Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:15 am

Hello Individual,

Individual said: If past rebirths are innumerable and the third type of karma exists, why should there not result in innumerable aeons of vipaka, even for an Arahant? In his past, he had innumerable lives where he generate all three kinds of karma, so how could any of it ever be exhausted?


Some wise words from Venerables Nyanaponika, Bodhi, and Brahmavamso ----

Kamma and Its Fruit - Venerable Nyanaponika Maha Thera
Most writings on the doctrine of kamma emphasize the strict lawfulness governing kammic action, ensuring a close correspondence between our deeds and their fruits. While this emphasis is perfectly in place, there is another side to the working of kamma - a side rarely noted, but highly important. This is the modifiability of kamma, the fact that the lawfulness which governs kamma does not operate with mechanical rigidity but allows for a considerably wide range of modifications in the ripening of the fruit.
If kammic action were always to bear fruits of invariably the same magnitude, and if modification or annulment of kamma-result were excluded, liberation from the samsaric cycle of suffering would be impossible; …….
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha273.htm

Questions on Kamma – Bhikkhu Bodhi
Kamma is like a seed
First of all, not all Kamma has to ripen as a matter of necessity. Although it has the tendency to ripen, it does not ripen inevitably. Kamma is like a seed. Seeds ripen only if they meet the right conditions. But if they do not meet the right conditions they remain as seeds; if they are destroyed they can never ripen at all. Similarly, it can be said of kamma that kamma pushes for an opportunity to mature. It has a tendency to mature. If kamma finds the opportunity then it will bring its results. If it does not meet the right conditions it won't ripen. One kamma can even be destroyed by another kamma. So it is important to understand that our present way of life, our attitudes and conduct, can influence the way our past kammas mature. Some past kammas are so powerful that they have to come to fruition. We cannot escape them no matter what we do. But the greatest number of our past kammas are conditioned by the way we live now. If we live heedlessly, unwisely, we will give our past bad kammas the opportunity to ripen and this will either hinder the good kammas from producing their effects or else cancel out their good effects. On the other hand, if we live wisely now, we will give our good kammas the opportunity to mature and bar out our bad kammas or weaken them, destroy them or prevent them from coming to fruition
http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/kammaSeed.htm

A little from Ajahn Brahms:
It is of interest now to look at the links that are not sufficient conditions.
Sankhara is not a sufficient condition for rebirth linking consciousness and the stream of consciousness that follows. This is because, having produced many rebirth-inclining kamma formations early on in one's life, it is possible to make them all null and void (called `ahosi kamma') with the attainment of arahant, which attainment eliminates the stream of consciousness that would otherwise begin at rebirth.
The fact that upadana is not a sufficient condition for bhava is similar to sankhara not being a sufficient condition for vinnana. Through the development of the Noble Eightfold Path as far as Full Enlightenment, no new upadana are generated and all previous upadana becomes ineffective in producing a ground for a new existence or bhava. The upadana previous to Full Enlightenment becomes, as it were, `ahosi upadana'.
Even more obvious, vedana is not a sufficient condition for tanha. vedana are certainly experienced by arahants, but they never generate tanha. Moreover, for ordinary people, not every vedana produces craving.
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... NATION.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:22 am

Greetings Individual,

And to complement Cooran's quotes, here's a couple of sutta extracts whereby the Buddha explains that the ending of kamma comes about not through exhausting it all, and having it all come to fruition, but though the fulfilment of the holy life.

AN 6.63 wrote:"And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.

"Now when a disciple of the noble ones discerns kamma in this way, the cause by which kamma comes into play in this way, the diversity of kamma in this way, the result of kamma in this way, the cessation of kamma in this way, & the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma in this way, then he discerns this penetrative holy life as the cessation of kamma.


AN 4.235 wrote:"And what is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma? right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma."

Thus, dark kamma tends towards unhappy existence, bright kamma towards happy existence, and kamma that is neither dark nor bright leads towards the transcending of existence (and thus, the discarding of vipaka).

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:15 am

Hello all,

With regard to vipaka from past actions (kamma) being experienced by fully enlightened Arahants, the death of MahaMogallana who, with Sariputta, was one of the two Chief Disciples of the Buddha is a case in point.

