The citta as a permanent self?

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby pulga » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:27 pm

Regarding the distinction between náma and rúpa, the analogy that I like is that of our experience of a house. We can only look at a house one profile at a time. (Note that in the need to be looking at the house it must be perceived "from" a particular vantage point -- this is the point Ven. Ñanamoli makes regarding the use of the ablative in the Mulapariyáya Sutta.) The profile is made up of all the components of náma: feeling, perception, intention, attention, and contact. When we look at a house we not only experience one of its sides, but rather we experience the house as a whole (or better given that there are an infinite number of possible profiles of the house, we experience it as a whole incompletely). Now the question arises: Is the house nothing more than the sum total of its profiles, both real and imaginary? Or does the house precede our experience of it through its inertia, i.e. as rúpa? Rúpa in and of itself could never constitute a building block: it must "appear" in order to be built upon.
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby Mkoll » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:27 pm

The Questions of King Milinda is not canonical but I found the simile of the chariot to be very revealing and in line with the anatta. I've posted it below for those unfamiliar with it.

THE CHARIOT

And King Milinda asked him: "How is Your Reverence known, and what is your name, sir?"

"As Nagasena I am known, O Great King, and as Nagasena do my fellow religious habitually address me. But although parents give name such as Nagasena, or Surasena, or Virasena, or Sihasena, nevertheless, this word "Nagasena" is just a denomination, a designation, a conceptual term, a current appellation, a mere name. For no real person can here be apprehended."

But King Milinda explained: "Now listen, you 500 Greeks and 80,000 monks, this Nagasena tells me that he is not a real person! How can I be expected to agree with that!" And to Nagasena he said: "If, Most Reverend Nagasena, no person can be apprehended in reality, who then, I ask you, gives you what you require by way of robes, food, lodging, and medicines? Who is it that guards morality, practises meditation, and realizes the [Four] Paths and their Fruits, and thereafter Nirvana? Who is it that killing living beings, takes what is not given, commits sexual misconduct, tell lies, drinks intoxicants? Who is it that commits the Five Deadly Sins? For, if there were no person, there could ne no merit and no demerit; no doer of meritorious or demeritorious deeds, and no agent behind them; no fruit of good and evil deeds, and no reward or punishment for them. If someone should kill you, O Venerable Nagasena, would not be a real teacher, or instructor, or ordained monk! You just told me that your fellow religious habitually address you as "Nagasena". Then, what is this "Nagasena"? Are perhaps the hairs of the head "Nagasena?"

"No, Great King!"

"Or perhaps the nails, teeth, skin, muscles, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, serous membranes, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, excrement, the bile, phlegm, pus, blood, grease, fat, tears, sweat, spittle, snot, fluid of the joints, urine, or the brain in the skull-are they this "Nagasena"?"

"No, Great King!"

"Or is "Nagasena" a form, or feelings, or perceptions, or impulses, or consciousness?"

"No, Great King!"

Then is it the combination of form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness?"

"No, Great King!"

"Then is it outside the combination of form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness?"

"No, Great King!"

"Then, ask as I may, I can discover no Nagasena at all. This "Nagasena" is just a mere sound, but who is the real Nagasena? Your Reverence has told a lie, has spoken a falsehood! There is really no Nagasena!"

Thereupon, the Venerable Nagasena said to King Milinda: "As a king you have been brought up in great refinement and you avoid roughness of any kind. If you would walk at midday on this hot, burning, and sandy ground, then your feet would have to trend on the rough and gritty gravel and pebbles, and they would hurt you, your body would get tired, your mind impaired, and your awareness of your body would be associated with pain. How then did you come on foot, or on a mount?"

"I did not come, Sir, on foot, but on a chariot."

