Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:04 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

Alex123 wrote:"contact -> kamma" (AN 6.63). Since you can't control contact (sense organ + external sense object + consciousness = contact), there is no control of kamma. It is fully conditioned by contact.

Yet another deterministic, mechanistic interpretation.

What about an arahant - for them, does contact lead necessarily onwards to kamma?

Metta,
Retro. :)


They have no ignorance, thus no kamma is made when sense faculty, sense object and consciousness meet to produce contact.
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:07 am

Individual wrote:I don't share Alex123's views, but as I see it, you have been allowing him to win these debates.
He has not won any debate here, given that he is not really debating and has not been from the start.

Allowing him to win because of a misunderstanding of proper argumentation as being dependent solely on simple, conventional knowledge of the Pali text and proper logical analysis, derived from correct interpretation, from Theravada tradition and modern insights -- yet you completely ignore the psychological or existential context of debate.
Alex's pyschological status - or mine - is not a topic of discussion.
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.

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:10 am

tiltbillings wrote: He has not won any debate here, given that he is not really debating and has not been from the start.


Choice is not the cause for kamma.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play (phasso bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānambhavo).
And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma (phassanirodho bhikkhave kammanirodho);
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Choice is not the the cause for kamma. Contact is.

Can there be control of contact?

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact.
Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact.
Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. The meeting of the three is contact.
Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. The meeting of the three is contact.
Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. The meeting of the three is contact.
Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Can one control external phenomena to alter contact, thus altering Kamma?
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Nyana » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:13 am

Alex123 wrote:"contact -> kamma" (AN 6.63). Since you can't control contact (sense organ + external sense object + consciousness = contact), there is no control of kamma. It is fully conditioned by contact.

Contact is concomitant with volitional intention. The path includes developing fundamental attention (yoniso manasikāra), which conditions desire (chanda), volitional intention (cetanā), and so on.

Alex123 wrote:"BTW, prove to me that my arguments are strawman....

Your arguments referencing a permanent Self are straw-man arguments because no one here is proposing a permanent Self as the agent of choices or actions.

All the best,

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Nyana » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:16 am

Alex123 wrote:Can one control external phenomena to alter contact, thus altering Kamma?

One can develop calm (samatha) and integral composure (sammāsamādhi). This refines contacts and can certainly alter one's kamma.

All the best,

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:17 am

Here is part of the OP, which is worth looking at.

Alex123 wrote:From personal experience I have seen that I can't control thoughts. One cannot stop a thought from arising. You can easily check it yourself.

Sit down in meditation posture, close your eyes, be aware of the present moment, and give yourself a firm resolution "for the next 5 minutes do not think any thought or imagine any thing". You will see that very quickly thoughts or images will arise. Perhaps in as soon as 10 seconds.
But on the other hand, by virtue of choices made repeatedly over time we can see, via direct experience, the mind's production of thoughts and images can be tamed and at times be stopped because of the choces - actions/kamma - that have been made.
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.

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:23 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Individual wrote:as I see it, you have been allowing him to win these debates.

Then your seeing is misinformed.

Individual wrote:Allowing him to win because of a misunderstanding of proper argumentation as being dependent solely on simple, conventional knowledge of the Pali text and proper logical analysis, derived from correct interpretation, from Theravada tradition and modern insights -- yet you completely ignore the psychological or existential context of debate.

These contexts haven't been ignored; they just haven't been fully addressed. Why don't you contribute to filling in some of these contexts?

Individual wrote:And what's your thinking reliant upon?

My thinking isn't reliant upon simplistic ābhidhammika reductionism.

All the best,

Geoff

My seeing is misinformed? Perhaps this is true.

If you could, please speak to my eyes and tell them what they are supposed to see. :)

This isn't a matter of personal pride either. Retrofuturist could've helped clarify things for Alex by now if the people contributing most to Alex's threads simply stopped adding fuel to the fire.

tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:I don't share Alex123's views, but as I see it, you have been allowing him to win these debates.
He has not won any debate here, given that he is not really debating and has not been from the start.

If you say so. As I said, my perception is there have been debates and Alex has been winning.

