Anattā

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Re: Anattā

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:59 am

Chris wrote:
Element said: In Pali, there are three words: (1) atta or self; (2) niratta or no self; and (3) anatta or not-self.

Could you give a link to your sources for the meaning you've stated?

Hi Chris

My source was Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's rendering of the Pali. As you appear to have an interest in scholars, Bhikkhu Buddhadasa received five honorary doctorates from Thai universities.
If students would like to remember the specific technical terms, there are three. The first term is "attā": there is attā which is attā. The second term is anattā: there is attā that is not-self, that is anattā. The third term is nirattā: without any kind of attā at all, nothingness. One extreme of attā is that it exists fully. The other extreme is no attā at all. Anattā, the self which is not self, is neither extreme, and is correct. There are three words: attā, anattā, and nirattā. They're totally different. Understand the meaning of these three words, then you'll understand everything.

Anatta & Rebirth

However, a seach of the suttas is interesting.
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Re: Anattā

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:21 am

Element wrote:As you appear to have an interest in scholars, Bhikkhu Buddhadasa received five honorary doctorates from Thai universities.

An honorary doctorate does not make one a scholar.
- Peter

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Re: Anattā

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:40 am

Element wrote:However, a seach of the suttas is interesting.

Na tassa puttā pasavo, khettaṃ vatthuñca vijjati;
Attā vāpi nirattā vā, na tasmiṃ upalabbhati.

He has no children, cattle, fields, land.
In him you can't pin down what's embraced or rejected. (Thanissaro)

You have no children, cattle, fields, land.
You do not reach for things or throw them away. (Lebcowicz)

Purabheda Sutta


Upayo hi dhammesu upeti vādaṃ, anūpayaṃ kena kathaṃ vadeyya;
Attā nirattā na hi tassa atthi, adhosi so diṭṭhimidheva sabbanti.

For one who's involved gets into disputes over doctrines, but how — in connection with what — would you argue with one uninvolved?
He has nothing embraced or rejected, has sloughed off every view right here — every one.

Dutthatthaka Sutta


Ajjhattamevupasame , na aññato bhikkhu santimeseyya;
Ajjhattaṃ upasantassa, natthi attā kuto nirattā vā.

Touched by contact in various ways, he shouldn't keep conjuring self.
Stilled right within, a monk shouldn't seek peace from another from anything else.
For one stilled right within, there's nothing embraced, so how rejected?

Tuvataka Sutta

For me, the above translations whilst holding meaning do not include the words "self", "I" or "mine".

I think the above quotes are saying: "He does not embrace things as his or opposes things as not his".

It sounds like niratta means when one emphatically denies things from a state of attachment: "That is not me! I did not say that! That is not my opinion! How dare you say that about me!"

However, I sense these suttas do not fall within the sphere of anatta. The Buddha's use of anatta as his core teaching I sense is something much more broad & pervasive.
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Re: Anattā

Postby clw_uk » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:09 am

How do we "abandon" something that does NOT belong to us? If it does not belong to us, then it should come and go as it pleases, right? ((You mean, life is actually like that? I'm still suffering because I have not realized that yet??? :'( But... if we have absolute No control over ourselves, then the Buddha would be saying something like this, "feeling is not self, it will come and go when the conditions are right, so YOU don't have to do anything or Not do anything about it, just let things be". But of course, the Buddha didn't say that, he said "abandon it", which to me, means that we have the ability to choose to abandon it (or we can choose to carry it like a burden). Yes? I think the Buddha is trying to say something like this, "anger is not permanent (i.e. it is notself), so let it go. Why hang on to something that will pass on eventually"? Is my understanding correct?



I think when the Buddha says "abandon" he means the craving/identification with the aggregates needs to be abandoned.
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Re: Anattā

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:16 am

Dear Retro,

Please don't be offended by what I am about to say. Please consider it a friendly inquiry.

I think that to vehemntly insist on not-self similar to insisting upon a self. I mean the soul-ish sort of self. So you and I see eye to eye in that regard.

But in reading what you've written in this thread, your position is starting to resemble solipsism or materialism to me. If we deny that anything outside of our own mind-experience and afflicted aggregates can possibly exist, how are we not leading into these other views?

Thank you kindly :namaste:
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Re: Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:24 am

Greetings Drolma,
Drolma wrote: If we deny that anything outside of our own mind-experience and afflicted aggregates can possibly exist, how are we not leading into these other views?

I think you've misunderstood what I said... I'm not denying anything existence outside of our "world", because such a denial would be speculative... I'm only saying that we cannot experience those things in any way other than through the five aggregates. Thus their existence or otherwise is inconsequential.

SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Dwelling at Savatthi... Then Ven. Kaccayana Gotta approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, 'Right view, right view,' it is said. To what extent is there right view?"

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."


Another example could be that of aliens in distant galaxies. It is beyond our range to know whether there are aliens in distant galaxies. To speculate, "Yes there is", or "No there isn't" is nothing other than speculative view. As it is with any kind of atman... the Buddha teaches us that no atman can be found within the five aggregates. It is beyond our range to prove or disprove atman outside of the five aggregates. Thus searching for it is pointless, as is trying to prove that it exists or doesn't exist outside of the five aggregates. What we know, is that it cannot be known in our "world" (as previously defined)... that is what really matters.

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: Anattā

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:31 am

Understood, Retro. Thanks :smile:

Best wishes,
Drolma
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Re: Anattā

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:23 am

I've had the interesting experience of just finishing Ajahn Brahm's book, "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond" and Bhikku Bodhi's lengthy introduction to chapter nine of "In the Buddha's Words". For both, though, the concept of anatta is tightly intertwined with NIbbana.

Ajahn Brahm makes clear that 1) Physical death after attainment of Nibbana is the end. Period. and 2) the cessation of Nibbana is not to be feared because there is no atta, "I", "self" or whatever that ceases. He also makes the very interesting statement repeatedly that attainment of jhana is necessary for most everyone to realize for themselves the truth of anatta. It certainly has me motivated. Beliefs are easy to come by, realization is tough.

Bhikku Bodhi, on the other hand, certainly mirrored many of the things that Ajahn Brahm has stated and it is certainly easy to see how Ajahn Brahm drew his conclusions. However, Bhikku Bodhi has just left open a few tantalizing hints that Nibbana may transcend the whole discussion by leading to a "state" where none of the yardsticks we use even apply, "Freed from reckoning in terms of the five aggregates, the Tathagata transcends our understanding."

Disclaimer: With less than a year's practice behind me, I certainly have no preference for one or the other nor do I see any need to set one against or above the other. I've derived great benefit from both and have nowhere near enough wisdom to even know if they agree or disagree! :reading:

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Anattā

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:11 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Well that is how I understand it... I am open to correction of course if this is not consistent with the Classical viewpoint.


It's not consistent with the classical viewpoint. The classical viewpoint was accurately stated in the passage from Nyanatiloka's Dictionary quoted by Chris in her opening post. Those interpretations which conceive of anattā as a strategic way of regarding things, or which assert that it's a speculative view to hold that there is no self, are misreadings of the Suttas from the classical Theravada point of view. A good rule of thumb when reading modern attempts to explain anattā is that if the writer makes no reference (implicit or explicit) to the doctrine of the two truths then the chances are he's got it all wrong.

The commentator Mahānāma, concluding his commentary on the Paṭisambhidāmagga's Treatise on Emptiness, offers a neat series of epigrams summarizing the Mahāvihāra understanding of anattā:

    sabbe dhammā samāsena
    tidhā dvedhā tathekadhā
    suññāti suññatthavidū
    vaṇṇayantīdha sāsane


    In short, whether classed in triplets, couplets or units, all dhammas are empty. Thus is it explained by those in this religion who know the meaning of emptiness.

    kathaṃ? sabbe tāva lokiyā dhammā dhuva-subha-sukha-atta-virahitattā dhuva-subha-sukha-atta-suññā

    How so? Firstly, all mundane dhammas, through being bereft with respect to permanence, beauty, pleasure and self, are empty of permanence, beauty, pleasure and self.

    magga-phala-dhammā dhuva-sukha-atta-virahitattā dhuva-sukha-atta-suññā

    The [noble] path and fruition dhammas, through being bereft with respect to permanence, pleasure and self, are empty of permanence, pleasure and self.

    aniccattāyeva sukhena suññā

    But only on account of their impermanence are they empty with respect to pleasure;

    anāsavattā na subhena suññā

    and being free of the taints they are not empty with respect to beauty.

    nibbānadhammo attasseva abhāvato attasuñño

    The dhamma called 'Nibbāna' is empty of self only on account of the non-existence of self.

    [i.e., not on account of impermanence etc. — Dhammanando]

    lokiyalokuttarā pana sabbepi saṅkhatā dhammā sattassa kassaci abhāvato sattasuññā

    Secondly, conditioned dhammas, both mundane and supramundane, are all empty of a living being on account of the non-existence of a living being of any sort whatever.

    asaṅkhato nibbānadhammo tesaṃ saṅkhārānampi abhāvato saṅkhārasuñño

    The unconditioned, the dhamma called 'Nibbāna', is empty of formations on account of the absence [there] of formations.

    saṅkhatāsaṅkhatā pana sabbepi dhammā attasaṅkhātassa puggalassa abhāvato attasuññāti

    Lastly, all dhammas, conditioned and unconditioned, are empty of self on account of the non-existence of any person who could be classed as 'a self'.
    (PaṭiA. iii. 638-9)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:17 am

Greetings bhante,

Thank you for the official Classical explanation... I find it useful to know these things.

