Are thoughts vipaka?

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phil
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Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby phil » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:42 am

Hi all

I think I have asked this before elsewhere, but haven't figured it out yet. Sorry if it's been asked already in the archives, I didn't have a look.

Are thoughts vipaka? If I'm not mistaken, mental objects are included as external ayatanas the way forms, sounds, tastes etc are. But are these mental objects thoughts, or something much more ephemeral, or are thoughts a kind of active by-product that comes about as proliferation etc in response to risen objects? I hope that question is clear.

When we wake up, first thing in the morning, it feels as if there are thoughts that come out of nowhere, that arise as a resultant of the previous days thinking, for example. And it feels like those thoughts are vipaka. But I would guess that the correct answer is that thoughts are conceptual and therefore are not dhammas, and cannot be vipaka. Mental objects that are external ayatanas must be something far more fleeting than thoughts. Right?

Thanks

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Re: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:03 am

Greetings Phil,

That's an interesting question.

Often we hear that one of the consequences of creating negative kamma is the grief that comes from reflecting on or remembering the evil deeds that one has done.

Are those thoughts vipaka?

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: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:20 am

this is a good question, thinking plays a part in creating kamma, but is it also the result of it? i'd think to an extent it is... but i dont know, maybe there's some grey area? maybe this is an abhidhamma question?
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby phil » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Phil,

That's an interesting question.

Often we hear that one of the consequences of creating negative kamma is the grief that comes from reflecting on or remembering the evil deeds that one has done.

Are those thoughts vipaka?

Metta,
Retro. :)



A good example is in the Dhammapada, the wrong doer reflects "I have done wrong", here and in the life to come. I would guess that *isn't* vipaka for the reason I mentionned in previous post, that a thought containing a narrative about one's wrong deed couldn't be a dhamma - or could it?

I also think of strange mental impulses that arise out of nowhere. Now this sort of confession might be going too far, but I think I'm not the only otherwise sane person who has had the flash image of picking up the knife that is lying on the cutting board and driving it into a loved one's body. (OK, no one is going to talk to me anymore....) To pick a less horrible image, you're sitting having a nice talk with a sweet old relative, and you flash on throwing the tea in her face! Those kind of weird flash images feel like vipaka, they are so sudden and so removed from the way one usually thinks. But they are probably more likely just more proliferation on the visual information, as in the Honeyball Sutta, happening in a flash but still proliferation on visual object, that is processed into "knife" that is processed through proliferation into....and so on.

To look at the honeyball sutta, (MN 18) "Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

I don't know if that helps us get at whether thoughts are vipaka. THe "mind-objects" in the above formula are, I think. But that could be an Abhidhamma view, as JC points out. I think according to Abhidhamma everything that arises to be cognized is vipaka. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) But the "thinks about" above would be the beginnning of proliferation rather than vipaka. So the flash image of hot tea in granny's face would not be vipaka. (Ah, but what if one had actually done it, and that flashed up.) Gaargh.

Usually I don't pursue these deep topics very far but I would like to keep on this one. Knowing vipaka from the productive cittas that result from response to it is very important, I sense.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Re: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby phil » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:11 am

phil wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Phil,

That's an interesting question.

Often we hear that one of the consequences of creating negative kamma is the grief that comes from reflecting on or remembering the evil deeds that one has done.

Are those thoughts vipaka?

Metta,
Retro. :)



A good example is in the Dhammapada, the wrong doer reflects "I have done wrong", here and in the life to come. I would guess that *isn't* vipaka for the reason I mentionned in previous post, that a thought containing a narrative about one's wrong deed couldn't be a dhamma - or could it?

I also think of strange mental impulses that arise out of nowhere. Now this sort of confession might be going too far, but I think I'm not the only otherwise sane person who has had the flash image of picking up the knife that is lying on the cutting board and driving it into a loved one's body. (OK, no one is going to talk to me anymore....) To pick a less horrible image, you're sitting having a nice talk with a sweet old relative, and you flash on throwing the tea in her face! Those kind of weird flash images feel like vipaka, they are so sudden and so removed from the way one usually thinks. But they are probably more likely just more proliferation on the visual information, as in the Honeyball Sutta, happening in a flash but still proliferation on visual object, that is processed into "knife" that is processed through proliferation into....and so on.

