Monday, July 25, 2011

A Pleasant Conversation (Part 4 of 4)

Question : (Unedited)
Hi again,
I hope you are fine.

You have said “The appearance of a Buddha is very very rare.  When the Dhamma or universal truth is lost, then a Buddha will appear and re-discover it.  This will take an unimaginable long period of aeon or several aeons.”
The Buddha was a human being and he was able to see and experience the Dhamma straightly. Why do you say that the Dhamma can be seen or experienced only after it is lost? According to your saying, the Dhamma is a natural and universal law (or a combination of laws) like (Force = Mass * Acceleration). This law can be experienced and proved by any scientist now. It isn't necessary that the law disappears and then it can be proven again. If the Dhamma is a natural and universal law and in fact we define it this way then it should be experiencable at any time, any place. The Dhamma is the central teachings of the Buddha and according to Venerable S.Dhammika
“There are aspects of Buddhism that would not fit into science but the central teachings of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, most certainly would. Buddhism dispenses with the concept of a Supreme Being, as does science, and explains the origins and workings of the universe in terms of natural laws. All of this certainly exhibits a scientific spirit. Once again, the Buddha's constant advice that we should not blindly believe but rather question, examine, inquire and rely on our own experience, has a definite scientific ring to it. He says:
"Do not go by revelation or tradition, DO NOT GO by rumor, or the SACRED SCRIPTURES, do not go by hearsay or mere logic, do not go by bias towards a notion or by another person's seeming ability and do not go by the idea 'He is our teacher'. But when you yourself know that a thing is good, that it is not blamable, that it is praised by the wise and when practiced and observed that it leads to happiness, and then follow that thing."
A.I, 188
So we could say that although Buddhism is not entirely scientific, it certainly has a strong scientific overtone and is certainly more scientific than any other religion."
Taken from:

According to Buddha's saying we should not follow Dhamma only because Buddha has taught it to us. We should continue to follow it after seeing and experiencing that it is true and it leads to happiness.

You have said âœTo be liberated, one need not have to become a Buddha.  As I said if one is completely rid of greed, hatred and delusion, then the person has cut away the craving of attachment, there are no more rebirths.  During this period where the Dhamma has been revealed, there will not be any Buddha.  We need only to practice his teachings to gain liberation; such a person is called an arahat (arahant), in English for lack of a better term, "a saint".  The Buddha had revealed the way to liberation.  It is up to the person whether to practice it or not.â
To Become a Buddha means to be awakened to the Truth (Dhamma). Obviously Ven.S.Dhammika disagrees with you on this point because he says
œThe name Buddhism comes from the word 'budhi' which means 'to wake up' and thus Buddhism is the philosophy of awakening.â
And because Buddhism is a practical philosophy, its goal is to awaken people to Dhamma. You yourself certainly know that knowing by seeing or experiencing is different from knowing by just-hearing. And if Buddhism is scientific according to what Ven.S.Dhammika said, its central teaching (the Dhamma) should be experiencable by everyone who practices it.

A Somehow New Question
Imagine a person who is practicing Buddha's teaching. How can he become sure if he has reached Nirvana or not? I mean what's the sign of reaching Nirvana for a person who practices Buddha's teaching? How will he feel like after reaching Nirvana? Isn't reaching Nirvana simultaneous with reaching some special knowledge?

Anyway I really thank you for your answers.

My comment:
Hi A,

The "Dhamma" in this context means the Four Noble Truths.  According to the Buddha, these Four Noble Truths were known before but through time, they were "lost and forgotten".  It will happen again and in the distant future as well.  What I mean is that when the Dhamma is lost again, it will then take a Buddha to rediscover this Truth when the conditions are right. At present the Dhamma is here for us to follow. (Ven Dhammika is a very learned monk but a little "controversial" amongst the Theravada community.)  He was quoting the famous and popular Kalama Sutta, "the freedom of enquiry".

Buddhism is more scientific than any science.  What scientists are just discovering had been revealed by the Buddha.  Especially in the science of "mind and consciousness" Western science is still in the dark ages.  In the field of the cosmos, astro physicists are just peeping through the mysteries of the universe; whereas the Buddha had already explained the evolution of the universe.

"Buddha" means "The Fully Awakened One". "Buddha" and "Budhi" come from the Pali root word "Budh" meaning "to awaken".  Apart from that a Buddha is a very "special" being.  It takes a person aeons of difficult spiritual cultivation and having passed through 10 types of "perfection". (Refer here for deatis:   

You are correct.


I will be lying to you if I claim I can answer this question.  Unless the person has attained liberation, how can anyone know?  As you are aware, it is through realization and attainment.  If I have not gained this realization and attainment, I cannot know.  Only in theory and "book knowledge" that we can just conjecture what it is like to attain Nibbana. As I said before, the best bet is to assume that when one is completely rid of greed, hatred and delusion (the three roots of evil), can one assume that one has attained liberation.

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