SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

Moderator: mikenz66

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:55 am

Thanks Sylvester. I'm not sure how we got to SN 1.27, but since we have, let me quote from Gombrich, What the Buddha Thought, page 151.

Gombrich wrote:There is a famous verse in the Taittiriya Upanishad:

    Before they reach it, words turn back,
    together with the mind;
    One who knows that bliss of brahman,
    he is never afraid.

This describes the salvific experience according to the Vedanta, in which the individual self is felt to merge into brahman. It is not, I think, well known that there is a short poem in the Pali Canon (SN 1.27) which begins by asking
"From what do words turn back?"
The answer (by implicated) is nibbana. This has probably been overlooked because the tradition has misinterpreted the question. The pali word used here for 'words' is sara (Sanskrit svara); but the commentator seems to have interpreted it as a homonym which means 'streams' and assumed a reference to another metaphor, that of rivers merging into the ocean (swee Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.8).


Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10661
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:11 am

Gasp! You saw fit to print Gombrich's critique of the Commentary? :jumping:

In fact, his point about "sara" meaning "word" instead of stream, adds yet another connection. No words, implies no papanca. Nippapañcañca - another synonym for Nibbana from SN 43.14-43 (Anasavadi Sutta) which I discussed earlier on anidassana being a synonym for Nibbana.

Sorry if my discussion of SN 1.27 is so obtuse. I was just trying to show that the alternative answer to SN 1.27 is nothing more than viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, and that SN 1.27's questions must imply that "viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" = consciousness (is) not manifest = consciousness ceased.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:21 am

Sylvester wrote:Gasp! You saw fit to print Gombrich's critique of the Commentary? :jumping:

I thought we were supposed to question everything, including commentators (both ancient and modern). :reading:

And the "words" translation would fit well with Ven Nanananda interpretations...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10661
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:43 am

And but for the fine balance of liberality and fidelity shown by the Mods here, I would have been labelled heretical long ago.

:anjali:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:41 pm

Sylvester wrote:"viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" = consciousness (is) not manifest = consciousness ceased.

As for anidassana, in this context I'm liking the translation as "non-illustrative" or "non-indicative." "Non-illustrative" in the sense of the term as used in MN 21 Kakacūpama Sutta: ākāso arūpī anidassano, the sky is formless and non-illustrative. "Non-indicative" in the sense of the term as used in the Abhidhammapiṭaka, where the applications of mindfulness. etc., are said to be anidassana. The sense here being that they are not indicative of defilements, and so on.

Also cf. Ven. Ñāṇananda, Nibbāna Sermon 07:

    Now viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ is a reference to the nature of the released consciousness of an arahant. It does not reflect anything. To be more precise, it does not reflect a nāma-rūpa, or name-and-form. An ordinary individual sees a nāma-rūpa, when he reflects, which he calls 'I' and 'mine'. It is like the reflection of that dog, which sees its own delusive reflection in the water. A non-arahant, upon reflection, sees name-and-form, which however he mistakes to be his self. With the notion of 'I' and 'mine' he falls into delusion with regard to it. But the arahant's consciousness is an unestablished consciousness.

    We have already mentioned in previous sermons about the established consciousness and the unestablished consciousness. A non-arahant's consciousness is established on name-and-form. The unestablished consciousness is that which is free from name-and-form and is unestablished on name-and-form. The established consciousness, upon reflection, reflects name-and-form, on which it is established, whereas the unestablished consciousness does not find a name-and-form as a reality. The arahant has no attachments or entanglements in regard to name-and-form. In short, it is a sort of penetration of name-and-form, without getting entangled in it. This is how we have to unravel the meaning of the expression anidassana viññāṇa.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:11 pm

An eminently workable translation, as long as it does not entail an eternal contact-less consciousness.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby robertk » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:18 pm

The phase viññanam anidassanam has been explained by the pali attakattha and tika. Suan Lu zwa, a Burmese pali scholar writes:

"Tattha viññatabbanti "Viññanam" nibbanassetam namam,.."

"There, to be known specially, so (it is) "Viññanam". This is the name of nibbana."

And Kevatta Sutta Tika further explains the phrase "viññatabbanti" as follows:

"Viññatabbanti visitthena ñatabbam, ñanuttamena ariyamaggañanena paccakkhato janitabbanti attho, tenaha "nibbanassetam namam"ti."

"(To be known specially) means to be extraordinarily known. The meaning is 'to be known in the sense of realization by ultimate wisdom, by noble path wisdom'". Therefore, (the commentator) stated that 'This is the name of nibbana'" Therefore, the term 'Viññanam' in the line of the original Pali verse "Viññanam anidassanam, anantam sabbatopabham .." does not refer to consciousness, the usual meaning of viññanam.
In fact, the same verse includes the following two lines "Ettha namañca rupañca, asesam uparujjhati
Viññanassa nirodhena, etthetam uparujjhati'ti". "Here (in nibbana), nama as well as rupa ceases without remainder. By ceasing of consciousness, nama as well as rupa ceases here." Nibbana does not become a sort of consciousness just because one of its Pali names happens to be Viññanam. In English language, the term 'object' can have different meanings. For example, the term 'object' in visual object has no relation to
the term 'object' in my object of studting Pali."" endquote Suan
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:28 pm

Sylvester wrote:An eminently workable translation, as long as it does not entail an eternal contact-less consciousness.

There are plenty of other suttas which, if properly considered, safeguard against such notions.

Ven. Ṭhānissaro's latent fire theory really cannot be sustained. The fire metaphor most commonly refers to the three fires of passion, aggression, and delusion. If the Indian Buddhist understanding of fire was really that an extinguished fire goes into a "latent state," then these three fires could re-combust within an arahant's mind as long as there is fuel remaining (i.e. saupādisesa nibbānadhātu: nibbāna element with fuel remaining). Of course, this would render nibbāna quite meaningless.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:08 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:An eminently workable translation, as long as it does not entail an eternal contact-less consciousness.

There are plenty of other suttas which, if properly considered, safeguard against such notions.

And then there are the words of the Thai forest masters such as Luang Pu Dulaya "Dun" Atulo, student of Ajahn Mun for 16 years. It's like discovering a trove of stuff that is not being acknowledged. These are Theravada teachers here, right?

From the section titled "The Citta is Buddha":

"The single citta, this alone is Buddha. There is no difference between Buddha and all worldly beings except that worldly beings cling to the various worldly forms causing them to search for "Buddha Nature" (Buddha Bhava) externally. That very search makes them miss "Buddha Nature". This is like using Buddha to search for Buddha or the citta to search for the citta. Even though they may try as hard as they can for a full eon, they will never achieve "Buddha Bhava".

They do not know that is they stop thinking and conceiving and cease their confusion due to this searching. "Buddha" will appear before their eyes because the citta, itself, is Buddha."
...
"This citta, which is our true original nature, is the womb of our being. No one created it and no one can destroy it. In our interactions with various things around us, we see change in their forms and think of them as "objects". To make it convenient, we speak of the citta as "states" of mindfulness and wisdom (Sati-Panna) but when the citta is not reacting to outside stimuli and without the presence of mindfulness and wisdom to cognize or create, then it is not something which can be talked about or classified as existing or not existing. Even when it is in the act of creating by way of reasoning, it is still something which we cannot be aware of by our own senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body or mind. If we know this truth, we can attain calm in emptiness. We, who are traveling on the path of all the Buddhas, should develop the citta to be still in the absolute void."

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... _Atulo.htm
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:43 pm

kirk5a wrote:And then there are the words of the Thai forest masters such as Luang Pu Dulaya "Dun" Atulo, student of Ajahn Mun for 16 years. It's like discovering a trove of stuff that is not being acknowledged. These are Theravada teachers here, right?

From the section titled "The Citta is Buddha":

"The single citta, this alone is Buddha. There is no difference between Buddha and all worldly beings except that worldly beings cling to the various worldly forms causing them to search for "Buddha Nature" (Buddha Bhava) externally. That very search makes them miss "Buddha Nature". This is like using Buddha to search for Buddha or the citta to search for the citta. Even though they may try as hard as they can for a full eon, they will never achieve "Buddha Bhava"...."

This is translated from a transcription of a tape recording by Ajahn Dune, which has been identified as him reading a translation of Chinese Chan patriarch Huangbo Xiyun's Chung-ling Record. Huangbo's teachings were translated into Thai by Ajahn Buddhadasa, not directly from the Chinese but from the English translation of John Blofeld.

As for the view expressed there, I'd suggest that it's far more skillful to follow the advise of the Buddha as recorded in the Pāḷi Canon. This will safeguard against engaging in pointless mental proliferation (papañca). Suttanipāta 5.6:

    [Upasiva:] He who has reached the end: Does he not exist, or is he for eternity free from dis-ease? Please, sage, declare this to me as this phenomenon has been known by you.

