Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:10 pm

Viscid wrote:
Ud. VIII.3 wrote:"Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible"

There is no need to read this sutta as indicating some sort of absolute reality or any other type of absolute "otherness." The terms refer to the reverse sequence of conditioned arising (paṭiccasamuppāda): not-born (ajāta) = cessation of birth (jātinirodha), not-become (abhūta) = cessation of becoming (bhavanirodha), not-made (akata) = cessation of craving and cessation of clinging (taṇhānirodha & upādānanirodha), not-fabricated (asaṅkhata) = cessation of volitional fabrications (saṅkhāranirodha), which refers to the the calming of all specific fabrication and volitional intention mentioned in 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. Not clinging, he is not excited. Unexcited, he personally attains complete nibbāna. He discerns that, ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here.’

Also, Visuddhimagga, Chapter 16:

    [Q] Is the absence of present [aggregates] as well nibbāna?

    [A] That is not so. Because their absence is an impossibility, since if they are absent their non-presence follows. [Besides, if nibbāna were absence of present aggregates too,] that would entail the fault of excluding the arising of the nibbāna element with result of past clinging left, at the path moment, which has present aggregates as its support.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:45 pm

:goodpost:

Ah, great explanation. Thanks.

So then, back to my original question.. what causes Sankharadukkhata?

What is unsatisfactory about 'Fabrications?'
Last edited by Viscid on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:47 pm

Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And we might also do away with such misleading translated as "the deathless," the unconditioned," which suggest there is some thing that is the deathless or the unconditioned that is outside of, separate from, the khandhas.


Ud. VIII.3 wrote:"Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible"
And that is the common sort of translation one will find, but it really does not hold up well to a carefull look.

What does There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated mean? There is a reason why these "un" translations get pressed into service as a proof that there is a God notion in the suttas.

These words - ajātaṃ [unborn] abhūtaṃ[unbecome] akataṃ [unmade] asaṅkhataṃ [unconditioned] - are adjectives, not nouns, but everyone of these "un" translations treats them as nouns, which is very, very misaleading.
The sentence in Pali reads: "Atthi [There is] ajaata.m, abhuuta.m, akata.m, asankhata.m." The noun that should follow “There is” 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 a tappurisa compound, giving us the "un," "not," or "non" translations -- “the unconditioned.” Asankhata, unconditioned, can be translated as a bahubbhiihi compound, giving us “free from conditions” (of hatred, greed, and ignorance), “without conditions,” or, “conditionlessness,” as so forth for the other words in question.

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 [ajaata.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, which contains the Udana 80 line: "Atthi [There is] ajaata.m, abhuuta.m, akata.m, asankhata.m.") 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.

This said by the Blessed One, the Worthy One, was heard by me
in this way: "Monks, there is freedom from birth, freedom from
becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning.
For, monks if there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from
becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning,
then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making,
conditioning, would not be known here. But, monks, because there
is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from
making, freedom from conditioning, therefore the escape from that
which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known."


[Here the Buddha, The Blessed One, offers his own verse
commentary on his statement.]

This meaning the Blessed One spoke, it is spoken here in this way:

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].
-- Iti 37-8.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:04 pm

Viscid wrote:What is unsatisfactory about 'Fabrications?'

They are impermanent and fabricated. They become otherwise and fall apart.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:11 am

piotr wrote:Hi,

Paññāsikhara wrote:The term "saṅkhāradukkhatā" is a compound. There are many ways to interpret compounds, and interpret one must for it to make any sense in English.
The use of the words "due to" indicates one sort of compound interpretation, but it is obviously not the only one.
For example, "suffering which is volitional formation(s)", or "suffering of volitional formations", etc. are possible others.


I think that rendering it by “due to” or “because of” is justified by Commentary which says: Saṅkhāradukkhatāti saṅkhārabhāvena dukkhatā.


Thank you, piotr. Still, I wished to bring up the possibility that the compound can be read in a number of ways. Though nobody else seemed particularly interested in this point! :zzz:

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby vishy89 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:12 am

Sankhara Dukkha:

Kaya Sankhara
Vaci Sankhara
Citta Sankhara

Cessation of Vitakka is Cessation of Vaci Sankhara
Cessation of breathing is Cessation of Kaya Sankhara
Cessation of Vedana is cessation of Citta Sankhara.

