Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Buddha

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:29 am

Thanks AB. That is a very agreeable analysis.

I've just been reading Olivelle's translation of the Upanisads, and to my surprise I find an unusual use of "atman". Besides the 2 we are familiar with (ie as Atman and as a reflexive pronoun), it apparently also means "body". Not the physical body, for which śarīra is used (eg in BAU 2.1.18), but apparently to refer to the conglomeration of or vessel for the vital functions (prāṇa) -

- breath
- speech
- vision
- hearing
- olfaction
- taste
- touch
- mind
- perception
- thought

This looks about as close a listing to the MN 44 concept of the 3 sankhāras. I suspect that the Buddha was turning the old competition for supremacy between the prāṇas on its head, by showing that the breath is not supreme after all.
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:39 am

Sylvester wrote:I've just been reading Olivelle's translation of the Upanisads, and to my surprise I find an unusual use of "atman". Besides the 2 we are familiar with (ie as Atman and as a reflexive pronoun), it apparently also means "body". Not the physical body, for which śarīra is used (eg in BAU 2.1.18), but apparently to refer to the conglomeration of or vessel for the vital functions (prāṇa) -


In the Upaniṣads the Ātman and prāṇa are synonymous, or rather, prāṇa is descriptive of the support of Ātman to the living organism. This was also discussed in Brian Black’s The Character of Self in Ancient India: Priests, Kings and Women in the Early Upaniṣads, that ātman and prāṇa are ‘interdependent’, that “…the composers of the Upaniṣads did not associate the life breaths of the human body with the lungs, but rather the breaths are usually described in terms of how they move and where they operate within the body.” Black cites Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad I.3.19, I will give Radhakrisnan’s translation:

    “He is (called) Ayāsya Āṅgirasa for he is the essence of the limbs. Verily, life-breath is the essence of the limbs, yes, life breath is the essence of the limbs. Therefore, from whatever limb life-breath de[arts, that, indeed, dries up; for, it is, verily, the essence of the limbs.”

    so 'yāsya āṅgiraso 'ṅgānāṃ hi rasaḥ, prāṇo vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ, prāṇo hi vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ, tasmād yasmāt kasmāccāṅgāt prāṇa utkrāmati tad eva tac chuṣyati, eṣa hi vā aṅgānāṃ rasaḥ (BṛhUp_1,3.19)

Sylvester wrote:- breath
- speech
- vision
- hearing
- olfaction
- taste
- touch
- mind
- perception
- thought

This looks about as close a listing to the MN 44 concept of the 3 sankhāras. I suspect that the Buddha was turning the old competition for supremacy between the prāṇason its head, by showing that the breath is not supreme after all.


I’m not sure as yet how it would fit, but it also reminds me of the ‘body of the breath’ associated with ānāpānasati.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:08 am

Thanks AB!

Breath in the BAU strikes me as corresponding to MN 44's kāyasaṅkhāra, while speech has a tenuous connection to vacīsaṅkhāra. MN 44's cittasaṅkhāra concerns perception and feeling, and I wonder if that has any correspondence with the faculties, and perceiving (saṁjñāsti at BAU 2.4.12). To be certain, I've not actually seen feelings discussed much in the context of the prāṇa, except at BAU 2.4.11 where the sensory prāṇa are discussed in terms of sparśā/phassā .

Have you perchance seen feeling discussed as vedanā in the Ups?
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:20 pm

Sylvester wrote: Breath in the BAU strikes me as corresponding to MN 44's kāyasaṅkhāra …


Yes, that’s right, Dhammadinnā Theri’s dialogue with Visākha makes this distinction from the usual wholesome and unwholesome volitions for the 3 sankhāras.

Sylvester wrote:Have you perchance seen feeling discussed as vedanā in the Ups?


I haven't seen vedanā in the Upaniṣads in my search for corresponding terms in the Pāli Nikāyas. But Keith mentions that we wont find any.

