Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

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

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:06 am

Hi Retro

retrofuturist wrote: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.


I don't believe so. At least for me, its an iterative process. One begins by observing anicca. As one develops one's sensitivity towards the anicca characteristic in phenomena, both dukkha and anatta characteristics becomes increasingly evident, increasing familiarity and knowledge of one support the knowledge of all until culmination as an ariya. And I want to make it clear I am not claiming to be an ariya.
I think this process of gradual realization is inferred also in the nine vipassana nanas.
metta

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

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:40 am

retrofuturist wrote: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. :)

At stream-entry one finally passes through all the final stages of insight, so one will see the anicca, anatta, or dukkha aspect clearer than ever before. This will finally condition the citta to turn away from conditioned dhammas fully and take the unconditioned element as object. There will be maga and phala moments. Then one is aware that three fetters are gone.

Nibbana is very quick for one who attains stream entry. It only lasts 3 moments (one maga and two phala), or two moments (one maga and one phala) for some who have jhana. That is extremely quick. The individual is aware that it happened and that the fetters are now absent forever, never to arise again.

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

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:10 am

Virgo wrote:At stream-entry one finally passes through all the final stages of insight, so one will see the anicca, anatta, or dukkha aspect clearer than ever before.


Are you referring to the 16 stages of Insight Knowledge ?
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:13 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Virgo wrote:At stream-entry one finally passes through all the final stages of insight, so one will see the anicca, anatta, or dukkha aspect clearer than ever before.


Are you referring to the 16 stages of Insight Knowledge ?

Yes, David. Thank you for providing that link.

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

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:22 am

Virgo wrote:'Rocks' are not dukkha. But the components that make up the concept 'rock' are all dukkha. Such as color, hardness, and so on.


Hi Kevin,

Then how does the above fit with:

3. Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self.

(from the 16 Stages of Insight Knowledge)
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:29 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Virgo wrote:'Rocks' are not dukkha. But the components that make up the concept 'rock' are all dukkha. Such as color, hardness, and so on.


Hi Kevin,

Then how does the above fit with:

3. Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self.

(from the 16 Stages of Insight Knowledge)

Hi David. I believe I've explained this already. A rock is a concept. Concepts are never the object of satipatthana, only paramattha dhammas are. Any of the eight inseparable rupas that appear, and which we label rock could be an object of insight, such as the color, the hardness, the temperature, and so on. The citta that has a concept as object or a cetasika in the process can be the object of satipatthana as well, but never a concept.

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

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:47 am

Greetings Kim,

Kim O'Hara wrote:Complementing my complement, I just got:
All compounded things are associated with suffering, or, if you prefer, 'All formations are associated with suffering.'


What you have discovered for yourself here is Dhamma - it is truth. It accords with your experience and you know it as such. That is good, and it is a valuable truth to know...

Kim O'Hara wrote:I could get to like that as a translation of 'Sabbe sankhara dukkha'.


... however, it's not the full meaning of "sabbe sankhara dukkha", so whilst you are right to take what you know as truth, do not become complacent about it and allow yourself to rest in that knowledge, without continuing to investigate further.

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: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:49 am

My apologies if this has already been quoted:

The meditator, however, does not perceive anything that is permanent and lasting, or free from destruction and disappearance.

Seeing how each object, even while being noticed, comes to destruction and disappearance, the meditator comprehends it as impermanent in the sense of undergoing destruction. He further comprehends it as suffering (painful) in the sense of breaking up after each arising. Having seen how various painful feelings arise in continuous succession — how if one painful feeling ceases, another arises, and when that has ceased, again another arises — having seen that, he comprehends the respective objects as just a conglomeration of suffering. Further, he comprehends the object as consisting of mere impersonal phenomena without a master, in the sense of not arising of (or by) themselves, but arising subject to conditions and then breaking up.

This comprehension of an object noticed, as being impermanent, painful, and without a self (impersonal), through knowing its nature of impermanency, etc., by means of simply noticing, without reflecting and reasoning, is called "knowledge by comprehension through direct experience."

