dhammas

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tiltbillings
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dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:22 am

The thread on illusion got me thinking about something I read a long time ago in a the footnote in The Path of Purification, but have never been able to find it since. Now that the PoP is in PDF, one can search it in minute detail, but it helps to have the accurate terms for the search. I had been looking for the word foam, when what I needed was the word froth.

This is what I was looking for:
But when they are seen after resolving them by means of knowledge into these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident” (Vism-mhþ 824). PoP pg 668.
Which comes a commentary to the PoP.

Here is the whole passage, written in the dense and difficult commentarial style, that Ven Nanamoli quotes, PoP 667-8:

“‘When continuity is disrupted’ means when continuity is exposed by observing the perpetual otherness of states as they go on occurring in succession. For it is not through the connectedness of states that the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent to one who rightly observes rise and fall, but rather the characteristic becomes more thoroughly evident through their disconnectedness, as if they were iron darts.

When the postures are exposed’ means when the concealment of the pain that is actually inherent in the postures is exposed. For when pain arises in a posture, the next posture adopted removes the pain, as it were, concealing it. But once it is correctly known how the pain in any posture is shifted by substituting another posture for that one, then the concealment of the pain that is in them is exposed because it has become evident that formations are being incessantly overwhelmed by pain.

Resolution of the compact’ is effected by resolving [what appears compact] in this way, ‘The earth element is one, the water element is another’ etc., distinguishing each one; and in this way, ‘Contact is one, feeling is another’ etc., distinguishing each one. ‘When the resolution of the compact is effected’ means that what is compact as a mass and what is compact as a function or as an object has been analyzed. For when material and immaterial states have arisen mutually steadying each other, [mentality and materiality, for example,] then, owing to misinterpreting that as a unity, compactness of mass is assumed through failure to subject formations to pressure.

And likewise compactness of function is assumed when, although definite differences exist in such and such states’ functions, they are taken as one. And likewise compactness of object is assumed when, although differences exist in the ways in which states that take objects make them their objects, those objects are taken as one. But when they are seen after resolving them by means of knowledge into these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident” (Vism-mhþ 824).

They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. Sometime the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purifications, gets a bum rap
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Ben » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:35 am

That is brilliant. Thanks for sharing that Tilt.
For me, it describes the experience during insight meditation where Dhammas are perceived rising and falling in rapid succession, just like froth. Like bubbles effervescing. Waves of phenomena shimmering like auroras.

The Vism is very cool!

Thanks again, Tilt!

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Re: dhammas

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:17 am

Thanks, Tilt,

For those who like to still like read their older paper copies, this is on page 662, XXI.4 of the 1991 edition.
[I must say, I like that this new edition has footnotes, rather than the endnotes of the older version. Makes it a lot easier to read the notes.]

It's interesting how variable the material in the Visuddhimagga and it's commentaries is. Advice on good places to live to make alms rounds convenient, complex Abhidhammic analysis, and, as we have here, incisive expositions of experience. Clearly not just a work of dusty scholarship:

The previous paragraph is also worth quoting:
Vism XXI.3 wrote: Now, the characteristics fail to become apparent when something is not
given attention and so something conceals them. What is that? Firstly, the
characteristic of impermanence does not become apparent because when rise
and fall are not given attention, it is concealed by continuity. The characteristic
of pain does not become apparent because, when continuous oppression is not
given attention, it is concealed by the postures. The characteristic of not-self
does not become apparent because when resolution into the various elements is
not given attention, it is concealed by compactness.
As opposed to the paragraph and commentary that Tilt has quoted:
Vism-mht wrote:“‘When continuity is disrupted’ means when continuity is exposed by observing the perpetual otherness of states as they go on occurring in succession. For it is not through the connectedness of states that the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent to one who rightly observes rise and fall, but rather the characteristic becomes more thoroughly evident through their disconnectedness, as if they were iron darts.
It's this sort of careful examination of the details of experience such as "resolution into the various elements" that I was trying to point to in this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10229" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
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Re: dhammas

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:34 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void.
:thumbsup:

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

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Re: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:Sometime the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purifications, gets a bum rap
There will still be people reading, studying, translating, teaching, discussing, and debating the Visuddhimagga long after we're all dead, gone, and most likely forgotten (barring some sort of global or cosmic catastrophic event, that is).

