Fabrication

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Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:18 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:Yes we experience our world through fabrication, but that is a far cry from "there is nothing that is not fabrication" which says there is nothing else but, nothing upon which that fabrication is based.

I'll give a quick summary of my point of view, and suggest that we take this up in another topic if you wish to pursue it...

Nibbana is asankhata (unfabricated) dhamma. All other dhammas, including avijja are sankhata (formed) dhammas. There is nothing experienceable outside the sum of sankhata and asankhata dhammas.


Sure, why not, providing we can do so in english.

Looking at this definition of sankhata I can see where you are coming from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html If this is the definition that was being talked about then the statement "there is nothing that is not fabrication" makes sense (we can forgive the omission of Nibanna), though it also renders the statement meaningless in the context of the discussion.

As you probably figured I assumed we were talking about sankhara which is also often translated as fabrication and is one of the 12 links and one of the 5 aggregates http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html so obviously not everything excluding Nibanna.

In your opinion are the terms sankhata and sankhara synonymous? Is it the translation that is causing confusion?
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:31 pm

The word sankhāra appears to have may functions. For reference, here are references to various uses of sankhāra in the Suttas and elsewhere from
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... kh%C4%81ra

Sankhāra: This term has, according to its context, different shades of meaning, which should be carefully distinguished.

I To its most frequent usages see: foll. 1-4 the general term 'construction' may be applied, with the qualifications required by the context. This term may refer either to the act of 'forming or to the passive state of 'having been formed' or to both.
    1. As the 2nd link of the formula of dependent origination, paticcasamuppāda, sankhāra has the active aspect, 'forming, and signifies kamma, i.e. advantageous or disadvantageous intentional activity cetanā of body kāya-s speech vacī-s or mind citta or mano-s This definition occurs, e.g. at S. XII, 2, 27. For s.: in this sense, the word 'kamma-construction' has been coined by the author. In other passages, in the same context, s. is defined by reference to a meritorious kammic-constructions puññ'ābhisankhāra b disadvantageous k. apuññ'abhisankhāra c imperturbable k. āneñj'ābhisankhāra e.g. in S. XII, 51; D. 33. This threefold division covers kammic activity in all spheres of existence: the meritorious kammic-constructions extend to the sense-and the fine-material sphere, the disadvantageous ones only to the sense-sphere, and the 'imperturbable' only to the immaterial sphere.

    2. The aforementioned three terms, kāya, vacī- and citta-s are sometimes used in quite a different sense, namely as 1 bodily function, i.e. in-and-out-breathing e.g. M. 10, 2 verbal function, i.e. thought-conception and discursive thinking, 3 mental-function, i.e. feeling and perception e.g. M. 44. See nirodhasamāpatti.

    3. It also denotes the 4th group of existence sankhāra-khandha and includes all 'mental constructions' whether they belong to 'kammically forming' consciousness or not. See khandha Tab. II. and S. XXII, 56, 79.

    4. It occurs further in the sense of anything formed sankhata and conditioned, and includes all things whatever in the world, all phenomena of existence. This meaning applies, e.g. to the well-known passage,;All constructions are impermanent... subject to suffering; sabbe sankhāra aniccā dukkhā In that context, however, s. is subordinate to the still wider and all-embracing term dhamma thing; for dhamma includes also the Unformed or Unconditioned Element asankhata-dhātu i.e. Nibbāna e.g. in sabbe, dhammā all things are without a self;.

II sankhāra also means sometimes 'intentional effort', e.g. in the formula of the roads to power iddhi-pāda, in sasankhāra and asankhāra-parinibbāyī see: anāgāmī, and in the Abhidhamma terms asankhārika and sasankhārika-citta i.e. without effort = spontaneously, and with effort = prompted.

