something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

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alan
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby alan » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:44 am

Since the tenor of the discussion has turned towards definitions, I'll go ahead and define.
"Bad Philosophy" to me means an argument that:
A) is based on a flawed premise, or,
B) contains illogical assumptions, or,
C) is irrational on it's face.
None of those apply in this case. Agree or don't--but there is no doubt Nanavira had important things to say, and he was a thinker well worth your time.
Was he a stream-winner? I think maybe. I certainly will not be throwing his book out the window.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:55 am

alan wrote:That Nanavira certainly blows minds!
He sure blew mine. I can see now why his ideas stir up such an emotional reaction. I have read it only twice, and don't pretend to get him totally. But just for the purpose of the discussion, I'd say he seems to be reacting, in the passage quoted, against the commentarial position.
So...is there such a thing as "total flux"? He says no, because there must be at least a fraction of an instant when something actually exists--even if it then changes. I can't put that into a wider context, since I'm unaware of most of the commentarial arguments. But in and of itself the argument seems to makes sense. Certainly would not call it bad philosophy.
is there such a thing as "total flux"? Good question, but I wonder if Nanavira is using a cartoon understanding of it. "instant when something actually exists--even if it then changes." But would that not mean that it for an instant does not change; for that instant it is changeless? If that is the case, then how does the changeless come to change?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby 5heaps » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:But would that not mean that it for an instant does not change; for that instant it is changeless? If that is the case, then how does the changeless come to change?
the common view is that change is itself a functioning thing which acts on the physical or mental aggregate. this happens so quickly that things cant last for a second moment, but it is an "it" for a brief moment.

this obviously destroys some level of belief in a solid identity. however it is a very coarse level of negation, sautrantika's is much more subtle. likewise its very far away from what mahayana emptiness negates

i would talk about subtle impermanence all day long if i could
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:11 am

alan wrote:Certainly would not call it bad philosophy.


No, neither would I, and I am yet to hear the reasoning of why it is.

Speaking in general, more often than not people just don't understand what he's saying and they take this quite personally, perhaps they even feel a little insulted. I really sat down and spent countless hours upon hours trying to understand just what the hell Bhante Nyanavira was talking about, and even now I still don't really 'get' it. Which is bloody encouraging actually.

So...is there such a thing as "total flux"? He says no, because there must be at least a fraction of an instant when something actually exists--even if it then changes. I can't put that into a wider context, since I'm unaware of most of the commentarial arguments.


I can, I patiently listened to one very senior Maha Thera instruct us all on the centrality of total flux, for an hour a night, every evening, for 2 months. This Venerable Sir wasn't stupid, he'd spent a great number of years learning the Visuddhimagga and commentaries - A long and venerable tradition, but in my opinion, not the only approach to Dhamma.

Anyway the meditation technique on the Macro scale is basically to cultivate sati and get into the 'thin slicing' of each and every moment until you're gradually getting smaller and smaller until flux reveals itself. Makes sense in theory, I guess. Sorry, not trying to discourage anyone from taking up a serious practice of the commentarial method, I don't presume I'm right and you're wrong etc etc.
Last edited by BlackBird on Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:22 am, edited 4 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:11 am

alan wrote:That Nanavira certainly blows minds!
He sure blew mine. I can see now why his ideas stir up such an emotional reaction.

What emotional reaction? As I pointed out, those questions were known to be important, and have been debated for over 2000 years ago. Good on Ven N for realising that they were important questions, but he was hardly special in realising that.

Mike

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby alan » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:19 am

Tilt--are you channeling some Zen here? The fact that something stays the same for an instant does not imply it must therefore be changeless. Jeesh.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby alan » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:21 am

Mike:
The emotional reaction is seen all around you.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:25 am

alan wrote:Tilt--are you channeling some Zen here? The fact that something stays the same for an instant does not imply it must therefore be changeless. Jeesh.

Perhaps Tilt is trying to get across that Ven N's logic is hardly flawless.

Furthermore, I'm sure our Ven Paññāsikhara would stongly disagree with this sweeping generalisation on Mahayana thought:
(ii) Reality is the non-existence of things. In other words, things do not really exist, they only appear to do so on account of our ignorance (avijjā).

At the very least he'd say "Which particular Mahayana?"

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby pt1 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:29 am

BlackBird wrote: Now if you re-read the first quote, you will see that this is nothing more than the two contentions that the Mahayanists make. It is the same argument, unfortunately that Orthodox Theravadins make.

Since when? From what I know, commentarial stuff like sabhava, characteristics, etc, goes pretty much directly against the "everything is an illusion" conclusion. So much so, that tilt finds it problematic as well :)

BlackBird wrote:if one is to follow the orthodox Theravadin position that anicca = flux, then one must logically arrive at the Mahayanist contention.


alan wrote:But just for the purpose of the discussion, I'd say he seems to be reacting, in the passage quoted, against the commentarial position.
So...is there such a thing as "total flux"? He says no, because there must be at least a fraction of an instant when something actually exists--even if it then changes. I can't put that into a wider context, since I'm unaware of most of the commentarial arguments. But in and of itself the argument seems to makes sense.


Not sure what the "total flux" argument has to with the commentarial position that has stuff like 3 submoments of citta, rupa lasting 17 moments of citta, cittas of sense-door/mind-door process having the same rupa/nimitta as the object, etc.

