Cessation's permanence

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby ground » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:31 am

And that evidences what?

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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Kenshou » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:33 am

Akuma wrote:the examples given by chownah, accinteyo and Nibbida all are based on the idea that the state of the arya is based on his remembrance of past experiences.
Maybe I missed something, but as far as I can see, no they are not based on that. It seems that you brought up the subject on your own a few posts back.

Is your line of thinking here that in order for a reborn sotapanna etc. to maintain their realization, they must be able to recall their practice in past lives? I would submit that the termination of whatever fetters is not something so shallow, that merely not remembering that it happened would be enough for a person to retrogress.

But unless we have some reborn ariyas around here, this is all pretty speculative... not that we can't discuss it.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Akuma » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:58 am

Kenshou wrote:Maybe I missed something, but as far as I can see, no they are not based on that. It seems that you brought up the subject on your own a few posts back. Is your line of thinking here that in order for a reborn sotapanna etc. to maintain their realization, they must be able to recall their practice in past lives?


No I read this in their answers. Nibbida wrote that you cannot compare the belief in Nirvana with the belief in Jesus because there is gradual training that you can witness and so forth. While it is true that gradual training can produce visible outcomes (more relaxed and so forth) it is of course not indicating the existence of a Nirvana. But more important to the OP is that since everything in Buddhism is transient everything that is gradually aquired can also be gradually lost again. So reacting to this chownah tried to get rid of the idea of gradual training and brought up the idea of chocolate ice-cream which is based on the same principle tho - having had an experience and then remembering it. Just like training in piano-playing or whatever the experience of ice-cream is based on the remembering of past objects of consciousness. Unlike accinteyos first explanation that is able to logically show that the absence of avijja will lead to the absence of rebirth and so on the explanations based on remembrance can not do that until you base it on the skill of remembering your experience.

I would submit that the termination of whatever fetters is not something so shallow, that merely not remembering that it happened would be enough for a person to retrogress.


Which brings us back to the original question, what exactly happens to the citta-stream in the moments of enlightenment that changes it in such a way. This becomes especially hard to explain for Tehravadins because they accept the present-only-exists viewpoint and which made this question interesting for me in the first place.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Akuma » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:03 am

TMingyur wrote:And that evidences what?

Kind regards


That even if you argue with the relativity of concepts the question is still valid in the context of the school its asking about.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby chownah » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:10 am

Akuma wrote:
I tried to find your Jesus-example but couldn't find it....can you post it soon? I'll ignore the fact that I don't know what your example is and proceed to start firing wildly in the dark to answer your post.


Nibbida referred to my answer to Ben I assume.

I think that skills acquired for training is not a good metaphor for the changes of reaching Sotapanna and higher......possibly a more apt metaphor is the smell and taste of chocolate ice cream......once you experience them you do not retrogress and forget them even if you don't practice.


So a Sotapanna from Theravada pov can always remember his past existences?

OK, I see your jesus example....sorry that i missed it before.
First let me say that the portion of my last post you reproduce here is a direct comment on your metaphor of skills acquired for training and why I think it is not appropriate....so please take it to be that and try to understand why I think your metaphor is not appropriate.
Second let me say that I think that Sotapanna's know the difference between their condition and the condition of those not having reached Sotapanna....whether this is from remembrace of their own experiences or if it is from observing the world around them is not an issue for me......even if they can not remember their own experiences it should be easy enough to see the folly of indulgence in self (for instance) for them to know that their understandings about doctrine of self is absolutely the way to go...and so they continue....without regress.....I guess......I don't really know for sure because in life there are no proofs and there are no guarantees.....in life you pays your money and you takes your chances.......
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Kenshou » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:15 am

It is my suspicion that when it comes to something as radical as seeing through self-view and gaining that understanding of how the cessation of suffering is possible (which is a big deal), even if it is not conceptually remembered, the individual could still intuit, so to say, that knowledge. Those realizations are pretty novel for one who has been going around and around in samsara for so long, and I would not be surprised that they would condition the mindstream significantly.

If you pushed me to say one way or another whether retrogression is possible I would have to say that I simply don't know, so I'd better not worry about it right now since thinking about that isn't going to help me not retrogress.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby ground » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:34 am

Akuma wrote:
TMingyur wrote:And that evidences what?

