is there a conventional self who decides?

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is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:46 am

new topic
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:56 am

Who decided to start this thread? Robert. Case closed.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby SamKR » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:06 am

As I understand it: There is an illusory (== conventional?) self who decides. But there is no self who decides, there are only decisions.
I would appreciate any correction to my views (from both sides :)).
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:10 am

SamKR wrote:As I understand it: There is an illusory (== conventional?) self who decides. But there is no self who decides, there are only decisions.
I would appreciate any correction to my views (from both sides :)).
What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas; rather, what is illusory is the sense of the self as being permanent and an unchanging agent.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby Virgo » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas


So you believe that sakkaya-ditthi is real in the ultimate sense? I always thought you took paramattha dhammas as illusory.

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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:31 am

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas


So you believe that sakkaya-ditthi is real in the ultimate sense? I always thought you took paramattha dhammas as illusory.

Kevin
No and no.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby SamKR » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas;

The fact that "there is a sense of self" is not an illusion. But the "sense of self" itself is an illusion or a product of illusion.

tiltbillings wrote:rather, what is illusory is the sense of the self as being permanent and an unchanging agent.

Yes. If "sense of self" itself is an illusion or conditioned by illusion then anything based on this (example: it being permanent and an unchanging agent) is illusory.
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:52 am

SamKR wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas;

The fact that "there is a sense of self" is not an illusion. But the "sense of self" itself is an illusion or a product of illusion.
I do not necessarily agree with that. The sense of self is a product of the khandhas, according the Buddha, but I am not really following you here. A bit of clarification, please.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:54 am

Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. " SN III 46.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:56 am

Then a certain brahman approached the Blessed One; having approached the Blessed One, he exchanged friendly greetings. After pleasant conversation had passed between them, he sat to one side. Having sat to one side, the brahman spoke to the Blessed One thus:

“Venerable Gotama, I am one of such a doctrine, of such a view: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer.’”[1]

“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. [5]

“What do you think, brahmin, is there an element of exertion [6] ... is there an element of effort [7] ... is there an element of steadfastness [8] ... is there an element of persistence [9] ... is there an element of endeavoring?” [10]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of endeavoring, are endeavoring beings clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of endeavoring, endeavoring beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. I have not, brahmin, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view as yours. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself — say ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’?”

“Superb, Venerable Gotama! Superb, Venerable Gotama! Venerable Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been turned upside down, revealing what had been concealed, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark: ‘Those who have eyes see forms!’ Just so, the Venerable Gotama has illuminated the Dhamma in various ways. I go to Venerable Gotama as refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the assembly of monks. From this day, for as long as I am endowed with breath, let Venerable Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge.”

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:00 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
Then a certain . . . follower who has gone to him for refuge.”

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
Thanks for that. The Anguttara Nikaya is full of surprising things.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:07 am

No hay problema Senor. Twas a pleasure and a privilege.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:12 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:No hay problema Senor. Twas a pleasure and a privilege.

:namaste:
It is an interesting topic. Though it is not talked about directly in this way in a classical sense, much of the practice is about dealing with the sense "self" that we are stuck with until we get some degree of awakening. The precepts, the social emotions (lovingkindness, etc), meditation are all part of that.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby SamKR » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What is illusory is not the sense of a self, for that is a product of the khandhas;

The fact that "there is a sense of self" is not an illusion. But the "sense of self" itself is an illusion or a product of illusion.
I do not necessarily agree with that. The sense of self is a product of the khandhas, according the Buddha, but I am not really following you here. A bit of clarification, please.


The truth that "there are illusions" is not an illusion. In the same way, the truth that "there is a sense of self" is not an illusion.
But "sense of self" is a product of the khandhas and ignorance, and therefore illusory.

Thus, when there is ignorance there is an illusory self who decides and ignorantly thinks that it made its decisions and owns (or grasps or clings to) them. When this is that is.
But when there is no ignorance then there is no illusion of self that makes decisions. When this is not, that is not.
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:30 am

SamKR wrote:
The truth that "there are illusions" is not an illusion. In the same way, the truth that "there is a sense of self" is not an illusion.
But "sense of self" is a product of the khandhas and ignorance, and therefore illusory.
Thanks. I'd state it a bit differently, but I don't think we are talking at odds here.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:No hay problema Senor. Twas a pleasure and a privilege.

