All dhammas are personal, not public

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All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:35 pm

Greetings,

All dhammas are personal, not public.

The arising of dhammas is explained via paticcasamuppada (dependent arising)...
SN 12.15 wrote:From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
Manasikara (attention) is part of the nama within nama-rupa...
MN 9 wrote:"Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form."
...and it is an essential aspect of the arising of dhammas...
SN 47.42: Samudaya Sutta wrote:With the arising of attentiveness there is the arising of dhammas. With the cessation of attentiveness there is the cessation of dhammas
When the origination of dhammas is dependent upon factors such as (personal) avijja/ignorance and (personal) manasikara/attention, how could dhammas be regarded as anything other than personal?

Whatever there might be "out there" in the world and the universe beyond the six-sense sphere (e.g. the four great elements in ancient parlance, atomic matter in modern parlance), it is not rightly regarded as a "dhamma", for what basis is there in calling it a "dhamma" according to the sutta extracts above, or any suttas for that matter?

Nibbana too is a dhamma, but it is asankhata/unfabricated by factors such as ignorance, attention and so on.

As an asankhata-dhamma, nibbana does not arise or pass away. Rather, it is characterised by absence of sankhata-dhammas...
AN 3.32 wrote:"This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nibbana."
SN 12.15 wrote:"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
This peace is personal too. Yes, all personal conceit (mana) must be transcended in order to experience nibbana, but like all other dhammas, it is not public.

This is, in summary, how I understand the situation in relation to dhammas.

Agree? Disagree? Any questions?

Discuss...
Mv 1.23.5 wrote:Whatever phenomena arise from cause:
their cause
and their cessation.
Such is the teaching of the Tathagata,
the Great Contemplative.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by Garrib » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:00 pm

In a way, I'm inclined to agree, though I'm not sure I entirely understand what you're getting at: Is this the kind of stuff dxm_dxm would call "solipsism"?

My next thought is that perhaps personal vs. public is yet another one of those pesky pairs of extremes which the Buddha transcended? To me, anatta implies the (ultimately) impersonal nature of all phenomena, despite the fact that these things seem extremely personal.

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:06 pm

Greetings Garrib,
Garrib wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:00 pm
In a way, I'm inclined to agree, though I'm not sure I entirely understand what you're getting at: Is this the kind of stuff dxm_dxm would call "solipsism"?
It's what he would probably interpret as "solipsism", because he conveniently ignores that fact that I (and others with a similar understanding) do not in any way whatsoever deny the so-called "external world". This is part of the reason I explicitly mentioned atoms, the four great elements etc. in order to forestall misguided objections of that variety.
Garrib wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:00 pm
My next thought is that perhaps personal vs. public is yet another one of those pesky pairs of extremes which the Buddha transcended? To me, anatta implies the (ultimately) impersonal nature of all phenomena, despite the fact that these things seem extremely personal.
Correct, which is why I said "all personal conceit (mana) must be transcended in order to experience nibbana". Such a way of regarding things is explained in the following sutta...
AN 3.32 wrote:Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that (1) he would have no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to this conscious body; (2) he would have no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to all external objects; and (3) he would enter and dwell in that liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, through which there is no more I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit for one who enters and dwells in it?”

“He could, Ānanda.”

“But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?”

“Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu thinks thus: ‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.’ In this way, Ānanda, a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration that he would have no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to this conscious body; he would have no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to all external objects; and he would enter and dwell in that liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, through which there is no more I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit for one who enters and dwells in it. And it was with reference to this that I said in the Pārāyana, in ‘The Questions of Puṇṇaka’:

“Having comprehended the highs and lows in the world,
he is not perturbed by anything in the world.
Peaceful, fumeless, untroubled, wishless,
he has, I say, crossed over birth and old age.”
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:17 am

