Conditioned / Unconditioned

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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:25 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Aloka wrote:
When the mind transcends conditions, it knows the unconditioned. The mind becomes the unconditioned, the state which no longer contains conditioning factors. The mind is no longer conditioned by the concerns of the world, conditions no longer contaminate the mind. Pleasure and pain no longer affect it. Nothing can affect the mind or change it, the mind is assured, it has escaped all constructions. Seeing the true nature of conditions and the determined, the mind becomes free.

This freed mind is called the unconditioned, that which is beyond constructing influences.



Bump. This sums it up so clearly.


This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's the difference between conventional truth and ultimate truth. Remember that things are both conditioned and unconditioned, depending on your perspective, which is what nagarjuna meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
There is no "the unconditioned" to know.


"freedom from the conditioned" is the realisation that the world is also unconditioned.
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:36 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:
This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's the difference between conventional truth and ultimate truth. Remember that things are both conditioned and unconditioned, depending on your perspective, which is what nagarjuna meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.
Things are not both conditioned and unconditioned according to Nagarjuna.
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: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:37 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
There is no "the unconditioned" to know.


"freedom from the conditioned" is the realisation that the world is also unconditioned.
The world is not "also unconditioned."
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: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby Aloka » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:05 am

tiltbillings wrote:There is no "the unconditioned" to know.


Its mentioned in the Dhammapada as "the Unconditioned Freedom "

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.07.budd.html

and also in Ch.11...
My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving


and here:

When I had learnt of the undying state (nibbana), the unconditioned, through the instruction of the Tathagata, the Unrivalled One, I was highly and well restrained in the precepts and established in the Dhamma taught by the most excellent of men, the Awakened One.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/vv/vv.1.16.irel.html
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:09 am

tiltbillings wrote:
cherrytigerbarb wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
There is no "the unconditioned" to know.


"freedom from the conditioned" is the realisation that the world is also unconditioned.
The world is not "also unconditioned."


Everything is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. That's the whole point. Start again at the top to see it explained. :)
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:19 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:Everything is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. That's the whole point. Start again at the top to see it explained. :)
Not according to Nagarjuna.
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: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:25 am

Aloka wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:There is no "the unconditioned" to know.


Its mentioned in the Dhammapada as "the Unconditioned Freedom "

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.07.budd.html

and also in Ch.11...
My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving


and here:

When I had learnt of the undying state (nibbana), the unconditioned, through the instruction of the Tathagata, the Unrivalled One, I was highly and well restrained in the precepts and established in the Dhamma taught by the most excellent of men, the Awakened One.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/vv/vv.1.16.irel.html
While it is common, "The Unconditioned" is not a very good translation in that it tends to reify the experience of freedom greed, hatred, and delusion as being some thing -- "The unconditioned." See: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 2&#p159172

And in this thread viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10569 this is discussed at length.
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: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:31 am

tiltbillings wrote:
cherrytigerbarb wrote:Everything is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. That's the whole point. Start again at the top to see it explained. :)
Not according to Nagarjuna.


But that's what he meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:18 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
cherrytigerbarb wrote:Everything is both conditioned and unconditioned at the same time. That's the whole point. Start again at the top to see it explained. :)
Not according to Nagarjuna.


But that's what he meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.
Not that you have shown. Have you read the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā?
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: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:30 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's the difference between conventional truth and ultimate truth. Remember that things are both conditioned and unconditioned, depending on your perspective, which is what nagarjuna meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.


That's not what the quote I posted says. Everything we experience arises according to causes and conditions that's why the the reality we live in is said to be conditioned, the quote I posted talked about how the mind has the capacity to transcend it's conditioning. To say things are both conditioned and unconditioned depending on your perspective makes no sense, however I think you could say it's possible for one to have a perspective that transcend's conditioning, this is a characteristic of Nibbana.

cherrytigerbarb wrote:But that's what he meant when he said nirvana and samsara are the same.


We'll have to take your word for it because i don't see it in the text you quoted, either way what Nagarjuna had to say is not likely to carry much weight on a Theravada forum.
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"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:01 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Everything we experience arises according to causes and conditions that's why the the reality we live in is said to be conditioned..... mind has the capacity to transcend it's conditioning.


We are mostly in agreement. The "causes" and "conditions" are the relationships between the objects comprising the concepts (automotive parts coming together in a specific relationship to cause the concept of "car") When you don't realise how this works, you only ever see "car" as an unconditioned discreet object in-and-of itself. It's when you DO realise it that your mind transcends it's conditioning (so that it see's the car as conditioned), so "car" is both conditioned and unconditioned depending on the way you view it. Do you get it yet? I think you need to read the first post again to save keep repeating it.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:Not that you have shown. Have you read the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā?


