Phassa (contact)

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Phassa (contact)

Postby ground » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:07 am

What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? Is this possible and if yes then how should such a state be described in conventional terms?


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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:22 am

TMingyur wrote:What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? Is this possible and if yes then how should such a state be described in conventional terms?


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Blindness.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby ground » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? Is this possible and if yes then how should such a state be described in conventional terms?


Kind regards
Blindness.


Okay so your view is that functioning eyes being opened necessarily entails contact.

thank you.

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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:45 am

TMingyur wrote:What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? Is this possible and if yes then how should such a state be described in conventional terms?

Yes it's possible. MN 28 Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta:

    Now if internally the eye is intact but externally forms do not come into range, nor is there a corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, but there is no corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, and there is a corresponding engagement, then there is the appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness.

For sensory consciousness to "arise" there needs to be samannāhāra: "corresponding engagement." This is generally considered to be attention (manasikāra). Someone can be lost in thought, or reading a book, or meditating, and not hear nor see things presently occurring around them, because there is no corresponding engagement or act-of-attention.

All the best,

Geoff
Last edited by Nyana on Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:46 am

TMingyur wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? Is this possible and if yes then how should such a state be described in conventional terms?


Kind regards
Blindness.


Okay so your view is that functioning eyes being opened necessarily entails contact.

thank you.

Kind regards
Dunno. Do you have experience otherwise? Sight involves the eyes, which can be healthy, but either the neural pathways to the visual cortex or visual cortex could be damaged, and then there is hysterical blindness where the physiology is all intact but something else is going on psychologically that prevents sight. Is there something in particular you have in mind?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby ground » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:52 am

@ Geoff

thank you.


@ Tilt
perhaps your are some sort of "too conventional" in your assessments.


Geoff and all

What would you say how this relates to the Buddha's advice given to Bahiya IF there is a relationship that can be assumed:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Or is there no relationship at all between these two aspects (contact and the advice given to Bahiya)?


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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:58 am

TMingyur wrote:@ Geoff

thank you.



Geoff and all

What would you say how this relates to the Buddha's advice given to Bahiya IF there is a relationship that can be assumed:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Or is there no relationship at all between these two aspects (contact and the advice given to Bahiya)?


Kind regards
One of the things Geoff mentioned is manasikara. In the case of the instructions to Bahiya, yoniso manasikara, "wise" attention, is certainly implied, but I am not quite sure what you are asking.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:10 am

TMingyur wrote:Geoff and all

What would you say how this relates to the Buddha's advice given to Bahiya IF there is a relationship that can be assumed:

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Or is there no relationship at all between these two aspects (contact and the advice given to Bahiya)?

We've been touching (pun intended) upon this in the Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering? thread. The terms used in the Bāhiya Sutta are: merely the seen (diṭṭhamatta), merely the heard (sutamatta), merely the sensed (mutamatta), merely the known (viññātamatta).

From a suttanta perspective, when all acquisitions have been released (i.e. sabbūpadhipaṭinissagga) there is no need to designate "contact." Udāna 2.4 (Ud 12):

    Contacts make contact
    Dependent on acquisition.
    Where there is no acquisition,
    What would contacts contact?

The abhidhamma schools however, explain all cognitions in terms of contact -- including supramundane cognitions. The necessity of attention and apperception in the cognitive process is one of the reasons why most abhidhamma schools (except for the Yogācāra) only allow for one of the six types of consciousness to occur at any given time. Thus, even if one's eyes and ears are "open," most of what one experiences occurs through mental-consciousness (manoviññāṇa). This is the case even when engaging a visible form or a sound or a tactual object, etc. There is a momentary occurrence of the bare object via the corresponding sense consciousness, and then the mind adverts to mental consciousness to ascertain the characteristics of what is being perceived. But this doesn't mean that the eye-faculty stops functioning and one cannot see.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby ground » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:31 am

Ñāṇa wrote:From a suttanta perspective, when all acquisitions have been released (i.e. sabbūpadhipaṭinissagga) there is no need to designate "contact." Udāna 2.4 (Ud 12):

    Contacts make contact
    Dependent on acquisition.
    Where there is no acquisition,
    What would contacts contact?