Kind regards


That even if you argue with the relativity of concepts the question is still valid in the context of the school its asking about.


Only if one erroneously assumes that "the relativity of concepts" can be logically grasped which actually is impossible because whereas "relativity as such" can be logically grasped "the relativity of a meaning qua meaning" is not accessible to logical thought which is necessarily of binary nature.


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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:02 am

Akuma wrote: . . .
You appear to be widely read in Theravadin and other Buddhist stuff, but I wonder what your actual quesation is 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: Cessation's permanence

Postby ground » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:42 am

As a matter of fact the Buddha's way is one of experience which entails knowledge:

... don't go by logical conjecture, by inference, ...

When you know for yourselves that,
'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them.
...
When you know for yourselves that,
'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:41 am

Ben wrote:Practice.
The proof of the pudding, Akuma, is in its eating.

Ben's answer is wise one.
To OP, suppose if you want to know about the taste of apple and you are asking me about it.
I could write thousands pages of researches and descriptions regarding the taste of apple and its chemical and molecule level dynamics that creates such a taste and flavor.
But in the end, even after read all the pages of researches, you would have no idea what is the taste after all.
You need to eat it in order to know what is like the taste of apple.
(This simile of the apple's taste is from Ajahn Chah.)
But in the end, you do not need to believe it.
If it doesn't ring a bell to you, then forget about Theravada and move on to some other 'religions'.
Dhamma only rings a bell if a listener is ready (faculty wise).
If Dhamma doesn't do that, it is simply not for you.
Metta.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:09 pm

Akuma wrote:the examples given by chownah, accinteyo and Nibbida all are based on the idea that the state of the arya is based on his remembrance of past experiences.

Hi Akuma,

with respect to my given example it is not based on remembrance of past experiences at all. This is in fact the important point to understand. It is about knowing in the here and now, by directly seeing things as they are here and now. Not by remembering any experience in the past. That's why it is irreversible. The ability to remember past experiences could get lost but when a point has reached once, where one penetrated delusion to some degree, the knowledge by directly seeing things clearer here and now is irreversible. No need to remember this particular experience of the past again, because it is always known directly here and now by seeing it clearly here and now.

best wishes, acinteyyo
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.

:anjali:
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Akuma » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:28 am

TMingyur wrote:Only if one erroneously assumes that "the relativity of concepts" can be logically grasped which actually is impossible because whereas "relativity as such" can be logically grasped "the relativity of a meaning qua meaning" is not accessible to logical thought which is necessarily of binary nature.


Without judging this as true or untrue it is in any case using concepts inaccesible to Theravada since they were developed later.

tilt wrote:You appear to be widely read in Theravadin and other Buddhist stuff, but I wonder what your actual quesation is here?


Im wondering that about yours, too now, since my question is in the OP and clear enough. But if you want me to elaborate a bit more then I could split it into a purely buddhological / philosophical and a personal thing. The first would be that since it seems that Buddhisms core-doctrines were really questioned only to much over a thousand years after the Buddha and - afaik - the doctrine of Nirvana was weirdly ignored completely. As stated before you can find proof for rebirth f.e. but not for Nirvana. So I was wondering if Theravada was ever confronted with critical inquiry and could answer at all from the their viewpoint.
The second thing is purely personal since I would of course just like everyone else here be free from suffering. But so far Buddhist practice looks pretty much like a bunch of people who can neither explain what theyre aiming at exactly, nor technically define why it should work, how it should work nor give a functioning step-by-step guide how to reach it, altho they sure like to talk much about everything peripheral to it :P.
So as long as the core of all this is just imagination and belief - its all just wishful thinking. So the first step to check if this perception is correct is to question the mechanics of nibbana. And this starts with asking why the attainments are unshakeable naturally.

imaginos wrote:If it doesn't ring a bell to you, then forget about Theravada and move on to some other 'religions'.
Dhamma only rings a bell if a listener is ready (faculty wise).


So your reaction to my critical questions is an inapplicable example where you presuppose exactly what I'm questioning and then youre in addition indirectly insulting me? Youre doing a great job providing practical proof that not even gradual training has any visible positive effects here.

accinteyo wrote:Hi Akuma,

with respect to my given example it is not based on remembrance of past experiences at all. This is in fact the important point to understand. It is about knowing in the here and now, by directly seeing things as they are here and now. Not by remembering any experience in the past. That's why it is irreversible. The ability to remember past experiences could get lost but when a point has reached once, where one penetrated delusion to some degree, the knowledge by directly seeing things clearer here and now is irreversible. No need to remember this particular experience of the past again, because it is always known directly here and now by seeing it clearly here and now.


