Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

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Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Stuart » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:32 pm

Bhantes :bow: / All :anjali: ,

I believe that I may be mistaken on a fundamental point, and I was wondering if someone could clarify this for me.

Contained within a post in another topic - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3740#p54476 - virgo stated:

Also, once panna is developed in the citta it doesn't really regress. Although one may not call oneself a Buddhist, and although one may be born outside the time of a Buddhasasana, panna will still arise in the citta if it has been developed. The greater the panna is, the more natural the practice of the other Perfections will be, since panna it leads and naturally brings about the practice of the other Perfections. Therefore, if one develops some wisdom in ones practice under a Buddha, you will continue to develop the Perfections, very slowly, even when born outside of the dispensation of a Buddha.


This was said in reference to panna attained before stream entry.

There seemed to be no disagreement on this point from the other contributors. I think that there even seemed to be some agreement of this view throughout the discussion (I must admit that I have only got to page 12! so far).

I have thought "for a long time" ;) that the teaching was that - all attainments prior to the attainment of stream entry were subject to decay. However the above statement from virgo seems to imply that panna (before stream entry) is different to other attainments and accumulates without decay.

I think that I may have misunderstood what was being said. Can you help?

Stuart
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:43 am

Stuart wrote:Bhantes :bow: / All :anjali: ,

I believe that I may be mistaken on a fundamental point, and I was wondering if someone could clarify this for me.

Contained within a post in another topic - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3740#p54476 - virgo stated:

Also, once panna is developed in the citta it doesn't really regress. Although one may not call oneself a Buddhist, and although one may be born outside the time of a Buddhasasana, panna will still arise in the citta if it has been developed. The greater the panna is, the more natural the practice of the other Perfections will be, since panna it leads and naturally brings about the practice of the other Perfections. Therefore, if one develops some wisdom in ones practice under a Buddha, you will continue to develop the Perfections, very slowly, even when born outside of the dispensation of a Buddha.


This was said in reference to panna attained before stream entry.

There seemed to be no disagreement on this point from the other contributors. I think that there even seemed to be some agreement of this view throughout the discussion (I must admit that I have only got to page 12! so far).

I have thought "for a long time" ;) that the teaching was that - all attainments prior to the attainment of stream entry were subject to decay. However the above statement from virgo seems to imply that panna (before stream entry) is different to other attainments and accumulates without decay.

I think that I may have misunderstood what was being said. Can you help?

Stuart
xxx

Greetings Stuart,

That is an excellent question. Panna is a a cetasika, or a mental factor that arises along with a citta. There are various mental factors that arise along with citta and they arise and pass again and again. There must be citta arising for cetasika to arise because cetasikas actually accompany cittas. Panna, as a cetasika, is a paramattha dhamma or ultimate reality. It arises and passes away extremely, extremely quickly. Each citta is influenced by the prior citta. Therefore, when there are many moments of dosa, aversion, for example, this "accumulates" in the citta and it can be said that dosa will then arise quickly or strongly because many moments of it are accumulated strongly within the citta. The citta is kind of like a storage file. This is how perception of past events can occur-- they are simply perceptions based on what is stored in the citta.

Panna can accumulate in citta. It may arise from time to time yet it is not the same panna. There are separate moments of panna that arise and fall just as quick as they come. With each time, however, panna can become keener because of the way it influences the subsequent cittas. Again, these cittas too are also impermanent realities that arise and fall again and again but they do influence each other. It is not unlike how the rupa of earth element arises again and again in a tree. When we touch a tree, it seems that we touch the same thing for a few seconds as we touch it. But in reality, hardness, the characteristic of earth element, arises and passes away again and again, extremely fast, from moment to moment, each one being conditioned, in part, by the last arising of the earth element.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:54 am

Hi Kevin

How does panna 'accumulate' in citta when the cetasika of panna rises and falls as quickly as they come, and cittas "arises and passes away extremely, extremely quickly."
The citta is kind of like a storage file.
Are you suggesting that citta is a de-facto atman?

