What is the "stilling of all formations"?

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SarathW
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by SarathW » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:23 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I don't think we're any closer to answering the question I posed: "Which aspects of mental activity actually cease?"
All craving ceases.
OK, but which formations are being stilled exactly?
If you keep a glass of muddy water still, the water will cleared eventually.
It is not possible to say which piece of mud cleared out.
Or what exact dust particle caused to, clear appearance of water.
What we can observe is that gross particles settled down to the bottom first.
The same way gross formations stilled first and the subtle ones last.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

vinasp
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by vinasp » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:08 pm

Hi everyone,

Why is there no sutta which explains what 'all formations' actually are?

It is because they cannot explain what awakening actually is.

Why can they not explain this? Because the worldling has a completely different understanding of awakening to that of a noble disciple.

This is the Nibbana / Parinibbana problem. For a worldling the awakened Arahant has not yet escaped samsara, that will be when he dies.

But the noble disciple knows that samsara ends with awakening.

The noble disciple understands that samsara is the ongoing process of constructing the aggregates, so when that process ends so does samsara.

But the worldling, who takes the form aggregate as being actual form, has to project its cessation into the future.

How then, can they explain exactly what ceases at awakening?

Well, they do explain, but they make it so complicated that only a bhikkhu who spends years putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together has any hope of understanding it.

With kind regards, Vincent.

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equilibrium
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by equilibrium » Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:05 pm

Another interesting piece of text from SN 35.116:
The dimension of non-objectification, although it may not be described, may be realized through direct experience.

"Monks, that dimension should be experienced where the eye [vision] stops and the perception [label] of form fades. That dimension should be experienced where the ear stops and the perception of sound fades... where the nose stops and the perception of aroma fades... where the tongue stops and the perception of flavor fades... where the body stops and the perception of tactile sensation fades... where the intellect stops and the perception of idea/phenomenon fades: That dimension should be experienced."
Furthermore, under AN 4.173:
Sāriputta: 'Saying... is it the case that there is anything else... is it the case that there is not anything else... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else... is it the case the there neither is nor is not anything else, one is objectifying the non-objectified. However far the six spheres of contact go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six spheres of contact go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six spheres of contact, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.'

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acinteyyo
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by acinteyyo » Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:30 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

Why is there no sutta which explains what 'all formations' actually are?

It is because they cannot explain what awakening actually is.
I disagree. As far as I am concerned, I think it is clearly expressed in Suttas.

Dhp 278:"All formations are dukkha. When one sees thus with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha. This is the path to purification."

What is dukkha?

First Noble Truth DN22: "...in short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."

In SN56.11 the Buddha explains that he attained awakening with the complete realization of the four noble truths.

It all comes down to dukkha and nothing else.
MN22: "Both, monks, formerly and now it is just dukkha which I make known and the cessation of dukkha."

Of course, one not having penetrated to the for noble truths, not having understood, known and realized them and all their implications, one will be confused, entangled with the diversity perceived in the world, seeing anything but dukkha.

I'm sure the Buddha had no interest in naming every thing in particular that could qualify to be counted under "fabrications" and it is not important to know it.

What is important is to see and understand dukkha and this can be seen in any formation.

I guess my answer will not be satisfying for those who do not want to look for dukkha but for more detailed designations. I felt however the need to explain why I disagree with your statement.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

SarathW
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by SarathW » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:03 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

Why is there no sutta which explains what 'all formations' actually are?

It is because they cannot explain what awakening actually is.

Why can they not explain this? Because the worldling has a completely different understanding of awakening to that of a noble disciple.

This is the Nibbana / Parinibbana problem. For a worldling the awakened Arahant has not yet escaped samsara, that will be when he dies.

But the noble disciple knows that samsara ends with awakening.

The noble disciple understands that samsara is the ongoing process of constructing the aggregates, so when that process ends so does samsara.

But the worldling, who takes the form aggregate as being actual form, has to project its cessation into the future.

How then, can they explain exactly what ceases at awakening?

Well, they do explain, but they make it so complicated that only a bhikkhu who spends years putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together has any hope of understanding it.

With kind regards, Vincent.
Hi Vince I agree.
- I think Sutta clearly explain what formations are. Verbal formations, bodily formations and thought formations
- Sutta explain very clearly what awakening means. Awakening is gradual. Mindfulness is the first awakening factor. So you will have a glimpse of what awakening means.
- Awakening (stilling of all formations) will be understood only by following the Noble Eight Fold Path.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:53 am

equilibrium wrote:other interesting piece of text from SN 35.116:
The dimension of non-objectification, although it may not be described, may be realized through direct experience.[/
"Monks, that dimension should be experienced where the eye [vision] stops and the perception [label] of form fades. That dimension should be experienced where the ear stops and the perception of sound fades... where the nose stops and the perception of aroma fades... where the tongue stops and the perception of flavor fades... where the body stops and the perception of tactile sensation fades... where the intellect stops and the perception of idea/phenomenon fades: That dimension should be experienced."


This looks reminiscent of the so-called "9th jhana", cessation of perception and feeling ( nirodha-samapatti ).
Buddha save me from new-agers!

vinasp
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by vinasp » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:15 pm

Hi everyone,

The sutta SN 35.116 which equilibrium cited is SN 35.117 on SuttaCentral.

"Therefore, bhikkhus, that base should be understood, 102 where the eye ceases and perception of forms fades away. 103 [repeat for ear etc.]

From BB's notes: base = ayatana. At Ud 80, Nibbana is described as an ayatana.

