Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:40 pm

vinasp wrote:. Suppose that I were a Buddhist monk living about 500 years after the time of the Buddha. The Abhidhamma has developed a doctrine of 'momentariness', meaning at first, the shortest perceptible moment. But this then gets extended to 'micro-moments' of infinitesimal duration which are merely fanciful speculation.
This then leads to the idea that the 'lifetime' of a being is, in the ultimate sense, just one of these micro-moments. So there are millions of such 'lifetimes' in a single day. It follows from this that reaching enlightenment will require millions of 'lifetimes'. This is lifetimes understood in the ultimate sense.
Now, if I, as a monk, am 'initiated' into this ultimate meaning of 'lifetime', and I say to a worldling that "It takes millions of lifetimes to reach enlightenment", how is the worldling going to understand what I have said? The poor worldling has no alternative but to take 'lifetime' in the conventional sense.
A bit of information here: 'Momentariness' was introduced into the Theravada by Buddhaghosa, 5th cent CE. It is not part of the Abhidhamma Pitkaka texts, which means it is also not part of the pre-Buddhaghosa Mahavihara tradition.
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This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby vinasp » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:A bit of information here: 'Momentariness' was introduced into the Theravada by Buddhaghosa, 5th cent CE. It is not part of the Abhidhamma Pitkaka texts, which means it is also not part of the pre-Buddhaghosa Mahavihara tradition.


Thanks tilt - that clears up some of my confusion about these later developments. Does that mean that 'momentariness' is not found in the Pali Canon?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:53 pm

vinasp wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A bit of information here: 'Momentariness' was introduced into the Theravada by Buddhaghosa, 5th cent CE. It is not part of the Abhidhamma Pitkaka texts, which means it is also not part of the pre-Buddhaghosa Mahavihara tradition.


Thanks tilt - that clears up some of my confusion about these later developments. Does that mean that 'momentariness' is not found in the Pali Canon?

Best wishes, Vincent.
It means momentariness is not found in the suttas, AND it is not found in the Adhidhamma Pitaka, And the atomistic take on the the notion of dhammas that goes along with momentariness is not found in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, which means that there was, via Buddhaghosa, a major shift in the Mahavihara tradition.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:56 am

Has anyone read Ven. Bodhisako's argument against the doctrine of flux? Essentially he put's forth the argument that this 'radical impermanence' or the idea of millions of moments of arising and passing away, is an introduced concept and a teaching not taught by the Buddha. He uses some logical argument, and quotes from the Suttas to back up his claim. He argues instead that impermanence refers simply to arising, enduring for a period, then passing away.

I would very much like to know your informed opinions on this piece of writing.

metta
Jack

edit: perhaps this belongs in it's own thread, rather than becoming yet another meta-discussion.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
vinasp wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A bit of information here: 'Momentariness' was introduced into the Theravada by Buddhaghosa, 5th cent CE. It is not part of the Abhidhamma Pitkaka texts, which means it is also not part of the pre-Buddhaghosa Mahavihara tradition.


Thanks tilt - that clears up some of my confusion about these later developments. Does that mean that 'momentariness' is not found in the Pali Canon?

Best wishes, Vincent.
It means momentariness is not found in the suttas, AND it is not found in the Adhidhamma Pitaka, And the atomistic take on the the notion of dhammas that goes along with momentariness is not found in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, which means that there was, via Buddhaghosa, a major shift in the Mahavihara tradition.


My understanding is that most of what Buddhaghosa wrote was from the older Sinhalese commentaries, he merely compiled these into the commentaries we have today. Some of those older commentaries are fairly early, others later. In addition, some very tiny amounts of what Buddhaghosa wrote were his "own opinion" so to speak.

Tilt, do you know if Buddhaghosa's use of "khana" (etc.) was from other earlier commentaries, or his own addition?

Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby robertk » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:14 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A bit of information here: 'Momentariness' was introduced into the Theravada by Buddhaghosa, 5th cent CE. It is not part of the Abhidhamma Pitkaka texts, which means it is also not part of the pre-Buddhaghosa Mahavihara tradition.

quote]It means momentariness is not found in the suttas, AND it is not found in the Adhidhamma Pitaka, And the atomistic take on the the notion of dhammas that goes along with momentariness is not found in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, which means that there was, via Buddhaghosa, a major shift in the Mahavihara tradition.




Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.



Lets go to the sutta pitaka just to dispell this idea. Notice the use of teh pali khane -moment

Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso
(Exposition of the Sutta of the Eightfold Mystery)

Translated by Andrew Olendzki.
Edited by mod to fix an incomplete link (TB): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html



1. "Life, personhood, pleasure and pain
- This is all that's bound together
In a single mental event
- A moment that quickly takes place.

2. Even for the devas who endure
For 84,000 thousand kalpas
- Even those do not live the same
For any two moments of the mind.

3. What ceases for one who is dead,
Or for one who's still standing here,
Are all just the same heaps
- Gone, never to connect again.

4. The states which are vanishing now,
And those which will vanish some day,
Have characteristics no different
Than those which have vanished before.

5. With no production there's no birth;
With "becoming" present, one exists.
When grasped with the highest meaning,
The world is dead when the mind stops.

6. There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

7. The vanishing of all these states
That have become is not welcome,
Though dissolving phenomena stand
Uncombined through primordial time.

8. From the unseen, things come and go.
Glimpsed only as they're passing by;
Like lightning flashing in the sky
- They arise and then pass away."

Kathaṃ ṭhitiparittatāya appakaṃ jīvitaṃ? Atīte [u]cittakkhaṇe[/u] jīvittha,
na jīvati na jīvissati; anāgate cittakkhaṇe jīvissati, na jīvati na jīvittha; paccuppanne cittakkhaṇe jīvati, na jīvittha na jīvissati.

“Jīvitaṃ attabhāvo ca, sukhadukkhā ca kevalā;
ekacittasamāyuttā, lahuso vattate khaṇo.
“Cullāsītisahassāni, kappā tiṭṭhanti ye marū;
natveva tepi jīvanti, dvīhi cittehi saṃyutā.
“Ye niruddhā marantassa, tiṭṭhamānassa vā idha;
sabbepi sadisā khandhā, gatā appaṭisandhikā.
“Anantarā ca ye bhaggā, ye ca bhaggā anāgatā;
tadantare niruddhānaṃ, vesamaṃ natthi lakkhaṇe.
“Anibbattena na jāto, paccuppannena jīvati;
cittabhaggā mato loko, paññatti paramatthiyā.
“Yathā ninnā pavattanti, chandena pariṇāmitā;
acchinnadhārā vattanti, saḷāyatanapaccayā.
“Anidhānagatā bhaggā, puñjo natthi anāgate;
nibbattā ye ca tiṭṭhanti, āragge sāsapūpamā.
“Nibbattānañca dhammānaṃ, bhaṅgo nesaṃ purakkhato;
palokadhammā tiṭṭhanti, purāṇehi amissitā.
“Adassanato āyanti, bhaṅgā gacchanti dassanaṃ;
vijjuppādova ākāse, uppajjanti vayanti cā”ti.

Evaṃ ṭhitiparittatāya appakaṃ jīvitaṃ.
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:09 pm

robertk wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.



Lets go to the sutta pitaka just to dispell this idea. Notice the use of teh pali khane -moment
But you have not gone to the Sutta Pitaka; You have gone to a commentary and to a poem that is anomalous to the text in which it finds it self. It is also a poem that is not consistent with the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, though it does find itself to be consistent with the notion of momentariness seemingly introduced by Buddhaghosa, which is not inconsistent with other schools of Buddhism.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:19 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Tilt, do you know if Buddhaghosa's use of "khana" (etc.) was from other earlier commentaries, or his own addition?

Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.
The only books I have at have that discuss this are from Kalupahana, but I know I have seen this mentioned/discussed elsewhere. It would be an interesting journal article looking at where and when momentariness (plus the atomistic notions of dhamma), not being part of the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts (not to mention definitely not part of the suttas), entered into the Theravada. Buddhaghosa is the very likely culprit, giving it an official stamp allowing for scholastic elaborations not found in the Pitaka texts, as in the quite late Abhidhammattha Sangaha.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:27 pm

Hi everyone,

For those interested in 'momentariness':

A review of "The Buddhist Doctrine of Momentariness: A Survey of the Origins and Early Phase of this Doctrine Up to Vasubandhu, By Alexander von Rospatt, 1995.

Link: http://www.buddhistethics.org/5/power981.htm

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:48 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

For those interested in 'momentariness':

A review of "The Buddhist Doctrine of Momentariness: A Survey of the Origins and Early Phase of this Doctrine Up to Vasubandhu, By Alexander von Rospatt, 1995.

Link: http://www.buddhistethics.org/5/power981.htm

Best wishes, Vincent.
Thanks.

From the review: He limits himself to an examination of early Buddhist sources, and concludes that momentariness is never mentioned until at least the time of Buddhaghosa.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:18 pm

Hi everyone,

An interesting document on momentariness can be downloaded in 'rtf' format from :
http://www.library.websangha.org/earlyb ... kkhana.rtf

The author is not specified, perhaps 'Termite' or 'Kester' would know?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:53 pm

tiltbillings wrote:But you have not gone to the Sutta Pitaka; You have gone to a commentary and to a poem that is anomalous to the text in which it finds it self. It is also a poem that is not consistent with the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, though it does find itself to be consistent with the notion of momentariness seemingly introduced by Buddhaghosa, which is not inconsistent with other schools of Buddhism.


Although it is technically assigned to the Sutta Pitaka, I agree.

An issue that has not thus far been addressed is that if these doctrinal points such as momentariness, and paramita development over many lifetimes as a requirement for Nibbana were in fact important doctrinal points, the chances are they would crop up in the four nikayas at least a few times.

Now the counter-argument has been put forth (at least as far as paramitas are concerned) that they do in fact crop up in the four nikayas, they're just not codified.

My response in the case of the paramitas, according to the four nikayas, these virtues are praiseworthy, to be developed, but no where is it said that one must neccessarily develop these 10 paramitas for a period of many lifetimes, let alone such an unfathomable period as 100,000 aeons. Furthermore, we must remember that the Dhamma is Well-expounded by the Blessed One. That means that everything the Buddha knew was necessary for reaching Nibbana, he proclaimed. It might pay to also remember that The Buddha was omnicscient with regards to the nature of samsara, if 100,000 aeons of parami development was necessary in order to attain the goal of arahantship, or momentariness was in fact a doctrine of the Dhamma, I am absolutely sure the Buddha would have taught it in the four nikayas. However, the fact that such a declaration is absent from the four nikayas, is a clear indication that such ideas are not the word of the Buddha.

Yet, Lord, I still had some little comfort in the thought that the Blessed One would not come to his final passing away until he had given some last instructions respecting the community of bhikkhus."

32. Thus spoke the Venerable Ananda, but the Blessed One answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back.

- DN. 16 Maha-paranibbana sutta.

These doctrinal points may adhere to the Theravada commentaries, or the so called 'Mahavihara' position, but that doesn't mean that the Buddha taught them.

On an interesting side note, there is a school of Dhamma heavily based upon the Visuddimagga called the 'Pa Auk' system. It's catchphrase if you will is 'Nibbana in this very life.' Here is what one of their well renowned teachers has to say on the issue:

Ven. Revata wrote:How many years did it take the Buddha to perfect his Pàramis? We can not estimate in years. It is said that it took him four incalculable and one hundred thousand eons to fulfill his Pàramis, his Perfections. How very long that is! Does it take that long to graduate? Is it very difficult?
Truly, it is not very difficult. Within this very life time we can achieve that goal, if we spend enough time and make the necessary effort.
But the Dhamma which was realized by our Buddha is very profound and another matter altogether. It required an incalculable amount of time, even for the Buddha, to perfect his Paramis and penetrate the Dhamma.