    [The Buddha:] One who has reached the end has no criterion by which anyone would say that — for him it doesn't exist. When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:52 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:And then there are the words of the Thai forest masters such as Luang Pu Dulaya "Dun" Atulo, student of Ajahn Mun for 16 years. It's like discovering a trove of stuff that is not being acknowledged. These are Theravada teachers here, right?

From the section titled "The Citta is Buddha":

"The single citta, this alone is Buddha. There is no difference between Buddha and all worldly beings except that worldly beings cling to the various worldly forms causing them to search for "Buddha Nature" (Buddha Bhava) externally. That very search makes them miss "Buddha Nature". This is like using Buddha to search for Buddha or the citta to search for the citta. Even though they may try as hard as they can for a full eon, they will never achieve "Buddha Bhava"...."

This is translated from a transcription of a tape recording by Ajahn Dune, which has been identified as him reading a translation of Chinese Chan patriarch Huangbo Xiyun's Chung-ling Record. Huangbo's teachings were translated into Thai by Ajahn Buddhadasa, not directly from the Chinese but from the English translation of John Blofeld.

Ha! No wonder. I thought that sounded familiar. Thanks for making that clear.

Still, this part is directly from him, no?

"The principles of the Four Noble Truths are:
The citta that is sent outside is Samudaya. (Cause)
The result from sending the citta outside is Dukkha. (Suffering)
Citta seeing citta is Magga. (The Way)
The results of citta seeing citta are Nirodha. (Cessation)

The practice of Dhamma is the practicing of calm and insight meditation (Samatha-Vipassana-Kammatthana) and it is only concerned with going beyond dukkha. In short, the citta is Buddha; the citta is Dhamma, a special state of not coming or going with complete purity and without the need for "someone" pure or "one" who knows that they are pure. It is above both good and evil. It does not have the character of physical form (Rupa) or mentality (Nama)."

As for the view expressed there, I'd suggest that it's far more skillful to follow the advise of the Buddha as recorded in the Pāḷi Canon. This will safeguard against engaging in pointless mental proliferation (papañca). Suttanipāta 5.6:

    [Upasiva:] He who has reached the end: Does he not exist, or is he for eternity free from dis-ease? Please, sage, declare this to me as this phenomenon has been known by you.

    [The Buddha:] One who has reached the end has no criterion by which anyone would say that — for him it doesn't exist. When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well.

All the best,

Geoff

Well, if such teachings were so unskillful, they wouldn't have finally cleared things up for Ajahn Chah when he met Ajahn Mun.
http://www.abhayagiri.org/pdf/books/Thu ... en_Sky.pdf

"But the most clarifying explanation, one that gave him the necessary
context or basis for practice that he had been hitherto lacking, was
of a distinction between the mind itself and transient states of
mind which arose and passed away within it.

'Tan Ajahn Mun said they're merely states. Through not
understanding that point we take them to be real, to be the mind
itself. In fact they're all just transient states. As soon as he said that,
things suddenly became clear. Suppose there's happiness present in
the mind; it’s a different kind of thing, it’s on a different level, to
the mind itself. If you see that then you can stop, you can put
things down. When conventional realities are seen for what they
are then it’s ultimate truth. Most people lump everything together
as the mind itself, but actually there are states of mind together
with the knowing of them. If you understand that point then there's
not a lot to do.' "
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:01 pm

Hi Kirk,

So is this:
kirk5a wrote:'Tan Ajahn Mun said they're merely states. Through not
understanding that point we take them to be real, to be the mind
itself. In fact they're all just transient states. As soon as he said that,
things suddenly became clear. Suppose there's happiness present in
the mind; it’s a different kind of thing, it’s on a different level, to
the mind itself. If you see that then you can stop, you can put
things down. When conventional realities are seen for what they
are then it’s ultimate truth. Most people lump everything together
as the mind itself, but actually there are states of mind together
with the knowing of them.
If you understand that point then there's
not a lot to do.' "

Different from the Sutta we are studying?
SN 35.23 wrote:"Now what, bhikkhus, is the All? It is just the eye and visible objects, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tangible objects, the mind and objects of mind. This, bhikkhus, is called the All.



:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10661
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:15 pm

kirk5a wrote:Well, if such teachings were so unskillful, they wouldn't have finally cleared things up for Ajahn Chah when he met Ajahn Mun.