The abhidhamma schools however, explain all cognitions in terms of contact -- including supramundane cognitions.


Thanks. That is helpful.

A reminder that "contact" actually is mere imputation in a certain context (suttanta perspective) and the tendency of commentaries to categorize what is contextually valid only.

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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby Nyana » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:35 am

TMingyur wrote:A reminder that "contact" actually is mere imputation in a certain context (suttanta perspective) and the tendency of commentaries to categorize what is contextually valid only.

I think this is an accurate assessment.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:50 am

Greetings TMingyur,

I agree with your assessments. Accordingly, I think you will find much of interest in the topic mentioned above by Geoff.

In the meantime, I think venerable Nanavira provides a definition of phassa you may be interested in.

Phassa
http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=76

One thing to bear in mind... whatever phassa arises for the puthujjana or the sekha in the dependent origination sequence, is the same phassa that ceases when it is in the cessation sequence for the arahant who has brought an end to avijja (see SN 12.15).

Your interpretation of phassa aligns with the dependent cessation sequence and does not (after it has ceased) leave the arahant bumbling as a deaf, dumb or blind mute, prior to him/her achieving the cessation of dukkha.

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: Phassa (contact)

Postby Sylvester » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings TMingyur,

I agree with your assessments. Accordingly, I think you will find much of interest in the topic mentioned above by Geoff.

In the meantime, I think venerable Nanavira provides a definition of phassa you may be interested in.

Phassa
http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=76

One thing to bear in mind... whatever phassa arises for the puthujjana or the sekha in the dependent origination sequence, is the same phassa that ceases when it is in the cessation sequence for the arahant who has brought an end to avijja (see SN 12.15).

Your interpretation of phassa aligns with the dependent cessation sequence and does not (after it has ceased) leave the arahant bumbling as a deaf, dumb or blind mute, prior to him/her achieving the cessation of dukkha.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi retro.

If I understand Ven Nanavira correctly, he offers that phassa is different for the puthujana versus the Arahant's phassa. Both have a common functional core in their description (ie the coming together of ayatana, indriya and respective consciousness: eg MN 18), but in Ven Nanavira's understanding, the puthujana also slathers on something extra to that "event". The icing on the puthujana cake is the "appropriation" of a khandha or khandhas as "mine" - that is the essential puthujana's phassa, whereas the Arahant's phassa is reduced to the canonical phassa without appropriation. Somewhere in between these 2 poles, the sekkha's phassa is perfumed by the "aroma of subjectivity" (ie conceit).

What he seems to object to is how phassa is misunderstood as such -

All normal experience is dual (dvayam—see NĀMA, final paragraph): there are present (i) one's conscious six-based body (saviññānaka salāyatanika kāya), and (ii) other phenomena (namely, whatever is not one's body); and reflexion will show that, though both are objective in the experience, the aroma of subjectivity that attaches to the experience will naturally tend to be attributed to the body.[c] In this way, phassa comes to be seen as contact between the conscious eye and forms—but mark that this is because contact is primarily between subject and object, and not between eye, forms, and eye-consciousness. This approach makes it possible to see in what sense, with the entire cessation of all illusion of 'I' and 'mine', there is phassanirodha in the arahat (where, though there are still, so long as he continues to live, both the conscious body and the other phenomena, there is no longer any appropriation). But when (as commonly) phassa is interpreted as 'contact between sense-organ and sense-object, resulting in consciousness'—and its translation as '(sense-)impression' implies this interpretation—then we are at once cut off from all possibility of understanding phassanirodha in the arahat;[d] for the question whether or not the eye is the subject is not even raised—we are concerned only with the eye as a sense-organ, and it is a sense-organ in puthujjana and arahat alike.


