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Sobeh
04 May 10, 05:11
Nanavira Thera (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=62) writes the following:

"1. The traditional interpretation of paticcasamuppāda (of its usual twelve-factored formulation, that is to say) apparently has its roots in the Patisambhidāmagga <i,52>, or perhaps in the Abhidhammapitaka. This interpretation is fully expounded in the Visuddhimagga <Ch. XVII>. It can be briefly summarized thus: avijjā and sankhārā are kamma in the previous existence, and their vipāka is viññāna, nāmarūpa, salāyatana, phassa, and vedanā, in the present existence; tanhā, upādāna, and bhava, are kamma in the present existence, and their vipāka is jāti and jarāmarana in the subsequent existence.

"2. This Note will take for granted first, that the reader is acquainted with this traditional interpretation, and secondly, that he is dissatisfied with it. It is not therefore proposed to enter into a detailed discussion of this interpretation, but rather to indicate briefly that dissatisfaction with it is not unjustified, and then to outline what may perhaps be found to be a more satisfactory approach."

A thoroughgoing (and perhaps controversial) analysis thus ensues, which I highly recommend.

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Aloka
04 May 10, 09:58
Thanks very much for the link Sobeh, I'd seen this before somewhere but hadn't had time to read it. http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/hands.gif

Element
04 May 10, 12:01
perhaps controversial

Is this false speech? http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/sad.gif

Nanavira has adhered to the Pali, as I did in the other thread.

What I posted no-one taught me, just as no-one taught Nanavira.

The sankhara in the Pali are the kaya, vaci & citta sankhara.

This is plainly obvious rather than controversial.

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Deshy
04 May 10, 13:47
Visuddhimagga

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Sobeh
04 May 10, 16:44
from post #3

Element, the following quote is from the Intro (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=33) itself:

"It cannot be expected that this material, which poses a clear challenge to the mainstream version of Buddhism, will gain any great popularity..."

The editors of the site said it posed a clear challenge, and I said "perhaps controversial" to reflect this. False speech? Wow, settle down, friend.

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Element
04 May 10, 21:58
mainstream version of Buddhism

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Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.

Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom.

Just as one upon the summit of a mountain beholds the groundlings, even so when the wise man casts away heedlessness by heedfulness and ascends the high tower of wisdom, this sorrowless sage beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude.

Dhammapada (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.04.budd.html)

Element
04 May 10, 22:00
Nanavira has adhered [faithfully] to the Pali, as I did in the other thread.

Katame ca, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā? Tayome, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā – kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro. Ime vuccanti, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā.

sn 12.2

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Element
04 May 10, 22:09
(3) "In four ways, young householder, should one who gives good counsel be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he restrains one from doing evil,
(ii) he encourages one to do good,
(iii) he informs one of what is unknown to oneself,
(iv) he points out the path to heaven.

"The ascetics and brahmans thus ministered to as the Zenith by a householder show their compassion towards him in six ways:

(i) they restrain him from evil,
(ii) they persuade him to do good,
(iii) they love him with a kind heart,
(iv) they make him hear what he has not heard,
(v) they clarify what he has already heard,
(vi) they point out the path to a heavenly state.

Sigalovada Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html)
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Sobeh
05 May 10, 17:20
from post #6,7, 8

All I did was paraphrase the Intro after quoting sections 1 and 2 of the link - I haven't expressed any opinion on any particulars. What, exactly, are you commenting on?

Element
05 May 10, 20:13
What, exactly, are you commenting on?

If Nanavira labelled it "contraversial", this pertained to that society.

It was contraversial in a traditional superstitious Buddhist society such as Sri Lanka.

But we are not traditional Sri Lankans.

We are educated people living in another time and are evaluating the Buddha's teachings in the manner the Buddha exhorted.

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Sobeh
05 May 10, 20:57
If only post #10 had been post #3...

Aloka
07 May 10, 07:33
So what similarities and differences are there between Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's analysis of DO and Nanavira Thera's ?

Sobeh
07 May 10, 21:44
I think both the similarities as well as the differences are ably shown through comparing these two excerpts:

Nanavira Thera (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=62#p7):


Instead of imass'uppādā idam uppajjati, imassa nirodhā idam nirujjhati, 'with arising of this this arises, with cessation of this this ceases', the traditional interpretation says, in effect, imassa nirodhā idam uppajjati, 'with cessation of this, this arises'. It is needless to press this point further: either the reader will already have recognized that this is, for him, a valid objection to the traditional interpretation, or he will not. And if he has not already seen this as an objection, no amount of argument will open his eyes. It is a matter of one's fundamental attitude to one's own existence—is there, or is there not, a present problem or, rather, anxiety that can only be resolved in the present?
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books6/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Paticcasamuppada.htm):


As stated in the Pali suttas, there is no gap between any of the states. Therefore, it is not necessary to classify the first two states as belonging to the past, the next ten states to the present, the remaining state to the future, and thereby explain a process of dependent arising as encompassing three lifetimes. If it is explained as encompassing three lifetimes, how can one take advantage of dependent arising and cultivate to end suffering, when the "cause" is in the present life and the "fruit" is in another? The doctrine of dependent origination being taught today encompasses three lifetimes, thus it is not helpful to our cultivation.

Element
07 May 10, 22:56
Nanavira uses the term 'determinations' for sankhara and, such as myself, makes reference to MN 44 for the meaning. I use the word 'determinators' or 'conditioners' rather than determinations.

Whereas in English, one will not find much on this by Buddhadasa. He did not discuss the sankhara much in public lectures. He generally only described sankhara in a general way as "the power of concocting".

For me, I disagree here. To me, sankhara are the 'means' of concocting rather than the power. The sankhara are the objects of satipatthana as defined in the Anapanasati Sutta.

Ignorance needs a 'means' to condition the mind, speech & body. It does this via perception & feeling, thought & the breathing.

When can explore this in our meditation. When the breathing is agitated, the body is stressed. When we calm the agitation in the breathing, the body relaxes, consciousness becomes clearer & the mind calms. The agitation in the breathing is ignorance itself.

Ignorance > sankhara > consciousness > body-mind


Certainly, sankhārā may, upon occasion, be cetanā (e.g. Khandha Samy. vi,4 <S.iii,60>[3]); but this is by no means always so. The Cūlavedallasutta tells us clearly in what sense in-&-out-breaths, thinking-&-pondering, and perception and feeling, are sankhārā (i.e. in that body, speech, and mind [citta], are intimately connected with them, and do not occur without them); and it would do violence to the Sutta to interpret sankhārā here as cetanā.

Notes (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=62)
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Element
07 May 10, 23:03
The Buddhadasa book on DO available on the internet is a very poor translation & not the complete work.

Even so, the "complete work" was only an introduction to the topic.

In Thai, the whole work is very long & never been translated into English.

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Element
07 May 10, 23:13
Nanaviro on birth & death is as follows:


The fundamental upādāna or 'holding' is attavāda (see Majjhima ii,1 <M.i,67>), which is holding a belief in 'self'. The puthujjana takes what appears to be his 'self' at its face value; and so long as this goes on he continues to be a 'self', at least in his own eyes (and in those of others like him). This is bhava or 'being'. The puthujjana knows that people are born and die; and since he thinks 'my self exists' so he also thinks 'my self was born' and 'my self will die'. The puthujjana sees a 'self' to whom the words birth and death apply.[d] In contrast to the puthujjana, the arahat has altogether got rid of asmimāna (not to speak of attavāda—see MAMA), and does not even think 'I am'. This is bhavanirodha, cessation of being. And since he does not think 'I am' he also does not think 'I was born' or 'I shall die'. In other words, he sees no 'self' or even 'I' for the words birth and death to apply to. This is jātinirodha and jarāmarananirodha. (See, in Kosala Samy. i,3 <S.i,71>, how the words birth and death are avoided when the arahat is spoken of.

Notes (http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=62)
Here, Nanavira places the emphasis of 'self-view' at attachment where as Buddhadasa places the emphasis on self-view at birth.


Such blind want (tanha) will give birth to attachment (upadana). Attachment arising from blind or ignorant want, then, is ignorant in itself. There is attachment to anything that comes into contact with it, including attachment to this meaning or that meaning of words and attachment to that thing as "mine" and this thing as "I."

Such attachment gives rise to existence (bhava). This is the becoming of something - the illusive "self." The becoming of the "self" arises from attachment. There is attachment to an illusive thing by illusive thought and so we come to have illusive becoming (bhava). At this point there exists the "self," even in the stage of infancy. We call it bhava, or
becoming.

Becoming gives rise to birth (jati). Here the "self" is full bloomed as a "self" that is proper and suitable to its case: to be one "I," one "man," one "self." At this moment here is a self - the thing which is imagined to be the "self" or the "I." Now the illusive "I" takes place in the process of Idappaccayatā.

The "I" thinks, acts and speaks in the way of attachment. Then the "I" begins to act and speak in ignorant ways, such as "this is I" or "this is my possession"; and even "this is my birth, this is my decay, this is my disease and this is my death." All things come to be problems for such a self. This brings problems to the mind, so that the mind suffers and has suffering and disatisfactoriness of all kinds in whatever case. This is Idappaccayatā in the way or process of giving rise to the problem of mental suffering. In reality the suffering happens to the mind, but as we said, it is imagined as happening to the man.

ABCs (http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books6/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu_ABC_of_Buddhism.pdf)
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Element
09 May 10, 02:28
The Buddhadasa book on DO available on the internet is a very poor translation & not the complete work.



Whereas in English, one will not find much on this by Buddhadasa. He did not discuss the sankhara much in public lectures. He generally only described sankhara in a general way as "the power of concocting".

I just obtained a copy of Buddhadasa's book. It has probably been 15 years since I read it.

The translation used of sankhara is mental concocting. The book states:


What is mental concocting? The Buddha said: "Monks, there are these three kinds of mental concocting: bodily formation, verbal formation and mental formation." The sayings of the Buddha in the Pali Scriptures explain sankhara as that which brews up or gives rise to the bodily functions, that which brews up verbal functions and that which brews up mental functions.

But people who study in the dhamma schools don't explain sankhara this way. They are usually taught according to the Visuddhimagga - that the three sankhara are meritorious karma functions (punn-abhisankhara), demeritorious karma functions (apunn-abhisankhara) and imperturbable karma functions (anenj-abhisankhara).

In the Pali Scriptures, the real words of the Buddha explain sankhara as bodily, verbal and mental functions. Mental concocting gives rise to consciousness.


This book was translated from the Thai prior to 1986 by Steve Schmidt. What is interesting is Buddhadasa does not refer to MN 44 like Nanavira does.

Further, the word "formation" is used, as in found in Buddhadasa's older translated works, such as Anapanasati (http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books3/Buddhadasa_Anapanasati.pdf) (although in this older work, the term "conditioner" is also found).

But in his more recent translated works, Buddhadasa used the term "conditioner" exclusively (rather than "condition" or formation").

Personally, I find the discussion confusing (which is why I never cared much for this book). How can "mental concocting" be bodily, verbal & mental functions?

However, Buddhadasa's discussion of sankhara in Anapanasati - Unveiling the Secrets of Life (http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books3/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Anapanasati_Mindfulness_with_Br eathing.htm), which was spoken to Western students, is perfectly clear & excellent.



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Aloka
15 Jun 10, 10:39
I'm reviving this thread again to see if anyone would like to say anything further about the different interpretations of DO.

Element
15 Jun 10, 16:25
I find Buddhadasa's point of view appealing, but I have some difficulties wrapping my head around it. What is more, from reading his text I am left with the impression that he has developed a pronounced distaste for Buddhaghosa's interpretation, as he keeps bashing it on almost every page of the book. He writes like a philosopher who tries to out-argue another philosopher's views. I find this unnecessary, because the two interpretations complement rather than contradict each other.

