SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:30 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
So which part of "the all" is this "mind's awareness" which never dies?
It's not.

Like consciousness which "does not land" of SN 12.64? "It's not" part of "the all" in that sense?
If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.
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: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.

That's what I was asking you. :smile: You said "it isn't" in the "all" so therefore... what. Doesn't exist? Must be a figment of the imagination?
"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: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:58 am

beeblebrox wrote:
kirk5a wrote:As regards this sutta "The All" all I know is that the Buddha did talk about this "consciousness without feature" a little bit here and there, and so it would seem to present a difficulty in interpreting "The All" as meaning - there is nothing else besides the 6 sense and their objects. Or so it seems to me, but I'm always open to having misunderstood :smile:

Wouldn't that fit with what Sariputta says in the Kotthita Sutta?
[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


And then the venerable Sāriputta goes on to say:

The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.


This so-called "consciousness without feature" (as it is translated in here) is just a state where no one would be able to find any description for... since there are no objects that we can "stick" onto it, so to speak. That is why no one can ever measure a Tathāgata... even not another Tathāgata can.

:anjali:


Hi, I thought that I should just mention that the "objectifies" offered by Ven Thanissaro's translation is simply "papañceti", the verbal form of papanca. "Non-objectification" is just "appapañcaṃ". The problem was papancizing "appapañca".

Maybe the venerable has chosen to translate papanca as "objectification" in a subtle attempt to distance himself from the Abhidhammic "dhamma-s" theory. That may be legitimate, but when the scope of papanca in MN 18 is considered, it seems to me that we need not foist an anti-ontological intent for Ven Sariputta's discussion in AN 4.174.

So, the problem with Ven Kotthita's approach seems to have been that he was papacizing a "thing-ness" of "un-papancizability" to the tetralemma of the six contact media going into "asesavirāganirodhā ". This tetralemma occurs in many other places, such as Vacchagotta's questions to the Buddha in SN 44.10. In MN 18, Ven Thanissaro offers another translation option for papanca, ie reification, and I think this best describes Ven Sariputta's instructions in AN 4.174.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:53 am

Sylvester wrote:Hi, I thought that I should just mention that the "objectifies" offered by Ven Thanissaro's translation is simply "papañceti", the verbal form of papanca. "Non-objectification" is just "appapañcaṃ". The problem was papancizing "appapañca".


Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realize that they were papañca related words, and of course, I think it really makes a lot of sense. I think papañca is like a diffusion of ideas upon other ideas, and different objects layered upon other objects, among other objects... obscuring themselves even further, like a spiral of delusions.

Seems like when we try to papañcize what lies "beyond the range," we basically only obscure it even further, which would only vex us even more (of course). Objectification (and reification) is a type of papañca I think... but they don't seem to have the same depth of definition that the word papañca would have.

This is what PED have to say about papañca: [meaning uncertain whether identical with Sanskrit prapañca (pra+pañc), to spread out; meaning "expansion, diffuseness, manifoldedness"]; 1. obstacle, impediment, a burden which causes delay hindrance, delay; 2. illusion, obsession, hindrance to spiritual progress.

And papañceti: 1. to have illusions, to imagine, to be obsessed; 2. to be profuse, to talk much, to delay on.

I think "papañca" is one of the important words to know. Ven. Ñāṇananda talks about it in his "Concepts and Reality" book. "Concepts" are papañca.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby ground » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:54 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.

That's what I was asking you. :smile: You said "it isn't" in the "all" so therefore... what. Doesn't exist? Must be a figment of the imagination?


But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It's not.

Like consciousness which "does not land" of SN 12.64? "It's not" part of "the all" in that sense?
If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.

It would seem then, that that which is beyond range in included in "the all". If so, what does this mean?
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:27 am

kirk5a wrote:Like consciousness which "does not land" of SN 12.64? "It's not" part of "the all" in that sense?


Hi

I don't think it's correct to speak of "consciousness which does not land". SN 12.64 simply refers to "appatiṭṭhitaṃ tattha viññāṇaṃ" which does not describe a consciousness that floats around without contact. The phrase simply means "consciousness is not established there". SN 12.64 was discussing the 4 "ahara"/nutriment for the maintenance of beings, consciousness just being one of the 4. A little later in the sutta, the negation is discussed -

Viññāṇe ce bhikkhave, āhāre natthi rāgo, natthi nandi, natthi taṇhā. Appatiṭṭhitaṃ tattha viññāṇaṃ avirūḷhaṃ yattha appatiṭṭhitaṃ viññāṇaṃ avirūḷhaṃ, natthi tattha nāmarūpassa avakkanti.

