Knowledge of Anatta

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
form
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by form » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:51 am

Read from book and parrot it is easy.

One needs to convince their own unconscious to make the breakthrough.

chownah
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by chownah » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:18 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:10 pm
chownah wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:57 pm
I don't think that I have said anything here about my interpreting atta as delusion. I haven't really thought about it but my first thought is that atta and anatta are equally delusional......I would have to give it more thought but I would say that really they are a funcion of ignorance perhaps more than delusion although one might be of the view that ignorance and delusion are the same thing. If one really wants to put an end to that ignorance or delusion one should probably just stop at saying it is thus and say no more....I guess...don't know for sure....I haven't really given this much thought......the problem is perhaps that we are dealing with this at the level of intellectual knowledge without any shared experiential knowedge of the topic.
chownah
But we know that the arahant does not see a self in conditioned phenomena. Not seeing a self conveys a way of seeing, which is an experiential knowledge
First, surely you know things that I do not know...I do not know what an arahant sees or doesn't see.

Not seeing doesn't convey anything. It is the contextualizing of the experience where things are not seen which does the conveying.....I consider this contextualizing to be intellectual and its result is to incorporate the experience into the body of intellectual knowledge. When the expereince is contextualized successfully and completely into the body of intellectual knowledge we call it "truth"....

While you have presented the possibility of many kinds of knowledge in the OP I think that from the way you seem to approach this discussion that what was presented is really just (from your perspective) a list of pre-existing lenses all of which provide filtered data to the intellect......you seem to be always be pushing knowledge into the realm of the intellect. I'm not complaining.....maybe I am wrong or misconstrue.....maybe the only place where the term "knowledge" can make sense is the intellect and if this is so then my use of the term "experiential knowledge" is a misnomer.....but I have not in this discussion assumed that "knowledge" is strictly in the realm of the intellect....so....one could very well say that I have misconstrued "knowledge" by placing it outside the realm of intellect or one could very well ask what do I mean by this kind of "knowledge" as it seems strange to see it outside the realm of the intellect. I will not attempt to provide a definition of the kind of "knowledge" I speak of when I say "experiential knowledge" except to say that the most apt description that I know of is to stop at saying "thus" or "just so".
chownah

pegembara
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by pegembara » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:41 am

There is also the knowledge of the falsehood of Atta or "Thingness".

There are many examples. People willing to die for their "country", "money", "God", "democracy". The believe these things to be truly existent. Laws created to make corporations in "living entities" that pays taxes, collects debts and sues as if they are living people while the real decision makers are hidden.

Also the belief that a "self" exists. Eg. A little "John" somehow came into being (Before being named was it even a "thing"). That little "John" grows up into an adult onto old age/death. The very fact of change simply means that baby "John" cannot be the same as old man "John" ie. "John" is convenient fiction.

The "eye" isn't really a thing but consists of parts -cornea, retina, optic nerve, humours. Retina isn't a thing either but consists of cells, intracellular structures. Ditto for atoms etc. Absence of solidity or atta is everywhere.

Even processes show the same characteristics. There isn't simply "walking" but is instead a complex set of activities -lifting, swinging, placing, right, left, balancing. "Swallowing" consists of chewing, making food bolus, tongue movement, throat movement, relaxation of oesophagus, peristalsis. No solidity everywhere you look.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

justindesilva
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by justindesilva » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:05 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:22 am
Friends,

How would you describe the knowledge of Anatta?

Intellectual? intuitive? imaginative? revelation? super natural? common sense? deductive? inductive? love and blessedness? perspectivism? or something else?

Thanks :anjali:
In fact anatta lakkana sutta speaks of " not self characteristics". It is upto us to realise these. Why cannot we realise that we are characteristics of form ,
perception, feeling, detèrmination ( sankara) and consciousness which are impermanenant and ever changing from moment to moment. Since birth as an infant we have grown to be youth full of vigour and beauty changing in to old and sick selves. A permanent self would have not changed from infancy to the old and disabled bodies. Unless we meditate (vipassana) in the most elementary fashion we are unable to realise the knowledge of anatta or the changing mode of our body.
It is with the purpose of driving this knowledge that lord budda preached " anatta lakkana sutta" in explanation that there is no permanent soul or self.
Today with knowledge of sciences we should be able to realise that we are part of a cosmic process beyond control but which can be morally adjusted from within.

