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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

Here is SN 35.7

At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, the eye is impermanent both of the past and the
future, not to speak of the present. Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed
noble disciple is indifferent towards the eye of the past; he does not seek
delight in the eye of the future; and he is practising for revulsion towards
the eye of the present, for its fading away and cessation."

[Repeat for ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.]

Here is SN 35.21

"Bhikkhus, the arising, continuation, production, and manifestation of
the eye is the arising of suffering, the continuation of disease, the
manifestation of aging-and-death.
[Repeat for ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.]
The cessation, subsiding, and passing away of the eye, is the cessation
of suffering, the subsiding of disease, the passing away of aging-and-death.
[ Repeat as before.]"

And here is SN 35.53

At Savatthi. " ... Venerable sir, how should one know, how should one see,
for ignorance to be abandoned and true knowledge to arise?
Bhikkhu, when one knows and sees the eye as impermanent, ignorance is
abandoned and true knowledge arises.
When one knows and sees forms as impermanent ...eye-consciousness ...
eye-contact ... when one knows and sees as impermanent whatever feeling
arises ... - ignorance is abandoned and true knowledge arises."
[Repeat for ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.]

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:18 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

So, we are instructed to not "conceive the eye", or anything else. But
what does "conceive" mean?

In SN 35.30 "conceive" is the translation of "maññati."

"idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu cakkhuṃ na maññati, ..."

"Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu does not conceive the eye, ..."

The PED entry for "maññati", [edited]:


1. to think, to be of opinion, to imagine, to deem ...

2. to know, to be convinced, to be sure ...

3. to imagine, to be proud (of) to be conceited, ....

At the time when the Buddha began teaching, the word "mannati" may have been the
general word for any kind of thinking. But this term in the Nikaya's seems
to be used for a certain sort of thinking. It is the thinking involved with
conceit and represents personal, subjective, thinking. It is contrasted with
impersonal objective thinking.

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:37 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

Two discourses that may help us to understand what "mannati" means,
are SN 35.232 - Kotthita, and AN 4.24 - Kalakarama Sutta.

First, a few lines from SN 35.232 [Bodhi], [SN 35.185 DPR, SN 35.191 ATI].

“saṃvijjati kho, āvuso, bhagavato cakkhu. passati bhagavā cakkhunā rūpaṃ. ..."

"There exists in the Blessed One the eye, the Blessed One sees a form with
the eye. ..."

"saṃvijjati kho, āvuso, bhagavato mano. vijānāti bhagavā manasā dhammaṃ. ..."

"There exists in the Blessed One the mind, the Blessed One cognizes a
mental phenomenon with the mind. ..." [B.Bodhi, CD, page 1231.]

The same line translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

"There is an intellect in the Blessed One. The Blessed One knows ideas with the intellect. ..."

And the same line translated by M. Walshe:

"The Blessed One has a mind, he knows thoughts with the mind. ..."

A link to SN 35.191 on ATI, by Thanissaro, note also the alternative translation
by M. Walshe: ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;

As explained in the Kotthita Sutta:

"The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there."

So there is nothing wrong with the intellect, or ideas, in themselves, it is
when desire and passion arise in dependence on them that suffering arises.

The term "mannati" could mean thought distorted by desire and passion.

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:42 pm
by pulga
Anxt wrote: The eye is part of one's bodily structure, i.e. "within" the individual, which can be regarded as a compound or a working-together of the six senses, the eye can be located. But an isolated eye has no place. Tear out your eyes and throw them away - they no longer contribute anything to your experience. The senses do not exist apart from an individual, which "unifies" them - that was my point. And because of that, "seeing things" cannot be understood by regarding the eye as an isolated thing, be it an "organ" or a "point" - no more, no less. The Suttas don't say that the eye sees the forms, they (for example) speak of the monk, who sees forms with the eye., i.e. the individual as a whole (capable also of hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking and acting) is seeing, not just an eye. Only because of this we see things and not just differences in colour.

