Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.
User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:50 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Am I advocating "total cessation?" "Total cessation" of what?

I'm not sure what you're advocating. I had Matheesha's comments in mind. He appears to be advocating the view of Nibbana as the total cessation of everything and the kitchen sink.
"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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:53 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Am I advocating "total cessation?" "Total cessation" of what?

I'm not sure what you're advocating. I had Matheesha's comments in mind. He appears to be advocating the view of Nibbana as the total cessation of everything and the kitchen sink.
That is not my position, but neither is my position that there IS some thing remaining, or that nibbana IS soimething attained, or that nibbana IS some thing that has reality beyond, without the nibbanaized arahant.
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

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:06 pm

tiltbillings wrote:That is not my position, but neither is my position that there IS some thing remaining, or that nibbana IS soimething attained, or that nibbana IS some thing that has reality beyond, without the nibbanaized arahant.

So you've said here was is not your position. But what IS your position?
"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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:20 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is not my position, but neither is my position that there IS some thing remaining, or that nibbana IS soimething attained, or that nibbana IS some thing that has reality beyond, without the nibbanaized arahant.

So you've said here was is not your position. But what IS your position?
Simply what the texts say. The arahant/tathagata is trackless and not measured by any terms, anything that would suggest, even subtly, existence or non-exitence.
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

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Simply what the texts say. The arahant/tathagata is trackless and not measured by any terms, anything that would suggest, even subtly, existence or non-exitence.

And as for nibbana as known/experienced/realized/made real/whatever? Does it involve the cessation of all consciousness and awareness? Personally I am confused as to what the texts are saying regarding that.
"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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:12 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Simply what the texts say. The arahant/tathagata is trackless and not measured by any terms, anything that would suggest, even subtly, existence or non-exitence.

And as for nibbana as known/experienced/realized/made real/whatever? Does it involve the cessation of all consciousness and awareness? Personally I am confused as to what the texts are saying regarding that.
The problem with this is if one says cessation of all consciousness, that suggests non-existence, but if one says that there is awareness (after death), that suggests existence.
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

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:The problem with this is if one says cessation of all consciousness, that suggests non-existence, but if one says that there is awareness (after death), that suggests existence.

Good point. I could live with that. Since the inclination to cling to notions of either existence or non-existence is apparently a core human hang-up, I'm sure we get teachers whose presentation, at least, leads the mind of the poor sincere Dhamma follower off to one side or the other.
"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

rowyourboat
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: London, UK

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Simply what the texts say. The arahant/tathagata is trackless and not measured by any terms, anything that would suggest, even subtly, existence or non-exitence.

And as for nibbana as known/experienced/realized/made real/whatever? Does it involve the cessation of all consciousness and awareness? Personally I am confused as to what the texts are saying regarding that.
The problem with this is if one says cessation of all consciousness, that suggests non-existence, but if one says that there is awareness (after death), that suggests existence.


The cessation of all consciousness is non- existence only if you consider being consciousness as denoting the existence of an individual. Since we, at some level, (maybe not intellectually or theoretically, but subconsciously) think of (me), existing, it is very difficult to get at the idea that 1) consciousness doesn't denote an individual 2) and taking the next step, cessation of that consciousness is not anything dreadful 3) it is simply the ending of suffering. Different experiential insight knowledges are required to come to each of these conclusion. Insight builds up on insight, therefore it is like trying to explain 3D to a 2D 'person'. However it probably isn't impossible, atleast a theoretical understanding maybe possible. But people who can get this are people who have seen arising and passing away of the aggregates, moment by moment. 



"What do you think, Anuradha: Is form constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?" "No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord"...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord"...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord"...

"What do you think, Anuradha — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?" "No, lord."

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard form as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard feeling as the Tathagata?" "No, lord."

"Do you regard perception as the Tathagata?" "No, lord."

"Do you regard fabrications as the Tathagata?" "No, lord."

"Do you regard consciousness as the Tathagata?" "No, lord."

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard the Tathagata as being in form?... Elsewhere than form?... In feeling?... Elsewhere than feeling?... In perception?... Elsewhere than perception?... In fabrications?... Elsewhere than fabrications?... In consciousness?... Elsewhere than consciousness?" "No, lord."

"What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?" "No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?" "No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — 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, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?" "No, lord."

"Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress."

