four imaginary characteristic functions

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robertk
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four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:27 am

In the thread (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=19334&start=180) about the speed of rise and fall there was this comment( :

Robert: There really is no self , but because continuity hides the rise and fall we imagine "I" can decide, I can try, I can apply sati..

Tilt: Of course, this is the Sujinist position, which make no real sense and has no real basis in the suttas.

_________
This thread can consider the four imaginary characteristics of being (see below)
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=398
Thein Nyun in the forward to Dhatukatha of Pali Text Society, the “Discourse on Elements,”


But because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of (1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform” and (4) “I can feel”, ........Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence. But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions" (endquote Thein Nyun.........[/i]

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:12 am

robertk wrote:In the thread (http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... &start=180) about the speed of rise and fall there was this comment( :

Robert: There really is no self , but because continuity hides the rise and fall we imagine "I" can decide, I can try, I can apply sati..

Tilt: Of course, this is the Sujinist position, which make no real sense and has no real basis in the suttas.

_________
This thread can consider the four imaginary characteristics of being (see below)
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=398
Thein Nyun in the forward to Dhatukatha of Pali Text Society, the “Discourse on Elements,”


But because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of (1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform” and (4) “I can feel”, ........Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence. But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions" (endquote Thein Nyun.........[/i]
The quote is referenced, but do we have an online version of this that can be looked at to see the full context of what the author is saying? The second point is that my quote points to the suttas. Let us not forget the commentary of to the Anguttara Nikaya states:
    Herein references to living beings, gods, Brahma, etc., are sammuti-kathā, whereas references to impermanence, suffering, egolessness, the aggregates of the empiric individuality, the spheres and elements of sense perception and mind-cognition, bases of mindfulness, right effort, etc., are paramattha-kathā. One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of generally accepted conventions, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on sammuti-kathā. One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of ultimate categories, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on paramattha-kathā. To one who is capable of awakening to the truth through sammuti-kathā , the teaching is not presented on the basis of paramattha-kathā, and conversely, to one who is capable of awakening to the truth through paramattha-kathā, the teaching is not presented on the basis of sammuti-kathā. There is this simile on this matter: Just as a teacher of the three Vedas who is capable of explaining their meaning in different dialects might teach his pupils, adopting the particular dialect, which each pupil understands, even so the Buddha preaches the doctrine adopting, according to the suitability of the occasion, either the sammuti- or the paramattha-kathā. It is by taking into consideration the ability of each individual to understand the Four Noble Truths, that the Buddha presents his teaching, either by way of sammuti, or by way of paramattha, or by way of both. Whatever the method adopted the purpose is the same, to show the way to Immortality through the analysis of mental and physical phenomena. AA. Vol. I, pp.54-55 http://kr.buddhism.org/~skb/down/papers/094.pdf
While there is no absolute, unchanging "I," clearly there is " . . . the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion . . . ." Exertion of effort and care being undertaken, action being taken. While there is no absolute, unchanging "I," we can use the language of the Buddha of the suttas, as we see in this very small sample that could easily be greatly expanded:

    Dhammapada: 23. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering, alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.

    25. By effort and heedfulness, discipline and self-mastery, let the wise one make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.

    33. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft, even so the discerning man straightens his mind — so fickle and unsteady, so difficult to guard.

    36. Let the discerning man guard the mind, so difficult to detect and extremely subtle, seizing whatever it desires. A guarded mind brings happiness.

    91. The mindful ones exert themselves. They are not attached to any home; like swans that abandon the lake, they leave home after home behind.

    110. Better it is to live one day virtuous and meditative than to live a hundred years immoral and uncontrolled.

    111. Better it is to live one day wise and meditative than to live a hundred years foolish and uncontrolled.

    112. Better it is to live one day strenuous and resolute than to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.

    116. Hasten to do good; restrain your mind from evil. He who is slow in doing good, his mind delights in evil.

    117. Should a person commit evil, let him not do it again and again. Let him not find pleasure therein, for painful is the accumulation of evil.

    118. Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good.

    121. Think not lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.

    122. Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

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

    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.

    183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

    226. Those who are ever vigilant, who discipline themselves day and night, and are ever intent upon Nibbana — their defilements fade away.

    236. Make an island for yourself! Strive hard and become wise! Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain, you shall enter the celestial abode of the Noble Ones.

    239. One by one, little by little, moment by moment, a wise man should remove his own impurities, as a smith removes his dross from silver.

    276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.

    281. Let a man be watchful of speech, well controlled in mind, and not commit evil in bodily action. Let him purify these three courses of action, and win the path made known by the Great Sage.

    282. Wisdom springs from meditation; without meditation wisdom wanes. Having known these two paths of progress and decline, let a man so conduct himself that his wisdom may increase.

    327. Delight in heedfulness! Guard well your thoughts! Draw yourself out of this bog of evil, even as an elephant draws himself out of the mud.

    348. Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present, and cross over to the farther shore of existence. With mind wholly liberated, you shall come no more to birth and death.

    350. He who delights in subduing evil thoughts, who meditates on the impurities and is ever mindful — it is he who will make an end of craving and rend asunder Mara's fetter.

    360. Good is restraint over the eye; good is restraint over the ear; good is restraint over the nose; good is restraint over the tongue.

