SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

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SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:22 pm

SN 45.1 PTS: S v 1 CDB ii 1523
Avijja Sutta: Ignorance
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha explains that ignorance is the cause of wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, etc., whereas clear knowing gives rise to right view and all the factors of the eightfold path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern. In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.

"Clear knowing is the leader in the attainment of skillful qualities, followed by conscience & concern. In a knowledgeable person, immersed in clear knowing, right view arises. In one of right view, right resolve arises. In one of right resolve, right speech... In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration arises."
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Viscid » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:48 pm

What's being translated into 'Conscience & Concern'?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:53 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi has: Shame (hiri) and fear of wrongdoing (ottappa).

:anjali:
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby SamKR » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:54 am

Hello Mike and everyone,

The topic of "ignorance" is very important, and I think very hard to understand

It is stated that Avijja is the immediate cause of Sankhara. And, I found in this page (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... vijja.html) that avijja is defined as not knowing four noble truths.
So, not knowing the four noble truths is the cause of Sankhara.

I have a question: Are Avijja and Moha different? How are they related?

The same link has two statements:
With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance; with the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance.

With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints.

So, both are causes of each-other, which is hard to understand. What is the meaning of taints?

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:39 am

On the Sutta in general:

When I first started looking at modern introductions to Buddhism, the authors often took pains to state how the factors of the eightfold path were not sequential, and how they must be developed simultaneously. While there is truth in this, there are several suttas where they are presented in this type of sequence. I find these useful for a number of reasons. They encourage us to think about how skill in one factor can influence the development of another. They remind us that this type of exposition is not unique to the "classical" 12-part presentations of Dependent Origination, and thereby open up the possibilities for how we might understand D.O itself. And for regular meditators, they give practical help about our goal of good concentration.

in this Sutta, it seems that the earlier links in the chain of factors are necessary rather than sufficient conditions for the later ones. It isn't the case that Right View is by itself a sufficient condition for Right Resolve, and thence through the chain to Right Concentration. If this were the case, then Right View would be all that is required. And it seems obvious that someone who has developed (say) Right Resolve might not develop Right Speech to the same extent. Clear Knowing is the "leader" of the qualities in the sense of being the foremost, the best bet in terms of cultivation.

This means that there are other elements required to make progress. The Sutta is presented against an assumption that a particular type of practice will take place anyway. It is after all addressed to monks, rather than in the abstract.

This then gets me thinking about the inclusion of hiri-ottappa, which could seem slightly out of place. On the one hand, it might be an example of one of the other factors required to create the sufficient (as opposed to necessary) condition for the next link. "Followed by conscience and concern" could mean something like "You have to develop conscience and concern as well as Right View, in order to move things along". Alternatively, it might mean that hiri-ottappa is your second-best bet. If you can't grasp Right View (and can anyone say they have?) then you might find conscience and concern to be a good substitute or paraphrase.

Incidentally, does anyone know the origins of translating hiri-ottappa as "conscience and concern"? Ajahn Sucitto uses this, and it is clearly more palatable to stressy westerners than variants of "shame and dread", etc. The term was used in a Peter, Paul & Mary compilation album, and I wonder whether they (or the compilers) picked up an existing Buddhist term, or whether a more recent translator made a fortuitous discovery...
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:52 am

Hi Sam,

Interesting connection with Peter, Paul, and Mary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_of_C ... nd_Concern

:anjali:
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:58 am

SamKR

I have a question: Are Avijja and Moha different? How are they related?

The same link has two statements:
With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance; with the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance.
With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints.
So, both are causes of each-other, which is hard to understand. What is the meaning of taints?


I'm not sure if there is a difference between Avijja and Moha, but I share your confusion over the relationships between ignorance and other factors. We are told in the link, for example, that the taints (sensual desire, being, and ignorance) arise with ignorance - which is, however you construe it, tautological.

My current approach with such matters is to focus on the fact that by definition, ignorance will tend to obscure itself if it exists at all. For one who is ignorant, there is likely to be ignorance about the nature of ignorance....

Having recognised this, I take comfort from the fact that the Buddha said that ignorance is sustained by other factors:

'A beginning point for ignorance — [such that one might say], "Before this, ignorance did not exist; then it came into play" — cannot be discerned.' This has been said. Nevertheless, it can be discerned, 'Ignorance comes from this condition.' And I tell you, ignorance has its nutriment. It is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance? The five hindrances


(AN 10.61)

Now I think I know where I am with the 5 hindrances. They are easier to deal with than the philosophical conundrums that arise when I ask myself whether an ignorant person can understand their own ignorance, or whether they are ignorant of it. So I use faith in the process to give me something to do which I hope will give me the answer later.
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:06 am

Hi Mike,

Hi Sam,

Interesting connection with Peter, Paul, and Mary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_of_C ... nd_Concern



Yes, that's the album. But there appears to be no reference to the Dhamma in it. Hence my wondering whether they had an interest in Buddhism and the album was named after an existing translation of hiri-ottappa; or whether someone like Sucitto (right age, right background!) or Thanissaro (not sure!) knew of the album and hit upon a ready-made translation.
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby cooran » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:21 am

My understanding is that Paul Stookey (Paul in P,P, and M) was raised a buddhist but became a 'born-again christian' and married a female christian pastor.

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:46 am

Thanks Cooran.

