Phassa (contact)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:48 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I have no idea what he is saying here. We are not to see things in terms of "cause and effect?"

I explained what I consider to be a valid utilisation of "cause and effect" in the lengthy post to you on page 1.

tiltbillings wrote:Are there other "epistemological interpretations" that are appropriate?

I'll have to ask that you rephrase this, as we've yet been able to reach a common landing on what is meant by "epistemological" and you're yet to advise which parts of the Wikipedia definition were amenable to you, or otherwise.

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist 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 idea of what is said here.

We can do a lot about nama-rupa... investigate the Nibbana Sermons for bountiful examples.

If we define the rupa as "materialty" we can do nothing (short of lopping limbs, popping eyeballs etc.)

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 3:09 am

Hi retro

It is indeed a real word; I don't deny that. But given that this word is used to denote so many varieties of philosophical positions, is it safe to say that a view is "realist", without indicating what sort of affliation to which sort of realism was being promoted? Sometimes, the label is just used to dismiss an argument, and given the many levels of meaning to "realism", the risk becomes disproportionately higher.

You're right - "materialist" would not be my first choice, since that term has already acquired too narrow and specific a meaning in the context of "tri-temporal materialism" for one particular branch of Buddhism. Ontology comes in as a close favourite for this reason, simply because of its historical association with metaphysics. As I understand the injunction against "sabbam atthi" and "sabbam natthi", I think SN 12.48 really brings to the fore why the Buddha advised against such extremes - it was pure speculation (ie metaphysical, at least in the Humean sense that I am accustomed to) and not experiential. That speculation, coupled with one of the 4 types of clinging, is what generates one of the nidanas of DO.

As to the capital "E" atthi, I'll have to channel Gombrich, since I can't actually recall any specific details being recorded in the Canon of how "sabbam atthi" was supposed to have been explained by the Buddha's peers. I think the Canon might have skipped the details on these "Atthi" metaphysics floating out there, since SN 12.15 is swift to zoom in on the problem of such a view - it generates clinging.

As to the inclusion of the kāmā in the "All" formula, the kāmā are specifically mentioned in SN 35.23.
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:18 am

Greetings Sylvester,

OK, but if Mike gets upset about me using the word "ontological" I'm sending him in your direction! :tongue:

Re: kāma and sabba, venerable Nyanatiloka defines kāma as "1. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire'; 2. objective sensuality, the five sense-objects."

I do not see how any of that is "out there"... unless you are regarding a sense-object as "tree" rather than "sight of tree". I opt for the latter.

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 3:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I have no idea what he is saying here. We are not to see things in terms of "cause and effect?"

I explained what I consider to be a valid utilisation of "cause and effect" in the lengthy post to you on page 1.
To wit:
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).
This is just odd stuff. Science is, I suppose, realist, but why is this relevant to Dhamma practice to have to draw this distinction?



tiltbillings wrote:Are there other "epistemological interpretations" that are appropriate?

I'll have to ask that you rephrase this, as we've yet been able to reach a common landing on what is meant by "epistemological" and you're yet to advise which parts of the Wikipedia definition were amenable to you, or otherwise.
Okay, but first what was it that Nanvira was saying about epistemology?

The Buddha's teachings are epistemological in that "knowledge" is the goal. The Buddha's teachings concerns itself with what are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge and what that knowledge is

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist 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 achieving liberation? The question is no different, it would seem? I have idea of what is said here.

We can do a lot about nama-rupa... investigate the Nibbana Sermons for bountiful examples.
So, we do not need to pay any attention to anything science says about how the body actually functions, such as memory? Probably not, given that it does not matter, in terms of liberation, if the world is afloat on the back of a giant turtle or is is orbit around a star. It just seems to be an odd battle.
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 3:28 am

Greetings Tilt,

I think you are slowly coming to understand the position that I have been putting forward in the recent week (especially in light of the turtle comment and the acknowledge of science as realist)... what you are yet to see is why I consider it to be an important distinction.

I'm offline for an hour or two, but will endeavour to explain why later, time pending.

