What is panna? Is it permanent?

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Vinc
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What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Vinc »

Hello,

because panna (wisdom) is the understanding of anicca, dukkha and anatta, it leads to the cessation of ignorance, greed and aversion and therefore to Nirvana. Now Nirvana or the state of being enlightened is permanent, so panna must be too, mustn't it? The cessation of ignorance alone is not enough, because it could rise again, couldn't it? I mean it already happened one time...

So to hinder ignorance from rising again, panna must be permanent. This is how I always understood it. I always thought of it as an aspect of Nirvana, and therefore not a part of the impermanent (?) skandhas.

Now I read a text (https://www.dhammahome.com/article_en/topic/265) which says that panna is a sankhara. Aren't sankharas as the 4th skandha impermanent and cease to exist when entering Paranirvana?

So what is panna?

Thank you.
SarathW
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by SarathW »

Panna (Noble Eightfold Path) also a fabrication (Sankhara)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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DooDoot
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by DooDoot »

Vinc wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:06 pm Nirvana or the state of being enlightened
Nirvana is not enlightenment. Nirvana is a fruit of enlightenment.

Its like studying to become a doctor. The study or gaining of medical knowledge is enlightenment. The making of money by practising being a doctor is a result of enlightenment.

Study is study. Study is not making money. Similarly, enlightenment is enlightenment. Enlightenment is not Nirvana.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Mr. Seek
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Mr. Seek »

Hey. I pondered this same question maybe an hour before you made your topic. To be brutally honest, I don't think you'll find a satisfying answer, especially not if you're looking for an answer that fits within the box of a certain school or lineage.

From what I understand in the suttas, wisdom (whether mundane or supramundane) is nothing more than a sankhara, i.e. fabrication, construction, formation, thought, choice, volition, etc. You can't have wisdom existing in your world without there being feeling, perception, fabrication, consciousness, objectification, etc., things which 'lead to nothing more than stress', which 'shouldn't be sought after'. Many passages can be quoted to back this up, but I'll only bring up a random one, from Snp 3.6:
“Having attained what is one said to be an attainer-of-knowledge? In what way is one well-tested, and how is one persistent? Why is one named a thoroughbred? Answer, Blessed One, when I’ve asked you.”

The Buddha: “Having examined all knowledges—those of brahmans, those of contemplatives—devoid of passion for all feelings, gone beyond knowledge: He’s an attainer-of-knowledge. Having tested (discerned) objectification and name-and-form, within and without, [as] the root of disease (ill), released from being bound to the root [bond] of all disease, he’s truly called well-tested—Such. Abstaining from all evils, gone beyond the suffering of hell, he’s one with persistence. He, with persistence, exertion, is rightly called a hero—Such. One truly whose bonds are cut within and without, freed from all the root bonds of snares, truly he’s called a thoroughbred—Such.”
Pretty sure you'll find people who disagree though, and pretty sure they'll be able to provide sutta references to back up their claims. Even I can provide you with sutta references to disagree with myself... That's just how it is. Ponder with discernment.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SteRo
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by SteRo »

Vinc wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:06 pm Now Nirvana or the state of being enlightened is permanent, so panna must be too, mustn't it?
How can a state of being enlightened be permanent when ignorance and delusion precede?
Vinc wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:06 pm So to hinder ignorance from rising again, panna must be permanent.
No. First mundane understanding must be developed and then this has to be transformed into supramundane understanding which then is a cause for abandonment of ignorance. So ignorance is not hindered/suppressed but eliminated.
Vinc wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:06 pm So what is panna?
Vism wrote:(i) WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING? Understanding (paññā)
is of many sorts and has various aspects. An answer
that attempted to explain it all would accomplish
neither its intention nor its purpose, and would,
besides, lead to distraction; so we shall confine
ourselves to the kind intended here, which is
understanding consisting in insight knowledge
associated with profitable consciousness.
3. (ii) IN WHAT SENSE IS IT UNDERSTANDING? It is
understanding (paññā) in the sense of act of
understanding (pajānana).[1] What is this act of
understanding? It is knowing (jānana) in a particular
mode separate from the modes of perceiving
(sañjānana) and cognizing (vijānana). [437] For though
the state of knowing (jānana-bhāva) is equally present
in perception (saññā), in consciousness (viññāṇa), and
in understanding (paññā), nevertheless perception is
only the mere perceiving of an object as, say, blue or
yellow; it cannot bring about the penetration of its
characteristics as impermanent, painful, and not-self.
Consciousness knows the objects as blue or yellow,
and it brings about the penetration of its
characteristics, but it cannot bring about, by
endeavouring, the manifestation of the
[supramundane] path. Understanding knows the
object in the way already stated, it brings about the
penetration of the characteristics, and it brings about,
by endeavouring, the manifestation of the path.
...
That is why this act of understanding should be
understood as “knowing in a particular mode separate
from the modes of perceiving and cognizing.” For that
is what the words “it is understanding in the sense of
act of understanding” refer to.
6. However, it is not always to be found where
perception and consciousness are.[2] [438] But when it
is, it is not disconnected from those states. And
because it cannot be taken as disconnected thus: “This
is perception, this is consciousness, this is
understanding,” its difference is consequently subtle
and hard to see.
...
7. (iii) WHAT ARE ITS CHARACTERISTIC, FUNCTION,
MANIFESTATION AND PROXIMATE CAUSE? Understanding
has the characteristic of penetrating the individual
essences of states.[3] Its function is to abolish the
darkness of delusion, which conceals the individual
essences of states. It is manifested as non-delusion.
Because of the words, “One who is concentrated
knows and sees correctly” (A V 3), its proximate cause
is concentration.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
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Bundokji
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Bundokji »

