Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:As for the supposed "subsistence," like the supposed "duration" talked about in the suttas, it is all a matter of causes and conditions.

Which precludes arbitrary momentariness.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:48 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Fortunately the Anuruddha Sutta does not seem to be making that distinction.

Ven. Bodhi's translation is better.
His translations far more often than not are better.

Moreover, if you consider the context of the sutta it has nothing to do with a theory of momentariness.
It has to do with what one experiences.

It's a criticism of devas and deva realms.
Which is beside the point. The arahant's maxim can certainly stand alone.
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: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:51 am

mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps you could explain what difference it would make in how one would practice?

Already addressed here.

mikenz66 wrote:Which, after all, is what the VM and the Suttas are about, aren't they?

The suttas are.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:52 am

tiltbillings wrote:
It's a criticism of devas and deva realms.
Which is beside the point. The arahant's maxim can certainly stand alone.

Not as affirming a doctrine of momentariness.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:57 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As for the supposed "subsistence," like the supposed "duration" talked about in the suttas, it is all a matter of causes and conditions.

Which precludes arbitrary momentariness.
So you claim, but have yet to show. But in terms of actual meditative experience, the "closer" one looks at something, the more attention it is given, the less "duration" is seen. "Duration" seems to be a conventional way of talking about a process the has yet to exhaust its fuel, as it where. "Subsistence" seems not to be any different than that.
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 tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:00 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps you could explain what difference it would make in how one would practice?

Already addressed here.[/quotew]The problem with Ven. Ṭhānissaro's One Tool Among Many: The Place of Vipassanā in Buddhist Practice is that is is really not a very good essay. Bit of a strawman sort sort of thing, not really reflecting the Burmese traditions accurately.

mikenz66 wrote:Which, after all, is what the VM and the Suttas are about, aren't they?

The suttas are.
And so is the VM.
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 mikenz66 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:04 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps you could explain what difference it would make in how one would practice?

Already addressed here.

Sorry, I see that as the expression of an opinion. Which is fine, but is not particularly compelling to me. I suspect we'll just have to agree to have different views...

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:05 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
It's a criticism of devas and deva realms.
Which is beside the point. The arahant's maxim can certainly stand alone.

Not as affirming a doctrine of momentariness.
You admit, then, that it is a stand alone maxim, as for affirming momentariness doctrine, all it it needs to do is acknowledge that there is in one's direct experience rise and fall and you have yet to show that "momentary" practice does not give such an experience of rise and fall, as you seem tro be claiming it does not.
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 Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Which precludes arbitrary momentariness.
So you claim, but have yet to show.

You think that cessation doesn't preclude arbitrary momentariness?

tiltbillings wrote:"Duration" seems to be a conventional way of talking about a process the has yet to exhaust its fuel, as it where. "Subsistence" seems not to be any different than that.

Yes. Duration is the alteration of what persists.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:You admit, then, that it is a stand alone maxim,

Your attempt to fit that sutta verse into the context of momentariness is an example of just the type of sloppy interpretive methodology that creates all sorts of unnecessary and untenable theories.

tiltbillings wrote:as for affirming momentariness doctrine, all it it needs to do is acknowledge that there is in one's direct experience rise and fall and you have yet to show that "momentary" practice does not give such an experience of rise and fall, as you seem tro be claiming it does not.

Momentariness is pseudo-impermanence with no demonstrable basis. If you want to affirm a doctrine of momentariness then the onus is on you to show how this "experience" is veridical and established by direct perception.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:24 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Which precludes arbitrary momentariness.
So you claim, but have yet to show.

You think that cessation doesn't preclude arbitrary momentariness?
You'll need to explain yourself here a bit more. Always interesting what exactly is meant by "momentary." I have no idea what you mean here by the term, but again, what seems to be momentary strikes me as having to do more with the limitations of the perceptual apparatus pushed to it limits via meditative practice. Are there there little bits or is it a flow, a process. Either way, the language we use to talk about and organize our experience is always going to give us bits and pieces. As arbitrary as the notion of dhammas may be in talking about, understanding our experience, it is so for the notion of the khandhas, as well. I cannot get too excited about this argument against momentary dhammas. While momentary dhammas may not always be the most skillful way of talking about things, it is still pointing to the arahant's maxim.

tiltbillings wrote:"Duration" seems to be a conventional way of talking about a process the has yet to exhaust its fuel, as it where. "Subsistence" seems not to be any different than that.

Yes. Duration is the alteration of what persists.
Persists/subsists. And, of course, both words suck at actually describing what is experienced.
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 tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:31 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:You admit, then, that it is a stand alone maxim,

Your attempt to fit that sutta verse into the context of momentariness is an example of just the type of sloppy interpretive methodology that creates all sorts of unnecessary and untenable theories.
You have not shown that it does not fit, and it given that it is all about rise and fall of experience, it looks to fit quite nicely.

tiltbillings wrote:as for affirming momentariness doctrine, all it it needs to do is acknowledge that there is in one's direct experience rise and fall and you have yet to show that "momentary" practice does not give such an experience of rise and fall, as you seem tro be claiming it does not.

