Aggregate?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:58 am

My dear chap

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:The problem seems to be retro's understanding of the verb "appropriate" ( upādiyati ).

In the suttas, that verb denotes only the "appropriating" or "taking up" of the Aggregates as self/Self.

Alternatively...
Source: Pali-English Dictionary, TW Rhys Davids, William Stede wrote:Description: Upādiyati [upa + ā + dā, see ādiyati] to take hold of, to grasp, cling to, show attachment (to the world), cp. upādāna D ii.292; M i.56, 67; S ii.14; iii.73, 94, 135;iv. 168 (na kiñci loke u. = parinibbāyati); Sn 752, 1103, 1104; Nd1 444 (= ādeti); Nd2 164. ppr. upādiyaŋ S iv. 24 = 65 (an˚); -- ppr. med. upādiyamāna Siii.73; SnA 409, & upādiyāna (˚ādiyāno) Sn 470; Dh 20. <-> ger. upādāya in lit. meaning "taking up" J i.30; Miln 184, 338, 341; for specialised meaning & use as prep. see separately as also upādā and upādiyitvā VvA 209; DA i.109 (an˚); DhA iv.194 (an˚). -- pp. upādiṇṇa (q. v.).


Nevermind "self" or "I" just for the moment (which themselves are not specified in the dictionary reference), but can you actually demonstrate this its use is to be so narrowly constricted and strait-jacketed, so as to preclude the act of taking them as "mine", because that's part of what I'm talking about here too - the full shebang...


If you had bothered to read my post above on MN 1, you might have noticed that the appropriation of states as "mine" was actually addressed.



Regarding the demarkation or delineation of the "heap"...

MN 109: Maha-punnama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Lord, what is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation[2] of the aggregate of form? What is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness?"

"Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, & wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications. Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness."

[2] - Delineation (paññapana) literally means, "making discernible." This apparently refers to the intentional aspect of perception, which takes the objective side of experience and fabricates it into discernible objects. In the case of the aggregates, the four great existents, contact, and name-&-form provide the objective basis for discerning them, while the process of fabrication takes the raw material provided by the objective basis and turns it into discernible instances of the aggregates. This process is described in slightly different terms in SN 22.79.


Thus, aggregates are personally delineated, based on different experiential conditions, and the coloured section above shows when in the paticcasamuppada process each arises. Thus if aggregates need to be delineated to arise in the manner shown above, questions of a realism vs idealism nature (i.e. the underlying nature of what, if anything, such delineations might point to, separate from and independently of their delineation) can be set aside.

So how is support for the delineation of aggregates cut off in practice?...



I'm afraid Ven Thanissaro has over-stepped the suttas by his novel explanation of paññapana. Firstly, DN 15's critique of paññapana is limited to attānaṃ paññapento (a delineation of the self/Self). No critique is made about delineation of the Aggregates. In fact, DN 15 gives a ringing endorsement of paññattipatha (pathway of designation) as providing paññāvacara (a sphere of wisdom). All this gobbledygook about paññapana being the subjective experience of the Aggregates that makes the Aggregates discernible flies in the face of SN 22.62 and SN 22.94 discussed in - viewtopic.php?f=19&t=13509&start=40#p201360

It's little wonder why the abovementioned 2 suttas find no place in ATI. It's an inconvenient hurdle to Ven T's model of cognition. Ven T might want to pay closer attention to DN 15's paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa, and ask which of these 2 contacts is the source of papañca.


And by all means disagree with my statement and citations if you like, that is your prerogative to do so... but please do so without any needless and unproductive histrionics, red herrings or strawmen. Thanks.


That will be your cross to carry, if you mistakenly paññapeti (delineate) my actions as such.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:04 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:It's little wonder why the abovementioned 2 suttas find no place in ATI. It's an inconvenient hurdle to Ven T's model of cognition. Ven T might want to pay closer attention to DN 15's paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa, and ask which of these 2 contacts is the source of papañca.

So you recommend then that I ditch Ven's Nanananda, Nanavira and Thanissaro, in preference for the Dhamma of Sylvester?

It's becoming quite an extensive list of people now whose interpretations of the Dhamma I respect that ought to be jettisoned in order to uphold your preferred interpretations, seemingly derived from dry linguistics.

You may be prepared to do so... yet I don't see myself doing so any time soon, all the same... but thanks for the invitation. I appreciate our world-views are very different and underlying assumptions are quite divergent, so am happy to accept this disconnect. Due to these fundamental differences, I won't be wholeheartedly agreeing with much that you say, no matter how convincing you find your own views.

