Unconditioned

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino »

The self is a fiction, but fiction is compelling and engaging and continues. Chapter by chapter, seemingly real.
Last edited by cappuccino on Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

davidbrainerd wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is because you are, it would seem, not seeing anything beyond "is"/"is not".
Is there a sutta where Buddha says something against "is"/"is not"? This sounds more like a Zen thing to me.
15. Kaccanagotta

At Savatthī. Then the Venerable Kaccanagotta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘right view, right view.’ In what way, venerable sir, is there right view?”

“This world, Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality—upon the notion of existence
[atthitañceva] and the notion of nonexistence [natthitañca]. But for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

“This world, Kaccana, is for the most part shackled by engagement, clinging, and adherence. But this one with right view does not become engaged and cling through that engagement and clinging, mental standpoint, adherence, underlying tendency; he does not take a stand about ‘my self.’ He has no perplexity or doubt that what arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing. His knowledge about this is independent of others. It is in this way, Kaccana, that there is right view. “‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
chownah
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by chownah »

davidbrainerd wrote:So I don't see how this line of reasoning could lead anywhere but to acknowledge a persisting self which one wants to eradicate. I suppose in such a system, viewing the self as already non-existent could be a strategy towards ultimately taking it out of existence. But like I said, I am no longer convinced this is what Buddha taught, as it seems to me the suttas point to Nirvana being a continued existence beyond the physical world.
Taking your first sentence: "So I don't see how this line of reasoning could lead anywhere but to acknowledge a persisting self which one wants to eradicate." My reply: It is clear that you don't see any line of reasoning on this other than your own. It might be beneficial if you stop and think about whether you are grasping your own view too tightly and so you are unable to even see that another view might exist.

Taking your second sentence: "I suppose in such a system, viewing the self as already non-existent could be a strategy towards ultimately taking it out of existence." My reply: This is definitely not what the buddha taught. The buddha clearly stated that viewing the self as non-existent is wrong view.

Taking your third sentence: "But like I said, I am no longer convinced this is what Buddha taught, as it seems to me the suttas point to Nirvana being a continued existence beyond the physical world." My reply: I think it would be good to think about what the buddha taught about "existence" and about the "physical world".....and specificaly about what the buddha taught about the "world". I suggest reading the suttas which talk about "the world" and "the all".

Don't you think that you are pretty happy with your views that you express? It seems pretty clear to me when I see how you are posting that your views are highly developed and I haven't seen where the huge amount of quotes from what the buddha taught (as opposed to your fabrications about what the buddha taught) has made any impact on your thinking. So....great....will people just keep on providing you with other views so that you can keep on presenting your view which is the exact same view you started with and still hold? What is the point of this? Do you think that someone will say something which will change your mind or you will say something that will make people agree with you? I'm just wondering. I'm not saying you should stop with your posting. I'm perfectly happy with what you are saying and don't want to dull your enthusiam.
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davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

Concerning the quote from SN 12.15
tiltbillings wrote:“‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...
So why then is saying "ignorance exists" not an extreme? And once volitional formations "come to be" would it be an extreme to say they "exist"? Would that be the "is"/"is not" problem? If so, looks like Buddha himself falls right into it. What I find interesting here is Venerable Kaccanagotta asked Buddha to explain what is meant by saying "right view, right view" which Buddha explains hundreds of times, and only here does it take on this kind of frame of "you can't take either position", while at the same time in his own explanation he's doing exactly that himself?

I think I get it now..."the all" doesn't exist because its impermanent so although it exists now it won't always, and it doesn't not exist (forever) because it may re-arise. No? But "the all" is the physical world so I'm not sure how the "is/not is" in your original point is directed against my statement about "I was thinking because it had not yet experienced phenominal existence and didn't know any better yet." I wasn't saying that all of "the all" necessarily exists or doesn't exist at any given point.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

davidbrainerd wrote:Concerning the quote from SN 12.15
tiltbillings wrote:“‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be...
So why then is saying "ignorance exists" not an extreme? And once volitional formations "come to be" would it be an extreme to say they "exist"? Would that be the "is"/"is not" problem? If so, looks like Buddha himself falls right into it. What I find interesting here is Venerable Kaccanagotta asked Buddha to explain what is meant by saying "right view, right view" which Buddha explains hundreds of times, and only here does it take on this kind of frame of "you can't take either position", while at the same time in his own explanation he's doing exactly that himself?

