Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby pt1 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:
The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind

Does it? :shock:

Really?

What does that mean exactly?

The way I'm reading it, it sounds a bit back-to-front. How does the external universe be an "outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind" when there's a 1 to many relationship between "the external universe" and the "internal cosmos of mind"? Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?


I can't know for sure what Ven.BB had in mind, but my guess is that he was pointing to the correspondence between a plane of citta (internal cosmos) and a plane/realm of being (external universe). Although there's a correspondence, the two are not the same thing. E.g. as a human being, my cittas can be of all 3 planes - normally of sensuous plane, but if I attain jhana, then they can also be of form or formless plane depending on the jhanas. However, being born as a human being means that I am born in the sensuous realm of being, not in the form, nor in formless realms. Rebirth in a certain realm would depend on vipaka - e.g. if I attained some jhana in this life, perhaps that will result in rebirth in some form/less realm.

So, I think that reading into Ven.BB's quote things like
retrofuturist wrote:"Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?"

goes outside of the context of the quote.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:15 am

Greetings,

Does anyone know what Bhikkhu Bodhi meant by this...

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:At the same time these realms provide the stage for consciousness to continue its evolution in a new personality and under a fresh set of circumstances


Again, I don't know whether this is just a clumsy use of words, but it sounds like this is falling into the error committed by Sati the Fisherman's Son...

MN 38 wrote:Then the Blessed One said: "Sati, is it true, that such an pernicious view has arisen to you. ‘As I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else’?"

"Yes, venerable sir, as I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else."

"Sati, what is that consciousness?"

"Venerable sir, it is that which feels and experiences, that which reaps the results of good and evil actions done here and there."

"Foolish man, to whom do you know me having taught the Dhamma like this. Haven’t I taught, in various ways that consciousness is dependently arisen. Without a cause, there is no arising of consciousness. Yet you, foolish man, on account of your wrong view, you misrepresent me, as well as destroy yourself and accumulate much demerit, for which you will suffer for a long time."

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus, what do you think, has this this bhikkhu Sati, son of a fisherman, learned anything from this dispensation?" "No, venerable sir."

When this was said the bhikkhu Sati became silent, unable to reply back, and sat with drooping shoulders and eyes turned down. Then the Blessed One, knowing that the bhikkhu Sati had become silent, unable to reply back, and was sitting with drooping shoulders and with eyes turned down, told him: "Foolish man, you will be known on account of this pernicious view; now I will question the bhikkhus on this."

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus, do you too know of this Teaching, the wrong view of the bhikkhu Sati, the son of a fisherman, on account of which he misrepresents us and also destroys himself and accumulates much suffering?"

"No, venerable sir. In various ways we have been taught that consciousness arises dependently. Without a cause there is no arising of consciousness."

"Good, bhikkhus! Good that you know the Dhamma taught by me. In various ways I have taught that consciousness arises dependently. Without a cause, there is no arising of consciousness. Yet, this bhikkhu Sati, son of a fisherman, by holding to this wrong view, misrepresents us and destroys himself and accumulates much demerit, and it will be for his suffering for a long time.

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. If consciousness arises on account of eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye consciousness. If on account of ear and sounds it arises, it is reckoned as ear consciousness. If on account of nose and smells it arises, it is reckoned as nose consciousness. If on account of tongue and tastes it arises, it is reckoned as tongue consciousness. If on account of body and touch it arises, it is reckoned as body consciousness. If on account of mind and mind-objects it arises, it is reckoned as mind consciousness. Bhikkhus, just as a fire is reckoned based on whatever that fire burns - fire ablaze on sticks is a stick fire, fire ablaze on twigs is a twig fire, fire ablaze on grass is a grass fire, fire ablaze on cowdung is a cowdung fire, fire ablaze on grain thrash is a grain thrash fire, fire ablaze on rubbish is a rubbish fire - so too is consciousness reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. In the same manner consciousness arisen on account is eye and forms is eye consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of ear and sounds is ear consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of nose and smells is nose consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of tongue and tastes is taste consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of body and touch is body consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of mind and mind-objects is mind consciousness
.

:weep:

Again, I'd be interested to know if these words from Bhikkhu Bodhi really are representative of the Mahavihara tradition, or whether he's going out on his own with these comments? Is the Buddha suggesting that Bhikkhu Bodhi has Wrong View and is accumulating demerit? :?

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:53 am

Hi Retro,

I'm not sure whether the Abhidhamma Forum is the right place to argue that the Abhidhamma and the Theravada have wrong view...

Again, I see no contradictions. Sati's view, from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation is:
"It is the same consciousness that runs and wanders through the rounds of rebirth, not another."
It doesn't say that there isn't a "stream of consciousness", to use the translation in CMA.