Yes, agreed. The Buddha seems to have been interested in epistemology rather than ontology, and the suttas contain lots of pointers towards this. The "middle way" of avoiding annihilationism and eternalism is the most obvious one, along with his refusal to engage with the ontology-based "imponderable questions". This is also the basis for the advice to Rohitassa:
"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Dhammas would appear to be something like "experiences", or "units of experience as a whole". They form a loka which is a metaphor for samsaric experience fuelled by desire. Buddhaghosa explains that loka can mean bhajana-loka, the world as receptacle (i.e. the ontological setting for our experiences) or satta-loka, the world as a the consciousness of beings. It is the latter that makes sense in most of what the Buddha talks about. As such, dhammas must be personal in the sense of constituting the world of our experience, rather than the publicly-available units which are somehow underlying that experience.

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by alan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:45 am

Interesting, yet puzzling. Just not sure what you mean by "public".
The structure of your argument seems to lean towards disregarding anything that might be seen as social criticism, or actions taken in any way that are not directly in regard to the individual.
Help me out here. I'd like to understand what you are trying to say.

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by alan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:59 am

For instance, if the Dhamma is true, then there is rebirth based on Kamma. This would be true not only in personal experience, but for everyone else--the "public".

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:08 am

Greetings Alan,
alan wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:45 am
Interesting, yet puzzling. Just not sure what you mean by "public".
In this context, public means that its existence is not dependent upon an observer.

The four great elements are good examples of this - water is water, whether or not anyone is experiencing it - earth is earth, whether or not anyone is experiencing it. etc.

Contrast this "public" or "objective" perspective, with the "private" or "subjective" perspective which the Buddha taught about...
SN 35.23 wrote:"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
Sam Vara's post above provides further explanation along these lines.
Alan wrote:The structure of your argument seems to lean towards disregarding anything that might be seen as social criticism, or actions taken in any way that are not directly in regard to the individual.
Not so much that, but when "our world of experience" is constructed entirely through paticcasamuppada, we're invariably going to get better results learning how to better manage and construct our own private "loka" (or sankhata-dhammas), than we are in trying to force amendments to a public "loka", which is forever beyond range.
For instance, if the Dhamma is true, then there is rebirth based on Kamma. This would be true not only in personal experience, but for everyone else--the "public".
There is no need to aggregate each individual's kammic experiences in order to transform it to a "public" view.... there is simply the private kammic experiences of all those beings in question. In the suttas, the Buddha teaches to focus on better understanding the private view, as that is where liberation occurs - not in the public world.

Nanavira talks about some of this sort of thing in his works... he talks about the vertical view (which I have referred to as "personal") and the horizontal view (which I have referred to as "public").

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by m0rl0ck » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:32 am

The oak tree arises from the same causal nexus as the tornado, whether or not it takes the tornado personally is moot.
Notions like personal, public (and i am actually unclear on what you meant by that and dont really care to know) and impersonal imo just interfere with the practice of the path, though if one is pressed to make a choice i would think "impersonal" might have the most salutary practical effect.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:34 am

Retro, you're basically denying the existence of the dhammakaya, which is a pretty important part of Buddhism, and is definitely not personal.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by alan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:38 am

Not sure what you mean by "No need to aggregate each individual's Kammic experience".

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by alan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:41 am

I have that Nanavira book, it was a challenge. Some things I got, others...not so much. But maybe I need to get smarter and read it again.

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:35 pm
...and it [manasikāra] is an essential aspect of the arising of dhammas...
SN 47.42: Samudaya Sutta wrote:With the arising of attentiveness there is the arising of dhammas. With the cessation of attentiveness there is the cessation of dhammas
When the origination of dhammas is dependent upon factors such as (personal) avijja/ignorance and (personal) manasikara/attention, how could dhammas be regarded as anything other than personal?
Given that the Samudaya Sutta is found in the SN's Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta and that the three statements preceding the one above clearly have to do with the first three establishments of mindfulness...
SN 47.42: Samudaya Sutta wrote: “Bhikkhus, I will teach you the origination and the passing away of the four establishments of mindfulness. Listen to that.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the origination of the body? With the origination of nutriment there is the origination of the body. With the cessation of nutriment there is the passing away of the body.