— SN 22.86

§ 47. [After a similar set of questions and answers between Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Yamaka, Sariputta says:]

"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'?"

"Previously, my friend Sariputta, I did foolishly hold that evil supposition. But now, having heard your explanation of the Dhamma, I have abandoned that evil supposition, and have broken through to the Dhamma."

"Then, friend Yamaka, how would you answer if you are thus asked: A monk, a worthy one, with no more mental effluents: what is he on the break-up of the body, after death?"

"Thus asked, I would answer, 'Form is inconstant... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is stressful. That which is stressful has ceased and gone to its end."

— SN 22.85


As can be seen, we can talk about consciousness.. and it's cessation. We just can't talk about nibbana, accurately...because:

"If anyone were to say with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' is his view, that would be mistaken; that 'The Tathagata does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' is his view, that would be mistaken. Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves: Having directly known that, the monk is released. The view that, 'Having directly known that, the monk released does not see, does not know,' would be mistaken."

— DN 15


The monk who see it, has seen the limit ie has seen where the aggregates cease, because then there is nothing further to be discerened or is discernible. The Buddha also talks about this in terms of 'reaching the end of the world', without which nibbana is not possible- it is the end of the cycle of samsara, which is nothing but aggregates arising and passing away. 

To finish:

§ 28.

Mara:
"By whom was this being created?
Where   is the living being's maker?
Where   has the living being originated?
Where   does the living being
  cease?"
Sister Vajira:
"What? Do you assume a 'being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.
Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
  chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
  a being.
For only stress is what comes to be;
stress, what remains & falls away.
Nothing but stress comes to be.
Nothing ceases but stress."
Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "Vajira the nun knows me" — vanished right there.

— SN 5.10


With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:47 pm

rowyourboat wrote:The monk who see it, has seen the limit ie has seen where the aggregates cease, because then there is nothing further to be discerened or is discernible.

[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

What you've said, sounds an awful lot like "there is not anything else."
"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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:49 pm

rowyourboat wrote: . . .
Your quote don't necessarily support your position. viññāna-upādāna-kkhandha ceases, even for the still living arahant, but one cannot - as the text you quote - "pin down" or try to comphrehend the arahant in those terms. Also, keep in mind that the opperative term here is upādāna.
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

rowyourboat
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: London, UK

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:18 pm

kirk5a wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:The monk who see it, has seen the limit ie has seen where the aggregates cease, because then there is nothing further to be discerened or is discernible.

[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

What you've said, sounds an awful lot like "there is not anything else."


It may sound like that, but what I am saying is that I don't and cannot know if there is anything else. If the Buddha himself didn't who are we to make proclamations about nibbana.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

starter
Posts: 872
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby starter » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:15 am

rowyourboat wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:The monk who see it, has seen the limit ie has seen where the aggregates cease, because then there is nothing further to be discerened or is discernible.

[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."

What you've said, sounds an awful lot like "there is not anything else."


It may sound like that, but what I am saying is that I don't and cannot know if there is anything else. If the Buddha himself didn't who are we to make proclamations about nibbana.

With metta

Matheesha


Hi Matheesha,

The Buddha actually knew that:

"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as a [unconditioned] 'dhamma'. For example, he says "of all dhammas, conditioned or unconditioned, the most excellent dhamma, the supreme dhamma is, Nibbana"".

"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state."

"Another word used by the Buddha to refer to Nibbana is 'sacca', which means 'truth', an existing reality [but not to our mundane understanding]. This refers to Nibbana as the truth, a reality that the Noble Ones have known through direct experience."

"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers, without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana."
-- http://hkims.org/documents/Nibbana%20by ... 0Bodhi.pdf

MN 72:

"And suppose someone were to ask you, 'This fire that has gone out in front of you, in which direction from here has it gone? East? West? North? Or south?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"That doesn't apply, Master Gotama. Any fire burning dependent on a sustenance of grass & timber, being unnourished — from having consumed that sustenance and not being offered any other — is classified simply as 'out' (unbound)."

"Even so, Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

"Any feeling... Any perception... Any mental fabrication...

"Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply."

-- And "exist" doesn't apply. "Does not exist" doesn't apply. "Both does & does not exist" doesn't apply. Neither "exist" nor "does not exist" doesn't apply, because it's the unconditioned, nibbana. To my understanding, the unconditioned, nibbana, is not a place but the pure mind of the arahants devoid of incoming defilements and any "waves" [conditioned existence/aggregates]. It can't be properly described because nothing there corresponds to our mundane experience.