''The Awakened One, surrounded by many of his monks, passed away peacefully during a meditative absorption which he entered with perfect mastery. Sariputta's death in his parental home, likewise with fellow monks in attendance, was similarly serene, though, unlike the Buddha, he had been ill before his end. Ananda died at the age of 120, before which he entered with meditative skill the fire element so that his body vanished in a blaze, as he did not wish to burden anyone by his funeral.

Considering the serene death of the Master and these two disciples, one would have expected that, in the case of Maha-Moggallana too, the final dissolution of the body at death would take place in external circumstance of a similarly peaceful nature. But in Moggallana's case it was very different, though the gruesome nature of his death did not shake his firm and serene mind.

He passed away a fortnight after his friend Sariputta, namely on the new-moon day of the month Kattika (October/November), in the autumn. The Great Decease of the Buddha took place in the full-moon night of the month Vesakha (May), that is half a year after the death of his two chief disciples. The Buddha was in his 80th year when he passed away, while both Sariputta and Maha-Moggallana died at 84.

These were the circumstances of Moggallana's death.

After the death of Nathaputta, the leader of the ascetic Order of the Jains (Jinas),[10] there arose among his followers bitter contentions about his teaching, and consequently there was a loss of devoted adherents and of support. The Jains had also learned what Moggallana reported from his celestial travels: that virtuous devotees of the Buddha were seen to have a heavenly rebirth while followers of other sects lacking moral conduct, had fallen into miserable, sub-human states of existence. This, too, contributed to the decline in the reputation of other sects, including the Jains.

Particularly the very lowest type of Jains in Magadha were so enraged about that loss of public esteem and support that they wanted to get rid of Moggallana. Without investigating the causes in themselves, they projected blame externally and concentrated their envy and hate on Maha-Moggallana. Hesitating to commit a murder themselves, they conceived another plan. Even in those days there were professional criminals ready to do a killing for payment. There are always unscrupulous men willing to do anything for money. So some evil-minded Jains hired such a gang and ordered them to kill Moggallana.

At that time, Maha-Moggallana lived alone in a forest hut at Kalasila. After his encounter with Mara he knew that the end of his days was near. Having enjoyed the bliss of liberation, he now felt the body to be just an obstruction and burden. Hence he had no desire to make use of his faculties and keep the body alive for the rest of the aeon. Yet, when he saw the brigands approaching, he just absented himself by using his supernormal powers. The gangsters arrived at an empty hut, and though they searched everywhere, could not find him. They left disappointed, but returned on the following day. On six consecutive days Moggallana escaped from them in the same way. His motivation was not the protection of his own body, but saving the brigands from the fearsome karmic consequences of such a murderous deed, necessarily leading to rebirth in the hells. He wanted to spare them such a fate by giving them time to reconsider and abstain from their crime. But their greed for the promised money was so great that they persisted and returned even on the seventh day. Then their persistence was "rewarded," for on that seventh day Moggallana suddenly lost the magic control over his body. A heinous deed committed in days long past (by causing the death of his own parents) had not yet been expiated, and the ripening of that old Kamma confronted him now, just as others are suddenly confronted by a grave illness. Moggallana realized that he was now unable to escape. The brigands entered, knocked him down, smashed all his limbs and left him lying in his blood. Being keen on quickly getting their reward and also somewhat ill as ease about their dastardly deed, the brigands left at once, without a further look.

But Moggallana's great physical and mental strength was such that his vital energies had not yet succumbed. He regained consciousness and was able to drag himself to the Buddha. There, in the Master's presence, at the holiest place of the world, at the source of the deepest peace, Moggallana breathed his last (Jat. 522E). The inner peace in which he dwelt since he attained to sainthood, never left him. It did not leave him even in the last seven days of his life, which had been so turbulent. But even the threat of doom was only external. This is the way of those who are finally "healed" and holy and are in control of the mind. Whatever Kamma of the past had been able to produce a result in his present life, nevertheless, it could affect only his body, but no longer "him," because "he" no longer identified himself with anything existing only impermanently. This last episode of Moggallana's life, however, showed that the law of moral causality (Kamma) has even greater power than the supernormal feats of this master of magic. Only a Buddha can control the karmic consequences acting upon his body to such an extent that nothing might cause his premature death.

