The causes for wisdom

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:59 am

When, Bhikkhus, a Noble Disciple listens carefully to the Dhamma,
alert with keen ears,
attending to it as a matter of crucial concern, as something of vital
importance, directing
his entire mind to it, in that very moment the Five Mental Hindrances
are absent in him.

"
Directing his entire mind to it." Doing by choosing to do. The one thing I find really interesting about your quoting texts, they rarely if ever support your contentions, your point of view.


There is no self right? One person could try so hard to listen but not be able to comprehend, or feel distracted.
The sutta uses conventional terms but what is really happening when 'directing his entire mind to it" is that kusala cittas that are focused on the sutta arise.

And they have causes and conditions.

But anyway does the sutta imply to you that it is a meditation technique that is what the Buddha meant?

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:03 am

robertk wrote:
But anyway does the sutta imply to you that it is a meditation technique that is what the Buddha meant?
Still stuck on this "meditation technique" business as a way of dismissing that which you do not agree with. Still missing the forest for the trees.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:
But anyway does the sutta imply to you that it is a meditation technique that is what the Buddha meant?
Still stuck on this "meditation technique" business as a way of dismissing that which you do not agree with. Still missing the forest for the trees.

This thread, which I began, started with the causes for wisdom to arise and I thought I had given evidence that it is by study and consideration of the teachings that are the prime causes.
When you put "meditation technique" in quotation marks what do you mean?

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:16 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:
But anyway does the sutta imply to you that it is a meditation technique that is what the Buddha meant?
Still stuck on this "meditation technique" business as a way of dismissing that which you do not agree with. Still missing the forest for the trees.

This thread, which I began, started with the causes for wisdom to arise and I thought I had given evidence that it is by study and consideration of the teachings that are the prime causes.
"Study and consideration" are things that one actively, by choice, does.
When you put "meditation technique" in quotation marks what do you mean?
It is in quotes because it is an expression you are using in what looks to be a dismissive way.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:32 pm

It should be so that the theory agrees with the practice.
SO studying directly- even at a very basic level- the way different objects present themselves should weaken the idea of control. Can we decide what the next moment is? I don't think so. Is it seeing or hearing or feeling or dosa or metta or delusion or sound that just arose? It is all happening because of conditions that we are not even aware of and it is all happening very fast.

In the "Dispeller of Delusion"(PTS) p 137 paragraph 564 it says:

In respect of the classification of the Foundations of Mindfulness. And this also takes place in multiple consciousness in the prior stage (prior to supramundane). For it lays hold of the body with one consciousness and with others feeling etc."



The quote from the "Dispeller" indicates at one moment sati takes feelings as an object and at another rupa. That is why trying to make sati go to certain objects does not lead to detachment from the idea of self. We might also remember that sati is just a cetasika, itself conditioned by various factors, and so ephemeral.


Now for some it will be that feelings appear more frequently than other objects, for others it might be taste , for others the hindrances. This is due to accumulations from the recent and distant past.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:11 pm

robertk wrote:It should be so that the theory agrees with the practice.
SO studying directly- even at a very basic level- the way different objects present themselves should weaken the idea of control. Can we decide what the next moment is? I don't think so. Is it seeing or hearing or feeling or dosa or metta or delusion or sound that just arose? It is all happening because of conditions that we are not even aware of and it is all happening very fast.
But the nice thing is that we can can cultivate by our actions the conditions that give rise to insight, seeing, that leads to awakening. It is what the Buddha taught.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:15 pm

robertk wrote:
In the "Dispeller of Delusion"(PTS) p 137 paragraph 564 it says:

In respect of the classification of the Foundations of Mindfulness. And this also takes place in multiple consciousness in the prior stage (prior to supramundane). For it lays hold of the body with one consciousness and with others feeling etc."



The quote from the "Dispeller" indicates at one moment sati takes feelings as an object and at another rupa. That is why trying to make sati go to certain objects does not lead to detachment from the idea of self.
You have not shown that the all too brief text is saying what you are claiming of it, nor is the implied criticism of your statement an accurate reflection of mindfulness practice.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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kirk5a
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:17 pm

robertk wrote:There is no self right?

Again, this is an intellectual position. Which you are taking as foundational, and drawing out further lines of reasoning from it, and you end up in a position of near fatalism. I say "near" because actually your position is simply incoherent. You deny the efficacy of effort in some areas (like practicing meditation) while allowing for it in others (listening, reading, wisely considering the Dhamma).