In Western literature, in English as well as in German, sankhāra is sometimes mistranslated by 'subconscious latent tendencies' or similarly e.g Prof Beckh:,unterbewußte Bildekräfte,; i.e. subconscious formative forces. This misinterpretation derives perhaps from a similar usage in non-Buddhist Sanskrit literature, and is entirely inapplicable to the connotations of the term in Pāli Buddhism, as listed above under I, 1-4. For instance, within the dependent origination, s. is neither subconscious nor a mere tendency, but is a fully conscious and active kammic intention. In the context of the 5 groups of existence see: above I, 3, a very few of the factors from the group of mental constructions sankhāra-khandha are also present as properties of subconsciousness see: Tab. I-III, but are of course not restricted to it, nor are they mere latent tendencies.

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Re: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:46 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The word sankhāra appears to have may functions. For reference, here are references to various uses of sankhāra in the Suttas and elsewhere from
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... kh%C4%81ra


Thanks for that Mike, I notice both words are defined on this reference without using the word "fabrication".
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:03 pm

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:Sure, why not, providing we can do so in english.

Awww... :weep:

:lol:

As you probably figured I assumed we were talking about sankhara which is also often translated as fabrication and is one of the 12 links and one of the 5 aggregates http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html so obviously not everything excluding Nibanna.

Well, you see, I'm not so sure about the "obviously not everything excluding Nibanna". As opposed to the classical Mahavihara approach presented by Mike above where sankhara is granted multifarious contextual meanings (and is regarded as "past-life kamma" in the context of paticcasamuppada), I concur with Nanavira Thera when he says (in the short note on SANKHARA) that "the word sankhara, in all contexts, means 'something that something else depends on', that is to say, a determination (determinant)." Furthermore, in section 18 of "A Note On Paticcasamuppada", he writes...

Nanavira Thera wrote:"Since to be sankhata and to be paticcasamuppanna are one and the same thing, we see that each item in the series... is preceded by a sankhára upon which it depends, and that therefore the total collection of items in the series depends upon the total collection of their respective sankhárá. In this sense we might say that the total collection of items is sankhárapaccayá. But since this statement means only that each and every particular item of the series depends upon a particular sankhára, it does not say anything fresh. Sankhárapaccayá, however, can be understood in a different way: instead of 'dependent upon a collection of particular sankhárá', we can take it as meaning 'dependent upon the fact that there are such things as sankhárá'. In the first sense sankhárapaccayá is the equivalent of paticcasamuppanna ('dependently arisen'), and applies to a given series as a collection of particular items; in the second sense sankhárapaccayá is the equivalent of paticcasamuppáda ('dependent arising'), and applies to a given series as the exemplification of a structural principle. In the second sense it is true quite generally of all formulations of paticcasamuppáda, and not merely of this formulation (since any other formulation will consist of some other set of particular items). Paticcasamuppáda is, in fact, a structural principle (formally stated in the first Sutta passage at the head of this Note), and not one or another specific chain of sankhárá. It is thus an over-simplification to regard any one given formulation in particular terms as paticcasamuppáda. Every such formulation exemplifies the principle: none states it. Any paticcasamuppáda series, purely in virtue of its being an exemplification of paticcasamuppáda, depends upon the fact that there are such things as sankhárá; and a fortiori the series ... depends upon the fact of the existence of sankhárá: if there were no such things as sankhárá there would be no such thing as paticcasamuppáda at all, and therefore no such thing as this individual formulation of it. "

Further to that, it is said in the suttas that avijja is dependent upon avijja, thus the entirety of paticcasamuppáda consists of formed dhammas (sankhata dhamma).

Similarly, this applies too to the five aggregates, showing that the five aggregates are classificatory bundles, as opposed to being the discrete and separable building blocks that come together to form a person.

In your opinion are the terms sankhata and sankhara synonymous? Is it the translation that is causing confusion?

Sankhata means formed/determined, whereas sankhara means formation/determination, and sankhara is equivalent to sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas).

However, some people are not so partial to Ven. Nanavira, so to complement the above, I give you these words from (everybody loves) Ajahn Chah.