Where there is no passion for the nutriment of consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form.


This is just the patiloma order of DO, and does not create a vinnana that will go on forever and ever as our happy Parinibbana Retirement Resort.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:29 am

Sherab wrote:It would seem then, that that which is beyond range in included in "the all". If so, what does this mean?



Hmm, how can something beyond range be included in the ALL?

The All has many things listed, but IMHO the central "player" is "phassa" (included in SN 35.24). Without contact, there is no consciousness, feelings or perceptions, those things that lead to papanca and Dukkha.

You should be able to see that the Buddha's discussion of the All is very limited. He only included in the All whatever was of soteriological utility in understanding and escaping from Dukkha. If Dukkha is nothing more than the 5 Aggregates Associated with Clinging, then pivotal to the 5 Aggregates is contact. If you can't make contact with something, you cannot suffer on account of it.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:04 am

Sylvester wrote: The phrase simply means "consciousness is not established there".


Is this what you meant: Where there is no nutriment, consciousness is not established there, i.e., there is no dependently arisen consciousness?
If so, does this mean that there is completely no consciousness whatsoever?
If so, does it also mean that the D.O. chain becomes completely non-existent as well?
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:05 am

Who sees paticcasamuppada sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1.

I think we need to be very, very careful about reading into descriptions of meditation experiences ontological status.

Recall that from the perspective of the Buddha’s teachings in the Pali, the ‘All’ {SN IV 15} is composed entirely of phassa, contact between sense base and sense object. We can only directly know phenomena within this ‘world of experience’, so from the Theravadin perspective, we cannot know whether there really exists a ‘brain’ or a ‘body’ apart from moments of intellectual consciousness, of seeing (the image of a brain), and so on. The discourses of the Pali describe an individual world of experience as composed of various mental and physical factors, nama and rupa. These two are not the separate, independent worlds that Rene Descartes envisioned.

"…the Buddha spoke of the human person as a psychophysical personality (namarupa). Yet the psychic and the physical were never discussed in isolation, nor were they viewed as self-subsistent entities. For him, there was neither a ‘material-stuff’ nor a ‘mental-stuff’, because both are results of reductive analyses that go beyond experience."53
The physical and mental aspects of human experience are continually arising together, intimately dependent on one another.

53 Kalupahana 1976: 73, refers to D.15{II,62}, where the Buddha speaks of both
physicality and mentality mutually dependent forms of contact (phassa).
Physicality is described as contact with resistance (pat.ighasamphassa),
mentality as contact with concepts (adhivacanasamphassa).


STRONG ROOTS by Jake Davis, page 190-1. http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/docume ... gRoots.pdf
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: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:29 am

It's really interesting how suttas can be interpreted in several different ways.

This one can be read as a deep statement about the Buddha's philosopical/soteriology approach, as indicated by a number of posts.

But it can also be read, as indicated by Dave viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7415&start=20#p117918 and Tilt viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7415&start=20#p117921 as a taunting of those holding Bhraminic views ("my all beats your all...so there! :tongue:").

It seems to me that the Commentary picks up on the latter interpretation:
"If he were questioned he would not be able to reply and, further, he would meet with vexation. For what reason? Because, Bhikkhus, that would not be within his domain."

Spk: People become vexed when they go outside their domain. just as it is outside one's domain to cross a deep body of water while carrying a stone palace on one's head, or to drag the sun and moon off their course, and one would only meet with vexation if one makes the attempt, so too in this case.

Quite a sense of humour here by both the Buddha and the Commentary... :tongue:

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:34 am

mikenz66 wrote:It's really interesting how suttas can be interpreted in several different ways.

This one can be read as a deep statement about the Buddha's philosopical/soteriology approach, as indicated by a number of posts.

But it can also be read, as indicated by Dave viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7415&start=20#p117918 and Tilt viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7415&start=20#p117921 as a taunting of those holding Bhraminic views ("my all beats your all...so there! :tongue:").
I would say both are the case.
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: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:39 am

Sherab wrote:
Sylvester wrote: The phrase simply means "consciousness is not established there".


