Unconditioned

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Spiny Norman
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by Spiny Norman »

Nicolas wrote:What you call "true self" actually has no characteristics of a self, and so shouldn't be called "self" at all, and shouldn't be identified with.
Indeed. And even if one views "the unconditioned" as some sort of transcendental reality, there is nothing to suggest it involves self-hood or "true self", rather it would have a universal quality.
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

cjmacie wrote:by chownah » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:51 pm

"Exercise" is not a translation....this is cjmacie's statement...I should have attributed that, sorry."

You actually should have read the post more carefully -- it was a direct quotation from Mahasi Sayadaw.

btw, the book referenced I forgot to cite, i.e. page 157 in:
http://www.saraniya.com/books/mahasi-sa ... dhamma.pdf

That book is a reworking of this original translation, which is, IMO, more readable (page 270-271 in this version):
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/damachak.pdf
You really need to take some time to learn how to use the "quote" button.
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>> 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
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The Thinker
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by The Thinker »

davidbrainerd wrote:Well Nicholas, its obvious to me that what you quoted above from Visuddhimagga, chapter 19, concerning there being no doer and everything is just a stream of phenomena just flowing on, that this is expressing the fatalistic view of the Ajivika which Buddha is clearly against in various suttas. So this discussion has certainly raised my awareness to the extent to which the determinist and nihilist sects Buddha was againt infiltrated the Theras.
I find it strange that you take the above view, it is the beauty of the teachings that bring together such a mixed group of people, the Four truths form basis of the path, I may be classed a nihilist, but I would say that I simply do not know what comes after death, If people believe the Ajahn Chah School a sect, then if they look within that school they will find different views amongst those teachers (this can prove troublesome I understand).

It is all positive, regardless of opinions. :namaste:
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth
pegembara
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by pegembara »

"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.
"Friend, concerning these five clinging-aggregates described by the Blessed One — i.e., form as a clinging-aggregate... feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate: With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, there is nothing I assume to be self or belonging to self, and yet I am not an arahant. With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"As you say, friend," the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?" [1]

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? [2] But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

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.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

Spiny Norman wrote:
Nicolas wrote:What you call "true self" actually has no characteristics of a self, and so shouldn't be called "self" at all, and shouldn't be identified with.
Indeed. And even if one views "the unconditioned" as some sort of transcendental reality, there is nothing to suggest it involves self-hood or "true self", rather it would have a universal quality.
But I think the self not being like what we think of as a self is the whole idea. That's why Buddha talks so much about what the self is not, and what he says its not is what we typically think it is. The true self is so very devoid of so much of what we think of as self that it thought itself very boring and dreamed of a more exciting existence, and ended up grasping the aggregates and clinging to them and becoming deluded into thinking it is them. To go to Nirvana is to go back to being that boring self up there in pure calm not experiencing all what the phenominal world has to offer. Enlightenment is kind of like: This world is exciting, but filled with suffering, so the self says its had enough of the bells and whistles and can now accept that bare calm 'boring' existence it had in transcendence and now that it knows better, it won't make the same mistake again, its let go of craving for a more exciting existence.

I don't argue everyone has to view it this way, but rabbid no-self Buddhists (By 'rabbid' I mean someone who won't for a moment listen to a differing position, which is not anyone here) remind me a lot of rabbid atheists just wanting to rain on everyone's parade. I think this is one possible interpretation of Buddha's teachings and should not be dismissed too readily. It explains what none other can explain, why clinging to the aggregates is called clinging, because someone is clinging to them. If you are the aggregates then you don't cling to them but are them. If you are nothing at all, you can't cling to anything. If you are a true self that hasn't outgrown the bells and whistles of the phenominal world then you keep clinging to the aggregates.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

Just to further clarify about my use of the word "rabbid". You guys have put up with me spewing what you think is nonsense for a long time. What I meant by that is that typically in any discussion of this topic I've been in before the response is just insults. Being called a fool etc. I even had one guy tell me that "the Dhammapada is for fools and the suttas are for the wise" when I quoted the Dhammapada both verses 153-154 and the verse about the self being the refuge of the self. So even though everyone here may disagree with me, I respect you.
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The Thinker
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by The Thinker »

davidbrainerd wrote:Just to further clarify about my use of the word "rabbid". You guys have put up with me spewing what you think is nonsense for a long time. What I meant by that is that typically in any discussion of this topic I've been in before the response is just insults. Being called a fool etc. I even had one guy tell me that "the Dhammapada is for fools and the suttas are for the wise" when I quoted the Dhammapada both verses 153-154 and the verse about the self being the refuge of the self. So even though everyone here may disagree with me, I respect you.

