June 2021 Full Moon Dhamma Gathering: Truth

“The gift of Truth excels all (other) gifts.

The flavour of Truth excels all (other) flavours.

The pleasure in Truth excels all (other) pleasures.

He who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrow.”

— Dhammapada 354

Due to a (previously written about) major interest in truth, I answered the call to read a Sutta at Beth Upton’s full moon gathering today. Each of these monthly online get-togethers explores a different topic and offers “a chance to deepen our connections with each other through group meditation and Dhamma discussion.” I considered a Jataka tale featuring goblins. But it is too long. Here’s the takeaway though:

When he had thus exhorted the disciples, the Blessed One said,—“So too in times past, disciples, the men who jumped to the fatuous conclusion that what was no refuge was a real refuge, fell a prey to goblins in a demon-haunted wilderness and were utterly destroyed; whilst the men who clave to the absolute and indisputable truth, prospered in the selfsame wilderness.”

— from the Apannaka Jataka  https://suttacentral.net/ja1/en/chalmers

I read the Smaller Discourse on Quarreling (included below).

Here I roughly rehash the two main questions we explored:

  • What hinders us from truth?
  • What can help bring more awareness to our relationship with truth?

I did not get around to exploring these four words from the Metta Sutta:

“Let none deceive another . . .”

— Metta Sutta

Does this line mean action should be taken to prevent deception? If so, how and to what extent? (Deception often happens as protection or retribution, btw)


Other potential questions of interest:

  • How much truth revealing is needed in any moment (of interaction)?
  • What if you didn’t mean to fool someone?

(And for those often identifying with feelings) there is the practice of feeling into the truth of something


Cūlaviyūha Sutta — Smaller Discourse on Quarreling from Sutta Nipāta 4.12

Question
Each attached to their own views,
They dispute, and the experts say,
“Whoever knows this understands the Dhamma,
Whoever rejects it is imprefect.”

Arguing like this, they disagree, saying
“My opponent is a fool, and is no expert”
Which of these doctrines is the truth,
Since all of them say they are experts?

Buddha
If by not accepting another’s teaching
One became a fool of debased wisdom
Then, honestly, all are fools of debased wisdom,
Since all are attached to views.

But if people are washed by their own views,
With pure wisdom, experts, thoughtful,
Then none of them has debased wisdom,
For their views are perfect.

I don’t say, “This is how it is”,
Like the fools who oppose each other.
Each of them makes out that their view is the truth,
So they treat their opponent as a fool.

Question
What some say is the truth,
Others say is false.
So they argue, disagreeing;
Why don’t the ascetics teach one truth?

Buddha
Indeed the truth is one, there’s not another,
about this the One who Knows
does not dispute with another,
but the Samaṇas proclaim their varied “truths”
and so they speak not in the same way.

Why do they speak such varied truths,
these so-called experts disputatious—
Are there really many and various truths
Or do they just rehearse their logic?

Buddha
Indeed, there are not many and varied truths
differing from perception of the ever-true in the world;
but they work upon their views with logic:
“Truth! Falsehood!” So they speak in dualities.

Based on what is seen, heard,
On precepts and vows, or what is cognized,
They look down on others.
Convinced of their own theories,
pleased with themselves,
They say, “My opponent is a fool, no expert.”

They consider themselves expert for the same reasons
That they despise their opponent as a fool.
Calling themselves experts, they despise the other,
Yet they speak the very same way.

And since perfected in some extreme view,
puffed with pride and maddened by conceit,
he anoints himself as though the master-mind,
likewise thinking his view’s perfected too.

If their opponent says they are deficient,
They too are of deficient understanding.
But if they are wise and knowledgeable,
Then there are no fools among the ascetics.

“Anyone who teaches a doctrine other than this,
Has fallen short of purity and perfection.”
This is what followers of other paths say,
Passionately defending their very different views.

“Here alone is purity,” so they say,
“There is no purity in the teachings of others.”
This is what followers of other paths strongly assert,
Each entrenched in their own different path.

Strongly asserting their own path,
What opponent would they take to be a fool?
They would only bring trouble on themselves
By calling an opponent a fool of impure teachings.

Convinced of their own theories,
Comparing others to oneself,
They get into more disputes with the world.
But by leaving behind all theories,
They don’t have any problems with the world.

Published by josh dippold

IntegratingPresence.com

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