That was my point, arguing against an isolated understanding of the senses as pseudo-subjects, which I was reminded of (perhaps unjustified) when I read "nullpunkts".
I fully agree with you: we can't start with an eye and build a world of experience around it. And, of course, a man's world doesn't come to an end when he loses his sight: it only becomes a composite of what senses he has left. There is a fundamental principle within Phenomenology called "categorial intuition". (Ñanavira refers to it when he writes of the "togetherness of things" that we passively, and implicitly experience when seeing them together; he also alludes to it in his teachings regarding the superimposition of all the senses in the constitution of six-based bodily experience.) It's the cornerstone of Husserl's theory of passive synthesis in which we find ourselves in a given situation, prior to reflection, in which analysis only makes explicit what is already given: i.e. the whole of experience comes first, analysis second. At the most primitive level -- Ñanavira's "ground level" -- the experience of each sense is intrinsic to that particular sense, but the whole of all the senses -- their togetherness -- is our six-based bodily experience of the world. Second-order categorial intution brings to light the first-person perspective on the world: a horizon that reflects the real rather than the possible horizons that I imagine others might be experiencing. Their horizons together with mine are what constitutes objectivity, the third-person perspective independent of mine or anyone else's particular point-of-view.

Within limits it is legitimate to associate categorial intuition with individuality, but one must be very leery when applying it to a "who". (There is a Sutta somewhere that warns of applying "who" to Paticcasamuppada: I'll try to track it down when I have the time.) We're dealing with a theory of parts and wholes in which while a whole -- a categorial intution -- is experienced as a transcendence of the parts that constitute it, it cannot exist apart from its parts. Some of these parts are "real" as opposed to "imaginary", "present" and opposed to "absent", "positive" as opposed to "negative", "figures" as opposed to "background" . Each part is a whole at the level of generality beneath it. It all sound rather messy and complex, but it can be seen as applicable to one's general experience. It's just a matter of breaking experience down to more simple, manageable principles.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:29 pm
by Anxt
Hello pulga,

thank you for the answer. I think the Sutta in question is SN 12.12 (Phagguna Sutta).

Best wishes

PS: In case I sounded a bit harsh or unfriendly, I beg your pardon.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:04 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

We look now at the Kalakarama Sutta - AN 4.24 - link: ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;

Here, I will give selected passages, first the Pali, then two translations,
the first by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and the second by Ven. Nanananda.

“yaṃ, bhikkhave, sadevakassa lokassa samārakassa sabrahmakassa sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ mutaṃ viññātaṃ pattaṃ pariyesitaṃ anuvicaritaṃ manasā, tamahaṃ jānāmi. .."

"Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know." [Thanissaro]

"Monks, whatsoever in the world with its gods, Maras and Brahmas, among the
progeny consisting of recluses and brahmins, gods and men - whatever is seen,
heard,sensed, cognized, attained, sought after and pondered over by the mind -
all that do I know." [Nanananda, The Magic of the Mind, BPS, 1985.]

The passage is then repeated with a different ending:

"... tamahaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ. taṃ tathāgatassa viditaṃ, taṃ tathāgato na upaṭṭhāsi."

"That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]" [Thanissaro.]

" ... that I have fully understood; all that is known to the Tathagata, but
the Tathagata has not taken his stand upon it." [Nanananda.]

So, for an enlightened individual, things can be cognized, known, and fully
understood, but not "conceived" [na mannati].

Now we consider another passage:

“iti kho, bhikkhave, tathāgato daṭṭhā daṭṭhabbaṃ, diṭṭhaṃ na maññati, adiṭṭhaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhabbaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhāraṃ na maññati;"

"Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer." [Thanissaro]

"Thus, monks, a Tathagata does not conceive of a visible thing as apart from
sight; he does not conceive of an unseen; he does not conceive of a
"thing-worth-seeing"; he does not conceive about a seer." [Nanananda]

This is then repeated for hearing and sensing, and then:

viññatvā viññātabbaṃ, viññātaṃ na maññati, aviññātaṃ na maññati, viññātabbaṃ na maññati, viññātāraṃ na maññati.

"When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer." [Thanissaro]

"He does not conceive of a cognizable thing as apart from cognition; he does
not conceive of an uncognized; he does not conceive of a "thing-worth-cognizing";
he does not conceive about one who cognizes." [Nanananda]

Clearly, there are two kinds of thinking or knowing, a wrong kind and a right
kind, but there is no English word which means "the wrong kind of knowing."

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:48 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

The main problem, for me, is to work out what this "conceiving" actually is.
While I am pondering this question, here are a few more passages to reflect

"Form, Ananda, is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen, subject to
destruction, to vanishing, to fading away, to cessation. Through its
cessation, cessation is spoken of. ..." [SN 22.21]
[Repeat for feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness.]

Comment: Does this apply to the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body?
Is this a list of synonyms of anicca?

