No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby vinasp » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:06 pm

Hi everyone,

This is an extract from AN 10.22

"Whatever things, Ananda, conduce to realizing the truth of this or that
statement of doctrine, confidently do I claim, after thorough comprehension
of it, to teach dhamma about them in such a way that, when proficient, a man
shall know of the real that it is, of the unreal that it is not; of the mean
that it is mean, of the exalted that it is exalted; of that which has
something beyond it, that it has something beyond it; of that which is
unsurpassed, that it is unsurpassed.
For there is the possibility of his knowing or seeing or realizing that
which can be known, seen or realized. This, Ananda, is knowledge
unsurpassable, the knowledge of this or that thing as it really is. Than
this knowledge, Ananda, there is no other knowledge surpassing it or more
excellent, I declare."

[ PTS Gradual Sayings, Vol. V, page 26, translated by F.L. Woodward.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:37 pm

Greetings,

Dhamma are phenomena, and if something is not observed it, it's not a phenomenon by definition

Etymology
From Late Latin phaenomenon (“appearance”), from Ancient Greek φαινόμενον (phainomenon, “thing appearing to view”), neuter present passive participle of φαίνω (phainō, “I show”).

Source: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/phenomenon

Therefore there are no "unobserved phenomena"... there is arising (e.g. “thing appearing to view”) and ceasing (e.g. “thing disappearing from view”). Unobserved phenomena is an oxymoron and positing it is not only beyond range but logically non-sensical. Can sankhata-dhammas be unobserved phenomena?

As Darwid Halim said in a recent topic, "Why keep searching for something which you can never find?". Indeed.

Because the notion of "unobserved phenomena" being an oxymoron, there are no sankhata-dhammas (i.e. fabricated observed phenomena) existing either side of those book-ends of arising and cessation. To say there is, is to claim awareness and observation where there is not awareness and observation. Again, logically nonsensical.

Now, feel free to challenge that perspective, but please by all means do your best to understand it first and not mis-represent it. Thanks.

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:15 am

Greetings Matheesha,

rowyourboat wrote:It seems Dhammas here refer to mental objects (as per fourth foundation of mindfulness.

The teaching in the sutta quoted was certainly given in the context of the fourth satipatthana, but if someone were to suggest it's restricted only to that application, I feel there would be an onus on them to demonstrate sankhata-dhammas do exist outside of present six-sense-sphere awareness... and if the Buddha taught that they do, such confirmation shouldn't be too hard to find.

This onus is especially so, given there are other suttas such as the following, not explicitly taught with reference to the fourth satipatthana which teach and exhibit the same relationship about the characteristics of sankhata-dhammas.

AN 3.47 wrote:"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) while staying is discernible.

"These are three fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated.

In AN 3.47, there are no characteristics noted or allowed for outside the book-ends of arising and passing away.

When the dhamma "passes away" it does just that... it doesn't just "pass out of view" according to Sutta. If we were to think that way, we would necessarily be establishing and reinforcing a false subject-object relationship in relation to experience. It's a bit scary to consider that certain meditation approaches that promote the objective existence of dhammas might in fact do just that.

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

If that translates to "what are the mechanics connecting non-immediate fruition of kamma to its subsequent fruit?", I can honestly say it's not a question that keeps me up at night. If it were important to the practice, I believe the Buddha would have explained it (as per his Simsapa Sutta guarantee). He didn't, and that's good enough for me.
It does not have to keep you awake at night, nor need it cause you gray hairs, but what this points to, as does the question of anusaya, is that the concept of sankhāra, as in the suttas in paticcasamuppada and the khandhas discussion, is both subtle and complex and probably does not fit neatly into a strict phenomenological reading.
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:26 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:what this points to, as does the question of anusaya, is that the concept of sankhāra, as in the suttas in paticcasamuppada and the khandhas discussion, is both subtle and complex and probably does not fit neatly into a strict phenomenological reading.

It may, or it may not, but for now it neatly fits from where I'm sitting.

