A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:51 am

So is he just saying they are not "contacting" in the sense of "touching"? Sorry to be so dense.

:anjali:
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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by piotr » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:13 am

No, his idea is that phassa is contacting "me" with something which is not "me". As he says, otherwise his paṭiccasamuppāda model would make no sense because phassanirodha would be unintelligible. The same applies to feelings, conciousness, and so on.
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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:06 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:Phassa, 'contact', is defined (Salāyatana Samy. iv,10 <S.iv,67-9>(SN35.92,SN35.93) as the coming together of the eye, forms, and eye-consciousness (and so with the ear and the rest). But it is probably wrong to suppose that we must therefore understand the word phassa, primarily at least, as contact between these three things.
On the face of it, this seems contradictory to this standard passage:
In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be; ...
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.44
https://suttacentral.net/mn18 ...
https://suttacentral.net/search?query=% ... contact%22
The note seems to be arguing for a redefinition of contact, but I'm afraid it loses me quite quickly.

The note continues:
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote: ... This contact between me and things is phassa.
Whereas, in MN18 the arising of "me" seems to be dependent on contact:
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye. ...
:anjali:
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mikenz66,
In saying "contact between me and things is phassa" could nanavira denoting "me" to be the eye and "things" to be forms? I don't claim to have penetrated all that he has said on contact but it does seem that this might be his meaning. Also, it seems that he tends to lump the eye and eye consciousness together as the precipitating nucleous for the "me" as an ongoing and developing delusion. I tend to see the delineation of the eye/form duality as a basic step in establishing the "me" delusion but I'm not sure about whether it is necessary, fruitful, or even correct to lump eye and eye consciousness together and then have it acting onward in some way without form.....don't know if this is what he is doing but it kind of looks that way to me but I really don't know....
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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:08 am

Image

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:13 pm

Please refer to this post for information on the purpose of this thread.


Shorter Notes - 6th Excerpt (Rūpa - Part 3)
Previous Excerpts - 1,2,3,4,5
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:Behaviour, then, in itself does not involve consciousness (as perception does), and the rūpakkhandha is not phassapaccayā (as the saññākkhandha is)—see Majjhima xi,9 <M.iii,17>. In itself, purely as inertia or behaviour, matter cannot be said to exist. (Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 212.) And if it cannot be said to exist it cannot be said to cease. Thus the question 'Where do the four mahābhūtā finally cease?' is improper. (The question will have been asked with the notion in mind of an existing general material world common to all. Such a general world could only exist—and cease—if there were a general consciousness common to all. But this is a contradiction, since consciousness and individuality [see SAKKĀYA] are one.) But behaviour can get a footing in existence by being present in some form. As rūpa in nāmarūpa, the four mahābhūtā get a borrowed existence as the behaviour of appearance (just as feeling, perception, and intentions, get a borrowed substance as the appearance of behaviour). And nāmarūpa is the condition for viññāna as viññāna is for nāmarūpa. When viññāna (q.v.) is anidassana it is said to have ceased (since avijjā has ceased). Thus, with cessation of viññāna there is cessation of nāmarūpa, and the four mahābhūtā no longer get a footing in existence. (The passage at Salāyatana Samyutta xix,8 <S.iv,192>, ...bhikkhu catunnam mahābhūtānam samudayañ ca atthagamañ ca yathābhūtam pajānāti, ('...a monk understands as they really are the arising and ceasing of the four great entities') is to be understood in this sense.)
Shorter Note on "Rūpa" to be continued in next excerpt.

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:36 pm

chownah wrote:Also, it seems that he tends to lump the eye and eye consciousness together as the precipitating nucleous for the "me" as an ongoing and developing delusion. I tend to see the delineation of the eye/form duality as a basic step in establishing the "me" delusion but I'm not sure about whether it is necessary, fruitful, or even correct to lump eye and eye consciousness together and then have it acting onward in some way without form.....don't know if this is what he is doing but it kind of looks that way to me but I really don't know....
It's not clear to me either, but I thought it was identification with the aggregates that leads to the "me" delusion? "My eye", "My consciousness".
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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by pulga » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:43 pm

Path Press has posted an excellent brief introduction to Ven. Ñanavira and his understanding of Dhamma, written by Michael Rae.

Though I'm a little unsure of the notion that "name & matter" comes in contact with consciousness.
Although this is only observed in reflexive practice, what the Buddha describes is actually occurring all the time – that is, ‘name & matter’ is constantly coming into contact with consciousness in the creation of the myriad experiences in our lives.
As I understand it consciousness is the result of "name & matter".
Last edited by pulga on Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by chownah » Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:07 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:Also, it seems that he tends to lump the eye and eye consciousness together as the precipitating nucleous for the "me" as an ongoing and developing delusion. I tend to see the delineation of the eye/form duality as a basic step in establishing the "me" delusion but I'm not sure about whether it is necessary, fruitful, or even correct to lump eye and eye consciousness together and then have it acting onward in some way without form.....don't know if this is what he is doing but it kind of looks that way to me but I really don't know....
It's not clear to me either, but I thought it was identification with the aggregates that leads to the "me" delusion? "My eye", "My consciousness".
Yes. Not everyone agrees with what nnvra wrote.
chownah

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:37 pm

Please refer to this post for information on the purpose of this thread.


