Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:45 am

Greetings Kevin,

Would you say dhammas (including paramattha-dhammas) are experiential or ontological realities?

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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:49 am

pt1 wrote:
Anyway, that is certainly one of the uses of sabhava, but I don't think that the other use of sabhava in commentaries which refers to characteristics of dhammas necessarily implies any sort of substantiality either. I'm not sure why Kevin seems to disagree. Perhaps you can explain Kevin? Thanks. E.g. see the commentary to mulapariyaya sutta I quoted above from RobertK - in particular:

"these dhammas
are discovered as actually real actualties. And although there
IS NO REAL DISTINCTION between these dhammas and their
characteristics, still, in order to facilitate understanding,
the exposition makes a distinction as a mere metaphorical
device. Also they are borne, or they are discerned, known ,
acccording to their specific nature, thus they are dhammas"

I take it that the fact that characteristics can be discerned does not mean that there is anything extra there as distinct from these characteristics.

Best wishes

Hi Pt,

The characteristics are characteristics of things. The rupa that is pressure actually arises and falls away and can touch the body and citta that is body sense can arise and know the object. It happens. The dhamma appears and vanishes. It is a thing. It is real in the absolute sense, not just it's characteristics are.

Does this help?

Kevin
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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:06 am

TMingyur wrote:Well but if something is discussed as it is the case here the persons involved are thinking and expressing their thoughts through speech/writing. So either there is silence or there is speech which conveys concepts to the listener/reader. This means that from the perspective of the subject being involved in discussion either their is direct perception of what you may call "ultimate reality" or there is "thought about" which is not "ultimate reality" but "concept of it".

Well, again, I agree, but that is not the topic. Maybe I'm not expressing this properly - I'm trying to discuss what does "arising and falling mean" in terms of Dhamma, and in particular, trying to do so by using ultimate terminology. I'm not disputing that in order to communicate we need to use conventional terms which either relate to ultimate or conventional realities. I'd simply like to discuss this by relating to ultimate ones.

TMingyur wrote:If you draw the line between sensation on the one side and thought/synthesis/concept on the other then you have to conclude that "arising, abiding and cessation" cannot be directly perceived but have to a the result of active synthesis on the side of the subject.

Here I wholeheartedly disagree. My understanding is that when insight happens, panna assists citta to understand its object (a dhamma that has arisen, such as sensation for example) in terms of tilakkhana - meaning the object at the time is an actual dhamma, not a synthesised concept, which happen later in the mind-door processes that follow the sense-door process and the first mind-door process.

TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:As I understand it, conditioned dhammas are seen to arise and fall through insight. So, it really happens, it's not an illusion. That is why anicca, dukkha and anatta characteristics of conditioned dhammas can be understood through insight - i.e. the arising and falling of a dhamma is anicca because it arises only to immediately fall away, it's dukkha because it cannot be controlled (made to last longer or go away at will) and it is anatta because it is fully conditioned by other just as uncontrollable dhammas.

Yes, agreed. This I would call valid "conventional reality".

Not sure I follow, why conventional reality if we're discussing dhammas?

TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:I guess I'm not sure what you mean by discerning with scrutiny. If we stay in the ultimate realm, ...

But this is what I reject: We cannot stay in an "ultimate realm" because "ultimate realm" is nothing but a conventional saying, i.e. it is not beyond conventional reality. Now the question would be whether it is an valid conventional reality or an invalid conventional reality (like "the child of a barren woman"). The Sautrantikas say: Valid is only what can be either directly perceived or inferred.

Okay, so please advise what term do I need to use so that it would be clear I'd like to discuss this Dhamma subject by using ultimate terminology? I.e. I'm not trying to suggest we must be discussing this while we're experiencing various insight-knowledges arise, but just asking to discuss this using ultimate terms (so talk in terms of dhammas, rather than talking about people, trees, etc).

TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:I understand that dhammas are discerned by wisdom in the moments when they arise and fall and become an object of citta at the time.