To my ears, the translation of the samuppada as "arising motion" is still quite removed from "occurring simultaneously", but I won't argue this any further since I lack knowledge of the Pali language. It appears that drawing an argument on account of this in favour of co-temporality of the arising of all nidanas is a bit of a stretch and I haven't yet come across any sutta that spells this out. Likewise, arguing that dependent origination cannot arise prenatally seems a bit of a stretch, since what we know about the developing baby in the uterus suggests otherwise, but I will leave it at that because these points are just incidental to the main argument.

The principal difficulty for the momentary interpretation of dependent origination is to explain how the the nidanas no. 1, 3, 4 and 5 arise momentarily, that is ignorance (avijja), consciousness (vinnana), name-and-form (namarupa, psychophysicality), and the six sense gates (salayatana). I have no problems with a metaphorical understanding of the nidanas 10-13, namely becoming (bhava), birth (jati), and decay and death (jaramarana), as they can relate to the metaphorical birth and death of any phenomenon that we fancy conceptualising. I have also no problems with the other nidanas 2 and 6-9, namely mental formations (sankhara), contact (phassa), feeling (vedana), craving (tanha), and attachment (updana), because these can obviously arise spontaneously, although it could be argued that sankhara, tanha, and upadana tend to become persistent features of the mind that survive and exceed the moments of dukkha experiences.

Perhaps it is useful to come back to the ball game example that you introduced. If you throw or hit a ball against the wall -say you have a tennis racket- it comes back and cycles between you and the wall until you end the game and walk away. If one attempts to analyse this in the style of dependent origination, one can point out a number of supporting conditions for this game, such as the wall, the racket, the swing of the racket, contact of the ball with the surfaces, gravity, elastic properties, mechanical forces, and so on.

Obviously, some of the features of the ball game arise momentarily and are repeated over and over, such as contact of the ball with the wall, contact with the racket, the swing of the racket, and the mechanical forces acting on the ball. Other features, such as the wall, the floor, and the racket are of a more permanent nature. They do not arise spontaneously, but they stay in place between individual cycles of the ball game. Now, the outrageous claim in Buddhadasa's interpretation is that all conditions are of momentary nature and he makes no distinction between spontaneous and more permanent ones. He states that all twelve nidanas arise in a moment of dukkha. This is a bit like claiming that the wall comes into existence momentarily as the ball makes contact with it, or that the racket comes into existence only when it plays the ball. Just not very intuitive...

Cheers, Putthujano


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Element
15 Jun 10, 16:27
I find Buddhadasa's point of view appealing, but I have some difficulties wrapping my head around it. What is more, from reading his text I am left with the impression that he has developed a pronounced distaste for Buddhaghosa's interpretation, as he keeps bashing it on almost every page of the book. He writes like a philosopher who tries to out-argue another philosopher's views. I find this unnecessary, because the two interpretations complement rather than contradict each other.

Such an appraisal is unnecessary. Indeed, the man is having "difficulties". Buddhadasa is merely describing mental phenomena. But the man cannot see the mental phenomena occuring within his mind.

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Element
15 Jun 10, 16:33
To my ears, the translation of the samuppada as "arising motion" is still quite removed from "occurring simultaneously",

Some things arise (based on their causes & conditions) quickly. Other things arise slowly. The man here is having difficulties due to a lack of comprehension. The man here is caught up in philosophy and projecting that philosophical outlook onto Buddhadasa. To break this rigid kind of thinking & conditioning, it is best to quote another teacher:


We don't understand the Dhamma and so we don't understand these sankharas; we take them to be ourselves, as belonging to us or belonging to others. This gives rise to clinging. When clinging arises, "becoming" follows on. Once becoming arises, then there is birth. Once there is birth, then old age, sickness, death... the whole mass of suffering arises. This is the Paticcasamuppada. 9 We say ignorance gives rise to volitional activities, they give rise to consciousness and so on. All these things are simply events in mind. When we come into contact with something we don't like, if we don't have mindfulness, ignorance is there. Suffering arises straight away. But the mind passes through these changes so rapidly that we can't keep up with them. It's the same as when you fall from a tree. Before you know it — "Thud!" — you've hit the ground. Actually you've passed many branches and twigs on the way but you couldn't count them, you couldn't remember them as you passed them. You just fall, and then "Thud!"

Ajahn Chah (http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Ajahn_Chah_A_Taste_of_Freedom.htm)

It's likewise with the teaching of dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda): deluded understanding (avijjā) is the cause and condition for the arising of volitional kammic formations (sankhāra); which is the cause and condition for the arising of consciousness (viññāna); which is the cause and condition for the arising of mentality and materiality (nāma-rūpa), and so on, just as we've studied in the scriptures. The Buddha separated each ]This is an accurate description of reality, but when this process actually occurs in real life the scholars aren't able to keep up with what's happening. It's like falling from the top of a tree to come crashing down to the ground below. We have no idea how many branches we've passed on the way down. [/b]Similarly, when the mind is suddenly hit by a mental impression, if it delights in it, then it flies off into a good mood. It considers it good without being aware of the chain of conditions that led there. The process takes place in accordance with what is outlined in the theory, but simultaneously it goes beyond the limits of that theory.

Ajahn Chah Unshakeable Peace
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Element
15 Jun 10, 16:41
It appears that drawing an argument on account of this in favour of co-temporality of the arising of all nidanas is a bit of a stretch and I haven't yet come across any sutta that spells this out.

Most of the suttas spell it out like this. For example the follow sutta has the links of dependent origination either arising or ceasing when the eye sees the form:


<u>On seeing a form with the eye</u>, he is passionate for it if it is pleasing; he is angry with it if it is displeasing. He lives with mindfulness to the body unestablished, with a limited mind, and he does not understand realistically the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Engaged as he is in favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels - whether pleasant or painful or neither-pleasant-nor-painful - he delights in that feeling, welcomes it, and remains holding on to it. As he does so, delight (nandi) arises in him. Now,delight in feelings (vedanàsu nandi) is clinging (upàdàna). Becoming is conditioned by his clinging; becoming conditions birth; birth conditions ageing-&-death; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair come to be. Thus <u>is the arising of this entire mass of suffering</u>.

"<u>On seeing a form with the eye</u>, he is not passionate for it if it is pleasing; he is not angry at it if it is displeasing. He lives with attention to body established, with an immeasurable mind and he understands realistically the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels - whether pleasant or painful or neither-pleasant-nor-painful - he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. From the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; from the cessation of clinging, the cessation of becoming; from the cessation of becoming, the cessation of birth; from the cessation of birth, ageing-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease. Thus <u>is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering</u>.

Mahàtanhàsankhaya Sutta

Element
15 Jun 10, 16:50
The following sutta is clear:



Idha bhikkhave, assutavā puthujjano ariyānaṃ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto, sappurisānaṃ adassāvī sappurisadhammassa akovido sappurisadhamme avinīto rūpaṃ attato samanupassati.

Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, samanupassanā saṅkhāro so.

So pana saṅkhāro kiṃnidāno kiṃsamudayo kiṃjātiko kiṃpabhavo?

Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā; tatojo so saṅkhāro.

Iti kho, bhikkhave, sopi saṅkhāro anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno. Sāpi taṇhā aniccā saṅkhatā paṭiccasamuppannā. Sāpi vedanā aniccā saṅkhatā paṭiccasamuppannā. Sopi phasso anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno. Sāpi avijjā aniccā saṅkhatā paṭiccasamuppannā .



There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person [putthujano] — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self.

That assumption is a fabrication.

Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication?

To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person [putthujano], touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that.

And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen.

That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen.

Parileyyaka Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.081.than.html)

Now the quote above used the term 'avijjāsamphassajena', which is 'contact with ignorance' or 'ignorant contact'.

It follows the 1st ]http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/img/smilies/grin.gif[/img]

Element
15 Jun 10, 17:07
The principal difficulty for the momentary interpretation of dependent origination is to explain how the the nidanas no. 1, 3, 4 and 5 arise momentarily, that is ignorance (avijja), consciousness (vinnana), name-and-form (namarupa, psychophysicality), and the six sense gates (salayatana).

The man here is caught up in materialism & philosophy. This is obvious by the quote below:



If one attempts to analyse this in the style of dependent origination, one can point out a number of supporting conditions for this game, such as the wall, the racket, the swing of the racket, contact of the ball with the surfaces, gravity, elastic properties, mechanical forces, and so on.

Obviously, some of the features of the ball game arise momentarily and are repeated over and over, such as contact of the ball with the wall, contact with the racket, the swing of the racket, and the mechanical forces acting on the ball. Other features, such as the wall, the floor, and the racket are of a more permanent nature.

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Element
15 Jun 10, 17:11
Now, the outrageous claim in Buddhadasa's interpretation is that all conditions are of momentary nature and he makes no distinction between spontaneous and more permanent ones. He states that all twelve nidanas arise in a moment of dukkha. This is a bit like claiming that the wall comes into existence momentarily as the ball makes contact with it, or that the racket comes into existence only when it plays the ball. Just not very intuitive...

The man here is not expressing intuitive wisdom or vipassana & again projecting his mind state upon Buddhadasa.

These are matters of insight or spiritual experience. They are not matters of philosophy. They are known by meditation (although scriptures can explain them).

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Element
15 Jun 10, 17:19
The principal difficulty for the momentary interpretation of dependent origination is to explain how the the nidanas no. 1, 3, 4 and 5 arise momentarily, that is ignorance (avijja), consciousness (vinnana), name-and-form (namarupa, psychophysicality), and the six sense gates (salayatana).

Ignorance conditions the other dhammas, like shampoo conditions hair or dye colours cloth, as follows:


"Well, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires and <u>does not know, as it really is</u>, the way of escape from sense-desires that have arisen, then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, nor can he know and see what is to the profit of others, or of both himself and others. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

"Imagine, Brahman, a bowl of water mixed with lac, turmeric, dark green or crimson dye. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was. In the same way, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires... then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, to the profit of others, to the profit of both. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

Sangaravo Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn46/sn46.055.wlsh.html)


2. "Monks, suppose a cloth were stained and dirty, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye badly and be impure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was not clean. So too, monks, when the mind is defiled, an unhappy destination may be expected.

"Monks, suppose a cloth were clean and bright, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye well and be pure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was clean. So too, monks, when the mind is undefiled, a happy destination may be expected.

3. "And what, monks, are the defilements of the mind? (1) Covetousness and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind; (2) ill will is a defilement of the mind; (3) anger is a defilement of the mind; (4) hostility...(5) denigration...(6) domineering...(7) envy...(8) jealousy...(9) hypocrisy...(10) fraud...(11) obstinacy...(12) presumption...(13) conceit...(14) arrogance...(15) vanity...(16) negligence is a defilement of the mind.

Vatthupama Sutta: The Simile of the Cloth (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.007.nypo.html)
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Element
15 Jun 10, 17:30
Now, the outrageous claim in Buddhadasa's interpretation is that all conditions are of momentary nature and he makes no distinction between spontaneous and more permanent ones. He states that all twelve nidanas arise in a moment of dukkha. This is a bit like claiming that the wall comes into existence momentarily as the ball makes contact with it, or that the racket comes into existence only when it plays the ball. Just not very intuitive...

There is nothing outrageous or unintuitive about Buddhadasa's interpretation. It accords with the suttas.

When ignorance & defilement cease, the suttas do not state consciousness (vinnana), name-and-form (namarupa, psychophysicality) and the six sense gates (salayatana) also cease.

The Pali word is nirodha. It means for the fires of greed, hatred & delusion to 'extinguish'. It means consciousness, mind-body & the sense spheres 'quench' or 'cool down'. They do not 'cease'.

The word 'cessation' as a translation of 'nirodha' is incorrect. Nirodha means to 'extinguish' or 'quench'.

This is affirmed again in the Upaya Sutta. Here, consciousness does not cease or disappear. Instead, consciousness is purified & liberated.


"If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocted, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

Upaya Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.053.than.html)


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Element
15 Jun 10, 17:37
The Upaya Sutta states:


At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "One attached is unreleased; one unattached is released. Should consciousness, when standing, stand attached to (a physical) form, supported by form (as its object), landing on form, watered with delight, it would exhibit growth, increase & proliferation."
This sutta clearly describes how consciousness is stirred up, generated or engaged.

