Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:18 am

Hi Retro

and this is really an interesting point: How words which are actually meaningless symbols as such in the first place generate individual preferences and "individual" meanings.

But to somehow "side with" or "advocate" B. Bodhi in the context you provided: There is a sutta in SN (cannot remember which it is) where the Buddha says that he does not reject (or debate with) "the wise of the world" when they are speaking of (this or that) as "existing".
But of course this again has been a translation of B. Bodhi.

However I would not consider the worldly view to be conducive in the context of the path.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:26 am

TMingyur wrote:Considering these three alternatives I personally prefer B. Bodhi's translation since in my conditioned perception it more clearly conveys the meaning: first there is clinging to self ("I" and "mine") and then there is clinging to appearances (which are nothing other than the aggregates)
The phrasing using "existence or non-existence" lends itself to be mis-understood ontologically (reificationist, objectivying) with regard to some alleged "outer world".

Ven. Bodhi is following Ven. Ñāṇamoli's use of "being" in the translated edition of the Middle Length Discourses. In his subsequent translation of the Connected Discourses of the Buddha Ven. Bodhi translates bhava as "existence."

The point that I was trying to make in the last post was that deluded cognitions always conceive in terms of existence or non-existence, and that this is part of the problem which creates and re-creates a "world" and a "self." It's due to craving existence and grasping that consciousness is established and comes to growth. Of course, craving non-existence isn't acceptable either. Both of these mistaken compulsions are entwined within thickets of views which reify a self and objectify a world. In short, we are held captive by our infatuation with the very things that captivate us.

As MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta explains, an arahant doesn't form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence:

    One does not form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence. Not forming any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence, he does not cling to anything in this world.

It's in this way that there is no clinging with regard to anything in the world. Ud 3.10 Loka Sutta:

    Whatever ascetics or brāhmaṇas say that emancipation from existence is by means of existence, all of them are not liberated from existence, I say.

    And whatever ascetics or brāhmaṇas say that escape from existence is by means of non-existence, all of them have not escaped from existence, I say.

Conceiving in ontological terms is ineffective and only reinforces underlying tendencies.

All the best,

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:37 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The point that I was trying to make in the last post was that deluded cognitions always conceive in terms of existence or non-existence, ...


Geoff

I appreciate your being versed in scriptures and the helpful hints you provide but I choose to not subscribe to that tenet.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:41 am

Greetings TMingyur,

Perhaps you might like to explore those thoughts in this new topic...

An interesting definition of nama-rupa, what do you think?
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8074

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 Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:58 am

TMingyur wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The point that I was trying to make in the last post was that deluded cognitions always conceive in terms of existence or non-existence, ...

I appreciate your being versed in scriptures and the helpful hints you provide but I choose to not subscribe to that tenet.

Are you suggesting that deluded cognitions conceive things in terms other than existence or non-existence?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:59 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The point that I was trying to make in the last post was that deluded cognitions always conceive in terms of existence or non-existence, ...

I appreciate your being versed in scriptures and the helpful hints you provide but I choose to not subscribe to that tenet.

Are you suggesting that deluded cognitions conceive things in terms other than existence or non-existence?

All the best,

Geoff


I am suggesting to stay with the terms "clinging", "craving", "attachment", "grasping" because asserting "deluded cognitions always conceive in terms of existence or non-existence" directs thought to "existence or non-existence" even if there has not been this thought of "existence or non-existence" in the first place.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:08 am

Greetings TMingyur,

How could someone "cling", "crave", "be attached", "grasp" to that which they did not believe existed, or had the potential to exist?

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 rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:41 am

Dan74 wrote:Thanks!

So an arahant is beyond cause and effect? :shrug: This is getting weirder than Mahayana! :spy:

...

But maybe it is not useful to speculate about arahants...?


Yes, if the difference between the conventional and ultimate ways of seeing the 'arhanth' (as well as conditioned vs unconditioned) and possibly internal vs external world descriptions of the arahanth is confusing, it is best to stick to conventional, conditioned, external world (and perhaps internal world as well) descriptions, such as 'the arahath has given up craving'.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:18 am

Gentleman, I give you, the Arahath!:

Conventional: that monk the arahath
Ultimate: the khandas,devoid of upadana

Conditioned: the khandas, devoid of upadana
Uncondioned: khandas going to complete cessation at the point of attainment (but 'old kamma khandas start up again), (perhaps also including seeing beyond the khandas ie Ven NNs 'light in the dark cinema, obscuring the picture'), and at the point of death.

