What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

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What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby manas » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:19 am

On account of the eye and visible forms, cakkhu·viññāṇa arises. The meeting of the three is phassa. Phassa·paccayā vedanā. Seeing thus, bhikkhus, a sutavā ariyasāvaka is disgusted by the eye, he is disgusted by visible forms, he is disgusted by the eye-viññāṇa, he is disgusted by eye-phassa, he is disgusted by vedanā. Being disgusted, he gets detached. Being detached, he gets liberated. Being liberated, he understands: 'upādāna has been completely understood by me'.

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... 5-060.html


This makes sense to me. But despite this, I am not wearied by, disenchanted with or, as it has been translated here, "disgusted" by either visible forms, eye consciousness, eye contact, or vedana. Is this because one must first have become a noble disciple, ie sutavā ariyasāvaka? Is this teaching therefore aimed more at the stream-enterer, rather than one at a lower level? Or: is the crucial thing here the strength or quality of my "seeing" (passati: to see)? In other words, I think I know, but actually I have not seen...?

Is the 'seeing' the Buddha refers to here a type of seeing that goes beyond mere intellectual agreement? (I think the answer is 'yes' but I would like some feedback on the nature of this kind of "seeing" so I am asking an obvious sounding question, not to sound stupid, but in the interests of gaining understanding).

Kind regards,
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby chownah » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:09 am

I think that to get to the disgust one probably needs to be Noble but I think the teaching is meant for yet-to-be Nobles as I think it is pointing the way for them...encouraging them to develop right view towards the six sense media for example.
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:44 am

manas wrote:This makes sense to me. But despite this, I am not wearied by, disenchanted with or, as it has been translated here, "disgusted" by either visible forms, eye consciousness, eye contact, or vedana. Is this because one must first have become a noble disciple, ie sutavā ariyasāvaka? Is this teaching therefore aimed more at the stream-enterer, rather than one at a lower level? Or: is the crucial thing here the strength or quality of my "seeing" (passati: to see)? In other words, I think I know, but actually I have not seen...?

No, I don't think this teaching is only for a Stream-enterer.

It's talking about the knowledge of disgust, which though quite an advanced stage of insight, is still a long way from the path and fruition.

Definition of the Knowledge of Disgust

I think the problem is because one still sees self in what is seen: on seeing an object with the eye, one does not stop there, but the mental process immediately follows identifying the seen object, and recognising it as a thing or a person, or as belonging to a self.
Because ordinary people believe the mind and matter represented by seeing, hearing, etc., to be a self, a living entity, they take delight in them and feel happy about them. However, the meditator sees in them only incessant arising and vanishing, and therefore realises that they are not a self, but are mere phenomena. As explained in this Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta, because they tend to afflict, they are seen to be not-self, and being not subject to one’s control, they are not-self. Thus the meditator no longer takes delight or finds pleasure in these mental and physical phenomena. There arises the wish to discard them, to get free from them. He or she continues the work of meditation to achieve that freedom. In time, while continuing to strive, the knowledge of equanimity about formations arises and nibbāna is realised by means of the knowledge of the Noble Path.
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby santa100 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:17 am

As Bhante mentioned, the way one sees what is seen is very important. Notice SN 35.60 is located in Salayatana Vagga, the Book of the Six Sense Bases. The suttas before it (SN 53-59) all instructed one to look at the sense faculties and their corresponded objects as impermanent, suffering, and non-self. SN 35.60 follows the same pattern except it also includes contact (as the meeting of faculties/objects/consciousness) and feeling. By continuously "seeing thus" (seeing things as impermanent, suffering, and non-self) eventually one will experience revulsion, becomes dispassionate, etc..
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:32 am

I am with the camp that interprets this, especially anything with nibbidā in it, as pertaining to the trainee, ie someone already a Stream Winner.

Seeing thus = Evaṃ passaṃ. I take the evaṃ to be a reference to what was mentioned earlier, ie that contact is the necessary condition of feeling.

One could have an intellectual understanding of DO, but passati being one of those verbs related to insight, would suggest that this is something realised directly.