Emphasis mine.

metta
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:29 pm

Hello all,


The Buddha did say that
“"I don't envision a single thing that is as quick to reverse itself as the mind — so much so that there is no feasible simile for how quick to reverse itself it is."”
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī’ti. The Dhama is well proclaimed by the Exalted One, Can be realized here and now, not a matter of time, come and see , to be experienced by oneself, realizable by the wise


Also I suggest to read sutta such as DN14. The story of previous Buddhas. There is no mention of any vows, of lifetimes of parami development.

In MN81, 2 lives back, the future Buddha-to-be whas Jotipala. He was not a Buddhist, infact he hated Buddha Kassapa. He was dragged by his anagami friend to see the Buddha Kassapa. Eventually Jotipala was converted and became a monk under Buddha Kassapa. Then he was reborn in Tusita heaven after which he was reborn as Siddhartha Gotama.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ra-e1.html

I find it strange that a person striving on a Buddhist path for 4 Incalculable Aeons and 300,000 MK (if I remember correctly) being 99% complete, would refuse to see a Buddha, and would swear at him... It seems more probably that future Buddha Gotama started his Buddhist path under Buddha Kassapa and 2 lives later was Buddha Gotama.

IMHO.

With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby robertk » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.



Lets go to the sutta pitaka just to dispell this idea. Notice the use of teh pali khane -moment
But you have not gone to the Sutta Pitaka; You have gone to a commentary and to a poem that is anomalous to the text in which it finds it self. It is also a poem that is not consistent with the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, though it does find itself to be consistent with the notion of momentariness seemingly introduced by Buddhaghosa, which is not inconsistent with other schools of Buddhism.

Actually it is from the sutta Pitaka. Why do you think it is part of the Commentaries (atthakatha).

In what way do you find it inconsistent with Abhidhamma?
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:30 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:
Lets go to the sutta pitaka just to dispell this idea. Notice the use of teh pali khane -moment
But you have not gone to the Sutta Pitaka; You have gone to a commentary and to a poem that is anomalous to the text in which it finds it self. It is also a poem that is not consistent with the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, though it does find itself to be consistent with the notion of momentariness seemingly introduced by Buddhaghosa, which is not inconsistent with other schools of Buddhism.

Actually it is from the sutta Pitaka. Why do you think it is part of the Commentaries (atthakatha).
I know where it is from. That it is from the Sutta Pitaka still does not change the fact that it is from a commentary later than the suttas or that the nature of the the poem as an anomalous to the text in which it finds itself, by the admission of the translator.

In what way do you find it inconsistent with Abhidhamma?
Show us the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts that unambiguously, without being contested, promulgates the notion of momentariness as found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and its commentary which which talks about discrete mind moments and that they happen in the billions per the duration of a blink of an eye, which something in this thread you tried to use to dismiss mindfulness/vipassana practice: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3740&p=55708#p55708
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby pt1 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:30 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
Tilt, do you know if Buddhaghosa's use of "khana" (etc.) was from other earlier commentaries, or his own addition?

Of course, this question does not deny the fact that the notion of "khana" does not appear in any of the three Pitakas. Just maybe looking to fine point the sources.
The only books I have at have that discuss this are from Kalupahana, but I know I have seen this mentioned/discussed elsewhere.


Hi Venerable and tilt,

Are you specifically after khana, or more in the sense of cittakhana? Because I think I saw khana discussed in kathavatthu in the sense of duration of time, so can try and chase it down tomorrow in the library if you like.

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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby pt1 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:Show us the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts that unambiguously, without being contested, promulgates the notion of momentariness as found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and its commentary which which talks about discrete mind moments and that they happen in the billions per the duration of a blink of an eye


Hi tilt, could you please explain a bit what exactly do you see problematic when it comes to momentariness? So far I think I see two objections to it:

(1) the rate of change for cittas – i.e. billions of times per flash of lightning seems a bit too much. What would be a more reasonable rate of change in your opinion?

(2) the notion that the aggregates come together and then fall away completely in every moment of citta. Is there an interpretation you find more reasonable which would be more in line with sutta/abhidhamma in your opinion? Thanks.

