What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

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What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby starter » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:15 pm

Hello Teachers/Friends,

While contemplating the deathless:

'This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations [BT: fabrications], the relinquishing of all attachments [BT: acquisitions; or substratum, endearments], the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana [extinction].'

‘so tehi dhammehi citta.m pa.tivaapetvaa amataaya dhaatuyaa citta.m upsanharati: eta.m santan eta.m paniita.m yadhida.m sabba sankhaarasamatho suabbupddhipa.tnissaggo ta.nhakkhayo viraago nirodho nibbaana.m ti’

I wonder if "all fabrications" mean the fabrications of “self” and “liking/disliking” instead of all mental formations since it comes before "the ending of craving". I also wonder if "all acquisitions" mean our "acquisitions" of five aggregates as “I” and sense objects as “mine”?

Metta,

Starter

PS: "all fabrications" appears to mean all mental formations, since neutral feelings should also be relinquished in addition to “liking/disliking”. However, considering that many synonyms were used in the suttas for easy transmission, more likely "all fabrications" here might actually mean volitional formations / desires. "All acquisitions" probably mean all attachments and underline tendencies for such attachments.
Last edited by starter on Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:10 pm

For what it's worth, I basically agree with you.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby unspoken » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:27 pm

Can you write in a more simple English? Thankyou for understanding

Metta~
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:06 pm

Hi Starter,

The sutta is pretty clear if you take it at face value, contorted if you try to escape its basic meaning.

If all fabrications cease for a moment, all arising and passing away (of the five aggregates) cease, self ceases, craving ceases, awareness/consciousness ceases- THIS is true stilling- the flame going out, going beyond 'death' (and life) beyond existence and non-existence, it is complete cessation with no room for doubt or rites/rituals to misinterpret- it is Nibbaana through and through. Simple and direct. Your mind may not 'leap up to it' as you see nothing good in it - but contemplations such as 'Contemplating Nibbana' (nibbanussati?) as taught to Mahanama can be helpful in making the mind more receptive to stilling, cessation, non-arising, 'cooling', putting down the burden (of the aggregates) etc.

With metta

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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:31 pm

I do not wish to flare up an old argument, but for the sake of being the devil's advocate I would like to note that I'm not certain that "the stilling of all fabrications" in this particular phrase necessarily represents a momentary all-around cessation of the aggregates, for this reason: The Pali, I believe, is sabbasankhāra samatho, samatha having connotations of tranquility, rather than utter cessation, to my knowledge.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:32 pm

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

While contemplating the deathless:
And what is the "deathless"? Contemplating some "thing" such as as that iis conceptual thinking. There are far better things to do.
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: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:48 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Starter,

The sutta is pretty clear if you take it at face value, contorted if you try to escape its basic meaning.

If all fabrications cease for a moment, all arising and passing away (of the five aggregates) cease, self ceases, craving ceases, awareness/consciousness ceases- THIS is true stilling- the flame going out, going beyond 'death' (and life) beyond existence and non-existence, it is complete cessation with no room for doubt or rites/rituals to misinterpret- it is Nibbaana through and through. Simple and direct. Your mind may not 'leap up to it' as you see nothing good in it - but contemplations such as 'Contemplating Nibbana' (nibbanussati?) as taught to Mahanama can be helpful in making the mind more receptive to stilling, cessation, non-arising, 'cooling', putting down the burden (of the aggregates) etc.

Please explain how this "complete cessation" is "beyond non-existence." It sounds precisely like non-existence. And it hardly sounds "beyond death." It sounds like TOTAL death.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby alan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:29 am

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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:18 am

That sutta says:

"With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection]"

It does not say all awareness/consciousness, as Matheesha does.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:43 am

More on AN 4.174, Ven Thanissaro:

"With this sense of disenchantment, the processes of feeling and thought are stilled, and there is a breakthrough to the cessation of the six sense spheres. When these spheres cease, is there anything else left? Ven. Sariputta, in AN 4.174, warns us not to ask, for to ask if there is, isn't, both-is-and-isn't, neither-is-nor-isn't anything left in that dimension is to papañcize what is free from papañca. However, this dimension is not a total annihilation of experience. It's a type of experience that DN 11 calls consciousness without feature, luminous all around, where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing, where long/short, coarse/fine, fair/foul, name/form are all brought to an end. This is the fruit of the path of arahantship — a path that makes use of dualities but leads to a fruit beyond them.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:29 am

No doubt it's a tricky subject, but I feel that ven Thanissaro's idea of nibbana as some kind of unconditioned consciousness separate from the 6 sense media is just as erroneous as the idea of the experience of nibbana as the cessation of experience, albeit leaning in the opposite direction.