An easy example is when a human being or animal is bored or has sensual desire. They will go searching for an sense object to engage with, with a consciousness, mind-body & sense organs under the influence of ignorance & defilement.

This is how ignorance conditions consciousness, the mind-body & the sense organs in dependent origination. It is straight-forward psychology.

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http://i45.tinypic.com/b990nr.jpg http://i50.tinypic.com/2jg9rub.jpg http://i47.tinypic.com/b3ltth.jpg http://i49.tinypic.com/t7edfa.gif http://i50.tinypic.com/6s6qug.jpg http://i48.tinypic.com/2dr5hkp.jpg

Element
15 Jun 10, 17:51
Please understand that ordinarily our body and mind are not in a condition to experience suffering. There must be ignorance or something to condition it to become receptive to the possibility of suffering. And so it is said that the mind/body only now arises in this case. It means that ignorance conditions consciousness and this consciousness helps the mind/body change and arise to action and become capable of experiencing suffering.

In this kind of mind/body, at this moment, the sense bases arise which are also primed to experience suffering.

So what Buddhadasa describes above is simply what is pictured below:

http://i48.tinypic.com/2dr5hkp.jpg

The cartoon above depicts a body-mind conditioned by ignorance that is ready to make contact with the world in an unskilful way & get burned by suffering.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/sad.gif

stuka
15 Jun 10, 19:08
http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/good.gif

Wow, what an excellent exposition, element!

srivijaya
15 Jun 10, 19:10
Interesting thread element, thanks for taking the time to put your material up. I followed the link to 'Bhikkhu Buddhadasa - Anapanasati Mindfulness with Breathing' and very interesting it was too.

Aloka
15 Jun 10, 19:12
Pretty good, huh? Love the illustrations too ! http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/cool.gif

Element
15 Jun 10, 21:48
I followed the ]

SriV

I see a link to the Anapanasati Sutta. Step 4 is calming the kaya sankhara and step 7 & 8 is about the citta sankhara. Also, the factors of jhana vitakka & vicara are the vaci sankkhara.

In the discourses on dependent origination, the sankhara are defined as the kaya, vaci & citta sankhara.

The calming of these sankhara (2nd link of dependent origination) is samatha.

The ending of ignorance (1st link of dependent origination) is vipassana.

This is described in the Rahogata Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.011.than.html)

[QUOTE]"There are these six calmings. When one has attained the first jhana, speech [vaci] has been calmed. When one has attained the second jhana, directed thought & evaluation [vaci sankhara] have been calmed. When one has attained the third jhana, rapture [citta sankhara] has been calmed. When one has attained the fourth jhana, in-and-out breathing [kaya sankhara] has been calmed. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling [citta sankhara] have been calmed. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion [greed] has been calmed, aversion [hatred] has been calmed, delusion [ignorance] has been calmed."
As I see it, how ignorance stirs up or conditions the sankhara is the various disturbances experienced in meditation. The sankhara are our objects of meditation.

Kaya sankhara = breathing in & out. Vaci sankhara = thought. Citta sankhara = perception & feeling.

They are defined in this way in the suttas (MN 44).

Dependent origination is a process occurring here & now. If this was not the case, how could ignorance be ended if it is something existing in a past life?

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stuka
15 Jun 10, 22:01
Dependent origination is a process occurring here & now. If this was not the case, how could ignorance be ended if it is something existing in a past life?

And there you have it -- spot on!

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Element
15 Jun 10, 22:13
Wow, what an excellent exposition, element!

Thank you Stuka, but I am not finished.



There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person [putthujano] — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self.

As you would have seen, the above is a stock phrase in the suttas about certain teachings that were about supramundane dhamma & not spoken to putthujano.

In the Majjhima Nikaya alone, according to the index, dependent origination is mentioned in nine suttas. Each sutta includes teachings on abandoning the doctrine of self & attaining Nibbana (except in MN 98).

This kind of teaching the Buddha did not give to puttjano. It follows dependent origination cannot be about rebirth because the Buddha taught rebirth teachings to what he described as putthujano.

Also, in MN 98, where dependent origination was taught to putthujano, it was taught as understanding how the various orders of beings ("names & clans") arise due to action & results. It was taught here & now.


For name and clan are assigned
As mere designations in the world
Originating in conventions
They are assigned here & now.

For those who do not know this fact
Wrong views have long underlain their hearts
Not knowing, they declare to us
'One is a brahmin by birth'.

One is not a brahmin by birth
Nor by birth a non-brahmin
By action is one a brahmin
By action is one a non-brahmin.

For men are farmers by their acts
And by their acts are craftsmen too
And men are merchants by their acts
And by their acts are servants too.

And men are robbers by the acts
And by their acts are soldiers too
And men are chaplains by their acts
And by their acts are rulers too.

So this is how the truly wise
See action as it really is
Seers of dependent origination
Skilled in actions & results

Action makes the world go round
Action makes this generation turn
Living beings are bound by action
Like the chariot wheel by the linchpin

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Element
15 Jun 10, 22:27
in MN 98, where dependent origination was taught to putthujano, it was taught as understanding how the various orders of beings ("names & clans")

MN 98 above, fits nicely into the definition of birth found in the suttas:


What is birth? The birth of beings into the various orders of beings, their coming to birth, precipitation, generation, the acquisition [taking possession] of the aggregates & sense spheres [ayatana = both internal & external].
This fits the traditional Indian meaning of the word birth or 'jati':



Jāti (in Devanagari: जाति) (the word literally means thus born) is the term used to denote communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Indian society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe, although religious beliefs (e.g. Sri Vaishnavism or Veera Shaivism) or linguistic groupings define some jatis. A person's surname typically reflects a community (jati) association: thus Gandhi = perfume seller, Dhobi = washerman, Srivastava = military scribe, etc. In any given location in India 500 or more jatis may co-exist, although the exact composition will differ from district to district.

This meaning was maintained & included by Buddhaghosa in 500AD in the Vissudhimagga:


Now this word jati has many meanings. For in the passage 'he recollects one birth, two births, etc', it is becoming. In the passage 'Visakha, there is a kind (jati) of ascetics called Niganthas (Jains)', it is monastic order. In the passage 'birth is includes in two aggregates', it is whatever is formed. In the passage 'his birth is due to the first consciousness in the mother's womb' (Vin.i,93), it is rebirth-]. In the passage 'one who is not rejected and despised on the account of birth', it is clan. In the passage 'sister, since i was born with noble birth', it is the Noble One's virtue.
MN 98 above, namely "names & clans", also fits nicely into the term 'self-identification' found in MN 44:


"'Self-identification, self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"There are these five aggregates subject to clinging, friend Visakha: form as an aggregate subject to clinging, feeling as an aggregate subject to clinging, perception as an aggregate subject to clinging, fabrications as an aggregate subject to clinging, consciousness as an aggregate subject to clinging. These five aggregates subject to clinging are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."

Saying, "Yes, lady," Visakha the lay follower delighted & rejoiced in what Dhammadinna the nun had said. Then he asked her a further question: "'The origination of self-identification, the origination of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which origination of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One."

"'The cessation of self-identification, the cessation of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving: This, friend Visakha, is the cessation of self-identification described by the Blessed One."

"'The way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification, the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

MN 44 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.044.than.html)
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Element
15 Jun 10, 22:50
...the above is a stock phrase in the suttas about certain teachings that were about supramundane dhamma & not spoken to putthujano.

Further, below is a wonderful example of dependent origination taught to a putthujano who became arahant. It is without doubt here & now. It was without doubt taught for Nibbana & taught to one who demonstrated an aspiration for Nibbana.

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"This verse was stated by earlier worthy ones, fully self-awakened:

Freedom from disease: the foremost good fortune.
Unbinding [Nibbana]: the foremost ease.
The eightfold: the foremost of paths
going to the Deathless, Secure.

"But now it has gradually become a verse of run-of-the-mill people [putthujano].

"This body, Magandiya, is a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction. And yet you say, with reference to this body, which is a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction: 'This is that freedom from disease, master Gotama. This is that Unbinding,' for you don't have the noble vision with which you would know freedom from disease and see Unbinding."

"I'm convinced, master Gotama, that you can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I would know freedom from disease, that I would see Unbinding."

"Magandiya, it's just as if there were a man blind from birth who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... the sun or the moon. His friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him, but in spite of the medicine his eyesight would not appear or grow clear. What do you think, Magandiya? Would that doctor have nothing but his share of weariness & disappointment?"

"Yes, master Gotama."

"<u>In the same way, Magandiya, if I were to teach you the Dhamma — 'This is that freedom from disease; this is that Unbinding' — and you on your part did not know freedom from disease or see Unbinding, that would be wearisome for me; that would be troublesome for me</u>."

"I'm convinced, master Gotama, that you can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I would know freedom from disease, that I would see Unbinding."

"Magandiya, it's just as if there were a man blind from birth who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... the sun or the moon. Now suppose that a certain man were to take a grimy, oil-stained rag and fool him, saying, 'Here, my good man, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean.' The blind man would take it and put it on.

"Then his friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him: purges from above & purges from below, ointments & counter-ointments and treatments through the nose. And thanks to the medicine his eyesight would appear & grow clear. Then together with the arising of his eyesight, he would abandon whatever passion & delight he felt for that grimy, oil-stained rag. And he would regard that man as an enemy & no friend at all, and think that he deserved to be killed. 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by that man & his grimy, oil-stained rag! — "Here, my good man, is a white cloth — beautiful, spotless, & clean."'

"In the same way, Magandiya, if I were to teach you the Dhamma — 'This is that freedom from Disease; this is that Unbinding' — and you on your part were to know that freedom from Disease and see that Unbinding, then together with the arising of your eyesight you would abandon whatever passion & delight you felt with regard for the five clinging-aggregates. And it would occur to you, 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by this mind! For in clinging, it was just form that I was clinging to... it was just feeling... just perception... just fabrications... just consciousness that I was clinging to. <u>With my clinging as a requisite condition, there arises becoming... birth... aging & death... sorrow, lamentation, pains, distresses, & despairs. And thus is the origin of this entire mass of stress</u>.'"

"I'm convinced, master Gotama, that you can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I might rise up from this seat cured of my blindness."

"In that case, Magandiya, associate with men of integrity. When you associate with men of integrity, you will hear the true Dhamma. When you hear the true Dhamma, you will practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. <u>When you practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, you will know & see for yourself</u>: '<u>These things are diseases, cancers, arrows. And here is where diseases, cancers & arrows cease without trace. With the cessation of my clinging comes the cessation of becoming. With the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. With the cessation of birth then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress</u>."

Magandiya Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.075x.than.html)
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Element
15 Jun 10, 23:01
...below is a wonderful example of dependent origination taught to a putthujano who became arahant.

So to end, if the former putthujano Magandiya found enlightenment via being cured of his blindness via right understanding, then there is hope for all of us.

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truthseeker
16 Jun 10, 04:37
Hello everyone, Dazzle has pointed me to this discussion about patticasamuppada and I hope you don't mind if I go into some of the details of Buddhadasa's exposition.

Is anyone familiar with Buddhadasa's interpretation of dependent origination, or respectively the book entitled Patticcasamuppada - Practical Dependent Origination which he wrote on the topic? In this book, Buddhadasa expresses his dissatisfaction with the traditional account of dependent origination (as elaborated by Buddhagosa and transmitted through the Mahavihara tradition), and comes to the conclusion that the division of the nidanas over three successive lifetimes is not in accordance with the original teaching. He also states that the traditional interpretation is not suitable for practice, as it (allegedly) makes it impossible to observe and affect the nidanas. Instead, he suggests that dependent origination arises momentarily, that the twelve nidanas appear in a flash so to speak, whenever suffering arises.

It sounds like a good idea at first. Of course, samsaric phenomena arise at all time scales from very brief to very long, and we can say for sure that instances of suffering can arise in a short time, and that life is full of such instances. In chapter three of this book, Buddhadasa gives a number of practical examples, a child crying over a broken doll, a student fretting over a failed exam, a girl seeing her boyfriend with a different woman, etc. To my great disappointment, these examples -which are meant to illustrate Buddhadasa's point- are worded rather unintuitively, in a way I find impossible to comprehend.

Has anyone read this? Does anyone know what on earth Buddhadasa is talking about? I will retype the first example from the book here.

Cheers, Thomas

truthseeker
16 Jun 10, 04:39
Here is an excerpt of Paticcasamuppda - Practical Dependent Origination by Buddhadasa Bikkhu that illustrates the momentary account of dependent origination. It is one of four examples cited in the book on page 32-35. English translation by Steve Schmidt, 1986.

The Birth Of The Flow Of Dependent Origination

Example 1

Now I would like to give a few examples from everyday life to show how dependent origination arises. A little child cries loudly because her doll is broken. Think carefully for a moment about this and then I will explain how dependent origination arises.

A little child cries loudly because her doll is broken. When she sees the broken doll, there is contact between eye and the visual object, in this case, the form (shape and color) of the doll in a broken condition. At that moment, eye consciousness arises and knows that the doll is broken.

As a matter of course, the child is filled with ignorance because she doesn't know anything about dhamma. When her doll breaks, her mind is full of ignorance. Ignorance gives rise to volitional formations, a kind of power that gives rise to an idea or thought, which is consciousness.

That which is called consciousness is seeing the broken doll and knowing that it is a broken doll. This is eye consciousness, because it depends on the eye seeing the broken doll.

There is ignorance, or no mindfulness, at that moment because the child has no knowledge of dhamma. Because of this lack of mindfulness, there arises the power to give rise to consciousness, which sees form in a way that will be suffering.

The meeting of the eye and the form (the doll) and the consciousness that knows this are all three together called contact.

Now eye contact arises in that girl. And, if we are to be detailed, that contact gives rise to mentality/materiality: the girl's body and mind conditioned to experience suffering arise.

Please understand that ordinarily our body and mind are not in a condition to experience suffering. There must be ignorance, or something to condition it to become receptive to the possibility of suffering. And so it is said that the mind/body only now arises in this case. It means that ignorance conditions consciousness and this consciousness helps the mind/body change and arise to action and become capable of experiencing suffering.

In this kind of mind/body, at this moment, the sense bases arise which are also primed to experience suffering. They are not asleep, as is usually the case, so there will be perfected contact which is ready for suffering. Then arises vedana or feeling which is unpleasant. Then this unpleasant feeling gives rise to grasping, the desire to follow the power of that unpleasantness. Next, attachment clings to the feeling as "mine". This is where the "I" concept arises, which is called becoming. When this blossoms fully, it is called birth. Then there is suffering in seeing the broken doll - there is crying. That's what is known as tribulation, which means extreme frustration.

Now about birth (jati): it has a wide range of meaning, which includes such things as old age and death. If there were no ignorance, there would not arise the belief that the doll broke or that the doll died or some such belief. If that were the case, no suffering at all would have arisen. But now suffering has arisen fully because there arose attachment to self: my doll. When the doll broke, there was incorrect action because of ignorance, and so the girl cried. Crying is a symptom of completed suffering: the end of dependent origination has been reached.

Here is the point that most people fail to understand. It's the hidden part of the topic called the language of ultimate truth, or the language of dependent origination. Most people don't believe that people are born all the time or that mind/body is born or that the sense bases are born. They don't believe that the normal state is equivalent to not yet being born, in which there has yet been no action according to functions.

When any natural event causes these things to function, then we can say that birth has occurred. For example, take our eyeball. We believe that it already exists, that it already has been born. But in the sense of the dhamma, it has not yet been born until that eye sees some form. When it performs its functions, the seeing of forms, it can be said that the eye is born and the form is born and then eye consciousness is born. These three help each other to give rise to what is called contact. Contact gives rise to feeling, grasping and all the other elements, all the way up to the completion of the cycle.

Now, if later on, that young girl goes to bed and thinks about the broken doll, she will cry again. At that time, it is a matter of mind consciousness, not eye consciousness. When she thinks about the broken doll, the thought is the object of perception, and that object contacts the mind, giving rise to mind consciousness. She thinks about the broken doll. This gives rise to the body and mind at that moment and causes them instantly to change into body and mind which are the condition for the sense bases which will experience suffering.

Those sense bases will give rise to contact of a kind that will experience suffering. Then feeling arises, followed by grasping, attachment, and finally suffering. At this point, the little girl is crying again, even though the doll broke many days or eveb many weeks ago. These thoughts which are concocted one after another, are called Paticcasamuppada and they are in all of us as a rule.

truthseeker
16 Jun 10, 04:41
Please let me summarise the issues. There are several statements in the above text from Buddhadasa Bikkhu I fail to understand:

When she sees the broken doll, there is contact between eye and the visual object, in this case, the form (shape and color) of the doll in a broken condition. At that momen, eye consciousness arises and knows that the doll is broken.

I can see a number of problems with this statement. First, the sequence is confused: contact, name-and-form, consciousness, whereas the original sequence is consciousness, name and form, six senses, contact. Second, Buddhadasa relates form to the perceived object rather than to the perceiver. Third, it is awkward to say that eye consciousness (vision) "arises", as vision is a continuous process and does in no sense arise from the sight of the broken doll. There is even a Pali word: vinnanasota -the stream of consciousness- which implies continuity. It is also awkward to say that eye consciousness "knows", as the process of vision is different from the process of recognition and knowing.

Ignorance gives rise to volitional formations, a kind of power that gives rise to an idea or thought, which is consciousness.

This statement appears very muddled. Consciousness is an idea or thought? I don't think so. What exactly is the nature of the volitional formation Buddhadasa refers to?

Now eye contact arises in that girl. And, if we are to be detailed, that contact gives rise to mentality/materiality: the girl's body and mind conditioned to experience suffering arise.

It appears as if Buddhadasa is trying to shoehorn namarupa into the process with this sentence. Unfortunately, he fails to point out the correct function of namarupa: "The girls body and mind conditioned to experience suffering". This sounds like a circular argument, since suffering is what we expect to conclude at the end of the process, not what namarupa contributes to it.

There must be ignorance, or something to condition it to become receptive to the possibility of suffering. And so it is said that the mind/body only now arises in this case.

Circular reasoning again.

In this kind of mind/body, at this moment, the sense bases arise which are also primed to experience suffering. They are not asleep, as is usually the case, so there will be perfected contact which is ready for suffering.

If it is awkward to say that consciousness arises momentarily, it is even more awkward to say that the six senses arise momentarily. The only way to argue this coherently is to introduce a quantised model of mind, such as the cittakhana theory of mind which breaks down the stream of consciousness into discrete moments of citta. However, this concept does not appear in the early discourses as the khanavada doctrine was only developed later in the Abidhamma. Furthermore, Buddhadasa does at no point appeal to it as to base his exposition on such an understanding of mind. Without it, it is utterly strange and unintuitive to claim that the six sense bases arise momentarily. He does it again later in the text:

For example, take our eyeball. We believe that it already exists, that it already has been born. But in the sense of the dhamma, it has not yet been born until that eye sees some form.

Again, this is not only a counter-intuitive, it is also self-contradictory, because neither the eyeball nor vision suddenly ceases when there is no suffering. This, however, should be expected if one follows Buddhadasa's argument. No suffering -> no dependent origination -> no vision -> no eyeball? I don't think so.

I am also disappointed by the treatment of feeling, craving, attachment, becoming and birth:

Then arises vedana or feeling which is unpleasant. Then this unpleasant feeling gives rise to grasping, the desire to follow the power of that unpleasantness. Next, attachment clings to the feeling as "mine". This is where the "I" concept arises, which is called becoming. When this blossoms fully, it is called birth.

Unpleasant feeling arises from the sight of the broken doll? Alright, but does this happen before or after the identification of the doll as "mine"? If it is before, the feeling should be neutral, not unpleasant. The unpleasantness comes from the identification of the doll as mine, doesn't it? And why would the girl grasp on to a negative feeling? Negative feelings are repelling rather than attracting, aren't they? This doesn't make sense at all. Ultimately, I have to say that I find the entire exposition of Buddhadasa's momentary arising quite unconvincing, not only in this example, but also in the other three (which I haven't reproduced here, because they essentially repeat the same message).

Is it possible give a convincing account of metaphorical and momentary codependent arising without appealing to mind moments? I am not sure about that. I am not even sure if it is possible with the theory if mind moments (cittakhana). Perhaps there are other works or other authors who have attempted this. I'd be glad to look into it.

Cheers, Thomas

Element
16 Jun 10, 04:51
I can see a number of problems with this statement. First, the sequence is confused: contact, name-and-form, consciousness, whereas the original sequence is consciousness, name and form, six senses, contact. Second, Buddhadasa relates form to the perceived object rather than to the perceiver. Third, it is awkward to say that eye consciousness (vision) "arises", as vision is a continuous process and does in no sense arise from the sight of the broken doll. There is even a Pali word: vinnanasota -the stream of consciousness- which implies continuity. It is also awkward to say that eye consciousness "knows", as the process of vision is different from the process of recognition and knowing.

Form is the object.


"And where does this craving, when arising, arise? And where, when dwelling, does it dwell? Whatever is endearing & alluring in terms of the world: that is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.

"And what is endearing & alluring in terms of the world?

The eye is endearing & alluring in terms of the world. That is where this craving, when arising, arises. That is where, when dwelling, it dwells.

"The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The intellect...

"Forms... Sounds... Smells... Tastes... Tactile sensations... Ideas...

"Eye-consciousness... Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness...

"Eye-contact... Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.22.0.than.html
Vinnanasota does not exist in the suttas where as 'eye-consciousness arise' does.


"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.018.than.html
The Pali word for consciousness is vinanna, which means cognition. Naturally, it 'knows'.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 05:03
Third, it is awkward to say that eye consciousness (vision) "arises", as vision is a continuous process and does in no sense arise from the sight of the broken doll. There is even a Pali word: vinnanasota -the stream of consciousness- which implies continuity.

The Buddha taught the very opposite.


"If anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the eye are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self.' So the eye is not-self.

If anyone were to say, 'Forms are the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self and forms are not-self.

If anyone were to say, 'Consciousness at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of consciousness at the eye are discerned...Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self.

If anyone were to say, 'Contact at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self.

If anyone were to say, 'Feeling is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self, feeling is not self.

If anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of craving are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self.'

Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self, feeling is not self, craving is not-self.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.148.than.html
http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 05:11
Ignorance gives rise to volitional formations, a kind of power that gives rise to an idea or thought, which is consciousness.

This statement appears very muddled. Consciousness is an idea or thought? I don't think so. What exactly is the nature of the volitional formation Buddhadasa refers to?

This is obviously translated poorly.

To re-explain, once ignorance stirs up an internal thought (vaci sankhara) & associated underlying perception from memory (citta sankhara), consciousness will then arise or generate in relation to that thought.

Not only will mind consciousness be stimulated in relation to the thought but say eye consciousness will also prepare itself in preparation for embarking on a search for the object of that thought.

For example, I am lying in bed or meditating, with consciousness inwardly peaceful. Then the thought arises from ignorance: "Let's check out BWB". Mind consciousness arises in conjuction with that thought and knows the thought. Then instead of eye consciousness being disengaged in meditation or sleep, it starts to awaken and look for the computer so it can read BWB.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

Aloka
16 Jun 10, 05:23
For example, I am lying in bed or meditating, with consciousness inwardly peaceful. Then the thought arises from ignorance: "Let's check out BWB". Mind consciousness arises in conjuction with that thought and knows the thought. Then instead of eye consciousness being disengaged in meditation or sleep, it starts to awaken and look for the computer so it can read BWB.

Good example ! http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/lol.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 05:27
Now eye contact arises in that girl. And, if we are to be detailed, that contact gives rise to mentality/materiality: the girl's body and mind conditioned to experience suffering arise.

We need to consider dependent origination is spinning around many times in the story of the girl & her doll. It is not arising just once.

So the ignorance is dormant in relation to the doll before it is seen.

