Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:19 am

Hello again, folks,
Retro, you said, "Speaking of complements, nibbana is asankhata, which means unformed. "
I actually knew that, thanks to this thread, :smile: and it was one of the sources of my complement. But I kept on thinking about it ...
Complementing my complement, I just got:
All compounded things are associated with suffering, or, if you prefer, 'All formations are associated with suffering.'
I could get to like that as a translation of 'Sabbe sankhara dukkha'.
I still can't accept, 'All formations are suffering.' The verb is wrong if you take the most obvious meaning of the sentence (because formations are a source of suffering if/when we cling to them, not suffering per se), so the sentence is, at best, misleading. (One could, at a stretch, grant the statement some kind of metaphorical truth, e.g. 'formations are suffering' in the same way 'ice-cream is bliss,' but a sentence which is going to be misinterpreted by 99.97% of its readers is a terrible teaching tool.)
And it's worth noting that there is no verb, as far as I can see, in the Pali statement. The connection between sankhara and dukkha is therefore unstated, as far as I can see.
:meditate:
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:53 am

Pali does not parse in the same way that a European language does.
This alone gives rise to all sorts of problems in translation.
The need to force Pali and Sanskrit into English grammatical conventions distorts the meaning, sometimes grossly sometimes subtley.
Its one of the reasons why its a good idea to learn at least the major concepts in the Pali.
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:00 pm

PeterB wrote:Pali does not parse in the same way that a European language does.
This alone gives rise to all sorts of problems in translation.
The need to force Pali and Sanskrit into English grammatical conventions distorts the meaning, sometimes grossly sometimes subtley.
Its one of the reasons why its a good idea to learn at least the major concepts in the Pali.

Hi, Peter,
I can understand that position but can't totally agree with it.
One reason: Westerners will typically come to Buddhism through a Western language. If the very fundamentals of the teachings can't be expressed to them in their own language, they face a barrier which, as a teacher, I see as an extraneous impediment to their progress and I would therefore like to demolish.
Another: If we 'learn it in the Pali' we still have a translation difficulty: we may learn the meaning of an individual term but, as we are seeing now, still think in English grammatical formations. 'Learning it in the Pali' can only really work if we learn the whole language well enough to think in it - not a challenge many of us will meet.
Another: If people like us at DW, with more than a passing knowledge of the dhamma, can't communicate it accurately to each other, how sound is our knowledge?

I have a long-held belief that anyone who truly knows his/her subject can explain it clearly to anyone willing to listen - and 'clearly' doesn't include recourse to exotic technical words, whether Pali or technobabble.
The bottom line is that while I'm willing enough to learn some of the Pali terms for myself, I would still like to be able to have all the key concepts explained in straightforward English ... for the benefit of all.
:namaste:
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:16 pm

The fact is Kim O Hara Buddhadhamma is only renderable in the form of words as a last resort.
Even the Buddha hesitated because of the daunting task he foresaw in translating what he experienced in the form of words.
Buddhadhamma is a not a philosophy. Its something you do.

Concepts like dukkha can only be hinted at by language. The word is the rough hewn outer expression of an Insight that arises with the appropriate meditation practice. No amount of " demolishing " will alter that fact.

The Insight that arises as a result of Vipassana or by Samatha is both the meta language of Dhamma and the objective of it.

Buddhist philosophy only makes real sense in retrospect as the result of extensive practice.
Hence the need for Saddha..another Pali term....ususally translated as "faith" but that raises yet more problems because of its connotation with belief.
It actually is more to do with being willing to hold a provisional position poorly expressed in words, until meditation practice bears fruit.
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:22 pm

" How sound is our knowledge of it ? ".......very unsound. Even for those who are well aquainted with the concepts embodied in the Dhamma. Even for those with a thorough knowledge of Pali. And that will remain the case for most of us for some considerable time. Possibly lifetimes.
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:03 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:I don't even want to talk about this topic. Just read this and learn all about concepts: http://www.abhidhamma.org/sujin3.htm
Interesting, but it still does change the fact that if it is a concept, it is conditioned, but then dhammas are, indeed, conditioned.

sure concepts are conditioned. Speaking conventionally you can say "life is dukkha". That is conventional speech, and it is true. But being more precise, we use ultimate terms, showing the difference between concepts and realities.

The more panna accumulated in your citta, the less instruction and detail you need. The less accumulated, the more you need. That's all. In general, suttas were preached to the Buddhas greatest disciples. You don't see "Great Disciples" around any more or people with mastery of jhana very often do you?

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:06 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:And being concepts they are conditioned.

(and in the absence of a response from Virgo...)

Concepts are sankhata (i.e. formed, fabricated, conditioned...)

Sabbe sankhara dukkha (i.e. all formations are dukkha)

"Self" is a formed concept too.

