In the absence of vinnana there is...?

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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:40 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:You are assuming that bhavanga is a self thingie somehow?

retrofuturist wrote:No.

tiltbillings wrote:Then, what is the problem?

Nothing more than what I said about it earlier - it's unverifiable, unnecessary papanca with no redeeming features (do you care to ascribe any to it?)

tiltbillings wrote:You are pulling my leg here.

No - just showing that the Buddha didn't advocate the continuity of sankhata dhammas across the three times.

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:You are assuming that bhavanga is a self thingie somehow?

retrofuturist wrote:No.

tiltbillings wrote:Then, what is the problem?

Nothing more than what I said about it earlier - it's unverifiable, unnecessarily papanca.
Or it is a way of talking about something in a way that does not necessarily contradict the Dhamma.

tiltbillings wrote:You are pulling my leg here.

No - just showing that the Buddha didn't advocate the continuity of sankhata dhammas across the three times.

Metta,
Retro. :)
But that text show nothing of the sort. Also, you seem to being doing battle with stuff I have not said.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:58 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Or it is a way of talking about something in a way that does not necessarily contradict the Dhamma.

Until someone demonstrates otherwise, no.

tiltbillings wrote:Also, you seem to being doing battle with stuff I have not said.

That's because my "battle" (as you call it) isn't with you...

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:04 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Or it is a way of talking about something in a way that does not necessarily contradict the Dhamma.

Until someone demonstrates otherwise, no.
According to you.

tiltbillings wrote:Also, you seem to being doing battle with stuff I have not said.

That's because my "battle" (as you call it) isn't with you...
That's nice; however, your battle does seem to get in the way of discussions and you tend to read it into what others are saying, so it seems.

retro wrote:
I wrote:If there is no causal/conditioned continuity of any sort, then there is no awakening.

I don't think there's any disagreement here.
And, all of a sudden, we have this bugbear of three times. It becomes hard to follow your line of thought.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:10 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:And, all of a sudden, we have this bugbear of three times. It becomes hard to follow your line of thought.

The Abhidhamma speaks of dhammas arising, existing and falling.

There is no parallel in the suttas to say that dhammas "exist" (or continue, or are sustained) in this way.

So what, you may ask.

Here's a post at New Buddhist made by Jason that explains the "bugbear", as you call it... ( http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/2706/ ... realist/p1 )

Is Theravada realist?

It has often been asserted that Theravada, particularly "classical" Theravada in which the entire Tipitaka and its commentaries are considered authoritative, is ultimately realist. Nevertheless, this criticism, which for the most part comes from Yogacara and Madhyamika, is heavily disputed. For example, in his Introduction to Buddhism, Harvey explains, "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada" (87).

Personally, whether or not Harvey is correct in his characterization of the Theravada position, I believe this quasi-realistic view is the result of early Abhidhammikas attempting to reify certain concepts that should never have been reified, e.g. dhammas, khandhas, etc.

In my opinion, the core of texts that constitute the Sutta Pitaka are not realist per se, but there are certain concepts found within Theravada that do appear to present themselves as such. Essentially, I think that classical Theravada, in which the entire Tipitaka and its commentaries are considered authoritative, borders on realism depending on how you understand the terms "dhamma" and "sabhava." All I can say is that Theravada does not go as far as Sarvastivada, although it does push the boundaries and can easily be interpreted as being realist, which then opens the door to accusations of nihilism.

In one of the ways that I like to look at it, the conventional viewpoint explains things through subject, verb and object whereas the ultimate viewpoint explains things through verb alone. In essence, things are being viewed from the perspective of activities and processes. This, I think, is incredibly difficult to see, but perhaps what happens here is that once self-identity view (sakkaya-ditthi) is removed, the duality of subject and object is also removed thereby revealing the level of mere conditional phenomena. Nibbana would then be regarded as the end of this conditional phenomena, or in other words, the cessation of the activity of samsara (perpetual wandering).