SteRo
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by SteRo » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:42 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:40 pm
SteRo wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:24 pm

your first question asks what I have already said.

And as I have already tried to express I have no issues with saying 'the enlightened knows anatta' since 'knows' from my perspective here is a metaphor.

:anjali:
Can atta be known? Or knowledge of atta is another metaphor? What do you think the difference (if any) between knowing atta and knowing anatta?
Let me put it this way:

The world knows what the world knows. So if we talk about 'knowledge' we use the language of the world and thus we use the expression 'knowledge' as it is conceived by the world.
Accepting this and turning to atta and anatta:
The world knows theories of atta.
The world knows atta.
The world knows theories of anatta and can know the doctrine of anatta taught by the Buddha and the world can know a concept of 'anatta' but the world does not know anatta.

Now if we consider 'the enlightened' and if we assume that 'the enlightened's sphere of experience is other than the sphere of experience of a worldly person (if it would be the same then why use the expression 'the enlightened'?) I do not think that we as worldly persons can claim that 'the enlightened' knows anything if we do not presuppose that 'know' or 'knowledge' in the context of the enlightened's sphere of experience does not have the meaning of 'know' or 'knowledge' in the sphere of experience of a worldly person. Therefore I said that the meaning of 'know' or 'knowledge' in the context of the enlightened's sphere of experience has to be understood metaphorically.

:anjali:

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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:40 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:22 am
Friends,

How would you describe the knowledge of Anatta?

Intellectual? intuitive? imaginative? revelation? super natural? common sense? deductive? inductive? love and blessedness? perspectivism? or something else?

Thanks :anjali:
Presumably knowledge of anatta remains intellectual while self-view persists, along with the conceit "I am". I don't think anatta is something which can be directly observed, rather it is "symptoms" like instability and lack of control.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Bundokji
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Bundokji » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:00 am

chownah wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:18 am
First, surely you know things that I do not know...I do not know what an arahant sees or doesn't see.

Not seeing doesn't convey anything. It is the contextualizing of the experience where things are not seen which does the conveying.....I consider this contextualizing to be intellectual and its result is to incorporate the experience into the body of intellectual knowledge. When the expereince is contextualized successfully and completely into the body of intellectual knowledge we call it "truth"....

While you have presented the possibility of many kinds of knowledge in the OP I think that from the way you seem to approach this discussion that what was presented is really just (from your perspective) a list of pre-existing lenses all of which provide filtered data to the intellect......you seem to be always be pushing knowledge into the realm of the intellect. I'm not complaining.....maybe I am wrong or misconstrue.....maybe the only place where the term "knowledge" can make sense is the intellect and if this is so then my use of the term "experiential knowledge" is a misnomer.....but I have not in this discussion assumed that "knowledge" is strictly in the realm of the intellect....so....one could very well say that I have misconstrued "knowledge" by placing it outside the realm of intellect or one could very well ask what do I mean by this kind of "knowledge" as it seems strange to see it outside the realm of the intellect. I will not attempt to provide a definition of the kind of "knowledge" I speak of when I say "experiential knowledge" except to say that the most apt description that I know of is to stop at saying "thus" or "just so".
chownah
Thanks chownah,

I am not sure if i know things that you don't know. What i proposed is mentioned in the suttas:
The five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent; whatever is impermanent, that is dukkha, unsatisfactory; whatever is dukkha, that is without attaa, self. What is without self, that is not mine, that I am not, that is not my self. Thus should it be seen by perfect wisdom (sammappa~n~naaya) as it really is. Who sees by perfect wisdom, as it really is, his mind, not grasping, is detached from taints; he is liberated.
The process of filtration is integral to the practice as i understand it. The idea of purifying the mind as well as the via negativa approach of investigation seem to be based on filtration.

Also if the contextualization of experience through intellect is not descriptive of experience, then what would it be? All over the suttas, the Buddha gave instructions on how we should see things or what to pay attention to, so if the realm of the intellect is completely unrelated to the realm of experience, then the Buddha would not have instructed us the way he did.

In the above sutta, the notion of "as it really is" is the illusive one. What are the epistemological basis for this claim? I know that your answer is experiential knowledge, but for the unenlightened, experiential knowledge proves atta as an intuitive truth. On the purely intellectual level, both seem to have their limitations as i tried to explain in a previous post.

