Hidden in Javana

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Hidden in Javana

Postby hgg » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:48 pm

Hello,

I was reading recently the amazing book "a Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma" of Acariya Anuruddha
and a question arose. In page 155 there is a table summarizing one complete eye door process. It looks
like the following:

---- Stream of Bhavanga
01) Past Bhavanga
02) Vibrational Bhavanga
03) Arrest Bhavanga
04) Five Door Adverting
05) Eye Consciousness
06) Receiving
07) Investigating
08) Determining
09) - 15) JAVANA
16) Registration
17) Registration
---- Stream of Bhavanga

On Page 124 I quote :
(javana) As a function of consciousness it applies to the stage of the cognitive process that immediately
follows the determining stage, and consists of a series of cittas (normally seven, all identical in kind) which
"run swiftly" over the object in the act of apprehending it. The javana stage is the most important from an
ethical standpoint, for it is at this point that wholesome or unwholesome cittas originate.


It seems that somewhere in the Javana cittas, volition is hiding. These are the cittas that will produce
new wholesome or unwholesome kamma. Here is when Buddha declares that "Kamma is volition".

My question then is, who or what controls that volition? How can one describe the "something" that decides
this or that, wholesome or unwholesome?

Furthermore, is it here that free will is living or are decisions taken in absolute conditionality?

Thank you.
George.
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:42 pm

Hi George,

This is an interesting and difficult question.
hgg wrote:On Page 124 I quote :
(javana) As a function of consciousness it applies to the stage of the cognitive process that immediately
follows the determining stage, and consists of a series of cittas (normally seven, all identical in kind) which
"run swiftly" over the object in the act of apprehending it. The javana stage is the most important from an
ethical standpoint, for it is at this point that wholesome or unwholesome cittas originate.


It seems that somewhere in the Javana cittas, volition is hiding. These are the cittas that will produce
new wholesome or unwholesome kamma. Here is when Buddha declares that "Kamma is volition".

In brief, I would say that this is because how one apprehends the sensory input has a large influence on the reaction.

The rest of your post goes to the heart of the most difficult part of the Dhamma. That there is no "controller" "deciding" things. Just a process.
hgg wrote:My question then is, who or what controls that volition? How can one describe the "something" that decides
this or that, wholesome or unwholesome?

Furthermore, is it here that free will is living or are decisions taken in absolute conditionality?

I do not have a good way of answering this, but I would be careful about using the Dhamma to build a philosophical position. That doesn't seem to be the Buddha's intention. The Dhamma is about an analysis that leads to seeing clearly for oneself.

We should also be careful to note that the texts are talking about cetana (translated as "volition"). This does not necessarily carry the overtones of the English word "choice" or "free will".

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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:30 pm

An additional question:

If cittas happen trillions of times per second, then how much time is there to make this or that choice? Seems like no time at all, it (volition) happens even before one can react to it...
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:45 am

Greetings hgg,

There is volition, but there is no person, thing or self that is volitioning.

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: Hidden in Javana

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:32 am

Greetings George,

hgg wrote:My question then is, who or what controls that volition? How can one describe the "something" that decides
this or that, wholesome or unwholesome?


The way I understand it wholesome or unwholesome kamma depend on kamma. Your previous mind moments create the conditions for present mind moments. There is no need to control the process, and there is no need for a subject that stands over that process.

Much like water flowing in a river, being split in two different branches by a river island. Water does not decide to go left or right, it is the sum of all the previous conditions on the river bed the leads water to the left or right side of the island.

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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby hgg » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:48 pm

Hi,

If that is so, then what is the point of a teaching if there is no "something" that decides?
It is also implied that free will is also an illusion and that all "choices" are made automatically
based on previous actions and "decisions".

That doesn't look right. It makes the whole teaching meaningless.
There must be "something" that decides. The nature of that "something" is what I am looking for.

Maybe if the "thing" that decides breaks all bonds with conditionality, then the result is genuine
free will here and nibbana afterwards.

What do you think?

Thank you.
George.
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:10 pm

hgg wrote:Hi,

If that is so, then what is the point of a teaching if there is no "something" that decides?
It is also implied that free will is also an illusion and that all "choices" are made automatically
based on previous actions and "decisions".


The point is that through the development of knowledge a mind-continuum can be liberated from conditionality.

hgg wrote:That doesn't look right. It makes the whole teaching meaningless.


What I find meaningless is the concept of free will. Will is a conditioned reality, therefore it can not be free.

hgg wrote:There must be "something" that decides. The nature of that "something" is what I am looking for.

Maybe if the "thing" that decides breaks all bonds with conditionality, then the result is genuine
free will here and nibbana afterwards.

What do you think?

Thank you.
George.


I do not assume there must be something, nor do I care about the nature of whatever something may there be, or not. I care about removing unwholesome kamma from this mind, for that purpose the notion of something that decides is not useful, and indeed it is a burden that prevents the development of knowledge and peace.

Letting go of that idea that there must be "something" is very difficult, and can only be done up to a point by this non-liberated mind. But not caring about it does bring a pleasant sense of peace.
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby Zom » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:51 pm

My question then is, who or what controls that volition?


....
"Lord, who makes contact?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'makes contact.' If I were to say 'makes contact,' then 'Who makes contact?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes contact?' And the valid answer is, 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.'"

"Lord, who feels?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'feels.' If I were to say 'feels,' then 'Who feels?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes feeling?' And the valid answer is, 'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.'"
....


From here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:55 am

:goodpost:

No "who" or "what" controlling volition can be found in the Suttas, let alone the Abhidhamma.

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: Hidden in Javana

Postby hgg » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:55 am

Hi,

Zom thank you for the quote.
But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is
'From what as a requisite condition comes contact?'
And the valid answer is, 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.


From what I understand, here Buddha neither accepts an identity and neither he denies one.
He repeatedly points out the conditionality that drives samsara.

What beings Buddha wanted to save "that had little dirt in their eyes"?
Did he care for the welfare of specific beings or just for the extinction of Suffering as an abstract state?
Does he eliminate any kind of being identity but at the same time accepts abstract states as that of Suffering?
Suffering needs a passive subject. Something that experiences suffering. Maybe that "something" does not have
a fixed identity, but can be described with an abstraction.

Can we say that the flow of conditionality from this birth to the next is called a self as an abstraction?
My flow is different from your flow. They are not the same. They have boundaries that do not mix.

Thanks.
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Re: Hidden in Javana

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:45 am

hgg wrote:What beings Buddha wanted to save "that had little dirt in their eyes"?


I believe he meant the very few beings, fortunate to have a birth on the Human or Deva planes, that can learn the Dhamma: Chiggala Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.048.than.html

hgg wrote:Did he care for the welfare of specific beings or just for the extinction of Suffering as an abstract state?


SN 6.1 speaks of "out of compassion for beings": http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.001.than.html

hgg wrote:Suffering needs a passive subject. Something that experiences suffering. Maybe that "something" does not have
a fixed identity, but can be described with an abstraction.


Why do you say suffering needs a subject? The Buddha says "The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering — in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering." on the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta SN 56.11: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.piya.html

hgg wrote:Can we say that the flow of conditionality from this birth to the next is called a self as an abstraction?
My flow is different from your flow. They are not the same. They have boundaries that do not mix.


That is how I understand it. Each mind continuum is an independent flow of conditioned mind moments, just as each river is an independent flow of water molecules.
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