For example, the girl is playing with her friend and the doll of her friend breaks. Instead of crying, the girl laughs. Why? because her mind inwardly does not regard the doll as "I" and "mine".

But with her own doll, it is different. The girl regards it as "I" and "mine".

So the doll is seen broken. It must be seen before the underlying tendency to ignorance can manifest.

The doll is seen. Ignorance emerges from its hiding, stirring up or disturbing the mind-body. The kaya sankhara (breathing) becomes disturbed, disturbing the physical body (rupa). The mental sankharas go crazy disturbing the mind (nama). Ignorance stirs up consciousness & the sense organs, with the girl's eyes bulging, staring at the doll.

Then as contact continues to happen, examining the broken pieces everywhere, feeling, craving, attachment & becoming build up and the girl cries out "My doll, my doll, my best friend, you are now broken". This is birth as the friend of the doll and also aging & death because the self which loves the doll also dies. The 'self' is heart broken with sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair, at a loss to who & what it is. Her self-identity is destroyed (until it recovers). Such is the arising of whole mass of suffering.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/sad.gif

The suttas state:


"Not knowing [ignorance], not seeing the eye as it actually is present; not knowing, not seeing forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye as they actually are present; not knowing, not seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — as it actually is present, one is infatuated with the eye... forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye... whatever arises conditioned by contact at the eye and is experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

"For him — infatuated, attached, confused, not remaining focused on their drawbacks — the five aggregates subject to clinging head toward future accumulation. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that — grows within him.

His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances grow. His bodily torments & mental torments grow. His bodily distresses & mental distresses grow. He is sensitive both to bodily stress & mental stress.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.149.than.html

Element
16 Jun 10, 05:37
So the doll is seen broken. It must be seen before the underlying tendency to ignorance can manifest.

The following sutta explains this:


"Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain or neither pleasure nor pain.

If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one relishes it, welcomes it or remains fastened to it, then one's underlying tendency to lust gets obsessed.

If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one sorrows, grieves & laments, beats one's breast, becomes distraught, then one's underlying resistance tendency gets obsessed.

If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling, then one's underlying ignorance tendency gets obsessed.

That a person — without abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, without abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, without uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, without abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing isn't possible.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.148.than.html
What Thanissaro has translated as 'obsession', which is generally translated as 'underlying tendency' from the word anusaysa, is ignorance.

Ignorance can flow out (asava) of the mind in two ways: (1) not in relation to a sense object as one of the five hindrances (nirvarana) and (2) in relation to a sense object as craving (tanha).

In the second case, contact must occur for sub-conscious ignorance to come to the surface.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 05:54
"The girls body and mind conditioned to experience suffering". This sounds like a circular argument, since suffering is what we expect to conclude at the end of the process, not what namarupa contributes to it.

Not really.

An easy example is if you are in a bad mood. Your nama-rupa is agitated. The kaya sankhara (breathing) is agitated & various subtle thoughts & memory/perceptions (other sankhara) are spinning in the head.

Your fuse is short, like a bomb ready to explode. The nama-rupa is primed to experience suffering.

Then your child turns on the TV very loudly and you lose your temper. You scream & yell at the child.

Then you fell shame, with your head in your hands, asking yourself: "What have I done".

The bhikkhu Nanananda has called the sankhara the "preparations". I do not fully agree with this word but to prepare the nama-rupa to subject itself to dukkha is certainly one aspect of the sankhara.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/sad.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 06:43
Unpleasant feeling arises from the sight of the broken doll? Alright, but does this happen before or after the identification of the doll as "mine"?

Both.

The girl had taken possession of the doll as 'mine' in a prior round. It is locked into her perceptual memory, which manifests as the citta sankhara.

But then a huge "I" arises at attachment and a different "I".

The girl's "I" has never experienced shock & heart-break before in relation to the doll.


The unpleasantness comes from the identification of the doll as mine, doesn't it?
In this example, yes.

But the very first time the girl saw the doll, it was not "hers". The very first time she saw the doll, the cycle was brand new, namely, pleasant feeling, craving, attachment, becoming & the acquisition of the five aggregates which comprise of "the doll" as "my doll".


And why would the girl grasp on to a negative feeling? Negative feelings are repelling rather than attracting, aren't they?
No. When one is angry, this is due to negative feelings. The mind becomes obsessed with the anger arising from negative feelings.

When people are heartbroken, they may linger for days, weeks, months & even years attached to their negative feelings.


This doesn't make sense at all. Ultimately, I have to say that I find the entire exposition of Buddhadasa's momentary arising quite unconvincing...
Then how does suffering occur? How do people have upsets, torments, heart-breaks & sufferings?

Can you offer an alternative explanation???


http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

truthseeker
16 Jun 10, 08:11
Wow, a quintuple reply. http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif Thank you for the detailed answer. Let me address some of these points.



The Buddha taught the very opposite. (MN 148)

I think the part of the MN 148 sutta that is relevant to the discussion is probably this: "In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact." - OK, so there is form, there is the eye, and there is eye consciousness, and the three of them are bundled as contact. If Buddhadasa interprets the word "vinnana", which has a large range of meanings, in this specific way, I have no problem with it. We would call this specific type of vinanna sense perception. It arises and ceases from moment to moment. However, given a functioning human body with a functioning sense apparatus, there is no moment when sense perception does not arise. Although we might not pay attention to sense perception, and most of the perceptions that we do pay attention to are neutral, they do still arise. The crux is that Buddhadasa claims that eye-consciousness (=vision in this case) arises only as a constituent of dependent origination, in other words it does not arise when there is no dependent origination. He calls this latter state "dormant". What are we to conclude from this? We must conclude that if there is no ignorance, and therefore no dependent origination, that there is no vision! That is quite a bizarre conclusion.



We need to consider dependent origination is spinning around many times in the story of the girl & her doll. It is not arising just once.

Actually, this is not what Buddhadasa says. He equates the examples given in this book each with one full cycle of dependent origination.



Then how does suffering occur? How do people have upsets, torments, heart-breaks & sufferings? Can you offer an alternative explanation???

Of course.

One just needs to dismiss the postulate that all twelve nidanas arise simultaneously. Dependent origination can and does arise momentarily, but not all of the nidanas do. This means that some of them have already arisen. The mind/body which is you, for example, has already arisen. Likewise, the sense bases that belong to the mind/body have already arisen. Ignorance and sankhara may or may not have already arisen. Sense perception and contact arise continuously -as a consequence of the mind/body and the sense apparatus, whereas craving, clinging, becoming, birth, and death arise only when ignorance and sankharas are also present.

Cheers, Thomas

truthseeker
16 Jun 10, 08:30
No. When one is angry, this is due to negative feelings. The mind becomes obsessed with the anger arising from negative feelings.

When people are heartbroken, they may linger for days, weeks, months & even years attached to their negative feelings.

I think this analysis may be incomplete. Anger is a negative, repelling emotion. Semantically, it doesn't make sense to speak of attachment to anger, since attachment presupposes clinging and craving in a positive sense. Nobody craves for or clings to anger. The same can be said for being heartbroken, or being sad. These emotions are negative not only in a qualitative sense, but also in a logical sense, because they imply attachment for conditions as they not. Thus negative.

One is angry at a person or at an occurrence, because one wishes for this occurrence or person to be different from what it is. The person/occurrence is perceived as a aberration, irritation, disappointment, or distraction from that which one expects. This causes provocation and aversion. Similarly, sadness grows out of wishing something to be different from what is, but unlike anger, it grows out of loss. Sadness is a consequence of wishing something that was lost to still be there. It is wishing for continued existence, a form of hankering.

In both cases, the emotions can be explained in terms of dependent origination if one replaces the object of attachment, clinging, and craving with the object as it is not. In other words, it is craving, clinging, attachment to a non-actualised state.

Cheers, Thomas

srivijaya
16 Jun 10, 12:25
I think this analysis may be incomplete. Anger is a negative, repelling emotion. Semantically, it doesn't make sense to speak of attachment to anger, since attachment presupposes clinging and craving in a positive sense. Nobody craves for or clings to anger. The same can be said for being heartbroken, or being sad. These emotions are negative not only in a qualitative sense, but also in a logical sense, because they imply attachment for conditions as they not. Thus negative.

Hi Thomas,
Welcome on board.

I guess I see it as a case of identifying with states as they arise. People can nurture a grudge for a lifetime, or they can drop it.

"I'm the kind of person who likes... or dislikes..." kind of sums it up.http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

stuka
16 Jun 10, 15:37
Hello, Thomas, and welcome to BWB http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif




However, given a functioning human body with a functioning sense apparatus, there is no moment when sense perception does not arise.

The sense perception you refer to is sense-contact, not sense-consciousness. As you say, and giving an example, there is always breathing, and breathing more-or-less always makes nose of some sort, and unless one is deaf there is thus always ear-contact between the sound and the ear and its associated sensory system. But how often are we aware of the sound of our breathing? Very little. It is this sense-awareness that vinnana refers.



The crux is that Buddhadasa claims that eye-consciousness (=vision in this case) arises only as a constituent of dependent origination, in other words it does not arise when there is no dependent origination.

Not so. If this were true, then an arhant would not be able to see anything.

Sense-consciousness arises in an arhant, as well as pleasant--unpleasant-neutral sensations associated with the constituent sensory forms. What does not arise is craving, clinging, and the rest of the arising of suffering. The Buddha points this out, and so does Buddhadasa, in his very good advice to maintain or regain "mindfulness at phasso (contact), and, barring that, mindfulness at vedana, or mindfulness at tanha, or mindfulness at upadana".



The crux is that Buddhadasa claims that eye-consciousness (=vision in this case) arises only as a constituent of dependent origination, in other words it does not arise when there is no dependent origination.

Again, that is simply not so. If it were, Buddhadasa would not advocate mindfulness at contact.



Actually, this is not what Buddhadasa says. He equates the examples given in this book each with one full cycle of dependent origination

Buddhadasa is isolating and explaining one thread of PS in order to simplify it and explain it. This explanation was not meant to be an comprehensive exposition of PS for the defense of PS in the here-and-now, rather it is a simplified explanation for beginners.



One just needs to dismiss the postulate that all twelve nidanas arise simultaneously.

It might help to keep in mind that PS is a description of mental processes that give rise to suffering through the influence if ignorance. It is not meant to explain how the body comes to be, how mental functions come to be, etc. We can truncate PS all the way down to a very simple formula "Ignorance --> The Person --> Suffering", or even simply restate it with the well-known modern term "Garbage In, Garbage Out". Given any isolated moment, the body is there, yes. Awareness of the body or any particular aspect of it may or may not be.



whereas craving, clinging, becoming, birth, and death arise only when ignorance and sankharas are also present.

Let us please not forget that the last nidana is not simply "death", and that the Buddha sums up this last nidana as "in short, the whole mass of suffering", of which death is only one portion. It is equivocal to refer to the final result of PS as "birth-and-death", as if "birth-and-death" were a nidana of themselves.



I think this analysis may be incomplete. Anger is a negative, repelling emotion. Semantically, it doesn't make sense to speak of attachment to anger, since attachment presupposes clinging and craving in a positive sense. Nobody craves for or clings to anger.

Really? If that were the case, we would not have the expressions, "let go of anger", or "Get over it" or "I can't shake this feeling" "anger-junkie", "rage-oholic", and the like.

One is angry at a person or at an occurrence, because one wishes for this occurrence or person to be different from what it is. The person/occurrence is perceived as a aberration, irritation, disappointment, or distraction from that which one expects. This causes provocation and aversion. Similarly, sadness grows out of wishing something to be different from what is, but unlike anger, it grows out of loss. Sadness is a consequence of wishing something that was lost to still be there. It is wishing for continued existence, a form of hankering.

In both cases, the emotions can be explained in terms of dependent origination if one replaces the object of attachment, clinging, and craving with the object as it is not. In other words, it is craving, clinging, attachment to a non-actualised state.

And when the Buddha defines "Dukkha", he uses this sort of explanation. But ignorance causes one to cling to the aversion that arises in response to this perceived state of "not having what we want", and/or "having what we don't want".

