Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby pt1 » Tue May 25, 2010 12:04 pm

pt1 wrote:I'll try to dig out those references again, I should have them somewhere in my notes...

Ok, here are some I have written down:

Vibhanga (second book of the abhidhamma pitaka):
PTS 1969 edition
Chapter 6. Analysis of dependent origination, pages 180-250
- Sutanatta method - pages 180-184, paragraphs 225-242 [paragraphs 135-138]
- Abhidhamma method - pages 184-250 , paragrpahs 243-354 [paragraphs 138-192]
please note - the numbers in [square brackets] I think are the page numbers in an older PTS edition, sorry I don't remember anymore exactly.

Since this is abhidhamma pitaka, we're of course talking about a tradition that predates Mahavihara tradition as such (i.e. regardless whether one subscribes to belief that abhidhamma originated with the Buddha, or that it only formed by the third council, we're still taking centuries before Buddhaghosa).

An interesting note is that sutantta method (from which 3 lives aspect is derived) is discussed only on 5 pages, while the abhidhamma method (from which citta to citta aspect is derived) is discussed on 75 pages, which would seem to indicate that it is a very important aspect. From the brief notes I have on this, abdhiahamma method discusses d.o. there in terms of causality, roots, association, reciprocity, akusala states, kusala states, functional states and resultant states.

Regarding Mahavihara tradition reference, aside from Vsm, Sammohavinodani - Dispeller of Delusion (a commentary on Vibhanga that is also ascribed to Buddhaghosa) discusses the relevant Vibhanga chapter 6 on pages 161-270 (PTS edition 1996). As far as I could tell, a lot more space is given to discussing the suttanata method than the abhidhamma method. Perhaps Buddhaghosa preferred the suttanata method...

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby pt1 » Tue May 25, 2010 12:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:The citta-to-citta explanations don't appeal to me personally because initially, there's the matter of the origins of the Abhidhamma

Sure retro, that's fine, but OP is about mahavihara tradition, and according to mahavihara tradition, abhidhamma was recited at the first council, so it seems relevant. Further, Ven.Nanavira criticises the traditional approach, so abhidhamma again seems relevant as it is very much a part of the same tradition.
retrofuturist wrote:(which we've covered elsewhere and needn't cover again here - suffice to say, they're not in the suttas)

Abhidhamma not found in the suttas? :jawdrop: :tongue: And you say that after all those discussion?!? I'll have to counter-claim here for the sake of political correctness - suttas are nothing but an expresion of abhidhamma in a distilled form!!! Ok, now that I got that out of my system:

retrofuturist wrote: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...

Well, as discussed before, you don't have to read atomism, separation of cittas, etc, into the abhidhamma pitaka as tilt explained before. So, if we leave all that behind (or ascribe it to mahavihara tradition as some do), it doesn't take away from the abhidhamma method of explaining d.o. which seems to say that d.o. links in various combinations can arise simultaneously.

retrofuturist wrote: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?

I would think so, e.g. consciousness is said to be accompanied by mental factors, and some of the mental factors are given as feeling, craving, ignorance, volition, etc, and these also qualify as d.o. links, I would think.

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...


Well, "momentariness" is also a complex issue, so if you're not fond of the (supposed) commentarial notion of separate cittas, consider "citta" or consciousness as just a state that can be presently observed, rather than as a discrete atomistic moment, and perhaps in such manner there'll be no apparent discrepancy between sutta and abhidhamma pitakas so you can consider both in the same light without the "unwanted baggage" so to speak.

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 25, 2010 5:19 pm

Shonin wrote:"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.


I don't know if this is significant, but when Buddha was a Bodhisatta, he apparently didn't go further than consciousness and namarupa when he analyzed the dependent origination. He didn't figure out anything (if I read the notes correctly, in Samyutta Nikaya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi) about the volitional formations and ignorance.

When he came to the consciousness and namarupa part, he just went like this: namarupa --> consciousness --> and then back to namarupa (not volitional formations). He then figured that there's nothing more beyond this, because he saw the loop between the two. Maybe it appeared infinite and unbreakable (just my guess).

When he became enlightened, he added the volitional formations and ignorance to the equation. Apparently these two give the hints pointing the way out of the suffering. I think that once you understand what those two really entail, then you'd know what it exactly is for sure.

