Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:22 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote: That being so, why would it be any different if they were not to die right there on the spot? If there's no basis for vipaka at death, what basis is there for vipaka in the arahant's life? What is the difference, and what is the reason for it?
I think Ven Nanananda answers that quite well, in a very similar way to the commentaries.
http://www.beyondthenet.net/calm/nibbana18.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
From the particular context in which the verse occurs, it seems that this imagery of the fire is a restatement of the image of the lotus unsmeared by water. Though the embers are still smouldering, to the extent that they are no longer hungering for more fuel and are not emitting flames, they may as well be reckoned as `extinguished'.

We can draw a parallel between this statement and the definition of sa-upàdisesà Nibbànadhàtu already quoted. As a full-fledged arahant, he still experiences likes and dislikes and pleasures and pains, owing to the fact that his five sense-faculties are intact.

The assertion made by the phrase beginning with tassa tiññhanteva pa¤cindriyàni yesaü avighàtattà ... , "his five senses do exist, owing to the non-destruction of which ...", rather apologetically brings out the limitations of the living arahant. It is reminiscent of those smoul­dering embers in the imagery of the Nàgasutta. However, in so far as flames of lust, hate and delusion are quenched in him, it comes to be called sa-upàdisesà Nibbànadhàtu, even as in the case of those smou­l­dering embers.

....

This cooling off happens just before death, without igniting an­other spark of life. When Màra comes to grab and seize, the ara­hant lets go. The pain of death with which Màra teases his hapless victim and lures him into another existence, becomes ineffective in the case of the arahant. As he has already gone through the supra­mundane experience of deathlessness, in the arahat­taphala­samà­dhi, death loses its sting when at last it comes. The influx-free deliver­ance of the mind and the influx-free deliverance through wisdom en­able him to cool down all feelings in a way that baffles Màra.

So the arahant lets go of his body, experiencing ambrosial death­lessness. As in the case of Venerable Dabba Mallaputta, he would sometimes cremate his own body without leaving any ashes.[37] Out­wardly it might appear as an act of self-immolation, which in­deed is painful. But this is not so. Using his jhànic powers, he simply em­ploys the internal fire element to cremate the body he has already discarded.

This, then, is the Buddha's extraordinary solution to the problem of overcoming death, a solution that completely outwits Màra.
:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20090
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:28 am

Greetings Mike,

Yes. As per my last post to Kirk, the response to my question depends critically on the definition of vipaka employed.
So the arahant lets go of his body, experiencing ambrosial death­lessness. As in the case of Venerable Dabba Mallaputta, he would sometimes cremate his own body without leaving any ashes.[37] Out­wardly it might appear as an act of self-immolation, which in­deed is painful. But this is not so. Using his jhànic powers, he simply em­ploys the internal fire element to cremate the body he has already discarded.
I'll have to remember this one next time to the inevitable Arahant and Suicide topic arises. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

Virgo
Posts: 1424
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by Virgo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:29 am

retrofuturist wrote: I'll have to remember this one next time to the inevitable Arahant and Suicide topic arises. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
I'll start it in just a few minutes.

Kevin

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20090
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:30 am

Oh no, please don't!

:rofl:

(actually, on a serious note, there already is one...)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:44 am

retrofuturist wrote: It makes sense that this has ended for the arahant who has followed the Noble Eightfold Path through to its fulfilment and is, as far as I can tell, the only sensible way to reconcile this sutta on kamma with what the Buddha says elsewhere of the arahant. The suttas also tell us, via teachings on dependent origination, that from the cessation of contact (phassa) comes the cessation of feeling (vedana).
If you assume that it is instantaneous. From what I've quoted, I don't think that Ven Nanananda would agree with that.
retrofuturist wrote: Obviously, that's rather confronting (particularly in terms of its consequences for satipatthana/vipassana meditation), and it gives cause to sit up and think about precisely what vedana actually means in terms of the experience of an arahant who has achieved the cessation of avijja (and thus, the cessation of vedana). I do not believe it is right to superimpose our putthujana concepts/experiences of what vedana is onto that of the arahant, lest there be some nuance of the arahant's experience that we misunderstand on account of us not being arahants ourselves.
The highlighted statement is interesting, but I'm unclear about what it would mean in practise. Developing vipassana requires attention to processes to the extent that one can see through the delusion. One can argue about exactly at what level the delusion is at. Ven Nanananda seems to place it at a different level than more traditional accounts, but, like other teachers, he describes the progression of attention to the detail of rapid rise and fall of phenomena (as far as I can tell from his writings on meditation such as the following:)
Seeing Through. An essay by Ven. K. Ñāṇananda Bhikkhu
http://nibbanam.com/?p=49" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (his emphasis)
The best revelation of this state of affairs comes when one has accelerated one’s speed of mental-noting to such an extent that when a thought comes to one’s mind, one summarily dismisses it as a mere thinking without being carried away by it. Thereby one does not allow that thought to crystallize itself as an object. Normally, an object is something that one clings to or hangs on to. The mind which has been in the habit of clinging throughout samsàra, always seeks to hang on to something or the other, however frail it may be. That is because of the craving for existence. Just as a man falling down a precipice would hang on even to the frail straw for fear of the fall, the ever-new regenerator, craving – `tanhà ponobhavikà’ – prompts one to hang on to this that or the other. But the crux of the problem lies where the mind meets its object.

