"Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:As a definition for 'speculative', how about "view (ditthi) that is not experientially verified as knowledge (nana)"?

I don't think that's the correct definition for the term that the Buddha used that is commonly translated as "speculative view". He seemed clear about the views that he considered speculative (e.g. in DN1).

I think that what you are talking about is not yet awakening to the truth, which is not described as "speculative".
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

retrofuturist wrote:Tying this back to dependent origination, which Mike enquired about in the original post, the structural links between any nidanas which are not yet experientially known fall into that category of "view (ditthi) that is not experientially verified as knowledge (nana)" and are therefore speculative.

As we discussed above, the existence of arahants is just as "speculative", so the use of such labelling in that case, and, especially, using such wordplay to dismiss the canonical interpretation, doesn't strike me as particularly convincing.

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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:54 am

Greetings Mike,

Good to see you bring attention to the Canki Sutta!

That's a very apt sutta and warrants further investigation...

"Bharadvaja, first you went by conviction. Now you speak of unbroken tradition. There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked... truly an unbroken tradition... well-reasoned... Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn't proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless."

"But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth? To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the safeguarding of the truth."

"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

"If a person likes something... holds an unbroken tradition... has something reasoned through analogy... has something he agrees to, having pondered views, his statement, 'This is what I agree to, having pondered views,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

"Yes, Master Gotama, to this extent there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. We regard this as the safeguarding of the truth. But to what extent is there an awakening to the truth? To what extent does one awaken to the truth? We ask Master Gotama about awakening to the truth."


There are five modes of belief which "can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now" - in other words right or wrong. These are:

1. Conviction,
2. Liking,
3. Unbroken tradition,
4. Reasoning by analogy, &
5. An agreement through pondering views.

In my opinion, all these are speculative grounds for views because they "can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now" - they are not based on actual knowledge of their truth or falsity. We "safeguard the truth" when we admit to this fact. All view is speculative until it is confirmed to be true or false by "awakening to the truth". Even Right View is speculative until it is Right Knowledge.

As we discussed above, the existence of arahants is just as "speculative"

Yes, indeed, to us it is... and it is quite honest to admit it as such. To admit this is "safeguarding the truth". Our belief in arahants is based on one or more of those foundations for speculative view that were specified in the Canki Sutta. Speculative doesn't mean baseless of course... we have our reasons why we believe what we believe, and they would fall into 1 or more of the 5 categories denoted above... and we may be right and we may be wrong, we don't know. Our reasons may be good, but until we know for ourselves, they are not conclusive. Do you concur?

using such wordplay to dismiss the canonical interpretation

I don't know what you mean by canonical interpretation... do you mean the commentarial interpretation?

doesn't strike me as particularly convincing

I'm not here to convince you... only to answer your questions to the best of my ability. You're free to believe what you like, on whatever grounds you like, as you no doubt will.

To rephrase then, in alignment with the Canki Sutta (so that you shant dismiss it as "wordplay")....

Tying this back to dependent origination, the structural links between any nidanas which are not yet experientially known fall into the category of that which "can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now" and are therefore not nana - they are view.

Yet, "this Dhamma is visible here-&-now, not subject to time, inviting all to come & see, pertinent, to be known by the wise for themselves." When the linkages between certain nidanas are interpreted to necessarily span two separate and discrete lifetimes (i.e. the links from sankhara to vinnana, and bhava to jati) as takes place in the Visuddhimagga for example, their verification (nana) comes to require skills that not all arahants possess. Whether this poses a contradiction for the adherent of the Visuddhimagga is for them to determine... I'd be interested in how such adherents view this situation.


Feel free to answer this question, or not. It's an open invitation to you or anyone.

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: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:49 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Yet, "this Dhamma is visible here-&-now, not subject to time, inviting all to come & see, pertinent, to be known by the wise for themselves." When the linkages between certain nidanas are interpreted to necessarily span two separate and discrete lifetimes (i.e. the links from sankhara to vinnana, and bhava to jati) as takes place in the Visuddhimagga for example, their verification (nana) comes to require skills that not all arahants possess. Whether this poses a contradiction for the adherent of the Visuddhimagga is for them to determine... I'd be interested in how such adherents view this situation.

