The Eye is Impermanent.

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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby santa100 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:45 pm

Vinasp wrote:
"This passage is also in apparent contradiction with MN 121:

"If, through revulsion towards the eye, through its fading away and cessation,
one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained
Nibbana in this very life." [Part of SN 35.155]

How do you explain this apparent contradiction?"


SN 35.155 belongs to Salayatana-Samyutta(the Six Sense Bases), Division IV-The Fourth Fifty, I. The Destruction of Delight. As the sutta's name indicated, it's about the destruction of Delight that results in liberation, not the destruction of the sense faculties. Ven. Bodhi rendered it as follow:
"Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu sees as impermanent the eye which is actually impermanent: that is his right view. Seeing rightly, he experiences revulsion. With the destruction of delight comes destruction of lust; with the destruction of lust comes destruction of delight. With the destruction of delight and lust the mind is said to be well liberated"
Hope this helps..
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:02 pm

vinasp wrote: This passage is also in apparent contradiction with MN 121:

"If, through revulsion towards the eye, through its fading away and cessation,
one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained
Nibbana in this very life." [Part of SN 35.155]

How do you explain this apparent contradiction?

I don't regard it as a contradiction. The faculties are functional processes, not static, unchanging things. The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind faculties of a worldling, stream-entrant, once returner, and non-returner have ceased for the arahant, and the arahant has no attachment to any present occurrence of the faculties. Therefore, s/he has attained the nibbānadhātu with fuel remaining. Itivuttaka 44:

    And what is the Unbinding property with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose fermentations have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, ended the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. His five sense faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he is cognizant of the agreeable & the disagreeable, and is sensitive to pleasure & pain. His ending of passion, aversion, & delusion is termed the Unbinding property with fuel remaining.

And when s/he has come to the end of their life, then this is called the nibbānadhātu with no fuel remaining. Itivuttaka 44:

    And what is the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose fermentations have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, ended the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. For him, all that is sensed, being unrelished, will grow cold right here. This is termed the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:30 pm

Bottom line: There is no sense routed event which will bring anything other than dukkha if it stimulates desire and clinging. Therefore, revulsion and non-attachment is the appropriate response in all cases, including clinging to views. :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:31 pm

Hi Nana,

Nana said:"I don't regard it as a contradiction. The faculties are functional processes, not static, unchanging things. The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind faculties of a worldling, stream-entrant, once returner, and non-returner have ceased for the arahant, and the arahant has no attachment to any present occurrence of the faculties. Therefore, s/he has attained the nibbānadhātu with fuel remaining. Itivuttaka 44:"

Your interpretation makes no sense to me. You seem to be understanding "eye" in
SN 35.155 as meaning "eye-faculty" and you say some is eliminated, but then you
deny that these faculties cease completely and permanently. But the passage
speaks of "fading away and cessation". I understand cessation here in the light
of other passages, such as this one:

"When there is no eye, no form, and no eye-consciousness, it is impossible to
point out the manifestation of contact. When there is no manifestation of
contact, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of feeling. ..."

[Bhikkhu Bodhi, Middle Length Discourses, page 204 - MN 18.18]

I accept the two kinds of nibbana-element, but for me, these are both attained
while one is still alive.

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:05 pm

Hi Nana,

Not knowing much about the "faculties", I looked them up in Nyanatiloka's
Buddhist Dictionary.

He says that the: eye, ear, nose, tongue and body faculties - are physical.

Can you explain in what way the "eye faculty" differs from the actual eye?

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:46 pm

Hi Nana,

The Five Sense Faculties.

The Buddhist Dictionary says that the five sense faculties are physical.

But when I turn to the Nikaya's and read MN 152 - The Development of the
Faculties - they do not seem to be physical things.

Indeed, how could one develop the actual eye or the actual ear?

In MN 152 the eye faculty seems more like restraint in relation to the eye.

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:02 pm

vinasp wrote: I accept the two kinds of nibbana-element, but for me, these are both attained
while one is still alive.

I don't agree.

vinasp wrote:You seem to be understanding "eye" in
SN 35.155 as meaning "eye-faculty" and you say some is eliminated, but then you
deny that these faculties cease completely and permanently.

They cease completely and permanently upon the death of an arahant as the numerous passages that have been provided to you clearly explain.

vinasp wrote: Your interpretation makes no sense to me.

Well, then it's probably best to leave it at that then.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby chownah » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:05 pm

Whenever we use the word "eye" we are dealing with an abstraction of one kind or another. If we cling to any of the abstractions which arise with the word "eye" then we will experience dukkha. Abstractions exist only so long as they are kept in the mind which is only for a fleeting moment in all cases so the abstraction which arises along with the word "eye" will only exist for a fleeting moment.....a few moments later your thoughts might encounder the word "eye" again and an abstraction will arise at that time but it will be a new abstraction and not the same one which has ceased and vanished forever. Don't be confused by the fact that the new abstraction may seem to be indentical to the previous one and thereby think that they are the same....they are in fact different abstractions which arise and persist only for a momet and then are gone....this is in my view a useful interpretation of what the Buddha teaches as how experience "works".....
chownah
P.S. Sorry if thie has already been mentioned....I have not read the entire thread....
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:31 pm

Hi everyone,

Various posters have claimed that I am talking nonsense, and that I do not
understand the teachings. But these arguments are really about different
interpretations of the teachings.