"If you have come on a chariot, then please explain to me what a chariot is. Is the pole the chariot?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Is then the axle the chariot?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Is it then the wheels, or the framework, of the flag-staff, or the yoke, or the reins, or the goad-stick?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Then is it the combination of poke, axle, wheels, framework, flag-staff, yoke, reins, and goad which is the "chariot"?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Then, is this "chariot" outside the combination of poke, axle, wheels, framework, flag-staff, yoke, reins and goad?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Then, ask as I may, I can discover no chariot at all. This "chariot" is just a mere sound. But what is the real chariot? Your Majesty has told a lie, has spoken a falsehood! There is really no chariot! Your Majesty is the greatest king in the whole of India. Of whom then are you afraid, that you do not speak the truth?" And he exclaimed: "Now listen, you 500 Greeks and 80,000 monks, this King Milinda tells me that he has come on a chariot. But when asked to explain to me what a chariot is, he cannot establish its existence. How can one possibly approve of that?"

The 500 Greeks thereupon applauded the Venerable Nagasena and said to King Milinda: "Now let You Majesty get out of that if you can!"

But King Milinda said to Nagasena: "I have not, Nagasena, spoken a falsehood. For it is in dependence on the pole, the axle, the wheels, the framework, the flag-staff, etc, there takes place this denomination "chariot", this designation, this conceptual term, a current appellation and a mere name."

"Your Majesty has spoken well about the chariot. It is just so with me. In dependence on the thirty-two parts of the body and the five Skandhas, there takes place this denomination "Nagasena", this designation, this conceptual term, a current appellation and a mere name. In ultimate realtiy, however, this person cannot be apprehended. And this has been said by our sister Vajira when she was face to face with the Lord Buddha:

"Where all constituent parts are present, the word "a chariot" is applied. So, likewise, where the skandhas are, the term a "being" commonly is used."

"It is wonderful, Nagasena, it is astonishing, Nagasena! Most brilliantly have these questions been answered! Were the Lord Buddha Himself here, He would approve what you have said. Well spoken, Nagasena! Well spoken!"

-source
Peace,
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:39 pm

The Questions of King Milinda passage is solidly based on suttas such as: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby manas » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:46 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Zom wrote:Ven. Maha Bua is wrong. While the Blessed One said that citta is impermanent, he says that it is permanent. While the Blessed One said that citta breaks apart, he says that it can't break apart. This is just a mistake based on conceit and wrong views.


Is it a question of right or wrong? Was the Buddha's teaching metaphysical or was it just convention?


The Buddha's teaching is primarily practical. The Dhamma is like an instruction manual for getting free from dukkha, in my opinion.

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby Judai » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:49 pm

suriyopama wrote:
Ven Maha Bua wrote:The Dhamma of a pure citta is like this: The citta is the Dhamma, the Dhamma is the citta. We call it a citta only as long as it is still with the body and the khandhas. Only then can we call it a pure citta, the citta of a Buddha, or he citta of an Arahant, after it passes from the body and khandhas there is no conventional reality to which it can be compared, and so we can’t call it anything at all.
- Straight from the heart, The Marvel of the Dhamma, pg 27


Thank You Dagon

That makes sense to me.
The mind of an Arahant is still in the body and the khandas, and he calls it pure citta. Once the Arahant passes away and the body and khandas disintegrate, we can not call it anything because there is no reference on our conventional reality in order to identify it.
Where does it say that there is a “self”?


He was pretty open about his views that Nibbana was True Self.

As we are practising at this time and have been continually practising, proceeding in the path of avoiding all harms by stages, until the attainment of the great treasure of our hope (i.e., Nirvana). -From that it is possible to call 'niccam' because there is nothing involved that will trouble or disturb the mind. -It is not wrong to call it 'paramam sukham'.
-Calling it atta wouldn't be wrong because it is the true self that is the self of the natural principle. There is no conventionality, however great or small or even minute, involved in the mind. But it does not mean the atta that is together with anatta that is another stage of conventionality which is still the path to nibbana. Source: Achariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno, 'Kwan Tai Pen Thammada' ('Death is Normal'), Tham Chud Triam (Dhamma Collection for Preparation), 1976.
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:It seems to me that form is the only khandha that can be easily interpreted as a "building block", though I don't think that is necessary. "Form" may also be interpreted as the experience of hardness, softness, etc.