Perhaps Bhikkhu Bodhi could have chosen different wordings. However, according to the text that we are discussing, there is a stream of consciousness running though each life. The last citta of a life conditions the start of a stream of another life. That life is affected by the actions of the previous life and the current life. "Evolution in a new personality" is one way of expressing that.

See, for example, page 228, V.41:
...
At the end of life, having become the death consciousness in the form of passing away, it then ceases. Thereafter, the rebirth-linking consciousness and the others continue to occur, revolving in due sequence like the wheel of a cart until one attains Nibbana.


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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:57 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I'm not sure whether the Abhidhamma Forum is the right place to argue that the Abhidhamma and the Theravada have wrong view...

I'm not saying they do... I'm just genuinely shocked by some of what I'm reading there from Bhikkhu Bodhi and want to know whether it is Mahavihara compliant. Much of it reads like things I'd expect from the Tibetan religions, that's all.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby robertk » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:05 am

Mike has already explained why Bodhi was not implying that it was the same citta that lasted over lives (or moments). And what you have quoted by Bodhi so far is orthodox . Where he seems to divert, in his notes , is his comments casting doubt on the authenticty of the Abhidhamma, also his idea, apparently lifted from Burmese teachers, that khanika samadhi means something deeper than momentary concentration(present in both kusala and akusala processes of citta).
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:06 am

Thanks for the clarification, Robert.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I'm not sure whether the Abhidhamma Forum is the right place to argue that the Abhidhamma and the Theravada have wrong view...

I'm not saying they do... I'm just genuinely shocked by some of what I'm reading there from Bhikkhu Bodhi and want to know whether it is Mahavihara compliant. Much of it reads like things I'd expect from the Tibetan religions, that's all.

Really?

Can you give an example?

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:14 am

Greetings Mike,

As for examples... these...

"the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind"

"registering in concrete manifest form the subtle gradations in states of consciousness."

"The outer world is always a world apprehended by consciousness"

"Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextriably connected to such an extent that the hierarchical structure of the realms of existence exactly reproduces and corresponds to the hierarchical structure of consciousness."

...read (to me at least) like the citta-mātra philosophy of the Yogacara school.

Here's an extract from Wikipedia (so take it with a Wikipedia sized grain of salt)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness-only

The standpoint of consciousness-only starts by explaining the world that presents to each being is regulated by and according to the seeds underlying in each being's ālaya consciousness (the eighth consciousness, the seed consciousness). One special species of the innumerable seeds, which will be activated when proper conditions are reached, are evolving from the accumulation of traces of sense perceptions and our behaviors in previous lives which then become seeds and stored in the eighth consciousness as "karma seeds" (there are still numerous other kinds of seeds, which can be considered as numerous different functions,such as the seed of eye-consciousness which, of course,produces eye-consciousness when activated. Unlike karma-seeds, seeds like eye-consciousness cannot be perfumed). When activated, these seeds drains from the eighth consciousness just like data stored in the hard disk turn or appear in the monitor as all kinds of illusions or appearances, and in a substantive way ,one for one, these seeds produce, or better describes as induce, new "seeds" (bīja) similar to themselves after being perfumed by the external and interactive world, according to a regular pattern, as seeds produce(induce) plants. Each being possesses a store of perceptions and beings which are generically alike will produce similar perceptions since their first five of Six Sense-organs (Six Indriyas), which are produced by the eighth consciousness according to the karma seeds, are similar to each other. The external world is created when the store consciousness (ālaya) is "perfumed" (薰) by activated seeds, i.e. the effects of good and evil deeds.

To summarize, the seeds behave in three ways:
1 Seeds, when activated, produce the external (material, physical) world and the internal (spiritual, mental) world, in total, the Eighteen Fields.
2 Seeds (or, to be more precise, Alaya consciousness) are perfumed by the three karmic activities of deed, word and thought (Three practices).
3 Seeds induce seeds.

