Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

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Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Wind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:32 am

I was wondering if the Abhidhamma spoke about how realms are constructed? If it's a actual plane of existence or mental construct... etc.. ?
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:40 am

Wind wrote:I was wondering if the Abhidhamma spoke about how realms are constructed? If it's a actual plane of existence or mental construct... etc.. ?

Howdy Wind!

Read here on page 189.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:44 am

Greetings,

Is the correlation of different jhanas with differental realms of experience commented upon in the Abhidhamma (Pitaka or commentary)?

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:22 am

Howdy Retro!
retrofuturist wrote:Is the correlation of different jhanas with differental realms of experience commented upon in the Abhidhamma (Pitaka or commentary)?
All 5 of them are listed in The CMA at the above link! Page 186 has a table and there is text elsewhere.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:31 am

Thanks Anicca,

I started before at page 189 and read forwards from there.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:24 am

Actually, from page 185.
Then on p. 188:

Guide to 2
The compendium of process-freed consciousness opens with a rurvey of the topography of the phenomenal world, charting the planes of existence and the various realms within each plane. (See Table 5.1). The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind, registering in concrete manifest form the subtle gradations in states of consciousness...
...the outer world is always a world apprehended by consciousness, and the type of consciousness determines the nature of the world that appears. Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextriably connected to such an extent that the hierarchical structure of the realms of existence exactly reproduces and corresponds to the hierarchical structure of consciousness.
Because of this correspondence, each of the two, the objective hierarchy of existence and the inner gradation of consciousness, provides the key to understanding the other. The reason why a living being is reborn into a particular realm is because he has generated, in a previous life, the kamma or volitional force of consciousness that leads to the rebirth into that realm, and thus the final analysis all the realms of activity of existence are formed, fashioned, and sustained by the mental activity of living beings. At the same time these realms provide the stage for consciousness to continue its evolution in a new personality and under a fresh set of circumstances

kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:30 am

Greetings,

The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind

Does it? :shock:

Really?

What does that mean exactly?

The way I'm reading it, it sounds a bit back-to-front. How does the external universe be an "outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind" when there's a 1 to many relationship between "the external universe" and the "internal cosmos of mind"? Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Wind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:34 am

Ben wrote:Actually, from page 185.
Then on p. 188:

Guide to 2
The compendium of process-freed consciousness opens with a rurvey of the topography of the phenomenal world, charting the planes of existence and the various realms within each plane. (See Table 5.1). The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind, registering in concrete manifest form the subtle gradations in states of consciousness...
...the outer world is always a world apprehended by consciousness, and the type of consciousness determines the nature of the world that appears. Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextriably connected to such an extent that the hierarchical structure of the realms of existence exactly reproduces and corresponds to the hierarchical structure of consciousness.
Because of this correspondence, each of the two, the objective hierarchy of existence and the inner gradation of consciousness, provides the key to understanding the other. The reason why a living being is reborn into a particular realm is because he has generated, in a previous life, the kamma or volitional force of consciousness that leads to the rebirth into that realm, and thus the final analysis all the realms of activity of existence are formed, fashioned, and sustained by the mental activity of living beings. At the same time these realms provide the stage for consciousness to continue its evolution in a new personality and under a fresh set of circumstances

kind regards

Ben



Wow. That's interesting. Sounds kinda like Quantum reality in action.
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:38 am

Ah well...
I wouldn't say that!
Theres a couple of threads, Wind, regarding the inappropriateness of comparing this or that aspect of the Dhamma to quantum mechanics.
A number of our members are mathematicians and physicists and they've put in some great contributions on the subject.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Wind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind

Does it? :shock:

Really?

What does that mean exactly?

The way I'm reading it, it sounds a bit back-to-front. How does the external universe be an "outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind" when there's a 1 to many relationship between "the external universe" and the "internal cosmos of mind"? Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Here retro check out Quantum Reality. It is quite similar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qL1OKrs-q4

Also, there is a theory call Biocentrism which also theories that the universe does not create consciousness but it's the opposite, consciousness create the the universe.
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Wind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:44 am

Ben wrote:Ah well...
I wouldn't say that!
Theres a couple of threads, Wind, regarding the inappropriateness of comparing this or that aspect of the Dhamma to quantum mechanics.
A number of our members are mathematicians and physicists and they've put in some great contributions on the subject.
kind regards

Ben


At this stage it might be prematurely to compare to quantum mechanics, but it's always good to keep an open mind to see what new discoveries comes about as this field is very new and still developing. :) Quantum Reality is goes on a bit further philosophically. It is interesting to see renowned Physicist in the video discussing reality that has some similarities to Buddhism. Of course these things should be taken with a grain of salts as it's merely theory. Still interesting nonetheless.
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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:20 am

Howdy Retro!
retrofuturist wrote:What does that mean exactly?
Mind over matter.

Let's say you are an Arahant and i am a mundane worldling. We are standing side-by-side looking out at the universe. You experience your reality - nibbana and i experience mine - delusion. Same external - different internal. One (universe) to many (individuals).

retrofuturist wrote:How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?

Bad kamma :tongue:.

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:21 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:How does the external universe be an "outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind" when there's a 1 to many relationship between "the external universe" and the "internal cosmos of mind"? Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?


I think they are interesting questions which should be put to the author of those statements, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
I for one do not have a problem co-existing in a realm with other beings who also share the same quality of consciousness.
Though they may not feel so accomodating about me being in their universe!
Kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:24 am

Greetings Anicca,

Anicca wrote:Let's say you are an Arahant and i am a mundane worldling. We are standing side-by-side looking out at the universe. You experience your reality - nibbana and i experience mine - delusion. Same external - different internal. One (universe) to many (individuals).