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 3:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

OK, but if Mike gets upset about me using the word "ontological" I'm sending him in your direction! :tongue:

Re: kāma and sabba, venerable Nyanatiloka defines kāma as "1. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire'; 2. objective sensuality, the five sense-objects."

I do not see how any of that is "out there"... unless you are regarding a sense-object as "tree" rather than "sight of tree".

Metta,
Retro. :)


Sigh, as if I've not laboured hard enough elsewhere trying to draw out the differences between kāma and kāmā. :cry:

The former is singular and in the suttas is used to refer to either sense desire (kammacchanda) or to one of the 5 sense objects.

Where the plural occurs in the suttas, it means the 5 sense objects only.

The position is different in the Vibhanga and Dhammasangani, where the plural in the context of the 1st Jhana formula, kāmā is interpreted to mean sense desires, sensual passions etc.

You do have a very good point about being "out there", as kāmā might not actually mean the sense objects per se out there. In another canonical classification, ie of the kāmagunā, the definitions furnished are given with a specific predicate eg eye-cognisable forms (cakkhuvinneya rupa), meaning not just forms, but only eye-cognisable ones.

Perhaps the "[indriya]-vinneya" predicate was uniformly elided out of the rest of the Canon, on the basis that the listeners then had a common understanding that it should be read as such.

I don't know, but if there is in fact a genuine doctrinal difference to be teased out of the kāmā in the ALL, versus the "[indriya]-vinneya" kāma, perhaps there is a place for the Participatory Anthropic Principle in Buddhist "phassa". :meditate:
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

I think you are slowly coming to understand the position that I have been putting forward in the recent week (especially in light of the turtle comment and the acknowledge of science as realist)... what you are yet to see is why I consider it to be an important distinction.

I'm offline for an hour or two, but will endeavour to explain why later, time pending.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Maybe I am asking questions to draw out what has not been so clearly stated by you?
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 4:37 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Maybe I am asking questions to draw out what has not been so clearly stated by you?

As you've said, though I assure you I am doing my best to be as clear as possible. Likewise, I assume you are doing your best to understand.

In light of that, there is probably no benefit to be gained in raising this again.

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 retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:42 am

Greetings Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:You do have a very good point about being "out there", as kāmā might not actually mean the sense objects per se out there. In another canonical classification, ie of the kāmagunā, the definitions furnished are given with a specific predicate eg eye-cognisable forms (cakkhuvinneya rupa), meaning not just forms, but only eye-cognisable ones.
...
I don't know, but if there is in fact a genuine doctrinal difference to be teased out of the kāmā in the ALL, versus the "[indriya]-vinneya" kāma, perhaps there is a place for the Participatory Anthropic Principle in Buddhist "phassa". :meditate:

Well, you have a far better understanding of Pali grammar than I do, so I'll leave it for you to investigate and see what you can find.

In the case of a tree 10 metres away, I don't understand how the sense-object could be relating to anything other than "sight of tree"... it's certainly not a case of "contact" between the eye and the "tree (itself)".

Anyway, do let us know if there's anything that might be of interest to us, and thanks for the discussion.

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 5:06 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:You do have a very good point about being "out there", as kāmā might not actually mean the sense objects per se out there. In another canonical classification, ie of the kāmagunā, the definitions furnished are given with a specific predicate eg eye-cognisable forms (cakkhuvinneya rupa), meaning not just forms, but only eye-cognisable ones.
...
I don't know, but if there is in fact a genuine doctrinal difference to be teased out of the kāmā in the ALL, versus the "[indriya]-vinneya" kāma, perhaps there is a place for the Participatory Anthropic Principle in Buddhist "phassa". :meditate:

Well, you have a far better understanding of Pali grammar than I do, so I'll leave it for you to investigate and see what you can find.

In the case of a tree 10 metres away, I don't understand how the sense-object could be relating to anything other than "sight of tree"... it's certainly not a case of "contact" between the eye and the "tree (itself)".