Good. What is different then in the setup of the mindstream of the arya as compared the the putthujana? The Sarvastivadins f.e. hold that the arya-santana actually appropriates certain dharmas that make him an arya. Do you know how Theravada explains if it does?
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:50 am

Akuma wrote:or untrue it is in any case using concepts inaccesible to Theravada since they were developed later.

tilt wrote:You appear to be widely read in Theravadin and other Buddhist stuff, but I wonder what your actual question is here?


Im wondering that about yours, too now, since my question is in the OP and clear enough.
No, it is not.

But if you want me to elaborate a bit more then I could split it into a purely buddhological / philosophical and a personal thing. The first would be that since it seems that Buddhisms core-doctrines were really questioned only to much over a thousand years after the Buddha and - afaik - the doctrine of Nirvana was weirdly ignored completely. As stated before you can find proof for rebirth f.e. but not for Nirvana. So I was wondering if Theravada was ever confronted with critical inquiry and could answer at all from the their viewpoint.
Why would it matter?

The second thing is purely personal since I would of course just like everyone else here be free from suffering. But so far Buddhist practice looks pretty much like a bunch of people who can neither explain what theyre aiming at exactly, nor technically define why it should work, how it should work nor give a functioning step-by-step guide how to reach it, altho they sure like to talk much about everything peripheral to it.
And having some sort of pat intellectual explanation is going to matter?

So as long as the core of all this is just imagination and belief - its all just wishful thinking. So the first step to check if this perception is correct is to question the mechanics of nibbana. And this starts with asking why the attainments are unshakeable naturally.
So, one needs to construct an intellectual edifice before putting the teachings into practice. Why?
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: Cessation's permanence

Postby ground » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:34 am

Akuma wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Only if one erroneously assumes that "the relativity of concepts" can be logically grasped which actually is impossible because whereas "relativity as such" can be logically grasped "the relativity of a meaning qua meaning" is not accessible to logical thought which is necessarily of binary nature.


Without judging this as true or untrue it is in any case using concepts inaccesible to Theravada since they were developed later.


Well yes, but your approach isn't accessible from within the sphere of Theravada either.

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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Akuma » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:38 am

tilt wrote:Why would it matter?


Searching for truth means lookin in all sorts of places. In addition I just find buddhist philosophy to be quite intruiging.

And having some sort of pat intellectual explanation is going to matter?
(...)
So, one needs to construct an intellectual edifice before putting the teachings into practice. Why?


Example. You want a specific object that you can only get in a specific city that is hidden somewhere. I am asking you as to your explanation why you think you can get this object in this city since I have my doubts that the city and the object exist at all. And your answer is "go to the city and get the object then you will see".
Concretely you are asking me to do what you have been unable to do yourself to prove to myself that which you cannot explain. So if you want to call reason an intellectual edifice then suit yourself.
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby Akuma » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:44 am

TMingyur wrote:Well yes, but your approach isn't accessible from within the sphere of Theravada either.

kind regards


Yea this is what I thought at first too but I was unsure. And ehm - so far I am still unsure :P
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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:45 am

Akuma wrote:
tilt wrote:Why would it matter?


Searching for truth means lookin in all sorts of places. In addition I just find buddhist philosophy to be quite intruiging.
And for others Buddhist philosophy is a distraction. A mastery of such is not necessary for doing the practice.

And having some sort of pat intellectual explanation is going to matter?
(...)
So, one needs to construct an intellectual edifice before putting the teachings into practice. Why?


Example. You want a specific object that you can only get in a specific city that is hidden somewhere. I am asking you as to your explanation why you think you can get this object in this city since I have my doubts that the city and the object exist at all.
The teachings provide a map that can be followed, but trying to analysis the map to see if it leads to were it says, is at best of limited value.

And your answer is "go to the city and get the object then you will see".
Concretely you are asking me to do what you have been unable to do yourself to prove to myself that which you cannot explain. So if you want to call reason an intellectual edifice then suit yourself.
I am not asking you to do anything, and if you want to pursue an analysis of the map, that is your choice.
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: Cessation's permanence

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:26 am

HI Akuma,

So you want the ending of suffering? ..and the way to do that is to get to this place called nibbana? ..and you have doubts about its permanency?