Sariputta and Maha-Moggallana were such wonderful disciples that the Buddha said the assembly of monks appeared empty to him after their death. It was marvelous he said, that such an excellent pair of disciples existed. But it was marvelous, too, that, in spite of their excellence, there was no grief, no lamentation on the part of the Master, when the two had passed away.[11]

Therefore, inspired by the greatness of the two chief disciples, may a dedicated follower of the Dhamma strive to be his own island of refuge, have the Dhamma as his island of refuge, not looking for any other refuge, having in it the powerful help of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana)! Those who are thus filled with keen desire to train themselves in walking on the Noble Eightfold Path, they will certainly pass beyond the realms of darkness which abound in Samsara. So the Master assures.[12]''
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el263.html

with metta
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:23 am

Greetings,

cooran wrote:With regard to vipaka from past actions (kamma) being experienced by fully enlightened Arahants, the death of MahaMogallana who, with Sariputta, was one of the two Chief Disciples of the Buddha is a case in point.

This is only so if one accepts Jataka explanations for such events.

The Jataka is very clearly not an accurate teacher on the subject of kamma. See this deconstruction of "The Goat That Laughed and Wept" (Jat 18) as a case in point on the unreliability of the Jatakas to accurately portray the Buddha's teachings on kamma.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=726&p=14208

It makes many mistakes, namely:

* Fixed results corresponding to fixed actions (1 goat sacrifice = 500 decapitations)
* The inevitability of kammic fruition (Whether or not you kill me, I cannot escape death today)
* Other niyamas co-ercing specifically to bring kamma to fruit (i.e. the lightning, the rock)

The Buddha did not teach this model of fatalistic kamma - this more closely represents Hindu karmic retribution.

The Jatakas are fables, not to be relied upon for Dhamma instruction where they so blatantly contradict Buddhavacana.

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:39 am

Hello Retro,

Please don't sidetrack into issues about the Jatakas - which are legendary Stories of the Past Lives of the Buddha.

The historical circumstances surrounding the death of MahaMogallana are accepted by the whole Theravada Tradition.

with metta
Chris
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:49 am

Greetings Chris,

It's not a side-track at all... where is any of that commentary pertaining to his death and the alleged kammic causes for it to be found in the Tipitaka? Taking it as authoratative is to promote conflation of hagiography with the Dhamma of the Buddha.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:I take as the sole ultimate authority for interpretation of the Dhamma the Buddha's discourses as found in the four main Nikaayas and in the older strata of the Khuddaka Nikaaya. I share ... the view that these books can be considered the most trustworthy record of the Buddha's teachings, and hence should be turned to as the final court of appeal for resolving questions about the correct interpretation of the Dhamma.

AN 2.46 wrote:"There is the case where in any assembly when the discourses of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are recited, the monks don't listen, don't lend ear, don't set their hearts on knowing them; don't regard them as worth grasping or mastering. But when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in expression, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited, they listen, they lend ear, they set their hearts on knowing them; they regard them as worth grasping & mastering. Yet when they have mastered that Dhamma, they don't cross-question one another about it, don't dissect: 'How is this? What is the meaning of this?' They don't make open what isn't open, don't make plain what isn't plain, don't dispel doubt on its various doubtful points. This is called an assembly trained in bombast, not in cross-questioning.

SN 20.7 wrote:"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."

Mahaparinibbana Sutta wrote:And there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Now, bhikkhus, I shall make known to you the four great references. Listen and pay heed to my words." And those bhikkhus answered, saying:

"So be it, Lord."

Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."

Which leaves me rather flummoxed if your statement is indeed true...

Cooran wrote:The historical circumstances surrounding the death of MahaMogallana are accepted by the whole Theravada Tradition.


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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, retro, your reasoning is much too convoluted for me to follow.

I thought it might be, but it was worth a try.
mikenz66 wrote:You'll have to do better than claiming...

If I want to convince you I might need to do better, but it's not really my intention to convince you - it is merely to explain the logic behind my assertion at the beginning of this split topic (and defend the sutta quote in S.V.86), whether you follow it or not. I'm loathed to mention the words lest it get your back up, but it's an explanation rooted in a phenomenological approach to the Dhamma, rather than an ontological one. I don't expect or require others to accept it, though I would be pleased if they did as it might generate some interesting discussion. I accept the phenomenological approach is not for everyone, but also don't sit by idly at ontological approaches that presume to trump it.