When i approach this topic, i try not to turn permanence into an absolute. Permanence is more inline with persistence that absolutism (which is a form of essentialism, something the Buddha denied in his teaching on anatta)

If ignorance was an absolute (having an essence), then enlightenment would be impossible. Therefore, ignorance is permanent (persisting) as long as the true dhamma is not known.

If wisdom was an absolute (having an essence), then attaining it would be impossible. Therefore, wisdom is permanent (persisting) as long as ignorance has ceased.

The doubt that wisdom is unreliable because it is conditioned is wrong by definition because it is one of the three fetters to let go of when entering the stream. Therefore, it is wrong by definition.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
whynotme
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by whynotme »

Panna is the ability of conscious to know the properties of contacted objects. Unlike learned knowledges, panna is instant and always true, because it is the conscious itself.

To understand this concept, lets take an example of conscious experience a visual image. When conscious contacts visual objects, it must know the colors of objects like red, blue, green... Because of this, whenever conscious contacts something, it always knows the different properties of contacted objects. In visual case, conscious directly and instantly knows the redish, blueish... property of image. This knowing is called wisdom, aka panna.

Panna knows redish in red, blueish in blue, and knows the properties of sound, smell... as they truly are. It also knows other properties like pain, sadness are suffering by directly contacts the these states. It also know the existing or non existing of states, e.g when anger does not exist, panna knows anger does not exist... In this sense, it is similar to awareness, but the concept awareness focuses on the idea of knowing the on, off of states, while panna focus on the knowledge alike of the experience.

Because panna is conscious itself, its always true, bc even for a drunk man, when he sees distorted vision, then conscious sees this distorted vision and panna knows the properties of this distorted vision as it truly is.

This wisdom is often called teacherless wisdom, bc its independent from outside sources. While the concepts like red, blue, anger... are learned from others, the direct knowing of their properties is only available on direct contact. That's why this panna is called self teaching wisdom, bc by listening to it, a person knows the true properties of existence.

The opposite of panna is sanna. While panna is always true, for ordinary people, sanna often projects false experience. To understand this, lets look at another example. Let say an angry Buddhist, because he trained in discipline, he thinks he isnt angry. This false perception is sanna and it can happen to many of us. But even he thought he isnt angry, his conscious already records the angry state as it truly is. If this person listen to his conscious then he will know that he's already angry.

That's the different between panna and sanna. Panna, the ability to realize the truth is always there with vinnana, but for ordinary people, sanna blocks their panna.
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Vinc
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Vinc »

SteRo wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:24 am How can a state of being enlightened be permanent when ignorance and delusion precede?
If it's not permanent, why should I pursue it then? I thought, attaining enlightenment is a means to end suffering. If enlightenment is not permanent, suffering is not ended forever -> it can arise again. Why should I pursue to end suffering then, if that is not possible (only temporary, but not forever, so it's just a "pause" from Samsara)?
Vinc
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Vinc »

Bundokji wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:28 am If ignorance was an absolute (having an essence), then enlightenment would be impossible. Therefore, ignorance is permanent (persisting) as long as the true dhamma is not known.
"As long as the true dhamma is not known". For me, knowing the true dhamma = panna. So, if panna ceases when entering Paranirvana, what hinders ignorance and therefore suffering from arising again?
Vinc
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Vinc »

whynotme wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:09 am That's the different between panna and sanna. Panna, the ability to realize the truth is always there with vinnana, but for ordinary people, sanna blocks their panna.
Vinnana, as the fifth skandha, ceases to exist when entering Paranirvana. So the ability to realize the truth is lost. The realization of truth, the knowledge of truth, panna, is also lost. So what hinders ignorance and suffering from rising again then?
coconut
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by coconut »

Vinc wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:06 pm Hello,

because panna (wisdom) is the understanding of anicca, dukkha and anatta, it leads to the cessation of ignorance, greed and aversion and therefore to Nirvana. Now Nirvana or the state of being enlightened is permanent, so panna must be too, mustn't it? The cessation of ignorance alone is not enough, because it could rise again, couldn't it? I mean it already happened one time...

