anatta and cetana and conditions for right view

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anatta and cetana and conditions for right view

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:57 am

Matthew kosuta said that according to Sujin Boriharnwanaket,

"
As per standard abhidammic theory, she teaches “wholes” do not exist; they are concepts (pannatti) and anatta. Likewise, the paramattha dhammas of citta, cetasika, rupa, and nibbana are also said to be anatta as their impermanence overrides the fact that they exist for a fleeting moment. However, from this the conclusion is drawn that since “I” am only the pancakkhanda and these are selfless ultimate realities, then I cannot will or choose to do anything. Cetana as a cetasika is said to only arise, as with all paramattha dhamma, due to “conditions and accumulations”, a person as anatta cannot will another anatta constituent into being. Kamma as traditionally understood in the Sutta literature is thus negated.



I would like to look at this idea of anatta negating kamma. First let's look at this old thread: Note that Nina van Gorkom is a long time friend of Sujin's and still regularly comes to bangkok (where I live) to discuss Dhamma with Sujin. Nina is also the main translator of Sujin's writings and talks.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=336&p=3220&hilit=+Gorkom#p3220
Last edited by robertk on Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:01 am

This post by Dhammanando answers someone who was puzzeled by Nina's mention of 'no control' in teh article about kamma I linked to above and can serve as a good starting point if anyone has queries or doubts...

Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma
by Dhammanando »

Hi Will,

will: First she says "all cittas are beyond control" then "The cittas that like or dislike, and the cittas that think about the object, are not results but causes; they can motivate deeds which will bring fresh results." So I guess she means there are resultant cittas, all of which we have no control over and there are causal cittas which are causal because intention is there.


Actually intention (cetanā) is one of the universal mental factors (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasika), and so is present in every kind of citta, including vipākacittas. But the cetanā that arises with a vipākacitta is not kamma-producing; it merely performs the function of organizing its associated mental factors.

As for having control over it, bear in mind that intention is part of the fourth aggregate, formations. Concerning which the Buddha says:


"Bhikkhus, formations are not-self. Were formations self, then these formations would not tend to affliction, and one could have it of formations: 'Let my formations be thus, let my formations be otherwise.' But since formations are not-self, so they tend to affliction, and none can have it of formations: 'Let my formations be thus, let my formations be otherwise."
(Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta)

Will: Therefore over the causal cittas we do have control


Who is this "we" that has control?



"In all kinds of becoming, generation, destiny, station and abode, there appears only mentality-&-materiality (nāma-rūpa), which occurs by means of linking of cause with fruit. He sees no doer over and above the doing, no experiencer of the result over and above the occurrence of the result. But he sees clearly with right understanding that the wise say 'doer' when there is doing and 'experiencer' when there is experiencing simply as a mode of common usage.

"Hence the Ancients said:

"There is no doer of a kamma
Or one who reaps the kamma's result;
Phenomena alone flow on—
No other view than this is right."
(Path of Purification, XIX 20)

In the Abhidhamma there's neither a controller of dhammas nor even one single dhamma that would be amenable to being controlled. Each conditioned dhamma arises, performs its function and falls away. There is no room here for an "I" or a "we".

-
Will: how else would any transformation or purification occur?


In the Abhidhamma each stage and each aspect of purification, from going for refuge and undertaking the five precepts up to attaining the path and fruit of arahantship is explicated chiefly in terms of dhammas, not persons. How does it occur? Like everything else, it occurs by the arising of the necessary conditions for its occurrence. In particular:


The wholesome dhammas that constitute these stages of purification all have right view as their forerunner.
Right view arises in the present on account of past desire-to-act (chanda) and past volitions (cetanā) to engage in the actions that generate right view: consorting with the wise, hearing the Dhamma, discussing the Dhamma, and wisely reflecting on the Dhamma.
Right view will arise in the future on account of present desire-to-act and present volitions to engage in these actions.
Such volitions are generated through a combination of experiencing dukkha, encountering a faith-worthy object (the Triple Gem) and meritorious accumulations.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby 5heaps » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:45 pm

robertk wrote:Matthew kosuta said that according to Sujin Boriharnwanaket,

"
As per standard abhidammic theory, she teaches “wholes” do not exist; they are concepts (pannatti) and anatta. Likewise, the paramattha dhammas of citta, cetasika, rupa, and nibbana are also said to be anatta as their impermanence overrides the fact that they exist for a fleeting moment. However, from this the conclusion is drawn that since “I” am only the pancakkhanda and these are selfless ultimate realities, then I cannot will or choose to do anything. Cetana as a cetasika is said to only arise, as with all paramattha dhamma, due to “conditions and accumulations”, a person as anatta cannot will another anatta constituent into being. Kamma as traditionally understood in the Sutta literature is thus negated.