I am not sure if nibbindati (nis+vindati = becomes weary/disenchanted) needs to import something as powerful as disgust. If one looks at the Vedic roots of the word vindati, it speaks of a search for something, leading to what is found (veda). So perhaps, nis+vindati points to the loss of interest in those things we go out in search of.
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby pegembara » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:38 am

"Seeing thus" in Ajahn Chah's words-

You say, ''Don't break my glass!'' Can you prevent something that's breakable from breaking? If it doesn't break now it will break later on. If you don't break it, someone else will. If someone else doesn't break it, one of the chickens will! The Buddha says to accept this. He penetrated the truth of these things, seeing that this glass is already broken. Whenever you use this glass you should reflect that it's already broken. Do you understand this? The Buddha's understanding was like this. He saw the broken glass within the unbroken one. Whenever its time is up it will break. Develop this kind of understanding. Use the glass, look after it, until when, one day, it slips out of your hand... ''Smash!''... no problem. Why is there no problem? Because you saw its brokenness before it broke!
But usually people say, ''I love this glass so much, may it never break.'' Later on the dog breaks it... ''I'll kill that damn dog!'' You hate the dog for breaking your glass. If one of your children breaks it you'll hate them too. Why is this? Because you've dammed yourself up, the water can't flow. You've made a dam without a spillway. The only thing the dam can do is burst, right? When you make a dam you must make a spillway also. When the water rises up too high, the water can flow off safely. When it's full to the brim you open your spillway. You have to have a safety valve like this. Impermanence is the safety valve of the Noble Ones. If you have this ''safety valve'' you will be at peace.

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Still_Flowing_Water1.php
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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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby manas » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:53 am

chownah wrote:I think that to get to the disgust one probably needs to be Noble but I think the teaching is meant for yet-to-be Nobles as I think it is pointing the way for them...encouraging them to develop right view towards the six sense media for example.
chownah


Yes, I recall it is said in the Great Forty Sutta that part of one's right effort, is to abandon wrong view, and enter into right view, my impression being that this has to actually be cultivated, ie to try to straighten out one's view. So I can see what you mean by 'pointing the way for them'.

thanks for the reply
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby binocular » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:03 am

manas wrote:
On account of the eye and visible forms, cakkhu·viññāṇa arises. The meeting of the three is phassa. Phassa·paccayā vedanā. Seeing thus, bhikkhus, a sutavā ariyasāvaka is disgusted by the eye, he is disgusted by visible forms, he is disgusted by the eye-viññāṇa, he is disgusted by eye-phassa, he is disgusted by vedanā. Being disgusted, he gets detached. Being detached, he gets liberated. Being liberated, he understands: 'upādāna has been completely understood by me'.

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... 5-060.html


This makes sense to me. But despite this, I am not wearied by, disenchanted with or, as it has been translated here, "disgusted" by either visible forms, eye consciousness, eye contact, or vedana. Is this because one must first have become a noble disciple, ie sutavā ariyasāvaka? Is this teaching therefore aimed more at the stream-enterer, rather than one at a lower level? Or: is the crucial thing here the strength or quality of my "seeing" (passati: to see)? In other words, I think I know, but actually I have not seen...?

If I consider just the phrasing of the passage you provided, I'd say it is a description, not an instruction. So I see no issue of "whom this teaching is aimed for".

It can be tempting to take a description and then make assumptions about what the instruction in that description may be.
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby manas » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:21 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
manas wrote:This makes sense to me. But despite this, I am not wearied by, disenchanted with or, as it has been translated here, "disgusted" by either visible forms, eye consciousness, eye contact, or vedana. Is this because one must first have become a noble disciple, ie sutavā ariyasāvaka? Is this teaching therefore aimed more at the stream-enterer, rather than one at a lower level? Or: is the crucial thing here the strength or quality of my "seeing" (passati: to see)? In other words, I think I know, but actually I have not seen...?

No, I don't think this teaching is only for a Stream-enterer.

It's talking about the knowledge of disgust, which though quite an advanced stage of insight, is still a long way from the path and fruition.

Definition of the Knowledge of Disgust

I think the problem is because one still sees self in what is seen: on seeing an object with the eye, one does not stop there, but the mental process immediately follows identifying the seen object, and recognising it as a thing or a person, or as belonging to a self.
Because ordinary people believe the mind and matter represented by seeing, hearing, etc., to be a self, a living entity, they take delight in them and feel happy about them. However, the meditator sees in them only incessant arising and vanishing, and therefore realises that they are not a self, but are mere phenomena. As explained in this Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta, because they tend to afflict, they are seen to be not-self, and being not subject to one’s control, they are not-self. Thus the meditator no longer takes delight or finds pleasure in these mental and physical phenomena. There arises the wish to discard them, to get free from them. He or she continues the work of meditation to achieve that freedom. In time, while continuing to strive, the knowledge of equanimity about formations arises and nibbāna is realised by means of the knowledge of the Noble Path.


