Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

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

Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby beeblebrox » Tue May 20, 2014 2:40 pm

vinasp wrote: Here I am trying to reconstruct what people believed in the early period,
around the time of the Brahmajala Sutta, before the rebirth doctrine had
yet been developed.[conjectural.]


Hi Vinasp,

The idea of rebirth was around before the Buddha... one of its main uses was to try justify the castes, or "births." I think it probably takes the kind of mindset which was present during the time of the Buddha to really appreciate fully the impact of what he said about the rebirths.

Steps in the development of the eternalist view.

1. There seems to be a present self.

2. This present self is real.

3. This real present self is eternal.

To lose the eternalist view, re-consider step 3, [do you really know that?] [how do you know?], have doubts about it, then reject it.

Steps in the development of the annihilationist view.

1. There seems to be a present self.

2. This present self is real.

3. This real present self came into existence at birth, and will end at death.

To lose the annihilationist view, reconsider step 3, have doubts about it,
then reject it.

To make both views untenable, reconsider step 2, have doubts about it,
then reject it.


Just study when the dukkha would arise, and when it would cease, which was what the Buddha taught as explained in the Kaccayanagotta Sutta.

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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Wed May 21, 2014 7:49 am

Hi beeblebrox,

Quote: "The idea of rebirth was around before the Buddha ..."

You have misunderstood what I am saying. The correct term for the beliefs about past and future
lives before the Buddha started teaching is reincarnation.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Wed May 21, 2014 7:51 am

Hi everyone,

It seems that there is a lot of confusion about what sakkaya-ditthi actually is. Many who have written on the subject of Theravada teachings, including
myself, have contributed to this confusion.
The problem can be traced back to the Sutta Pitaka itself and the way that it
speaks of sakkaya and sakkaya-ditthi.

WHAT IS SAKKAYA?

The term sakkaya can mean the five aggregates of clinging -See MN 44
There is also an earlier use of the term in connection with the six sense
spheres and all that arises from them - See MN 148.16

It probably means the apparent self which results from the habit of regarding
things as self.

The term has been translated in many different ways, Thanissaro uses
"self-identification", bhikkhu Bodhi uses "identity".

Thanissaro's translation of MN 44 - first section:

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

These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."................................................

Bhikkhu Bodhis translation of MN 44 - first section 44.2

"Lady, 'identity, identity' is said. What is called identity by the Blessed
One?"
"Friend Visakha, these five aggregates affected by clinging are called
identity by the Blessed One; ....."

HOW DOES SAKKAYA COME TO BE?

This question is asked in several places and there seems to be two different
answers:

1. Sakkaya originates from regarding things as self.[example: SN 22.44]
2. Sakkaya originates from craving. [example SN 22.103, 22.105]

WHAT IS SAKKAYA-DITTHI?

It would seem that nowhere in the four nikayas are we told what it actually is.
This is, in itself, somewhat puzzling.

HOW DOES SAKKAYA-DITTHI COME TO BE?

The passages which ask this question, and give the answer, seem to be a
modification of a stock passage about how sakkaya comes to be. The word ditthi
has simply been inserted. [see for example MN 109.10]

This results in the odd situation that both sakkaya and sakkaya-ditthi come
to be in exactly the same way.

It is therefore no surprise that many commentators (including myself) have at
times thought that they are the same thing.

However, it could be that sakkaya must become established first before
sakkaya-ditthi can be formed, this would mean that sakkaya-ditthi is the view
of the already established apparent self.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed May 21, 2014 8:24 am

vinasp wrote: To make both views untenable, reconsider step 2, have doubts about it,
then reject it.


OK, but I don't see how that's incompatible with the dependent arising of consciousness described by the teachings on rebirth.

Could you say in a nutshell what misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi you're addressing in this thread? I'm still not clear.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby Mkoll » Wed May 21, 2014 8:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
vinasp wrote: To make both views untenable, reconsider step 2, have doubts about it,
then reject it.


OK, but I don't see how that's incompatible with the dependent arising of consciousness described by the teachings on rebirth.

Could you say in a nutshell what misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi you're addressing in this thread? I'm still not clear.

Me neither. I don't understand how there can be a misunderstanding of something that is not yet understood. Phew!

