Wednesday, November 19, 2008
the paradox of becoming
A new book by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:
The topic of becoming, although it features one major paradox, contains other paradoxes as well. Not the least of these is the fact that, although becoming is one of the most important concepts in the Buddha’s teachings, there is no fullscale treatment of it in the English language. This book is an attempt to fill that lack.
The importance of becoming is evident from the role it plays in the four noble truths, particularly in the second: Suffering and stress are caused by any form of craving that leads to becoming. Thus the end of suffering must involve the end of becoming. The central paradox of becoming is also evident in the second noble truth, where one of the three forms of craving leading to becoming is craving for non‐becoming—the ending of what has come to be. This poses a practical challenge for any attempt to put an end to becoming. Many writers have tried to resolve this paradox by defining non‐becoming in such a way that the desire for Unbinding (nibbana) would not fall into that category. However, the Buddha himself taught a strategic resolution to this paradox, in which the four noble truth—the path to the end of suffering—involves creating a type of becoming where the mind is so steady and alert that it can simply allow what has come into being to pass away of its own accord, thus avoiding the twin dangers of craving for becoming or for non‐becoming.
Available in pdf for download:
The Paradox of Becoming
To listen to a talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on this subject:
Dhamma Talk on The Paradox of Becoming in Oct 2008
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