I think I get it now..."the all" doesn't exist because its impermanent so although it exists now it won't always, and it doesn't not exist (forever) because it may re-arise. No? But "the all" is the physical world so I'm not sure how the "is/not is" in your original point is directed against my statement about "I was thinking because it had not yet experienced phenominal existence and didn't know any better yet."
So, where did the Buddha say that ignorance exists? It seems you really have not spent any time with what quite central to the Buddha's teachings, and seems that you do not quite get it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
pegembara
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by pegembara »

davidbrainerd wrote:
pegembara wrote:"True self" can never be known. For anything that one points to up to and including "true self" is not what you are.
You are not that.


In the sutta you reference (SN 22.89) "I am" is always short for "I am one or more of the aggregates." In every sutta speaking negatively about "I am" its the same.
Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' As he keeps focusing on the arising & passing away of these five clinging-aggregates, the lingering residual 'I am' conceit, 'I am' desire, 'I am' obsession is fully obliterated.
In the other sutta (MN 38) the problem is that Sati thinks "consciousness" (one of the aggregates) is the self. He is not looking for the true self beyond the aggregates but identifies with one aggregate. Furthermore the problem is (as Buddha explains there) that consciouness is nothing but the brain's awareness of the 5/6 senses! Consciousness in the suttas is NOT the sci-fi consciousness where some alien machine switches Kirk's and Spok's consciousness between their bodies in StarTrek (even though much modern Buddhist literature misuses it this way). And the 6th consciousness is only the brain's attempt to make sense of the other 5 consciousnesses. This is not at all like the sci-fi and psychological use of the term "consciousness". The aggregate called "mental formations" has more in common with the "consciousness" of psychology than "consciousness" as used in the suttas does.
Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

Is the true self conscious or unconscious? If "true self" is conscious, it cannot be separate from the aggregates!

There are 2 extremes to be avoided - eternalism and nihilism. They require an idea of a self that last for eternity or else that comes into existence and passes into oblivion. Thus:
"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

tiltbillings wrote:So, where did the Buddha say that ignorance exists? It seems you really have not spent any time with what quite central to the Buddha's teachings, and seems that you do not quite get it.
So you think when he says "With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be" this ignorance is neither existing nor non-existing? Then how is it functioning as a condition? "With X as condition" implies the existence of X.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

davidbrainerd wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:So, where did the Buddha say that ignorance exists? It seems you really have not spent any time with what quite central to the Buddha's teachings, and seems that you do not quite get it.
So you think when he says "With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be" this ignorance is neither existing nor non-existing? Then how is it functioning as a condition? "With X as condition" implies the existence of X.
And what is the nature of existence of your "true self," and what is the nature of the "existence" of ignorance? This question is central. Let us see what you can do with it?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

tiltbillings wrote:And what is the nature of existence of your "true self," and what is the nature of the "existence" of ignorance? This question is central. Let us see what you can do with it?
So you take existence hyper-literally as if ignorance is a thing you can taste, touch, smell, etc. Would saying its "present" be better than that it "exists"?
pegembara wrote:There are 2 extremes to be avoided - eternalism and nihilism.
Nihilism is obvious, but what is eternalism? That you are eternally trapped here with no escape, i.e. the denial of the existence of Nirvana or any possibility of liberation, the view that there is no exit from Samsara.

At the risk of engaging in "is/is not", logically to me this makes sense:

If the extremes are (1) you're just the body and cease to exist upon death, and (2) eternal soul, that can escape to Nirvana. What's the middle? Body that can escape to Nirvana? Makes no sense.

If the extremes are (1) you're just the body and cease to exist upon death, and (2) eternal soul that cannot escape to Nirvana because there is no Nirvana. What's the middle? Soul that can escape to Nirvana because there is a Nirvana. Makes perfect sense.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

davidbrainerd wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And what is the nature of existence of your "true self," and what is the nature of the "existence" of ignorance? This question is central. Let us see what you can do with it?
So you take existence hyper-literally as if ignorance is a thing you can taste, touch, smell, etc. Would saying its "present" be better than that it "exists"?
I take it hyper-literally? Hardly. You were the one said:

    • So why then is saying "ignorance exists" not an extreme? And once volitional formations "come to be" would it be an extreme to say they "exist"? Would that be the "is"/"is not" problem? If so, looks like Buddha himself falls right into it. What I find interesting here is Venerable Kaccanagotta asked Buddha to explain what is meant by saying "right view, right view" which Buddha explains hundreds of times, and only here does it take on this kind of frame of "you can't take either position", while at the same time in his own explanation he's doing exactly that himself?
Seriously, davidbrainerd, you might want to take some time to study this issue.
that can escape to Nirvana
Where is it? If there were no individuals with any degree of awakening, nirvana still exists someplace?

Also, davidbrainerd, why don't you make a real effort and try to answer this question rather trying to deflect it: And what is the nature of existence of your "true self," and what is the nature of the "existence" of ignorance?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
pegembara
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by pegembara »

davidbrainerd wrote:
pegembara wrote:There are 2 extremes to be avoided - eternalism and nihilism.
Nihilism is obvious, but what is eternalism? That you are eternally trapped here with no escape, i.e. the denial of the existence of Nirvana or any possibility of liberation, the view that there is no exit from Samsara.

At the risk of engaging in "is/is not", logically to me this makes sense:

If the extremes are (1) you're just the body and cease to exist upon death, and (2) eternal soul, that can escape to Nirvana. What's the middle? Body that can escape to Nirvana? Makes no sense.

If the extremes are (1) you're just the body and cease to exist upon death, and (2) eternal soul that cannot escape to Nirvana because there is no Nirvana. What's the middle? Soul that can escape to Nirvana because there is a Nirvana. Makes perfect sense.
Eternally trapped in samsara or nirvana or heaven or some eternal states of happiness is an extreme to be avoided. It derives from having a self view which the Buddha called a thicket of view.

Those questions don't arise without positing a self. There is no escape as long as the is a self! The "escape" is through complete realisation of anatta.
"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

Since you did not respond to this, I suspect that missed it:
tilt wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:tiltbillings, I'm not purposefully avoiding your questions. I am a little puzzled as to what this phrase "Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained" means to you.
It means that the mind process is free of the conditioning of greed, hatred, and delusion.
tilt wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
tilt wrote:Why would the "true self" choose to be the cause of suffering? Your whole argument makes no sense at all.
I was thinking because it had not yet experienced phenominal existence and didn't know any better yet.
For the "true self" to experience phenomenal existence, it must be able to have experience, meaning that it much be able see, hear, touch, taste, smell, have thoughts, which then means it must be able to feel, and then must be able recognize what is experienced based upon repeated experience, and it must be able to develop volitional responses to what it experiences, and, of course, underlying all of this is awareness. Without all this, nothing.
Please take some time to respond to this; after all I took time to respond to you to write this.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
Spiny Norman
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Spiny Norman »

davidbrainerd wrote:What's the middle? Soul that can escape to Nirvana because there is a Nirvana. Makes perfect sense.
That sounds like Hinduism though. It requires the belief in an Atman/soul.
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davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

tiltbillings wrote:For the "true self" to experience phenomenal existence, it must be able to have experience, meaning that it much be able see, hear, touch, taste, smell, have thoughts, which then means it must be able to feel, and then must be able recognize what is experienced based upon repeated experience, and it must be able to develop volitional responses to what it experiences, and, of course, underlying all of this is awareness. Without all this, nothing.
Meaning when its linked to the aggregates it experiences what the aggregates experienced because of its clinging to the viññāṇa aggregate.
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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino »

I think we can conclude Nirvana is a state, an aferlife as well.

All we call self is inconstant.
Last edited by cappuccino on Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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