kirk5a wrote:Is there any guidance from the suttas on differentiating between "phenomenological statements" and "ontological statements"?
It's not a classification scheme called out in the suttas, so no.... but we do often see the Buddha reframing certain prevailing concepts (e.g. loka, sabba) from ontological to phenomenological perspectives, so it's not without precedent.
The fact something like "old kamma" is formed (sankhata) suggests to me it is the product of avijja (i.e. a product of dependent origination), and thus phenomenological. I'm not here to argue the point, just to explain how I see it.... you may take it or leave it as you see fit.
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'." (Snp 3.6)
"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)