Pleasant and Unpleasant

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
chownah
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by chownah » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:35 am

one_awakening wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:35 pm
I can understand that an apple can be regarded as intrinsically pleasant and desirable because it's food, it's sweet and has a pleasant taste, but someone may hate the taste of apples and find them unpleasant and undesirable. So how can we say that the apple is desirable independent of perceptions, if the second person finds it undesirable?
I think I understand what you are saying and I am pretty much in agreement.

Another way to understand this discussion is to not think of an "object" as being some external thing and think of a thought or idea as being a "mental object". This is in accord with the suttas where it talks about the six sense facilities an their objects.....so there would be the eye an the eye object, the ear and the ear object....tongue, nose, body, and finally the mind and the mind object.

It then could be that part of the makeup of a mental object is its degree of pleasent-ness/unpleasent-ness. Taken this way it should be note that the pleasant/unpleasantness only endures as long as the thought endures.....which is really a very short time period.

This is not exactly my view but perhaps it will resonate with you.
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L.N.
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by L.N. » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:12 am

Will attempt to untangle this:
samseva wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:37 pm
In other words, the single sentence that you quoted ...
I did not quote just a single sentence.
... and which you seem to have taken to mean that formations have intrisic qualities of being desirable or undesirable ...
This is not what I said.
, ... regardless of the perceiver, actually means that they took the most common reaction of average men ...
Who is "they"?
... ("accountants, government officials, burgesses, land owners and merchants") and from this claimed that such and such an object had such and such an "intrinsic" desirable or undersirable quality.
Who is "claiming"?
That's all.
I don't think that is quite all. Did you read the entire quoted passage, or just the parts which comport with your personal views? E.g., "Whether on a given occasion one experiences an undesirable, a moderately desirable, or an extremely desirable object is governed by one’s past kamma." Did you read that part?

* * *
one_awakening wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:35 pm
So how can we say that the apple is desirable independent of perceptions, if the second person finds it undesirable?
From the quoted passage:
It should be noted that while the resultant cittas are governed by the nature of the object, the javanas are not, but vary in accordance with the temperament and proclivities of the experiencer. Even when the object is extremely desirable, the javanas may occur in the mode of indifference as wholesome or unwholesome cittas accompanied by equanimity; for example, at the sight of the Buddha a skeptic may experience cittas accompanied by doubt, while at the sight of a beautiful woman a meditative monk may experience wholesome cittas accompanied by knowledge and equanimity. It is even possible for javanas accompanied by aversion and displeasure to arise towards a very desirable object. Again, towards an undesirable object, the javanas may occur in the mode normally appropriate for a desirable object. Thus a masochist may respond to physical pain with cittas rooted in greed and accompanied by joy, while a meditative monk may contemplate a decaying corpse with wholesome cittas accompanied by knowledge and joy.
As noted, I think the following is more or less right:
one_awakening wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:10 am
I guess what I'm saying is that the perception of something being pleasant or unpleasantness Is just a mental construct. It something our minds add to our experience.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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samseva
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by samseva » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:36 pm

L.N. wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:12 am
[...]
Please state your opinion, I'm kind of guessig it through passages and the agreement in other's posts.

Almost the only sentences you wrote (the first actually the passage you bolded/quoted) that I can work with is:
L.N. wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:32 pm
However, it may be that the object itself remains inherently desirable or undesirable independently of the perceiver's personal preferences, as discussed in A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma at pp. 172-173.
and (bolded part for emphasis)...
L.N. wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:42 pm
I am not confident the two can necessarily be separated in that way. But we can see examples of situations where something inherently desirable is perceived as undesirable such as in the sutta discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=30408. In that situation, "the Venerable Mahakassapa instructed, exhorted, inspired, and gladdened those bhikkhunīs with a Dhamma talk," yet one of them found a reason to complain about something she perceived as undesirable. This does not mean an object was desirable without a mind to desire it.
The initial passage being the following, with the sentence after the quoted (bolded) sentence explaining what they (the authors of the Abhidhamma, if this is historically the case) mean by "intrinsically desirable and undesirable"—i.e. that it is the average or most common reaction of the common man.
The object itself, however, remains inherently desirable or undesirable independently of the perceiver’s personal preferences. The Sammohavinodan states that the distinction between the intrinsically desirable and undesirable obtains by way of the average being (majjhima-satta): “It is distinguishable according to what is found desirable at one time and undesirable at another time by average (men such as) accountants, government officials, burgesses, land owners and merchants.”

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samseva
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by samseva » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:13 pm

L.N. wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:12 am
As noted, I think the following is more or less right:
one_awakening wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:10 am
I guess what I'm saying is that the perception of something being pleasant or unpleasantness Is just a mental construct. It something our minds add to our experience.
It is difficult to interpret your opinion from one_awakening's post (with the added difficulty of also interpreting "more or less right"), but if you mean a mental construct as part of the mental process of the mind—being feeling (vedanā)—then yes, that would be true. If you (and one_awekening) are saying that pleasant or unpleasantness are made up thoughts past the initial functions of the mind, then possibly, but pleasant and unpleasant feelings are not "just a mental construct" (per the 2nd definition above).

Here is Dependent Origination:
Dependent Origination (paṭiccasamuppāda)
depend_origination.png
depend_origination.png (42.78 KiB) Viewed 1053 times
Here is the feeling (vedanā) link/aggregate:
Feeling (vedanā-kkhandha)
vedanakkhandha.png
vedanakkhandha.png (36.3 KiB) Viewed 1053 times
Feeling (vedanā)—be it pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent—as per Dependent Origination, is bound with consciousness in all forms and situations, whatsoever. So it's not just a "mental construct" according to the perceiver or individual (if that was what you thought/meant), feelings (vedanā; either pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent), are inseparable from consciousness.