Best wishes

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby alan » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:34 am

It has to do with your meditation technique, and overall understanding of the Dhamma.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Nyana » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:Feelings "persist," but anyone who has attended to feelings with a concentrated/mindful mind knows they do not persist as an unchanging some-"thing."

Hi Tilt & all,

Indeed. There is no need to accept the theory of radical momentariness to clearly see for oneself the alteration while persisting (ṭhitassa aññathatta) of mental fabrications.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:40 am

It's not that everything is an illusion, or else there would be no reality, would there. The argument runs: Permanence is an illusion based upon ignorance, flux is the reality behind that one must strive to see. RE: Abhidhamma & commentaries: I wouldn't know, I never studied them, but I have heard the same story from people who have:

Anicca = flux
and therefore:
Anatta = There is no self, because everything is always changing.

My knowledge about these 'moments' is sketchy - Do they attribute an actual measurement of time to these moments? Or are they without time - Like the Pa Auk conception of Path & Fruit?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:47 am

Hi Tilt

If you wish to understand my position:

http://pathpress.wordpress.com/bodhesako/change/

Says everything I want to say but can't.

and RE: your post Pt1, I'm really not qualified in this area - My knowledge is to do with the Nanavirian method, Suttas and little else, so with an understanding that I'm out of my depth, I'll withdraw and see how she goes.

metta
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"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:48 am

Individual wrote:How is it that you can simply start using words in order to define definition?


I just looked in a dictionary. The words were already there. Are you being cute? :tongue:
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:51 am

Individual wrote:So I don't just seem like I'm playing games... See this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeneutics#Heidegger


I dont get it. Sometimes things like this just take me a while. Or I might never understand.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby alan » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:54 am

Some of the commentarial ideas seem to be a radical re-interpretation of Anicca, such as: "Nothing exists even for a moment"
That does not seem to be the message portrayed in the Suttas.
Nanavira railed against this, and other misunderstandings. Good for him.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Shonin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:06 am

BlackBird wrote:So we have a problem, we can either assert the existence of the chair, or we can deny it. To assert the existence of the chair, to say that the chair exists in my experience is to deny the idea of perpetual change. To deny the existence of the chair is to say that although it 'appears' to be a chair, it is in fact in perpetual flux, along with the rest of our world, and we do not see that because we are ignorant of the Buddha's teaching.


...or we can say that assertions of existence and non-existence are nominal, provisional or utilitarian in nature, as opposed to directly expressing an absolute ontological truth. That is, to say a chair 'exists' is to say that it conforms to certain conditions about it's (apparent) stability at a macro- level; to say it does not exist is to say it does not meet those conditions or is only imagined to exist. The perpetual flux of the physical world (which we know to be true from science) then has no bearing on the statements 'exist' and 'not exist'. An analogy would be the emergence of predictable 'Newtonian' physical laws and appearances at a macro level out of the instability and fundamental indeterminacy of the physical world at an atomic level (as revealed by quantum physics).
Last edited by Shonin on Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:16 am

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:But would that not mean that it for an instant does not change; for that instant it is changeless? If that is the case, then how does the changeless come to change?
the common view is that change is itself a functioning thing which acts on the physical or mental aggregate. this happens so quickly that things cant last for a second moment, but it is an "it" for a brief moment.
I am certainly positing that point of view. It is not necessary to the suttas, not is it necessary to the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts.

Correction: I am certainly not positing that point of view.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby ground » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:25 am

Shonin wrote:
BlackBird wrote:So we have a problem, we can either assert the existence of the chair, or we can deny it. To assert the existence of the chair, to say that the chair exists in my experience is to deny the idea of perpetual change. To deny the existence of the chair is to say that although it 'appears' to be a chair, it is in fact in perpetual flux, along with the rest of our world, and we do not see that because we are ignorant of the Buddha's teaching.


...or we can say that assertions of existence and non-existence are nominal, provisional or utilitarian in nature, as opposed to directly expressing an absolute ontological truth. That is, to say a chair 'exists' is to say that it conforms to certain conditions about it's (apparent) stability at a macro- level; to say it does not exist is to say it does not meet those conditions or is only imagined to exist. The perpetual flux of the physical world (which we know to be true from science) then has no bearing on the statements 'exist' and 'not exist'. An analogy would be the emergence of predictable 'Newtonian' physical laws and appearances at a macro level out of the instability and fundamental indeterminacy of the physical world at an atomic level (as revealed by quantum physics).

:twothumbsup:

Kind regards

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:26 am

alan wrote:Tilt--are you channeling some Zen here? The fact that something stays the same for an instant does not imply it must therefore be changeless. Jeesh.
What I said: is there such a thing as "total flux"? Good question, but I wonder if Nanavira is using a cartoon understanding of it. "instant when something actually exists--even if it then changes." But would that not mean that it for an instant does not change; for that instant it is changeless? If that is the case, then how does the changeless come to change?

The question is, Alan, which you have not addressed, does it really stay the same? If it stay the same, that means it does not change. If something does not change, then how can it goes from a non-changing state to a changing state? This is a basic Philosophy 101 question. One of the problems with the notion of a changing thing that stops changing (why would it do that) and then goes back to changing (and why would it do that) is that there is an assumption of thingness to it. This is simply cartoon stuff, having not a thing to do with the actual experience of feelings or of whatever.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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