Mind has the habit of hanging on to its object. Even when the five external senses do not grasp their respective objects, mind would grasp the thought as its object. One tends to think: `Here am I, the thinker, and this is my mind-object.’ So long as this bifurcation, this duality, is there, there will also be a place for mind-consciousness. In the magic-show of consciousness, mind-consciousness is the subtlest trick of all. Now in the verse quoted above, it is said that the mind is well released on seeing the arising of bases. How does this come about? When the meditator attends to the objects of the six senses rapidly and in a more refined way, without clinging to them, summarily dismissing them, in the course of his meditative attention – all of a sudden – he discovers the mind-object as soon as it strikes the mind. The relativity involved in the process of sense-contact is thereby understood and the delusion regarding the magic-show of consciousness is dispelled. Strange as it may appear, this very insight into the dependent arising of sense bases has dismantled those very sense-bases-as it were.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20090
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:07 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:If you assume that it is instantaneous.
Instantaneous probably isn't quite the word, because it means exactly the same precise moment. A ceases, then B ceases, then C ceases etc. as the decisive support is removed would be more correct.

That small modification/caveat aside, it's probably alright as an approximation. I feel that is what it implied by iddicapatthana.

"When this is, that is. From the arising of this comes the arising of that. When this isn't, that isn't. From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that." - Ud 1.3

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

vipāka only mental?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:50 pm

retrofuturist wrote:... and also in remembering that vipaka is mental, as explained by ven. Nyanaponika in his Buddhist Dictionary, and that clods aren't mental)
Would you please be so kind to provide a sutta reference where it is stated that vipāka is only a mental-phenomenon? Your argumentation is based on Nyanaponika explanation in his Buddhist Dictionary but I never came across anything which supports such a view. Since intention is action and action can be done by way of body, mind and speech I cannot see why the fruits of action shall only result in a mental phenomena.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:12 pm

vipāka
'karma-result', is any karmically (morally) neutral mental phenomenon (e.g. bodily agreeable or painful feeling, sense-consciousness, etc. ), which is the result of wholesome or unwholesome volitional action (karma, q.v.) through body, speech or mind, done either in this or some previous life.

Totally wrong is the belief that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous action. Never, for example, is any karmically wholesome or unwholesome volitional action the result of former action, being in reality itself karma.

On this subject s. titthāyatana, karma, Tab. I; Fund II. Cf. A. III, 101; Kath. 162 (Guide, p. 80).

Karma-produced (kammaja or kamma-samutthāna) corporeal things are never called kamma-vipāka, as this term may be applied only to mental phenomena.
I would be interested in a sutta support for the last sentence, which I suspect is a commentarial issue. While I could be quite wrong, not having the time to carefully look into this, I suspect the words kammaja and kamma-samutthāna are commentarial. What Ven Nyanatiloka meant here is not at all clear.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I would be interested in a sutta support for the last sentence, which I suspect is a commentarial issue. While I could be quite wrong, not having the time to carefully look into this, I suspect the words kammaja and kamma-samutthāna are commentarial. What Ven Nyanatiloka meant here is not at all clear.
It comes from the Abhidhamma.