I would appreciate quotations and citations from relevant scriptural sources (Tipitaka and/or early commentaries) that support your contention.
kind regards

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:59 am

Ben wrote:Hi Kevin

How does panna 'accumulate' in citta when the cetasika of panna rises and falls as quickly as they come, and cittas "arises and passes away extremely, extremely quickly."
The citta is kind of like a storage file.
Are you suggesting that citta is a de-facto atman?

Ben

Hi Ben,

Of course not. Each citta arsies and passes away extremely quickly and is not-self and is uncontrollable, yet it influences the next citta that arises and passes away, which is connected with it. That is how there appears to be a self, but there is not. Each one is definitely a separate moment of mind. Thus, they are not atman (a self) because even in an Arahant who has not passed into parinibbana, citta still continually arise again and again (haha-- not that the Arahant had a self before he removed the taints of course).

I will see if I can find some quotations form the Abhidhamma.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:10 am

Hi Stuart,

For some Abhidhamma explanation you might see my post here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... ead#p54324

Actually, I'll repost the link:
Abhidhamma Studies by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhistudy.pdf

In Chapter 4, Page 111
Appendix: The omission of memory in the list

Metta
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:30 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Of course not. Each citta arsies and passes away extremely quickly and is not-self and is uncontrollable, yet it influences the next citta that arises and passes away, which is connected with it. That is how there appears to be a self, but there is not. Each one is definitely a separate moment of mind. Thus, they are not atman (a self) because even in an Arahant who has not passed into parinibbana, citta still continually arise again and again (haha-- not that the Arahant had a self before he removed the taints of course).


That explains well that you're endorsing anatta over atman, but still doesn't seem to address how "panna can accumulate in citta." On face value, this arising and passing away you describe doesn't seem consistent with the notion of 'accumulation', which would seem to be more a case of 'arising and maintaining' or 'arising and growing'.

Virgo wrote:I will see if I can find some quotations form the Abhidhamma.


If you have anything to address how "panna can accumulate in citta" that would be appreciated.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby ground » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:04 am

If there are many illusions to remove each removal of an illusion may be said to be "added" to the "preceding" removal of another illusion. In that sense one may say there is an "accumulation of removals", right?
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:30 am

Hi Retro,

I believe you may be misunderstanding what Virgo is getting at:
retrofuturist wrote:If you have anything to address how "panna can accumulate in citta" that would be appreciated.

Here "citta" is plural.
Virgo wrote: Each citta arsies and passes away extremely quickly and is not-self and is uncontrollable, yet it influences the next citta that arises and passes away, which is connected with it...

As I understand it, the same sort of explanation applies to memory. Each citta influences subsequent citta (plural). This is explained better than I can do in a few words in books such as the one I mentioned in my post above.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:21 am

Greetings Mike,

I was thinking of it in the context Virgo referred to in the OP's quote...

Virgo wrote:Also, once panna is developed in the citta it doesn't really regress. Although one may not call oneself a Buddhist, and although one may be born outside the time of a Buddhasasana, panna will still arise in the citta if it has been developed. The greater the panna is, the more natural the practice of the other Perfections will be, since panna it leads and naturally brings about the practice of the other Perfections. Therefore, if one develops some wisdom in ones practice under a Buddha, you will continue to develop the Perfections, very slowly, even when born outside of the dispensation of a Buddha


That being so, this panna seems to be somehow stored, protected and accumulated by that definition... as if some kind of storehouse-consciousness (ālayavijñāna) is at play.

