Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

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mikenz66
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi Nathan,

Thank you for your input.
nathan wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: And what about the concept "my self"? Is that an "object of mind-conciousness". Kind of, but it's built from complex interactions analysable into all khandhas or sense bases.
Assuming this is a serious question I'll attempt an answer. The arising, appearance and passing of the concept: "one plus one is two" is subject to the perception of the three characteristics in manifold ways. A concept is composed of a mind object(s) which arises in co-dependence together with the supporting mental qualities ...
I agree, and that's how I understand it. The concept is "processed" by a complicated stream of mind objects, it's not a "single object". As dhamma follower points out, the suttas are quite clear that it's the examination of those simpler objects that leads to wisdom, not the pondering of complicated concepts like "one plus one is two".
dhamma follower wrote: Again, the key point is to see that concepts come as a result of a sequence of processes, they are not object of panna, they are object (or content) of sanna. Panna is not concerned with the content of sanna, it is concerned with its individual characteristics (sabhava) and general characteristics (tilakkhana). That's why the distinction between the two are necessary, so that yonisso manasikara can arise.
:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:03 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Vitakka. . .
The dictionary meaning I know. What I was asking for is what you were actually meaning by your above statement, why you thought we were talking about one thing rather than another, not the dictionary meaning.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:47 pm

Greetings DF,
dhamma follower wrote:There's not yet an agreement that the content of Abhidhamma contradicts the sutta.
For you maybe (if you don't see all the implicit philosophical baggage it drags to the table) but it doesn't matter because simply, that's not what this niche sub-forum is about.

If you wish to explore things from an Abhidhammic perspective you've got many sub-forums here in which it would be appropriate. This, is not one of them.

If you wish to explore the Abhidhammic concept of concepts please do so in an appropriate sub-forum - you may also link to it from this topic for the benefit of those who might be interested in it. There's a time and a place for everything.

See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10222" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Until then...

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:10 pm

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:I agree, and that's how I understand it. The concept is "processed" by a complicated stream of mind objects, it's not a "single object".
Indeed, no one said that mind-consciousness arises without cause. Likewise, no one said the operation of the mind was simple - if it was, there would probably be little need for Buddhism. :P

Now that you've articulated neatly (in the second sentence quoted above) what the basis of bifurcation is between a simple and complex object, are you able explain to me what you see to be the practical benefit of the distinction? It's obviously an important distinction to you and I'd like to understand how distinguishing/classifying objects (regardless of whether using the 6Cs or 5As) as "simple" and "complex" (or another similar set of terms) assists with discernment, and whether you're aware of the Buddha classifying objects of consciousness along similar lines.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Kenshou » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:06 am

Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it. A hypothetical person with "little dust in their eyes" might do with just "everything is anicca", I figure, though for the rest of us, breaking it down into smaller pieces is helpful.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Alex123 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:10 am

Kenshou wrote:Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it..
Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.

A tree is whole when compared to its leaves, branches, bark, heartwood, etc. A tree is a part when compared to ecosystem. So is it whole or part? It depends on point of view which is thought of by the mind.

Is 100 a large number? It depends if we compare it to 1 or 1,000,000 . What measures? The mind.

Are parts or wholes given in 5 sense experience? No.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:39 am

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it..
Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Are parts or wholes given in 5 sense experience? No.
6 sense experience. The answer to that question is dependent upon what is actually involved in the sense experience.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Kenshou » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:43 am

I didn't deny that it is conceptualization. The question is which conceptual designations are most useful in the pursuit of liberation. 5 aggregates, 6 ayatanas, 18 elements, all fabricated categories that form a foundation for our discernment. Because "Hey, everything is anicca" doesn't tend to be quite enough to get through our skulls.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:44 am

Greetings Tilt,
Alex123 wrote:Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
tiltbillings wrote:As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Not inadmissible though until the second jhana...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
Does abiding in the first jhana qualify as "meditation practice"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:50 am

Of course, it always depends upon what is meant by jhana, but I am not necessarily talking about jhana practice.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
Alex123 wrote:Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
tiltbillings wrote:As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Not inadmissible though until the second jhana...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
Does abiding in the first jhana qualify as "meditation practice"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:55 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Of course, it always depends upon what is meant by jhana, but I am not necessarily talking about jhana practice.
Good to see the qualification - any inference that something is not "meditative practice" simply because it doesn't reflect our own personal "meditative practice" is fraught with danger.