Arthur Keith in The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upaniṣads – Vol. 2 mentions (translations of Keith's references are added for convenience):

    “On the side of feeling the terminology of the Upaniṣads marks a great advance in the normal employment of Sukha to denote pleasure generically and Duḥkha, based upon it, for misery. A generic term to cover both forms of feeling is not found before the Vedanā of the Pāli texts. But we have the definite statement [2] that, when a man experiences pleasure, he acts, when he experiences pain, he refrains from action, while the Kauṣītaki [3] asserts that pleasure and pain are felt by means of the body.”

    [2]Chāndogya Upaniṣad VII.22 (translation – S. Radhakrishnan)

    “When one obtains happiness (sukhaṃ), then one is active (karoti). One who does not obtain happiness is not active.

    yadā vai sukhaṃ labhate’tha karoti, nāsukhaṃ labdhvā karoti …

    [3] Kauṣītaki-Brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad I.7

    “…‘By what, pleasure and pain?’ ‘By the Body.’…”

    …kena sukha-duḥkhe iti, śarīreṇeti …

However, this does not give us what we are looking for with reference to vedanā or an equivalent to it in the Upaniṣads, but rather the somatic base for it.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:08 am

Very much obliged!

Given your research into the philological correspondences, are you any closer to solving that wretched anidassanaṃ viññāṇaṃ issue? Of the phenomena which DN 11 says are brought to an end with the cessation of consciousness -

Ettha dīghañca rassañca, aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
Ettha nāmañca rūpañca, asesaṃ uparujjhati;

Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.


we find an precedent in Yājnavalkya's reply to Gārgi's query on the basis of space (ākāśā). Taking Olivelle's translation -

sa hovāca: etad vai tad akṣaram, gārgī, brāhmaṇā abhivadanti, asthῡlam, anaṇu, ahrasvam, adīrgham, alohitam, asneham, acchāyam, atamaḥ, avāyv anākāśam, asaṅgam, arasam, agandham, acakṣuṣkam, aśrotram, avāk, amanaḥ, atejaskam, aprāṇam, amukham, amātram, anantaram, abāhyam; na tad aśnāti kiṁ cana, na tad aśnāti kaś cana.

He replied: 'That, Gārgi, is the imperishable (akṣaram), and Brahmins refer to it like this - it is neither coarse nor fine (asthῡlam, anaṇu); it is neither short nor long (ahrasvam, adīrgham); it has neither fat nor blood (not in DN 11); it is without shadow or darkness (acchāyam, atamaḥ - perhaps idiomatic for day and night?); it is without air or space; it is without contact; it has no taste or smell; it is without sight or hearing; it is without speech or mind; it is without energy, breath or mouth; it is beyond measure; it has nothing within it or outside of it; it does not eat anything; and no one eats it.


2 pairs are in common in DN 11 and BAU 3.8.8, not counting a tenuous half in sneha possibly corresponding to subha. Certainly not enough out of which to make a mountain of dogma, but intriguing nonetheless.
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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby ancientbuddhism » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:25 am

The subject of ‘viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ…’ is one of those controversies that keeps on giving.

The verse at Bṛh.U. III.8.8 is an interesting find. If only this section gave the ‘Imperishable’ (akṣaram) the attribute of possessing ‘nothing but knowledge’ (vijñāna-ghana), as we find earlier in Bṛh.U. II.4.12, to connect it well with the sections in DN.11 & MN. 49 of the Nikāyas.

In Bṛh.U. II.4.12 the Self is considered as a great being consisting of nothing but knowledge (evaṃ vā ara idaṃ mahad bhūtam anatam apāraṃ vijñāna-ghana), and is immersed into the corporeal and permeates it as were a lump of salt into water. With the departing of Self, so departs knowledge.

Two verses later (II.4.14), this is explained, that ‘where there is duality’ (yatra hi dvaitram iva bhavati): one smells another, sees another, hears another, speaks to another, thinks of another, understands another…although where everything has become unified with Self (sarvam ātmaivābhūt), the question is asked ‘by what and whom should one smell … ect. … whereas the Ātman is then indicated as the knower of all that is known:

    “By what should one know that by which all this is known? By what, my dear, should one know the knower?”