Ajahn Chah wrote:The Buddha talked about sankhata dhammas and asankhata dhammas -- conditioned and unconditioned things. Conditioned things are innumerable -- material or immaterial, big or small -- if our mind is under the influence of delusion, it will proliferate about these things, dividing them up into good and bad, short and long, coarse and refined. Why does the mind proliferate like this? Because it doesn't know determined reality, it doesn't see the Dhamma. Not seeing the Dhamma, the mind is full of clinging. As long as the mind is held down by clinging there can be no escape, there is confusion, birth, old age, sickness and death, even in the thinking processes. This kind of mind is called the sankhata dhamma (conditioned mind).

Asankhata dhamma, the unconditioned, refers to the mind which has seen the Dhamma, the truth, of the Five Khandhas as they are -- as Transient, Imperfect and Ownerless. All ideas of "me" and "them," "mine" and "theirs," belong to the determined reality. Really they are all conditions. When we know the truth of conditions, as neither ourselves nor belonging to us, we let go of conditions and the determined. When we let go of conditions we attain the Dhamma, we enter into and realize the Dhamma. When we attain the Dhamma we know clearly. What do we know? We know that there are only conditions and determinations, no being, no self, no "us" nor "them." This is knowledge of the way things are.

Seeing in this way the mind transcends things. The body may grow old, get sick and die, but the mind transcends this state. When the mind transcends conditions, it knows the unconditioned. the mind becomes the unconditioned, the state which no longer contains conditioning factors. The mind is no longer conditioned by the concerns of the world, conditions no longer contaminate the mind. Pleasure and pain no longer affect it. Nothing can affect the mind or change it, the mind is assured, it has escaped all constructions. Seeing the true nature of conditions and the determined, the mind becomes free.

This freed mind is called the Unconditioned, that which is beyond the power of constructing influences. If the mind doesn't really know conditions and determinations, it is moved by them. Encountering good, bad, pleasure, or pain, it proliferates about them. Why does it proliferate? Because there is still a cause. What is the cause? The cause is the understanding that the body is one's self or belongs to the self; that feelings are self or belonging to self; that perception is self or belonging to self; that conceptual thought is self or belonging to self; that consciousness is self or belonging to self. The tendency to conceive things in terms of self is the source of happiness, suffering, birth, old age, sickness and death. This is the worldly mind, spinning around and changing at the directives of worldly conditions. This is the conditioned mind.

Source: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/livdhamma/livdham09.htm

Dhp 1 wrote:Mind precedes all dhammas. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.

Metta (loving-kindness),
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: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:26 pm

I'm afraid the Nanavira thera quuote makes my head hurt, wheras the Ajahn Chah one (wrote? I was always under the impression his teachings were spoken) as is often the case is a clear description of what I'm trying to talk about.

I think between us we have a reasonable understanding of what sankhara is and what sankhata-dhamma is, but I still am none the wiser as what to fabrication is and this after all is what started this discussion.

To insert a real world example here...

I'm sitting in meditation and there is sensation in my knee, so firstly there is sensation. I'll call this sensation the primary experience for now.

Secondly there are the concepts; me, pain, and sitting, these describe the situation but are not the situation. Then there is feeling tone, aversion, tension in other parts of the body in reaction, thoughts about why is this happening to me, thoughts about how much longer will this session last, thoughts about is this meditation working, thoughts about is this really the path for me etc etc. I'll call all this the secondary experience for now.

So my point was we need to learn to distinguish between the primary experience and the secondary experience(s), that's the beginning of wisdom.

I thought sankhara or fabrication or concepts were the best terms to describe much of the secondary experience, but if not can you suggest a better one?

Obviously I don't speak abhidhammese, I look for a suitable word in english and check back with the Pali to fine tune the meaning if necessary, obviously this is problematic when translations differ.

retrofuturist wrote:Metta (loving-kindness),


Nice translating :)
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:41 pm

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:So my point was we need to learn to distinguish between the primary experience and the secondary experience(s), that's the beginning of wisdom.

