Aggregate?

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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:This assumes that subject-object modes of perception are inherently misleading.

They are, because they inherently entail an artificial dissection of the two. What there is, is what is present. No need to extrapolate beyond that.


Well, the problem in all these accusations of extrapolation is yours. You foist this on us, like those evangelists who insist that we live in sin, so that they can peddle their soteriological meme. I do not see anyone in here extrapolating anything into the Aggregates beyond the fact that they exist and can be observed as existent, coming to be and passing away. As you put it "What there is, is what is present.".

Sylvester wrote:Nor does the subject-object dichotomy itself get criticised on the grounds that one's contemplation of "arising", "cessation" and "change" in the object are untrustworthy.

It is present experience that changes etc., not the change of "object" observed separately by (an unchanging atta) "subject".

You thinking the suttas teach or promote subject-object modes of perception is your assumption. I do not share it.


And where has any of the naughty svabhavadins in here postulated "an unchanging atta" doing the observation? What you see in the mirror may frighten you, but there's no need to project your ghouls on the rest of the sane.

It's the same silliness peddled by pious Mahayanists that, if they found an antidote to Sarvastivadin "svabhava", the rest of the Buddhist world MUST be labouring under the same error. I suggest you get off your pedestal and come down to the real grunt of praxis, instead of tying yourself up in polemics that do not concern the Theravada.

:anjali:
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:29 am

Greetings Sylvester,

What a shameful melodramatic display that was.

:focus:

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: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:27 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

What a shameful melodramatic display that was.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Probably, but it is, as a criticism of what you seem to being saying in this thread, not without merit. Maybe it would help if you over look the dramatics and address the points raised.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:03 pm

Tilt. Help me out with this thread as it seems way too complicated for my simple mind.Please read, and tell me where my following summary of it goes wrong:

Any attachment /clinging to that which is impermanent will lead to suffering. Form is impermanent. Consciousness is impermanent. Views and perspectives are impermanent. Feelings and emotions are impermanent. All mental factors are impermanent. Any and all processes leading to becoming are impermanent. Mind itself is impermanent. Any conclusions which lead one to believe in any form or configuration of a permanent self is both delusional and impermanent and therefore will lead to suffering. This entire samsaric existence is but a mass of suffering as a result and subject to Mara's guiles / influences. Arahants and other Well Gone ones
cannot be seen by him, Mara, The Prince of Death and therefore are untrackable by him or anyone else for that matter.

What did I miss? :thinking:

Thanks for efforts and your consideration in advance.:anjali: Ron
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby vinasp » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:21 pm

Hi Ron,

Quote: "Any attachment /clinging to that which is impermanent will lead to suffering."

Could you please explain, briefly, what you mean by "impermanent"? Thanks!

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote: Maybe it would help if you over look the dramatics and address the points raised.


I wish I still understood what the points are. :tongue:
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby vinasp » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:00 pm

Hi everyone,

"If, through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, one
is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained nibbana
in this very life."
[Repeat for: feeling, perception, volitional-formations and consciousness.]

[Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses, page 967, part of SN 22.115]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby daverupa » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:34 pm

retrofuturist wrote:arahants have the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant abiding, through being aware of "appropriatable" aggregates, and not "stepping into", not "engaging with" and "not taking up" what is observed.


This sounds just fine, in accordance with my understanding and with those Suttas of which I am aware. Of course, for an arahant the aggregates are not appropriateable any longer since their deliverance is perpetual and unshakeable, but certainly they are aware of the aggregates absent clinging.

So, what was the problem again? Because I'm not seeing a problem with a conclusion such as this... I think the problem may be in the explanation, not in the understanding...

SN 35.204 wrote:A certain monk went to another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"

"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the five clinging-aggregates, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."

...

"In the same way, monk, however those intelligent men of integrity were focused when their vision became well purified is the way in which they answered."


So, I suppose one final bit of clarity might be forthcoming: let us assume this noble one, who answered in terms of the aggregates, does not run afoul of believing in the aggregates. Therefore, it seems believing in the aggregates is some measure of conceiving with respect to them. Believing in the aggregates is to conceive them - in them, from them, about them. So, "believing in the aggregates" as a phrase simply refers to the same sort of thing as MN 1 talks about, yes? It's just an idiomatic way of phrasing this idea, a way that you've found to be significant and clarificatory, but which others do not see thusly (which is no surprise, as language is this way).

