Feeling

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Feeling

Postby nathan » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:06 am

Feeling and Feelings


We often discuss many thoughts and ideas. This is helps us all to better understand and there are many things to discuss about thought and ideas when we study the truth of the Dhamma. Still, thoughts and ideas are not the whole of being and one might even question if thought is even at the center of what we are as beings.

When we enter this world the predominant quality of experience is our feeling of it. It is through feeling being, living and life that we come to think as we do about ourselves and our lives. As time goes on we think further and thought begins to seem predominant in how we live and in what we are. But is this true or is it what we think is true or is it not actually so? Hard to say. But whatever else we might say. We continue to feel and we feel in many ways before we begin to form our thinking about what we feel.

I would like to discuss, what I feel is central to my understanding of being and living and that is that it is a felt process before it is much else.

Whatever we think is true and right, it is related to what we feel about ourselves and others and our world. Without this truth it would be impossible for us to test any other truth. It has been my experience that despite all that I might learn from thinking about the Dhamma, I am left to feel the truth of it in the feeling that I do in being and becoming in this world. This is how I come to understand, not only the deeper truths of the teaching but also the very immediate and direct truths of the eightfold path. It is in this way that the teaching is confirmed and reconfirmed in every moment. When one acts in accord with the Dhamma one feels the benefits and the wholesomeness of the teachings.

I thought I would share that to begin and then turn it over to everyone else so that we can together more closely examine the teachings in these ways. There is so much to be learned. There are excellent reasons to trust our feelings and there are also excellent reasons to discover when and why we are deceived by our feelings. For us to realize this well will teach us not only the wisdom of the Dhamma but the compassion and peace that is ours to be had in keeping with it as well.

I have put together a few references with which we can begin to look at the subject of feeling and I welcome everyone to share in any ways that they feel will help open our eyes to all that we can hope to learn about all of this.

In the end, it is not what I will think about the Dhamma that will mean the most to me. When all of my efforts to follow and discipline have someday brought me to a full and lasting sanctuary I will look to see how I feel about it. I feel that I will then think, feel and see that I finally feel all right.

-----

feeling
sacetana (adj.), vedanā (f.), anubhavana (nt.), anukampā (nt.), dayā (nt.), parāmasana (nt.), paṭisaṃvedī (nt.), phusana (nt.), saññā (nt.)
feelingly sānukampaṃ (adv.)
Last edited by nathan on Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:15 am

The resources used here are:

Concise Pali-English Dictionary - A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/dict-pe/index.htm

English to Pali dictionary
http://www.online-languages.info/_ud2/d ... sh&l2=pali

Access to Insight.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html


vedana [vedanaa]: Feeling — pleasure (ease), pain (stress), or neither pleasure nor pain.
vedanā : [f.] pain; sensation.

ve : [particle of affirmation] indeed; truly; surely.

dāna : [nt.] gift; charity; alms; alms-giving.

I'm far from sure it is the same dana, not even sure about the ve can anyone help work out the etymology of this word?

Here are some others that may or may not be related to vedana.

list edited out-n
Last edited by nathan on Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:vedana [vedanaa]: Feeling — pleasure (ease), pain (stress), or neither pleasure nor pain.
vedanā : [f.] pain; sensation.

ve : [particle of affirmation] indeed; truly; surely.

dāna : [nt.] gift; charity; alms; alms-giving.

I'm far from sure it is the same dana, not even sure about the ve can anyone help work out the etymology of this word?


Vedanā has no connection at all with the words ve and dāna.

Most Pali words are formed by taking verbal roots (dhātu), adding various prefixes and/or suffixes to them, and then making phonetic modifications according to rules specified in the classical grammars. Consequently, the final forms of several words derived from the same verbal root may be very dissimilar. For example, akkhara ('letter') and nakkhatta ('star'), despite their dissimilar appearance, are both derived from the verbal root khar, "to end, spoil, or become empty."

Conversely, several words that look very similar may be derived from entirely different verbal roots. For example, quite a few of the words in the list you posted have no connection with vedanā at all.

So, trying to identify words related to vedanā by searching Pali dictionaries for similar-looking words is not the proper procedure. (It's actually the sort of pseudo-scholarship that one gets from people like Jhanananda and Shakya Aryanatta). Rather, one must begin by finding what the word's root is (this will often be given in the PTS Pali-English Dictionary) and then looking up the root in a dictionary of verbal roots such as the Saddanīti Dhātumālā or the Dhātuppadīpikā.

In the case of vedanā the root is vid. Some related words from the Dhātuppadīpikā's entry for vid:

vidati, vedo, vidū, vedī, vijjā, vedeti, vedayati, vindati, govindo, vitti, vedikā, nibbindati, nibbindaṃ, nibbiṇṇo, vittaṃ, vijjati, saṃvijjati, vedayitaṃ, vedayamāno, paṭivedeti, paṭivedayati.

On a final note, it should be remarked that the fact that two Pali words are derived from the same root doesn't necessarily mean that either of them will shed any semantic light on the other, for their meanings will in many cases have nothing to do with each other (as we saw with the words akkhara and nakkhatta).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: Feeling

Postby Individual » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:20 pm

nathan wrote:feeling
sacetana (adj.), vedanā (f.), anubhavana (nt.), anukampā (nt.), dayā (nt.), parāmasana (nt.), paṭisaṃvedī (nt.), phusana (nt.), saññā (nt.)
feelingly sānukampaṃ (adv.)

I'm not certain all these terms are the same. Vedana is also translated as "feeling," but it needs to be appropriately qualified as, "feeling of pleasure, pain, and neither pleasure nor pain". It doesn't strictly correspond to the English term, which is closer to sankhara (mental formations), vinnana (consciousness), or cittas (objects of consciousness), along with the word "emotion".
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:20 am

Thank you Venerable Dhammanando. Thank you Individual. That is all very helpful. Can either of you or could anyone kindly explain what we would be speaking about when we speak of feelings in the many ways in which we commonly do in english? What are the correct pali words or terms and the best available accompanying english definitions for feeling as sensations and emotions?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:21 pm

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:Can either of you or could anyone kindly explain what we would be speaking about when we speak of feelings in the many ways in which we commonly do in english? What are the correct pali words or terms and the best available accompanying english definitions for feeling as sensations and emotions?


'Sensation' is a reasonable translation of vedanā.

I think that everything that we term an 'emotion' in English would be encompassed by the saṅkhārakkhandha or the 50 cetasikas (i.e. the 52 cetasikas minus vedanā and saññā). Though I should add that not all of these cetasikas would be called emotions.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:25 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Nathan,

'Sensation' is a reasonable translation of vedanā.

I think that everything that we term an 'emotion' in English would be encompassed by the saṅkhārakkhandha or the 50 cetasikas (i.e. the 52 cetasikas minus vedanā and saññā). Though I should add that not all of these cetasikas would be called emotions.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Would any or all of this be objects of themeless concentration or related to themeless release?

Thank you Venerable Dhammanando.
metta and upekkha -two of the best wishes I feel :smile:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:06 am

Hi Nathan

I agree with Ajahn that what we commonly call 'feelings' or emotions are in fact complex combinations of mental and psycho-somatic phenomena manifesting. I don't have Ajahn's encyclopaedic knowledge of the Dhamma and Pali, but my own view is conditioned by my experience of taking vedana (sensation) as my primary object since my involvement in the Dhamma began.
Metta

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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:13 am

Ben wrote:Hi Nathan

I agree with Ajahn that what we commonly call 'feelings' or emotions are in fact complex combinations of mental and psycho-somatic phenomena manifesting. I don't have Ajahn's encyclopaedic knowledge of the Dhamma and Pali, but my own view is conditioned by my experience of taking vedana (sensation) as my primary object since my involvement in the Dhamma began.
Metta

Ben
Thanks Ben. What I would like to ask Ven. Dhammanando really is the relationship of all parts of the above to:
srivijaya wrote:In the Godatta Sutta SN 41.7 Buddha outlines different kinds of awareness release.

These are the immeasurable awareness-release, the nothingness awareness-release, the emptiness awareness-release and the themeless awareness-release.

He subsequently explains which factors their cultivation rests upon - briefly:
1. Immeasurable = An expansive all-pervading awareness of compassion and good will.
2. Nothingness = The monk enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness.
3. Emptiness = The monk considers this: 'This is empty of self or of anything pertaining to self.'
4. Themeless = A monk, not attending to any theme enters & remains in the themeless concentration of awareness.

Each of these are, however, declared secondary to a release called an "unprovokable awareness-release".
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I hope that puts my real question in a better perspective. Given the above as a complete description of perception of sensation and emotional/mental response.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:29 am

My apologies Nathan

I did see your subsequent question relating to the different awareness releases. I didn't attempt an answer because i am not so familiar with Ven. Thanissaro's terminology and I didn't want to cloud the issue by providing a transcript of Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to the SN - which you probably already have. I too will await Ajahn's response with interest.
Metta

Ben
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:41 am

Ben wrote:My apologies Nathan

I did see your subsequent question relating to the different awareness releases. I didn't attempt an answer because i am not so familiar with Ven. Thanissaro's terminology and I didn't want to cloud the issue by providing a transcript of Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to the SN - which you probably already have. I too will await Ajahn's response with interest.
Metta

Ben
No problem at all, I joyfully appreciate all the input. It's all contributing to clarifying the roles which awareness, perception, sensation and emotion or these mental qualities or conditions play in practice for wisdom and release. I'm really appreciating the participation of everyone.

metta and upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:59 am

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote: Would any or all of this be objects of themeless concentration


The four immeasurable deliverances of mind (appamāṇā cetovimutti) have living beings as their object.


The deliverance of mind by nothingness (ākiñcaññā cetovimutti) has the sphere of nothingness as its object.

The deliverances of mind by emptiness (suññatā cetovimutti) and signlessness (animittā cetovimutti) have Nibbāna as their object.

or related to themeless release?


