Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:In which sutta does it say that a concept is an object of mind-conciousness?

In the Kalakarama Sutta (Nanananda transaltion), the Tathagatha explains of himself that...

He does not conceive of a cognizable thing as apart from cognition; he does not conceive of an uncognized; he does not conceive of a 'thing-worth-cognizing'; he does not conceive about one who cognizes.

Thus, monks, the Tathagata being such-like in regard to all phenomena seen, heard, sensed, and cognized is 'such'.

In setting himself apart in this way, the Tathagata infers that puthujjanas do indeed "conceive of a cognizable thing as apart from cognition"... in other words, they birfurcate between "concept" and "reality" like the Sujinites.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Sorry, I don't understand how that addresses my question.

:anjali:
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:27 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, I don't understand how that addresses my question.

If you don't, you don't, I guess.

If I find a sutta that explicitly uses the word "concept" (what might the Pali for that be?), I'll bring it here to your topic for consideration.

In the meantime, Ven. Nanananda's "Concept And Reality" might be of interest to you, though I'd rather not go into that here since, as cool as Ven. Nanananda is 8-) , he is not Sutta Pitaka.

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby ground » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:29 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:A concept can only arise after having been learned. Learning is connecting a mere experience with an optical (reading, seeing) and/or acoustical (hearing) symbol amended by a universal distorting visualization of the experience. A (learned) concept actually is a memory ready to come into mind once the experiential stimulus occurs.

This "memory coming into mind" is nothing other than the cascade of dependent origination. Therefore "memory" or "concept" arises in dependence on all aggregates.
First there is a "stirring" dependent on form/body which may be called "sankhara". Only if there is attention this "stirring" develops further until it "crystallizes" (implying alleged "concreteness"). If there is contact of mind consciousness perception and feeling and papanca and volitional formations ensue.
The sense bases involved are one or more of the physical senses and the mind base. Mind base entails determining consciousness which necessarily implies "memory".


Kind regards
and we can let it go at that.


Or try other descriptions? There are certainly many others possibilies... but that's not the point.

The point is unawareness (ignorance) of thought/concept being such a kind of dependent arising and holding mere experiences to be "really and objectively" this [concept] and categorically different from not-this [concept]. This is actually the beginning of DO: Ignorance -> volitional formations ("impulse", "urge" to determine as "this" [concept]) -> consciousness -> etc. That is dukkha (habitual urge to determine as, i.e. grasping as) perpetuating dukkha (enhancing habits).

[2] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates.

[3] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, & intellect.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards
Last edited by ground on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:30 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

retrofuturist wrote:There is no "concept" separate from experience of it as a mind object.

tiltbillings wrote:As I said, this, I am not touching.

Not even touching it in the context of the Kalakarama Sutta? (Perhaps it might be an opportune time to revisit "Magic Of The Mind"?)
Why, that is very thoughtful of you to recoomend the book I recommeded to you.

tiltbillings wrote:Just as an aside, while the Buddha describes what is done, it is not necessarily how it is done, as the texts quoted make quite clear.

So a small handful of people here seem to say on a regular basis.
I'd say that they are correct in that assessment. Maybe you could start a new thread explaining in more detail this: If however, the focus was the perception (sanna) on the anicca/anatta/dukkha of the volitional formation itself, then that would lead to insight into the characteristics.

In other words, for insight, it doesn't matter what sankhata-dhamma you are watching (whatever division, sub-division etc.), so long as you are observing its anicca/anatta/dukkha characteristics, as compared to absorbing into the formed object itself.


Yet, "moreover, as this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the group of five monks were freed of defilements, without attachment"... so what more are you looking for?
And that happened to you? If not then there is a need for putting the teachings into practice, as it is for most of us.
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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:33 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:
Yet, "moreover, as this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the group of five monks were freed of defilements, without attachment"... so what more are you looking for?
And that happened to you? If not then there is a need for putting the teachings into practice

I make no claims, Tilt.