Ok, let me try to spell this out....

Conventional truth: objects viewed as seperate, discreet, existing in-and-of themselves. - Samsara.

Ultimate truth = objects viewed as existing by virtue of the relationships between the parts which comprise them. - Nirvana.

All things can be veiwed in both the above mentioned ways, therefore Samsara = Nirvana.

I don't know of any simpler way of explaining it.

And yes, I've read the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā. What's your point?
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:30 am

Hi Cherrytigerbarb,

I thought you made sense when you said that samsara is trying to view something as unconditioned (i.e., nirvana), and then that the nirvana is viewing this as conditioned (I was impressed with that)... but then you overstepped the bound by trying to say that samsara and nirvana are the same.

I think that is a misinterpretation of what Nagarjuna said.

To understand why, there is Kaccayanagotta sutta.

:anjali:
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby fivebells » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:47 am

Goofaholix wrote:[...I think you could say it's possible for one to have a perspective that transcend's conditioning, this is a characteristic of Nibbana.


Not nitpicking, just curious, because the experience of Nibbana is quite mysterious to me: Does nibbana involve a specific perspective?
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:23 pm

The Unconditioned is best understood in the context of suffering. When the Buddha spoke about the Unconditioned he was talking about the experience of ending suffering. When you look at it in this context, saying stuff like a car is Unconditioned gives people the impression that you're missing the point of the teachings on the Unconditioned.

I haven't read the following book, but I quickly looked through the Introduction. It might give you some further understanding into Unconditioned/Nibbana and the proper context for it to be understood.

http://forestsanghapublications.org/ass ... Island.pdf
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:40 pm

Digity wrote:The Unconditioned is best understood in the context of suffering. When the Buddha spoke about the Unconditioned he was talking about the experience of ending suffering. When you look at it in this context, saying stuff like a car is Unconditioned gives people the impression that you're missing the point of the teachings on the Unconditioned.


Of course all of this is ultimately about bringing an end to suffering. If you only live from the standpoint of conventional truth seeing everything as unconditioned, the subsequent delusion results in craving and aversion, etc etc.... Sorry, but do I really need to point that out?
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:06 pm

cherrytigerbarb wrote:We are mostly in agreement. The "causes" and "conditions" are the relationships between the objects comprising the concepts (automotive parts coming together in a specific relationship to cause the concept of "car") When you don't realise how this works, you only ever see "car" as an unconditioned discreet object in-and-of itself. It's when you DO realise it that your mind transcends it's conditioning (so that it see's the car as conditioned), so "car" is both conditioned and unconditioned depending on the way you view it. Do you get it yet? I think you need to read the first post again to save keep repeating it.


I don't think so.

Using your example of a car the conditions that lead to a car would include; the discovery of oil and it's refinement to petrol, the building of roads, the invention of an internal combustion engine, the designer of the car, the market demand for the car, investors that provide venture capital, the sales and distribution process for the car etc.

It's nothing to do with the parts, or concepts. Though conditioning factors have relationships with the end result but not in the way you're talking about.

A car is conditioned, it cannot be unconditioned, ie it cannot just appear out of nowhere and you cannot make it not conform to natural laws no matter how hard you try to view it that way. However it's engine can be reconditioned, but that's a different use of the word.

What you are talking about appears to be one of the common Mahayana teachings on emptiness that talks about nothing having inherent existence and everything being composed of component parts. I'm not sure if they use the terms conditioned/unconditioned in this teaching and you haven't posted a quote showing this, either way it's not how these terms are used in translation of the Pali Canon as far as I'm aware.
Last edited by Goofaholix on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:08 pm

fivebells wrote:Not nitpicking, just curious, because the experience of Nibbana is quite mysterious to me: Does nibbana involve a specific perspective?


Not necessarily, the point is the perspective is not dictated by causes and conditions.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Conditioned / Unconditioned

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:40 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:
Something which is conditioned exists only by virtue of the relationships between the parts which comprise it. So for example, a car is a conditioned thing, because it consists of many parts held together in very specific relationship with each other. Without those relationships, all you have is a  big pile of parts. You no longer have a car. So "car" is a conditioned thing.

Other examples of conditioned things are....
A building.
A clock.
A painting (diferent coloured paints arranged in specific relationship with each other)
A tv.
A cup.
A piece of clothing.
Water.
Air.....