If we deliberately ignore and exclude concepts from our investigations, how will we ever know that... "All conditioned things are impermanent. All conditioned things are suffering. All dhammas (all things conditioned and unconditioned) are anatta"?

The answer is that we won't.

Concepts are if anything the most important things to investigate since that's where our false perception of "self" exists. It doesn't exist in rocks and colours. It exists in the prolific.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Speaking conventionally it is true, but it is as I said before; the more paramattha terms the better because we are not as wise.

How many sotapannnas do you know Retro? Is the community of bhikkhus near your 500 enlightened Arahants, some with the higher powers? I think that proves my point.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:13 pm

acinteyyo wrote:I mean since the ultimately real things are in fact dukkha, shouldn't then an imagination, an individual "dreaming up" be dukkha a fortiori or do you want to say that a concept doesn't even have the characteristic of being dukkha?

kevin wrote:Correct.

Kevin
Sorry, I do not understand. What is correct, the first part or the second.
1. Shouldn't an imagination, an idividual "dreaming up" be dukkha?
or
They are not dukkha. They have no characteristics. But, they can condition ditthi to arise, aversion to arise, lobha to arise, and moha to arise again in those that are not enlightened.


Arahants still have concepts and Arahants are beyond dukkha. However, those concepts do not condition any dukkha or any unwholesomeness at all. Why? Arahants have stopped clinging to everything. How? Because satipatthana arose in them that so the anicca, anatta, or dukkha, characteristic of paramattha dhammas so many times that wisdom finally turned to the unconditioned element and had the conditions to see it. That is what happens when one becomes and Ariya.

With metta,
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:I don't even want to talk about this topic. Just read this and learn all about concepts: http://www.abhidhamma.org/sujin3.htm
Interesting, but it still does change the fact that if it is a concept, it is conditioned, but then dhammas are, indeed, conditioned.

sure concepts are conditioned. Speaking conventionally you can say "life is dukkha". That is conventional speech, and it is true. But being more precise, we use ultimate terms, showing the difference between concepts and realities.
One does not need the Abhidhamma for that, and do not forget that "realities" is naught more than a conceptual construct when used properly will show that the nature of experience is a dynamic, interdependent flow without "existants."

The more panna accumulated in your citta
Paññā is not a matter of accumulation; it is a matter of letting go as the result of vipassana, insight, cultivated via bhāvanā supported by sila.

In general, suttas were preached to the Buddhas greatest disciples.
The suttas do not support that claim.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:17 pm

Virgo wrote: Speaking conventionally it is true, but it is as I said before; the more paramattha terms the better because we are not as wise.

How many sotapannnas do you know Retro? Is the community of bhikkhus near your 500 enlightened Arahants, some with the higher powers? I think that proves my point.
And how many do you know as a result of the Sujin type Abhidhamma you practice?

Using numbers like that is a logical fallacy. Though not a big fan of Nanavira, I agree with this assessment: "Not the least of the dangers of the facile and fallacious notion 'truth in the highest sense' is its power to lull the unreflecting mind into a false sense of security. The unwary thinker comes to believe that he understands what, in fact, he does not understand, and thereby effectively blocks his own progress."
- Nanavira Thera on the notion of paramattha sacca

This is not to say that the use of the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts cannot be efficacious, but it does point to the serious potential of a snake mishandled.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:28 pm

Virgo wrote: Arahants have stopped clinging to everything. How? Because satipatthana arose in them that so the anicca, anatta, or dukkha, characteristic of paramattha dhammas so many times that wisdom finally turned to the unconditioned element and had the conditions to see it. That is what happens when one becomes and Ariya.

"Arahants have stopped clinging to everything. How?" Because by their own effort arahants cultivated satipatthāna bhāvanā. Let us be very careful about not reifying the concept dhātu, "element." And do not forget that that nibbana is a cognition and not some objective thing outside the person who has ended greed, hatred, and ignorance, which is the teaching of the sutttas, which are a wiser source of Dhamma, by your admission, than the Abhidhamma.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:35 pm

Hi all,

I don't see any further benefit for the topic in the discussion about concepts and paramattha dhammas.
I want to highlight something I mentioned on the first page. I think that in order to really experience that all determinations are suffering one must not ignore the other two statements, that all determinations are impermanent and all things are not-self.
MN22 wrote:"What do you think, monks: is corporeality permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, Lord." — "And what is impermanent, is it painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, Lord." — "What is impermanent, painful, subject to change, is it fit to be considered thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?" — "Certainly not, Lord." — "What do you think, monks: Is feeling... is perception... are mental formations... is consciousness... permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, Lord." — "And what is impermanent, is it painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, Lord." — "And what is impermanent, painful, subject to change, is it fit to be considered thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self?" — "Certainly not, Lord."

anicca, dukkha and anatta belong together, truly seeing one means automatically seeing all three characteristics.
I don't think one can truly see one of these characteristics but not the others.

what do you think?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby bodom » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:59 pm

acinteyyo wrote:anicca, dukkha and anatta belong together, truly seeing one means automatically seeing all three characteristics. I don't think one can truly see one of these characteristics but not the others.