Anyway, do let us know if there's anything that might be of interest to us, and thanks for the discussion.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I'm glad you brought out the example of the tree. On this score, I agree with you and others who interpret "rupa" not as the material object, but as nothing more than the visual data "of the tree" that arrive at the eyes. The general tenor I get from the suttas' discussions of the perils of ayoniso manasikara upon contact is this - "when seeing a form ... when hearing a sound etc". These do point to whatever is received at the eyes, and adds to my suspicion that the "[indriya] vinneya" predicate has been elided out of the kāmā passages and should be read in.

So, what is a sensual object is not , eg a tree, as such a tree could yield form/visual data, tactility, perfume/pong, sound of rustling leaves and bitterness from fruits. These 5 are the sensual objects.

I am not aware of any sutta that explicitly applies DO to the kāmā. Yet, if the kāmā are caught within the All, it is not meaningful except and until there is phassa. Without tajja sammanahara to bring about contact, a kāma touching us is simply not experienced, as there is no consciousness of that kāma. Perhaps the nidana for salayatana-phassa might embody DO for the kāmā and explain that mysterious passage from It 38 which Ven Nanananda cites as proof for the persistence of "clinging" in an Arahant (but only in relation to the 5 indriyas which are connected to the kāmā).
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:21 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Science is, I suppose, realist, but why is this relevant to Dhamma practice to have to draw this distinction?

By & large, Kaccayanagotta, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

By & large, Kaccayanagotta, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayanagotta, that there is right view.

tiltbillings wrote:So, we do not need to pay any attention to anything science says about how the body actually functions, such as memory? Probably not, given that it does not matter, in terms of liberation, if the world is afloat on the back of a giant turtle or is is orbit around a star.

Correct. The ancients were of the erroneous belief for example that the brain was a snot factory that leaked out the nose, but that did not preclude their potential for the attainment of nobility. Mount Meru, sea monsters, rain devas etc.... none of it matters - right or wrong. The Simsapa Sutta tells us what we ought to be concerned with (i.e. dukkha and nirodha), and science is just one big distraction amongst many... a dangerous distraction in fact because it "feels" relevant, and "feels" enlightening (because it helps to counter superstition) but it actually constrains us from seeing things as they are, because it steers us towards unprofitable views of existence and non-existence.

tiltbillings wrote: It just seems to be an odd battle.

It is important because a good many people are investigating the wrong things, not seeing clearly, and becoming fixed in views that pertain to existence and non-existence... often in the name of science, and often on the grounds of realism/ontology. Sometimes even in the name of Abhidhamma (e.g. such-and-such citta ultimately exists). Such views, and incorrect framing, make "seeing things as they really are" (i.e. seeing them as they are experienced, with discernment) unnecessarily difficult. Understanding the radical teaching of SN 12.15 specifically, and the Dhamma more generally, requires such views to be relinquished.

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

That is why it matters - it's a matter of right discernment.

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 retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:33 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:So, what is a sensual object is not , eg a tree, as such a tree could yield form/visual data, tactility, perfume/pong, sound of rustling leaves and bitterness from fruits. These 5 are the sensual objects.

Indeed it could, but there is nothing outside of the frame of reference of sabba/loka that could possibly be known about it. Thus, the inference of "tree (itself)" actually goes against both the Buddha's instructions to both Bahiya and Kaccayanagotta.

Sylvester wrote:I am not aware of any sutta that explicitly applies DO to the kāmā. Yet, if the kāmā are caught within the All, it is not meaningful except and until there is phassa. Without tajja sammanahara to bring about contact, a kāma touching us is simply not experienced, as there is no consciousness of that kāma. Perhaps the nidana for salayatana-phassa might embody DO for the kāmā and explain that mysterious passage from It 38 which Ven Nanananda cites as proof for the persistence of "clinging" in an Arahant (but only in relation to the 5 indriyas which are connected to the kāmā).

I appreciate you sharing these thoughts, but I won't comment on them directly, since much of it pertains to assumptions, definitions, logic and such from within your loka, so I'll leave it to your faculty of discernment to determine how the jigsaw pieces can be appropriately resolved.