What he says is logical -- not necessarily truthful, correct or thoughtful -- but it seems logically consistent with the literal meaning of the Pali text and the traditional interpretations that I've seen; it's just that he doesn't sugar-coat anything with euphemisms and make it sound soft or life-affirming. He doesn't distort what he sees as the truth in order to make it sound pleasant. The actual meanings of his tend to be consistent with tradition, but it's his particular connotations and personal inferences that people find unpalatable.

tiltbillings wrote:
Allowing him to win because of a misunderstanding of proper argumentation as being dependent solely on simple, conventional knowledge of the Pali text and proper logical analysis, derived from correct interpretation, from Theravada tradition and modern insights -- yet you completely ignore the psychological or existential context of debate.
Alex's pyschological status - or mine - is not a topic of discussion.

Of course not. That's not what I said. It's not a topic of discussion, but it is a context. ;)
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:32 am

Individual wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:I don't share Alex123's views, but as I see it, you have been allowing him to win these debates.
He has not won any debate here, given that he is not really debating and has not been from the start.

If you say so. As I said, my perception is there have been debates and Alex has been winning.
And so much for your perception.

What he says is logical -- not necessarily truthful, correct or thoughtful -- but it seems logically consistent with the literal meaning of the Pali text and the traditional interpretations that I've seen; it's just that he doesn't sugar-coat anything with euphemisms and make it sound soft or life-affirming. He doesn't distort what he sees as the truth in order to make it sound pleasant. The actual meanings of his tend to be consistent with tradition, but it's his particular connotations and personal inferences that people find unpalatable.
Not even the literal meaning. His is a very selective reading of the suttas, ignoring the stuff that emphasizes choice.

Also, a meta-discussion about this thread is inappropriate.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Nyana » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:39 am

Alex123 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Freedom of choice can and does function within a deterministic framework.


How?

If there is the cause for a certain effect, the effect will occur. If there isn't cause for a certain effect, that effect will not occur.

Desire and attention and volitional choice can all be concomitant causes or effects. Freedom of choice isn't independent of other causes and conditions -- it operates within the same conditioned mind-stream. But it does operate, and it does so in consort with desire and attention, and so on. Hence there is no need for Cartesian notions of free will or Upaniṣadic notions of a permanent, unchanging Self for there to be freedom to choose. In fact, these non-Buddhist systems are not sustainable precisely because of the interdependence of phenomena: i.e. an unchanging agent cannot engage in actions, etc.

All the best,

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:42 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: He has not won any debate here, given that he is not really debating and has not been from the start.


Choice is not the cause for kamma.
I did not say that is was. Choice, intentional and willed behavior, is kamma (lit. action) by definition of the Buddha. That we act this way or that way or that we act at all is a choice we are continually making.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play (phasso bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānambhavo).
And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma (phassanirodho bhikkhave kammanirodho);
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Choice is not the the cause for kamma. Contact is.
As I said, and you ignored, kamma - intentional action/choice - comes into play because of contact.

Can there be control of contact?
Not directly, but one can opt on how to act within the contexts of one's condition in response to the contact, which will alter one's conditioning and that in turn could alter one's contact.

Can one control external phenomena to alter contact, thus altering Kamma?
It is not a matter of altering kamma, a phrasing that suggests a poor understanding of what kamma is. And you have this sadly turned around: is it not a matter of "controlling external phenomena." Kamma - choice -, the choices we make upon which we act is what alters our relationship to "external phenomena."
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby Nyana » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:Here is part of the OP, which is worth looking at.

Alex123 wrote:From personal experience I have seen that I can't control thoughts. One cannot stop a thought from arising. You can easily check it yourself.

Sit down in meditation posture, close your eyes, be aware of the present moment, and give yourself a firm resolution "for the next 5 minutes do not think any thought or imagine any thing". You will see that very quickly thoughts or images will arise. Perhaps in as soon as 10 seconds.
But on the other hand, by virtue of choices made repeatedly over time we can see, via direct experience, the mind's production of thoughts and images can be tamed and at times be stopped because of the choces - actions/kamma - that have been made.

Indeed.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:48 am

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/109688
truth_aerator, Sept 1 2010 wrote:Re: Making Choices
Dear Kevin, (and all)

I agree with you.

Choice not to meditate is as much a choice as choice to meditate. Both kinds of
choices can be done with or without Self view.

choice or intention or decision or effort, or chanda doesn't require Self View.