:shrug:
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby cooran » Wed May 21, 2014 8:34 am

Hello all,

There are many kinds of Sakaya-ditthi
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/s_ ... ditthi.htm

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Wed May 21, 2014 9:32 am

Hi Spiny Norman,

Quote:"OK, but I don't see how that's incompatible with the dependent arising of consciousness described by the teachings on rebirth."

When I said that the stream-winner no longer believes in past and future lives,
it was meant in the reincarnation sense which requires a permanent, unchanging
self. I do not see how anyone can actually believe in (literal) rebirth while they still believe in a self.

Quote:"Could you say in a nutshell what misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi you're addressing in this thread? I'm still not clear."

1. The misunderstanding that sakkaya-ditthi is all views of self.
2. The misunderstanding that sakkaya-ditthi is a set of twenty views of self.

I do not think that anyone understands what it is, and the four nikayas do not say what it is.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Wed May 21, 2014 9:50 am

Hi cooran,

Quote:"There are many kinds of Sakaya-ditthi" plus link.

That seems to be the entry on sakkaya-ditthi in Nyanatiloka's Buddhist
Dictionary, page 182. First published in 1952.

That seems to be his interpretation of MN 44, these twenty ways of regarding the five aggregates are given as the answer to the question - How does identity view come to be? It is not saying what identity-view actually is.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby beeblebrox » Wed May 21, 2014 2:55 pm

vinasp wrote:You have misunderstood what I am saying. The correct term for the beliefs about past and future
lives before the Buddha started teaching is reincarnation.


So, what is the difference in between reincarnation and rebirth? Maybe that might answer your question.

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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Thu May 22, 2014 7:50 am

Hi everyone,

The Isidatta Sutta [SN 41.3] says that there is also a set of ten views which depend on sakkaya-ditthi and cease when it ceases.

1. The world is eternal.
2. The world is not eternal.
3. The world is finite.
4. The world is infinite.
5. The soul and body are the same.
6. The soul is one thing, the body another.
7. The tathagata exists after death.
8. The tathagata does not exist after death.
9. The tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.
10. The tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.

Elsewhere, it is said that if one holds any of these views then there is
no "holy living" [elsewhere said to mean the noble eightfold path.]

But why would holding any of these views prevent one from becoming a
stream-winner, or prevent one from entering the noble eightfold path?

Some insight may be found in a sutta called "Yamaka" [SN 22.85].

The monk Yamaka, who is not yet a stream-winner, holds the view that a
bhikkhu whose taints (asavas) are destroyed, does not exist after death.

When the Venerable Sariputta explains the Dhamma to him then Yamaka
becomes a stream-winner.

What did Ven Sariputta explain? Simply that a tathagata is inconceivable
even while alive. Cannot be said to exist, to not exist, or both, or neither.

Yamaka, in saying that he does not exist after death, is assuming that he
does exist before death, which is a misunderstanding of enlightenment.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby bharadwaja » Thu May 22, 2014 8:01 am

vinasp wrote:When the Venerable Sariputta explains the Dhamma to him then Yamaka
becomes a stream-winner.

What did Ven Sariputta explain? Simply that a tathagata is inconceivable
even while alive. Cannot be said to exist, to not exist, or both, or neither.

Yamaka, in saying that he does not exist after death, is assuming that he
does exist before death, which is a misunderstanding of enlightenment

Brilliant.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 22, 2014 8:24 am

vinasp wrote: Yamaka, in saying that he does not exist after death, is assuming that he
does exist before death, which is a misunderstanding of enlightenment.


It could be more subtle than that:

"And so, my friend Yamaka — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death'?"
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Fri May 23, 2014 3:18 pm

Hi everyone,

I have found a sutta which explains how to abandon identity-view
(sakkaya-ditthi) - SN 35.166

".........Venerable sir, how should one know, how should one see, for
identity view to be abandoned?
Bhikkhu, when one knows and sees the eye as impermanent, identity view
is abandoned...."[repeat for visible object, eye-consciousness, eye contact
................mind, mind object, mind consciousness, mind contact etc.]

My (tentative) interpretation:

When one sees that the things that self is identified with can vanish, then
one sees that self can vanish.

Identity view assumes a stable self and projects it's end into the future.

But if self can end at any time then identity view must be wrong.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby beeblebrox » Fri May 23, 2014 4:58 pm

vinasp wrote:But if self can end at any time then identity view must be wrong.


I think "wrong" might be inappropriate word for it... it is something that exists, after all.

It's just not right for the practice. It leads to suffering when attached to, especially when it's falling apart... and then it becomes a trouble to maintain.