Here's the bummer. When Ven Nanavira wrote this years ago, who or which camp was promoting the idea that phassa should be interpreted as "contact between sense-organ and sense-object, resulting in consciousness"? Was he needling the Abhidhammikas, what with their insistence that "phassa" is a dhamma apart from the suttanta description of the conjunction/triad of ayatana, indriya and vinnana?

Or were there people who were interpreting MN 28's "corresponding engagement" (tajjo sammanaharo) to be that contact that causes consciousness? I think the mistake has been made before, but I can't recall who offhand.

I think Ven Nanavira hedges his position quite well, to the extent that he speaks of an Arahant's phassa both being "is not" and "is", depending on whether one views phassa as the me-mine relationship, or without this appropriation.

On balance, I think Ven Nanavira has not rejected the canonical description of phassa and I read him as accepting this functional definition as persisting after Arahanta.
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:52 am

Greetings.

For the benefit of anyone else following, here's an extra element of the section of ven. Nanavira's note on phassa...

Consciousness, however, is not physiologically observable, and the entire project rests upon unjustifiable assumptions from the start. This epistemological interpretation of phassa misconceives the Dhamma as a kind of natural-science-cum-psychology that provides an explanation of things in terms of cause-and-effect.


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: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings.

For the benefit of anyone else following, here's an extra element of the section of ven. Nanavira's note on phassa...

Consciousness, however, is not physiologically observable, and the entire project rests upon unjustifiable assumptions from the start. This epistemological interpretation of phassa misconceives the Dhamma as a kind of natural-science-cum-psychology that provides an explanation of things in terms of cause-and-effect.


Metta,
Retro. :)
Is the issue here explaining things in terms of cause and effect or the question of a physiological aspect to consciousness or epistemology or some combination of them all?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:18 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Is the issue here explaining things in terms of cause and effect or the question of a physiological aspect to consciousness or epistemology or some combination of them all?

We seem to have slipped out to a conversation on vinnana, but that's fair enough, because that's relevant to a discussion on phassa.

Here's a tract of text from Ediriwira Sarachchandra's "Buddhist Psychology of Perception" (p18) that seems applicable to (what I think is) your question.

Ediriwira Sarachchandra wrote:Depending on whether vinnana sprang up in respect of the eye or the ear or any other sense-organ, it was named accordingly.

Buddhism could escape the charge of materialism on the score of this teaching only if we interpret vinnana as empirical consciousness. Buddha is actually given the opportunity here to explain what it is in the individual that, after all, transmigrates from one life to the other. But he does not think it sufficiently relevant to the purpose. What is more important is to point out that vinnana, which is responsible for our perception of this world so full of change and decay, is by no means an eternal and permanent entity. It is only a relationship set up between the external world and the perceiving individual. A realisation of this fact would indicate the method by which one could successfully put an end to sorrow."

The physiological POV is of no relevance to the method, as what can one actually do about physiology in terms of achieving liberation? What could one do with this knowledge other than silly things like pluck out one's eyeballs, abuse drugs, perform amputations etc.

An analysis of cause-and-effect is only of benefit if the causes and effects are regarded empirically, by way of what is observed and experienced. If an analysis of cause-and-effect veers into physiological/realist territory and away from the empiral/phenomenological then it borders either upon either the speculative (e.g. beliefs about things outside loka), or physiological (e.g. not related to the purpose).

Likewise, an analysis of cause and effect where one cannot bring about cessation of the cause is of no use to someone striving to liberation... in fact, if vinnana was understood in physiological terms, it would actually be a roadblock to liberation. As it is with vinnana, so too with phassa... so too with any sankhata nidana.

Thus, to answer TMingyur's question, "What if the eyes are open but there is no "contacting"? ", this means there is no "relationship set up between the external world and the perceiving individual" to use Ediriwira Sarachchandra's words, or as venerable Nanavira stated...