Interpreting "feelings", "volitional formations", etc as "building blocks" seems like a stretch to me. I think that is is much more straightforward to interpret them as properties of experience.

You appear to have introduced the idea of "building blocks." But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.
"And why do you call it 'form'?[1] Because it is afflicted,[2] thus it is called 'form.' Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. Because it is afflicted, it is called form.

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

What is the internal earth property? Anything internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, & sustained [by craving]: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, and sustained: This is called the internal earth property.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby pulga » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:14 pm

Question: If we strip from our experience of the "physical" the way that it appears what do we have left? Answer: Rúpa But then we're left with a purely abstract notion -- a valid notion but nonetheless an abstract one.

Cf. the Mahanidána Sutta (Dígha ii.62):

– 'With name-&-matter as condition, contact', so it was said: how it is, Ānanda, that with name-&-matter as condition there is contact should be seen in this manner. Those tokens, Ānanda, those marks, those signs, those indications by which the name-body is described,—they being absent, would designation-contact be manifest in the matter-body?
– No indeed, lord.
– Those tokens, Ānanda, those marks, those signs, those indications by which the matter-body is described,—they being absent, would resistance-contact be manifest in the name-body?
– No indeed, lord.
– Those tokens, Ānanda, those marks, those signs, those indications by which the name-body and the matter-body are described,—they being absent, would either designation- contact or resistance-contact be manifest?
– No indeed, lord.
– Those tokens, Ānanda, those marks, those signs, those indications by which name-&-matter is described,—they being absent, would contact be manifest?
– No indeed, lord.
– Therefore, Ānanda, just this is the reason, this is the occasion, this is the arising, this is the condition of contact, that is to say name-&-matter.


The point behind the Dhatuvibhanga Sutta is that the inertia that makes up our bodies is no different than the inertia that makes up the outside world, i.e. what is not our bodies.
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:12 pm

kirk5a wrote: But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.


:goodpost:
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:46 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kirk5a wrote: But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.


:goodpost:


Here is one of the many previous discussions about this topic. Suffice it to say, here, that the equation "rupa = physical" isn't a full discussion of the term.

Recall that from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pali, the ‘All’ {SN IV 15} is composed entirely of phassa, contact between sense base and sense object. We can only directly know phenomena within this ‘world of experience’, so from the Theravadin perspective, we cannot know whether there really exists a ‘brain’ or a ‘body’ apart from moments of intellectual consciousness, of seeing (the image of a brain), and so on. The discourses of the Pali describe an individual world of experience as composed of various mental and physical factors, nama and rupa. These two are not the separate, independent worlds that Rene Descartes envisioned.

"…the Buddha spoke of the human person as a psychophysical personality (namarupa). Yet the psychic and the physical were never discussed in isolation, nor were they viewed as self-subsistent entities. For him, there was neither a ‘material-stuff’ nor a ‘mental-stuff’, because both are results of reductive analyses that go beyond experience."53

The physical and mental aspects of human experience are continually arising together, intimately dependent on one another.

53 Kalupahana 1976: 73, refers to D.15{II,62}, where the Buddha speaks of both
physicality and mentality mutually dependent forms of contact (phassa).
Physicality is described as contact with resistance (pat.ighasamphassa),
mentality as contact with concepts (adhivacanasamphassa).


