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

The article is the continual effort of many authors, there are no one single to be isolated; you can have a look at all the names appearing in this discussion page, tho', for the people who write are the ones who (usually) discuss and debate about it. --Cjdrox (talk) 06:12, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Thai vs Burmese approaches to samadhi & vipassana[edit]

It would be good if someone knowledgeable could add something about these issues.Sylvain1972 (talk) 17:28, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Good suggestion. The main article on Samadhi has them spelled out somewhat OK, so when I restructured the article on Meditation, I cross-referenced to that. Maybe the topic on meditation could accommodate the issue you suggested, as a separate sub-topic.--Cjdrox (talk) 06:16, 13 October 2010 (UTC)


It may not suit Westernized Theravadins to have it known that their religion is largely derived from Western scholars rather than the Buddhist tradition, but censoring that fact is contrary to WP policy. Peter jackson (talk) 16:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Could you please expand on the term 'Westernized Theravadans'? Are you refering to Theravada as a whole, or to 'Modern Theravada'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:00, 30 September 2009 (UTC)


i've deleted the statement about this, as it's just 1 of many, & not given in most English dictionaries. Peter jackson (talk) 11:33, 6 February 2008 (UTC)


I've deleted the following sentence.

"Amongst westerners it is very common for the focus to be more to the actual practice and theory of Theravada Buddhism, and this attitude is spreading amongst Asians as well."

For the article to say that some things are actual Theravada & others not is not NPOV. Probably quite a bit of this section needs rewriting in accordance with this principle. I've already corrected a misleading impression of Spiro's work by pointing out that he points out that all 3 aspects of Buddhism are rooted in the Pali Canon.

While I'm here, is there any authority for the article's statement that there is more lay participation (or something) in other forms of Buddhism? If not, it's biased & should be deleted. Peter jackson (talk) 09:20, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that the bit about reduced role for the laity was meant in the context of becoming an arhat/enlightened- the Milindapanha says that a lay person who becomes an arhat will inevitably be ordained that day or buy the farm. Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions in a footnote in his intro to his Anguttara Nikaya compilation that this seems to accord with the Canon, which does occasionally depict laypeople becoming arhats, but follows it up with their subsequent ordination or death. I'm guessing this was intended as contrast with some of the Mahayana traditions that allow for the possibility of enlightened persons continuing in living a non-monastic lifestyle (Zen, some of the Tibetan traditions, etc.) The statement should probably be clarified, if nothing else, to avoid the impression that lay Theravadins have fewer festivals to attend or something. --Clay Collier (talk) 12:01, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

*No* mention of "Hinayana"!?[edit]

I came here from Chinese-history articles, and the first thing I wanted to verify was whether this was the same as what's known in historiography of China as Hinayana or Lesser Vehicle Buddhism. Apparently it is, but I was only able to confirm that because I remembered the word "Hinayana" and looked it up elsewhere in Wikipedia. Even if "Hinayana" is seen as a derogatory term by Theravada Buddhists (and it appears that no one's quite sure whether it's a derogatory term or just a descriptive one), should there really be *no* mention of the phrase that's the mainstream term for this denomination in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Mongolian, and so on, and that's standard in Far Eastern studies? It seems to me that this is as if there was no mention of the word "Miao" in the Hmong_people article, or if the disambiguation page for Kaffir didn't mention that it was historically an ethnic designation. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 20:10, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Actually,the 2 terms aren't synonymous. The term Hinayana covers all the early schools of Buddhism, of which Theravada is the only survivor, so the present-day reference is the same. I agree that it ought to be mentioned. Perhaps you can think of suitable wording.
As an aside, I think Kaffir was originally the Arabic word for infidel. Peter jackson (talk) 08:16, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
The two terms were not synonymous in the beginning (by which I refer to the time that the Mahayana ideas were starting to take form), but nowadays the two terms Hinayana (also spelled Heenayana) and Theravada mean the same thing, as Theravada is believed to be the sole survivor.
However, considering the fact that most of the early Hinayana schools vanished (in fact, some of them are now known only by written work done by them), one might resort to the option of not using the term to mention Theravada only. It's purely a question of choice of classification.--Cjdrox (talk) 08:44, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
It's not just a question of classification. We have to mention common terminology. It even works backwards. Some writers, having been told they must say Theravada, not Hinayana, use Theravada when they're referring to all the early schools, not just Theravada. Quite confusing. Peter jackson (talk) 09:49, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, but I prefer to say it is a problem of both classification and terminology. What my main question is, what knowledge do we expect an average reader (who is assumed to know nothing about the fine details of Buddhist history) to gain about what Theravada is by reading this article? I vote for clarity and preciseness over generality. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a handbook. --Cjdrox (talk) 13:39, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
In principle I agree, but we'd have to look @ particular cases. Peter jackson (talk) 17:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I'll think up and insert a suitable phrasing. Perhaps a sub-section "In Chinese history"? Thanks for the disambiguation on how this isn't the only school of Buddhism that would be referenced by the term. I'll have to read up more on the differences between these schools and Mahayana before I write the summary; but I'll do that.
On "Kaffir" -- yes, it's derived from Arabic kufr, "unbelief;" I'm surprised my phrasing didn't say that. Thanks again, though. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 13:56, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, I added a mention in "History of the tradition" of how it never had much influence in China, in contrast to Southeast Asia, and how "Hinayana" is the usual (though evidently impolite) term for it in Chinese historiography. This isn't meant to be a prominent part of the article; it's just meant to provide a Find-In-Page hit for people like myself, Chinese history buffs (expert or, like myself, amateur/hobbyist) who think this sounds familiar and want to ensure they aren't completely at sea. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 15:52, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

I've made a few changes which I don't think you'llobject to. I'm not sure about the atatement on origins of the term. perhaps it should be deleted. Peter jackson (talk) 08:17, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't mind the changes you made. Just be sure not to delete the term "Hinayana" or the gloss "Lesser Vehicle" -- that was what I came here for. On the scholarly uncertainty as to whether Hinayana is descriptive or abusive, see the article "Hinayana"; and it sounds like "Hinayana" is sometimes used respectfully in the Far East, as "the version of Buddhism without all the Chinese fancruft." ExOttoyuhr (talk) 14:32, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
No, correction, I don't think I like the phrasing "many Western works on Buddhism." To put it simply, I don't know whether that statement is true or not, but I know that in the Western works on China that I'm familiar with, Theravada and other traditional schools of Buddhism are lumped together as Hinayana. Again, it's like how the Hmong are referred to as the Miao: it's the ordinary Chinese name, and it's very important to mention that unequivocally to avoid confusion. Remember, too, Wikipedia is not censored, and I'm trying to make a very modest change compared to what Muslim Wikipedians have to put up with (look on the right side of the page).
However, I want to get your input before I make any further changes. You care much more about the subject than I do (and I do not mean that offensively), and so I don't want to blunder on ahead and find myself reported as the only combatant party in one of those.
By the way, is "school" the right term for a branch of Buddhism? I'm a Catholic, and I'm constantly fighting an urge to say "denomination." To me, "denominations" are what religions are divided into, and "schools" are more characteristic of philosophers and fish -- but on the other hand, I've never seen "denomination" used of non-Christians. ("Sect" would work, technically, but the connotations are outrageously inappropriate.) ExOttoyuhr (talk) 02:22, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
'School' is more standard than denomination in the Buddhist context. The definitions of both are flexible enough that there's not a concise answer as to why one is better than the other, but convention seems to favor school. Buddhist denominations even redirects to Schools of Buddhism. I do think we should at least mention the fact that Hinayana was used as a synonym or parent school for Theravada historically- while that usage is currently considered inaccurate or derogatory, someone reading older works on Buddhism would be likely to encounter that usage and might be curious about it. I added a note to that effect to the Hinayana article earlier tonight under the 'Hinayana and Theravada' section. --Clay Collier (talk) 07:08, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
It's a subtle thing, but it is indeed better to talk about schools of Buddhism as opposed to sects or denominations. For one thing, some circles use sect as a derogatory term in Buddhist contexts. But the main reason is because school emphasizes the perception that a Dharma teacher is responsible for what he teaches and should not assume (nor be assumed) to be just using slight variations of other teachings. This is an important point, because a Buddhist is supposed not to rely on supernatural aid to know whether his religion is worth his attention. As for Hinayana, all my sources make it clear that the word itself is clearly meant to be derogatory. It is however true that Theravada (which is a single school and therefore could never be understood to be one and the same thing as Hinayana, which is a far more abstract concept) has been confused with Hinayana so often that many people speak respectfully of Hinayana because they actually mean to address Theravada. Luis Dantas (talk) 10:21, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
I see -- so "school" is the correct term because Buddhism really does put high emphasis on the individual teacher, as opposed to emphasizing continuity of tradition in the manner of Christianity or Islam.
I wouldn't be surprised if Hinayana is derogatory, now that I think about it. After all, it's not as if Miao isn't; giving insulting names to foreign things and peoples seems to have been par for the course in Imperial China -- but I just want to make sure that the term is in the article and clearly associated with it, to make sure, again, that people like me don't start wondering if they're going insane. I think that my most recent edit works for that purpose, although I seem to have invented a new three-letter acronymn, "HMC" -- "Historically Mahayana Country" -- to refer to members of what I'd prefer to call Greater China or the Chinese world, in the idiom of Spengler, Toynbee, and the (unrelated) Annales school. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 14:02, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate you adding the mention of Hinayana, but I think you should dig up the references for some of your claims. I believe they are mostly correct, but the use of absolute qualifiers such as "never" and "always" beg to be supported by published literature. Aaron Lee (talk) 17:43, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I've made sure to keep absolute claims out of the addition to the article itself. The "never" and "always" claims, which I only made on the talk page, are my personal experiences -- I had never heard the word "Theravada" until I encountered it on the Wikipedia page on Buddhism in Southeast Asia -- so I hope you'll pardon my lack of references. ;) ExOttoyuhr (talk) 20:19, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

As regards schools, the situation is far more complicated than is allowed for in such simplistic terminology. There are a variety of overlapping classifications of Budhism:

  1. The most popular among scholars seems to be geographical/cultural:
    1. Theravada
    2. East Asian: China, Korea, Japan & Vietnam
    3. Tibetan
  2. The main organized denominational groupings are as follows:
    1. 3 main monastic nikayas:
      1. Theravada
      2. Dharmaguptak: China, Korea & Vietnam
      3. Mulasarvastivada: Tibetan
    2. 5 main denominational families of Japanese lay Buddhism:
      1. Jodo (Pure Land)
      2. Nichiren
      3. Zen
      4. Shingon
      5. Tendai
  3. Dominant doctrinal traditions:
    1. Theravada abhidhamma
    2. Madhyamika: Tibetan
    3. Tiantai: China & Japan (& Vietnam?)
    4. Hwaom: Korea
  4. Practice traditions:
    1. According to Erik Zürcher (Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987, vol 2, page 440):
      1. Theravada
      2. Mahayana
      3. Vajrayana
    2. According to Ruben Habito (Experiencing Buddhism, Orbis, 2005):
      1. Theravada
      2. Zen
      3. Tantra
      4. Pure Land
      5. Lotus/Nichiren (probably including Tendai)
    3. According to Carl Olson (The Different Paths of Buddhism, Rutgers University Press, 2005):
      1. Theravada
      2. Mahayana
        1. Bodhisattva
        2. Emptiness
        3. Pure Land (including Nichiren)
        4. Tibetan
        5. Zen
        6. Recent movements
    4. Probably others
  5. Possibly others

Nearly all Chinese Buddhism now is Pure Land, which is also followed by ordinary Vietnamese. Monastics & educated lay people in Vietnam follow Zen, as do, at least officially, Korean Buddhists. Shingon is usually classified under Vajrayana, which is usually considered synonymous with tantra.

As you can see, the situation is far from straightforward. & the above is itself an oversimplification. Peter jackson (talk) 10:03, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the article's current sentence, "Scholars are uncertain as to whether 'Hinayana' was originally a derogatory term or a descriptive one....": I'd like to offer that, according to W. Rahula, the first instance of Hinayana is in the Lotus Sutra (Saddharma Pundarika Sutra), where, for instance, the Buddha tells Sariputra: “I should be guilty of envy, should I, after reaching the spotless eminent state of enlightenment, establish any one in the inferior vehicle [hinayana]. That would not beseem me.” (II.56, trans. H. Kern, 1884.) Regardless of how one might translate hinayana in this statement, is it not reasonable to deduce that the context provides for interpreting the word pejoratively? - (talk) 18:57, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

As I've stated above, my involvement was just a desire to ensure that the term "Hinayana" appears on this page, for the benefit of people like me with an amateur interest in Chinese history and a desire to make sure that neither they nor the world are going insane. :) I think that the addition of this last paragraph to "History of the tradition" is sufficient for that purpose; is it safe for me to unwatch the page and trust the paragraph, or at least the word "Hinayana," to stick around in this article? Let me emphasize that I am not qualified to state whether or not the term is derogatory; I'm only confident in saying that this is the term I encountered in the context of China.

So, again, can I be confident about the future of the paragraph, or at least the presence of the term Hinayana? If so, I don't really have anything else to discuss here. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 17:42, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, FWIW, I tried to move the uncertain material to an end note, adding citations from A.K. Warder and Walpola Rahula but regretably, admittedly, adding some unquantified claims. (Thus, I tried to increase the scholarship but left some significant uncited statements in it. If someone can provide pertinent scholarship, please modify as appropriate.)
Ex ottoyuhr, I think you made your point, a meaningful point worthy of others' consideration. Personally, I'm not going to watch this page to ensure that "hinayana" stays in the text, but I'll certainly acknowledge that I think such a desire is worthwhile and hope others would abide by your expectation here. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 21:53, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Looks like it's gone already. Time to add it again... ExOttoyuhr (talk) 23:11, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. Regarding the current wording, what does "in Chinese historiography" mean? Chinese language sources about world history? Those would not be using "Hinayana", but the Chinese calque, which is "xiaosheng". Or does it mean Eurolang sources about Chinese history? Since Theravada has almost no presence in Han history (or any of the other large ethnic groups), it's hard to imagine that it comes up enough to be worth mentioning.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 01:01, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Can't answer the very interesting question about "historiography" but I touched up the mention of Hinayana to note that it was created to "elevate" Mahayana. More significant than touching up content would be to get WP to change its redirect so that "Hinayana Buddhism" leads to "Theravada" rather than the tricky page "Hinayana" which recycles the old justifications for the H word. (See K. A. Lie's 2005 web article "The myth of Hinayana" for a strong argument against Vajrayana claims about "levels of practice".) Martindo (talk) 07:40, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Hinayana shouldn't really redirect to Theravada, as it also refers to other Indian non-Mahayana schools. It's certainly a notable enough term to warrant its own article, if only to retrace how it's used (and misused) in Mahayana and contemporary sources. Regarding Nat's question, I have seen (been a while) in English translations of Mahayana sutras the word 'Hinayana' used. There's no indication that they're referring specifically to Theravada and not one of the other schools though, which would have been more likely to be known to the authors of the Mahayana sutras. I had a conversation with a professor several years ago on this topic; he mentioned that for practical purposes the only Hinayana presence for much of Chinese Buddhist history was in the form of the Agama and Vinaya texts that had been brought over from India. I'm guessing that in Chinese history, Hinayana would be more likely to be applied to Chinese Buddhists who for some reason championed the primacy of those texts (someone who noted, for instance, that some of the 'skillful means' and other phenomena in the Mahayana sutras appear to contradict the non-Mahayana texts). Since there isn't a reference for that particular line, I'd kind of like to see it replaced by something else. I've seen the Theravada referred to as Hinayana in much more recent sources (and, for that matter, know Tibetan monks who think that is the proper term for Buddhism in SE Asia), but I haven't been able to locate it recently. --Clay Collier (talk) 07:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Just for future reference, here's a more contemporary source that continues the equation of Theravada and Hinayana: [1] --Clay Collier (talk) 12:45, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
This source says "A more contemporary rendering of this sect is Theravada Buddhism", which is incoherent—would the authors' editor had corrected it. If it is supposed to mean that Theravada is a contemporary rendering of the name Hinayana, this is also factually inaccurate, since I don't think any scholars treat "Theravada" and "Hinayana" as synonyms; the former might be treated as a subset of the latter.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 19:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I think that's just what they're saying- that the updated and PC name for Hinayana Buddhism is Theravada Buddhism. This matches the incorrect usage that I used to see more frequently- I think the recognition among scholars of the relationship between the term 'Hinayana' and the modern Theravada school hasn't trickled down completely to the popular press. In other places, texts like this say Hinayana when what they actually mean is contemporary Theravada (like this). I think it's worth noting in the article that this sort of confusion exists in some sources- that historically, Hinayana has been used incorrectly as a synonym for Theravada, outside of this nebulous Chinese historiography that we have mentioned now. I really think that something like the 'Relationship between Theravada and Hinayana' section of the Hinayana article would be beneficial here. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:01, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Is everyone familiar with the following article: Lie, Kåre A. 'The Myth of Hinayana' ? It may shed some light on this debate, if it has not already been mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Accuracy of the fundamentals of Theravada[edit]

I decided to start this section because the current level of description about the principles of Theravada is almost woeful. There are some distinctions of Therevada which distinguishes it from other related branches of Buddhism and from other religions. These distinctions in essence are those that make up the heart of principles of Therevada. It is Therevada.

For clarity and brevity, I would like to list down several concepts that I believe are ill-treated in this particular article.

1. Karma - This is one of the commonest concepts that is discussed in several branches of Buddhism and Hinduism. I believe the article does well to describe the concept, but fails to distinguish what Theravada says about Karma. The Theravada concept of Karma is not the same as it is in Hinduism and in some branches of Buddhism. It is merely one of the five factors that govern the outcome of a result by a specific cause. About those that are known as "Pancha Niyaama", which literally means "the five regulating factors", nothing worthy is mentioned here.

2. Samsara - This is another topic that can do a lot better, though I appreciate the effort taken to describe the concept. I understand that desribing the Theravada concept of Samsara can be quite a duanting task, and I am ready to sympathize with the authors who do their best. Nevertheless, it deserves special attention, if this section about the so-called philosophy of Therevada is to be of any real value. The key distinction to make here is that the Theravada concept of Samsara views it as a continuous process, often with the analogy of a running river. To put it in a nutshell, "You cannot swim in the same river twice, as the river flows, and if you did, then it cannot be a river, for it cannot have been flowing" (Taken as a direct translation from a Sutra). Samsara is not just the past, not just the present, it is not just rebirth or reincarnation, it happens now, it is happening now. I do not see it mentioned anywhere here.--Cjdrox (talk) 14:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

3. The Four Noble Truths - Woeful and Revolting. To describe in the utmost brief fashion, the author could have used just for terms: The problem, the cause, the solution and the pathway (or the implementation) towards the solution. These are the four Noble Truths. These apply in everyday life. That is what Why use a lot of uncomprehensive words that say nothing, nothing about the Theravada concept of the Four Noble Truths? In fact, the current description of dukkha (suffering) alone is enough to reveal the editor's lack of knowledge and competentness of the subject. Though I respect the effort taken to create the article, I cannot help but strongly disagree with what is told here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjdrox (talkcontribs) 14:10, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Again in principle I agree that the article is probably inadequate, but here you give some cases to look @.
The 5 niyamas are a very tricky concept. The Milinda seems to understand them as saying that some events are caused by 1 thing, some by another. The abhidhamma on the other hand says everything that happens to you is caused by karma, whatever other causes it may have.
Utter nonsense. I expected you to have better standard, Peter. Nowhere in the whole of the Pali Canon does it say that the sole cause of events is Karma. In fact, Theravada is the one branch to have raised the most objections against the topic. I propose it as a challenge for you to prove that anywahere in Abhidhamma it says that the sole reason for events is Karma. Whay not read something as the Brahma Jaala Suthra to reassure? That Karma is the sole cause is what Nighanta Natha Puththa or the Jaina Mahaveera taught. 5 Niyamas are NOT a tricky concept. It is a concept much misused. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjdrox (talkcontribs) 05:52, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Read what I said. I didn't say karma was the sole cause. I said "everything that happens to you is caused by karma, whatever other causes it may have." In other words:
  1. everything has many causes
  2. in the case of experiences an individual has, those causes always include karma (except experiences of psychic power
This is standard abhidhamma. I can dig out the sources if you really want. Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what sutra you think you're quoting here. I'm pretty sure that's not in the Pali Canon. As far as I know, it's simply a quotation from the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, with interpretation.
On the 4NT, you might look @ the treatments in Buddhism & Four Noble Truths & start thinking from there.
A final thought on the balance of the article. It's generally accepted in the tradition that the Visuddhimagga is the standard summary of the traditional understanding of the Canon. Here's an outline of its contents, in 23 chapters.
Just tell me who taught you to take Visudhdhimagga as the "standard summary of the traditional understanding of the Canon"? For your information, Visudhdhimagga is a summary intended for those who have a broad level of understanding of the underlying key concepts. Plus, nowhere in its entirity does it state that the sole reason for existence ( and for that matter, sole reason for anything) is Karma. The moment you state it, you literally destroy the essence of Theravada.