The meaning is explained later in the same discourse:

"This was stated by the Blessed One, friends, with reference to the cessation of the six sense bases. 104"

From note 104: salayatana-nirodham ... Spk: "It is Nibbana that is called the cessation of the six sense bases, for in Nibbana the eye, etc., cease and perception of forms, etc,. fades away."

With kind regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by vinasp » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:32 pm

Hi everyone,

All formations are impermanent.

All formations are suffering.

The wide meaning of formation is a 'thing', anything in the world. But this is not the correct way to understand these statements.

The real meaning is that my formations are impermanent, that is, capable of vanishing, and that they are suffering.

But the puthujjana cannot see his own formations so he thinks that these statements are about things in the world.

What are the puthujjana's own formations? His own constructed self and his own constructed world.

One has to start with views. Views are how you see your world. There was a time when you did not have those views which you have now. So your present world is something that you have made, something that you keep on making.

Eliminating your present views is very difficult, it is no good just replacing them with other views. Views are dogmatic certainties about self and world. The root of these views is the view of 'identity.'

The term 'identity' (sakkaya) means the continuous habit of assuming a real self. Because of this unquestioned assumption of a self one goes on to make a dogmatic certainty that there is a real self.

So this dogmatic certainty that there is a real self is the first thing (formation) to be removed. Certainties about self depend on this and are eliminated with it.

One who holds the Eternalist View knows that the self is eternal, but the stream-winner sees that he does not know any such thing, and that this supposed knowledge is a delusion.

One who holds the Annihilation View knows that the self is destroyed at death, but the stream-winner sees that he does not know any such thing, and that this supposed knowledge is a delusion.

The further you go - the less you know.

With kind regards, Vincent.

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by vinasp » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:50 am

Hi everyone,

There are four asava's, ignorance, becoming, sense-pleasure, and views.

These are the formations that have to be removed.

Views are removed first, the view of self, and views about self and world.
This is the stage of the stream-winner [first three fetters removed.]
[View here means a dogmatic certainty and should not be confused with the deeper habitual assumption of a self, although this too is, in a way, also a view.]

Next the asava of sense-pleasure is reduced, by diminishing the habitual assumption of a self. Craving originates from the sense of self, the idea of self. This is the stage of the once-returner [fetters 4 and 5 weakened.]

Next the asava of sense pleasure is removed, by diminishing the assumption of a self even further. The craving for sense-pleasure is eliminated. This is the stage of the non-returner [fetters 4 and 5 broken.]

Next the asava's of ignorance and becoming are reduced together until the craving for existence ceases. Ignorance is the assumption of a self and has already been reduced, it can now only produce the craving for existence.
When the assumption of a self is eliminated so is the craving for the continued existence of the supposed self. This is the stage of the Arahant.

At this point the six bases have ceased, and Nibbana with residue has been attained. The six bases are the assumption of a self, the asava of ignorance. All craving and clinging are eliminated so the five clinging aggregates (suffering) have ceased.

In terms of the eight middle items of DO what has ceased is:
The six bases, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, and becoming.

What is Nibbana with residue? The five aggregates, the person constructed around the conceit 'I am.' Residue means a residue of formations.

In terms of the eight middle items of DO what remains is:
Consciousness and name-and-form.

With kind regards, Vincent.

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by kaushama » Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:44 am

Stilling of all formations is Nibbana! It is beyond description of languages of DUALITY. Duality is the product of self view of any sort and trying conceptualize nibbana through languages derived from Duality is impossible and most of the times leads to concepts infested with Sakkaya Ditti.

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:21 am

kaushama wrote:Stilling of all formations is Nibbana! It is beyond description of languages of DUALITY. Duality is the product of self view of any sort and trying conceptualize nibbana through languages derived from Duality is impossible and most of the times leads to concepts infested with Sakkaya Ditti.
So basically you don't know? OK. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

kaushama
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by kaushama » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:07 am

You don't experience it till you attain nibbana. But you get a feeling of it and understand it when you are sothapanna.

pegembara
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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by pegembara » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:10 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

All formations are impermanent.

All formations are suffering.

The wide meaning of formation is a 'thing', anything in the world. But this is not the correct way to understand these statements.

The real meaning is that my formations are impermanent, that is, capable of vanishing, and that they are suffering.

But the puthujjana cannot see his own formations so he thinks that these statements are about things in the world.

What are the puthujjana's own formations? His own constructed self and his own constructed world.


With kind regards, Vincent.
Everything that arises and passes away are formations. When they are seen to arise and pass away, they cannot be self. That is the logical conclusion.
That is why the Buddha revealed that the true state is "Eye see" and not "I see".
"If anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the eye are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self.' So the eye is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Forms are the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self and forms are not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Consciousness at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self. If anyone were to say, 'Contact at the eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self, forms are not-self, consciousness at the eye is not-self, contact at the eye is not-self.

Chachakka Sutta: The Six Sextets
Last edited by pegembara on Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by pegembara » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:24 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

At this point the six bases have ceased, and Nibbana with residue has been attained. The six bases are the assumption of a self, the asava of ignorance. All craving and clinging are eliminated so the five clinging aggregates (suffering) have ceased.


With kind regards, Vincent.

Nibbana without residue is when the six (or just the five remaining) bases have ceased permanently never to arise again. There are still experiences but no more mental proliferation (nippapanca).


"What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbana-element with residue left.

"Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant... completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbana-element with no residue left.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: What is the "stilling of all formations"?

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:18 pm

pegembara wrote: "What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbana-element with residue left.

"Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant... completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbana-element with no residue left.
So is it the second of these that the "stilling of all formations" is referring to?
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