Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:48 am

Greetings DF,

dhamma follower wrote:Please show otherwise !

I have no inclination to do so, but thank you for checking out the Abhidhamma-speak at the door. It will be waiting and available for you, upon your exit. Please enjoy your stay.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby Kenshou » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:34 am

Now can I put the question again: do concepts (such as schools, person, women, men...) belong to the five khandas? Or they are just the mirages created by different processes as the five khandas are working?
Since all the constituents of a concept are of the 5 aggregates, I don't see how a concept could be mirage like or illusory, it is comprised entirely of events that are actually occurring. And the labels we apply to those bundles of various mental objects comprising a concept (schools, person, women, as you say) could probably just be classified as sanna. So I don't see the mirage here.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:01 am

Kenshou wrote:
Now can I put the question again: do concepts (such as schools, person, women, men...) belong to the five khandas? Or they are just the mirages created by different processes as the five khandas are working?
Since all the constituents of a concept are of the 5 aggregates, I don't see how a concept could be mirage like or illusory, it is comprised entirely of events that are actually occurring. And the labels we apply to those bundles of various mental objects comprising a concept (schools, person, women, as you say) could probably just be classified as sanna. So I don't see the mirage here.


Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. SN III 46.

A mirage is real. It is just that we may ignorantly assume that it is something other than it is really is. Following that, the sense of self is like a mirage in that we assume that it is something other than it really is.

As a meditative experience -- and this does not involve any sort of conceptual thinking -- the sense of self can be seen in terms of the various aspects that make it up as it rises and falls as part of the process of experience that being mindfully attended to.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:12 am

Hi Retro,

I don't actually see much point in trying to present reasoned arguments if you are going to resort to that silly strawperson nonsense.
retrofuturist wrote:
Furthermore, you have offered no coherent discussion of the point that has been made that thinking about a "complex concept" such as "one plus one is two" involves of a number of objects and processes. Simply saying that it is "an object of mind" is, at best, rather simplistic description.

I have explained it to a context sufficient for realisation of the three characteristics vis-a-vis the six consciousnesses and other schemas found in the Sutta Pitaka.

Sorry, I must have missed or misunderstood that explanation.
retrofuturist wrote:If you seek more edification beyond the Sutta Pitaka, by all means do so Mike - I was just curious about what you anticipated the practical benefits to be (given you so often state your interest is in "practice").

Nothing I have said in this thread is beyond the sutta pitaka.

I have explained what I see as the practical benefits above. To me it's the whole point of a large number of teachings, to understand by observation how these complex concepts (such as a self) are constructed, and I've given several examples.

Clearly they are not well-enough explained. Sorry about that, but I don't see how to add to them.

:namaste:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:I have explained what I see as the practical benefits above. To me it's the whole point of a large number of teachings, to understand by observation how these complex concepts (such as a self) are constructed, and I've given several examples.

Clearly they are not well-enough explained. Sorry about that, but I don't see how to add to them.

In fact, there is no need, because what I have been trying to explain is discussed by Ven Nananada:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10355&view=unread#p158385

Nananada wrote:This passage indicates that papanca signifies the final stage in the process of sense-cognition. The term definitely concerns the grosser conceptual aspect of the process, since it is a consequent to 'vitakka' (reasoning) which presupposes language.

Hence we should determine how papanca differs from - nay, marks a development on - vitakka. The etymology of the word would help us at this point. Being derived from "pra + panc" it conveys meanings such as 'spreading out', 'expansion', 'diffuseness' and 'manifoldness'. The tendency towards proliferation in the realm of concepts may be described in any one of those terms, and this is probably the primary meaning of papanca.

....

:namaste:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:37 am

Greetings Mike,

Indeed - many of the Buddha's instructions pertain to cultivation of appropriate vitakka ... the only time they relate to papanca is in the sense that it should be avoided.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Indeed - many of the Buddha's instructions pertain to cultivation of appropriate vitakka ... the only time they relate to papanca is in the sense that it should be avoided.

So you don't think that one of the points of bhavana is to gain insight into the arising of these various processes, including papanca?