Ven. Nananvira wrote:So long as there is avijjā, all things (dhammā) are fundamentally as described in the earlier part of the Mūlapariyāyasutta (Majjhima i,1 <M.i,1>); that is to say, they are inherently in subjection, they are appropriated, they are mine (See ANICCA, MAMA, & A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPĀDA [f]). This is the foundation of the notion that I am and that things are in contact with me. This contact between me and things is phassa. The ditthisampanna sees the deception, but the puthujjana accepts it at its face value and elaborates it into a relationship between himself and the world

... or to quote from MN 28 as Geoff did earlier...

MN 28 wrote:Now if internally the eye is intact but externally forms do not come into range, nor is there a corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, but there is no corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, and there is a corresponding engagement, then there is the appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness.


That is my understanding.

Returning to Ediriwira Sarachchandra's text (p.15), to conclude...

Ediriwira Sarachchandra wrote:In the period between the Nikayas and the Abhidhamma the meaning of phassa gets more and more narrowed down to stand for the physical reaction alone, and in the Milinda-panha (Mil.60) we find it naively described as being similar to the butting of two rams or the clashing of two cymbals or the clapping of hands.

These are the kinds of misleading misrepresentations and scholarly accretions that the likes of venerables Nanananda and Nanavira aimed to expose, much as Nagarjuna did back in the day in relation to Sarvastivada doctrine once it veered into realism.

Whilst I agree with what venerable Nanavira here says for the most part... http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... emid=60#na
Nanavira Thera wrote:These books of the Pali Canon correctly represent the Buddha's Teaching, and can be regarded as trustworthy throughout. (Vinayapitaka:) Suttavibhanga, Mahāvagga, Cūlavagga; (Suttapitaka:) Dīghanikāya, Majjhimanikāya, Samyuttanikāya, Anguttaranikāya, Suttanipāta, Dhammapada, Udāna, Itivuttaka, Theratherīgāthā. (The Jātaka verses may be authentic, but they do not come within the scope of these Notes.) No other Pali books whatsoever should be taken as authoritative; and ignorance of them (and particularly of the traditional Commentaries) may be counted a positive advantage, as leaving less to be unlearned

... knowledge of these "other Pali books" helps us determine if modern meditation teachers and the views and techniques they endorsed are based upon textual sources that we ourselves would consider to be authentic. If one is fully committed to the teachings of the Buddha, one must be able to trace one's modern teacher's views back to Buddhavacana. If a teacher's views veer towards realism (e.g. notions of existence and non-existence) or to statements which are empirically unproveable (e.g. I often ask myself, "How do they know that to be so?") they should be carefully scrutinised and questioned... not accepted on the basis that "this is our teacher".

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: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:20 am

For all of that, the one thing I wanted addressed was the issue of epistemology anf that was not addressed.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:25 am

Greetings Tilt,

Well, I'm not all that au fait with the term epistemology, so I looked it up on Wikipedia...

Epistemology: (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning "knowledge, science", and λόγος (logos), meaning "study of") is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions:

- What is knowledge?
- How is knowledge acquired?
- How do we know what we know?

I thought the above answer covered that angle... could you perhaps reframe your question in a different way?

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: Phassa (contact)

Postby Sylvester » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:28 am

Hi retro.

Do you think it might be possible to avoid labelling views as "realist"? I hate to say it, but it just sounds like a "pop" philosophy sound-byte.

If one were criticising the "sarvam asti" or svabhava "realism" of the Sarvastivadins as "Realism", I think the limited context would probably be quite appropriate in a specialised discussion.

But, given the many shades and colours of "Realism" in both Western and Eastern world-views, I am not sure if "Realism" should be used so loosely.

For example, we have the Pali Abhidhammic notion of sabhava, but which the Commentators are quick to sanitise into a notion of "that which is being borne by its own conditions"; how much "realism" is left in this?

Or how about the many instances of "atthi" and "natthi" used by the Buddha in the Canon to describe states? We of course accept that when a dhamma "atthi", it is so by virtue of DO (the very same point given by the Commentary to the Dhammasangani above quoted). Likewise when a dhamma "natthi" - that goes by way of DC. Does this make the Buddha a "conventional" realist?

