Soul theories and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:51 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.

Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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mikenz66
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:57 pm

Probably "mindstream" is more of a commentarial term, which can certainly be found in texts such as:
A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma. viewtopic.php?f=18&t=826

However, in the suttas it certainly seems to be the case that individual "streams" of actions and results don't get mixed together - the kamma of one individual doesn't turn up as vipaka in another.

:anjali:
Mike

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:14 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.
Then, in responce, since only 3 quotes can be embedded:
Mkoll wrote:Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Mindstream=cittasantāna. It refers to an impermanent uneternal unstable and perhaps-ultimately-false, fundamentally arbitrary series of dhammas that frequently misconceives itself as an "eternal I", but is nonetheless united in its particularity of specific delusion. That is my understanding at least.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:45 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.
Then, in responce, since only 3 quotes can be embedded:
Mkoll wrote:Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Mindstream=cittasantāna. It refers to an impermanent uneternal unstable and ultimately false and fundamentally arbitrary series of dhammas that frequently misconceives itself as an "eternal I", but is nonetheless united in its particularity of specific delusion. That is my understanding at least.

Thanks. I have never read of such an idea in the suttas. I believe Mike is correct in saying that it's a commentarial concept.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:53 pm

Mkoll wrote:Thanks. I have never read of such an idea in the suttas. I believe Mike is correct in saying that it's a commentarial concept.
In the interest of full clarification I believe the orthodox Theravāda conception of the mindstream is that whatever it is, dhammas etc, it is not the self in the Buddhist sense of the word "self". My use of the word "perhaps" was my own hesitancy to claim to be able to speak on "absolute" terms vis-à-vis what is and what isn't authentic Buddhadharma.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby CecilN » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:57 pm

Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

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mikenz66
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:10 am

Here's the translation
In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, and goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood. and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world.
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn28/75


It doesn't appear to be a very common term, but perhaps there are other variations...

:anjali:
Mike

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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:22 am

CecilN wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

Thanks. Is that what you're referring to as "mindstream," Coemgenu? You used a different Pali term...

For accuracy, I should have said I don't recall reading of such an idea. And that's not surprising because apparently the term only appears in that one sutta: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=8419

The pericope that term is contained in also seems unique—I don't recall reading it anywhere else.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:27 am

Mkoll wrote:
CecilN wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

Thanks. Is that what you're referring to as "mindstream," Coemgenu? You used a different Pali term...
The definition given by the translator for the word "viññāṇasotaṃ" is congruent to what I know for "cittasantāna". I come from a Mahāyāna background, and "cittasantāna" might be merely be a Pali coinage of the Sanskrit term cittasaṃtāna, and viññāṇasotaṃ may well be the native terminology of the Pali Buddhavacana. Or cittasaṃtāna could be a retrojected "Sanskritization" of the Pali cittasantāna, I really don't know.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

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srivijaya
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:25 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].

Very much so. Once the conceptually fabricated, metaphysical position is dumped a practitioner can begin to directly investigate. That's why I see no value at all in metaphysics (another story). Unchanging and eternal are not equivalent but tend to get mixed up together when the straw-man is to be refuted. I think it devalues the whole process, as it's obviously contrived, but it seems to be a persistent feature of these kind of debates.

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srivijaya
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:13 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Here's the translation
In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, and goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood. and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world.
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn28/75


It doesn't appear to be a very common term, but perhaps there are other variations...

:anjali:
Mike

Interesting sutta. The next section is revealing.
and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world and he goes after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness as not established either in this world or in another world.

This is the fourth degree of discernment.

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srivijaya
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:16 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.

Identity and mindstream have the advantage that they can be viewed as an ever-changing process rather than a "thing".


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