Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

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Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby greenjuice » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:13 pm

From the Milinda Panha

6. “What is it, Nàgasena, that is reborn?”

“Mind and matter.”

“Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”

“No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released
from the results of its previous deeds.”

“Give me an illustration.”

“It is like a fire that a man might kindle and, having warmed himself, he might leave it burning and go away. Then, if that fire were to set light to another man’s field and
the owner were to seize him and accuse him before the king, and he were to say, ‘Your majesty, I did not set this man’s field on fire. The fire that I left burning was different to that which burnt his field. I am not guilty’. Would he deserve punishment?”

“Indeed, yes, because whatever he might say the latter fire resulted from the former one.”

“Just so, O king, by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released
from the results of its previous deeds.”

I have various problems with this. Firstly, how can namarupa be reborn, isn't only the nama reborn? Further, is this an unfortunate translation, or does he really say that "another mind" will be born because of the deeds of this mind? That is plainly contradictory with the teaching that people are heirs of their own kamma. The metaphor confuses the question further, the one indirectly harming another man('s possessions) just supports this interpretation which is not only in contradiction with Buddha's words, but also pointless in itself, if one's bad kamma after his death results in another person being born in hell, how does that enact the 'deserved punishment' on the first person, the doer of the bad kamma?
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:07 pm

This is the relevant Pāḷi text:

“Evameva kho, mahārāja, iminā nāmarūpena kammaṃ karoti sobhanaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā, tena kammena aññaṃ nāmarūpaṃ paṭisandahati, tasmā na mutto pāpakehi kammehī”ti.


When there is rebirth, unless it is in the formless realms, then there is both mind and matter.

It is like, when you light a fire from another one, the new fire must have fuel in order to burn (matter) as well as heat (mind) to make it ignite.
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby greenjuice » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:55 pm

That is in contradiction with moral responsibility, which Buddha's thought by saying that beings are the heirs of their kamma. If is not a being that is the heir of it's kamma, but some other being, then there is no moral responsibility.
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:07 pm

Greetings greenjuice,

It seems then that you find Nagasena's explanation unsatisfactory.

Would you like us to move this topic now to a more general section of the forum so an ongoing exploration of that perceived unsatisfactoriness can take place?

The Discovering Theravada section has specific guidelines which are likely to constrain such exploration of perceived conflicts/unsatisfactoriness - viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9992

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:29 pm

greenjuice wrote:“Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”

“No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released from the results of its previous deeds.”

So, how does this deny moral responsibility?

In fact, there is no "being," apart from mind and matter.

What is the Personality?
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:10 am

Hi greenjuice,

Nagasena's statement is simply a rewording of message the following sutta:
... As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?"

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby greenjuice » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:52 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings greenjuice,

It seems then that you find Nagasena's explanation unsatisfactory.

Would you like us to move this topic now to a more general section of the forum so an ongoing exploration of that perceived unsatisfactoriness can take place?

The Discovering Theravada section has specific guidelines which are likely to constrain such exploration of perceived conflicts/unsatisfactoriness - viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9992

Metta,
Retro. :)

Seemed like a pretty newbie question, so I thought I put it here :thinking: That's why I put "according to Nagasena" in brackets.

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
greenjuice wrote:“Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”

“No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released from the results of its previous deeds.”

So, how does this deny moral responsibility?

In fact, there is no "being," apart from mind and matter.

What is the Personality?

Afaik, Theravada accepts the existence of chitta/ bhavanga.

mikenz66 wrote:Hi greenjuice,

Nagasena's statement is simply a rewording of message the following sutta:
... As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?"

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
Mike


"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?" [1]

Thanissaro's note: [1] The Buddha, knowing that there are two types of consciousness — the consciousness aggregate (viññāṇakkhandha), which is experienced in conjunction with the six sense media, and consciousness without surface (viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ), which is experienced independently of the six sense media (MN 49) — is here giving Sāti the chance to identify which of the two types he has interpreted as running and wandering on. Sāti's answer shows that he is talking about the first type. The remaining discussion of consciousness throughout this sutta is thus directed at this first type.
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:51 pm

Greetings,

greenjuice wrote:Seemed like a pretty newbie question, so I thought I put it here :thinking: That's why I put "according to Nagasena" in brackets.

It's not that so much... it's that within Theravada there are vastly differing opinions on how to regard Nagasena's teaching.

For example, the writings of Nanavira Thera absolutely decimate Nagasena's representation of the Dhamma ( with good reason, in my opinion - see http://www.nanavira.org/index.php/notes ... s/na-ca-so ) but this section isn't about critique, because on a forum critique readily becomes debate, and this sub-section is intended to be free from debate... it's intended to be a place where someone can ask a question and be confident that they're going to receive a response which is representative of the Theravada tradition. If there's back and forth, conflicting statements, arguments over meaning etc. then it runs counter to providing clarity to the person asking questions.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Please note: link has now been fixed... extra instances of Nanavira discussing Milindapañha are here - http://www.nanavira.org/index.php/plus/ ... phrase=all
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: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:06 am

retrofuturist wrote:For example, the writings of Nanavira Thera absolutely dessimate Nagasena's representation of the Dhamma

What does dessimate mean? It doesn't appear to be an English word... :thinking:

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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:19 am

mikenz66 wrote:What does dessimate mean? It doesn't appear to be an English word... :thinking:

The word is decimate —Kill one in every ten, as of mutineers in Roman armies. (source: http://wordweb.info/free/)
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:31 am

Greetings,

Yep, that's the one... interesting to learn the origin and correct spelling of the word!

:thanks:

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: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby greenjuice » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:18 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

greenjuice wrote:Seemed like a pretty newbie question, so I thought I put it here :thinking: That's why I put "according to Nagasena" in brackets.

It's not that so much... it's that within Theravada there are vastly differing opinions on how to regard Nagasena's teaching.

Interesting. Seems I've again made a mistake putting a topic here, and that it should be moved to General Theravada, or wherever it's fitting.
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Re: Anatta and rebirth (according to Nagasena)

Postby Mkoll » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:37 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What does dessimate mean? It doesn't appear to be an English word... :thinking:

The word is decimate —Kill one in every ten, as of mutineers in Roman armies. (source: http://wordweb.info/free/)

That looks like a very useful software. Thanks for posting the link!

:thanks:
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