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:19 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:So you don't think that one of the points of bhavana is to gain insight into the arising of these various processes, including papanca?

Good question. I think we're supposed to understand how papanca comes to be (in order to learn to cut it off at the pass), but I think it would be a bit difficult to be simultaneously undertaking papanca and viewing it with insight - they don't seem altogether compatible activities to me... particularly if we're regarding papanca as a form of mental chaos, ala Nanananda's explanation of papanca vis-a-vis vicara.

Other "detailed sequences" as taught by the Buddha seem more amenable to "insight into the[ir] arising" than the one specific to our old friend papanca.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:01 am

mikenz66 wrote:So you don't think that one of the points of bhavana is to gain insight into the arising of these various processes, including papanca?
I don't know why not. One would not see "papanca" as if were a thing to be seen, but in retrospect, one could identify an experience as papanca.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby dhamma follower » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings DF,

dhamma follower wrote:Please show otherwise !

I have no inclination to do so, but thank you for checking out the Abhidhamma-speak at the door. It will be waiting and available for you, upon your exit. Please enjoy your stay.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Could you please show where and how my reasoning and question in the last post depart from the suttas?
Panna?
Tilakkhana?
Five khandas?
Schools?
Men?
Women?

Thanks!

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:55 am

dhamma follower wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings DF,

dhamma follower wrote:Please show otherwise !

I have no inclination to do so, but thank you for checking out the Abhidhamma-speak at the door. It will be waiting and available for you, upon your exit. Please enjoy your stay.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Could you please show where and how my reasoning and question in the last post depart from the suttas?
Panna?
Tilakkhana?
Five khandas?
Schools?
Men?
Women?

Thanks!
You did not depart from the suttas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby Kenshou » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:30 pm

tiltbillings wrote:A mirage is real. It is just that we may ignorantly assume that it is something other than it is really is.
With this I agree. Though I was unsure if this was the sense with which the word was being used by dhamma follower. If it is, then okie dokie.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:29 pm

dhamma follower wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings DF,

dhamma follower wrote:Please show otherwise !

I have no inclination to do so, but thank you for checking out the Abhidhamma-speak at the door. It will be waiting and available for you, upon your exit. Please enjoy your stay.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Could you please show where and how my reasoning and question in the last post depart from the suttas?
Panna?
Tilakkhana?
Five khandas?
Schools?
Men?
Women?

Thanks!

tiltbillings wrote:You did not depart from the suttas.

That's (obviously) my opinion too. Of course, what we are talking about here is implications of the suttas, where, obviously, opinions vary. Since Ven Nananda, for example, has essentially a whole book on papanca, understanding the issues in detail obviously require some teasing out.

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:48 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:So you don't think that one of the points of bhavana is to gain insight into the arising of these various processes, including papanca?

Good question. I think we're supposed to understand how papanca comes to be (in order to learn to cut it off at the pass), but I think it would be a bit difficult to be simultaneously undertaking papanca and viewing it with insight - they don't seem altogether compatible activities to me... particularly if we're regarding papanca as a form of mental chaos, ala Nanananda's explanation of papanca vis-a-vis vicara.

Just to be clear, I don't necessarily mean "insight" in a technical "vipassana" sense, just in a common "getting a better understanding" sense.
retrofuturist wrote:Other "detailed sequences" as taught by the Buddha seem more amenable to "insight into the[ir] arising" than the one specific to our old friend papanca.

The papanca sequence is just another dependent origination variation. With contact one has feeling, etc. In this case it leads to conceptualization. In the more common sequence to craving. Both need to be observed and understood.

Both of those are things one can recognize in practice. And this is exactly the sort of thing one is instructed to do by, for example, the Mahasi school: develop some samatha by focussing on some particular object, but notice whatever arises. It's the observation of the sequence of arising that is where interesting stuff often happens.

And conceptual proliferation is, of course, very obvious. One goes from hearing to thinking "bird", and to wondering which sort of bird it is, etc.

