General Philosophy

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: General Philosophy

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:... especially the bolded sections, in the context of the four paramattha dhammas.

Surely that is a matter of some over-interpreting what "paramattha dhammas" means, rather than the Abhidhamma itself.

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Re: General Philosophy

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:46 am

Greetings Mike,

Perhaps... but I was referring specifically to abhidhammikas, and I'm yet to encounter an abhidhammika who sees them as pointing to fabricated designations.

If they did so, it would kind of defeat the entire purpose of the abhidhammic classification schemes in the sense that they're all sankharas no matter what conceptual overlay the abhidhammika applies, as per Ven. Kumara's comments here - viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2169&start=260#p260871

I agree you could regard the Abhidhamma Pitaka otherwise but abhidhammikas don't.

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


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


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Re: General Philosophy

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:26 am

clw_uk wrote:If its a matter of perspectives, then alcohol is sukha to an alcoholic?


Briefly sukha, then dukkha.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:44 am

clw_uk wrote:Or is the nature of Vodka in of itself, not known?


Presumably sanna is subjective, so the resultant vedana will vary according to the individual?
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:22 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:If its a matter of perspectives, then alcohol is sukha to an alcoholic?


Briefly sukha, then dukkha.

sukha-saññā, -citta, -diṭṭhi: 'the perception (consciousness or view) of happiness' in what is actually suffering (dukkhe sukha-saññā), i.e. any form of existence, it is one of the perversions (vipallāsa, q.v.).
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps... but I was referring specifically to abhidhammikas, and I'm yet to encounter an abhidhammika who sees them as pointing to fabricated designations.

If they did so, it would kind of defeat the entire purpose of the abhidhammic classification schemes in the sense that they're all sankharas no matter what conceptual overlay the abhidhammika applies, as per Ven. Kumara's comments here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 60#p260871

I agree you could regard the Abhidhamma Pitaka otherwise but abhidhammikas don't.

I think many do, actually. Read Nyanaponika's book on Abhidhamma, for instance. But this has been pointed out repeatedly on this forum, so I don't expect to change anyone's mind, I merely raise my objection to superficial dismissals for the record. See Tiltbilling's quotes here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 1&start=20

I particularly liked the talk by Van Aggacitta (who visited us briefly a few years ago) that Ven Kumara linked to here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p258009
Venerable Aggacitta: Abhidhamma origins purpose & limitations
Ven Aggacitta is well versed in both Sutta, Abhidhamma, and commentaries and in my view gives very helpful and practical advice regarding the point and usefulness of the latter two.

But this is now getting way off topic...

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Re: General Philosophy

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps... but I was referring specifically to abhidhammikas, and I'm yet to encounter an abhidhammika who sees them as pointing to fabricated designations.

If they did so, it would kind of defeat the entire purpose of the abhidhammic classification schemes in the sense that they're all sankharas no matter what conceptual overlay the abhidhammika applies, as per Ven. Kumara's comments here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 60#p260871

I agree you could regard the Abhidhamma Pitaka otherwise but abhidhammikas don't.

I think most have a much more sophisticated interpretation than you give them credit for. Read Nyanaponika's book on Abhidhamma, for instance. But this has been pointed out repeatedly on this forum, so I don't expect to change anyone's mind. I merely raise my objection to superficial dismissals for the record. See Tiltbilling's quotes here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 1&start=20

I particularly liked the talk by Van Aggacitta (who visited us briefly a few years ago) that Ven Kumara linked to here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p258009
Venerable Aggacitta: Abhidhamma origins purpose & limitations
Ven Aggacitta is well versed in both Sutta, Abhidhamma, and commentaries and in my view gives very helpful and practical advice regarding the point and usefulness of the latter two.

But this is now getting way off topic...

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Re: General Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:38 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:If its a matter of perspectives, then alcohol is sukha to an alcoholic?


Briefly sukha, then dukkha.



But isn't that your experience? How do you extrapolate your subjective experience to someone else?


In essence, how do we know that X is always dukkha, or dukkha to someone else?
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:41 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Or is the nature of Vodka in of itself, not known?


Presumably sanna is subjective, so the resultant vedana will vary according to the individual?



That wasn't the point of my post. The perception can be subjective, but the nature of X seems to allude us.


To give an old example, honey appears to be sweet, yet I can only say it appears to be sweet. I cannot affirm if honey is sweet in its nature.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:46 pm

Or to argue from ethics


Murder appears as abhorrent to me, yet good to others. I cannot tell if murder is good or bad, just how it appears to me.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Greetings,

clw_uk wrote:Or to argue from ethics

Murder appears as abhorrent to me, yet good to others. I cannot tell if murder is good or bad, just how it appears to me.

I'm inclined to perceive the matter from the point of view of cetana.

Abstracted codes and hypothetical scenarios have little bearing when the ongoing focus is on the quality of mind and the nature of intention in the present moment.

(Once again, sorry if that's boring, but a philosophy without possible application is boring to me, and when it comes to application, there is no application greater than the Dhamma. As you quoted elsewhere, ""They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views.")

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


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


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Re: General Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:42 am

I'm inclined to perceive the matter from the point of view of cetana.

Abstracted codes and hypothetical scenarios have little bearing when the ongoing focus is on the quality of mind and the nature of intention in the present moment.



That's my point. Freedom from projecting an absolute morality onto the wider humanity, and opening ourselves up to the stress of holding to an ethical system.

As you rightly posted, freedom from views is the aim.


So be recognising that murder only appears as evil to me, we can free ourselves from preaching to others that it is. We can also be free from disturbance if we witness/hear of it.



So murder appears distasteful to me, and I would not recommend it. Yet I would not hold to doctrines that concern themselves with notions of it murder is ultimately evil or not.

All I can say is that it appears unskilful to me, as it increase negative ego. Yet that says nothing about murder in of itself.


That's the application


You see my point?
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:48 am

Greetings Craig,

I think the Dhamma is interesting in the sense that it's a system of "natural" ethics.

Wholesome and unwholesome actions demonstrably yield their corresponding kammic fruit, and the Dhamma (in the sense of the teachings) is a systematised representation of how the "natural ethics" of the Dhamma (in the sense of how things are) manifest in practice. So, there is benefit in awareness and knowledge of this "natural ethical" system, but it is in no way divorced from its actual application and result.

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


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


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Re: General Philosophy

Postby clw_uk » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:57 am

Wholesome and unwholesome actions demonstrably yield their corresponding kammic fruit, and the Dhamma (in the sense of the teachings) is a systematised representation of how the "natural ethics" of the Dhamma (in the sense of how things are) manifest in practice. So, there is benefit in awareness and knowledge of this "natural ethical" system, but it is in no way divorced from its actual application and result.



But isn't that all subjective? Theft might result in negative experience (kamma) for you, sure. However that doesn't mean it does for everyone. The same object can be different from different angles.


Concerning Buddhas "natural ethics" how do you view incest, in terms of Dhamma?
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:51 am

Greetings,

clw_uk wrote:But isn't that all subjective? Theft might result in negative experience (kamma) for you, sure. However that doesn't mean it does for everyone. The same object can be different from different angles.

You're moving away from the "natural ethics" of cetana, right effort, citta etc. and over into abstractions (e.g. "theft")

clw_uk wrote:Concerning Buddhas "natural ethics" how do you view incest, in terms of Dhamma?

The same way as anything else.... cetana, right effort, citta etc. yields the commensurate experienced outcome. As I said above...

Wholesome and unwholesome actions demonstrably yield their corresponding kammic fruit, and the Dhamma (in the sense of the teachings) is a systematised representation of how the "natural ethics" of the Dhamma (in the sense of how things are) manifest in practice.

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


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


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Re: General Philosophy

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:03 am

clw_uk wrote:In essence, how do we know that X is always dukkha, or dukkha to someone else?


Presumably by observation, which is of course subjective.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:04 am

clw_uk wrote:To give an old example, honey appears to be sweet, yet I can only say it appears to be sweet. I cannot affirm if honey is sweet in its nature.


Though I think we could say that sweet and sour are quite different tastes.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:07 pm

I'd like to throw in some logic from the Diamond Sutra (hope that's OK!) to this "General Philosophy" discussion.

X doesn't have any nature of X... in this way we call it X.

I.e., "down" is never really down, so that is why we make sure to call it "down."

Dukkha is never fixed as a dukkha. That is why it is called "dukkha."

In "self," there is no self which can be seen; it is in that way that the Tathagata calls it "self."

Etc.

What do you guys think?

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Re: General Philosophy

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:47 pm

beeblebrox wrote:I.e., "down" is never really down, so that is why we make sure to call it "down."


It's partly about how we name things, but with this example isn't it also about physical laws? Due to gravity stuff always falls to earth, regardless of how we label that direction. Though of course if one travels into space "up" and "down" do become arbitrary.
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Re: General Philosophy

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:13 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:I.e., "down" is never really down, so that is why we make sure to call it "down."


It's partly about how we name things, but with this example isn't it also about physical laws? Due to gravity stuff always falls to earth, regardless of how we label that direction. Though of course if one travels into space "up" and "down" do become arbitrary.


Hi Spiny,

That part about the "down" was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there are people who still get amused when they find out that Australia is upside-down (on a globe). They'd think about how people could still fall down there. That is because they still function from their own frame of reference, of what "up" and "down" is...

So, it's really a corrective measure for that kind of misperception... in the same way that the Buddha's Dhamma is a teaching on how we could free ourselves from the samsara.

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