Alternatives to "moments"

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

Post by robertk »

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
Why do you think "momentariness doesn't offer a framework " for any of those things?
Do you think if someone understood/ believed/comprehended the extremely momentary nature of nama and Rupa they wouldn't be able to build a pyramid or make plans?
binocular
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by binocular »

robertk wrote:
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
Why do you think "momentariness doesn't offer a framework " for any of those things?

Do you think if someone understood/ believed/comprehended the extremely momentary nature of nama and Rupa they wouldn't be able to build a pyramid or make plans?
I don't know whether they would be able to do it or not, but I suspect that they would have no interest in doing so.

Then, take issues of justice. Suppose someone commits a crime, but the authorities don't catch the culprit. How do you make sense of living in a universe in which people can get away with murder? Doctrines that include a god that eventually settles the score, or doctrines of karma are examples of scenarios in which justice prevails; such doctrines also require a differetn conception of the frame in which life or action take place (ie. over many lifetimes).

As far as I can tell, momentariness / living in the moment results in hedonism and eventually apathy.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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zerotime
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by zerotime »

mikenz66 wrote: 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.


I think important to point that the Abhidhamma - i.e the Visuddhimagga - was not born like an alternative view to paticcasamuppada but like a complementary one. There is a risk when somebody can mislead that momentary description of the Reality with the description of nibbana. And it happens!!. However, the Abhidhamma intention is to describe the conditionality in the world but not nibbana. The VS it's a useful tool in helping to get the cease by understanding the conditionality but this is not a description of nibbana

I believe the underlying question is to know how that momentary-reality can exist or how it is experienced. On my side I'm ignorant about this point but I strongly suspect it will depend of the eradicated fetters and the characteristics of the followed Path. It seems this was not a main concern for the Buddha when there are not explicit teachings inside the Suttas about this. Although this is not strange at all. In the same way, we can read inside Suttas that there were arhants touching nibbana with his body or not, etc.. and without extensive details on this. The point is knowing the end of dukkha with the entry in the stream and later the progress will be experienced in a different way according kamma. I mean, maybe there are beings who are able to perceive such momentary nature in some degree without any progress. Why not. This is just another issue, a samsaric one:

"Consciousness occurs in 'time slices' lasting only milliseconds, study suggests"
http://www.sciencealert.com/consciousne ... y-suggests

ok, more interesting news about nama, rupa and citta. And cats can see 7 times more than humans. And tomorrow maybe it will rains.

Just to insist that the momentary nature appearing in the Abhidhamma is not nibbana but a way to understand the conditionality in the world, a tool to help to get the cease. So it can be a very bad idea to build that mind-image on nibbana. The only characteristic of nibbana is anatta; empty of individuality. One can think about this and the consequences of inoculating the Time into this understanding: anatta cannot be inhabited by successions of individualities or by conditions which would need individuations. Nibbana is non-conditioned.

In the Abhidhamma, nibbana is the 4th paramattha-dhamma and it is outside of that momentary and conditional world. Is this not a mistake to include it inside that mind-image?
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Javi
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Javi »

Dhammanando wrote:
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.

Noa Ronkin notes in 'Early Buddhist metaphysics' that Wan Doo Kim who has made the major study of the Theravada momentariness, claims that the earliest mention is in the Yamaka and that the division of phenomena into three phases of arising, endurance, and dissolution first appears in the Pali commentaries.

Noa notes that the Theravadin concept is not an atomistic infinitesimal and indivisible moment like the Sarvastivadin concept, but is a broader term that could depend on context.

Also it is noted that in the Kathāvatthu, only mental phenomena are momentary, while material phenomena is said to be able to endure for some time.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

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mikenz66
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 »

Javi wrote: Noa Ronkin notes in 'Early Buddhist metaphysics' that Wan Doo Kim who has made the major study of the Theravada momentariness, claims that the earliest mention is in the Yamaka and that the division of phenomena into three phases of arising, endurance, and dissolution first appears in the Pali commentaries.
Could you clarity that? What about suttas like this one?
“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness.

https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.41/4
:anjali:
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Coëmgenu »

Javi wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
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.

Noa Ronkin notes in 'Early Buddhist metaphysics' that Wan Doo Kim who has made the major study of the Theravada momentariness, claims that the earliest mention is in the Yamaka and that the division of phenomena into three phases of arising, endurance, and dissolution first appears in the Pali commentaries.

Noa notes that the Theravadin concept is not an atomistic infinitesimal and indivisible moment like the Sarvastivadin concept, but is a broader term that could depend on context.

Also it is noted that in the Kathāvatthu, only mental phenomena are momentary, while material phenomena is said to be able to endure for some time.
Isn't the fact that the Buddha expounds his dhamma-theory in the suttāni the first establishment of a notion of momentariness? Before the Abhidhamma et al?
If you see a river, pray that beings gain entrance into the stream and into the ocean of wisdom. If you see a reservoir, pray that beings swiftly taste the one taste of the Dharma. If you see a pond, pray that beings become great in locution and skillful in preaching. If you see a well, pray that beings draw deep from the well of reason to disclose all dharmas. If you see a spring, pray that beings have inexhaustible roots of virtue. If you see a bridge, pray that beings carry all across to safety, as via a bridge. If you see a waterfall, pray that all beings cleanse the stains of delusion.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Coëmgenu,
Coëmgenu wrote:Isn't the fact that the Buddha expounds his dhamma-theory in the suttāni the first establishment of a notion of momentariness? Before the Abhidhamma et al?
Not really, because the Mahāniddesa, Apadāna and Paṭisambhidāmagga aren't instances of the Buddha expounding anything.