Metta to all,

Starter

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:23 am

starter wrote: The Buddha actually knew that:

"The Buddha refers to Nibbana as a [unconditioned] 'dhamma'. For example, he says "of all dhammas, conditioned or unconditioned, the most excellent dhamma, the supreme dhamma is, Nibbana"".

"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'state' (pada), as 'amatapada' - the deathless state - or ‘accutapada’, the imperishable state."

"Another word used by the Buddha to refer to Nibbana is 'sacca', which means 'truth', an existing reality [but not to our mundane understanding]. This refers to Nibbana as the truth, a reality that the Noble Ones have known through direct experience."

"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). [b]He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers, without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana."
So, where is nibbana? If there were no arahants, where is nibbana?
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

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1826
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby kirk5a » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:So, where is nibbana? If there were no arahants, where is nibbana?

"Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are inconstant.

"The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, & makes it plain: All processes are inconstant.

"Whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are stressful.

"The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, & makes it plain: All processes are stressful.

"Whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All phenomena are not-self.[1]

"The Tathagata directly awakens to that, breaks through to that. Directly awakening & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, & makes it plain: All phenomena are not-self."


So... if there were no arahants, all sankhara would still be inconstant, all sankhara would be stressful, and all dhamma would be not self. But if there was nobody to awaken to that then where is nibbana?

Um... is this like asking if there was no one around, and a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?
"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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:24 am

kirk5a wrote:Um... is this like asking if there was no one around, and a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?
If there is no one to hear it, there would be no sound, understanding that sound is what happen when vibrations transmitted via air waves are perceived via the sense organs of the ear and brain.


Who sees paticcasamuppada this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are stressful. sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1. paticcasamuppda is not nibbana, but seeing it is.
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

User avatar
Ron-The-Elder
Posts: 1248
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:42 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:10 am

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

As my comprehension of anatta and the essence of the mind (pure mind) increases, I find it "silly" now to contemplate the uncertainty of life and certainty of death -- both are anatta anyway, and the mind essence has no real change (no birth no death). I also find it "silly" to do metta/karuna/mudita meditation, which all start with "I", "my", "beings" (of course all these are just anatta) -- such contemplations are meaningful at mundane level but not at supramundane level (to me they only increase our conceit and "I"/"my"- making). As to merit making, it's even more "silly", who is that "I" making all the merits? for whom? Are the merits also just fabrications and acquisitions which are anicca/dukkha/anatta -- bind us to samsara? Did the Buddha teach us "all acquisitions are source of dukkha", "all dhammas are not worth of clinging", and "resolute all fabrications and relinquish all acquisitions" to enter nibbana?

To me, it seems at supramundane level only the contemplations (anicca/dukkha/anatta) of the five aggregates (to completely remove the notion of unreal "self"), the contemplation of upekkha (to relinquish "likes" and "dislikes" and to establish equally untouched mind), and the contemplation of nibbana/the pure mind are meaningful. Or probably also metta/karuna/mudita meditation, but change "my awareness" into "the awareness of this mind", change "every living being" into "every mind", change "May I (& other beings) be ..." to "May this mind (& other minds) be ...".

Your input and comments are very welcome. Metta to all,

Starter


Hi, Starter.

The only part of what you have written which disturbs me (not that me or anyone else being disturbed should be of any concern to you in your practice) is that you seem to have given "mind" some special status. Since mind arises from the six consciousnesses, which are themselves insubstantial, mind is also insubstantial, empty, and impermanent. When the body dies, the mind dies along with it. What moves on into the next realm is kamma vipakha (the effect of kamma), or karmic effect due to craving and attachment. The destination is discussed as follows:

All beings — human, sub-human, devas, and brahmas — die. All except arahants are reborn in one or another of the thirty-one planes. No being lasts forever. Arahants have eradicated all mental defilements and have thereby eliminated the causes for rebirth with its attendant suffering. They are not reborn after death. Instead, they attain Parinibbana, the complete, permanent cessation of every form of existence. For all non-arahants, death is immediately followed by rebirth. The plane of birth is determined by the kamma that becomes operative at the moment of death. This could be any volition created in the present life or in any previous existence. Even the three lower kinds of noble ones (ariya) must be reborn. They have effaced some of the mental defilements, are assured of eventually attaining Nibbana, and will never again be reborn in the lower planes. Noble ones of the two lower kinds — stream-enterers and once-returners — can be reborn in the deva planes. For anyone who is not an ariya — and this includes most devas and brahmas — the destination of rebirth is uncertain. It may be on the same plane or on a higher one; but most often it is on a lower plane. Rebirth is neither arbitrary nor controlled by a God. It takes place strictly due to kamma, the deeds we have performed and continue to perform all our lives. Brahmas too die and are reborn, and also suffer, even though their lives are so extremely long that they may be deluded into believing they are permanent.[1]

source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el414.html


That which arises from kamma vipakha, is dependent upon contact, and therefore dukkha will result. Dukkha results only within The Samasaric Realms of The 31 Planes of Existence described in the sutta previously cited.

2. Conditioned by Contact (Phassapaccayavāra)
118 (131). "Therein, bhikkhus, when those recluses who are eternalists proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be eternal — that is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact — such a case is impossible.[11]

119 (132). "When those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal — that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact — such a case is impossible.

120–129 (133–142). "When those recluses and brahmins who are extensionists proclaim their views; when those who are fortuitous originationists proclaim their views; when those who are speculators about the past and hold settled views about the past assert on eighteen grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past; when those who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality, non-percipient immortality, or neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality proclaim their views; when those who are annihilationists proclaim their views; when those who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now proclaim their views; when those who are speculators about the future and hold settled views about the future assert on forty-four grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the future — that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact — such a case is impossible.

130 (143). "When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future — that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact — such a case is impossible.

source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

pegembara
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby pegembara » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:55 am

This 1st stanza of the Heart Sutra says it all for me.


Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita
perceives that all five skandhas are empty
and is saved from all suffering and distress.


"Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."


Regards
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

rowyourboat
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: London, UK

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
rowyourboat wrote: . . .
Your quote don't necessarily support your position. viññāna-upādāna-kkhandha ceases, even for the still living arahant, but one cannot - as the text you quote - "pin down" or try to comphrehend the arahant in those terms. Also, keep in mind that the opperative term here is upādāna.


I guess I am also saying that in talking of this 'thing' that we variously label as 'thatagata, 'arahath', 'self' etc, there is progressively truer levels of truth. It is more accurate to talk of this thing in terms of it's aggregates than it's conventional label. What is perhaps important to grasp is that the conventional label is made up of more untruths (like sukha, for example) than the ultimate one. So there is nothing magical, mysterious or unfathomable about the conventional label - simply somethings about it cannot be pinned down (or perhaps verified would be a better term) simply because they are not true. There really isn't that much of an arahath- it is just a mirage of an oasis in the desert. That is not to say that aggregates/heat waves, don't exist, even in a limited sense (see the water-bubble/phena sutta).

The delusion can be comprehended (the oasis in the desert). It's more truer components can be comprehended (the hot air etc). But when that mirage comes to an end what takes its place (air), let's say we cannot sense- hence we are not able to make any statements about it. The arahath, the aggregates and nibbana are like this. There are some bits which cannot be pinned down, because their existence is a not a truth (labels), others which can be fully comprehended (aggregates) and it is their full comprehension which leads to their fading away and cessation.  

In some senses we die a little death at stream entry, when the Self is seen through. Then a greater death when the arahath completely wipes out the sense of self. Then the highest wiping out, is at the death of an arahath. whether there is something beyond is not something we need to worry about because suffering has ceased. The buddha promises the cessation of suffering. It is interesting he does not say the purpose of his teaching is nibbana, because IMO that would be unquantifiable, whereas cessation of suffering IS quantifiable- in terms of the aggregates ceasing. To define nibbana in terms of aggregates (consciousness etc) is a mistake. We don't have words or concepts which fit. 

However it must be noted that cessation of the aggregates (desire, ego, self are all aggregates) is synonymous with nibbana. Once again the limitation of this word 'cessation' becomes apparent - as you quite rightly said, the aggregates of an arahath ceases even when alive. This is why looking at the original Pali is important- nirodha means non-arising, not simply ceasing, which is vaya. The continuous cycle of arising and passing away, falls away, - a complete 'ending' of sorts take place; some practitioners feel 'it is done' or 'the burden has been lifted' (of the aggregates), leading to that famous exclamation of 'pale stumps...' etc. 

As long as craving (and avijja hiding in that) for sensory phenomena (aggregates including conscious experience) exist, the cycle of arising and passing away continue- each moment that arises starts with avijja and ends with dukkha (atleast of the aggregates-sankhara dukkha). When that craving is finally made into 'pale stumps' by battering it with the Truth (anicca, dukkha, anatta) craving for further becoming ceases, and phenomena ceases, avijja ceases.. and any delusional conventional concepts (arahath, thatagata, self) all cease. This is why the stream entrant sees both the arising and the non-arising version of the paticcasamuppada. Experientially every arising is an arising of the paticcasamuppada, but only one ceasing- the complete one- is the ending of craving. This can also be called nibbana, but in the sense of the flame going out. Nibbana meaning  extinguishing. Extinguishing of what: the aggregates or in other words, all sensory phenomena. I believe the Buddha commonly used it in this sense of extinguishing what is present, rather than as a pointer to what remains (because that is unclassifiable, and leads to reification). 

Having said all this, I must say that no stream entrant can easily put his experience into concepts. The Buddha said he could talk about the satipatthana for an aeon, and all that ultimately matters now is having had the experience. It's a bit like a plane crash :) - we look back and see what really happened and make sense of it. This is the only way it can done, because the concepts would otherwise get in the way of the process and attendant defilements would hinder it. 

The word 'insight' is an unfortunate as well as an ironic coincidence. When we say insight we mean/imagine some conceptual understanding. The Buddhas original terms were 'nana' and 'dassana'- to know and see. 'Seeing', meaning experiencing is the most important aspect. It denotes that this is not theoretical but something is seen to change. Hence, even if we don't have the full conceptual understanding of the process leading upto stream entry (also helps to remember there are different types of stream entrants, possibly with different degrees of understanding of what happened), it nevertheless happens in full- and you could say that is all that matters. 

With metta

Matheesha    
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

starter
Posts: 872
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby starter » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:59 pm

1) The pure “mind” devoid of incoming defilements is not belonging to the five aggregates, and it's not the mind at the mundane sense.

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." -- AN1

2) “The word 'insight' is an unfortunate as well as an ironic coincidence. When we say insight we mean/imagine some conceptual understanding. The Buddhas original terms were 'nana' and 'dassana'- to know and see.”

--But we first have to learn and understand it correctly (to obtain right view) before we can see/experience it.


3) "So, where is nibbana? If there were no arahants, where is nibbana?"

--"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers [the unconditioned, the pure "mind" of arahants], without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana."
-- http://hkims.org/documents/Nibbana%20by ... 0Bodhi.pdf

Metta to all!

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20082
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Anatta vs contemplations of death & metta vs merits making

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:17 pm

starter wrote:1) The pure “mind” devoid of incoming defilements is not belonging to the five aggregates, and it's not the mind at the mundane sense.

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." -- AN1
Citta, mind. The initial flutterings of awareness may be "pure" before all the rest of the stuff that goes with consciousness kicks in, but that "purity" is not awakening. Being free of the defilements is the awakening.

2) “The word 'insight' is an unfortunate as well as an ironic coincidence. When we say insight we mean/imagine some conceptual understanding. The Buddhas original terms were 'nana' and 'dassana'- to know and see.”
The word insight is just fine. Like most of Buddhit technical terminology it must be understood in context.

3) "So, where is nibbana? If there were no arahants, where is nibbana?"

--"The Buddha also refers to Nibbana as a 'dhatu,' an element, the 'deathless element' (amata-dhatu). He compares the element of Nibbana to an ocean. He says that just as the great ocean remains at the same level no matter how much water pours into it from the rivers [the unconditioned, the pure "mind" of arahants], without increase or decrease, so the Nibbana element remains the same, no matter whether many or few people attain Nibbana."
-- http://hkims.org/documents/Nibbana%20by ... 0Bodhi.pdf
And do you know how dhatu is used throughout the suttas? Also, this quote by Ven Bodhi does not answer my question. And you do seem to really understand the question, given that you have locked yourself into the idea that nibbana is a thing, missing one the fundamental aspects of the Dhamma.
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


Return to “Insight Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests