Alternatives to "moments"

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mikenz66
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:55 am

OK, thanks for clarifying that. Since there appears to be no slander involved, perhaps we could go back to discussing models.

:anjali:
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Javi » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:33 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
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?
'Dhamma' as used in the suttas have a less technical and broader meaning.

In the abhidhamma it becomes a more tightly defined term, the 'Dhamma theory' becomes more developed.

But you are right that there is some continuity in the sense that the term itself is not wholly new and the Dhamma theory is building on sutta material, not whole new cloth.
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

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by zerotime » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:58 pm

Javi wrote: 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.
diversity of views is not strange. The atomist view on the nature was absent in the Vedic thought, although for some reason it started to be developed in India by Jainists, Buddhists and other people, and it was established for the later centuries. Vachaspati talked even of early photons All together shows an effort shared by the people to accommodate their doctrines into that. This new atomized view on nature was a shared fashion in conceiving the reality in more sophisticated terms.

https://indiaphilosophy.wordpress.com/2 ... n-atomism/

Inside the Suttas there is the momentariness schema although without attention to the citta speed. There is just attention to the arising, presence and dissolution which was enough for detachment according what we see in the Suttas. Although the speed of citta in the Abhidhamma forces the individual to have an added awareness of impermanence and about a lack of control regarding phenomena. At the same time, the Abhidhamma was a sophisticated device needed to compete with other religions and ideas.

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Javi » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:15 pm

retrofuturist wrote: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.
While I ultimately agree, I think that others just have a different model of who Buddha is.

For some the Buddha rose up to tavatimsa and spoke the Abhidhamma. Others think he spoke the Mahayana sutras. Many genuinely believe this.

Is this really slander? Maybe its confusion or a mistaken notion, but slander? I think that's going too far and it can really alienate fellow Buddhists who simply do not share the historical buddha model and instead have a more metaphysical view.
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

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Zom » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:38 pm

That wasn't working. Here's one that does:
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... abhidhamma
What a nice paper, haven't seen before. Thanks!

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:26 pm

Javi wrote: For some the Buddha rose up to tavatimsa and spoke the Abhidhamma. Others think he spoke the Mahayana sutras. Many genuinely believe this.

Is this really slander? Maybe its confusion or a mistaken notion, but slander? I think that's going too far and it can really alienate fellow Buddhists who simply do not share the historical buddha model and instead have a more metaphysical view.
Ven Analayo gave a nice interview related to this article: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/mind ... raditions/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-blp_r2rKOk

As he explains, around 9:20, an Early-Buddhist-Text-analytical approach, an Abhidhamma-based approach, or various Mahayana approaches, are about, "different Buddhas". The EBT Buddha didn't teach Abhidhamma to his mother in Tāvatiṃsa heaven, and Sāriputta during meal breaks. The Buddha of many Asian teachers did. ...

As Ven Analayo says, confronting an Abhidhamma-based teacher: "Bhante, according to my textual analysis your teaching is based on ahistorical fallacies" is unlikely to be a particularly useful approach. Recognising that they are different approaches, with different assumptions, might be more helpful.

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Javi » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:44 pm

That interview is exactly what I had in mind!

There are many great teachers in all traditions. I don't necessarily agree with all of their views, but then again, can we ever expect to agree with someone 100 percent of the time?

What matters is skillful speech.
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

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:09 pm

Javi wrote: What matters is skillful speech.
And effective practice...

:heart:
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:39 pm

Perhaps we could return to "moments".

Here are some sutta passages:
Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still another, so too that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night.
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.61/4.398-
“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.