I think that by having a real understanding of the DO, via analyzing with your experiences, this would give you a "key" to unlocking the Buddha's teaching and then applying it correctly. I think that he basically built this sequence based on what he observed in this world, and then turned it into a reference for others to use, so to speak. Four Noble Truths is probably another example of this key, using "suffering" as a reference point.

I'm still not sure if just one of those two keys would be enough, or you have to use both to maximize the usefulness of the teaching in your own practice. Just my own thoughts on this.
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby cooran » Tue May 25, 2010 8:25 pm

Hello all,

paticca-samuppāda

'dependent origination', is the doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and psychical phenomena, a doctrine which, together with that of impersonality (anattā), forms the indispensable condition for the real understanding and realization of the teaching of the Buddha. It shows the conditionality and dependent nature of that uninterrupted flux of manifold physical and psychical phenomena of existence conventionally called the ego, or man, or animal, etc.

Whereas the doctrine of impersonality, or anattā, proceeds analytically, by splitting existence up into the ultimate constituent parts, into mere empty, unsubstantial phenomena or elements, the doctrine of dependent origination, on the other hand, proceeds synthetically, by showing that all these phenomena are, in some way or other, conditionally related with each other. In fact, the entire Abhidhamma Pitaka, as a whole, treats really of nothing but just these two doctrines: phenomenality - implying impersonality and conditionality of all existence. The former or analytical method is applied in Dhammasangani, the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka; the latter or synthetical method, in Patthāna, the last book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. For a synopsis of these two works, s. Guide I and VII.

Though this subject has been very frequently treated by Western authors, by far most of them have completely misunderstood the true meaning and purpose of the doctrine of dependent origination, and even the 12 terms themselves have often been rendered wrongly.

The formula of dependent origination runs as follows:
1. Avijiā-paccayā sankhārā: "Through ignorance are conditioned the sankhāras," i.e. the rebirth-producing volitions (cetanā), or 'karma-formations' .
2. Sankhāra-paccayā viññānam: "Through the karma-formations (in the past life) is conditioned consciousness (in the present life)."
3. Viññāna-paccayā nāma-rūpam: "Through consciousness are conditioned the mental and physical phenomena (nāma-rūpa)," i.e. that which makes up our so-called individual existence.
4. Nāma-rūpa-paccayā salāyatanam: "Through the mental and physical phenomena are conditioned the 6 bases," i.e. the 5 physical sense-organs, and consciousness as the sixth.
5. Salāyatana-paccayā phasso: "Through the six bases is conditioned the (sensorial mental) impression."
6. Phassa-paccayā vedanā: "Through the impression is conditioned feeling."
7. Vedanā-paccayā tanhā: "Through feeling is conditioned craving."
8. Tanhā-paccayā upādānam: "Through craving is conditioned clinging."
9. Upādāna-paccayā bhavo: "Through clinging is conditioned the process of becoming," consisting in the active and the passive life process, i.e. the rebirth-producing karma-process (kamma-bhava) and, as its result, the rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava).
10. Bhava-paccayā jāti: "Through the (rebirth-producing karma-) process of becoming is conditioned rebirth."
11. Jāti-paccayā jarāmaranam, etc.: "Through rebirth are conditioned old age and death (sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair). Thus arises this whole mass of suffering again in the future."
The following diagram shows the relationship of dependence between three successive lives:


SEE LINK AT FOOT OF POST FOR DIAGRAM AND ARTICLES

Before taking up the study of the following exposition, it is suggested that the reader first goes thoroughly through the article on the 24 conditions (s. paccaya). For a thorough understanding of the paticcasamuppāda he should know the main modes of conditioning, as decisive support, co-nascence, pre-nascence, etc.
For a closer study of the subject should be consulted:
Vis.M. XVII;
Fund. III;
Guide (Ch. VII and Appendix);
Dependent Origination, by Piyadassi Thera (WHEEL 15);
The Significance of Dependent Origination (WHEEL 140).

(1.) "Through ignorance are conditioned the karma-formations" (avijjā-paccayā sankhārā), i.e. all wholesome and unwholesome actions (karma) of body, speech and mind, are conditioned through ignorance. By 'karma-formations' are meant karmically wholesome and unwholesome volitions (cetanā), or volitional activities, in short karma (q.v., and Fund. II).
In view of the many misconceptions current in the West, it is necessary to repeat here that karma, as a technical term, never signifies anything but moral or immoral action, i.e. the above mentioned volitional activities, or karma-formations, as either causing results in the present life or being the causes of future destiny and rebirth. Thus karma, as a philosophical term, never means the result of action, as often wrongly conceived by Western authors.

