The Eye is Impermanent.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:00 pm

vinasp wrote: There is nothing of that sort in the Four Nikaya's.

The suttas contained in the four Nikāyas aren't a comprehensive systematic presentation.

vinasp wrote: Is it an attempt to reconcile the "four stages" with Dependent Origination?

Yes.

vinasp wrote: Q1. What is meant by the "Learners Liberation"?
[ ie. what stage or stages are meant.]

Stream-entrant, once-returner, & non-returner.

vinasp wrote: So the idea that the items in the DO chain are "designations" comes from Ven.
Nanananda.

No, it's been around for at least 2000 years.

vinasp wrote:On another thread you quoted him as follows:

From Ven. Ñāṇananda's The Magic of the Mind, p. 63:

"It would indeed appear strange to us that in Buddhist psychology even contact and feeling – with which we are so intimate – are treated as ‘designations’ (paññatti)."

But is this correct?

To me, passages such as the one being commented on here (MN 18.17), are only
saying that if feeling arises based on contact then because one is aware of it
one can "point it out" or "designate" it. If, due to the absence of contact
feeling does not arise, then there is nothing that can be "pointed out".

According to this interpretation "contact" is also a mere designation. Again, the basis of designations is appearances as they appear to the six senses.

vinasp wrote: It is not saying that feeling when it arises is only a designation.
Perhaps we need to look closely at the Pali here, and enlist the help
of some of our Pali experts.

It's a question of interpretation, not a question of language. If you now prefer a realist interpretation, which requires substantially existent unique particulars, that's your choice. But the paññattimatta interpretation has the advantage of not requiring those ontological commitments while still accepting the appearances of functional things.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:59 am

Hi Nana,

Some Problems.

1. All words and concepts, by their nature, designate something. One cannot speak
or think conceptually without designating. Speech and thought are nothing but
designations.

The Buddha and Arahants continue to speak and to think, therefore they continue
to designate things. Nowhere do the teachings say that the Arahant no longer
designates.

If the items in the DO chain are "designations", then these must differ in some
way from ordinary designations. What is this difference?

2. Strictly speaking, to say that each item in the chain is a "designation", is
to say that it is an action through which "something" is designated. In the case
of the item "feeling", for example, what is that "something"?

Some Questions.

1. Is every item in the DO chain a designation?
2. Does each item depend on the preceding item?
3. Can these items be called "dhamma's"?
4. If so, are these dhamma's momentary?
5. Is the item "contact" a necessary and sufficient condition for the item
"feeling"?
6. Is the cessation of all these "designations" the same thing as awakening?

Kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby Nyana » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:03 am

vinasp wrote: If the items in the DO chain are "designations", then these must differ in some
way from ordinary designations.

Why must they differ?

vinasp wrote: 2. Strictly speaking, to say that each item in the chain is a "designation", is
to say that it is an action through which "something" is designated. In the case
of the item "feeling", for example, what is that "something"?

An appearance of pleasure, or pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. It's merely a functional thing. There's no need to philosophize.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby piotr » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:48 pm

Hi Vincent,

vinasp wrote: On the question of what "sabbe dhamma" means AN 10.58 is interesting.
This is further evidence that "sabbe dhamma" often means - all mental objects.


I think that in this case ‘dhammas’ are the five faculties/strengths rather than just any (mental) phenomena as most (or every?) of translators want to.

It's quite clear when you read AN 8.83 & AN 10.58 in conjunction with SN 48.44 were it's stated which dhammas “when developed & pursued, gain a footing in the Deathless, have the Deathless as its goal & consummation”. Moreover three out of five faculties/strengths (i.e. mindfulness, concentration & discernment) are mentioned in AN 8.83 & AN 10.58.

It's a mystery to me why in this case this simple explaination — which has firm basis in the Suttas — is overlooked and scholars prefer to follow the Commentary or their own ideas.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby vinasp » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:26 am

Hi piotr,

Thank you for that interesting response. you have prompted me to rethink my
understanding of dhamma's.

When I wrote my post on AN 10.58 I had in mind unwholesome dhamma's such as the
items in the DO chain. But if AN 10.58 meant unwholesome dhamma's I do not think
it would use the term "sabbe dhamma".

There are two "elements" (dhatu), the fabricated and the unfabricated. All dhamma's
are fabricated. The unfabricated is nibbana, also called the "deathless".

All dhamma's are fabricated. These include wholesome and unwholesome dhamma's.
I think "sabbe dhamma" must include both types.

All wholesome dhamma's "when developed and pusued" lead to the Deathless, and
disappear (merge) into it, any remaining unwholesome dhamma's also disappear.

All unwholesome dhamma's lead away from the Deathless.

Wholesome dhamma's include such things as the five faculties/powers, the seven
factors of awakening, and the factors of the noble eightfold path.

I agree that "all things" and "all phenomena" are bad translations. In AN 10.58
it is clearly mental things which are meant. But these mental things are
fabricated. Seeing, hearing, sensing and cognizing are NOT fabricated.

My term "mental objects" fits some but not all dhamma's, a better expression
would be "mental constructions". For example, we construct each limb of the
noble eightfold path.

So even wholesome dhamma's are sankhara's and are therefore impermanent,
suffering, and non-self.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Postby creekist » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:58 pm

Sure, I understand this easily.

The eye is impermanent:

It disperses without remainder, it is impossible to avoid this. The end of the eye, is unavaoidable.

What is impermanent, is suffering:

What is contrived, is unsatisfactory.

What is suffering, is not self:

What is unsatisfactory, is incidental, but not really you.
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