So to hinder ignorance from rising again, panna must be permanent. This is how I always understood it. I always thought of it as an aspect of Nirvana, and therefore not a part of the impermanent (?) skandhas.

Now I read a text (https://www.dhammahome.com/article_en/topic/265) which says that panna is a sankhara. Aren't sankharas as the 4th skandha impermanent and cease to exist when entering Paranirvana?

So what is panna?

Thank you.
I think you're speculating too much and making too many assumptions.

Panna is just a discerning faculty, a tool. When it's done its job it can be discarded like everything else. When there is no more ignorance, then nothing is needed anymore.
Paññā: wisdom or penetrative discernment

Paññā is etymologically and functionally related to pajānāti. Where it linked to conduct of body and speech we call it wisdom. Where it is linked to conduct of mind we call it penetrative discernment.
- Ven Varado's pali glossary


In whatever direction the one of extensive wisdom goes, to that place that I am also inclined to go.

Yaṃ yaṃ disaṃ vajati bhūripañño sa tena teneva nato’hamasmi.
Ignorant people end up in ignorant places, Wise people end up in wise places. Once they have arrived there, then the function of their ignorance/wisdom has come to an end.

There is nothing to hold onto..
Inedible
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Inedible »

You'll have to pardon my Sanskrit...

There are two categories of knowing things, jnana and prajna. Jnana is knowledge and prajna is wisdom. Knowledge is more about how things are different while wisdom is how things are the same. Jnana is running around collecting facts and wisdom is for sudden new connections showing how things relate. It takes prajna to make deep lasting impressions that change the way you think, feel, believe, and behave. But neither of them has to feel supernatural. You don't have to wait forever or do something unnatural for it to finally count as prajna.
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Bundokji
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Bundokji »

Vinc wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:16 am "As long as the true dhamma is not known". For me, knowing the true dhamma = panna. So, if panna ceases when entering Paranirvana, what hinders ignorance and therefore suffering from arising again?
Panna does not cease because its not subject to birth and death (unlike ignorance). In the suttas, the reverse mode of dependent origination usually uses the term "remainderless fading & cessation of this very ignorance" which eliminates the possibility of ignorance ever arising again.

When i contemplate the above, i do it in parallel with the paradox of ignorance itself. The ignorance element in the DO model is presented as the beginning of the chain, but we are also taught that ignorance has no known beginning. This serves to shed light on how worldly knowledge (conventional reality) functions. Our protocols of control necessitates assuming a beginning, such as in the event of human birth, of which birth is assumed or declared when the baby leaves the mother's body. Such assumption, because its lacking ultimate truth, presents us with moral problems, such as whether abortion is an act of killing or not, and if it is, at which point in time we should consider it as such (which requires another convention). Under this state of affairs, the wise knows worldly knowledge for what it is (conventions) and he is more skillful in using it for the purposes of teaching the dhamma than the average human. He uses worldly knowledge without causing suffering to himself or others.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
circuit
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by circuit »

Vinc wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:14 am
SteRo wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:24 am How can a state of being enlightened be permanent when ignorance and delusion precede?
If it's not permanent, why should I pursue it then? I thought, attaining enlightenment is a means to end suffering. If enlightenment is not permanent, suffering is not ended forever -> it can arise again. Why should I pursue to end suffering then, if that is not possible (only temporary, but not forever, so it's just a "pause" from Samsara)?
higher training of wisdom is for seeing truth

illusion of "permanent" is biggest delusion one can have
Vinc
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Re: What is panna? Is it permanent?

Post by Vinc »

Is ignorace a "thing" or the absence of knowledge? The cause of Samsara is ignorance. But what's the cause of ignorance? If the eradication of ignorance prevents ignorance from rising again, where does it then come from in the first place? What is the cause of ignorance? The only way of ignorance having no cause would be that it always existed, that would mean that Samsara has no beginning and exists since eternity. But then, in that infinite time all beings should have already attained enlightenment. That isn't the case, so maybe "new" ignorance does arise again all the time to create "new" samsara", "new" beings? In this case pursuing enlightenment doesn't make sense (if there is no individual mind or self).
The only possibile explanation for me would be that ignorance is not a "thing" but only the absence of knowledge. Before Enlightenment Nirvana = ignorant (what causes Samsara) and after enlightenment Nirvana = knowing? But then again, Nirvana is said to never change.
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