Now, in what way are the karma-formations conditioned through ignorance? As concerns the unwholesome karma-formations associated with greed, hate or delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), these are always and in all circumstances, conditioned through the simultaneous ignorance inseparably associated therewith. Thus, ignorance is for the unwholesome karma-formations a condition by way of conascence (sahajāta-paccaya), association (sampayutta-paccaya), presence (atthi-paccaya), etc. Ignorance further may be for them a condition by way of decisive support or inducement (upanissaya-paccaya), if, for instance, ignorance coupled with greed induces a man to commit evil deeds, such as killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc. In these cases, therefore, ignorance is a 'natural decisive suppport' or 'direct inducement' (pakati-upanissaya-paccaya). It also may become an indirect inducement, by way of object (ārammanūpanissaya-paccaya) of our thinking. This takes place, if, for example, someone remembers a former state of ignorance combined with sensual enjoyment, and in doing so karmically unwholesome states spring up, such as sensual desire, grief, etc.

For the wholesome (kusala) karma-formations, ignorance can only be a condition by way of decisive support (upanissaya), never by way of co-nascence (sahajāta), etc., since wholesome consciousness at that very moment, of course, cannot be associated with any unwholesome phenomenon, such as ignorance. Ignorance is a 'natural decisive support' or 'direct inducement' (pakatupanissaya), for example, if, induced by ignorance and vanity, one exerts oneself to attain the absorptions, and thus finally, through perseverance, reaches these wholesome states of mind. Ignorance may also be for wholesome karma-formations a 'decisive support' or 'inducement by way of object' (ārammanūpanissaya), if, for example, one reflects on ignorance as the root of all misery in the world, and thus finally attains insight and entrance into one of the 4 supermundane paths of holiness.
For ignorance, s. avijjā; for karma-formations, s. sankhāra.

(2.) "Through the karma-formations is conditioned consciousness" (sankhāra-paccayā viññānam). This proposition teaches that the wholesome and unwholesome karma-formations are the causes of future rebirth in an appropriate sphere (gati). The karma-formations of the previous life condition the budding in a new mother's womb of a fresh psycho-physical aggregation of the 5 groups of existence (s. khandha), which here are represented by consciousness (viññāna). All such karma-resultant (vipāka) consciousness, however, such as eye-consciousness (seeing), etc., as well as all the mental phenomena associated therewith (feeling, etc.), are karmically neutral. It should be understood that already from the very first moment of conception in the mother's womb, this karma resultant consciousness of the embryonic being is functioning.
Against Dr. Paul Dahlke's misconception of the paticcasamuppāda as "one single karmical moment of personal experience," and of the 'simultaneity' of all the 12 links of this formula, I should like to state here distinctly that the interpretation of the p. given here as comprising 3 successive lives not only agrees with all the different schools of Buddhism and all the ancient commentaries, but also is fully identical with the explanations given already in the canonical suttas. Thus, for example, it is said verbatim in Nidāna-Samyutta (S. XII, 51): "Once ignorance (1) and clinging (9) are extinguished, neither karmically meritorious, nor demeritorious, nor imperturbable karma-formations (2=10) are produced, and thus no consciousness (3=11) will spring up again in a new mother's womb." And further: "For, if consciousness were not to appear in the mother's womb, would in that case mentality and corporeality (4) arise?" Cf. above diagram.
The purpose of the Buddha in teaching the p. was to show to suffering mankind how, depending on ignorance and delusion, this present existence and suffering has come about, and how through extinction of ignorance, and of the craving and clinging conditioned thereby, no more rebirth will follow, and thus the standstill of the process of existence will have been realized and therewith the extinction of all suffering.

