Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 17, 2010 4:07 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:The predetermined breaking point is craving (tanha). That's where the causal chain is interrupted. That's why tanha is mentioned in the four noble truths, at the very foundation.

Is this what your teacher taught you?

Is it substantiated by the suttas?

You cannot eradicate tanha unless you first eradicate avijja. You may temporarily cause the outflows to cease, but you have not broken the chain simply because in any given moment you're not craving anything. To use your words, it may be 'interrupted' here but it is not in any way a "predetermined breaking point".

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 17, 2010 4:12 am

Greetings,

An extract from Nanananda Thera's Nibbana Sermons...

In order to transcend the narrow point of view limited to
the bases of sense contact or the six sense spheres and realize
the state of Nibbāna indicated by the words viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ,
anantaṃ sabbato pabhaṃ, "consciousness which is
non-manifestative, endless, lustrous on all sides", one has to see
the cessation of contact.

In a certain discourse in the Mucalindavagga of the Udāna,
the Buddha has declared in a verse of uplift that the cessation of
contact comes about only by doing away with that which brings
about contact. The wandering ascetics of other sects grew jealous
of the Buddha and his congregation of monks, because of
their own loss of gain and honour, and began to hurl abuse on
monks in the village and in the forest. A group of monks came
and reported this to the Buddha. The Buddha's response to it
was only a paean of joy. Udāna actually means a spontaneous
utterance of joy, and the verse he uttered was such a one. But
it embodied an instruction on Dhamma and a norm of Dhamma
as well.

Gāme araññe sukhadukkhaphuṭṭho,
nev'attato no parato dahetha,
phusanti phassā upadhiṃ paṭicca,
Nirūpadhiṃ kena phuseyyum phassā.

In the first two lines we get an instruction:
"Touched by pain in village or in forest,
Think not in terms of oneself or others"

The reason for it is given in the norm of Dhamma which
follows:
"Touches can touch one, because of assets,
How can touches touch him, who is asset-less?"

This is all what the Buddha uttered. From this we can
glean another aspect of the significance of the terms sabbūpadhipaṭinissagga,
relinquishment of all assets, and nirupadhi, the
asset-less, used with reference to Nibbāna.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Sobeh » Mon May 17, 2010 4:47 am

I'd like to copy here an extended discussion of phassa by Nanavira Thera (edited for brevity):

"Phassa, 'contact', is defined as the coming together of the eye, forms, and eye-consciousness... But it is probably wrong to suppose that we must therefore understand the word phassa, primarily at least, as contact between these three things. So long as there is avijjā, all things (dhammā) are... inherently in subjection, they are appropriated, they are mine. This is the foundation of the notion that I am and that things are in contact with me. This contact between me and things is phassa. The ditthisampanna sees the deception, but the puthujjana accepts it at its face value and elaborates it into a relationship between himself and the world... But though the ditthisampanna is not deceived, yet until he becomes arahat the aroma of subjectivity hangs about all his experience.

"All normal experience is dual: there are present (i) one's conscious six-based body (saviññānaka salāyatanika kāya), and (ii) other phenomena (namely, whatever is not one's body); and reflexion will show that, though both are objective in the experience, the aroma of subjectivity that attaches to the experience will naturally tend to be attributed to the body. In this way, phassa comes to be seen as contact between the conscious eye and forms—but mark that this is because contact is primarily between subject and object, and not between eye, forms, and eye-consciousness. This approach makes it possible to see in what sense, with the entire cessation of all illusion of 'I' and 'mine', there is phassanirodha in the arahat (where, though there are still, so long as he continues to live, both the conscious body and the other phenomena, there is no longer any appropriation)."

"But when (as commonly) phassa is interpreted as 'contact between sense-organ and sense-object, resulting in consciousness'—and its translation as '(sense-)impression' implies this interpretation—then we are at once cut off from all possibility of understanding phassanirodha in the arahat; for the question whether or not the eye is the subject is not even raised—we are concerned only with the eye as a sense-organ, and it is a sense-organ in puthujjana and arahat alike. Understanding of phassa now consists in accounting for consciousness starting from physiological (or neurological) descriptions of the sense-organs and their functioning. Consciousness, however, is not physiologically observable, and the entire project rests upon unjustifiable assumptions from the start. This epistemological interpretation of phassa misconceives the Dhamma as a kind of natural-science-cum-psychology that provides an explanation of things in terms of cause-and-effect."
User avatar
Sobeh
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Anicca » Mon May 17, 2010 4:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:You cannot eradicate tanha unless you first eradicate avijja.


Greetings Retro -

Avijja is last to go - last of the ten fetters Sanyojana Sutta: Fetters. So stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners all have tanha and arahants lose it after awakening fully - the first time avijja is fully removed - right?

Metta
Anicca
 
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:11 am
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon May 17, 2010 5:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Is it substantiated by the suttas?


Who needs books?

It can be substantiated by practice. All the text you ever need to read is the four noble truths and the eightfold path. When you crave something, it is because of the (false) belief that the attainment of that thing makes you happy or solves your problems.