    361. Good is restraint in the body; good is restraint in speech; good is restraint in thought. Restraint everywhere is good. The monk restrained in every way is freed from all suffering.

    369. Empty this boat, O monk! Emptied, it will sail lightly. Rid of lust and hatred, you shall reach Nibbana.

    379. By oneself one must censure oneself and scrutinize oneself. The self-guarded and mindful monk will always live in happiness.

    380. One is one's own protector, one is one's own refuge. Therefore, one should control oneself, even as a trader controls a noble steed.

    383. Exert yourself, O holy man! Cut off the stream (of craving), and discard sense desires. Knowing the destruction of all the conditioned things, become, O holy man, the knower of the Uncreated (Nibbana)!

    388. Because he has discarded evil, he is called a holy man. Because he is serene in conduct, he is called a recluse. And because he has renounced his impurities, he is called a renunciate.

    391. He who does no evil in deed, word and thought, who is restrained in these three ways — him do I call a holy man.

    This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
    SN I, 38.
While some might want to use the impersonal speech of the Abhidhamma, we see in the suttas the Buddha obviously did not feel it was necessary, and we see this supported in the above commentary.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:57 am

As requested to give a fuller context I will post some pages from the preface of the Dhatu katha and also one from the introduction . Anymore and I am afraid of going over the copyright allowance.
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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:58 am

number 2
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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:59 am

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:00 am

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:00 am

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:01 am

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:02 am

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:23 am

Thank you.

Interesting, but it has no real impact on what I have said above.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:50 pm

Other Abhidhamma experts describe things rather differently:

from A Manual of Abhidhamma By Narada Maha Thera p. 193
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf

Narada Maha Thera wrote:This javana stage is the most important from an ethical
standpoint. It is at this psychological stage that good
or evil is actually done. Irrespective of the desirability or
the undesirability of the object presented to the mind, one
can make the javana process good or bad. If, for instance,
one meets an enemy, a thought of hatred will arise almost
automatically. A wise and forbearing person might, on the
contrary, harbour a thought of love towards him. This is
the reason why the Buddha has stated in the Dhammapada
(V. 165)—
“By self is evil done,
By self is one defiled,
By self is no evil done,
By self is one purified.”

True indeed that circumstances, habitual tendencies, environment,
etc., condition our thoughts. Then the freewill is
subordinated to the mechanistic course of events. There is
also the possibility to overcome those external forces and,
exercising one’s own freewill, generate either good or bad
thoughts.
A foreign element may be instrumental, but we ourselves
are directly responsible for our own actions.
"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: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:13 am

Narada's comments on own freewill are extraordinary, given that the whole of the Abhidhamma has the flavour of anatta..

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:42 am

robertk wrote:Narada's comments on own freewill are extraordinary, given that the whole of the Abhidhamma has the flavour of anatta..
Extraordinary? Why? Anatta negates choice?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:55 am

Study the sections I posted from the dhatukatha (book of elements).
Which element is freewill?

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:20 am

robertk wrote:Study the sections I posted from the dhatukatha (book of elements).
Which element is freewill?
The stuff above?

First of all. I never said "free will." "Free will" is not an issue. But even our Vietnamese monkin the above you posted talks about exertion of effort and care being undertaken, action being taken, and we, then, have the Buddha's words, which have failed to address.

Show us where in the Dhatukatha where it uses the numbers we find here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19382#p271587
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby sphairos » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:50 am

I'd like to note, that stuff like the Buddhaghosa's doctrine "there is no doer, only doing" and the outright rejection of "I", "self" are explicitly connected in the suttas to the uccheda-diṭṭhi, ucchedavāda, "annihilationism" (the opposite to the sassatavāda, "eternalism"). Many materialists, ascetics, philosophers and meditators did think, that there is no self. The Buddha's view was different and much more complex.
Last edited by sphairos on Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby sphairos » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:06 am

Also, It is evident, that the Buddha's view on self has nothing to do with our, European concept of self. The Buddha was concerned with this śramanic/brahmanic doctrine of the almighty, omnipresent, world-sustaining Eternal Absolute Self.

The Buddhist teaching can and should be described as an amplification of self, I, a way to make your Ego clear, strong and independent of your unconscious (i.e. your passions and desires).

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:50 pm

"Exertion is most helpful for the final attainment of the truth, Bharadvaja. If one didn't make an exertion, one wouldn't finally attain the truth.

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

So the idea that exertion is an "imaginary function" is clearly at odds with what the Buddha taught.
"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: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:05 pm

I've posted these quotes from MN 2 before and I'm posting it here again for those who have not seen it in the hope that it will benefit someone. The message is quite clear: thinking about the self whether past, present, or future is inappropriate attention.

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'


And appropriate attention is defined clearly as well as the reward of it.

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.


:anjali:
Peace,
James

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Re: four imaginary characteristic functions

Postby sphairos » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:18 pm

Mkoll wrote: The message is quite clear: thinking about the self whether past, present, or future is inappropriate attention.


Dear Mkoll,

I totally agree that these are great quotes, but I'd like to note, perhaps, correct you, that the message is: thinking about the self or absence of self whether past, present, or future is inappropriate attention.

And what is meant of course is not "ordinary sense" self.


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