(3.) "Through consciousness are conditioned corporeality and mentality" (viññāna-paccayā nāma-rūpani). This proposition implies that without consciousness there can be no mental and physical process of existence. By mentality (nāma) is here to be understood the karma-resultant (vipāka) mental phenomena, such as feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), volition (cetanā: non-karmical volition is here meant), consciousness-impression (phassa), advertence (manasikāra) (M. 9; S. XII, 2). For the basic 7 mental phenomena inseparably associated with every state of consciousness, s. nāma. By corporeality (rūpa) is meant the 4 physical elements (s. dhātu) and the corporeality dependent thereon (s. khandha, I).
Mentality is always conditioned through consciousness; i.e. consciousness (viññāna) is for mentality (nāma) a condition by way of conascence (sahajāta), mutuality (aññamañña), association (sampayutta), etc., since the 4 mental groups at all times form an inseparable unit.
Consciousness (viññāna) is for corporeality (rūpa) a condition by way of co-nascence only at the moment of conception, thereafter a condition by way of post-nascence (pacchājāta-paccaya; paccaya 11) and nutriment (āhāra), i.e. as a support. Just as the repeatedly arising hunger is a condition and support for the pre-arisen body, so is the consciousness arising afterwards a condition and support for the maintenance of this pre-arisen body.

(4.) "Through mentality and corporeality are conditioned the 6 bases (nāma-rūpa paccayā salāyatanam). The 6 bases are a name for the 5 physical sense-organs and, as 6th, the mind-base (manāyatana), i.e. consciousness.
Mentality (nāma; s. 3) is for the 5 physical bases (āyatana), or sense-organs, a condition by way of post-nascence. Cf. end of 3.
Mentality (nāma), i.e. feeling. etc., is for the 6th base, or consciousness - as being always inseparably associated therewith a condition by way of co-nascence. etc.
Corporeality (rūpa), here the 4 elements, are for the 5 physical bases (āyatana), or sense-organs, a condition by way of support (nissaya).
Corporeality (rūpa), here the 5 physical sense-organs, are for the 6th base (āyatana), i.e. consciousness, a condition by way of support and pre-nascence (purejāta-paccaya).

(5.) "Through the 6 bases is conditioned the (sensorial and mental) impression" (salāyatana-paccayā phasso), for without the 5 physical bases, or sense-organs, there can be no sense-impressions; and without the 6th base, or consciousness, there can be no mental impression.
Thus, the 5 physical bases, eye, etc., are for the corresponding 5 sense-impressions (visual impression, etc.) a condition by way of support (nissaya) and pre-nascence (purejāta), whereas the 6th, the mind-base (consciousness), is for the mental impression a condition by way of co-nascence, association, mutuality, etc.
(6.) "Through impression is conditioned feeling" (phassa-paccayā vedanā), i.e. the sensorial and the mental impressions are for the feeling associated therewith a condition by way of co-nascence, association, mutuality, etc.

(7.) "Through feeling is conditioned craving" (vedanā-paccayā tanhā). Any (karma-resultant) feeling, whether agreeable, disagreeable or neutral, bodily or mental, past or expected, may become for craving a condition of decisive support by way of object (ārammanūpanissaya). Even physically and mentally painful feeling may, through the desire to be released there from, become for craving a condition of decisive support by way of object (ārammanupanissaya).

(8.) "Through craving is conditioned clinging" (tanhā-paccayā upādānam). 'Clinging' is explained as an intensified form of craving. It is of 4 kinds:
(1) clinging to sensuality,
(2) to erroneous views,
(3) to rules and ritual,
(4) to personality-belief.
Sensuous craving is to (1) a condition of natural decisive support (pakatupanissaya). For (2-4), craving is a condition by way of co-nascence, mutuality, root (hetu), etc. It also may be a condition of natural decisive support. For example, through craving for heavenly rebirth, etc. people often may be induced to cling to certain rules and rituals, with the hope of reaching thereby the object of their desires.

(9.) "Through clinging is conditioned the process of becoming" (upādāna-paccayā bhavo), i.e. the wholesome and unwholesome active karma-process of becoming (kamma-bhava), as well as the karma-resultant (vipāka) passive process, the so-called 'rebirth-process' (upapatti-bhava). The karma-process (kammabhava) comprises the 5 karmical causes: ignorance, karma-formations, craving, clinging, karma-process (s. 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, of the diagram); the rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava) comprises the 5 karma-results (s. 3-7 of the diagram).
The karma-process is here, correctly speaking, a collective name for generative karmic volition (kamma-cetanā) and all the mental phenomena associated therewith, whilst the 2nd link (karma-formations) designates only karmic volition (s. āyūhana). Both, however, i.e. the 2nd and 10th proposition, practically state one and the same thing, namely, that karma is the cause of rebirth, as we shall see under 10.
Clinging (upādāna) may be an inducement of decisive support (upanissaya) to many kinds of wholesome and unwholesome karma. Sensuous clinging (kāmūpādāna), i.e. clinging to sensuous objects, for example, may be a direct inducement to murder, theft, unlawful intercourse with the other sex, evil words and thoughts, etc. Clinging to rules and ritual (sīlabbatūpādāna) may lead to self-complacency, fanaticism, cruelty, etc. Clinging is also for the evil karma associated therewith, a condition by way of co-nascence, association, etc.

