[Buddha-l] Abdhidharma vindicated once again

Jamie Hubbard jhubbard at smith.edu
Mon Mar 7 00:54:50 MST 2011

On 3/4/2011 1:14 PM, JKirkpatrick wrote:
> My take on why they valorised this state to that extent is
> because they valued prodigy almost above all--monks were valued
> because of their prodigious exploits, real or imagined (see the
> Divyavadanas). What could be more imprssive than being in a
> corpse-like state but still alive?  Being cooped up continually
> with others doing the same thing, plus hemmed in by hundreds of
> rules, competition is sure to arise to relieve the boredom,
> leading to valorisations of prodigious exploits that even kings
> didn't emulate.
Since Paul Griffiths has already been pulled into this, let me continue 
by noting that what you describe sounds like what he calls (in his 
subsequent book, _On Being Buddha_), the push to maximal greatness. I 
don't have the book at hand, but the idea is something like any property 
that is considered important to a religious community will be attributed 
maximally to those the tradition considers maximally great.

BTW, Buddha doesn't come off much better in this later book than 
nirodha-samapatti does in _On Being Mindless_. Especially fun is the 
section on What It Feels Like To Be a Bat/What It Feels Like To Be 
Buddha, in which it feels like nothing to be a Buddha: “We know all that 
there is to know about what it’s like to be a Buddha precisely because 
there is nothing to know” (p. 192).


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