Is this what you meant: Where there is no nutriment, consciousness is not established there, i.e., there is no dependently arisen consciousness?
If so, does this mean that there is completely no consciousness whatsoever?
If so, does it also mean that the D.O. chain becomes completely non-existent as well?



Errh, is DO susceptible to papancizing into "atthi" and "natthi"?
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:40 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I would say both are the case.

Yes, I agree, sorry if it sounded like one has to choose one option... The more the merrier in this case... :tongue:

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:36 pm

Sylvester wrote:This is just the patiloma order of DO, and does not create a vinnana that will go on forever and ever as our happy Parinibbana Retirement Resort.

:rofl:

Ok just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, are you definitely disagreeing with the following interpretation of Ven Thanissaro:

"In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all"
"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: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:50 pm

beeblebrox wrote:"Concepts" are papañca.

I think I might've overshot a bit. The "All" (six sense bases and their objects) seems like it technically should be a concept, but it's not papañca. It's only papañca when you try to put other things on top of it (i.e., trying to pull things from "beyond the range"), which will only make it diffuse.

That seems to fit to the idea that papañca is a diffusion, or "spreading around." Papañcizing basically turns the practice ineffective, or clumsy. Like Ven. Sāriputta said, don't papañcize what should remain apapañca... you'll only waste your time.

Sherab wrote:If so, does this mean that there is completely no consciousness whatsoever?
If so, does it also mean that the D.O. chain becomes completely non-existent as well?

This is only more papañca, which leads to more confusion and dukkha.

Ven Thanissaro wrote:"In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all"

I think this might even be papañca...

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:48 am

kirk5a wrote:
Sylvester wrote:This is just the patiloma order of DO, and does not create a vinnana that will go on forever and ever as our happy Parinibbana Retirement Resort.

:rofl:

Ok just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, are you definitely disagreeing with the following interpretation of Ven Thanissaro:

"In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all"



Hi kirk5a

I see very little in Ven Thanissaro's reasoning to recommend itself to my agreement. Let me give my reasons, which are essentially two-fold.

Firstly, let's take a look at his reasoning from his footnote to MN 49 which you extracted. I'll pull out his entire argument for discussion -

Consciousness without surface (viññanam anidassanam): This term appears to be related to the following image from SN 12.64:
"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food ... contact ... intellectual intention ... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or grow. Where consciousness does not land or grow, name-&-form does not alight. Where name-&-form does not alight, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."

In other words, normal sensory consciousness is experienced because it has a "surface" against which it lands: the sense organs and their objects, which constitute the "all." For instance, we experience visual consciousness because of the eye and forms of which we are conscious. Consciousness without surface, however, is directly known, without intermediary, free from any dependence on conditions at all.

This consciousness thus differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future. And, as SN 35.23 notes, the word "all" in the Buddha's teaching covers only the six sense media, which is another reason for not including this consciousness under the aggregates. However, the fact that it is outside of time and space — in a dimension where there is no here, there, or in between (Ud I.10), no coming, no going, or staying (Ud VIII.1) — means that it cannot be described as permanent or omnipresent, terms that have meaning only within space and time.

Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is no where else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself. This argument, however, contains two flaws: (1) The term viññanam anidassanam also occurs in DN 11, where it is described as where name & form are brought to an end: surely a synonym for nibbana. (2) If nibbana is an object of mental consciousness (as a dhamma), it would come under the all, as an object of the intellect. There are passages in the Canon (such as AN 9.36) that describe meditators experiencing nibbana as a dhamma, but these passages seem to indicate that this description applies up through the level of non-returning. Other passages, however, describe nibbana as the ending of all dhammas. For instance, Sn V.6 quotes the Buddha as calling the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas. Sn IV.6 and Sn IV.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. Thus, for the arahant, nibbana is not an object of consciousness. Instead it is directly known without mediation. Because consciousness without feature is directly known without mediation, there seems good reason to equate the two.