And this gives the solution to the original paradox. The conception of "self", the false atman, is produced from seeds which are stored in the eighth consciousness(store-house consciousness" ,Sanskrit: ālāyavijñāna). Actions in this world, good, bad and neutral deeds, perfume (or mutate) these seeds. The seeds then produce or induce new seeds, with some seeds tainted by one's actions, and others unaffected. Even after death, the impressions of deeds — their karma — linger on in the seeds of alaya consciousness. As long as the four defilements of mental function (心所法), viz. self-delusion (我癡), self-view (我見), egotism (我慢), and self-love (我愛), of the seventh consciousness of certain being remain polluted, his/her reincarnation in the Three Realms (Sanskrit, Trailokya) will never cease. An Arhat is someone who has managed to obliterate all impressions of himself, verified for himself that the Eighteen Fields or the five skandhas(five aggregates,Sanskrit: pan~cāskandha ) are all illusory and empty of "self nature" or "essence" (Sanskrit: Svabhāva), and any desire to clamp on any of them should be and can be extinguished, thus at the last moment of his life , when the seeds of the other seventeen Fields stored in the eighth consciousness stop being activated through the determination of the seventh consciousness(The manas consciousness) and all the body functions stop concurrently; finally the seventh consciousness decides that it itself should cease being activated also and thus the eighth consciousness stops draining out the seed of the seventh consciousness, and so the whole Eighteen Fields gets extinguished after all, with the eighth consciousness alone existing in a state called as "never born and therefore never will die" or "no beginning and no ending ", in other words, Nirvana (涅槃) . It is extremely important for us to remember, that while we may say that such Arhat has escape the wheel of samsara and will not reborn again in the Three Realms, there is definitely no such Arhat or any being that stopped existing here and get reborn anywhere else. In contrast to that, a Buddha is someone who manages to get enlightened (eg. to verify for Himself the true existence of His ālaya consciousness) first, and after the verification or enlightenment, through innumerable karmic lives and non-karmic lives as a Bodhisattva, clears and substitutes all of His polluted seeds while they are activated until all of the seeds stored in the eighth consciousness are pure and clean. Through the dispolluting process, the Bodhisattva also manage to apprehend and verify all the individual and interactive functions of each seeds until He thoroughly masters them and attains the All-inclusive wisdom (一切種智); Such alaya consciousness fully cleansed of karmic sediment is renamed as amalavijñâna(菴摩羅識), or "pure consciousness"(無垢識).

The doctrine of consciousness-only thus reduces all existence to one hundred dharmas ( or factors) in five divisions (五位百法), namely, Mind(心法), Mental function(心所法), Material(色法), Not associated with mind(心不相應行法) and Unconditioned dharmas(無為法). The consciousness-only school thus sets out to enumerate and describe all these dharmas in detail.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby cooran » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:31 am

Hello Retro,

Who wrote the Wikipedia article? Was it someone, as the Rules of the Abhidhamma forum state, " an author representative of the Classical point-of-view)" [/b]?

Just to refresh our minds about the rules of this forum:

The Abhidhamma and Classical Theravada sub-forums are specialized venues for the discussion of the Abhidhamma and the classical Mahavihara understanding of the Dhamma. Within these forums the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries are for discussion purposes treated as authoritative. These forums are for the benefit of those members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of these texts and are not for the challenging of the Abhidhamma and/or Theravada commentarial literature.

Posts should also include support from a reference, a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view).

Posts that contain personal opinions and conjecture, points of view arrived at from meditative experiences, conversations with devas, blind faith in the supreme veracity of one's own teacher's point of view etc. are all regarded as off-topic, and as such, will be subject to moderator review and/or removal.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=374

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:32 am

Greetings Chris,

Mike asked me for examples... what do you want me to do, ignore him?

The Mahavihara tradition itself compares and contrasts Classical Theravada to other early Dhamma schools in the Kathavatthu.

We're discussing and trying to better understand the Mahavihara position so I really don't see what the problem is.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Retro,

Since we already discussed those CMA quotes I guess you didn't find any of the offered clarifications from various members useful.

Perhaps you could clarify what exactly you find difficult to reconcile with your understanding of Dhamma and we could discuss that. Obviously I can't the relevance of the mind-only material.

Does you key objection involve the concept that kamma contributes to constructing the world?

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby cooran » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:40 am

Hello Retro,

I'd welcome any quotes complying with this rule: "Posts should also include support from a reference, a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view)".

I do not believe Wikipedia fulfils these conditions.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:41 am

Greetings Mike,

It's not even really an objection per se... it's just that the wording used by Bhikkhu Bodhi didn't seem to have parallels with any Sutta or Abhidhammic material I had read to date, that's all. As I said, I was surprised. It's been suitably clarified by yourself, Robert and possibly others that what Bhikkhu Bodhi says is reflective of the Mahavihara tradition, and that's all I was seeking to know. Since that's authorative in the context of this sub-forum, I'm content to leave it at that.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:46 am

Greetings Chris,

cooran wrote:I'd welcome any quotes complying with this rule: "Posts should also include support from a reference, a citation (Tipitaka, commentarial, or from a later work from an author representative of the Classical point-of-view)".

If we take that to the letter, then a comparative analysis of Abhidhamma with Yogacara (or anything for that matter) in this sub-forum would be impossible. If we took that to the letter then your post would be off-topic too. ;)

If however we take that in the spirit it was constructed, then anything someone is claiming as true in the Dhamma need be referenced in such a way.