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: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:14 am

ground wrote:You may believe so, I don't. From my perspective the opposite seems to be the case: once concepts have become cultivated people cling to them and reify them.
Which would then, of course, mean the whole point of the Buddha's teachings is meaningless, just concepts leading to more concepts. Fortunately, I do not need to share your perspective.
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: Aggregate?

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:19 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Retro,

I've still not seen any passage that says that it's the classification of what I'm clinging to (as I and mine) that is the problem. Certainly none of the recently quoted passages say anything like that, in my opinion. They all say that the clinging is the problem.

If hadn't heard aggregates would I be free from clinging?

Furthermore, what arises isn't "an aggregate". What arises can be classified by combinations of aggregates:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#khandha
Feeling, perception and mental constructions are only different aspects and functions of a single unit of consciousness. They are to consciousness what redness, softness, sweetness, etc. are to an apple and have as little separate existence as those qualities.

Much of the discussion in this thread seems to imply that "aggregates" are little building blocks, which would, I think, be a mistak

The rest of that section on the khandhas you link to is fine,Very nice, except for that one unfortunate sentence quoted above.
What does the venerable mean by " consciouness" , is he referring to vinnana khandha or some idea that supposedly encompases all namas that arise at the same time.
While it is true that vedana khandha and the other nama khandhas arise at the same time and associated together with vinnana khandha it is confusing to say they are an aspect and function of vinnana .
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:20 am

Stop being such a drama queen. I do not ask you to ditch. I simply recommend you put it aside for now, and address your mind to those 3 suttas that are inconsistent with the 3 Venerables' cognition models.

I will be upfront about my reservations concerning their models, particularly where it concerns papañca. I will grant that in Mahayana, prapañca has a more insiduous role in ALL forms of cognition and perception. It's blamed for the Sarva's Dharma theory that endows dharmas with svabhava, such that prapañca spills beyond the constructions of selfhood.

However, I've done quite a comprehensive survey of the electronic Pali Canon for papañca and papañceti in their various guises. At least in the Pali Canon, this phenomenon is maligned only in self-construction, but not in existential ruminations. It is not papañca in Early Buddhism to take a position as to whether or not states exist. Papañca certainly is a condition for the arising of contact, given its close connection to the anusayas, but there is nothing in Early Buddhism to say that an Aggregate can only arise if papañca is active (as in present tense 'is'). One of the great gaps in Ven Nanavira's model of DO is his silence on the locative absolute construction of idappacayata - the pre-awakening sankharas of an Arahant is enough to cause the Aggregates to arise post-awakening.

If you wish to reject the grammatical peculiarity of idappacayata as a red-herring, pls do so, but at least account for the rejection on same ground.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:43 am

Greetings Sylvester,

I appreciate your transparency regarding the origins of your reservations, but they are not reservations I share because (from the perspective of the Dhamma) I am completely indifferent as to whether things exist or not - as my reckoning will have no bearing on what is true in that regard. Taking the "vertical view" and restricting it to "the all" (sabba), such concerns do not penetrate.

Accordingly, I do not lean one way or the other, or feel any drive to protect realism from idealism, or vice versa. Thus, all this Mahayana, Sarvastiva, svabhava, three time periods etc. business that seems of importance to you, does not find any relevance with me.

Take care.

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: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

I appreciate your transparency regarding the origins of your reservations, but they are not reservations I share because (from the perspective of the Dhamma) I am completely indifferent as to whether things exist or not - as my reckoning will have no bearing on what is true in that regard. Taking the "vertical view" and restricting it to "the all" (sabba), such concerns do not penetrate.

Accordingly, I do not lean one way or the other, or feel any drive to protect realism from idealism, or vice versa. Thus, all this Mahayana, Sarvastiva, svabhava, three time periods etc. business that seems of importance to you, does not find any relevance with me.

Take care.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I assure you, all of the above have no importance to me. What irks me is how these issues creep into the lenses of those who insist that the early Buddhist texts ought to be interpreted in this way or that way. You have to admit, "believe in Aggregates" is something influenced by Idealism, while I follow the suttas' practical approach of simply noting that things arise thru conditions, and some conditions are not cognitive events per se.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby ground » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:
ground wrote:You may believe so, I don't. From my perspective the opposite seems to be the case: once concepts have become cultivated people cling to them and reify them.
Which would then, of course, mean the whole point of the Buddha's teachings is meaningless, just concepts leading to more concepts. Fortunately, I do not need to share your perspective.