I agree with your outline given below, though. --Cjdrox (talk) 06:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I think I've put a citation for that in Pali Canon. Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
  • 1-2 morality (almost entirely monastic)
  • 3-11 samatha meditiation
  • 12-13 psychic powers
  • 14-17 doctrine (mostly abhidhamma)
  • 18-22 vipassana meditation
  • 23 benefits of arahantship
Worth thinking about space for different topics in relation to this. Peter jackson (talk) 17:32, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. I strongly disagree. Theravada and its concepts may not be so important for some out there, but it is vastly important for some who have literally grown up with the subject. This is an article about Theravada, in a public encyclopedia. Encyclopedic content must be accurate and precise. --Cjdrox (talk) 06:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
All I said was it's worth thinking about. I'm not sure what you think you're strongly disagreeing with.
I've had to make quite a few changes to the material you added. Apart from departure from the standard transcription of Pali spelling in English (I haven't bothered with your English spelling as anyone can deal with that), most of the corrections are to statements you included that represent the views of only some Theravadins. This article is supposed to be about Theravada as a whole, not what you or I might think to be the "true" teachings. It should therefore reflect mainly the traditional view given by Buddhaghosa &c, but also mentioning modern and other non-standard ideas.
Also, WP should never state that the Buddha historically said something, as there's no consensus among historians as to what he said. Peter jackson (talk) 10:42, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
If you are the one who edited the section on 'Anatta', I am ready to forget any disputes of opinion, at least for now. It is a pretty nice polish up of what deserved further editing.
If I read wrong what you said about Karma being the cause, I owe you an apology, but the meaning you suggest is also void of any use. Read this carefully:
  1. There are five regulatory factors, termed the 5 Niyama, that govern the outcome of an event.
  2. Karma is but one factor among the rest, which also have an equal governing power over the outcome of the said event.
  3. To say that Karma has a sole influence is fundamentally wrong, but I guess we both agreed on the point.
  4. Karma has no more effect on the outcome of an event than the other four.
  5. As for what one experiences, Karma does have an influence, but we are talking about a generalized event here, not just about something one experiences.
  6. Finally, it is essential that one mentions the equal contribution of all the five regulatory factors, and avoids hinting (even unintentionally) that Karma has a greater influence to change the outcome of the said event.--Cjdrox (talk) 14:02, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
One more point: A person comes here to have an idea what Theravada is. Therefore as an editor, I find myself duty-bound to report what Theravada is. I should not be tempted to provide a distorted article that is correct in facts but inaccurate in fundamentals. Should one be tempted to introduce fundamentally wrong concepts into the article (and create controversy within the same article) so as to reflect mainly the traditional view as you put it?
The criterion for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth (WP:V). It's not our job to decide what the true Theravada is.
  1. I'm not sure whether "govern the outcome of an event" has a clearly defined meaning.
  2. What authority is there for saying "equal"?
  3. Again, what authority is there for this statement?
  4. See below for more detail.
  5. Why should the sutta listing of 5 niyamas be regarded as more (or less) fundamental than the abhidhamma analysis in terms of 24 paccayas?
My use of the term "experience" was rather loose. To be more precise, every time you see, hear, smell, taste or physically feel something,
  1. the pure sense consciousness,
  2. the immediately following receiving consciousness &
  3. the immediately following investigating consciousness,
together with their associated mental factors, are vipaka, ie result of karma. This doesn't mean they're not caused by other things as well. As far as I know, the tradition has never bothered to try to work out a theory of how all the different causes interact to influence events.

OK, here are the answers you needed. Please refer to the Pali Canon more closely, partly because what I say is a collection of arguments mentioned in many places and sections.

  1. The term "outcome of an event" is totally abstract. It applies to any hypothetical "thing" that "is", or any "process" that "happens". Please look up Abhidhamma, this is a tedious task to explain all the fine points. To put it in the simplest wordings, anything that exists has a cause, that is, the "thing" we are referring to is the "result",the "outcome" that is "caused" by a "reason" or "cause". The "event" is when a specific collection of "causes" (to use the jargon, "hethu" and "pacca") bring out a specific "outcome/result" ( or "phala"). A little more explanation: a seed, when germinated, brings out a plant. The seed is the cause (hethu), the plant is the result(phala). But apart from the seed, there are other secondary causes (pacca) that aid in the process. Sunlight, water and so on. As far as I see, you have not made the fine distinction between "hethu" and "pacca". Remember the old quote "Hethu paticca sambhootham - Hethu bhanga nirujjthi".
  2. Abhidhamma.
  3. Abhidhamma.
  4. See below
  5. Niyamas are fundamental, and so are paccayas. Why do you refer to Niyamas as though they are mentioned only in Suthras? It is neither appropriate nor efficient to go into the finer details between Niyamas and paccayas. Please read MN:Sathipattana Suthra and the Pali commentry about it, as both (especially the Pali commentry) contain elegent arguments about this. It is a matter of the level of resolution, so to speak. Niyamas are easy to grasp and logical at the same time, so it is more appropriate (in my opinion) than the more abstract and demanding-of-thought treatment in Abhidhamma.

Yes, now I think your meaning of "experience" is clear. What you say is true, that when one "experiences" something, Vipaka caused by Kamma(not Kamma itself) inevitably is involved. What you fail to understand, in my opinion, is that to bring out the Vipaka, caused by Kamma, several other factors contribute.

In a nutshell, Kamma is what you do, think and say, and Vipaka is the outcome. Kamma invovles in the process of perception (or experience, as you put it), but in bringing out the outcome (Vipaka) of a Kamma, other four factors are critical. (Please do not ask me to cite references, dozens of Suthras and sections in Abhidhmma will verify what I say), so altogether, the 5 Niyamas have an "additive" property. Neither one is superior than the other four, but at times, one (or more) factors can be "deciding".--Cjdrox (talk) 05:35, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

You're now saying 2 apparently contradictory things: that all 5 niyamas are equal, & that hetu (in an unspecified but presumably sutta based sense) is more fundamental than the others. & you don't cite any authority for either of them. Peter jackson (talk) 10:54, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Once more, you show you are not familiar with the concepts in detail. Please read this very carefully:

Hetu is the general and abstract term used to describe any root cause that results in, well, a result, which is generally termed as Phala. Hetu-Phala Vaada (literally, the Theory of Cause and Result), is what Buddha and his pupils used to describe their philosophy. "Ye dhamma hetuppabhava - Thesam hetum Thathagatho aaha - Thesancayo nirodho - Evam vadi Mahasamano" was what Sariputta, one of the two chief pupils of Buddha uses to describe Buddha and Buddhism. (I have used appropriate capitalization to denote names of people). Literally, this menas "Whatever entity that is the result of a [root]cause - The Enlightened one preaches its root cause - Plus, its [the root's] elimination - That is what the Great Shramana teaches".

So, the 'Hetu' is not more or less fundamental than anything, for Hetu is a general term used to describe a root cause of a result. But Hetu-Phala Vada is fundamental, in fact more fundamental than anything else. I guess you would be astonished (and even shocked) if I say that the Four Noble Truths also are a variation of the same theory. So, I hope, that your first apparent contradiction is resolved.

For your second claim, let me say this: All five Niyamas have an inherent equal effect on the "outcome of an event". Neither one is inherently more superior than the other. But at any given time, there will be at least one (among the five) factor that has a "deciding" effect, but since all five have an equal chance of being the "key" or "deciding" factor, what I say remains intact. However, for any given event, there always exists at least one "key" factor, (saying which put you under the illusion that I was saying one Niyama can be superior, while saying that all five are equal also).

What if I say (with the whole of Pali Canon to back me up) that even the Five Niyamas are a variation on the same theory of Hatu-Phala Vada?--Cjdrox (talk) 13:56, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Hetu in abhidhamma means specifically mula: greed, hate, delusion & their opposites.
What is your authority for saying there's 1 key factor?
What if you do say it? You keep on saying things but never cite any specific authority for them. Peter jackson (talk) 17:28, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
In Abhidhamma itself, it mentions two protocols, on ways to explain things: sammuthi desana and paramaththa desana. (Literally, context-based definitions and abstract definitions). The word Hetu, has only one possible ultimate meaning in the Pali Canon (including Abhidhmma, which, for some reason you seem to consider superior to Suttas, in my personal opinion): The Root Cause. Nothing else. Period.
But you deserve credit for bringing up the definition of Hetu, in the context of explanation of the cause os suffering, which Abhidhamma consideres understood in that particular context. That is natural, for the ultimate goal of Theravada is to attain Nibbana, freedom from suffering. So with that aim in mind, it is natural for a writer to mantion Hetu as Hetu for the suffering, which is caused by the reiterative cycle of life and death, which in turn is caused by Kamma, which has only six possible roots: Lobha (greed), Dosa (hatred), Moha(delusion) and their opposites. But still, the most basic and abstract meaning of the word Hetu remains the same: The Root Cause (for a specific result).

I cited the best translation I could find on the web, with no words or phrases twisted, and with each and every word keeps in close proximity in the meaning based on the context the words were used. If reading them did not make you happy, I cannot help but ask you to read a good translation of Wedana Pariggaha Sutta and Antta Lakkhana Sutta, alongwith somewhat not-so-abstract Asivisopama Sutta and Wedananupassana Sangaha (on the commentries)--Cjdrox (talk) 03:50, 10 October 2008 (UTC)


Your understanding of anatta is Mahayanist. The Theravada view is that sankharas are not my self, because I can't control them. Somewhere in the Majjhima Nikaya this is spelt out. A king controls what happens in his kingdom. If you can't control something it can't be yours, let alone yourself. The idea that things have no inherent existence, tho' Theravada might not actually disagree with it, is not what non-self is about. Peter jackson (talk) 10:31, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
What you said applies to the Nikayas. I believe the Abhidhamma and commentaries are more metaphysical are they not? Mitsube (talk) 19:25, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
No, my understanding is NOT Mahayana. What you say is true, that the Sankharas cannot be what 'I' am, they are not 'mine', in the sense that 'I' cannot have control over them. But you miss out something: According to Theravada, there is nothing called 'I'. Nothing, even Nibbana, has an ultimate identity, that is independant.

Read this very carefully, for it captures the Theravada concept of Anatta almost entirely: According to Theravada, anything and everything is an aggregation, or an assemble of a maximum of 5 "things", namely, the Panchaskandha.

Let me explain this by an example: One comes with an axe and chops down a tree and makes a chair out of it. Another hacks it down and burns it to ashes. Starting from the beginning, consider how we would name the entities concerned: First, it's the 'Tree' first, then it's 'Timber', 'Chair', 'Wood', 'Fire' and finally 'Ashes'. Throughout the series of events, the entity formerly known as 'Tree' has changed it's identity several times. There is no abstract identity for anything. That is what Theravada teaches.

Please read the following Suthras, and verify what I say: MN:Anatta Lakkhana Suthra, MN:Sathipattana Suthra. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjdrox (talkcontribs) 06:41, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

An excellent collection of articles covering this topic, plus so many other disputed concepts may be found at this location: I highly recommend reading the article at the following location:

Nobody's questioning that that's what Theravada teaches. The point is that Theravada calls that anatta only when applied to living beings. Peter jackson (talk) 10:56, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

There! That explains everything, everything. Please purchase a Dhammapada: it is the basic handbook of any Theravadian, (without having read which nobody should even dream of writing nonsense in a public encyclopedia, in my opinion). Read from front to back. Read Abhidhamma, anywhere, any place you like. I propose it as a challenge for you to prove, with your so-called citations, that Theravada, in its entirity, has stated anywhere that "Theravada calls that anatta only when applied to living beings."

"Sabbe sankhaara anicca - Sabbe Sankhara dukkha" says Theravada, but "Sabbe Dhamma Anatta". The latter transtales directly into "all entities are self-less" which means, for your information, all entities including living beings, non-living things (theories, encyclopedias, wikipedians, etc.) and in the broadest sense, all possible forms of existence are self-less.

Let me explain this more: there are two basic questions that arise in this concpet (which, I admit, is not an easy thing to grasp) that deserve explanation in detail.