Element
16 Jun 10, 23:50
This means that some of them have already arisen. The mind/body which is you, for example, has already arisen. Likewise, the sense bases that belong to the mind/body have already arisen.

Hi

I already answered this earlier, in post # 26. Dependent origination does not mean the arising of the body & mind as a existential phenomena.

It means the body & mind become conditioned by ignorance, like hair is conditioned by shampoo or dye colours cloth.

For example, when a body is affected by sexual lust, certain physical changes happen to it.

This is why in meditation, the primary object is the breathing in & out.

Although the breathing in & out is physical, controlling the breathing in & out in meditation is a way to control the mind (& body).

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

Element
16 Jun 10, 23:51
Ignorance conditions the other dhammas, like shampoo conditions hair or dye colours cloth, as follows:


"Well, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires and does not know, as it really is, the way of escape from sense-desires that have arisen, then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, nor can he know and see what is to the profit of others, or of both himself and others. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

"Imagine, Brahman, a bowl of water mixed with lac, turmeric, dark green or crimson dye. If a man with good eyesight were to look at the reflection of his own face in it, he would not know or see it as it really was. In the same way, Brahman, when a man dwells with his heart possessed and overwhelmed by sense-desires... then he cannot know or see, as it really is, what is to his own profit, to the profit of others, to the profit of both. Then even sacred words he has long studied are not clear to him, not to mention those he has not studied.

Sangaravo Sutta


2. "Monks, suppose a cloth were stained and dirty, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye badly and be impure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was not clean. So too, monks, when the mind is defiled, an unhappy destination may be expected.

"Monks, suppose a cloth were clean and bright, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye well and be pure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was clean. So too, monks, when the mind is undefiled, a happy destination may be expected.

3. "And what, monks, are the defilements of the mind? (1) Covetousness and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind; (2) ill will is a defilement of the mind; (3) anger is a defilement of the mind; (4) hostility...(5) denigration...(6) domineering...(7) envy...(8) jealousy...(9) hypocrisy...(10) fraud...(11) obstinacy...(12) presumption...(13) conceit...(14) arrogance...(15) vanity...(16) negligence is a defilement of the mind.

Vatthupama Sutta: The Simile of the Cloth

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

truthseeker
17 Jun 10, 03:14
Not so. If this were true, then an arhant would not be able to see anything.

Sense-consciousness arises in an arhant, as well as pleasant--unpleasant-neutral sensations associated with the constituent sensory forms.

I must admit that I am not comfortable discussing what arises in an arahant and what doesn't. It seems quite hypothetical to me and I have no way of verifying such statements. I am more interested in developing a practical understanding of dependent origination and to that effect I have read Buddhadasa's book, which by the way appears to be his main work on Paticcasamuppada, so I am not sure if one can say that the text is aimed at beginners only.

The problem is that Buddhadasa does indeed state that the eyeball arises, and that consciousness arises, the mind-body arises, etc. at the instance of dependent origination. Now you can say, that he just meant it metaphorically, because it would lead to obvious contradictions otherwise, but one has to ask: what is the purpose of this metaphor? Why not use direct, straightforward language? Don't metaphors just complicate things? He could have used simple contemporary language, as he did in his other works. Unfortunately, he did not in this instance, and consequently the book has left a sense of perplexity in me. It took me a while to sort things out.



I already answered this earlier, in post # 26. Dependent origination does not mean the arising of the body & mind as a existential phenomena. It means the body & mind become conditioned by ignorance, like hair is conditioned by shampoo or dye colours cloth.

Well, that's your interpretation of it, or respectively Buddhadasa's interpretation. The traditional Mahavihara interpretation does indeed see the arising of the mind/body as existential real phenomena. So there are these two alternative views and they are based on different ontologies. The problem I have with Buddhadasa's view is that he makes existential statements about the eyeball, the mind/body, etc. and with that he is pushing towards radical idealism. I mean idealism in the sense of Berkeley, not in the Platonian sense.

When Buddhadasa says that the eyeball arises at the moment of contact, he makes an existential statement that is similar to: "The moon is only there when you are looking at it. When you are not looking at the moon, it can be said that the moon does not exist." Well, that's idealism. However, I cannot detect such idealism in the original suttas. The way the suttas are framed, there is no explicit endorsement of idealism or realism. The suttas are balanced; one could read idealism into some of them and one could read realism into others, but overall there is no preference of either view.

To wrap things up, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably best to stay with the openness, the neutrality, and the balance expressed in the suttas. Dependent origination is a very deep topic and Buddhadasa's interpretation is a welcome contrast to the Mahavihara account. However, I will take both with a grain of salt.

Cheers, Thomas

truthseeker
17 Jun 10, 03:41
Really? If that were the case, we would not have the expressions, "let go of anger", or "Get over it" or "I can't shake this feeling" "anger-junkie", "rage-oholic", and the like.

I think it is useful to distinguish between different types of craving and clinging. For example, the suttas mention these three types of craving:

kama tanha - craving for sensual pleasure
bhava tanha - craving for becoming/existence
vibhava tanha - craving for not becoming/no existence

Anger is a form a vibhava tanha. It is a negative type of emotion. Anger arises when something gets into the way of tanha, when something is denied to us, or when we are threatened. At this instance we want to exterminate and destroy whatever constitutes the threat or the obstacle. That's why it can be said it's a form of vibhava tanha, the wish for non-existence of the threat or obstacle.

Thus while it is correct to speak of craving and clinging in the sense of the dhamma, it is a bit awkward in English. To say that there is craving for anger is psychologically inaccurate. Psychologically speaking, there is craving for something else, such as self-assertion, self-empowerment, being in control, ownership, prestige, reputation, honour, and so on. When this craving is threatened, then anger arises, and that can become a habitual pattern.

Cheers, Thomas

Aloka
17 Jun 10, 03:56
At this instance we want to exterminate and destroy whatever constitutes the threat or the obstacle.

Do we? I can't say I've ever wanted to do that when I've been angry !

Aloka
17 Jun 10, 04:09
No. When one is angry, this is due to negative feelings. The mind becomes obsessed with the anger arising from negative feelings.

When people are heartbroken, they may linger for days, weeks, months & even years attached to their negative feelings.

Absolutely true from my own observations and past experiences.

(Apologies if I'm not really adding anything constructive to the main discussion, I just felt I wanted to mention a couple of things.)

stuka
17 Jun 10, 04:52
I must admit that I am not comfortable discussing what arises in an arahant and what doesn't.


That's ok, 'cause the Buddha discusses it quite clearly in many places. Let's look at MN 38, since we have it to hand here:

"On seeing a form with the eye he does not become greedy for pleasant forms, or averse to disagreeable forms. He abides with mindfulness of the body established and with a immeasurable mind. He knows the deliverance of mind and the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. Having abandoned the path of agreeing and disagreeing, he experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant - just as it is. He is not delighted or pleased with those feelings and he does not appropriates them. Interest in those feelings ceases. With the cessation of interest, clinging ceases. With no clinging, there is no becoming; no becoming, no birth; with no birth, there is no old age, sickness or death, no grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure or distress. Thus ceases the complete mass of dukkha.

"On hearing a sound with the ear, smelling a smell with the nose, tasting a taste with the tongue, feeling a touch with the body, thinking a thought with the mind, he does not become greedy for pleasant experiences, or averse to disagreeable ones. He abides with mindfulness of the body established and with a immeasurable mind. He knows the deliverance of mind and the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. Having abandoned the path of agreeing and disagreeing, he experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant - just as it is. He is not delighted or pleased with those feelings and he does not appropriates them. Interest in those feelings ceases. With the cessation of interest, clinging ceases. With no clinging, there is no becoming; no becoming, no birth; with no birth, there is no old age, sickness or death, no grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure or distress. Thus ceases the complete mass of dukkha.



It seems quite hypothetical to me and I have no way of verifying such statements.

You can verify it for yourself when you are having a moment of equanimity.




I am more interested in developing a practical understanding of dependent origination....

There is no more practical understanding of PS than this.



...and to that effect I have read Buddhadasa's book, which by the way appears to be his main work on Paticcasamuppada, so I am not sure if one can say that the text is aimed at beginners only.

You've read the translation that was re-translated from the chinese, after the original Thai? Not a very good one at all...I have the other translation laying around here somewhere, but can't seem to find it at the moment, its much better and quite a bit longer as well.

When I say "for beginners", I might have better said "for someone new to PS".



The problem is that Buddhadasa does indeed state that the eyeball arises, and that consciousness arises, the mind-body arises, etc. at the instance of dependent origination.

Can you provide the quote you are getting that from? I just didn't see it there, though I just did a quick scan. I did see the following, though, which is quite in accordance the the Buddha;s teaching of PS in the here-and-now:

The Buddha said that when a child sees form through eye consciousness, he experiences craving for the delightful and shows disgust for the disagreeable. Because the child is without Right Mindfulness, Ignorance is present. He is dominated by habit and characteristic, and does not know deliverance through Wisdom. Hence, when he experiences the Five Sensual Desires (sight, sound, odor, taste, and touch), his mind is readily affected by contacts with the surrounding.



Now you can say, that he just meant it metaphorically...

I would be more inclined to think that he is talking about awareness of function, rather than the actual physical eyeball. Buddhadasa is not looking at PS as an explanation of the "nature of reality", rather as an explanation of the mental processes that breed suffering through the influence of ignorance.



He could have used simple contemporary language, as he did in his other works. Unfortunately, he did not in this instance, and consequently the book has left a sense of perplexity in me. It took me a while to sort things out.

Again, much of your perplexity may arise because of the poor translation.




element #54:
I already answered this earlier, in post # 26. Dependent origination does not mean the arising of the body & mind as a existential phenomena. It means the body & mind become conditioned by ignorance, like hair is conditioned by shampoo or dye colours cloth.

Well, that's your interpretation of it, or respectively Buddhadasa's interpretation.

That is also the Buddha's interpretation. take a look at how he explains PS in exactly the same way, again in MN 38:

"Bhikkhus, that child grows and his faculties mature and he plays games that children play, such as playing with toy ploughs, turning somersaults, making toy wind mills with palm leaves, making small carts and bows. Bhikkhus, that child grows and his faculties mature [further] and the youth enjoys the five strands of sense pleasures; he lives enticed by pleasing and agreeable forms cognizable by eye consciousness, agreeable sounds cognizable by ear consciousness, agreeable smells cognizable by nose consciousness, agreeable tastes cognizable by tongue consciousness and agreeable touches cognizable by body consciousness.

"On seeing a form with the eye he becomes greedy for a pleasant form, or averse to a disagreeable form. He abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. He does not know the deliverance of mind nor the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. He follows the path of agreeing and disagreeing and experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those [pleasant] feelings he appropriates them. This arouses interest in those feelings. That interest for feelings is clinging. From clinging, there arises becoming, from becoming arises birth, from birth old age, sickness and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. Thus arises the complete mass of dukkha.



The traditional Mahavihara interpretation does indeed see the arising of the mind/body as existential real phenomena.

An eisegesis that the Buddha never taught.



So there are these two alternative views and they are based on different ontologies.

PS is not an ontology at all. Again, it is a description of the mental processes that cause suffering to arise through the influence of ignorance:

Ontology (from the Greek ὄ, genitive ὄ: of being (neuter participle of ἶ: to be) and -, -logia: science, study, theory) is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality in general, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

Nor does Buddhadasa describe it as an ontology:

X. A philosophical theory of dependent origination for discussion is not beneficial to us; therefore, it is not essential.



The problem I have with Buddhadasa's view is that he makes existential statements about the eyeball, the mind/body, etc. and with that he is pushing towards radical idealism.

You may be getting that impression, but that is not the case with Buddhadasa.




When Buddhadasa says that the eyeball arises at the moment of contact, he makes an existential statement that is similar to: "The moon is only there when you are looking at it. When you are not looking at the moon, it can be said that the moon does not exist."

