Episode 249 :: Paul Fuller :: The Notion of Ditthi in Theravada Buddhism

| June 12, 2016 | 3 Comments

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Paul Fuller

Dr. Paul Fuller joins us to speak about ditthi, or views, in Buddhism.

Hi, everyone. Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to remind the listeners that we’ve started a new podcast which may also interest you. It’s called Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science, and appears every other week, alternating with The Secular Buddhist. You’ll find many of the same guests you’ve enjoyed and learned from here, as well as new researchers, teachers, and practitioners. You’ll find Present Moment in the Science & Medicine section of iTunes, in Natural Sciences, or just do an iTunes Store seach for Mindfulness, and look in the results in the Podcasts section. You can also visit the website, PresentMomentMindfulness.com. Thanks for checking it out, and if you like what you hear, please feel free to share it with others.

Have you ever heard someone offer their opinion, and their passionate sharing seemed to indicate more attachment than understanding? Or perhaps the view was very valid in one context, but might not have been as good a fit in another. Or perhaps you’ve been that person with the rock solid view, certainly I’ve made that mistake and continue to do so, it’s part of the complexity of being human. So what does Theravada tradition have to tell us about views, in particular how we might distinguish between right and wrong views?

Paul Fuller has a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol. He has taught Religious Studies at Universities in Southeast Asia, the University of Sydney in Australia and at Bath Spa University in the UK. and is currently lecturing in Buddhist Studies at the University of Cardiff. His research interests include early Indian Buddhist philosophy, the Buddhist ideas of Aung San Suu Kyi and the prevalence of blasphemy in Buddhist culture.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice grape seed tea.

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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (3)

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  1. Doug Smith Doug Smith says:

    Great interview Ted and Paul, thanks very much. The intersection of diṭṭhi and “ethnocentric Buddhism” is particularly fraught and interesting. The irony of such forms of Buddhism as we see in the 969 movement is that usually in the press they are described as “fundamentalist”, but on the other hand one would imagine a fundamentalist to be interested in a literalistic understanding of the “fundamentals” of their religion or system of beliefs. In this instance however a literalistic understanding of the Nikāyas would lead, it seems, in precisely the opposite direction from that of rigid, hateful ethnocentrism.

    One question I had also has to do with the relation of the Theravāda to all this, and to your study of diṭṭhi in particular. Of course, in your book you relied on commentaries that are Theravādin in origin. But it seems to me the picture you paint of diṭṭhi must predate the Theravāda; I see no reason to believe that there was an original view of diṭṭhi that differed from that described in the commentaries. Although some have made the argument that (e.g.) there is a no-view view expounded in the Aṭṭhakavagga, and that this may have been changed later on, I believe you argue in your book (and I argue in one of my papers) that this is incorrect. The position propounded in the Aṭṭhakavagga is not one of no-views, and is in fact consistent with the position found in the rest of the Canon.

    So do you see a historical development here? Or in your book are you in a sense really talking about a position as close as one can reasonably get to that of the historical Buddha, perhaps a position that was also correctly understood in later commentaries?

  2. Nick Nick says:

    After the 1st two sermons of the Buddha, there were six arahants in the world. The idea of “no-views” was not mentioned in those two sermons. All that was mentioned was the ending of craving & self-view, as the means to liberation.

  3. Nick Nick says:

    The Four Nobles was an introductory teaching (being the 1st sermon to five newcomers), where it was chosen to teach back to craving. Then later, it was taught back to ignorance. There is no dilemma here since it whatever way craving is ended, suffering will end. The stream-enterer, primarily learns to abandon craving & attachment; yet they have not uprooted the potential for suffering. The arahant has fully ended ignorance & uprooted the potential for suffering. As for the guide in the Kalama Sutta, it is “does it lead to suffering or well-being”.

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