Ajahn Chah reiterated this fact over an over again in his talks. Anicca is the gateway into seeing dukkha and anatta. When you see anicca you see all three.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:sure concepts are conditioned. Speaking conventionally you can say "life is dukkha". That is conventional speech, and it is true. But being more precise, we use ultimate terms, showing the difference between concepts and realities.
One does not need the Abhidhamma for that, and do not forget that "realities" is naught more than a conceptual construct when used properly will show that the nature of experience is a dynamic, interdependent flow without "existants."


So nothing exists?

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:The more panna accumulated in your citta
Paññā is not a matter of accumulation

It is called Upinisayya Pacaya - Natural Decisive Support Condition http://dhammasnippets.webs.com/a.htm

In general, suttas were preached to the Buddhas greatest disciples.
The suttas do not support that claim.

Their Commentaries do.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote: Speaking conventionally it is true, but it is as I said before; the more paramattha terms the better because we are not as wise.

How many sotapannnas do you know Retro? Is the community of bhikkhus near your 500 enlightened Arahants, some with the higher powers? I think that proves my point.
And how many do you know as a result of the Sujin type Abhidhamma you practice?

You miss the point, which is that people in general these days have less wisdom.

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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote: And do not forget that that nibbana is a cognition and not some objective thing outside the person who has ended greed, hatred, and ignorance, which is the teaching of the sutttas, which are a wiser source of Dhamma, by your admission, than the Abhidhamma.

I don't fall into that trap. I tend to look at the things from the perspective of looking at the whole Tipitaka.


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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:40 pm

bodom wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:anicca, dukkha and anatta belong together, truly seeing one means automatically seeing all three characteristics. I don't think one can truly see one of these characteristics but not the others.


Ajahn Chah reiterated this fact over an over again in his talks. Anicca is the gateway into seeing dukkha and anatta. When you see anicca you see all three.

:anjali:

I totally agree :D
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:27 pm

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:sure concepts are conditioned. Speaking conventionally you can say "life is dukkha". That is conventional speech, and it is true. But being more precise, we use ultimate terms, showing the difference between concepts and realities.
One does not need the Abhidhamma for that, and do not forget that "realities" is naught more than a conceptual construct when used properly will show that the nature of experience is a dynamic, interdependent flow without "existants."


So nothing exists?
The Buddha was quite clear in rejecting the dualistic option between nothing exists and something exists.

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:The more panna accumulated in your citta
Paññā is not a matter of accumulation

It is called Upinisayya Pacaya - Natural Decisive Support Condition http://dhammasnippets.webs.com/a.htm[/quote]It is a matter of letting go based upon the insight cultivate by meditation practice and mindfulness practice in one's daily life. The suttas are a bit wiser here than what you are offering us.

you wrote:
you wrote:In general, suttas were preached to the Buddhas greatest disciples.
I wrote:The suttas do not support that claim.
Their Commentaries do.
Not that you have shown. I'll go with the more wise suttas on this.


Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: And do not forget that that nibbana is a cognition and not some objective thing outside the person who has ended greed, hatred, and ignorance, which is the teaching of the sutttas, which are a wiser source of Dhamma, by your admission, than the Abhidhamma.

I don't fall into that trap. I tend to look at the things from the perspective of looking at the whole Tipitaka.
So, you do recognize that nibbana is not a thing, but is rather a cognition. Very good.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:30 pm

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote: Speaking conventionally it is true, but it is as I said before; the more paramattha terms the better because we are not as wise.

How many sotapannnas do you know Retro? Is the community of bhikkhus near your 500 enlightened Arahants, some with the higher powers? I think that proves my point.
And how many do you know as a result of the Sujin type Abhidhamma you practice?

You miss the point, which is that people in general these days have less wisdom.
That may be; however, the suttas are quite appropriate as teachings and have the benefit of not getting lost in the dualism of: "Speaking conventionally it is true, but it is as I said before; the more paramattha terms the better because we are not as wise." And do keep in mind, I am not advocating non-dualism which no less a trap than is the dualism you are espousing.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:40 pm

Greetings acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:truly seeing one means automatically seeing all three characteristics.


I've heard that too. In fact, I've also heard that one only truly sees them fully with stream-entry... which, if true, almost seems to lead to a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

:juggling:

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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