Yes. But from the perspective I am referring to "object of citta" means interdependence of "object" and "subject/citta": There is a cause for the arising of an appearance but at the same time there is the subject affecting this appearance. If we neglect this interdependence we have "conventional reality" that may be called "nominal reality" too.

There's room for error here as I'm not familiar with the terms you're using. "Interdependence" - that's conditioning? "Appearance" - that's a dhamma or a concept?

TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:So, conventional truth is never the subject/object of insight. That's how I understand it at the moment.

This depends on your view.

I don't follow, please elaborate.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:25 am

Virgo wrote:The characteristics are characteristics of things. The rupa that is pressure actually arises and falls away and can touch the body and citta that is body sense can arise and know the object. It happens. The dhamma appears and vanishes. It is a thing. It is real in the absolute sense, not just it's characteristics are.

Thanks Kevin. For the moment, let's consider what does it really mean ultimately when you say:
"The rupa that is pressure actually arises and falls away and can touch the body and citta that is body sense can arise and know the object."
Let's break it into steps:
1. The rupa that is pressure actually arises and falls away
2. and can touch the body
3. and citta that is body sense can arise and know the object.

I have no problem with step 1 - dhammas arise and fall, and this can be seen to really happen through insight, that's what we are told.

In step 2, "rupa touches the body" - doesn't that simply mean that rupa acts as a condition at the time for the citta to arise? I mean, I don't think there is actual "touching" occurring ultimately. So, to me step 2 can be interpreted in two ways - two little entities coming together, or one dhamma conditioning another one. I personally prefer the latter, because it doesn't require substantiality.

In step 3, I guess it's clear that due to conditions in steps 1 and 2, citta arises and falls. Again, no substantiality, touching, etc, needed for arising, just conditions.

So, I don't see what is the additional substantiality that's needed in the above steps that would make dhammas more of a "thing" then when a dhamma is simply defined by conditional arising and falling and the characteristics? Thanks.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:28 am

Virgo wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Paramattha means ultimate or absolute. There has to be a thing for some dhamma to exist ultimately or absolutely


Would you say dhammas (including paramattha-dhammas)are suñña?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Undoubtedly. They are enmpty of self-nature, but they are still there. They still arise and fall away and have an effect on the world. Visible object that is green, is certainly green. I do not claim that the green is only an illusion, but only that the self built up around the green, such as "I am green", "I own a green article", and so on, are illusions. "I own a green article", may be true conventionally, but that is not the ultimate truth. That is not the heart of the matter.

kevin
That is not quite what Buddhaghosa says about dhammas and self nature, and do not forget, according to the commentaries "ultimate" Dhamma language is no more true than is conventional Dhamma language.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:32 am

retrofuturist wrote:
pt1 wrote:I got the impression you were saying dhammas do not arise and fall because it's a concept (illusion in other words).

TMingyur wrote:If you draw the line between sensation on the one side and thought/synthesis/concept on the other then you have to conclude that "arising, abiding and cessation" cannot be directly perceived but have to a the result of active synthesis on the side of the subject.


Good observation TMingyur. Without this-ness, there cannot be otherwise-ness.

Could you please elaborate retro. Thanks.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:39 am

Greetings pt1,

I can't guarantee that I'm not missing the point here, as I'm more accustomed to sutta-based (lower-case 'a') abhidhammic concepts and models than (capital 'A') Abhidhammic ones, but what TMingyur said, seems me at least, to be in accordance with the following from Bhikkhu Nanananda's Nibbana Sermons.

Bhikkhu Nanananda wrote:Whatever becomes an object of that conceiving, by that very conception it becomes otherwise. That is to say that an opportunity arises for an otherwise-ness, even as `death' has come together with `birth'. So conceiving, or conception, is itself the reason for otherwise-ness. Before a `thing' becomes `otherwise', it has to become a `thing'. And it becomes a `thing' only when attention is focussed on it under the influence of craving, conceit and views and it is separated from the whole world and grasped as a `thing'. And that is why it is said:

Yaṃ yañhi lokasmim upādiyanti,
teneva Māro anveti jantuṃ.

"Whatever one grasps in the world,
By that itself Māra pursues a being."