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:34 am

TMingyur wrote: The point is unawareness (ignorance) of thought/concept being such a kind of dependent arising and holding mere experiences to be "really and objectively" this [concept] and categorically different from not-this [concept]. This is actually the beginning of DO: Ignorance -> volitional formations ("impulse", "urge" to determine as "this" [concept]) -> consciousness -> etc. That is dukkha.
I am not arguing with you. Other than awkward English, what you are saying here is fine. And we can move on.
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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:
Yet, "moreover, as this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the group of five monks were freed of defilements, without attachment"... so what more are you looking for?
And that happened to you? If not then there is a need for putting the teachings into practice

I make no claims, Tilt.
I did not say that you did; however, my point still stands.
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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:If I find a sutta that explicitly uses the word "concept" (what might the Pali for that be?), I'll bring it here to your topic for consideration.

There probably isn't one. But the point I was trying to make is that a concept (in the sense I'm using it) isn't a simple object.
retrofuturist wrote:In the meantime, Ven. Nanananda's "Concept And Reality" might be of interest to you, though I'd rather not go into that here since, as cool as Ven. Nanananda is 8-) , he is not Sutta Pitaka.

Yes, I've read that. He's a clever scholar.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:42 am

Greetings Tilt,

Whether you elect to think that or not is your decision, but this is the "Mental Cultivation in the Sutta Pitaka" sub-forum, and if you are seeking teaching outside the scriptures, then this may not be the section of the forum for it.

Whether you seek it inside or outside the suttas is your prerogative, so I ask that you respect the rights of others to choose for themselves where they seek it.

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:45 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:There probably isn't one. But the point I was trying to make is that a concept (in the sense I'm using it) isn't a simple object.

Does the mentioning of the idea of a "simple object" infer the counter-idea of a "complex object"? If so, how would you differentiate between them?

(If you deem that's not relevant to your topic, feel free to ignore... I'm just trying to tease out what you're getting at)

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Whether you elect to think that or not is your decision, but this is the "Mental Cultivation in the Sutta Pitaka" sub-forum, and if you are seeking teaching outside the scriptures, then this may not be the section of the forum for it.
I understand that. Given that my practice is fully consistent with the texts (scriptures has a rather Christiany sound to it), i have no problem with this forum. And if you think I do, you might then do the proper thing and discuss prvtly with me rather than wasting time publicly.

Whether you seek it inside or outside the suttas is your prerogative, and I ask that you respect the rights of others to choose the same (and vice versa).
Spare the lecture. What I am curious about is what people do, specifically as a practice, using the suttas as a guide. It is not a matter that they cannot do that, or should; not do this or that, it is a matter interest and learning.
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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:06 am

retrofuturist wrote:Does the mentioning of the idea of a "simple object" infer the counter-idea of a "complex object"? If so, how would you differentiate between them?

Well, simple objects are simple, complex ones are complex...

That's the whole point. Insight generally seems to be in terms of breaking experience down into simple objects - khandas, sense bases, elements, not trying to wrestle with complex objects like concepts. The thinking about a concept can be broken down into a lot of "simple" processes happening over a considerable period of time.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies (papañcizes), the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:09 am

Greetings Mike,

Thanks for clarifying.

It's not a distinction that I'm aware of the Buddha using in the suttas, but again, if I see anything, I'll let you know.

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's not a distinction that I'm aware of the Buddha using in the suttas, but again, if I see anything, I'll let you know.

It's a distinction I've demonstrated by quoting suttas...

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:20 pm

mikenz66 wrote:It's a distinction I've demonstrated by quoting suttas...

To be a little more explicit, the sutta quote above regarding papanca (objectification/conceptual proliferation) seems to be saying that it is a rather complex process, a process that can be broken down into several simpler steps (as can the more common dependent origination sequence).

Similarly, as I sit here, the concept "my body" involves the coming together of a number of sensations and thoughts.