You cannot address ignorance directly, because it is -by definition- hidden and invisible to you.

However, you can address your cravings because your cravings are visible and known to you. Hence, craving is the "predetermined breaking point". That's where you put your fingers and start to tear up the packaging.

retrofuturist wrote:You cannot eradicate tanha unless you first eradicate avijja. You may temporarily cause the outflows to cease, but...


Could it be that you imagine a sequential process here? First get rid of ignorance, and then you realise that there is an appendage called craving which suddenly appears superfluous?

Cheers, Thomas
User avatar
Pannapetar
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 17, 2010 5:07 am

Greetings Anicca,
Anicca wrote:Avijja is last to go - last of the ten fetters Sanyojana Sutta: Fetters. So stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners all have tanha and arahants lose it after awakening fully - the first time avijja is fully removed - right?

:thumbsup:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 17, 2010 5:17 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:Who needs books?

There are two ways to know Buddhavacana - one is to "hear" it, either in books or quoted by one's teacher. The other way is to become a Buddha yourself. You do not need suttas if you intend to follow the second of those options, so good luck with that.

Your repeated unwillingness to quote sutta, combined with your fervent willingness for telling us what you think, does not make for a particularly balanced conversation. It is not unreasonable in a Theravada forum to be challenged to find textual support for one's views. It is very important in a Theravada forum for readers to be able to distinguish between Buddhavacana and a worldling's personal opinions.

Pannapetar wrote:It can be substantiated by practice. All the text you ever need to read is the four noble truths and the eightfold path.

Don't say that, Pannapetar. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.

If it were as easy as you suggest, why is the Earth not abound with arahants?

Pannapetar wrote:When you crave something, it is because of the (false) belief that the attainment of that thing makes you happy or solves your problems.

Which is true as far as it goes, but that does not teach you anatta.

Pannapetar wrote:You cannot address ignorance directly, because it is -by definition- hidden and invisible to you.

You can be aware of how formations come to be formed with ignorance as condition.

Pannapetar wrote:However, you can address your cravings because your cravings are visible and known to you. Hence, craving is the "predetermined breaking point". That's where you put your fingers and start to tear up the packaging.

So you say. Here's something that someone said this morning at FreeSangha which I think is relevant...

ABC wrote:It follows one reason the Buddha taught dependent origination was the ellucidate the origin of dukkha back to ignorance.

It is not easy fighting dukkha from craving & attachment.

If I see the most beautiful girl in the world, it is not easy to end craving by the understanding craving is the cause of dukkha.

To end craving for the most beautiful girl in the world requires wisdom. It requires ending ignorance.


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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon May 17, 2010 6:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Your repeated unwillingness to quote sutta, combined with your fervent willingness for telling us what you think, does not make for a particularly balanced conversation.


What exactly do you find unbalanced? I am just not very interested in discussing suttas. There are some people who like to discuss suttas and the possible interpretations of this or that part of the canon. That's perfectly alright with me, but it's just not my approach. For me personally, that's far too bookish.

retrofuturist wrote:Don't say that, Pannapetar. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.


Thus I have heard. :smile:

However, I am at this point in my life more concerned with putting things into practice than with reading an entire shelf of discourses. This requires -to a very great extent- developing and relying on my own insight. Believe it or not, you can go very far simply by following the four noble truths and the eightfold path. I may be a bit of a purist in this regard, but it has served me well.

retrofuturist wrote:So you say.


Yes, so I say. One should of course try any of the nidanas and see how far one gets with attempting to break the chain at any other point. I came to the conclusion that craving is the rather obvious point. Otherwise, why is tanha mentioned in the four noble truths? Why not say sankhara, or vijnana, or any of the other? I have wondered many years about this question. The logical starting point is avijja, isn't it? So why not put avijja into the four noble truths for the sake of form. But then it hit me. Tanha is simply more pragmatic. That's something you can work with. The very realisation of "tanha", the realisation "oh, I am craving this", or "there is some craving going on here..." is already a step into the right direction.

Cheers, Thomas
User avatar
Pannapetar
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 17, 2010 6:27 am

Greetings Pannapetar,

Pannapetar wrote:One should of course try any of the nidanas and see how far one gets with attempting to break the chain at any other point.

Does the Buddha talk about "breaking the chain"? Are we supposed to try to "break the chain" or understand the chain?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon May 17, 2010 6:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Does the Buddha talk about "breaking the chain"?


You are pushing for scriptural support. :tongue: Well, there are the suttas that explain dependent origination. They also explain the negation of dependent origination, e.g. when this condition ceases, then that condition ceases. So the word used in the suttas is "cessation".

retrofuturist wrote:Are we supposed to try to "break the chain" or understand the chain?


We are supposed to realise cessation.

Cheers, Thomas
User avatar
Pannapetar
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 am
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 17, 2010 7:42 am

Can someone point out some other Suttas that discuss cessation of contact, materiality, etc?

