What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:22 am

I've heard people talk about supramundane Dhamma but I'm not atall clear what it is. Can anyone give a straightforward explanation, and maybe some examples? And what's the essential difference between a mundane and a supramundane Dhamma?

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:28 am

Greetings Spiny,

As I understand the distinction, mundane is that which leads to heavenly realms, brahmaviharas and such (i.e. good results, but not cessation)... and supramundane is that which leads directly to nibbana.

But it's not quite so simple since the mundane is a good support for the supramundane.

Maybe someone will give a more precise definition, but that might at least get you started.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14655
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:55 am

Abhidhammatthasangaha http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
"(Catubbidha-Cittàni)
The Four Classes of Consciousness
§ 3. Tattha Cittani tavà catubbidham hoti:—
i. Kàmàvacaraü, ii. Råpàvacaraü,
iii. Aråpàvacaraü, iv. Lokuttaraü c’àti.
_______
"§ 3. Of them, consciousness, first, is fourfold—
namely,
(i) Consciousness pertaining to the Sensuous-Sphere,
(ii) Consciousness pertaining to the Form-Sphere,
(iii) Consciousness pertaining to the Formless-Sphere,
and
(iv) Supramundane consciousness (lokuttara-citta).

"Loka + Uttara = Lokuttara. Here “Loka” means
the five aggregates. “Uttara” means above, beyond, or that
which transcends. It is the supramundane consciousness
that enables one to transcend this world of mind-body.
The first three classes of consciousness are called
Lokiya (mundane)."

"§9 (Moral Supramundane Consciousness—4)
_______
"(1) Sotàpatti Path-consciousness,
(2) Sakadàgàmi Path-consciousness,
(3) Anàgàmi Path-consciousness,
(4) Arahatta Path-consciousness.
These are the four types of Supramundane Moral
consciousness.
_______
(Resultant Supramundane Consciousness—4)
_______
"(5) Sotàpatti Fruit-consciousness,
(6) Sakadàgàmi Fruit-consciousness
(7) Anàgàmi Fruit-consciousness
(8) Arahatta Fruit-consciousness.
"These are the four types of Supramundane Moral and
Resultant consciousness. Thus end, in all, the eight types
of Supramundane Moral and Resultant consciousness.
Differing according to the four Paths, the Moral Consciousness
is fourfold. So are the Resultants, being their fruits.
The Supramundane should be understood as eightfold."
lojong1
 
Posts: 580
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:59 pm

Its when anicca, dukkha, anatta does not apply anymore (not to be confused as the existence of their opposites)- ie the total cessation of suffering.

It is the non-experience which happens at the point of stream entry, when samsara, the workings of six sense bases fade away due to intense insight (helped by the other 4 spiritual faculties).

It is what happens when consciousness ceases to exist.

It is nibbana.

:anjali:
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:07 am

rowyourboat wrote:Its when anicca, dukkha, anatta does not apply anymore (not to be confused as the existence of their opposites)- ie the total cessation of suffering.

It is the non-experience which happens at the point of stream entry, when samsara, the workings of six sense bases fade away due to intense insight (helped by the other 4 spiritual faculties).

It is what happens when consciousness ceases to exist.

It is nibbana.

:anjali:


So supramundane Dhamma is a "result" rather than a method or teaching?

Spiny
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
 
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:14 pm

Yes Spiny, it is the result. Note that the word 'dhamma' can be used to mean many things: phenomena, mental objects and the teaching etc.

With metta

RUB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:18 am

If supramundane Dhamma is a result (vipaka) of mundane Dhamma, then what Dhamma does Sakka practice, when he is chief of the devas, living at the top of Mt. Sumeru?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:55 pm

In Buddhism heavens aren't considered anything fancy. They are being bound up in the rounds of samsara. Those states are impermanent. The pleasures they experience lead to more clinging to the rounds of rebirth, which lead to more suffering. The majority of those being make their way to hellish realms once their good kamma expires. So those states are very much 'mundane' from our viewpoint.

Nibbana is something which does not carry any of these characteristics.

On a technical point, Nibbana is not caused. ie the mundane does not give rise to the supramundane. The passing away the mundane simply leaves behind the supramundane. When the stimuli from the 6 sense bases fade away in a conscious mind during vipassana at the crescendo point of the insight knowledges (ie leading to unconsciousness,but without loss of muscle tone), what we have is the supramundane. I think using words it is as close a description as we can get.

with metta
:anjali:
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby Sunrise » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:53 pm

As I see it, mundane Dhamma is mostly preached for morality purposes. It includes teachings about kamma, rebirth, good and bad aspects of things, realms, gods etc. Mundane Dhamma does not lead to relinquishment or cessation but important for morality, faith and sila which are important to prepare the mind for the super-mundane Dhamma. A person having an immoral conduct has little chance of understanding more sublime aspects of Dhamma. So it was important to prepare them for that before giving them the real message. Mundane teachings are used for this "preparing". It is clear from the contents in the suttas

Then the Blessed One gave the householder Upali the gradual teaching starting with giving gifts, becoming virtuous, about the heavenly states, the dangers of sensuality, the vileness of defiling things and benefits of giving up. Then the Blessed One knew that the mind of the householder Upali was ready, malleable, free of hindrances, lofty and pleased and the Blessed One gave the special message of the Enlightened Ones: Suffering, its arising, its cessation and the path to the cessation of suffering. Like a pure, clean cloth would take a dye evenly. In that same manner, the dustless, stainless eye of the Teaching arose to the householder Upali, seated there itself. Whatever rises has the nature of ceasing.