Now it seems you are reifying your understanding of the words I have written. From my perspective "cultivated" is the crucial term in my statement which of course has no pre-determined meaning.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:00 am

ground wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
ground wrote:You may believe so, I don't. From my perspective the opposite seems to be the case: once concepts have become cultivated people cling to them and reify them.
Which would then, of course, mean the whole point of the Buddha's teachings is meaningless, just concepts leading to more concepts. Fortunately, I do not need to share your perspective.

Now it seems you are reifying your understanding of the words I have written. From my perspective "cultivated" is the crucial term in my statement which of course has no pre-determined meaning.
Now you you are just playing games. I am not reifying anything and you are ignoring what is said to you.
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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:03 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:You have to admit, "believe in Aggregates" is something influenced by Idealism

Do I? Actually it's not. As I defined it back here... viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13485&start=40#p200806

"Believing in aggregates" means to believe that those things classified under the khandhas-scheme have inherent existence, independent of any observation and experience of them.

"Believing in aggregates" is an affirmation of realism, and that "aggregates" are in that sense real. As I said above, I've stepped out of the whole realism/idealism issue by taking a strictly vertical view and restricting it to sabba.

If you do have a problem though with my definitions, please do come up with your own, as I did not wish to be the one to define the positions of others in the first place, as is evident from earlier postings made on the first few pages.

Sylvester wrote:while I follow the suttas' practical approach of simply noting that things arise thru conditions, and some conditions are not cognitive events per se.

I don't believe you can observe conditions outside sabba (The All). Do you?

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: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:05 am

retrofuturist wrote:
"Believing in aggregates" means to believe that those things classified under the khandhas-scheme have inherent existence, independent of any observation and experience of them.


This was the part that I found Idealist.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:10 am

robertk wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Retro,

I've still not seen any passage that says that it's the classification of what I'm clinging to (as I and mine) that is the problem. Certainly none of the recently quoted passages say anything like that, in my opinion. They all say that the clinging is the problem.

If hadn't heard aggregates would I be free from clinging?

Furthermore, what arises isn't "an aggregate". What arises can be classified by combinations of aggregates:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#khandha
Feeling, perception and mental constructions are only different aspects and functions of a single unit of consciousness. They are to consciousness what redness, softness, sweetness, etc. are to an apple and have as little separate existence as those qualities.

Much of the discussion in this thread seems to imply that "aggregates" are little building blocks, which would, I think, be a mistak

The rest of that section on the khandhas you link to is fine,Very nice, except for that one unfortunate sentence quoted above.
What does the venerable mean by " consciouness" , is he referring to vinnana khandha or some idea that supposedly encompases all namas that arise at the same time.
While it is true that vedana khandha and the other nama khandhas arise at the same time and associated together with vinnana khandha it is confusing to say they are an aspect and function of vinnana .

Hi Robert,
I can't speak for Ven Nyanaponika, but perhaps he is conflating citta and cetasika with the khandha classification.

The key point was that one can't say that a particular khandha is arising separately from the rest, so viewing them as building blocks (as in chariot-type similes) is highly misleading.

To answer Retro's question,
Retrofuturist wrote:Can you have rising (and subsequent falling) without "delineation"? Doesn't having x arise, first require x's delineation as x? If so, how "bare" does that make "bare attention"?

from my reading of the Suttas, I'd say "stuff" arises from causes and conditions whether or not you classify that stuff into aggregates. If you see it more clearly you can classify it. Of course, that classification is going to be dependent on causes an conditions, one "sees" dependent on conditions, but I don't see the need to make something special out of classification schemes, be they khandas, sense bases, or the more detailed abhidhammic schemes. It's like talking about colour. As you probably know, in different languages there are different numbers of colours, not a one-to-one mapping. Does that make any difference to what is seen? No, because the words for colours are just a way of grouping them conveniently. If we had six or four khandas in the suttas would it matter? Not in my reading. In the suttas we already have some subdivisions, e.g. for rupa. The Abhidhamma introduces heaps more...

I still think that one of the reasons we are talking past each other is that I don't see the aggregates as things, and certainly don't "believe" in them. The "believing in the aggregates" seems to be much more apparent in Retro's arguments.

