Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

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Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby BlackBird » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:08 pm

[Moderatoer note: the following msgs were split off from the Great Rebirth Debate thread. Such splitting is not an always perfect process, but this seems to capture main msgs on the subject.]

clw_uk wrote:I thought I would answer your post here from here

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=6452&start=20


What surprises me is the rather unsophisicated approach here. If you had knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, you would be awakened. The FNT are tools, picked up to do a job. If there were no belief initially concerning the FNT, there would be no picking them up, there would be no ehipassiko, come and see.


Is awakening to the Four Noble truths sudden or gradual.


Gradual and then sudden.

"[1] Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch. The fact that this Doctrine and Discipline has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis not just after a stretch: This is the first amazing and astounding fact about this Doctrine and Discipline that, as they see it again and again, has the monks greatly pleased with the Doctrine and Discipline.

- Udana 5.5 - Uposatha Sutta

I think what we commonly accept as progress in the path, is simply a weakening of delusion (and greed and hatred). If we we're to stop practicing today, like a fungal infection not properly treated, the delusion would regrow and we would find ourselves more or less back where we started. Just as one swimming upstream, if he were to stop would find himself back at the point where he entered the river.

I think ignorance and delusion are two separate things. The removal of the former is precepitated by a long and steady removal of the latter :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re:Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby Aloka » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:44 am

BlackBird wrote:I think what we commonly accept as progress in the path, is simply a weakening of delusion (and greed and hatred). If we we're to stop practicing today, like a fungal infection not properly treated, the delusion would regrow and we would find ourselves more or less back where we started. Just as one swimming upstream, if he were to stop would find himself back at the point where he entered the river.

I think ignorance and delusion are two separate things. The removal of the former is precepitated by a long and steady removal of the latter :)


Why can't progress on the path just remain at a certain level if we stop practicing? Why would it deteriorate and go back to where we started ? - any evidence?

I think ignorance and delusion are two separate things


I always thought they meant the same thing. Avijja and moha both have ignorance and delusion for their meanings. At the Access to Insight glossary we have the following:

avijja [avijjaa]: Unawareness; ignorance; obscured awareness; delusion about the nature of the mind. See also moha

moha [moha]: Delusion; ignorance (avijja).. One of three unwholesome roots (mula) in the mind.


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:23 am

According to Bhante Gunaratana they are not synonyms. Avijja is Ignorance..a negative quality , an absence of knowledge of the way things are.
Moha is the result of that ignorance. It is mindset characterised by confusion as a result of Avijja.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:42 am

Do you have a link for that, please Sangamitta ?

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:46 am

The following is a footnote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:

Ignorance is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha).When the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word "delusion"; when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara,he uses the word "ignorance" (avijja).


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:13 pm

http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... ble_truths

" Moha is the result of avijja "

:anjali:

Avijja is the causal root. Moha is the subjective psychological reaction to that causal root.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:24 am

bodom wrote:The following is a footnote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:

Ignorance is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha).When the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word "delusion"; when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara,he uses the word "ignorance" (avijja).


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

:anjali:


Very well and good, but that's Ven. Bodhi's view on the matter, not necessarily the way things are. If you can find me a sutta which categorically states what Ven. Bodhi has above, then I will humbly eat my words. Otherwise, I think I'll trust my experience.

Aloka wrote:Why can't progress on the path just remain at a certain level if we stop practicing? Why would it deteriorate and go back to where we started ? - any evidence?


The evidence is subjective, if you really want to see what I mean then stop meditating for a few months, see what happens. I wouldn't recommend it though, life is much better on a meditation regime. Without meditation we lose our equanimity very quickly. It's like a muscle - If it's not exercised then it disappears.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby bodom » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:25 am

BlackBird wrote:
bodom wrote:The following is a footnote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:

Ignorance is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha).When the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word "delusion"; when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara,he uses the word "ignorance" (avijja).