“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: ‘Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.’ This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.41/4
And some Canonical Abhidhamma passages:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 8&p=411248
santa100 wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Can you point to the Vibhanga passage that you think implies momentariness? Presumably it is in the Dependent Origination section?
Not from Vb 6, it's from Vb 3.:
“Immediately after the arising and passing away of the eyeconsciousness-element, there arises the mind-element; and, again
immediately after the arising and passing away of the mindelement, there arises the mind, the corresponding mindconsciousness-element.”
And Ven. Nyanapokika's note:
The two passages quoted above refer to the momentary stages in a single process of cognition (cittavìthi). There are a
few other references to these stages in the Paþþhána and also in the Paþisambhidámagga. But the full series of these stages of
cognitive consciousness, with nomenclature and explanations, is found only in the commentarial literature.
:anjali:
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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:04 pm

Javi wrote:
retrofuturist wrote: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.
While I ultimately agree, I think that others just have a different model of who Buddha is.

For some the Buddha rose up to tavatimsa and spoke the Abhidhamma. Others think he spoke the Mahayana sutras. Many genuinely believe this.

Is this really slander? Maybe its confusion or a mistaken notion, but slander? I think that's going too far and it can really alienate fellow Buddhists who simply do not share the historical buddha model and instead have a more metaphysical view.
:goodpost:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Greetings Javi,
Javi wrote:Others think he spoke the Mahayana sutras. Many genuinely believe this.
Being wrong doesn't make them right, just because being wrong might hurt their feelings.
Javi wrote:Is this really slander? Maybe its confusion or a mistaken notion, but slander? I think that's going too far and it can really alienate fellow Buddhists who simply do not share the historical buddha model and instead have a more metaphysical view.
Well, they will have to take that matter up with the Buddha of the Sutta Pitaka, won't they?

As I said, people can believe and do what they like... it's just best that they do so with access to the necessary and relevant factual information, so they can make an informed decision that is right for them. To wit, the suttas should not be concealed or wilfully ignored for fear of hurting someone's feelings - including suttas on what constitutes slander of the Buddha.

Anyway, the point of this spin-off thread was just to point out that the aforementioned Sutta Pitaka volumes which pertain to "momentariness" (e.g. Mahāniddesa, Apadāna and Paṭisambhidāmagga) are not attributable to the Buddha... an important distinction required for informed decision-making about how one regards "moments" and how one can avoid being inadvertently slanderous towards the Buddha. Now that's been done, and people have the spiritual autonomy to believe and do as they wish, it would seem that any further emotional resistance to the word "slander" is irrelevant to the topic at hand. Therefore...
mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps we could return to "moments".
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)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:17 am

Javi wrote:Is this really slander? Maybe its confusion or a mistaken notion, but slander? I think that's going too far
In the context of AN. 2:23, I think Bhikkhu Bodhi's "misrepresentation of the Tathāgata" is a better rendering of tathāgata-abbhācikkhanaṃ than Thanissaro's "slander", even though only the latter is supported in the PTS Dictionary. From the occasions in the Suttas and Vinaya where bhikkhus are accused of it, it would appear that the term encompasses not only deliberately wrong statements as to what the Tathāgata taught (e.g. that of Ariṭṭha Gaddhabādhipubba) but also unwittingly wrong ones made in good faith (e.g. that of Sāti Kevaṭṭaputta). "Slander", I think, would encompass only the former.

And so we have:
"Bhikkhus, these two misrepresent the Tathāgata. Which two? One who proclaims what has not been stated and uttered by the Tathāgata as having been stated and uttered by him, and one who proclaims what has been stated and uttered by the Tathāgata as not having been stated and uttered by him. These two misrepresent the Tathāgata."

(AN. 2.23. Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, but for the verb dīpeti I've changed "explains" to "proclaims")
Javi wrote:but slander? I think that's going too far, and it can really alienate fellow Buddhists who simply do not share the historical buddha model and instead have a more metaphysical view.
But they are already alienated, simply by virtue of their membership of a different canonical community.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by Javi » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:16 am

Thanks for clearing that up Venerable!
Dhammanando wrote: But they are already alienated, simply by virtue of their membership of a different canonical community.
Theoretically yes, but I think it is a matter of degrees.