In actual fact, everything in the world is conditioned, on the basis that ultimately things exist due to the relationships between the subatomic particles in the atoms which comprise them. So how can something be said to be "unconditioned"?



They are sunna ("empty") of any essence. It also includes man, woman, child, cat, dogs, family, nation, ethnicity etc. They are constructions(sankhara) constructed from other parts which are themselves also constructed. In other words anatta.

Come to think of it, even processes are sunna. What is eating? ----> biting, chewing, swallowing. Breathing ------> chest movement, air movement, cellular metabolism.

Once a label or name is attached to them, they become "things" or conventional reality.


Something which is unconditioned clearly exists as a 'whole thing' in its entirety, undivided. So for example a car is an unconditioned thing, because it is one whole discreet object. You can point to it and say "car!". It clearly exists in-and-of-itself, seperate to everything else.

Now here's the rub. From the above, you should be able to see that things are both "conditioned" and "unconditioned" at the same time. How is this possible?

Well, it all depends on how you look at things. In normal everyday life, we tend to look at things as being unconditioned. Objects in the world appear whole and discreet. Seperate from each other. Objects are identified on this basis, and they match up to our mentally stored concepts. This is "conventional truth". But in reality, everything is conditioned, since everything is reduceable to subatomic particles. You can think of reality as a giant subatomic smoothie, where everything is one undivided thing. This is "ultimate truth". In such a world, craving and aversion towards one thing over another is meaningless, and an experiencial understanding of this on the deepest level is the true meaning of what it is to be enlightened. :)


There is a jump to say everything is One. From the Theravada perpective, there is no ultimate undivided One which is yet another construct. All things are not self (Sabbe dhamma anatta).

The way people think is that having been born, they don't want to die. Is that correct? It's like pouring water into a glass but not wanting it to fill up. If you keep pouring the water, you can't expect it not to be full. But people think like this: they are born but don't want to die. Is that correct thinking? Consider it. If people are born but never die, will that bring happiness? If no one who comes into the world dies, things will be a lot worse. If no one ever dies, we will probably all end up eating excrement! Where would we all stay? It's like pouring water into the glass without ceasing yet still not wanting it to be full. We really ought to think things through. We are born but don't want to die. If we really don't want to die, we should realize the deathless (amatadhamma), as the Buddha taught. Do you know what amatadhamma means?

It is the deathless - though you die, if you have wisdom it is as if you don't die. Not dying, not being born. That's where things can be finished. Being born and wishing for happiness and enjoyment without dying is not the correct way at all. But that's what people want, so there is no end of suffering for them. The practitioner of Dhamma does not suffer. Well, practitioners such as ordinary monks still suffer, because they haven't yet fulfilled the path of practice. They haven't realized amatadhamma, so they still suffer. They are still subject to death.

Amatadhamma is the deathless. Born of the womb, can we avoid death? Apart from realizing that there is no real self, there is no way to avoid death. ''I'' don't die; sankhāras undergo transformation, following their nature.

Ajahn Chah


I think that the discovery that we do not die is the most valuable and important discovery made in the history of the human race. Is there any other discovery that can match it? Even to call it the most valuable and important world heritage is insufficient. However, unfortunately, most of the great number of people living in the world do not know of this great discovery. Whenever the New Year comes people think they have grown a year older and a year closer to death. But this is a big mistake. Where is that which has grown a year older, where is that which has made another step toward death? Shakyamuni pursued this question relentlessly. And he realized that this thing called the “self” had neither shadow nor form nor color nor smell nor weight nor anything at all. He realized that this “self” was no more than an image that human beings had arbitrarily produced in their heads. If “self” and “person” are no more than concepts, then “the death of a person” is no more than a concept formed from the workings of the mind. One speaks of “dying” but the “one” dying does not exist. To put it clearly, from the start “death” itself does not exist.

And, to push the argument even further, what has just been said about “death” applies in just the same way to “life.” If death does not exist, then one cannot say that life exists. In the statement above I made about Shakyamuni’s discovery let me replace the word “death” with “life”. “To put it very simply we can say that Shakyamuni’s discovery was that ‘we are not born’.”

Life and death are concepts; life and death have no substance. Nevertheless, most people find this hard to believe. Yet, life and death really do not exist. To express the essence of life and death, one can say being happy is life and being sad is death. Being in pain is life and being content is death. Walking is life and running is death. The rain falling is life and good weather is death. Mountains are life and rivers are death.

Yamada Ryoun- abbot of Sanbo-Kyodan
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