Bhikkhu Nanananda wrote:Knowledge and understanding are very often associated with words and concepts, so much so that if one knows the name of a thing, one is supposed to know it. Because of this misconception the world is in a tangle. Names and concepts, particularly the nouns, perpetuate the ignorance in the world.


Or, from the Dhamma Theory text again...

Y. Karunadasa wrote:In the case of the mental dhammas, the term used is satsattha (conjoined); in the case of the material dhammas, the term used is avinibbhoga (inseparable). This raises the question why the dhammas are presented as a plurality. The answer is that, although they are not actually separable, yet they are distinguishable (vibhagavanta) one from another.96 It is this distinguishability that serves as the foundation of the dhamma theory. Hence it is often mentioned in the Pali sub-commentaries that the real nature of the things that are distinguishable can be brought into focus only through analysis.97 This distinguishability is possible because although the dhammas are harmoniously blended (ekato bhavagata), they are cognized severally (gocarananattata)98 and are thus established as if they were separate entities.


My leanings are more towards emptiness than atomistic classifications. I'm wary of turning one whole into many wholes (radical pluralism) as I think descent into emptiness actually goes in the opposite direction.

Extract from MN 121: Cula-suññata Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The Blessed One wrote:Now, as well as before, I remain fully in a dwelling of emptiness. Just as this palace of Migara's mother is empty of elephants, cattle, & mares, empty of gold & silver, empty of assemblies of women & men, and there is only this non-emptiness — the singleness based on the community of monks; even so, Ananda, a monk — not attending to the perception1 of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness.

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of village are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of village. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of wilderness.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.


...and...

Extract from SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications....

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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Would you say dhammas (including paramattha-dhammas) are experiential or ontological realities?

:) This seems a bit like a loaded question, seeing that ontology is "is the philosophical study of the nature of being" according to wiki. Do you mean ontology in some other sense, other than philosophying and such?

Besides, are there any dhammas that are not paramattha-dhammas?

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:52 am

Greetings pt1,

I'm trying to ascertain whether Kevin's understanding is such that "dhammas" are modes/aspects of experience and/or things that exist independent of being cognized.

And in turn, which (or both) of those is Abhidhamma concerned with.

(Again, my language here isn't likely to precisely align with Abhidhamma-speak, but I'll try to speak clearly)

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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings pt1,

I'm trying to ascertain whether Kevin's understanding is such that "dhammas" are modes of experience and/or things that exist independent of being cognized.
The notion of "dhammas" are way of talking about our cognition of our experience. If they are anything else that would be self-existing thingies out there someplace.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:57 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings pt1,

I'm trying to ascertain whether Kevin's understanding is such that "dhammas" are modes of experience and/or things that exist independent of being cognized.
The notion of "dhammas" are way of talking about our cognition of our experience. If they are anything else that would be self-existing thingies out there someplace.


Yeah, that's why I asked.

Otherwise, I will not understand what he means by comments such as...

Virgo wrote:The dhamma appears and vanishes. It is a thing. It is real in the absolute sense, not just it's characteristics are.

... because I do not understand the difference between a dhamma and its characteristics, and the basis for establishing a duality between them if he sees them in the way you do.

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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:I can't guarantee that I'm not missing the point here, as I'm more accustomed to sutta-based (lower-case 'a') abhidhammic concepts and models than (capital 'A') Abhidhammic ones, but what TMingyur said, seems me at least, to be in accordance with the following from Bhikkhu Nanananda's Nibbana Sermons.

Thanks retro, no worries, I'll discuss it with him then cause to me it seemed he's saying something completely different than Ven.Nyananada and the commentary, so I'd better wait for his clarification.

retrofuturist wrote:My leanings are more towards emptiness than atomistic classifications. I'm wary of turning one whole into many wholes (radical pluralism) as I think descent into emptiness actually goes in the opposite direction.

