The Burden

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Burden

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:07 pm

Well, here's something from Nanavira's note on sakkaya:

Every set of pancakkhandha - not pancupadanakkhandha in the arahat's case - is unique, and individuality in this sense ceases only with the final cessation of the pancakkhandha at the breaking up of the arahat's body. But a living arahat is no longer somebody or a person, since the notion or conceit ‘(I) am’ has already ceased. Individuality must therefore be carefully distinguished from personality, which is: being a person, being somebody, being a subject (to whom objects are present), self-hood, the mirage ‘I am’, and so on. The puthujjana is not able to distinguish them - for him individuality is not conceivable apart from personality, which he takes as selfhood.
    "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: The Burden

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:12 pm

daverupa wrote:Well, here's something from Nanavira's note on sakkaya:

Every set of pancakkhandha - not pancupadanakkhandha in the arahat's case - is unique, and individuality in this sense ceases only with the final cessation of the pancakkhandha at the breaking up of the arahat's body. But a living arahat is no longer somebody or a person, since the notion or conceit ‘(I) am’ has already ceased. Individuality must therefore be carefully distinguished from personality, which is: being a person, being somebody, being a subject (to whom objects are present), self-hood, the mirage ‘I am’, and so on. The puthujjana is not able to distinguish them - for him individuality is not conceivable apart from personality, which he takes as selfhood.
That is useful. Now, what does he have to say about choice in this context?
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: The Burden

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:17 pm

Hi Dave,

Maybe there's some confusion... but in the original context of this discussion, it was about whether a person could practice for kusala citta (after encountering the Dhamma), or this is not possible because the citta only arise by itself, due to panna, that in turn arose by itself, on the condition of encountering the Dhamma, that also arose by itself, with the appropriate attention, that arose by itself, and so on, with the person not doing anything.

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Re: The Burden

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:21 pm

What I am thinking is that there is a "sense" of the individual and we have the convention of the individual who has this lifespan. But within this individual there is nothing intrinsic. The individual is conditioned and dependent. From the perspective of one who has put down the burden the sense of the individual is no more

"one is free from hunger, totally unbound" SN 22.22
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Re: The Burden

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:30 pm

beeblebrox wrote: [ . . . ] but in the original context of this discussion, it was about whether a person could practice for kusala citta (after encountering the Dhamma), or this is not possible because the citta only arise by itself, due to panna, that in turn arose by itself, on the condition of encountering the Dhamma, that also arose by itself, with the appropriate attention, that arose by itself, and so on, with the person not doing anything.


Hi, I'd like to comment on my own post above:

I think the problem here seems to be in trying to view a "person" that is apart from all of these conditions which arise... rather than to merely view this "person" as a conventional pointer for the conditions.

That is why a person who practice could seem like he's trying to work against the conditions... but that is an illusion. It's not the fault of the conventional words, but the perceiver.

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Re: The Burden

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:43 pm

beeblebrox wrote:whether a person could practice for kusala citta (-) or this is not possible because the citta only arise by itself, due to panna, that in turn arose by itself, on the condition of encountering the Dhamma, that also arose by itself, with the appropriate attention, that arose by itself, and so on, with the person not doing anything.


tiltbillings wrote:Now, what does [Nanavira] have to say about choice in this context?


Ah, I see. Well, Nanavira seems to take choice as a given; while he does discuss various aspects of choosing in his notes on cetana, sankhara, et al, I don't seem to recall a dedicated discussion of free will. So let's see...

MN 101 wrote:"And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case where a monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain, nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not fixated on that pleasure. He discerns that 'When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.' So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress coming from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress resulting from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the development of equanimity is exhausted.


Seems as though one can and ought to choose to exert certain fabrications...

AN 11.2 wrote:"For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.

"For a person free from remorse, there is no need for an act of will, 'May joy arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that joy arises in a person free from remorse.

...


...while in some cases things proceed automatically.