"Bhikkhu, in conceiving one is bound by Mara, by not conceiving one is
freed from the Evil One." [SN 22.64]

"Where there is the eye, Samiddhi, where there are forms, eye-consciousness,
things to be cognized by eye-consciousness, there Mara exists or the
description of Mara. [repeat for ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.]
Where there is no eye, Samiddhi, no forms, no eye-consciousness, no things
to be cognized by eye-consciousness, there Mara does not exist nor any
description of Mara." [Repeat as before. - SN 35.65]

The next three Sutta's are identical, but replace "Mara" with "a being",
"suffering", and "the world".

Comment: Where there is the conceived eye, there is Mara, a being, suffering,
and the world.

"Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu sees as impermanent the eye which is actually
impermanent: that is his right view. ..." [SN 35.156]

"Bhikkhus, the eye is impermanent, changing, becoming otherwise. The ear ...
The nose ... The tongue ... The body ... The mind is impermanent, changing,
becoming otherwise.
"One who knows and sees these teachings thus is called a stream-enterer, no
longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny, with enlightenment as
his destination." [SN 25.1]

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:09 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

If we make a distinction between the actual eye and the conceived eye, then
we have to make many other similar distinctions.

What is Contact?

actual eye ........................ conceived eye.
actual visible-object ........... conceived visible-object.
actual seeing .................... conceived seeing (eye-consciousness).

actual ear ........................ conceived ear.
actual sound ..................... conceived sound.
actual hearing ................... conceived hearing (ear-consciousness).

And so on, for all five senses plus the mind.

Eye contact cannot arise due to the actual eye, visible-object and seeing.
If it did then it could never be eliminated.
Eye contact arises from the conceived eye, visible-object and eye-consciousness.

So, the Dependent Origination formula must include only these "conceived" senses,
which are called the "six-spheres."

But if one item in the DO chain consists of "conceived" things, does this
not require that all the items in the chain are "conceived"?

The ability to "conceive the eye" depends on first "conceiving a body".

It seems that "conceive" means something like - make by imagining, if desire
and passion are also involved then the mind may hold-on to this imagined thing.
If such imagination becomes habitual then the mind has become obsessed with
this imaginary object.

If this is correct, then the Dependent Origination formula is describing a
chain of imagined things or mental obsessions. There are no actual things
except perhaps the first item - ignorance.

"Whatever, bhikkhus, is the extent of the aggregates, the elements, and
the sense bases, he does not conceive that, does not conceive in that,
does not conceive from that, does not conceive,'That is mine.'
Since he does not conceive anything thus, he does not cling to anything
in the world. ..." [BB, CD, p.1145, part of SN 35.31]

[Note: clinging requires an object that persists in the mind.]

So everything I have said about the "eye", "ear" and so forth, is also true
for the four (or six) elements, and the five aggregates.

It looks as if it is possible to "conceive" anything, and turn it into an
imaginary object which the mind becomes obsessed with.

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:53 pm
by vinasp
Hi everyone,

Here are some more interesting passages.

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you new and old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and
the way leading to the cessation of kamma. Listen to this and attend closely.
I will speak.
"And what, bhikkhus, is old kamma? The eye is old kamma, to be seen as
generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt.
The ear is old kamma ... The mind is old kamma .... This is called old kamma."
"And what, bhikkhus, is new kamma? Whatever action one does now by body, speech,
or mind."................ [BB, CD, page 1211, part of SN 35.146]

Comment: The actual eye is held to be the result of actions in previous lives.
The "conceived eye" is the result of previous action (mental volition) in
this life. The "conceived eye" is a habit - the past acting in the present.

"If, through revulsion towards the eye, through its fading away and cessation,
one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained
Nibbana in this very life." [Part of SN 35.155]

Comment: The "conceived eye" was originated, and persists, due to desire
and passion. Revulsion removes the desire and passion, so that the "conceived
eye" ceases.

"Therefore, bhikkhus, that base should be understood, where the eye ceases
and perception of forms fades away. ..............
[Repeat for: ear and sounds, and so on to, mind and mental phenomena.]
[ Ananda later explains:"This was stated by the Blessed One, friends, with
reference to the cessation of the six sense bases."] [part of SN 35.117]

Comment: The term "base" is a translation of "ayatana", I would prefer
"sphere", understood here to mean "state of mind."