Much of what is admissable in the first jhana gets unfairly dismissed at times as "mere thinking", "just thinking", "an intellectual exercise", "philosophy" etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Temp

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Of course, it always depends upon what is meant by jhana, but I am not necessarily talking about jhana practice.
Good to see the qualification - any inference that something is not "meditative practice" simply because it doesn't reflect our own personal "meditative practice" is fraught with danger.

Much of what is admissable in the first jhana gets unfairly dismissed at times as "mere thinking", "just thinking", "an intellectual exercise", "philosophy" etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Here is a discussion of the vipassana jhanas by Ven U Pandita.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... hanas.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The desrciption he gives there is what I agree with.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:24 am

Greetings,

(At risk of veering off-topic, but at least back to the Sutta Pitaka...)
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:....But if you look directly at the Pali discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassana to mean clear-seeing, they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms. Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassana — a sharp contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana. When they depict the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him as saying "go do vipassana," but always "go do jhana." And they never equate the word vipassana with any mindfulness techniques. In the few instances where they do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together. One simile, for instance (SN 35.204), compares samatha and vipassana to a swift pair of messengers who enter the citadel of the body via the noble eightfold path and present their accurate report — Unbinding, or nibbana — to the consciousness acting as the citadel's commander. Another passage (AN 10.71) recommends that anyone who wishes to put an end to mental defilement should — in addition to perfecting the principles of moral behavior and cultivating seclusion — be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This last statement is unremarkable in itself, but the same discourse also gives the same advice to anyone who wants to master the jhanas: be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This suggests that, in the eyes of those who assembled the Pali discourses, samatha, jhana, and vipassana were all part of a single path. Samatha and vipassana were used together to master jhana and then — based on jhana — were developed even further to give rise to the end of mental defilement and to bring release from suffering. This is a reading that finds support in other discourses as well.
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... etool.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So rather than return to the suttas after the jhanas were turned into (the so-called) "samatha jhanas" by the commentaries, there is now a separate set of jhanas bifurcated to offset and over-correct for the one-sidedness of the earlier interpretation.

Unlike the Blessed Ones words, I cannot rejoice in this.

:weep:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by dhamma follower » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings DF,
dhamma follower wrote:There's not yet an agreement that the content of Abhidhamma contradicts the sutta.
For you maybe (if you don't see all the implicit philosophical baggage it drags to the table) but it doesn't matter because simply, that's not what this niche sub-forum is about.

If you wish to explore things from an Abhidhammic perspective you've got many sub-forums here in which it would be appropriate. This, is not one of them.

If you wish to explore the Abhidhammic concept of concepts please do so in an appropriate sub-forum - you may also link to it from this topic for the benefit of those who might be interested in it. There's a time and a place for everything.

See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10222" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Until then...

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Hi Retro,

Don't you think it is arbitrary and unfair to assume THE right understanding of the sutta is not found in the Abhidhamma?

Can we read again the sub forum description: "The investigation of suttas that address meditation and other forms of mental cultivation (bhāvanā)"

It doesn't say "this investigation should be different from the Abhidhamma".

It is quite obvious that the Abhidhamma' set of categorized dhammas is helpful to explain more precisely our meditative experiences and insights.

Apart from some explicit subjects, all disagreements on the understanding of many sutta get stuck over thousands years because all interpretations are subjective and the suttas concerned are not detailed enough to tell who is right.

I appreciate what Kenshou said about the ones with little dust in the eyes...yeah, people today don't have that much wisdom and need more detailed explanations.

Can we not put aside Abhidhamma allergie to get to the heart of the issue: do concepts belong to the five khandas or are they just mirages of the 5 khandas at work?

Regards,

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:21 pm

Greetings,
dhamma follower wrote:Don't you think it is arbitrary and unfair to assume THE right understanding of the sutta is not found in the Abhidhamma?
In that case you should have no problem translating your Abhidhamma-speak back into sutta concepts in order to make them relevant and on-topic.

Enough.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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