Awareness as the goal

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SteRo
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:47 am

robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:40 pm
SteRo wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:31 am
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:52 am
...
  • Awareness itself is Dukkha.
I would refrain from such a categorical statement. Is everything that is not nibbana, like awareness, necessarily dukkha? I wouldn't say so because there are living arahants that have attained liberation from dukkha.
All conditioned elements are anicca ( impermanent) and dukkha .
And all elements , conditioned and unconditioned are anatta, sabbe dhamma anatta.
Agreed. This is certainly the right teaching.
robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:40 pm
Awareness , of the right kind, is desirable, but still conditioned, impermanent, dukkha and anatta.
I wouldn't agree here even though I said that awareness is not necessarily dukkha since an arahant liberated from dukkha still can be said to have awareness. But I would not say that there might be a desirable awareness. Not even an arahant's awareness is desirable although it isn't dukkha. Why? It is not nibbana either.

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Bundokji
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:11 pm

The goal is a flawless understanding of the four noble truths, both in letter and spirit. How can this be reduced to "awareness"?
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.

SteRo
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:39 pm

I wouldn't agree. If the goal is nibbana then the goal can't be understanding of this or that. Exactly because one might think it's an understanding one might come to think it's awareness that has that understanding. Awareness can be even signless and but signless awareness still isn't nibbana but impermanent. Signless awareness may however entail perfect dispassion, a precursor:
"He discerns that '[This signless awareness] is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' MN121

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Crazy cloud
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Crazy cloud » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:44 pm

Understanding is not enough, because one also has to be comprehend and abandon each truth. There are three for each, therefore 12 in all.

:smile:
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

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Bundokji
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:06 pm

SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:39 pm
I wouldn't agree. If the goal is nibbana then the goal can't be understanding of this or that. Exactly because one might think it's an understanding one might come to think it's awareness that has that understanding. Awareness can be even signless and but signless awareness still isn't nibbana but impermanent. Signless awareness may however entail perfect dispassion, a precursor:
"He discerns that '[This signless awareness] is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' MN121
Ignorance as the root of DO is defined as not knowing the four noble truths. The third noble truth (nibbana) is integral part of the four noble truths, not separate from it. Awareness has a function in constructing worldly knowledge, usually described as being passive and not selective. If we take it as being passive as a starting point, it makes it vulnerable to the content of thought hence awareness becomes associated with purpose. As such, awareness becomes definable through its role in preventing certain thoughts, and sustaining other thoughts (usually described as mindfulness).

Through mindfulness, the ultimate unreliability of intentional awareness (aka mindfulness) is comprehended, which might give rise to a new way of awareness functioning, which can be experienced as: awareness-thought-awarness-thought ...etc where there is no one aware of awareness.

If the practitioner is satisfied with the above and considers it as the goal, then congratulations! I think there is much more to wisdom than the above.
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.

chownah
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:22 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:11 pm
The goal is a flawless understanding of the four noble truths, both in letter and spirit. How can this be reduced to "awareness"?
Bundokji,
In another thread you were asking why the buddha chose to teach the end of suffering and I was adamant that the buddha did not make a choice but that he had from the very beginning been searching for the end of suffering and I also was adamant that there was no sutta refernce which even implied that he taught for any other purpose. Since then I have run across (quite by accident) this sutta which I think supports the view (your view I think) that the buddha also taught for the attainment of other things including awakening:
So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared. And what is undeclared by me? 'The cosmos is eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is not eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is finite'... 'The cosmos is infinite'... 'The soul & the body are the same'... 'The soul is one thing and the body another'... 'After death a Tathagata exists'... 'After death a Tathagata does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' is undeclared by me.

"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.

"And what is declared by me? 'This is stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the origination of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are declared by me.
chownah

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Bundokji
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:31 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:22 pm
Bundokji,
In another thread you were asking why the buddha chose to teach the end of suffering and I was adamant that the buddha did not make a choice but that he had from the very beginning been searching for the end of suffering and I also was adamant that there was no sutta refernce which even implied that he taught for any other purpose. Since then I have run across (quite by accident) this sutta which I think supports the view (your view I think) that the buddha also taught for the attainment of other things including awakening:
So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared. And what is undeclared by me? 'The cosmos is eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is not eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is finite'... 'The cosmos is infinite'... 'The soul & the body are the same'... 'The soul is one thing and the body another'... 'After death a Tathagata exists'... 'After death a Tathagata does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' is undeclared by me.

"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.

"And what is declared by me? 'This is stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the origination of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are declared by me.
chownah
Hi chownah,

There is another sutta that i am unable to locate. I would be grateful if you or any other member of the forum can help me find it. In it, a member of other sects was somehow downplaying the significance of the Buddha's teachings, that they are only about suffering and ending it. In it, the Buddha explained how ignorant the member of the other sect is, and how ending suffering comes with other types of knowledge including many different types of psychic powers and other abilities.
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.

SteRo
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:44 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:06 pm
SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:39 pm
I wouldn't agree. If the goal is nibbana then the goal can't be understanding of this or that. Exactly because one might think it's an understanding one might come to think it's awareness that has that understanding. Awareness can be even signless and but signless awareness still isn't nibbana but impermanent. Signless awareness may however entail perfect dispassion, a precursor:
"He discerns that '[This signless awareness] is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' MN121
Ignorance as the root of DO is defined as not knowing the four noble truths. The third noble truth (nibbana) is integral part of the four noble truths, not separate from it. Awareness has a function in constructing worldly knowledge, usually described as being passive and not selective. If we take it as being passive as a starting point, it makes it vulnerable to the content of thought hence awareness becomes associated with purpose. As such, awareness becomes definable through its role in preventing certain thoughts, and sustaining other thoughts (usually described as mindfulness).

