meaning of duality in theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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form
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meaning of duality in theravada

Post by form » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:39 am

What does it really mean?

SarathW
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:01 am

The way I understand there are many dualities.
There are some people think we permanently exist (eternalist) others think that this life is the last and no more becoming (nihilist).
We generally take things as subject and object or internal and external. For example if I have a glass of water in my hand you might say it is external (object) once your drink the water it become internal (subject).
Duality is the result of self view.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”


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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by WindDancer » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:58 am

Thanks for the question and for what has already been shared.

I have listened to many Dharma talks by teachers who have commented on the misperception of the duality between self and others. The way I understand it is that many people cling to the misperception that particular things are either me, my, myself, mine or they are others. This leads to all kinds of suffering.

For example, it is common to hear people say that we are being selfish to take all that time to meditate. A spouse may say that you are taking away from me, when you spend time away in meditation. That sounds logical enough in a worldly sense; however, the opposite may be true.

When we cultivate peace, become more settled and stable, cling less to people and things and our hearts open and become more loving, not only do we benefit, our practice benefits all beings (including our spouse). Obviously, some people can take things to extremes and get so self absorbed that they neglect others, but those keeping a healthy balance benefit self and others at the same time. No duality. We practice for the benefit of all beings (which includes ourselves).
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by WindDancer » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:15 am


Thank you R1111. I have heard teachers speak about parts of this Sutta, but I had never read it. I learned much from reading it; however, I know I cannot fully grasp everything it has to offer.
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form
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by form » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:47 am

Looks like I may need to purchase b. Bodhi new translation of the nipatta to read this sutta. I dun like to read from the screen of my phone. Thanks R1111.

As for my confusion on understanding of duality, seems to me it has many applications. 1) body and soul (I dun really understand the logic), 2) eternalism and after this body fails, it is the end and much more. And both 1 and 2 are implied in the second noble truth. So is it correct that duality in Buddhism lies only in this aspect?

Can dualism be apply to something similar to yin/yang balancing? In other areas of the sutta pitaka, examples of this type of dualism I can think of now are 1) inferior and superior of aggregates, 2) superior and inferior complex, 3) balancing of certain enlightenment factors.

SarathW
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:29 am

Thanks R.
I could not get why Buddha say four noble truths are a duality then go on to dependent origination.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by paul » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:46 am

The first two noble truths are mundane; the third and fourth noble truths are supramundane, that is the duality. The last two verses of the sutta culminate in the most important duality, that between conventional and ultimate reality. "'Whatever is considered as "This is true" by the world..."

SarathW
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:18 am

Thanks Paul.
Many other dualities mention there.
- Stress VS bliss
- True VS false
- Form VS Formless
- Dependent VS independent
- Dukkha VS Cessation
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by WindDancer » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:49 am

Thanks Paul and SarathW.
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by paul » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:57 am

Sutta nipata 3:12 Dvayatanupassana notes:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

“Surveying the silent community of monks, he addressed them: "Monks, if there are any who ask, 'Your listening to teachings that are skillful, noble, leading onward, going to self-awakening is a prerequisite for what?' they should be told, 'For the sake of knowing qualities of dualities as they actually are.’

—-This statement answers a question sometimes asked by beginners on DW, how can the numerous lists, “the four noble truths, the eight fold path, the five precepts, the nine jhanas, the ten perfections, the foundation for mindfulness, the hindrances …etc”
be reconciled?
The statement informs that those manifold teachings are merely a prerequisite for the actual experience of dhamma in everyday life, through structuring experiences in terms of conventional and ultimate reality and thereby simplifying.

List of topics in the sutta:

The Four Noble Truths
acquisition (birth)
dependent origination
disturbance (restlessness, one of the four factors present in all unwholesome consciousness and one of the last fetters to be eliminated before ignorance is removed.)
nutriment
perturbation
dependence
form-formless-cessation (from form to formless conception followed by nibbana and showing a gradual progress rather than the immediate jump to nibbana as imagined by beginners, who place it as something distant. Ironically this misconception creates a deficit in ultimate reality so that no real experience of ultimate reality is able to be established and thereby no duality with conventional reality is able to be set up, a gateway cannot be passed through unless there is a duality which forms it. The experience of ultimate reality begins at the foot of a tree, i.e. in the forest.)

verse one on conventional and ultimate reality

“Entrenched in name & form,”
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn1.61
Conventional reality begins with naming.

verse two on conventional and ultimate reality
“But for the good it is blatant,
like light
for those who see.
Though in their very presence,
they don't understand it —
dumb animals, unadept in the Dhamma.”

This says that the dhamma is here and now, and though it is in their presence the ignorant (dumb animals) don’t understand, through failing to establish a duality. Conventional reality strongly purports to be ultimate and many are deceived:

“Entrenched in name & form,
they conceive that 'This is true.'
In whatever terms they conceive it
it turns into something other than that,
and that's what's false about it:
changing,
it's deceptive by nature.”
(This is the root of suffering.)

I suspect the sutta is structured on the Four Noble Truths, which have been linked to dependent origination by Thanissaro Bikkhu.

Samyutta Nikaya 35:93 is allied to the present sutta.
Last edited by paul on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

form
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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by form » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:10 am

I have read thru this sutta. I think it is linked to the contact>feeling>craving>clinging>existence. Duality as in I and not I, mine and not mine as explained by Bhikkhu Bodhi in his book 8foldpath.

Clinging on to the four noble truths is duality. Letting it go and just note as in dependant origination is non duality.

Just my thought. It may be wrong.

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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by Friend » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:55 am

SarathW wrote:
Thanks R.
I could not get why Buddha say four noble truths are a duality then go on to dependent origination.
Because the only duality the Buddha taught was dukkha: the duality of its creation and destruction. Dependent origination is the middle view between that duality, which touches "both ends" of birth and death, the beginning and the end, appearance and disappearance, bondage and freedom.

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Re: meaning of duality in theravada

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:07 am

Indeed the four noble truths are structured as cause and effect, Suffering [effect] & origination of suffering [cause], Cessation [Effect] and the Path to Cessation [Cause].

On a different note the word duality i think is used somewhat differently today in a spiritual context. As i understand it there i the notion of non-duality in regards to good&bad, pain&pleasure etc. In regards to this i think the Dhamma is quite interesting because i think it has a similar aspect to it as in non-grasping, Letting the seen be the seen, the felt be the felt etc. However it does not go on to equate pain to pleasure and good to bad.

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