With metta,

Alex


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/109782
truth_aerator, Sep 6, 2010 wrote:Re: should one try one's best?

Hello Robert, Lukas, KenH, All,

Of course one should try one's best. Just do it without holding a Self view. One
doesn't have to believe in a Self to do a right thing, right? Kusala action,
such as properly done meditation, doesn't require Self View. Effort doesn't
require Self view, this is why an Aryan can still have lots of effort. Same for
other similar particular cetasikas. Intention (cetana) isn't always akusala, it
can be kusala. Intention to DEVELOP wholesome qualities and counter-act
unwholesome qualities is kusala intention.




With metta,

Alex


Geez, Alex, what brought about this radical change of mind from just a little over a month ago?
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.

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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby robertk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:23 am

I use some Abhidhamma texts to explain. I saw some moderator posts denigrating Abhidhamma on this thread so I am not sure if Abhidhamma is permitted in this forum . If not could the moderators please delete this post

Some points about cetana:
"Nina Van Gorkom:
The characteristic of cetanaa is coordinating. It coordinates the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies on the object. Citta cognizes the object, it is the leader in knowing the object. The cetasikas which accompany citta share the same object, but they each have to fulfil their own task. For example, phassa contacts the object, vedanaa feels, experiences the "taste" of the object, and sa~n~na "marks" and remembers the object. Cetanaa sees to it that the other dhammas it arises together with fulfil their tasks with regard to the object they all share
."

Cetana simply performs its function of coordinating without any self doing anything. It is present for an infinitely short time and then falls away and another arises which performs its function. It cannot do anything other than perform its function. But because of continuity there is a belief, a vipallasa, perversion of perception, that believes there is somewhere , somehow a controller of the whole complex. That is why it easy for buddhists to say "there is no self" but how many really want to see that there actually is NO self, no control, no controller- there are only elements arising and ceasing and performing their many different functions which - like a brilliant puppet show - delude one into thinking there is some special element behind it all.

The Burmese teacher Thein Nyun explains in his preface to the DhatuKathu (Pali Text Society)Book of elements).

He writes that in fact all elements,( including cetana )disappear so fast:

QUOTE
"The elements..arise and cease within a very short time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental elements arise and cease a trillion times.`This is just an estimate . the subcommentary takes an even higher figure....."


Anatta is deep and hard to fathom. The Buddha used various ways to teach it:
sammohavinodani :


For the fully Englightened One, when teaching the characteristic of no-self, teaches it by means of the impermanent, or by means of suffering, or by means of (both) the impermanent and suffering." Why? Because of the obviousness of impermanence and suffering. For when a plate or a saucer or whatever it may be falls from the hand and breaks, they say: `Ah! Impermanence,' thus impermanence is obvious. But as regards the person (attabhaava), when boils and carbuncles and the like have sprung up, or when pierced by splinters and thorns, etc, they say:Ah! The pain.' thus pain is obvious. The characteristic of no-self is unobvious, dark, unclear, dificult to penetrate, difficult to illustrate, difficult to make known."

The literal translation of the Anatta lakkhana sutta is "the characteristic of not-self" and that characteristic is no control. ""The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them is the characteristic of no-self.""
Sammohavinodani
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby robertk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:31 am

This is a letter I wrote to someone (SW) years ago:



I quoted the Preface to the Book of elements Pali text society

Thein Nyun:
"Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:

1. the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed, and

2. the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideas

3. "I can perform" and 4) "I can feel"

Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence
.

------------

SW: I do not understand how "conceit" and "personality belief" can be called ideas. I know that "conceit" is a cetasika and not an idea. I know that "personality belief" is a cetasika and not an idea. How are "effort" and "care" imaginary characteristics? I don't think my effort and care to write you this letter is an imaginery characteristic. It is as real as the khandas as it can be. I don't think the effort and care expended by the Buddha to teach his Disciples is an imaginary characteristic.

------------

When studying the Dhamma a prime requisite is to understand the difference between concept and reality (paramattha dhamma). In the case you mention above "I don't think my effort and care to write you this letter is an imaginary characteristic" you are talking about a long chain of events, moments. The story writing a letter is a concept. Even in one second so many dhammas have arisen and passed away. When we talk about long periods like writing a letter it is countless. During the writing effort arose and fell away and each moment was different from the other - but because each moment also is one of the conditions (among many ) for the next this is not fully realised. There may have been some moments with kusala effort, some without, some with weak concentration (right or wrong) some with stronger. Moments of energy, moments of slightly less energy: and all usually taken as 'my' energy. Even when we talk about one brief moment this is a very complex thing with many different conditions needed.