“With the origination of contact there is the origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the passing away of feeling.

“With the origination of name-and-form there is the origination of mind. With the cessation of name-and-form there is the passing away of mind.”
... it would seem that "dhammas" in the fourth statement is not to be understood as "all dhammas", but only those dhammas that constitute dhammānupassanā — i.e., hindrances, factors of awakening, etc. Do you agree? Or is it your understanding that the dhammas of dhammānupassanā do in fact comprise all dhammas?
Buddhaghosa wrote: Manasikārasamudayā ti ettha pana yonisomanasikārasamudayā bojjhaṅgadhammānaṃ samudayo, ayonisomanasikārasamudayā nīvaraṇadhammānaṃ.

"With the arising of attention" means: (1) with the arising of proper attention is the arising of the factors of awakening; (2) with the arising of improper attention is the arising of the hindrances.

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:04 am

Greetings bhante,
Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 am
Or is it your understanding that the dhammas of dhammānupassanā do in fact comprise all dhammas?
Yes, I understand that this is not the classical view, but it is indeed how I understand it.

My understanding is that the four satipatthanas are not mutually exclusive frames of reference, and similarly, the four originations and passing aways defined in the Samudaya Sutta are not mutually exclusive either.

I sense that Ven. Buddhaghosa attempted to restrict the scope of the fourth reference in such an artificial manner, because he was already pre-committed to accepting the Abhidhamma cartography which preceded him, and that groundwork had already created a distinction between rupa-dhammas, and citta-dhammas. After all, to suggest that rupa passes away when attention is not paid to it would certainly arouse charges of solipsism and other such wrong views from the local Circle5's of the time!

As alluded to above, in the suttas I don't recall such a delineation between rupa-dhammas and citta-dhammas, and don't believe that what Abhidhamma regards as rupa-dhammas should even constitute dhammas at all, since they are noumena, not phenomena. Thus, the potential charges of solipsism could have been averted, simply by referring to matter as the four elements, rather than artificially giving it the status of a "dhamma". However, doing that would have created conflicts with the Abhidhamma world-view... (hence the commentarial contortions)

If you or any other members have any sutta evidence to the contrary of what is said here, I would be most appreciative to be alerted to it.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:06 am

Greetings Lyndon,

lyndon taylor wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:34 am
Retro, you're basically denying the existence of the dhammakaya, which is a pretty important part of Buddhism, and is definitely not personal.
Wikipedia and I may both be wrong, but Wikipedia defines the term as "a figurative term meaning the sum of the Buddha's teachings", rather than whatever physicality I think you're inferring it to mean.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:11 am

wikipedia would be wrong, try a dhammic source!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:15 am

Greetings Lyndon,

How about then, you look here and then you can be more precise about what it is you think I'm denying...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:49 am

The dhammakaya is the already existing and always existing body of dhamma, of which the Buddha was but a vehicle for. It is independent of individuals, although we see it revealed through individuals.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:50 am

Greetings Lyndon,

That's a Mahayana teaching. It is alien to Theravada.

:alien:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:50 am
Greetings Lyndon,

That's a Mahayana teaching. It is alien to Theravada.

:alien:

Metta,
Paul. :)
Well your proposed teaching sounds pretty alien to Therevada, too.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: All dhammas are personal, not public

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:20 am

Greetings Lyndon,
lyndon taylor wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:13 am
Well your proposed teaching sounds pretty alien to Therevada, too.
... according to someone who just tried to smuggle the Dhammakaya doctrine of the Mahayana into Theravada.

:alien:

Right-e-o Lyndon, whatever you say...

I don't mind you critiquing what I said, but to do so, you'd first have to comprehend it.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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