:namaste:
It is an interesting topic. Though it is not talked about directly in this way in a classical sense, much of the practice is about dealing with the sense "self" that we are stuck with until we get some degree of awakening. The precepts, the social emotions (lovingkindness, etc), meditation are all part of that.


Indeed it is interesting. My current understanding of the gradual training, precepts etc., is that they are designed to have us build up the most wholesome, blameless, skillful sense of self that is possible to build since we're stuck with some sense of self anyway until arahantship. This slowly chips away at our greed, aversion and delusion until one gets to the point where they realize that even all that great blameless virtue, meditative attainments, etc. as well as the 5 khandas are ultimately stressful and subject to cessation and at that point one is able to finally completely let go (of everything) with total peace of mind. Basically you get fed up with dragging around even the greatest sense of self possible and this results in dispassion and relinquishment. Even non-returners still have a residual conceit I am which I find rather interesting. Anyway, that's the gist of my understanding so far.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. " SN III 46.

This 'assumption' is actuallly miccha-ditthi, wrong view , and is something that should be seen as the greatest evil. Not as something good.
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:50 am

kirk5a wrote:Who decided to start this thread? Robert. Case closed.

Ok but since there have been other posts after your one I guess some members thought there was still some opening in the case.

Let's look at when I decided to begin this thread . Is there really an "I" or is that merely a conventional and useful description of a complex set of processes?
Vajira Sutta BhikkuniSamyutta
Vajirahttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/ca ... -010a.html
Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses: "Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases."

And during the time of thinking about this new topic and finally posting it what was really happening?
Well according to Buddhaghosa in the Commentary to the Samyutta nikaya, The Book of Causation (Nidaanavagga) VII The Great Subchapter 61
(1) Uninstructed (1) p. 595 Samyutta Nikaya Vol 1 (translated by Bodhi)
note 157.
one citta is
not able to endure for a whole day or a whole night. Even in the
time of a fingersnap many hundred thousand kotis of cittas arise and
cease (1 koti=10 million).


So yes there was intention and effort and concentration and other factors all working. But each of these factors arises momentarily and then falls away. In the long period of time from starting o think about making a new thread to actually posting it- which took probably a couple of minutes how many completely different cetanas (intention) arose and fall away... sooo many trillions. Which ones where kusala, which akusala: in fact I have no idea because this rapid rise and fall is clouded by ignorance and so rare for satisampajanna to penetrate.

Thus there is already so much ignorance (avijja) but if it is allied with wrong view and desire then there is no way for any understanding to ever grow. That is why careful and honest study of the texts is so vital.
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Re: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:52 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. " SN III 46.

This 'assumption' is actuallly miccha-ditthi, wrong view , and is something that should be seen as the greatest evil. Not as something good.
Nobody said it was something good, but the reality is that we can tell the "sense of self" where to get off, we can tell it to drop dead, but we are stuck with it until there is sufficient insight, not conceptual thinking about it, but actual insight into the nature of the "self," into the conditioned co-produced nature of the khandhas.

In the mean time it is reigned in, tamed, by the precepts and by the other practices outlined by the Buddha, which help set up the conditions that allow for freeing insight.
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: is there a conventional self who decides?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:56 am

robertk wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Who decided to start this thread? Robert. Case closed.

Ok but since there have been other posts after your one I guess some members thought there was still some opening in the case.

Let's look at when I decided to begin this thread . Is there really an "I" or is that merely a conventional and useful descrition of a complex set of processes?
Vajira Sutta BhikkuniSamyutta
Vajirahttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/ca ... -010a.html
Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses: "Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases."
And that reflects awakening, but in the mean time for those of us not quite there yet:

Dhammapada: 157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

161. The evil a witless man does by himself, born of himself and produced by himself, grinds him as a diamond grinds a hard gem.

162. Just as a single creeper strangles the tree on which it grows, even so, a man who is exceedingly depraved harms himself as only an enemy might wish.

163. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial.

164. Whoever, on account of perverted views, scorns the Teaching of the Perfected Ones, the Noble and Righteous Ones — that fool, like the bamboo, produces fruits only for self destruction. [14]

165. By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another.

166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
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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