Part of the original context was abhidhamma... so, does this problem of choice arise sans abhidhamma?
    "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: The Burden

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:26 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Mr Man wrote:I don't know exactly what atman refered to in 5th BC India but I'm sure that the sense of "I", "me", "my", "mine" was much the same then as it is today and was a source of suffering then as it is now.

I'm not going to argue the existence of a car but it's existence is conditional and dependent.


What is the difference between Atta and Puggalo?

The Buddha disproved Atta by pointing to the fact that 5 aggregates are inconstant and unsatisfactory. This wouldn't even refute the wrong idea of a Christian idea of a soul (that changes and can suffer), much less and empiric person.

    "And which is the carrier of the burden? 'The person,' it should be said. This venerable one with such a name, such a clan-name.SN22.22


In the Upaniṣads, the ātman was considered as the catalyst of the person (puruṣa), even that the act of utterance was given by Ātman.

    Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad I. 4.1 (S. Radhakrishnan):

    “ātmaivedam agra āsīt puruṣavidhaḥ, so’nuvīkṣya nānyad ātmano’paśyat, so’ham asmīty agre vyāharat; tato’haṃ nāmābhavat, tasmād apy etarhy āmantritaḥ; aham ayam ity evāgra uktvā, athānyan nāma prabrūte yad asyabhavati.”

    “I. In the beginning this (world) was only the self, in the shape of a person. Looking around he saw nothing else than the self. He first said, ‘I am.’ Therefore arose the name of I. Therefore, even to this day when one is addressed he says first ‘This is I’ and then speaks whatever other name he may have.”

Considering that there is no reason to doubt that this idea was common knowledge at the time of the Tathāgata, it would seem that in the case of the Bhāra Sutta (as he was in many places in the Nikāyas) he was punning on the Upaniṣadic ātman claim by deconstructing the person as consisting of merely the five conditional bases which would give rise to a name and designations. Here the Buddha is replacing an Upaniṣadic epithet for the ātman/puruṣa dynamic, with the dhammic contemplative object of the individual (sakkāya) who's craving causes the burden of self and dukkha.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: The Burden

Postby Dan74 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:00 pm

Alex123 wrote:Basically what I am talking about here is that the argument "there is no person,... thus who can develop wisdom or sati?" seem to be shaky. Saying that 5 aggregates are not Atta, is NOT saying that there is no person that is conditioned, anicca, dukkha, and anatta that practices and develops wisdom or sati.


I guess this is an old argument that one cannot wish one's way to anatta.

Of course one can develop all sorts of qualities in spite of the fact that these qualities only provisionally refer to a self.

But when it comes to insight or liberation, acting from a perceived self who wishes or strives for insight and liberation, is in a way counter-productive, or at least needs to be let gone of eventually.
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Re: The Burden

Postby imagemarie » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:23 pm

Hi

This from Ñánavìra, "Desire to end desire"


So, on account of his craving for arahatship, he sets out to get it.
But, since he does not understand what arahatship is, he does not know what it is that he is
seeking; and when, in due course, he does come to know what it is he is seeking, he has ipso
facto found it (or at least the first instalment of it). It is by making use of bhavatanhá that he
gives up bhavatanhá (and a fortiori all other kinds of tanhá). It is because of bhavatanhá that,
with the Buddha’s help, we make an attempt to recognize bhavataóhá and succeed in doing so,
thereby bringing bhavatanhá to an end.


The Tragic, The Comic And The Personal

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Re: The Burden

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:06 pm

Dan74 wrote:I guess this is an old argument that one cannot wish one's way to anatta.


Right. One cannot wish oneself to be skillful (at something) either. One has to practice the skill.