Actually, I would argue that what you're differentiating as "primary experience" and "secondary experience" are in fact both sankhata dhamma, and that discerning them as such is the beginning of wisdom! Though in saying that, you can use schemas such as the five aggregates, six sense bases etc. to dig deeper into the constituents of all manner of experience in order to see that they all have the general characteristics of all sankharas - namely that they are anicca, anatta and dukkha.

Goofaholix wrote:I thought sankhara or fabrication or concepts were the best terms to describe much of the secondary experience, but if not can you suggest a better one?

Whilst all khandas (aggregates) are fabricated phenomena (sankhata dhamma), the category of sankhara serves as a catch-all to include all volitional activity, including cetana (intention / will), manasikara (attention), papanca (conceptual proliferation) and so on. In the absence of Ajahn Chah discussing it, you'll have to contend with Nanavira Thera... (brace yourself)

Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to suppose from the foregoing that sankhárá in the paticcasamuppáda context cannot mean cetaná. One Sutta (Nidána/Abhisamaya Samy. vi,1 <S.ii,82>) gives sankhárá in this context as puññábhisankhára, apuññábhisankhára, and áneñjábhisankhára, and it is clear enough that we must understand sankhárá here as some kind of cetaná. Indeed, it is upon this very Sutta that the traditional interpretation relies to justify its conception of sankhárá in the context of the paticcasamuppáda formulation. It might be wondered how the traditional interpretation gets round the difficulty of explaining assásapassásá, vitakkavicárá, and saññá and vedaná, as cetaná, in defiance of the Cúlavedallasutta passage. The answer is simple: the traditional interpretation, choosing to identify cittasankhára with manosankhára, roundly asserts (in the Visuddhimagga) that káyasankhára, vacísankhára, and cittasankhára, are káyasañcetaná, vacísañcetaná, and manosañcetaná, -- see §16 --, and altogether ignores the Cúlavedallasutta. The difficulty is thus, discreetly, not permitted to arise.

Source: http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/tea ... oteps1.htm

Goofaholix wrote:Obviously I don't speak abhidhammese, I look for a suitable word in english and check back with the Pali to fine tune the meaning if necessary, obviously this is problematic when translations differ.

Sankhara has been translated in a good-deal many ways... accordingly it's handy to know when the original text says "sankhara" so you can see through the flavouring of any particular English translation, whether it be determination, fabrication, volitional formation, or whatever.

retrofuturist wrote:Metta (loving-kindness),

Goofaholix wrote:Nice translating :)

:D

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: Fabrication

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:01 pm

Retro:

How does Nanavira treat sankhara in the context of the khandhas?

The quote from Ajahn Chah is nice, but he's specifically talking about sankhata dhammas, so is silent on the other uses of sankhara.

Goofaholix:

It may be that what you are trying to describe might be better described as papanca, especially Ven Nanananda's definition ("conceptual proliferation") which seems to be now quite standard in English-speaking circles.

Papañca: Sanskrit prapañca In doctrinal usage, it signifies the expansion, differentiation, 'diffuseness' or 'manifoldness' of the world; and it may also refer to the 'phenomenal world' in general, and to the mental attitude of 'worldliness'. In A. IV, 173, it is said:;As far as the field of sixfold sense-contact extends, so far reaches the world of diffuseness or the phenomenal world; papañcassa gati as far as the world of diffuseness extends, so far extends the field of sixfold sense-contact. Through the complete fading away and cessation of the field of sixfold sense-contact, there comes about the cessation and the coming-to-rest of the world of diffuseness papañca-nirodho papañca-vupasamo. The opposite term nippapañca is a name for Nibbāna S. LIII, in the sense of 'freedom from samsaric diffuseness'. - Dhp. 254:;Mankind delights in the diffuseness of the world, the Perfect Ones are free from such diffuseness; papañcābhiratā pajā nippapañca tathāgatā The 8th of the 'thoughts of a great man' mahā-purisa-vitakka A. VIII, 30 has:,This Dhamma is for one who delights in non-diffuseness the unworldly, Nibbāna; it is not for him who delights in worldliness papañca. For the psychological sense of 'differentiation', see M. 18 Madhupindika Sutta:;Whatever man conceives vitakketi that he differentiates papañceti and what he differentiates, by reason thereof ideas and considerations of differentiation papañca-saññā -sankhā arise in him.; On this text and the term papañca see Dr. Kurt Schmidt in German Buddhist Writers WHEEL 74/75 p. 61ff. - See D. 21 Sakka's Quest; WHEEL 10, p.