By "such adherents" I guess you mean those who take the traditional interpretation as the starting point? I'm actually getting rather tired of the dismissive tone of statements such as: "that's for the adherents ... to determine". I would appreciate it if you would stop using such loaded and dismissive terminology.

It's actually not up to those of us who find value in the ancient commentaries to determine whether or not your queries pose a contradiction. It's up to you, since they are your supposed contradictions. Your argument appears to be: "I don't understand how knowing this stuff would work in practise, so that interpretation seems suspect". That seems like a game of second-guessing how it might work before fully understanding and investigating it. As you've admitted above, most of us have no idea what Nibbana actually is, but we don't argue that the teachings on Nibbana seem puzzling and contradictory, so attaining it is probably impossible.

By all means follow your line of investigation if you find it helpful. But please don't suggest that those who don't see the problems you see in the standard interpretations are not investigating thoroughly enough.

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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Freawaru » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:56 am

Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:
"Only those things that are directly knowable in this moment are useful Buddha-Dhamma".


Interesting statement! :smile:

My question is how to define "things that are directly knowable in this moment?". For example a memory is directly knowable in this moment, a speculation is directly knowable in this moment.

As far as I know "directly knowable" refers to knowing when something arises, stays and ceases. For example when the Buddha's memories of previous lives arose he knew that they did. While the content of those memories was about the past the arising and staying of the memories themselves was directly knowable at that moment. It is similar with speculations or even precognition, though speculation is about "what could be true" and precognition about the future they are only so in content. The direct knowledge of them arising is now, in this moment.

This sort of statement is commonly used to argue that such-and-such is a "speculative view" because it can't be directly known, or that a certain meditation technique is not useful because it involves inference or visualisation.


Both inference and visualisations can be known right now, too. It is interesting to observe the mind during these processes...

So - for me - memory, speculation, inference and visualisation are directly knowable in the moment they arise, stay and leave (in principle at least, whether one succeeds in it is another point) and I have no problem with that statement.
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:00 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:By "such adherents" I guess you mean those who take the traditional interpretation as the starting point?

Yes.

mikenz66 wrote:I'm actually getting rather tired of the dismissive tone of statements such as: "that's for the adherents ... to determine". I would appreciate it if you would stop using such loaded and dismissive terminology.

It's not loaded and it's not dismissive.

mikenz66 wrote:It's actually not up to those of us who find value in the ancient commentaries to determine whether or not your queries pose a contradiction. It's up to you, since they are your supposed contradictions.

I'm asking if you find it a contradiction. You could just say no (rather than get all worked up about it).

mikenz66 wrote:By all means follow your line of investigation if you find it helpful. But please don't suggest that those who don't see the problems you see in the standard interpretations are not investigating thoroughly enough.

:coffee:

It seems no matter what I say, you find some way to get offended by it. Feel free to put me on ignore if it's going to stop you getting offended every time I open my mouth to answer your questions. If you find the answers so offensive, stop asking the questions. Simple. I'm tired of you repeatedly accusing me of these things, and I think your accusations are unreasonable, unjustifiable and tediously pedantic.

The fact that you started a topic openly questioning "Knowable here and now as a criterion for Dhamma" and now do not like the answers being received, nor the absence of anyone jumping in to support your position... really, it's not my issue to deal with.

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: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:23 pm

Hi all,

It seems to me that Dependent Arising is happening in all kinds of ways. Indeed, happening within every single kind of occurrence in which anything can ever have been said to happen. We can infer this rather easily. What I think we need to do after having accepted this inference is engage in practices which make it ever more likley to see clearly that Dependent Arising is a constant and indeed the only constant. Buddhist Tradition has passed on a multitude of these practices and some faith is required to engage in any of them. The practices are not necessarily verifiable here and now but the principle which they are meant to unveil is.


I think most of us at least agree on that. If not please excuse me and let me know how you differ.

Here is the thing. As I parse the discourses of the Pali Cannon I become generally aware that Dependent Arising is being unveiled and analyzed in many helpful ways. The Canki sutta for example(cited by Retro earlier) has twelve conditions which give rise to the establishment of truth. The four noble truths points out succinctly the conditions for anguish and the conditions for the cessation of anguish.

So....