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 retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:03 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Okay, but first what was it that Nanvira was saying about epistemology?

The Buddha's teachings are epistemological in that "knowledge" is the goal. The Buddha's teachings concerns itself with what are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge and what that knowledge is

Nanavira Thera would likely agree, so long as that knowledge was actually connected to the Noble Truths. An extract from the preface to his Notes might give some indication of his intention - http://nanavira.xtreemhost.com/index.ph ... &Itemid=60

Nanavira Thera wrote:These Notes assume... that the reader's sole interest in the Pali Suttas is a concern for his own welfare. The reader is presumed to be subjectively engaged with an anxious problem, the problem of his existence, which is also the problem of his suffering. There is therefore nothing in these pages to interest the professional scholar, for whom the question of personal existence does not arise; for the scholar's whole concern is to eliminate or ignore the individual point of view in an effort to establish the objective truth -- a would-be impersonal synthesis of public facts. The scholar's essentially horizontal view of things, seeking connexions in space and time, and his historical approach to the texts, disqualify him from any possibility of understanding a Dhamma that the Buddha himself has called akālika, 'timeless'. Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching. But human kind, it seems, cannot bear very much reality: men, for the most part, draw back in alarm and dismay from this vertiginous direct view of being and seek refuge in distractions.

...

Existential philosophies, then, insist upon asking questions about self and the world, taking care at the same time to insist that they are unanswerable. Beyond this point of frustration these philosophies cannot go. The Buddha, too, insists that questions about self and the world are unanswerable, either by refusing to answer them or by indicating that no statement about self and the world can be justified. But -- and here is the vital difference -- the Buddha can and does go beyond this point: not, to be sure, by answering the unanswerable, but by showing the way leading to the final cessation of all questions about self and the world. Let there be no mistake in the matter: the existential philosophies are not a substitute for the Buddha's Teaching -- for which, indeed, there can be no substitute. The questions that they persist in asking are the questions of a puthujjana, of a 'commoner', and though they see that they are unanswerable they have no alternative but to go on asking them; for the tacit assumption upon which all these philosophies rest is that the questions are valid. They are faced with an ambiguity that they cannot resolve. The Buddha, on the other hand, sees that the questions are not valid and that to ask them is to make the mistake of assuming that they are.

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 6:28 am

retrofuturist wrote: Thus, the inference of "tree (itself)" actually goes against both the Buddha's instructions to both Bahiya and Kaccayanagotta.
Of course the arahant is not going to assume a tree exists in terms of an unchanging thing, but the question that has yet to be directly addressed is when an arahant sees a particular configuration of visual sensory input to which he says "That is a tree," what is the process by which this happens? It can be clearly outlined for the worldling, but how does it happen for the arahant?
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 6:39 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:the question that has yet to be directly addressed is when an arahant sees a particular configuration of visual sensory input to which he says "That is a tree," what is the process by which this happens? It can be clearly outlined for the worldling, but how does it happen for the arahant?

I don't know, I'm not an arahant. Isn't it an assumption though on your part that they would indeed say "that is a tree" in the first place? Following their respective set of instructions received, would either Bahiya or Kaccayanagotta say that? If not during their training, then why so after? Measuring the measureless with puthujjana frames of reference is risky business.

The Buddha tells us what ceases (nirodha) and I believe that is sufficient for us, in connection with dukkha and nirodha. What is beyond that, we'll find out when we're 'thus gone'. I would suggest that the "question that has yet to be directly addressed" remains as such...

Nanavira Thera wrote:The questions that they persist in asking are the questions of a puthujjana, of a 'commoner', and though they see that they are unanswerable they have no alternative but to go on asking them; for the tacit assumption upon which all these philosophies rest is that the questions are valid. They are faced with an ambiguity that they cannot resolve. The Buddha, on the other hand, sees that the questions are not valid and that to ask them is to make the mistake of assuming that they are.

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 7:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:the question that has yet to be directly addressed is when an arahant sees a particular configuration of visual sensory input to which he says "That is a tree," what is the process by which this happens? It can be clearly outlined for the worldling, but how does it happen for the arahant?