Having thus seen the three characteristics once or several times by direct experience, the meditator, by inference from the direct experience of those objects noticed, comprehends all bodily and mental processes of the past, present, and future, and the whole world, by coming to the conclusion: "They, too, are in the same way impermanent, painful, and without a self." This is called "knowledge of comprehension by inference."

Alluding to this very knowledge, it is said in the Patisambhidamagga: "Whatever there is of materiality, past, present or future, internal or external, coarse or fine, inferior or superior, far or near, all materiality he defines as impermanent. That is one kind of comprehension," and so on.


The Progress of Insight
(Visuddhiñana-katha)
by
The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch4.3
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:15 am

Virgo wrote:
Hi David. I believe I've explained this already. A rock is a concept. Concepts are never the object of satipatthana, only paramattha dhammas are.
Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either. Dhammas are how we can talk about our experience after the fact, which means that "dhamma" is a conceptual structure used for talking about a type of meditative experience.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Kim,

Kim O'Hara wrote:Complementing my complement, I just got:
All compounded things are associated with suffering, or, if you prefer, 'All formations are associated with suffering.'


What you have discovered for yourself here is Dhamma - it is truth. It accords with your experience and you know it as such. That is good, and it is a valuable truth to know...

Thank you, Retro. :bow:

retrofuturist wrote:... however, it's not the full meaning of "sabbe sankhara dukkha", so whilst you are right to take what you know as truth, do not become complacent about it and allow yourself to rest in that knowledge, without continuing to investigate further.

Okay, investigating further (I was going to ask this anyway :smile: ) --
What is the logical relationship between "sankhara" and "dukkha" in "sabbe sankhara dukkha"?
I have opted for "is associated with" rather than "is", but is any more-specific relationship implicit in the verb-less conjunction in the Pali? "Is caused by" or "causes" or "is subject to" or "is created by" or any such connection?
It's a question I should have asked earlier.
:namaste:
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Re: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:26 am

Greetings Kim,

Kim O'Hara wrote:Okay, investigating further (I was going to ask this anyway :smile: ) --
What is the logical relationship between "sankhara" and "dukkha" in "sabbe sankhara dukkha"?
I have opted for "is associated with" rather than "is", but is any more-specific relationship implicit in the verb-less conjunction in the Pali? "Is caused by" or "causes" or "is subject to" or "is created by" or any such connection?

I probably can't answer this question to your satisfaction since I'm not totally au fait with Pali grammar. What I do know, however, is that it doesn't always follow the grammatical structure of English. I remember when I was learning Italian in school, I found it interesting that the noun came before the descriptive word. It would be "chair yellow" rather than "yellow chair", and I've found that Pali can work like this at times. If it is working like Italian in this instance (which I suspect it is) dukkha is a description or quality of sankhara. So just like we don't need to say "chair are yellow" or "chair is yellow" and so on in order to attribute yellowness to it, there doesn't need to be an extra word wedged inbetween sankhara and dukkha in order for it to mean "all formations are suffering". That's probably as far as I can go in answering your question with my limited knowledge.

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: Sabbe sankhara dukkha - how to observe this Dhamma?

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:43 am

Hi tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either. Dhammas are how we can talk about our experience after the fact, which means that "dhamma" is a conceptual structure used for talking about a type of meditative experience.

As expressed in previous discussions, I find it hard to accept that your interpretation is actually borne out by theravadin texts. I make a case for a different interpretation in this thread.

Would be glad to hear on which particular points you disagree. Thanks.

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

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Kim,

Kim O'Hara wrote:Okay, investigating further (I was going to ask this anyway :smile: ) --
What is the logical relationship between "sankhara" and "dukkha" in "sabbe sankhara dukkha"?
I have opted for "is associated with" rather than "is", but is any more-specific relationship implicit in the verb-less conjunction in the Pali? "Is caused by" or "causes" or "is subject to" or "is created by" or any such connection?

