The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

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SDC
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SDC » Wed May 31, 2017 11:16 pm

Sam Vara wrote:If someone thinks that their experience is all there is, then abstractions from that experience would not trouble their basic axiom.
It would be trouble if that abstraction was unjustifiably taken to stand for the meaning of the experience in general. If so then the experience would be understood in reverse order: the abstraction taking priority over what has arisen. That is not to say such abstractions are illusory, they arise as well, but should not be accepted as standing for that broader thing from which they were abstracted from.

In terms of MN1: "From earth he has a percept of earth; having had from earth a percept of earth, he conceives (that to be) earth, he conceives (that to be) in earth, he conceives (that to be apart) from earth, he conceives earth to be ‘Mine’, he relishes earth. Why is that? He has not fully diagnosed it, I say."

...this abstraction seems to equate with conceiving, whereby that conceiving actually stands for percept it is regards to, i.e. not "diagnosed" as conceiving. He thinks that is how things are.

Just what came to mind. Good to see you posting again, Sam.

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SDC
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SDC » Wed May 31, 2017 11:26 pm

Moved to "General Theravada"

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Sam Vara
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 31, 2017 11:38 pm

SDC wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:If someone thinks that their experience is all there is, then abstractions from that experience would not trouble their basic axiom.
It would be trouble if that abstraction was unjustifiably taken to stand for the meaning of the experience in general. If so then the experience would be understood in reverse order: the abstraction taking priority over what has arisen. That is not to say such abstractions are illusory, they arise as well, but should not be accepted as standing for that broader thing from which they were abstracted from.
Yes, I completely agree. What you describe seems to be a recurring problem for intellectuals who over-value the products of their thinking. I hadn't thought about MN1 in that context, but it is very apposite. Abstractions should be known as such, and therefore kept in their proper place. My point is that the abstractions themselves are nevertheless a form of experience; they arise within "The All", and as such are no challenge to that axiomatic notion. They are not found in some unknown realm outside of the six sense bases.

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SDC
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by SDC » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:17 am

Sam Vara wrote:Yes, I completely agree. What you describe seems to be a recurring problem for intellectuals who over-value the products of their thinking. I hadn't thought about MN1 in that context, but it is very apposite. Abstractions should be known as such, and therefore kept in their proper place. My point is that the abstractions themselves are nevertheless a form of experience; they arise within "The All", and as such are no challenge to that axiomatic notion. They are not found in some unknown realm outside of the six sense bases.
The challenge it seems, when it comes to the identification of conceiving, is found in defining the range in which to apply the caution you are alluding to; it would have to apply to any and every arisen thing, even extending to those most personal, internal notions of "my existence" which may be nothing more than an offer that comes along with the arising of the aggregates; an offer which is taken up, i.e holding/clinging. Even the very volition, by which any offered direction is chosen, is subject to conceiving, and if the caution is not permitted to extend to those very reaches, such a subtle thing could be overlooked, bypassed as something which is understood when it was not, its nature conceived - to the degree that there is assumed to be ownership of that volition (and anything subordinate to it) even though no such owner has actually been verified. But that habitual bypass nevertheless, all at once, stands for assumption of that ownership (unknowingly of course), and that assumed owner will be there as a result.

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by pegembara » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:12 am

lostitude wrote:
pegembara wrote: "The wood, the metal, the plastic" exist in so far as they can be felt as hard, flexible, cool or rough: shiny, colorful or brown; sounds they make when breaking. They are merely labels we attach to appearances in sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch. Experiences are real. The rest are commentary or fabrications.
You could have said something like that 500 years ago, but not today. Wood, metal and plastic can be differentiated from their physical and chemical properties, not involving the senses but mathematics. With science, it is becoming more and more difficult to pretend that stuff might not exist simply because our senses often fool us.
Mathematics and science are also commentary based on our experiences which is in turn based on inputs through our senses. An apple falling on one's head is an experience. White light splitting into rainbow colours is too.
That is why they keep changing with new discoveries without an end.
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: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Bundokji » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:38 am

SDC wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Yes, I completely agree. What you describe seems to be a recurring problem for intellectuals who over-value the products of their thinking. I hadn't thought about MN1 in that context, but it is very apposite. Abstractions should be known as such, and therefore kept in their proper place. My point is that the abstractions themselves are nevertheless a form of experience; they arise within "The All", and as such are no challenge to that axiomatic notion. They are not found in some unknown realm outside of the six sense bases.
The challenge it seems, when it comes to the identification of conceiving, is found in defining the range in which to apply the caution you are alluding to; it would have to apply to any and every arisen thing, even extending to those most personal, internal notions of "my existence" which may be nothing more than an offer that comes along with the arising of the aggregates; an offer which is taken up, i.e holding/clinging. Even the very volition, by which any offered direction is chosen, is subject to conceiving, and if the caution is not permitted to extend to those very reaches, such a subtle thing could be overlooked, bypassed as something which is understood when it was not, its nature conceived - to the degree that there is assumed to be ownership of that volition (and anything subordinate to it) even though no such owner has actually been verified. But that habitual bypass nevertheless, all at once, stands for assumption of that ownership (unknowingly of course), and that assumed owner will be there as a result.
Thanks SDC,

When i read your post, the following question came to my mind: what you described as "bypassing" and the assumptions that followed means that it all have started somewhere/sometime in human history. How did such false and "unverified" ownership came into existence in the first place?

:anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:27 am

SDC wrote: The challenge it seems, when it comes to the identification of conceiving, is found in defining the range in which to apply the caution you are alluding to; it would have to apply to any and every arisen thing, even extending to those most personal, internal notions of "my existence" which may be nothing more than an offer that comes along with the arising of the aggregates; an offer which is taken up, i.e holding/clinging.
Yes indeed, which is why constant vigilance and everything that supports it is so valuable. I'm undecided as to whether it is worth setting limits to how far this process extends (i.e. to cases where notions of "my existence" are evident, or to rooting out even the latent and undiscerned conceiving which is inherent even in apparently unchosen perception) so concentrate as best I can on the grosser aspects of this process. I think this type of thinking is extremely valuable, but has a tendency to lead to a very exacting and tough type of daily practice!

I do like your idea of "bypassing". A synonym for ignorance, perhaps? Certainly worth more thought on my part. Many thanks.

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:47 am

I view the aggregates as a model of the way we experience stuff.

An alternative model is the six properties of a person:
"'A person has six properties.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? These are the six properties: the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, the wind property, the space property, the consciousness property. 'A person has six properties.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Another model of experience is the six sense bases, as described for example in the Satipatthana Sutta ( 4th frame )
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:44 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:
lostitude wrote:... Saturn's sattelites ... Atoms, electrons, even molecules ... ?
How could I verify? How could you demonstrate?
The same way it has already demonstrated...
Many objects in space have been identified not by being seen, but by their physical effects as measured mathematically... none of the senses is involved in such cases.

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:44 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:
lostitude wrote:Have you ever seen a deva? ... you perfectly can conceptualise virtually anything beyond your experience.
A concept is within my experience, not beyond it.
So a deva is within your experience?

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:56 pm

pegembara wrote:
Mathematics and science are also commentary based on our experiences which is in turn based on inputs through our senses. An apple falling on one's head is an experience. White light splitting into rainbow colours is too.
That is why they keep changing with new discoveries without an end.
I doubt that the differenciation between wood and metal has ever been changed in human prehistory and history... What about electricity or gravity for example, which usually cannot be seen or touched or smelled or heard? Do you believe that they do not exist? Do they not exist because we can't perceive them through our senses?
How many stellar objects were proven to exist purely through mathematics before they were ever observed? does this mean they began to exist only once they became observable?

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:58 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:I view the aggregates as a model of the way we experience stuff.

An alternative model is the six properties of a person:
"'A person has six properties.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? These are the six properties: the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, the wind property, the space property, the consciousness property. 'A person has six properties.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Another model of experience is the six sense bases, as described for example in the Satipatthana Sutta ( 4th frame )
Isn't anything we say about the way we experience stuff just a model? I don't think it is possible to talk about the way we experience stuff except as a model.

One could argue that all speech can be seen as a model of this or that.
chownah

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by PuerAzaelis » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:01 pm

lostitude wrote:... not by being seen ... but by their physical effects as measured mathematically.
Which are seen.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by lostitude » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:10 pm

PuerAzaelis wrote:
lostitude wrote:... not by being seen ... but by their physical effects as measured mathematically.
Which are seen.
Really? Can you see the gravitational pull of earth on the moon? That of the Sun or earth? that of the center of the galaxy on our solar system?

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Re: The aggregates "exist" only conventionally

Post by chownah » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:11 pm

lostitude wrote:
pegembara wrote:
Mathematics and science are also commentary based on our experiences which is in turn based on inputs through our senses. An apple falling on one's head is an experience. White light splitting into rainbow colours is too.
That is why they keep changing with new discoveries without an end.
I doubt that the differenciation between wood and metal has ever been changed in human prehistory and history... What about electricity or gravity for example, which usually cannot be seen or touched or smelled or heard? Do you believe that they do not exist? Do they not exist because we can't perceive them through our senses?
How many stellar objects were proven to exist purely through mathematics before they were ever observed? does this mean they began to exist only once they became observable?
What most people construe to be "electricity" does not match what scientists have shown through detailed investigations. Scientists have a different construal for electricity then most people. So, does electricity "exist" in different ways to different people? Please do note that what is really happening to lead people to their construal of what electricity is can not be found in how it is construed....in other words, if one holds to the view that there is a "reality" out there then the "reality" of what happens is different from the various construals it precipitates.

Since construals do not accurately portray "anything" then what is the value in discussing the existence of some "anything" which can never be precisely known?....better to just see our construals as being construals since there can be nothing but construal in our existence.
chownah

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