For the one discussed here an alternative translation is:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"For one arriving at what does form disappear? How do pleasure & pain disappear? Tell me this. My heart is set on knowing how they disappear."
"One not percipient of perceptions not percipient of aberrant perceptions, not unpercipient, nor percipient of what's disappeared: [2] for one arriving at this, form disappears — for complication-classifications [3] have their cause in perception."

[2] According to Nd.I, this passage is describing the four formless jhanas, but as the first three of the formless jhanas involve perception (of infinite space, infinite consciousness, and nothingness), only the fourth of the formless jhanas — the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — would fit this description. On this point, see AN 10.29.
[3 ] Complication-classifications (papañca-sankha): The mind's tendency to read distinctions and differentiations even into the simplest experience of the present, thus giving rise to views that can issue in conflict. As Sn 4.14 points out, the root of these classifications is the perception, "I am the thinker." For further discussion of this point, see note 1 to that discourse and the introduction to MN 18.


Neither version is particularly easy to understand, and personally I wouldn't attempt to read much into it without checking some other Suttas.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 17, 2010 7:50 am

Hi Thomas,
Pannapetar wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Does the Buddha talk about "breaking the chain"?


You are pushing for scriptural support. :tongue: Well, there are the suttas that explain dependent origination. They also explain the negation of dependent origination, e.g. when this condition ceases, then that condition ceases. So the word used in the suttas is "cessation".

retrofuturist wrote:Are we supposed to try to "break the chain" or understand the chain?


We are supposed to realise cessation.

This is an interesting point about Dependent Origination.

This idea of breaking the chain at craving is reasonably common in 20th C meditation teachings. It's certainly something that Goenka talks about. Other teachers would say that what is really necessary is for ignorance to cease, since without eradicating ignorance the chain will just keep arising. I guess it's possible to argue that this is just semantics, that reducing ignorance will reduce craving, but I guess the question is whether the approach of watching and "arresting" the craving before it can do anything is actually effective at "breaking the chain", or whether it's just a useful "tactic" to keep things under control until ignorance can be truly eradicated.

I have no strong opinions on it. Certainly as a practical matter, I have found that being able to clearly discern intention (which some of my teachers stress) is very helpful in reducing reactivity (because one has a split second to decide what to do...). But whether it is "breaking the chain" I'm not sure.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon May 17, 2010 7:58 am

mikenz66 wrote:I guess the question is whether the approach of watching and "arresting" the craving before it can do anything is actually effective at "breaking the chain",
You can only break the chain with insight. That can be a good place to watch the rise and fall of dhammas.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19209
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Sobeh » Mon May 17, 2010 4:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You can only break the chain with insight.


And yet, vipassana and samatha are a swift pair of messengers...
User avatar
Sobeh
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby PeterB » Mon May 17, 2010 4:51 pm

One coin. Two sides.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Dmytro » Tue May 18, 2010 9:31 am

Hi Adosa,

adosa wrote:Contact arises when the sense base (i.e. eye), form, and eye-consciousness meet. From contact, suffering arises.


That's wrong.

Suffering arises with a contact as a necessary condition (paccaya). The relationship of conditioned arising (paticca-samuppada) doesn't mean that the links happen simultaneously.

So the contact, being distanced from suffering by several links: http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm , may happen years before the resulting suffering. Or it may not lead to suffering at all, being just a necessary condition.

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby Dmytro » Tue May 18, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Thomas,

Pannapetar wrote:Yes, so I say. One should of course try any of the nidanas and see how far one gets with attempting to break the chain at any other point. I came to the conclusion that craving is the rather obvious point. Otherwise, why is tanha mentioned in the four noble truths? Why not say sankhara, or vijnana, or any of the other? I have wondered many years about this question. The logical starting point is avijja, isn't it? So why not put avijja into the four noble truths for the sake of form. But then it hit me. Tanha is simply more pragmatic. That's something you can work with. The very realisation of "tanha", the realisation "oh, I am craving this", or "there is some craving going on here..." is already a step into the right direction.


Yes, Buddha instructed to start with craving:

"Well then — knowing in what way, seeing in what way, does one without delay put an end to the effluents? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that. And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. It is by knowing & seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the effluents."

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

"Avijja" in the Conditioned Arising (paticca-samuppada) refers to the previous lifetime.

Metta, Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby PeterB » Tue May 18, 2010 9:37 am

Or not. See Buddhadasa.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 18, 2010 9:38 am

Greetings,

Dmytro wrote:"Avijja" in the Conditioned Arising (paticca-samuppada) refers to the previous lifetime.

According to the Mahavihara sect.

:reading:

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14623
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Contact, Suffering, Cessation Qs?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 18, 2010 10:07 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
Dmytro wrote:"Avijja" in the Conditioned Arising (paticca-samuppada) refers to the previous lifetime.

According to the Mahavihara sect.

Whether or not one agrees with the interpretation it would be less confusing to phrase your comment as:
"According to the orthodox Theravada view."
[And probably the other sects, but I don't have the knowledge to comment definitively on that...]

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10131
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ananda Thera, TheNoBSBuddhist and 8 guests