"Venerable sir, what do the arahants maintain must exist for there to be
pleasure and pain? And what is it that the arahants maintain must cease
to exist for there to be no pleasure and pain?
"Sister, the arahants maintain that when the eye exists there is pleasure
and pain, and when the eye does not exist there is no pleasure and pain."
[Repeat for ear, nose, tongue, body and mind.- Part of SN 35.133]

Regards, Vincent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:10 pm
by Alex123
vinasp wrote: The main problem, for me, is to work out what this "conceiving" actually is.

I haven't read all that you have posted, but to me it seems that "conceiving" means something like strongly considering things to be "I, me, mine" and also to wrongly believe that they are nicca, sukha, atta, and worthy of attachment.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:24 am
by Dmytro
Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote:What does "eye" mean here?
"Eye" here is a wrong traditional English translation.

Pali term "cakkhu" here means "sight".

Recently published Margaret Cone's Pali-English dictionary gives in the "cakkhu" article following meanings:

cakkhu, 1. the eye; the organ of sight; the faculty of seeing, sight;...

Here the last meaning applies.

As for "cakkhu" (eye)", etc., Sue Hamilton discusses this issue at length in Identity and Experience: The Constitution of the Human Being According to Early Buddhism (pp. 7-35). She concludes that these six do not refer to the physical organs.

Wisdom-oriented suttas describe the investigation in terms of the elements (dhatu), sense spheres (ayatana), conditioned arising and aggregates (khandha):

Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tividhūpaparikkhī hoti? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dhātuso upaparikkhati, āyatanaso upaparikkhati, paṭiccasamuppādaso upaparikkhati.

"And how does a monk have three modes of investigation? There is the case where a monk investigates in terms of properties, investigates in terms of sense spheres, investigates in terms of dependent co-arising.

(Sattathana sutta ... .than.html" onclick=";return false; )

So the "cakkhu", etc., denote the sense spheres (ayatana), and not the physical organs.

Vibhanga explains these ayatanas in such a way:

Tattha katamaṃ cakkhāyatanaṃ? Yaṃ cakkhu catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya pasādo attabhāvapariyāpanno anidassano sappaṭigho, yena cakkhunā anidassanena sappaṭighena rūpaṃ sanidassanaṃ sappaṭighaṃ passi vā passati vā passissati vā passe vā, cakkhumpetaṃ cakkhāyatanampetaṃ cakkhudhātupesā cakkhundriyampetaṃ lokopeso dvārāpesā samuddopeso paṇḍarampetaṃ khettampetaṃ vatthumpetaṃ nettampetaṃ nayanampetaṃ orimaṃ tīrampetaṃ suñño gāmopeso. Idaṃ vuccati “cakkhāyatanaṃ”.

The key word in the definition, "pasādo", is explained in the Margaret Cone's dictionary as:

Ghāna-pasāda, m., the tranquillity (resulting in sensitivity) of the sense-organ that is the nose; the receptive power of the sense-organ that is the nose; Spk II 131,11
What does "impermanent" mean?
Subject to arising and cessation. Sight, as one of six ayatanas, is subject to arising and ceasing, as described in Conditioned Arising.

Regards, Dmytro

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:11 am
by black hole
By "eye", I think we should understand the "consciousness" that is related to the eye.
If we refer to the Abhidhamma (chapter 1 on consciousness, mental states, thought processes) that consciousness is composed. And all that is compound is impermanent.

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:24 am
by DarwidHalim
Dmytro wrote:
What does "impermanent" mean?
Subject to arising and cessation. Sight, as one of six ayatanas, is subject to arising and ceasing, as described in Conditioned Arising.
Is it true that impermanent subject to arising and cessation?

If this is true, why Buddha said there is no arising, no cessation?

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:34 am
by mikenz66
DarwidHalim wrote: Is it true that impermanent subject to arising and cessation?

If this is true, why Buddha said there is no arising, no cessation?
Where did he say that? ... .nymo.html" onclick=";return false;
Now during this utterance, there arose in the venerable Kondañña the spotless, immaculate vision of the True Idea: "Whatever is subject to arising is all subject to cessation."

Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:58 am
by DarwidHalim
No arising is discernible, no passing away is discernible, no alteration while staying is discernible ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;
And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support [mental object]...." ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;
If impermanent can consist of arising and cessation, it means you can find something that can arise and can cease.

Please show what is that something?

If something can arise and then cease, impermanent is not valid.