MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:28 am

vinasp wrote:The structure would be:

1. What is actually seen.
2.Adding the five aggregates (skip the details).
3. Constructing the mental-object ('eye' plus 'visible form')
4. Arising of eye consciousness (state of mind based on the mental object)
5. Contact.
6. Feeling, perception and volition arising.
7. Generation of craving.
8. Clinging.
9. Existence.


I'm not sure about this sequence, Vincent. It seems to me that the mental object arises in dependence on 5.Contact, and that state of mind then arises in dependence on the associated feeling and perception. So for example if I'm looking at the sea, there arises a perception of "sea" which leads to a mental object - effectively my idea of "sea", which is informed partly by past experience of "sea". In my case there will be a pleasant mental feeling associated with this perception and mental object. If the wind is blowing there will also be bodily feeling which could be pleasant or unpleasant depending on the time of year. ;)
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:33 am

Yes, see: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, see: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


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Good quote, though from an experiential point of view I still struggle with the order here, ie perception following feeling. It feels more like the perception happens first, followed by a feeling based on that perception. So for example if I have a pleasant mental feeling associated with looking at the sea, doesn't the perception of "sea" come first? Or to put it another way, how can a feeling arise from a sense-object if there is no initial recognition of that sense-object?
Unfortunately the suttas don't say much about what perception ( sanna ) actually involves, beyond the example of say recognising a colour. :thinking:
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:06 am

I find it's usually fuzzy, but experientially, on a retreat, with enough build up of concentration and mindfulness I do find that feeling comes before perception.

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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:50 am

mikenz66 wrote:I find it's usually fuzzy, but experientially, on a retreat, with enough build up of concentration and mindfulness I do find that feeling comes before perception.


Interesting to hear that Mike. I'll pay closer attention. ;)
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:00 pm

Hi everyone,

MN 18 said:-"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact."

But MN 28.27 introduces a third factor which is required before eye-consciousness can arise:

"If internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range, but there is no corresponding [conscious] engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding class of consciousness." [BB, MLDB, MN 28]

Is this a contradiction in the teachings?

Or is there an explanation for this?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:07 pm

Spiny Norman wrote: It feels more like the perception happens first, followed by a feeling based on that perception. So for example if I have a pleasant mental feeling associated with looking at the sea, doesn't the perception of "sea" come first? Or to put it another way, how can a feeling arise from a sense-object if there is no initial recognition of that sense-object?
Unfortunately the suttas don't say much about what perception ( sanna ) actually involves, beyond the example of say recognising a colour. :thinking:

Maybe you can try to reflect the moment when your naughty classmate place a beautiful nail on your chair waiting for you to sit, if not because of feeling why did people immediately lift up their butt when the mind can barely recognize anything.

Yet if you are referring to inner feelings which arise due to specific mental state then one needs to consider the process of chemical reaction which may take sometime except for neutral feelings.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:39 pm

There's no adding of aggregates; any experience is already comprised of them, with certain exceptions for certain aggregates at certain times (jhana, formless states, etc.). And, without any aggregates, there is no experiencing. The 'something added' is upadana, not the aggregate itself.

Perceives and feels are conjoined with consciousness-of, as I experience it, such that I can make it seem as though one or the other came first by a hairs-breadth simply because that's the one I choose to parse first with awareness. But they're co-emergent, those three, at any sense gate.

Then comes thinks about, which manas is up to, and then the problematic 'objectifies and proliferates', there being a suitable basis.

With respect to the kamaguna, conscious engagement is necessary prior to there being talk of "aware of". For example, if someone says my name but I don't hear them, there was no conscious engagement and therefore no contact at the ear sense sphere. Suddenly hearing my name means that there was conscious engagement, whereupon we can now speak of contact and its concomitant consciousness-of.

Presumably, unconscious & conscious processes at manas are also amenable to this sort of description.

At any time, a snapshot of one's state of mind and prevailing impulses is 'citta'.

---

There's no problem if you don't ossify the terms, instead remembering that experiential spectra are being described, not a pile of bricks being laid end to end.
    "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: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Unrul3r » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:57 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Yes, see: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


:anjali:
Mike


Good quote, though from an experiential point of view I still struggle with the order here, ie perception following feeling. It feels more like the perception happens first, followed by a feeling based on that perception. So for example if I have a pleasant mental feeling associated with looking at the sea, doesn't the perception of "sea" come first? Or to put it another way, how can a feeling arise from a sense-object if there is no initial recognition of that sense-object?
Unfortunately the suttas don't say much about what perception ( sanna ) actually involves, beyond the example of say recognising a colour. :thinking:


Those are good questions, Spiny. I also had them for quite a long time. There are some good answers here already, but I'll add one more.

Here's the answer I found: The phenomenon that you are describing is entering the emotional stage (saṅkhāra), where you feel big or small emotions after perceiving an object incorrectly. For example, perceiving danger were there is none, will generate fear. Or, from your example, perceiving the sea as beautiful, will generate a pleasant mental feeling.