Momentariness is pseudo-impermanence with no demonstrable basis. If you want to affirm a doctrine of momentariness then the onus is on you to show how this "experience" is veridical and established by direct perception.
I'd say I already have, but you have yet to show it is a "pseudo-impermanence," whatever that might be. Until then your demand for "verdical" carries no weight.

It is 4:30AM; off with me to the bosom of Nyx to dream dreams, which are far more interesting than unnecessary onuses.
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 Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:Always interesting what exactly is meant by "momentary." I have no idea what you mean here by the term...

I've been very explicit in the 10 pages of this thread as to what the doctrine of momentariness means.

tiltbillings wrote:Persists/subsists. And, of course, both words suck at actually describing what is experienced.

I've already dealt with this as well.

tiltbillings wrote:You have not shown that it does not fit, and it given that it is all about rise and fall of experience, it looks to fit quite nicely.

Of course it does not fit. If you want to read a doctrine of momentariness into the suttas then that's your choice, but if you want to demonstrate that a sutta is specifically referring to the commentarial doctrine of momentariness you're going to have to do better than offer a poor translation of one verse of text.

tiltbillings wrote:Until then your demand for "verdical" carries no weight.

Typical. You assert claims then refuse to establish them when asked.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:The fact that a scholar of his high level has over a long period of time found that practice of value says something a bit more significant than reading von Rospatt.... Anyway, whose interpretation of the suttas? Yours?... You have not shown that it does not fit, and it given that it is all about rise and fall of experience, it looks to fit quite nicely.

Buddhaghosa, Dhammasaṅgaṇi Aṭṭhakathā:

    Herein, the continued present (santatipaccuppanna) finds mention in the commentaries (atthakatha); the enduring or long present (addhapaccuppanna) in the discourses (sutta).

Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis:

    The theory of impermanence in Buddhism has been generally misunderstood because it came to be confused with a later theory known as the 'doctrine of moments' (ksanavada/ kanavada), which was formulated from a logical analysis of the process of change (parinama) by the later Buddhist scholars belonging to the scholastic (abhidhamma) tradition. But such a theory is conspicuous by its absence in the early discourses.

von Rospatt, The Buddhist Doctrine of Momentariness:

    There can be no doubt that the theory of momentariness cannot be traced back to the beginnings of Buddhism or even the Buddha himself. It does not fit the practically orientated teachings of early Buddhism and clearly bears the mark of later doctrinal elaboration. Thus in the Nikāyas/Āgamas there are many passages which attribute duration to material and even mental entities, whereas there is, at least to my knowledge, no passage which testifies to the stance that all conditioned entities are momentary.... Furthermore, the fact that the theory of momentariness was a controversial issue among the various schools of the so-called Hīnayāna indicates that it is not canonical.

Sujato, The Mystique of the Abhidhamma:

    In the later abhidhamma, the treatment of time is dominated by a radical new theory, totally unlike anything in the suttas or even the canonical abhidhamma, the theory of moments (khaṇavāda).... Now it is quite possible to take this theory, compare it with the suttas, and refute it point by point. But here I would simply like to point out what an implausible and useless idea it is.

Bodhesako, Change: An Examination of Impermanence in Experience:

    Indeed, although the four Nikāyas occupy some 5,500 pages of print in their abbreviated roman-script edition, there seems to be not a single statement anywhere within them that requires us to understand thereby (in opposition to the above passages) a doctrine of flux. On the contrary, the Suttas are wholly consistent on this point (as on others). Therefore even in precisely those passages where we would most expect to find such a doctrine, if it were to be found in the Nikāyas at all, the assertion is conspicuously absent.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:59 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Always interesting what exactly is meant by "momentary." I have no idea what you mean here by the term...

I've been very explicit in the 10 pages of this thread as to what the doctrine of momentariness means.
Then it probably would not have hurt to add a nice little synopsis to your previous ten pages so whomever, including me, is reading this does not have you wade through the previous pages to try to figure out exactly what you mean by this or that or the other thing. Also, you, again, ignore what else is said to you in the paragraph from which this sentence is taken.

tiltbillings wrote:Persists/subsists. And, of course, both words suck at actually describing what is experienced.

I've already dealt with this as well.
That really does not address what I said.

tiltbillings wrote:You have not shown that it does not fit, and it given that it is all about rise and fall of experience, it looks to fit quite nicely.

Of course it does not fit. If you want to read a doctrine of momentariness into the suttas then that's your choice, but if you want to demonstrate that a sutta is specifically referring to the commentarial doctrine of momentariness you're going to have to do better than offer a poor translation of one verse of text.
Ven Bodhi's translation is also workable, but in light of what I have already said and to make it clear, I am not defending momentariness as a philosophical doctrine. I am simply responding to the subtext of what you are seemingly arguing here, which is that those who, to one degree or another, buy into momentariness cannot have genuine dhamma insight/experience. And that is really the issue. Are you going to tell us that those poor unfortunates who follow the Burmese vipassana tradition are simply not going to have any insights and release from dukkha. You know that that is truly the case?

tiltbillings wrote:Until then your demand for "veridical" carries no weight.