So the aggregates don't cease, it's that taking-up-ness that ceases, while the aggregates just plow along due to old-kamma-momentum, in a purely mechanical way, for a time. These aggregates are attended to with satisampajanna and jhana, not as a result of continued necessary effort but as simply the way of things for that time.

How's this?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:50 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi Ron,

Quote: "Any attachment /clinging to that which is impermanent will lead to suffering."

Could you please explain, briefly, what you mean by "impermanent"? Thanks!

Regards, Vincent.



All people, places, and things, including all of the Khandas/aggregates:

What we conventionally call a 'person' can be understood in terms of five aggregates, the sum of which must not be taken for a permanent entity, since beings are nothing but an amalgam of ever-changing phenomena… [W]ithout a thorough understanding of the five aggregates, we cannot grasp the liberation process at work within the individual, who is, after all, simply an amalgam of the five aggregates."


khandas defined here:
The five khandhas are bundles or piles of form, feeling, perception, fabrications, and consciousness. None of the texts explain why the Buddha used the word khandha to describe these things. The meaning of "tree trunk" may be relevant to the pervasive fire imagery in the canon — nibbāna being extinguishing of the fires of passion, aversion, and delusion — but none of the texts explicitly make this connection. The common and explicit image is of the khandhas as burdensome (§22). We can think of them as piles of bricks we carry on our shoulders. However, these piles are best understood, not as objects, but as activities, for an important passage (§7) defines them in terms of their functions. Form — which covers physical phenomena of all sorts, both within and without the body — wears down or "de-forms." Feeling feels pleasure, pain, and neither pleasure nor pain. Perception labels or identifies objects. Consciousness cognizes the six senses (counting the intellect as the sixth) along with their objects. Of the five khandhas, fabrication is the most complex. Passages in the canon define it as intention, but it includes a wide variety of activities, such as attention, evaluation (§14), and all the active processes of the mind. It is also the most fundamental khandha, for its intentional activity underlies the experience of form, feeling, etc., in the present moment.


source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html

They are all dependently arisen, which is to say that they are results, which have underlying root causes. For example our fabricated bodies, are constructed of atoms, molecules, macromolecules, cells, organs, subassemblies, and etc., which are constantly changing through the process of birth, aging, disease and death...therefore impermanent. Mental factors such as thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, views, opinions are also dependently arisen, arising, dwelling for but a time and then passing away, and therefore impermanent.

None of these can be said to be a permanent self, are therefore each not-self, and in them no permanent self can be found. Transient phenomena and constantly changing processes can be found but no permanent self,and no permanent thing for that matter anywhere to be found in this samsaric universe built itself upon and dependently arisen from impermanent sub-processes all the way down to the level of energy, as in E=MC2.

Hope this helps. :anjali: Ron

Others, please feel free to jump in and clarify.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:56 pm

Greetings Dave,

Thanks for your considered response - excellent as always.

I think the problem is a combination is one of language, subtle subject matter, different world-views, different lexicons and (probably more than any other) that I'm taking the vertical view with regards to the aggregates.

My concern isn't whether aggregates (objectively) exist or not, independent of observation. It is whether they are experientially present and therefore "here".

daverupa wrote:So, "believing in the aggregates" as a phrase simply refers to the same sort of thing as MN 1 talks about, yes?

Essentially, yes. (good call). Slipping the word "aggregates" in the place of the variable...

MN 1 redux wrote:"He perceives Aggregates as Aggregates. Perceiving Aggregates as Aggregates, he conceives things about Aggregates, he conceives things in Aggregates, he conceives things coming out of Aggregates, he conceives Aggregates as 'mine,' he delights in Aggregates. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you. ....

A monk who is a trainee — yearning for the unexcelled relief from bondage, his aspirations as yet unfulfilled — directly knows Aggregates as Aggregates. Directly knowing Aggregates as Aggregates, let him not conceive things about Aggregates, let him not conceive things in Aggregates, let him not conceive things coming out of Aggregates, let him not conceive earth as 'mine,' let him not delight in Aggregates. Why is that? So that he may comprehend it, I tell you.

:clap:

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: Aggregate?

Postby vinasp » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:56 pm

Hi everyone,

" ... And what is it that he extinguishes and does not kindle? He extinguishes
form and does not kindle it. He extinguishes feeling ... perception ...
volitional-formations ... consciousness and does not kindle it. ..."

[Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses, page 917, part of SN 22.79]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Nyana » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:01 am

A middle way approach:

(a) The aggregates are designations that designate aggregations of dhammas.

(b) Dhammas are designations designated on the basis of mere appearances as they appear to unimpaired minds.

(c) All teachings and path structures are provisional expedients, oriented towards lessening and eventually eliminating defilements and fetters.

This paññattimatta interpretation has the advantage of not requiring ontological commitments while still accepting the appearances of functional things and the utility of conventional path language and terms.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:52 am

daverupa wrote:So, what was the problem again? Because I'm not seeing a problem with a conclusion such as this... I think the problem may be in the explanation, not in the understanding...



The problem seems to be retro's understanding of the verb "appropriate" ( upādiyati ).

In the suttas, that verb denotes only the "appropriating" or "taking up" of the Aggregates as self/Self.

Retro would like to introduce an ontological dimension to the discussion, ie that "believing" that the Aggregates are real is the target of the suttas. He should address that to the Sarvas, as that is not an issue addressed in the suttas.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:56 am

Ñāṇa wrote:A middle way approach:

(a) The aggregates are designations that designate aggregations of dhammas.

(b) Dhammas are designations designated on the basis of mere appearances as they appear to unimpaired minds.

(c) All teachings and path structures are provisional expedients, oriented towards lessening and eventually eliminating defilements and fetters.

This paññattimatta interpretation has the advantage of not requiring ontological commitments while still accepting the appearances of functional things and the utility of conventional path language and terms.
While I definitely agree with all of that, what would be interesting is tying all that to 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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Nyana » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:01 am

tiltbillings wrote:While I definitely agree with all of that, what would be interesting is tying all that to ther suttas.

Ven. Ñāṇananda has done some of the leg work on this. So did Candrakīrti 1400 years ago.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:04 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

" ... And what is it that he extinguishes and does not kindle? He extinguishes
form and does not kindle it. He extinguishes feeling ... perception ...
volitional-formations ... consciousness and does not kindle it. ..."

[Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses, page 917, part of SN 22.79]

Regards, Vincent.
But what does the mean? Does it mean that the arahant does not feel, have perceptions, etc?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby DarwidHalim » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:29 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Ven. Ñāṇananda has done some of the leg work on this.


Do you know where can I find his research work?

It will be interesting to see how He can draw the same conclusion with Chandrakirti.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:36 am

Sorry, i did not see this earlier.
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Tilt. Help me out with this thread as it seems way too complicated for my simple mind.Please read, and tell me where my following summary of it goes wrong:

Any attachment /clinging to that which is impermanent will lead to suffering. Form is impermanent. Consciousness is impermanent. Views and perspectives are impermanent. Feelings and emotions are impermanent. All mental factors are impermanent. Any and all processes leading to becoming are impermanent. Mind itself is impermanent. Any conclusions which lead one to believe in any form or configuration of a permanent self is both delusional and impermanent and therefore will lead to suffering. This entire samsaric existence is but a mass of suffering as a result and subject to Mara's guiles / influences. Arahants and other Well Gone ones
cannot be seen by him, Mara, The Prince of Death and therefore are untrackable by him or anyone else for that matter.

What did I miss? :thinking:

Thanks for efforts and your consideration in advance.:anjali: Ron
Generally, your synopsis is on target.

As an aside, however, is the question of Mara. We do see, in the texts, Mara approaching the Buddha and other arahants, but Mara is never successful in tempting them. One can, I suppose, take Mara as being an actual being, or Mara is a figurative way of talking about the temptations arising from one's past conditionings, from the fact that, for arahants, while alive the khandhas still function, and one of the functions of the khandhas is a sense of self. Mara, however, is never successful in his temptations for the is no ground for a sense of self to stand on -- that is, no greed, hatred, and deluson.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:39 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:While I definitely agree with all of that, what would be interesting is tying all that to ther suttas.

Ven. Ñāṇananda has done some of the leg work on this. So did Candrakīrti 1400 years ago.
I know; however, I am not really asking for myself, but I am asking for those who have not read Ven Nanananda and who will likely never read Candrakīrti.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:40 am

DarwidHalim wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Ven. Ñāṇananda has done some of the leg work on this.


Do you know where can I find his research work?

It will be interesting to see how He can draw the same conclusion with Chandrakirti.
He uses suttas and mindfulness practice.
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.

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