What is it that clings?

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What is it that clings?

Postby being5 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:21 pm

We have this wonderful, very precise description of reality given by the Buddha (and others who have followed his path and experienced it themselves - some of them here on DW even!).
So, in terms of each discrete momentary arising of the five aggregates and consciousness (is the word citta?) what is it that clings instead of letting it rise and fall -what, exactly, grabs on?

thanks
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby kidd » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:24 pm

Is clinging being attached to seeing things as they're not, rather than seeing them as they are?

:juggling:
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:12 am

kidd wrote:Is clinging being attached to seeing things as they're not, rather than seeing them as they are?

:juggling:


indeed.... :juggling:

So, in terms of each discrete momentary arising of the five aggregates and consciousness (is the word citta?) what is it that clings instead of letting it rise and fall -what, exactly, grabs on?


My understanding (so far) is that its the arising aggregates- patterns of thought and emotion specifically- that do the clinging. In a sense the samsaric mind is kinda like a monkey chattering, or a dog chasing his own tail....

Image

Our minds and consciousness (citta) are originally pure, calm, aware... but then emotions and thoughts spin these stories inside of us, which we cling to (or rather, which cling to one another) and believe themselves to be reality...

they/we are not.

:heart: :buddha1: :spy:
Last edited by christopher::: on Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:25 am

Greetings,

Q: What is it that clings?
A: Clinging

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: What is it that clings?

Postby zavk » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:43 am

Hi Being5

I'll leave it those who are more well read to point you to specific suttas that address this question. But I suspect a closer look at the twelve links of dependent origination might help and also that sutta (sorry I can't remember the title) where the Buddha talks about 'in seeing there's only seeing; in hearing there's only hearing'.

As far as my limited experience goes, this question 'What is it that clings' in itself provides a kind of answer. There are certainly answers to be found by reading up on clinging or by becoming more familiar with the logic of how the khandas or aggregates work. But I think the question can also be approached in a more experiential manner whereby we simply let the question steep (like a teabag) in our everyday experience.

For me, I find that the more I engage with the dhamma (meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc) the more I discern this habit of craving-clinging. But even as I investigate craving-clinging, I find that I cannot really put a finger on 'what' or 'who' it is that craves and clings. This does produce a certain sense of perplexity or curiosity. This element of curiosity makes me want to inquire deeper (i.e. continue with meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc). In the meantime, I find that the grosser forms of craving-clinging in my daily life seem to be diminishing.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:05 am

zavk wrote:But even as I investigate craving-clinging, I find that I cannot really put a finger on 'what' or 'who' it is that craves and clings.


Free fall! :rofl:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:30 am

zavk wrote:For me, I find that the more I engage with the dhamma (meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc) the more I discern this habit of craving-clinging. But even as I investigate craving-clinging, I find that I cannot really put a finger on 'what' or 'who' it is that craves and clings. This does produce a certain sense of perplexity or curiosity. This element of curiosity makes me want to inquire deeper (i.e. continue with meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc). In the meantime, I find that the grosser forms of craving-clinging in my daily life seem to be diminishing.


Yep, very well stated.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby being5 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:14 am

christopher::: wrote:
zavk wrote:For me, I find that the more I engage with the dhamma (meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc) the more I discern this habit of craving-clinging. But even as I investigate craving-clinging, I find that I cannot really put a finger on 'what' or 'who' it is that craves and clings. This does produce a certain sense of perplexity or curiosity. This element of curiosity makes me want to inquire deeper (i.e. continue with meditation, ethical conduct, dana, etc). In the meantime, I find that the grosser forms of craving-clinging in my daily life seem to be diminishing.


Yep, very well stated.

:namaste:


Yes, very well put. I also have this experience. Yet at other times it's like standing on the edge of a precipice and then instead of inquiring deeper (going over the edge?) fear comes, followed by retreat. It feels like "I"/"ego"/"sense of self"/"whatever it is that clings"/"me" feels too threatened and it all turns to fear.
perhaps as Christopher said
christopher::: wrote:but then emotions and thoughts spin these stories inside of us, which we cling to (or rather, which cling to one another)


zavk wrote:But I think the question can also be approached in a more experiential manner whereby we simply let the question steep (like a teabag) in our everyday experience.


Ah, I like this idea and turn of phrase very much.

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby EOD » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:58 am

being5 wrote:What is it that clings?

It's attention. It seems to me that (the focus) of attention likes to rest on or to stay with certain objects. An attractive/pleasant object for example easily catches our attention, like a magnet. And then our attention is stuck on that object. We don't want to separate. We cling.

Best wishes,

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:20 pm

Some metaphors just occured to mind... sky diving, bunji jumping, snowboarding, scuba diving... bicycle riding or diving into a pool as a child... with all the above, if you practice and do it enough fear naturally drops away. Worst thing in the world would be to think too much, stand at the open door of an airplane, a high diving board or the top of a cliff looking down. You just have to surrender, let go, and jump, over and over and over again...

After awhile normal "reality" is seen for the constriction it is, fear has vanished, and taking that "leap of faith" feels like freedom....

jumping into the unknown now becomes something you actually look forward to....

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:02 pm

What is it that clings?