Typical. You assert claims then refuse to establish them when asked.
Quite honestly, that is also a serious problem you have as well. Quoting a bunch of scholars, as you do in your immediately above this msg, is quoting a bunch of scholars; that is not an argument, especially for you astounding claim of what is being experienced by momentary-wallahs being not "veridical," as if you know what is going on inside all those practitioners.
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 beeblebrox » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:07 pm

tiltbillings wrote:As for the supposed "subsistence," like the supposed "duration" talked about in the suttas, it is all a matter of causes and conditions.


I think I can agree with this. A certain mindset will persist as long as it perceives something that seems to be constructed of nothing but moments... but when that object is taken away, this kind of citta will fall quickly... or even instantaneously. How long will that citta persist is really a matter of how long it will take someone to finally uncling from that specific object.

This can happen sooner rather than later... especially after doing some practice. Even to the point of it being dropped very, very fast, like a hot potato... or you can try to pass it off to someone else on the dhammawheel.com forum for that person to juggle with, instead. (Would that be skillful, though? The hot potato might come around back to you, eventually.)

I like the way MikeNZ reads things... I think this helped me to see what the actual positions are, more clearly (or what a charitable interpretation of them might be like). Is this like giving someone a plate for the hot potato?

:anjali:
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:09 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The fact that a scholar of his high level has over a long period of time found that practice of value says something a bit more significant than reading von Rospatt.... Anyway, whose interpretation of the suttas? Yours?... You have not shown that it does not fit, and it given that it is all about rise and fall of experience, it looks to fit quite nicely.
. . .
Interestingly, you make my point here about what you are doing here. All those quotes do not address the issue I am raising in this the sentence (and its context) you quoted. First of all you have not established that Ven Nanananda holds a momentariness point of view, but you are willing to attack his practice on that basis, Again, here is a brilliant scholar-practitioner and are you telling us he has no real insights based upon the type of meditative practice he is doing? Sure seems so.

Again, if we are to rely solely on the suttas, whose interpretation are we going to follow?
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 Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:22 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I am not defending momentariness as a philosophical doctrine.

You can't have it both ways. Either there are discrete dhammas subject to momentary arising, subsistence, and dissolution or there aren't.

tiltbillings wrote:I am simply responding to the subtext of what you are seemingly arguing here, which is that those who, to one degree or another, buy into momentariness cannot have genuine dhamma insight/experience. And that is really the issue.

That isn't my concern at all. If people want to hold that view then that's their issue not mine. There are entire sub-forums here on DW where people can discuss the view of momentariness to their hearts content without any comment from me. Same goes for Burmese Vipassanā.

tiltbillings wrote:Quite honestly, that is also a serious problem you have as well. Quoting a bunch of scholars, as you do in your immediately above this msg, is quoting a bunch of scholars; that is not an argument....

I'm not asserting anything. I'm criticizing the assertion that the doctrine of momentariness is central to Buddhist insight and/or that it is present in the suttas.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby Nyana » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:All those quotes do not address the issue I am raising in this the sentence (and its context) you quoted.

Of course they do. If you are asserting that that passage is affirming a doctrine of momentariness then you are reading into it something that is not there.

tiltbillings wrote:First of all you have not established that Ven Nanananda holds a momentariness point of view, but you are willing to attack his practice on that basis.

I'm not "attacking" Ñāṇananda or anyone else.

tiltbillings wrote:Again, if we are to rely solely on the suttas, whose interpretation are we going to follow?

You're free to follow whatever interpretation you wish.
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Re: Vipassanā: What Is Dissolution, Really?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:35 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I am not defending momentariness as a philosophical doctrine.

You can't have it both ways. Either there are discrete dhammas subject to momentary arising, subsistence, and dissolution or there aren't.
I have already addressed that.

tiltbillings wrote:I am simply responding to the subtext of what you are seemingly arguing here, which is that those who, to one degree or another, buy into momentariness cannot have genuine dhamma insight/experience. And that is really the issue.

That isn't my concern at all. If people want to hold that view then that's their issue not mine. There are entire sub-forums here on DW where people can discuss the view of momentariness to their hearts content without any comment from me. Same goes for Burmese Vipassanā.
So, a person can have genuine insight into the Dhamma, even while holding to a "momentariness" notion. After all the dhammas (one experiences/perceptions) are not self-existent; but arise, persist, and fall dependent upon conditions.

tiltbillings wrote:Quite honestly, that is also a serious problem you have as well. Quoting a bunch of scholars, as you do in your immediately above this msg, is quoting a bunch of scholars; that is not an argument....

I'm not asserting anything. I'm criticizing the assertion that the doctrine of momentariness is central to Buddhist insight and/or that it is present in the suttas.
Since you do not take the commentaries as having an important place in your practice, I don't see anyone here insisting that you do. Well, certainly not to the extent as I see those who are sutta-only-ists repeatedly criticizing the comentarians. Well, that was easy. Now, we can get on with having more fruitful discussions.
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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