So, are the suttas saying that this "breaking down into simple steps" is an essential part of the insight process?

[Note that I'm trying to avoid taking any philosophical position on "the nature of reality", etc, etc. I'm asking what the suttas say about this matter and what use what they say is for "mental cultivation".]

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:21 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:So, are the suttas saying that this "breaking down into simple steps" is an essential part of the insight process?

My understanding is that each serves as an example of the principle of Dhamma principle of idappaccayatā (aka this/that conditionality), and that it is idappaccayatā that is to be seen. That is how I use such sutta instruction in my practice.

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


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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:It's a distinction I've demonstrated by quoting suttas...


Teasing out subtle descriptive distinctions is to think about the Dhamma; incorporating Dhammic descriptions into one's experiential frameworks, up to and including overwriting pre-existing experiential frameworks with Dhammic frameworks, is to think with it such that "the mind becomes concentrated, his corruptions are abandoned, he picks up that sign" as a cook picks up the subtle preferences of his king or royal minister (per SN 47.8).

In this latter sense, bhavana uses the satipatthana categories... not ones such as those to which your phrase, above, refers. Piling on descriptive layers a priori in this way strikes me as papañca-saññā-sankhā.

Perhaps it would be fruitful to examine the fourth tetrad of anapanasati, in this light, in order to see if this distinction is explicitly tendered as a methodology.

tiltbillings wrote:...what people do, specifically as a practice, using the suttas as a guide.


Anapanasati, in my case. It comes highly recommended...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby chownah » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:56 am

Mikenz66 wrote: "Are there any suttas where contemplation of conceptual objects leads to insight into the characteristics, etc?"

Mikenz66,
I'm wondering if characteristics are more associated with Right View with effluents and conceptual objects are more associated with Right View without effluents.....if this correlation does exist and taking this as a model then contemplating characteristics leading to insight into conceptual objects would mean the contempation of Right View with effluents progressing to insight to Right View without effluents........and what you are asking would be how does contemplating Right View without effuents lead to insight to Right View with effluents...........or.........your question could be rephrased as, "In what way does contemplating Right View without effluents yield insight into the meaning of things held by Right View with effluents....
Does this fit in with what you are thinking at all?
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:16 am

Thanks Dave,
daverupa wrote:Perhaps it would be fruitful to examine the fourth tetrad of anapanasati, in this light, in order to see if this distinction is explicitly tendered as a methodology.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on inconstancy'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on dispassion'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on cessation'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on relinquishment': On that occasion the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He who sees with discernment the abandoning of greed & distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

Seems the same as the Satipatthana Sutta, but without the detailed explanation of the various mental qualities (dhammas).

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Postby Nyana » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:52 am

mikenz66 wrote:As I pointed out on a couple of recent threads:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 84#p155954
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 12#p156504
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 22#p156368
it is well known that in the suttas we find two descriptions.
One in terms of "beings"/"concepts" and one in terms of various "subdivisions" (khandhas/sense bases/elements, etc).

These "subdivisions" are also concepts.

mikenz66 wrote:Similarly, as I sit here, the concept "my body" involves the coming together of a number of sensations and thoughts.

The body is also one of those "subdivision" dhammas, i.e. the body sensory sphere (kāyāyatana) & the body component (kāyadhātu). In the suttas it's common to find these dhammas listed simply as kāya, and so on.

mikenz66 wrote:So, are the suttas saying that this "breaking down into simple steps" is an essential part of the insight process?

It's part of the process but not the culmination of the process. Cf. Udāna 8.2 "For one who sees, there is nothing."

mikenz66 wrote:[Note that I'm trying to avoid taking any philosophical position on "the nature of reality", etc, etc. I'm asking what the suttas say about this matter and what use what they say is for "mental cultivation".]

Well, this query is bound up with these questions such as what is conceptual and what is real and so on. Indian Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike spent well over 1000 years debating and arguing over this issue.
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