This is where one can insert any claims of nihilism if one is able to substantiate that this cessation of activity is the destruction of something real, substantial, etc. In other words, if the five aggregates of clinging (khandhas) are real in the sense that they are concrete, existing entities, conditioned or otherwise, then their cessation would be a type of nihilism. In addition, within classical Theravada, the the goal is said to be the utter extinction of all consciousness per the verse in DN 11: "Ettha namanca rupanca, asesam uparujjhati. Vinnanassa nirodhena etthetam uparujjhati" (Here [in nibbana], nama as well as rupa ceases without remainder. By ceasing of consciousness, nama as well as rupa ceases here) (Suan Lu Zaw).

The arguments on both sides become very complex and voluminous at this point. For example, there are arguments that claim that everything is an illusion, i.e., perceived reality is ultimately unreal, hence there is no actual cessation; there are arguments that claim the complete cessation of all consciousness is only nihilistic if one takes consciousness as being "me," "mine," or "myself," etc.

For me, "real" simply means an existing cognizable experience. Going back to my statement concerning how I like to look at this, I understand the five aggregates of clinging to represent things that we do as opposed to just things. In other words, there is an act of intention that goes into our experience. In SN 56.11, for example, the Buddha summarizes stress and suffering (dukkha) as the five aggregates of clinging. Furthermore, in MN 43 the five aggregates of clinging are described in their verb forms, or in other words, not as things but as activities.

Therefore, when looking at the arising of the five aggregates of clinging in this way, we are effectively looking at the arising of [the activity of] stress and suffering; when looking at the cessation of the five aggregates of clinging in this way, we are effectively looking at the cessation of [the activity of] stress and suffering. Thus, all that ceases is [the activity of] stress and suffering, not an independently existing entity of any kind. Since this cessation is cognizable, it too can be considered "real." Moreover, since only an activity has been stopped, there is no actual destruction of any "thing."

My view is probably not in line with classical Theravada on this point, however, so please consider my thoughts with that caveat in mind.

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:And, all of a sudden, we have this bugbear of three times. It becomes hard to follow your line of thought.

The Abhidhamma speaks of dhammas arising, existing and falling.

There is no parallel in the suttas to say that dhammas "exist" (or continue, or are sustained) in this way.
Dhammas "exist" dependent upon conditions. There is an interesting sutta where the Buddh says it would make more sense for a person to take the body as a self because it persist seemingly unchanged for awhile as opposed to the mind which changes with great rapidity. A point of this text is that the experience of "things" is empirical.

Now, if we are talking about the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, there is no set duration of time for the "existence" of dhammas that I have found. A set duration of time is a later stuff that is of no interest to me. A dhamma is what is experienced with a mindful, concentrated mind, and as a result of actual meditation practice, we see that a dhamma is not really a thing; rather, the idea of dhammas is a way of talking about aspects of the conditioned/conditioning flow of experience that we are and have experienced in meditation.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:The Abhidhamma speaks of dhammas arising, existing and falling.

There is no parallel in the suttas to say that dhammas "exist" (or continue, or are sustained) in this way.



Yoohoo, the suttas do deal a bit with the 'persistence/perduration' of states. See eg SN 22.37 and AN 3.47 which deal with “rising, falling and alteration of what persists” (uppāda vaya ṭhitassa aññathatta).

Of course, not quite as Abhidhammic to stress "existing" but close enough.
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:50 am

AN 3.47 PTS: A i 152
Sankhata Sutta: Fabricated
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) while staying is discernible.

"These are three fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated.

"Now these three are unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated. Which three? No arising is discernible, no passing away is discernible, no alteration while staying is discernible.

"These are three unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated."
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:57 am

Greetings,

As I understand it, "alteration (literally, other-ness)" isn't about "existing" at all... it's about change, about phenomena being other than how they were.

To that end, it could have just as easily been represented by the "rise" of certain characteristics and "fall" of others.

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:03 am

Greetings,

Since Tilt has differentiated between Abhidhamma and Abhidhamma Commentary.... does anyone happen to know where bhavanga-citta first appeared?

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:05 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

As I understand it, "alteration (literally, other-ness)" isn't about "existing" at all... it's about change, about phenomena being other than how they were.

To that end, it could have just as easily been represented by the "rise" of certain characteristics and "fall" of others.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Naw. The text gives us "Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible." It is what is in the middle between the arising and falling away here that is of interest, which suggests a persistence, albeit a dynamic one, of enough of the characteristics of what is experienced to be identified as such before it passes away.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Since Tilt has differentiated between Abhidhamma and Abhidhamma Commentary.... does anyone happen to know where bhavanga-citta first appeared?