Two points of view on this:

1. A Theravadin point of view: "Clinging there is but no thing that clings."

2. A Saran Wrap point of view: "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that cling."

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:40 pm

being5 wrote:So, in terms of each discrete momentary arising of the five aggregates and consciousness (is the word citta?) what is it that clings instead of letting it rise and fall -what, exactly, grabs on?


The five aggregates acting in unison give the illusion of a self -- a perceived self if you will.

Each of the aggregates when examined individually is empty, no essence, no permanence whatsoever.

In the Milindapanha, the arahant Nagasensa describes it well with the talk on the chariot and the parts of the chariot.

Nagasena asks if the pole of the chariot is the chariot. Answer, no. Nagasena asks if the axel is the chariot or if the wheels are the chariot. Answer, no. Nagasena asks if the reins are the chariot. To this and further questions about the parts, the answer is no. Nagasena explains that the chariot is not something other than these parts. Yet the parts are not the chariot. Nagasena states that chariot is just a word, it exists, but only in relation to the parts. The concept "chariot" does not have an intrinsic, inherent value or place as something permanent. It is the same with the self. We certainly exist, just as a chariot exists, but it is more in terms of conventional language as opposed to absolute language.

Nagasena developed this excellent teaching from the wise words of Venerable Vajjira, a bhikkhuni who lived during the time of the Buddha. She once remarked:

"Just as, with an assemblage of parts, the word chariot is used, so when the aggregates exist, there is the convention of being."
Samyutta Nikaya 5.554
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:18 pm

Is it too glib if I say it's ignorance that clings?

:anjali:
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby Individual » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:04 pm

being5 wrote:We have this wonderful, very precise description of reality given by the Buddha (and others who have followed his path and experienced it themselves - some of them here on DW even!).
So, in terms of each discrete momentary arising of the five aggregates and consciousness (is the word citta?) what is it that clings instead of letting it rise and fall -what, exactly, grabs on?

thanks
being5

The standard answer is that it's a malformed question; the question itself is flawed.

It's sort of like you might be talking to a monotheist about evolution or the origin of the world. You say, "There is no God (because there is no evidence)" and they might reply, "So, what is it that created the world and created life?"

Implicit in the question, "What is it that clings\feels\lives\etc" is the presumption that there is something more than what is already present. To be clear, consciousness is a particularly complex phenomenon and in the 21st century, humans will make breakthroughs in this regard... But even then, the persistent skepticism will remain and be phrased in a different way. Having knowledge of the specific inner workings of consciousness, how it begins, how it ends or might be "reborn" after death, when all of this is known, even then, people might ask, "But WHAT IS IT that experiences this process?" But if you look directly at your experiences, there is nothing more: There is physical stuff, six sensory faculties, and contact between the two, and nothing more. Like God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the ego is without any particular substance upon which to even begin a rational inquiry into what it might be. Like "racial background" it is something that doesn't exist in reality, but has the appearance of existing merely because there is a popular ignorance, a common agreement that it exists, and this influences how we think, act, and perceive things.

Does that answer your question? :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:35 am

:goodpost: :goodpost:
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby being5 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:17 am

Listening again to Bhikkhu Bodhi's 'The Nature of Existence' from "The Buddha's Teaching As It Is"
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about-buddhism/audio/83-the-buddhas-teaching-as-it-is.html

and contemplating the many helpful replies in this thread, my intention now is to return to the teacup of life and allow things to steep.....

Thankyou everyone for your replies.

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby christopher::: » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:32 am

being5 wrote:Listening again to Bhikkhu Bodhi's 'The Nature of Existence' from "The Buddha's Teaching As It Is"
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about-buddhism/audio/83-the-buddhas-teaching-as-it-is.html

and contemplating the many helpful replies in this thread, my intention now is to return to the teacup of life and allow things to steep.....


Thankyou everyone for your replies.

being5


:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby being5 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:50 am

The teabag has been steeping, the practice has been continuing and last week a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sucitto helped further towards an answer to the question "What is it that clings?". I post the link here for those who might also find it helpful.

The particular talk is "No End In Sight!" (but I could recommend every talk I have so far heard from this list.)

http://www.dhammatalks.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=41:ajahn-sucitto&Itemid=70

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:39 am

Hi,

I don't understand this question. Do you think there is a "thing" which actually clings to something?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: What is it that clings?

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:13 am

being5 wrote:So, in terms of each discrete momentary arising of the five aggregates and consciousness (is the word citta?) what is it that clings instead of letting it rise and fall -what, exactly, grabs on?

thanks
being5


Dear being5,

Reality arises and falls away no matter there is clinging or not. The difference is, when there is clinging, rise and fall is not perceived, or in other words, things are not seen as they are.

So, if what is implied in your question is to find a way to catch the clinging, iom what actually needs to be looked at, is not the clinging it-self, but its very origine : delusion, ignorance (moha, avija), as suggested in Dependent Originations. Delusion is the cause, clinging is the effect.

For exp, as you are reading these lines, if there is awareness of the reading, with understanding that "reading is happening", as well as all subsequent thoughts and feelings as just thoughts and feelings, or better still, the understanding of the cause of thoses thoughts and feelings - seeing the whole process as just a process, no person...then clinging can not occur.

That's how I understand it .

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