(10.) "Through the process of becoming is conditioned rebirth" (bhava-paccayā jāti), i.e. through the wholesome and unwholesome karma-process (kamma-bhava) is conditioned the rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava). The 2nd and 10th propositions, as already pointed out, practically teach one and the same thing, namely, that karma is the cause of rebirth; in other words, that the karmical volition (cetanā) is the seed out of which springs the new life, just as from the mango-seed is generated the new mango-tree.
Hence, the 5 karmical causes (ignorance, etc.) of the past birth are the condition for the karma-results of the present birth; and the 5 karmical causes of the present birth are the condition for the 5 karma-results of the next birth (s. diagram). As it is said in Vis.M. XVII:
"Five causes were there in the past,
Five fruits we find in present life;
Five causes do we now produce,
Five fruits we reap in future life."
Now, just as in this process of continually changing mental and bodily phenomena, nothing can be found that would pass from one moment to the next moment, so also there is no enduring entity, ego, or personality, within this process of existence that would transmigrate from one life to the next (s. nāma-rūpa, anattā, patisandhi, khandha). "No being and no living soul passed from the former life to this life, and yet this present embryo could not have entered into existence without the preceding causes" (Vis.M. XVII). "Many things may serve to illustrate this fact, as for example the echo, the light of a lamp, the impression of a seal, or the image produced by a mirror" (ib.).
"Whosoever is in the dark with regard to the conditionally arisen things, and does not understand that karma originates from ignorance, etc., he thinks that it must be his ego that knows or does not know, acts and causes to act, and that arises at rebirth. Or he thinks that the atoms, or a creator, with the help of this embryonic process, must have formed this body, or that it is the ego endowed with faculties that has impressions, feels, desires, clings, continues and enters again into existence in a new birth. Or he thinks that all beings have been born through fate, or fortuitously" (Vis.M. XVII).
Now, on hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything whatever in the world is determined by conditions some might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, and that man has no free will, or that will is not free.
The problem 'whether man has a free will' does not exist for, the Buddhist, since he knows that, apart from these ever-changing mental and physical phenomena, no such entity as 'man' can be found, and that 'man' is merely a name not relating to any reality. And the question, 'whether will is free', must be rejected for the reason that 'will', or volition, is a mental phenomenon flashing forth only for a moment, and that as such it had not any existence at the preceding moment. For of a thing which is not, or is not yet, one cannot, properly speaking, ask whether it is free or un-free. The only admissible question would be whether the arising of 'will' is independent of conditions, or whether it is conditioned. But the same question would equally apply also to all the other mental phenomena, as well as to all physical phenomena, in other words: to everything and every occurrence whatever. And the answer would be: whether will arises, or whether feeling arises, or whether any other mental or any physical phenomenon arises, the arising of anything whatsoever is dependent on conditions, and without conditions nothing ever can arise or enter into existence.
According to Buddhism, everything mental or physical happens in accordance with laws and conditions; and if it were otherwise, chaos and blind chance would reign. But such a thing is impossible and contradicts all laws of thinking. Cf. Fund. III (end).

(11.) "Through rebirth are conditioned old age and death" (jātipaccayā jarā-maranam). Without birth there can be no old age and death, no suffering and misery. Thus rebirth is to old age and death, etc. a condition by way of decisive support (upanissaya).
The Buddha has said (D.15): "Profound, Ananda. is this dependent origination, and profound does it appear. It is through not understanding, not penetrating, this law that this world resembles a tangled ball of thread, a bird's nest, a thicket of sedge or reed, and that man does not escape from the lower states of existence, from the course of woe and perdition, suffering from the round of rebirth." And further (M. 28): 'Whoso understands the dependent origination understands the Dhamma; and whoso understands the Dhamma understands the dependent origination."
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_ ... ppaada.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 25, 2010 9:18 pm

Greetings pt1,

pt1 wrote:Sure retro, that's fine, but OP is about mahavihara tradition

Yes, but even from the OP it was clear that Shonin wanted to get around to non-Mahavihara accounts afterwards. I've actually been quite diligent in this topic keeping to the Mahavihara account and pointing people back on topic until Shonin decided to open the floodgates.

pt1 wrote:according to mahavihara tradition, abhidhamma was recited at the first council

According to the Mahavihara tradition, the Buddha went to Sri Lanka three times. ;)

Speaking of three, it was the third council where the Abhidhamma Pitaka was recited. The 'First Council' explanation implies that each and every other early Buddhist sect wilfully just tossed it into the garbage, seeing no value in it. Surely you don't wish to imply that either, pt1. 8-)

All in good humour, friend, but it is good to see the full implications of one's statements.