His interpretation of the sunlight simile as he understands in green is way out there. As a simile, the passage of the sunlight is supposed to be evocative, not to be taken literally. His literal interpretation presupposes that vinnana is waiting/lurking around somewhere (like the sunlight) to "land" on the respective 12 ayatanas. His literal interpretation flies in the face of a major DO sutta, MN 28. There, it is quite clear, that the "corresponding engagement" working with the respective pair of ayatana+indriya, are what cause the "manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness" (MN 28, s.27, per BB's translation). When SN 12.64 speaks of consciousness "landing", it cannot mean that consciousness was already zooming around like sunlight. MN 28 is very clear, that consciousness only arises/manifests when there is tajja samannāhāra+ayatana+indriya. When those 3 are in conjunction, then and only then does consciousness arise (tathābhūta). I would just urge caution when reading his English translation of patiṭṭhita to mean "land" and to refrain from inferring into it all sorts of unnecessary gobbledy-gook.

The text in red is nothing more than petitio principii. He has not even established the validity of the event he calls "consciousness without feature", but tautologically asserts it without evidence.

The text in blue is a bare assertion about the possibility of something other than Nibbana being asankhata.

As for the text in turquoise, he's clearly overlooked SN 35.24 where phassa/contact is also included in the ALL.

Secondly, I take issue with his interpretation of "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ". Now, this term occurs twice in the sutta pitaka (DN 11 and MN 49) and in both cases, they occur in verse. With verse, normal syntactic conventions and grammar can be suspended in service of metri causa. Using these dispensations, Ven Thanissaro legitimately may read "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ", as "anidassanaṃ Viññāṇaṃ" in order to establish a 'junction' (adjective-noun), rather than the 'nexus' (noun-qualifier) employed in the text. This is how he translates the term as "consciousness without feature".

But is this a necessary reading of the term?

"Anidassanaṃ" occurs in a few other places in the suttas, and we just have to pop into the SN where the term occurs specifically at SN 43.14-43 (Anasavadi Sutta) and SN 43.44 (Parayana Sutta). In the series of suttas, the Buddha gives instructions on 30 subjects and the path leading to these 30. Nibbana is one of the 30 and the rest of the 29 subjects are nothing more than synonyms for Nibbana. One of the 30 is nothing other than "anidassana" (which BB translates as "the unmanifest").

Should it be translated as "without feature"/"without surface" (per Ven Thanissaro) or "non-manifestative" (per Ven Nanananda)?

I think that the Anasavadi Sutta is very clear that anidassana is nothing less than Nibbana, which is not line with the Commentarial explanation that "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" means "Nibbana". One way of reading this could be "cognise Nibbana" (following the Commentarial explanation of "viññāṇaṃ" in "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ").

A far simpler way to read "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" would simply be "consciousness (is) not manifest". That would bring it in line with the 2nd part of the verse which relates the cessation of Nama-Rupa to the cessation of vinnana. The silent copula (hoti) fits in perfectly, if we retain the original verse structure of a nexus, rather than reading it as a junction.

Of course, you could object that this does not account for the rest of the qualifiers "anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ" being associated with "consciousness not manifest". This won't be the only occassion when Nibbana or the extinguishment of an Aggregate is described in such positive terms. See for example Nibbana Sutta, AN 9.34 -

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"


Hope the above clarifies.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:32 am

Sylvester wrote:As for the text in turquoise, he's clearly overlooked SN 35.24 where phassa/contact is also included in the ALL.
"

Since Sylvester mentions this, it might be a good opportunity to add Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments on SN35.24:

"And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma for abandoning the all? The eye is to be abandoned, eye-contanct is to be abandoned, and whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as a condition --- whether pleasant or painful or neither pleasant-nor-painful, that too is to be abandoned..."

BB: It might seem that adding factors of experience not enumerated among the twelve sense bases --- namely, consciousness, contact, and feeling --- the Buddha has just now violated his own decree that teh "all" comprises everything. However, the factors mentioned here (and below) can be classified among the twelve bases. The six types of consciousness are included in the mind base (manayatana). Mind (mano) as a separate factor, the supporting condition for mind-consciousness, then becomes narrower in scope than the mind base; according to the commentarial [Abhidhamma-based] system it denotes the bhavangacitta or subliminal life-continuum. Among the bases, contact and feeling are include in the base of mental phenomena (dhammayatana), along with other mental concomitants and dhammarammana, the objects of mind-conciousness. Mind-consciousness itself, according to Spk, comprises the mind-door adverting conciousness (manodvaravajjanacitta) and the javanas.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:16 pm

Any more comments on this interesting Sutta? I thought Sylvester's post was worth a second read...