From Fundamentals of Buddhism by Nyanatiloka:
Note

1.
Here I should add that the Pali term vipaka, which I generally translate by "effect," or "result," is not really identical with these two English terms. According to the Kathavatthu, it refers only to the kamma-produced "mental" results, such as pleasurable and painful bodily feeling and all other primary mental phenomena, while all the corporeal phenomena, such as the five physical sense-organs, etc., are not called vipaka, but "kammaja" or "kamma-samutthana," i.e. "kamma-born" or "kamma-produced."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:29 pm

Oh, no. Retro is relying on the Abhidhamma? The next thing you know, it will be 3 life paticcasamuppada.
bodom wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I would be interested in a sutta support for the last sentence, which I suspect is a commentarial issue. While I could be quite wrong, not having the time to carefully look into this, I suspect the words kammaja and kamma-samutthāna are commentarial. What Ven Nyanatiloka meant here is not at all clear.
It comes from the Abhidhamma.

From Fundamentals of Buddhism by Nyanatiloka:
Note

1.
Here I should add that the Pali term vipaka, which I generally translate by "effect," or "result," is not really identical with these two English terms. According to the Kathavatthu, it refers only to the kamma-produced "mental" results, such as pleasurable and painful bodily feeling and all other primary mental phenomena, while all the corporeal phenomena, such as the five physical sense-organs, etc., are not called vipaka, but "kammaja" or "kamma-samutthana," i.e. "kamma-born" or "kamma-produced."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:36 pm

bodom wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I would be interested in a sutta support for the last sentence, which I suspect is a commentarial issue. While I could be quite wrong, not having the time to carefully look into this, I suspect the words kammaja and kamma-samutthāna are commentarial. What Ven Nyanatiloka meant here is not at all clear.
It comes from the Abhidhamma.

From Fundamentals of Buddhism by Nyanatiloka:
Note

1.
Here I should add that the Pali term vipaka, which I generally translate by "effect," or "result," is not really identical with these two English terms. According to the Kathavatthu, it refers only to the kamma-produced "mental" results, such as pleasurable and painful bodily feeling and all other primary mental phenomena, while all the corporeal phenomena, such as the five physical sense-organs, etc., are not called vipaka, but "kammaja" or "kamma-samutthana," i.e. "kamma-born" or "kamma-produced."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
I don't know what Ven. Nyanatiloka meant in his Note. I found a Kathavatthu Sutta but it doesn't deal with kamma or vipāka at all.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:44 pm

acinteyyo wrote:I found a Kathavatthu Sutta but it doesn't deal with kamma or vipāka at all.
best wishes, acinteyyo
The idea of Kamma vipaka being purely mental originates from the Kathavatthu, one of the books of the Abhidhamma, not the Kathavatthu sutta.

Abhidhamma Pitaka
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/abhi/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:56 pm

Ah okay, thx. That's probably why I never heard about it. I don't know anything about Abhidhamma. Apart from that is there any reference from the Sutta-Pitaka?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6241
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:07 pm

acinteyyo wrote:Ah okay, thx. That's probably why I never heard about it. I don't know anything about Abhidhamma. Apart from that is there any reference from the Sutta-Pitaka?

best wishes, acinteyyo
I will have to dig around Nyanatilokas Kathavatthu translation and see if I can find a sutta source provided.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Oh, no. Retro is relying on the Abhidhamma? The next thing you know, it will be 3 life paticcasamuppada.
Yes, I've pointed out before that Retro's interpretation of kamma seems to rely on using abhidhamma/commentarial literature to assert that vipaka is purely mental, in contradiction to his stated goal of relying only on the suttas. I'm not aware of any statement of this in the suttas, and suspect there is none, since the dictionary entry under discussion reads:
According to the Kathavatthu, it [vipaka] refers only to the kamma-produced "mental" results, such as pleasurable and painful bodily feeling and all other primary mental phenomena, while all the corporeal phenomena, such as the five physical sense-organs, etc., are not called vipaka, but "kammaja" or "kamma-samutthana," i.e. "kamma-born" or "kamma-produced."
It seems that the abhidhamma/commentary scheme has separated physical and mental results of kamma in a way that the suttas do not. It's not so much a contradiction as a change of terminology.

Whichever scheme one uses, I have not seen any support in sutta/abhidhamma/commentary that "the effects of kamma are purely mental". I would be interested to see such a statement.

:anjali:
Mike

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Gszab, kroyakor, Majestic-12 [Bot], smallchap and 93 guests