Alternatives to "moments"

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Coëmgenu »

aflatun wrote: I'm not retro, but I think part of the problem is once you posit an "atom" it becomes dubious as to whether one can also maintain not self and impermanence.
This reminds me of the ultimate/conventional dichotomy as related to selfhood. The Buddha has not problem calling himself "I", or so-and-so a person, etc, despite selfhood being untenable on an ultimate level. It strikes me as the same deal with naming these cross-sections of experience.

I think should ask an Abhidhammika if Abhidhamma argues that these namings of dhammā constitute viable descriptions of ultimate reality, by the self-narrative of the Abhidhamma text, because that is what will decide the issue I think.
The Buddha, from within his seat of samādhi, emitted a great circle of light from his head, casting luminous prajñā towards Mañjuśrī and the eighty-four thousand monks. A sword of wisdom appeared from the top of Mañjuśrī's head, and from his side emerged a golden-haired lion. [...] The Tathāgata spoke:

The supreme path of all Buddhas
is marked by perfect luminosity and eternal dwelling.
Those who enter the dhyāna samādhis together with the Buddhas,
in the same way as they, realize bodhicitta.

(Nihon Daizōkyō Hensankai, Shugendō Shōso 1, Bussetsusanjinjuryōmuhenkyō, excerpts)
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mikenz66
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 »

aflatun wrote: An atom would seem to be a self existent experience independent "thing" that is basically a micro self....
See Tiltbillings excellent collection of quotations:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... =20#p89007
tiltbillings wrote:Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Astra »

Momentariness does not come from Abbhidhamma, it comes from Vissudimagga
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retrofuturist
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Coëmgenu,
Coëmgenu wrote:I literally can't even conceive of an alternative.
This is because the alternative isn't in the realm of conception.

Rather, it is non-fabrication, asankhata, non-proliferation, nippapanca.

:buddha1:

It is why the Buddha's expositions and solutions are often framed in negative terms... as absence...
MN 18 wrote:"When there is no intellect, when there are no ideas, when there is no intellect-consciousness, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is no delineation of contact, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is no delineation of feeling, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is no delineation of perception, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.
Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Coëmgenu »

Astra wrote:Momentariness does not come from Abbhidhamma, it comes from Vissudimagga
The way people are framing the word "momentariness" seems to be in such a way that it is specifically related to dhamma-theory and the classification of dhammā, isn't this a main focal point of Abhidhamma?

I've only read tiny portions of the Abhidhamma, and with little context, so I can't say for sure what is in it, but if it is like the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma than the classifications of moments/dharmāḥ/dhammā/phenomena must play at least some part.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Buddha, from within his seat of samādhi, emitted a great circle of light from his head, casting luminous prajñā towards Mañjuśrī and the eighty-four thousand monks. A sword of wisdom appeared from the top of Mañjuśrī's head, and from his side emerged a golden-haired lion. [...] The Tathāgata spoke:

The supreme path of all Buddhas
is marked by perfect luminosity and eternal dwelling.
Those who enter the dhyāna samādhis together with the Buddhas,
in the same way as they, realize bodhicitta.

(Nihon Daizōkyō Hensankai, Shugendō Shōso 1, Bussetsusanjinjuryōmuhenkyō, excerpts)
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aflatun
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by aflatun »

mikenz66 wrote:
aflatun wrote: An atom would seem to be a self existent experience independent "thing" that is basically a micro self....
See Tiltbillings excellent collection of quotations:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... =20#p89007
tiltbillings wrote:Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
:anjali:
Mike
I've seen this wonderful collection before, good stuff! And to be clear I wasn't implying that Theravada subscribes to 'self nature' or static realities. I'm honestly not sure as its out of my depth, and the material provided would seem to imply otherwise, at least nominally. (And I would also add that my understanding of Nagarjuna is that he wasn't *just* arguing against self existence, but going quite farther than that, but this thread is not the right place for me to muddy things further).

But my suspicion is that the subordination of "thingness" to fabrication/construction as articulated by Retro above may go a bit further in what I believe is the 'right' direction than the 'network of conditions' alluded to above.*

*EDIT: And my biases in this regard are probably obvious by now :tongue:
Last edited by aflatun on Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16
Astra
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Astra »

Probably yes. But the first time we hear the term "momentariness" is in the Vissudimagga.
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aflatun
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by aflatun »

Coëmgenu wrote:
aflatun wrote: I'm not retro, but I think part of the problem is once you posit an "atom" it becomes dubious as to whether one can also maintain not self and impermanence.
This reminds me of the ultimate/conventional dichotomy as related to selfhood. The Buddha has not problem calling himself "I", or so-and-so a person, etc, despite selfhood being untenable on an ultimate level. It strikes me as the same deal with naming these cross-sections of experience.

