Page 1 of 4

Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:13 am
by Garrib
Bhante Punnaji speaks in this video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOtP4S4nm_k ) about his translation of avijja as "insentience" rather than "ignorance" (although he does say that ignorance makes sense in so far as it means "not knowing the Four Noble Truths"). I tried to make sense of this, thought I was getting somewhere for a minute, and then realized I didn't really understand what he was getting at.

Can anyone help me understand the meaning of this? - do you think this is a valid interpretation?

Thank you!

Brad

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:41 am
by pilgrim
Insentience would commonly mean being Unconscious or without Consciousness which would not make sense in the context of Buddhism. But it is quite common for Bhante to come out with new and quirky interpretations for common Buddhist terms.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:53 am
by Garrib
pilgrim wrote:Insentience would commonly mean being Unconscious or without Consciousness which would not make sense in the context of Buddhism. But it is quite common for Bhante to come out with new and quirky interpretations for common Buddhist terms.
Thanks for the response Pilgrim,

I basically understand what the word means, in normal usage. What I am trying to figure out is in what way dependent origination makes sense if you think of the first link as "insentience." I saw a thread about this at sutta central - there were only a couple of replies, and no one seemed to really offer a satisfactory answer. I'm hoping someone can help to make sense of this.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:25 am
by DooDoot
The speaker is simply translating 'avijja' as 'insentience' or 'unconsciousness' rather than 'ignorance'. This novel translation does not change anything because being unconscious of the four noble truths is the same as being ignorant of the four noble truths, as follows:
Katamā ca, bhikkhave, avijjā? Yaṃ kho, bhikkhave, dukkhe aññāṇaṃ, dukkhasamudaye aññāṇaṃ, dukkhanirodhe aññāṇaṃ, duk­kha­nirodha­gāminiyā paṭipadāya aññāṇaṃ. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, avijjā.

And what, bhikkhus, is insentience? Not knowing suffering, not knowing the origin of suffering, not knowing the cessation of suffering, not knowing the way leading to the cessation of suffering. This is called insentience.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:29 pm
by SDC
Bhante P's interpretations are heavily influenced by western psychology, so it would make sense that he would associate avija with "the unconscious" in the spirit of Freud's use of the term.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:21 pm
by CedarTree
SDC wrote:Bhante P's interpretations are heavily influenced by western psychology, so it would make sense that he would associate avija with "the unconscious" in the spirit of Freud's use of the term.
That's a good tidbit to know, thanks :)

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:35 pm
by SDC
CedarTree wrote:
SDC wrote:Bhante P's interpretations are heavily influenced by western psychology, so it would make sense that he would associate avija with "the unconscious" in the spirit of Freud's use of the term.
That's a good tidbit to know, thanks :)
You're welcome, CT.

He is truly a remarkable monk, and despite drifting from his ideas in recent years, I had many rewarding years studying his work.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:24 am
by Garrib
Thanks SDC,

Can you perhaps elaborate on what you've said? You think that Bhante P is equating the first link of DO with Freud's idea of the unconscious?

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:38 am
by CedarTree
SDC wrote:
CedarTree wrote:
SDC wrote:Bhante P's interpretations are heavily influenced by western psychology, so it would make sense that he would associate avija with "the unconscious" in the spirit of Freud's use of the term.
That's a good tidbit to know, thanks :)
You're welcome, CT.

He is truly a remarkable monk, and despite drifting from his ideas in recent years, I had many rewarding years studying his work.
Your the best what can I say.

But now I am curious on the whole "drifting from his ideas" point you raised.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:49 pm
by SDC
Garrib wrote:Thanks SDC,

Can you perhaps elaborate on what you've said? You think that Bhante P is equating the first link of DO with Freud's idea of the unconscious?
Hi Garrib,

I have no reason to assume otherwise. While he does touch on aspects of atemporality à la Nanavira on the back six links of DO, his approach is primarily a psychological process model. Avija paccaya sankhara he described as, "From a state of complete unconsciousness, the mental process begins". Taking into account his reference to the Dhamma as psychotherapy, I think he is comfortable with, in the very least, allowing the puthujjana's ignorance (and suffering) to be equated with Freud's model of the human mind. (When dealing with the sottapana and beyond, I think he is more inclined to abandon it). I can't say for sure if there have been further developments in his views over the last fours years, since I am out of touch with his recent work, but that was the deal when I was involved.

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:56 pm
by SDC
CedarTree wrote: But now I am curious on the whole "drifting from his ideas" point you raised.
Have you ever seen the movie "Cast Away"? When Wilson fell out of the boat? It was sort of like that... :tongue:

I had many nagging questions that I was not ready to set aside, so I strayed...

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:36 pm
by CedarTree
SDC wrote:
CedarTree wrote: But now I am curious on the whole "drifting from his ideas" point you raised.
Have you ever seen the movie "Cast Away"? When Wilson fell out of the boat? It was sort of like that... :tongue:

I had many nagging questions that I was not ready to set aside, so I strayed...
You can not leave me in the dark like this! I can imagine I am not the only one very curious right now.

Details SDC! :meditate:

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:56 pm
by aflatun
SDC wrote:
CedarTree wrote: But now I am curious on the whole "drifting from his ideas" point you raised.
Have you ever seen the movie "Cast Away"? When Wilson fell out of the boat? It was sort of like that... :tongue:

I had many nagging questions that I was not ready to set aside, so I strayed...
Lol That scene was epic!!! WILSON!

https://youtu.be/W7FLsIidvE8

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:16 pm
by DooDoot
SDC wrote:Avija paccaya sankhara he described as, "From a state of complete unconsciousness, the mental process begins".
He did not say this in the video but seemed to infer this. If he has actually said this elsewhere then how can 'unconsciousness' fit into the text below?
Bhikkhus, dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact; with contact as condition there arises a feeling felt as... neither-painful-nor-pleasant.... When one is touched by a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, if one does not understand as it actually is the origination, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in regard to that feeling, then the underlying tendency to ignorance lies within one (avijjānusayo anuseti). MN 148
Or this?
There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints. ... With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance. With the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance. MN 9
Or this?
On seeing a form with the eye, he lusts after it if it is pleasing; he dislikes it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body unestablished, with a limited mind, and he does not understand as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. MN 38

Re: Avijja translated as "Insentience"

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:29 pm
by SDC
DooDoot wrote:
SDC wrote:Avija paccaya sankhara he described as, "From a state of complete unconsciousness, the mental process begins".
He did not say this in the video but seemed to infer this. If he has actually said this elsewhere then how can 'unconsciousness' fit into the text below?
What video? I was speaking about what I've heard him say in the past and was clear that I have been away from anything he has done for about the last four years. If you are looking for me to act as a representative of his work so you can do your thing to it, I have to disappoint you.