Yes, but that's two different "internal universes" (a.k.a. "loka", or perhaps on might say "lokuttara" re: the arahant)... and to me that makes sense.

That says nothing of this "external universe" out there, of which Bhikkhu Bodhi speaks.

Frankly, I'm really surprised by this. I thought it was only the Tibetans (and possibly Hindus) who thought the objective "external universe" was created by the mind. I'm wondering whether what Bhikkhu Bodhi says has official old school commentarial support.

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:27 am

Greetings Ben, Anicca, all,

Ben wrote:I think they are interesting questions which should be put to the author of those statements, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
I for one do not have a problem co-existing in a realm with other beings who also share the same quality of consciousness.

Well you do share this "external universe" at least with creatures from other "realms", such as that frightful looking creature currently acting as your avatar!

Ben wrote:Though they may not feel so accomodating about me being in their universe!

:lol:

Anicca wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?

Bad kamma :tongue:.

:lol:

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:24 am

If we examine in detail what Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote, it seems quite straightforward.
The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of the mind, registering in concrete manifest form the subtle graduations in states of consciousness. This does not mean that the Abhidhamma reduces the outer world to a dimension of mind in the manner of philosophical idealism. The outer world is quite real and possesses objective existence. However, the outer world is always a world apprehended by consciousness, and the type of consciousness determines the nature of the world that appears. Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextricably connected to such an extent that the hierarchical structure of the realms of the universe exactly reproduces and corresponds to the hierarchical structure of consciousness.
...

The rest may be read at the link given above. It might help to point out that "process freed" means passive consciousness, i.e. consciousness not connected with the sense doors. (See earlier in the chapter).

[My impression is that Bhikkhu Bodhi is summarizing the Abhidhamma and Ancient Commentaries in his notes.]

This interdependence that he speaks of is, in more conventional language, what kamma is about:
"'I am the owner of my actions,[1] heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.' ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:35 am

Greetings Mike,

I didn't intepret what Bhikkhu Bodhi said earlier to be philosophical idealism though, so I don't really see quite how that dispels or placates the notion that "the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of the mind". I read his sentence to suggest that (the external, objective, "out there", ontological) physical matter exists and is created by (or a "reflection" of) mind. Our Dhamma friend Anicca seemingly thought likewise when saying it referred to "mind over matter".

Either way, it seems a really odd proclamation when juxtaposed against suttas like...

SN 12.15 wrote: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.

Compare that with Bhikkhu Bodhi's "The outer world is quite real and possesses objective existence."

Is the Buddha saying Bhikkhu Bodhi does not possess Right View? :?

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: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:34 am

Hi Retro,

In clarifying what the Abhidhamma implies, and how the commentaries interpret it, I'd be grateful for some more expert input from Abhidhamma experts, but I really don't see any contradiction with the passage you have quoted. One could take the commentarial explanation quoted by Bhikkhu Bodhi, which is that the reference is to eternalistic or annihialtionistic views, rather than a correct view based on dependent origination. Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation is a little different, from what you quoted, more like:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
"The world in general, Kaccaayana, grasps after systems and is imprisoned by dogmas.[5] But he[6] does not go along with that system-grasping, that mental obstinacy and dogmatic bias, does not grasp at it, does not affirm: 'This is my self.'[7] He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha[8] that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else. This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.

"'Everything exists,'[9] this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme. Avoiding both extremes the Tathaagata[10] teaches a doctrine of the middle: Conditioned by ignorance are the formations...


Even If you're not satisfied with the commentarily explanation, I don't see how the Sutta could be interpreted as saying that there is no objective reality:
"Everything exists,' this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme. "


And, as I said, according to the Suttas, much of what we experience is a result of kamma. Which the Abhidhamma expands on, as described in the chapter of the CMA under discussion. So I don't see any problem with Bhikkhu Bodhi statement:
Consciousness and the world are mutually dependent and inextricably connected ...


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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:04 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Is the Buddha saying Bhikkhu Bodhi does not possess Right View?

It seems to me that sutta quote is teaching about anicca - the universe as we know it at one point came to be and at a future point will cease to be. As such, Ven. Bodhi would only be of wrong view if he posits a permanent and unchanging universe, if he denies anicca.
- Peter

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Re: Does the Abidhamma speak about the different realms?

Postby Virgo » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:36 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The author undertakes this survey before examining the types of process-freed consciousness because the external universe, according to the Abhidhamma, is an outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind

Does it? :shock:

Really?

What does that mean exactly?

The way I'm reading it, it sounds a bit back-to-front. How does the external universe be an "outer reflection of the internal cosmos of mind" when there's a 1 to many relationship between "the external universe" and the "internal cosmos of mind"? Do we each have our own private "external universe"? How do you exist in mine, and vice versa?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retrofuturist,

I think it could be worded differently. I don't think "internal cosmos of mind" is an accurate term, nor do I think that saying the "external universe in an outer reflection of [it]", is the best way to word things. But I do see the authors point, and it is a good point. Our citta can determine the plane of consciousness. For example, the kind of jhana citta one has at death (for one who has jhana) can bring rebirth in a corresponding brahma plane and so on.

As to your question about if everyone have different external universes, the answer is yes. Everyone lives in their own world. Why? Because the idea of "the outer world" is just a concept. There is seeing, hearing, and so on and thought processes make this seem like a whole to me, when it is just individual nama and rupa arising and falling away. You have similar experience. We think we share the "same world", but you are just imagining a world and I am imagining a similar one based on my own sense impressions and accumulations.

All the best,

Kevin
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