Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:32 am

chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
Can you make an analysis of rebirth taken as a quality as a factor for awakening?
chownah


Birth is included in descriptions of both dukkha and DO. Are you saying that understanding those isn't important?
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby chownah » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:15 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
Can you make an analysis of rebirth taken as a quality as a factor for awakening?
chownah


Birth is included in descriptions of both dukkha and DO. Are you saying that understanding those isn't important?

No, I am not saying that. I am asking for an analysis of rebirth taken as a quality for awakening.
chownah
P.S. Just as a side note, I think that dukkha and DO can be understood without requiring the concept of rebirth.....but this is a side issue and not what I am asking to discuss.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:01 am

chownah wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Birth is included in descriptions of both dukkha and DO. Are you saying that understanding those isn't important?

No, I am not saying that. I am asking for an analysis of rebirth taken as a quality for awakening.


I'm not sure what you mean by "quality for awakening". Here we're looking at why birth is included in the description of dukkha ( and in DO ), this is relevant in terms of understanding the 4 Noble Truths and therefore Right View.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby chownah » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:05 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Birth is included in descriptions of both dukkha and DO. Are you saying that understanding those isn't important?

No, I am not saying that. I am asking for an analysis of rebirth taken as a quality for awakening.


I'm not sure what you mean by "quality for awakening". Here we're looking at why birth is included in the description of dukkha ( and in DO ), this is relevant in terms of understanding the 4 Noble Truths and therefore Right View.

Sorry I wasn't clearer about where my question came from. It came from your previous post where you wrote:
----------
"Clearly a distinction is being made in MN117 between mundane and noble right view, but reading the sutta I don't see any evidence that they are mutually exclusive or that noble right view involves seeing rebirth in a metaphorical way. It looks to me more like a progression from intellectual understanding to direct insight/experience.

Elsewhere in the suttas Right View is described in terms of understanding the meaning of the 4 Noble Truths, but of course that involves understanding the meaning of dukkha ( 1st truth ) and the meaning of DO ( the elaboration of the 2nd truth ). "Birth" is included in both of these."
-----------
My question was meant to help me understand your ideas about the two kinds of right view. "Quality for awakening" is meant to represent a part of the text on Right View without Effluents.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby vinasp » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:30 pm

Hi Spiny,

Spiny:-"Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?"

Has your original question been answered?

Are we now discussing something else, whether birth should be understood in a literal or figurative way, or both?

I do not think that MN 117 is going to be much help.

What we need is an understanding of how an ordinary man with wrong view, becomes a noble disciple with right view. This is not explained anywhere in the Sutta Pitaka.

The ordinary man is said to be ignoble, ignorant, to have wrong view, to be on the wrong eightfold path, all because he does not understand the four noble truths.

In an earlier post you admitted to being an ordinary man, were you serious or were you only joking?

I ask this because I think that for every ordinary man that becomes a noble disciple, there must be a point where he sees that he is still an ordinary man. Then he makes the effort to become a noble disciple.

An ordinary man who thinks that he is already a noble disciple cannot make any progress, because he sees nothing wrong with his current understanding.

But there is something very wrong with it - the question is: What is wrong?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby walkart » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:35 pm

vinasp wrote: What we need is an understanding of how an ordinary man with wrong view, becomes a noble disciple with right view. This is not explained anywhere in the Sutta Pitaka.


Hello Vinasp,

Actually there is many examples in Suttanta when after listenint to the Dhamma ordinary peoples become disciples, bhikkhus or even Aryans.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:23 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:So I'd suggest the debate here is psycho-physical v. purely psychological, not physical v. psychological.


Hmm...

MN 26 wrote:“And what may be said to be subject to birth? Wife and children are subject to birth, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares, gold and silver are subject to birth. These acquisitions are subject to birth; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly committed to them, being himself subject to birth, seeks what it also subject to birth.


Gold and silver subject to birth? There must be something subtle going on here with this term 'birth'... perhaps it simply means 'coagulation of existent variables'? The coagulations would be intended, and these would be sankhara, basically:

SN 56.42 wrote:Those ascetics and brahmins, bhikkhu, who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they delight in volitional formations that lead to birth... Delighting in such volitional formations, they generate volitional formations that lead to birth... Having generated such volitional formations, they tumble down the precipice of birth... They are not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; not freed from suffering, I say.


Or, put another way,

MN 26 wrote:“Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth... Then I considered thus: ‘Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth?... Then, bhikkhus, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna...


As though framing gold and silver as currency for further sankhara to apply to, or framing animals for further sankhara to apply to, were examples of birth-y behavior following along the presence of craving for certain procedural snapshots (craving --> becoming --> birth) as opposed to seeing rise-and-fall, impermanence, and the cessation of craving, thus the cessation of birth now & in the future.

MN 138 wrote:The Blessed One said this: "A monk should investigate in such a way that, his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned, he would from lack of clinging/sustenance be unagitated. When — his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned — from lack of clinging/sustenance he would be unagitated, there is no seed for the conditions of future birth, aging, death, or stress."


---

And of course, we must always reflect that

SN 12.35 wrote:Venerable sir, what now is birth, and for whom is there this birth?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One replied.
    "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: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:56 pm

vinasp: "An ordinary man who thinks that he is already a noble disciple cannot make any progress, because he sees nothing wrong with his current understanding.

But there is something very wrong with it - the question is: What is wrong?"
:goodpost:

I think this is a profound insight. Only when one realizes that they are on the wrong path, going the wrong way, do they realize that they must change direction.

Next step is locating a map or a guiding star to lead them in the correct direction. The problem is, if a practitioner misunderstands The Four Noble Truths, by default they also misunderstand The Noble Eight Fold Path. Either way, they are lost.

This is why personal validation and verification of all truths learned is so important, and why we must reflect upon our planned actions, and upon our actions taken to truly understand the fruit of our trees we plant with our intentional actions.

Again, great insight! :clap:
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby vinasp » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:08 pm

Hi everyone,

From SN 22.100 - The Leash (2), link:

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

"It's just as when — there being dye, lac, yellow orpiment, indigo, or crimson — a dyer or painter would paint the picture of a woman or a man, complete in all its parts, on a well-polished panel or wall, or on a piece of cloth; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, when creating, creates nothing but form... feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness."

Creating the aggregates is creating what one regards as self.

And at the end:

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

Birth is ended. The process of creating the aggregates is ended.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:38 pm

Hi Vincent,

The simile is also in SN 12.64: http://suttacentral.net/search?query=sn+12.64

Suppose, bhikkhus, an artist or a painter, using dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or crimson, would create the figure of a man or a woman complete in all its features on a well-polished plank or wall or canvas. So too, if there is lust for the nutriment edible food, or for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth ... I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.

The Commentary interprets this as follows:
173 Spk: The painter represents kamma with its adjuncts [Spkpṭ: craving and ignorance, and time and destination, etc.]; the panel, wall, or canvas represents the round with its three realms. As the painter creates a figure on the panel, so kamma with its adjuncts creates a form in the realms of existence. As the figure created by an unskilled painter is ugly, deformed, and disagreeable, so the kamma performed with a mind dissociated from knowledge gives rise to an ugly, deformed, disagreeable figure. But as the figure created by a skilled painter is beautiful and well shaped, so the kamma performed with a mind associated with knowledge gives rise to a beautiful and comely figure.

:anjali:
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:51 pm

vinasp wrote:An ordinary man who thinks that he is already a noble disciple cannot make any progress, because he sees nothing wrong with his current understanding.

But there is something very wrong with it - the question is: What is wrong?

Regards, Vincent.

Well, for starters, he thinks he's a noble disciple when he's not. There's the regular "being full of myself" that we worldlings experience and then there's the ignoble "being full of myself" of someone who thinks they're enlightened but isn't. The latter is much worse.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:26 am

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:So I'd suggest the debate here is psycho-physical v. purely psychological, not physical v. psychological.


Hmm...

SN 12.51 wrote:“And what may be said to be subject to birth? Wife and children are subject to birth, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares, gold and silver are subject to birth. These acquisitions are subject to birth; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly committed to them, being himself subject to birth, seeks what it also subject to birth.


Gold and silver subject to birth? There must be something subtle going on here with this term 'birth'... perhaps it simply means 'coagulation of existent variables'? The coagulations would be intended, and these would be sankhara, basically:



Yes, it looks like "birth" here is being used in the broader sense of coming into being - the point being that whatever is subject to birth is also subject to death and is therefore impermanent and unsatisfactory.
But I don't see how this contradicts what I've been saying, ie that the descriptions of "birth" in dukkha and DO are psycho-physical and not purely psychological or mental.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:29 am

daverupa wrote:
MN 138 wrote:The Blessed One said this: "A monk should investigate in such a way that, his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned, he would from lack of clinging/sustenance be unagitated. When — his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned — from lack of clinging/sustenance he would be unagitated, there is no seed for the conditions of future birth, aging, death, or stress."



Though the language of this passage seems to support the traditional interpretation - "there is no seed for the conditions of future birth, aging, death, or stress"
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:32 am

vinasp wrote:Spiny:-"Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?"
Are we now discussing something else, whether birth should be understood in a literal or figurative way, or both?


I think the 2 questions are closely related, Vincent.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:40 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Vincent,

The simile is also in SN 12.64: http://suttacentral.net/search?query=sn+12.64

Suppose, bhikkhus, an artist or a painter, using dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or crimson, would create the figure of a man or a woman complete in all its features on a well-polished plank or wall or canvas. So too, if there is lust for the nutriment edible food, or for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth ... I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.



The bolded section looks reminiscent of the origination and dissolution factors for the body, referred to in the first frame of the Satipatthana Sutta.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:45 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote: The problem is, if a practitioner misunderstands The Four Noble Truths, by default they also misunderstand The Noble Eight Fold Path.


Or perhaps they would misunderstand the purpose of the 8-fold path? But I agree with your general point about the importance of understanding the 4 truths.
But I think that's why the meaning of "birth" is worth discussing - it occurs in descriptions of dukkha ( 1st truth ) and also appears as a nidana in DO ( elaboration of 2nd truth ).
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby vinasp » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:44 pm

Hi Ron-the-Elder,

Ron said:-"Next step is locating a map or a guiding star to lead them in the correct direction."

Ron said:-"This is why personal validation and verification of all truths learned is so important,..."

I think that you point in the correct direction, this is our 'guiding star.'

How can a bhikkhu see for himself and verify the teachings when they are understood in a literal way?

But when they are understood in a figurative (psychological) way, then everything can be seen and verified.

The workings of our own mind exactly mirror the cosmological construct, but on a much shorter time-scale.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby vinasp » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:00 pm

Hi everyone,

"Bhikkhus, this Dhamma is visible here and now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, onward leading, to be experienced by the wise for themselves." [BB, MLDB, page 358, part of MN 38.25]

"Friend Savittha, apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, I know this, I see this:'With existence as condition, birth [comes to be].'"
[BB, CDB, page 610, part of SN 12.68 - Kosambi]

"If through revulsion towards birth, through its fading away and cessation, a bhikkhu is liberated by nonclinging, he can be called a bhikkhu who has attained nibbana in this very life." [BB, CDB, page 609, part of SN 12.67]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:56 pm

Taken in the literal sense of birth, a Bhikkhu that has attained enlightenment has eliminated rebirth but not death, so this can not be used as any argument for a psychological interpretation of birth, as it makes perfect sense when birth is taken literally.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Why is birth included in descriptions of dukkha?

Postby SDC » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:40 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Taken in the literal sense of birth, a Bhikkhu that has attained enlightenment has eliminated rebirth but not death


Agreed, and since there is no death for the arhant, “death” would not have represented the actual event even prior to the awakening. While the breakdown of the body will still occur, the arahant will not understand, or experience it as the death of anything.

From SN 2.12:

    "Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

Neither the idealistic (purely psychological) nor the materialistic (actual physical event) interpretations are holding much water. The change emphasized in the above passage is structural in nature. What was once arranged one way is now arranged another way; or perhaps not at all.

From Dhp 154 (Ven. W. Sarada Maha Thera):

    House-builder, you're seen!
    You will not build a house again.
    All your supports are destroyed;
    The structure has been demolished.
    Mind is no longer conditioned,
    The cessation of the urge achieved.

Birth and death no longer have a place in the experience after awakening. Yet the body will breakdown, and obviously came from the mother's womb. I do not think the Buddha would have ever denied this, but it seems unlikely that it is what he meant here in paticca samuppada.
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