A good rule of thumb when reading modern attempts to explain anattā is that if the writer makes no reference (implicit or explicit) to the doctrine of the two truths then the chances are he's got it all wrong


What is the doctrine of the two truths?

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: two truths

Postby Will » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:58 am

This is a good explanation of the two truths, in Theravada:

http://www.dhammaweb.net/dhamma_news/view.php?id=390

Bhante, "all dhammas, conditioned and unconditioned, are empty of self..." or something very close to that, is in the Dhammapada:

279. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification
.
Last edited by Will on Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:01 am

Thanks Will.

Theravada Buddhism had described two Truths; Absolute Truth (Paramatha Sathya) and Conventional Truth (Sammuti Sathya).


I knew of these, just not under the collective name of "the two truths". I will admit that I don't understand how my earlier expressed understanding falls foul of bhante's general rule about the two truths, but unless venerable Dhammanando wishes to explain further, I'll accept that this isn't necessarily the forum to pursue it.

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: Anattā

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:22 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:What is the doctrine of the two truths?


From the Manorathapūraṇī:

    duve saccāni akkhāsi
    sambuddho vadataṃ varo
    sammutiṃ paramatthañca
    tatiyaṃ nupalabbhati


    The Awakened One, best of speakers,
    Spoke two kinds of truths:
    The conventional and the ultimate.
    A third truth does not obtain.

    tattha:
    saṅketavacanaṃ saccaṃ
    lokasammutikāraṇaṃ
    paramatthavacanaṃ saccaṃ
    dhammānaṃ tathalakkhaṇan ti


    Therein:
    The speech wherewith the world converses is true
    On account of its being agreed upon by the world.
    The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true,
    Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.

    tasmā vohārakusalassa
    lokanāthassa satthuno
    sammutiṃ voharantassa
    musāvādo na jāyatī ti


    Therefore, being skilled in common usage,
    False speech does not arise in the Teacher,
    Who is Lord of the World,
    When he speaks according to conventions.
    (Mn. i. 95)



Conventional truth (sammuti-sacca):

1. Treats of concepts (paññatti), i.e., things which are mere speech, such as 'self', 'person', 'life', 'butter-jar' etc.
2. Is used to expound teachings whose meaning warrants interpretation (neyyattha).
3. Is chiefly, though not exclusively, the province of the Sutta and Vinaya Piṭakas.

Ultimate truth (paramattha-sacca):

1. Treats of real existents (dhammā), such as the earth element, eye-consciousness, greed, Nibbāna, etc.
2. Is used to expound teachings whose meaning is definitive (nītattha).
3. Is chiefly, though not exclusively, the province of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.


From Nyanatiloka's Dictionary of Buddhist Terms"

    Paramattha (-sacca, -vacana, -desanā): ‘truth (or term, exposition) that is true in the highest (or ultimate) sense’, as contrasted with the ‘conventional truth’ (vohāra-sacca), which is also called ‘commonly accepted truth’ (sammuti-sacca; in Skr: saṃvṛti-satya). The Buddha, in explaining his doctrine, sometimes used conventional language and sometimes the philosophical mode of expression which is in accordance whith undeluded insight into reality. In that ultimate sense, existence is a mere process of physical and mental phenomena within which, or beyond which, no real ego-entity nor any abiding substance can ever be found. Thus, whenever the suttas speak of man, woman or person, or of the rebirth of a being, this must not be taken as being valid in the ultimate sense, but as a mere conventional mode of speech (vohāra-vacana).

    It is one of the main characteristics of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, in distinction from most of the Sutta Piṭaka, that it does not employ conventional language, but deals only with ultimates, or realities in the highest sense (paramattha-dhammā). But also in the Sutta Piṭaka there are many expositions in terms of ultimate language (paramattha-desanā), namely, wherever these texts deal with the groups (khandhā), elements (dhātu) or sense-bases (āyatana), and their components; and wherever the 3 characteristics (ti-lakkhaṇa, q.v.) are applied. The majority of Sutta texts, however, use the conventional language, as appropriate in a practical or ethical context, because it “would not be right to say that ‘the groups’ (khandhā) feel shame, etc.”

