Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:02 pm

By dropping all views, theories and ideas about how to look, or even what to look for. Just observing what's happening.

I think that this is good advice if it is taken within the context of the raft simile as applied to various stages along the path.....that is that views, theories and ideas are what help insight to arise and thus help us along the path and they should be maintained and developed as appropriate for progress but then abandoned when they have fulfilled their function....I guess....
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:45 pm

daverupa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:Otherwise, how do you distinguish an intellectual understanding from an understanding that liberate us from samsara?


I wonder about this use of the phrase "intellectual understanding" because:

tiltbillings wrote:...


Your dismissal of 'intellectual understanding' is unwarranted. Jhana is what makes it liberative.

EDIT: abhidhammic --> commentarial


By "intellectual understanding", I meant the understanding through reflection we all have to a certain degree. Why are we not all enlightened, while most of us presume we understand correctly?

I don't dismiss it, it is a healthy and useful step. But I don't think it is sufficient.

In your opinion above, what is discerned by jhana?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:04 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:.

dhamma follower wrote:The problem lies in thinking that it should be absolute present moment. The point is not to be in absolute present moment, but to develop sati-sampajana to the degree it can penetrate the nature of dhammas.

Consciousness can only occur in the present.




You have argued in a long thread that consciousness is not sati, which I agree. Sati has the function to remember, and it is sati that allows us to catch the succession of dhammas rising and falling because it can remember the order of happening of each dhamma and thus has some idea of time.

The doctrine of momentariness is merely an intellectual superimposition. A mind moment is an arbitrary concept which impedes clear seeing


Here you go again...How does this concept impede clear seeing?

And I'd appreciate you explain how you distinguish intellectual understanding from the liberating one?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:27 pm

dhamma follower wrote:By "intellectual understanding", I meant the understanding through reflection we all have to a certain degree. Why are we not all enlightened, while most of us presume we understand correctly?


It's a beginning, you see, as things are gradual in the Dhamma.

dhamma follower wrote:I don't dismiss it, it is a healthy and useful step. But I don't think it is sufficient.


Of course. I can't find anyone saying it is sufficient.

dhamma follower wrote:In your opinion above, what is discerned by jhana?


I don't think that question is framed correctly; jhana doesn't discern anything.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:01 pm

daverupa wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:By dropping all views, theories and ideas about how to look, or even what to look for. Just observing what's happening.


The Dhamma does precisely the underlined bit; are you saying the Dhamma is not important, only the meditation method?



No, I'm saying that Dhamma gives us the conceptual framework, not the direct experience. The suttas give us examples of what to look for, but we need to be open to what actually arises.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:49 pm

dhamma follower wrote:
The doctrine of momentariness is merely an intellectual superimposition. A mind moment is an arbitrary concept which impedes clear seeing


Here you go again...How does this concept impede clear seeing?

Because (i) it is a concept, and (ii) it is arbitrary.

dhamma follower wrote:And I'd appreciate you explain how you distinguish intellectual understanding from the liberating one?

Liberating gnosis includes at least some degree of disenchantment (nibbidā), leading to dispassion (virāga), which will culminate in the full extinguishment (parinibbāna) of fetters pertaining to each one of the four paths.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:36 pm

daverupa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:In your opinion above, what is discerned by jhana?


I don't think that question is framed correctly; jhana doesn't discern anything.


You stated in the earlier post that jhana is the liberating understanding, here you say jhana doesn't discern anything. It seems some coherence is lacking here.

If discernment is removed from the experience, can it be called the Buddha's Dhamma?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:43 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:
The doctrine of momentariness is merely an intellectual superimposition. A mind moment is an arbitrary concept which impedes clear seeing


Here you go again...How does this concept impede clear seeing?

Because (i) it is a concept, and (ii) it is arbitrary.



There are concepts that point to reality that can be experienced. The five khandas, the six-sense media, Nibanna etc...are examples of that category.

As for being arbitrary, it is rather a personal evaluation...

dhamma follower wrote:And I'd appreciate you explain how you distinguish intellectual understanding from the liberating one?

Liberating gnosis includes at least some degree of disenchantment (nibbidā), leading to dispassion (virāga), which will culminate in the full extinguishment (parinibbāna) of fetters pertaining to each one of the four paths


You haven't answered my question! Intellectual understanding can also generate some degree of disenchantment...

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:19 pm

dhamma follower wrote:You stated in the earlier post that jhana is the liberating understanding, here you say jhana doesn't discern anything. It seems some coherence is lacking here.


I said "jhana is what makes it [intellectual understanding] liberative." You have Right View, say, but to make it Right Knowledge, jhana is needed. What isn't coherent here?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:29 pm

dhamma follower wrote:As for being arbitrary, it is rather a personal evaluation...

Already addressed.