Awareness of the moon is absent, and in that strict sense, the moon is not part of the present "world" as you are experiencing it now. If you think of the moon, though -- "oh yeah, the moon" -- it is part of your present experience of the world. Again, this is not a statement about the "nature of reality", but about how mental processes work; in this case, our awareness or non-awareness of the moon.



The way the suttas are framed, there is no explicit endorsement of idealism or realism. The suttas are balanced; one could read idealism into some of them and one could read realism into others, but overall there is no preference of either view.

Actually, the Buddha's teaching avoids both extremes as well as any combination of the two, and this is indeed reflected in the suttas.




To wrap things up, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably best to stay with the openness, the neutrality, and the balance expressed in the suttas.

Excellent! Careful study of the Buddha's words in the Suttas is the best way to learn the Dhamma as the Buddha taught it, no doubt about it.

stuka
17 Jun 10, 06:00
Thus while it is correct to speak of craving and clinging in the sense of the dhamma, it is a bit awkward in English. To say that there is craving for anger is psychologically inaccurate. Psychologically speaking, there is craving for something else, such as self-assertion, self-empowerment, being in control, ownership, prestige, reputation, honour, and so on. When this craving is threatened, then anger arises, and that can become a habitual pattern.

I don't think that we substantially disagree on this; I rather think that we are getting at the same idea through different choice of semantics. The Buddha talked about "delighting" in anger or aversion. But we are also running up against nuances of translation as well. I do see your points here, but I would also point to such things as action movies, gangsta rap, heavy metal, and cop shows -- just off the top of my head -- as examples of ways one might tend to delight in, or crave for, anger (or the payoffs that anger brings, which you mention above).

We can look at it this way, too: there is a sense of self-assertion, self-empowerment, being in control, ownership, prestige, reputation, honour, and so on in sensual pleasures as well. The payoff may be more immediate in the sense pleasure itself, but these other payoffs are present as well. With anger, consider it a means to the ends of a sense of self-assertion, self-empowerment, being in control, ownership, prestige, reputation, honour, and so on. In this way anger is like a drug, with all of these things as the high that it brings. Taking the drug might be unpleasant -- like sticking a needle in ones arm might be -- but for one addicted, the payoff seems to far outweigh the unpleasantness.

truthseeker
17 Jun 10, 06:59
You've read the translation that was re-translated from the chinese, after the original Thai? Not a very good one at all...

I have read the printed edition translated directly by Steve Schmidt and this is the one I am referring to here. I agree that the other translation from the Chinese is neither as good, nor is it complete. The quote you were looking for is right there in the example I cited in posting #40. Buddhadasa writes: When any natural event causes these things to function, then we can say that birth has occurred. For example, take our eyeball. We believe that it already exists, that it already has been born. But in the sense of the dhamma, it has not yet been born until that eye sees some form. When it performs its functions, the seeing of forms, it can be said that the eye is born and the form is born and then eye consciousness is born.



take a look at how he explains PS in exactly the same way, again in MN 38

I see. Yes, it can be said that consciousness is conditioned in such a way, however, I feel that the MN 38 sutta shines a different light on things. Most importantly, MN 38 limits itself to an incomplete account of dependent origination in the children example, starting from consciousness. Only later are the twelve nidanas developed fully in the sutta, yet without a concrete illustration and without reference to the children example. This could actually be interpreted in favour of the traditional Mahavihara eisegesis. In contrast, Buddhadasa puts a different bent onto dependent origination.



That is also the Buddha's interpretation. [...] An eisegesis that the Buddha never taught.

I find these statements problematic, as they would require an explicit statement given in the suttas one or another way that would coincide with one interpretation or another. However, there are no such explicit statements. Interpretations are just that: interpretations.



Awareness of the moon is absent, and in that strict sense, the moon is not part of the present "world" as you are experiencing it now.

Precisely. And if you identify "world of experience" with just "world" then you get idealism. That is path which I see Buddhadasa walking down.



PS is not an ontology at all. Again, it is a description of the mental processes that cause suffering to arise through the influence of ignorance

Again, that is just your interpretation. I have studied philosophy for many years and I am familiar with all classical ontologies. Without wanting to brag, I believe that I can recognise any brand of ontology sneaking into an interpretation, and of course, dependent origination touches upon ontology. I would describe dependent origination more specifically as a phenomenology of samsaric existence, but the fact that it is concerned with existence classifies it clearly as ontology. No treatment of Buddhist ontology would be complete without it. If you google the scholarly works available on the topic, I think you will find this confirmed. But of course, dependent origination is as much a psychological analysis as it is an ontological analysis, so while I think that your first statement above is mistaken, your second statement is certainly not.

Cheers, Thomas

stuka
17 Jun 10, 15:52
But in the sense of the dhamma, it has not yet been born until that eye sees some form. When it performs its functions, the seeing of forms, it can be said that the eye is born and the form is born and then eye consciousness is born.

Ah, thanks. He is using metaphor, and he is nonetheless referring to our awareness of the eye and its functions/


Most importantly, MN 38 limits itself to an incomplete account of dependent origination in the children example, starting from consciousness.

Not really. It is truncated from the long form, but that is not surprising at all; the Buddha used several variations of PS or parts of PS in his discourses. For Example, the many suttas delineating the Six Sense Bases, or the expansions of that which include eighteen elements, accounting for sense bases, forms, and contact, or the thirty, etc. But he has used this same version of the formula in many other suttas as well; it's not "incomplete" at all. The Buddha has stated all that needs to be stated for the purpose of the example of the child. He also reiterates it twice again in the sutta, in the case of the young man as a monk and as an arhant:

"On seeing a form with the eye, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which -- if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye -- evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... One tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which -- if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the intellect -- evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. Endowed with this noble restraint over the sense faculties, he experiences within himself an unblemished happiness.


...


"On seeing a form with the eye he does not become greedy for pleasant forms, or averse to disagreeable forms. He abides with mindfulness of the body established and with a immeasurable mind. He knows the deliverance of mind and the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. Having abandoned the path of agreeing and disagreeing, he experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant - just as it is. He is not delighted or pleased with those feelings and he does not appropriates them. Interest in those feelings ceases. With the cessation of interest, clinging ceases. With no clinging, there is no becoming; no becoming, no birth; with no birth, there is no old age, sickness or death, no grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure or distress. Thus ceases the complete mass of dukkha.

"On hearing a sound with the ear, smelling a smell with the nose, tasting a taste with the tongue, feeling a touch with the body, thinking a thought with the mind, he does not become greedy for pleasant experiences, or averse to disagreeable ones. He abides with mindfulness of the body established and with a immeasurable mind. He knows the deliverance of mind and the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. Having abandoned the path of agreeing and disagreeing, he experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant - just as it is. He is not delighted or pleased with those feelings and he does not appropriates them. Interest in those feelings ceases. With the cessation of interest, clinging ceases. With no clinging, there is no becoming; no becoming, no birth; with no birth, there is no old age, sickness or death, no grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure or distress. Thus ceases the complete mass of dukkha.



I find these statements problematic, as they would require an explicit statement given in the suttas one or another way that would coincide with one interpretation or another.

In the case of your claim about the Mahavihara interpretation, any onus to show explicit statement would be upon you. Again, "Three lives" is eisegesis; the Buddha never taught it. If you think he did, please show suttas in which he explicitly teaches that way, specifically using the example of three lives. If he taught it, you should be able to find an abundance of examples, detailed at great length, just like any other teaching unique to him. The phrase "three lives" simply never crosses his lips, ever.

In the case of the Buddha's interpretation, we only need look as far as the words of the Buddha that have already been cited:

"Bhikkhus, that child grows and his faculties mature and he plays games that children play, such as playing with toy ploughs, turning somersaults, making toy wind mills with palm leaves, making small carts and bows. Bhikkhus, that child grows and his faculties mature [further] and the youth enjoys the five strands of sense pleasures; he lives enticed by pleasing and agreeable forms cognizable by eye consciousness, agreeable sounds cognizable by ear consciousness, agreeable smells cognizable by nose consciousness, agreeable tastes cognizable by tongue consciousness and agreeable touches cognizable by body consciousness.

"On seeing a form with the eye he becomes greedy for a pleasant form, or averse to a disagreeable form. He abides with mindfulness of the body not established and with a limited mind. He does not know the deliverance of mind nor the deliverance through wisdom as it really is, where unwholesome states cease completely. He follows the path of agreeing and disagreeing and experiences whatever feeling that arises - pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant. Delighted and pleased with those [pleasant] feelings he appropriates them. This arouses interest in those feelings. That interest for feelings is clinging. From clinging, there arises becoming, from becoming arises birth, from birth old age, sickness and death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. Thus arises the complete mass of dukkha.


And, again, the Buddha declared that what he taught about was suffering and its extinguishment. He doesn't claim that what he teaches was designed to explain the nature of "existence".


Precisely. And if you identify "world of experience" with just "world" then you get idealism. That is path which I see Buddhadasa walking down.

He is not saying that the world beyond the range of our senses does not exist. Buddadasa is not making a philosophical declaration -- nor is the Buddha; he is explaining mental functions that cause suffering. The Buddha does declare this when he states that everything he teaches is about dukkha and the quenching of dukkha.


PS is not an ontology at all. Again, it is a description of the mental processes that cause suffering to arise through the influence of ignorance

Again, that is just your interpretation.


"That is just your interpretation" really means nothing, and if you have studied philosophy as you say you have, you should know that -- even if "that's just your interpretation" were true, which it is not, not by a long shot. As I just said, the Buddha himself declared that his teachings were about suffering and the quenching of suffering. And as a phenomenological psychology it is not in need of an ontology. And again, it is not concerned with the nature of "existence", it is concerned with the mental processes that give rise to suffering. Also, there is an entire second half of this formula, paticcanirodha, which "re-birth"-apologists virtually ignore because it does not fit in with the "three-lives" interpretation at all. But hey, give a kid a hammer, and everything is a nail; give a philosopher a phenomenological psychology and ethical system, and all he thinks he can see is is an ontology, a cosmology, a metaphysics, yadayada. The Buddha ran up against this problem with philosophers all the time, too, folks asking him to make cosmological, metaphysical, ontological declarations, which he answered with silence, because that was not what he concerned himself with. He wasn't working on explaining the universe or existence or how we got here, he was working on the problem of suffering.

Aloka
17 Jun 10, 18:52
Thanks for all the informative posts here and in other threads, Stuka. They're greatly appreciated. :hands:

truthseeker
18 Jun 10, 03:27
In the case of your claim about the Mahavihara interpretation, any onus to show explicit statement would be upon you. Again, "Three lives" is eisegesis; the Buddha never taught it. If you think he did, please show suttas in which he explicitly teaches that way, specifically using the example of three lives.

The traditional three life interpretation is developed in great detail in the Visuddhimagga which in turn is based on the suttas and the abidhamma. It is therefore part of the orthodox Theravada exegesis, and it has also been adopted by several other Buddhist schools. This exegesis does not develop from a single sutta, nor even from a single few, but it develops from putting all the pieces together. So you can't quote snippets from this or that sutta, but you must put all the suttas into context. The Buddha was not just concerned with the immediate dukkha as it arises in the moment, but he was just as concerned -perhaps even more so- with the repeated rounds of birth, old age, and death and the ensuing "mass" of suffering, the bondage to samsara, which constitutes the deep existential problem he set out to solve. Thus the three life interpretation approaches the problem from a larger perspective. Actually, I am quite amenable to both interpretations, the momentary one and the existential three life interpretation. In addition, I can imagine an interpretation in an even larger perspective that applies to the origin of sentient life itself and I believe that the suttas allow for such different interpretations. It's not at all a black-and-white matter.

With this comment I'd like to conclude the discussion for now, as I am getting a little weary of prima facie statements like: "the Buddha never taught this, he taught this and that..., etc.", followed by anecdotal evidence, because I don't consider this to be contest but as an attempt to come to terms with different views of patticasamuppada, and related analysis. I thank you and the other participants for your thoughtful and well-reasoned replies. It's been a pleasure.