MN 56


Super-mundane dhamma is given generally for those who have gone beyond, mature in practice and ready for teachings about not-self.


"venerable sir...for a long time I have attended to the Teacher and to the monks who inspire my heart, but never before have I heard a talk on the Dhamma like this."

"This sort of talk on the Dhamma, householder, is not given to lay people clad in white. This sort of talk on the Dhamma is given to those gone forth."

MN 143
Sunrise
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:26 pm

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby Aloka » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:55 pm

As I see it, mundane Dhamma is mostly preached for morality purposes. It includes teachings about kamma, rebirth, good and bad aspects of things, realms, gods etc


Super-mundane dhamma is given generally for those who have gone beyond, mature in practice and ready for teachings about not-self.



Yes, this seems a very logical explanation. Thank you.



.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3610
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:24 pm

Paramatta dhamma - ultimate realities should not be confused with supramundane dhammas. These things have specific meanings in the Buddhaa's teaching. These labels should be used in the right context otherwise there will be confusion.

From Ven Nyanatiloka's buddhist dictionary:
lokuttara: 'supermundane', is a term for the 4 paths and 4 fruitions of Sotāpatti, etc. (s. ariya-puggala), with Nibbāna as ninth. Hence one speaks of '9 supermundane things' (nava-lokuttara dhamma). Cf. prec.

paramattha (-sacca, -vacana, -desanā): 'truth (or term, exposition) that is true in the highest (or ultimate) sense', as contrasted with the 'conventional truth' (vohāra-sacca), which is also called 'commonly accepted truth' (sammuti-sacca; in Skr: samvrti-satya). The Buddha, in explaining his doctrine, sometimes used conventional language and sometimes the philosophical mode of expression which is in accordance whith undeluded insight into reality. In that ultimate sense, existence is a mere process of physical and mental phenomena within which, or beyond which, no real ego-entity nor any abiding substance can ever be found. Thus, whenever the Suttas speak of man, woman or person, or of the rebirth of a being, this must not be taken as being valid in the ultimate sense, but as a mere conventional mode of speech (vohāra-vacana).

It is one of the main characteristics of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, in distinction from most of the Sutta Piṭaka, that it does not employ conventional language, but deals only with ultimates, or realities in the highest sense (paramattha-dhammā). But also in the Sutta Piṭaka there are many expositions in terms of ultimate language (paramattha-desanā), namely, wherever these texts deal with the groups (khandha), elements (dhātu) or sense-bases (āyatana), and their components; and wherever the 3 characteristics (ti-lakkhaṇa, q.v.) are applied. The majority of Sutta texts, however, use the conventional language, as appropriate in a practical or ethical context, because it "would not be right to say that 'the groups' (khandha) feel shame, etc."

It should be noted, however, that also statements of the Buddha couched in conventional language, are called 'truth' (vohāra-sacca), being correct on their own level, which does not contradict the fact that such statements ultimately refer to impermanent and impersonal processes.

The two truths - ultimate and conventional - appear in that form only in the commentaries, but are implied in a Sutta-distinction of 'explicit (or direct) meaning' (nītattha, q.v.) and 'implicit meaning (to be inferred)' (neyyattha). Further, the Buddha repeatedly mentioned his reservations when using conventional speech, e.g. in D. 9: "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect Qne (Tathāgata) uses without misapprehending them." See also S. I. 25.

The term paramattha, in the sense here used, occurs in the first para. of the Kathāvatthu, a work of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka (s. Guide, p. 62). (App: vohāra).

The commentarial discussions on these truths (Com. to D. 9 and M. 5) have not yet been translated in full. On these see K N. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (London, 1963), pp. 361ff.

In Mahāyana, the Mādhyamika school has given a prominent place to the teaching of the two truths.

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bu ... dic3_p.htm

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: What's "supramundane Dhamma"?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:26 pm

Also the word dhamma has several meanings and does not always mean 'teaching'.

dhamma:
lit. the 'bearer', constitution (or nature of a thing), norm, law (jus), doctrine; justice, righteousness; quality; thing, object of mind (s. āyatana) 'phenomenon'. In all these meanings the word 'dhamma' is to be met with in the texts. The Com. to D. instances 4 applications of this term guṇa (quality, virtue), desanā (instruction), pariyatti (text), nijjīvatā (soullessness, e.g. "all dhammā, phenomena, are impersonal," etc.). The Com. to Dhs. has hetu (condition) instead of desanā. Thus, the analytical knowledge of the law (s. paṭisambhidā) is explained in Vis.M. XIV. and in Vibh. as hetumhi ñāṇa, knowledge of the conditions.

The Dhamma, as the liberating law discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha, is summed up in the 4 Noble Truths (s. sacca). It forms one of the 3 Gems (ti-ratana, q.v.) and one of the 10 recollections (anussati q.v.).

Dhamma, as object of mind (dhammāyatana, s. āyatana) may be anything past, present or future, corporeal or mental, conditioned or not (cf. saṅkhāra, 4), real or imaginary.

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bu ... dic3_d.htm

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests