something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:30 am

5heaps wrote: its very simple. some people say the nature of persons is that they possess an unchanging essence and/or are identified by way of an unchanging essence. the Buddha however said that no, this is not the nature of persons. thats ontology.
Maybe, but it hardly is the focus of his teachings. If he taught an ontology, it is an ontology of becoming, where the issue is "knowledge." The Buddha's focus was soteriology, not ontology.
anyway ill start a new thread . . .
Finally.
>> 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

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:32 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha's focus was soteriology, not ontology.
:goodpost:

(I mainly like that I didn't have to say it 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)

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tiltbillings
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha's focus was soteriology, not ontology.
:goodpost:

(I mainly like that I didn't have to say it 8-) )

Metta,
Retro. :)
Always happy to help. I would also add epistemology and a sort of empiricism as well as utilitarianism, but life is too complicated, so I won't mention anything else. It is all those damed partless particles doing crazy things.
>> 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

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Nyana » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:03 am

5heaps wrote:every system differentiates between experience of objects and the sense data themselves. what you seem to be forgetting in reading these quotes is that within our "construct[ion of] our world" using concepts, this still includes sense data which are not concepts. ignorance, for example, is sense data, mind is sense data, form is sense data. and these sense data function differently than concepts. in fact they play a necessary role in our being able to derive concepts out of them and pertaining to them and thus "construct our world".
I'm not forgetting anything. Please read and contemplate what has been posted. Sn 3.12: Dvayatānupassanā Sutta:
  • Entrenched in name and form,
    They conceive that “This is true.”

    In whatever way (worldlings) conceive it,
    It turns out other than that.
    For that is what is false about it.
    Whatever is transitory certainly has a false nature.
Paul Fuller, The Notion Of Diṭṭhi In Theravāda Buddhism, p. 79:
  • The early Abhidhamma emphasizes that a view is incorrect if it becomes an object of attachment, not because it is untrue. From the Abhidhamma perspective, diṭṭhi is exclusively connected with a mind (citta) rooted in greed (lobha-mūla)....

    One example of this is found in the Vibhaṅga. A discussion of dependent origination explains the phrase ‘with craving as condition there is attachment’ (taṇhā-paccayā upādānaṃ) as ‘gone over to view, the thicket of view, a wilderness of view’, etc. Craving, and the attachment that it gives rise to, are being explained as micchā-diṭṭhi. Wrong-view is the embodiment of craving and attachment.
The Notion Of Diṭṭhi In Theravāda Buddhism, p. 113:
  • As I have suggested, when the Nikāyas consider sammā-diṭṭhi that is supramundane (lokuttara), they are, in a sense, not talking about a view at all. I am not saying that it does not propose anything but that, ultimately, what it proposes is the non-attachment from all views. By supramundane right-view (lokuttara sammā-diṭṭhi) the Nikāyas are offering a way of seeing that is completely detached, in which no-views are held.
The Notion Of Diṭṭhi In Theravāda Buddhism, p. 147:
  • n the Māgandiya-sutta (Sn 835–47) the Buddha tells Māgandiya that purity is not got by views, learning or knowledge, or by precepts and vows, nor by absence of these. It is by non-attachment and nondependence that one achieves calm. Māgandiya contends that if purity is not found by means of views, learning or knowledge, or by virtuous conduct and vows, nor by absence of these then the teaching is foolish (Sn 840). The Buddha replies:

    “Dependent upon view, inquiring, Māgandiya, […] you have become infatuated in respect of what has been grasped, and hence you have not even the slightest notion (of what I am talking about). Therefore you regard (it) as foolish.”

    The sutta then goes on to describe those free from attachment:

    “One who has knowledge (vedagu) does not become proud because of view or thought, for he is not like that. He cannot be influenced by action or thought, for he is not like that. He cannot be influenced by action or learning; he is not led into clingings (to views).

    “There are no ties for one who is devoid of apperceptions. There are no illusions for one who is released through wisdom. But those who have grasped apperception and view wander in the world, causing offence.”

    This is similar to (if not the same as) the ‘emancipation through non-attachment’ (anupādā vimutto, D I 22) spoken of in the Brahmajāla-sutta. Right-view, being itself paññā, is the absence of grasping and attachment. One could argue that passages such as these are explaining the vision of the one who is accomplished in view (diṭṭhi-sampanna). It describes the vision of the stream-attainer who has no-views in the sense of having no craving for views.

