...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:44 pm

reflection wrote:Hi,

I can promise you, I'm not changing my tune. It's just that things like this are is hard to convey on a conventional level. Therefore all the "quotation marks" :quote: that I include, which you seem to interpret literally instead of what I'm pointing at.

I could explain how a jhana is fabricated and can be intended without any control or will in them, but I won't because that is getting off topic. Also I won't because I am not trying to further a claim. I'm just saying meditation shows the reality of things, not arguments or suttas. Perhaps it'll show people what I mean with the will saying "I decided that" after the decision has already been made. Or "I think that" happens after the thought. And then this "I decide/control things"-view may start to unravel in people. Especially in meditation where the will and control is starting to fade away - which I don't think is all that rare for people to experience at least to some degree.

:anjali:

I can only read what you say, not guess at what you're pointing at.
reflection wrote:all actions happen by themselves and the will that makes the "decision" comes later, if it does come.

Your further remarks don't really clarify whether you believe the above or not. You said "all actions." Now you're pointing at the instance of internally saying "I decided that" after the decision. So I really don't know whether you still mean "all actions" or not. Because the actual decision is itself an action. It is intending, which is kamma. Which, it sounds like you are allowing occurs before the action which is a result of that decision. But then, that means the action did not happen "by itself" - it happened as a result of the decision.
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#part-5
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:19 pm

I don't mean "by itself" as if there is no underlying reason. There is an underlying reason, a cause. But that's exactly the thing; because actions happen because of a cause, they don't happen because of a self that has a free choice. So with "by itself" I mean without a self, without someone in control, not some self does the action, but the action does itself.

:anjali:
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:21 pm

Can you point me to the scripture where the Buddha says we have no free choice, and everything we do or say is controlled by kamma?
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 848
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:43 pm

Why keep going back to suttas always? Of course, they are important, but there is more to the practice than suttas. Suttas are not the end of things, they have to be in light of experience, in light of the eightfold path. As I've said, people will interpret the suttas according to their view. So if we want to find out what is the right view, we have to look beyond the suttas.

Either way, first I want to make clear I don't say everything is by kamma.

Then, if you interpret "sankhara is not self" as I do, the references are all over the place. For example here:

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

In other words, one can't 'have it be thus' of "choice/determination/volition/thought/etc" - all that falls under the aggregate of sankhara.

As a background to sankhara (here "determinations )":
The aggregate of volitional formations comprises all kinds of volition. It includes not merely those that are kammically potent, but also those that are kammic results and those that are kammically inoperative.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_43.html



I could also ask, where does the Buddha say there is a free will? All quotes that on the surface seem to say so, can also be interpreted as conventional language, as a "being" that makes a choice, not a self. But I won't ask this because, as I said before, even if your read 100 suttas it will not be convincing. The meditation I spoke about before will already give more information than any sutta will ever do.

Hope this clears up my position a bit.

:anjali:
Last edited by reflection on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:56 pm

reflection wrote:I don't mean "by itself" as if there is no underlying reason. There is an underlying reason, a cause. But that's exactly the thing; because actions happen because of a cause, they don't happen because of a self that has a free choice. So with "by itself" I mean without a self, without someone in control, not some self does the action, but the action does itself.

The action does itself? A lot of confusion could arise as a result of perceiving that way.

"Intending, one does kamma (action) by way of body, speech, and mind" is the accurate outlook, as explained with perfect clarity by the Buddha himself. Can show us anywhere that the Buddha says "the action does itself"?
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:08 pm

By the way, having a certain meditation experience or other is not a guarantee of right view. Meditation can be itself be integrally influenced by a whole host of perceptions, views, and interpretations, and give rise to a whole new set of perceptions, views and interpretations.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:14 pm

kirk5a wrote:By the way, having a certain meditation experience or other is not a guarantee of right view. Meditation can be itself be integrally influenced by a whole host of perceptions, views, and interpretations, and give rise to a whole new set of perceptions, views and interpretations.