Rather, they are very early commentaries that were smuggled into the Sutta Pitaka before it was closed off. See chronological order of the suttas for more details.

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 »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Coëmgenu,
Coëmgenu wrote:Isn't the fact that the Buddha expounds his dhamma-theory in the suttāni the first establishment of a notion of momentariness? Before the Abhidhamma et al?
Not really, because the Mahāniddesa, Apadāna and Paṭisambhidāmagga aren't instances of the Buddha expounding anything.

Rather, they are very early commentaries that were smuggled into the Sutta Pitaka before it was closed off.

Metta,
Paul. :)
I was more referring to the fact that the Buddha says "dhammá" at all. That already lays the foundation of the dhamma-theory of the Buddha of the postulated "Early Texts". The Buddha can't, as far as I know, be said to have not expounded dhamma-theory. "Sabbe dhammá anattá": that would be a salient feature of the dhamma-theory expounded in the suttáni, no?
If you see a river, pray that beings gain entrance into the stream and into the ocean of wisdom. If you see a reservoir, pray that beings swiftly taste the one taste of the Dharma. If you see a pond, pray that beings become great in locution and skillful in preaching. If you see a well, pray that beings draw deep from the well of reason to disclose all dharmas. If you see a spring, pray that beings have inexhaustible roots of virtue. If you see a bridge, pray that beings carry all across to safety, as via a bridge. If you see a waterfall, pray that all beings cleanse the stains of delusion.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Coëmgenu,

The Buddha explained about dhammas in the suttas.

However, any attempts to expand upon, or systematize the Buddha's teachings into various theories, schemas and isms are the doings of the individuals responsible for constructing such things. I do not see anything in any "dhamma theory" which constitutes an improvement over what the Buddha taught - all I see are off-track diversions in the form of conceptual proliferation and the reification of sankharas.

People may do and believe as they wish, of course - I only object when they inadvertently slander the Buddha by putting the words, theories and schemas of others into his mouth. Correct attribution is important.
Two ways of slander of the Buddha:
1. He who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata
2. He who explains what was said or spoken by the Tathagata as not said or spoken by the Tathagata
(from Anguttara Nikaya 2.23)
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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robertk
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by robertk »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Coëmgenu,
Coëmgenu wrote:Isn't the fact that the Buddha expounds his dhamma-theory in the suttāni the first establishment of a notion of momentariness? Before the Abhidhamma et al?
Not really, because the Mahāniddesa, Apadāna and Paṭisambhidāmagga aren't instances of the Buddha expounding anything.

Rather, they are very early commentaries that were smuggled into the Sutta Pitaka before it was closed off. See chronological order of the suttas for more details.

Metta,
Paul. :)
how do you know they were smuggled in ?
Wouldn't the majority of Theravada Bhikkhus have taken exception to this? Especially as this would be slandering the Buddha- and doing it wilfully land one a seat in hell.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Robert,
robertk wrote:how do you know they were smuggled in ? Wouldn't the majority of Theravada Bhikkhus have taken exception to this? Especially as this would be slandering the Buddha- and doing it wilfully land one a seat in hell.
I don't know as I've not read them, but I suspect their authorship within the Sutta Pitaka is anonymous (as it was with the Abhidhamma Pitaka). My suspicion is that there's nothing within the Pitaka itself which ascribes authorship of these commentaries to the Buddha himself - thus no slander involved with their inclusion. I am more than happy to be corrected if there's evidence to the contrary.

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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mikenz66
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Coëmgenu,

The Buddha explained about dhammas in the suttas.

However, any attempts to expand upon, or systematize the Buddha's teachings into various theories, schemas and isms are the doings of the individuals responsible for constructing such things. I do not see anything in any "dhamma theory" which constitutes an improvement over what the Buddha taught - all I see are off-track diversions in the form of conceptual proliferation and the reification of sankharas.

People may do and believe as they wish, of course - I only object when they inadvertently slander the Buddha by putting the words, theories and schemas of others into his mouth. Correct attribution is important.
Two ways of slander of the Buddha:
1. He who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata
2. He who explains what was said or spoken by the Tathagata as not said or spoken by the Tathagata
(from Anguttara Nikaya 2.23)
Metta,
Paul. :)
Slander? The whole Theravada tradition, and the various 20th C models that some here find helpful?

I'd rather think of these developments more charitably: as genuine attempt to systematise, understand, and implement the Dhamma... People who subscribe to these various models all feel that they are consistent with the suttas that the Buddha taught (though they may, of course, make use of additional ideas and developments).

:anjali:
Mike
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retrofuturist
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Slander? The whole Theravada tradition, and the various 20th C models that some here find helpful?
Only if people say it's the words of the Tathagata when it's not.

People can easily say they think something is consistent with the Buddha's teaching without falsely ascribing it to him.

There really is no issue here.

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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mikenz66
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 »

Ok, so the Commentaries are fine, then? That's where the mind-moment thing is developed in detail. You're only objecting to late additions to the Sutta Pitaka?

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Ok, so the Commentaries are fine, then? That's where the mind-moment thing is developed in detail. You're only objecting to late additions to the Sutta Pitaka?
As I said before...
People may do and believe as they wish, of course - I only object when they inadvertently slander the Buddha by putting the words, theories and schemas of others into his mouth. Correct attribution is important.
It's not that hard.

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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