Shorter Notes - 7th Excerpt (Rūpa - Part 4)
Previous Excerpts - 1,2,3,4,5,6
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:From the foregoing discussion it can be seen that in order to distinguish rūpa from nāma it is only necessary to separate what is (or could be) common to two or more kinds of consciousness from what is not. But care is needed. It might seem that shape is rūpa and not nāma since it is present in both eye-consciousness and body-consciousness (e.g. touching with the fingers). This, however, is a mistake. Vision is a double faculty: it cognizes both colour and shape (see FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE §§I/4 & II/8). The eye touches what it sees (it is only necessary to run the eye first across and then down some vertical lines or bars to discover this), and the result is coloured shapes. The eye is capable of intentional movement more delicate even than the fingers, and the corresponding perception of shapes is even more subtle.[d] Similar considerations apply, though in a much lesser degree, to hearing (and even to taste and to smell) where perception of shape, when present (however vaguely), corresponds to movement, real or imaginary (which will include the directional effect of two ears), of the head or of the entire body.[e]
Shorter Note on "Rūpa" to be continued in next excerpt.

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:34 am

Please refer to this post for information on the purpose of this thread.


Shorter Notes - 8th Excerpt (Rūpa - Part 5)
Previous Excerpts - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:But provided different kinds of consciousness are adequately distinguished, this method gives a definite criterion for telling what is matter from what is not. It is consequently not necessary to look for strict analysis of the four mahābhūtā: provided only that our idea of them conforms to this criterion, and that they cover all the primary modes of matter, this is all that is needed. Thus it is not necessary to look beyond the passage at Majjhima xiv,10 <M.iii,240> for a definition of them. (It is easy, but fatal, to assume that the Buddha's Teaching is concerned with analysis for its own sake, and then to complain that the analysis is not pushed far enough.) A human body in action, clearly enough, will present a behaviour that is a highly complex combination of these primary modes: it is behaviour of behaviour, but it still does not get beyond behaviour. (It is important to note that the laws of science—of biochemistry and physics in particular—do not cover behaviour (i.e. matter) associated with conscious [intentional] action.)[f]
This concludes the Shorter Note on "Rūpa".

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:10 pm

===========================================================================================================================

Due to the continued 'light' participation, and despite the high number of views per excerpt, I have decided to post one Shorter Note per week for the duration of this review.

===========================================================================================================================

Please refer to this post for information on the purpose of this thread.

Shorter Notes - 9th Excerpt
Previous Excerpts - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Sakkāya
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:Sakkāya is pañc'upādānakkhandhā (Majjhima v,4 <M.i,299>), and may conveniently be translated as 'somebody' or 'person' or, abstractly, 'personality'. See PARAMATTHA SACCA, also for what follows.

An arahat (while alive—that is, if we can speak of a 'living arahat') continues to be individual in the sense that 'he' is a sequence of states (Theragāthā v. 716)[13] distinguishable from other arahanto(and a fortiori from individuals other than arahanto). Every set of pañcakkhandhā [a]—not pañc'upādānakkhandhā in the arahat's case—is unique, and individuality in this sense ceases only with the final cessation of the pañcakkhandhā at the breaking up of the arahat's body. But a living arahat is no longer somebody or a person, since the notion or conceit '(I) am' has already ceased. Individuality must therefore be carefully distinguished from personality, which is: being a person, being somebody, being a subject (to whom objects are present), selfhood, the mirage 'I am', and so on. The puthujjana is not able to distinguish them—for him individuality is not conceivable apart from personality, which he takes as selfhood. The sotāpanna is able to distinguish them—he sees that personality or 'selfhood' is a deception dependent upon avijjā, a deception dependent upon not seeing the deception, which is not the case with individuality—, though he is not yet free from an aroma of subjectivity, asmimāna. The arahat not only distinguishes them but also has entirely got rid of all taint of subjectivity—'he' is individual but in no way personal. For lack of suitable expressions (which in any case would puzzle the puthujjana) 'he' is obliged to go on saying 'I' and 'me' and 'mine' (cf. Dīgha i,9 <D.i,202>; Devatā Samy. iii,5 <S.i,14>[14]). Individuality where the arahat is concerned still involves the perspective or orientation that things necessarily adopt when they exist, or are present, or are cognized; and for each individual the perspective is different. Loss of upādāna is not loss of point of view. See RŪPA and remarks on manasikāra in NĀMA.