Regarding that MN109 passage, here is the Nanamoli/Bodhi passage for comparison:
MN 109 wrote: 9. “What is the cause and condition, venerable sir, for the manifestation of the material form aggregate? What is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the feeling aggregate… the perception aggregate…the formations aggregate…the consciousness aggregate?”

“The four great elements, bhikkhu, are the cause and condition for the manifestation of the material form aggregate. Contact is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the feeling aggregate. Contact is the cause and the condition for the manifestation of the perception aggregate. Contact is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the formations aggregate. Mentality-materiality is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the consciousness aggregate.”


:anjali:
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:11 am

retrofuturist wrote: (as is evident from the post link above, as preceding posts, where Tilt took ownership for any fallout from them)
No, I did not.
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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:13 am

Greetings Sylvester,

How is someone taking the stance that something has "inherent existence, independent of any observation" in any way idealist?

It seems diametrically opposed to idealism...!

In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism

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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:15 am

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote: (as is evident from the post link above, as preceding posts, where Tilt took ownership for any fallout from them)
No, I did not.

Sorry, you only own any strawmen that may have come from it.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13485&start=40#p200806

If they're true representations of people's positions (i.e. not strawmen), I'm happy to own the definitions.

(Right, that covers both possibilities...)

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: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote: (as is evident from the post link above, as preceding posts, where Tilt took ownership for any fallout from them)
No, I did not.

Sorry, you only own any strawmen that may have come from it.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13485&start=40#p200806

If they're true representations of people's positions (i.e. not strawmen), I'm happy to own the definitions.

(Right, that covers both possibilities...)

Metta,
Retro. :)
I did not agree to your stipulation.
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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:26 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:To answer Retro's question,
Retrofuturist wrote:Can you have rising (and subsequent falling) without "delineation"? Doesn't having x arise, first require x's delineation as x? If so, how "bare" does that make "bare attention"?

from my reading of the Suttas, I'd say "stuff" arises from causes and conditions whether or not you classify that stuff into aggregates. If you see it more clearly you can classify it. Of course, that classification is going to be dependent on causes an conditions, one "sees" dependent on conditions, but I don't see the need to make something special out of classification schemes, be they khandas, sense bases, or the more detailed abhidhammic schemes. It's like talking about colour. As you probably know, in different languages there are different numbers of colours, not a one-to-one mapping. Does that make any difference to what is seen? No, because the words for colours are just a way of grouping them conveniently. If we had six or four khandas in the suttas would it matter? Not in my reading. In the suttas we already have some subdivisions, e.g. for rupa. The Abhidhamma introduces heaps more...

The exact classification scheme doesn't matter but "rise" and "fall" are merely "change" relative to something. Change is relative, not absolute. Suttas like MN 109 demonstrate that the something, whatever the referrent, is itself formed (sankhata). Thus, to perceive change (rise / fall), one must have volitionally established a reference point against which to measure that delta.

Just to refresh our memories, I asked you this question in order to challenge this perception...

mikenz66 wrote:Much of the discussion in this thread seems to imply that "aggregates" are little building blocks, which would, I think, be a mistake.

Rather, experience is subjective/relative, not an aggregated composite of atomic mental and physical particles. So you're right, anyone who would propose "aggregates" are little building blocks or equivalent, are misrepresenting the experience of change. I don't think anyone is doing that... I just wanted to help you dispel the perception that anyone else was trying to do 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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:27 am

Greeting Tilt,

Well you shouldn't have asked a fourth time, should you?

If you feel it is appropriate to renege on such explicitly made stipulations in the future, I shall not answer questions asked for the proverbial "third time".

Simple.

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: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:40 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greeting Tilt,

Well you shouldn't have asked a fourth time, should you?

If you feel it is appropriate to renege on such explicitly made stipulations in the future, I shall not answer questions asked for the proverbial "third time".

Simple.

Metta,
Retro. :)
As I said I did not agree to your stipulation. I simply asked you to explain what you meant by something you said that was rather unclear to me, which is a reasonable thing to do in a dialogue. That I had to ask you repeatedly to explain what you meant was bad enough, but then to get that explanation you tried putting rather absurb terms and conditions on the dialogue, all of which reflects poorly upon thee, not me.
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: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:14 am

Greetings Tilt,

Of course in Tilt-loka, Retro always looks bad. Isn't it fortunate those posts are still there so that anyone who may be interested can decide for themselves whether you were engaging me in good faith or not, and whether they might be subject to such engagement from you, now or in the future.

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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