something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

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something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:37 pm

BlackBird in another thread wrote:
Nanavira Thera wrote:. . . This, of course, destroys the principle of self-identity, 'A is A'; for unless something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time you cannot even make the assertion 'this is A' since the word 'is' has lost its meaning. . . .
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5815&p=94863#p94863
Wow! Thanks for exposing that bit of really bad philosophy. I guess being a self-proclaimed stream-winner is no guarantee against bad philosophizing.
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Wow! Thanks for exposing that bit of really bad philosophy. I guess being a self-proclaimed stream-winner is no guarantee against bad philosophizing.


Would you care to expand on that opinion with say, an argument of some sort?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:49 pm

BlackBird wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Wow! Thanks for exposing that bit of really bad philosophy. I guess being a self-proclaimed stream-winner is no guarantee against bad philosophizing.


Would you care to expand on that opinion with say, an argument of some sort?


Sure, but let us do it as a dialogue. What is it that "endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time?"
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:01 pm

Happy birthday Jack,

Your post could be a new thread.


Quotes are Nanavira Thera as quoted by Jack
unless something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time you cannot even make the assertion 'this is A' since the word 'is' has lost its meaning


This sounds right to me. Why assert "A" when "A" can simply be known directly without adding commentary.


BlackBird wrote:Unfortunately, in doing away with the principle of self-identity, you do away with things—including change, which is also a thing.


Why "unfortunately"? Change is not necessarily a thing.

BlackBird wrote:This means that for the puthujjana, who does not see aniccatā, things exist, and for the arahat, who has seen aniccatā, things do not exist.


I dont think it means that things do not exist for an arahat. It means that perception of things is understood to be a contextual occurrence. Existence and Non existence are seen by the arahat as not being applicable without context.

Just my thoughts.

Metta

Gabe
Last edited by Prasadachitta on Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:04 pm

:popcorn:
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:08 pm

I don't see why an argument against Nyanavira's passage requires my input. I'm not here to defend him, I'm here to watch you dissect his argument with logic and reasoning. If and when you do, then perhaps I can contribute something useful.

Cheers
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:09 pm

Shonin wrote::popcorn:
I got royally chewed out when I made much the same comment verbally in another thread. It may be good, informative and, if we are lucky, an entertaining thread. So, popcorn for everyone.
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Ytrog » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
BlackBird wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Wow! Thanks for exposing that bit of really bad philosophy. I guess being a self-proclaimed stream-winner is no guarantee against bad philosophizing.


Would you care to expand on that opinion with say, an argument of some sort?


Sure, but let us do it as a dialogue. What is it that "endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time?"


Impermanence is that nothing remains forever in any state. It doesn't mean that something cannot remain in a state for a certain finite time.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el186.html
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:15 pm

I dont think I need to disect why logical reasoning based on assertions as a way to see if any ultimate asserstions can be made is a problematic venture.


:popcorn:
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:17 pm

BlackBird wrote:I don't see why an argument against Nyanavira's passage requires my input. I'm not here to defend him, I'm here to watch you dissect his argument with logic and reasoning.

Cheers
Jack
You quoted him, which suggests you support what he has to say and that you understand what he has to say. And it is not un reasonable to ask the person who quoted a someone, what that someone meant.

What endures?

It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worlding to take as self this body… rather than the mind. For what reason? The body … is seen standing for one year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, for twenty, thirty, forty, or fify, for a hundred years, or even longer. But that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grans still another, so too that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this that arises…. SN II 94-5 Dhp 35. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.
Is it the body Nanavira is referring to?
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:19 pm

Ytrog wrote:Impermanence is that nothing remains forever in any state. It doesn't mean that something cannot remain in a state for a certain finite time.
So, what is it that endures?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel186.html
What particulat text are you referring to in Ven Nyanaponika's essay?
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:20 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:I dont think I need to disect why logical reasoning based on assertions as a way to see if any ultimate asserstions can be made is a problematic venture.


Hi grabrielbranbury.

