My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 23295
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Twilight,

... and I made no such "admission", I just had no interest in answering incessant questions that I see as irrelevant.

If you're going to speak, at least speak truth.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

In and of itself rūpa doesn't exist -- it requires nāma in order to "be". From Ven. Ñanavira's Notes on Dhamma:
Yes, but how about the question ? Yes/No/Do not know ?
If you're going to speak, at least speak truth.
You said you have a close opinion to SDC on the matter: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p413671
Buddha said one who has right view will never be "confused o inwardly perplexed about existence" :anjali:



Witch bring us to an important obsevation. One would think that existentialist, who dedicate so much time to the problem of things existing or not, - one might expect them to know the most about existence and never be confused about such problems. But it is not for nothing that Buddha said that is one of the 4 inconjurables. He said questioning weather things exist or not will lead only to "vexation and madness". And this is why existentialist end up so confused and can not answer a simple question about their family existing or not after their death. They do not say "yes" and neither do they say "no" - they are simply confused and inwardly perplexed about the problem.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

SDC wrote:I also said that I didn't care...
I appreciate you were the only one here to at least express a honest opinion on the problem and did not eel-wriggle about it trying to avoid the question.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17917
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by mikenz66 »

Twilight wrote: Buddha said one who has right view will never be "confused o inwardly perplexed about existence" :anjali:
What do you think he meant by that?

As you will recall, I don't think it has anything to do with "whether rocks exist".

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
Jojola
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:22 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Jojola »

Twilight wrote:
Jojola wrote: I'd be surprised to find someone who really understands him in the first place (for there even to be realistic grounds of critique), I'm barely scratching the surface and I can already tell views on him are way off base because they are way too general and simplistic. I can tell you right now reckoning with this guy is not easy. I would love to discuss him for all of our benefit, but first he needs to be brought to the table, not representations..
You have claimed that I do not properly understand Nanavira and that my criticism or B.Bodhi criticism is therefore unfounded. Therefore, I have 2 questions for you to better clarify if I had understood him or not:

1) Why does the arahant 5 aggregates do not disappear into thin air in the 1-life interpretation of patticca ? If pattica happens in a single moment, then with the cessation of ignorance comes cesation of volitional formations, then cessation of consciousness and name&form, then cessation of feeling, perception, volition. Therefore, in that very moment when ignorance disappears, all the 5 aggregates disappear on the spot.

2) If you die, will your family continue to exist or it never really existed in the first place, but you were deluded into thinking it exist through the process of assumption ? Will your family continue to exist or not ?

So far, in 9 pages of topic, nobody was able to answer the first question, nobody even attempted. As for the second question, SDC and Retrofuturist have admitted that they are confused and don't know if their family will continue to exist or not. Maybe they had not properly understood nanavira either. So I am curious to see what you have to say about these 2 questions since you have claimed that people here have not understood Nanavira view properly. What is your response to these 2 questions ?
Ok first, I have no idea what question 2 has to do with Nanavira. :shrug:

Second, the premise behind question number 1 is fallacious, paticcasamuppada is not temporal but structural, this is something Nanavira ingeniously reveals while abundantly citing authentic pali doctrine with impeccable accuracy (in my personal opinion); which I'm sure none of that means anything to you since you are not learned yet in such- I would like you to be!

But I can't copy from his notes, paste them in a word document, trim what's unnecessary to your specific question, fix all the Pali character errors due to font limitations, copy the result, paste it into a Reply box on here, then preview and edit dozens of times till it formats right when I submit it. Alas! :console:

However you should know that I would do that for you with just about any other dhamma topic he has a say on since it wouldn't take so much labor :anjali: . But this is about the notoriously complex paticcasamuppada :roll: , the very crux of enlightenment! :buddha2:

Simply go here: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdn ... e-Path.pdf :reading: and first find his short 2 page (front and back) abstract on the topic, the chapter titled Paticcasamuppàda (the contents have it noted as page 80 but it's actually digital page 94 of the pdf file). Then once you're up to speed on both his premise and reason for it, you can study his thorough explanation (more like demonstration to me) in the chapter titled 'A Note On Paticcasamuppàda' (listed in contents as page 13 but is actually digital page 27 of the pdf file), in there is the answer to your question as regards the arahant.

DISCLAIMER! Nanaviras work is of the most meticulous and comprehensive I have ever read in my entire life, toss in the fact we are dealing with the most intricate subject (paticcasamuppada) of the most deep teaching on the planet, the dhamma. I myself can only take him in small digestible bite size pieces at a time with due contemplation and rest in-between :meditate: , so, take your time! Ending up like this :coffee: will only make it harder to process the info.