External world: the body and mind of the arahath with six sense organs, behaving/talking not based on greed/aversion/delusion
Internal world: mindfulness, happiness, peace, equanimity, wisdom in abundance.

Ontological: body and mind of the arahath exists
Experiential: conventional and ultimate (see above), non-experiences of the unconditioned

The above isn't a perfect or complete description, but this should cut through some of the confusion arising from discussions based on mixed categories hopefully.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:52 am

rowyourboat wrote:Conventional: that monk the arahath
Ultimate: the khandas,devoid of upadana

This is the type of analysis which has no basis in the canon, and which leads to your problematic version of "The Unconditioned." The classical Mahāvihāra two truth hermeneutic is deeply flawed -- resulting in either an eternalistic or nihilistic view. We see numerous variations on these extremes playing out all over this forum and amongst many Theravāda teachers as well. The aggregate scheme is mere designation (paññattimatta). The aggregates are not to be taken as "the ultimately existent given." With the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion the mind is measureless (appamāṇacetasa). There is no criterion or measurement (pamāṇa) which can be used as a reference point to define a measureless cognition.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:21 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Conventional: that monk the arahath
Ultimate: the khandas,devoid of upadana

..The aggregate scheme is mere designation (paññattimatta). The aggregates are not to be taken as "the ultimately existent given." With the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion the mind is measureless (appamāṇacetasa). There is no criterion or measurement (pamāṇa) which can be used as a reference point to define a measureless cognition.

All the best,

Geoff


Thanks Goeff,

I do no consider aggregates as ultimately existing- even they dissolve once avijja dissolves. 'Ultimate' (paramatta) is perhaps (or should I say,is) an unfortunate choice of terms suggesting a higher truth/existence, but not reflecting that they are in themselves conditionally arisen and insubstantial.

Appamanacetassa is an interesting term. It suggests some special quality of the mind of the arahanth, experientially speaking. But nevertheless it is mind and formed of aggregates, speaking on ultimate, conditioned terms. We make a mistake if we think that whatever that can be named as something other than nibbana (ie appamanacatassa) is unconditioned. Only nibbana is unconditioned. While nibbana cannot be defined, perhaps the 'measureless' or 'unlimited' mind cannot be measured and delimited. Since I am not an arahanth and dont have an experience of this mind the last sentence is mere speculation. I am averse to stating viewpoints without any basis in experience as this simply leads to clinging, defending, retorts, accusations, and general wrong speech, much akusla and set backs in my practice. Are you aware of the defilements that arise as we discuss these lofty issues?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:58 pm

rowyourboat wrote:We make a mistake if we think that whatever that can be named as something other than nibbana (ie appamanacatassa) is unconditioned.

Who's suggesting that any mind is unconditioned?

rowyourboat wrote:Are you aware of the defilements that arise as we discuss these lofty issues?

Yep. When defilements arise I'm aware of them. I'm also not adverse to calling a spade a spade. Sometimes it helps clear the air.

All the best,

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:34 pm

Greetings Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:nāma-rūpa <-> viññāna <-> nāma-rūpa -> āyatana -> phassa -> vedanā -> tanhā -> upādāna -> bhava -> jāti -> jarā-marana

Sure, but you know what viññāna (and thus anything dependending upon viññāna) is dependent upon don't you?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Yes, according to this sutta viññāna depends on nāma-rūpa. But I think what you suggest is avijja and sankhārā as in the usual 12 link formulation of DO.
There's another sutta (MN38) which describes the conditions upon viññāna arises dependently are the āyatana.
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. If consciousness arises on account of eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye consciousness. If on account of ear and sounds it arises, it is reckoned as ear consciousness. If on account of nose and smells it arises, it is reckoned as nose consciousness. If on account of tongue and tastes it arises, it is reckoned as tongue consciousness. If on account of body and touch it arises, it is reckoned as body consciousness. If on account of mind and mind-objects it arises, it is reckoned as mind consciousness. Bhikkhus, just as a fire is reckoned based on whatever that fire burns - fire ablaze on sticks is a stick fire, fire ablaze on twigs is a twig fire, fire ablaze on grass is a grass fire, fire ablaze on cowdung is a cowdung fire, fire ablaze on grain thrash is a grain thrash fire, fire ablaze on rubbish is a rubbish fire - so too is consciousness reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. In the same manner consciousness arisen on account is eye and forms is eye consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of ear and sounds is ear consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of nose and smells is nose consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of tongue and tastes is taste consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of body and touch is body consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of mind and mind-objects is mind consciousness.