Without hearing the dhamma we imagine "we" are controlling everything, not understanding the intricate conditions that make up each moment. Take the act of seeing while you were writing the letter. So many different moments of seeing and each moment conditioned:

"
Firstly the eye element is a condition in six ways namely, dissociation, prenascence, presence, non-disapearance, support, and faculty for the eye-consciouness (cakkhu vi~n~nana) element. The visible object is a condition in four ways, namely, prenascent, presence, non-disappearance, and object for the eye- consciousness element"

Visuddhimagga XV 40

Then following that flash of seeing there are many mental processes similarly conditioned by several factors, none of which are in the control of anyone. And these conditioning factors are all likewise conditioned by many conditions. Because of ignorance of this the illusion of beings and self, like actors in an endless play, continues.

We can understand conceptually how this is by looking at bodily functions - say the way the body heals cuts - very complex, and if even one condition is not present then infection can arise and so other complex conditions are needed to heal. However, Nama (mentality) is more subtle than rupa and more complex:

"It would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard this body, built up of the four elements, as his self, rather than the mind. For it is evident that this body may last for a year, for two years, for three years, four, five, or ten years, or even a hundred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness, is continuously, during day and night, arising as one thing, and passing away as another thing."
S. XII. 62


============================

Robert: Because of continuity there is a belief, a vipallasa, perversion of perception, that believes there is somewhere, somehow a controller of the whole complex.

----------------------------------

SW: I do not understand how this continuity can result in "personality belief". It it because of this continuity that magga and then phala arises. It is because of this continuity that the Noble Eightfold Path can be perfected. If it is because of this continuity that there arises "personality belief", then there can be no escape from samsara. The Buddha could not rightly proclaim his Lion's Roar.

--------------

"
When continuity is disrupted by discerning rise and fall, the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent in its true nature."
(Visuddhimagga XXI 4)


Of course continuity is only one aspect of why it is hard to discern the tilakkhana.

--------------

SW:
What is the actual root cause of "personality belief
"?

-------------

This is like asking what is the root cause of ignorance. No beginning is discerned to the paticasamuppada, the wheel of dependent origination) but personality belief is uprooted gradually by seeing the actual characteristics of the different dhammas:

"
When the resolution of the compact is effected by resolution into elements (dhatus), the characteristic of not-self become apparent in its true nature."
(Visuddhimagga XX 15)

This 'being' is simply a puppet with manifold parts - all coming together in different combinations - lasting for an instant and then falling away again.

Because the conditions that make up each moment are often similar "we" look and feel somewhat the same from moment to moment and this is one aspect of how continuity deludes.

"Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31


The conditions that make up what we think of as a human being are of course more complex than a marionette, and hence more difficult to fathom. The first steps, of this very long untanglement, are about identifying, with right wisdom, the various characteristics of the different phenomena that comprise this 'being' this manisfestion of paticcasamuppada.

Usually we think "I'm interested or bored or excited or calm, or sad or happy or wise or confused or making effort or being negligent. But there are only different elements performing different functions - and they have no agenda:

"
The uninterestedness becomes evident to him though seeing rise and fall according to condition owing to his discovery of the inability of states to have mastery exercised over them. Then he more thoroughly abandons the self view."
Visuddhimagga XX 102


"The characteristic of not-self becomes evident to him through seeing rise according to conditions owing to his discovery that states have no curiosity and have their existence depending upon conditions"

XX 102

"All the formed bases(eye base, ear base, tongue base etc) should be regarded as having no provenance and no destination. On the contrary, before their rise they had no individual essence and after their fall their individual essences are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery being exercisable over them since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future."
XV 15

I think everyone has no problem in accepting that there is no control over the eye or ear base. But the same applies also to the other elements which are all equally conditioned - whether they be nama or rupa, and this includes cetana.