On the other hand, the vedanā is instantaneous from contact, you don't even need to recognize (That's why in the suttas it is mentioned a lot of times as [organ]samphassajā vedanā). If you have your eyes functioning, there is a world around you & are conscious of sight, you are feeling something through the eyes. For example, if you enter a room with very bright light after you've been in a dark place, your eyes will hurt. Or, if you enter a room with loud noise after being in a silent space, it will hurt your ears. Or the inverse, if you enter a quiet space after being in a room with loud noise, you'll feel relief.
You don't even need to recognize the sound. But when you recognize the loud noise as unpleasant, then it can generate aversive saṅkhāras.

A good way to understand this distinction from the suttas is that: vedanā is [organ]samphassajā & saṅkhāras is [object]sañcetanā. In other words, the emotion depends on the personal perception (attasaññā) of the object, the feeling depends on the impersonal event of being conscious through the organ. If the perception is impersonal (anattasaññā), the emotion doesn't arise.

I hope this helps with that distinction.

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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:14 pm

Hi everyone,

This third factor is translated as 'engagement' by Bhikkhu Bodhi and by Ven. Thanissaro.

According to D.W.Evans (1992) the Pali expression means something like 'consent to sustenance.'

Sustenance suggests one of the nutriments but which one?

Whatever it is, if it is not present, then there is no arising of consciousness, which means 'no coming together of these three', which in turn means no contact.

This must create a problem for those who think that 'eye-consciousness' means seeing. Of course, there is already a word for 'seeing' in Pali, and there is no need to invent a new one.

To a native Pali speaker it would be obvious that 'eye-consciousness' does not mean seeing. It would sound strange, like I would, if I started talking about 'eye-knowing.'

Besides, consciousness is said to cease, and also the six-bases. The sankhara's are said to construct form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness. Enlightenment is the stopping of all sankhara's, volitional constructive activities.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:22 pm

Hi Unrul3r,
Unrul3r wrote:....
On the other hand, the vedanā is instantaneous from contact, you don't even need to recognize (That's why in the suttas it is mentioned a lot of times as [organ]samphassajā vedanā). If you have your eyes functioning, there is a world around you & are conscious of sight, you are feeling something through the eyes. For example, if you enter a room with very bright light after you've been in a dark place, your eyes will hurt. Or, if you enter a room with loud noise after being in a silent space, it will hurt your ears. Or the inverse, if you enter a quiet space after being in a room with loud noise, you'll feel relief.
You don't even need to recognize the sound. But when you recognize the loud noise as unpleasant, then it can generate aversive saṅkhāras.
...

Thanks, that's a very good, detailed, explanation.

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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Unrul3r » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:51 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Unrul3r,
Unrul3r wrote:....
On the other hand, the vedanā is instantaneous from contact, you don't even need to recognize (That's why in the suttas it is mentioned a lot of times as [organ]samphassajā vedanā). If you have your eyes functioning, there is a world around you & are conscious of sight, you are feeling something through the eyes. For example, if you enter a room with very bright light after you've been in a dark place, your eyes will hurt. Or, if you enter a room with loud noise after being in a silent space, it will hurt your ears. Or the inverse, if you enter a quiet space after being in a room with loud noise, you'll feel relief.
You don't even need to recognize the sound. But when you recognize the loud noise as unpleasant, then it can generate aversive saṅkhāras.
...

Thanks, that's a very good, detailed, explanation.

:anjali:
Mike


You're welcome, Mike. I suspect that is why babies cry when they come out of the womb. So many new inbound stimulus that hurt & they also aren't recognizable.

Here's a nice sutta that I think also makes that point clear:
SN 35.236 wrote:“Bhikkhus, when there are hands, picking up and putting down are discerned. When there are feet, coming and going are discerned. When there are limbs, bending and stretching are discerned. When there is the belly, hunger and thirst are discerned.

“So too, bhikkhus, when there is the eye, pleasure and pain arise internally with eye-contact as condition. When there is the ear, pleasure and pain arise internally with ear-contact as condition…. When there is the mind, pleasure and pain arise internally with mind-contact as condition.

“When, bhikkhus, there are no hands, picking up and putting down are not discerned. When there are no feet, coming and going are not discerned. When there are no limbs, bending and stretching are not discerned. When there is no belly, hunger and thirst are not discerned.

“So too, bhikkhus, when there is no eye, no pleasure and pain arise internally with eye-contact as condition. When there is no ear, no pleasure and pain arise internally with ear-contact as condition…. When there is no mind, no pleasure and pain arise internally with mind-contact as condition.”


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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby LXNDR » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Unrul3r,
Unrul3r wrote:....
On the other hand, the vedanā is instantaneous from contact, you don't even need to recognize (That's why in the suttas it is mentioned a lot of times as [organ]samphassajā vedanā). If you have your eyes functioning, there is a world around you & are conscious of sight, you are feeling something through the eyes. For example, if you enter a room with very bright light after you've been in a dark place, your eyes will hurt. Or, if you enter a room with loud noise after being in a silent space, it will hurt your ears. Or the inverse, if you enter a quiet space after being in a room with loud noise, you'll feel relief.
You don't even need to recognize the sound. But when you recognize the loud noise as unpleasant, then it can generate aversive saṅkhāras.
...