Much respect for you also davidbrainerd, you have made your case and opinion quite clear, and something for me to reflect on, your opinion is valid, the suttas in a literal reading undoubtedly imply a large part of what you believe, I do find myself pulled towards the metaphor explanation of many suttas put forth by Ajahn Sumedho in various books and tapes, everyone is teaching me and I am most grateful. :namaste:
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

davidbrainerd wrote: So even though everyone here may disagree with me, I respect you.
I do not think that you do. I have asked you questions, which you ignore. I have responded to some of your claims, which you ignore. You simply refuse to actually engage in a genuine discussion of your claim about a true self. When asked about what it does you give a rather vague, waffling answers. You have not shown that your supposed true self is something beyond the khandhas, nor have you shown that the Buddha taught that there is some sort of "true self" beyond the khandhas.

You refer to Dhp 154 (trans by J.R. Carter & M. Palihawadana):
    • House-builder, you are seen! The house you shall not build again! Broken are your rafters, all, Your roof beam destroyed. Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained. To the end of cravings has it come.
There is no justification for taking "house-builder" as referring to some sort of "true self." The answer here is found in paṭiccasamuppāda and the role played by tanhā, 'the chief root of suffering, and of the ever-continuing cycle of rebirths. "What, o monks, is the origin of suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to ever-fresh rebirth and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now there, finds ever fresh delight."'* It is tanhā that builds the house, not some mysterious "true self."

And let keep in mind that nature of citta:
  • Bhikkhus, I will teach the origination and passing away of the four esatblishments of mindfulness. Listen to that.

    And what, bhikkhus, is the origination of the body? With the origination of nutriment there is origination of the body. With the cessation of nutriment there is the passing away of the body.

    With the origination of contact there is origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the passing away of feeling.

    With the origination of name-and-form there is origination of mind
    [citta]. With the cessation of name-and-form there is passing away of mind.

    With the origination of attention there is origination of phenomena
    [experience], dhamma]. With the cessation of attention there is passing away of phenomena.
Why would the "true self" choose to be the cause of suffering? Your whole argument makes no sense at all.
>> 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, 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. Maybe that is the origination of the divergence in opinion right there.
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.

Also this "With the origination of name-and-form there is origination of mind [citta]. With the cessation of name-and-form there is passing away of mind"..I think in this case citta means "thought" as in any individual thought rather than "mind". Otherwise, it seems to me to conflict with "Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained." Because then it would seem to suggest "Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained" means the whole mind ceases to exist, in which case how did he speak this statement after his whole mind ceased to exist?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

trejohn wrote:Hello Everyone

May you allow me to step up in your conversation, and say the following:
tiltbillings wrote: You have not shown that your supposed true self is something beyond the khandhas, nor have you shown that the Buddha taught that there is some sort of "true self" beyond the khandhas.
I would not talk about a "true self" beyond the khandhas; but there is definitely something that is experienced beyond the "all".
Buddha wrote: 'Having directly known the all (sabba) as the all, and having directly known the extent of what has not been experienced through the allness of the all, I wasn't the all, I wasn't in the all, I wasn't apart from the all, I wasn't "The all is mine." I didn't affirm (praise) the all.
...
"'Consciousness without feature/sign (viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ), endless, radiant all around, has not been experienced through the earthness of earth ... the liquidity of liquid ... the fieriness of fire ... the windiness of wind ... the allness of the all.'
MN 49
The problem with the claim that there is something -- some thing -- beyond the "all," is that such an assumption is still grounded in "is" and "is not," missing the centrality of paṭiccasamuppāda, which is also the major failing of the davidbrainerd's "true self" notion.
>> 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
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tiltbillings
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by tiltbillings »

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.
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.
Also this "With the origination of name-and-form there is origination of mind [citta]. With the cessation of name-and-form there is passing away of mind"..I think in this case citta means "thought" as in any individual thought rather than "mind". Otherwise, it seems to me to conflict with "Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained." Because then it would seem to suggest "Freedom from sankhāras has the mind [citta] obtained" means the whole mind ceases to exist, in which case how did he speak this statement after his whole mind ceased to exist?
That is because you are, it would seem, not seeing anything beyond "is"/"is not". Either something is or it is not, but that not what the Buddha taught.

As for citta, mind is appropriate here.
It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worlding to take as self this body… rather than the mind. For what reason? The body … is seen standing for one year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, for twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty, for a hundred years, or even longer. But that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [viññāna]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still another, so too that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or consciousness [viññāna]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this that arises…. SN II 94-5
>> 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
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cappuccino
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by cappuccino »

Well, existence is suffering and self is an affirmation of existence.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

cappuccino wrote:Well, existence is suffering and self is an affirmation of existence.
When I first became interested in Buddhism I thought Nirvana meant the extinction of the self. But reading the suttas convinced me that rather than extinction Nirvana meant some kind of continued existence. Even so, if we were to assume that existence itself (anywhere, not just in the physical world) is suffering, and the goal is to become completely extinct, wouldn't that imply that you have a self right now and one that is immaterial and persistent and gets reincarnated many times, and the goal is to take it to Nirvana to extinguish it? If it already doesn't exist, then what is the goal? It can't be to eradicate what doesn't exist. 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.
davidbrainerd
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Re: Unconditioned

Post by davidbrainerd »

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.
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