They often talk about dhatus (elements) in the suttas. What does it mean - element? There are several definitions including this:

"Element is a term for what is soulesss."
Visuddhimagga XV 22, and
"They are only mere sortings out of suffering because no mastery is exercisable over them."
Visuddhimagga XV 20


"
There is removal of false view in one who sees thus: "If formations were self it would be right to take them as self; but being not-self they are taken as self. Therefore they are not self in the sense of no power being exercisable over them; they are impermanent in the sense of non-existence after having come to be; they are painful in the sense of oppression by rise and fall"
Visuddhimagga XX 83

__________

Robert: There are only elements arising and ceasing and performing their many different functions which - like a brilliant puppet show - delude one into thinking there is some special element behind it all.

_________

SW: Is it the case that the arising and ceasing of the elements performing their different functions the actual root cause of this delusion?

---------------

It is not seeing the actual arising and ceasing that allows the delusion to continue.

--------------

Robert: He writes that in fact all elements, including cetana disappear so fast:

"The elements...arise and cease within a very short time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental elements arise and cease a trillion times. This is just an estimate. The subcommentary takes an even higher figure....."
________

SW: If the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out the 'ideas' "I can perform" or "I can feel", then I do not see how these 'ideas' can survive in the first place. For without the elements, there cannot be the 'ideas'.
________

The ideas are the shadows of what is really there. I recently quoted a letter Kom wrote which helps to explain this:

"Before a process can arise, there must be thousands of them, and processes already taken place repeatedly. By this description, we can deduce that, it is not enough for a single rupa (17 moments of cittas) to condition the cittas to start experiencing pannati. It must take thousands of panja-dvara-javana-vithi and mano-dvara-javana vithi, which actually experience paramatha aramana, for the citta to start organizing and arranging the sense objects into a concept. The concepts also change as the mano-dvara-javana vithi, experiencing the concept, repeats. For seeing, in the beginning we may just see an unidentified shape, and then it becomes a familiar shape, and then we may attach a name to the shape. At this point, the process of taking paramatha object all the way to a memorable, identifiable, namable concept is complete: a perfect aramana for upadana to hold on to."

I can write more about this if you wish.

________

Robert: . In the Atthasalini it notes that the monks who are reciters of the suttanta (the second basket which includes the 5 nikayas) may come to wrong view because in the suttas they often talk about beings and things. In reality there are simply dhammas arising and passing, utterly conditioned.
_____

SW: It seems that the Buddha liked to perform linguistic acrobatics...really? Isn't the Buddha speaking in "conventional language" when he said in Samyutta Nikaya XXII.59:

And it is not possible to say with regard to consciousness, 'Let MY consciousness be thus. Let MY consciousness not be thus.'

The Buddha is basically performing linguistic acrobatics all over the Suttas. What gives?


========================== ______________________

Important to know when conventional speech (vohara vacca) is being used:

"
As with the assembly of parts the word chariot is countenanced, so, when the aggregates are present, a being is said in common usage."
(Samyutta I, 135)

"These, Citta, are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world. And of these a Tathagata makes use indeed, but he does not misapprehend them
."
(Digha 9)

The suttas often use such words as MY, and we can too, but we need to know that they are mere concepts.

"
Such forms as woman or man are local forms of speech. ..In those who have not fully understood what a physical base is there comes to be the misinterpretation "this is really a woman..." But since this is mere concept, which depends on states made to occur in such ans such a wise, one who sees and knows the dependent origination does not interpret it as ultimate meaning."
Note 4, Visuddhimagga VII (Pm)

___________

SW: The five aggregates can never be willed not to dissolute. This is an impossiblity. Yet, to suit your own agenda of "no control", you have perversed the very meaning of this statement.
___________


Robert: The literal translation of the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta is "the characteristic of not-self" and that characteristic is no control.

"The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them is the characteristic of no-self."

Sammohavinodani.
____________

SW: Sammohavinodani (whatever that is, I have not come across this funny name) did not say "characteristic of no control". That is your own extrapolation.
___________

Yes, I shortened it , I think the meaning remains the same. The Sammohavinodani is the commentary to the second book of the Abhidhamma. Anyway for this letter I use the Visuddhimagga as I know most members have a copy.
____________

SW: The statement "the mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over them" must be understood in the context of what was said. And what did Sarah say?

"For the fully Englightened One, when teaching the characteristic of no-self, teaches it by means of the impermanent, or by means of suffering, or by means of (both) the impermanent and suffering."