  1. What is meant by the term, 'Anatta'?
  2. What has the quality of being 'Anatta'?

Well, here are the answers, in the simplest way I can explain:

  1. Anatta means non-self (as Peter was eager to mention, thanks go to him). But the english term itself is cloudy and unclear; what exactly is its meant by being "non-self"? Non-self means "to have no ultimate identity that is not subject to change, and which keeps constant no matter what happens to everything else". Annatta is a transformation of Sanskrit:Anathma, which really is 'Na' + 'Athma' (please refer to a book, any standard book on oriental languages, I am not conducting a linguistic lecture here). In its deepest roots of sense, Athma means "existence", or one's "self". What do we mean by one's "self"? Clearly we are trying to define the basic element of existence of a person, thing or entity. Which is wrong and illusive in Theravada philosophy. What Theravada says is that since everything is subject to change, nothing can have an unchanging, constant "self", or identity.
  2. So then, what has the quality of being 'Anatta'? Answer: everything. The attent reader may have deduced this fact by now. Not even Nibbana, the supreme state of freedom that a Buddhist can hope to have, has a "self". Even the existence of Nibbana is decided by the fact that suffering exists. (Using an analogy, what is the state one achieves when he drinks a good load of water after long tireing hours of thirst? Non-thirst, one might say. Even the existence of a state like that is governed by the fact that there is a state called thirst).--Cjdrox (talk) 13:19, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
For your information, I have purchased several Dhammapadas, along with the rest of the Canon. I've read the whole Canon, along with more than 1/2 the commentaries.
Now, the difference between sankhara & dhamma is clearly explained in the commentaries, 7 stated briefly in the Parivara. Dhamma includes nirvana & pannatti. Sankhara doesn't. Nirvana is not oneself, tho' it's not impermanent & not suffering. It is in a sense permanent, tho' more accurately ouside time. It can be described as happy (nibbanam paramam sukham: Dhammapada). Pannatti are neither permanent nor impermanent, as they don't really exist. Similarly they aren't really either happy or unhappy. But they're not oneself. Peter jackson (talk) 17:35, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

If you really have read the Pali commentries, good, that indeed is a good starting point, because if you have read the Pali Canon, you cannot deny the following Gathas, which I'm going to cite to prove that Anatta applies not only to living beings.
  "Sabbe sankhara aniccathi - Yadaa pannaya passathi
   Atha nibbindathi dukkhe - Esa maggo visuddhiya
   Sabbe sankhara aniccathi - Yadaa pannaya passathi
   Atha nibbindathi dukkhe - Esa maggo visuddhiya
   Sabbe sankhara aniccathi - Yadaa pannaya passathi
   Atha nibbindathi dukkhe - Esa maggo visuddhiya"
The translation goes: "If one realises that all sankharas (all that is the result of a Hetu [root cause] and Pacca [other causes] are subject to Change, he becomes free from suffering; that, is the pathway to cleansing". (I hate word-to-word translations, but here I have no choice but to endure this tedium.) The second goes much the same as well, with the replacement of "Dukkha" (suffering, or rather, having the quality of suffering), for "Anicca" in the first. But that is not where the subtlity comes in.
Read the third: please explain to me why it uses "Sabbe Dhamma" (all entities), instead of "Sabbe sankhara" (all that is the result of a cause)? --Cjdrox (talk) 03:45, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
I just did, immediately before your remarks. Please try to get into the habit of reading what people say before replying. Peter jackson (talk) 09:48, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I am not in the habit of commenting about someone with having read nothing what he or she have said. No, you still have not explained anything. Explaining is not mere translation. What is Dhamma? What is Pannatti? What is Nibbana? Dhamma includes nirvana & pannatti. Sankhara doesn't.: I suppose that it is your limit of understanding. Do you know that by saying that, you have accepted the fact that there can be nothing that does not have the quality of being 'Anatta'? For example, can you please name something that comes under neither 'Dhamma' nor 'Sankhara'? (In fact there can be nothing that does not come under any of those categories.). Do you deny the translation I gave? Do you deny the sources?
If you are still able to hold to the opinion that Anatta applies only to living beings, then you should be able to prove it. Having you said that I provide no citations, I put up some excellent translations of some truly comprehensive Suttas, the best translations I could find on the Web. Now it is your turn. Pali Canon is the most authoritative text on Theravada. I propose it as a challenge for you to come up with any Pali text (please, not another "modern" book) that says (or even implies) that the concept Anatta applies only to living beings.--Cjdrox (talk) 12:58, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
  1. It's not up to me to prove anything. WP policy requires you, as the person who wants to add things to the article, to prove them.
  2. The type of proof it requires is quite specific. Read WP:V, WP:OR, WP:RS & WP:PSTS.
  3. If you want to assert in the article that the theravada teaching is such-&-such, then you must supply an independent scholarly source that clearly says so. No individual or organization has the authority to speak for the whole of Theravada.
  4. If you merely want to assert in the article that there is a significant body of opinion within Theravada, then a Theravada source can be cited, but it must be a major 1, as defined in WP:RS, & it must be a secondary source, ie not the Pali Canon. Scriptures are always open to interpretation, can be taken out of context, may appear to contradict each other &c.
  5. Certainly the doctrine is that everything is anatta. That doesn't mean it has no self, in the Mahayana sense you take it. It means it isn't my self, or yours ... N'etam mama, n'eso 'ham asmi, n'eso me atta.
Peter jackson (talk) 10:40, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can see, the conflict comes through one point: that Teravada Suttas (and Abhidhamma, to a considerable extent) treats the term Anatta as being relavant to living beings, most of the time. But when you move on to Suttas that deal specifically with the concept, it is obvious that the term has its applicability on both living and non-living entities. It is there, word-by-word in the Pali text, and no one in his right mind can give an alternate translation.
Plus, whenever the Pali Canon discusses Annatta as being a quality of all possible entities and forms of existence, it turns the talk back to living beings being Anatta. This apparent lack of discussion on Anatta being a quality that applies to non-living beings is perfectly understandable, for Theravada is there for the cessation of suffering. This apparent minority of discussions on Anatta specifically as a universal quality, coupled with a vast majority of text that deals with Anatta as a quality relavant to living beings, may lead a person into get that Anatta is a quality that applies only to living beings. But that does not invalidate the original meaning.
To summarize, Anatta can be explained as "not my self" and so on. But it is not limited to that meaning. There is no conflict on that; if there was, I would certainly turn to secondary sources.--Cjdrox (talk) 03:26, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
May I suggest you hve a good look thro' the archives for this talk page? You'll find a variety of people being just as dogmatic as you, but with different dogmas. Can you see why WP policy is to avoid taking sides in religious disputes? Peter jackson (talk) 11:15, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I will take a leaf out of your book and say: May I suggest you have a good look through the history of Pali Canon and its commentaries again? You'll find a variety of people being just as deviating and innovative as you, but with different ideas. Can you see why it has been the policy of Theravadins over decades for not to try and explain things in Pali Canon, but to provide supplements to it? I agree with WP policies, but iWP policies do not extend to the level of evident misdirection about a topic through obvious lack of fluency about a topic, particularly one about which there exists a comprehensive literature.--Cjdrox (talk) 13:08, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by decades. What are commentaries if not explanations? Do you just mean recnt decades?
You just continue with your endless dogmatic assertions that you're right without citing a single source that clearly & explicitly states what you're claiming. Peter jackson (talk) 10:52, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I am getting tired of this discussion, but I have no choice. Read this very carefully:
  1. You asked what I am claiming: I claim against what you told about Anatta being a quality that applies only to living beings (among a dozen other rubbish which I cannot even imagine where Peter found them in the Pali Canon).
  2. What are my sources? The Pali Canon. Period. I provided ample references in this very section.
  3. Why don't I cite additional sources? Because the topic in question is dealt with thoroughly and exhastively in the Pali Canon that there can in fact be no controversy. If there were, then it would be necessary that I provide additional scholarly sources. Actually, the topic in question is discussed word-to-word, in several forms, including even a Q & A form in the Pali Canon. I provided the best translations I could find on the Web; the only reason I did not put them up as refernces is that I waited for a NPOV comment about them from dear Mr. Jackson (which he did not do, eventually).

And now it's my turn to ask a single, simple question from Mr. Peter Jackson: can you please, please come up with a single source from the Pali Canon to prove what you claimed (that Anatta applies only to living beings) ?--Cjdrox (talk) 06:39, 28 October 2008 (UTC)


Your wording places too much emphasis on breathing as against other forms of meditation. Peter jackson (talk) 10:36, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Why did you delete his list? Mitsube (talk) 19:23, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Nonsense. The former text placed almost a misleading amount of emphasis on Anapanasathi. That is why I added the few lines at the beginning to make clear to the reader the fact that Anapanasathi is but one method, or kammatthana. It is I who restructured the para and removed some of the exaggerant emphasis on Anapanasathi.--Cjdrox (talk) 06:45, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I think a little more explanation is appropriate here: Meditation is a means, a tool, a stratergy, designed to train one's mond to see through the veils of deception, or ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. The classical terminology of Pali Canon recgnizes two broad "categories" (so to speak) of meditation, namely Samatha and Vipassana. Strictly speaking, it's only and explicitly by Vipassana that one can attain the "states" of mind, leading to freedom, named "magga-phala"; Samatha is but a methodology to facilitate one's mental (and spritual) skill to think abstract. The word "samatha" literally means "to make skillful".
To put things in parellel, practitioners of Theravada (through meditation) are classified into two groups based on what method they use to attain magga-phla; Samathayanika and Shushka Vipassaka (Sanskrit: Shushka Vidarshaka). Samathayanika are the people who elect first to enskill their minds, and only then to move on to Vipassana. Shushka Vipassaka are those who prefer only Vipassana, as opposed to Samathyanika. Traditionally, Theravadians, (at least in Sri Lanka, the country that boasts the "purest" form of early Theravada) have preferred the Shushka Vipassaka pathway to Samathayanika. (This statement is not 100% correct, as through time, Therevada in Sri Lanka is also affected by various influences.)
Coming back to the main topic in question, I suggest that the section "Meditation" be promoted to a complete article under the name "Meditation in Therevada", and a cross-refernce be added to the current section, which in my opinion, falls very low below the standards of the Pali Canon when it comes to explaining what meditation is. Of course, further explanation would result a lengthy section and that is why I suggested the above solution. --Cjdrox (talk) 05:04, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I suppose I should put up some references to as what I wrote. Here follow a list of links on various topics concerned with Theravada Meditation.