It seems to me that the question of whether or not the twelve links from Ignorance to Suffering are taken as spanning three lives is not really that important. It is my assumption that to see clearly Dependent Arising is to understand without a doubt and without inference that their cannot possibly be any event which is free from it. This does seem to somewhat defy logic. I mean how can we see that a quality which is happening in the moment is temporally universal without inference? I think this is an interesting question but I do not have an answer. I do in fact have faith in being able to do it and I take it as the guiding blueprint of my practice. Interestingly, even though I have not achieved direct knowledge of the universality of D.O. , my life has become immensely more productive of joy, contentment and other positive mental qualities in the process of attempting it.


Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Greetings Gabriel,

gabrielbranbury wrote:It seems to me that the question of whether or not the twelve links from Ignorance to Suffering are taken as spanning three lives is not really that important. It is my assumption that to see clearly Dependent Arising is to understand without a doubt and without inference that their cannot possibly be any event which is free from it. This does seem to somewhat defy logic. I mean how can we see that a quality which is happening in the moment is temporally universal without inference? I think this is an interesting question but I do not have an answer.

An interesting question it is indeed...! To know it is "temporally universal" would indeed involve traversing the entirety of time, and assuming you haven't been doing it every day of your existence to date, it is now an impossibility. The Buddha's declaration that the Dhamma is timeless and visible here-and-now would also suggest such a thing is not required.

My way of approaching the question, is that if you understand the structures, when temporal instances occur, you can see that they always adhere to the given structure and do not function otherwise. How much of this observation is needed? Whatever is needed in order to bring an end to the passions, and break the fetters. It needn't be infinite, but it needs to be sufficient to achieve this end. Can zero known instances of observing any given nidana structure in action be sufficient? Do they all need to be known directly? Is it OK if some are just view? Perhaps, in practice, it is. It's the only way I see of resolving that possible contradiction posed above regarding the timeless, here-and-now nature of the Dhamma with the notion that arahantship is attainable even without the ability to see past lives, and the three-life D.O. version.

gabrielbranbury wrote:Interestingly, even though I have not achieved direct knowledge of the universality of D.O. , my life has become immensely more productive of joy, contentment and other positive mental qualities in the process of attempting it.

: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


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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:An interesting question it is indeed...! To know it is "temporally universal" would indeed involve traversing the entirety of time, and assuming you haven't been doing it every day of your existence to date, it is now an impossibility. The Buddha's declaration that the Dhamma is timeless and visible here-and-now would also suggest such a thing is not required.

My way of approaching the question, is that if you understand the structures, when temporal instances occur, you can see that they always adhere to the given structure and do not function otherwise. How much of this observation is needed? Whatever is needed in order to bring an end to the passions, and break the fetters. It needn't be infinite, but it needs to be sufficient to achieve this end. Can zero known instances of observing any given nidana structure in action be sufficient? Do they all need to be known directly? Is it OK is some are just view? Perhaps, in practice, it is. It's the only way I see of resolving that possible contradiction posed above regarding the timeless, here-and-now nature of the Dhamma with the notion that arahantship is attainable even without the ability to see past lives.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

What you say about the given structure and how much observation is needed is roughly the way I tend to approach the issue as well. I also leave room for the possibility of a different kind of perception which on the one hand fits the Buddhas descriptions and certainly brings an end to the passions but on the other has a quality which does not fit with our normal paradigm. I suspect there arises some sense a seeing through the temporal framework. I think Sati (in the sense of the quality of mind which brings about reccolection) is key here. I am looking for a kind of recollection which will bring past conditionality into the present like a kind of flash which does not carry particularities but makes universality utterly undeniable. I dont think this would be the same as remembering past lives. It might sound kinda hippy trippy but Im a bit like that sometimes. Its not really that important to me as a "veiw". The effect upon my practice of leaving room for this rather mysterious aspect of what we are talking about has been thus far beneficial in my assessment. It keeps me curious and inspired. Therefore it is supportive of the practice.

Metta

Gabe
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:50 am

Greetings,

In relation to the direct seeing of dependent origination, we find the following in...

MN 28: Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Now, the Blessed One has said, "Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising." And these things — the five clinging-aggregates — are dependently co-arisen. Any desire, embracing, grasping, & holding-on to these five clinging-aggregates is the origination of stress. Any subduing of desire & passion, any abandoning of desire & passion for these five clinging-aggregates is the cessation of stress.' And even to this extent, friends, the monk has accomplished a great deal."