However I was not putting Yogacara forward though as truth, fact, or as representative of Mahavihara... I put it forward as an object of comparison, with a view to investigating, clarifying and getting a better appreciation of the Mahavihara view. To that extent, I'm surprised at the objection, but will stop here.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:33 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:If we take that to the letter, then a comparative analysis of Abhidhamma with Yogacara (or anything for that matter) in this sub-forum would be impossible.

I didn't think that comparative analysis was on-topic in the Classical Theravada sub-forums:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=373
These forums are for the benefit of those members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of these texts and are not for the challenging of the Abhidhamma and/or Theravada commentarial literature.

In this context I don't understand why it is necessary to make inflammatory statements about Bhikkhu Bodhi and/or the Theravada such as:
retrofuturist wrote:Is the Buddha saying Bhikkhu Bodhi does not possess Right View?

retrofuturist wrote:Again, I don't know whether this is just a clumsy use of words, but it sounds like this is falling into the error committed by Sati the Fisherman's Son...

retrofuturist wrote:I'm just genuinely shocked by some of what I'm reading there from Bhikkhu Bodhi and want to know whether it is Mahavihara compliant. Much of it reads like things I'd expect from the Tibetan religions, that's all.


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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:06 pm

As often as I do have objections to retrofuturist's posts, I personally feel in this case he wasn't challenging Classical Theravada but rather expressing confusion and asking for help. That's the purpose of these forums, isn't it?

As for the quotes retro presented, I see nothing incompatible. Anyone who is the least bit familiar with Ven. Bodhi's teachings knows he doesn't teach an atman; his lectures on the subject are very explicit and clear. It is simply that not everyone is as careful as retro with their vocabulary when discussing consciousness. It has happened on this forum before that retro takes a poster's comment or question on an unrelated topic and he turns into a discussion of atman; now he's doing it to Ven. Bodhi. It's annoying but I don't think it's inappropriate.

"Hey, here's this supposedly Theravadin teacher and he's saying something that to me doesn't seem Theravadin. Can someone explain it to me?" Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:11 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I don't understand why it is necessary to make inflammatory statements about Bhikkhu Bodhi and/or the Theravada such as:
retrofuturist wrote:Is the Buddha saying Bhikkhu Bodhi does not possess Right View?

I agree this is needlessly disrespectful and perhaps inflammatory. Perhaps it would have been better stated "This statement by Ven. Bodhi seems to evince wrong view as defined by the Buddha here... Could someone explain what I'm missing?"
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:36 pm

Hi Peter,
Peter wrote:Perhaps it would have been better stated "This statement by Ven. Bodhi seems to evince wrong view as defined by the Buddha here... Could someone explain what I'm missing?"

I agree. In fact, in my opinion, this is the way all questions regarding Dhamma should be expressed.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby pt1 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:34 pm

retrofuturist wrote:As for examples... these...
...read (to me at least) like the citta-mātra philosophy of the Yogacara school.

Hi retro, I remember when I first opened ACMA I was pretty hostile towards abhidhamma and commentaries, so it was pretty easy to find fault with almost every sentence. Of course, that didn't help me much in understanding the book on its own terms. Abhidhamma, and its commentaries in turn, both have a specific use of language that takes a bit of getting used to in order to understand the terms as they were really meant to be understood. One can find fault with anything - even the suttas, e.g. every time the Buddha uses "self", one can cry out - "hey, he's advocating eternalism!" But of course, this is not so, as his usage of "self" must be considered in the context of conditionality and tilakkhana. Reading anything else into it would be to take it outside of the context. It's a similar picture with abhi and comm - everything should be considered in terms of conditionality and tilakkhana.

Regarding "mind-only" confusion, consider the objects of the five senses - they are not said to be a product of the mind. So, in such case, it can't really be argued that abhidhamma proposes that everything is mind-made. Of course, in such case one can then wonder - "ok, so do objects of the five senses exist externally or not?" But, this question should also be considered in terms of conditionality and tilakkhana - so if it's said that objects do exist in the external world, it's only said so in the context of conditionality and tilakkhana, so there's nothing out there that exists as an eternal, or some such, thing.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Peter wrote:Perhaps it would have been better stated "This statement by Ven. Bodhi seems to evince wrong view as defined by the Buddha here... Could someone explain what I'm missing?"
I agree. In fact, in my opinion, this is the way all questions regarding Dhamma should be expressed.

"The teaching of karma seems to contradict the teaching on anatta. Could someone explain what I'm missing?"
"The teaching of the first precept seems to imply we should all be vegetarians. Could someone explain what I'm missing?"
"The teachings on sensual pleasures seem to imply I'm a bad Buddhist if I don't give up ice cream, movies, and all my friends. Could someone explain what I'm missing?"

There, I think I've covered about 90% of all Buddhist forum threads. :lol:
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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