Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

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Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:57 pm

This is a discussion from another topic that I want to expand on.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13485&p=200830&hilit=view#p200830
"Believing in aggregates" means to think that the true nature of aggregates is to be understood through looking at and analysing them through the lens of perception with increasing levels of magnification, without actually questioning the distortion that the frame/lens of that perception itself introduces, and the volitional role it plays in forming samsara.

[
Metta,
Retro.


Robert:Well that is one of the reasons i am skeptical of the meditation technques. The khadhas are arising and passing away instantly and incessantly. If someone startss trying to focus on them it is sure to introduce some perverted perception. Thus view is everything with regard to developing the path.
One is not trying to see some subtle feeling for example, rather one is just seeing what is always arising, but without wrong perception

In the Mulapariyaya Sutta (see Bodhi "root of existence") the Buddha explains that

'th
e uninstructed worldling perceives earth as earth......and he perceives the seen as the seen ..the heard as he heard...the sensed as the sensed..the cognised as the cognised..Having perceived the cognised as the cognised he conceives himself as the cognised..in the cognised...apart from the cognised..the cognised is mine..What is the reason? Because it has not being fully understood
.


Just some quotes from the commentary and tika to this sutta: p39

QUOTE
"they bear their own characteristics, thus they are dhammas: This is said for the purpose of showing that these are mere dhammas endowed with the specific natures devoid of such attributions as that of 'being' etc... These dhammas are discovered as ultimately real actualities. And although there is no distinction between these dhammas and their characteristics the exposition makes a distinction as a mere metaphorical device. Also they are borne, or they are discerned, known, according to their specific nature, thus they are dhammas."

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:23 am

Hi Robert,

I know you are skeptical of meditation methods. So, how do we know these dhammas as being real according to the Nikayas and ancient commentaries?
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:23 am

Hi Robert,

I know you are skeptical of meditation methods. So, how do we know these dhammas as being real according to the Nikayas and ancient commentaries?
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:27 am

Greetings Robert, Ben, all,

Ben wrote:So, how do we know these dhammas as being real according to the Nikayas and ancient commentaries?

And to leverage off that, how is Right View in relation to the reality of khandas, dhatus etc. transformed to Right Knowledge according to the Nikayas and ancient commentaries?

I am interested in particular in how, "the distortion that the frame/lens of ... perception itself" mentioned in the original post is overcome in the process.

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: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:53 am

Dear ben and retro,

QUOTE from commentary to mulapariyaya:
The "uninstructed worldling" (p40 of Mulapariyaya) "needs to be taught, because he possesses neither learning(agama) nor achievement. For he who possesses neither the learning running counter to the activity of conceiving because he has neglected to study, question, and discriminate the aggregates (khandhas), elements, sense bases (ayatanas) truths, law of conditionality and foundations of mindfulness
etc , '.

So the problem with the buddhist of today, IMHO, is that they want to rush in and experience reality, or more precisely What they "feel" reality is, without enough basis in right view. And right view is totattly dependent on sufficient, careful, and right study of the true Dhamma.
Without very firm right view one could go on a path of having profound experiences, see the most subtle levels of rupa or nama. But still be misperceving them.

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:55 am

These are the steps
(speculation is not a good translation but you get the idea)
M II, no 95, Cankiisutta.

It is long, for the whole sutta:
<http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/
Majjhima2/095-canki-e1.html >

'Good Gotama, now, I know the realising of the truth. How is this attained? Good Gotama, teach me that attainment and realization.'

'Bharadvàja, practising, developing and making much of those same things lead to the realization of the truth. I declare that the realization of the truth is this much.'

'Good Gotama, now I know the realising of the truth. What things are of much help for realising the truth?'

'Bharadvàja, the fourfold endeavour is of much help for the realisation of the truth. If not for the fourfold endeavour, the realisation of the truth is not. Therefore the fourfold endeavour is of much help for the realisation of the truth.'

'Good Gotama, for the fourfold endeavour, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, weighing [1] is of much help for the fourfold endeavour. Without the weighing there is no fourfold effort, therefore weighing is of much help for the fourfold endeavour.'

'Good Gotama, for weighing, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, struggling [2] is of much help for weighing. Without that struggle there is no weighing, therefore that struggle is of much help for weighing'

'Good Gotama, for struggling, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, interest, is of much help for struggling. Without that interest, there is no struggle, therefore that interest is of much help for struggling.'