And does anyone know whether the "conscience and concern" translation of hiri-ottappa pre-dates the 1999 album?
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:19 pm

Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along.[*] For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up. For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up. For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up. For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up. For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up. For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.
[*] BB: Also at AN V 214, but with micchāñāṇa and micchāvimutti added to the “dark side,” and sammāñāṇa and sammāvimutti added to the “bright side.”
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
    5. Vijjasutta Knowledge
    105. Bhikkhus, ignorance is foremost for demeritorious things followed by lack of shame and lack of remorse. Bhikkhus, the ignorant one, who does not know, has wrong view. One with wrong view, has wrong thoughts. One with wrong thoughts has wrong words. One with wrong words has wrong activity. One with wrong activity has a wrong livelihood, One with a wrong livelihood has wrong endeavour. One with wrong endeavour has wrong mindfulness. One with wrong mindfulness has wrong concentration. One with wrong concentration has wrong knowledge and one with wrong knowledge has wrong release.

    Bhikkhus, science is foremost for meritorious things followed by shame and remorse. Bhikkhus, the one who knows, has right view. One with right view, has right thoughts. One with right thoughts has right words. One with right words has right activity. One with right activity has a right livelihood, One with a right livelihood has right endeavour. One with right endeavour has right mindfulness. One with right mindfulness has right concentration. One with right concentration has right knowledge and one with right knowledge has right release.

The opening statements about ignorance and (just below) true knowledge are at
Itivuttaka 34 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A person without ardor, without concern [for the results of doing evil], is incapable of self-awakening, incapable of Unbinding, incapable of attaining the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A person ardent & concerned is capable of self-awakening, capable of Unbinding, capable of attaining the unsurpassed safety from bondage."

See too MN III 76,1-9.
MN 117: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being. Thus the learner is endowed with eight factors, and the arahant with ten.
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:39 pm

Regarding hiri and ottappa, see:
The Guardians of the World by Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_23.html

The Buddha points to two mental qualities as the underlying safeguards of morality, thus as the protectors of both the individual and society as a whole. These two qualities are called in Pali hiri and ottappa. Hiri is an innate sense of shame over moral transgression; ottappa is moral dread, fear of the results of wrongdoing. The Buddha calls these two states the bright guardians of the world (sukka lokapala). He gives them this designation because as long as these two states prevail in people's hearts the moral standards of the world remain intact, while when their influence wanes the human world falls into unabashed promiscuity and violence, becoming almost indistinguishable from the animal realm (Itiv. 42).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    42. The Bright Protectors

    This was said by the Lord...

    "Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle's wife or a teacher's wife or the wives of other honored persons, and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother... and the wives of other honored persons."

    Those in whom shame and fear of wrong
    Are not consistently found
    Have deviated from the bright root
    And are led back to birth and death.

    But those in whom shame and fear of wrong
    Are consistently ever present,
    Peaceful, mature in the holy life,
    They put an end to renewal of being.
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:31 am

Hi Mike,

One with wrong mindfulness has wrong concentration. One with wrong concentration has wrong knowledge and one with wrong knowledge has wrong release.


I think I can make sense of wrong mindfulness. Wrong concentration is a bit more difficult. But wrong release - any idea what that might mean?
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:17 pm

Sam Vega wrote:I think I can make sense of wrong mindfulness. Wrong concentration is a bit more difficult. But wrong release - any idea what that might mean?

Perhaps someone more expert can comment on the Pali, but I seem to recall that samma is perhaps better translated as something like "complete" or "perfect", rather than "right", in which case the opposites would make a bit more sense in this context.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:16 pm

Hi Mike,

Yes, that has triggered a similar recollection in me. It would make sense, and would in addition be relevant to the sequence of path-factors that I commented on earlier. When one's view is perfected or culminated, then one can expect one's resolve to change...etc.
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:52 am

“Bhikkhus, true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing following along.
Spk: True knowledge (vijjā) is knowledge of one’s responsibility for one’s own action (kammassakatāñāṇa). Here, too, it is a forerunner by way of both conascence and decisive support.
Shame (hiri) and fear of wrongdoing (ottappa) are called “the guardians of the world” (ANI 51,19-28).
AN 2.9 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
    "Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle's wife or a teacher's wife or the wives of other honored persons, and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother... and the wives of other honored persons."
For a detailed discussion of hiri and ottappa, see As 124-27, presented more concisely at Vism 464-65 (Ppn 14:142).
Visuddhimagga XIV.142
    142. (xi)–(xii) It has conscientious scruples (hiriyati) about bodily misconduct,
    etc., thus it is conscience (hiri). This is a term for modesty. It is ashamed (ottappati)
    of those same things, thus it is shame (ottappa). This is a term for anxiety about
    evil. Herein, conscience has the characteristic of disgust at evil, while shame has
    the characteristic of dread of it. Conscience has the function of not doing evil and
    that in the mode of modesty, while shame has the function of not doing it and that
    in the mode of dread. They are manifested as shrinking from evil in the way
    already stated. Their proximate causes are self-respect and respect of others
    [respectively]. [465] A man rejects evil through conscience out of respect for himself,
    as the daughter of a good family does; he rejects evil through shame out of
    respect for another, as a courtesan does. But these two states should be regarded
    as the guardians of the world (see A I 51).

For a wise person who has arrived at true knowledge, right view springs up. For one of right view, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up.”
BB: Spk says that at the moment of the mundane path these are not all found together, but they are found together at the moment of the supramundane path. Even in the development of the mundane path it would be a mistake to see the eight factors as following in direct sequence. Right view is the guide for all the other path factors and the direct condition for right intention. Right view and right intention jointly condition the next three factors, which make up the virtue group. These in turn serve as the foundation for right effort and right mindfulness, the effort being the application of energy to the practice of the four establishments of mindfulness. The fruit of right effort and right mindfulness is right concentration.
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