Greetings, Bhante

from the link you provided:

Genuine Desire for Nibbāna

When the meditator finds only rapid dissolution and disintegration, at every instance of contemplation, he or she becomes weary of and displeased with the aggregates of mind and matter manifested in the acts of seeing, hearing, etc., then does not wish to hold on to them, but wants to abandon them. He or she realises only in the absence of these incessantly rising and perishing mind and matter will there be peace. This is the development (arising) of the wish for the genuine nibbāna. Formerly, imagining nibbāna to be something like a great metropolis, the wish to reach there arose then with a hope of permanent enjoyment of all that the heart desires. This is not desire for genuine nibbāna, but only for mundane happiness. Those who have not really seen the dangers and faults of mind and matter only wish for enjoyment of a mundane type of bliss. They cannot even conceive the complete cessation of all mind and matter, including every form of enjoyment.


I get the impression that this weariness / disenchantment with the aggregates of mind and matter, is something that will come about as a result of right practice over time, and that the seeing isn't something one can force all of a sudden. Also I note that one ought not to misunderstand nibbana as a place of pleasant feeling, but rather as a state in which feelings themselves have been seen as burdensome, and are no longer even desired. There is something very un-worldly about this concept, and in my current state it feels like looking up at the peak of a high mountain, with me only having begun the gradual ascent. But at least the seed of this idea has been put into my mind now.

thanks for your reply,
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby manas » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:48 am

Thank you also, santa, Sylvester, pegembara and binocular, for your input.

It always comes back to the simple: stay on, and keep practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, this is what leads to Nibbana. Must keep going...keep developing.

kind regards'
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:21 am

I think it is twofold. First it is a teaching, and second it is a statement on how things are seen (right view).

In my eyes, the teaching aspect is not aimed at sotapanna, because they already understand this teaching. There is no use explaining something to somebody who already understands that thing. So in the first place, the Buddha said this to his disciples who didn't yet understand. Of course, here sotapannas can use the encouragement of the Buddha to let go further of the attachment to the senses, but they don't need to cultivate their view anymore. So the teaching itself can be reflected upon by anyone, whether sotapanna or not.

But on a deeper level, it speaks of "seen thus" which indicates not an intellectual understanding, but an experience. I'm with what Sylvester has said on it. But to clarify it a bit further: it says eye meets an object, the meeting is contact - that's it. The important thing here is that there is no other thing involved. So understanding this, in a sense is understanding anatta. And this also gives rise to the 'disgust' or repulsion. Because one sees no self in it all, there is no need to sustain the process. It is empty, so worthless in a sense. And it is this repulsion that drives those without self-view to nibbana. Of course the repulsion has more aspects, including understanding how clinging to the feeling leads to suffering, but you get the idea of my post I think.

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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby chownah » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:24 pm

Eye plus eye object plus eye consciousness equals contact?
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:41 pm

chownah wrote:Eye plus eye object plus eye consciousness equals contact?
chownah

Yes. Or "consciousness at the eye." So there are three conditions required. Just like in order to have fire, there must be 3 conditions: air, fuel, and heat. Just one or any two = no fire.
"Now if internally the eye is intact but externally forms do not come into range, nor is there a corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, but there is no corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and externally forms come into range, and there is a corresponding engagement, then there is the appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What does the Buddha mean by "seeing thus" here?

Postby SamKR » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:46 am

One of the suttas I find relevant here is Avijja Sutta:
"Ignorance, monk, is the one thing with whose abandoning in a monk ignorance is abandoned and clear knowing arises." [1]

"But how does a monk know, how does a monk see, so that ignorance is abandoned and clear knowing arises?"

"There is the case, monk, where a monk has heard, 'All things are unworthy of attachment.' Having heard that all things are unworthy of attachment, he directly knows every thing. Directly knowing every thing, he comprehends every thing. Comprehending every thing, he sees all themes[2] as something separate. [3]

"He sees the eye as something separate. He sees forms as something separate. He sees eye-consciousness as something separate. He sees eye-contact as something separate. And whatever arises in dependence on eye-contact — experienced either as pleasure, as pain, or as neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too he sees as something separate.
...
"This is how a monk knows, this is how a monk sees, so that ignorance is abandoned and clear knowing arises."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So comprehending experience directly and clearly distinguishing what is eye, forms, eye-consciousness, eye-contact, feeling (and similarly for other 5 senses), is seeing clearly. When there is such seeing (distinguishing) of each of them, each can be understood as they are: dependent, arising and passing away, unsatisfactory, not-self. This leads to disenchantment -> dispassion -> liberation as described in Anattalakkhana Sutta.

Such seeing is not mere intellecutal but direct. And such practice is not limited to ariya, I think. That is how I understand it.
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