Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
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Dhammanando
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by Dhammanando »

pulga wrote: Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:18 pm What are we to make of the passage from the Culasakuludayi Sutta?

[...]

Isn't the Buddha suggesting the setting aside of talk of such temporal things as past and future births?
Personally I consider Bhikkhu Bodhi's contextual reading of that passage to be the most plausible one. The use that Ñāṇavīra makes of it, by contrast, strikes me as a fine illustration of that biblical exegete's warning: "A text without a context is a pretext."
BB's A Critical Examination of Ñāṇavira'a Note on Paṭiccasamuppāda wrote: Ven. Ñāṇavīra implicitly attempts to marshal support for his non-temporal interpretation of PS by quoting as the epigraph to his Note on Paṭiccasamuppāda the following excerpt from the Cūḷasakuludāyi Sutta:

“But, Udāyi, let be the past, let be the future, I shall set you forth the Teaching: 'When there is this, that is; with arising of this, that arises; when there is not this, that is not; with cessation of this, that ceases.'"

Here, apparently, the Buddha proposes the abstract principle of conditionality as an alternative to teachings about temporal matters relating to the past and future. Since in other suttas the statement of the abstract principle is immediately followed by the entire twelve-term formula, the conclusion seems to follow that any application of temporal distinctions to PS, particularly the attempt to see it as extending to the past and future, would be a violation of the Buddha's intention.

This conclusion, however, would be premature, and if we turn to the sutta from which the quotation has been extracted we would see that the conclusion is actually unwarranted. In the sutta the non-Buddhist wanderer Sakuludāyi tells the Buddha that recently one famous teacher had been claiming omniscience, but when he approached this teacher – who turns out to have been the Jain leader Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta – and asked him a question about the past, the teacher had tried to evade the question, to turn the discussion aside, and became angry and resentful. He expresses the trust that the Buddha is skilled in such matters.

The Buddha then says: "One who can recollect his previous births back for many aeons might engage with me in a fruitful discussion about matters pertaining to the past, while one who has the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings might engage with me in a fruitful discussion about matters pertaining to the future." Then, since Udāyi has neither such knowledge, at this point the Buddha states: "But, Udāyi, let be the past, let be the future," and he cites the abstract principle of conditionality.

Thus the purport of the Buddha's statement, read as a whole, is that without such super-knowledges of the past and the future, there is no point discussing specific empirical factual matters concerning the past and the future. The Buddha's dismissal of these issues by no means implies that the twelvefold formula of PS should not be understood as defining the conditional structure of saṃsāra throughout successive lives. It must also be remembered that this discussion takes place with a non-Buddhist ascetic who has not yet gained confidence in the Buddha. It would thus not have been appropriate for the Buddha to reveal to him profound matters that could be penetrated only by one of mature wisdom.
Svākkhātaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, sandiṭṭhikam’akālikaṃ,
Yattha amoghā pabbajjā, appamattassa sikkhato.


“The holy life is well proclaimed,
directly visible, immediate,
Where not in vain is the going forth
of one who trains heedfully.”
— Sela Sutta
Spiny Norman
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by Spiny Norman »

mikenz66 wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:48 am An example of causation would be a match lighting a lamp. Without the match the lamp would not light.

"Due to the match the lamp is alight."

Correlation would be if that after the lamp was lighted there would be both smoke and heat.

"When there is smoke there is also heat."

Mike
"While there is a flame, there will be heat" captures the meaning of the second mode of dependence better. Here the heat depends on the flame.
It's all dependence and conditionality, not merely correlation.

IMO it's nonsensical to say that this kind of dependence is "non-temporal", since it clearly occurs over time. Its also nonsensical to use the over-literal "this-this" translation here.
Anyone heard of "The Emperor's new clothes"? :tongue:
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Spiny Norman
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by Spiny Norman »

Srilankaputra wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:28 am
mikenz66 wrote: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:51 pm
Srilankaputra wrote: Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:52 pm Can you elaborate on what you mean by causality?
Consider:
‘When this exists, that is; due to the arising of this, that arises.
‘iti imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati;
"when this exists, that is", doesn't necessarily mean that the second is caused by the first. It may be just a correlation.

"due to the arising of this, that arises" means that the second is caused by the first.

:heart:
Mike
Thanks, but I don't feel very comfortable with the idea of causation. If we take for example a burning oil lamp. Putting aside which came first or after, would the relation that exist between the oil and the flame be classed as a causal relationship?
Think about dependency rather than than causation.