In the commentaries, we often find a threefold classification tanhā-, ditthi-, māna-papañca which probably means the world's diffuseness created hy craving, false views and conceit. - See M. 123; A. IV, 173; A. VI, 14, Sn. 530, 874, 916.

    Ñānananda Bhikkhu, in Concept and Reality: An Essay on Papañca and Papañca-saññā-sankhā Kandy 1971, Buddhist Publication Society, suggests that the term refers to man's;tendency towards proliferation in the realm of concepts; and proposes a rendering by;conceptual proliferation,; which appears convincing in psychological context, e.g. in two of the texts quoted above, A. IV, 173 and M. 18. - The threefold classification of papañca by way of craving, false views and conceit, is explained by the author as three aspects, or instances, of the foremost of delusive conceptualisations, the ego-concept.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... p.htm#papañca


Going back to the example:
Goofaholix wrote:I'm sitting in meditation and there is sensation in my knee, so firstly there is sensation. I'll call this sensation the primary experience for now.

Secondly there are the concepts; me, pain, and sitting, these describe the situation but are not the situation. Then there is feeling tone, aversion, tension in other parts of the body in reaction, thoughts about why is this happening to me, thoughts about how much longer will this session last, thoughts about is this meditation working, thoughts about is this really the path for me etc etc. I'll call all this the secondary experience for now.

So my point was we need to learn to distinguish between the primary experience and the secondary experience(s), that's the beginning of wisdom.

I agree. Some commentators, such as Ven Nanananda, would say that even if you drill down to what you call the "primary experience" (pain in this case), it is still, in the end, dependently arisen, so should not be taken as "reality". That's a valid point, but I don't think it makes any difference to the principle that it is necessary to get beyond the gross concepts of "leg", "self", etc.

For example: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness."


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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:12 pm

Greetings Mike, all,

mikenz66 wrote:How does Nanavira treat sankhara in the context of the khandhas?

From A Note On Paticcasamuppada...
Nanavira Thera wrote:13. Every thing (dhamma) must, of necessity, be (or be somehow included within) one or more of the pañc('upádán)akkhandhá, either generally -- e.g. feeling in general, feeling as opposed to what is not feeling -- or particularly -- e.g. this present painful feeling as opposed to the previous pleasant feeling (present as a past feeling). In the same way, every determination (sankhára) must also be one or more of the pañc('upádán)akkhandhá. Thus the pañc('upádán)akkhandhá can be regarded either as sankhárá or as dhammá according as they are seen as 'things-that-other-things-depend-on' or simply as 'things themselves'. See Majjhima iv,5 <M.i,228>.[5]

14. Sankhárá are one of the pañc'upádánakkhandhá (or, in the case of the arahat, one of the pañcakkhandhá -- see Khandha Samy. v,6 <S.iii,47>). The Sutta mentioned in §5 (Khandha Samy. vi,4)[3] says explicitly, in this context, that sankhárá are cetaná. If this is so, cetaná must be something that other things depend on. What are these things? The answer is given at once by the Khajjaniyasutta (Khandha Samy. viii,7 <S.iii,87>[6]): they are the pañc('upádán)akkhandhá themselves.[f]

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: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:23 pm

Greetings Goof,

And by means of apology for quoting Nanavira Thera again, please enjoy the following...