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

:anjali:


Very well and good, but that's Ven. Bodhi's view on the matter, not necessarily the way things are. If you can find me a sutta which categorically states what Ven. Bodhi has above, then I will humbly eat my words. Otherwise, I think I'll trust my experience.


Whose asking you to eat your words or to not trust your own experience? I posted Bodhi's quote for Aloka's benefit because she was asking about the difference between avijja and moha. It had nothing to do with anything you posted.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:27 pm

bodom wrote:Whose asking you to eat your words or to not trust your own experience? I posted Bodhi's quote for Aloka's benefit because she was asking about the difference between avijja and moha. It had nothing to do with anything you posted.

:anjali:


Except that what Ven. Bodhi says explicitly contradicts what I have said. Thus when faced with the contradiction I responded the essentially I would be surprised to see a sutta which supported Ven. Bodhi's view on this and if it was presented I would eat my words.

I'm not posting this with annoyed or angry intention just in case it comes across that way :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:27 pm

Hi BlackBird,
BlackBird wrote:Except that what Ven. Bodhi says explicitly contradicts what I have said. Thus when faced with the contradiction I responded the essentially I would be surprised to see a sutta which supported Ven. Bodhi's view on this and if it was presented I would eat my words.

I don't really see a huge contradiction in what people are saying here. It's not possible to quote a particular Sutta in support of Ven Bodhi's statement because, as he points out, the two words tend to be used in different contexts:
bodom wrote:The following is a footnote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:
Ignorance is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha).When the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word "delusion"; when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara,he uses the word "ignorance" (avijja).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

[Note that he says: "identical in nature", not "exact synonyms" etc.]

Now, since "the causal basis for samsara" could be argued to be the "cause" for the mental factors, you could read this passage as agreeing with avijja being the "cause" of moha, which Bhante Gunaratana seems to be saying, though since it's a remark in a dhamma talk there are also no specific references.

:anjali:
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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby bodom » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:33 pm

Hi Blackbird

See this thread:

ti-kileśā
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4272

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby BlackBird » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi BlackBird,
BlackBird wrote:Except that what Ven. Bodhi says explicitly contradicts what I have said. Thus when faced with the contradiction I responded the essentially I would be surprised to see a sutta which supported Ven. Bodhi's view on this and if it was presented I would eat my words.

I don't really see a huge contradiction in what people are saying here. It's not possible to quote a particular Sutta in support of Ven Bodhi's statement because, as he points out, the two words tend to be used in different contexts:
bodom wrote:The following is a footnote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path:
Ignorance is actually identical in nature with the unwholesome root "delusion" (moha).When the Buddha speaks in a psychological context about mental factors, he generally uses the word "delusion"; when he speaks about the causal basis of samsara,he uses the word "ignorance" (avijja).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

[Note that he says: "identical in nature", not "exact synonyms" etc.]

Now, since "the causal basis for samsara" could be argued to be the "cause" for the mental factors, you could read this passage as agreeing with avijja being the "cause" of moha, which Bhante Gunaratana seems to be saying, though since it's a remark in a dhamma talk there are also no specific references.

:anjali:
Mike


It's stated explicitly that with avijja as condition: sangkhara. With sangkhara as condition: consciousness. I.e. As long as there is ignorance there is everything else including defilement. I don't see how it could be argued otherwise. :) I am saying that ignorance is not identical in nature with moha, because ignorance is non knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, it is therefore an absence of something. Moha on the other hand is not an absence at all but quite an active thing. That's how it seems to me anyway.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:35 am

Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:It's stated explicitly that with avijja as condition: sangkhara. With sangkhara as condition: consciousness. I.e. As long as there is ignorance there is everything else including defilement. I don't see how it could be argued otherwise. :) I am saying that ignorance is not identical in nature with moha, because ignorance is non knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, it is therefore an absence of something. Moha on the other hand is not an absence at all but quite an active thing. That's how it seems to me anyway.