I think that ven. Nanananda's analysis more accurately avoids either extreme, however the man has written so much that I'm not sure what to quote as a relevant passage at the moment...

Also, I believe awhile ago Tilt wrote up a post explaining how the reification of nibbana as some literal "dimension" is a result of not-so-good translation, but for the life of me I can't find that either.

Wish I could be more helpful.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Nyana » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:29 am

Kenshou wrote:I feel that ven Thanissaro's idea of nibbana as some kind of unconditioned consciousness separate from the 6 sense media is just as erroneous as the idea of the experience of nibbana as the cessation of experience, albeit leaning in the opposite direction.

Yes. Far better to follow the canonical definition: nibbāna is the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion.

Kenshou wrote:Also, I believe awhile ago Tilt wrote up a post explaining how the reification of nibbana as some literal "dimension" is a result of not-so-good translation, but for the life of me I can't find that either.

There is this post:

tiltbillings wrote:These words - ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ - are adjectives, not nouns, but everyone of these "un" translations treats them as nouns, which is very, very misaleading. "Atthi" - there is. The noun that follows this is implied. There is what?

The immediate context, the sutta opens:

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. On that occasion the Lord was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma. Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance: There is, bhikkhus, ajaata....

What we see right off the top is that the subject is nibbana. There is what? Nibbana. The four adjective modify, describe nibbana. So in the forms we have them above or in variations these four words are used to describe or characterize nibbana or are synonyms of nibbana.

The most straightforward definition the Buddha gives of Nibbana is:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana. -- S.N. IV 251 and IV 321

And we see:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata. -- S.N. IV 359 and S.N. 362

Clearly nibbana and asankhata are equivalent terms, synonyms. Nibbana is asankhata, “unconditioned,” because there is no further conditioning - sankhata - by hatred, greed and ignorance. The prefix "a" in asankhata is a cognate of the English (Latin/Greek) prefix a as in, for example, asexual, without sexual characteristics, free of sexual characteristics. (And before a vowel, just as in English the Pali/Sanskrit privative a becomes an as in anatta/anatama.)

The privative a in Sanskrit/Pali needs not be, as unfortunately it so often is, limited to being translated as "un," "not," or "non." Asankhata, unconditioned, can be translated as free from conditions (of hatred, greed, and ignorance), without conditions, or, conditionlessness.

One of things that is often said is that nibbana is "the Unborn." Let us look at that usage where ajaata and nibbana are clearly synonyms:

Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking the unborn [jaata.m], the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won the unborn, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- from the PTS translation of the Majjhima Nikaya I 173

What is the "unborn?" What does it mean? Try this:

”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...."

Here there is a balance: being liable to birth and freedom from birth that actually tells us something useful and does not leave us with a mysterious - what the heck is it? - "unborn."

There is no philological reason that the four words in question must be translated as we generally see them translated: unborn, unconditioned, etc.

As was said above the line in Udana is a sentence without a noun but with a string of adjectives, which are essentially synonyms, or at least words with significant over lapping meanings that clearly define nibbana.

We might translate the "un" line so:

"There is [nibbana], free from birth, free from becoming, free from making, free from conditioning."

Translating ajaata.m etc, by "freedom from birth," etc. supplies the implied noun via the privative a as in asankhata.

We do not see in the Buddha's own commentary to this passage below (as found in the Itivuttaka, 37-8) any reference to a Nibbana that is some sort of "unborn" thing, but we do see that "being freed of this" is a state of ease -- the "the conditions appeased (sankharupasamo)," a variation of asankhata, nibbana -- is reached. If the Buddha had wanted to teach a deathless, unborn “it,” we would have seen a very different sort of expression of the Dhamma.