Ceylon may "boast" the purest form of Theravada, but that doesn't make it true. In any case, meditation was rare until modern times, everywhere. Peter jackson (talk) 10:58, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
As an aside, it's Sri Lanka now, not Ceylon anymore.
I am fully aware that just by "boasting" something does not become true. What I said was in Sri Lanka, the country that deserves attention as an ancient preserver of early (yes, maybe not necessarily true) Theravada teachings, Shushka Vipassaka pathway has been predominating compared to Samathayanika. (I am not sure whether you knew there are two different pathways before I mentioned it here.)
As an informal and comment, nothing personal, Peter: your understanding of basic Theravada concepts is highly appreciable,even admirable in some aspects, but when going into further details, you exhibit your ignorance in fine details with every word you say (or write). Please take your time to read and research Theravada concepts more. The statement you made on Anatta alone is enough for an impartial reader, who is familiar with the concepts, to see that.--Cjdrox (talk) 13:33, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
What did Sinhalese-speakers call it before 1972? Did they use the English name Ceylon? As far as I'm aware, Ceylon is simply the English form of Srilanka, just as Spain is the English form of Espana.
On your last paragraph, see my remark in the previous section. Peter jackson (talk) 17:38, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Whatever, if it pleases you, do continue Ceylon. But what I wanted to highlight was that even a name is not free from the law of Change.--Cjdrox (talk) 04:00, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Just another suggestion: although the article describes meditation, and appreciates its value as a tool in attaining mental purity, I see no in-depth explanations on the 'implementation' of it. For example, Anapanasathi, one of the most commonly used 'kammattana', deserves a fuller explanation, in my opinion. At least the following terms do need to be incorporated into the article: levels of 'Samadhi'; 'Uggaha Nimitta', 'Patibhaga Nimitta', 'Upacara samadhi', 'Aparnaa samadhi', etc.

Can we have a collective opinion about this issue? Because I feel the treatement on meditation, especially as an encyclopediac article, seems very inadequate here. --Cjdrox (talk) 04:02, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the article should probably list some of the major methods, but I would avoid in-depth discussion of particular styles or of terms specific to certain forms of meditation. There are so many topics to potentially cover under the heading of 'Theravada' that I think summary style precludes including too much detail on particular meditation styles. Considering the number of additional articles that are available to link off to for meditation, our coverage of that area is very good compared to, say, ritual and devotional practice. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:21, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

I wonder why the bulleted list in the opening of this section places Anapanasathi in the same level as Samatha and Vipassana. Samatha and Vipassana are the two main categories og Theravada Meditation, and Anapanasathi is but one of the 40 Samatha themes (Kammaththanas). Would it not be nice if we can have a hierarchical list of the 40 Samatha themes, and list Anapanasathi under that? Because otherwise a reader might get the impression that they are somehow in the same level of classification. The fact that the following text explains it thoroughly is not of any help since the text is in stark contrast to the preceding list structure. Plus, the list may suggest that those are the only Themes of Theravada meditation. -- (talk) 12:36, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I have taken the first steps in streamlining the topic. Inserted a new paragraph that explains the two categories samatha and vipassana, and added the crucial link to Kammaṭṭhāna without which the article is not complete at all. But still the article does not incorporate the concept of Pancha-nivarana (five defilements). Also, linked the terms jhana and samadhi in proper context. --Cjdrox (talk) 07:56, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Scholarly sources[edit]

Under Wikipedia policies, you must accept a statement by a scholarly source as "fact", not just opinion, unless you can find another scholarly source that contradicts it (or, I think, that raises doubts about it). Peter jackson (talk) 10:59, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

One should also refer to the Wiki NPOV Tutorial page under the expertise heading:
One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view. What makes an expert credible? Some criteria include:
The reputation of the expert, the reputation of the tradition within which he or she works, the reputation of the group or institution for which the expert works
The venues in which the expert propounds his or her views (e.g., peer-reviewed academic journals as compared with op-ed columns or self-published outlets)
Whether the expert uses the common methods of the field or completely different ones
Whether the expert's disciplinary specialization matches the topic at hand
Whether the expert has responded to criticisms or has failed to do so
Whether the expert has reputable supporters of his or her claims
I have highlighted one criteria that is a sometimes a problem here, when a Mahayana area specialist comments on non-Mahayana topics or vice versa when a non-Mahayana specialist comments on Mahayana -- areas outside their disciplinary specialization. --Anam Gumnam (talk) 19:14, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
One very straightforward point to look for in that connexion is simply to ask what languages the scholar knows.
We have to work with handicaps. We've only come across a small & possibly unrepresentative selection of what scholars have said. We have to consider questions like: if a specialist source & a non-specialist 1 contradict each other, is that because the non-specialist 1 doesn't know what it's talking about, or because it represents the views of other specialists we haven't come across yet? There seems no straightforward way of answering. In general it's probably safest to give both views & say who asserts them, giving whatever information we have that seems relevant to the readers' assessment of the credibility of the sources. Peter jackson (talk) 09:53, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with what Anam Gunam says here; that when a specialist on one particular topic comments on a different, yet related topic, the question should be asked that whether the explanation provided matches the topic. But what happens when a person who is qualified to explain a topic is confronted by another who is not-so-thorough with the topic in question? Especially if the first in question can prove that the other's explanation has flaws that contaminates the quality of the article with inaccurate knowledge, even when the sources the second himself puts up speak against him? Here's the section I would like to highlight:
Whether the expert has responded to criticisms or has failed to do so--

Cjdrox (talk) 14:12, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

That's certainly a criterion, but its application varies according to context. Eg a textbook writer will generally spend little time discussing different views & the arguments for & against, which makes it hard to tell whether they've taken others' views into account. Peter jackson (talk) 17:39, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Let me explain. I am fairly new to Wiki, but I am concerned about the over-reliance on the "Indian Buddhism" book by Warder (among other things) in many of the articles -- especially those concerning Mahayana. As far as Buddhism is concerned, Warder is only a reputable Pali language specialist (his kavya interests are irrelevant here) -- I find no evidence in the form of research books or articles that he is qualified to speak authoritatively about Mahayana (in fact, his hostility to Mahayana is quite well known in academic circles). Just because he has put together a book on Indian Buddhism does not make him a reliable NPOV source for Mahayana --it is obvious that he just did what everybody else here is doing -- read a handful of books, filtered out the main points and then regurgitated them in a pot-boiler book. As far as I can see, the over-reliance on Warder is a clever way of circumventing the POV rule by users who are hostile towards Mahayana -- I say this though I am not specifically pro-Mahayana (I am not even a Buddhist). --Anam Gumnam (talk) 01:01, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia has an overreliance on Warder because one editor has been particularly enthusiastic about adding his views to articles, and, I suppose, because no one else has revised all of those articles with additional citations.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 20:22, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, all sources kept alongside, Warder's work does have a significant amount of correct facts (correct in the sense that they are not re-phrased or twisted out of context), but I agree with what you say, that citing him where Mahayana is mentioned is not altogether OK. But that does not nullify the reliabilty of his work. The best way is to mention Warder's work where applicable, and to mention clearly that his idea is not equally agreed upon by all, and (if ok, to mentions some alternative sources). That is what we have been doing for decades when discussing Theravada.--Cjdrox (talk) 03:57, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above remark on over-reliance. We should avoid over-reliance on any 1 source. The specific remarks about Warder may be correct, but generally it's not for us on Wikipedia to decide such things. Peter jackson (talk) 09:51, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
I think it is entirely within Wikipedia's purview to determine the quality of particular source. Our job here is to provide the reader with the facts and opinions of reliable sources. This presupposes that some sources are more reliable than others, and that we are able to differentiate them.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 20:18, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Warder may be OK for the area he knows best (early Buddhism / Theravada) but I have a suspicion that he is a bit out-dated in some respects even there. I have no objection to using him were appropriate, if his views have not been superceded. The thing is, Buddhist studies have moved on a quite a bit since he put together stuff for his book, based on yet earlier materials. --Anam Gumnam (talk) 01:50, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for a new article[edit]

I have put up this suggestion earlier in another section, but I took it here for clarity. I suggest opening a new article by the title "Meditation in Theravada", and cross-referencing to that from here. There are several reasons, but the most important is that Theravada meditation differs from many related branches by the way it implements meditation as a tool.--Cjdrox (talk) 13:08, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

No objection, tho' I think Theravada meditation would be a better title. Peter jackson (talk) 10:41, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, having agreed on the fact that there should be a new article, can we have a consensus on what the structure of the article should be? I am happy with the title you proposed, albeit the former emphasizes meditation as a tool.--Cjdrox (talk) 03:10, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Paying homage to: One opinion is not relevant here, thought the external link is alright[edit]

Hm. Austerlitz -- (talk) 21:15, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Venerable text from theravada of Burma[edit]

"Once upon time, when the Bodhisattva was a monkey king, he encountered a brahman ho had fallen into a deep gorge. Having decided to rescue the poor fellow, the Bodhisattva threw the brahman on his back and carried him out of the crevasse. The Bodhisattva became very tired under this heavy load, so reaching a safe place, he promptly fell asleep in the brahman's lap. Now, all along the brahman had been thinking how pleased his family would be if he were to give them some monkey flesh for dinner. So grabbing a big rock he struck the sleeping monkey on the head. The monkey king, covered in blood gushing from his head, crawled a short distance and cried out, "Oh... there are still people like this in the world!" But still, being a bodhisattva, he remained determined to lead the brahman safely to his village, even though the forest was filled with lions and other dangerous animals. "Even if you see a tiger, don't worry," said the monkey, "I'll take you to your village. Just follow the path of blood dripping from my head." And so saying, the monkey king led the brahman to his village."

The Tale of the Bodhisattva Monkey King and the Brahman, Ledi Sayadaw's Uttamapurisa Dipani (talk) 15:48, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Overview of Philosophy[edit]

To make the matter clear i change it to "assume those mental defilements as part of their own “Self”". Ultimate Reality mean the dhamma, it can also translated as the Truth...."The way the nature work". Sawadeekrap (talk) 06:46, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Human is consist of the Five Aggregates, i only explain 2 (Feeling & Physical Body) out of 5. If human being did not identify Anger, Greed & Hatred as part of themself...there would be peace all over the world. if you practice mindfulness u can detect the arising of defilement, then it up to u whether u wana cling on that defilement & start acting in the way the defilement want you to bashing youw own wife when u get angry. If you gain direct insight into the true nature of the defilement, the defilement will be completely uprooted, once every defilement has been uprooted you would realize nibbana. As simple as that. Sawadeekrap (talk) 07:39, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

What is ultimate reality? Kamma, rebirth, Nibbana, anicca, dukkha, anatta, samsara...basicaly encompas the whole doctrine of Buddhism...especially about the true nature of the world, the way nature work, they way the world work, the law of nature & etc . Tsunami? don't blame satan, god or kamma...Tsunami is part of the nature. It the way nature work...but some deluded being assume it as the act of "God/Satan". Sawadeekrap (talk) 08:03, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Putting a very vague term in there in quotation marks will only mislead people. Let's keep it simple. And the Buddha said that people identify with the skandhas. You are trying to make the point that people are not their thoughts. That's good but it must be stated clearly and probably belongs more in the three marks section. Mitsube (talk) 08:08, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Yamaka Sutta

"In the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

"He gets attached to form, clings to form, & determines it to be 'my self.' He gets attached to feeling... He gets attached to perception... He gets attached to fabrications... He gets attached to consciousness, clings to consciousness, & determines it to be 'my self.' These five clinging-aggregates — attached to, clung to — lead to his long-term loss & suffering.

When u see the 3 dot "..." in the above statement, it meant there is some repeating wording based on the first statement. eg: "He gets attached to form, clings to form, & determines it to be 'my self.' He gets attached to feeling clings to feeling, & determines it to be 'my self.'