Fabrication by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... abrication

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: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:46 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Actually, I would argue that what you're differentiating as "primary experience" and "secondary experience" are in fact both sankhata dhamma, and that discerning them as such is the beginning of wisdom! Though in saying that, you can use schemas such as the five aggregates, six sense bases etc. to dig deeper into the constituents of all manner of experience in order to see that they all have the general characteristics of all sankharas - namely that they are anicca, anatta and dukkha.


I agree they are all sankhata dhamma, this is a no brainer as it appears almost everything except the unconditioned is.

I would have thought discerning anicca, anatta and dukkha was pretty basic rather than digging deeper. Differentiating between the primary experience and what the "self" has added to that experience (ie the secondary experience) is important in discerning the conditionality and causality of it all and the link between anicca, anatta and dukkha.

retrofuturist wrote:Whilst all khandas (aggregates) are fabricated phenomena (sankhata dhamma), the category of sankhara serves as a catch-all to include all volitional activity, including cetana (intention / will), manasikara (attention), papanca (conceptual proliferation) and so on. In the absence of Ajahn Chah discussing it, you'll have to contend with Nanavira Thera... (brace yourself)


I take it then that you are of the view that when somebody uses the word fabrication they mean sankhata dhamma and that sankhata dhamma means more or less for arguments sake "the conditioned aka almost everything except nibanna".

Lets copy and paste that into the sentence that started this and see if it makes sense;

Yes I know. What I wanted to imply is that meaning is one's own "the conditioned aka almost everything except nibanna", it cannot be found in the words qua optical symbols one sees. And since that is so meanings (and the "color" of meanings, i.e. "sounds") arising from words are shaped by habits to a significant degree.


I'm not sure TMingyur was using it the way you use it.

retrofuturist wrote:Sankhara has been translated in a good-deal many ways... accordingly it's handy to know when the original text says "sankhara" so you can see through the flavouring of any particular English translation, whether it be determination, fabrication, volitional formation, or whatever.


Yes there are quite a few different uses of this word, and yet there is a theme there Also I think it would fit better into TMingyur's statement and as it doesn't mean "the conditioned aka almost everything except nibanna" so I don't think it's too unreasonable to suggest one should be able to discern the difference between sankhara and not sankhara.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:07 am

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:Differentiating between the primary experience and what the "self" has added to that experience (ie the secondary experience) is important in discerning the conditionality and causality of it all and the link between anicca, anatta and dukkha.

One advantage of the aforementioned method of regarding both as sankharas that you may have noticed is that it helps to avoid the artifical differentiation between sense-object (as cause of the primary) and agent (as cause of the secondary).

Goofaholix wrote:I take it then that you are of the view that when somebody uses the word fabrication they mean sankhata dhamma and that sankhata dhamma means more or less for arguments sake "the conditioned aka almost everything except nibanna".

It depends on if they're using it in a narrow sense or not. You can usually tell, but if in doubt ask... I'm sure TMingyur would be happy to answer, if given the benefit of the doubt.

Metta,
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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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:It may be that what you are trying to describe might be better described as papanca, especially Ven Nanananda's definition ("conceptual proliferation") which seems to be now quite standard in English-speaking circles.


I'm not sure whether papanca fits, though it is a part of what I'm talking about. I understand papanca is where concepts proliferate beyond their usefulness, correct me if I'm wrong.

Some of the concepts I was talking about in my example are useful and necessary for us to communicate or interface with the world. For example me, knee, pain etc…

mikenz66 wrote:I agree. Some commentators, such as Ven Nanananda, would say that even if you drill down to what you call the "primary experience" (pain in this case), it is still, in the end, dependently arisen, so should not be taken as "reality".


Ah, but you've already used the word pain here, pain is a concept based on a value judgement on the sensation experienced. I guess sensation is also a concept but it's closer to the experience and has less added to it than the word pain does.

mikenz66 wrote:That's a valid point, but I don't think it makes any difference to the principle that it is necessary to get beyond the gross concepts of "leg", "self", etc.


Spoken like a true meditator, yes this is what I'm talking about.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:It depends on if they're using it in a narrow sense or not. You can usually tell, but if in doubt ask... I'm sure TMingyur would be happy to answer, if given the benefit of the doubt.