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning
[of greed, hatred and delusion]appeased,
This is ease
[bliss].




All the best,

Geoff
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Nyana » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:35 am

kirk5a wrote:That sutta says:

"With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection]"

It does not say all awareness/consciousness, as Matheesha does.

Indeed. And this cessation is the cessation of mistaken perceptual signs of permanence. Ven. Ñāṇananda's Nibbāna Sermons:

    With the dispelling of the perception of permanence, the tendency to grasp a sign or catch a theme is removed. It is due to the perception of permanence that one grasps a sign in accordance with perceptual data. When one neither takes a sign nor gets carried away by its details, there is no aspiration, expectation, or objective by way of craving. When there is no aspiration, one cannot see any purpose or essence to aim at.

    It is through the three deliverances, the signless, the desireless, and the void, that the drama of existence comes to an end. The perception of impermanence is the main contributory factor for the cessation of this drama....

    Since the world is built up by the six sense-spheres, it has also to cease by the cessation of those six sense-spheres. That is why Nibbāna is defined as the cessation of the six sense-spheres, saḷāyatananirodho Nibbānaṃ. All those measuring rods and scales lose their applicability with the cessation of the six sense-spheres.

    How can there be an experience of cessation of the six sense-spheres? The cessation here meant is actually the cessation of the spheres of contact. A sphere of contact presupposes a duality. Contact is always between two things, between eye and forms, for instance. It is because of a contact between two things that one entertains a perception of permanence in those two things. Dependent on that contact, feelings and perceptions arise, creating a visual world. The visual world of the humans differs from that of animals. Some things that are visible to animals are not visible to humans. That is due to the constitution of the eye-faculty. It is the same with regard to the ear-faculty. These are the measuring rods and scales which build up a world. Now this world, which is a product of the spheres of sense-contact, is a world of papañca, or "proliferation". Nibbāna is called nippapañca because it transcends this proliferation, puts an end to proliferation. The end of proliferation is at the same time the end of the six sense-spheres....

    It is the substructure of this sense created world that the Buddha has revealed to us in this particular discourse on impermanence. The substructure, on analysis, reveals a duality, dvayaṃ, bhikkhave, paṭicca viññāṇaṃ sambhoti, "dependent on a dyad, monks, arises consciousness". Consciousness is not something substantial and absolute, like the so-called soul. That is precisely the point of divergence for Buddhism, when compared with those religious systems which rely on soul theories.

    In the Dhamma there is mention of six consciousnesses, as cakkhu-viññāṇa, sotaviññāṇa, ghānaviññāṇa, jivhāviññāṇa, kāyaviññāṇa and manoviññāṇa, eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body- and mind-consciousness. Everyone of these consciousnesses is based on a dyad. Just as in the case of eye-consciousness we are given the formula beginning with cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca, "dependent on eye and forms", so with regard to ear-consciousness we get sotañca paṭicca sadde ca, "dependent on ear and sounds", and so on. Even when we come to mind-consciousness, the theme is the same, manañca paṭicca dhamme ca, "dependent on mind and mind-objects". Mind also is vibrating, changing and transforming with extreme rapidity every moment. So are the objects of the mind.

    The entire world is structured on these vibrant, transient and evanescent basic elements. That is the burden of this powerful discourse of the Buddha. Therefore, if someone developed the contemplation of impermanence to the highest degree and brought his mind to the signless state, having started from the sign itself, it goes without saying that he has realized the cessation of the world. That is, the experience of Nibbāna.

    It is, at the same time, the cessation of proliferation, papañcanirodha. Prolific conceptualization is founded on the perception of permanence, whereby one comes under the sway of reckonings born of prolific perceptions, papañcasaññāsaṅkhā. Proliferation creates things, giving rise to the antinomian conflict. Duality masquerades behind it.

