[Buddha-l] The course of Nature

John Willemsens advaya at euronet.nl
Mon May 26 11:37:40 MDT 2008

> Being a 19th c. romantic about Nature, not always red in tooth and claw 
> (nature not me), I tried looking up the term Paṭipadā in PTS's Pali-Eng 
> dictionary online.
> But first, John's website has this to say:
> "Because man experiences as progress that which agrees with the direction 
> in which overall existence moves forward over time, the Buddhist Noble 
> Eightfold Path must be understood as an ongoing reflexion at the human 
> level, and in human terms, of that progress of existence."
> "In other words, that progress (pratipada, patipada) is all life's inner 
> driving force and, therefore, the fourth sign, mark or basic fact of 
> being."
> The glosses I looked at do not suggest a metaphysical notion of "progress 
> that...agrees with the direction in which overall existence moves forward 
> over time", ( so not an endlessly acting cosmic process). The glosses I 
> found for this term do not suggest anything like an idea of "progress" as 
> an abstract entity--as an ueber-sign (or what Kenneth Burke called a 
> "god-term"), so far as physical reality (nature, human nature, etc) goes--  
> but instead, only the sense of a means [method, mode], a path, or a goal.
> 24. Paṭipadā : (page 396)
> ...Paṭipadā (f.) [fr. paṭi+pad] means of reaching a goal or destination, 
> path, way, means, method, mode of progress (cp. Dhs. trsln 53, 82, 92, 
> 143), course, practice (cp. BSk. pratipad in meaning of pratipatti "line 
> of conduct."
> Here's more: paṭipadā the path of goodness or virtue, consisting of dāna, 
> uposathakamma & dasakusalakammapathā J iii.342; -- 
> Or, N.-- gāminī paṭipadā A iv.83 (the path to salvation).
> On paṭi:  With verbs of motion: "along towards".....and so on.
> Speaking of "life's inner driving force" (see quote from website above), 
> it does seem to me that Buddhism is always reminding that everything alive 
> "wants to live," so the thirst for life should not be interfered with, 
> e.g., don't kill. But this force does not seem to have been stated in 
> cosmic principle terms, as I recall--not in the Theravada tradition 
> anyway.
> Joanna

Dear Joanna,
Thank you very much for your remarks.
I shall look at them very carefully with more time.
I would however like to comment in the meantime that
what we say is that human beings _experience as progress_  that which 
accords with the overall course of Nature.
I.o.w. not that the overall course of Nature is progress - overall existence 
is as such quite indifferent.
But allow me to revert.
John Willemsens.

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