I
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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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Bundokji » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:22 am

pegembara wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:41 am
There is also the knowledge of the falsehood of Atta or "Thingness".

There are many examples. People willing to die for their "country", "money", "God", "democracy". The believe these things to be truly existent. Laws created to make corporations in "living entities" that pays taxes, collects debts and sues as if they are living people while the real decision makers are hidden.

Also the belief that a "self" exists. Eg. A little "John" somehow came into being (Before being named was it even a "thing"). That little "John" grows up into an adult onto old age/death. The very fact of change simply means that baby "John" cannot be the same as old man "John" ie. "John" is convenient fiction.

The "eye" isn't really a thing but consists of parts -cornea, retina, optic nerve, humours. Retina isn't a thing either but consists of cells, intracellular structures. Ditto for atoms etc. Absence of solidity or atta is everywhere.

Even processes show the same characteristics. There isn't simply "walking" but is instead a complex set of activities -lifting, swinging, placing, right, left, balancing. "Swallowing" consists of chewing, making food bolus, tongue movement, throat movement, relaxation of oesophagus, peristalsis. No solidity everywhere you look.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
Most religions that still believe in atta seem to encourage renunciation and discourage people from attaching to worldly things. I think i understand how antta can be a skillful mean to develop detachment, but atta also can be a skillful mean to develop detachment. The soul is neither the body nor the mind, hence it can be used to loosen the grip of identification with the mind and the body. In Buddhism, anatta, as an idea, is replacing the perception of a self with the perception of not self, and i fail to see the significance of that. While i think i understand its usefulness as an idea, it is difficult to understand why realizing it is the aim of the spiritual life.

You can always deconstruct things into their parts, so what? In your example, the eye can be deconstructed into its parts, but in the futile attempt to reduce the eye to its parts, you confirmed the existence of the parts! and this can go on and on ad-infinitum.

I also fail to see why the deconstruction is always from the macro to the micro level? You can think of the individual as the macro level, and with a stretch of imagination, you can see that he is the air he breaths, the food he eats, the temperature in which he can survive and so on, but again, what is the significance of all of this?

Please note that i am not denying the significance of anatta, but i am presenting a way of understanding it in which it does not seem so significant. By doing so, i hope i can see what i am missing!
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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Bundokji
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Bundokji » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:37 am

justindesilva wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:05 am
In fact anatta lakkana sutta speaks of " not self characteristics". It is upto us to realise these. Why cannot we realise that we are characteristics of form ,
perception, feeling, detèrmination ( sankara) and consciousness which are impermanenant and ever changing from moment to moment. Since birth as an infant we have grown to be youth full of vigour and beauty changing in to old and sick selves. A permanent self would have not changed from infancy to the old and disabled bodies. Unless we meditate (vipassana) in the most elementary fashion we are unable to realise the knowledge of anatta or the changing mode of our body.
It is with the purpose of driving this knowledge that lord budda preached " anatta lakkana sutta" in explanation that there is no permanent soul or self.
Today with knowledge of sciences we should be able to realise that we are part of a cosmic process beyond control but which can be morally adjusted from within.
While i don't disagree in principle with your description, i can't see why all of this is important. Why emphasizing that there is no permanent soul or self is of a great importance? People who believe in a permanent soul or those who don't still have to deal with their daily situation.

For example, some people spend a lot of time arguing whether God exists or does not exist, but to what end? Why the whole emphasis on whether a self exists or does not exist matter, or less futile than arguing about God?

While the Buddha discouraged us from thinking in terms of existence of non-existence, he made realizing emptiness or not-self as the ultimate goal. Why?
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.

Dinsdale
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:38 am

There is also the question of what anatta is actually negating. In the suttas it seems more to do with self-view than "soul". It's challenging the assumption of "me" and "mine", not the assumption of "soul", or whatever.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Bundokji
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Bundokji » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:59 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:40 am
Presumably knowledge of anatta remains intellectual while self-view persists, along with the conceit "I am". I don't think anatta is something which can be directly observed, rather it is "symptoms" like instability and lack of control.
The only explanation i can think of is that knowledge of Anatta (which is negative and cannot be directly observed as you stated) gives rise to something positive. Maybe Anatta is the raft that becomes useless after attaining the goal, i am not sure.

