Soul theories and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:51 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.

Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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mikenz66
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:57 pm

Probably "mindstream" is more of a commentarial term, which can certainly be found in texts such as:
A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma. viewtopic.php?f=18&t=826

However, in the suttas it certainly seems to be the case that individual "streams" of actions and results don't get mixed together - the kamma of one individual doesn't turn up as vipaka in another.

:anjali:
Mike

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:14 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.
Then, in responce, since only 3 quotes can be embedded:
Mkoll wrote:Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Mindstream=cittasantāna. It refers to an impermanent uneternal unstable and perhaps-ultimately-false, fundamentally arbitrary series of dhammas that frequently misconceives itself as an "eternal I", but is nonetheless united in its particularity of specific delusion. That is my understanding at least.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:45 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].
Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.
Then, in responce, since only 3 quotes can be embedded:
Mkoll wrote:Can you quote a sutta that talks about this "mindstream" please? I've never read the term in translations of the suttas that I've read, but maybe it was translated differently.
Mindstream=cittasantāna. It refers to an impermanent uneternal unstable and ultimately false and fundamentally arbitrary series of dhammas that frequently misconceives itself as an "eternal I", but is nonetheless united in its particularity of specific delusion. That is my understanding at least.

Thanks. I have never read of such an idea in the suttas. I believe Mike is correct in saying that it's a commentarial concept.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:53 pm

Mkoll wrote:Thanks. I have never read of such an idea in the suttas. I believe Mike is correct in saying that it's a commentarial concept.
In the interest of full clarification I believe the orthodox Theravāda conception of the mindstream is that whatever it is, dhammas etc, it is not the self in the Buddhist sense of the word "self". My use of the word "perhaps" was my own hesitancy to claim to be able to speak on "absolute" terms vis-à-vis what is and what isn't authentic Buddhadharma.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

CecilN
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby CecilN » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:57 pm

Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

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mikenz66
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:10 am

Here's the translation
In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, and goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood. and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world.
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn28/75


It doesn't appear to be a very common term, but perhaps there are other variations...

:anjali:
Mike

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Mkoll
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:22 am

CecilN wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

Thanks. Is that what you're referring to as "mindstream," Coemgenu? You used a different Pali term...

For accuracy, I should have said I don't recall reading of such an idea. And that's not surprising because apparently the term only appears in that one sutta: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=8419

The pericope that term is contained in also seems unique—I don't recall reading it anywhere else.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Coëmgenu » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:27 am

Mkoll wrote:
CecilN wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I have never read of such an idea in the suttas.

:reading:
DN 28 : Sampasādanīyasutta
chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca … chavimaṃsalohitaṃ aṭṭhiṃ paccavekkhati. Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke appatiṭṭhitañca

Thanks. Is that what you're referring to as "mindstream," Coemgenu? You used a different Pali term...
The definition given by the translator for the word "viññāṇasotaṃ" is congruent to what I know for "cittasantāna". I come from a Mahāyāna background, and "cittasantāna" might be merely be a Pali coinage of the Sanskrit term cittasaṃtāna, and viññāṇasotaṃ may well be the native terminology of the Pali Buddhavacana. Or cittasaṃtāna could be a retrojected "Sanskritization" of the Pali cittasantāna, I really don't know.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

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srivijaya
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:25 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
srivijaya wrote:A postulated "eternal, unchanging" soul is a conceptually fabricated straw-man.


Because a self by very definition is a living thing and must change [in some sense at least]. Nor are unchanging and eternal equivalent words [at least not in all senses].

Very much so. Once the conceptually fabricated, metaphysical position is dumped a practitioner can begin to directly investigate. That's why I see no value at all in metaphysics (another story). Unchanging and eternal are not equivalent but tend to get mixed up together when the straw-man is to be refuted. I think it devalues the whole process, as it's obviously contrived, but it seems to be a persistent feature of these kind of debates.

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:13 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Here's the translation
In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, and goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood. and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world.
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn28/75


It doesn't appear to be a very common term, but perhaps there are other variations...

:anjali:
Mike

Interesting sutta. The next section is revealing.
and he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world and he goes after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness as not established either in this world or in another world.

This is the fourth degree of discernment.

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby srivijaya » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:16 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Thats why I suggested that the English word "identity" is closer to the Buddhist conception of "attā" than "self". The equivalent of the English term "self" is "mindstream" in Buddhist terminology, that is just my opinion though. Denying the mindstream is ucchedavāda as far as I know, by most orthodoxies.

Identity and mindstream have the advantage that they can be viewed as an ever-changing process rather than a "thing".

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Twilight » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:01 pm

Response to soul theories posted here: viewtopic.php?f=13&p=412319#p410708

@cappuccino
"It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.'"
Yamaka Sutta

And neither is nibbana the opposite of anihilationism. That is why Buddha said anihilationism is the best out of wrong views.
As for the quote in question, it refers to the fact that there is no self that gets destroyed because there was never a self to begin with. There was just the opinion that there exist a self and this opinion is the one that disappears when achieving stream entry. Then, there exist conceit that exist until attaining arahanthip. As I have explained earlier:
Difference between nibbana and anihilationism:

1. Anahilationist claim it all ends at death and you have to do nothing to stop a round of rebirth.

2. Anihilationist claim that there is a self and this self is destroyed. Buddha claims there was never any self to begin with, just the 5 aggregates.

3. According to Buddha, nibbana is pleasant. Accoding to anihilationist view, it is neutral.


@davidbrainerd:
So much time time and energy is wasted trying to prove there is no self when in reality Buddha was only attacking the idea of viewing the body as the self because it militates against ascetism. Who would enter monasticism and live a celibate life thinking they are only the body? And who that might on a quirk do so would be consistent in it? These are rhetorical questions BTW, because not many people would or could, so the idea of the self being the physical thing, the body or aggregates is a hindrance to monasticism. Its really that simple.

I do not know where you got the idea that if the self is not found it consciousness it must be found in the body. Buddha said neither of the 5 aggregates is self.

The reason these kind of arguments are not even responded but simply moved into this topic is because they show a complete lack of understanding of buddhist doctrine. It is like people who never read the biology book having strong opinions about what is written in the biology book, saying things like humans been made out of metal etc. This is why in such cases a reading of the biology book is recommended not a debate.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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cappuccino
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby cappuccino » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:34 am

Ananda Sutta: To Ananda
(On Self, No Self, and Not-self)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html
The standard description of nibbana after death is,
"All that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here."

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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:47 am

You mean this bit?

If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"


Mike

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Twilight
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:59 am

cappuccino wrote:Ananda Sutta: To Ananda
(On Self, No Self, and Not-self)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.010.than.html

What have I told you when you have asked about anihilation ? Have I told you anihilationis believe there is a self that gets destroyed while Buddha said there never was a self to begin with ?

And you yourself have brought the sutta to explain it. From your sutta:
"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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cappuccino
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby cappuccino » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:08 am

If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness].
The standard description of nibbana after death is,
"All that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here."

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cappuccino
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby cappuccino » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:14 am

all phenomena are not-self
The standard description of nibbana after death is,
"All that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here."

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Twilight
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:49 am

Yes, because anihilationist believe that there is a self that gets destroyed. While Buddha says there never was a self to begin with. And that is why there is another passage just after the one that you have quoted in the same sutta to further clarify things to make sure nobody misinterprets the sutta:
"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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cappuccino
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Re: Soul theories and the Dhamma

Postby cappuccino » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:51 am

self, would be conforming with eternalism

no self, would be conforming with annihilationism

all phenomena are not-self
The standard description of nibbana after death is,
"All that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here."


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