I don't know, I'm not an arahant. Isn't it an assumption though on your part that they would indeed say "that is a tree" in the first place?
So, arahants don't talk using conventional speech? And why would we assume that?

Following their respective set of instructions received, would either Bahiya or Kaccayanagotta say that? If not during their training, then why so after? Measuring the measureless with puthujjana frames of reference is risky business.
One can be quite mindful of the thought "It is a tree" without investing in it beyond the fact that it is a thought arising from the sensory input of the eyes, which is really the point of the practice instructions to Bahiya and to Malunkyaputta, a text where the Buddha expands upon the instructions given to Bahiya (see the verses):

SN 35.95
Malunkyaputta Sutta
To Malunkyaputta
Translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu PTS: S iv 72
CDB ii 1175
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, who was ardent & resolute, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone in seclusion: heedful, ardent, & resolute."

"Here now, Malunkyaputta: What will I say to the young monks when you — aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life — ask for an admonition in brief?"

"Lord, even though I'm aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life, may the Blessed One teach me the Dhamma in brief! May the One Well-gone teach me the Dhamma in brief! It may well be that I'll understand the Blessed One's words. It may well be that I'll become an heir to the Blessed One's words."

"What do you think, Malunkyaputta: the forms cognizable via the eye that are unseen by you — that you have never before seen, that you don't see, and that are not to be seen by you: Do you have any desire or passion or love there?"

"No, lord."1

"The sounds cognizable via the ear...

"The aromas cognizable via the nose...

"The flavors cognizable via the tongue...

"The tactile sensations cognizable via the body...

"The ideas cognizable via the intellect that are uncognized by you — that you have never before cognized, that you don't cognize, and that are not to be cognized by you: Do you have any desire or passion or love there?"

"No, lord."

"Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

"I understand in detail, lord, the meaning of what the Blessed One has said in brief:

Seeing a form
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the form,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyance
injure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Hearing a sound...
Smelling an aroma...
Tasting a flavor...
Touching a tactile sensation...

Knowing an idea
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the idea,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyance
injure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Not impassioned with forms
— seeing a form with mindfulness firm —
dispassioned in mind,
one knows
and doesn't remain fastened there.
While one is seeing a form
— and even experiencing feeling —
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.
Thus not amassing stress,
one is said to be
in the presence of Unbinding.

Not impassioned with sounds...
Not impassioned with aromas...
Not impassioned with flavors...
Not impassioned with tactile sensations...

Not impassioned with ideas
— knowing an idea with mindfulness firm —
dispassioned in mind,
one knows
and doesn't remain fastened there.
While one is knowing an idea
— and even experiencing feeling —
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.
Thus not amassing stress,
one is said to be
in the presence of Unbinding.
"It's in this way, lord, that I understand in detail the meaning of what the Blessed One said in brief."

"Good, Malunkyaputta. Very good. It's good that you understand in detail this way the meaning of what I said in brief."

[The Buddha then repeats the verses.]

"It's in this way, Malunkyaputta, that the meaning of what I said in brief should be regarded in detail."

Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, having been admonished by the admonishment from the Blessed One, got up from his seat and bowed down to the Blessed One, circled around him, keeping the Blessed One to his right side, and left. Then, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Malunkyaputta became another one of the arahants.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes

1. It is possible, of course, to have desire for a sight that one has not seen. Strictly speaking, however, the desire is not "there" at the unseen sight. Rather, it's there at the present idea of the unseen sight. This distinction is important for the purpose of the practice.
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 8:04 am

Greetings Tilt,

So, arahants don't talk using conventional speech?

Did I say they didn't? No, I did not.

And why would we assume that?

I don't see the need to assume anything in relation to the arahant other than that nirodha has occurred.

One can be quite mindful of the thought "It is a tree" without investing in it beyond the fact that it is a thought arising from the sensory input of the eyes, which is really the point of the practice instructions to Bahiya and to Malunkyaputta, a text where the Buddha expands upon the instructions given to Bahiya (see the verses):

... and that's fine.