I think I agree in general. A potential problem for me though is that dhammas are said to be taken up by citta as object 1 at time during insight at which point anatta charactersitic of that dhamma can be seen, albeit very shortly. So, there has to be an understanding whether I'm experiencing a dhamma and its anatta characteristic or a concept about a dhamma and its anataness at the time. That's why it seems important to consider dhammas (like individual cetasikas for example) in order to get some pointers about the characteristics of dhammas from the sutta/abhidhamma/friends and thus hopefully avoid mistaking concepts for insights. But maybe I'm going too far off topic here.

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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:14 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote: It is elucidated in the Abhidhamma and Commentaries. And indeed the Buddha has said, "Clinging is suffering". He does not mean clinging to the idea that there are "things", but clinging to those actual "things" as permanent, as a self, and as relating to happiness.
Now, you just made a claim about what the Buddha said and meant, please back this up with the actual teachings of the Buddha.

See all the things listed in this sutta: http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books9/Bhikkhu_Bodhi_Mahahatthipadopama_Sutta.htm
Nothing in that sutta that posits some sort of existing ultimate "thingness."

Paramattha means ultimate or absolute.
Using paramattha language is a more refined way of talking about things related to Dhamma, but it is not a more true way of talking about the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teachings, than using conventional language, as the commentarial passage I have quoted [below] makes quite clear.

As for the passage you referenced above, it certainly does not support your position that dhammas have some sort of “absolute” reality. Talking about the “12 'bases'” may be a way of using paramattha language, but if these things were somehow absolute things, it would not make any sense to talk about them in other terms, such as the khandhas, either paramattha or conventional, which it is quite possible to do.

The “12 'bases'” is a refined way of talking about our experience; it not the only way to talk about our experience, and there is nothing - not a thing - within our experience that requires that only the “12 'bases'” as being the only way of talking about our experience. The “12 'bases'” are not things; rather, they are simply a way - a conceptual structure - of talking about our experiences, and we could easily use other conceptual structures.

The notion of dhammas, in all their various classifications, is no different.

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:These "things" are the objects that are insighted leadiing to dispassion and causing the mind to turn away from conditioned dhammas. Being that it is a classically accepted view, I just can't see myself arguing for it on a Theravada Buddhist board.
(Insighted?) In other words, it would seem, you are unable to support your claim that your position is congruent with the Buddha's actual teachings.

See the stages of insight listed in the Visuddhimagga.
In other words, you are unable to back up your claim about what the said and meant.

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:You are arguing, Kevin, that dhammas are things with some sort of "thingness" nature?


Virgo wrote: Absolutely.
tiltbillings wrote: And the nature of this thingness is what?

The three characteristics of all conditioned dhammas are anicca, anatta, and dukkha.
Anicca, dukkha and anatta, which is to say that there is no thingness to dhammas.

Virgo wrote:The conversation between you and I, concerning this topic, is done. You may speculate about dhammas all you like until your grandkids grow beards.
No speculation. It is a matter of what the Buddha has taught, not much later stuff.

Paramattha means ultimate or absolute. There has to be a thing for some dhamma to exist ultimately or absolutely, ie. actually exist as opposed to a concept which exists conventionally.
Except that dhammas, being empty of existence, are empty of existence.

That doesn't mean it is a person, or a self, or is owned by a person or a self. It means that a thing that arises and falls away by conditions. These things are anatta... not-self.
Which means, of course, there is no thingness to them

Please, please don't ask me to give you a quote.
You mean you cannot back up what you say?

In the Abhidhamma, certain dhammas (things or phenomena) are presented as paramattha (citta, cetasika, rupa, and nibbana are). I don't need to provide a quotation. And this is not a "modern Abhidhamma view". Blah, blah, blah.
Well, if we take a point of view from the Abhidhamma of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, not later works dhammas are ways of talking about relations among the various aspects of our experience as it unfolds. One “thing” we do not find in our experience is some “thing.”
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings pt1,

I'm trying to ascertain whether Kevin's understanding is such that "dhammas" are modes of experience and/or things that exist independent of being cognized.
The notion of "dhammas" are way of talking about our cognition of our experience. If they are anything else that would be self-existing thingies out there someplace.


Yeah, that's why I asked.