I patiently await, and remain open to someone making recourse to sutta to show otherwise.

Until then...

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:what this points to, as does the question of anusaya, is that the concept of sankhāra, as in the suttas in paticcasamuppada and the khandhas discussion, is both subtle and complex and probably does not fit neatly into a strict phenomenological reading.

It may, or it may not, but for now it neatly fits from where I'm sitting.

I patiently await, and remain open to someone making recourse to sutta to show otherwise.

Until then...

Metta,
Retro. :)
With the question of anusaya (in the other thread) it has been shown via texts and with kamma, as the texts show, the fact that between kamma, volitional action, and results, vipaka, there can be a consider amount time, which indicates a conditioning process at play that is not readily apparent.
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:51 am

Greetings Tilt,

Yes, the workings of which the Buddha called unconjecturable.

The Sutta Pitaka does not contain recourse to vinnàna-sota, ālayavijñāna or other such unfruitful conjecture to account for such things.

AN 4.77 wrote:"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

Madness and vexation is not mental cultivation.

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby Sarva » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:Dhamma are phenomena, and if something is not observed it, it's not a phenomenon by definition

Therefore there are no "unobserved phenomena"... there is arising (e.g. “thing appearing to view”) and ceasing (e.g. “thing disappearing from view”). Unobserved phenomena is an oxymoron and positing it is not only beyond range but logically non-sensical. Can sankhata-dhammas be unobserved phenomena?

As Darwid Halim said in a recent topic, "Why keep searching for something which you can never find?". Indeed.

Because the notion of "unobserved phenomena" being an oxymoron, there are no sankhata-dhammas (i.e. fabricated observed phenomena) existing either side of those book-ends of arising and cessation. To say there is, is to claim awareness and observation where there is not awareness and observation. Again, logically nonsensical.

Now, feel free to challenge that perspective, but please by all means do your best to understand it first and not mis-represent it. Thanks.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro
OK, on the grounds of both perception and inference. What about repetitive desires, a form of desire which vanishes after satisfied but repeats again later, as if it had some force or location of residence?

For arguments sake, lets say it is a continued craving for a 'specific carbonated drink'. The desire is perceived to be the same due to the same product and experience which is desired at different times, over days or years.

This repetitive desire is what enforces the concept of continuation and the idea that there is an "unobserved phenomena" which we carry around and are unable to satisfy or end for good.

So based on this, there is an "unobserved phenomena", true? :o

:namaste:
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:01 am

Greetings Sarva,

This repetitive desire is what enforces the concept of continuation

"This repetitive desire" is a concept too.

By way of analogy, think of a dot-to-dot picture where the dots represent actual here-and-now experience, over time. By conceiving of and establishing this notion of a "repetitive desire" concept, you have merely "connected the dots" by drawing a conceptual line. That is all. You're just making more sankharas.

So based on this, there is an "unobserved phenomena", true? :o

No. 8-)

Unobserved phenomena remains an oxymoron.

Of course, that's not to deny tendencies. It's just to say that these "tendencies" themselves are not "observable phenomena".

Our conceptual lines we draw to connect the dots to make a picture of understanding ought not be mistaken for anything more than they are. Even the dots they point to were only ever ephemeral sankhata-dhammas now since gone.

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby Sarva » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:15 am

:shrug: I see no way to better you, Retro. :D
I would have to refute "anatta" to show that there is some form of continuous foundation. What about "awareness", there is the awareness of something and awareness of no thing, however this "awareness" is not observable itself, in other words it is an "unobservable phenomena", or would you disagree? I am curious how to get around that other than to confirm it is not a phenomena by definition?

Incidentally, do you know if the Buddhist perspective on breaking 'repetitive tendencies' is the same for breaking any form of craving or if there is a different method? :)
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:20 am

Greetings Sarva,

Sarva wrote:I would have to refute "anatta" to show that there is some form of continuous foundation.

Good call. :thumbsup:

Sarva wrote:What about "awareness", there is the awareness of something and awarness of no thing, however this "awareness" is not observable itself, in other words it is an "unobservable phenomena", or would you disagree? I am curious how to get around that.