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 8:33 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Sylvester wrote:So, what is a sensual object is not , eg a tree, as such a tree could yield form/visual data, tactility, perfume/pong, sound of rustling leaves and bitterness from fruits. These 5 are the sensual objects.

Indeed it could, but there is nothing outside of the frame of reference of sabba/loka that could possibly be known about it. Thus, the inference of "tree (itself)" actually goes against both the Buddha's instructions to both Bahiya and Kaccayanagotta.



I'm not so sure that it is necessary to read the Buddha's admonition to Bahiya so radically that it verges on solipsism. What matters to me in the admonition of "in the seen there will only be the seen" is the reason for such relation to the seen, ie -

When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress


To me, this is nothing more than the normal admonition against appropriation of the khandhas that gives rise to the standard 20 views.

The Bahiya instructions are more fully explicated in the "One Wonderful Night" Sutta, MN 131 where it is presented as such -

"And how is one taken in with regard to present qualities? There is the case where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person who has not seen the noble ones, is not versed in the teachings of the noble ones, is not trained in the teachings of the noble ones, sees form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

"He/she sees feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.

"He/she sees perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception.

"He/she sees thought-fabrications as self, or self as possessing thought-fabrications, or thought-fabrications as in self, or self as in thought-fabrications.

"He/she sees consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. This is called being taken in with regard to present qualities.

"And how is one not taken in with regard to present qualities? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones who has seen the noble ones, is versed in the teachings of the noble ones, is well-trained in the teachings of the noble ones, does not see form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form.

"He/she does not see feeling as self, or self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.

"He/she does not see perception as self, or self as possessing perception, or perception as in self, or self as in perception.

"He/she does not see thought-fabrications as self, or self as possessing thought-fabrications, or thought-fabrications as in self, or self as in thought-fabrications.

"He/she does not see consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. This is called not being taken in with regard to present qualities.



Personally, I do not believe that the Buddha had anything to say about either an epistemology or an ontology of the "external world". It's quite pointed that in AN 4.49, there is no vipallasa listed about mistaking the identity of an external referrant for something else - all the 4 vipallasas pertain to some dysfunctional relation between perception, cognition and thinking with phenomena in terms of impermanance, suffering, not-self and unattractiveness. There is no vipallasa for mistaking rupa of a tree to signify the presence of a tree.

PS edit - Something else occured to me in the Bahiya instructions, as seen expanded to Malunkyaputta in SN 35.95. The expanded section shows what happens when appropriation takes place in a non-Arahant -

Seeing a form
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the form,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyanceinjure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding.



The underlined text are just the standard synonyms for the states that give rise to raganusaya and patighanusaya respectively. According to MN 18, these cetasika vedana which give rise to the Anusayas follow from contact, mediated by appropriation -

If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification (papanca) assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions (anusaya) of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance.


So, it does appear that the instructions to Bahiya and Malunkyaputta are simply admonitions to find a strategy out of appropriation of the khandhas, but the instructions are not sufficient enough to construct any Early Buddhist epistemology or negative-ontology about the world out there.
Last edited by Sylvester on Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phassa (contact)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:44 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:I'm not so sure that it is necessary to read the Buddha's admonition to Bahiya so radically that it verges on solipsism.

Back off to Wikipedia I go...

It seems there's different variants of solipsism, and I think this is probably the only one that comes close... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodological_solipsism

"Methodological solipsism is the thesis that the mental properties or mental states of an organism can be individuated exclusively on the basis of that state or property's relations with other internal states of the organism itself, without any reference to the society or the physical world in which the organism is embedded."

.... but even then, the "sight of tree" arose somehow, didn't it?

I tend to think it's more a pragmatic case of making no stance/view regarding existence/non-existence "out there", because there is no benefit... only the possibility of being lured into ideation regarding existence/non-existence and subsequent papanca. The reason for the Dhamma being liberation, not philosophy/ontology.

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 8:53 am

I fully agree. :smile:
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