This is why I opened another topic. I'm not quite sure how this is to be understood correctly.
I know that "something which depends on something" is a sankhāra, because it's an sankhatā dhamma. So since viññāna depends on nāma-rūpa and nāma-rūpa depends on viññāna, they're both sankhatā dhammā, so one could also say instead of going back to nāma-rūpa from viññāna that it all depends on sankhārā, which finally depends on avijja. But I'm in doubt about that... Is this how it could be understood?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Are you aware of the defilements that arise as we discuss these lofty issues?

Yep. When defilements arise I'm aware of them. I'm also not adverse to calling a spade a spade. Sometimes it helps clear the air.

All the best,

Geoff


I must confess I'm not in the habit of doing this. Often the Buddha is in the habit of calling people 'you fool', but I worry that if I did it it would me simply airing my defilements, just to make myself feel better at the perceived insult/attack on my beliefs/self. How do you navigate this?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:53 pm

rowyourboat wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Conventional: that monk the arahath
Ultimate: the khandas,devoid of upadana

..The aggregate scheme is mere designation (paññattimatta). The aggregates are not to be taken as "the ultimately existent given." With the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion the mind is measureless (appamāṇacetasa). There is no criterion or measurement (pamāṇa) which can be used as a reference point to define a measureless cognition.

All the best,

Geoff


Thanks Goeff,

I do no consider aggregates as ultimately existing- even they dissolve once avijja dissolves. 'Ultimate' (paramatta) is perhaps (or should I say,is) an unfortunate choice of terms suggesting a higher truth/existence, but not reflecting that they are in themselves conditionally arisen and insubstantial.
Interestingly, the khandhas are mere designations whether the individual is awakened or not. While the khandhas are how the the unawakened person measure themselves, that does not mean that the functions that we call the khandhas are absent in the arahant. With the living arahant, however, there is no identification with the khandhas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings TMingyur,

How could someone "cling", "crave", "be attached", "grasp" to that which they did not believe existed, or had the potential to exist?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi retro

through an indefinite habit (similar to a reflex) not necessarily involving conceptually believing in existence.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:03 pm

Tilt: Interestingly, the khandhas are mere designations whether the individual is awakened or not. While the khandhas are how the the unawakened person measure themselves, that does not mean that the functions that we call the khandhas are absent in the arahant. With the living arahant, however, there is no identification with the khandhas.


If you look at the 'unconditioned' entry in my post on different ways of describing moments when khandas are absent in the arahanth. I would add nirodhasamapatti to it as well. Clearly to have an unconditioned experience, you cannot have skandas arising. It would have to take place when there is non arising of skandas, which are of course, conditioned. But I agree, for all other times, there are skandas which arise, but not identified as self by the arahath.

Also, for nibbana with fuel remaining, and parinibbana the ceasing of skandas in the latter is important to the ending of sankhara dukkha as well.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Source: SN 22.85
Actually, this sutta neatly makes my point about the living arahant and her or his relationship to the khandhas. For the living arahant, there are still khandhas, but the arahant cannot be measured by them, since the arahant, no longer clinging to the the khandhas, is no longer identified, established, in them, seeing the khandhas' true nature, thusly freed of their grasping nature.

Thanks.

No problem, Tilt. I had it in my mind for a while, but wasn't sure if it was appropriate for the topic. There's also something else that I found interesting in this sutta. After the Ven. Sariputta was done making an analogy about the khandhas being murderous, Ven. Yamaka gave the following response:

Even so, my friend Sariputta, are those who have people like you [i.e., not murderous] as their fellows in the holy life, teaching them, admonishing them out of sympathy, desiring their welfare. For now that I have heard this explanation of the Dhamma from you, my mind — through lack of clinging/sustenance — has been released from the effluents.

Seems to imply something about an arahant's relationship to the khandhas... not sure how it reads in Pāli, or if my interpretation is correct.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:43 pm

rowyourboat wrote:How do you navigate this?

With care and introspection. Of course, being blunt should be the exception, not the rule. It should go without saying that it's generally far more appropriate to remain genteel or opt for silence.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby piotr » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:25 pm

Hi Retrofuturist,

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.


I think this is wrong. Take a look at Dhātuvibhanga-sutta (MN 140) where the Buddha describes how one attains nibbāna and then after that how one experiences different kind of feelings (§22-24) — essentially it's the same as in Sallatha-sutta (SN 36.6). Therefore it seems that it's not a sutta about puthujjana and sekha, but about puthujjana and arahant.
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