Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:50 pm

I am sorry if this is a stupid question, but I thought this was Buddhism 101. Please correct me if I am wrong:

Khandas, ie the aggregates of "form", "sensation", "cognition", "volition" and "consciousness" are what we, sentient beings take as self-existent or essentially real and then identify with them and are deluded by this identification. An arahant knows khandas to be dependently arisen, non self-existent and has ceased to identify with them. But this doesn't make them stop functioning. Of course they don't function in the same way as before - they are not tainted by ignorance and grasping but of course an arahant is still embodied, senses, cognizes, is moved to do this or that and is aware.

So the khandas are not of themselves a defilement but are a vehicle for defilement if one approaches them as self-existent and identifies with them, right?

I tried to understand what the dispute here is about but as many such it seems to me to be about semantics. Khandas means different things to different people, it seems, especially when it comes to arahants...
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:03 pm

Dan74 wrote:I am sorry if this is a stupid question, but I thought this was Buddhism 101. Please correct me if I am wrong:

Khandas, ie the aggregates of "form", "sensation", "cognition", "volition" and "consciousness" are what we, sentient beings take as self-existent or essentially real and then identify with them and are deluded by this identification. An arahant knows khandas to be dependently arisen, non self-existent and has ceased to identify with them. But this doesn't make them stop functioning. Of course they don't function in the same way as before - they are not tainted by ignorance and grasping but of course an arahant is still embodied, senses, cognizes, is moved to do this or that and is aware.

So the khandas are not of themselves a defilement but are a vehicle for defilement if one approaches them as self-existent and identifies with them, right?

I tried to understand what the dispute here is about but as many such it seems to me to be about semantics. Khandas means different things to different people, it seems, especially when it comes to arahants...
That seems reasonable enough, but the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: "I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."
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.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:21 pm

Thanks!

So an arahant is beyond cause and effect? :shrug: This is getting weirder than Mahayana! :spy:

There can certainly be a lot of talk invested in exploring how khandas function in one who is unbound, but they would function, wouldn't they? The blood flows, the senses perceive and the mind cognizes what is perceived. Unless not only the mind but the physical form too is kammically unbound and one is not only freed from ignorance in the sense of grasping onto the sense of personal self, but of all so-called hindrances and obscuration, ie of a body bound by the laws of kamma and dependent origination, of time, of locality, etc etc.

I've read materials that could support this but is there something like this in Theravada?? (Ok, I recall some Thai monks apparently being able to be in different places at the same time, so something's gone awry with locality there... :thinking: )

Otherwise all that can be said (it seems) is that just because an arahant does not make the error of reifying and identifying with the khandas, doesn't mean it is not useful to denote certain "heaps" of functions as "form", "sensation", etc...

But maybe it is not useful to speculate about arahants...?
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: "I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."

Yikes. Thickets of views by any other name. . . .
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Dan74 wrote:Thanks!

So an arahant is beyond cause and effect? :shrug: This is getting weirder than Mahayana!
So you noticed. Add to that the arahant beyond measure, so such things as the khandhas do not apply. It become the Buddhist version of God is too mysterious to understand.

But maybe it is not useful to speculate about arahants...?
Actually, it is not a matter of speculating about arahants. It is a matter of taking the suttas seriously.
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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: "I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."

Yikes. Thickets of views by any other name. . . .
Yep.
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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Adrien » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:That seems reasonable enough, but the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: " :coffee: I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."


I didn't read the 19 pages of the topic (sorry), so I didn't read your argumentation about this point. But it seems to me that it's really difficult to sustain the point of view that arahant is unconditioned (and about "manifesting the unconditioned", the meaning is not clear enough for me). Everything is conditionned except nibbana, and arahants are not nibbana.

I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease.

Maybe the aggregates cease during the experiment of nibbana (which should be defined, because I don't thing the body disappear during nibbana), but after that, they are back aren't they ? I mean, an arahant is not constantly experiencing (or established in) nibbana.
Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:45 pm

Adrien wrote:Maybe the aggregates cease during the experiment of nibbana (which should be defined, because I don't thing the body disappear during nibbana), but after that, they are back aren't they ? I mean, an arahant is not constantly experiencing (or established in) nibbana.

This is a definition:

"When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

Therefore, why would it not be perfectly reasonable to conclude that, in fact, the arahant is constantly "experiencing, or established in" nibbana? It's "nibbana here and now" not "nibbana there and then" (at the time of a certain meditation experience or 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
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:48 pm

viewtopic.php?p=126410#p126410
Ñāṇa wrote:.... MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:

    One does not form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence. Not forming any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence, he does not cling to anything in this world.


Ñāṇa/Geoff

where is this quote of MN 140 from? I got stuck with "existence or non-existence" and I cannot find a translation where it is phrased like that.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Adrien » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:48 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Adrien wrote:Maybe the aggregates cease during the experiment of nibbana (which should be defined, because I don't thing the body disappear during nibbana), but after that, they are back aren't they ? I mean, an arahant is not constantly experiencing (or established in) nibbana.

This is a definition:

"When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

Therefore, why would it not be perfectly reasonable to conclude that, in fact, the arahant is constantly "experiencing, or established in" nibbana? It's "nibbana here and now" not "nibbana there and then" (at the time of a certain meditation experience or other).

I think you just opened my eyes...

I think I got my view about nibbana from a french website (from which I discovered theravada) which identify it with the pitch-black which is curently discussed in another thread. I've read I don't know how many times the Buddha defining nibbana as the cessation of tanha, but somewhere in the back of my brain, my subconscious was thinking "yes, but it's a little more complicated than that". I wasn't aware of the contradiction between my opinion and the Buddha's words, though I read them a lot of times : this is pure blindness ! It's funny to see how opinions can resist so much things, without us being aware of this process (the subconscious thinking "what is known is known, no need to question it").

Arahants are freed from tanha, therefore nibbana is there, all the time. After their death, only nibbana remains : this is called parinibbana.
Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:39 pm

Adrien wrote:I think you just opened my eyes...

I think I got my view about nibbana from a french website (from which I discovered theravada) which identify it with the pitch-black which is curently discussed in another thread. I've read I don't know how many times the Buddha defining nibbana as the cessation of tanha, but somewhere in the back of my brain, my subconscious was thinking "yes, but it's a little more complicated than that". I wasn't aware of the contradiction between my opinion and the Buddha's words, though I read them a lot of times : this is pure blindness ! It's funny to see how opinions can resist so much things, without us being aware of this process (the subconscious thinking "what is known is known, no need to question it").

Arahants are freed from tanha, therefore nibbana is there, all the time. After their death, only nibbana remains : this is called parinibbana.

I'm no arahant, but sounds good to me! :thumbsup:
"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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:50 pm

Do you regard the Tathagata [or an arahant] as elsewhere than form, feeling, perception, fabrications or consciousness? No.

Do you regard the Tathagata [or an arahant] as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness? No.

Source: SN 22.85

:anjali:
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:00 pm

Adrien wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That seems reasonable enough, but the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: " :coffee: I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."


I didn't read the 19 pages of the topic (sorry), so I didn't read your argumentation about this point. But it seems to me that it's really difficult to sustain the point of view that arahant is unconditioned (and about "manifesting the unconditioned", the meaning is not clear enough for me). Everything is conditionned except nibbana, and arahants are not nibbana.



tilt unclearly wrote:
Dan74 wrote: . . . I tried to understand what the dispute here is about but as many such it seems to me to be about semantics. Khandas means different things to different people, it seems, especially when it comes to arahants...
That seems reasonable enough, but the khandhas are conditioned and the arahant is unconditioned, or has manifest "the unconditioned" and cannot have one with the other: see: "I am of the opinion that at the point of vimutti, for the unconditioned to 'manifest' the aggregates (conditioned) must cease."
My statement here is stating not what I believe, but what others have said here.
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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:21 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Do you regard the Tathagata [or an arahant] as elsewhere than form, feeling, perception, fabrications or consciousness? No.

Do you regard the Tathagata [or an arahant] as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness? No.

Source: SN 22.85

:anjali:
Actually, this sutta neatly makes my point about the living arahant and her or his relationship to the khandhas. For the living arahant, there are still khandhas, but the arahant cannot be measured by them, since the arahant, no longer clinging to the the khandhas, is no longer identified, established, in them, seeing the khandhas' true nature, thusly freed of their grasping nature.

Thanks.
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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby Nyana » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:06 pm

TMingyur wrote:http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?p=126410#p126410
Ñāṇa wrote:.... MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:

    One does not form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence. Not forming any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence, he does not cling to anything in this world.

where is this quote of MN 140 from? I got stuck with "existence or non-existence" and I cannot find a translation where it is phrased like that.

The Pāli of the first sentence is: so neva taṃ abhisaṅkharoti na abhisañcetayati bhavāya vā vibhavāya vā.

bhava: existence
vibhava: non-existence
vā: or

The translation is mine. Compare the sense of the above with Ud 3.10 Loka Sutta:

    Although becoming otherwise, the world is held by existence,
    Afflicted by existence, yet delights in that very existence.
    Where there is delight, there is fear.
    What it fears is unsatisfactory.
    This holy life is lived for the abandoning of that existence.

    Whatever ascetics or brāhmaṇas say that emancipation from existence is by means of existence, all of them are not liberated from existence, I say.

    And whatever ascetics or brāhmaṇas say that escape from existence is by means of non-existence, all of them have not escaped from existence, I say.

Some translators translate bhava as "becoming," which highlights the point that existence is a process without any fixed entity. There is nothing wrong with translating it as such, but I prefer to translate the term as "existence." As the 10th link of conditioned arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) bhava is clearly defined in a number of suttas as the three realms: sensual existence, form existence, and formless existence (kāmabhava, rūpabhava, arūpabhava).

The forward sequence of conditioned arising is always a description of deluded cognition and the consequence of deluded cognition, which is unsatisfactoriness (dukkha). As DN 22 explains, craving sensual pleasure (kāmataṇhā), craving existence (bhavataṇhā), and craving non-existence (vibhavataṇhā) are the origin of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhasamudaya), and the cessation of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhanirodha) is the elimination of that very craving.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:35 pm

Greetings acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:nāma-rūpa <-> viññāna <-> nāma-rūpa -> āyatana -> phassa -> vedanā -> tanhā -> upādāna -> bhava -> jāti -> jarā-marana

Sure, but you know what viññāna (and thus anything dependending upon viññāna) is dependent upon don't you?

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
TMingyur wrote:http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?p=126410#p126410
Ñāṇa wrote:.... MN 140 Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta:

    One does not form any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence. Not forming any specific fabrication or volitional intention towards either existence or non-existence, he does not cling to anything in this world.

where is this quote of MN 140 from? I got stuck with "existence or non-existence" and I cannot find a translation where it is phrased like that.

The Pāli of the first sentence is: so neva taṃ abhisaṅkharoti na abhisañcetayati bhavāya vā vibhavāya vā.

bhava: existence
vibhava: non-existence
vā: or

The translation is mine. Compare the sense of the above with Ud 3.10 Loka Sutta:
...

Some translators translate bhava as "becoming," which highlights the point that existence is a process without any fixed entity. There is nothing wrong with translating it as such, but I prefer to translate the term as "existence." As the 10th link of conditioned arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) bhava is clearly defined in a number of suttas as the three realms: sensual existence, form existence, and formless existence (kāmabhava, rūpabhava, arūpabhava).
...
All the best,

Geoff


Thank you, Geoff

B. Thanissaro has it that way:
One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world).


And B. Bodhi's reads:
He does not form any condition or generate any volition tending toward either being or non-being. Since he does not form any condition or generate any volition tending toward either being or non-being, he does not cling to anything in this world.


Considering these three alternatives I personally prefer B. Bodhi's translation since in my conditioned perception it more clearly conveys the meaning: first there is clinging to self ("I" and "mine") and then there is clinging to appearances (which are nothing other than the aggregates)
The phrasing using "existence or non-existence" lends itself to be mis-understood ontologically (reificationist, objectivying) with regard to some alleged "outer world".

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:01 am

Greetings TMingyur,
TMingyur wrote:Considering these three alternatives I personally prefer B. Bodhi's translation since in my conditioned perception it more clearly conveys the meaning: first there is clinging to self ("I" and "mine") and then there is clinging to appearances (which are nothing other than the aggregates)
The phrasing using "existence or non-existence" lends itself to be mis-understood ontologically (reificationist, objectivying) with regard to some alleged "outer world".

Bhikkhu Bodhi certainly wouldn't accept "existence" as a suitable translation of something that ought not be generated, because he generates volitions with regards to existence and non-existence here...

BB in ACMA wrote:The outer world is quite real and possesses objective existence.

Source: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4909#p75757

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: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby ground » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:05 am

Hi retro

that is interesting but it does not alter my preference for his phrasing.

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Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:07 am

Greetings TMinguyr,

No worries... it just helps to know the underlying reasons, beliefs, views etc. underlying someone's translations.

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation notes to SN 12.15 give further indication of his views regarding existence.

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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