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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat May 24, 2014 12:48 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

I have found a sutta which explains how to abandon identity-view
(sakkaya-ditthi) - SN 35.166

".........Venerable sir, how should one know, how should one see, for
identity view to be abandoned?
Bhikkhu, when one knows and sees the eye as impermanent, identity view
is abandoned...."[repeat for visible object, eye-consciousness, eye contact
................mind, mind object, mind consciousness, mind contact etc.]



Isn't this just a variation on the usual formulation, eg here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Sat May 24, 2014 3:17 pm

Hi Spiny,

Quote:"Isn't this just a variation on the usual formulation, eg here:..."

Yes. But it is not often said that seeing impermanence in eye, ear, etc or in
form, feeling, perception etc, is a way of abandoning sakkaya-ditthi.

Besides, the three marks will take one all the way to the destruction of the asavas.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 24, 2014 7:01 pm

vinasp wrote:Yes. But it is not often said that seeing impermanence in eye, ear, etc or in
form, feeling, perception etc, is a way of abandoning sakkaya-ditthi.


I think it is said quite often in the suttas, even in the first sermon.

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

...

Then the Blessed One exclaimed: "So you really know, Kondañña? So you really know?" And that is how Ven. Kondañña acquired the name Añña-Kondañña — Kondañña who knows.

-SN 56.11


That's stream-entry. He later attained arahantship.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Sat May 24, 2014 7:40 pm

Hi Mkoll,

"Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."

Spot on!

That is what the stream-winner sees. All this stuff about three fetters and
sakkaya-ditthi is just a huge distraction.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Sun May 25, 2014 7:32 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is a sutta [SN 12.41] which explicitly states that if a noble disciple fully understands Dependent Origination, then he may declare himself to be a
stream-winner. The sutta is spoken to a lay follower.

It is too long for me to type it all into this post, so I will try to compress it while still showing the structure.

SN 12.41 - Five Fearful Animosities (1).

At Savattha. Then the householder Anathapindika approached the Blessed One,
paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

"Householder, when five fearful animosities have subsided in a noble disciple,
and he possesses the four factors of stream-entry, and he has clearly seen and
thoroughly penetrated with wisdom the noble method, if he wishes he could by
himself declare of himself:'I am one finished with hell, finished with the
animal realm, finished with the domain of ghosts, finished with the plane of
misery, the bad destinations, the nether world. I am a stream-enterer, no
longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny, with enlightenment as
my destination.'

"What are the five fearful animosities that have subsided?" [compressed]
1. The anxiety about the future in one who destroys life.
2. The anxiety about the future in one who takes what is not given.
3. .......... who engages in sexual misconduct......
4. ...........who speaks falsely.......
5. ...........who indulges in wine, liquor, and intoxicants ....

"What are the four factors of stream-entry that he possesses?
1. .......... confidence in the Buddha .........
2............ confidence in the Dhamma .........
3. ...........confidence in the sangha .........
4. ...........he possesses the virtues dear to the noble ones ...

"And what is the noble method that he has clearly seen and thoroughly
penetrated with wisdom?
Here, householder, the noble disciple attends closely and carefully to
dependent origination itself thus: 'When this exists, that comes to be,
with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does
not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.

That is, with ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be];
with volitional formations as condition, consciousness ......Such is the
origin of this whole mass of suffering.

But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes
cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional
formations, cessation of consciousness ......Such is the cessation of this
whole mass of suffering."

This is the noble method that he has clearly seen and thoroughly penetrated
with wisdom.

[Repeat opening paragraph.]

[CDB Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 578.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Misunderstanding of sakaya-ditthi.

Postby vinasp » Mon May 26, 2014 10:49 am

Hi everyone,

As I was reading SN 12.41 yesterday I noticed something.

"I am one finished with hell ...." Bhikkhu Bodhi.

"I am he for whom purgatory is perished ...." PTS Rhys Davids.

There is an ambiguity here, such a statement can be understood in two ways:

1. Hell realy exists, but I know that I will not be going there.

2. I no longer believe in hell, so I know that I will not be going there.

The "three-lives" interpretation of dependent origination only works when the items are considered in the arising mode. When considering the cessation of these items it makes no sense, instead the items need to be understood in the present.

So requiring a stream-winner to understand dependent cessation could be a way of forcing him to drop the belief in past and future lives.

Regards, Vincent.
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