Personally I see it all as phenomenology and I'm not sure what that ontological straw man has to do with it. :tongue:
No one is trying to trump anything I'm just struggling to to understand some of your arguments (which appear to me to be much more radical than what I understand of Ven Nanananda's position, for example).
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What about the Sutta I quoted where vedana was experienced?

Sekhas and putthujjanas experience vedana, and it was a sutta to those in training, not those who had completed it.

You may well be right in that case.
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:And the Angulimala Sutta?

What about it, exactly?

The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"


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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:37 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Personally I see it all as phenomenology and I'm not sure what that ontological straw man has to do with it. :tongue:

If it's a straw-man I'm thoroughly delighted to hear it.

Image

mikenz66 wrote:I'm just struggling to to understand some of your arguments (which appear to me to be much more radical than what I understand of Ven Nanananda's position, for example).

I'll tell you what. I'll try (time permitting, some time soon) to come up with an explanation that references venerable Nanananda's writings. The reason I referenced Nanavira in preference (despite the distaste some have for him) was that I was short on time, and the online taxonomy of Nanavira's explanations is better than Nanananda's sprawling dialogue.

The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"

As you highlighted earlier via your insightful observation regarding vipaka that it's only regarded as a mental phenomena in Abhidhamma and commentarial literature, it is certainly likely that people threw things at Angulimala because of his past deeds. However, whilst it was the reason... I don't think that it could reasonably be put down to the functioning of "the law of kamma". Law of mob mentality perhaps, but I wouldn't call it kamma and vipaka, as it wasn't the functioning of kamma which linked the cause and effect.

To make this a little clearer, here's an example.

Mr A kills Mr B and a jury find him guilty and sentence him to 20 years imprisonment. Is that vipaka (i.e. the effects resulting from the law of kamma)? No, it's an effect resulting from the rule of societal law.

Now, let's vary it a bit.

Mr A doesn't kill Mr B, yet a jury find him guilty and sentence him to 20 years imprisonment. Is that vipaka? Certainly not. That's just a miscarriage of justice - a false application of societal law.

Just as legal justice is not a function of the "law of kamma", neither is the mob justice, and it was "mob justice" that likely resulted in some people's hatred towards this arahant. It is in this framework that I understand the Buddha's words to Angulimala.

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:
The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"

As you highlighted earlier via your insightful observation regarding vipaka that it's only regarded as a mental phenomena in Abhidhamma and commentarial literature, it is certainly likely that people threw things at Angulimala because of his past deeds. However, whilst it was the reason... I don't think that it could reasonably be put down to the functioning of "the law of kamma". Law of mob mentality perhaps, but I wouldn't call it kamma and vipaka, as it wasn't the functioning of kamma which linked the cause and effect.

Hmm, that sounds like a rather forced reading. The Buddha states that the kamma could have led to Angulimala burning in hell. That sounds like normal functioning of kamma to me...

For what an Arahant experiences I suggest you study Ven Nanananda's Nibbana Seminar number 18:
http://www.beyondthenet.net/calm/nibbana18.htm
Where he quotes It 38, Nibbànadhàtusutta. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-044
Here is Ven Nanananda's translation:
And what, monks, is the Nibbàna element with residual clinging? Herein, monks, a monk is an arahant, with influxes extinct, one who has lived the holy life to the full, done what is to be done, laid down the burden, reached one's goal, fully destroyed the fetters of exis­tence and released with full understanding. His five sense faculties still remain and due to the fact that they are not destroyed, he experi­ences likes and dislikes, and pleasures and pains. That extirpation of lust, hate and delusion in him, that, monks, is known as the Nibbàna element with residual clinging.

Ven Nananada comments (my emphasis):
The standard phrase summing up the qualification of an arahant occurs in full in the definition of the sa-upàdisesà Nibbànadhàtu. The distinctive feature of this Nibbàna element is brought out in the statement that the arahant's five sense faculties are still intact, owing to which he experiences likes and dislikes, and pleasure and pain. However, to the extent that lust, hate and delusion are extinct in him, it is called the Nibbàna element with residual clinging.

