Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 7:19 am

It seems to me that there is an elememt of papanca that comes in with the concept of temporaility.
Temporality neither explains anything nor is it needed. We project it by convention.
" This arises, that arises" is not sequential , whether speedily or not speedily. Things arise atemporarily.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 7:21 am

PeterB wrote:I Things arise atemporarily.
Such as?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 7:33 am

Ground and field..including time.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby cooran » Tue May 25, 2010 7:37 am

PeterB wrote:It seems to me that there is an elememt of papanca that comes in with the concept of temporaility.
Temporality neither explains anything nor is it needed. We project it by convention.
" This arises, that arises" is not sequential , whether speedily or not speedily. Things arise atemporarily.



My understanding is that the Buddha taught that arising is sequential, or Dependently Originated:

‘When this is, that comes to be,
With the arising of this, that arises,
When this is not, that does not come to be,
With the cessation of this, this ceases’

with metta
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby PeterB » Tue May 25, 2010 7:50 am

Dependant does not equal sequential. To borrow the Indras Net metaphor all of the jewels light beyond/outside time.

When we explain arising to others or to ourselves we have no real choice but to do so in terms that reflect the convention imposed by our rupa form.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby tiltbillings » Tue May 25, 2010 8:03 am

PeterB wrote:Ground and field..including time.
You will need to be a bit more expansive.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby cooran » Tue May 25, 2010 8:06 am

Sequential doesn't mean "only one cause, one result".

Many conditions bring about the result.

"Another point worthy of note is that the dependent origination of these links does not have the same meaning as 'to be caused by' as such. The determinants which make a tree grow, for instance, include not just the seed, but also the soil, moisture, fertilizer, air temperature and so on. These are all 'determinants.' Moreover, being a determinant does not necessarily imply any sequential order in time. For instance, in the example of the tree, the various determinants, such as moisture, temperature, soil and so on, must exist together, not sequentially, for the tree to benefit. Moreover, some kinds of determinants are interdependent, each conditioning the existence of the other, as, for example, an egg is a condition for a chicken, while a chicken is a condition for an egg."
http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarise1.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 8:18 am

Greetings Cooran,

cooran wrote:My understanding is that the Buddha taught that arising is sequential, or Dependently Originated:

‘When this is, that comes to be,
With the arising of this, that arises,
When this is not, that does not come to be,
With the cessation of this, this ceases’

I concur... a simile that might help to explain this relationship could be as follows.

When fire is, smoke comes to be,
With the arising of fire, smoke arises,
When fire is not, smoke does not come to be,
With the cessation of fire, smoke ceases

Smoke depends on fire for its arising, but there may still be some residual smoke even after the fire has gone out... in other words there can be overlap and dependence between "this" and "that", and they needn't be mutually exclusive and temporally segregated. This helps to explain why there are objections to people calling dependent origination an example of "cause" and "effect", because these words imply mutual exclusion and temporal segregation (e.g. kicking a ball causes the effect of the ball going over the fence)

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 9:08 am

Greetings Shonin,

Shonin wrote:If the 12-step chain of Dependent Origination represents the mechanism of rebirth, then - given that rebirth is supposedly endless until final Nibbana - why is it a chain at all? Why is it linear rather than being a repeating cycle? And if the answer to that is that really it is a cycle, presented as repeating chain, then why does the end of the chain 'Decay and Death' not neatly join onto the beginning of the chain - 'Ignorance'? Is Ignorance dependent on Decay and Death?


Excellent questions Shonin.

I do not recall any suttas where dependent origination is depicted as a cycle or circle. As you suggest, any circular representations (e.g. "wheel of life") would have to ignore that the Buddha did not say that ignorance was dependent upon decay and death.

Image

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 9:09 am

retrofuturist wrote: This helps to explain why there are objections to people calling dependent origination an example of "cause" and "effect", because these words imply mutual exclusion and temporal segregation (e.g. kicking a ball causes the effect of the ball going over the fence)


Causality also implies that the first phenomenon is responsible for creating the second, when all we can actually observe is that the existence of the first is conditional on the first.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 9:17 am

Here's another question:

If DO represents the arising of suffering, from ignorance through rebirth to Death and Decay, this means that the Second Noble Truth is inaccurate. The cause of suffering is ultimately Ignorance not Attachment. Or is Buddha suggesting that this can be tackled at both the Attachment and Ignorance steps? Why can't it be tackled at every step?
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 9:22 am

Greetings Shonin,

Attachment is dependent on ignorance.

The 4NT are correct, just simpler and more concise (and thank Buddha for that!)

8-)

Dependent origination provides a more in depth analysis for anyone seeking such a thing.

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:I do not recall any suttas where dependent origination is depicted as a cycle or circle. As you suggest, any circular representations (e.g. "wheel of life") would have to ignore that the Buddha did not say that ignorance was dependent upon decay and death.

Good point. Any simple circular model, or insistence on a purely linear model, would seen to me to be a gross oversimplification of the complicated web of conditionalities described in the Tipitika.

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 9:55 am

retrofuturist wrote:Attachment is dependent on ignorance.

The 4NT are correct, just simpler and more concise (and thank Buddha for that!)

8-)

Dependent origination provides a more in depth analysis for anyone seeking such a thing.


Well, 4NT are very simple and I have verified all but final nibbana in this life. I have also verified that attachment is dependent on Ignorance (although I prefer 'Delusion'). On the other hand, as I've made clear, I can't make sense of DO, nor can I see any other point in the chain that can end the creation of suffering. Why would that be?
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 10:13 am

Greetings Shonin,

Shonin wrote:Well, 4NT are very simple and I have verified all but final nibbana in this life. I have also verified that attachment is dependent on Ignorance (although I prefer 'Delusion'). On the other hand, as I've made clear, I can't make sense of DO, nor can I see any other point in the chain that can end the creation of suffering. Why would that be?


Seeing as your line of inquiry has deviated now from the strictly Mahavihara account which you were interested in earlier, I'll share with you this small note on sankhara, by Nanavira Thera, whose thinking is not representative of the classical Mahavihara perspective.

http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=84

The word sankhāra, in all contexts, means 'something that something else depends on', that is to say a determination (determinant). It might be thought that this introduces an unnecessary complication into such passages as

Vayadhammā sankhārā appamādena sampādetha
To disappear is the nature of determinations; strive unremittingly.

...and...

Aniccā vata sankhārā uppādavayadhammino
Impermanent indeed are determinations; to arise (appear) and disappear is their nature.(Dīgha ii,3 <D.ii,156&7>).

Why, instead of telling us that things (dhammā) are impermanent and bound to disappear, should the Buddha take us out of our way to let us know that things that things depend on are impermanent and bound to disappear? The answer is that the Dhamma does not set out to explain, but to lead—it is opanayika. This means that the Dhamma is not seeking disinterested intellectual approval, but to provoke an effort of comprehension or insight leading to the abandonment of attavāda and eventually of asmimāna. Its method is therefore necessarily indirect: we can only stop regarding this as 'self' if we see that what this depends on is impermanent. Consider, for example, the Mahāsudassanasuttanta (Dīgha ii,4 <D.ii,169-99>), where the Buddha describes in detail the rich endowments and possessions of King Mahāsudassana, and then finishes:

Pass'Ānanda sabbe te sankhārā atītā niruddhā viparinatā. Evam aniccā kho Ānanda sankhārā, evam addhuvā kho Ānanda sankhārā, yāvañ c'idam Ānanda alam eva sabbasankhāresu nibbinditum, alam virajjitum, alam vimuccitum.
See, Ānanda, how all those determinations have passed, have ceased, have altered. So impermanent, Ānanda, are determinations, so unlasting, Ānanda, are determinations, that this, Ānanda, is enough for weariness of all determinations, enough for dispassion, enough for release.

This is not a simple statement that all those things, being impermanent by nature, are now no more; it is a lever to prize the notion of 'selfhood' out of its firm socket. Those things were sankhārā: they were things on which King Mahāsudassana depended for his very identity; they determined his person as 'King Mahāsudassana', and with their cessation the thought 'I am King Mahāsudassana' came to an end. More formally, those sankhārā were nāmarúpa, the condition for phassa (Dīgha ii,2 <D.ii,62>[9]), upon which sakkāyaditthi depends (cf. Dīgha i,1 <D.i,42-3> together with Citta Samy. 3 <S.iv,287>).

Whilst you rightly understand that attachment is dependent upon ignorance, until you uproot ignorance by uprooting all perceptions of self, I, me, my and mine etc., the dependent origination sequence will continue to play out. (FYI - as used above, attavāda means "self-view", and asmimāna means the "'I am' conceit")

Knowing that attachment causes suffering is insufficient in order to relinquish suffering, because we don't yet know how to stop attachment. That's where the earlier parts of the dependent origination sequence play a pivotal role. If you can unravel the perceptions of self that hide within the mutual dependency of vinnana and namarupa, you'll be on your way. To that end, I find that...

Bhikkhu Nanananda's Nibbana Sermons
http://lirs.ru/do/sutra/Nibbana_Sermons,Nanananda.pdf

... give some excellent tools for understanding namarupa. If you're in a rush, search for the word "whirlpool" or "vortex" and you'll come across several instances of him discussing the relationship between the two. Alternatively, if you're as interested in Dependent Origination as you seem, it actually wouldn't hurt to start with Nibbana Sermon 1 and go the whole way through them.

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 10:42 am

Thanks Retro.

retrofuturist wrote:Whilst you rightly understand that attachment is dependent upon ignorance, until you uproot ignorance by uprooting all perceptions of self, I, me, my and mine etc., the dependent origination sequence will continue to play out. (FYI - as used above, attavāda means "self-view", and asmimāna means the "'I am' conceit")


"I" am working on it. And understanding the meaning of DO, vinnana and namarupa have played no role in the process, thus far. Simply realising Anatta is enough, and gradually deepening that in practice and life.

Thanks for the links.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 10:47 am

Not a problem, Shonin.

:anjali:

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby pt1 » Tue May 25, 2010 11:15 am

retrofuturist wrote:
pt1 wrote:I'm not sure why he didn't really address the citta to citta scale aspect of the mahavihara account, since I feel this would have been directly related to many of his counter-arguments.


I think he addresses the Mahavihara notion of cittas and their relationship in Section 7 of his note on Paticcasamuppada and this brief note on citta -
http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=69 . It's worth pointing out that he wasn't interested in detailing everything that he considered to be wrong with the traditional Mahavihara interpretation... I get the impression this is because many of the possible problems would be dissolved simply by abandoning the 3-life-interpretation.

That's the thing though, I felt that citta to citta aspect (also called the abhidhamma method, as opposed to the 3 lives aspect which is called the suttanata method) would have resolved many of the supposed problems that he finds. In fact, some of his findings that are supposed to be new and different from the traditional account actually felt like they corresponded to the abhidhamma method.

retrofuturist wrote:I agree with you and Blackbird that Nanavira's presentation of dependent origination is purely structural, rather than temporal and suggest this is precisely why he doesn't "address the citta to citta scale aspect of the mahavihara account" other than to raise concerns similar to those made by alex123 at viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4307

Perhaps we are confusing things here - I should explain, in my understanding, citta to citta aspect of d.o. (abhidhamma method of explaining d.o.) also isn't temporal as it's said to happen during one moment of citta, i.e.the links would arise simultaneously. Of course, we can say that this also means that the present processes will condition a similar process in the future, regardless whether that is in the next moment of citta, or next year, or next life, but this would be traditionally designated as the focus of the suttanata method, while the focus in the abhidhamma method is on one moment. So, it is also different from what I understand to be Ven.Buddhadasa's explanation of d.o. as a fast experiential sequence. So anyway, that's why I feel that criticising the mahavihara account while not addressing a very important aspect of it seems like a bit of a lopsided research.

If you remember, we discussed this same issue about 2 years ago on e-sangha and I gave you references about where you can find more on citta to citta aspect of d.o. Did you perhaps get a chance to go through some of them? I'll try to dig out those references again, I should have them somewhere in my notes...

Best wishes
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 11:32 am

Greetings pt1,

The citta-to-citta explanations don't appeal to me personally because initially, there's the matter of the origins of the Abhidhamma (which we've covered elsewhere and needn't cover again here - suffice to say, they're not in the suttas), but that one citta must inherently finish before the next can start, and this atomic separation of cittas does not stack up to the notion of sankhara as "something that something else depends on" as the last one has already disappeared before the dhamma comes to be. You cannot depend upon that which is absent. Yet, it is said that all dhammas with the exception of nibbana are sankhata-dhammas (things that depend on something else). The mutual exclusiveness of the cittas also seems to conflict with the related notion of this/that conditionality which Cooran quoted earlier...

‘When this is, that comes to be,
With the arising of this, that arises,
When this is not, that does not come to be,
With the cessation of this, this ceases’

I don't know much about the (non-three-life) Abhidhamma method of dependent origination, but does it permit "this" and "that" to co-exist, where 'this' is one nidana, and 'that' is the next nidana?

Nanavira Thera doesn't comment specifically on the (non-three-life) Abhidhamma method of dependent origination, but the following gives a good indication that he would reject the underlying notion of 'momentariness' upon which it stands...

The notion of two successive 'moments', A and B, as akālika or non-temporal is a confusion. Either A and B are simultaneous (as e.g. viññāna and nāmarūpa), in which case they are indeed akālika; or B follows A and they are successive (as e.g. the in-&-out-breaths), in which case they are kālika. Even if there is no interval of time between the ending of A and the beginning of B, it remains true that B comes after A, and time is still involved. The source of the confusion is in the contradictory idea of a moment as the smallest possible interval of time—i.e. as absolute shortness of time --, and therefore as no time. Two successive moments are, thus, also no time: 0 + 0 = 0. This is nothing but a mystification: it is like the notion of 'absolute smallness of size' in quantum theory (Dirac, op. cit., pp. 3-4), introduced to compensate for other philosophically unjustifiable assumptions made elsewhere. (Quantum theory, of course, being an elaborate and ingenious rule of thumb, does not require philosophical justification; but ipso facto it provides no foundation for philosophy.) To the idea of a 'moment' as the shortest empirically observable interval of time there is no objection; but this merely marks the threshold below which changes are too small and rapid to be clearly apprehended as discontinuous and are grasped irrationally and ambiguously as a flux. What it does not mark is the boundary between kālika and akālika.

Source: http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=69

If you do have links on the Abhidhammic-non-three-life model, please do share though, because I'd still be interested to see how they go about their explanations. Furthermore, they may be of benefit to those who derive benefit from the Abhidhamma dhamma framework.

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: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby Shonin » Tue May 25, 2010 11:50 am

Sorry for so many questions. Here's another one:

Which interpretation of Dependent Origination is orthodox Theravada?
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