zan wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:34 pm
SDC wrote: ↑
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:39 pm
Before we continue, I think it is important - even if we don't agree on the specifics of the distinction - to agree that there is a distinction between "the root of all things" (sabbadhammamūlapariyāyaṃ
) and "the arising of this whole mass of suffering" (evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
) I'm including the Pali so we can agree that different terms have been translated to form these phrases.
In addition, where does this idea of DO being a theory of everything come form? Sounds like physics. Sorry if you already addressed this.
Thank you! Please elaborate.
As far as I know DO applying to literally everything is a common understanding in all schools of Buddhism. It was news to me as the twelve links clearly are talking about a being, not literally everything. So I think there's some confusion or something got passed on wrong.
(Bear with me here, zan. Going to dance through a few suttas. This is a bit haphazard, but if I try to clean it up, I'll never get it where I want it.)
Just to get moving, let's start with a common misconception in order to draw towards what has been explicitly stated. "Life is suffering." The Buddha never said that. He said:
SN 56.11 wrote:Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five-holding-aggregates are suffering.
Instead of saying "life is suffering", it was that in brief, "the five-holding-aggregates are suffering". I think is pretty clear that the Buddha is emphasizing that when it comes to suffering, it applies to a misunderstanding in regards to things. In the following sutta, the aggregates are tied directly into DO, and rightfully so, the holding-aggregates are suffering and DO describes the origin of it.
SN 22.5 wrote:And what does he understand as it really is? The origin and passing away of matter; the origin and passing away of feeling; the origin and passing away of perception; the origin and passing away of determinations; the origin and passing away of consciousness.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the origin of matter? What is the origin of feeling? What is the origin of perception? What is the origin of determinations? What is the origin of consciousness?
“Here, bhikkhus, one seeks delight, one welcomes, one remains holding. And what is it that one seeks delight in, what does one welcome, to what does one remain holding? One seeks delight in matter, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As a consequence of this, delight arises. Delight in matter is holding. With one’s holding as condition, existence; with existence as a condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
“One seeks delight in feeling … in perception … in determinations … in consciousness, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As a consequence of this, delight arises…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering
The front end is the origin of the aggregates and the back end is the origin of suffering! So right there you have the question of the origin of matter and in no way does the sutta venture to discuss matter in terms of physics. The Buddha had his chance and went in a completely different direction. (cf
. SN 22.56
A little more food for thought about the attitude towards things:
AN 6.63 wrote:Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
Not the various things in the world;
Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
The various things just stand there in the world;
But the wise get rid of desire therein.
And this is in Cūḷavedalla:
MN 44 wrote:“The five holding aggregates, friend Visākha, are not just holding; but neither is there holding apart from the five holding aggregates. That, friend Visākha, in the five holding aggregates which is desire-&-lust, that holding is therein.”
Again, we see the emphasis on the attitude towards the individual experience, not to "all things" in some broader scope than the experience which includes them. What did the Buddha say about "all things"? To Channa:
SN 22.90 wrote:When this was said, the elder bhikkhus said to the Venerable Channa: “Matter, friend Channa, is impermanent, feeling is impermanent, perception is impermanent, determinations are impermanent, consciousness is impermanent. Matter is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, determinations are not-self, consciousness is not-self. All determinations are impermanent; all things are not-self.”
Now when it comes to "all things", especially in terms of MN 1, the discussion would have to apply to matter first and foremost. Why? Matter is the first four verses of MN 1, as the four great elements:
SN 12.2 wrote:“The four great elements and the matter derived from the four great elements: this is called matter.
MN 1 wrote:
From air he has a percept of air; having had from air a percept of air, he conceives (that to be) air, he conceives (that to be) in air, he conceives (that to be apart) from air, he conceives air to be ‘Mine’, he relishes air. Why is that? He has not fully diagnosed it, I say.
And yes, matter (rupa) is one of the aggregates (see above). In MN 1 we see the same wrong attitude that is seen in the DO description of SN 22.5, "He relishes [matter]". The end of MN 1:
MN 1 wrote:From earth he has direct-knowledge of earth; having had from earth direct-knowledge of earth, he does not conceive (that to be) earth, he does not conceive (that to be) in earth, he does not conceive (that to be apart) from earth, he does not conceive earth to be ‘Mine’, he does not relish earth. Why is that? Because of delusionlessness with the exhaustion of delusion.
This is the description of the arahant. He understands, it was not possible for him to ever have "the percept of [matter]". He was only ever able to just know
about it. That means that now he has, "direct-knowledge of [matter]". More importantly, what is no longer happening? He does not conceive that [direct-knowledge] of earth to be apart from earth.
