Micro and macro bhava

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Micro and macro bhava

Postby phil » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:49 am

Hi all

I'm very weak on D.O, and basically am content with that situation because I feel it's so far over my head that trying to get a handle on it right now would not lead to proper understanding. The day will come when I am ready to get into it.

But I'm curious about one link these days, and especially as it is taught by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in a few of his talks. He talks about micro and macro bhava (becoming, or existence in B.B's translations.) Macro bhava being rebirth and micro being all the "thought worlds" we create from moment to moment. This makes sense to me, but as grateful as I am to him for his clear, motivating teaching (especially with respect to sila, avoiding harmful behaviour etc) there are some aspects of the way Thanissaro Bhikkhu teaches on the higher teachings that I suspect (that's all I can do) are not quite kosher, so I'd like to ask you about this micro and macro bhava and if it makes sense from the canon. I guess it's not possible to answer this without going into the 3 lifetime vs. time-free continuum D.O issue, which is fine, though I find it difficult..

Thanks.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:14 am

Hi Phil
Which talk is it he goes into this?

but from what you said, I would say one is moment to moment the other is lifetime to lifetime, but both can be a part of the teachings on rebirth depending on the context, sometimes the teaching will mean both other times it will only mean one or the other, it is just a matter of perspective! but we would need to know what a life is, in my view it could be interpreted as a personality, I know I have had several distinct persona's (not in a multiple personality manner simply periods of time when I have different persona types) these were still me but not me as I am now, and we all go through this in both day to day living and as life stages or phases, rebirth in the 3life model can be understood in this manner, as well as from womb to womb, and I see no reason why this can not be the case or evidence in the suttas to contradict that, and there is divine abiding in the here and now, as well as comments such as (not exact) if you act like a dog in this life you will be reborn as a dog in the next, but I am not 100% familiar with all the material, and it isn't a topic which peaks my interest all the time to study the texts to prove one or the other to myself.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby phil » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:15 am

Hi Manapa and all

Manapa wrote:Hi Phil
Which talk is it he goes into this?


One talk in which he goes into it at length is called Seeds of Becoming from Nov. 2003. I've heard him mention the concept a few other times. The transcript for the talk in question probably exists somewhere (ATI?) but I can't hunt it down at the moment.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/


Thanks for your comments. Very interesting. Let's see what other comments come up. I think it's an important topic if only - in my case - for conditioning sensitivity to the way a small moment of inattentiveness to what the mind is up to leads a short time later to a huge ballooning, proliferation, we find ourselves in an entirely different "world", so to speak and we are by force of our current obsession at that time differnt people. (Horny Phil, hungry phil, angry phil, spaced out phil, sleepy phil, cheerful phil and so on.) This is so deeply conditioned that it would be unwise (in my opinion) for people whose minds are undeveloped to struggle to stop it from happening, but there can be more and more sensitivity to catching it before it goes on too long. As Levine (Steven?) said, it's not a matter of trying to control the mind but rather not letting the mind control us!

Anyways, looking forward to what others have to say. Thanks.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:32 am

Hi Phil,
Thanks will have a download tomorrow if I don't have it!

it wasn't quite what I was refering to (maybe me misunderstanding how you mean horny phil, hungry phil) but they are close, not so much the feeling angry . . . but rather the persona of anger, in a almost jungian sense.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby phil » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:45 am

Manapa wrote:Hi Phil,
Thanks will have a download tomorrow if I don't have it!

it wasn't quite what I was refering to (maybe me misunderstanding how you mean horny phil, hungry phil) but they are close, not so much the feeling angry . . . but rather the persona of anger, in a almost jungian sense.


Hi Manapa. Yeah, have a listen if you have time, and I will as well. I have a feeling it's an important topic, and one for understanding how sense of self is fabricated.

Horny Phil, hungry phil etc isn't mean to isolate the feeling, so much, the lust, or in the case you mention the anger, but I guess a sense of a person that is at that moment, and only for that moment, fabricated, and fabricated with a certain feeling predominant. I'm interested in a term I came across in a B.B commentarial note in one of the anthologies atta bhava patilabhu(?) which means something like the obtaining of a concrete existence, and would therefore usually refer to what happens at the rebirth consciousness moments, but I like to think about this obtaining of an exist, the birth of a being and the falling away of that being happening moment by moment by moment. Sometimes with one factor dominating, the next with a different one.