This means that there can be no power that can be exercised over the impermanent and dukkha elements such that they become permanent and non-dukkha. This is an impossibility. In reference to this was this statement uttered. This impossibility manifests the characterisitc of no-self.

_____________

The characteristic of anatta is "the insusceptibilty of having power exercised over them" (no control, for short). This is so difficult to see and to help the Buddha teaches it by means of impermanence or by means of suffering. The same dhammas - all elements (except nibbana) have the same Tilakkhana of anicca.m, dukkha.m and anatta (Nibbaana only has the last). So by properly understanding either impermanence or dukkha one also can understand anatta. It is also understood by conditionality. RobertK
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:39 am

robertk wrote:I use some Abhidhamma texts to explain. I saw some moderator posts denigrating Abhidhamma on this thread so I am not sure if Abhidhamma is permitted in this forum .
I commented upon a lifeless reading of the Abhidhamma, not the Abhidhamma itself.

Some points about cetana:
"Nina Van Gorkom:
The characteristic of cetanaa is coordinating. It coordinates the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies on the object. Citta cognizes the object, it is the leader in knowing the object. The cetasikas which accompany citta share the same object, but they each have to fulfil their own task. For example, phassa contacts the object, vedanaa feels, experiences the "taste" of the object, and sa~n~na "marks" and remembers the object. Cetanaa sees to it that the other dhammas it arises together with fulfil their tasks with regard to the object they all share
."

Cetana simply performs its function of coordinating without any self doing anything. It is present for an infinitely short time and then falls away and another arises which performs its function. It cannot do anything other than perform its function. But because of continuity there is a belief, a vipallasa, perversion of perception, that believes there is somewhere , somehow a controller of the whole complex. That is why it easy for buddhists to say "there is no self" but how many really want to see that there actually is NO self, no control, no controller- there are only elements arising and ceasing and performing their many different functions which - like a brilliant puppet show - delude one into thinking there is some special element behind it all.
And what text is this in reference to? The problem with the above is that it is a very limited definition of the word in question. Basically, following Van G's definition of cetanaa the Buddha said: Coordinating - cetanaa - is kamma. It makes no sense. None of this or the remainder of the above msg really addresses the issue or the use of cetanaa as it is found in the suttas.

But let me ask you, Robert, are you in the mechanical causality camp as is Alex?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby cooran » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:58 am

Hello Rob,

Thanks for coming into this thread - with however much you feel is worth contributing. I always learn so much from you, well-versed as you are in the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

with metta and respect,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:03 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

This discourse, interestingly, certainly goes in a direction not found in the mechanical causailty model.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:14 am

Time to rewrite the suttas:

A. X. 206: For, owners of their coordinatings are the beings, heirs
of their coordinating; their coordinating are the womb from which they sprang; with
their coordinatings they are bound up; their coordinatings are their refuge.
Whatever coordinatings they do-good or evil-of such they will be the heirs.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby robertk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:24 am

Thanks cooran and tilt
Tilt, I think alex is explaining the Buddhist view of conditionality reasonably well, I am not sure what you have in mind with the term 'mechanical causality' but if it means something like this:

"Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31

Then I am in agreement.
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:36 am

robertk wrote:Thanks cooran and tilt
Tilt, I think alex is explaining the Buddhist view of conditionality reasonably well, I am not sure what you have in mind with the term 'mechanical causality' but if it means something like this:

"Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curisosity, and while it works and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too this materiality (rupa)-mentality (nama) is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness."
Visuddhimagga XVIII 31

Then I am in agreement.
The problem is that marionette has someone pulling its strings. The problem with the Abhidhamma is that when in terms of conventional speech one ends up with a mechanical causality that really cannot explain choice, which then has to get relegated to virtual non-existence, as Alex has been trying to. Alex has, indeed, explained his limited take on the Buddha's teachings very well, if one want to limited it a mechanical causality. The problems that the suttas give us a richer accounting of life in the real world. The sutta I linked is quite emphatic about our ability to choose or actions.

Also, trying to limit cetanaa to "coordinating" is a bit silly. Just plug it wherever cetanaa or kamma is used. It may, within the context of later post canonical texts, have such a limited meaning, but not so in the suttas.
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.

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