I think should ask an Abhidhammika if Abhidhamma argues that these namings of dhammā constitute viable descriptions of ultimate reality, by the self-narrative of the Abhidhamma text, because that is what will decide the issue I think.
I agree on both counts!
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Dhammanando »

Astra wrote:Probably yes. But the first time we hear the term "momentariness" is in the Vissudimagga.
It is to be found in many texts that predate the Visuddhimagga. For example, the Mahāniddesa, Apadāna and Paṭisambhidāmagga of the Suttanta Piṭaka; the Kathāvatthu, Yamaka and Paṭṭhāna of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. Not to mention its pre-Visuddhimagga occurrences in the works of non-Theravādin schools.
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by zerotime »

Coëmgenu wrote: To those who reject momentariness altogether, or who merely reject certain models of momentary existence, on what grounds do you do this and why? I am not trying to critique the "anti-momentariness" perspective, just to try to understand it, because I literally can't even conceive of an alternative.
Do you mean an alternative for the world?

Not rejection but read these words inside the Atthasalini regarding the abbhidhamic presentation of dhammas:


"By Time the Sage described the Mind
And by the Mind he described the Time;
In order, that by such a definition,
The dhammas there in classes may be show"


...that's like saying "hello world" ;)
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings zerotime,
zerotime wrote:"By Time the Sage described the Mind
And by the Mind he described the Time;
In order, that by such a definition,
The dhammas there in classes may be show"


...that's like saying "hello world" ;)
Indeed it is... and if that is creation of the "world", the only real alternative is non-creation of the "world".
SN 12.15 wrote:For one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world.

For one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.
Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by rajitha7 »

"analog" vs "digital"

I think you suggest everything is ultimately analog, not digital.
retrofuturist wrote:In short, when one takes a dhamma as existing for even "one moment", they have embraced atomism, fallen into the polarity of existence/non-existence, and fallen away from the understanding that there is merely arising and cessation.
- A "mind moment" arises and ceases.
- A "mind moment" itself transitions through 17 stages.
- Each stage of the 17 stage pipeline arises (uppdada), exists (thiti), and ceases (bhanga)

The discrete intermediate states are ultimately composed of states that arise and ceases. So ultimately everything arises and ceases i.e. its still Analogue.
Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. - Sampasādanīya, Dīgha Nikāya 28
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Rajitha,
rajitha7 wrote:"analog" vs "digital"

I think you suggest everything is ultimately analog, not digital.
That's certainly a useful starting-point analogy for questioning the legitimacy of "digital" (or "atomic") moments. To that extent, it's a step in the right direction.

However, full understanding comes not in assuming that "analogue" dhammas "exist" or "not-exist" either, but in understanding that all fabricated dhammas (whether regarded as analogue, digital or otherwise) are sankhata (fabricated) via paticcasamuppada, and are brought to cease via cessation of paticcasamuppada.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 »

retrofuturist wrote: However, full understanding comes not in assuming that "analogue" dhammas "exist" or "not-exist" either, but in understanding that all fabricated dhammas (whether regarded as analogue, digital or otherwise) are sankhata (fabricated) via paticcasamuppada, and are brought to cease via cessation of paticcasamuppada.
Of course, who doesn't teach that? There are different models to describe that fabrication and the Theravada Abhidhamma-based model is one of them. You subscribe to a different model, but the goal is the same, to drop the fabrications and the model.

:anjali:
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by binocular »

Coëmgenu wrote:To those who reject momentariness altogether, or who merely reject certain models of momentary existence, on what grounds do you do this and why? I am not trying to critique the "anti-momentariness" perspective, just to try to understand it, because I literally can't even conceive of an alternative.
Consider:
-- issues of morality,
-- issues of justice,
-- issues regarding the meaning of life,
-- large projects (anything from building a house to building pyramids, from setting up a retirement fund and having medical insurance to eradicating greed, anger, and delusion),
-- ordinary daily projects like cooking dinner or driving a car,
require us to think about things in a long-term perspective, even extending across that which is usually regarded as one lifetime of a normal person.

The perspective of momentariness doesn't offer a framework for thinking about such things nor for coming up with plans for action for those things.
I find that the momentariness perspective is actually operating with the fruits of long-term thinking and with long-term projects, but some proponents of momentariness seem to ignore or deny that.

Sure, once one works out a plan for action (which requires long-term thinking), one goes about putting it into action, which is in fact taking place on a moment-by-moment basis, on an action-by-action basis -- how else could it be? Nevertheless, all that moment-by-moment action is still contextualized by the bigger framework of long-term plans.

Coëmgenu wrote:In Theravāda, are not all dhammā without identity (not-self) and without constancy (impermanent) of any sort? Doesn't that negate sabhāva framings of dhammā, rendering them untenable?
But there's a context to that teaching, namely, the Four Noble Truths. They imply a long-term plan, putting them into action is a long-term project.
If you can't build with them, don't chill with them.
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