Otherwise, I will not understand what he means by comments such as...

Virgo wrote:The dhamma appears and vanishes. It is a thing. It is real in the absolute sense, not just it's characteristics are.

... because I do not understand the difference between a dhamma and its characteristics, and the basis for establishing a duality between them if he sees them in the way you do.
He obviously does not see them the way I do.


(Nyanaponika ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES @ page 41 BPS; page 42 Wisdom.)
By arranging the mental factors in relational groups a subordinate synthetical element has been introduced into the mainly analytical Dhammasangani. By so doing, the danger inherent in purely analytical methods is avoided. This danger consists in erroneously taking for genuine separate entities the “parts” resulting from analysis, instead of restricting their use to sound practical method with the purpose of classifying and dissolving composite events wrongly conceived as unities. Up to the present time it has been a regular occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics, and psychology that when the “whole” has been successfully dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts” themselves come in turn to be regarded as little “wholes.”
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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:20 am

Greetings pt1,

pt1 wrote:But maybe I'm going too far off topic here.


It seems in accord with the topic to me, even if the subject matter is more complex than Wind was hoping for.

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: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby ground » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:35 am

Hi pt1

I don't think that it is reasonable to discuss views where we disagree because our "backgrounds" may be too different.
So I am just replying because you have addressed some questions to me although it is very likely that our "understandings" of words applied here will not "meet".

pt1 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:As I understand it, conditioned dhammas are seen to arise and fall through insight. So, it really happens, it's not an illusion. That is why anicca, dukkha and anatta characteristics of conditioned dhammas can be understood through insight - i.e. the arising and falling of a dhamma is anicca because it arises only to immediately fall away, it's dukkha because it cannot be controlled (made to last longer or go away at will) and it is anatta because it is fully conditioned by other just as uncontrollable dhammas.

Yes, agreed. This I would call valid "conventional reality".

Not sure I follow, why conventional reality if we're discussing dhammas?

From my perspective all that is expressed in words and terminology is either valid conventional reality or conventional error according to the criteria mentioned above.

pt1 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:I guess I'm not sure what you mean by discerning with scrutiny. If we stay in the ultimate realm, ...

But this is what I reject: We cannot stay in an "ultimate realm" because "ultimate realm" is nothing but a conventional saying, i.e. it is not beyond conventional reality. Now the question would be whether it is an valid conventional reality or an invalid conventional reality (like "the child of a barren woman"). The Sautrantikas say: Valid is only what can be either directly perceived or inferred.

Okay, so please advise what term do I need to use so that it would be clear I'd like to discuss this Dhamma subject by using ultimate terminology?

There is no problem to use these terms as long as one is aware that what is called "ultimate" is not really ultimate but is only called "ultimate" because actually it is related to (depending on) a system of thought and definitions.

pt1 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:I understand that dhammas are discerned by wisdom in the moments when they arise and fall and become an object of citta at the time.

Yes. But from the perspective I am referring to "object of citta" means interdependence of "object" and "subject/citta": There is a cause for the arising of an appearance but at the same time there is the subject affecting this appearance. If we neglect this interdependence we have "conventional reality" that may be called "nominal reality" too.

There's room for error here as I'm not familiar with the terms you're using. "Interdependence" - that's conditioning? "Appearance" - that's a dhamma or a concept?

"Interdependence" of "A" and "B" just means that "A" (which appears to subject B, i.e. is the image) being the effect of a primary cause A* is also affected by "B" which sort of transforms it into it "A#" and which in turn is affected by its own "creation" "A#". Theoretically this may result in an infinite regress however from experience we may say that this is not necessarily so but usually this process is restricted to the process starting with sensation and ending with apprehension.

pt1 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
pt1 wrote:So, conventional truth is never the subject/object of insight. That's how I understand it at the moment.

This depends on your view.

I don't follow, please elaborate.

View means "perspective" and from different perspectives things appear differently.