I probably can't answer this question to your satisfaction since I'm not totally au fait with Pali grammar. What I do know, however, is that it doesn't always follow the grammatical structure of English. I remember when I was learning Italian in school, I found it interesting that the noun came before the descriptive word. It would be "chair yellow" rather than "yellow chair", and I've found that Pali can work like this at times. If it is working like Italian in this instance (which I suspect it is) dukkha is a description or quality of sankhara. So just like we don't need to say "chair are yellow" or "chair is yellow" and so on in order to attribute yellowness to it, there doesn't need to be an extra word wedged inbetween sankhara and dukkha in order for it to mean "all formations are suffering". That's probably as far as I can go in answering your question with my limited knowledge.
Metta,
Retro. :)

As far as I can tell, I think it's quite similar to what retro said.
It is a predicative construction consisting of two nouns and a verb.
Like "sabbe purise samane honti" meaning "All men are ascetics", but "honti" is not needed to say the same thing.
"sabbe purise samane" is enough also meaning "All men are ascetics". In the same way "sabbe sankhara dukkha (honti)" means "all formations are suffering".
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:06 am

retrofuturist wrote: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. :)

Hi retro,
it's probably like seeing avijja as avijja. Which reminds me of Ven. Ñanavira Theras Notes on paticcasamuppāda
A man with avijjā, practising reflexion, may identify 'self' with both reflexive and immediate experience, or with reflexive experience alone, or with immediate experience alone. He does not conclude that neither is 'self', and the reason is clear: it is not possible to get outside avijjā by means of reflexion alone; for however much a man may 'step back' from himself to observe himself he cannot help taking avijjā with him. There is just as much avijjā in the self-observer as there is in the self-observed. And this is the very reason why avijjā is so stable in spite of its being sankhatā. Simply by reflexion the puthujjana can never observe avijjā and at the same time recognize it as avijjā; for in reflexion avijjā is the Judge as well as the Accused, and the verdict is always 'Not Guilty'. In order to put an end to avijjā, which is a matter of recognizing avijjā as avijjā, it is necessary to accept on trust from the Buddha a Teaching that contradicts the direct evidence of the puthujjana's reflexion. This is why the Dhamma is patisotagāmī (Majjhima iii,6 <M.i,168>), or 'going against the stream'. The Dhamma gives the puthujjana the outside view of avijjā, which is inherently unobtainable for him by unaided reflexion (in the ariyasāvaka this view has, as it were, 'taken' like a graft, and is perpetually available). Thus it will be seen that avijjā in reflexive experience (actual or potential) is the condition for avijjā in immediate experience. It is possible, also, to take a second step back and reflect upon reflexion; but there is still avijjā in this self-observation of self-observation, and we have a third layer of avijjā protecting the first two. And there is no reason in theory why we should stop here; but however far we go we shall not get beyond avijjā. The hierarchy of avijjā can also be seen from the Suttas in the following way.



Katamā pan'āvuso avijjā....
Yam kho āvuso dukkhe aññānam,
dukkhasamudaye aññānam,
dukkhanirodhe aññānam,
dukkhanirodhagāminīpatipadāya aññānam,
ayam vuccat'āvuso avijjā.
(Majjhima i,9 <M.i,54>)

Katamañ ca bhikkhave dukkham ariyasaccam...
Katamañ ca bhikkhave dukkhasamudayam ariyasaccam...
Katamañ ca bhikkhave dukkhanirodham ariyasaccam...
Katamañ ca bhikkhave dukkhanirodhagāminīpatipadā ariyasaccam.

Ayam eva ariyo atthangiko maggo,
seyyathīdam sammāditthi...
Katamā ca bhikkhave sammāditthi...
Yam kho bhikkhave dukkhe ñānam,
dukkhasamudaye ñānam,
dukkhanirodhe ñānam,
dukkhanirodhagāminīpatipadāya ñānam,
ayam vuccati bhikkhave sammāditthi.
(Dīgha ii,9 <D.ii,305-12>)

But which, friends, is nescience?...
That which is non-knowledge of suffering,
non-knowledge of arising of suffering,
non-knowledge of ceasing of suffering,
non-knowledge of the way that leads to ceasing of suffering,
this, friends, is called nescience.

And which, monks, is the noble truth of suffering...
And which, monks, is the noble truth of arising of suffering...
And which, monks, is the noble truth of ceasing of suffering...
And which, monks, is the noble truth of the way that leads to ceasing of suffering?

Just this noble eight-factored path,
that is to say: right view...
And which, monks, is right view?...
That which is knowledge of suffering,
knowledge of arising of suffering,
knowledge of ceasing of suffering,
knowledge of the way that leads to ceasing of suffering,
this, monks, is called right view.