Here is my understanding of these different interpretations.

1. There is what I will call a "puthujjana's understanding" of the teachings.

2. There is what I will call a "noble-disciple's" understanding of the teachings.

3. These two understandings are completely different.

4. Unless a monk gives up his puthujjana understanding he cannot become a
noble disciple.

5. The "traditional" interpretation is the puthujjana's understanding.

6. Therefore, a monk must give up the "traditional" interpretation.

Every monk that becomes a noble disciple relies on his own understanding and
rejects the puthujjana's "groupthink".

Those who are clinging to the "traditional" understanding, seem incapable of
seeing that there is an alternative, and much better, understanding.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:22 am

vinasp wrote: Those who are clinging to the "traditional" understanding, seem incapable of
seeing that there is an alternative, and much better, understanding.

I would suggest that the first part of this conclusion is, at best, an inaccurate over-generalization. As for the second part, you haven't offered a much better alternative thus far. By your own admission your interpretations stand in contradiction to sutta passages such as the one previously quoted from MN 121.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:42 pm

Hi Nana,

Thank you for responding to my post.

Nana said:"... you haven't offered a much better alternative thus far ..."

Since I have claimed that there are two completely different ways to understand
the teachings, it would seem that the onus is on me to set these out clearly, at
least in outline.

But the puthujjana has no inkling of any other way to understand the teachings.
If I were to start such a thread, how far do you think I would get before
everyone jumped on me, saying "nonsense!", two or three posts perhaps?

Each "piece" in the noble disciples "jigsaw" fits perfectly into his
"big picture". But that "piece" will not fit anywhere in the puthujjanas
"jigsaw"

The teachings are very difficult to understand. If you have spent years
struggling to reach your present understanding, and are satisfied with it,
then the last thing you need is someone saying: "sorry, but you have got it
all wrong!"

And what about those beliefs that are confirmed by one interpretation, but are
not confirmed by the other?

Are you really looking at these things in a dispassionate way?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi everyone,

There is a sutta which says that the monks are divided into two companies.

Here is the Sutta from PTS Gradual Sayings Vol. 1, page 67.
[ The book of twos, chapter V, #4]

"Monks, there are these two companies. What two? The Ariyan and the
un-Ariyan (1). And what, monks, is the un-Ariyan company?
Herein, monks, in whatsoever company the monks understand not, as it
really is, the meaning of "This is suffering"; understand not, as it
really is, the meaning of "This is the arising of suffering"; understand
not, as it really is, the meaning of "This is the ending of suffering";
understand not ... "This is the practice leading to the ending of
suffering", - this company is called "the un-Ariyan."
And what, monks is the Ariyan company? (The reverse of the above).
..... These are the two companies, and of these two the Ariyan company
has the pre-eminence.

Footnote 1. Comy, distinguishes them as "that of noble disciples" and
"that of the ordinary persons".

[ I have made some minor changes, such as replacing "Ill" with "suffering".]

-------------------------------- o O o -----------------------------------

Although these two companies are identified, the true situation is far from
clear. Do puthujjana monks regard themselves as puthujjana's or do they believe
that they are noble disciples?

What if each camp thinks that they are the noble disciples and those in the
other camp are the puthujjana's?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:29 pm

vinasp wrote: But the puthujjana has no inkling of any other way to understand the teachings.

The teachings aren't esoteric. The aggregates, etc., can be understood by worldly paṇḍitas (loka paṇḍitas) are not restricted to the knowledge of noble disciples (ariyasāvakas). SN 22.94:

    And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling ... Perception ... Volitional formations ... Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.

The difference for a noble disciple, however, is that they have penetrated conditioned arising in both forward and reverse sequence. They use the teachings as one would use a raft, as MN 22 states, "for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto."

Moreover, a tathāgata arahant uses worldly designations in order to teach the way to eliminate unsatisfactoriness. But these are merely designations (paññattimatta). In this way, there is nothing to cling to as the basis for a fixed position. MN 72, "A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a tathāgata has done away with." And again, MN 22, "A proponent of the dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world."
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:56 am

Hi Nana,

Everything in the teachings is composed in an ambiguous way. There is a lower
understanding and a higher understanding. The lower understanding does not
reveal the path to awakening.

I am sure that there are puthujjana's who THINK that they understand the
aggregates, but what do they say when presented with passages such as these?

"If, through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation,
one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained
Nibbana in this very life. ..." [BB, CD, p.967, part of SN 22.115]

"And what is it that he neither extinguishes nor kindles, but abides having
extinguished? He neither extinguishes nor kindles form, but abides having
extinguished it. ..." [BB, CD, p.918, part of SN 22.79]

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Nana said:"The difference for a noble disciple, however, is that they have penetrated conditioned arising in both forward and reverse sequence."