In the definition of the Nibbàna element without residual cling­ing, the same standard phrase recurs, while its distinctive feature is sum­med up in just one sentence: Tassa idheva sabba­veda­yi­tàni an­abhi­nanditàni sãtibhavis­santi, "in him, here itself, all what is felt will cool off, not being delighted in". It may be noted that the verb is in the future tense and apart from this cooling off, there is no guarantee of a world beyond, as an asaïkhata dhàtu, or `unprepared element', with no sun, moon or stars in it.


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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:10 am

Greetings Mike, all,

Hmm, that sounds like a rather forced reading. The Buddha states that the kamma could have led to Angulimala burning in hell. That sounds like normal functioning of kamma to me...

I'm not disagreeing with that exposition of kamma for a moment. The putthujana or sekha is still subject to kamma and vipaka... and what the Buddha describes there would be the functioning of kamma and its fruition (the matter of whether that is understood literally or metaphorically is not really relevant to the topic, so I'll leave that alone)

Obviously an arahant shant be burning in hell though, because an arahant is cool. 8-)

Speaking of cool (and before that, about Nananada's sprawling dialogue), here's a chunk of Nibbana Sermon 11 which gives a taste of what I'm trying to communicate in terms of phassa (contact) not being the simple conjoinment of sense and sense-input. (Apologies for the scuddy formatting, but I've done some highlighting of my own...)

Nāma and rūpa, as well as paṭigha- and rūpasaññā, are
highly significant terms. Paṭigha- and rūpasaññā are equivalent
to paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa respectively.
Now as to this perception of form, it is basically conditioned
by contact. That is why the Kalahavivādasutta states
that contact is the cause of the two views of existence and non-
existence.

380S I 13, Jaṭāsutta; cf. volume I sermon 1.

In this Kalahavivādasutta one finds a series of questions
and answers going deeper and deeper into the analysis of contact,
step by step. The question phasso nu lokasmiṃ kutonidāno,
"what is the cause of contact in this world?"; gets
the answer nāmañca rūpañca paṭicca phasso, "dependent on
name-and-form is contact"
.381 The next question is: Kismiṃ
vibhūte na phussanti phassā, "in the absence of what, do contacts
not bring about contact", or, "touches do not touch?" It gets
the answer: Rūpe vibhūte na phusanti phassā, "in the absence
of form, contacts do not bring about contact"
.
The question that comes up next, and the answer given,
are extremely important. They lead to a deep analysis of the
Dhamma, so much so that both verses deserve to be quoted in
full. The question is:
Kathaṃsametassa vibhoti rūpaṃ,
sukhaṃ dukhaṃ vā pi kathaṃ vibhoti,
etaṃ me pabrūhi yathā vibhoti,
taṃ jāniyāmā iti me mano ahu.382
"To one constituted in which manner does form cease to
exist,
Or, how even pleasure and pain cease to exist
,
Do tell me how all these become non-existent,
Let us know this, such a thought arose in me."
381Sn 871-872, Kalahavivādasutta.
382Sn 873, Kalahavivādasutta.

The answer to this question is couched in this extraordinary
verse:
Na saññasaññī na visaññasaññī,
no pi asaññī na vibhūtasaññī,
evaṃ sametassa vibhoti rūpaṃ,
saññānidānā hi papañcasaṅkhā.383
What this verse purports to describe is the state of a person
for whom form as also pleasure and pain has ceased to exist. He
is not one with normal perception, nor is he one with abnormal
perception. He is not non-percipient, nor has he rescinded perception.
It is to one constituted in this manner that form ceases
to exist, for, papañcasaṅkhā - whatever they may be - have perception
as their source.