As Ven Nananda explains in "Seeing Through" (link on his Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katukurunde_Nanananda_Thera) , one makes an effort to focus more on the "less-conceptual" hearing process itself.
Nanananda wrote:To take as real what is of a mirage-nature, is a delusion. It is something that leads to a delusion. It is
an illusion that leads to a delusion. In order to understand deeply this mirage-nature in sensory
perception, there is a need for a more refined way of mental attending. So the meditator, instead of
attending to these objects as `form’, `form’ or `sound’, `sound’, moves a step further and notes
them as `seeing’ or `hearing’. Now he attends to these sense-percepts even more briefly, not
allowing the mind to go far – as `seeing- seeing ‘, `hearing- hearing’, `feeling-feeling’,`thinking-
thinking’.

Of course, that's the theory. In practice for most of us the papanca will break through...

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:50 pm

Greetings DF,
dhamma follower wrote:Could you please show where and how my reasoning and question in the last post depart from the suttas?
Panna?
Tilakkhana?
Five khandas?
Schools?
Men?
Women?

No one said it did. Dude, chill.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:27 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Just to be clear, I don't necessarily mean "insight" in a technical "vipassana" sense, just in a common "getting a better understanding" sense.

In that case, I concur completely. I assumed you meant 'insight" in the sense of investigating the real-time anattata, aniccata and dukkhata of each of the steps. My point was only that the mind that is in chaos would find that activity challenging, since the arising of "viewing things as they are" would seem to cause present papanca to cease, and to forestall its further arising.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:25 am

Kenshou wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A mirage is real. It is just that we may ignorantly assume that it is something other than it is really is.
With this I agree. Though I was unsure if this was the sense with which the word was being used by dhamma follower. If it is, then okie dokie.


Yes, it is. However, IMO we should be careful of falling into the trap of grasping at "being real" or "being unreal". The point is to see the impersonal process creating it, i.e to see it for it really is as Tilt has well put, and proceeding further to the three characteristics of what ever arises.

Regards,

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:27 am

Having, seemingly agreed that looking closely at the arising of aggregates, sense bases, and the concepts (papanca) built on them is a sensible meditation strategy perhaps we could return to this point:
dhamma follower wrote:When talking about the tilakkhana, the Buddha always used paramatha, right? (seeing, hearing, perceptions, feeling, mental formations...), could someone points out otherwise?

This is an interesting point. In the first discourse we do have:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

So dukkha is applied to both complex objects (people) as well as more basic objects (khandhas in this case).

Like DF, I don't recall a sutta where the Buddha used anatta or anicca to refer to complex objects or concepts. I only recall cases in terms of khandhas, etc:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
form/feeling/... is not-self, etc...

Are there any counter examples?

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:30 am

This post by Sylvester seems relevant to the current discussion:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10355&view=unread#p158426
Sylvester wrote:So, here we have a clear statement that even the satipatthanas are supposed to be void of vitakka and vicara (or if one were nit-picking, one would say that one does not vitakketi nor vicareti in the Satipatthanas).

Which seems consistent with common satipatthana instructions to give attention to the bare sense impressions, etc, rather than thinking...

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:16 am

A possible sutta candidate for the 2-truths model -

SN 22.22

At Savatthi. "Monks, I will teach you the burden, the carrier of the burden, the taking up of the burden, and the casting off of the burden. [1] Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "And which is the burden? 'The five clinging-aggregates,' it should be said. Which five? Form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. This, monks, is called the burden.

"And which is the carrier of the burden? 'The person,' it should be said. This venerable one with such a name, such a clan-name. This is called the carrier of the burden.

"And which is the taking up of the burden? 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 is called the taking up of the burden.

"And which is the casting off of the burden? The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving. This is called the casting off of the burden."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

A burden indeed
are the five aggregates,
and the carrier of the burden
is the person.
Taking up the burden in the world
is stressful.
Casting off the burden
is bliss.
Having cast off the heavy burden
and not taking on another,
pulling up craving,
along with its root,
one is free from hunger,
totally unbound.



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

Ajahn Thanissaro has an interesting comment on this in the context of the Theravadin debate with the Puggalavadins.


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