It's quite a trek, but may you enjoy the journey :candle:
Regards,

- :heart:
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

Jojola wrote: Ok first, I have no idea what question 2 has to do with Nanavira. :shrug:

Second, the premise behind question number 1 is fallacious, paticcasamuppada is not temporal but structural, this is something Nanavira ingeniously reveals while abundantly citing authentic pali doctrine with impeccable accuracy (in my personal opinion); which I'm sure none of that means anything to you since you are not learned yet in such- I would like you to be!

But I can't copy from his notes, paste them in a word document, trim what's unnecessary to your specific question, fix all the Pali character errors due to font limitations, copy the result, paste it into a Reply box on here, then preview and edit dozens of times till it formats right when I submit it. Alas! :console:

However you should know that I would do that for you with just about any other dhamma topic he has a say on since it wouldn't take so much labor :anjali: . But this is about the notoriously complex paticcasamuppada :roll: , the very crux of enlightenment! :buddha2:

Simply go here: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdn ... e-Path.pdf :reading: and first find his short 2 page (front and back) abstract on the topic, the chapter titled Paticcasamuppàda (the contents have it noted as page 80 but it's actually digital page 94 of the pdf file). Then once you're up to speed on both his premise and reason for it, you can study his thorough explanation (more like demonstration to me) in the chapter titled 'A Note On Paticcasamuppàda' (listed in contents as page 13 but is actually digital page 27 of the pdf file), in there is the answer to your question as regards the arahant.
But as expected, you have not responded to any of my 2 questions at all :oops: :oops: :oops:

Yes, I am very familiar with the 1-life interpretation of pattica. I was for half a year into that kind of understanding in the past. And it is precisely because it is structural not termporal that I have asked you that question.

If it is structural, if it happens in the same moment - then it means when ignorance ceases, all the other 11 links cease in the same exact moment. Remember it is structural not temporal. You can not have ignorance ceasing today and consciousness ceasing tomorrow. NO - if ignorance ceases in a moment, in that very moment all other links cease.

So this leads us to Bhikkhu Bodhi conclusion that the 5 aggregates of the arahant vanish in a single moment, in the very moment ignorance ceases in the 1-life intepretation of patticca. Because it is structural not temporal.

So is your opinion that the 5 aggregates of the arahant vanish on the moment of attaining arahanthip ? I am asking because all arahants from the suttas - Buddha, Sariputta, Kassapa, etc. - their 5 aggregates continued to exist after attaining enlightenment. How do you explain this ?

And also, if you die - will your family continue to exist afterwards ? What is your opinion on this ? Or do you have no opinion yet and are confused about the problem at the moment ?
Last edited by Twilight on Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

mikenz66 wrote:
Twilight wrote: Buddha said one who has right view will never be "confused o inwardly perplexed about existence" :anjali:
What do you think he meant by that?

As you will recall, I don't think it has anything to do with "whether rocks exist".

:anjali:
Mike
I actually don't recall well but I will search the sutta. There was a series of sutta about such inwadly perplexities and I am sure one of them was refering to existence of the world. (witch does exist but is impermanent) I will search for it,
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17917
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by mikenz66 »

Yes, but you need to explain what you mean by "exist" and what you think is meant by "existential", otherwise we're just talking at cross purposes.

It seems to me that the Buddha, modern interpreters such as Nanavira, and the ancient interpreters who developed the Abhidhamma and Commentaries were engaged in creating phenomenological models in the following sense:
The discipline of phenomenology may be defined initially as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy: ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/
I think that if one insists on interpreting various statements ontologically, and accuses the Commentary model of being about "existing things" or the modern models of "non-existence" (in the sense of externally-existing realities), one is missing the point of both. Both are about subjective experience.

:heart:
Mike
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

I am not familiar with the commentarial or abbhidhabammic interpretation of sutta pitakka. But when it comes to the modern existential interpretations, modern abbhidhabammas - I consider them highly at odds with the suttas and this is what I am trying to prove in this topic. Buddhist existentialit school have a big problem and that is the 1-life interpretation of pattica. In this interpretation, the arahant vanishes at the moment of attaining arahanthip. And we all know that is not what happened with Buddha, Kassapa etc. This an a million other problems of course. It's simply not the philosophy Buddha has taught. It is a different one claiming to be in line with what Buddha taught. We all know Buddha, Kassapa etc. did not vanish on the moment of attaining arahanthip.

The sutta pitakka has 10.000 pages. It coveres all that was needed to be covered. Buddha himself said that his teachings are well exposed, clear, complete. That is why I am strongly against adding layers after layers of abbhidhabammas, be them ancient or modern, on top of the original dhamma found in the sutta pitakka. Especially abbhidhabammas where arahants vanish on the moment of attaining arahanthip. And I also dislike ancient abbhidhammas claiming a TV is made out of thousainds of smaller TVs.

In my opinion, people are lazy in reading 10.000 pages and they look for a summary of that. And they go for 800pag abbhidhabammas who claim the suttas are incomplete and that these 800 new pages are the real thing. While skipping the important 10.000 pag containing what the historical Buddha taught.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 3196
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Coëmgenu »

Twilight wrote:But as expected, you have not responded to any of my 2 questions at all :oops: :oops: :oops:
Because your questions are irrelevant and unrelated to the subject matter you claim to be an expert on.
The thus come thus gone,
who has neither came nor went,
enthroned on men’s breath,

like the still turtle,
withdraws six appendages
and is clothed in light --

illuminating
the unilluminated
with three shining cures.
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

Coëmgenu wrote:
Twilight wrote:But as expected, you have not responded to any of my 2 questions at all :oops: :oops: :oops:
Because your questions are irrelevant and unrelated to the subject matter you claim to be an expert on.
Thank you for the explanation mr. Lawyer. But I was more curious in what the client had to say, since your client is also familiar with the 1-life interpretation.

And the question is very relevant to the 1-life interpretation. The question comes from: Bhikkhu Bodhi - "A critical examination of Nanavira 1-life theory of patticasamupadda"

This is a question not yet addressed by any of the couple of bhikkhus following the 1-life theory of pattica so I was hoping that since this is the biggest buddhist forum on the internet, somebody might have an answer
:anjali:
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17917
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by mikenz66 »

It's a little puzzling why you keep telling us ti read the suttas. I've read most if the readily available suttas and spent quite a lot of time studying them, as have many of the members here.

If you're not interested in clarifying how you interpret the terms in the suttas commonly translated as existence it's difficukt to have a conversation.

I've given you several threads here and on sutta central that discuss SN 12.15 and how these terms might be understood. Have you read those?

Mike
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

Yes and I have already expressed my position on the problem. Look at this computer in front of you. After 100 years, there will be nothing left of it. Not even the memory of it. Nothing. And it is the same for everything else in the world. All that exists right now in the world will vanish without reminder at one point. From this point of view, it would look like nothing in the world exists cause everything ceases without reminder at one point.
But from another point of view, things arise so you can not say they do not exist. The computer is right there in front of you, you can not say it does not exist. This is why :
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.
It is in this way that I understand the SN 12.15 sutta. Witch is also in line with this sutta expressing the same idea only in much more detail than that single parragraph:
At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist? Form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists.
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.94

What is your opinion on this ? Do you have a different opinion ?
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 17917
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by mikenz66 »

I don't think the external existence or not is the point, though I do tend to take a relatively straightforward aporoach to that.

It's the perception and other phenomena that are the point of Dhamma and i would not project too much ontological significance on "exists". However you might find Sylvester's analyses in the threads I mentioned to your liking.

Mike
User avatar
Twilight
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:43 pm

Re: My criticism of Nanavira and other "existentialist"

Post by Twilight »

That sutta is pretty clear. Buddha even says about people who have failed to understand that sutta:
When it is being thus explained … … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?
And what does form mean in Buddha teaching ? There is internal form and external form. "The body and external form."

About perceptions, it is important to understand that perceptions depend on elements. There is a subchapter about elements in SN witch I suggest reading. The diversity of perceptions depends on a diversity of elements:
(External Pentad) (7) Diversity of Perceptions
At Savatthı. “Bhikkhus, it is in dependence on the diversity of elements that there arises the diversity of perceptions; in dependence on the diversity of perceptions that there arises the diversity of intentions; in dependence on the diversity of intentions that there arises the diversity of desires; in dependence on the diversity of desires that there arises the diversity of passions; in dependence on the diversity of passions that there arises the diversity of quests. “And what, bhikkhus, is the diversity of elements? The form element … the mental-phenomena element. This, bhikkhus, is called the diversity of elements. [144]
“And how is it, bhikkhus, that in dependence on the diversity of elements there arises the diversity of perceptions … that in dependence on the diversity of passions there arises the diversity of quests? “In dependence on the form element there arises perception of form; in dependence on perception of form there arises intention regarding form; in dependence on intention regarding formthere arises desire for form; in dependence on desire for form there arises passion for form; in dependence on passion for form there arises the quest for form….227
There are numerous suttas like this in the "Elements" subchapter of SN, Book of causation. Note this is even called the "external pentad".
There is also the sutta about the great log. A person might observe the solidity of the great log. Or he might observe the beauty of the great log etc. There is a great log over there that is been observed and that has numerous characheristics.


These are all the suttas where Buddha said anything about existence. Just 4 suttas in all 10.000 pages of suttapitakka. This demonstrates that Buddha took existence of things for granted and did not dedicate too much suttas to the problem since there were few postmodernist around at the time. But he nevertheless took the time to dismiss them in these couple of suttas. Problem is that you need to read the whole sutta, not just half the sutta :anjali:
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link
Locked