I know these are those in Mahayana traditions who read the Pali texts or the Agamas, and have much respect for these teachings. Also even the Mahayana texts share a lot of common material with the early texts. And I personally think there are valuable teachings and practices in other traditions, even if they are innovations. I think when dealing with other Buddhists, it good to rejoice in the commonalities and when differences come up, discuss them delicately (but not ignore them).

Also, there are many other factors to think about here. For example, I personally probably have more in common with a Western Mahayanist than a Thai Theravadin. We speak the same language, are from the same culture, live in the same region of the world, etc. And even Theravadins don't all agree on which texts are authoritative.

I honestly don't feel very alienated from Mahayanists. But then again, I practice with a Zen sangha, and they tend to be totally unconcerned with doctrine or textual study - at least at the level of regular practitioner, you're sort of left to your own devices as far as study is concerned.

Perhaps this says more about the state of Buddhism in the West, or Buddhism as I experience it though.
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

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Alternatives to "moments"

Post by rajitha7 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:53 am

RetroFuturist,
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.
I agree with you. However, I think momentaries can bring some clarity how Paticcasamuppada works. For example, Sāti the Fisherman's Son, and indeed I always thought it's the consciousness that "runs and wanders".
MN 38 PTS: M i 256 wrote:Now on that occasion this pernicious viewpoint (diṭṭhigata) had arisen in the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son: "As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on [from birth to birth], not another."
So what carries forward to the next birth if consciousness does not transmigrate? If every moment arises and ceases, how does state (or memory, feelings, perception, cognition etc) appear fluid? More importantly, How does state or memory carry forward to the next moment?

The mundane view of self

Code: Select all

moment-1, time+0				
[ person => { name :"Joe Blog", address:"5th Ave, NY" } ]

moment-n, time+n
[ person => { name :"Joe Blog", address:"5th Ave, NY" } ]
The reality

Code: Select all

moment-1, time+0				
[ person => { name => { inputs => [ input0, inputn ], output=> "Joe Blog", Address => { inputs => [ input0, inputn ], output=> "5th Ave, NY" } } ]

moment-n, time+n
[ person => { name => { inputs => [ input0, inputn ], output=> "Joe Blog", Address => { inputs => [ input0, inputn ], output=> "5th Ave, NY" } } ]
So what Buddha is suggesting is the second scenario. Each instance (thought moment) re-creates the self from ground up. There is no stored state that perpetuates.

That makes sense because things would not deteriorate if the self-identity was in a stored container. Things deteriorate because the force required to create and maintain a single point of data wanes over time. The self is ultimately a process only. There is no stored data. The only constant is the inputs based on greed, aversion, and delusion.

However, the Abhidhamma state thought moments gets stored in the sub-consciousnesses once computed. Consequently, every thought since inception gets stored here. The current state is always computed from the current inputs.

For this to work in a fluid fashion it must happen at an incredible speed. Thought moments sort of seems to fill a gap in understanding the scheme.

Some reading here.
https://www.academia.edu/3426765/Sevent ... n_Buddhism
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 binocular » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:36 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:I have seen criticized, a few times, the notion of "momentariness", as being some sort of innovation, foreign to the "Early Dhamma".

I don't really want to start a conversation/argument, as the internet is often wont to do, about "Early Buddhism" vs "Buddhism", or suttāni vs Abhidhamma/commentary, but on what grounds is momentariness refuted as "unDhammic"?

How can the world not be momentary? Made of myriad overlapping moments (dhammā), lacking substantial graspable identity, outlining an ever-changing all-encompassing impermanence of experience? It seems to me that momentariness is simply impermanence.

I don't even think this "momentariness" is highly related to Buddhism, it just seems like common sense that our experiences occur momentarily, blatantly obvious, but that is just my own thinking. Apparently not only is it not "blatantly obvious" to some, but to some it is wrong altogether, or wrong in some detail that I don't know.

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 just the concept of "admirable friendship": Can you conceive of admirable friendship, with everything it entails, from the perspective of momentariness?

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