I wasn't responding to your post but to Tilts. He made the statement:

Tilt wrote:Wow! Thanks for exposing that bit of really bad philosophy. I guess being a self-proclaimed stream-winner is no guarantee against bad philosophizing.


I asked him if he could expand upon his opinion with an argument of some sort. I didn't write Nyanavira's piece, it makes good logical sense to me and I would be very interested in seeing a logical and reasoned rebuttal, which is what I asked for.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:21 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:I dont think I need to disect why logical reasoning based on assertions as a way to see if any ultimate asserstions can be made is a problematic venture.
How about restating that so it can be better understood, please.
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: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Ytrog » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ytrog wrote:Impermanence is that nothing remains forever in any state. It doesn't mean that something cannot remain in a state for a certain finite time.
So, what is it that endures?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel186.html
What particulat text are you referring to in Ven Nyanaponika's essay?


Good question. What is it not? It is not substantial, however we conventionally give something an identity. We identify the states with something. It is a state of something we identify. Ultimately it is not something, though not nothing either. I have no direct experience on this matter (I'm not nearly that far on the path), so my rambling stops here.

As for the assay: I was referring to the preface.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:49 pm

I find it a little unfortunate how various personal letters that presumably made sense in the context that Ven Nanavira wrote them have taken on a life of their own. Reading the extract that Jack quoted I honestly can't figure out what he's getting at well enough to even evaluate the argument.

However, these questions surrounding anicca and continuity are not new and have been argued about by scholars ancient and modern. As I understand it, the Sarvarstivardin interpretation of the existence of dharmas in the past, present, and future, was an attempt to deal with this sort of issue. The Sautranikas, on the other hand, promoted the sort of "radical momentariness" that Ven N seems to be talking about. The Theravada concept of Bhavanga "solves" the problem of continuity vs change in a different way... See pages 220-223 of Gethin's "Foundations of Buddhism" for a discussion of these arguments on the level I understand it...

:anjali:
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ytrog wrote:Impermanence is that nothing remains forever in any state. It doesn't mean that something cannot remain in a state for a certain finite time.
So, what is it that endures?

Anicca does not necessarily imply a constant flux (which was obviously based on a fallacy)... only that things are impermanent. Here are some very basic quotes from the suttas, mentioned in the excellent "Change" by Bodhesako:

And which, friends, is the development of concentration which, developed and made much of, leads to mindfulness and awareness? Here, friends, feelings arise known to a monk, known they persist, known they go to an end. Perceptions arise known, known they persist, known they go to an end. Thoughts arise known, known they persist, known they go to an end. Friends, this is the development of concentration which, developed and made much of, leads to mindfulness and awareness. – D. 33: iii,223.

And those things in the first meditation — thinking and pondering and gladness and pleasure and one-pointedness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, wish, resolve, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, attention — these things are analyzed step by step by him. These things arise known to him. Known they persist, known they go to an end. He understands thus: Thus these things, having not been, come to be. Having been, they disappear. – M. 111: iii,25.

Friends, the arising of matter [...of feelings; ...of perception; ...of conditions; ...of consciousness] is manifest, ceasing is manifest, change while standing is manifest. – S. XXII,37: iii,38.

There comes a time, friends, when the external earth element is disturbed, and then the external earth element vanishes. For even of this external earth element, great as it is, impermanence will be manifest, liability to destruction will be manifest, liability to decay will be manifest, liability to become otherwise will be manifest. What then of this body, which is held to by craving and lasts but a little while?
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I find it a little unfortunate how various personal letters that presumably made sense in the context that Ven Nanavira wrote them have taken on a life of their own. Reading the extract that Jack quoted I honestly can't figure out what he's getting at well enough to even evaluate the argument.


I don't think it's unfortunate at all, considering they're not taken out of context. The context is that Bhante Nyanavira is presenting an argument that if one is to follow the orthodox Theravadin position that anicca = flux, then one must logically arrive at the Mahayanist contention. My reason for posting this that I saw a quote wherein Bhante Thanissaro seems to suggest that Theravada and Mahayana are separate religions. My response was that on the face of things this is quite in order, but as some suggest (see quote) at the heart of things these lines begin to blur.

I think I told you some time ago (in connexion with Huxley and chemical mysticism) that the Mahāyānist view can be summed up in two propositions, the first common to all mystics, and the second supposed to represent the Buddha's solution to the problem raised by the first.

(i) Behind the ordinary appearance of things there lies Reality, which it is the task of the Yogi to seek. Existentialist philosophers do not go as far as this: if they admit such a Reality—Jaspers, for example—they qualify it by saying that it is necessarily out of reach. See Preface (m).

(ii) Reality is the non-existence of things. In other words, things do not really exist, they only appear to do so on account of our ignorance (avijjā). (George Borrow[1] tells of a Spanish gypsy in the last century whose grandfather held this view, so it hardly needs a Buddha to declare it. It seems to be closely allied to the Hindu notion of māyā—that all is illusion.)


This part is crucial for what follows. You have to follow the argument, which is concerned with the existence of things.

Now the Pali texts say that the Buddha taught anicca/dukkha/anattā, and the average Theravādin, monk or layman, seems to take for granted that aniccatā, or impermanence, means that things are perpetually changing, that they do not remain the same for two consecutive moments. Failing to make the necessary distinctions (see PATICCASAMUPPĀDA [c]), they understand this as implying perpetual flux of everything all the time.


Stock formulation of the flux argument.

This, of course, destroys the principle of self-identity, 'A is A'; for unless something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time you cannot even make the assertion 'this is A' since the word 'is' has lost its meaning.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_thought

The point here is not concerned with the specifics (which is what Tilt seems to be caught up in) but that for anything to 'exist' it must remain so for some period of time, or else it cannot be said to be, for it is already something other. Flux presumes perpetual change and that breaks the principle of self identity, for if flux were true, then nothing would in fact exist, because it would not 'be' at all, it would be otherwise.

Now you might say that flux is true in the scientific sense that things are in perpetual motion at a minute level that is far beyond our perception. For example that a chair may 'appear' to be the same chair it was a minute ago, but it is changing all the time, at an atomic level (or however you want to slice it). However to us, the chair remains the same until it changes. So we have a problem, we can either assert the existence of the chair, or we can deny it. To assert the existence of the chair, to say that the chair exists in my experience is to deny the idea of perpetual change. To deny the existence of the chair is to say that although it 'appears' to be a chair, it is in fact in perpetual flux, along with the rest of our world, and we do not see that because we are ignorant of the Buddha's teaching. Now if you re-read the first quote, you will see that this is nothing more than the two contentions that the Mahayanists make. It is the same argument, unfortunately that Orthodox Theravadins make.

Bypassing dukkha as something we all know about, they arrive at anattā as meaning 'without self-identity'. (This is Mr. Wettimuny's theme,[2] following Dahlke. I do not think he is aware that he is putting himself among the Mahāyānists.) Granted the premise that anicca means 'in continuous flux', this conclusion is impeccable. Unfortunately, in doing away with the principle of self-identity, you do away with things—including change, which is also a thing. This means that for the puthujjana, who does not see aniccatā, things exist, and for the arahat, who has seen aniccatā, things do not exist. Thus the Mahāyānist contention is proved.


In light of the above, this should now make sense. If it doesn't, I'll try to expand when I get home later on.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby BlackBird » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:47 pm

Just to reiterate, the reason I posted the quote was in response to the idea that Mahayana and Theravada are seperate religions. I propose that on the face of things, this is fine, but when you get down to the deeper doctrine, they are remarkably similar in some aspects. In others, they're vastly different. For example Nirvana, the Mahayanist conception of which I can make absolutely no sense of.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:17 pm

Is this a debate over facts or a debate over definitions?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:25 pm

Individual wrote:Is this a debate over facts or a debate over definitions?
Both.
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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