According to Walpola Rahula, all the elements of the Yogacara storehouse-consciousness [ālayavijñāna ] are already found in the Pali Canon. He writes that the three layers of the mind (citta, manas, and vijnana) as presented by Asanga are also used in the Pali Canon: "Thus we can see that Vijnana represents the simple reaction or response of the sense organs when they come in contact with external objects. This is the uppermost or superficial aspect or layer of the Vijnanaskanda. Manas represents the aspect of its mental functioning, thinking, reasoning, conceiving ideas, etc. Citta which is here called Alayavijnana, represents the deepest, finest and subtlest aspect or layer of the Aggregate of consciousness. It contains all the traces or impressions of the past actions and all good and bad future possibilities.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

The notion that panna can be added to and not lost is one I've never been exposed to previously within Buddhism, so I'm interested to see what is said in relation to it. It reminds me a little of what a friend of mine (who is of the Rigveda sect of Hinduism) says about how nirvana is attained under the Rigveda schema... through the eventual ongoing collection of wisdom and good deeds, one rises through the various castes and realms, culminating in nirvana (yet always on this upward trajectory)... though I may be mistaken, it was a conversation on a noisy train over 12 months ago.

Hence, I guess, my interest in knowing how this accumulation of panna is facilitated and supported in a Theravada sense.

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: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:30 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Hence, I guess, my interest in knowing how this accumulation of panna is facilitated and supported in a Theravada sense.

Anything that continues over time, such as memory, has the same "problem". Panna is just one particular case. My understanding is that the Theravada Abhidhamma doesn't make use of a "storehouse" for memory or development of skills, but that each citta conditions subsequent cittas.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby altar » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:25 pm

While this isn't an explanation of the mechanism behind how it works, which seems to be what some people are asking for here, the idea that there is some kind of "accumulated" panna does seem possible to me and there is even a sutta that supports it. It is not the main point of the sutta, actually the dangers of the reverse, the loss of panna, is the point, but let me see if I can find it online. I believe I found it in the AN anthology of Nyanaponika. So it seems panna can be accumulated, but can still be lost, not quite like Retro understood. Let me see if I can find the sutta. It's in google books so I'll re-type it here, it's short. In the Chapter of the Ones.
"7. The Highest Gain
Insignificant, O monks, is the loss of relatives, wealth and fame; the loss of wisdom is the greatest loss.
Insignificant, O monks, is the increase of relatives, wealth and fame; increase of wisdom is the highest gain.
Therefore, O monks, you should train yourselves thus: "We will grow in the increase of wisdom." Thus, O monks, should you train yourselves. (i, viii, 6-10)"
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Stuart » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:21 pm

Virgo wrote:Greetings Stuart,

That is an excellent question. Panna is a a cetasika, or a mental factor that arises along with a citta. There are various mental factors that arise along with citta and they arise and pass again and again. There must be citta arising for cetasika to arise because cetasikas actually accompany cittas. Panna, as a cetasika, is a paramattha dhamma or ultimate reality. It arises and passes away extremely, extremely quickly. Each citta is influenced by the prior citta. Therefore, when there are many moments of dosa, aversion, for example, this "accumulates" in the citta and it can be said that dosa will then arise quickly or strongly because many moments of it are accumulated strongly within the citta. The citta is kind of like a storage file. This is how perception of past events can occur-- they are simply perceptions based on what is stored in the citta.

Panna can accumulate in citta. It may arise from time to time yet it is not the same panna. There are separate moments of panna that arise and fall just as quick as they come. With each time, however, panna can become keener because of the way it influences the subsequent cittas. Again, these cittas too are also impermanent realities that arise and fall again and again but they do influence each other. It is not unlike how the rupa of earth element arises again and again in a tree. When we touch a tree, it seems that we touch the same thing for a few seconds as we touch it. But in reality, hardness, the characteristic of earth element, arises and passes away again and again, extremely fast, from moment to moment, each one being conditioned, in part, by the last arising of the earth element.

Kevi


mikenz66 wrote:Hi Retro,

I believe you may be misunderstanding what Virgo is getting at:
retrofuturist wrote:If you have anything to address how "panna can accumulate in citta" that would be appreciated.

Here "citta" is plural.
Virgo wrote: Each citta arsies and passes away extremely quickly and is not-self and is uncontrollable, yet it influences the next citta that arises and passes away, which is connected with it...

As I understand it, the same sort of explanation applies to memory. Each citta influences subsequent citta (plural). This is explained better than I can do in a few words in books such as the one I mentioned in my post above.