It seems necessary to see/know dependent origination for one's self, but that perhaps seeing all the nidanas might not be necessary, and one's view of them may remain speculative.

That said, jati and its cessation doesn't seem to remain in the realm of the speculative for an arahant. See the following forumulaic example...

AN 6.55: Sona Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Sona became another one of the arahants.

What do we think could be the basis of this knowledge, which has been known "here and now", regarding jati?

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: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Yundi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:Techniques that lead to jhana generally involve some sort of visualisation (e.g. metta, kasinas, breath nimitta), whereas insight practises focus on "realities", such as form, feeling, etc.

Hi Mike

Jhana nimitta is 'mind-made' rather than via volition.

Jhana is also an object of insight or vipassana.

With metta

:console:
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Yundi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:18 am

mikenz66 wrote:
'I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.' ...

"'I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.' ...

These teachings involve inferential knowledge. I'm not sitting here experiencing death right now. At least I hope not... Is the Buddha teaching speculation here?

Mike

Beyond death does not mean like being in a spaceship in outerspace. :alien:

'Beyond death' means the mind is unaffected by death.

This is a simple reflection to Buddha advised to both laypeople & ordained.

I am subject to death, have I gone beyond death?

I would recommend reading the Nakula Sutta, where a wise female householder consoles her worried husband as he faces death from a grave illness.

With metta

:console:
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Yundi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:24 am

mikenz66 wrote:You seem to be saying that the key thing is the knowledge being here and now, not the causes and effects being here and now.

Mike

The cause of suffering is always here & now, even though some mind objects may arise influenced from the past.

The Buddha taught us the cause of suffering is craving & attachment.

The Buddha taught patient endurance burns up defilements supremely.

“On cognizing a mind-object with the mind, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing; he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having thus abandoned favoring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant, painful, or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. With the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of being; with the cessation of being, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

Mahātanhāsankhaya Sutta

:console:

"Monks, there are these three sectarian guilds that — when cross-examined, pressed for reasons & rebuked by wise people — even though they may explain otherwise, remain stuck in [a doctrine of] inaction. Which three?

"There are priests & contemplatives who hold this teaching, hold this view: 'Whatever a person experiences — pleasant, painful, or neither pleasant nor painful — that is all caused by what was done in the past.

"Having approached the priests & contemplatives who hold that... 'Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by what was done in the past,' I said to them: 'Is it true that you hold that... "Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by what was done in the past?"'

Thus asked by me, they admitted, 'Yes.'

Then I said to them, 'Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of what was done in the past. A person is a thief... unchaste... a liar... a divisive speaker... a harsh speaker... an idle chatterer... greedy... malicious... a holder of wrong views because of what was done in the past.'

When one falls back on what was done in the past as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should & shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered & unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative.

This was my first righteous refutation of those priests & contemplatives who hold to such teachings, such views.

Tittha Sutta: Sectarians


With metta

:console:
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Yundi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:Well, of course, I don't claim to be able to do this, but the Buddha often describes it:
"Now when the disciple of the noble ones has arrived at this purity of equanimity & mindfulness, he recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand....

Mike

What the Buddha experienced above, was the experience in the present???

For example, if I think about my childhood, are my memories experienced in the present or am I transported back in time in some time machine???

:alien:

With metta

:console:
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby alan » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:57 am

Hi Yundi. You're right if you were meaning to point out that:
Contemplation of death is reflection, not speculation.
Not sure about the spacecraft bit. Or your understanding of the purpose of the reflection.
Welcome to DW. There are a lot of smart people here and most of them are nicer than me!
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby alan » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:05 am

"Patient endurance burns up defilements extremely" ???
No.
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby Yundi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:00 am

Kanti paramam tapo titikkha.

Nibbaram paramam vandati Buddha

Enduring patience is the highest austerity.

"Nibbana is supreme," say the Buddhas.

Dhammapada


Tapa & Tapo [from tapati, cp. Lat. tepor, heat]


:smile:
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby pt1 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:07 am

Hi retro, Mike and all, just my thoughts on the topic and discussion so far.
retrofuturist wrote:As a definition for 'speculative', how about "view (ditthi) that is not experientially verified as knowledge (nana)"?