STRONG ROOTS by Jake Davis, page 190-1. http://www.bcbsdharma.org/wp-content/up ... gRoots.pdf


(updated the .pdf link)

:thinking:

Mind-body dualism isn't something the Buddha had as a premise...
    "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: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby pulga » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:23 pm

From the Maháhatthipadopama Sutta:

If the mind in oneself were intact but no external ideas came to the horizon and there were appropriate [conscious] engagement then there would be no manifestation of the appropriate class of consciousness. If the mind in oneself were intact and external ideas came to the horizon, but there were no appropriate [consciousness] engagement, there would be no manifestation of the appropriate class of consciousness. But it is owing to the fact that the mind in oneself is intact and that external ideas come to the horizon, and that there is appropriate [conscious] engagement, that there is manifestation of the appropriate class of consciousness.

Any form (rúpa) in such an entity (tathábhútassa) is included in the form aggregate affected by clinging... any feeling in such an entity... any perception in such an entity... any determinations in such an entity... any consciousness in such an entity is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging. Mi,191


I'm noncommittal regarding Ven. Ñanamoli's rendering of tathábhútassa, but nonetheless the passage does show that rúpa is an aspect of ideation; which makes sense given that my idea of a house is circumscribed by a limited number of determinations, e.g. it 'resists' having four legs, being covered with fur, and meowing : the idea of a “cat” and the idea of a “house” have their own particular inertia.
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:15 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
kirk5a wrote: But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.


:goodpost:

I've no objection to interpreting rupa as "physical" in some cases. What I was commenting on above was a tendency to see all of the aggregates as "things". I pointed out a post that seemed to me to imply that we are "made of" feelings, perceptions, consciousness, ... :
suriyopama wrote:The mind of an Arahant is still in the body and the khandas, ...
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19233&start=20#p269474

(my emphasis).

I may, of course, be misinterpreting the statement.

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:30 pm

Greetings,

kirk5a wrote:But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.

daverupa wrote:Mind-body dualism isn't something the Buddha had as a premise...

Yes, I agree with you Dave.

(In the style of Kirk's posting above...) Force-fitting nama-rupa into abhidhammic dogma as "mind and matter" is some kind of Mahaviharan obsession.

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: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:36 am

pulga wrote:I'm noncommittal regarding Ven. Ñanamoli's rendering of tathábhútassa, but nonetheless the passage does show that rúpa is an aspect of ideation; which makes sense given that my idea of a house is circumscribed by a limited number of determinations, e.g. it 'resists' having four legs, being covered with fur, and meowing : the idea of a “cat” and the idea of a “house” have their own particular inertia.

What? Am I to understand that you are proposing that your idea of a house is the explanation for why it doesn't meow and have litters of kittens?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:I've no objection to interpreting rupa as "physical" in some cases. What I was commenting on above was a tendency to see all of the aggregates as "things". I pointed out a post that seemed to me to imply that we are "made of" feelings, perceptions, consciousness, ... :
suriyopama wrote:The mind of an Arahant is still in the body and the khandas, ...
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19233&start=20#p269474

(my emphasis).

I may, of course, be misinterpreting the statement.

There are probably two things going on there: the question of whether it is appropriate to identify with the aggregates, and whether it can reasonably be said that the individual is "made of" the aggregates. The former is contrary to anatta, whereas the latter doesn't seem problematic to me.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:52 am

kirk5a wrote:There are probably two things going on there: the question of whether it is appropriate to identify with the aggregates, and whether it can reasonably be said that the individual is "made of" the aggregates. The former is contrary to anatta, whereas the latter doesn't seem problematic to me.

Isn't it problematical to imply that feeling, for example, is a "thing"?

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

kirk5a wrote:But there are passages in the suttas where form is straightforwardly physical. Force-fitting them into phenomenologist dogma is some kind of modern obsession.

daverupa wrote:Mind-body dualism isn't something the Buddha had as a premise...

Yes, I agree with you Dave.

(In the spirit of Kirk's posting above...) Force-fitting nama-rupa into abhidhammic dogma as "mind and matter" is some kind of Mahaviharan obsession.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hmm, I think Kirk was objecting to phenomenological interpretations, not Classical interpretations... :thinking:

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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:11 am

mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:There are probably two things going on there: the question of whether it is appropriate to identify with the aggregates, and whether it can reasonably be said that the individual is "made of" the aggregates. The former is contrary to anatta, whereas the latter doesn't seem problematic to me.