Kind regards
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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:42 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote: Firstly because Tilt dislikes the Abhidhamma so strongly that he will only make bad kamma.
Not at all. There is no evidence of that in what i have said here here, and such a statement is a bit libelous. I rather like the Abhidhamma Pitaka. I am simply not enamoured with some of the later, more modern, interpretations of the Abhidhamma.


I would say, Kevin, you do owe me an apology here.
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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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:57 am

retrofuturist wrote:I'm trying to ascertain whether Kevin's understanding is such that "dhammas" are modes/aspects of experience and/or things that exist independent of being cognized.

And in turn, which (or both) of those is Abhidhamma concerned with.

(Again, my language here isn't likely to precisely align with Abhidhamma-speak, but I'll try to speak clearly)

Thanks for explaining retro.

I'm not sure if the question of things exiting independent of being cognised really applies. My impression of abhidhamma so far is that all dhammas are conditioned, including those we might say to be "outside one's body", or not cognised. E.g. external rupas are said to be conditioned by temperature. So, it seems it has nothing to do with my cognition I think. Regardless, that doesn't mean they are not conditioned or that they don't bear the same characteristics as the ones I might cognise.

I'm not sure I understand what exactly tilt is saying. My impression so far is that dhammas can be cognised, or experienced, or seen through insight/wisdom to really happen - what's cognised at the time is one of the characateristics, whether individual or general ones. E.g. pleasant feeling is different to unpleasant feeling and both are different from attention. Those would be individual characteristics, and pleasant feeling can always be known by that individual characteristic. If wisdom arises, it can also understand the anatta characteristic of that cognised pleasant feeling, if not, then craving is likely to arise together with it, and then thinking about it, etc.

So, if there's any insight, it apparently happens without involving thinking and conceptualising about it (which may come in later mind-door processes of course, nothing wrong with that) - i.e. citta takes a dhamma (feeling in this case) as object, not a nimitta (a concept) which is the object of cittas in later mind-door processes which name and think about what was just cognised. All this seems very different to dhammas being just "a way of talking about our cognition of our experience" that tilt seems to express, though imo it still doesn't require some sort of substantiality. But I might be wrong and perhaps tilt could elaborate a bit on his understanding of the topic.

Best wishes
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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:50 am

For reference. I said in above msg that I quoted the following in this thread. It was another thread, but it is appropriate here:

From the commentary of to the Anguttara Nikaya:Herein references to living beings, gods, Brahma, etc., are sammuti-kathā, whereas
references to impermanence, suffering, egolessness, the aggregates of the empiric
individuality, the spheres and elements of sense perception and mind-cognition, bases of
mindfulness, right effort, etc., are paramattha-kathā. One who is capable of understanding
and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out
in terms of generally accepted conventions, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on
sammuti-kathā. One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting
the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of ultimate categories, to him the
Buddha preaches the doctrine based on paramattha-kathā. To one who is capable of
awakening to the truth through sammuti-kathā , the teaching is not presented on the basis of
paramattha-kathā, and conversely, to one who is capable of awakening to the truth through
paramattha-kathā, the teaching is not presented on the basis of sammuti-kathā. There is this
simile on this matter: Just as a teacher of the three Vedas who is capable of explaining their
meaning in different dialects might teach his pupils, adopting the particular dialect, which
each pupil understands, even so the Buddha preaches the doctrine adopting, according to the
suitability of the occasion, either the sammuti- or the paramattha-kathā. It is by taking into
consideration the ability of each individual to understand the Four Noble Truths, that the
Buddha presents his teaching, either by way of sammuti, or by way of paramattha, or by way
of both. Whatever the method adopted the purpose is the same, to show the way to
Immortality through the analysis of mental and physical phenomena.
AA. Vol. I, pp.54-55

http://kr.buddhism.org/~skb/down/papers/094.pdf
sammuti-kathā is not inferior to paramattha-kathā.
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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Re: Questions regarding rising and falling of phenomena.

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:01 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Kevin,

Would you say dhammas (including paramattha-dhammas) are experiential or ontological realities?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro,

I don't really think that way of looking at things fits well here.

kevin

P.S. Sorry, bu I will have to respond to the other messages later.
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