'Good Gotama, for interest, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, rightful speculation [3] is of much help for interest. Without the rightful speculating mind, there is no interest, therefore the rightful speculative mind is of much help for interest.'

'Good Gotama, for a rightful speculative mind, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, examining the meanings in the Teaching, is of much help for a rightful speculative mind. Without that examining of meanings in the Teaching, there is norightful speculation, therefore examining
meanings in the Teaching is of much help for a speculative mind.'

'Good Gotama, for examining meanings in the Teaching, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, bearing the Teaching in the mind, is of much help for examining meanings in the Teaching. Without bearing the Teaching in mind, there is no examination of meanings, therefore bearing the Teaching in mind is of much help for examining meanings in the Teaching.'

'Good Gotama, for bearing the Teaching in the mind, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, listening to the Teaching, is of much help for bearing the Teaching in the mind. Without listening to the Teaching, there is no bearing of the Teaching, therefore listening to the Teaching, is of much help for bearing the Teaching in the mind.'

'Good Gotama, for listening to the Teaching, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, lending ear, is of much help for listening to the Teaching. Without lending ear there is no listening to the Teaching, therefore, lending ear, is of much help for listening to the Teaching.'

'Good Gotama, for lending ear, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, associating, is of much help for lending ear. Without association there is no lending ears, therefore associating is of much help for lending ear.'

'Good Gotama, for associating, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, approaching, is of much help for associating Without an approach there is no association, therefore approaching is of much help for associating.'

'Good Gotama, for approaching, what thing is of much help?'

'Bharadvàja, faith, is of much help for approaching Without faith there is no approaching, therefore faith is of much help for approaching.'...

[1] Weighing is of much help for the fourfold endeavour (padhànassa kho bharadvàja tulanà bahukàrà). The fourfold endeavours are pushing the mind forward earnestly, to dispel arisen demerit to promote non arising of not arisen demerit To promote the arising of not arisen merit and to see the development and completion of arisen merit. For this kind of mental work to happen, we should mentally weigh our activities by body speech and mind. We should be aware of the activities at the six doors of mental contact.

[2] Struggling is of much help for weighing (tulanàya kho bharadvàja ussàho bahukàro hoti). This is a mental struggle. It consists of thinking and pondering to sort out the correct and comes to be right thinking.

[3] Right speculation is of much help for interest (chandassa kho Bharadvàja dhammanijjhànakhanti bahukàrà). Right speculation falls to the category of right thinking. So this is falling to the Noble Eightfold path, with right view at the foremost.
--------

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:01 am

Ben wrote:Hi Robert,

I know you are skeptical of meditation methods. So, how do we know these dhammas as being real according to the Nikayas and ancient commentaries?
kind regards,

Ben

Hi Ben, well we know firstly because the teachings tell us. But deeper understanding depends on gradual development of insight as detailed in the sutta above. And it can't be hurried.

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:09 am

Greetings Robert,

robertk wrote:(speculation is not a good translation but you get the idea)

Inquisitive, inquiry etc.?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:13 am

Inquiry maybe is good.. Havent looked at the pali yet

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby danieLion » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:15 am

robertk wrote:Dear ben and retro,

QUOTE from commentary to mulapariyaya:
The "uninstructed worldling" (p40 of Mulapariyaya) "needs to be taught, because he possesses neither learning(agama) nor achievement. For he who possesses neither the learning running counter to the activity of conceiving because he has neglected to study, question, and discriminate the aggregates (khandhas), elements, sense bases (ayatanas) truths, law of conditionality and foundations of mindfulness
etc , '.

So the problem with the buddhist of today, IMHO, is that they want to rush in and experience reality, or more precisely What they "feel" reality is, without enough basis in right view. And right view is totattly dependent on sufficient, careful, and right study of the true Dhamma.
Without very firm right view one could go on a path of having profound experiences, see the most subtle levels of rupa or nama. But still be misperceving them.

Hi Robert,
This is about the relationship of the map to the territory. You can't explore without a map, but you can't verify or improve the map without exploring. The khanda are a perfect example. If you take them at their English face value without knowledge of how the Buddha defined them, you'll be experiencing something, but not the khanda via the Buddha. And even when we learn the Buddha's definitions, we still have to constantly test our experience against our view, and vice versa.

But none of this involves speculating about their ontological status.