I would like to look at this idea of anatta negating kamma. First let's look at this old thread: Note that Nina van Gorkom is a long time friend of Sujin's and still regularly comes to bangkok (where I live) to discuss Dhamma with Sujin. Nina is also the main translator of Sujin's writings and talks.

biazarre because i agree that that is what a person is and yet this establishes for me rather than disproves that karma and intention function.
they are after all included within the heaps of a person. what is being said seems to imply that will and karma only work when you assert atta.. but this is contradictory since atta does not exist at all and karma is asserted to exist.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:06 pm

I usually think of the mind continuum as a river, in which cittas follow each other as water molecules follow each others. Conditions are the river beds, rocks and trees. Kamma is gravity and other physical forces.

Because water molecules don't control the river flow, don't decide were to go, and because there is no self in the river, gravity cannot be denied.

Am I oversimplifying?
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby SamKR » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:26 am

5heaps wrote: but this is contradictory since atta does not exist at all and karma is asserted to exist.

I think the concepts of "atta" and "kamma" are at different levels of hierarchy, kamma being at higher level than atta. Contradiction appears if we consider them to be of the same level.
At the level of atta there is existence of kamma. But at the level of kamma there is no existence of atta; therefore, "there is no doer of a kamma".
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:25 am

SamKR wrote:
5heaps wrote:At the level of atta there is existence of kamma. But at the level of kamma there is no existence of atta; therefore, "there is no doer of a kamma".

Is this a personal (atta) idea?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby kirk5a » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:13 pm

This confusion is what happens when people try to treat the Dhamma as a series of philosophical propositions rather than a vehicle for awakening.
"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: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby SamKR » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:36 pm

Hanzze wrote:
SamKR wrote:
5heaps wrote:At the level of atta there is existence of kamma. But at the level of kamma there is no existence of atta; therefore, "there is no doer of a kamma".

Is this a personal (atta) idea?

Interesting question. :)

Yes and No depending upon the level of view.

At the level of conventional truth: Yes, this is a personal (atta) idea. Therefore, I started my post with "I think...". This is my view based on a little practice and a little reading, and I could be wrong. I posted so that my wrong views could be corrected by wise members of the forum.

At the level of paramattha truth: No, this is not a personal (atta) idea, since there is no atta to begin with. In the nama-rupa aggregate which is known in this forum as SamKR the view posted above has arisen due to the conditions of a little practice and reading. That view could be a wrong view leading not to Nibbana. But there is the hope that more in-depth reflection based on the right views of wise members would act as conditions to remove wrong views and generate right views within the aggregate conventionally called SamKR.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:29 am

I guess that this conclusion: "at the level of kamma there is no existence of atta" had leaded mainly to something which might be known as crazy-wisdom or let me call it upekkha-vedana-tendency. Kamma and atta are interrelated with each other. If one is not, how could the other be?

The famous sentence of Buddhagosha (which might have lead to the idea) should be taken with care, as it is more a try to connect two kinds of truth, and with it more step that should be taken (penetrated) rather than a philosophical valve (even it was maybe intented as such). So anatta is better observed as developed.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:29 am

Members,

Another gentle reminder that this area is for discussion of Abhidhamma. Posts should be supported by relevant quotes from primary or secondary sources.
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=374

Thank you for your cooperation.

:anjali:
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:12 pm

I known Sujin about 8 years, ago. She had been my teacher. She can't teach like that, anyway.

In fact Sujin's talks on kamma and vipaka range into hundreds of recorded hours. Kamma and its results are given great emphasis, I would say.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5155#p79762

I assure like that quote.

Though, I hold a brief to her, but I didn't write "She is agood teacher" or "She right". I just describe about the mistake of main topic.

The right words that we can say are "She taught like cetana can't done it's duty, anyway".

Yes, she known that cetana has own duty, but she always deny it's duty almost every time when she taught about anatta.

She thought management is atta. In addition, she taught cetana is management. Another, she taught cetana is anatta. (I'm not mistake typing any character in this line.)

She confuse like that because she don't understand anatta, and she hadn't been evident cetana like it be, anytime.

Especially, she attach in herself over the limit to consider about the suggestion form another.

She live with a dignified look, however she is pitying, too.

If someone here are her students, please understand my intention that I don't want to destroy her, anyway. I just posted a difference thinking.

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

Oh, English is a very good language like Pali, but thai is a vague language. I have thought for along time to explain about the main mistake of Sujin in thai language.

But I ever had fail, and ever had confuse about it in the end of thinking, ...

untill I have finished this reply!

I love you Sujin, English, and Pali.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby DAWN » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:13 pm

kirk5a wrote:This confusion is what happens when people try to treat the Dhamma as a series of philosophical propositions rather than a vehicle for awakening.

If we take a vehicle of breath, he lead to that kind of confusions like anicca, dukkha and anatta :spy:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:46 pm

Hi UhBaUhTaUh,
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:She thought management is atta. In addition, she taught cetana is management. Another, she taught cetana is anatta. (I'm not mistake typing any character in this line.)