Personally, I don't think the Buddha was interested in the ontological implications of "atthi" and "natthi" for the world out there. The standard translation offered as the 2 philosophical extremes to be abandoned are "Everything exists" and "Everything does not exist" (eg SN 12.15). I think the "everything" should simply be "The All", discussed in SN 35.23 and SN 35.24. Certainly, the All do include the external kāmā out "there", but I don't recall any DO discussions that address the state of the kāmā - DO is invariably applied to our internal world.

Even Ven Nanavira slips into "conventional" realism when he says "though both are objective in the experience". :tongue:
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Well, I'm not all that au fait with the term epistemology, so I looked it up on Wikipedia...

Epistemology: (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning "knowledge, science", and λόγος (logos), meaning "study of") is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions:

- What is knowledge?
- How is knowledge acquired?
- How do we know what we know?

I thought the above answer covered that angle... could you perhaps reframe your question in a different way?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Well, here is the pedantic Nanavira, as you quoted him:


Consciousness, however, is not physiologically observable, and the entire project rests upon unjustifiable assumptions from the start. This epistemological interpretation of phassa misconceives the Dhamma as a kind of natural-science-cum-psychology that provides an explanation of things in terms of cause-and-effect.
I have no idea what he is saying here. We are not to see things in terms of "cause and effect?" Are there other "epistemological interpretations" that are appropriate?

you wrote:The physiological POV is of no relevance to the method, as what can one actually do about physiology in terms of achieving liberation?
What can we do about rupa in terms of acheiving liberation? The question is no different, it would seem? I have no idea of what is being said here.
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: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:42 am

Greetings Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:Do you think it might be possible to avoid labelling views as "realist"? I hate to say it, but it just sounds like a "pop" philosophy sound-byte.

Your personal proclivities aside, it is a real word... http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_18617 ... alism.html

realism.

4. philosophy theory that things exist objectively: the theory that things such as universals, moral facts, and theoretical scientific entities exist independently of people's thoughts and perceptions

5. philosophy theory of objectively existing world: the theory that there is an objectively existing world, not dependent on our minds, and that people are able to understand aspects of that world through perception

Why not use a word, when its definition is what you intend?

Sylvester wrote:If one were criticising the "sarvam asti" or svabhava "realism" of the Sarvastivadins as "Realism", I think the limited context would probably be quite appropriate in a specialised discussion.

But, given the many shades and colours of "Realism" in both Western and Eastern world-views, I am not sure if "Realism" should be used so loosely.

For example, we have the Pali Abhidhammic notion of sabhava, but which the Commentators are quick to sanitise into a notion of "that which is being borne by its own conditions"; how much "realism" is left in this?

Well, that's often debated in itself. If you're able to propose an alternative, more precise word, I am open to it. The author quoted earlier used "materialist" ... would that be more amenable to you? (I suspect not). "Ontological" perhaps? (Though this would not be amenable to mikenz66 :tongue: )

Sylvester wrote:Or how about the many instances of "atthi" and "natthi" used by the Buddha in the Canon to describe states?

That depends on whether one regards them as being subject to this/that conditionality or as (capital E) "Existence".

Sylvester wrote:We of course accept that when a dhamma "atthi", it is so by virtue of DO (the very same point given by the Commentary to the Dhammasangani above quoted). Likewise when a dhamma "natthi" - that goes by way of DC. Does this make the Buddha a "conventional" realist?

Conditioned or samsaric "existence" is predicated upon the false perception of "existence" or "non-existence". That doesn't make the Buddha a realist. Maybe "atthi" means "present"?

Sylvester wrote:Personally, I don't think the Buddha was interested in the ontological implications of "atthi" and "natthi" for the world out there..

With this I agree.

Sylvester wrote:Certainly, the All do include the external kāmā out "there"

Why is this so certain?

Sylvester wrote:DO is invariably applied to our internal world.

With this I agree.

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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