Sakkāyaditthi (Majjhima v,4 <M.i,300>) is sometimes explained as the view or belief (often attributed to a purely verbal misunderstanding)[c] that in one or other of the khandhā there is a permanent entity, a 'self'. These rationalized accounts entirely miss the point, which is the distinction (Khandha Samy. v,6 <S.iii,47>) between pañc'upādānakkhandhā (which is sakkāya) and pañcakkhandhā (which is sakkāyanirodha). To have ditthi about sakkāya is not an optional matter (as if one could regard sakkāya from the outside and form ditthi about it or not, as one pleased): sakkāya contains sakkāyaditthi (in a latent form at least) as a necessary part of its structure.[d] If there is sakkāya there is sakkāyaditthi, and with the giving up of sakkāyaditthi there comes to be cessation of sakkāya. To give up sakkāyaditthi, sakkāya must be seen (i.e. as pañc'upādānakkhandhā), and this means that the puthujjana does not see pañc'upādānakkhandhā as such (i.e. he does not recognize them—see MAMA [a]and cf. Majjhima viii,5 <M.i,511>). A puthujjana (especially one who puts his trust in the Commentaries) sometimes comes to believe that he does see pañc'upādānakkhandhā as such, thereby blocking his own progress and meeting with frustration: he cannot see what further task is to be done, and yet remains a puthujjana.


This concludes the Shorter Note on "Sakkāya".

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:36 pm

Please refer to this post for information on the purpose of this thread.

Shorter Notes - 10th Excerpt
Previous Excerpts - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Sankhāra
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:A full discussion of this key word is given in A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPĀDA. It is there maintained that the word sankhāra, in all contexts, means 'something that something else depends on', that is to say a determination (determinant). It might be thought that this introduces an unnecessary complication into such passages as Vayadhammā sankhārā appamādena sampādetha ('To disappear is the nature of determinations; strive unremittingly') and Aniccā vata sankhārā uppādavayadhammino ('Impermanent indeed are determinations; to arise (appear) and disappear is their nature') (Dīgha ii,3 <D.ii,156&7>). Why, instead of telling us that things (dhammā) are impermanent and bound to disappear, should the Buddha take us out of our way to let us know that things that things depend on are impermanent and bound to disappear? The answer is that the Dhamma does not set out to explain, but to lead—it is opanayika. This means that the Dhamma is not seeking disinterested intellectual approval, but to provoke an effort of comprehension or insight leading to the abandonment of attavāda and eventually of asmimāna. Its method is therefore necessarily indirect: we can only stop regarding this as 'self' if we see that what this depends on is impermanent (see DHAMMA for more detail). Consider, for example, the Mahāsudassanasuttanta (Dīgha ii,4 <D.ii,169-99>), where the Buddha describes in detail the rich endowments and possessions of King Mahāsudassana, and then finishes:

Pass'Ānanda sabbe te sankhārā atītā niruddhā viparinatā. Evam aniccā kho Ānanda sankhārā, evam addhuvā kho Ānanda sankhārā, yāvañ c'idam Ānanda alam eva sabbasankhāresu nibbinditum, alam virajjitum, alam vimuccitum. ('See, Ānanda, how all those determinations have passed, have ceased, have altered. So impermanent, Ānanda, are determinations, so unlasting, Ānanda, are determinations, that this, Ānanda, is enough for weariness of all determinations, enough for dispassion, enough for release.')

This is not a simple statement that all those things, being impermanent by nature, are now no more; it is a lever to prize the notion of 'selfhood' out of its firm socket. Those things were sankhārā: they were things on which King Mahāsudassana depended for his very identity; they determined his person as 'King Mahāsudassana', and with their cessation the thought 'I am King Mahāsudassana' came to an end. More formally, those sankhārā were nāmarúpa, the condition for phassa (Dīgha ii,2 <D.ii,62>[9]), upon which sakkāyaditthi depends (cf. Dīgha i,1 <D.i,42-3> together with Citta Samy. 3 <S.iv,287>).
This concludes the Shorter Note on "Sankhāra".

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:07 pm

Greetings SDC,

Thanks for sharing.

This note is very relevant to the current "all dhammas are mind-made" topic.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:17 pm

Retro, you win a prize for participating during these rather quiet days of this review. :smile:

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Re: A Review of Ven. Ñānavīra's "Notes on Dhamma"

Post by SDC » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:24 pm

This 'indirect' business has been hitting me hard as of late (from the current note):
Ven. Ñāṇavīra wrote:Why, instead of telling us that things (dhammā) are impermanent and bound to disappear, should the Buddha take us out of our way to let us know that things that things depend on are impermanent and bound to disappear? The answer is that the Dhamma does not set out to explain, but to lead—it is opanayika. This means that the Dhamma is not seeking disinterested intellectual approval, but to provoke an effort of comprehension or insight leading to the abandonment of attavāda and eventually of asmimāna. Its method is therefore necessarily indirect: we can only stop regarding this as 'self' if we see that what this depends on is impermanent (see DHAMMA for more detail).

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