Now, regarding that objects—such as an apple or an attractive woman, which are examples that have been given—being intrinsically pleasant or unpleasant (if that is what you were saying; please correct me if it isn't so), regardless of the perceiver, this is false.

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one_awakening
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by one_awakening » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:16 am

samseva wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:13 pm
Feeling (vedanā)—be it pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent—as per Dependent Origination, is bound with consciousness in all forms and situations, whatsoever. So it's not just a "mental construct"
Again, I'm talking about perceptions, not feelings.
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:55 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:16 am
Again, I'm talking about perceptions, not feelings.
Pleasant and Unpleasant does not relate to perception (sanna), it relates to feeling tone (vedana).

Feeling tone is an automatic response to a stimulus, this automatic response can colour our perception of the experience. So it's feeling then perception not the other way around.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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L.N.
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by L.N. » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:10 am

samseva wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:36 pm
Please state your opinion ...
Thank you for asking. My opinion is irrelevant, as anybody can have an opinion. However, my opinion is that if one concludes that "things are just things," that is partly true from one perspective but potentially misleading from another perspective, to the extent that some "thing" which presents dependent upon kamma has some certain specific quality.

Others have expressed this better. From this site: http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/index. ... wtopic=120
But a disputatious speaker ... said 'There is no intrinsic agreeable and disagreeable. It is according to the likings of these or those individuals....'
... it is impulsion through perversion of perception (sannavipallasa) only that lusts for the agreeable and hates the same agreeable; that lusts for the disagreeable and hates the same agreeable. ... If the object is agreeable it is profitable result that has arisen; if disagreeable, it is unprofitable result that has arisen.

Although those of wrong view on seeing such exalted objects as the enlightened one (buddha) shut their eyes and feel domanassa (unpleasant feeling) [arising during the javana stage] and on hearing the Dhamma they stop their ears nevertheless their eye-consciouness, ear-consciousness, etc are only profitable kamma result (vipaka).

Although dung eating pigs on smelling the odour of dung become joyful, thinking; 'we shall get something to eat' nevertheless their eye-consciousness (a vipaka) in the seeing of the dung, nose consciousness (a vipaka) in smelling its odour and tongue consciousness (a vipaka) in tasting its flavour is only unprofitable result.

Hope that contributes in some way to the discussion. My opinion is irrelevant.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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one_awakening
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by one_awakening » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:23 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:55 am
So it's feeling then perception not the other way around.
But doesn't your perception first have to identify the object let's say an apple, as an apple before a feeling can arise?
“You only lose what you cling to”

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Goofaholix
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:51 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:23 am
But doesn't your perception first have to identify the object let's say an apple, as an apple before a feeling can arise?
Not necessarily, feeling tone is more on an animal instinct level. Whereas "It's an apple" is just a concept about an experience,whether you are drawn towards that experience or repulsed by it likely depends more on whether you are hungry at the time than how you label it or categorise it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

chownah
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:41 am

I've not been following this thread so much but I have a question for goofaholic.

My eating an apple scenario:
I bite something. It is a pleasant feeling. It has the flavor of an apple. It has the texture of an apple. It has the aroma of an apple. It is an apple.

Seems like there are three stages. 1. determination of pleasant/unpleasant 2. determination of the qualities of the sense inputs. 3. determination of what it is that I bit into.

Do you think that there are these three stages?....and if so which one is perception etc.?

Another example:
I bite into somthing....it is unpleasant....I spit it out....I evaluate the flavor, texture, aroma etc.....I figure out what it was.

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one_awakening
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by one_awakening » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:10 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:51 am
Not necessarily, feeling tone is more on an animal instinct level.
So feeling tone is something like a disposition you already have. Someone who loves apples has a pleasant disposition towards apples. When he comes into contact with the apple he experiences a pleasant feeling tone and the mind then attempts to attribute meaning to the feeling tone.

So it's like a feeling you already have before the perception.
“You only lose what you cling to”

pyluyten
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by pyluyten » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:34 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:10 am
Goofaholix wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:51 am
Not necessarily, feeling tone is more on an animal instinct level.
So feeling tone is something like a disposition you already have. Someone who loves apples has a pleasant disposition towards apples. When he comes into contact with the apple he experiences a pleasant feeling tone and the mind then attempts to attribute meaning to the feeling tone.

So it's like a feeling you already have before the perception.
actually brain studies could show the perception triggers feelings : because of perception, there are mechanism in brain associated to endorphine or others. A specific case would be nociceptive pain - since in that case this is really a perception of pain first, before to be a feeling. Back to topic, a concept i like is "dukkha dukkha" : the suffering of suffering. This concept is like a riddle.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:12 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:10 am
So feeling tone is something like a disposition you already have. Someone who loves apples has a pleasant disposition towards apples. When he comes into contact with the apple he experiences a pleasant feeling tone and the mind then attempts to attribute meaning to the feeling tone.

So it's like a feeling you already have before the perception.
I guess that's one way of putting it. Of course it all happens so quickly that we don't see the process unless we pay particular attention, that's where meditation practice comes in, and then there is sankhara that provides a value judgement etc and there is a feedback loop also.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Goofaholix
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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:14 am

chownah wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:41 am
Do you think that there are these three stages?....and if so which one is perception etc.?
More like 3 components to the experience, perception is the component the recognises and labels the experience.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Pleasant and Unpleasant

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:17 am

pyluyten wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:34 am
actually brain studies could show the perception triggers feelings : because of perception, there are mechanism in brain associated to endorphine or others.
I think here you are relying on the english word perception, rather than the pali word sanna (usually translated as perception). How you've used perception above I think corresponds to vinnana (conciousness).
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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