retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Nathan,
Excellent find, re: the Gunaratana quote. That makes a lot of sense and validates the unnerving discontent I had with regards to the treatment of moha as being synonymous to avijja.
You mention dependent origination, and whilst I'm normally the first to dive into a comparative discussion on the three-life/temporal/objective model versus the structural/subjective model of dependent origination, I might hold back just for a moment to pose the following question that seem more pertinent to the topic at hand...
A putthujana obviously possesses a degree of avijja (complete ignorance?) whereas at the other end of the spectrum an arahant has none. A sekha (non-arahant noble one) however, would presumably be somewhere in between. How does dependent origination apply to the sekha? Is there avijja sometimes, is there avijja in different degrees, or is it an all or nothing case of vijja and avijja, period? If it's something other than "always yes" or "always no", what implications does this have on our understanding of dependent origination, and the concept of avijja in general?
nathan wrote:The specific case of avijja as ignorance of the 4NT may have all kinds of complex interrelationships with moha about ourselves and the universe we live in.
nathan wrote:appicchato wrote:Maybe, maybe not.
One size fits all?...this applies to everything in life...
I applaud your pithy posts Venerable but in this case I am not really sure what you have been intending to say.
retrofuturist wrote:I don't see how it's a 'no brainer'...
retrofuturist wrote:How would you answer this question - viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4317&start=20#p65013
PeterB wrote:Its a given, just as dukkha antta and anicca are givens. What we cant assess in others and only in part in ourselves is Moha.
Ok Venerable, I think I understand you to be saying that without question ignorance does play a large role in many aspects of our lives, thoughts and in the world at large and that this is something you readily observe. If that is what you are saying then I am compelled to agree with you as it is also something that I think I observe more often than not.appicchato wrote:The answer to your question (Does ignorance predominate in our individual lives and thoughts and/or in the state of affairs in the world, or not?), to me, is so self-evident that I wonder why it would even be presented as a question...hence my stating what I thought/think to be the obvious...after which you said 'Maybe, maybe not'...and this, to me, is also stage center in what is self-evident in every aspect of life...so...what's to discuss?...nothing is absolutely, verifiably, 100%, for certain (some might say that it's certain we're all going to die, but even that's up for grabs, no?)...and not to change the subject, but if you have an example that is (certifiably not 'Maybe, or maybe not', I would be interested...
Bit of a ramble here, I admit...just trying to explain my thought on the matter...[/i]
I have been reading about avijja all day and it seems that there actually are a number of things that are the subject of debate or differences of thought on the subject. Here is something typical of my reading that demonstrates that the subject of avijja is not as cut and dried as you suggest in your post.PeterB wrote:A given in that as long as we are not enlightened our perception/cognitions will always have their origin in Avijja. It is an a priori. The first link in paticcasamuppada.
Which I think answers the second bit too.
PeterB wrote:You havent understood Avijja. Avijja isnt read in others. Its a given, just as dukkha antta and anicca are givens. What we cant assess in others and only in part in ourselves is Moha.
nathan wrote:I have been reading about avijja all day and it seems that there actually are a number of things that are the subject of debate or differences of thought on the subject. Here is something typical of my reading that demonstrates that the subject of avijja is not as cut and dried as you suggest in your post.PeterB wrote:A given in that as long as we are not enlightened our perception/cognitions will always have their origin in Avijja. It is an a priori. The first link in paticcasamuppada.
Which I think answers the second bit too.
http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/tea ... -ay_ph.htm
Paticca Samuppada - Avijja
Avijja is the first link in the chain but should not in any way be thought of as the starting point, the 'causeless root-cause of the world.' The images of the circular chain and the wheel representing paticca samupada [P.S.] are useful as neither has a defined starting point. The conventional layout of the P.S. formula is intended for reflection, not as any kind of finite cosmological or psychological definition.
"No first-ignorance can be perceived, monks, before which ignorance was not, and after which it came to be. But it can be perceived that ignorance has its specific conditions." Anguttara X.61
So what are the 'specific conditions' that cause ignorance?
"With the arising of taints (asava) there is the arising of ignorance." Majjhima 9
And then we want to ask after the cause of the taints. Read the section on asava [ § ] but enough here to note that the standard list of four includes ignorance. Have we just gone in a circle here? Trying to position avijja creates a loop similar to the one we find in the eight-fold path: the first step is right view (of the Four Noble Truths) and the last of the Four Truths... is the eight-fold path. We will find many such loops in P.S. as we proceed. Nibbana (the end goal) can be defined as: "being perfect in knowledge (vijja)" and, "endowed with higher knowledge (te-vijja)." If nibbana is where we finish then we are clearly starting from "the absence of vijja," which is: a-vijja. So, avijja sits first on the list as representing a primary obstacle to liberation - and a primary cause of dukkha. The teaching of the Buddha has at its core the Four Noble Truths and, as a working summary, ignorance is not knowing the Four Noble Truths.
avijja = ignorance; unawareness; unknowing; obscured awareness; delusion about the nature of the mind. All unwholesome states of mind are inseparably bound up with it. The standard English translation, ignorance, has its roots in the Greek word 'gnosis' = (revealed) spiritual knowledge, and it is where the words diagnosis and prognosis come from. Ignorance is the state of not-knowing or, in the particular context of dhamma, non-wisdom. We tend to think of knowledge in terms of facts and information but the path to freedom (from the wheel of birth and death - the chains of P.S.) lies in the space of the mind, the non-positional 'knowing' that is the domain of awareness. And what does this awareness know? - the Four Noble Truths.
