Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

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Dhammanando
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Will,
Will wrote:There is nothing outside the skandhas, so our attachment is part of the feeling or formations ones, I would guess.
In the Abhidhamma it is included in the aggregate of formations.

The question of the relationship between the khandhas and upādāna is stated succinctly in the Cullavedalla Sutta (MN. 44), a dialogue between the arahant nun Dhammadinnā and her former husband, Visākha, a non-returner:
  • Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”
On second thought, since craving or attachment is so pervasive, all the skandhas, save form, would be soaked with attachment - in we worldlings.
Rūpa is grasped by upādāna no less than any other khandha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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stuka
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by stuka »

Peter wrote:
Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?
According to the first and second noble truths:
The skandhas are suffering.
Attachment is the cause of suffering.
According to the First and Second Noble Truths:

There is suffering.
Suffering has a cause (craving).

The First Noble Truth does not establish the khandhas as "being suffering".

To borrow a tired old Mahayana dead horse, if the khandhas themselves were suffering, then we need only "die and be done with it". :roll:

The Buddha, after his Great Awakening, nonetheless remained a collection of khandhas. Devoid of "craving through ignorance", that is. 8-)
Individual
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Individual »

Drolma wrote:Is it the skandhas that cause us suffering, or the attachment to them?

Thanks :)

[EDIT: Topic title edited to provide greater clarity of the question at hand - Retro.]
It is merely an arbitrary manner of description and doesn't really matter either way. That is, saying suffering is strictly skandhas or strictly attachment would be one-sided either way.

First of all, if you consider the Twelve Nidanas, suffering results from the cyclical process of the chains of dependent-origination. Within that cycle, it is arbitrary to pick a "center point," in fact, this seems to be exactly what it means to be attached to a self. If it is so arbitrary, then one sees that suffering is conditioned by skandhas, but these skandhas are themselves condition and are conditioned by by non-skandhas such as attachment. So, should attachment itself be called an "aggregate"? If it's a fixed aspect of dependent origination, this would seem to suggest so. If we deny that it's an aggregate, because it's not one of the Five Aggregates, yet it's still one of the Twelve Nidanas, then the term "aggregate" doesn't really carry a lot of meaning. Aren't the Nidanas which aren't skandhas also constituents of our experience too? Of course, but the non-skandha items of the Twelve Nidanas are distinguished from the existentially neutral, mental-physical processes of the Five Skandhas, whereas craving and attachment is something we add to them and suffering is something that results from this.

Secondly, to answer this question, it might be good to consider a different question. Because suffering is said to be conditioned by craving, and craving is said to be conditioned by ignorance, it might be good to then ask, "Is ignorance itself a skandha?" I've already pointed out how, in a manner of speaking, craving & attachment can be regarded as skandhas. The same seems to apply to ignorance and suffering, though this doesn't change their nature. Instead, it's only an arbitrarily different manner of description.
stuka wrote: The Buddha, after his Great Awakening, nonetheless remained a collection of khandhas. Devoid of "craving through ignorance", that is. 8-)
The Buddha extinguished his delusion of self. Many Buddhists, both Theravada and Mahayana, try to carry a burning torch the Buddha didn't light, by arguing over whether he was an impermanent lump of skandhas that decayed or an eternal, transcendental spirit which only has the illusion of birth & decay. Both views seems to miss the point of anatta. :smile:

Also, this answer seems to be very good and succinct:
Dhammanando wrote:
  • Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Element

Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Element »

Individual wrote:Also, this answer seems to be very good and succinct:
Succinct is good.
Element

Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Element »

Dhammanando wrote:
  • Visākha: “Lady, is that grasping the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping, or is the grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping?”

    Bhikkhuṇī Dhammadinnā: “Friend Visākha, that grasping is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by grasping nor is grasping something apart from the five aggregates affected by grasping. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected by grasping that is the grasping there.”
Well quoted. 8-)
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kc2dpt
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Re: Attachment

Post by kc2dpt »

retrofuturist wrote:
Peter wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It also shows that it's not the aggregates themselves that are being, or suffering... it's the process of clinging to them which results in being.
On what basis are you equating "being" with "suffering" here?
By putting together a quote like ""Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'" (as above), and recognising that without craving (i.e. with the attainment of arahantship) there is no suffering.
I do not understand your answer.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Peter,

OK... trying a different method of explanation....

Using the framework outlined in SN 23.2: Satta Sutta on the previous page, to what extent was the Buddha a "being"?

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

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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stuka
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by stuka »

Individual wrote: Many Buddhists, both Theravada and Mahayana, try to carry a burning torch the Buddha didn't light, by arguing over whether he was an impermanent lump of skandhas that decayed or an eternal, transcendental spirit which only has the illusion of birth & decay. Both views seems to miss the point of anatta. :smile:
...and neither view seems to have been espoused here.
Element

Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Element »

Individual wrote:The Buddha extinguished his delusion of self. Many Buddhists, both Theravada and Mahayana, try to carry a burning torch the Buddha didn't light, by arguing over whether he was an impermanent lump of skandhas that decayed or an eternal, transcendental spirit which only has the illusion of birth & decay. Both views seems to miss the point of anatta.
The Buddha's teaching not-self is rooted in the reality of impermanence. To miss the point of impermanence is to miss the point of anatta.

Without realising impermanence (and unsatisfactoriness), our view of Dhamma can lose groundedness and become disassociated & nihilistic.

Impermanence is like the cake and not-self is like the icing. Not-self seals the deal.

Without impermanence, dispassion will not occur and without dispassion, the Buddha's Nibbana cannot be known.

Impermanence is the gate to the Buddha. From it, virtues & empathy will arise.

We should be careful not to underestimate the importance of impermanence.

Buddha said:
There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Buddha said:
There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
[/quote]


Which sutta is this in?

Metta
Craig
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mikenz66
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by mikenz66 »

Dhammapada verse 6. Various translations...

Acharya Buddharakkhita
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Unlike those who don't realize
that we're here on the verge
of perishing,
those who do:
their quarrels are stilled.
Ven Narada
http://www.mettanet.org/english/Narada/ ... 0Vagga.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The others know not that in this quarrel we perish; those of them who realize it, have their quarrels calmed thereby. 6.

Story

A trivial incident led to an unfortunate dispute amongst the monks in the city of Kosambi. The quarrelsome monks did not listen even to the Buddha. In the end the Buddha retired to a forest and spent the rainy season there. Owing to pressure brought on them by the laity, the monks approached the Buddha and, imploring His pardon, invited Him to the city. The Buddha then admonished them.
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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Ngawang Drolma. »

There are wonderful responses here, and I want to thank Bhante and everyone else who's written. I have to admit that I'm still very confused, but I've been struggling with Abhidharma for some time now. I'll need to re-read this thread a few times. Thanks again /\

As a side note, I'm very fond of this:
Impermanence is like the cake and not-self is like the icing. Not-self seals the deal.
Element

Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Element »

Drolma wrote:As a side note, I'm very fond of this:
Impermanence is like the cake and not-self is like the icing. Not-self seals the deal.
Thank you Drolma. :heart:
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Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Ngawang Drolma. »

Kind Element understands my capacity and speaks accordingly without blame. :heart:
Element understands that small words and metaphors will illuminate the teachings.
Even if I don't always have the intellect for dharma, I have the heart for it.

/\
Element

Re: Suffering - Is it skandhas or attachment to them?

Post by Element »

Drolma wrote:Kind Element understands my capacity and speaks accordingly without blame. :heart:
Drolma has great love & respect for the Buddha-Dhamma, as I sense it. We can find life, understanding, wholesomeness & true refuge there. :heart:
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