pt1 wrote:Afaik, concepts or aspects of concepts are not said to fall under any aggregates or outside them because they are said to be illusory.
All aggregates (aspects of experience) are equally illusory.
This, I was told, is more in line with a Mahayana teaching or even a Hindu Maya thing possibly. E.g. I think Dexing was recently saying pretty much the same thing in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1979
- that both concepts and aggregates are illusory. From what I gathered, that's a view which is not particularly representative of neither Mahayana nor Theravada. In the suttas on the other hand, it's usually said that aggregates are anatta, anicca and dukkha (in particular in reference to their arising and ceasing). To me that doesn't equate aggregates to illusions, but rather says that aggregates can be experienced to arise and cease through insight, and at that instance they're understood as anatta, anicca and dukkha.
In terms of concepts on the other hand, the explanation which makes sense to me is that during an instance of insight concept are understood as illusory - in that they are seen not to arise and cease at all. Dhammas involved in thinking (citta, sanna, etc) do arise and cease though, hence the illusion that concepts (riding on the back of these dhammas so to speak) arise and cease as well. Either way, concepts are not an easy subject, and I don't think I quite understand the subject either.
retrofuturist wrote:By putting concepts outside of this range you are "'Repudiating this All, I will describe another", like the SN 35.23: Sabba Sutta I quoted above.
As I said before, concepts are said to be an illusion, hence they don't exist, hence what you're saying above is a bit of a strawman. I mean, if they're not real, then they can't be said to be either inside or outside the range, can they? So there was nothing to "repudiate" in the first place, I guess.
That said, it is interesting that ACMA for example says (from memory) that a mind-door cittas can have 6 sorts of an object: gross and subtle rupa, citta, cetasika, nibbana (all dhammas so far) and a concept(!). However, this still doesn't get us close to the actual issue of this thread (more below):
retrofuturist wrote:How could verbal communication between people, on any subject let alone the Dhamma, take place in the absence of an (approximately) shared set of concepts within each other's loka of experience?
Well, I agree, and I don't think anyone said concepts (or more precisely sanna) do not play a part in the process of cognition, or talking and listening for that matter. The main issue/question of this thread imo is quite different:
In the instance when insight happens - what is the object of citta - is it a dhamma or a concept? I think that's as precise as it can be put.
Afaik, the abhidhamma/commentaries position would be that even though concepts can be an object of citta, they cannot be the object during an instance of insight - this is because they don't have the individual and general characteristics. And insight is said to depend on understanding these very characteristics (e.g. like when it's said in the suttas - rupa is anicca, rupa is dukkha, rupa is anatta - this would indicate an instance of insight), so by that logic concepts cannot be the object of citta during insight.
From what I can tell from the suttas - the object mentioned most often is usually also some sort of dhamma, not a concept. E.g. it's a visible form (a rupa, so not a "blue lamp" which is a conglomeration of many concepts), sound (a rupa, so not a "sound of a guitar"), etc. It gets interesting when we get to the "intellect and ideas" (more below).
pt1 wrote:I too failed to see how it [Dhammavuddho Thero's answer] was related exactly?
Mike asked about stream-entry through use of concepts. The Discourses are communicated to people via concepts. Contemplation of the Discourses leads to stream-entry. Hearers of the Dhamma are known as Savakas (hearers).
I don't disagree with what you say above, but the quotes didn't address the issue whether the object of citta at the time of stream-entry (or close to it) was a concept or a dhamma. E.g. perhaps a certain bhikkhu was listening and pondering a discourse thanks to concepts and that pondering (dhammas, not concepts) conditioned the arising of insight during which a certain arising dhamma was understood as anatta, anicca or dukkha, so that's what conditioned stream-entry.
pt1 wrote:Perhaps you can explain how you understand Simsapa sutta to relate to your POV? Imo, at the moment is seems to speak more in support of what Mike was saying.
The Buddha did not differentiate between "pannatti" or "paramattha". Even though he knew things that went beyond the scope of what he taught, he taught only that which was connected to the cessation of suffering. Its omission from the Suttas draws questions as to whether the split is genuinely conducive to the cessation of suffering. Of course, if you took the Abhidhamma Pitaka to be the actual explicit teaching of the Buddha (rather than a later systemisation of it) then this argument would hold no sway.
Again, I don't particularly disagree with what you say above, but even if we look at the suttas only (first four nikayas only, for your convenience) still the Buddha is usually speaking of dhammas when discussing insight/wisdom. Or would you disagree?
Anyway, I think it might be interesting to explore the question that Mike raised:
Yes, but one can translate it either as "mind objects" or "ideas". Are the "mind-objects" really "ideas" or are "ideas" built out of more basic stuff.
And then you touched on the same issue with the sabba sutta:
The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas.
I mean, in the above sutta, I would say all terms refer specifically to dhammas. However, it's discutible what's meant by "intellect and ideas". Perhaps you could explore the issue from the sutta side, and I'll look a bit into abhi and comm, and then we could see if there's any discrepancy?
I mean, the definition you quoted doesn't really resolve the matter (for me at least) because, firstly
retrofuturist wrote:Bhikkhu Bodhi's note "...MṬ explains to be craving, conceit, and views (which are the underlying springs of “conceiving”), and these in turn are underlaid by ignorance...
craving, conceit, views, ignorance - these are all considered dhammas, so your conclusion:
retrofuturist wrote:So not only are concepts (like views, and "I") part of the aggregates, they're the very foundation of conceiving. They are the root of all things!
doesn't really stand, especially if you remember our recent discussion on the same topic - you seem to equate concepts with views, while for someone with abhi/comm background, wrong view is also a dhamma (ditthi) regardless of what concept it attaches to so to speak (thanks to clinging), so ditthi is not a concept in the first place.
So, as mentioned, perhaps we could explore this further in terms of what's meant by "intellect and ideas" in the Sabba sutta and similar suttas?