(This is why science has third-rate status compared to Dhamma. Science preconceives matter in the exact wrong manner MN 1 describes. There are, no doubt, patterns to be discerned in terms of perception, but the idea that matter is accessed, and can be explained, is exactly what MN 1 says not to do because it is not actually possible. It is wrong to conceive the percept of earth apart from earth. And if DO were are theory of everything, we would have to completely disregard the instruction found in MN 1, and embrace an access to matter; embrace conceived matter to be "out there on its own"; embrace "my percept" of matter apart from the matter. We would have to follow the proliferation and would at the mercy of whatever implications were conceived as a result
But does the arahant still have experience? Does he eat? Sleep? Yes to all. Yet, there is no more "mine" in regards to the aggregates. They continue to manifest: they arise, vanish and endure (SN 22.38), whereas the structure of DO, for the arahat is described in terms of nirodha
DO applies to that structure of suffering, for which, yes, everything is affected by that structure: with ignorance, all of those things are mine and for me. Or to be more explicit: with ignorance, the capacity to declare things as mine and for me is assumed to be owned (control of ownership is assumed and must be abandoned):
AN 3.33 wrote:Therefore, Sāriputta, you should train yourselves thus: (1) ‘There will be no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to this conscious body; (2) there will be no I-making, mine-making, and underlying tendency to conceit in regard to all external objects; and (3) we will 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.’ It is in this way, Sāriputta, that you should train yourselves.
SN 35.23 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odours, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all.
If anyone, bhikkhus, should speak thus: ‘Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all’—that would be a mere empty boast on his part. If he were questioned he would not be able to reply and, further, he would meet with vexation. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, that would not be within his domain.”
This sutta is quite explicit. For DO to apply to everything, there would have to be some indication that there is experience that could not include "this conscious body", which seems to be what the Buddha described as "making known another all". Even the notion of experience without it, is imagined with
"this conscious body" present. Literally pressed right up against the idea of experience without "this conscious body", i.e. it is there. Every indication is that the suttas are in terms of a distinct situation, even for the arahat, here described distinctly as puggala (individual/person):
AN 3.24 wrote:Again, the person through whom, with the destruction of the taints, another realizes for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it. This person is helpful to the other person.
Then the coup de grâce of them all (people do not like this sutta):
AN 4.45 wrote:As he was standing there he said to the Blessed One: “Is it possible, lord, 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?”
“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 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.”
Everyone likes to pretend this one doesn't say what it does, but, "Yet it is within this fathom-long body..." Again, how could any description of the Dhamma be in reference to a theory of everything that would be broader than this description? It starts to seem inconceivable. Again we have a view that would include all things, yet the behavior of those things "in themselves" is not addressed. Once again, the individual is the primary concern. (That is not to say that one's individuality qualifies as some sort of inherent enlightenment. Indeed, the puthujjana must do the work to discern the right view. This would not remove the point of view, as the above suttas have shown, but it will remove that tendency to assume the possession (ownership) of that capacity to own things.)
Just two more:
SN 35.116 wrote:Friends, when the Blessed One rose from his seat and entered his dwelling after reciting a synopsis in brief without expounding the meaning in detail, that is: ‘Bhikkhus, I say that the end of the world cannot be known, seen, or reached by travelling. Yet, bhikkhus, I also say that without reaching the end of the world there is no making an end to suffering,’ I understand the detailed meaning of this synopsis as follows: That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. And what, friends, is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world? The eye is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world . The ear … The nose … The tongue … The body … The mind is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world. That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline.
On the internal and external element of earth:
MN 62 wrote:Rāhula, the interior earth element is said to be anything hard, solid, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This includes: head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, undigested food, feces, or anything else hard, solid, and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual. This is called the interior earth element. The interior earth element and the exterior earth element are just the earth element. This should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ When you truly see with right understanding, you reject the earth element, detaching the mind from the earth element.
Again, we have descriptions where the ownership and conceit is of the utmost concern. No partiality towards an external world any broader than the experience itself. As above, "The ear … The nose … The tongue … The body … The mind is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world. That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline.
So, I'm not really sure if you got much from this pebble-skipping I set up, but I sure hope I gave you nothing to support DO as a theory of everything. I hope I was able to emphasize that suffering is in that attitude towards the things in the world and that it is not in
the things in the world. I hope I was able to tease the potential that, while the implications of DO would reach all things, it does not, in any way, describe the origin of things themselves (in the way science would), but the origin of why suffering manifests in regards to them. I hope I was able to show that not even suttas about "the all" are a description of everything, but are explicit to show that how any given thing
when not understood properly, lends support to the structure of ownership and conceit. And while that ownership and conceit are everything for the puthujjana, I hope I have shown that their destruction does not mean the destruction of experience.