BTW some Buddhists recognized the arbitrariness of momentary duration and eliminated the sub-moment of duration from their doctrine of momentariness. This was the model accepted by various Sautrāntika and Yogācāra commentators, and was adopted by the Theravāda commentator Ācariya Ānanda as well. But this version has it's own difficulties. Without duration, the mind would arise and pass away simultaneously. As an analogy, it would be like trying to jump up in the air and fall down at the same time.

dhamma follower wrote:Intellectual understanding can also generate some degree of disenchantment...

It's a developmental process: disenchantment (nibbidā), leading to dispassion (virāga), which will culminate in the full extinguishment (parinibbāna) of fetters pertaining to each one of the four paths.

As Dave has indicated, this developmental process requires discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā).
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:17 pm

daverupa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:You stated in the earlier post that jhana is the liberating understanding, here you say jhana doesn't discern anything. It seems some coherence is lacking here.


I said "jhana is what makes it [intellectual understanding] liberative." You have Right View, say, but to make it Right Knowledge, jhana is needed. What isn't coherent here?


What does jhana exactly do to make it right knowledge if it doesn't discern ?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:BTW some Buddhists recognized the arbitrariness of momentary duration and eliminated the sub-moment of duration from their doctrine of momentariness. This was the model accepted by various Sautrāntika and Yogācāra commentators, and was adopted by the Theravāda commentator Ācariya Ānanda as well. But this version has it's own difficulties. Without duration, the mind would arise and pass away simultaneously. As an analogy, it would be like trying to jump up in the air and fall down at the same time.



I don't know whether you are critical of the precise duration of citta or of the idea of rapid succesions of rise and fall of the citta in general, or both.

I don't have any particular view on the exact duration as I think it is not really relevant to how we practice. However, it is the idea of rapid successions that I've been trying to defend, because it is a very important step, IMO, in the understanding of the three characteristics.

It's a developmental process: disenchantment (nibbidā), leading to dispassion (virāga), which will culminate in the full extinguishment (parinibbāna) of fetters pertaining to each one of the four paths.

As Dave has indicated, this developmental process requires discernment obtained through meditative development (bhāvanāmayā paññā)


The question is: how exactly this bhāvanāmayā paññā occur ? How it is different from cinta panna, which is the understanding coming from reflection (intellectual understanding)?

IMO, direct experience of dhammas (with their individual and universal characteristics) is a must. The rapid succession of rise and fall is part of these insights. Otherwise, it is only cinta panna.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:37 pm

dhamma follower wrote:What does jhana exactly do to make it right knowledge if it doesn't discern ?


Jhana has no agency. A person discerns; jhana does not. What are you asking here?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:39 pm

daverupa wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:What does jhana exactly do to make it right knowledge if it doesn't discern ?


Jhana has no agency. A person discerns; jhana does not. What are you asking here?


What does jhana do to make it right knowledge then?

Btw, no one dicerns, it is panna that discerns.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:52 pm

dhamma follower wrote:What does jhana do to make it right knowledge then?


Jhana makes the mind pliable, easy to wield, etc etc. This is how jhana conduces to liberative insight.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:58 pm

dhamma follower wrote:However, it is the idea of rapid successions that I've been trying to defend, because it is a very important step, IMO, in the understanding of the three characteristics.

It seems that assumptions of conceptual realism underlie what you are trying to establish. In Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition (p. 122), Noa Ronkin characterizes conceptual realism as follows:

    The early Abhidhamma dhamma analysis also intends to ascertain that every psychophysical event is knowable and nameable, and that the words and concepts employed in the systematic discourse that is thus developed uniquely define their corresponding referents. In this respect the dhamma analysis … paves the way for conceptual realism – a worldview that is based on the notion of truth as constituted by a correspondence between our concepts and statements, on the one hand, and the features of an independent, determinate reality, on the other hand.

The individuation of unique particulars requires apperceptive memory recognition (saññā) and conceptual designation (paññatti) for differentiation. All such individuation is relational and conventional and therefore phenomena cannot be ultimately established as "truly existing things" or "the ultimate irreducible data of objective existence" independent of the cognitive process as the philosophical view of conceptual realism would have us believe. Early Buddhist Metaphysics (pp. 245-247):

    The Buddha’s insight reveals that the causal foundation for one’s samsaric experience is the operation of one’s cognitive apparatus. One’s experience in its entirety arises from the cognitive process of making sense of the incoming sensory data. Basic to this process is the khandha of conceptualization and apperception, namely, sañña, the activity of which results in the identification and differentiation of the incoming data. This identification process necessarily involves naming. As Hamilton points out, in describing the way identification is part of sorting out incoming experiential data the early Buddhist texts emphasize that naming is equivalent to what is called ‘making manifold’ of those data. ‘One might say’, Hamilton suggests, ‘that the process of making manifold in order to identify is the process of making nameable the aspects of one’s experience’. Indeed the Pali term for making manifold, papañceti, also means ‘verbal differentiation’, or ‘verbal proliferation’. All this verbal differentiation adds up to language, for, as the apperceptive process develops, one is imposing on the sensory influx categories and references that can be indicated by means of language. Language, then, is intrinsic to our experience: it provides the conceptual criteria and framework by which we make sense of our experience, or rather, by which we construct our world.