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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:18 am

pt1 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Show us the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts that unambiguously, without being contested, promulgates the notion of momentariness as found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and its commentary which which talks about discrete mind moments and that they happen in the billions per the duration of a blink of an eye


Hi tilt, could you please explain a bit what exactly do you see problematic when it comes to momentariness? So far I think I see two objections to it:

(1) the rate of change for cittas – i.e. billions of times per flash of lightning seems a bit too much. What would be a more reasonable rate of change in your opinion?

(2) the notion that the aggregates come together and then fall away completely in every moment of citta. Is there an interpretation you find more reasonable which would be more in line with sutta/abhidhamma in your opinion? Thanks.

Best wishes
What do you think might be the problems? This is a good place to start:

The 'Mind Moment' - Cittakkhana

The theory of moments (khanavada) is a description of time. Time is said to be constituted of a series of discrete, indivisible units. Shwe Zan Aung describes it:

'We have said that time is the sine qua non of the succession of mental states. To every separate state of consciousness [citta]…there are three phases - genesis (uppada), development (thiti), and dissolution (bhanga). Each of these three phases occupies an infinitesimal division of time - an instant (khana)… and together form one mental moment (cittakkhana)…There are more than one billion of such thought moments in the time that would be occupied by the shortest flash of lightning…Seventeen thought moments are held to be requisite for a complete process of consciousness…Buddhists speak of matter as lasting seventeen thought moments.' (Compendium of Buddhist Philosophy, p 25)


Kalupahana explains where the idea came from:

'The empirically based description of consciousness in the early discourses…received a strictly analytical treatment in the Abhidhamma Pitaka…which attempted to determine what transpires in the 'stream of consciousness' (vinnanasota) at each moment…The analysis is very clearly presented in the first paragraph of the Dhammasangani, the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka: “At a time when a state of good consciousness belonging to the sensuous sphere has arisen…at that time are present contact, feeling etc”. This way of treating consciousness in terms of the moment of its occurrence is continued throughout the first chapter of the Dhammasangani…This compelled the late abhidhammikas to examine the nature of the time frame within which consciousness occurs. The direct consequence of this is the emergence of the “theory of moments”, a theory which is conspicuous by its absence in the early discourses, but which dominated the entire abhidhamma tradition in India, to be subsequently introduced into the Pali abhidhamma by the much-hailed commentator Buddhaghosa.' (Buddhist Encyclopaedia, Vol. IV, p239)


Kalupahana explains the serious problem the theory of moments created:

'The theory of impermanence in Buddhism has been generally misunderstood because it came to be confused with a later theory known as the 'doctrine of moments' (ksanavada/ kanavada) which was formulated from a logical analysis of the process of change (parinama) by the later Buddhist scholars belonging to the scholastic (abhidhamma) tradition.'(Buddhist Philosophy, p36)


For another description of the 'mind moments', I would like to refer to Bhikkhu Bodhi's A Comprehensive Guide to the Abhidhamma (1993). This is a work dedicated to the presentation of Bhikkhu Anuruddha's Abhidhammattha Sangaha, together with its two main Commentaries:

'What we ordinarily think of as consciousness is really a series of cittas, momentary acts of consciousness, occurring in such rapid succession that we cannot detect the discrete occasions, which are of diverse type.' (p 29)


'The lifespan of a citta is termed a “mind moment”. This is a temporal unit of such brief duration that according to the commentators, in the time that it takes for lightning to flash, or the eyes to blink, billions of mind moments can elapse. In turn, each mind moment consists of three sub-moments - arising (uppada), presence or standing (thiti), and dissolution (bhanga). Within the breadth of a mind moment, a citta arises, performs its momentary function, then dissolves.'