Of course, that I don't deny. But meditation is important. It is the way to seeing things as they are (from samadhi comes wisdom) and it is part of the path for a reason. But when the meditation goes totally out of range of the willpower, there is little to be mistaken there because it will be very obvious. (although delusion may still deny the implications)

I'll leave it at this because we keep talking past each other. Quotes that you interpret as a metaphysical statement about reality I simply see as a quote on conventional level. For example:
"Intending, one does"
What is the "one" referred to here? You seem to think it is some self-control or something, I think it simply conventionally refers to the being that is itself a process without self.

So this way we could keep quoting suttas for ages and not make any step on the path.

I'll leave the last word to you and Lyndon.

:anjali:
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:39 pm

reflection wrote:
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

In other words, one can't 'have it be thus' of "choice/determination/volition/thought/etc" - all that falls under the aggregate of sankhara.



Please note: "And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus" .

It might mean nothing more than we can't stop affliction (aging, sickness, death, cognizing unpleasant and undesirable).
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:52 pm

reflection wrote:"Intending, one does"
What is the "one" referred to here? You seem to think it is some self-control or something, I think it simply conventionally refers to the being that is itself a process without self.

So you agree then, that the being acts. And possesses the elements of initiating, exertion, effort, steadfastness, persistence, and endeavoring. As explained by AN 6.38.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:52 am

kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:"Intending, one does"
What is the "one" referred to here? You seem to think it is some self-control or something, I think it simply conventionally refers to the being that is itself a process without self.

So you agree then, that the being acts. And possesses the elements of initiating, exertion, effort, steadfastness, persistence, and endeavoring. As explained by AN 6.38.

From what I've seen AN 6.38 does not mention beings. It mentions elements or principles which I think are different from beings. For instance sometimes the Buddha talks about a liquid element, not a liquid being....etc.
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2574
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:19 pm

chownah wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:"Intending, one does"
What is the "one" referred to here? You seem to think it is some self-control or something, I think it simply conventionally refers to the being that is itself a process without self.

So you agree then, that the being acts. And possesses the elements of initiating, exertion, effort, steadfastness, persistence, and endeavoring. As explained by AN 6.38.

From what I've seen AN 6.38 does not mention beings. It mentions elements or principles which I think are different from beings. For instance sometimes the Buddha talks about a liquid element, not a liquid being....etc.
chownah


Attakari sutta does state that Buddha claims that he has never heard that there is no self doer...
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:
chownah wrote:From what I've seen AN 6.38 does not mention beings. It mentions elements or principles which I think are different from beings. For instance sometimes the Buddha talks about a liquid element, not a liquid being....etc.
chownah


Attakari sutta does state that Buddha claims that he has never heard that there is no self doer...

Alex123,
Thank you so much for your post. You are absolutely right and when I said the sutta did not mention beings I was absolutely wrong since the sutta not only mentions beings but does so on a very central way. I want to apologize to you and everyone else for this......I do not understand how I could have made such an obvious error and am especially dismayed that it was concerning such a central issue. I will paste the entire sutta here as it is not very long:


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.”
......end of sutta.........
As you can see my mistake is obvious. What I wish I had posted is that in this sutta the Buddha says that (for example) when there is the element of endeavoring, endeavoring beings are discerned and such a being is the self doer. Note that it is an element (also previously described as a principle) which is the agent while what is discerned is a being. In my view the process of discernment here is a process of fabrication and thus not to be taken as self. So, one may very well ask what kind of illogic is this where a self doer should not be taken as self?.....my answer is that the concept of self doer is conventional speech and the Buddha presents his explanation starting with element as a basic concept followed by a being which is more highly fabricated than element which is followed by self doer which is an even more highly fabricated concept then being. Another way to explain my view is tha the Buddha is making a bridge from the less mundane and less fabricated "element" to the more mundane and highly fabricated "self doer"....a bridge which the Brahmin might be able to use to move towards more subtle views on fabrication and existence.
Again, I'm sorry to have posted so poorly,
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2574
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Previous

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bhikkhu Pesala, Mr Man and 13 guests