This is excellent. But what is this "reverse sequence" and how is it understood?
[Not in too much detail, just an outline.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:31 am

vinasp wrote: This is excellent. But what is this "reverse sequence"

Forward sequence (anuloma): Ud. 1.1.

Reverse sequence (paṭiloma): Ud 1.2.

vinasp wrote: and how is it understood?

Already addressed in this reply.

:candle:
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:19 am

Hi Nana,

Those forward and reverse sequences are fine as a starting point.

So we have a chain of twelve "things", and if one of these ceases it results
in the cessation of all those other "things" which depend on it.

But what exactly are these things? We must agree on this before we begin to
discuss them, or the result will be nothing but confusion.

I am not certain here, but I am moving in the direction of understanding these
"things" as "mental-objects" which persist in the mind, often for many years.

How do you understand the nature of each of the items in the chain?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:59 am

Hi Nana,

On the passages from the Nettippakarana [4.42] which you cite:

I am not familiar with this work, and do not have a copy to consult.

I found those passages to be puzzling in that they seem to have all twelve items
ceasing both for the non-learner's liberation and for the learner's liberation.

There is nothing of that sort in the Four Nikaya's.

Is it an attempt to reconcile the "four stages" with Dependent Origination?

I do not think that I can understand those passages as they stand without
further explanation.

Q1. What is meant by the "Learners Liberation"?
[ ie. what stage or stages are meant.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:17 am

vinasp wrote: How do you understand the nature of each of the items in the chain?

As designations (paññatti) designated on the basis of mere appearances as they appear to unimpaired minds. For details, see the passages by Ven. Ñāṇananda quoted here.

Also, from Ven. Ñāṇananda's Magic of the Mind:

    Sense-perception at all levels relies largely on signs.... It is due to the processes of grasping and recognition implicit in sense-perception that the sign has come to play such an important part in it.... Lust, hatred and delusion are the ‘things’ which, according to the teaching of the Tathāgata, are signified by all sense-percepts. ‘Lust, friend, is a something; hatred is a something; delusion is a something.’ (M i 298, Mahāvedalla S.) ‘Lust, friends, is something significative, hatred is something significative, delusion is something significative’ (ibid).

And by contemplating impermanence, etc. to the point of inducing dispassion, signs are abandoned. There's then nothing of significance to grasp or cling to. Paṭisambhidāmagga Vimokkhakathā:

    When he gives attention as impermanent his mind emerges from the sign; his mind enters into the signless.... Gnosis of contemplation of the signlessness of form… feeling… recognition… fabrications… consciousness… etc., is signless deliverance because it liberates from all signs.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:40 am

Hi Nana,

So the idea that the items in the DO chain are "designations" comes from Ven.
Nanananda. On another thread you quoted him as follows:

From Ven. Ñāṇananda's The Magic of the Mind, p. 63:

"It would indeed appear strange to us that in Buddhist psychology even contact and feeling – with which we are so intimate – are treated as ‘designations’ (paññatti)."

But is this correct?

To me, passages such as the one being commented on here (MN 18.17), are only
saying that if feeling arises based on contact then because one is aware of it
one can "point it out" or "designate" it. If, due to the absence of contact
feeling does not arise, then there is nothing that can be "pointed out".

It is not saying that feeling when it arises is only a designation.
Perhaps we need to look closely at the Pali here, and enlist the help
of some of our Pali experts.

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:45 am

Hi everyone,

On the question of what "sabbe dhamma" means AN 10.58 is interesting.
This is further evidence that "sabbe dhamma" often means - all mental objects.

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

In what follows I give the Pali and two translations, the first by Thanissaro
and the second by Woodward [PTS].

‘chandamūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena are rooted in desire.[1]" [Thanissaro]

"Rooted in desire, your reverences, are all things ..." [Woodward]

manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena come into play through attention." [T]

"... compounded of thinking are all things ..." [W]

phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have contact as their origination." [T]

" ... originating from contact .." ( are all things) [W]

vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have feeling as their meeting place." [T]

" ... conjoined in sensation ..." (are all things) [W]

samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have concentration as their presiding state." [T]

" ... headed by concentration ..." (are all things) [W]

satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have mindfulness as their governing principle." [T]

" ... ruled over by mindfulness .." (are all things) [W]

paññuttarā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have discernment as their surpassing state." [T]

" ... having wisdom as ultimate are all things ..." [W]

vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena have release as their heartwood." [T]

" ... having release for their essence ..." (are all things) [W]

amatogadhā sabbe dhammā

"All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless." [T]

" ... plunging into the deathless ..." (are all things) [W]

nibbānapariyosānā sabbe dhammā’ti.

"All phenomena have Unbinding as their final end.' [T]

" ... with nibbana for their conclusion are all things." [W]

Regards, Vincent.
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