    …yenedam sarvaṃ vijānāti, taṃ kena vijānīyāt, vijñātāram are kena vijānīyād iti.” (Bṛh.U. II.4.14)

This is consistent with the Ātman as ultimate knower. But could this indicate a vijñāna as attribute of Ātman that is transcended from the corporeal? It would seem so. Even though the Tathāgata did restrict viññāṇa within the range of the khandhas and āyatanā of sense-contact, in the Upaniṣads vijñāna was not.

Although these are separate exchanges of dialogue, Bṛh.U. II.4 & III.8., the context is still the dynamic of Ātman, immersed in the corporeal but not touched by it, attributes notwithstanding. We know that the Tathāgata used the manner of philosophical exchange in his day, and in some cases made direct puns on contemporary doctrinal idiom. This may well be one of those. But as you say, ‘Certainly not enough out of which to make a mountain of dogma, but intriguing nonetheless.’ Even still, I’ll bookmark it for later.

I did notice later in the section you cited, Bṛh.U. III.8.11, another Upaniṣadic idiom that the Tathāgata punched at some. That is dṛṣṭe, śrute, mate, vijñāte, that I mentioned after the earlier comment on Vaccagotta here. This came up at least twice that I know of in the Nikāyas at MN.22 and AN.4.24. What makes this occurrence interesting is that this verse says that the ‘Imperishable’ (akṣaram):

    “…is unseen but is the seer, is unheard but is the hearer, unthought but is the thinker, unknown but is the knower. There is no other seer but this, there is no other hearer but this, there is no other thinker but this, there is no other knower but this.”

    …tad vā etad akṣaraṃ gārgy adṛṣṭaṃ draṣṭṛ, aśrutaṃ śrotṛ, amataṃ mantṛ, avijñātaṃ vijñātṛ, nānyad ato 'sti draṣṭṛ, nānyad ato 'sti śrotṛ, nānyad ato 'sti mantṛ,nānyad ato 'sti vijñātṛ

Which seems to be reflected in AN. 4.24 where the Tathāgata says:

    “Thus it is, bhikkhus, when the Tathāgata sees what is to be seen; he does not imagine the seen, does not imagine the not-seen, does not imagine what is to be seen, and does not imagine a seer. When hearing what is to be heard; does not imagine the heard, does not imagine the not-heard, does not imagine what is to be heard, and does not imagine a hearer. When thinking what is to be thought; does not imagine the thought, does not imagine the not-thought, does not imagine what is to be thought, and does not imagine a thinker. When cognizing what is to be cognized; does not imagine the cognized, does not imagine the not-cognized, does not imagine what is to be cognized, and does not imagine a cognizer.

    Iti kho, bhikkhave, tathāgato daṭṭhā daṭṭhabbaṃ, diṭṭhaṃ na maññati, adiṭṭhaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhabbaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhāraṃ na maññati; sutvā sotabbaṃ, sutaṃ na maññati, asutaṃ na maññati, sotabbaṃ na maññati, sotāraṃ na maññati; mutvā motabbaṃ, mutaṃ na maññati, amutaṃ na maññati, motabbaṃ na maññati, motāraṃ na maññati; viññatvā viññātabbaṃ, viññātaṃ na maññati, aviññātaṃ na maññati, viññātabbaṃ na maññati, viññātāraṃ na maññati.

Another strike at the Ātman as just another form of papañca.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā
.

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

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Re: Excellent old book:George Grimm, The doctrine of the Bud

Postby Sylvester » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:46 am

Thanks AB! I was always intrigued by those suttas, which instead of laying all 6 sensory activities on the table, speak only of the diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ mutaṃ viññātaṃ. It was not until I chanced upon the same set in the Upanisads that the linguistic echo solidified into evidence of the Buddha reacting to the prevailing concept of Ātman and prāṇa.
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