Avijjā is non-knowledge of the four noble truths. Sammāditthi is knowledge of the four noble truths. But sammāditthi is part of the four noble truths. Thus avijjā is non-knowledge of sammāditthi; that is to say, non-knowledge of knowledge of the four noble truths. But since sammāditthi, which is knowledge of the four noble truths, is part of the four noble truths, so avijjā is non-knowledge of knowledge of knowledge of the four noble truths. And so we can go on indefinitely. But the point to be noted is that each of these successive stages represents an additional layer of (potentially) reflexive avijjā. Non-knowledge of knowledge of the four noble truths is non-knowledge of vijjā, and non-knowledge of vijjā is failure to recognize avijjā as avijjā. Conversely, it is evident that when avijjā is once recognized anywhere in this structure it must vanish everywhere; for knowledge of the four noble truths entails knowledge of knowledge of the four noble truths, and vijjā ('science') replaces avijjā ('nescience') throughout.

I think that's why one does only make little Dhamma-progress until the realisation of at least sotapatti. Because it's more a running in circles until the point when one finally has one's foot in the door of Dhamma.
I also agree with Ben,
Ben wrote:Hi Retro
retrofuturist wrote: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.
I don't believe so. At least for me, its an iterative process. One begins by observing anicca. As one develops one's sensitivity towards the anicca characteristic in phenomena, both dukkha and anatta characteristics becomes increasingly evident, increasing familiarity and knowledge of one support the knowledge of all until culmination as an ariya. And I want to make it clear I am not claiming to be an ariya.
I think this process of gradual realization is inferred also in the nine vipassana nanas.
metta
Ben

My experience is quite similar. I'm sure there's a connection between seeing avijja as avijja and seeing the three characteristics, which enables one who sees it for himself to release himself from (at least) the first three fetters for this reason.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:35 am

pt1 wrote:Hi tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either. Dhammas are how we can talk about our experience after the fact, which means that "dhamma" is a conceptual structure used for talking about a type of meditative experience.

As expressed in previous discussions, I find it hard to accept that your interpretation is actually borne out by theravadin texts. I make a case for a different interpretation in this thread.

Would be glad to hear on which particular points you disagree. Thanks.

Best wishes

Are you saying that calling a bit of experience a "dhamma" is not using a conceptual structure? A conceptual structure certainly can be used in practice, but the problem is assuming that they are referring to existent things and that experience is made up of real little real bits. Are saying there are little bits of existing things that pop into existence because of conditions and pop out of existence because of a change in conditions?
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.

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

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:19 am

Hi tilt,

Yes, I'm primarily concerned with this statement:
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either.

as I don't think that's what the texts are saying, but that they are closer to saying something like:
tiltbillings wrote:...there are little bits of existing things that pop into existence because of conditions and pop out of existence because of a change in conditions

Of course, I think a great precision is needed when using the terms "exist/don't exist" and "dhamma" together, which is why I think it deserves a thread of its own where this stuff can be explored in detail.

I have no objection to the other part of the message:
tiltbillings wrote: Dhammas are how we can talk about our experience after the fact, which means that "dhamma" is a conceptual structure used for talking about a type of meditative experience.

and
tiltbillings wrote:Are you saying that calling a bit of experience a "dhamma" is not using a conceptual structure? A conceptual structure certainly can be used in practice.

because I think we agreed before that both conventional or ultimate terminology can be used when describing the experience of insight.

And I agree that the problem has to do with:
tiltbillings wrote:assuming that they [pt: dhammas] are referring to existent things and that experience is made up of real little real bits

except that I believe that assuming this would be correct, within constraints described in the thread I started.

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

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Hi David. I believe I've explained this already. A rock is a concept. Concepts are never the object of satipatthana, only paramattha dhammas are.
Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either. Dhammas are how we can talk about our experience after the fact, which means that "dhamma" is a conceptual structure used for talking about a type of meditative experience.

Actually every citta has an object, wether paramattha or conceptual.