All the best,

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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:09 pm

From 'The Heretic Sage' Ven Katukurunde Nananda writes (incidentally, the Fire refersto the five aggregates..):

There is a flush of Buddhist literature thriving in the West which attempts to interpret this fire simile in the light of the Vedic myth that the extinguished fire ‘goes into hiding’. Though the Buddha succeeded in convincing the Brahmin interlocutors of the depen­dently arisen nature of the fire by the reductio-ad-absurdum method, these scholars seem to be imper­vious to his arguments. What is worse, misinterpre­tations have even sought refuge in blatant mistrans­lations of sacred texts.
[…]
The term ‘extinction’ is anathema to the West in general. Perhaps as a euphemism, ‘extinguishment’ might be ‘passable’. But rather than playing with the ‘fire-simile’ it is bet ter to accept the obvious conclusions, willy nilly.[3]

Those of you who have problems with the causally arisen fire going out, I wish you a long and pleasant samsara. :jumping:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Kenshou » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:57 pm

Your quote is inapplicable since there is no eternalism going on here as far as I can see. And though in the end, parinibbana, the khandhas cease and don't re-arise, the issue here is not parinibbana, but what happens before then.

And I could accuse you of wrong view too, but that wouldn't get us anywhere, would it.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:49 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Those of you who have problems with the causally arisen fire going out, I wish you a long and pleasant samsara. :jumping:

Whatever is causally arisen, is subject to cessation.

Is that different from saying - everything whatsoever is subject to cessation?

Or is that exactly the same statement? And which one did the Buddha say?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby kirk5a » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:29 am

Kenshou wrote:No doubt it's a tricky subject, but I feel that ven Thanissaro's idea of nibbana as some kind of unconditioned consciousness separate from the 6 sense media is just as erroneous as the idea of the experience of nibbana as the cessation of experience, albeit leaning in the opposite direction.

The bigger elephant in the room would be Ãcariya Mahã Boowa's comments on the citta. I post those here and the usual "wrong-viewers" are quiet as church mice. Why is that? :smile:

Please read the Appendix: Citta—The Mind’s Essential Knowing Nature.

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... m#APPENDIX
"Once the citta is totally pure, it simply knows according to its own inherent nature. It is here that the citta reaches it culmination; it attains perfection at the level of absolute purity. Here the continuous migration from one birth to the next finally comes to an end. Here the perpetual journey from the higher realms of existence to the lower ones and back again, through the repetitive cycle of birth, ageing, sickness, and death, totally ceases. Why does it cease here? Because those hidden, defiling elements that normally permeate the citta and cause it to spin around have been completely eliminated. All that remains is the pure citta, which will never again experience birth and death."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:52 am

I haven't seen that bit before.

I'm not entirely sure how to react to that other than to scratch my head and go "Eh?" Since I haven't read that whole thing I guess I can't comment, such passages are really probably best taken in context. Might mean what it literally appears to mean (eternal mind thingie?), might not.
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:03 am

kirk5a wrote:The bigger elephant in the room would be Ãcariya Mahã Boowa's comments on the citta. I post those here and the usual "wrong-viewers" are quiet as church mice. Why is that? :smile:

Perhaps because it's so well known to be the way he describes things. In his discourses he comments that he knows that his terminology is unconventional and that he is attempting to describe his personal experiences. It therefore seems a little pointless to be picky about it.

:anjali:
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Re: What fabrications to still? What acquisitions to relinquish?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:31 am

kirk5a wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Those of you who have problems with the causally arisen fire going out, I wish you a long and pleasant samsara. :jumping:

Whatever is causally arisen, is subject to cessation.

Is that different from saying - everything whatsoever is subject to cessation?

Or is that exactly the same statement? And which one did the Buddha say?


Hi Kirk,

I think this is a really important question- I think we confuse the Pali terms 'niruddha' (non-arising) with 'vaya' (passing away). As we all know all phenomena are causally arisen, hence impermanent, and therefore pass away. This happens all the time- there is no need for a Buddha or any Dhamma for this to happen. However what happens when Avijja is eradicated? 'With the non-arising of avijja, there is the non-arising of fabrications, with the non-arising of fabrications, there is the non-arising of consciousness.. etc' as in the Paticcasamuppada. For there to be non-arising of avijja there has to be a great degree of insight gained into phenomena, via the noble eightfold path,ie sila,samadhi,panna must be practiced. Now if non-arising is equal to fading/passing away of phenomena (which happens all the time) there would be no need for a Buddhist path. So therefore the non-arising mentioned as 'niruddha' is different from 'vaya'. It happens as a result of practice.

With metta

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