The meaning of this verse needs to be clarified further. According
to the MahāNiddesa, the allusion in this verse is to one
who is on the path to the formless realms, having attained the
first four absorptions.384 The commentary is forced to that conclusion,
because it takes the phrase na vibhūtasaññī as negating
formless realms as such. The assumption is that the person
referred to is neither conscious with normal perception, nor abnormally
unconscious, nor devoid of perception, as in the attainment
of cessation, nor in one of the formless attainments.
So then, the only possibility seemed to be to identify it with
some intermediate state. That is why the MahāNiddesa and
383Sn 874, Kalahavivādasutta.
384Nidd I 280.

the other commentaries interpret this problematic state as that
of one who is on the path to formless attainments, arūpamaggasamaṅgi.
385
However, considerations of context and presentation would
lead to a different conclusion. The extraordinary state alluded
to by this verse seems to be a surpamundane one, which goes
far deeper than the so-called intermediate state. The transcendence
of form, indicated here, is more radical than the transcendence
in attaining to formless states. It is a transcendence at a
supramundane level
, as we may well infer from the last line of
the verse, saññānidānā hi papañcasaṅkhā. Papañcasaṅkhā is
a term which has a relevance to insight meditation and the denouement
of the sutta is also suggestive of such a background.
The Kalahavivādasutta, consisting of sixteen verses, is, from
beginning to end, a network of deep questions and answers leading
to levels of insight. The opening verse, for instance, states
the initial problem as follows:
Kuto pahūtā kalahā vivādā,
paridevasokā sahamaccharā ca,
mānātimānā saha pesuṇā ca,
kuto pahūtā te tad iṅgha brūhi.386
"Whence do spring up contentions and disputes,
Lamentations, sorrows and envies,
And arrogance together with slander,
385Nidd I 280 and Pj II 553.
386Sn 862, Kalahavivādasutta.

Whence do they spring up, pray tell me this."
It is in answer to this basic question that this discourse gradually
unfolds itself. In accordance with the law of dependent
arising, the cause of contentions and disputes is said to be the
tendency to hold things dear, piyappahūtā kalahā vivādā. Then
the question is about the cause of this idea of holding things
dear. The cause of it is said to be desire, chandanidānāni piyāni
loke. Things dear originate from desire. Desire, or interest,
makes things `dear'.
The next question is: What is the origin of desire? Desire is
traced to the distinction between the pleasant and the unpleasant.
It is in reply to the question regarding the origin of this
distinction between the pleasant and the unpleasant that contact
is brought in. In fact, it is the question as to the origin of
contact, phasso nu lokasmiṃ kuto nidāno, which formed the
starting point of our discussion. The answer to that question is
name-and-form, nāmañca rūpañca. So in this chain of causes,
the link that comes next to contact is name-and-form.

Now the verse in question beginning with na saññasaññī
goes deeper than name-and-form. Even the question about
contact has a peculiar wording: Kismiṃ vibhūte na phusanti
phassā, "When what is not there, do touches not touch?" The
question, then, is not just the cessation of contact as such. The
answer, too, has the same peculiarity. Rūpe vibhūte na phusanti
phassā, "It is when form is not there that touches do not touch".
It is the subsequent question regarding form that brings out the
cryptic verse as the answer.
All this goes to show that the verse in question alludes to a
supramundane state far transcending the formless or any supposed
intermediate stage. The transcendence of pleasure and
pain, as well as perception of form, is implied here.
The verse
beginning with na saññasaññī brings the entire analytical disquisition
to a climax. It comes as the thirteenth verse in the
series. Usually, such a disquisition leads up to a climax, highlighting
Nibbāna. It is obvious, therefore, that the reference
here is to the Nibbānic mind
.

Sorry again for the sprawling nature of the quotation. Ven. Nanananda is primarily interested in deconstructing nama-rupa, and phassa is only a secondary concern in that pursuit.

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:20 am

Hi Retro,

You seem to be ignoring Ven Nananada's Sutta quote and commentary that states that that Arahants still experience vedena.

Mike
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:22 am

Greetings Mike,

Not at all... that is responded to in the text I bolded and redded above.

What this verse purports to describe is the state of a person
for whom form as also pleasure and pain has ceased to exist. He
is not one with normal perception, nor is he one with abnormal
perception. He is not non-percipient, nor has he rescinded perception.
It is to one constituted in this manner that form ceases
to exist, for, papañcasaṅkhā - whatever they may be - have perception
as their source.

Like I said before, it's a case of (phenomenological) perception... not so much a case of whether vedana "exists" or vedana "does not exist" for the arahant.