Sawadeekrap (talk) 00:09, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The main problem with this section is not the specifics of wording over what misconceptions of self are or aren't. It's that it relies too much on primary sources (the suttas), which is always going to produce disagreement over interpretation and OR. There are good neutral sources of information on Theravada philosophy in text books, etc. We need to be incorporating these sources, rather than quoting from the tipitaka. --Clay Collier (talk) 00:23, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

What about this source from Venerable Acharn Maha Boowa, which basically explain the above sutta:

The bodily aggregate is fashioned and put together and is thus also destined for eventual breakup. Just that. This can be irrefutably seen once wisdom is brought to bear, and then any possessiveness seems altogether pointless. We can then let go our grasp and allow the body to follow its own nature; whether it's still holding together or has entered the inevitable final phase of dissolution.

This world is full of cemeteries awaiting each person and animal. Examining the truth we can no longer doubt the reality of our reserved plot, or, indeed, the inevitability of our future death. Clearly acknowledging this mortality means we can then let go of our worries and concern. Death is a fundamental part of the law of nature that can neither be denied or defied. Let nature take its course, and the earth, water, air and fire will follow their own essential natures

That which knows should genuinely know and not mistake water, fire and air as 'myself'. This acts like a parasite hooking in and trapping the heart in turmoil. We mis-take them for self and thereby fall into suffering.

But the painful feeling in the heart — this is important. When there is bodily pain there is also pain and suffering in the heart that arises because of the source14 of suffering. This is the way that the defilements trick all beings in the world with their beguilements. The deception of taking this body as myself must be cleared by a thorough analysis of the true nature of the body. The investigation of pleasant and unpleasant feeling is aimed at erasing from the heart the notion that this feeling is myself.

Let things be as they truly are: feeling is feeling while this is me, which is that knowingness. Don't mix them up. But anyway, that's not possible as they are intrinsically different. How can they become merged together into one? Can two individuals be combined as only one? Having to bear the burden of one person is heavy enough — but to have the extra weight of two, three, four or five others... We don't just take up the body but also shoulder the other four aggregates, which press down with the weight of attachment. It's the heart that takes responsibility and so the heart alone must bear the consequences. That is suffering — and there's no compensation to be found. And yet we still persist with such hanging on. This needs looking at to see the true nature of pain.

By Lily de Silva

The body is composed of the material elements of solidity (earth), cohesion (water), heat (fire), and motion (air). There is nothing worth grasping in any of these elements. They are found abundantly in the external world too, but we cling to this fathom-long blob of matter as "I" and "mine."

By Bhikkhu Bodhi

The other analytical contemplation deals with the body in a different way. This meditation, called the analysis into elements (dhatuvavatthana), sets out to counter our innate tendency to identify with the body by exposing the body's essentially impersonal nature. The means it employs, as its name indicates, is the mental dissection of the body into the four primary elements, referred to by the archaic names earth, water, fire, and air.

Sawadeekrap (talk) 04:46, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The term "ultimate reality" would denote first and foremost something like "world soul". Since this is a concept rejected by the Buddha as pointless we should not use the term "ultimate reality." Mitsube (talk) 01:38, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

May be should be changed to "gain insight into the true nature of phenomenon." Btw, the content of the Overview of Philosophy have been there for nearly a year. if the 2 Pali expert (Cjdrox & Peter jackson) which i belived have read most of the Pali canon & may have a completed set of the Pali Canon in their own personal library did not find any problem with it. Why should u? None of them ever put the tag [discuss] on it or challenge it validity. Are u more expert that those 2 ? Sawadeekrap (talk)
Because they don't care about possible confusion the wording of this article could cause as much as I do, it seems. No one here is disputing what you are saying here. It is just the wording and placement. Mitsube (talk) 05:44, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Then instead of deleting it, you should just reword it to avoid the confusion. Your own statement "Unskillful behavior in turn can strengthen the defilements, but skillful behavior can weaken or eradicate them." is confusing & too simplistic which only make the matter worst. What "skillful behavior" mean?For some people, it mean "by altering their behaviour into wholesome behaviour it can make them eradicate greed, hatred & delusion". Sawadeekrap (talk) 09:38, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
That is a good point. Mitsube (talk) 03:09, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Both of you, please don't read things into my silence. I can't do everything. Peter jackson (talk) 12:05, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Ultimate Reality[edit]

This is to prove that your fear of confusing the reader is unfounded as the word is widely used in Theravada circle. It is even used by scholar/monk from Sri Lanka. Don’t tell me your half-baked view is more superior than theirs. Below citation is only sourced from accesstoinsight website, I have not searched other Theravadin website yet.

The Pali word for ultimate reality is paramattha dhamma. Ultimate true is paramattha sacca.

Now what is this reality which appears when the delusion is removed? The ultimate reality is the Unconditioned, called also the Unborn, the Unoriginated, the Uncreated, and the Uncompounded. We can, inadequately and not very accurately, describe it as a positive state of being. It is characterized by supreme bliss and complete freedom from suffering and is so utterly different from ordinary existence that no real description of it can be given. The Unconditioned can be indicated — up to a point — only by stating what it is not; for it is beyond words and beyond thought. Much time must usually elapse before the virtue of wisdom has become strong enough to support a vigorous insight into the true nature of reality

One might gain the impression from this account, that it needed Ananda's intense and clever arguments to change the Buddha's mind. But an awakened one's mind cannot be changed, because he is always in touch with absolute reality.

So, vipassana, insight-meditation techniques of the Buddha, are designed to enable us to penetrate our illusions about the nature of reality which are perpetuated by our inaccurate perception of the world and ourselves.

The second commentarial theme that can be helpful to us in developing our own understanding of the ultimate nature of reality is the working of the law of kammic cause and effect

As practice progresses, we will find that by letting go of our preconceived ideas on how and where dukkha can be avoided, we come upon uncharted landscapes within ourselves, which provide a totally new concept of life, its purpose, its value and its ultimate reality.

The more we know of the Dhamma, the more we can watch whether we comply with its guidelines. There is no blame attached to our inability to do so. But the least we can do is to know the guidelines and know where we're making mistakes. Then we practice to get nearer and nearer to absolute reality, until one day we will actually be the Dhamma.

The Ultimate Realities The Abhidhamma deals with realities existing in an ultimate sense, called in Pali paramattha dhammaa.

Nibbaana is the fourth ultimate reality (paramattha dhamma).

upon the understanding of the nature of reality that separates

Then by the power of samadhi, concentrative thought, thus won, he turns his mind to the understanding of reality in the highest sense

These aggregates are constantly changing, but so swiftly that they appear to retain a distinctive identity — hence the conventional notions of "you" and "I." But such words and ideas are only conveniences which do not accord with ultimate reality

As long as we are willing to compromise with our obsessions we have not fully understood the Buddha's teaching about the nature of reality

Before we can begin to grasp the nature of Reality, which is transcendental, we must first grasp the nature of the mundane

The real basis of Buddhism is full knowledge of the truth of reality. If one knows this truth then no teaching is necessary.

A study by Bhikkhu Nanananda, Concept and Reality, gives extensive coverage to the term "papañca".58 He puts forward the view that it is linked with the final stage of sense cognition and that it signifies a "a spreading out, a proliferation" in the realm of concepts, a tendency for the conceptual process to run riot and obscure the true reality of things.

Sawadeekrap (talk) 00:26, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

The technical sense from the Abhidhamma can only be understood in the context of the theory of momentariness, when it refers to momentarily existing real atomic elements. If the context is not clear then "ultimate reality" just by itself means brahman or something like that. In the sense of "ultimate reality is inexpressible". This statements is objectionable. Mitsube (talk) 03:12, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Just a kind request for Sawadeekrap, can you please describe something in one or two sentences (as a recap) for me? What exactly do you mean by Ultimate Reality, in this section? Because although your translation is 100% correct, the accuracy depends also on what context you used it?--Cjdrox (talk) 06:44, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

This slightly modified paragraph will be restore into the article[edit]

It is believed that unenlightened beings are under the influence of the defilements, unenlightened beings cling to them through ignorance of the truth. But in reality, those mental defilements are nothing more than taints that have afflicted the mind and create suffering and stress. It is also believed that unenlightened beings cling to the body, assuming it as their own “Self”, but in reality the body is an impermanent phenomenon formed from the 4 basic elements (often characterized by Earth, Water, Fire and Air) and after death the body will decompose and disperse. The mental defilements' frequent instigation and manipulation of the mind is believed to have prevented the mind from seeing the true nature of reality.

In the deep state of jhana, the five physical sense doors will close or become muted, the mental defilements will be suppressed, and wholesome mental traits will become strengthened. In this state, the mind can be used to investigate and gain insight into the true nature of reality.

Simply learning or believing in the true nature of reality as expounded by the Buddha is not enough, the awakening can only be achieved if the individual personally knows it by direct experience and realizes it for themselves. They will have to follow and practice the Noble Eightfold Path as taught by the Buddha to discover the reality for themselves.

i will soon restore the above modified paragraph into the article. You need to tell me which part of it need to be reword, unsuitable or is not valid, so that proper amendment can be made. You also must give me the valid reason for the changes.

p.s: Instead of trying to edit the Theravada page with your half-baked knowledge, why don’t you spend more time reading ALL of the articles & Suttas in the accesstosinsight website. It can help you increase your knowledge.Sawadeekrap (talk) 00:33, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

I already know everything you have quoted. I still object to "parasites", "ultimate reality", and your way of putting the idea that one is not one's thoughts. Your version is confusing and sounds like something it's not. Mitsube (talk) 03:14, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
You mean Buddha teach that one thoughts is "Self" & your mental fabrication is Self, discursive thinking is Self? This is not what the Buddha teach. To avoid, your so callled confusion...what ever that may be, as u can see above I already the reword the defilement part, it no longer refer to 'Self'. For the word "Parasite": How do u describe "Mara the demons of defilement" who reside in other realm but has the power thru his army to distort our mind? and their livehood is to go inside our mind & stir it. If Mara is not Parasite then what is the other suitable word that can be use? The word "ultimate reality" have been used in Theravada circle to describe their doctrine, you don't have the right to ban the word from being use to describe their doctrine, anyway the altenative is to use "true nature of reality". Sawadeekrap (talk) 04:51, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I have no objection to "true nature of reality." Mara is a metaphor. Are you saying that the mind is originally pure and is only infested by external forces? I too can quote Maha Boowa:

When referring to the original citta, the Buddha stated: Pabhassaramidam cittam bhikkhave. Pabhassara means radiant, it does not mean pure. His reasoning is absolutely correct; it is impossible to argue against it. Had the Buddha equated the original citta with the pure citta, one could immediately object: "If the citta was originally pure, why then should it be born at all?" The Arahant, who has purified his citta, is one who never comes to birth again. If his citta were originally pure, why then would he need to purify it? This would be the obvious objection: What reason would there be to purify it?

Mitsube (talk) 06:27, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Mara is real beings, similar to devas, brama & etc. Only modern buddhist would claimed Mara is a metaphor, they just too embarrass to claim that Mara is real. I'm glad that u quote Maha Boowa, here is another quote from Maha Boowa:

Once infested with defilements you'll never be able to find Dhamma or anything essential within the heart. How on earth are you going to find any peace?

fyi, one of the reasons I use the word "Infest" in wiki is because it have been used by Maha Boowa to describe the defilement. May be u should go to Thailand & start arguing with him. Anyway, i would change the "parasites" to "taints" & the "infested" have been change to "afflicted". Sawadeekrap (talk) 07:30, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
The normal state is to be somewhat afflicted, he is referring to a major infestation as is clear from the language surrounding that passage, and it makes sense in that context. I don't think I could argue with Maha Boowa ... Mitsube (talk) 08:17, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
When Maha Boowaa use the word "infest", he don't mean the original citta is pure. No Theravada teacher ever claim the original citta is pure. It is used for the sake of conveying the msg that the defilement need to be uprooted. Most of them don't bother about the argument whether Buddhism is philosophy or Religion. I also don't bother about it. You are into the semantic arguement. If there no more issue with the text tommorow i would put the above paragraph it into the article.Sawadeekrap (talk) 09:41, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
The connotations of the English words are very important. Subtle is the doctrine. Mitsube (talk) 18:45, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

A theoritical tricky point: can Sawadeekrap please explain what you mean by Deep state of jhana here? Because you say that "In the deep state of jhana, the five physical sense doors will close or become muted". I can only assume that you're speaking of Nirodha Samapatti, the deepest level of jhana, because there is no other way that the physical doors close completely, as you said.--Cjdrox (talk) 06:47, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

i will change it to "In the state of jhana, the five physical sense doors will fade, the mental defilements will be suppressed, and wholesome mental traits will become strengthened. The mind can then be used to investigate and gain insight into the true nature of reality." Sawadeekrap (talk) 05:08, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Seems OK to me; I specially like that part about "The mental defilements will be 'suppresed'". Can you please include (or at least cross-reference) to the three states of defilements, Anusaya (suppressed), Pariyuttana(arising) and Vitikkama(active)? Coz I feel this is the best place where it can be mentioned without confusion.--Cjdrox (talk) 03:49, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Good suggestion. Added new paragraph: "There are three stages of defilements. During the stage of passivity the defilements lies dormant at the base of the mental continuum as latent tendencies (anusaya), but through the impact of sensory stimulus it will manifest (pariyutthana) itself to the surface of consciousness in the form of unwholesome thoughts, emotions, and volitions. If they gather additional strenght, the defilement will reach the dangerous stage of transgression (vitikkama), which will then involve physical or vocal actions." Sawadeekrap (talk) 00:37, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Theravada & The Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi[edit]

Hi, I would like to know why the sutra is not recognized by the Theravada school, while there are several sholars who wrote articles about the buddha —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:49, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The reason that I raise this question is that the book by David Daniel Kennedy Feng Shui for Dummies has mentioned the protocol of the buddha's practice —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The Mahavirocana Sutra isn't part of the Pali Canon; it likely originated in India after the Theravada had already split off and settled in Sri Lanka. The Mahavirocana also claims to have been spoken by Vairocana Buddha, rather than Shakyamuni; the Theravada generally do not regard any other Buddhas as having been active in the world during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha- Maitreya dwells in the Tushita heaven awaiting his final rebirth, but the proliferation of other Buddhas is characteristic of Mahayana cosmology, and not generally recognized by the Theravada. I don't know that the Theravada attitude on this particular text is any different from their attitude towards the other Mahayana sutras; non-commentarial compositions not found in the Pali Canon are generally regarded by the Theravada as later compositions. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:25, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Well although I don't agree with the stubbonness of Theravada, I can see their point which is related to the aspect of the sutra validation. I believe that once the sutra is validated, then all the associated problem will be solved. In addition to that, the practice protocols need to be validated as welll. Are their any published papers including commentaries related to the work of validation?-- (talk) 06:15, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

BTW, the author's website is

and I found this article is interesting -- (talk) 06:38, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

No 'validation' is really possible as the original versions of the text no longer exist- the oldest versions of the text available are Chinese and Tibetan translations, so the dating of it is going to be approximate. The academic view is that it is a composition that dates from several hundred years after the Buddha, based I imagine on references to it in other works and the translation. The Theravada don't generally take positions on the status of specific non-Theravada texts in any formal way; they have their canon and the Mahayana schools have theirs, and when they overlap they overlap, and when they don't they don't. --Clay Collier (talk) 06:51, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, in this case, why don't we leave the sutra alone and just validate the protocol of the practice which is easy to do. Since the outcome of the practice has theraputic functions, it really need to go through clinical trials which are the validation work. The preliminary experiments could use vegetarian groups and non vegetarian groups as I believe there may bring up different results-- (talk) 00:42, 22 January 2009 (UTC) According to the Mahayana tradition and experiences, non-vegetarian people who practice the buddha's method could have severe hinderances than those of vegetarian groups. Maybe, vegetarians who practice the method results in differenent side effects. To my knowledge, there have been disputes regarding the practice and there are some insidents happened, which could be avoided by going through clinical trials. A spiritual practice is like a drug prescription whose side effects maybe unavoidable. However, the result of validation work can keep the side effects to minimum.-- (talk) 01:31, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Another thing I would like to make a comment on is that Great Sunshine Buddha's practice is a fire method which specifically targets the people who has got a YING body. There is another buddha's water method which targets the people who has had a YANG body. Therefore either of the above methods is only a part of the methodology.-- (talk) 00:11, 23 January 2009 (UTC) If a people's body is neutral and they wish to do the practice, then both of the methods should be performed at least within a day, in coporating to the method of fire-water balance, which was mentioned somehow in the book called THREE SECRETS REINFORCEMENT. In Chinese buddhist tripitaka or Manjushri's sutra of Tibetan version, the whole methodology has been mentioned. The above comment is just my personal opinion and I could be wrong.-- (talk) 00:19, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

This talk page is really just for discussing changes or improvements to the Theravada article. You would probably be better served by taking this to a forum of some sort that discusses Buddhist practice. --Clay Collier (talk) 00:21, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it could be. However, the above issues are all related to what the Theravada dismisses-- (talk) 01:58, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

My question is what you are proposing to add or change about the article. There is a sentence at the end of the 'Scriptures' section right now that sums up the general Theravada view of the non-Agama Mahayana scriptures- that they are later creations, and not the words of the Buddha- which would also apply to the Mahavirocana. I don't personally believe that there is sufficient difference between Theravada attitudes towards that particular text and their attitude towards other Mahayana sutras for some special mention to be warranted; in which case, there really isn't anything to say in the article regarding the Mahavirocana Sutra. --Clay Collier (talk) 05:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Now I have got your point. One element of the Theravada definition is that they only accept what Siddhartha Gautama taught not else, right? The Mahayana's point is that Siddhartha Gautama is only one of the founders of buddhism and one element of the Mahayana definition is that any enlightened being is of a CHANCE to be the founders of buddhism. That maybe the difference between Theravada and Mahayana. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 24 January 2009 (UTC) In another word, Theravada is Monotheism or Polytheism which does not accept the BUDDHA whom Siddhartha Gautama did not mention, whereas Mahayana is a true Polytheism. Do you agree?

I partly agree with what you say, that Mahayana considers all that is taught by any buddha, not only Siddhartha Guathama, as valid and true, whereas Theravada says the opposite. The reason is simple enough to get. According to Buddhism, including Theravada, Mahayana and their various braches, the time period between two 'enlightened ones' (or Buddhas) is immeasurably long. It is termed as a 'Maha Kalpa'; One 'Maha Kalpa' equals four 'Kalpa's; one Kalpa alone is far far too long to be measured in years or decades or centuries even. I dont exactly remember the definition (yes, there is one) for a Kalpa, but I'll soon find it and put it up here, with references.

The point is, how can you be sure of a suthra that has been handed down from beyond the measure of time? The reason is twofold: one, we theravadins believe that what one buddha taught is more than enough for a person to find the truth and attain Nibbana (the ultimate freedom). Two, there has been two many innovations, additions, deletions and replacements of what Siddhartha Guthama Buddha alone taught, we simply cannot be sure about the integrity of yet another sutra that has a mirky and vague lineage in the past, no offense for Mahayanas.--Cjdrox (talk) 04:21, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Theravada doesn't require scriptures to be taught by the Buddha himself any more than Mahayana does. The Pali Canon includes teachings of disciples & accounts of events after the Buddha's death. The disagreement is over what satisfies the criteria. Peter jackson (talk) 12:10, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Seems like a longer explanation is due. I will break down the question into parts.

Q: What is the validation procedure of Theravadins for a sutra? How come one sutra is termed 'accepted' or 'authentic' and another is not? A: If any piece of Dhamma is (a) either recorded to be taught by Lord Buddha himself or, (b) stated by someone else and recorded to be approved by Lord Buddha, or (c) inferred or derived by means of translations or renderings only, with no additions, deletions, altering of contexts, that particular piece is accepted to be authentic.

Q: How is the recording done? What is the annal, if there is any, which records who told what and who approved what? A: Every (or almost every) Theravada sutra starts with a journal-like statement, which states when, where and why that sutra was told. This may not be satisfactory for some people. Someone might be skillful enough to imitate a sutra with records and all, and claim it is authentic. That is where the word Theravada comes into play. Theravadins are claimed to have had these concourses, or 'sangaayana' where the learned, attained monks gather periodically, (not a very common occasion) and go through each sutra everyone remembers. One recites what he remembers and at the same time, all the others analyze it (much like wikipedia). Theravadins are called thus partly because they rely only on these cross validated sutras. 'Thera' literally means 'monk' and 'Vada' is (among many meanings) for 'what is claimed'. Theravada consists only of such sutras which are supposedly validated many hundreds of years ago, and they are very stubborn about accepting a sutra without a consensus.

Q: I know a sutra that should be accepted by Theravada, but currently it is not. What can I do? A: Well, unless you are a monk, there is very little you can do about it. Basically, if I have such a claim, I would call for a concourse and present it to the gathering. It is the gathering of monks, as a whole, decide whether there are sufficient evidence to accept the sutra.

Q: But how can they validate if it is correct? What is the methodology? A: Basically, it should satisfy several things. (a) it should not contradict with itself, or any existing body of sutras, either conceptually or practically. (b) it should be traceable, which means, its origins, and records should be verifiable, to a degree that deems okay to the gathering. (c) it should be aligned with the existing body of sutras' style and content to a satisfiable degree. (d) it should clearly be 'above suspicion' that it is not artificial, or if it is, it should only be a compilation of existing knowledge.