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:52 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Sometime the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purifications, gets a bum rap
There will still be people reading, studying, translating, teaching, discussing, and debating the Visuddhimagga long after we're all dead, gone, and most likely forgotten (barring some sort of global or cosmic catastrophic event, that is).
No doubt, but the interesting thing is the what is being described in the quotes that Mike and I gave above is not theoretical stuff. It is, as Ben points out, descriptive of actual practice.
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:No doubt, but the interesting thing is the what is being described in the quotes that Mike and I gave above is not theoretical stuff. It is, as Ben points out, descriptive of actual practice.
Well... there's the whole theory of radical momentariness that informs those quotes, which is theoretical stuff sometimes mistaken as "the given" of insight meditation, but I'm not interested in discussing that here & now.

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:15 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:No doubt, but the interesting thing is the what is being described in the quotes that Mike and I gave above is not theoretical stuff. It is, as Ben points out, descriptive of actual practice.
Well... there's the whole theory of radical momentariness that informs those quotes, which is theoretical stuff sometimes mistaken as "the given" of insight meditation
Maybe, but the reality is that some of the theoretical stuff really does not matter in face of actual practice. The Gelug type notion that we must, unquestionably, have all the theory absolutely correct and absolutely correctly lined up before we can do practice is not very meaningful in the real world. What I am saying is that the passages quoted above reflect quite nicely actual vipassana practice experience, "radical momentariness" or not.
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Sylvester » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. Sometime the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purifications, gets a bum rap

Hmm, the underlined portion looks like the object-denotation (kamma-sadhana) found all over the Commentarial definitions of 'dhamma" as an alternative to the more "solid" agency-denotation (kattu-sadhana) which seems to inform most popular conceptions of "dhamma". The kamma-sadhana defines "dhamma" passively as "paccayehi dhariyanti" (borne by conditions) versus the more familiar kattu-sadhana definition of "attano sabhavam dharenti" (it bears its own-nature).

Karunadasa informs that even the Abhidhammikas treated the kattu-sadhana definition of "dhamma" as provisional (pariyayena) and simply a matter of convention (vohara) to facilitate a crude grasp of reality. I sometimes wonder if all this caution demonstrated by the Commentators was not perhaps informed by their fear of the Sarvastivadin "svabhava".

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Re: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:05 am

Sylvester wrote:Hmm, the underlined portion looks like the object-denotation (kamma-sadhana) found all over the Commentarial definitions of 'dhamma" as an alternative to the more "solid" agency-denotation (kattu-sadhana) which seems to inform most popular conceptions of "dhamma". The kamma-sadhana defines "dhamma" passively as "paccayehi dhariyanti" (borne by conditions) versus the more familiar kattu-sadhana definition of "attano sabhavam dharenti" (it bears its own-nature).

Karunadasa informs that even the Abhidhammikas treated the kattu-sadhana definition of "dhamma" as provisional (pariyayena) and simply a matter of convention (vohara) to facilitate a crude grasp of reality. I sometimes wonder if all this caution demonstrated by the Commentators was not perhaps informed by their fear of the Sarvastivadin "svabhava".
Good eye Sylvester. To be sure, at least some of the Theravāda commentators made a conscious effort to avoid reification. In fact, Ācariya Ānanda's version of momentariness eliminated the sub-moment of duration.

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:35 am

Sylvester wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. Sometime the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purifications, gets a bum rap

Hmm, the underlined portion looks like the object-denotation (kamma-sadhana) found all over the Commentarial definitions of 'dhamma" as an alternative to the more "solid" agency-denotation (kattu-sadhana) which seems to inform most popular conceptions of "dhamma". The kamma-sadhana defines "dhamma" passively as "paccayehi dhariyanti" (borne by conditions) versus the more familiar kattu-sadhana definition of "attano sabhavam dharenti" (it bears its own-nature).

Karunadasa informs that even the Abhidhammikas treated the kattu-sadhana definition of "dhamma" as provisional (pariyayena) and simply a matter of convention (vohara) to facilitate a crude grasp of reality. I sometimes wonder if all this caution demonstrated by the Commentators was not perhaps informed by their fear of the Sarvastivadin "svabhava".
Partly. Certainly the question I'd have to ask: would you want your dhammas to look like Sarvasitvadin dharmas? I sure wouldn't. No, sir, no Sarvastivadin dharmas for me.

