Buddhism as an Education by Ven. Master Chin Kung

By Ven. Master Chin Kung

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The debate that he describes, how ever, be­ tw een different u n d ersta n d in g s of w h at the cessation of physical, verbal an d m ental functioning m ight m ean, gives us o u r first real insight into the central problem s connected w ith the attainm ent of cessation. In stan d ard Indian fashion, B uddhaghosa begins by presenting the view w ith w hich he disagrees; also in stan d ard Indian fashion he does not n am e the o p p o n en t, using the ano n y m o u s formula 'som e say . ' The p oint at issue is the m eaning of the statem ent that physical, verbal a n d m ental functions cease for both a dead m an and one in the attain m en t of cessation.

I am the eater of food! I am the eater of food! I am the eater of food! I am a verse-maker! I am a verse-maker! I am a verse-maker! I am the first-bom of the cosm ic order, Earlier than the G od s in the navel of immortality! W h o gives m e aw a y has in d eed aided me! I, w h o am food, eat the eater of food! 32 16 The A ttainm ent of Cessation In The Theravâda Tradition This view of salvation is paradigm atically ecstatic: the gnostic's know ledge reaches beyond self an d gives pow er to m anipulate the universe, to m etaphorically consum e it.

W hen this accurate know ledge an d clear perception is continuously possessed by the practitioner, the root cause of bondage is rem oved a n d salvation attained. In drastic contrast, the practitioners of the enstatic techniques aim ed at tran ­ quillity ten d to perceive the basic h u m an error as one of attitude rather than cognition; the key B uddhist term here is 'thirst' (tanhà), a term that denotes all types of passionate desire an d attachm ent. To be subject to desire of this kind is to be subject to a pro fo u n d attach­ m ent to the w orld, an attachm ent w hich is not justified, according to B uddhist theory, either by the natu re of the w orld or by the n atu re of the person show ing attach m en t to it.

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