Dharma Questions: Miscellany — Part 5

This irregular “Dharma Questions” series deals with “dharma” meaning both the truth of the nature of reality and some Buddhist teachings. Please see this post on the intensions for questioning and not questioning. Amongst other things these questions can be, but not necessarily:

  • thought experiments
  • borderline musings not meant to be answered
  • from laziness of not contemplating or researching them yet


“There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

“Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman’s apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal

via https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-samadhi/jhana.html
  1. How does bath powder work once it’s kneaded together with water? [This is a reference to the quoted passage above. For context, perhaps this first Jhana simile could benefit from an extended visualization and explanation on use once the powder is mixed with water as this is a nonexistent practice in the Western world.
  2. What is the I AM? Where did it come from? How does it work? Why did the Buddha say it was the biggest conceit?
  3. How and why does aligning with truth bring happiness?
  4. Dividing Sangha is said to be a grave offense? What if one divides Sangha unintentionally? Mustn’t the division be intentional? If so, why is this distinction seemingly seldom mentioned?
  5. I’ve heard TM (Transcendental Meditation) can lead to rebirth in formless realms. How?
  6. Does Nirvana know Samsara?
  7. What is the root condition of annica — impermanence?
  8. What is mind made of? What is mind’s essence? Is it made of consciousness and space (elements)? Earth, air, water, fire?
  9. Did the Buddha speak (in) the Pali language we find in the suttas? If so, how do we know? If not, why then was it written down in Pali instead of the language he spoke? And further, was the Pali language then created just to record the Buddha’s words and teachings? Why and how? Who all created Pali, when and for what reason(s)? How do we know?
  10. For keeping the precept of refraining from falsehoods, and developing the pāramī of truth, is it skillful and wise to use language that’s obviously exaggeration and embellishment? For example: “I use olive oil on everything.”
  11. What are some wise, skillful and wholesome ways to relate to ignorance? Specifically, being ignorant to what we’re ignorant of; the ignorance of what’s causing that/this ignorance; and the ignorance of being ignorant of all that is obscuring and blocking knowing we are ignorant, and being ignorant of how to address and relate and respond to all this?
  12. Do nagas have anything to do with the “rainbow body”? What is the origin of the “rainbow body”?
  13. What are any and all similarities and differences between “Para Brahman” and “Nirvana”?
  14. What are the karmic results for (continually) getting upset about being caught in samsara?
  15. Could the differences between the Theravada (immediate) rebirth after death, and the Tibetan intermediate bardo period after death be resolved by taking spontaneous rebirth immediately into a bardo body following human death? Why or why not?
  16. On Abhidhamma/Abhidharma:
    • How did each of the various versions of the Abhidhamma/Abhidharma come to be (the way they are now) and why (the differences)?
    • Has there been any changes in Abhidhamma/Abhidharma since their inceptions, and if not, are they subject to change? Why and/or why not
    • Whom all does Abhidhamma/Abhidharma apply to? All beings everywhere, or just certain beings in certain times and places (or lack of times and places)? Why and/or why not?

Published by josh dippold


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