:)

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 9:28 pm

Hi Chris,

Oddly, the diagram in the link you posted omits #9 Clinging. Perhaps there's a subliminal message... :sage:

I prefer this version of Ven Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary, which has correctly reproduced the table and has better internal links to the various Pali terms:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... pp%C4%81da

This paragraph may be of those with a historical interest in the modern debates:
Against Dr. Paul Dahlke's misconception of the paticcasamuppāda as;one single kammical moment of personal experience,; and of the 'simultaneity' of all the 12 links of this formula, I should like to state here distinctly that the interpretation of the p. given here as comprising 3 successive lives not only agrees with all the different schools of Buddhism and all the ancient commentaries, but also is fully identical with the explanations given already in the canonical suttas. Thus, for example, it is said verbatim in Nidāna-Samyutta S. XII, 51:;Once ignorance 1 and clinging 9 are extinguished, neither kammically meritorious, nor disadvantageous, nor imperturbable kammic-constructions 2=10 are produced, and thus no consciousness 3=11 will spring up again in a new mother's womb.; And further:;For, if consciousness were not to appear in the mother's womb, would in that case mentality and materiality 4 arise?; Cf. above diagram.

Ven Nyanatiloka completed the first edition of his Buddhist Dictionary while still interred in India (owing to his German nationality) at the end of the Second World War (he was ordained in 1903). Venerables Nanavira and Nanamoli came from England to joined his monastery in Sri Lanka a couple of years later. See, for example, the sketches here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/index.html#n

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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby nathan » Tue May 25, 2010 11:38 pm

I can relate to all of the interpretations of DO and sense that they all have some validity because for me the validity of DO is found in examining conditions and conditional relations as they exist in my own makeup. So I don't have an argument for the superiority of one view of DO over another. As I examine the conditional relations arising and passing in my body and consciousness I note a process that has roots in the present moment but which extend into the imponderable past and unforeseen future by means of the overall processes. This makes it possible for me to examine the momentary aspects of DO in the present, while I sit, and contemplate the process of being and becoming in the long term in relation to the conditions of the present.

The various time scales are merely a difference of perspective not a change in the relations between the immediate and the long term processes. The roots of the process exist in the present and can be observed there but those roots are woven through a ground that extends to the long gone past and yet to be known future. Without the intentions to be, to be otherwise or not to be in the past there would be no support for the present root of conscious being now and when the root of conscious being now is completely cut there will be no ground for being and becoming in the future. Without reference to all of these perspectives, the immediate present, the near and far past and the near and far future, DO does not have reference to all of the time scales that have a relationship to the process.

All of these scales, long and short term have meaning for me. It means something to me that I was born and that I have a past. It means something to me that I am being and becoming in the present and it means something to me that I will grow old and die. It means something to me that consciousness in contact with other conditions wants to be and become in the present and it is not difficult to understand how this dependency of consciousness on objects would have been much the same in one life after another many times in the past or how it will continue to experience conditions in the future unless it can be made to fully understand the nature of the dangers of doing so in any way and the lasting refuge and peace of fully abandoning it's clinging to being and knowing.

With this topic or theme, as with many others, I don't think the Buddha was trying to limit our insights into his teachings about DO to one orthodox perspective or another. I think it's a natural proclivity for people to discover one viewpoint or another on the teachings and then insist that it is the only way to observe a process or a condition but is this kind of rigidity of thinking a support for our practice or is it a support for holding to views or a perhaps even status? If viewpoint is a support for holding to views or status seeking I try to abandon attachment but if it is a challenge to views or a challenge to status I give the challenges some attention in the hope that my views will be less strongly held and more broadly based in what can be known and understood. What has a knowable and understandable relevance to my practice has lasting value and what doesn't have that kind of relevance tends to fade away, not because I adhere to the views of one orthodoxy or another or one iconoclast or another, but because valuable insights into the Dhamma can come from many different viewpoints if one's reliance upon views is light and flexible. When a pov has lasting importance it is because it finds a place in what can be directly known and lastingly understood and then which pov it came from becomes irrelevant. What has had lasting importance is being variously directed to observe the DO process in my own ongoing being and becoming in various different ways and all of those perspectives together have proven the value of simply examining and investigating for myself and of continuing to do so.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 26, 2010 1:37 am

Hi Nathan,
nathan wrote:With this topic or theme, as with many others, I don't think the Buddha was trying to limit our insights into his teachings about DO to one orthodox perspective or another. I think it's a natural proclivity for people to discover one viewpoint or another on the teachings and then insist that it is the only way to observe a process or a condition but is this kind of rigidity of thinking a support for our practice or is it a support for holding to views or a perhaps even status? ...

I agree. My feeling is that the most fruitful way to investigate Dhamma is to try to develop more understanding of what is being expressed, rather than worry about proving some particular version correct.

I like what you say about various time scales and how you see those in relation to experience.

Mike
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby pt1 » Wed May 26, 2010 4:32 am

You must have guessed that I’ll be glad to respond to such good-mannered provocations :tongue: :
retrofuturist wrote:
pt1 wrote:according to mahavihara tradition, abhidhamma was recited at the first council

According to the Mahavihara tradition, the Buddha went to Sri Lanka three times. ;)

Hm, wasn’t that stated in the historical chronicle Mahavamsa? Which is not exactly the work of Buddhaghosa on finer points of Dhamma, but still, how can you be absolutely sure that he didn’t visit Sri Lanka? My skeptical brain says “not likely he'd been to Sri Lanka”, but when considering passages in the suttas that he could disappear from one place and almost instantaneously appear in some other place, travel to different heavens, and stroke the sun and the moon with his hand, it would seem traveling to Sri Lanka would have been a breeze for someone like that…
retrofuturist wrote:Speaking of three, it was the third council where the Abhidhamma Pitaka was recited. The 'First Council' explanation implies that each and every other early Buddhist sect wilfully just tossed it into the garbage, seeing no value in it. Surely you don't wish to imply that either, pt1. 8-)

Well, ok, again, I have to counter for the sake of a bit more fair appraisal imo – if you remember from previous discussions, it seems a couple or so vinayas of other early sects did say that abhidhamma was recited at the first council. What’s the modern theravada stance on the issue differs whether one places faith in what Buddhaghosa is recorded to have said on the matter (first council), or in what modern authors say on the matter (third council). Either way, I don’t really get your conclusion about every other sect tossing it. Early theravada branches didn’t, sarvastivada didn’t (apparently also finding it’s way into Mahayana and Vajrayana sects later), and apparently some abhidhamma texts from other early sects have been preserved in the Chinese canon to this day…

retrofuturist wrote:All in good humour, friend, but it is good to see the full implications of one's statements.:)


Yes, I'm glad we can cordially disagree nowadays on some of these less practical issues.

As for d.o, it's deep stuff, some aspects of various explanations may be more appealing at one time, and then different aspects at another time. So what seems important is to just keep considering it…

Best wishes
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Re: Dependent Origination: Mahavihara account

Postby atulo » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:52 am

Ben wrote:Retro, a message to you from Bhikkhu Nanamoli: /.../
-- Introduction to Visuddhimagga p.xliv-xlv

And here something from Ven. Nanamoli's personal letter to his friend in England:

"My famous (?) magnum opus (translation) was published last month. I have asked them to send you a copy. If it hasn't arrived by March, let me know (parcels seem to take 6 to 8 weeks to Europe now). It seems rather alien and odd, like something done by someone else. For amusement I concealed my name in the first letters of each sentence in the preface. I haven't told anyone but you at all. It amuses me to see if anyone will notice it (but of course they won't). I do not really like the book at all, or agree with some of its content, and it really represents partly the getting past an obstacle and partly some rather abstruse literary amusement for myself. I recommend you to put it on a shelf rather than read it. I think the printers, the best in Ceylon, could have done a better job. Had I known, I would have left less in their hands, still... The "18 faults of a monastery" at the beginning of chapter IV might amuse you."

Source: http://nanavira.top-talk.net/dhamma-dis ... ga-t43.htm

Ven. Nanamoli was not a fan of VM.
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