Isn't it problematical to imply that feeling, for example, is a "thing"?

Probably doesn't make much sense to anyone to imply that feelings are "things." But then who talks about feelings like that? Consider the famous chariot example [quoted above]. It's perfectly reasonable to look at a chariot and identify what parts go together to make up the assemblage which is referred to by the term "chariot." Same with living beings. Recognizing that what is called a living being is composed of some of this stuff and that stuff, is not problematic. Identification with the stuff is the problem.
"Where all constituent parts are present, the word "a chariot" is applied. So, likewise, where the skandhas are, the term a "being" commonly is used."


The Buddha gave lists of the "stuff," and I haven't seen anywhere that he expressed any concern about "whether there really exists a ‘brain’ or a ‘body’ apart from moments of intellectual consciousness" It's just like, yeah, of course there is a brain, and bone marrow and a spleen and so on. Good grief. Maybe in the days when people were cremated before their very eyes these sorts of bizarre philosophical conundrums didn't occur to anyone.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby pulga » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:46 am

kirk5a wrote:What? Am I to understand that you are proposing that your idea of a house is the explanation for why it doesn't meow and have litters of kittens?


Ideas are distinguishable from one another: they are shaped differently, are formed differently due to their differing patterns of inertia. But the experience of ideas is manifest through the interrelationship between resistance (patigha) and designation (adhivacana), just as it is for experience based upon the other five senses.

The mind is in the world – as are the other five faculties – but at a more primitive level it is also the perceiver and conceiver of the world (S.iv,95) : the brain (or heart – or body for that matter) is only inferred through reflection from an experience more immediate, i.e. from the act of perceiving and conceiving .

“The six bases in oneself can be termed an empty village; for whether a wise man investigates them as to the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind, they appear alike hollow, empty, and void. The six external bases can be termed village-raiding robbers; for the eye is harassed among agreeable and disagreeable forms, the ear among such sounds, the nose among such odours, the tongue among such flavours, the body among such tangibles, and the mind among such mental objects.” (SN 35:197)
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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:46 am

kirk5a wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:There are probably two things going on there: the question of whether it is appropriate to identify with the aggregates, and whether it can reasonably be said that the individual is "made of" the aggregates. The former is contrary to anatta, whereas the latter doesn't seem problematic to me.

Isn't it problematical to imply that feeling, for example, is a "thing"?

Probably doesn't make much sense to anyone to imply that feelings are "things." But then who talks about feelings like that?

I gave an example above. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19233&start=40#p269808
[/quote]
kirk5a wrote: Consider the famous chariot example [quoted above]. It's perfectly reasonable to look at a chariot and identify what parts go together to make up the assemblage which is referred to by the term "chariot." Same with living beings. Recognizing that what is called a living being is composed of some of this stuff and that stuff, is not problematic. Identification with the stuff is the problem.

And feelings are "stuff"?

As I said, I don't subscribe to a pure phenomenology interpretation of khanadhas, dependent origination, and so on, but I think that we should be careful about how we interpret the khandhas. I think that this quote sums it up well:
Nyanatiloka wrote:[The khanadhas] are to consciousness what redness, softness, sweetness, etc. are to an apple and have as little separate existence as those qualities.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#khandha


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Re: The citta as a permanent self?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:06 am

mikenz66 wrote:And feelings are "stuff"?

I think you are being overly-literal. But since we're going there:

"stuff"
: a group or pile of things that are not specifically described

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stuff

Prior to the Buddha, the Pali word khandha had very ordinary meanings: A khandha could be a pile, a bundle, a heap, a mass.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... andha.html

So yeah, the khandhas are "stuff" and there are 5 categories of stuff. :tongue:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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