That you disagree with Abhidhamma is your own perogative; however, it might be better if you said something like, "I know abhidhamma says every citta has an object, but I disagree and I feel it is this way", or even, "that seems ridiculous to me; I think it is this way", or just, "how does abhidhamma explain this?"

But you always seem to say something along the lines of, "no, no, this is how it works, objects are just changing experience, citta doesn't have an object". Being that you are a moderator you should show due respect to the traditional way of the school of the board you moderate, even if you disagree with the idea and choose to put forth your disagreements.

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

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:16 pm

pt1 wrote:Hi tilt,

Yes, I'm primarily concerned with this statement:
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either.

as I don't think that's what the texts are saying, but that they are closer to saying something like:
Which texts?

A feeling - a vedanā - is experienced during a meditation session. If I label it it during that session, that is using a concept, and that labelling happens after the time of experiencing it. While the time between the initial experience of the vedanā and the labelling might be some very small fraction of a second, it still happens after the fact of the intial experience and the labelling still involves using a concept. The labelling is not the direct experience. Direct experience is not conceptual, does not involve to use of language.

During the duration of the vedanā, if we are attending without comment, with a clear, concentrated mindful mind (itself a process), is any instance of that vedanā exactly the same as any other? Not likely, for the obvious reasons it cannot be. While the general characteristics of the conditions that gives what can be called a vedanā can be seen to persist for a period, but there is nothing about any of this, as experienced, that is staic or individual.

The use of concepts/laguage, which is static and individual, can help us look at what we experience, but the mistake is the assumption of the nature of the concepts - static and individual - into the actual experience, especially when it is done not as a meditative, concntrated mindfulness practice, but as an intellectual, conceptual process.
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.

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

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:23 pm

Hi tilt,

Thanks for your reply.

tiltbillings wrote:Which texts?

I've quoted a few in that other thread, please see there.

I'm sorry, I'm very tired now, need to go to sleep, so will address the rest of your post tomorrow - in particular I have a feeling we're just using the same terms differently, what might be the major part of disagreement. Will try and see tomorrow in more detail.

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

Postby Virgo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
pt1 wrote:Hi tilt,

Yes, I'm primarily concerned with this statement:
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, dhammas are not the object of awareness, either.

as I don't think that's what the texts are saying, but that they are closer to saying something like:
Which texts?

A feeling - a vedanā - is experienced during a meditation session. If I label it it during that session, that is using a concept, and that labelling happens after the time of experiencing it. While the time between the initial experience of the vedanā and the labelling might be some very small fraction of a second, it still happens after the fact of the intial experience and the labelling still involves using a concept. The labelling is not the direct experience. Direct experience is not conceptual, does not involve to use of language.

During the duration of the vedanā, if we are attending without comment, with a clear, concentrated mindful mindful mind (itself a process), is any instance of that vedanā exactly the same as any other? Not likely, for the obvious reasons it cannot be. While the general characteristics of the conditions that gives what can be called a vedanā can be seen to persist for a period, but there is nothing about any of this, as experienced, that is staic or individual.

Exactly! That is why it is the opinion of various abhidhammikas that these modern "vipassana systems" actually miss the mark. It is for those very reasons. Satipatthana does not occur on concepts. When you notice that you have a feeling, or a sensation, and you try to "see" it, know it, you've missed the mark. It is gone. You are just having sanna (perception) of a concept about a dhamma that is gone. That does not mean there is no merit in the systems, but they miss the mark.

On the other hand, wisdom on the coneptual level can build up and become firm in the citta (see the link I gave before to Natrual Decisive Support Condition, one of the Conditions explaioned in the Patthana). That conceptual wisdom can be firm such that panna can arise along with paramattha dhammas and be on the level to know it as the dhamma is congnized by nama. That is satipatthana. If wisdom is developed, you don't have to study. All you have to do is hear some dhamma, or understand it, or emerge from jhana and review the mental factors. If you don't have wisdom, understanding of anatta has to become firm. This way wisdom is developed to the degree before a dhamma arises and it can know it. That is main reason why abhidhamma is useful -- because people of our day and age who have strong self-view can benefit from ultimate terms and more and more details about how mind and matter work so they can see plainly just hot anatta and impersonal all processes are. With this understanding, wisdom can develop.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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