Through mindfulness, the ultimate unreliability of intentional awareness (aka mindfulness) is comprehended, which might give rise to a new way of awareness functioning, which can be experienced as: awareness-thought-awarness-thought ...etc where there is no one aware of awareness.

If the practitioner is satisfied with the above and considers it as the goal, then congratulations! I think there is much more to wisdom than the above.
Can a practitioner be satisfied with nibbana? Can a worldly practitioner be satisfied with any simile or verbal indication of nibbana? Maybe there are those who can and those who can't.

And one who reaches nibbana, can that one be satisfied with the nibbana he has reached?
It reads ...
For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.
... but does this entail feeling satisfied? I don't think so.

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Bundokji
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:53 pm

SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:44 pm
Can a practitioner be satisfied with nibbana? Can a worldly practitioner be satisfied with any simile or verbal indication of nibbana? Maybe there are those who can and those who can't.

And one who reaches nibbana, can that one be satisfied with the nibbana he has reached?
It reads ...
For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.
... but does this entail feeling satisfied? I don't think so.
If the goal implies extinguishing thirst, then certain meditative attainments should not be equated with the goal. I think the lord Buddha used tautologies very skillfully. As long as their is thirst for more knowledge, then by definition, insight has not been perfected. This also explains why there are four stages of holiness, and how ending the fetters, even after stream entry, still necessitates more knowledge to be attained, even if the path for attaining them is no longer subject to doubt.
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.

SteRo
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:05 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:53 pm
SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:44 pm
Can a practitioner be satisfied with nibbana? Can a worldly practitioner be satisfied with any simile or verbal indication of nibbana? Maybe there are those who can and those who can't.

And one who reaches nibbana, can that one be satisfied with the nibbana he has reached?
It reads ...
For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.
... but does this entail feeling satisfied? I don't think so.
If the goal implies extinguishing thirst, then certain meditative attainments should not be equated with the goal.
Who equated meditative attainments with nibbana? I think both of us didn't.
And the Buddha did not either:
"He discerns that '[This signless awareness] is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' MN121
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:53 pm
I think the lord Buddha used tautologies very skillfully. As long as their is thirst for more knowledge, then by definition, insight has not been perfected.
Therefore you should be careful with statements like the above:
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:06 pm
... I think there is much more to wisdom than the above.
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:53 pm
This also explains why there are four stages of holiness, and how ending the fetters, even after stream entry, still necessitates more knowledge to be attained, even if the path for attaining them is no longer subject to doubt.
Only three fetters are abandoned with stream entry. And whether "more knowledge" is to be acquired after stream entry or whether the knowledge acquired with stream entry actually needs to be 'transformed' or further 'purified' ... :shrug:

chownah
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:37 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:31 pm
Hi chownah,

There is another sutta that i am unable to locate. I would be grateful if you or any other member of the forum can help me find it. In it, a member of other sects was somehow downplaying the significance of the Buddha's teachings, that they are only about suffering and ending it. In it, the Buddha explained how ignorant the member of the other sect is, and how ending suffering comes with other types of knowledge including many different types of psychic powers and other abilities.
It might be MN 101 Devadaha Sutta: At Devadaha
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... html#fnt-2
...and perhaps you are refering to the part near the end called "The Three Knowledges".

chownah

SteRo
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by SteRo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:43 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:31 pm
...

There is another sutta ... In it, the Buddha explained how ... ending suffering comes with other types of knowledge including many different types of psychic powers and other abilities.
That sutta would indeed be interesting because it could serve as an evidence for an unexpected closeness of Theravada and Mahayana in this regard.

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Bundokji
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Re: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:02 pm

SteRo wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:05 pm
Who equated meditative attainments with nibbana? I think both of us didn't.
I was referring to why awareness might appear as the goal. Sometimes when meditating, one can experience the mind as working by itself. Sometimes the mediator can experience temporary memory loss. If these kind of experiences are the basis for concluding that "awareness is the goal", then such conclusions are not warranted. I was making a general statement, not referring to your input.
And the Buddha did not either:
"He discerns that '[This signless awareness] is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to cessation.' For him — thus knowing, thus seeing — the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' MN121
The way of letting go of any fabricated state is, by definition, knowing its inconstancy, which answers the question why its not worth holding into. When the question "why" (the second noble truth) extinguishes itself, then, by definition, insight has been perfected.
Therefore you should be careful with statements like the above:
Not if enlightenment is likened to some vegetative state of "awareness". I think contemplating the goal without linking it to the four noble truths can be quite misleading. Some people smoke weed to relax and simply be aware, but has this anything to do with wisdom?
Only three fetters are abandoned with stream entry. And whether "more knowledge" is to be acquired after stream entry or whether the knowledge acquired with stream entry actually needs to be 'transformed' or further 'purified' ... :shrug:
Either way, more knowledge would be needed, until the practitioner has had his fill.
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: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:10 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:37 pm
It might be MN 101 Devadaha Sutta: At Devadaha
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... html#fnt-2
...and perhaps you are refering to the part near the end called "The Three Knowledges".

chownah
Not this one. I came across it by coincidence after we had the discussion about the nature of the Buddhist goal and whether the focus is on knowledge or ending suffering.

I will look for it later on. Thanks for sharing the Devadaha Sutta anyway.
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: Awareness as the goal

Post by Bundokji » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:22 pm

Until i find the sutta, the following article by Ven Bodhi can be relevant:

https://tricycle.org/magazine/i-teach-o ... suffering/
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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