Also, the conditionality and "no-control" doesn't alter the fact that when one is hungry, one goes and eats something. One doesn't say "there is no control" and starves to death.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: The Burden

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:39 am

The Attakārī Sutta has been quoted before in related threads - I think the footnotes by the translator K. Nizamis are really incisive. This is just a small extract.
Although the Buddha taught that there is no permanent, eternal, immutable, independently-existing core “self” (attā), he also taught that there is “action” or “doing”, and that it is therefore meaningful to speak of one who intends, initiates, sustains and completes actions and deeds, and who is therefore an ethically responsible and culpable being.
...
SN 22.22, which describes the “bearer” of the “burden” of the “five clung-to aggregates” (pañc-upādāna-kkhandhā) as the “person” (puggala), is arguably very closely related to AN 6.38 in meaning and implications.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-4
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The Burden

Postby SamKR » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:21 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Beeblebrox,

beeblebrox wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Furthermore, what is negated is Atta/Atman in the context of 5th century BC India. I wonder if what the considered to be Atman is anything close to what soulless materialists, or secular people of today call self.


Yes, I think in the context of Buddhism, "self" is more properly seen as an agent that is permanent and unchanging.


And who here truly believes in a permanent and unchanging agent? How many people down the street believe in that (when precisely asked)? None.

Well, it depends very much upon in which country the street is located.
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Re: The Burden

Postby SamKR » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:26 am

beeblebrox wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Basically what I am talking about here is that the argument "there is no person,... thus who can practice?" seem to be shaky. Saying that 5 aggregates are not Atta, is NOT saying that there is no person that is conditioned, anicca, dukkha, and anatta that practices.


Again, I wonder if the problem arose from reading anatta as "no control." Is that actually the Thai translation of the term? I haven't verified this for myself.

:anjali:

I don't know about Thai. But isn't the idea of "no control" found in the Buddha's teaching itself?
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
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Re: The Burden

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:41 am

SamKR wrote:But isn't the idea of "no control" found in the Buddha's teaching itself?
Yes, as in the quote you offered and no as in

    Dhp 157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

    158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

    159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

    160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
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: The Burden

Postby SamKR » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:But isn't the idea of "no control" found in the Buddha's teaching itself?
Yes, as in the quote you offered and no as in

    Dhp 157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

    158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

    159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

    160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

Yes, I agree.
The teaching of anatta is the teaching of "no control" as in the quote from anatta-lakkhana sutta:
And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.

But the teaching needed to have that direct realization of anatta is actually the teaching of "control".

By controlling (and while having the right view that actually there is no control upon the khandhas) you realize no control. Sounds like a strange paradox.
I think understanding this conundrum fully is a big part of wisdom.
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Re: The Burden

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:53 am

SamKR wrote:By controlling you realize no control. Sounds like a strange paradox.
The way I look at it is that the control we have is limited, but it is enough that it can lead to awakening.


    If I stood still, I sank; If I struggled, I was carried away.
    Thus by neither standing still nor struggling, I crossed the flood.
    SN 1 1
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: The Burden

Postby pegembara » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:55 am

A burden indeed
are the five aggregates,
and the carrier of the burden
is the person.
Taking up the burden in the world
is stressful.
Casting off the burden
is bliss.
Having cast off the heavy burden
and not taking on another,
pulling up craving,
along with its root,
one is free from hunger,
totally unbound.


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Re: The Burden

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:17 am

SamKR wrote:I don't know about Thai. But isn't the idea of "no control" found in the Buddha's teaching itself?
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... nymo.html'

Well it doesn't say "no control." It's expressing a command - "Let my consciousness be thus" which suggests an almost magical, unrealistic wishful thinking. Like - "Make it so! Presto! Shazam!" Obviously nothing works like that. It might be how things worked if they were "self." But they aren't, and so they don't. There's no understanding of the conditions which cause something to be the way it is.

And there are varying shades of what we call "control." There's absolute, God-like omnipotent influence over something. Which we don't have. And then there are more realistic levels of "control" where it's not absolute, but we can guide things along.

It's like riding a horse. You can't just sit down and command "go over yonder!" You have to understand the horse, understand what prompts it to move left, move right, stop, go forward. You're not absolutely in control, but you have enough control (through understanding and practice, not raw will power) so that you can get to where you want to go. Helps to be friendly to the horse too. :smile:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The Burden

Postby SamKR » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:04 am

kirk5a wrote:
SamKR wrote:I don't know about Thai. But isn't the idea of "no control" found in the Buddha's teaching itself?
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... nymo.html'

Well it doesn't say "no control." It's expressing a command - "Let my consciousness be thus" which suggests an almost magical, unrealistic wishful thinking. Like - "Make it so! Presto! Shazam!" Obviously nothing works like that. It might be how things worked if they were "self." But they aren't, and so they don't. There's no understanding of the conditions which cause something to be the way it is.

And there are varying shades of what we call "control." There's absolute, God-like omnipotent influence over something. Which we don't have. And then there are more realistic levels of "control" where it's not absolute, but we can guide things along.

It's like riding a horse. You can't just sit down and command "go over yonder!" You have to understand the horse, understand what prompts it to move left, move right, stop, go forward. You're not absolutely in control, but you have enough control (through understanding and practice, not raw will power) so that you can get to where you want to go. Helps to be friendly to the horse too. :smile:


The objective of a wish to control is to actually achieve control. So the wish (based on wrong view) that 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus' happens with an objective to control over consciousness; it's not just a wish without any objective.

Now, let us make distinction between two types of control:
1. Control that happens just due to wish of a self; that happens without any other causes or conditions.
2. Control that happens due to causes or conditions; this type of control is not due to any wish of an agent.

In the anatta-lakkhana sutta, as I understand it, the tathagata is referring to the first type of control and telling us that we cannot have it: we cannot control consciousness just by wanting 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus' . This type of control would be a real control of the wisher (self). But this can never happen since the phenomena are not self.

The second type of control always happens, but then this is not a real control (of an agent). It is a control that happens without a controller. It is actually an effect of some causes or conditions.

So, the only control that is really possible is the type of control based on causes and conditions. So, when the Dhammapada says "the wise control themselves" it means that in the wise person there are or should already have the causes and conditions for that control.

One should control oneself (as clearly taught by the Tathagata), but with the understanding that when controlling oneself, one is not controlling in the sense of first control but in the sense of second control; and also with the understanding that this sense of control one is having is actually an illusion due to avijja and sankhara.

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:By controlling you realize no control. Sounds like a strange paradox.
The way I look at it is that the control we have is limited, but it is enough that it can lead to awakening.

I would be interested to know how much limited is this control (the first type of control)? Is there any sutta reference about this limit?
I guess rather than thinking in terms of amount of control that leads us to awakening, we should think upon the type of control that can lead us to awakening.

My intention here is not to argue but to try to understand the puzzle of not-self and control.
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Re: The Burden

Postby Mr Man » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:51 am

SamKR wrote:Now, let us make distinction between two types of control:
1. Control that happens just due to wish of a self; that happens without any other causes or conditions.
2. Control that happens due to causes or conditions; this type of control is not due to any wishful thinking of an agent.

In the anatta-lakkhana sutta, as I understand it, the tathagata is referring to the first type of control and telling us that we cannot have it: we cannot control consciousness just by wanting 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus' . This type of control would be a real control of the wisher (self). But this can never happen since the phenomena are not self.

The second type of control always happens, but then this is not a real control (of an agent). It is a control that happens without a controller. It is actually an effect of some causes or conditions.

So, the only control that is really possible is the type of control based on causes and conditions. So, when the Dhammapada says "the wise control themselves" it means that in the wise person there are or should already have the causes and conditions for that control.

One should control oneself (as clearly taught by the Tathagata), but with the understanding that when controlling oneself, one is not controlling in the sense of first control but in the sense of second control; and also with the understanding that this sense of control one is having is actually an illusion due to avijja and sankhara.



That is very nice and clear SamKR, thank you.

Much of our practice, in my opinion, is just about creating framework and opportunity.
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