Cheers, Thomas

Sobeh
18 Jun 10, 03:36
you must put all the suttas into context

The problem is that you are using the abhidhamma to describe the context, when the suttapitaka and vinayapitaka predate the entirety of the abhidhammapitaka. Citing the lump sum as "orthodox" is a ridiculous plea to authority, as if somehow modern archaeological and textual analysis must be ignored.

The fact of the matter is that the abhidhamma is a product that can only be considered authoritative where it does not conflict with such "snippets" of Suttas which are demonstrably earlier, and thereby more authentic.

stuka
18 Jun 10, 05:11
The traditional three life interpretation is developed in great detail in the Visuddhimagga which in turn is based on the suttas and the abidhamma.

The "three-life" interpretation is not based in the suttas at all; we see absolutely no mention of it in the suttas at all.

From Mettiko Bhikkhu's critique of Bodhi's polemic against Nanavira's analysis of PS:

Ven. Bodhi wants to fill this gap by taking on the Note on Paṭiccasamuppāda which is a 'bold challenge to the prevailing “three-life interpretation”'. Like the Ven. Ñāṇavīra, he thereby wants to accept only the four main Nikayās and the older parts of the Khuddaka Nikāya as last resort. He concedes that the commentarial description is not to be found in the Suttas in all its particulars but serves as an instrument to make the Suttas and the Abhidhamma compatible.

So even Bhikkhu Bodhi concedes that the commentarial descriptions are not to be found in the suttas, and that the Commentaries were necessary to bridge the tremendous gap between the suttas and the abhidhamma. What we are looking at here is eisegesis, not exegesis:

Eisegesis (from Greek εἰς "into" and ending from exegesis from ἐξηγεῖσθαι "to lead out") is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one's own ideas, reading into the text.

So, yes, it is part of the "orthodox" Theravada eisegesis, but it nonetheless fails the Buddha's test of the Four Great References.



This exegesis does not develop from a single sutta, nor even from a single few, but it develops from putting all the pieces together.

Actually, this eisegesis developed from taking snippets of suttas out of context and cobbling them together to force them into the superstitious worldview that preceded the Buddha.



So you can't quote snippets from this or that sutta, but you must put all the suttas into context.

And I don't. Nor do I take snippets out-of-context from any sutta or suttas and try to make them fit into a speculative worldview they were not intended to advocate, which is quite typical of what we see traditionalists doing to justify "three-lives" and karma/reincarnation strategies. And I study the suttas I cite, rather than just scanning them, and I am very familiar with the structure, content, and context of anything I cite.


The Buddha was not just concerned with the immediate dukkha as it arises in the moment, but he was just as concerned -perhaps even more so- with the repeated rounds of birth, old age, and death and the ensuing "mass" of suffering, the bondage to samsara, which constitutes the deep existential problem he set out to solve.


If that were the case, then he would not say such things as the following:

"Good, Bhikkhus! You say this and I also say it. Thus when this is present, that happens. When this arises, that arise. That is, because of ignorance, [volitional] formations arise. Because of [volitional] formations, consciousness arises. Because of consciousness, name and form arise. Because of name and form, the sixfold sense base arises. Because of the sixfold sense base, contact arises. Because of contact, feelings arise. Because of feelings, craving arises. Because of craving, clinging arises. Because of clinging, becoming arises. Because of becoming, birth arises. Because of birth, old age, sickness, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress arise. Thus arises the complete mass of dukkha.

"Bhikkhus, you who know thus and see thus, would your mind run to the past: 'Was I in the past or was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what did I become?'"

"No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, would you who know and see thus, run to the future: 'Will I be in the future, or will I not be in the future? What will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? Having been what, what will I become?'"

"No, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, would you who know and see thus have doubts about the present: 'Am I, or am I not? What am I? How am I? Where did this being come from? Where will it go?'"

"No, venerable sir."

....which is a cite from the same single sutta we have been working with consistently in this thread, rather than "snippets from this or that sutta".



Thus the three life interpretation approaches the problem from a larger perspective.

That really doesn't mean anything, except perhaps that this claim of a "larger perspective" is merely an attempt to shoehorn in the eisegesis.



In addition, I can imagine an interpretation in an even larger perspective that applies to the origin of sentient life itself and I believe that the suttas allow for such different interpretations.


Which would be yet another eisegesis.


It's not at all a black-and-white matter.


Sure it is. Either it passes the Buddha's test of the Four Great References, or it doesn't.



I am getting a little weary of prima facie statements like: "the Buddha never taught this, he taught this and that..., etc.", followed by anecdotal evidence

Prima facie? Are you sure you are using that term correctly, Tom?

When I say "the Buddha didn't teach this", I say so because it cannot be found in the Discourses or the Vinaya. And backing up what I say with the evidence of citations of the suttas is hardly "anecdotal". Your comments here are starting to look like just so much blowing smoke.




I don't consider this to be contest but as an attempt to come to terms with different views of patticasamuppada, and related analysis.


Nor do I consider this a contest. You asked about Paticcasamuppada in the here-and-now as the Buddha taught it and as Buddhadasa explained it, and I and others have provided well-considered, well-informed and knowledgeable answers to your questions -- citing the Buddha's words in the suttas as evidence -- and given you valuable insights into the Buddha's teachings, including the fact that the Buddha never, ever taught taught PS as a reincarnation strategy, or as a function of "three-lives".

retrofuturist
18 Jun 10, 08:06
Greetings truthseeker,


And if you identify "world of experience" with just "world" then you get idealism. That is path which I see Buddhadasa walking down.
This seems a strange leap of logic to me.

Concerning oneself with the loka of experience rather than the objectified conventional understanding of the world is just that... it's what you're concerning yourself with - your frame of reference.

It makes no statement with regards to other things "out there" whatsoever, neither affirmative nor negative. Therefore it does not deny the existence of things, and any charge of idealism is misplaced.

Metta,
Retro. :)

truthseeker
18 Jun 10, 11:08
Concerning oneself with the loka of experience rather than the objectified conventional understanding of the world is just that... it's what you're concerning yourself with - your frame of reference.

Retro, I would agree with you if Buddhadasa's text was only concerned with the locus of experience, but it isn't. I don't know how far you have read backwards into this discussion. The "charge" of idealism came about on account of Buddhadasa's claim that the "eyeball is born at the moment of seeing form." He also claims that the eyeball is not yet born when it does not see form. See post #61 for the exact quote. So he makes a claim about existence. When he says that an object such as the eyeball comes into existence through seeing form, then that is not much different from saying that the moon is not there if you aren't looking at it. It's clearly a statement about existence (an ontological statement) and it expresses idealism in the sense of Berkeley.

I had previously read other books from Buddhadasa. From putting this statement into context, it doesn't appear that Buddhadasa consistently promotes idealism. It seems more like an isolated swerve he makes in an attempt to support his interpretation of dependent origination.

Cheers, Thomas

Valtiel
18 Jun 10, 13:51
He doesn't promote it, not here nor anywhere else. Read the entire quote:


But in the sense of the dhamma, it has not yet been born until that eye sees some form. When it performs its functions, the seeing of forms, it can be said that the eye is born and the form is born and then eye consciousness is born.

This was not a claim about existence outside our experience, one way or the other, as Retro already pointed out. In Buddhism, our personal experience or perception of the world is what we deal with. Stuka already made it clear what he is referring to.

stuka
18 Jun 10, 15:08
When he says that an object such as the eyeball comes into existence through seeing form, then that is not much different from saying that the moon is not there if you aren't looking at it. It's clearly a statement about existence (an ontological statement) and it expresses idealism in the sense of Berkeley.

Like I said, give a philosopher a phenomenological psychology and ethics, and all he sees in an ontology, a metaphysics, a cosmology, etc.

I have already pointed out that Buddhadasa is not saying that the eye doesn't exist, or the form doesn't exist, in the absence of contact. We can see for ourselves within Buddhadasa's essay here that he is not using this to describe an ontology, he is describing a phenomenological psychology. This is the context in which he makes the statement you are challenging. If he had said it in the context of declaring that the world does not exist unless "I" interact with it, then you might have an argument there, but he does not, and as you admit below, he does not declare such nonsense in any of his writings. Valtiel has also rightly pointed out that Buddhadasa's quote says, right in it, "In the sense of the Dhamma...", which I was also going to point out, but I felt was so obvious that it might seem to be insulting to your intelligence to do so. This is not an idealist declaration or anything like it.




I had previously read other books from Buddhadasa. From putting this statement into context, it doesn't appear that Buddhadasa consistently promotes idealism.


There you have it. You are arguing at a statement taken out-of-context.


It seems more like an isolated swerve he makes in an attempt to support his interpretation of dependent origination.

Only if one is looking for an idealist ontology that is not there. Or to argue, out-of-context, against an idealist ontology that is not there.


All that is left for this line of argument is to beat on a dead, naked Straw Emperor, all the while telling everyone all about His Magnificant New Clothes.

stuka
18 Jun 10, 16:42
Quote from: retrofuturist on Today at 04:06:50 PM
Concerning oneself with the loka of experience rather than the objectified conventional understanding of the world is just that... it's what you're concerning yourself with - your frame of reference.

Retro, I would agree with you if Buddhadasa's text was only concerned with the locus of experience, but it isn't.

Retro is using the Pali word "loka" here, not "locus". The reference is to the Buddha's phenomenlogical description of "the world" (loka in Pali), which we find in the Loka Sutta, SN XII.44:

Dwelling at Savatthi. There the Blessed One addressed the monks: "I will teach you the origination of the world & the ending of the world. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.

"Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.

"And what is the ending of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering. This is the ending of the world.

"Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering. This is the ending of the world."

Note that this sutta describes PS from exactly the same starting point as we see in the description of the child in MN 38: the child sees the form, the eye sees the form.

The Buddha is describing our experience of the world, from the standpoint of that experience,in the context of describing how suffering arises in the mind through craving, and how the arising of suffering does not arise in the absence of craving.

Now I ask, is the Buddha making an idealist ontological declaration about existence, about the nature of reality? I think not. Again, he is addressing how suffering arises and how to prevent it, just as he declares: "I teach about suffering and the quenching of suffering". Again, a phenomenological psychology-and-ethics, rather than a metaphysics or cosmology or ontology, any of which is simply and completely irrelevant to the problem of suffering and its extinguishment.

stuka
18 Jun 10, 18:07
"I will teach you the origination of the world & the ending of the world. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."


Again, the Buddha is talking about loka, "the world". And he is also talking about transcending "the world", meaning transcending clinging to the phenomenological inner-and-outer world as we experience it, i.e., transcending our clinging to sense data (including mental sense data).

Let us look at MN 117 now, in which the Buddha describes his own, unique, liberative teachings as "lokuttara", "world-transcending". This is exactly the loka, the "world" that he is describing his teachings as transcending. The process by which we "transcend the world" is exactly what he describes in the Loka Sutta above -- through the eradication of clinging to sense pleasures associated with our contact with the world.


See how this is all internally consistent? When I say that the Buddha's Noble, liberative teachings, his lokuttara teachings, are internally consistent, this is what I mean. They are internally consistent throughout the suttas. Also, they comport with reality and are verifiable for oneself, here and now, just as the Buddha said they are -- which is a claim that proponents of the "three-lives" eisegesis simply cannot hope to make.

stuka
19 Jun 10, 02:17
you must put all the suttas into context

The problem is that you are using the abhidhamma to describe the context, when the suttapitaka and vinayapitaka predate the entirety of the abhidhammapitaka.


Heya Sobeh,

The abhidhammapitaka, as you know, is not Buddhadhamma. The Buddha does not say in the Four Great References to consult the abhidhammapitaka, and then maybe afterwards, if you get around to it, then cherry-pick equivocally from a Cula-sutta or two. The Buddha says that to find the Dhamma one must consult the Buddha's own words in the Discourses and the Vinaya.

The abhidhammapitaka is good for throwing into the sea.

clw_uk
19 Jun 10, 19:43
In relation to how the Buddha uses the term "world" there is this passage



"that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world - this is called the world in the noble ones discipline"

SN - 1190 - book of the six sense media