To look at the honeyball sutta, (MN 18) "Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

I don't know if that helps us get at whether thoughts are vipaka. THe "mind-objects" in the above formula are, I think. But that could be an Abhidhamma view, as JC points out. I think according to Abhidhamma everything that arises to be cognized is vipaka. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) But the "thinks about" above would be the beginnning of proliferation rather than vipaka. So the flash image of hot tea in granny's face would not be vipaka. (Ah, but what if one had actually done it, and that flashed up.) Gaargh.

Usually I don't pursue these deep topics very far but I would like to keep on this one. Knowing vipaka from the productive cittas that result from response to it is very important, I sense.

Metta,

Phil


I think maybe my weird and rambling example involving kitchen-knives-in-loved ones and tea in granny's face might have muddied the waters further. So let's strip it down to this sutta passage:


To look at the honeyball sutta, (MN 18) "Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

What would an example be of the "mind-objects" depending upon which mind-consciousness arises? And would such a mind object be vipaka?

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Re: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby Individual » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:22 pm

phil wrote:Hi all

I think I have asked this before elsewhere, but haven't figured it out yet. Sorry if it's been asked already in the archives, I didn't have a look.

Are thoughts vipaka? If I'm not mistaken, mental objects are included as external ayatanas the way forms, sounds, tastes etc are. But are these mental objects thoughts, or something much more ephemeral, or are thoughts a kind of active by-product that comes about as proliferation etc in response to risen objects? I hope that question is clear.

When we wake up, first thing in the morning, it feels as if there are thoughts that come out of nowhere, that arise as a resultant of the previous days thinking, for example. And it feels like those thoughts are vipaka. But I would guess that the correct answer is that thoughts are conceptual and therefore are not dhammas, and cannot be vipaka. Mental objects that are external ayatanas must be something far more fleeting than thoughts. Right?

Thanks

Metta,

Phil

They can be. Think of the man who has bad dreams from the results of past misdeeds. On the other hand, some thoughts, such as meditation, are created right now, although they are usually conditioned by previous actions (like meditating because you're a "human" in a "place you can meditate", after you "learned meditation from a meditation teacher," -- all conditioning factors).
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Are thoughts vipaka?

Postby phil » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:01 am

Individual wrote:
phil wrote:Hi all

I think I have asked this before elsewhere, but haven't figured it out yet. Sorry if it's been asked already in the archives, I didn't have a look.

Are thoughts vipaka? If I'm not mistaken, mental objects are included as external ayatanas the way forms, sounds, tastes etc are. But are these mental objects thoughts, or something much more ephemeral, or are thoughts a kind of active by-product that comes about as proliferation etc in response to risen objects? I hope that question is clear.

When we wake up, first thing in the morning, it feels as if there are thoughts that come out of nowhere, that arise as a resultant of the previous days thinking, for example. And it feels like those thoughts are vipaka. But I would guess that the correct answer is that thoughts are conceptual and therefore are not dhammas, and cannot be vipaka. Mental objects that are external ayatanas must be something far more fleeting than thoughts. Right?

Thanks

Metta,

Phil

They can be. Think of the man who has bad dreams from the results of past misdeeds. On the other hand, some thoughts, such as meditation, are created right now, although they are usually conditioned by previous actions (like meditating because you're a "human" in a "place you can meditate", after you "learned meditation from a meditation teacher," -- all conditioning factors).


Thanks Individual

Ok, I see what you mean. I tend to be a bit picky about the details, so am wondering whether dreams, for example, would be considered "mind objects" or whether mind objects, as in the following sutta passage, are not something more momentary, that constitute dreams or fantasies, which are more like thinking, it seems to me.

So I will take a final shot (I promise) at asking about this sutta passage.

"Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

What would an example of a "mind-object" be?

Maybe this should have been somewhere in the classical Theravadan area, a little too technical for this area I guess. I will let it drop after this.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)


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