Smile Of The Snake Analysis

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The Smile of the Snake and the No-self teaching From the Pali Nikayas The most distinctive and yet counter-intuitive feature of the Buddha’s messages is the doctrine on non-existence of is no self (anatman). According to the study by Gowans, Buddha claims all the doctrines of self lead to suffering, and therefore, people must abandon all the doctrines for the sake of attaining Nibbana. He further adds that it is impossible for a person with a right view could treat anything as self. From this declaration, Buddha made his greatest challenge to the beliefs for his colleagues and for us as well (33). The dialogical and Analogical Narratives of the Text “the Smile of the Snake” One of the text’s significant literary features is the use of dialogical…show more content…
In the “the smile of the Snake”, Buddha uses the example of the eponymous snake and the raft to illustrate different ways in which someone might miss the point of his teaching. He suggested that a man need to catch a snake by controlling its neck instead of its tail and a raft should be abandoned after get over the river. The Buddha also uses these analogical arguments to emphasize the importance of avoiding wrong grasp of the teaching. Specifically, he points that the wrong grasp of the teaching is like a snake: if a man saw a large snake and were to “take hold of it by one of its coils or its tail” (Gethin 160), the snake would “turn around and bite him on his limbs, hand or arms, and as a result he would suffer death or the pain of death” (Gethin 160). Therefore, according the study Gethin, it is very important to have the correct grasp of the teachings like Buddha said,“if you understanding the meaning of what I have said, then, you can preserve it in accordance with that understanding, but if you do not understand the meaning, you should either ask me about it, or the monks who are experienced”
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