Thanks, that's a very good, detailed, explanation.

:anjali:
Mike


exactly as the Buddha exclaimed in the Sakkara Sutta

Sakkāra Sutta : Veneration (Ud. 2.4) wrote:
...the wanderers of other sects, unable to stand the veneration given to the Blessed One and the community of monks, on seeing monks in village or wilderness, insult, revile, irritate, & harass them with discourteous, abusive language."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

When in contact with pleasure or pain
in village or wilderness,
don't take it as yours or as others'.
Contacts make contact
dependent on a sense of acquisition.
Where there's no sense of acquisition,
contacts would make contact
with what?
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:57 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is a passage which explains that all twelve items in Dependent Origination have ceased for an arahant, from SN 12.51 BB translation.

"What do you think, bhikkhus, can a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed generate a meritorious volitional formation, or a demeritorious volitional formation, or an imperturbable volitional formation?"

"No, venerable sir."

"When there are utterly no volitional formations, with the cessation of volitional formations, would consciousness be discerned?"

"No, venerable sir."

"When there is utterly no consciousness, with the cessation of consciousness, would name-and-form be discerned?"

"No, venerable sir."

"When there is utterly no name-and-form ... no six sense bases ... no contact ... no feeling ... no no craving ... no clinging ... no existence ... no birth, with the cessation of birth, would aging-and-death be discerned?"

"No, venerable sir."

Good, good, bhikkhus! It is exactly so and not otherwise!
Place faith in me about this, bhikkhus, resolve on this. Be free from perplexity and doubt about this. Just this is the end of suffering.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:33 am

Unrul3r wrote:Here's the answer I found: The phenomenon that you are describing is entering the emotional stage (saṅkhāra), where you feel big or small emotions after perceiving an object incorrectly. For example, perceiving danger were there is none, will generate fear. Or, from your example, perceiving the sea as beautiful, will generate a pleasant mental feeling.

On the other hand, the vedanā is instantaneous from contact, you don't even need to recognize (That's why in the suttas it is mentioned a lot of times as [organ]samphassajā vedanā). If you have your eyes functioning, there is a world around you & are conscious of sight, you are feeling something through the eyes. For example, if you enter a room with very bright light after you've been in a dark place, your eyes will hurt. Or, if you enter a room with loud noise after being in a silent space, it will hurt your ears. Or the inverse, if you enter a quiet space after being in a room with loud noise, you'll feel relief.
You don't even need to recognize the sound. But when you recognize the loud noise as unpleasant, then it can generate aversive saṅkhāras.


Thanks, that's a good explanation, particularly the distinction between immediate vedana and subsequent sankhara. Is this related to the distinction in the Arrow Sutta between bodily pain ( 1st dart ) and mental anguish ( 2nd dart)?

Sorry to go off topic, Vincent!
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:37 am

vinasp wrote: Here is a passage which explains that all twelve items in Dependent Origination have ceased for an arahant, from SN 12.51 BB translation.
"When there are utterly no volitional formations, with the cessation of volitional formations, would consciousness be discerned?"


So are you reading into this that an Arahant has no volitional formations whatsoever? No activity "in" the sankhara aggregate atall?
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:43 am

vinasp wrote: MN 18 said:-"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact."

But MN 28.27 introduces a third factor which is required before eye-consciousness can arise:

"If internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range, but there is no corresponding [conscious] engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding class of consciousness." [BB, MLDB, MN 28]

Is this a contradiction in the teachings?
Or is there an explanation for this?


I'm not sure, but it does seem to blur the distinction between consciousness and contact. Does it describe a situation where one is looking at something but not really seeing it due to being wrapped up in thoughts or whatever?
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:52 am

Since my view is that the aggregates are just ways of classification, I'd say the Arahant still can be analysed that way. And see the sutta I quoted here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 75#p291038

But there are other interpretations, as you can see there, also.

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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby LXNDR » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
vinasp wrote: Here is a passage which explains that all twelve items in Dependent Origination have ceased for an arahant, from SN 12.51 BB translation.
"When there are utterly no volitional formations, with the cessation of volitional formations, would consciousness be discerned?"


So are you reading into this that an Arahant has no volitional formations whatsoever? No activity "in" the sankhara aggregate atall?


apology for answering for vinasp

as far as i understand it, were an arahant to produce new sankharas, his cycle of rebirths would continue which effectively wouldn't mean that nibbana is the end

that unless my understanding is refuted in the Canon
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby SarathW » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:18 am

Hi Lxnder
Let alone Arahant, not even a Sotapana will degenerate to a Pruthujana again.
Once you enter the stream there is no return, that is the beauty of it.
That is why we all should strive to attain Sotapana at least.
:)
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