I'm a bit confused as to what you mean here. Is there any chance you could recast your question with reference to Pali terminology such as vinnana or manasikara?

Sarva wrote:Incidentally, do you know if the Buddhist perspective on breaking 'repetitive tendencies' is the same for breaking any form of craving or if there is a different method? :)

An excellent question, and hopefully one we can explore a bit further in this topic. The short answer I would put forward is that all sankharas depend on avijja, so whatever mental cultivation reduces avijja reduces sankharas.

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:38 am

Sarva wrote:I would have to refute "anatta" to show that there is some form of continuous foundation.
No need for a continuous foundation, whatever that might mean; however, there is continuity, it seems.
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:42 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Yes, the workings of which the Buddha called unconjecturable.
I am certainly not advocating untoward conjecture; just pointing out that all that is involved with the various concepts of sankhāra is not always readily apparent.
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:54 am

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby Sarva » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sarva wrote:I would have to refute "anatta" to show that there is some form of continuous foundation.
No need for a continuous foundation, whatever that might mean; however, there is continuity, it seems.

Hi Tilt
That is true if we can confirm that phenomena have no permanent or continuous existence in themselves, for example, my memories of yesterday are true today. However we can say the memories are empty of any real self or continuum, so they are just rising and falling into our awareness. It is awareness or rather anicca which brings them to life, so to speak. So memories (or anything for that matter) have no hold over us unless we recall them into our awareness and label them "me or mine".

The point of phenomena being empty of any essence, self or 'continuous foundation' is anatta. It is because of anatta that no thing is me and hence I am free from all things, including "The All". I understand this to be the crux of Retro's point above. For someone who holds that "unobservable phenomena" exist when unobserved then there needs to be continuum, either of the phenomena or the observer. My question is, isn't awareness itself a continuum as it requires awareness for both the 'observable and unobservable phenomena' to be known?

I know you may know all this, but hope to explain that is why I am asking Retro for denial of a 'continuous foundation' :)
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:05 am

Sarva wrote:The point of phenomena being empty of any essence, self or 'continuous foundation' is anatta. It is because of anatta that no thing is me and hence I am free from all things, including "The All".
Don't forget that you are also no different from the "All."
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:08 am

Greetings,

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:In the suttas the word occurs in three major doctrinal contexts.

Nanavira Thera wrote:Sankhāra, in all contexts, means 'something that something else depends on', that is to say a determination (determinant).

Source: http://nanavira.org/index.php?option=co ... &Itemid=84

:jedi:

The Realist vs The Phenomenologist

:lol:

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:The Realist vs The Phenomenologist
Now there is an in-depth analysis. Stunning and as scintillating as rhinestone.
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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:23 am

Greetings Tilt,

It's only a laugh, no harm done.

Venerable Nanananda wrote:“I’m sure you have read Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s trans­la­tion of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. You must have come across the Pheṇapindūpama Sutta. In the notes you’ll see Ven. Bodhi explain­ing that although the lump is illu­sory, the ingre­di­ents aren’t. It is worse when it comes to the magic show. He says that only the magic is not real; the magician’s appur­te­nances are. This is a dis­tor­tion of the sim­ile given by the Bud­dha. We must appre­ci­ate the great work done by Ven. Bodhi, but it is unfor­tu­nate that he is bound by the com­men­tar­ial tradition.

Source: http://nidahas.com/2010/09/nanananda-heretic-sage-2/

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: No sankhata dhammas existing outside of present awareness

Postby Sarva » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:29 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sarva wrote:The point of phenomena being empty of any essence, self or 'continuous foundation' is anatta. It is because of anatta that no thing is me and hence I am free from all things, including "The All".
Don't forget that you are also no different from the "All."

Hi Tilt
I am hesitant to open further the can of worms I opened above but here goes:

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. [1] 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."
SN35.23 link; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I am that which is beyond range.

Respectfully,
Sarva.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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