It is quite clear, the Buddha did not instruct to take "there is no self" as right view.
"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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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:34 pm

kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:There is no self right?

Again, this is an intellectual position. Which you are taking as foundational, and drawing out further lines of reasoning from it, and you end up in a position of near fatalism. I say "near" because actually your position is simply incoherent. You deny the efficacy of effort in some areas (like practicing meditation) while allowing for it in others (listening, reading, wisely considering the Dhamma).

It is quite clear, the Buddha did not instruct to take "there is no self" as right view.
Neat, concise on the mark analysis.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:58 am

kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:There is no self right?

I say "near" because actually your position is simply incoherent. You deny the efficacy of effort in some areas (like practicing meditation) while allowing for it in others (listening, reading, wisely considering the Dhamma).


"practicing meditation", what does it mean? do you think that someone eating a tuna sandwich could have satipatthana, or do you belive that only the person at the foot of a tree, or in a isolated room who focuses on the breath is really developing the Buddhas path.

I believe that learning what the Buddha taught is the cornestone to any development, yet One may wonder whether everyone who studies, studies rightly.

In fact very
obviously they don't. But why is that?
Mainly it is because of the very deepseated nature of self-view, it must be
truly understood that there are only elements arising and passing away with no
one controlling or doing anything. These elments don't want to study or not
study, they are mere conditioned phenomema that arise and perform their
function, and then they cease forever and a new element arises.
Kind of easy to write about and of course most Buddhists easily agree with this
( a few don't) but then because of self-view people believe that they have to do
something /change something in order to understand this. But the real 'change'
is not anything outward it is purely the arising of understanding.
And this type of understanding, as the suttas say, depends on hearing Dhamma.

Now three people may hear/read this and have totally different reactions: one
may properly understand, at some level. Another might say 'yes, but..I still
want to do something' Another might say 'it is nonsense..'
This is due to accumulations from the near and distant past.

Even the one who understands correctly at the basic level may still go wrong.
They may think mere acceptance of these facts is already enough whereas it is
only the first step in a long path of studying and learning - both in theory
and directly the difference between concept and reality- and eventually the
difference between nama and rupa.

Now while i am are sitting down can there be understanding - even direct
understanding of an element.? There can if there are conditions. I don't have
to stand up to understand, or go and sit somewhere else. And if i was sitting
somewhere else i don't need to come and sit here..
Or if i have desire arising, as we all do very often - can it be known as
desire, as an element, right there and then? Yes, it can if there are enough
conditions. But if one thought that 'Oh, here is desire I must remove it', then
one is no longer following the path toward vipassana. One is either having
aversion, or another more subtle desire (to get rid of the big desire) or at best the way of samatha.

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:01 am

kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:There is no self right?



It is quite clear, the Buddha did not instruct to take "there is no self" as right view.

"There is no doer of a deed, or one who reaps the result. Phenomena alone flow on, no other view than this right."
Visuddhimagga XIX19

QUOTE
"This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person"
XVIII24

QUOTE
"The mental and material (nama rupa) are really here
But here is no human being to be found, for it is void and merely fashioned like a doll"

They often talk about dhatus (elements) in the suttas. What does it mean - element? There are several definitions including this:

"Element is a term for what is soulesss."
Visuddhimagga XV 22, and

"They are only mere sortings out of suffering because no mastery is exercisable over them."
Visuddhimagga XV 20

"There is removal of false view in one who sees thus: "If formations were self it would be right to take them as self; but being not-self they are taken as self. Therefore they are not self in the sense of no power being exercisable over them; they are impermanent in the sense of non-existence after having come to be; they are painful in the sense of oppression by rise and fall"visuddhimagga xx83

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:03 am

robertk wrote:I believe that learning what the Buddha taught is the cornestone to any development,
And one of the primary ways of learning what the Buddha taught is to put the Buddha's teachings into practice and all that goes with that.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Paul Davy
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Paul Davy » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:29 am

Greetings,

robertk wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:There is no self right?

It is quite clear, the Buddha did not instruct to take "there is no self" as right view.

"There is no doer of a deed, or one who reaps the result. Phenomena alone flow on, no other view than this right."
Visuddhimagga XIX19

QUOTE
"This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person"
XVIII24

QUOTE
"The mental and material (nama rupa) are really here
But here is no human being to be found, for it is void and merely fashioned like a doll"

An interesting and pertinent distinction. Namely, that the Buddha taught that "dhammas are not self".... whereas Theravada commentators taught "there is no self".... thereby transforming a phenomenological reality, into an unverifiable ontological proposition.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What is the final conviction that comes when radical attention is razor-edge sharp? That the object of the mind is mind-made (manomaya). (Ven. Ñāṇananda)

Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'.
(Snp 3.6)

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SamKR
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby SamKR » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:An interesting and pertinent distinction. Namely, that the Buddha taught that "dhammas are not self".... whereas Theravada commentators taught "there is no self".... thereby transforming a phenomenological reality, into an unverifiable ontological proposition.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Well said, Retro.

These day I am also inclining to believe that the ontological stance that "there is no self" may not be in accordance to the right view taught by the Buddha.

According to Kalaka Sutta the Tathagata "doesn't construe a seer ... doesn't construe a cognizer" and according to Kaccayanagotta Sutta the Tathagata does not take a stand about 'my self' (right view, not a position).
But this is different from saying that "there is no seer ... there is no cognizer" (a view-position).

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pt1 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
robertk wrote:There is no self right?

Again, this is an intellectual position. Which you are taking as foundational, and drawing out further lines of reasoning from it, and you end up in a position of near fatalism. I say "near" because actually your position is simply incoherent. You deny the efficacy of effort in some areas (like practicing meditation) while allowing for it in others (listening, reading, wisely considering the Dhamma).

It is quite clear, the Buddha did not instruct to take "there is no self" as right view.
Neat, concise on the mark analysis.

I get a different impression of what robertk is saying, though I might be wrong. Effort, attention, concentration, etc, can be both wholesome and unwholesome, and arise with every possible action or inaction. So, it's not about meditating or not, making effort or not, studying Dhamma or not, but whether at those instances effort, concentration, etc, are wholesome or not. I guess it goes down to distinction between mental states and actions - I can appear to meditate, make effort, study, but these actions can be both wholesome and unwholesome in terms of mental states occurring presently.

As for "no self" statements, I take it they are meant to emphasize anatta of everything that arises in a conditioned manner. So it's not about postulating a philosophical view on non/existence of self, but expressing things in terms of anatta, or rather, how a mental state would be understood with developed faculty of wisdom to arise in a conditioned manner that has nothing to do with self, hence "no self" expressions.

Best wishes

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby polarbear101 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:12 am

robertk wrote: One may wonder whether everyone who studies, studies rightly.

In fact very
obviously they don't. But why is that?
Mainly it is because of the very deepseated nature of self-view, it must be
truly understood that there are only elements arising and passing away with no
one controlling or doing anything. These elments don't want to study or not
study, they are mere conditioned phenomema that arise and perform their
function, and then they cease forever and a new element arises.


I believe I may have posted this sutta in here before but you don't seem to have read it. You seem to have fallen into the strange view of the brahman in this sutta:

Then a certain brahman approached the Blessed One; having approached the Blessed One, he exchanged friendly greetings. After pleasant conversation had passed between them, he sat to one side. Having sat to one side, the brahman spoke to the Blessed One thus:

“Venerable Gotama, I am one of such a doctrine, of such a view: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer.’”[1]

“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. [5]

“What do you think, brahmin, is there an element of exertion [6] ... is there an element of effort [7] ... is there an element of steadfastness [8] ... is there an element of persistence [9] ... is there an element of endeavoring?” [10]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of endeavoring, are endeavoring beings clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”


“So, brahmin, when there is the element of endeavoring, endeavoring beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. I have not, brahmin, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view as yours. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself — say ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’?”

“Superb, Venerable Gotama! Superb, Venerable Gotama! Venerable Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been turned upside down, revealing what had been concealed, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark: ‘Those who have eyes see forms!’ Just so, the Venerable Gotama has illuminated the Dhamma in various ways. I go to Venerable Gotama as refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the assembly of monks. From this day, for as long as I am endowed with breath, let Venerable Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge.”

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html


Perhaps you start listening to the Tathagata Robert instead of Buddhaghosa and KS.

:namaste:
Last edited by polarbear101 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby pt1 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:16 am

Regarding the practice that K.S. and her students advocate (hopefully robertk and DF will correct me if I’m wrong):
(a) The phrases I hear most often have to do with being aware right now. So, awareness in daily life is encouraged and I take it this is largely in reference to satipatthana sutta. This of course is nothing new, pretty much every teacher I came across encourages awareness/mindfulness at all times.