Avijja is (Hetu) root for sankhara. Avijja is being not cognizant of 4 aspects at the present moment : Kaya,Vedana, Dhamma and Citta.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby piotr » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:41 am

Hi,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Thank you, piotr. Still, I wished to bring up the possibility that the compound can be read in a number of ways. Though nobody else seemed particularly interested in this point! :zzz:


Well, I am. :) Could you elaborate more on this point?
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:49 pm

The ending of sankharadukkha:

from Mind Like fire unbound:
If the six senses & their objects — sometimes called the six spheres of contact — constitute the All, is there anything beyond the All?

MahāKoṭṭhita: 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six spheres of contact [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?'

Sāriputta: 'Don't say that, my friend.'

MahāKoṭṭhita: 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six spheres of contact, is it the case that there is not anything else?'

Sāriputta: 'Don't say that, my friend.'

MahāKoṭṭhita: '...is it the case that there both is & is not anything else?'

Sāriputta: 'Don't say that, my friend.'

MahāKoṭṭhita: '...is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?'

Sāriputta: 'Don't say that, my friend.'

MahāKoṭṭhita: 'Being asked... if there is anything else, you say, "Don't say that, my friend." Being asked... if there is not anything else... if there both is & is not anything else... if there neither is nor is not anything else, you say, "Don't say that, my friend." Now, how is the meaning of this statement to be understood?'

Sāriputta: 'Saying... is it the case that there is anything else... is it the case that there is not anything else... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else... is it the case the there neither is nor is not anything else, one is objectifying the non-objectified. However far the six spheres of contact go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six spheres of contact go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six spheres of contact, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.'

— AN 1.173

The dimension of non-objectification, although it may not be described, may be realized through direct experience.

"Monks, that dimension should be experienced where the eye [vision] stops and the perception [label] of form fades. That dimension should be experienced where the ear stops and the perception of sound fades... where the nose stops and the perception of aroma fades... where the tongue stops and the perception of flavor fades... where the body stops and the perception of tactile sensation fades... where the intellect stops and the perception of idea/phenomenon fades: That dimension should be experienced."

— SN 35.116

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... e/2-1.html

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:50 am

piotr wrote:Hi,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Thank you, piotr. Still, I wished to bring up the possibility that the compound can be read in a number of ways. Though nobody else seemed particularly interested in this point! :zzz:


Well, I am. :) Could you elaborate more on this point?


Thanks.

Well, for example, by stating "suffering due to formations" it basically posits formations as a cause, and suffering as the result - two (relatively) distinct issues. But with "suffering which is formations", it is saying that there is one issue or event, namely formations which itself is suffering.

Now, without obviously going to the extremes of positing realist type identity or absolute difference, this is quite relevant for the issue of causality and thus the path. If formations are themselves suffering, then the formations themselves must have a cause, which is to be removed; putting the focus on that cause. But if it is a causal relation, ie. due to, then we just remove formations and thus eradicate the cause.

Further permutations can be made through, say, genitive relationships, ie. the suffering of volitional formations. Perhaps then the solution would be one of dissociation, ending the possessive relationship rather than the thing itself.

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:50 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:Well, for example, by stating "suffering due to formations" it basically posits formations as a cause, and suffering as the result - two (relatively) distinct issues. But with "suffering which is formations", it is saying that there is one issue or event, namely formations which itself is suffering.

Now, without obviously going to the extremes of positing realist type identity or absolute difference, this is quite relevant for the issue of causality and thus the path. If formations are themselves suffering, then the formations themselves must have a cause, which is to be removed; putting the focus on that cause. But if it is a causal relation, ie. due to, then we just remove formations and thus eradicate the cause.

Further permutations can be made through, say, genitive relationships, ie. the suffering of volitional formations. Perhaps then the solution would be one of dissociation, ending the possessive relationship rather than the thing itself.

Well said Bhante.

:anjali:
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:08 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Further permutations can be made through, say, genitive relationships, ie. the suffering of volitional formations. Perhaps then the solution would be one of dissociation, ending the possessive relationship rather than the thing itself.

~~ Huifeng
Give me that good old time genitive religion.
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: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby piotr » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:24 pm

Hi,

Paññāsikhara wrote:Well, for example (...)


Thanks for more thoughts on that point. Now, do you think that there are hints in other parts of Canon which might suggest which interpretation should be prefered? I also wonder if different schools had different views on that issue. That would be interesting to know.
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