With most posters this works fine, but in this case it would likely to lead to a proliferation of riddles and we were already off topic, so one justs interprets the post as best one can.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:28 am

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:Ah, but you've already used the word pain here, pain is a concept based on a value judgement on the sensation experienced. I guess sensation is also a concept but it's closer to the experience and has less added to it than the word pain does.

Part of the reason is that sensation is also formed is that body-consciousness is dependent upon manasikara (attention) which is part of nama.... hence the mutual dependence between consciousness (vinnana) and name-and-form (nama-rupa). Attention is volitionally moved to a particular location (think of it as a torch-light) and sensations appear dependent on where that torch is shone.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Even in very still states of meditation, there's an activity going on. Even the act of "being the knowing" is still a doing. It's a fabrication, a sankhara. In one of the suttas, the Buddha says that all the different khandhas, all the different aggregates that make up experience as a whole, have to get shaped into aggregates by the process of fabrication. In other words, there's a potential for a form, a potential for a feeling, potential for perception, fabrication, consciousness; and the act of fabricating is what turns these potentials into actual aggregates.

It sounds abstract, but it's a very important lesson for the meditation even from the very beginning. You sit here in the body — and of course, that's a fabrication right there: the idea that you're sitting in the body — but given all the many different things you could focus on right now, there's the possibility of choice. This possibility of choice is where kamma comes in. You can choose any of the sensations that are coming into your awareness. It's as if there were a buzz in all the different parts of the body. There's a potential for pain here, a potential for pleasure over there. All these different sensations are presenting themselves to you for you to do something about them, and you have the choice as to which ones you'll notice.

Doctors have done studies showing that pain isn't just a physical phenomenon. It isn't totally a given. There are so many different messages coming into your brain right now that you can't possibly process them all, so you choose to focus on just some of them. And the mind has a tendency to focus on pain because it's usually a warning signal. But we don't have to focus there. In other words, there can be a slight discomfort in a part of the body, and you can focus on it and make it more and more intense, more and more of an issue. That's one thing you can do right now, but — even if you may not realize it — you have the choice of whether or not to do that. You can choose not to make it more intense. You can choose even to ignore it entirely. Many times we have habitual ways of relating to sensations, and they're so habitual and so consistent that we think there's no choice at all. "This is the way things have to be," we think, but they don't.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tions.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: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:Attention is volitionally moved to a particular location (think of it as a torch-light) and sensations appear dependent on where that torch is shone.


This is true to a certain extent and has been my experience, and the body sweeping method works on this premise. A good example is when someone has sustained an injury but doesn't feel the pain until he realises he's injured.

The torch of the mind however is constantly scanning and more often than not you pick up things you weren't aware the mind was shining on.

I certainly agree that the mind creates much of what we experience, but I don't believe it creates that out of thin air, it needs raw material to work with.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:46 am

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:I certainly agree that the mind creates much of what we experience, but I don't believe it creates that out of thin air, it needs raw material to work with.

Can you provide an example?

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: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:Can you provide an example?


I've already provided a couple. The sensations in the knee and all of the interpretations and reactions that the mind adds to this. Being injured but not reacting in any way until the mind realises it.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:04 am

Greetings Goof,

The reason I ask is so as to differentiate between experienced phenomena and matters of biology.

If physical matter changes form in some way, it doesn't necessarily follow that this change in matter is experienced by a sentient being, and if it is not experienced, it falls about what it known in the suttas as "the all" (sabba)

SN 35.23 wrote:"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

A decomposing corpse would be a good example. It is deteriorating, but there is no experience of the deterioration, so it falls outside the scope of conditioned experience.

Alternatively, if you are asleep and someone lightly touches your hair, but there is no cognition by you of this shift in matter, then for you, it is outside range/sabba, even though there was some biological impact on the sentient being commonly known as Goofaholix. Individual blood-cells whooshing around inside you is biologically happening to you too, but unless you actually discern it by means of body-consciousness, it actually falls outside your sentient experience. Thus, it is neither sankhata dhamma (formed dhamma) nor asankhata dhamma (unformed dhamma).... it isn't a dhamma/phenomenon at all.