Best,
Daniel

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:19 am

none of this involves speculating about their ontological status


when the ancient Commentary calls them ultimately real actualities is this ontological or speculating?

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby danieLion » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:21 am

Asking or claiming if the khanda are real is similar to asking or claiming if experience is real, and should also show us that the answer is, "Of course." Right view teaches how to relate to experience, and mindfulness/concentration/effort techniques are simply the tools of relating to experience skillfully.
Best,
Daniel

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:22 am

Hi Robert,
Commentary wrote:"they bear their own characteristics, thus they are dhammas: This is said for the purpose of showing that these are mere dhammas endowed with the specific natures devoid of such attributions as that of 'being' etc... These dhammas are discovered as ultimately real actualities. And although there is no distinction between these dhammas and their characteristics the exposition makes a distinction as a mere metaphorical device. Also they are borne, or they are discerned, known, according to their specific nature, thus they are dhammas."

It might be worth teasing out what "ultimately real actualities" means in the Classical Theravada context.

Presumably these are paramattha dhammas that the commentator is talking about, which, in the majority of cases are conditioned, and therefore don't exist independent of their causes and conditions. In contrast to some non-Buddhist theories where they are independently-existing objects.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:25 am

Well of course all paramattha dhammas, except nibbana are condionted

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby danieLion » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:28 am

robertk wrote:
none of this involves speculating about their ontological status


when the ancient Commentary calls them ultimately real actualities is this ontological or speculating?

Both.
Bodhi has it as "investigation" rather than "speculation."

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:42 am

danieLion wrote:
robertk wrote:
none of this involves speculating about their ontological status


when the ancient Commentary calls them ultimately real actualities is this ontological or speculating?

Both.
."

Ok you so feel the ancients were going wrong . That is fine.
I think i will stay with their teachings rather than your ideas for now though.

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby danieLion » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:44 am

robertk wrote:Dear ben and retro,

QUOTE from commentary to mulapariyaya:
The "uninstructed worldling" (p40 of Mulapariyaya) "needs to be taught, because he possesses neither learning(agama) nor achievement. For he who possesses neither the learning running counter to the activity of conceiving because he has neglected to study, question, and discriminate the aggregates (khandhas), elements, sense bases (ayatanas) truths, law of conditionality and foundations of mindfulness
etc , '.

So the problem with the buddhist of today, IMHO, is that they want to rush in and experience reality, or more precisely What they "feel" reality is, without enough basis in right view. And right view is totattly dependent on sufficient, careful, and right study of the true Dhamma.
Without very firm right view one could go on a path of having profound experiences, see the most subtle levels of rupa or nama. But still be misperceving them.

Hi Robert,
This "needs to be taught" phrase smacks of conceit, and "the problem with the buddhist today" comment seems like stereotyping.

We don't (always/all of us) start from scratch.

As Professor Gombrich notes in What the Buddha Thought:

I suggest...we tend to over-interpret what was meant at one level by awareness and concentration. This over-interpretation began, no doubt, with the professional monks who systematized the Buddha's teaching. I am not denying that in order to achieve Enlightenment, awareness and concentration have to be cultivated to a very high pitch. But what the Buddha was prescribing as mental training must initially have bee what we nowadays take for granted in an educated person, a basis for moral and intellectual understanding (p. 172).

Best,
Daniel

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby danieLion » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:49 am

robertk wrote:Ok you so feel the ancients were going wrong . That is fine.
I think i will stay with their teachings rather than your ideas for now though.

Aside form weak inferences, how can you be so certain my ideas and "the ancients" never overlap?

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:53 am

This "needs to be taught" phrase smacks of conceit,

It is from the ancient monks. I think it is simply the truth.
As for stereotyping , that is what I see after being around buddhists for 30 years, living in Thailand etc etc.
You may have wider experience than me. If so i concede the point.

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Re: Khandas, dhatus and ayatanas are real

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:56 am

danieLion wrote:
robertk wrote:Ok you so feel the ancients were going wrong . That is fine.
I think i will stay with their teachings rather than your ideas for now though.

Aside form weak inferences, how can you be so certain my ideas and "the ancients" never overlap?

I just quoted a phrase from the ancients which you call speculative etc.
did i need to to say that i was referring directly to that aspect. Of course you may for all i know agree with every single point ever said by the ancients except for that. I hope you do.


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