As for the notion of "Nibbàna element with residual clinging", I struggle to see how an arahant could 'cling' to anything, thus find this term perplexing and honestly don't know quite what to make of it. Is it a case of acquired habit over-riding supramundane-panna? Perplexing. Maybe it explains the need for the Buddha to say anything to Angulimala at all... maybe certain automatic tendencies still remained even if they had lost their kammic potency. Interesting stuff - as deep as the oceans.

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:45 pm

Hi retro, all

I just skimmed through the thread so I don't know if my example is redundant. Here it goes anyway: the death of the Buddha

28. But when the Blessed One had entered upon the rainy season, there arose in him a severe illness, and sharp and deadly pains came upon him. And the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed.

DN16


. And soon after the Blessed One had eaten the meal provided by Cunda the metalworker, a dire sickness fell upon him, even dysentery, and he suffered sharp and deadly pains. But the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed.

DN16
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:10 pm

I love pondering mad things like this. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Virgo » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:24 pm

Individual wrote:I love pondering mad things like this. :)

Individual,

If someone cannot be reborn (because all the fetters to samsara are cut) how can potential vipaka ripen or "catch up with them"?
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:39 pm

Virgo wrote:
Individual wrote:I love pondering mad things like this. :)

Individual,

If someone cannot be reborn (because all the fetters to samsara are cut) how can potential vipaka ripen or "catch up with them"?

Freedom from birth is not the same thing as the non-capacity for birth. A chunk of stone, for instance, is not the realization of Nibbana, is it?

If an Arahant can cut off infinite aeons of kamma at death, if at death aeons of vipaka no longer affect him, why can't he do this in life if death is nothing special with regards to rebirth?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Virgo » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:53 pm

Individual wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Individual wrote:I love pondering mad things like this. :)

Individual,

If someone cannot be reborn (because all the fetters to samsara are cut) how can potential vipaka ripen or "catch up with them"?

Freedom from birth is not the same thing as the non-capacity for birth. A chunk of stone, for instance, is not the realization of Nibbana, is it?

If an Arahant can cut off infinite aeons of kamma at death, if at death aeons of vipaka no longer affect him, why can't he do this in life if death is nothing special with regards to rebirth?

The reason the Arahant can no longer experience vipaka after his last lifetime is because he will not be reborn. There are no conditions for any vipaka to ripen or play out. In the life that the Arahant attains Arahantship, His defilements are cut, but the sense bases are still in tact, that is to say there is still a body. That being so, things will happen to him in his body (so to speak). Once the vipaka that sustains the physical life force is run out, it's see you later-- no more birth in any realm in any way, no more fruition of kammas, He has gone beyond to the other shore.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:06 pm

Virgo wrote:The reason the Arahant can no longer experience vipaka after his last lifetime is because he will not be reborn. There are no conditions for any vipaka to ripen or play out. In the life that the Arahant attains Arahantship, His defilements are cut, but the sense bases are still in tact, that is to say there is still a body. That being so, things will happen to him in his body (so to speak). Once the vipaka that sustains the physical life force is run out, it's see you later-- no more birth in any realm in any way, no more fruition of kammas, He has gone beyond to the other shore.

Kevin

I understand that. However: If he is not reborn after death, why is he reborn when he breathes in and then breathes out? :)

Is rebirth reincarnation? The body needs to die physically for there to be "rebirth"? Dependent Origination only applies with the break-up of the body? The break-up of the body is a special situation? :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Virgo » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:17 pm

Individual wrote:I understand that. However: If he is not reborn after death, why is he reborn when he breathes in and then breathes out? :)


He isn't.

He has gone beyond. There is only rupa (materiallity) of the body arising and passing away based on vipaka, and consciousness (ableit purified consciousness) arising naturally at the sense bases because the sense bases are in tact due to the body being in tact.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:28 pm

Virgo wrote:
Individual wrote:I understand that. However: If he is not reborn after death, why is he reborn when he breathes in and then breathes out? :)


He isn't.

He has gone beyond. There is only rupa (materiallity) of the body arising and passing away based on vipaka, and consciousness (ableit purified consciousness) arising naturally at the sense bases because the sense bases are in tact due to the body being in tact.

Kevin

What does it mean to say "he is not reborn"? As I understand it, it means no more name and form. Is that correct?

Therefore, how can you say he is not reborn in this life if there is still name and form? And if there is still name and form in this life, how do these things cease at death when they have not already ceased in life? :)
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