Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Vossaga (Element)

Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Vossaga (Element) »

Ron-The-Elder wrote:... as a Theravadan practitioner, I should not waste any more time trying to understand them.
Hello again Ron

Non-duality is an exellent starting point for developing samadhi (and the fruit vipassana). I first learned Buddhism with an emphasis on a non-dualistic mind. However, there came a time when I saw its limitations. In my experience, ultimately, non-duality is very very limited; very impractical; very narrow sighted.

With metta

:smile:
Vossaga (Element)

Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Vossaga (Element) »

tiltbillings wrote:The problem here might be taking the word "element" as meaning element.
Thank you Tiltbillings

Your input is valuable. So can you please share what the word "dhatu" means to you? What are you inferring above?

Thank you

:smile:
pegembara
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by pegembara »

IMO it is greed, hatred and delusion that creates a problem with duality.

For example birth and death. Birth is a condition for death but the default view is to accept birth and reject death. Same with health and sickness, wealth/ poverty, praise/blame.

Duality is not the problem but our craving is.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
Sylvester
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Sylvester »

tiltbillings wrote:There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. -- J. Ireland

There is, monks, an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated. --
Thanissaro

Monks, there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-compounded. -- F.L. Woodward

In Pali the line reads:

"Atthi [There is] ajaata.m [unborn], abhuuta.m [unproduced], akata.m, [unmade], asankhata.m [unconditioned]."

What these translations fail to get across is that the four “un/not” words are in Pali adjectives. The noun is unstated. There is what? There is what that is ajaata.m, etc?

As mysterious as Udana 80 sounds, context gives a look at what the text is about. The immediate context, the sutta opens:

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. On that occasion the Lord was instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma. Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance: There is, bhikkhus, a not-born….

What we see is that the subject is nibbana. There is what? Nibbana. The four adjective modify, describe nibbana. So in the forms we have them above or in variations they are used to describe or characterize nibbana or are synonyms of nibbana.

Now, we can try to take the un-words as nouns, translating them as tappurisa compounds, which is the most common way, giving us “the unconditioned,” or we can take them as being bahubbihi compounds, which more accurately reflects what is going in the text in question.

A far better translation:
This said by the Blessed One, the Worthy One, was heard by me in this
way: "Monks, there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from
making, freedom from conditioning.

For, monks if there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming,
freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is
birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here.

But, monks, because there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom
from making, freedom from conditioning, therefore the escape from that which is
birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known.”


[Here is the Buddha’s own verse commentary on his statement.]

This meaning the Blessed One spoke, it is spoken here in this way:

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning [of greed, hatred and delusion] appeased,
This is ease [bliss].
-- Iti 37-8

Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!

But, do have some sympathy for those of us still in the grip of papanca like the monks in MN 1 -
He perceives Nibbana as Nibbana. Having perceived Nibbana as Nibbana, he conceives [himself as] Nibbana, he conceives [himself] in Nibbana, he conceives [himself apart] from Nibbana, he conceives Nibbana to be 'mine', he delights in Nibbana. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

per BB's MLDB
Even the sekkhas (trainees not yet Arahants) seem to have some tiny residues of mis-conceiving Nibbana, judging from the passage that follows the above.

Perhaps there is some utility to this temporary misconception of Nibbana as a "state" that "is". In the Salayatanavibhanga Sutta, MN 137, "renunciation grief" is said to arise as a longing for Nibbana as such -
When shall I enter upon and abide in that base that the noble ones now enter upon and abide in?
This longing for Nibbana as a base/ayatana does have its use in overcoming "household grief", and as MN 44 points out, this is a kind of grief that is not productive of patighanusaya.

Still, what you point out above should certainly be borne in mind and developed. Between the episode recorded in MN 1 and AN 3.123, it looks like the monks had a lot of de-misconceiving to go through before they were finally enlightened.

:anjali:
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ground
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by ground »

pegembara wrote:IMO it is greed, hatred and delusion that creates a problem with duality.

For example birth and death. Birth is a condition for death but the default view is to accept birth and reject death. Same with health and sickness, wealth/ poverty, praise/blame.

Duality is not the problem but our craving is.
It is perception of duality as such that is the craving.

Kind regards
Vossaga (Element)

Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Vossaga (Element) »

Sylvester wrote:
He perceives Nibbana as Nibbana. Having perceived Nibbana as Nibbana, he conceives [himself as] Nibbana, he conceives [himself] in Nibbana, he conceives [himself apart] from Nibbana, he conceives Nibbana to be 'mine', he delights in Nibbana. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

per BB's MLDB
Even the sekkhas (trainees not yet Arahants) seem to have some tiny residues of mis-conceiving Nibbana, judging from the passage that follows the above.
Hello Sylvester

In MN 1, the excerpt you quoted is applicable to the putthujana (uninstructed person) rather than to the sekkha.

