Back to Home

God & Science Forum Message

Forums: Atm · Astrophotography · Blackholes · Blackholes2 · CCD · Celestron · Domes · Education
Eyepieces · Meade · Misc. · God and Science · SETI · Software · UFO · XEphem
RSS Button

Home | Discussion Forums | God and Science | Post
Login

Be the first pioneers to continue the Astronomy Discussions at our new Astronomy meeting place...
The Space and Astronomy Agora
Re: How Does Buddhism View The Creation Of Life And Life After Death

Forum List | Follow Ups | Post Message | Back to Thread Topics | In Response To
Posted by Glenn on December 13, 2000 11:18:54 UTC

The Questions of King Milinda

According to Buddhist tradition, the Bactrian king Menander (Pali: Milinda) engaged the Buddhist sage Nagasena in a series of philosophical discussions in which Nagasena convinced him of the truth of Buddha's teachings. The following dialogue concerns the Buddhist doctrine of selflessness, which holds that there is no enduring self, no soul, no truly existent personal identity. The king at first expresses disbelief, pointing out that he is clearly speaking to Nagasena, who seems to be a concretely existing person. Nagasena convinces the king by using the analogy of a chariot, which is composed of parts that separately are incapable of performing the functions of a chariot, but which when assembled are given the conventional designation "chariot." Similarly, human beings (and all other phenomena) are merely collections of parts that are given conventional designations, but they lack any enduring entity.

Then King Milinda said to the venerable Nagasena: `What is your reverence called? What is your name, reverend sir?'

`Sire, I am known as Nagasena; my fellow religious practitioners, sir, address me as Nagasena. But although [my] parents gave [me] the name of Nagasena...still it is only a designation, a name, a denotation, a conventional expression, since Nagasena is only a name because there is no person here to be found....'

`If, reverend Nagasena, there is no person to be found, who is it that gives you necessities like robe material, food, lodging, and medicines for the sick, who is it that uses them, who is it that keeps the precepts, practices meditation, actualizes the paths, the fruits, nirvana; who kills living beings, takes what is not given, commits immoral acts, tells lies, drinks intoxicants, and commits the five types of immediate karmas? In that case, there is no virtue; there is no non-virtue; there is no one who does or who makes another do things that are virtuous or non-virtuous; there is no fruit or ripening of good or bad karma. Reverend Nagasena, if someone kills you, there will be no demerit. Also, reverend Nagasena, you have no teacher, no preceptor, no ordination....

`Is form Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Is feeling Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Is discrimination Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Are compositional factors Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Is consciousness Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Then, reverend sir, are form, feelings, discriminations, compositional factors, and consciousness together Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Then, reverend sir, is there something other than form, feelings, discriminations, compositional factors, and consciousness that is Nagasena?'

`No, sire.'

`Reverend sir, although I question you closely, I fail to find any Nagasena. Nagasena is only a sound, sir. Who is Nagasena? Reverend sir, you are speaking a lie, a falsehood: there is no Nagasena.'

Then the venerable Nagasena said to king Milinda: `...Your majesty, did you come here on foot, or riding?'

`Reverend sir, I did not come on foot; I came in a chariot.'

`Sire, if you came in a chariot, show me the chariot. Is the pole the chariot, sire?'

`No, reverend sir.'

`Is the axle the chariot?'

`No, reverend sir.'

`Are the wheels...the frame...the banner-staff...the yoke...the reins...the goad the chariot?'

`No, reverend sir.'

`Then, sire, are pole, axle, wheels, frame, banner-staff, yoke, reins, goad together the chariot?'

`No, reverend sir.'

`Then, sire, is something other than the pole, axle, wheels, frame, banner-staff, yoke, reins, goad together the chariot?'

`No, reverend sir.'

`Sire, although I question you closely, I fail to find any chariot. Chariot is only a sound, sire. What is the chariot?...'

`Reverend Nagasena...it is because of the pole, axle, wheels, frame, banner-staff, yoke, reins, and goad that "chariot" exists as a designation, appellation, denotation, as a conventional usage, as a name.'

`Good: sire, you understand the chariot. It is just like this for me, sire: because of the hair of the head and because of the hair of the body...and because of the brain of the head, form, feelings, discriminations, compositional factors, and consciousness that "Nagasena" exists as designation, appellation, denotation, as a conventional usage, as a name. But ultimately there is no person to be found here....'

`Wonderful, reverend Nagasena! Marvelous, reverend Nagasena! The replies to the questions that were asked are truly brilliant. If the Buddha were still here, he would applaud. Well done, well done, Nagasena!

Follow Ups:

    Login to Post
    Additional Information
    Google
     
    Web www.astronomy.net
    DayNightLine
    About Astronomy Net | Advertise on Astronomy Net | Contact & Comments | Privacy Policy
    Unless otherwise specified, web site content Copyright 1994-2020 John Huggins All Rights Reserved
    Forum posts are Copyright their authors as specified in the heading above the post.
    "dbHTML," "AstroGuide," "ASTRONOMY.NET" & "VA.NET"
    are trademarks of John Huggins