A basic premise of Abhidhamma (and indeed, one of the areas where I think it accurately corresponds with the suttas, before going off on tangents) is that all mindstates are rooted in wisdom or delusion.

Wisdom (panna) could correspond roughly with vipassana in the sense of "seeing things as they really are", whereas delusion would be the opposite... "seeing things differently to how they really are". To that extent, both are "active things" - dynamic.

As you point out, sankhara is rooted in avijja, an the presence of avijja (which I see as a static, rather than dynamic) equates to anything less than arahant-level awareness of the 4NT... therefore, for the non-arahant experiencing avijja, resulting formations may be rooted in either delusion or wisdom.

Well that is how I understand it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby BlackBird » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:It's stated explicitly that with avijja as condition: sangkhara. With sangkhara as condition: consciousness. I.e. As long as there is ignorance there is everything else including defilement. I don't see how it could be argued otherwise. :) I am saying that ignorance is not identical in nature with moha, because ignorance is non knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, it is therefore an absence of something. Moha on the other hand is not an absence at all but quite an active thing. That's how it seems to me anyway.

A basic premise of Abhidhamma (and indeed, one of the areas where I think it accurately corresponds with the suttas, before going off on tangents) is that all mindstates are rooted in wisdom or delusion.

Wisdom (panna) could correspond roughly with vipassana in the sense of "seeing things as they really are", whereas delusion would be the opposite... "seeing things differently to how they really are". To that extent, both are "active things" - dynamic.


Hi Paul

Great post, thanks for shedding some light on the conventional approach to this.

As you're well aware, I almost no knowledge of the abhidhamma, an ignorance that I intend to preserve for the foreseeable future. However I would like to point out that as far as I am aware, in the suttas the Buddha uses adosa, alobha and amoha rather than dana, metta and pannya to correspond to the opposites of the three roots. On that basis I will continue along my view-path that avijja and moha are two separate things, and I am quite happy to disregard anything the abhidhamma might say in the process :)

p.s. Could we please have a split, considering nothing I have said in the past two pages has had anything to do with rebirth.

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:51 am

Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:On that basis I will continue along my view-path that avijja and moha are two separate things, and I am quite happy to disregard anything the abhidhamma might say in the process :)

Indeed... they are separate things. That's precisely what I (and even the Abhidhamma, as far as I recalled it) was saying... avijja is static, moha dynamic.

Only once arahantship is attained, and avijja eradicated that the emphasis shifts from dependent origination to dependent cessation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:57 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:On that basis I will continue along my view-path that avijja and moha are two separate things, and I am quite happy to disregard anything the abhidhamma might say in the process :)

Indeed... they are separate things. That's precisely what I (and even the Abhidhamma, as far as I recalled it) was saying... avijja is static, moha dynamic.

Metta,
Retro. :)
I take them as being synonyms, but I really don't think it matters. The result in the end should be the same.

It is, however, an interesting issue, and it would be worthwhile for the claimants to pull together suttas to support one's position in either direction, maybe leaving the Abhidhamma aside for the moment.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:00 am

Greetings Tilt,

Whether one regards them as synonymous or not also has an impact on the interpretation of dependent origination / cessation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby BlackBird » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Jack,

BlackBird wrote:On that basis I will continue along my view-path that avijja and moha are two separate things, and I am quite happy to disregard anything the abhidhamma might say in the process :)

Indeed... they are separate things. That's precisely what I (and even the Abhidhamma, as far as I recalled it) was saying... avijja is static, moha dynamic.


Right, sorry Retro, I should have read your post a little more carefully :)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Whether one regards them as synonymous or not also has an impact on the interpretation of dependent origination / cessation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Pretend I am from Missouri: Show me.
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: Ignorance/avijjā delusion/moha

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:37 am

Greetings Tilt,

If moha ends momentarily (because it is replaced by panna), sankharas do not cease, vinnana does not cease etc.

That structural and permanent cessation (or identification and eradication of the house-builder, if you prefer) only comes about through the cessation of avijja.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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