Seems pretty conservative and stubborn but I hope I have done my best to explain it. Cjdrox (talk) 17:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Influences -- etymology please[edit]

I'd like to see more explicit justification for the suggestion that "therapeutae" is derived from "theravada". We need more than a two-syllable similarity. If the reference cited actually describes etymology, let's see it summarized in the text! Martindo (talk) 07:47, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Probably a fringe theory. See Buddhism and Christianity for a whole pile of such, & for a citation from Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism dismissing them all, if it hasn't been deleted again. Peter jackson (talk) 12:18, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

This section should probably just be eliminated from what appears to be a fairly good article. However, as both Thundy and Kersten do have academic credentials to attach to their fantasies, I hesitated to just delete the thing. Instead I have probably added material that is fairly irrelevant. However, there is more to clarify here than just a lack of influence on Christianity. It probably should all be excised. Gnuwhirled (talk) 07:03, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand the inclusion of a large block of text that seems to have very little to do with Theravada Buddhism, and a lot to do with a description of early Christianity, with not cross-referencing as to how it's relevant to Theravada. If there is some relevance, perhaps it needs to be explained. If not, it should probably be deleted. I do not want to fiddle with it, in case I'm somehow missing something very obvious, but perhaps someone better informed than myself can take it out.Foxi tails (talk) 10:53, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

I've moved this section to Buddhist influences on Christianity. And I too think it's fringe - so it's better of there... Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:33, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Source for Numbers[edit]

The intro lists the number of Theravada adherents worldwide at over 100 million- does anyone have a source for that claim? --Clay Collier (talk) 21:33, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Eg [[2]], World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford UP), Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism Peter jackson (talk) 12:12, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Insight, practice, Nirvana[edit]

I've arranged the teachings-section under the headers of insight, practice & Nirvana, but I'm seriously if this is correct. It gives an accessible lay-out to the section, but it's different from the traditional sequence of sila, samdha, prajna. Any opinions on this? Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:31, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

To my surprise I found additional info. Gombrich writes: "In Ceylonese tradition, Buddhism (the Sasana) has three constituents: learning, practice and realization". (Gombrich, "Theravada Buddhism, 1996, p.150) "Learning" is not the same as "insight", which has a soteriological aspect, but it comes close. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 14:42, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
IMHO the new layout is suitable for the Theravada encyclopedia article. The traditional sequence of Sila, Samadhi & Panna is more on the actual training, may not be suitable to put the same lay-out sequence in an encyclopedia article. The new version of the article is a great improvement over the old version, great works. Sawadeekrap (talk) 14:56, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks :) It was worth the effort; learned new facts about Theravada myself. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 19:01, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
"The Theravada Path starts with insight, to be followed by practice, culminating in Nirvana." This statement is a bit confusing. From my understanding it more like "Learn, practices, mundane insight, more practice, supramundane knowledge & nivarna." You need to learn & practice first before you can gain any insight. May be it should be clarify. For more info > Sawadeekrap (talk) 00:40, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Theravada Introduction[edit]

"The name comes from the ancestral Sthaviravada, from which the Theravadins claim descent. After unsuccessfully trying to modify the Vinaya, a small group of 'elderly members' i.e. sthaviras broke away from the majority during the Second Buddhist council, giving rise to the Sthaviravada."

The information about the origin of Theravada is already in the History section, it should not be repeated in the introduction. The cause of split should be put inside Sthaviravada & Mahāsāṃghika page not inside Theravada page. Any issue pls discuss here.Sawadeekrap (talk) 07:18, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Edit war[edit]

An edit war has broken out involving multiple participants. Can someone please explain why citing this book is being dismissed as "spam"? Brahmana, Metteyya (2013), Why God Became a Buddha, Anagami Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9887083-1-0  Thank you in advance. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:02, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Personally, I only strongly suspect that it is spam, but in any event it is self-published and not a reliable source as defined by Wikipedia. I've analyzed that issue at length in this edit at Talk:Gautama Buddha#Concerning primary sources, so rather than repeat it here let me refer you to that discussion. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 13:48, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
It is very helpful to have that link here, for those of us who don't have the other page on our watch lists. Thanks. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:56, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
About the spam issue, per se, you might be interested in what has been said here. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:19, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
The Why God Became a Buddha book is definitely not spam, as it is of high quality, well researched, and highly relevant to the discussion in the section. But after reviewing the reliable sources info on Wiki, there is a bar to using self-published work regardless of the quality of research or the expertise of the author. Self-publishing has become a sound business decision with today's Print-On-Demand quality printers and access to national and international book distribution channels, not a reflection on quality, but Wiki 'authorities' are still under the false belief that self-publishing is a quality issue. Obviously, this restriction only hurts Wikipedia's effort to improve the quality of its content. User: 20:19, 13 June 2013‎
No, you're missing the point of the reliable source policy. It has nothing, per se, to do with quality. The point is that unlike a paper encyclopedia Wikipedia doesn't have a board of professional editors to review the truth, accuracy, and importance of material. Instead, we only use sources which other professional publishers have reviewed through fact-checking and editorial review and deemed important enough to publish. By doing so, we avoid becoming embroiled in endless debates — since we are the encyclopedia anyone can edit — over whether things are true or false, accurate or inaccurate, important or unimportant. Material in self-published works, if it is significant and important enough, will eventually be discussed in third party reliable sources and will, via those references and discussions, become able to be included here. And there are no "Wiki authorities." All policies here have been formulated and reviewed and revised by everyday users like you and me and are always subject to being changed or revoked through community consensus. Just like everyone in the world can edit articles, everyone can participate in the formation and revision of policy and except for a few policies affected by legal issues, such as libel, copyright, and child protection, and a few others about how the programming behind Wikipedia works, there is no one who has the right to force any policy to be adopted, modified, or changed. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 19:58, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


Theravāda Buddhists consider much of what is found in the Chinese and Tibetan Mahayana scriptural collections to be apocryphal, meaning that they are not authentic words of the Buddha. This is sourced from Macmillan encyclopaedia, but I question it's provenance. Moreover, it doesn't really offer much in the way of identifying what is meant by it.

For instance, if we accept that Arahants are perfect (which is reasonable) and that the 'level of realisation' of any Arahant (including that of the Buddha) is the same, then in what way should one distinguish the words of one Arahant over the words of another?

Likewise, what are distinguished as 'words'? If a sutta describes the actions of Lord Buddha in great detail, without necessarily having much (or any) content regarding his words, how can that be identified as being 'authentic words of the Buddha' ?

If we accept that actions of a Buddha are enough to represent a valid sutta, then are not his actions of being a Buddha not enough to demonstrate the validity of the Mahayana path?

A strong component of the Mahayana path is the concept of Bodhicitta - a continuum of intention to become a Buddha. It would be hard to reject this idea, by looking at the actions and previous lifetimes of the Buddha alone, regardless of the fact that he didn't necessarily discuss it.

In brief, I guess I am looking for something about what criteria are used for acceptance and rejection in the Theravada canon. (20040302 (talk) 15:17, 6 November 2013 (UTC))

Only one being can be a Supreme Buddha at any one time/era. The next Supreme Buddha can only exist if the current Buddha-Dharma become extinct. Supreme Buddha is someone who have rediscovered the lost 8 Fold Path & teach it to other. Those who have achive Enlightement by practicing the Path which have been redicovered by Supreme Buddha would be labelled as Arahant (Savaka Buddha). If you aspire to be come a Supreme Buddha then you'll have to wait until current Buddha-Dharma become extinct...but Maiterya already booked that seat. You will have to wait for your turn....that would be a loooooooong wait. Supreme Buddha is a person who have Rediscovered the lost Path, while Arahant is a person who followed the Path which have been Rediscovered by other. Supreme Buddha is only a Teacher not a Savior. Even during the lifetime of the Supreme Buddha only a tiny world population benefited from His teaching...2500 years later only 10% of world population is Buddhist. As for Gotama Buddha past life...there is no witness who can verify whether it is true or not...but for his current teaching/discourse, there is thousand of witness whose then memorize and pass it down to us...althought some of it may be lost & become corrupted. It also goes againts the concept of Karma. Every sentient beings is reponsible to save/liberate themself from Greed, Hatred & Delusion. Gotama the Supreme Buddha could not 'save' all his disciple during his lifetime, what make you think other being who have practice Bodhicitta and become a Buddha could save all sentient being during their lifetime? During the previous world era/aeo, there is also many other previous Supreme Buddha, but even they could not 'save' all sentient being. Or are there a new category for a Super Duper Supreme Buddha? Sawadeekrap (talk) 06:30, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Etymology of therapeutic[edit]

Sometimes, there is a theory that the word therapeutic comes from theravada. Just letting people know. Komitsuki (talk) 14:01, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

The section Doctrinal differences with other schools is a mess.[edit]

The whole section needs a rewrite, this can't be the best you can do. I have no axe to grind, other than to expect Wikipedia present a coherent explanation of the topic under discussion. Let me point out where this section is inadequate(I limit my criticism to it, although other parts are also inadequate, especially the lede). 1. It starts out talking about Sthaviravanda saying it differed from other "early" schools on a "variety" of teachings which are maintained in the Theravada schools. Rather than making vacuous claims about it, why not place it chronologically and geographically? As is, this statement is useless in distinguishing it from other schools.
2."The differences resulted from the systemization of the Buddhist teachings, which was preserved in the Abdhidhammas of the various schools. The Abhidhamma is "a restatement of the doctrine ..." Sorry? WHAT was preserved? The differences (which this section SHOULD be addressing) or the systemization? Or perhaps the Abdhidhammas? Or is it "the" Abhidhamma? In English, "the" specifies a specific thing (the thing under discussion). Is it Abdh or Abh (a typo)? Or are these unrelated things? This is profoundly confusing, and needs someone to edit it who is a native English speaker (and who can spell). To expose my ignorance, I suggest that IF Theravada doctorine is contained in "the Abhidhamma" then perhaps that should be the starting point in discussing the differences of doctrine, rather than some vague mention of its precursor.
3.The Arahant is perfect The Mahāsāṃghika believed that Arahants could regress, while the Theravāda believes that the Arahant has an "incorruptible nature". The Arahant? This section fails to clearly explain what is being compared. Theravada doctrine compared with Mahāsāṃghika is relevant why? how? Why aren't the other recognized or major doctorines enumerated and then compared? I think it means "the Arahant have". 4.Insight is sudden and perfect This section makes NO distinctions between Theravada and anything else. I assume that the alternative to "sudden and perfect" is gradual and imperfect. Which schools hold either? What does "imperfect" mean in the context of insight? Logically, if insight is perfect, then it can only happen once, meaning each individual can only have one true insight. I doubt if this is the correct interpretation, or is it? If so, how can you reconcile 7 stages with a single perfect insight?
5.DharmasThe commentaries gave a new definition of "a 'principle' or 'element'.←This section either should be removed or some reason articulated for it being present. First, there is no context explaining how the Dharmas fit into doctrine. Second, again, there is no contrast between Theravada doctrine and any other. 6.The whole section seems to be the result of very disorganized thinking and an inability to articulate a coherent argument.Abitslow (talk) 21:47, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Need a more nuanced outlook on claims of Theravada being "Oldest" or "Most Authentic"[edit]

Theravada Buddhism is a term which was first used 1000 years after the Buddha's death, and only came into widespread use to refer to Southern forms of Buddhism in 1950. It is radically different from one country to another, is often filled with superstitions from the cultures it is associated with that have no Pali scriptural basis, and claims of being "the oldest" have as much to do with historically powerful schools with government support legitimizing themselves in the face of competing schools. This is what modern scholarship agrees. Claims that it's "authentic" ignore the fact that we have no contemporary information on the 400 years following the Buddha's death, yet the second sentence of this article repeats this misleading view. I would recommend the authors of this article check out this book, among others: Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity, and Identity (talk) 19:44, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

I think you're right. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:15, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I also agree.VictoriaGraysonTalk 23:43, 8 December 2014 (UTC)