This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).

It's a point that I've discussed in detail on and off line, and I have been unable to understand. Of course, any decent teacher will warn you about feeding a sense of self ("me, the great meditator"), but Khun Sujin seems to be saying something more.

:anjali:
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:01 pm

mikenz66 wrote:This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).


But aren't we always doing something? If it is cold we put on more clothing or switch on the heating. If it is hot, we wear lighter clothing. If one is thirsty, one drinks. If one is hungry one eats. In what way isn't this "controlling realities"?

I think that we should NOT postulate metaphysical "I" and meditate without thoughts "I will do this".
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby SamKR » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:27 pm

Alex123 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).


I think that we should NOT postulate metaphysical "I" and meditate without thoughts "I will do this".


True. The confusion would be solved if we understand that there is no controller of a control, in line with this saying:
"There is no doer of a kamma
Or one who reaps the kamma's result;
Phenomena alone flow on—
No other view than this is right."
(Path of Purification, XIX 20)


In other words, there are controls (sitting meditation, doing good deeds, restraining from doing evil deeds, etc.) that are results of some conditions (kalyanamittas, hearing and contemplation of Dhamma, generation of right views, etc.). But there is no controller that controls with free will. And, we should not project such a controller (or meditator or doer) while doing sitting meditation and while doing good deeds.
If there is this understanding then there is still possibility of sitting meditation or some other development without "feeding a sense of self".
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:08 pm

When I saw last 2 replies of mikenz66, and SamKR, I thought "Why I hadn't came to this forum in the past ?"

:clap:

I tried to describe my friends like that but they can't understand, though we used the same nation language.

:lol:
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:42 am

Do you think it was a problem of the speaker or the listener?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby robertk » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:54 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi UhBaUhTaUh,
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:She thought management is atta. In addition, she taught cetana is management. Another, she taught cetana is anatta. (I'm not mistake typing any character in this line.)

This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).

It's a point that I've discussed in detail on and off line, and I have been unable to understand. Of course, any decent teacher will warn you about feeding a sense of self ("me, the great meditator"), but Khun Sujin seems to be saying something more.

:anjali:
Mike

Dear Mike
Here is a quote from the Burmese Abhidhamma teacher Thein Nyun in his preface to the DhatuKathu (PaliTextSociety) xxvii

"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.But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions
"


I think what Sujin says is very close to this statement by Thein. Already as soon as we try to observe anything trillions of moments of citta have already arisen and completely passed away.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:22 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi UhBaUhTaUh,
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:She thought management is atta. In addition, she taught cetana is management. Another, she taught cetana is anatta. (I'm not mistake typing any character in this line.)

This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).

It's a point that I've discussed in detail on and off line, and I have been unable to understand. Of course, any decent teacher will warn you about feeding a sense of self ("me, the great meditator"), but Khun Sujin seems to be saying something more.

:anjali:
Mike



Hee hee. When you consider how in the jhanas it is impossible to either ceteti (thinks? intends?) or to abhisaṅkharoti (intends/wills) (per DN 9), when does the process of tranquilising the sankhārakkhandha begin before popping into the jhanas?

Personally, even if Khun Sujin were logically correct to surmise that effort, intentional development etc etc feeds the sense of self (which I disagree), the intention to "not control" is also an intention! One cannot escape the need for volition in initiating and maintaining development. In fact, according to DN 9, if one were able to practise without ceteti or abhisaṅkharoti, the result would be Attainment of Cessation.

But even then, this attainment is no guarantee that the residual Higher Fetter of 'conceit' would be extinguished.

I suspect that the Buddha does not demand that we practise with a Catch-22 situation. Non-clinging arises through causes, and practice is certainly one of the necessary conditions for the arising of non-clinging.
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Re: anatta and cetana (will, intention): Kamma negated?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:15 am

^

He known about that and he still confirmed the same in the underline sentence of my quote.

mikenz66 wrote:Hi UhBaUhTaUh,
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:She thought management is atta. In addition, she taught cetana is management. Another, she taught cetana is anatta. (I'm not mistake typing any character in this line.)

This seems to be the key point that Khun Sujin and her students make: that any attempt at control means that one is feeding a sense of self. Therefore any attempt at development, "meditation" or some other development, is doomed to failure (according to this reasoning).

It's a point that I've discussed in detail on and off line, and I have been unable to understand. Of course, any decent teacher will warn you about feeding a sense of self ("me, the great meditator"), but Khun Sujin seems to be saying something more.

:anjali:
Mike


Sujin was student of Nab--intimately oppose in the past, Nab was student of Burma Bikkhu--U. Vilasa.

But the same reason that you mean become lower significant through the older to the newer models.



Hanzze wrote:Do you think it was a problem of the speaker or the listener?


It was our problem, Hanzze. :embarassed:

But now it is only listener side problem.
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