    It should be noted, however, that also statements of the Buddha couched in conventional language, are called ‘truth’ (vohāra-sacca), being correct on their own level, which does not contradict the fact that such statements ultimately refer to impermanent and impersonal processes.

    The two truths - ultimate and conventional - appear in that form only in the commentaries, but are implied in a sutta-distinction of ‘explicit (or direct) meaning’ (nītattha, q.v.) and ‘implicit meaning (to be inferred)’ (neyyattha). Further, the Buddha repeatedly mentioned his reservations when using conventional speech, e.g. in D. 9: “These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect One (Tathāgata) uses without misapprehending them.” See also S. I. 25.

    The term paramattha, in the sense here used, occurs in the first para. of the Kathāvatthu, a work of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka (s. Guide, p. 62). (App: vohāra). The commentarial discussions on these truths (Com. to D. 9 and M. 5) have not yet been translated in full. On these see K N. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (London, 1963).

    Sammuti-sacca: ‘conventional truth’, is identical with vohāra-sacca (s. paramattha-sacca).

    Vohāra-desanā: ‘conventional exposition’, as distinguished from an explanation true in the highest sense (paramattha-desanā, q.v.). It is also called sammuti-sacca (in Sanskrit saṃvṛti). (App.).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: Anattā

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:44 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:I knew of these, just not under the collective name of "the two truths". I will admit that I don't understand how my earlier expressed understanding falls foul of bhante's general rule about the two truths,


When expounding the Dhamma by way of paramattha-desanā it is perfectly correct to say that there is no self. This is not a speculative view.

When we speak of 'self' we are speaking either about a reality (dhamma) or a concept (paññatti). Examples of the former would be talk about the "I am conceit" (which would have to do with the mental factor of māna) or about personality view (which would have to do with the mental factor of diṭṭhi).

Examples of the latter would be (1) innocuous usages, such as when an arahant says "I will go to Rājagaha" or "I've hurt myself", but does not misapprehend his words, since he knows that there are really only dhammas; or (2) non-innocuous usages such as: "The self and the world are eternal, barren like a mountain-peak, set firmly as a post. These beings rush round, circulate, pass away and re-arise, but this remains eternally," and all the other erroneous views given in the Brahmajāla Sutta and elsewhere.

The arahant and the person of wrong view both resort to the term 'self', but whereas the one is misled by his concept, the other knows that dhammas are real but paññattis are not, and so is not misled.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:11 am

Greetings bhante,

Does reality (dhamma) in this case refer to a phenomenological reality or ontological reality?

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: Anattā

Postby Jechbi » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:36 am

Seems like we just end up with the same basic either/or choice. The idea of "phenomenological reality" relates to the self. The idea of "ontological reality" takes self out of the equation (but you still need to understand the notion of self to understand why ontological is ontological and not phenomenological).
So aren't both ideas still bound to the notion of self?
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Re: Anattā

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:56 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Does reality (dhamma) in this case refer to a phenomenological reality or ontological reality?


It's quite a disputed point, and one that seems to have a number of heavyweight scholars lined up on both sides. My own view is that the ontological reading is rather better supported in Theravādin Abhidhamma texts.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Anattā

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:11 am

Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:Seems like we just end up with the same basic either/or choice. The idea of "phenomenological reality" relates to the self.


Well, I’m not so sure about that. It would of course be true if one were talking strictly about Husserlian phenomenology, with its transcendental ego etc.; but my impression is that hardly any of the Buddhists who like to go tossing the word “phenomenological” about are using it in a Husserlian or any other narrowly technical sense (the exceptions are Ñāṇavīra with the Theravada and Dan Lusthaus with the Yogācāra). What they really seem to mean is something rather vaguer, like “experiential”.

The idea of "ontological reality" takes self out of the equation (but you still need to understand the notion of self to understand why ontological is ontological and not phenomenological).


Could you expand on this?

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Re: Anattā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:18 am

Greetings,

Just for clarification, when I said phenomenological earlier, I was referring to it in the following sense.

phenomenology
1. A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.

Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/phenomenology

The argument I was making earlier was that if something cannot be verified phenomenologically, it is not thereby disproved ontologically.

Metta,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Anattā

Postby Will » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:56 pm

As long as big words are appearing, here are two definitions of Ontology:

1 : a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being
2 : a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of things that have existence


The first one does not sound useful for self or non-self study. The second might be applicable if being and existence are considered conventional truths and their character or nature as supreme truth. So along that line I would guess that Dhamma is conventionally ontological and supremely phenomenological; since both of the two truths are true and the Dhamma is Truth.

When Dhammapada 279 says everything is anatta, it means from the absolute truth point of view, not the relative.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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