But as two forms of ontological/intellectual beliefs, i don't see Anatta as necessarily superior to Atta.
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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Bundokji
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Bundokji » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:11 am

form wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:51 am
Read from book and parrot it is easy.

One needs to convince their own unconscious to make the breakthrough.
Considering that most (if not all) of what we believe have been suggested to us until it became unshakeable truths, then what you are saying has a lot of truth in it.
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.

Dinsdale
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Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:14 am

Bundokji wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:59 am
Dinsdale wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:40 am
Presumably knowledge of anatta remains intellectual while self-view persists, along with the conceit "I am". I don't think anatta is something which can be directly observed, rather it is "symptoms" like instability and lack of control.
The only explanation i can think of is that knowledge of Anatta (which is negative and cannot be directly observed as you stated) gives rise to something positive. Maybe Anatta is the raft that becomes useless after attaining the goal, i am not sure.

But as two forms of ontological/intellectual beliefs, i don't see Anatta as necessarily superior to Atta.
I tend to agree, and in both cases the point seems to be about reducing attachment to sense-experience.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

form
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by form » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:01 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:11 am
form wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:51 am
Read from book and parrot it is easy.

One needs to convince their own unconscious to make the breakthrough.
Considering that most (if not all) of what we believe have been suggested to us until it became unshakeable truths, then what you are saying has a lot of truth in it.
A belief that belongs to no one, deeply embedded in the unconscious.

chownah
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Re: Knowledge of Anatta

Post by chownah » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:42 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:00 am
........
Also if the contextualization of experience through intellect is not descriptive of experience, then what would it be? All over the suttas, the Buddha gave instructions on how we should see things or what to pay attention to, so if the realm of the intellect is completely unrelated to the realm of experience, then the Buddha would not have instructed us the way he did.

In the above sutta, the notion of "as it really is" is the illusive one. What are the epistemological basis for this claim? I know that your answer is experiential knowledge, but for the unenlightened, experiential knowledge proves atta as an intuitive truth. On the purely intellectual level, both seem to have their limitations as i tried to explain in a previous post.
My view is that contextualization of experience through intellect is not descriptive of the experience but rather it is descriptive of the place in ones world view where the experience is placed.....where does this experience fit in with all the intellectual knowledge which I have accumulated....the contextualization is the struggle which the mind undertakes to keep a consistent world view as experiences arise....the struggle to see the "truth" in the experience which is consistent with the "truth" I already know or to see its "falsity".....please do remember that in my veiw this truthiness and falsity is what happens in the world view and not in the experience.....also this truthiness and falsity is meant to be a bit metaphoric as the work done to incorporate arising experience is usually not seen as a struggle and truthiness usually is not an issue I think..........
Aside: consider some of david lynch's work.....he manipulates mood by presenting unusual actions and emotions which are difficult to incorporate into the flow of the story line and which create disonances which can be very entertaining when we are watching a fictional work while in the state of suspended disbelief....if we had moments like those often in our real lives they might be quite a struggle. and truthiness might become an issue.

It might be that the experiential knowledge of anatta has to do with a conceptualization where there is a disonance at first attempt to incorporate it into the existing world view and that disonance is notable and interesting....or even amusing/entertaining.....

I think the buddha's instructions mostly seem to be in the realm of intellect because when using language one is placing oneself squarely in the realm of intellect usually.

With respect to the "knowledge proves atta as an intuitive truth"...again it is not experiential knowledges that "proves" this.....the "proof" comes with the contextualizeing of the experience which is the finding of where the experience fits in with the existing world view....it is not difficult for an expereince to fit in with the construed atta because virtually our entire lives have been spent doing this.....it has been done so much for so long that it is automatic.....and this is a good place I guess to mention that our existing world view acts as a filter which makes the assignment of arising experiences to places in the world view a highly biased event.....also maybe it is good to remember that the experience lasts only a brief instant but having found a place in our world view it can be "replayed" without limit and is thus its position can be refined and reinforced.

"As it really is" is the same thing as what I referred to as "thus" and "just so"....another one is "such".

ONe more thing....I don't think that the buddha is trying to instruct us to stop seeing atta and start seeing anatta....I think he is trying to teach us stop construing anything with respect to self at all which is why I previously said I am sort of of the view that both anatta and atta are equally "delusional".....because both of these views are contextualizing the expereince which should be seen as "it really is", such, thus, just so....I guess....don't know for sure.....
chownah

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