no (khandhas)aggregates?

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Re: no (khandhas)aggregates?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:09 am

robertk wrote:Dear Tilt,
take the case of a dog seeing a bone. The dog doesn't think "ah bone, I will eat that" . What happens is similar to the process described by Nyanaponika on seeing a rose.
After the first sensedoor process which sees the colors comprising the bone there are mind door processes. This is repeated millions of times- a short time in conventional time, but very long in citta moments- before the dog realizes that it is edible food. All pre-linguistic and for the dog it doesn't even get thought about in linguistic words.
Yet there is knowing, after enough processes, that it is food.
First of all you don't know that it is "repeated millions of times- a short time in conventional time." Secondly, are you positing some other set of processes other than the khandhas are at play? Still Ven Nyanaponika does not support this statement of yours: "Note that these designations happen long, long before they are linguistic labels."
    >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
    -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: no (khandhas)aggregates?

Postby robertk » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:57 am

I would like to stress that although sabhava means essence, when the
comemntaries talk about sabhava dhammas they go to lengths to stress
that sabhava in such cases never means something unconditioned
(except for nibbana).

So if we look at for example feeling (vedana khandha).
This is sabhava dhamma (as
against asabhava such as 'soul' which is imaginary). Feeling is
impermanent, dukkha and anatta. There are various kinds of feeling
when we consider by way of door. So the Visuddhimagga in the section
on Paticcasamuppada explains by way of the eye-door: 'beginning with
eye-contact is a condition in eight ways as conascence, mutuality,
support, result, nutriment association, presence and non-
disappaearence conditions, for the five kinds of feelings that have
respectively eye sensitivity etc. as their respective basis...'

in the Phena Sutta (A Lump of Foam) the commentary by Buddhaghosa says about feeling: ( translated
by B.Bodhi)

note 190: "Spk: a bubble ( is feeble and cannot be grasped,
breaks up as soon as it is seized; so too feeling is feeble and
cannot be
grasped as permanent and stable. As a bubble arises and ceases in a
water and does not last long, so too with feeling: 100,000 `ko.tis'
feelings arise and cease in the time of a fingersnap (one ko.ti = 10
As a bubble arises in dependence on conditions, so feeling arises in
on a sense base, an object, the defilements, and contact


I include this just to show how much stress is laid on
conditionality in the commentaries. There is never any hint that
dhammas could exist independent of conditions.

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Re: no (khandhas)aggregates?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:29 am

Ven Nyanamoli in a footnote in his PATH OF PURIFICATION, pages 317-8, states: "In the Pitakas the word sabhaava seems to appear only once...," it appears several times in Milindapanha, and it is used quite a bit in the PoP and it commentaries. He states it often roughly corresponds to dhaatu, element and to lakkhana, characteristic. An interesting passage from the PoP reads:

"On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence 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." Page 551 XV 15.

Piatigorsky (In his study of the Pitaka Abhidhamma texts, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 182) puts it: “From the point of view of consciousness, it can be said that, when consciousness is conscious of one’s mind, thought, or consciousness directed to their objects, then it is ‘being conscious of’ that may be named ‘a state of consciousness’ or a dharma.”

Piatigorsky (THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 146) explains: “the meaning of each abhidhammic term [dhamma] consists (or is the sum) of all its positional meanings and of all positional meanings of its connotations.”

Nyanaponika quotes a sub-commentary to an Abhidhamma text: "There is no other thing than the quality borne by it." {(na ca dhaariyamma-sabhaavaa an~n~o dhammo naama atthi). Abhidhamma Studies, page 40}. Which is to say: "We simpy cannot say that 'a dharma is... (a predicate follows)', because a dharma, in fact, 'is' no thing, yet [it is] a term denoting (not being) a certain relation or type of relation to thought, consciousness or mind. That is, dharma is not a concept in the accepted terminological sense of the latter, but a purely relational notion." -- Piatigorsky, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, page 181.

Nyanaponika ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES, page 41 BPS; page 42 Wisdom wrote:By arranging the mental factors in relational groups a subordinate synthetical element has been introduced into the mainly analytical Dhammasangani. By so doing, the danger inherent in purely analytical methods is avoided. This danger consists in erroneously taking for genuine separate entities the “parts” resulting from analysis, instead of restricting their use to sound practical method with the purpose of classifying and dissolving composite events wrongly conceived as unities. Up to the present time it has been a regular occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics, and psychology that when the “whole” has been successfully dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts” themselves come in turn to be regarded as little “wholes.”

Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa, THE DHAMMA THEORY, page 9 wrote:In the Pali tradition it is only for the sake of definition and description that each dhamma is postulated as if it were a separate entity; but in reality it is by no means a solitary phenomenon having an existence of its own. . . . If this Abhidhammic view of existence, as seen from its doctrine of dhammas, cannot be interpreted as a radical pluralism, neither can it be interpreted as an out-and-out monism. For what are called dhammas -- the component factors of the universe, both within us and outside us -- are not fractions of an absolute unity but a multiplicity of co-ordinate factors. They are not reducible to, nor do they emerge from, a single reality, the fundamental postulate of monistic metaphysics. If they are to be interpreted as phenomena, this should be done with the proviso that they are phenomena with no corresponding noumena, no hidden underlying ground. For they are not manifestations of some mysterious metaphysical substratum, but processes taking place due to the interplay of a multitude of conditions.

Basically, dhammas are away of talking about the flow of experience. Also, using this Dhamma language is not, according to the Theravada commentarial tradition necessary for awakening:

    Herein references to living beings, gods, Brahma, etc., are sammuti-kathā, whereas
    references to impermanence, suffering, egolessness, the aggregates of the empiric
    individuality, the spheres and elements of sense perception and mind-cognition, bases of
    mindfulness, right effort, etc., are paramattha-kathā. One who is capable of understanding
    and penetrating to the truth and hoisting the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out
    in terms of generally accepted conventions, to him the Buddha preaches the doctrine based on
    sammuti-kathā. One who is capable of understanding and penetrating to the truth and hoisting
    the flag of Arahantship when the teaching is set out in terms of ultimate categories, to him the
    Buddha preaches the doctrine based on paramattha-kathā. To one who is capable of
    awakening to the truth through sammuti-kathā , the teaching is not presented on the basis of
    paramattha-kathā, and conversely, to one who is capable of awakening to the truth through
    paramattha-kathā, the teaching is not presented on the basis of sammuti-kathā. There is this
    simile on this matter: Just as a teacher of the three Vedas who is capable of explaining their
    meaning in different dialects might teach his pupils, adopting the particular dialect, which
    each pupil understands, even so the Buddha preaches the doctrine adopting, according to the
    suitability of the occasion, either the sammuti- or the paramattha-kathā. It is by taking into
    consideration the ability of each individual to understand the Four Noble Truths, that the
    Buddha presents his teaching, either by way of sammuti, or by way of paramattha, or by way
    of both. Whatever the method adopted the purpose is the same, to show the way to
    Immortality through the analysis of mental and physical phenomena.
    -- AA. Vol. I, pp.54-55, DA., Vol. I pp. 251-52; SA., Vol. II p.77 THERAVADA VERSION OF THE TWO TRUTHS by Y. KARUNADASA
    >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
    -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: no (khandhas)aggregates?

Postby robertk » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:28 pm

i wrote this letter sbout 10 years ago to someone who believes that later monks added in the theory of momentariness to the Dhamma.

In the 'Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving' (Mahatankhasankhaya-sutta, majjhima Nikaya I, Mahayamaka-vagga):


It is because, monks, an appropriate condition arises that consciousness is known by this or that name: if consciousness is know by this or that name: if consciousness arises because of eye and material shapes, it is known as seeing-consciousness; if consciousness arises because of ear and sounds it is known as hearing-consciousness; if consciousness arises because of nose and smells, it is known as smelling-consciousness; if consciousness arises because of tongue and tastes, it is known as tasting- consciousness; if consciousness arises because of body and touches, it is known as tactile-consciousness; if consciousness arises because of mind and mental objects, it is known as mental consciousness.

Ya~n~nadeva1 bhikkhave paccaya.m pa.ticca uppajjati tena teneva sa"nkha.m gacchati: cakkhu~nca pa.ticca ruupe ca uppajjati, cakkhuvi~n~naa.nanteva sa"nkha.m gacchati. Sota~nca pa.ticca sadde ca uppajjati, sotavi~n~naa.nanteva sa"nkha.m gacchati. Ghaana~nca pa.ticca gandhe ca uppajjati, ghaanavi~n~naa.nanteva sa"nkha.m gacchati, jivha~nca pa.ticca rase ca uppajjati, jivhaavi~n~naa.nanteva sa"nkha.m gacchati. Kaaya~nca pa.ticca pho.t.thabbe ca uppajjati, kaayavi~n~naa.nantevasa"nkha.m gacchati. Mana~nca pa.ticca dhamme ca uppajjati, manovi~n~naa.nanteva sa"nkha.m gacchati
in the suttas the Buddha was very careful to help people to see that each moment is different from the last. The eye-consciousness has different conditions than the ear consciousness. Someone, before they heard the teaching, might imagine that the same consciousness lasts and could take two or three objects at about the same time. But it can be seen that this is not so.

The sutta continues:

Monks, as a fire burns because of this or that appropriate condition, by that it is known: if a fire burns because of sticks, it is known as a stick-fire; and if a fire burns because of chips, it is known as a chip-fire; and if a fire burns because of grass, it is known as a grass-fire; and if a fire burns because of cowdung, it is known as a cowdung-fire ... Even so, monks, when because of a condition appropriate to it consciousness arises, it is known by this or that name

The commentaries stress this so much more. They explain that in the time it takes to snap a finger ..kotis of mindmoments have arisen and passed, each one not the same but conditioned by different conditions, and none of these conditions is exactly the same either.

Take a moment of seeing: For seeing to arise there must be cakkhu pasada (seeing base). This is the extremely refined rupa that arises in the center of the eye. This special rupa is the result of kamma. reason we can keep seeing is that at this moment the force of the kamma is still working to continue replacing the cakkhu pasada. The visible eye, the eyeball, and the surrounding matter, the rest of the body, are also conditioned by different conditions - not only kamma- and these rupas also only last for a moment before vanishing forever. Every conditioning factor is simarly evanescent as is every conditioned moment.

Your book by Mr. Sarachchandra, says " the Theory of moments was introduced into Abhidhamma around the twelfth century - Early Buddists texts reflect a doctrine of momentariness rather than a theory of moments - By the time of the third council, the doctrine of momentariness was common between all schools with minor technical variations; for example, the "Points of Controversy" discusses if a "moment" of consciousness lasts a whole day. Rupa was described as having two phases (nascent and cessant); the theory of moments later added the static phase."""

This 'static' phase is far from static according to the Theravada commentaries, and also the later tikas. For example The Dispeller (page 37)

ndeed feeling also arises and falls and has no length of duration. In the moment of one snapping of the fingers it arises and ceases to the number of one hundred thousand kotis

Note that vedana (feeling) arises and passes together with consciousness and all other mental elements.Any wordswe use to describe the nature of realities - impermanent, momentary, temporary, instant by instant- cannot convey the actual rapidity of the arising and passing away. But to explain the dhamma it is useful to use such words as 'moments' when ,say, explaining the difference between a moment of seeing and a moment of hearing.

In the Patthana - the last book of the Abhidhamma , the importance of which is greatly stressed in the commentaries and Abhidhammathasangaha is all about conditions. Here we learn that "moments" are extraordinarily complex instants in time with influences from past and present factors. The dhammas themselves are not different from the quality they posses. In fact the Atthasalini says that "there is no other thing than the quality born by it". And no moment is identical with another. It is true that such dhammas as sa~n~na (perception) or vedana (feeling) or vi~n~nana (consciouness) are classified under the same heading but the actual quality is influenced by so many diverse factiors that not even one moment of feeling is exactly the same. Also because similar conditions arise repeatedly nor are succeeding moments totally different. The same feeling can appear [and I stress appear] to last for seconds because of this. The Abhidhamma allows us to understad that this is illusion and to learn to study directly the present moment so that eventually this idea of permenance is broken.

You wrote that "Anuruddha [author of the Abhidhammasangaha which SarathW quoted earlier in this thread] added material reflecting ideas that were current at his time." I don't think so. He put, in a simple way, what was already well rehearsed by generations of great monks from the time of the Buddha. Although sometimes the commentaries added extra useful material a great deal of them came from the time of the Buddha. The Atthakattha to the Dhammasangani (first book of the Abhidhamma) the Atthasalini: from the introductory discourse "The ancient commentary therof was sang By the First council, Mahakassapa Their leader, and later again by seers,

13. Yaa Mahaakassapaadiihi vaasiih'a.t.thakathaa puraa sa"ngiitaa anusa"ngiitaa pacchaa pi ca isiihi yaa

It then says:

Mahinda bought it to the peerless isle, Ceylon,..

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