What I'm suggesting is that such terminology is also contingent and provisional. It would be an error to try to construct a metaphysical headtrip out of such terms. Ajahn Chah:

    Question: Is this mind you are talking about called the ‘Original Mind’?

    Ajahn Chah’s Answer: What do you mean?

    Question: It seems as if you are saying there is something else outside of the conventional body-mind (the five khandhas). Is there something else? What do you call it?

    Answer: There isn’t anything and we don’t call it anything – that’s all there is to it! Be finished with all of it. Even the knowing doesn’t belong to anybody, so be finished with that, too! Consciousness is not an individual, not a being, not a self, not an other, so finish with that – finish with everything! There is nothing worth wanting! It’s all just a load of trouble. When you see clearly like this then everything is finished.

    Question: Could we not call it the ‘Original Mind’?

    Answer: You can call it that if you insist. You can call it whatever you like, for the sake of conventional reality. But you must understand this point properly. This is very important. If we didn’t make use of conventional reality we wouldn’t have any words or concepts with which to consider actual reality – Dhamma. This is very important to understand.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:25 pm

Hi Mike

Well if "mind" means this: (posted by Tilt earlier)

"But that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another."

Then I do not see how, by using that, we get to Ajahn Chah's distinction between "transient states" and "the mind itself." The above definition would seem to cover only the "transient states" part.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:29 pm

Hi Kirk,

But the Suttas do speak of "mind and mind objects". Whether "mind" is something constant or not is a different question that doesn't seem to me to affect Ajahn Chah's statement. Like Geoff, I wouldn't try to read metaphysics into such statements.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10661
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:33 pm

Greetings Geoff,

Thanks for sharing that Ajahn Chah quote... what a star.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14776
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:58 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Kirk,

But the Suttas do speak of "mind and mind objects". Whether "mind" is something constant or not is a different question that doesn't seem to me to affect Ajahn Chah's statement. Like Geoff, I wouldn't try to read metaphysics into such statements.

:anjali:
Mike

Ok, but when Thai masters say "the citta is constant" they're the ones making statements, it's not me reading into anything.

"But the citta, the true knowing essence, does not arise and pass away like the body and the feelings do. The citta’s knowing presence is the one stable constant."
- Ajahn Maha Boowa
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... ntship.htm

So. If "mind" is defined in one place as inconstant, and here as constant, that requires some explanation, I would say. That is not resolved by admonitions not to "papanca-ize" Seems to me like an important point of the Dhamma.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:07 pm

Hi Kirk,

I don't have the reference handy but Ajhan Maha Bua does say in one of his books that his terminology and descriptions are non-standard (as many others would also point out!).

That doesn't necessarily mean that he's wrong, he's presumably describing his experience, but it does means that trying to reconcile his statements with Suttas is bound to be problematical. Perhaps a discussion about that would be better in another section of the Forum.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10661
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:12 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Kirk,

I don't have the reference handy but Ajhan Maha Bua does say in one of his books that his terminology and descriptions are non-standard (as many others would also point out!).

That doesn't necessarily mean that he's wrong, he's presumably describing his experience, but it does means that trying to reconcile his statements with Suttas is bound to be problematical. Perhaps a discussion about that would be better in another section of the Forum.

:anjali:
Mike

Sure no problem Mike, thanks for the discussion.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:25 am

kirk5a wrote:So. If "mind" is defined in one place as inconstant, and here as constant, that requires some explanation, I would say. That is not resolved by admonitions not to "papanca-ize" Seems to me like an important point of the Dhamma.

What is being referred to is the lucidity, clarity, and suppleness of mind. When one meditates a lot the mind can become incredibly lucid and clear. This vivid presence of mind can be mistaken for an unchanging quality. But the mind must necessarily change along with its perceptions. If the mind didn't change along with its perceptions then either:

(a) the mind would forever be frozen exclusively perceiving one unchanging object, or

(b) the mind would continuously perceive every single object cognized.

If we take visual consciousness for example: If you turn your head from right to left (with eyes open), your entire visual field changes as your head moves. When your head is to the left you are no longer cognizant of what was cognized in the beginning position to the right. Therefore, both (a) and (b) above are refuted, and we can correctly discern that visual consciousness changes along with its perceptions. And what is true for visual consciousness is also true for the other five consciousnesses. There can be no unchanging, permanent consciousness.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

PreviousNext

Return to Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests