On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:43 am

Judai wrote:The Buddha says that whatever is self does does not lead to suffering.

Can you provide a canonical reference that actually states that?

So far, you've provided passages from which it may be inferred that that which is self does not lead to suffering - but those are only inferences, and it's not clear whether they are correct or not, whether they are in line with the Pali Canon or not.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:05 am

Alex123 wrote:Right. What I believe was the intention is that we need to practice treating everything as not-self

This seems extreme, too much at once - in that it is potentially in discord with the concept of the training being gradual.


rather than get into metaphysical positions of Atta exists or doesn't. IMHO.

I think that one of the major problems with all atta doctrines is that one experiences them as doctrines, as views - and that as such, the same applies as for views in general.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:13 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:The reason why the Buddha was only concerned with what is not the self is because he realized that everything within range is not the self and there's simply nothing else to say about it because there is nothing else to say about. To assume anything beyond would be futile because it lies beyond range. There is the tendency to assume that there could be something beyond the all and that could possibly be a self of some kind but if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for such a statement, one would either have to admit that one is actually considering the aggregates and therefore assuming a self in the aggregates or one would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.
Sabba Sutta SN35.23 wrote:The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

binocular wrote:But if we are to believe that the aggregates are all there is, then nibbana either doesnt' exist, isn't real, cannot be attained, cannot serve as a goal, or is a mere aggregate.

We are not simply to believe that the aggregates are all there is but we have to understand that anything beyond the aggregates is beyond range and therefore nothing can be said about it. And nibbana isn't a thing like the aggregates and to compare it with the aggregates reveals a misunderstanding. Nibbana is described as the absence of something, generally the absence of greed, hatred and delusion. The absence of something is not a "thing" in itself, it lacks substance or existence of something. Like fire which has simply gone out. It hasn't become any-thing else but is simply absent.

In that case, why claim that there is no ontological self?

This is the point I was trying to make. There is no ground for such a claim. Maybe one can compare this to discussions about the existence or non-existence of God. There is no ground to base one's claims on, neither that god exists nor that god doesn't exist, thus a wise person doesn't concern oneself with such speculative views at all because it lacks a foundation in the first place.

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Judai wrote:SN 22.46 Impermanent (2) pg 885
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, form is impermanent.... Feeling is impermanent.... Preception is impermanent.... Volitional formations are impermanent.... Consciousness is impermanent. What is Impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."

That and other similar quotes do not state that Atta does not exist. It merely says that 5 aggregates are not Atta and should not be considered to be Atta.
But let us not forget that the Buddha states that any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas.

And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas the Buddha said:
MN 22 wrote:I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.

"would arouse in one who clings to it" Only by letting go of any idea of atta sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair will not arouse in one who has let go of any idea of atta. Not just replacing one view of atta for another but letting go of such views altogether.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby reflection » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:17 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:The reason why the Buddha was only concerned with what is not the self is because he realized that everything within range is not the self and there's simply nothing else to say about it because there is nothing else to say about. To assume anything beyond would be futile because it lies beyond range. There is the tendency to assume that there could be something beyond the all and that could possibly be a self of some kind but if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for such a statement, one would either have to admit that one is actually considering the aggregates and therefore assuming a self in the aggregates or one would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.
Sabba Sutta SN35.23 wrote:The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

binocular wrote:But if we are to believe that the aggregates are all there is, then nibbana either doesnt' exist, isn't real, cannot be attained, cannot serve as a goal, or is a mere aggregate.

We are not simply to believe that the aggregates are all there is but we have to understand that anything beyond the aggregates is beyond range and therefore nothing can be said about it. And nibbana isn't a thing like the aggregates and to compare it with the aggregates reveals a misunderstanding. Nibbana is described as the absence of something, generally the absence of greed, hatred and delusion. The absence of something is not a "thing" in itself, it lacks substance or existence of something. Like fire which has simply gone out. It hasn't become any-thing else but is simply absent.

In that case, why claim that there is no ontological self?


reflection wrote:The aggregates encompass all.

Do you have a canonical reference for this?


To those who think there is some room for a self/soul outside of aggregates, outside of the six senses - try to define it, or find it in your own experience. You'll find you can't, because such a thing does not exit.

If we don't find it, it could be because it doesn't exist, or because we are not enlightened / are in maya. In fact, that is the line of reasoning that some Hindu schools give for how come that an ordinary (!) person cannot perceive the soul.

The argument that simply because an unenlightened person doesn't see something, this means that said thing doesn't exist: that's very poor reasoning.


I know Thanissaro defines some sort of consciousness outside of the aggregates,

Please provide a reference where he says that.

Hi,

It may seem like poor reasoning, but that's because it's not reasoning. It's not an argument. The dhamma is not about winning a discussion, or finding the best sutta quotes, it is about investigating our experience. And people sometimes forget that in discussions such as this. But in terms of arguments, to say something exists that you can't see or infer is of course the weak argument, not the opposite.

As for the references, the aggregates and the six senses are the same things. This sutta says that is all there is:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The last sentence is probably hard to translate, but I've seen it translated "because such a thing doesn't exist". Of course Venerable Thanissaro doesn't translate it like this, see the footnote, and:

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


This has all been discussed before, so I won't do it again. My advise is to see if there is a consciousness of something else than the six senses. I say people won't find it. Perhaps only in metaphysical ideas, but not in actual experiences.

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:32 am

binocular wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Right. What I believe was the intention is that we need to practice treating everything as not-self

This seems extreme, too much at once - in that it is potentially in discord with the concept of the training being gradual.

But it is what the Buddha taught. Let's see what's everything, the All.
SN35.23 wrote:"The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All.

Next thing is to see that the all, everything, the eye&froms, ear&sounds, nose&aromas, tongue&flavors, body&tactile sensations, intellect&ideas are not-self.
MN148 wrote:"If anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the eye are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self.' So the eye is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Forms are the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self and forms are not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Consciousness at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Contact at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Feeling is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self, feeling is not self. If anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of craving are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self.' Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self, feeling is not self, craving is not-self. [and it goes on for the other senses]

"If anyone were to say, 'The ear is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable...

"If anyone were to say, 'The nose is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable...

"If anyone were to say, 'The tongue is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable...

"If anyone were to say, 'The body is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable...

"If anyone were to say, 'The intellect is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the intellect are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'The intellect is the self.' So the intellect is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Ideas are the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the intellect is not-self and ideas are not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Consciousness at the intellect is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the intellect is not-self, ideas are not-self, consciousness at the intellect is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Contact at the intellect is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the intellect is not-self, ideas are not-self, consciousness at the intellect is not-self, contact at the intellect is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Feeling is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the intellect is not-self, ideas are not-self, consciousness at the intellect is not-self, contact at the intellect is not-self, feeling is not self. If anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of craving are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'Craving is the self.' Thus the intellect is not-self, ideas are not-self, consciousness at the intellect is not-self, contact at the intellect is not-self, feeling is not self, craving is not-self.

And finally the Buddha tells us what is the path of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification. Namely practice treating everything as not-self.
MN148 wrote:"Now, this is the path of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification. One assumes about the eye that 'This is not me, this is not my self, this is not what I am.' One assumes about forms... One assumes about consciousness at the eye... One assumes about contact at the eye... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is not me, this is not my self, this is not what I am.'

"One assumes about the ear...

"One assumes about the nose...

"One assumes about the tongue...

"One assumes about the body...

"One assumes about the intellect that 'This is not me, this is not my self, this is not what I am.' One assumes about ideas... One assumes about consciousness at the intellect... One assumes about contact at the intellect... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is not me, this is not my self, this is not what I am.'


best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:33 am

acinteyyo wrote:
binocular wrote:In that case, why claim that there is no ontological self?

This is the point I was trying to make. There is no ground for such a claim. Maybe one can compare this to discussions about the existence or non-existence of God. There is no ground to base one's claims on, neither that god exists nor that god doesn't exist, thus a wise person doesn't concern oneself with such speculative views at all because it lacks a foundation in the first place.

But in Buddhism, the major schools hold that there is no ontological self.

How can that be??!


And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas

Can you provide a reference for this?

Because if we are to believe that any idea of atta is derived from the khandas, then we're also saying, among other things, that either God did not reveal Himself and His teachings, or that nobody who is currently living or present is familiar with God's revelation.
Namely, many doctrines of atta come from the theists.
Making claims about doctrines of atta can by implication be making claims about God. (!)


MN 22“Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it. But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.

Interestingly, from some theistic perspectives, this isn't necessarily bad in and of itself.

Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair can also be of the "spiritual kind" as opposed to the ordinary kind- something like renunciate grief as opposed to householder grief, where renunciate grief is higher and nobler than householder grief.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:41 am

binocular wrote:
And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas

Can you provide a reference for this?
    Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. Which five? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.... Owing to the fading of ignorance and the arising of clear knowing, (the thoughts) -- 'I am,' 'I am this,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' and 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' -- do not occur to him." SN III 46

Because if we are to believe that any idea of atta is derived from the khandas, then we're also saying, among other things, that either God did not reveal Himself and His teachings, or that nobody who is currently living or present is familiar with God's revelation.
Namely, many doctrines of atta come from the theists.
Making claims about doctrines of atta can by implication be making claims about God. (!)

    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman, i.e. permanent spiritual substance, essence or personality); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 19
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:45 am

binocular wrote:
And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas

Can you provide a reference for this?
See:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11079&start=200#p249412
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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:50 am

reflection wrote:It may seem like poor reasoning, but that's because it's not reasoning. It's not an argument. The dhamma is not about winning a discussion, or finding the best sutta quotes, it is about investigating our experience. And people sometimes forget that in discussions such as this.

The problem with our "experience" is that it is so utterly vague, unreliable, all over the place, changeable.


But in terms of arguments, to say something exists that you can't see or infer is of course the weak argument, not the opposite.

And nobody here is doing that.

It's simply that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


My advise is to see if there is a consciousness of something else than the six senses. I say people won't find it. Perhaps only in metaphysical ideas, but not in actual experiences.

Many theists categorically disagree with this. They believe to have God consciousness, consciousness of God, which is something else than the six senses.
Are you saying they are all deluded?

Because this is the kind of problem one necessarily runs into the moment one elevates one's current (!) experience on the pedestal of the highest standard of knowledge (whether one is a theist or an atheist or whichever).
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
binocular wrote:
And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas

Can you provide a reference for this?
    Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. Which five? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.... Owing to the fading of ignorance and the arising of clear knowing, (the thoughts) -- 'I am,' 'I am this,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' and 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' -- do not occur to him." SN III 46

Yes, those who assume in various ways. There may be problems for those who assume, this is well-established.
The passage you quoted doesn't say anything about people who might have revelation from God.


Because if we are to believe that any idea of atta is derived from the khandas, then we're also saying, among other things, that either God did not reveal Himself and His teachings, or that nobody who is currently living or present is familiar with God's revelation.
Namely, many doctrines of atta come from the theists.
Making claims about doctrines of atta can by implication be making claims about God. (!)

    "The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman, i.e. permanent spiritual substance, essence or personality); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 19

Leaving aside that you had to go to the Abhidharmakosha for this - the statement you quoted sounds like a truism. Not sure what to do with it.

Moreover, since the phrase used is "a God" that, to me, already suggests that the author/translator was working out of a fairly generalized idea of God (which is bound to lead to problems). ("A God" is a contradiction in terms as much as "a Barack Obama" is a contradiction in terms, unless we are talking about caricatures/imitators.)


AN 3.61 -
"Having approached the brahmans & contemplatives who hold that... 'Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation,' I said to them: 'Is it true that you hold that... "Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation?"' Thus asked by me, they admitted, 'Yes.' Then I said to them, 'Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of a supreme being's act of creation. A person is a thief... unchaste... a liar... a divisive speaker... a harsh speaker... an idle chatterer... greedy... malicious... a holder of wrong views because of a supreme being's act of creation.' When one falls back on creation by a supreme being as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should & shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered & unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative. This was my second righteous refutation of those brahmans & contemplatives who hold to such teachings, such views.
is sometimes offered as an argument against theism.
But on closer look, it is an argument only against some kinds of theism, such as the Calvinist doctrine, but not all theistic doctrines (that maintain that God is the Supreme Cause). Some Hindu theistic doctrines seem impossible to refute.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:12 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
binocular wrote:In that case, why claim that there is no ontological self?

This is the point I was trying to make. There is no ground for such a claim. Maybe one can compare this to discussions about the existence or non-existence of God. There is no ground to base one's claims on, neither that god exists nor that god doesn't exist, thus a wise person doesn't concern oneself with such speculative views at all because it lacks a foundation in the first place.

But in Buddhism, the major schools hold that there is no ontological self.

How can that be??!

Do they? I don't know for sure. I would rather say the major schools hold the view that what is commonly considered the self is a delusion. Anything else may be implied more or less...
binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:And since any idea of atta is derived from the khandhas

Can you provide a reference for this?

see Tilt's great answers above
binocular wrote:Because if we are to believe that any idea of atta is derived from the khandas, then we're also saying, among other things, that either God did not reveal Himself and His teachings, or that nobody who is currently living or present is familiar with God's revelation. Namely, many doctrines of atta come from the theists.
Making claims about doctrines of atta can by implication be making claims about God. (!)

You aren't to believe anything. You have to understand and see directly for yourself that anything which you assumes, every experience you experience consists of the five aggregates. The five aggregates encompass the whole range of experience. Anything else lies beyond range and no statement can be made about what lies beyond range. It's as simple as this. The borderline of the ability of insight starts beyond the aggregates.

Edit:
binocular wrote:The passage you quoted (tiltbillings quoted SN III 46) doesn't say anything about people who might have revelation from God.

Either God is beyond range, which means no statement whatsoever can be made about God or God lies within range of the five aggregates and then is to be considered not-self, impermanent and suffering.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:16 am

acinteyyo wrote:But it is what the Buddha taught. Let's see what's everything, the All.

Next thing is to see that the all, everything, the eye&froms, ear&sounds, nose&aromas, tongue&flavors, body&tactile sensations, intellect&ideas are not-self.

And finally the Buddha tells us what is the path of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification. Namely practice treating everything as not-self.

Alright. But I like the Buddha's formulation better.


Other than that, what you quoted is still not in discord with some theistic atta doctrines. As I've already mentioned, the Hare Krishnas have an atta doctrine that doesn't seem to be in discord with the Pali Canon.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:24 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:But it is what the Buddha taught. Let's see what's everything, the All.

Next thing is to see that the all, everything, the eye&froms, ear&sounds, nose&aromas, tongue&flavors, body&tactile sensations, intellect&ideas are not-self.

And finally the Buddha tells us what is the path of practice leading to the cessation of self-identification. Namely practice treating everything as not-self.

Alright. But I like the Buddha's formulation better.

I didn't add anything but the word "everything" to the formulation of the Buddha, where it is said "the All" in the quoted Suttas.
binocular wrote:Other than that, what you quoted is still not in discord with some theistic atta doctrines. As I've already mentioned, the Hare Krishnas have an atta doctrine that doesn't seem to be in discord with the Pali Canon.

I would bet on it that it probably is in discord. But anyway this is not the place to discuss that and I don't bet.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:33 am

acinteyyo wrote:
binocular wrote:Other than that, what you quoted is still not in discord with some theistic atta doctrines. As I've already mentioned, the Hare Krishnas have an atta doctrine that doesn't seem to be in discord with the Pali Canon.

I would bet on it that it probably is in discord. But anyway this is not the place to discuss that and I don't bet.

It is relevant inasmuch we are talking about the doctrine of no ontological self as being "the truth about how things really are."
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:53 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
binocular wrote:Other than that, what you quoted is still not in discord with some theistic atta doctrines. As I've already mentioned, the Hare Krishnas have an atta doctrine that doesn't seem to be in discord with the Pali Canon.

I would bet on it that it probably is in discord. But anyway this is not the place to discuss that and I don't bet.

It is relevant inasmuch we are talking about the doctrine of no ontological self as being "the truth about how things really are."

I'm not talking about the doctrine of no ontological self as being the truth about how things really are. Neither do I approve that such a doctrine is about how things really are.
The point I'm trying to make clear is that any doctrine of self leads to confusion. It doesn't matter whether it's a doctrine of "there is" a self or a doctrine of "there is" no self or the self "is" like this or that or the self "is not" like this or that.
It's important to get the frame of reference correctly. Anything considered being the self (permanent and so on) within the All is to ignore the characteristics of the All as being impermanent, not-self (not mine, not me, not what I am) and stressful.
Anything else lies beyond range and it isn't appropriate to consider what is beyond range in the first place.
Understanding that one starts to let go of those deceptive doctrines.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:29 pm

acinteyyo wrote:Anything else lies beyond range and it isn't appropriate to consider what is beyond range in the first place.


I agree with you, but what about "sabbe dhamma anatta"? Some people seem to regard that as an ontological statement.
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby Zom » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:34 pm

I agree with you, but what about the statement "sabbe dhamma anatta"? Isn't that also a view?


It is. But this is a right view, not wrong view 8-)
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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:03 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:Anything else lies beyond range and it isn't appropriate to consider what is beyond range in the first place.

I agree with you, but what about "sabbe dhamma anatta"? Some people seem to regard that as an ontological statement.

Generally speaking there is no problem with ontological statements as long as they're concerned with what lies within range of experience.
About "sabbe dhamma anatta" one shouldn't consider this statement without the other two which belong together. It's

sabbe sankhara anicca
sabbe sankhara dukkha
sabbe dhamma anatta

All conditioned things, all formations (sankhara) are impermanent (anicca), stressfull (dukkha) and not-self (anatta). One might wonder why the third statement is dhamma not sankhara. It is dhamma because otherwise one could think the uncondtioned (ashankhata) could then be considered as self (atta). The unconditioned is a synonym for nibbana and the word dhamma comprises the conditioned as well as the unconditioned. Therefore "sabbe dhamma anatta" is to be understood as all conditioned things, all fabrications are not-self and even nibbana, the unconditioned is not-self.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:48 pm

The khandhas totally obscure the Dhamma,
and that's where we go wrong. We waste our time
in watching khandhas so that we don't see
the Dhamma that, though greater than the khandhas,
seems like dust."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/mun/ballad.html
"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: On Thanissaro Bhikkhu's anatta teachings

Postby reflection » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:43 pm

binocular wrote:
reflection wrote:It may seem like poor reasoning, but that's because it's not reasoning. It's not an argument. The dhamma is not about winning a discussion, or finding the best sutta quotes, it is about investigating our experience. And people sometimes forget that in discussions such as this.

The problem with our "experience" is that it is so utterly vague, unreliable, all over the place, changeable.


But in terms of arguments, to say something exists that you can't see or infer is of course the weak argument, not the opposite.

And nobody here is doing that.

It's simply that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


My advise is to see if there is a consciousness of something else than the six senses. I say people won't find it. Perhaps only in metaphysical ideas, but not in actual experiences.

Many theists categorically disagree with this. They believe to have God consciousness, consciousness of God, which is something else than the six senses.
Are you saying they are all deluded?

Because this is the kind of problem one necessarily runs into the moment one elevates one's current (!) experience on the pedestal of the highest standard of knowledge (whether one is a theist or an atheist or whichever).

Your own experience is all you've got, it's all you have to work with. It may be vague and all over the place for some people, but I'd say that can be seen as a first indicator of it being not self, not controllable. Of course in our meditation ideally it is not vague and all over the place and it becomes more clear what's what and what's not.

And by looking deeply like this, for me, the existence of something like the old Viking gods is more likely than the existence of a sort of seventh consciousness. Why? The gods may hide themselves, but if the outside-of-aggregates-consciousness would exist, it would be for me to experience. And I don't. And well, frankly I think nobody does and people mistake some form of mind-consciousness as God consciousness or nibbana consciousness. So you may be thinking I'm not saying people are wrong. In a sense yes, but mainly I'm just saying to look again. Of course, they may say the same to me, but I don't think that's a problem or putting our experience on a pedestal. I'm not trying to win a debate or being the knower of it all. There is no use in that. But what views and way of investigating makes me peaceful, I feel I should share sometimes.
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