Underlying the Four Noble Truths is the teaching on not-self (anatta § ) and an even more basic definition of avijja is the held belief that: I am the five khandhas. I believe that the five khandhas are me, that they are mine and that they constitute my-self. This parallels the the Buddha's summary definition of suffering as "the grasping of the five khandhas" [ § ]. We can also consider: • ignorance of the 3 conditions [ § ]; the basic truth for all existance: that everything is impermanent, is dukkha (unsatisfactory) and is not-self. • ignorance as confused thinking based on conjecture and imagination, conditioned by beliefs, fear, and accumulated character traits. This is the kind of mental 'squirrel in a cage' that most people experience. Not dukkha with a capital 'D' but just the everyday form of ignorance/confusion. Yes? The overall thrust of the Buddha's teaching is "freedom from suffering" and where the Four Noble Truths presents the conditioned relationship of desire and dukkha we see P.S. offering avijja-dukkha. The purpose is the same: to understand the cause of dukkha is to have a key to be free from dukkha.
When the mind operates based entirely on avijja, it experiences all things as being independent, seperated, alien entities. The observation is one of me (here) holding various knowledges, views, etc. about all-that-stuff (out there). Even the body is seen as a kind of other-thing; it is my body - my thoughts, my children, my car and so forth. The apparent, or presumed point of observation is thought to be the centre, with all else peripheral - this is what it is to be ego-centric. Most of us suffer from this delusion but in the normal run of things are not so extremely positioned. I doubt you would be reading this if you were. There is hope
From this ego-centric position another ignorance that we fall prey to is that of continuity. This appears in two ways. The first is a presumed extension of existance. Of course we all know that everything is impermanent but our knowledge is largely of the factual, conceptual variety. I do know that I am going to die - but of course it is... when? certainly later - always at some other (later) time. I don't truely know the nature of impermance. It is often not until there is a close death or we get the terminal diagnosis that we really begin to investigate impermanence. The second, and related aspect of continuity is the creation of time - the past and... OF COURSE, the future - my future. It is the only way the first bit can work. If I had a past, and I am now, then I will most likely have a future. It is this ongoing (ignorant) attempt to sustain, this attempt to substantiate 'me' that is the conditioning factor for the next link - sankhara.
In terms of dealing with ignorance - in the context of liberation - we can use a very broad definition of avijja: not being familiar with your own mind. It is through this non-familiarity that we confuse our conditioned perceptions of the world, of reality, with the truth - the dhamma. We tend to regard the impermanent as permanent, the unpleasant (dukkha) as pleasant and the not-self as self. Part of the problem here is that there is much business in our lives and there is not a lot of stillness, not a lot of time to reflect on the nature of... well, nature. Too much of our effort to be free of suffering is focussed on attacking the shadow of suffering - we fail to see its actual form. Meditation is an effective technique - stop, look and listen.
So, a mind that is centered and still, gives rise to knowledge, wisdom. The cultivation of this knowledge is the path. All the things of this world that come parading before the senses for you to know are potential causes of suffering. Gaurd the mind against latching onto the preoccupations that appear in relation to those things. Let them be, let them just exist in line with their nature. Put your mind at ease. Don't fasten onto the formations of the mind or suppose these things to be this or that. As long as you suppose your-self, you're suffering, your awareness is obscured; there is avijja. When you can truly know this, penetrate this, the transcendent will arise within you -- the noblest good, the most exalted happiness a human being can know. These words of encouragement from Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo. "Monks, I don't envision even one other obstruction -- obstructed by which people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time -- like the obstruction of ignorance. Obstructed with the obstruction of ignorance, people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time." Itivuttaka I.14 • avijja is synonomous with moha (delusion) the third of the three poisons • it is one of the asava (taints, effluents, corruptions, out-flows) • one of the anusaya (proclivities, inclinations, tendencies) • one of the samyojana (fetters) and.... needless to say it regularly figures as a prominent 'bad guy' in many other aspects of the teachings.
Pannapetar wrote:PeterB wrote:You havent understood Avijja. Avijja isnt read in others. Its a given, just as dukkha antta and anicca are givens. What we cant assess in others and only in part in ourselves is Moha.
Peter, this is useless haggling over terminology.
Avijja translates pretty straightforward into "ignorance" or "not knowing". As such it can be read in others indirectly, namely by means of identifying wrong perceptions, erroneous views, delusional ideas, and so forth (i.e. "moha"). I trust that you as a psychiatrist are familiar with projection. That is a prime example of how avijja manifests. It is difficult to identify and correct.
Avijjja is also one of the three characteristics of samsara, as you correctly mentioned. This is a more narrow perspective of avijja, because it is only concerned with the metaphysics of samsara.
Avijja is also the root cause of all suffering and the first link of dependent origination.
But first and foremost, avijja is ignorance, a condition that Buddhist practice seeks to eradicate.
PeterB wrote: One is forced to use conventions of temporality.
PeterB wrote:(Avijja is) A given in that as long as we are not enlightened our perception/cognitions will always have their origin in Avijja. It is an a priori. The first link in paticcasamuppada.
PeterB wrote:Avijja is something that we actively do. Avijja is what arises until and to the degree that Insight has not arisen.
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