Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

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Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:05 am

Hello,

Does anybody know of suttas that describe how minds first originated and how they came to crave becoming and cling to the aggregates? Or is the general idea that always have existed forever and have always been ignorant and craving? I thought there was some sutta about the topic in the Digha Nikaya, but can't recall which one.

Many thanks,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:05 pm

Bhikkhus, this is said: ‘A first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance and afterward it came into being.’ Still, ignorance is seen to have a specific condition.

http://suttacentral.net/en/an10.61
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:29 pm

There are several suttas that discuss the inconstruable beginnings of transmigration in the Anamatagga Saṃyutta (SN 15). For example:

SN 15.11: Duggata Sutta wrote:From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on.


Perhaps the sutta from the Digha Nikaya is DN 27: Aggañña Sutta, which discusses the beginning of human kind but does not seem to explain the origin of minds.
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sati1 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:15 pm

Hi Sam Vara and culaavuso,

Thank you for the references, they are very helpful. It seems then that minds and beings have existed forever and always in ignorance, but that craving arose when the Brahma gods started to feed on the savoury earth and build a desire for it.

Metta,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hi Sam Vara and culaavuso,

Thank you for the references, they are very helpful. It seems then that minds and beings have existed forever and always in ignorance, but that craving arose when the Brahma gods started to feed on the savoury earth and build a desire for it.

Metta,


I'd be a bit careful in drawing that particular conclusion from the quote I gave. "A first point of ignorance is not seen" is indeed consistent with the idea that minds and beings have existed forever and always in ignorance. But it doesn't necessarily entail it. I think the same applies to culaavuso's quote. Saying that something is not seen, or cannot be known, says nothing about whether it was there or not.
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:25 pm

Sati1 wrote:Thank you for the references, they are very helpful. It seems then that minds and beings have existed forever and always in ignorance, but that craving arose when the Brahma gods started to feed on the savoury earth and build a desire for it.


As mentioned above, there seems to be a significant difference between "a beginning point is not evident" and "has existed forever".

It may also be interesting to consider that Brahma gods are described as beings which seems to imply craving and participation in transmigration.

SN 23.2: Satta Sutta wrote:"'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?"

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'


Perhaps in DN 27 the craving that is said to arise could be interpreted as a particular craving, rather than an original arising of craving itself. Since the beings are described as from the ābhassa­ra­ world, it might also be informative to consider AN 4.123.

AN 4.123: Puggala Sutta wrote:The Abhassara devas, monks, have a life-span of two eons. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing.


Additionally, in DN 27 these devas are said to have passed away and been reborn in this world. This might be interesting to consider together with SN 44.9.

SN 44.9: Kutuhalasālā Sutta wrote:"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sati1 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:15 am

Hi culaavuso,

This is very interesting. So then even those Brahma's already experienced craving. Something else that catches my attention from one of the suttas that you quote (AN 4.123) is that a disciple of Buddha ("a disciple of the Blessed One") who is reborn into the Jhana Planes automatically attains enlightenment from there. Doesn't that mean that mere attainment of jhanas, accompanied by sufficient merit and faith in the Buddha, is sufficient for rebirth into such a plane, followed by full release while there?

Many thanks again for sharing your thoughts,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:39 pm

Sati1 wrote:Something else that catches my attention from one of the suttas that you quote (AN 4.123) is that a disciple of Buddha ("a disciple of the Blessed One") who is reborn into the Jhana Planes automatically attains enlightenment from there. Doesn't that mean that mere attainment of jhanas, accompanied by sufficient merit and faith in the Buddha, is sufficient for rebirth into such a plane, followed by full release while there?


This seems to be a reference to the role of jhāna in abandoning the fetter of sensual pleasures. It could be read as suggesting a distinction between simply being attached to the pleasures of jhāna as opposed to using the state of jhāna to progress along the path. The description of one who attains enlightenment from there seems to suggest attainment of the state of non-returner, or one who has severed the five lower fetters including those of sensuality and ill-will.

AN 10.13: Saṃyojana Sutta wrote:There are these ten fetters. Which ten? Five lower fetters & five higher fetters. And which are the five lower fetters? Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts & practices, sensual desire, & ill will. These are the five lower fetters. And which are the five higher fetters? Passion for form, passion for what is formless, conceit, restlessness, & ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. And these are the ten fetters.


AN 3.86: Sikkhā Sutta wrote:With the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one going upstream to the Peerless [the Akaniṭṭha heaven, the highest of the Pure Abodes.]
[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound with fabrication [of exertion].
[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound without fabrication [of exertion].
[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound on arrival [in a Pure Abode].
[Or], with the wasting away of the five lower fetters, he is one unbound in between.


MN 64: Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta wrote:And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.

Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously in the Pure Abodes and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
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Re: Suttas on cosmological origin of minds and craving?

Postby Sati1 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:26 am

Hi culaavuso,

Ok, that makes more sense. Of those reborn in the Jhana Heavens there might just be a sub-population of individuals who have also eradicated the five lower fetters and are just one step from attaining Nibbana.

Thank you,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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