    The Buddha, however, unveils not only the dominance of language and conceptual thought, but also their inherent insufficiency and inadequacy. Although language is a constant feature of our experience, we are normally unaware of the paradox in the cognitive process: to become knowable all the incoming sensory data must be verbally differentiated, but as such they are mere constructions, mental formations; nothing justifies their reliability because they could equally have been constructed otherwise, in accordance with other conventional guidelines. What the Buddha rejects is realism, conceptual and ontological alike: the notion that the encountered world is made up of distinguishable substances, and the linguistic theory that words refer to these substances which they represent; the conviction that our language corresponds to or mirrors a mind-independent reality. He points towards conventionalism in language and undermines the misleading character of nouns as substance-words. Whatever we can know is part of the activity of language, but language, by its very nature, undermines certified knowledge. The Buddha shows that language is, in principle, faulty: having the power to make manifold and endlessly to proliferate, it makes things appear and disappear; it can construct anything and hence cannot be representational of reality. There can be no innocence of relations between word and world....

    Stated otherwise, samsaric experience is rooted in our cognitive apparatus: to rely on our conceptual scheme and language the way we normally do amounts to emotionally and intellectually grasping at and fixing our experience. Having recognized the fiction and imaginative creation inherent in conceptual thought and language, the awakened mind breaks up the apparently solid world that we construct for ourselves. To realize that words and concepts do not name anything, do not represent anything – what could be closer to silence and the eschewal of all views?

    Noticeable in this context is the Atthakavagga of the Suttanipata, which promulgates an ascetic discipline of silence and repudiation of our very cognitive apparatus as based on linguistic and conceptual delineation:

    “Neither conceptualizing, nor conceptualizing wrongly, nor lacking conceptualization, nor conceptualizing nothing – in one who has achieved this state sensory recognizable experience (rupa) ceases, for what is called ‘verbal proliferation’ (papañca) has its origin in conceptualization.”

    What comes to a halt according to this description is but namarupa: nama referring to all that is conceived of, thus providing an abstract, conceptual identity for the person, rupa designating the physically (though not necessarily visibly) recognizable data, that is, all that lends itself to apperception and that is given shape by means of sensory impression. Covering the range of whatever is either conceived or apperceived, namarupa therefore signifies the entirety of what is cognizable. That namarupa is related to papañca is attested by another Suttanipata passage located in the Mahavagga:

    “Having understood namarupa as verbal proliferation (papañca) that is the root of inward and outward disease, one is released from bondage to the root of all disease. Such a one is called in truth ‘one who knows well’.”

dhamma follower wrote:The question is: how exactly this bhāvanāmayā paññā occur ?

Dependent upon a sense sphere and sense object coming together, the corresponding consciousness arises. When attention is averted elsewhere, that specific consciousness ceases. Furthermore, during the duration of this experience that specific consciousness undergoes change and alteration. This duration is relative to the attention given to the object of consciousness and is therefore not restricted to any fixed momentary limit.

This is known via discernment obtained through meditative development. Based upon this, one comes to understand impermanence, and so on. All of this is recognized based upon prior learning, and can be described conventionally, with no recourse to any two truths theory or theory of momentariness.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:30 pm

dhamma follower wrote:The rapid succession of rise and fall is part of these insights. Otherwise, it is only cinta panna.


But not all rise and fall is rapid. For example a mood or mind-state might persist for many hours. As might a toothache.

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:00 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:The rapid succession of rise and fall is part of these insights. Otherwise, it is only cinta panna.


But not all rise and fall is rapid. For example a mood or mind-state might persist for many hours. As might a toothache.

Spiny


Those would be cases of thitassa aññatthattam paññāyati, which the momentary model seems to set aside and/or ignore. A discussion of this point can be found here.
Last edited by daverupa on Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:03 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:The rapid succession of rise and fall is part of these insights. Otherwise, it is only cinta panna.


But not all rise and fall is rapid. For example a mood or mind-state might persist for many hours. As might a toothache.

Spiny
But if you are able to really attend to these things with concentration and mindfulness, one sees that the mood/mind-state/toothache are a constant flow of change. In one sense a mood may appear to persist to some degree unchanging, but in another sense of careful attention, like a fire, it is always changing.
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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:But if you are able to really attend to these things with concentration and mindfulness, one sees that the mood/mind-state/toothache are a constant flow of change.


Are you saying that one sees flux, here?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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