Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

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Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:10 pm

Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

Thanks :)

[EDIT: Topic title edited to provide greater clarity of the question at hand - Retro.]
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Re: Attachment

Postby thecap » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:24 pm

Hi Drolma

Is this a catch question? :)

I'd say attachment causes suffering, but the aggregates condition the manifestation of it.
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Re: Attachment

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:34 pm

Hi Cap

Haha, it's not a trick question. I've saved up all my stupid questions over the past couple of years for one special place on the Internet.

And it's this subforum! :o
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Re: Attachment

Postby stuka » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:49 pm

According to the Buddha's teaching, it is attachment through ignorance that causes suffering.
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Re: Attachment

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:52 pm

Greetings,

stuka wrote:According to the Buddha's teaching, it is attachment through ignorance that causes suffering.

Yes, and if we expand that simple representation into the full twelve nidanas of the dependent origination process, attachment by way of craving and clinging is amongst the steps followed on that very road to suffering.

I believe the khandas in themselves do not constitute suffering, but there are different sides to the argument.

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: Attachment

Postby thecap » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:06 pm

Drolma wrote:Hi Cap

Haha, it's not a trick question. I've saved up all my stupid questions over the past couple of years for one special place on the Internet.

And it's this subforum! :o


There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. :ugeek: ;)
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Re: Attachment

Postby Element » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:30 pm

Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

I say attachment is suffering and that an arahant is merely pure khandas.

However, regardless of what I say, it is imperative that each person, including Drolma, realise the truth of attachment for themselves.
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Re: Attachment

Postby Element » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:31 pm

Drolma wrote:I've saved up all my stupid questions over the past couple of years for one special place on the Internet.

We have noticed but did not wish to bring it up. :lol:
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Re: Attachment

Postby christopher::: » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:04 am

thecap wrote:

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. :ugeek: ;)


As a full time educator, i'd say that's wisdom worthy of a t-shirt, or bumper sticker slogan, at the very least.

:D
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Attachment

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:13 am

Element wrote:
Drolma wrote:I've saved up all my stupid questions over the past couple of years for one special place on the Internet.

We have noticed but did not wish to bring it up. :lol:


Heehee :lol:
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Re: Attachment

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:18 am

Greetings Drolma, all,

I like the following sutta. It shows a "being", as viewed by a Buddha, as being a mode of existence, rather than what we conventionally understand a "being" to be in everyday parlance.

SN 23.2: Satta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Radha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?"

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.

"In the same way, Radha, you too should smash, scatter, & demolish form, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for form.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish feeling, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for feeling.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish fabrications, and make them unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for fabrications.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish consciousness and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for consciousness — for the ending of craving, Radha, is Unbinding."


It also shows that it's not the aggregates themselves that are being, or suffering... it's the process of clinging to them which results in being. Hence the subtlety behind the term "clinging-aggregates" that we see in some suttas.

Where the above sutta looks at this matter from the perspective of the five aggregates, the following sutta looks at it similarly with reference to the six senses.

SN 35.191 - Kotthita Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Will » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:42 pm

There is nothing outside the skandhas, so our attachment is part of the feeling or formations ones, I would guess.

On second thought, since craving or attachment is so pervasive, all the skandhas, save form, would be soaked with attachment - in we worldlings.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:13 pm

Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

According to the first and second noble truths:
The skandhas are suffering.
Attachment is the cause of suffering.
- Peter

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Re: Attachment

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:16 pm

retrofuturist wrote:It also shows that it's not the aggregates themselves that are being, or suffering... it's the process of clinging to them which results in being.

On what basis are you equating "being" with "suffering" here?
- Peter

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Re: Attachment

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:37 pm

Greetings Peter,

Peter wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It also shows that it's not the aggregates themselves that are being, or suffering... it's the process of clinging to them which results in being.

On what basis are you equating "being" with "suffering" here?


By putting together a quote like ""Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'" (as above), and recognising that without craving (i.e. with the attainment of arahantship) there is no suffering.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:04 pm

Hi Will,

Will wrote:There is nothing outside the skandhas, so our attachment is part of the feeling or formations ones, I would guess.


In the Abhidhamma it is included in the aggregate of formations.

The question of the relationship between the khandhas and upādāna is stated succinctly in the Cullavedalla Sutta (MN. 44), a dialogue between the arahant nun Dhammadinnā and her former husband, Visākha, a non-returner:

    Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”

On second thought, since craving or attachment is so pervasive, all the skandhas, save form, would be soaked with attachment - in we worldlings.


Rūpa is grasped by upādāna no less than any other khandha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby stuka » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:42 am

Peter wrote:
Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

According to the first and second noble truths:
The skandhas are suffering.
Attachment is the cause of suffering.


According to the First and Second Noble Truths:

There is suffering.
Suffering has a cause (craving).

The First Noble Truth does not establish the khandhas as "being suffering".

To borrow a tired old Mahayana dead horse, if the khandhas themselves were suffering, then we need only "die and be done with it". :roll:

The Buddha, after his Great Awakening, nonetheless remained a collection of khandhas. Devoid of "craving through ignorance", that is. 8-)
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:54 am

Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

Thanks :)

[EDIT: Topic title edited to provide greater clarity of the question at hand - Retro.]

It is merely an arbitrary manner of description and doesn't really matter either way. That is, saying suffering is strictly skandhas or strictly attachment would be one-sided either way.

First of all, if you consider the Twelve Nidanas, suffering results from the cyclical process of the chains of dependent-origination. Within that cycle, it is arbitrary to pick a "center point," in fact, this seems to be exactly what it means to be attached to a self. If it is so arbitrary, then one sees that suffering is conditioned by skandhas, but these skandhas are themselves condition and are conditioned by by non-skandhas such as attachment. So, should attachment itself be called an "aggregate"? If it's a fixed aspect of dependent origination, this would seem to suggest so. If we deny that it's an aggregate, because it's not one of the Five Aggregates, yet it's still one of the Twelve Nidanas, then the term "aggregate" doesn't really carry a lot of meaning. Aren't the Nidanas which aren't skandhas also constituents of our experience too? Of course, but the non-skandha items of the Twelve Nidanas are distinguished from the existentially neutral, mental-physical processes of the Five Skandhas, whereas craving and attachment is something we add to them and suffering is something that results from this.

Secondly, to answer this question, it might be good to consider a different question. Because suffering is said to be conditioned by craving, and craving is said to be conditioned by ignorance, it might be good to then ask, "Is ignorance itself a skandha?" I've already pointed out how, in a manner of speaking, craving & attachment can be regarded as skandhas. The same seems to apply to ignorance and suffering, though this doesn't change their nature. Instead, it's only an arbitrarily different manner of description.

stuka wrote:The Buddha, after his Great Awakening, nonetheless remained a collection of khandhas. Devoid of "craving through ignorance", that is. 8-)

The Buddha extinguished his delusion of self. Many Buddhists, both Theravada and Mahayana, try to carry a burning torch the Buddha didn't light, by arguing over whether he was an impermanent lump of skandhas that decayed or an eternal, transcendental spirit which only has the illusion of birth & decay. Both views seems to miss the point of anatta. :smile:

Also, this answer seems to be very good and succinct:

Dhammanando wrote:
    Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Element » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:43 am

Individual wrote:Also, this answer seems to be very good and succinct:

Succinct is good.
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Postby Element » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:45 am

Dhammanando wrote:
    Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”

Well quoted. 8-)
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