I too find this a bit confusing. I think in the suttas, abhidhamma and commentaries, ditthi refers to wrong view, which is directly opposed to right view (sammaditthi in the suttas, wisdom cetasika in abhidhamma, and I've also seen sanditthi (proper view) in commentaries). So I would say, ditthi is not equivalent to thinking/speculation per se, i.e. thinking can run on the back of both right and wrong view, so to speak, so the path is not about stopping thinking.

retrofuturist wrote:Tying this back to dependent origination, which Mike enquired about in the original post, the structural links between any nidanas which are not yet experientially known fall into that category of "view (ditthi) that is not experientially verified as knowledge (nana)" and are therefore speculative.

Not sure about d.o, but in general terms, the distinction you make between thinking (regardless of whether it's accompanied by ditthi or not) and direct insight (knowledge/nana) is important, imo. And what's directly related to Mike's original question I think is the difference between thinking which is not accompanied by ditthi, and, direct insight. Which would make a case that there can be a "right" sort of thinking even if it's not direct insight (or one of the nanas). I would personally subscribe to such interpretation, especially considering that most of us can't go from hearing dhamma to direct insight immediately - i.e. first we ponder what we hear/read, and then hopefully that results in/conditions direct insight sometimes later, at which point hearing dhamma might inspire/condition direct insight immediately.

So, in answer to Mike's original question, I'd say that those passages in the canon which seem to be inferential can really inspire/condition both the pondering - wisely thinking about Dhamma, as well as exhortation that would inspire heedfulness and direct insight in the present moment. And both are important and "speak" to us on different stages of understanding a certain aspect of the Dhamma. E.g. if I was to hold onto (cling to) the wrong view (ditthi) like Baka brahma that I am permanent, then hearing from someone that I am not free from death can possibly inspire/condition both pondering wisely first on the topic (thus for the moment not holding onto the ditthi), as well as direct insight into the nature of a dhamma as impermanent, etc.

retrofuturist wrote:Yet, "this Dhamma is visible here-&-now, not subject to time, inviting all to come & see, pertinent, to be known by the wise for themselves."

This quote imo relates to the original question in many ways. E.g. notice that it says that all these things are to be "known by the wise". Who are "the wise"? Those who have experienced direct insight? Those who have experienced one of the insight knowledges (as in one of the nana stages)? Or maybe only Ariyas? (I might be wrong, but I think that according to Vsm, this whole sentence relates to Ariyas only - see chapter VII, 69, 76 and 85). Regardless, even if we take the most inclusive interpretation that it relates to anyone who can experience a moment of direct insight, for most of us (at least true for me) direct insight is not experienced 99.99..% of the time, what would mean that we can't really experience Dhamma directly most of the time. Other than through thinking and pondering wisely, which hopefully conditions direct insight at some point.

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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby chownah » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:58 pm

"Only those things that are directly knowable in this moment are useful Buddha-Dhamma".

I think that this is saying that only things knowable in this moment are useful....and that it does not mean that one can only know about things that are happening in this moment by contemplating things that are happening in the present moment....for example....by contemplating what has happened in the past one can come to a realization in the present moment that can be useful as a Buddha-Dhamma.....one contemplates that past (for example) but some realization that happens in the present moment is useful.....so....contemplating the past is ok but only useful if it creates direct knowledge in the present moment.....I guess...don't know for sure in the present moment.....
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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby ground » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:18 pm

chownah wrote:"Only those things that are directly knowable in this moment are useful Buddha-Dhamma".


What are those "things"? Objects of the senses or objects of mind? Can those two hypothetical kinds of objects be discerned?
And what is "directly knowing"? Is it metaphorically "knowing" without mediating thought? Are there bare sense data or is there already some "meaning"? If it is bare sense data how can there be "knowing"? And if there is some sort of "meaning" isn't this synthesised on the basis of bare sense data?

If one considers inference to be a means to "indirectly" obtain knowledge isn't the very final concluding moment when the last line of reasoning just ends and culminates in "freshly seeing [something new]" an instance of a moment of "directly knowing"?

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Re: "Knowable here and now" as a criterion for Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:21 am

Greetings TMingyur,

To be fair, Chownah was only quoting Mike's summary made in the original post.

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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