Metta,
Retro. :)
That is what god google is for. "is mentioned twice or thrice in the Patthāna" http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_ ... a_sota.htm
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:12 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:a persistence, albeit a dynamic one, of enough of the characteristics of what is experienced to be identified as such

Since all sankhata dhammas are dependent upon avijja, if we were to perceive a "(sankhata) dhamma to exist", albeit dynamically, we would just be maintaining and sustaining a distorted cognition.... like painting a monster and being scared by our artwork.

Existence is an erroneous cognitive distortion (because it forms a "thing" on account of avijja, and perceives the thing to exist).

Non-existence too is an erroneous cognitive distortion (because it forms a "thing" on account of aviija, and perceives the thing to not exist)

The problem with any speculative theory of sustenance/maintenence/continuity is that it involves the persistence of the erroneously formed "thing", thereby perceiving that "thing" to exist for as long the model of sustenance supports the deluded cognition. Something like "stream of consciousness" enables us to conceive of it existing ad-infinitum (i.e. eternalism)

Taking dhammas to be "real" is the problem, independent of the other important matter of inherent thinginess (or whatever it is you call 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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:a persistence, albeit a dynamic one, of enough of the characteristics of what is experienced to be identified as such

Since all sankhata dhammas are dependent upon avijja, if we were to perceive a "(sankhata) dhamma to exist", albeit dynamically, we would just be maintaining and sustaining a distorted cognition.... like painting a monster and being scared by our artwork.
Not according to the Buddha, but then you are freighting the word "exists" with notions I obviously am not, as I made clear above.

While sankhata dhammas may be dependent upon avijja, they are also expressions of Dhamma.

Existence is an erroneous cognitive distortion, rooted in avijja.
Again, you are giving "existence" connotations, it would seem that I am not sharing with here.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:29 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:While sankhata dhammas may be dependent upon avijja, they are also expressions of Dhamma.

Expressions that aren't "real" (in the sense of "realism").

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:The problem with any speculative theory of sustenance/maintenence/continuity is that it involves the persistence of the erroneously formed "thing", thereby perceiving that "thing" to exist for as long the model of sustenance supports the deluded cognition. Something like "stream of consciousness" enables us to conceive of it existing ad-infinitum.
Fine, but are you saying I am doing that? If so, based upon what?

Taking dhammas to be "real" is the problem, independent of the other important matter of inherent thinginess (or whatever it is you call it).
Groovy, but are you saying I am doing that? Have I argued for this position?
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:32 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:While sankhata dhammas may be dependent upon avijja, they are also expressions of Dhamma.

Expressions that aren't "real" (in the sense of "realism").

Metta,
Retro. :)
You seem to actually be arguing with someone else. I have not mentioned, posited, put forth "realism" in anyway, shape, or form.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:33 am

Greetings Tilt,

I'm not saying you've done either... just explaining my point of view... explaining the danger in bhavanga-citta as an enabling agent of the "Stream of Consciousness".

(As I said earlier, I have no battle with you)

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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

I'm not saying you've done either... just explaining my point of view.

(As I said earlier, I have no battle with you)

Metta,
Retro. :)
You are less than clear here with what you are doing, which is why I have to ask you repeatedly for clarification.
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: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:51 am

Hmm, hard to keep up with this stuff when one has to to mundane things like go to meetings all day... :coffee:
tiltbillings wrote:A dhamma is what is experienced with a mindful, concentrated mind, and as a result of actual meditation practice, we see that a dhamma is not really a thing; rather, the idea of dhammas is a way of talking about aspects of the conditioned/conditioning flow of experience that we are and have experienced in meditation.

As I said, I always thought it was obvious that this stuff was just frameworks to describe experience in more detail than the sutta discussions of dissecting experience into khandhas, sense bases, etc. Just more "phenomenology". This dissection of experience is the basis of the approach of any number of teachers. Are the likes of Mahasi Sayadaw just stuffy academics? It seems to me more likely that they are simply building on the descriptions of experience preserved by the tradition, and the experience of modern practitioners.

:anjali:
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