By my understanding, I maintain that the Dhamma is about sentient experience - not biology or physics. By way of transparency, I will admit that this puts me squarely at odds with the Abhidhammic (and subsequent commentarial) interpretation of rupa as objective physical matter.

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: Fabrication

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:If physical matter changes form in some way, it doesn't necessarily follow that this change in matter is experienced by a sentient being, and if it is not experienced, it falls about what it known in the suttas as "the all" (sabba)


I'm only talking about what is included in "the All". However objects move in and out of "the All" all the time so it's important to be aware of that without getting caught up with Mahayana like metaphysics.

So if a tree falls to the ground and there is no-one there to hear it then it's not part of "the All", however if next day Retro is there having a picnic and another tree falls to the ground and ruins said picnic it is part of "the All".

retrofuturist wrote:A decomposing corpse would be a good example. It is deteriorating, but there is no experience of the deterioration, so it falls outside the scope of conditioned experience.


If it is doing so under my floorboards it might fall within my conditioned experience, but I take your point.

retrofuturist wrote:Thus, it is neither sankhata dhamma (formed dhamma) or asankhata dhamma (unformed dhamma).... it isn't a dhamma/phenomenon at all.


This is a very important distinction and I wasn't aware of it, thanks for that. I wasn't aware the terms sankhata dhamma and asankhata dhamma only applied to what is experienced by a sentient being,

As I say I wasn't really thinking outside of "the All" but I do think applying principles that one learns from direct experience of "the All" is just part and parcel of the conceptual framework that we live with. If this is not sankhata dhamma do we have a word for this?

For example I've never been swimming in the Sunshine Coast, but I have been swimming at many other places, so I've learned that water is wet, sea water is salty, the temperature is dependant on the weather etc. So based on data I've collected from experiences within "my All", (and I can reinforce this from accounts of experiences other sentient beings such as yourself have had), I can make assumptions that may or may not be accurate but will at least help prepare me for such an experience. A drawback is it is also likely to mean I will lose some of the ability to fully appreciate the experience in a new and fresh way, something our meditation practise helps to set right.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Fabrication

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:10 am

Greetings Goof,

Goofaholix wrote:So if a tree falls to the ground and there is no-one there to hear it then it's not part of "the All", however if next day Retro is there having a picnic and another tree falls to the ground and ruins said picnic it is part of "the All".

Sight of tree, sound of tree, touch of tree, smell of tree, thought of tree and (if we're getting really intimate) taste of tree... yep, these may all fall within the all.

As I say I wasn't really thinking outside of "the All" but I do think applying principles that one learns from direct experience of "the All" is just part and parcel of the conceptual framework that we live with. If this is not sankhata dhamma do we have a word for this?

For example I've never been swimming in the Sunshine Coast, but I have been swimming at many other places, so I've learned that water is wet, sea water is salty, the temperature is dependant on the weather etc. So based on data I've collected from experiences within "my All", (and I can reinforce this from accounts of experiences other sentient beings such as yourself have had), I can make assumptions that may or may not be accurate but will at least help prepare me for such an experience. A drawback is it is also likely to mean I will lose some of the ability to fully appreciate the experience in a new and fresh way, something our meditation practise helps to set right.

I would regard such knowledges as objects of mind-consciousness, at the time they're brought to mind.

Thus - sankhata dhamma, and part of the all.

Goofaholix wrote:However objects move in and out of "the All" all the time so it's important to be aware of that without getting caught up with Mahayana like metaphysics.

Yeah, no need for metaphysics at all in my opinion. As it pertains to matters outside experienceable phenomena, it falls outside the dominion of dukkha and nirodha, which is fairly and squarely where the Buddha's teaching resides - he says as much in the Simsapa Sutta.

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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