5heaps wrote:anyway ill start a new thread to address those things when i have a spare moment.

I would suggest that it would be much more beneficial to place all this tenet system nonsense on the shelf and practice satipaṭṭhāna.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Nyana » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:49 am

tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha's focus was soteriology, not ontology.
Yeah. As I indicated in a previous reply to Sobeh, I think that if we are to draw any comparisons between the dhamma and western philosophy the most appropriate comparison might be with some aspects of first-person phenomenological description. That is, Husserl's method of phenomenological description where one attends to the contents of one's conscious experience while setting aside (i.e. bracketing) the question of the ontological existence of the contents of this experience altogether. Of course, there's no need for any further comparison beyond this general methodological framework. I'm not suggesting that we attempt to read Husserl or Merleau-Ponty into the dhamma....

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:But the question of the OP: what is Nanavira referring to as something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval?
What I've experienced is that nothing endures unchanged. Sometimes things change more slowly, which gives the illusion of persistence. And of course it depends on the timescale we apply.

Spiny

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:08 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha's focus was soteriology, not ontology.
Yeah. As I indicated in a previous reply to Sobeh, I think that if we are to draw any comparisons between the dhamma and western philosophy the most appropriate comparison might be with some aspects of first-person phenomenological description. That is, Husserl's method of phenomenological description where one attends to the contents of one's conscious experience while setting aside (i.e. bracketing) the question of the ontological existence of the contents of this experience altogether. Of course, there's no need for any further comparison beyond this general methodological framework. I'm not suggesting that we attempt to read Husserl or Merleau-Ponty into the dhamma....

All the best,

Geoff
I agree. I knew there was something I forgot.
>> 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

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:40 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Do you practice satipaṭṭhāna? Specifically, either mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānassati), or observation of feelings (vedanānupassanā), or observation of dhammas (dhammānupassanā) pertaining to the mind sensory sphere and mental phenomena sensory sphere?
Yes (but not anapanasati). I'm pretty sure that Ven. Ṭhānissaro does all of the above, though:
Ñāṇa wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
SN 35.93:
  • In dependence on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The eye is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Forms are inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Thus this pair is both wavering & fluctuating — inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise.
Why "changeable" and not "changing"? The latter would be more direct. Also why "of a nature to become otherwise"? This phrasing also seems pretty indirect.
The above excerpt is Ven. Ṭhānissaro's translation.
It seems like the confusion (in this thread) primarily comes from trying to equate either momentariness or flux, either one or other, with the concept of anicca itself. I view this as a fallacy.

Maybe the following analogy might help: (Just stay with it till the end... it is really relevant to understanding the topic at hand):
The Buddha: "O, Bhikkhus! This bread is impermanent, liable to become moldy, of a nature to become moldy."

Uninstructed Run-of-Mill Person #1 (even though he's already been instructed a million of times within the cycles of saṃsāra): "So, he's basically saying that we might as well say that the bread is always moldy?"

Trainee (a person who has maybe 7 years, at most, before he finally stops identifying himself with the bread): "No, he's not saying that."

The clueless Ascetic: "I've been practicing vipassana [sic] for years. I've honed my senses down to the point where I can see the mold growing on a loaf of bread the moment it comes out of the oven... so, it's true: The bread is always becoming moldy!"

Trainee: *facepalms*
The Buddha: "The Dhamma is subtle, and difficult to see."

Uninstructed Run-of-Mill Person #1: "No wonder I can't always see the mold."

The clueless Ascetic: "See! The mold itself (at times) is very subtle, and difficult to see. That is why you need to train in vipassana [sic]."

Trainee: *facepalms*
Now, some pointers about the above:

Anicca ≠ mold.
Anicca = impermanence.

Mold = a sign of impermanence (of something).

Bread = impermanent. Why? Because it gets moldy. This mold is a sign of impermanence, but not the concept of anicca itself.

So then it follows:

Anicca ≠ moments nor flux.
Anicca = impermanence.

Moments or flux = signs of impermanence.

Perceiving these moments or flux (via sañña) = impermanent. Why? Because the moments turn into flux, and the flux turn into moments. (Therefore the sañña is impermanent, neither perfect nor reliable, and not to be clung to as a self)... hope that clears up my position for some of you.

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by piotr » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:32 pm

Hi Ñāṇa,
I think that if we are to draw any comparisons between the dhamma and western philosophy the most appropriate comparison might be with some aspects of first-person phenomenological description.
Ñāṇavīra would agree with you.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Sobeh » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:10 pm

Perhaps this will be of some use:

[L(etter) 08]
2 May 1964 to Mr. Wijerama
Written by Ven. Ñanavira

"You ask for Sutta references of passages where the Buddha has 'explained in specific terms the structure of change'. Beyond the two uppāda/vaya/thitassa aññathattam references (both given in ANICCA), I do not know of any at all. Perhaps this will astonish you; but the fact that the Buddha does not seem to have discussed the structure of change beyond this is, I think, not hard to understand. The point is this: provided a person does not have any preconceived ideas about the structure of change, an understanding of this structure is not necessary for the attainment of nibbāna."

continued here...

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Alex123 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:58 pm

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:if a thing were not momentary I have no idea of what you are talking about.
do you not accept dependent arising? do you not accept characteristic natures? do you not accept that they perform functions?

if you do, you have to accept that they exist in some substantial manner. if you dont accept that they do, what then does 'they' refer to? what is it that functions if a thing is already gone simultaneous with its production?

"there are no things, only processes" makes no sense, since processes are by definition made up of parts (things).

5 Heaps, it sounds like you are right.

Things like causality do remain at least for a long while. Laws of nature do so as well (laws of gravity for example doesn't really change every second). Same for meaning of letters and words. If letters, words, ideas, etc lost meaning immeadetely then this text would not make any sense the next instant.


Anicca and momentariness are probably different phenomena all together.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:19 pm

Alex123 wrote:5 Heaps, it sounds like you are right.

Things like causality do remain at least for a long while.
Was Nanavira talking about the laws of causality?
>> 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

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Alex123 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:5 Heaps, it sounds like you are right.

Things like causality do remain at least for a long while.
Was Nanavira talking about the laws of causality?

I've answered your question about a thing that is not momentary. Furthermore, remember the quote about the body?
Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Also, meaning and convention lasts for some time. This is why the given meaning to every letter stays the same, at least for some while. This makes reading and comprehension possible.
Last edited by Alex123 on Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:32 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:5 Heaps, it sounds like you are right.

Things like causality do remain at least for a long while.
Was Nanavira talking about the laws of causality?

I've answered your question about a thing that is not momentary. Furthermore, remember the quote about the body?
Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
You are not answering my question: You talk about causality, but is that what Nanavira is referring to in this quote: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 863#p94863" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And body quote does not support a notion of an unchanging something, as has been clearly and repeatedly pointed out, so what is Nanavaria talking about?
>> 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

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Re: something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval

Post by Alex123 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:37 pm

tiltbillings wrote: And body quote does not support a notion of an unchanging something, as has been clearly and repeatedly pointed out, so what is Nanavaria talking about?
Are you saying that one moment you have the body, and it is gone the next? Does John become Jane the next moment and Mark then 3rd moment? Of course some things persist for a while.


A little child has a body, then as an adult has a body, and as an old 99 year old man - he still has a body and had it for all those years. So in human realm, the body, as a body, remains.

Because it remains, it can change (and change can bring lots of unpleasant things). A super discreet model that denies the whole and only affirms particles of 0 duration seems to reject the change at all - because then NOTHING changes, wholes do not exist and 0 duration particles do not change themselves. Change requires time, and if something doesn't last long enough to change, how can it change?

Change also requires somethings to last longer then others. Body cannot age until it lasts long enough to age. Elements appearing for almost 0 duration, one after another, and without a shape of the body lasting for a while, aging would never be seen.


Ven Nanivara says it well:

Now the Pali texts say that the Buddha taught anicca/dukkha/anattā, and the average Theravādin, monk or layman, seems to take for granted that aniccatā, or impermanence, means that things are perpetually changing, that they do not remain the same for two consecutive moments. Failing to make the necessary distinctions (see PATICCASAMUPPĀDA [c]), they understand this as implying perpetual flux of everything all the time. This, of course, destroys the principle of self-identity, 'A is A'; for unless something endures unchanged for at least a certain interval of time you cannot even make the assertion 'this is A' since the word 'is' has lost its meaning. http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 863#p94863" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
If things don't remain the same for two consequent moments, then meaning of letters would not remain the same for two consequent moments and the meaning of sentences would never exist/last.
Last edited by Alex123 on Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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