'Material phenomena also pass through the same three stages of arising, presence and dissolution; but it takes them seventeen mind moments to move from arising to perishing.'(p156)


'Many commentators take the presence moment to be implied by the Buddha's statement: “There are three conditioned characteristics of the conditioned: arising, passing away, and the alteration of that which stands.” (Tinimani bhikkhave sankhatassa sankhatalakkhanani katamani tihi uppado pannayati vayo pannayati thitassa annathattam pannayati) (A.3: 47/i, 152). Here the presence moment is identified with the 'alteration of that which stands.' (p 156)


So although the Buddha has clearly indicated that there is arising, there is ceasing and there is alteration in that which stands, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha:

for 'arising', reads 'a moment of arising';

for 'ceasing' reads 'a moment of ceasing';

for 'the alteration of that which stands' reads 'between the moment of arising and the moment of ceasing, there is a moment of presence.'

Furthermore, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha states that these three moments altogether last for a length of time called a 'mind moment'.


These views don't occur in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, but seem to first occur at the time Ven Buddhaghosa wrote the Visuddhimagga (Vis XIV 189). Kalupahana agrees with this, and says:

'Post-Buddhaghosa Theravada refers to three moments, nascent (uppada), static (thiti), and cessant (vaya). The Sautrantikas, on the other hand, accepted two moments only, the nascent (uppada) and cessant (vaya), and rejected the static moment in the hope of being more faithful to the theory of impermanence in early Buddhism.' (Buddhist Philosophy, p100)


The Buddha was not however, explaining a moment of arising and a moment of ceasing, but the phenomenon of arising and the phenomenon of ceasing. Both these phenomena, together with 'the alteration of that which stands' are 'apparent here-and-now' (sanditthiko) as well as 'known by the wise for themselves' (paccattham veditabbo vinnuhiti). The 'moment of arising' and 'moment of ceasing' are however, in Kalupahana's words, the 'results of logical analysis'.


That the Buddha has rejected the view that things exist, as well as the view that things do not exist is made clear in the Kaccana Sutta:

'This world Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality - upon the notion of existence and of non-existence (atthitanceva natthitanca). But for one who sees the origin of the world (lokasamudayo) as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world (ya loke natthita sa na hoti). And for one who sees the cessation of the world (lokanirodham) as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world (loke atthita sa na hoti)…. “All exists”, Kaccana, this is one extreme. “All does not exist”, this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle.' (The Connected Discourses of the Buddha Vol. 1, p544)


If the abhidhammikas had taken their model to its ultimate conclusion, then just like the Buddha, they would have ended up rejecting views of existence and non-existence. Having divided time into mind moments, why did it not occur to them that the so-called mind moments could also be sub-divided? If this idea had occurred to them, they would have seen that all time could be divided time into past and future. Therefore, there should be no present moment at all. This idea, however strange it seems, would have led them to reject the view of existence.


However, they could not then adopt the view that nothing exists, because their senses would be telling them otherwise.


If the rejection of these two views left them in a state of loss and bewilderment, perhaps they could have called to mind the Buddha's words to Vaccha:

'You ought to be at a loss, Vaccha. You ought to be bewildered. For Vaccha, this Dhamma is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful, excellent, beyond dialectic, subtle, intelligible to the wise.'

(Gambhiro h'ayam…dhammo duddaso duranubodho santo panito atakkavacaro nipuno panditavedaniyo).

Atakkavacaro means 'beyond logic'. (M 1 486 Tr. IBH)

http://www.library.websangha.org/earlyb ... kkhana.rtf
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby appicchato » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:39 am

pt1 wrote:Are you specifically after khana, or more in the sense of cittakhana? Because I think I saw khana discussed in kathavatthu in the sense of duration of time, so can try and chase it down tomorrow in the library if you like.

Lots of choices here:...http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=kathavatthu&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 :reading:
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Provenance of the notion of momentariness in the Theravada

Postby robertk » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:51 am

tiltbillings wrote:I know where it is from. That it is from the Sutta Pitaka still does not change the fact that it is from a commentary later than the suttas or that the nature of the the poem as an anomalous to the text in which it finds itself, by the admission of the translator.


I am glad you know the background. However, according to the Theravada this text was by Sariputta and thus predated the Buddha's parinibbana and was included in the first council. Do you have some evidence that it was faked up and added into the sutta pitaka?
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