Quite a number of the cetasikas will be present at the moment of animitta-cetovimutti. Which ones in particular will depend on which of the five rūpajjhānas is present at the time of the arising of the supramundane consciousness.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:05 pm

Thank you Venerable Dhammanando. I would appreciate some added clarification. How does the development of insight wisdom relate to these forms of awareness release as well as to the unprovoked awareness release? How do these kinds of awareness release connect to vedana and to the results of scrutinizing vedana via the progress of insight?

Is this the same kind of 'awareness of a living being as object'?
Vedana in Paticcasamuppada
http://www.vri.dhamma.org/research/90sem/vedana15.html
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:37 am

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:Thank you Venerable Dhammanando. I would appreciate some added clarification. How does the development of insight wisdom relate to these forms of awareness release as well as to the unprovoked awareness release?


Appamāṇā cetovimutti and ākiñcanā cetovimutti have no essential relationship with insight development but the former may be used as the basis for it. Animittā cetovimutti, suññatā cetovimutti and akuppā cetovimutti are the culmination of insight development.

How do these kinds of awareness release connect to vedana and to the results of scrutinizing vedana via the progress of insight?


At the moment of release sukha or upekkhā vedanā will be one of the accompanying mental factors.

Weak insight knowledge (taruṇa-vipassanā-ñāṇa) may arise from the scrutinizing of vedanā that is successful in discerning its specific characteristic and then its common characteristics (anicca, dukkha and anattā). This provides the foundation for the subsequent development of strong insight knowledge, culminating in one or another of the supramundane releases.

Is this the same kind of 'awareness of a living being as object'?


No. Vipassanā knowledge, even at the lowest level, has dhammas as its object.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:48 am

Excellent. Thank you Ven. Dhammanando. This makes the relationships very clear.

metta and upekkha

This sutta has a a structure which I really like.

MN 44 Culavedalla Sutta The Shorter Set of Questions-and-Answers
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."

Saying, "Yes, lady," Visakha the lay follower delighted & rejoiced in what Dhammadinna the nun had said. Then he asked her a further question: "'The origination of self-identification, the origination of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which origination of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One."

"'The cessation of self-identification, the cessation of self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving: This, friend Visakha, is the cessation of self-identification described by the Blessed One."
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:11 am

Do the four immeasurable deliverances of mind (appamāṇā cetovimutti) which have living beings as their object have any relationship to the four brahmavihāra states of mind; mettā, karuṇā, muditā, and upekkhā?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:24 am

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:Do the four immeasurable deliverances of mind (appamāṇā cetovimutti) which have living beings as their object have any relationship to the four brahmavihāra states of mind; mettā, karuṇā, muditā, and upekkhā?


The brahmaviharas are termed immeasurables when they are developed with an object of unlimited range, as opposed to when one specifies particular individuals or groups.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:51 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:Do the four immeasurable deliverances of mind (appamāṇā cetovimutti) which have living beings as their object have any relationship to the four brahmavihāra states of mind; mettā, karuṇā, muditā, and upekkhā?


The brahmaviharas are termed immeasurables when they are developed with an object of unlimited range, as opposed to when one specifies particular individuals or groups.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Thank you Ven. Dhammanando. So in this specific as immeasurableness they are the same? Are they the same qualties otherwise in terms of upekkha,...mudita? If so then is there a developmental relationship between the limited development and the development in this specific sense? That is crux of my question.
:smile:
metta and upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Feeling

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:31 am

nathan wrote:So in this specific as immeasurableness they are the same? Are they the same qualties otherwise in terms of upekkha,...mudita?


Yes, they are the same four dhammas, but with different objects.

If so then is there a developmental relationship between the limited development and the development in this specific sense?


Yes, in samatha-bhavana the development of any brahmavihara as an immeasurable is preceded by its development with a limited range, with the range being gradually increased.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Feeling

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:46 am

Dhammanando wrote:
nathan wrote:So in this specific as immeasurableness they are the same? Are they the same qualties otherwise in terms of upekkha,...mudita?


Yes, they are the same four dhammas, but with different objects.

If so then is there a developmental relationship between the limited development and the development in this specific sense?


Yes, in samatha-bhavana the development of any brahmavihara as an immeasurable is preceded by its development with a limited range, with the range being gradually increased.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Thank you Ven. Dhammanando. I've appreciated your help with making sense of a lot of these fine points. It can be hard for me to be sure sometimes if I'm understanding the implicit or even the explicit meanings of words correctly. I have come close to forming this understanding on my own but I am much more comfortable with thinking about this in this way now that you have made clear that this is in fact so. I am relieved. Having grown up outside of buddhism but not outside of religion it is a relief that many of the 'divine sentiments' which were nurtured there can be put to constructive use. I've found the brahmavihara practices have helped me with vipassana and samatha practices and in innumerable other ways in daily life. I think I will continue to need every skillful means at hand to have any hope of making good forward facing progress on the eightfold path in this life.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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