With metta

:smile:
A monk who is a trainee — yearning for the unexcelled relief from bondage, his aspirations as yet unfulfilled — directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, let him not conceive things about Unbinding, let him not conceive things in Unbinding, let him not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, let him not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' let him not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? So that he may comprehend it, I tell you.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Ron-The-Elder »

Excellent summary of Impermanence this morning from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana: From Impermanence to Liberation. Buddhist Publication Society http://www.bps.lk/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Newsletter #63: 2010-1. c/o Bhikkhu Samahita: "Drop of Dhamma Delight":

http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/V/The ... Anicca.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, while reviewing the entire series regarding impermanence, ran across this, which equates Mara with impermanence, which affirms my suspicion that Mara is a metaphor and not an actual being:

http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/II/What_is_Mara.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Of course, this realization may be impermanent. :jumping:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
rowyourboat
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by rowyourboat »

We cannot simply take Dualism to be bad- the basic foundations of buddhist thinking in deciding whether something is dhamma or not is whether a it is of any use to self or others (or whether it gives rise to lobha,dosa, moha or not). Even dualism may be wholesome in some instances and not so wholesome in others:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by Ron-The-Elder »

rowyourboat wrote:We cannot simply take Dualism to be bad- the basic foundations of buddhist thinking in deciding whether something is dhamma or not is whether a it is of any use to self or others (or whether it gives rise to lobha,dosa, moha or not). Even dualism may be wholesome in some instances and not so wholesome in others:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta

Matheesha
Thanks for this. I have never read this sutta. My assumption that Buddha didn't discuss dualities in The Pali Canon was apparently wrong. Or, is this sutta an addition to The Tipitaka after the arising of The Mahayana? Anyone know?
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
pegembara
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by pegembara »

TMingyur wrote:
pegembara wrote:IMO it is greed, hatred and delusion that creates a problem with duality.

For example birth and death. Birth is a condition for death but the default view is to accept birth and reject death. Same with health and sickness, wealth/ poverty, praise/blame.

Duality is not the problem but our craving is.
It is perception of duality as such that is the craving.

Kind regards

Perhaps it's just semantics. One can perceive birth/death, sickness/health but not get attached to one and reject the other. One does not deny both birth/death and assert that birth/death does not inherently exist or that there is no suffering at all.

Regards
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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ground
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by ground »

pegembara wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
pegembara wrote:IMO it is greed, hatred and delusion that creates a problem with duality.

For example birth and death. Birth is a condition for death but the default view is to accept birth and reject death. Same with health and sickness, wealth/ poverty, praise/blame.

Duality is not the problem but our craving is.
It is perception of duality as such that is the craving.

Kind regards

Perhaps it's just semantics. One can perceive birth/death, sickness/health but not get attached to one and reject the other. One does not deny both birth/death and assert that birth/death does not inherently exist or that there is no suffering at all.

Regards
Actually what I was referring to is perception that arises from contact. So in saying "It is perception of duality as such that is the craving." I was actually replacing the cause (contact) and some of its effects (feeling and fabrication) by one specific effect (perception).

Kind regards
pegembara
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by pegembara »

Yes, perception that arise from contact at the 6 senses are free from any concept or dualities. That happens during meditation.

But watching events occurring in life with wisdom, one is not taken in by the "show". One realises that whatever comes into being will one day pass away. There is just a tinge of sadness and an acceptance that that is the way things are. Just this realisation is enough to loosen the grip of craving.

Regards
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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beeblebrox
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by beeblebrox »

pegembara wrote:Yes, perception that arise from contact at the 6 senses are free from any concept or dualities. That happens during meditation.
I don't understand... that is part of the paticca-samuppāda, which points out the things that lead to dukkha and how they relate to each other.

Perception (saññā) is part of the fourth link, nāma-rūpa, falling under the "name." I would say that the concepts and dualities fall under the saṅkhāra, the second link. The third link, consciousness (i.e., mind-consciousness), gets in touch with these concepts via sense bases (fifth link) from contact, (sixth link), giving rise to perception (fourth link).

So, I don't think that there can be perception that doesn't have saṅkhāra as its basis... I could be wrong, though.

:anjali:
pegembara
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by pegembara »

Sorry, I am using perception rather loosely and not basing it on 12 links.

What I meant was the arising of bare awareness of sights, sounds, taste, smell and touch before one even recognize what they mean.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
daverupa
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Re: Dualism: Does Theravada address it? If so, how?

Post by daverupa »

pegembara wrote:Sorry, I am using perception rather loosely and not basing it on 12 links.

What I meant was the arising of bare awareness of sights, sounds, taste, smell and touch before one even recognize what they mean.
So, mapping your question onto paticcasamuppada, are you asking about contact without feeling?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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