In the first mode, one thing arises on dependence upon another. When this arises, that arises.
In the second mode, one thing persists in dependence upon another. While this is present, then so is that.
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pulga
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by pulga »

Dhammanando wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:39 am
Personally I consider Bhikkhu Bodhi's contextual reading of that passage to be the most plausible one. The use that Ñāṇavīra makes of it, by contrast, strikes me as a fine illustration of that biblical exegete's warning: "A text without a context is a pretext."
Though I question the context that Ven. Bodhi is putting forth.
BB's A Critical Examination of Ñāṇavira'a Note on Paṭiccasamuppāda wrote:
Thus the purport of the Buddha's statement, read as a whole, is that without such super-knowledges of the past and the future, there is no point discussing specific empirical factual matters concerning the past and the future. The Buddha's dismissal of these issues by no means implies that the twelvefold formula of PS should not be understood as defining the conditional structure of saṃsāra throughout successive lives. It must also be remembered that this discussion takes place with a non-Buddhist ascetic who has not yet gained confidence in the Buddha. It would thus not have been appropriate for the Buddha to reveal to him profound matters that could be penetrated only by one of mature wisdom.
`Rather let the past be, Udayin, and let the future be. I shall teach you the Dhamma: When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.' – MN ii, 32
Despite his lack of super-knowledge isn’t the Buddha telling Udayin that he is going to teach him the Dhamma? Or are we to take Imasmim sati idam hoti ... not to be a particularly “profound matter”? The impression I get is that such knowledge is unnecessary for gaining insight. The case of Udayin is very similar to that of Ven. Sariputta (Thag. 996,997), even down to his inability of seeing midden-goblins (Udāna IV,4). The difference being that Ven. Sariputta possessed right view and was proficient in jhāna which very much is focused on the here and now.
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SDC
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by SDC »

Dinsdale wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:10 pm IMO it's nonsensical to say that this kind of dependence is "non-temporal", since it clearly occurs over time.
Seems like it was already discussed in this thread that the temporal aspect is not necessarily implied in the Pali.
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SDC
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by SDC »

The tangent about interpretation has been moved here.
Srilankaputra
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Re: Idaṃ this and Idaṃ that

Post by Srilankaputra »

Dinsdale wrote: Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:10 pm
IMO it's nonsensical to say that this kind of dependence is "non-temporal", since it clearly occurs over time. Its also nonsensical to use the over-literal "this-this" translation here.
Anyone heard of "The Emperor's new clothes"? :tongue:
It's actually not the elements of dependant origination that is non-temporal(Akālika) but the Niyāma(principle, law or whatever the suitable translation) of dependant origination.
Uppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā
Whether Realized Ones arise or not, this law of nature persists, this regularity of natural principles, this invariance of natural principles, specific conditionality
~Ven sujato

whether there is an arising of Tathagatas or no arising of Tathagatas, that element still persists, the stableness of the Dhamma, the fixed course of the Dhamma, specific conditionality.
~Bhikkhu Bodhi
One who sees dependent origination sees the teaching.
“yo paṭiccasamuppādaṃ passati so dhammaṃ passati;

One who sees the teaching sees dependent origination.”
yo dhammaṃ passati so paṭiccasamuppādaṃ passatī”ti.

And these five grasping aggregates are indeed dependently originated.
Paṭiccasamuppannā kho panime yadidaṃ pañcupādānakkhandhā.
Grasping-aggregates are definitely temporal phenemona.

And what are the five grasping aggregates?

Any kind of form at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near, which is accompanied by defilements and is prone to being grasped: this is called the aggregate of form connected with grasping.

Any kind of feeling at all …

Any kind of perception at all …

Any kind of choices at all …

Any kind of consciousness at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near, which is accompanied by defilements and is prone to being grasped: this is called the aggregate of consciousness connected with grasping.

These are called the five grasping aggregates.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.48/en/sujato

Tañhi, bhikkhu, musā yaṃ mosadhammaṃ, taṃ saccaṃ yaṃ amosadhammaṃ nibbānaṃ.

Tasmā evaṃ samannāgato bhikkhu iminā 
paramena saccādhiṭṭhānena samannāgato hoti.

Etañhi, bhikkhu, paramaṃ ariyasaccaṃ yadidaṃ

amosadhammaṃ nibbānaṃ
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