(b) One significant trait when it comes to K.S. is that right from the start the focus is on explaining the differences between mental states as wholesome/unwholesome, rather than explaining actions as wholesome/unwholesome. In other words - since choice, effort, concentration, attention, etc (as per abhidhamma) arise with every mental state and can thus be both wholesome and unwholesome (as well as there being many reciprocal un/wholesome dhammas easily confused such as chanda and greed for example) - that means that almost every action such as studying dhamma, giving gifts, meditating, greeting someone, etc, can be both wholesome and unwholesome. So, one’s job is beginning to understand this difference between un/wholesome mental states regardless of the outward appearance of an action.

This too is nothing new either, though I find most other teachers would usually give you a meditation method/practice (aka an action of some sort), and then with the help of the teacher and the method, like in a lab, you’d figure out the difference between what’s un/wholesome, and then extend that understanding to the rest of your daily life. With K.S. though, no method, you are straight away directed to consider this in reference to every action in daily life. Hence, there’s a lot of contradicting statements – a lot of “we should develop mindfulness”, referring to wholesome instances of developing mindfulness, as well as a lot of “trying to purposefully arouse mindfulness is [often] greed for results” referring to unwholesome instances of developing mindfulness. I inserted the [often] so that is clear that the statement is not against developing mindfulness, but warning against confusing possible unwholesome state for a wholesome one, that’s all.

(c) Another significant trait is emphasis on anatta and conditionality as the cornerstone of vipassana right from the start. Again, almost every teacher does this, but K.S. in my experience does it most strongly. Basically, it is stressed right from the start that every mental state, wholesome or unwholesome, should be understood as anatta and conditioned. This further disposes with the need for a mediation method because every action in life (or rather, its inherent un/wholesome mental state), no matter how big or small, needs to be understood as anatta and conditioned. Hence, there are a lot of negative statements like “there’s no self that does anything”, ”no one can make mindfulness arise”, etc. These are of course not intellectual views on non/existence of self, but rather statements that are supposed to encourage understanding the whatever mental state that arose right now as anatta and conditioned.

(d) Another significant trait is taking the texts to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Basically, when a text encourages: “one should arouse effort, concentration” etc, this is taken to refer to (describe) an actual arising of a wholesome mental state with wholesome effort, wholesome concentration, etc, right now. So, just taking it as prescriptive is not enough – e.g. if I read such sutta and take it as prescription, I can then try to arouse effort, concentration, etc., basically trying to repeat what’s said as prescribed recipe. But, this is not enough, i.e. it doesn’t guarantee there would be actual arising of wholesome states. So, as before, it’s not about the action like whether one meditates or not, or tries to arouse mindfulness or not, but about whether the mental state that is arising is currently wholesome or unwholesome. So awareness now of whatever arises.

Anyway, as an action-oriented westerner, this sort of stuff is quite foreign, so I had a whole range of questions, which I’ll try to explain in the next post as I understand them so far, in particular -how does awareness actually arises right now, how does awareness develop further, awareness of what exactly, can I speed up the development, can I learn from mistakes, what of choice, what of control, what's wrong with meditation, etc.

Best wishes

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:51 am

pt1 wrote: . . .
Thank you for all the effort you put into writing this, but I have to say that reading it makes me glad I do not follow Sujin. I prefer a view where one can actually make an effort to practice what the Buddha taught.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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robertk
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:41 am

In the attakari sutta if I remember correctly the Commentary explains that the part where the Buddha refutes the view of no self doing actions
is the view of Makkhali Gosala

To wit
"Great king, there is no cause, no requisite condition, for the
defilement of beings. Beings are defiled without cause, without
requisite condition. There is no cause, no requisite condition, for the
purification of beings. Beings are purified without cause, without
requisite condition. There is nothing self-caused, nothing other-caused,
nothing human-caused. There is no strength, no effort, no human energy,
no human endeavor. All living beings, all life, all beings, all souls
are powerless, devoid of strength, devoid of effort. Subject to the
changes of fate, serendipity, and nature, they are sensitive to pleasure
and pain in the six great classes of birth."

The sutta is using conventional words to explain conditions. There is no self like a manager behind conditions deciding to do this or that: each element is conditioned by various complex conditions. These conditions are absolutely real .

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tiltbillings
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:16 am

robertk wrote: . . .

The sutta is using conventional words to explain conditions. There is no self like a manager behind conditions deciding to do this or that: each element is conditioned by various complex conditions. These conditions are absolutely real .
No one here is advocating a "self" behind the conditions.

These conditions are absolutely real
Do you know this experientially?
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723


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