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:30 am

Hi

I mentioned earlier -

A far simpler way to read "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" would simply be "consciousness (is) not manifest". That would bring it in line with the 2nd part of the verse which relates the cessation of Nama-Rupa to the cessation of vinnana. The silent copula (hoti) fits in perfectly, if we retain the original verse structure of a nexus, rather than reading it as a junction.



Ven Thanissaro’s discussion of the DN 11 verse is premised on there being 2 questions, each eliciting a distinct answer. (cf the discussion by Kester captured (with thanks!) by Dmytro in the Pali thread on "viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ".)

Ven Thanissaro treats the Q1 and A1 as referring to a type of consciousness that does not “land”, presumably a consciousness that is not part of the triad of Phassa. He treats Q2 and A2 as referring to the separate and distinct issue of Nibbana.

Is it necessary to do so? As I mentioned before, the fact that the Q&A are expressed in verse allows the translator literary latitude in rendering "viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" as "anidassanaṃ viññāṇaṃ". So, he would be within that latitude to treat Q1/A1 and Q2/A2 as referring to 2 different subjects, instead of being just one subject. So, let’s see why I believe both Q1/A1 and Q2/A2 are actually referring to the one and same subject of Nibbana.

Here’s Ven Thanissaro’s translation of the verse in DN 11 (with my numbering of the Q and A interposed, based on my understanding of the Ven’s footnotes to DN 11 and MN 49) –

Q1 Where do water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing?
Q2 Where are long & short,
coarse & fine,
fair & foul,
name & form
brought to an end?

"'And the answer to that is:

A1 Consciousness without feature,
without end,
luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing.
Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
A2 With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousness
each is here brought to an end.'"

‘Kattha āpo ca pathavī,
tejo vāyo na gādhati;
Kattha dīghañca rassañca,
aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
Kattha nāmañca rūpañca,
asesaṃ uparujjhatī’ti.

Tatra veyyākaraṇaṃ bhavati—

‘Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ,
anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ;
Ettha āpo ca pathavī,
tejo vāyo na gādhati.

Ettha dīghañca rassañca,
aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
Ettha nāmañca rūpañca,
asesaṃ uparujjhati;
Viññāṇassa nirodhena,
etthetaṃ uparujjhatī’”ti.



Respectfully, I would argue that it is not necessary to differentiate both questions. These questions are, in fact, not only posed in DN 11, but we see them appear embedded in the answer to the triad of questions in the Sara Sutta, SN 1.27 as follows (per BB's translation)–

Q1 From where do the streams turn back?
Q2 Where does the round no longer revolve?
Q3 Where do name-and-form Cease utterly without remainder?”

A: Where water, earth, fire and air,
Do not gain a footing:
It is from here that the streams turn back (Q1),
Here that the round no longer revolves (Q2);
Here name-and-form
Cease utterly without remainder (Q3).”

“Kuto sarā nivattanti,
kattha vaṭṭaṃ na vattati;
Kattha nāmañca rūpañca,
asesaṃ uparujjhatī”ti.

“Yattha āpo ca pathavī,
tejo vāyo na gādhati;
Ato sarā nivattanti,
ettha vaṭṭaṃ na vattati;
Ettha nāmañca rūpañca,
asesaṃ uparujjhatī”ti.


In SN 1.27, the triad of questions is answered with just one reply, ie “Yattha āpo ca pathavī, tejo vāyo na gādhati", “where water, earth, fire and air do not gain a footing”. It should be obvious that the corresponding question “where do water, earth, fire and air not gain a footing” is answered by DN 11’s “viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ”. In other words, the answer to the 3 questions in SN 1.27 is also nothing more than "Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ".

Now, the more common answer to Q3 in SN 1.27 would simply be the “cessation of consciousness”, based on the patiloma order of DO (viññāṇanirodhā nāmarūpanirodho).

IMHO, viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ is nothing more than viññāṇanirodhā. The term "viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ" in DN 11 and MN 49 is not describing a type of consciousness, but is describing an event of consciousness ceasing. And that ties in just nicely with A2 to DN 11, where "viññāṇassa nirodhena", IMHO, should the answer not just to Q2, but to Q1 as well.

:anjali:
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