Seems reasonable, but it also seems to be wound up with an idea of having to get to someplace where the ending of suffering is seen. Theravada buddhism doesnt work like that.

In Theravada Buddhism we see the ending of suffering in this life, by understanding the full extent of suffering, by seeing the causes of that full spread of suffering, and by removing the cause(s) of that suffering .. in this very life. Nibbana expressed in a mundane way, is experienced in this very life. Your assumption that people here haven't experienced nibbana, the truth of that process to nibbana, and the logical consistency of the goal, the experiential relief of cessation, and at least the release that faith in this goal brings, is mistaken. Even their lack of ignorance about the dhamma, their lack of doubt will take them to a good place at the very least. You seem to sit ever outside, wondering, pondering but never really belonging.. to anything. What use has been your erudition to you?

with metta

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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:20 pm

Akuma wrote:"................
But so far Buddhist practice looks pretty much like a bunch of people who can neither explain what theyre aiming at exactly, nor technically define why it should work, how it should work nor give a functioning step-by-step guide how to reach it, altho they sure like to talk much about everything peripheral to it?
.................."

Akuma,
Buddhist practice is not a bunch of people....it is what individuals do.
As far as I know most of the "Buddhists" who post on this forum are aiming at the end of suffering (Dukkha).
The Buddha taught that it does work and how this can be seen in the world....isn't this in the 4 Noble Truths?
The Buddha taught how it does work....Isn't this in the 4 Noble Truths?
There is not step by step guide....if it was that easy we would probably just need a pamphlet issued to us......
Alot of the things people do to help in achieving the end of Dukkha are things to train the mind so that it is more aware of its own functioning and so to the casual observer (no insult intended) they seem peripheral...and I suppose it could be called that...I guess it takes most people alot of peripheral work to get ready for the "big event".....this is just the nature of following the path...a path where there is not step by step guide......

There are no guarantees....there are no proofs....there is no easy answer....there is no step by step guide.....whether an arahant is stuck in nibbana or not is of no importance whatsoever as far as I can tell....what difference does it make anyway?....is it just that you can have no faith unless this can be proven?....proven in some way that is not even clear what would constitute proof?....then I guess you probably won't pursue Theravada Buddhism....that's ok with me....I suggest trying Taoism....it teaches about the same thing as Theravada but eveything is treated as mysteriously obscure and unproven.....I rather like Taoism and think that while it teaches about the same thing it does so in a way that is more attractive to many people and you just might find it more enticing.

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Re: Cessation's permanence

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:21 pm

Akuma wrote:
accinteyo wrote:Hi Akuma,

with respect to my given example it is not based on remembrance of past experiences at all. This is in fact the important point to understand. It is about knowing in the here and now, by directly seeing things as they are here and now. Not by remembering any experience in the past. That's why it is irreversible. The ability to remember past experiences could get lost but when a point has reached once, where one penetrated delusion to some degree, the knowledge by directly seeing things clearer here and now is irreversible. No need to remember this particular experience of the past again, because it is always known directly here and now by seeing it clearly here and now.
Good. What is different then in the setup of the mindstream of the arya as compared the the putthujana? The Sarvastivadins f.e. hold that the arya-santana actually appropriates certain dharmas that make him an arya. Do you know how Theravada explains if it does?
I'm not familiar with views of the earlier Sarvāstivāda. To answer your question, the relevance of what one appropriates is less important. What one gets rid of is much more important. For example one way to describe the difference between an ariya and a puthujjana are the fetters. A puthujjana is anyone who is still possessed of all the 10 fetters. An arya is free from some or all fetters. Another way to look at it are the five clinging aggregates (pañc'upādānakkhandhā) vs. the aggregates (pañcakhandhā). In case of the puthujjana the pañc'upādānakkhandhā apply, whereas only the pañcakhandhā apply to an arahant, who got rid of clinging. A third way to differentiate is the way puthujjana, sekha and arahant recognize/comprehend the world. See Notes on Dhamma :: Shorter Notes :: MAMA of Ven. Ñanavira Thera and Mulapariyaya Sutta MN1.

best wishes, acinteyyo
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.

:anjali:
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