"On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery [being exercisable over them] since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future." PoP page 551 XV 15.

The other part is that it would be rather sad to think this is all just intellectual fiddling with ideas, and not in some way a reflection of actual meditative experience. The bit that I quoted (and why I quoted it), even though couched in dense commentarial-ese, does strike me as a description, based upon my experience, of vipassana 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: dhammas

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:37 am

Greetings,
On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved.
... and inbetween?

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)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: dhammas

Post by Sylvester » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved.
... and inbetween?

Metta,
Retro. :)

The Commentators would say " Pls refer to the kamma-sadhana definition for the in-between state". :jumping:

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved.
... and inbetween?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Own nature" is a common gloss of sabhāva "In between" a dhamma is defined by the characteristics -- sabhāva -- arising from the conditions that bring them about, and there is no independence in this, no substance that can be grasped. Dhammas are way of talking about experience. We also need to be somewhat careful of the word sabhāva/svabhāva and what we do or do not read into it. Like so many technical terms, it does not necessarily mean exactly the same in one school as it means in another. And how a technical term is used during one period in a particular school may not be how it is used in that school at a later time.

I probably would not have used "individual essence" in the above translation.
Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizing the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote: "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:The other part is that it would be rather sad to think this is all just intellectual fiddling with ideas, and not in some way a reflection of actual meditative experience. The bit that I quoted (and why I quoted it), even though couched in dense commentarial-ese, does strike me as a descrition, based upon my experience, of vipassana experience.
Indeed. What we are talking about here is phenomenological description. And description is always going to be an approximation of (actual) non-conceptual experience. And so the issue is: What is the most accurate phenomenological description? There's no doubt that what we experience is momentary. In sutta terms: moving (calañceva), wavering (byathañca), impermanent (aniccaṃ), changing (vipariṇāmi), becoming otherwise (aññathābhāvi). When the scholar-monks began to articulate this in terms of theories of momentariness they came up with a few different descriptions of momentariness, e.g two different versions in Pāli Theravāda, plus those of their Sautrāntika and Yogācāra contemporaries.

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Re: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizing the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote:"This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."
From a perspective which is probably only relevant to mādhyamikas this isn't accurate.

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:50 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Harvey, in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizing the Theravadin position, page 87: wrote:"This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."
From a perspective which is probably only relevant to mādhyamikas this isn't accurate.
Your sentence probably could be more clearly stated. In other words, I have not a clue as to what you mean here.
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
From a perspective which is probably only relevant to mādhyamikas this isn't accurate.
Your sentence probably could be more clearly stated. In other words, I have not a clue as to what you mean here.
I was trying to say that this particular issue doesn't pertain to Theravāda per se. For mādhyamikas ultimate truth (paramattha sacca) cannot be identical to conditioned dhammas. There are a number of ways to articulate the two truths according to Mādhyamaka, but in short, the two truths are neither the same nor different.

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Re: dhammas

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:06 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
From a perspective which is probably only relevant to mādhyamikas this isn't accurate.
Your sentence probably could be more clearly stated. In other words, I have not a clue as to what you mean here.
I was trying to say that this particular issue doesn't pertain to Theravāda per se. For mādhyamikas ultimate truth (paramattha sacca) cannot be identical to conditioned dhammas. There are a number of ways to articulate the two truths according to Mādhyamaka, but in short, the two truths are neither the same nor different.
Now, I truly do not have a clue as to what you are talking about. It does not seem to, at all, be addressing what Harvey is saying.
>> 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: dhammas

Post by Nyana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:11 am

tiltbillings wrote:Now, I truly do not have a clue as to what you are talking about. It does not seem to, at all, be addressing what Harvey is saying.
For the Mādhyamaka the classical Theravāda version of the dhamma theory & the two truth theory cannot withstand analysis. Therefore, even if one accepts that an adherent of the classical Theravāda would consider the Mahāyāna critique of sabhāva, etc., to be largely irrelevant as Harvey suggests, for a mādhyamika this critique of the classical Theravāda version of the dhamma theory & the two truth theory would indeed be relevant.

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