Mike

Thanks Kevin / Mike :anjali: ,

and thank-you again Mike for your links - I am not a 'natural' when trying to understand the Abhidhamma :embarassed:, but I'll give it a good go.

The main problem that I had was the first line from the quote by virgo (Kevin) in my original post (the rest of the quote was an expansion on this one line) which read:
Virgo wrote:Also, once panna is developed in the citta it doesn't really regress.


If we are saying that:

1. it is like the hardness of a tree which is sustained for a period of time, but which I can personally verify certainly does regress at a point in the future.

or

2. it is like memory, which again is sustained for a period of time, but which I can again personally verify does regress at a point in the future.

then I am happy and my understanding coincides with yours.

This is like any other skill or attainment. In this life, I can certainly learn to play the guitar and maintain that skill for the duration of my life - maybe there will even be an inclination in my next life to play guitar (if I make it into the human realm) - but 100,000,000 life times in the hell realms? Maybe, I would have lost the skill. Likewise with panna ..... until stream entry of course.

Stuart
xxx
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Stuart » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:32 pm

TMingyur wrote:If there are many illusions to remove each removal of an illusion may be said to be "added" to the "preceding" removal of another illusion. In that sense one may say there is an "accumulation of removals", right?


TMingyur :anjali:

Whether this is said in a positive way 'accumulation of wisdom' or a negative way 'removal of delusion', the point remains the same .....

Is it a permanent uprooting of delusion, which gives rise to stream entry or is it a temporary weeding of delusion that will need to be done again and again as those very same weeds of delusion once again spring up?

Stuart
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Stuart » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:37 pm

altar wrote:"7. The Highest Gain
Insignificant, O monks, is the loss of relatives, wealth and fame; the loss of wisdom is the greatest loss.
Insignificant, O monks, is the increase of relatives, wealth and fame; increase of wisdom is the highest gain.
Therefore, O monks, you should train yourselves thus: "We will grow in the increase of wisdom." Thus, O monks, should you train yourselves. (i, viii, 6-10)"


Thank-you altar :anjali:

This is my understanding - "the loss of wisdom is the greatest loss"

Stuart
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:46 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Of course not. Each citta arsies and passes away extremely quickly and is not-self and is uncontrollable, yet it influences the next citta that arises and passes away, which is connected with it. That is how there appears to be a self, but there is not. Each one is definitely a separate moment of mind. Thus, they are not atman (a self) because even in an Arahant who has not passed into parinibbana, citta still continually arise again and again (haha-- not that the Arahant had a self before he removed the taints of course).


That explains well that you're endorsing atman, but still doesn't seem to address how "panna can accumulate in citta." On face value, this arising and passing away you describe doesn't seem consistent with the notion of 'accumulation', which would seem to be more a case of 'arising and maintaining' or 'arising and

Sorry Retro, did you mean to say "That explains well that you're endorsing atman", or "That explains well that you're not endorsing atman"? ... Just to clarify.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:57 pm

Stuart wrote:2. it is like memory, which again is sustained for a period of time, but which I can again personally verify does regress at a point in the future.



Hello Stuart,

Yes, it is like your second option, as far as i understand.
Stuart wrote:This is like any other skill or attainment. In this life, I can certainly learn to play the guitar and maintain that skill for the duration of my life - maybe there will even be an inclination in my next life to play guitar (if I make it into the human realm) - but 100,000,000 life times in the hell realms? Maybe, I would have lost the skill. Likewise with panna ..... until stream entry of course.

Stuart
xxx

One may develop some degree of panna at some point (it takes it a long time for it to be very well developed and pass through the stages of insight), but then if one were to be in the lower realms for an extremely long time, for example, , panna would probably not develop significantly at that time, I don't think. However, the accumulation would still remain. The difference is that over time, ones accumulations of self-view, lobha, and dosa, and so on, can also grow and increase. This doesn't mean the wisdom developed is gone, from what I understand, but that there are other accumulations at play.