Some people I've discussed Dhamma with a lot emphasize that beings don't actually exist. I think they are getting ahead of themselves and trying to apply understanding tht they don't actually have, they are appropriating deep understanding. As far as I can see, beings exist, but they are much more fluid than unistructed worldlings could possibly understand, something like that...

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:49 am

Greetings Phil,

Possibly you might find this of use...

The Paradox of Becoming (PDF)
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... coming.pdf

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: Micro and macro bhava

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:53 am

Hi Phil
I'm mostly focused on what Thanissaro Bhikkhu calls the 'micro' level of Dependent Origination. Bhikkhu Bodhi, in his notes in A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma warns that the the three-lifetime model is merely an expository device and should not be taken too literally. If I get time over the next few days, I'll glean what I can from Vism, though I think the chapter on DO is very large and atomistic in detail.
metta

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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby Reductor » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:10 am

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

Above is the "The world" in which the 12 factors of D.O are seen functioning
in relation to the six sense media, this is including the "mind" sense. I believe this is the sense of
becoming that Than is referring to.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
In this Sutta there is further talk about how, starting from contact, there is mental proliferation,
which is said to beset a man with respect to past, future , and present in regards to the sense-bases and
their objects. In this sutta there is talk of how this process gives rise to conflict, which is certainly
producing kamma, the second link in the D.O., which means that this proliferation feeds back into
the rebirth cycle.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The D.O described here, for completion.

I'm not entirely sure I've got all this worked out, because this is complex. Hopefully I can mull
it over and refine and clarify this post in the near future.

Please note that I use Bodhi's translations, which differ in wording to Thans. I hope you can still
see my meaning here.

Hope this gives a start for discussion.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:06 am

Hi Phil & Ben
Had a listen to the talk, thanks for pointing it out! but yeah the misunderstanding was what I thought (non-existing), but wasn't sure.
I have been reminded of conversations on a e-mail group I once belonged to by Ben where a certain argument was used every time.
basically the 1st noble truth was used as proof every time the topic of rebirth was mentioned and denied by moment to moment advocates, but I posted this as part of my reply on another thread in the last couple of days - The Four Noble Truths are noble not because they are metaphysical certainties but because they are reflective, that is Sumedho from his four noble truths book, and I think a perfect way to describe the rebirth models in the canon. for me macro bhava is the same, the reflections on the gods, metta to all beings, etc are reflective, they are part of the Noble path because of this reflective nature, not because all the beings reflected on definitely exist but because these beings can be logically asserted to exist, whether they do or not! although there are other posibilities for these beings to exist i.e., the gods are actually a group who practised the Brahmaviharas to the fullest extent, although I doubt that is actually the case boot as a tool for reflective purposes I have found it useful.
The Buddha is said to of disapeared when he became enlightened, physically I doubt that happened, but to use a phrase Thanissaro uses, his attachment to his 'personal narative' could be said to of disappeared, his previous cycle of becoming in Samsara, because he no longer saw things as constant, as his, so no stress could manifest that wasn't part of preforming day to day activities, in other words he realised the three characteristics, regarding the four noble truths.

i know my thoughts earlier and here are not exactly in keeping with the talk but I don't think they contradict, they could be said to be a different expression & I think if we focus on the micro level to understand becoming as a reality, and the macro level as a reflective tool to realise the cycle as it is, then we may be inkeeping with the Dhamma realised by the Buddha.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Micro and macro bhava

Postby phil » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:45 am

Hi all

I will have to re-read the previous posts and links, difficult material here, but I came across a passage today in a notebook that struck me as relevant to this topic. It's from SN 22, I'm pretty sure, but don't have the exact sutta number.

"One attached is unreleased. Should consciousness when taking a stance stand attached to a physical form, it is etablished in form, watered with delight, it will exhibit growth..." (Sorry for the syntax mess, the note is scribbled.) This is followed by the very trippy simile of a figure painted on a wall representing forming of sakkaya ditthi, I think, vs. sun going through a window and finding no wall to fall on. It's obviously a difficult sutta and I'd appreciate if someone could point me to the exact sutta, but I find even this fragment interesting. Obviously consciousness always and inevitably takes stands attached to physical form, there cannot be citta without rupa base, right? So it is the "watering with delight" that turns the inevitable consciousness/form marriage into sakkaya ditthi (wrong view of self)? What does "watering with delight" mean?

Thanks for feedback anyone, on this sutta and what it means in the context of this thread. (Also the reference so I can track it down, thanks.)

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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