Devedatta, for example, the Buddha's cousin who created a schism in the Sangha and tried to turn some of the Buddha's followers away from him, is now suffering in hell for a period of 100,000 great aeons, but will become a PaccekaBuddha during his first birth in the human realm after hell. This shows that he had accumulated a great, great deal of panna, even though he still had defilments, and that wisdom accumulation will not be lost in the citta even over 100,000 aeons in the Avicci hell realm.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:02 pm

Nina Van Gorkom writes:

"Different people react differently to what they experience, thus, different types of citta arise. What one person likes, another dislikes. We can also notice how different people are when they make or produce something. Even when two
people plan to make the same thing the result is quite different. For example, when two people make a painting of the same tree, the paintings are not at all the same. People have different talents and capacities; some people have no difficulty with their studies, whereas others are incapable of study. Cittas are beyond control; they have each their own conditions for their arising.

Why are people so different from one another? The reason is that they have different experiences in life and thus they accumulate different inclinations. When a child has been taught from his youth to be generous he accumulates generosity. People who are angry very often accumulate a great deal of anger. We all have accumulated different inclinations, tastes and skills.

Each citta which arises falls away completely and is succeeded by the next citta. How then can there be accumulations of experiences in life, accumulations of good and bad inclinations? The reason is that each citta which falls away is succeeded by the next citta. Our life is an uninterrupted series of cittas and each citta conditions the next citta and this again the next, and thus the past can condition the present. It is a fact that our good cittas and bad cittas in the past
condition our inclinations today. Thus, good and bad inclinations are accumulated.

We all have accumulated many impure inclinations and defilements (in Pali:kilesa). Kilesa is for instance greed (lobha), anger (dosa) and ignorance (moha). There are different degrees of defilements: there are subtle defilements or latent tendencies, medium defilements and gross defilements. Subtle defilements do not appear with the citta, but they are latent tendencies which are accumulated in the citta. At the time we are asleep and not dreaming there are no akusala cittas but there are unwholesome latent tendencies. When we wake up akusala cittas arise again. How could they appear if there were not in each citta accumulated unwholesome latent tendencies? Even when the citta is not akusala there are unwholesome latent tendencies so long as they have not been eradicated by wisdom." - Abhidhamma in Daily Life (http://www.zolag.co.uk/ebook.html)
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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:05 pm

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Sorry Retro, did you mean to say "That explains well that you're endorsing atman", or "That explains well that you're not endorsing atman"? ... Just to clarify.


Not endorsing atman.

Sorry for any confusion.

I'll go back and correct it.

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: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby Virgo » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:20 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Sorry Retro, did you mean to say "That explains well that you're endorsing atman", or "That explains well that you're not endorsing atman"? ... Just to clarify.


Not endorsing atman.

Sorry for any confusion.

I'll go back and correct it.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thanks Retro.

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Re: Panna Gained / Panna Lost?

Postby ground » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:57 am

Stuart wrote:
TMingyur wrote:If there are many illusions to remove each removal of an illusion may be said to be "added" to the "preceding" removal of another illusion. In that sense one may say there is an "accumulation of removals", right?


TMingyur :anjali:

Whether this is said in a positive way 'accumulation of wisdom' or a negative way 'removal of delusion', the point remains the same .....

Is it a permanent uprooting of delusion, which gives rise to stream entry or is it a temporary weeding of delusion that will need to be done again and again as those very same weeds of delusion once again spring up?

Stuart
xxx



Stuart

Okay. I will participate in these speculations ;)
From the perspective of the subject it may be called "permanent" if the "depth" of insight that entailed a "removal" exceded a "certain limit" (sorry for the indefiniteness) and if not then it is not permanent but fluctuating, i.e. impermanent.
From the perspective of an observer of this subject the "removal" may never be called "permanent" since this observer may say that when this subject dies, i.e. has disappeared, then the frame of reference of "removal" has disappeared too and therefore "removal" has disappeared and what disappears cannot be called "permanent".

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