Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

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Coëmgenu
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Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby Coëmgenu » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:27 am

I posted this in a different thread, but I didn't get any responses, probably because, admittedly, it wasn't the most relevant to the OP. Nonetheless I am still curious to see if what I think it at all correct.

Here is the post:
Coëmgenu wrote:Don't take my word on it, its a confusing sutta for sure, but I think the main area of exposition in the sutta is kamma-generated-by-self or kamma-generated-by-other, and the opinions on these two kammas that were held by a different teacher other than the Bhagavān, and refutation of the views of that other teacher, more so than about the existence or nonexistence of the self or any other selves.


This is based around the idea that the subject matter of the sutta is determinism, not selfhood or lack thereof, I got this by compiling the interpretations of a few sources, many of which I am not 100% sure are solid because I am inexperienced in effectively searching the internet for good commentary on the Pali Canon.

Is the "doer" in "self-doer" rendered as "doer" because kamma technically means "action" and "action" must be "done" in order to be action? It seems like the sutta is talking about "self-maker[-of-kamma]" vs "other-maker[-of-kamma]" based on what I've been trying piece together, since "maker" was an alternative translation of kāra suggested by K. Nizamis on the translation on Access to Insight.

Am I totally off?
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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Zom
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby Zom » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:07 am

Sutta is surely not about "self doctrine", but not about "kamma" either, because Buddha did heard nihilistic doctrines before, and here he says "I never heard such a doctrine".

I think the idea is very simple here (and quite stupid): that man thought there is no such thing as "effort". And Buddha was like: "Meh... do you see people putting effort into their actions? Okay then". :D

theY
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby theY » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:12 pm

In Attakārī Sutta:

Brahman concept is "Cause does not has any effect".

But buddha concept is "every cause have many effects".
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/2016/09/tipitaka-memorization-is-rule-of-monks.html

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:46 pm

Zom wrote:Sutta is surely not about "self doctrine", but not about "kamma" either, because Buddha did heard nihilistic doctrines before, and here he says "I never heard such a doctrine".

I think the idea is very simple here (and quite stupid): that man thought there is no such thing as "effort". And Buddha was like: "Meh... do you see people putting effort into their actions? Okay then". :D
I think it might be about absolutes in regards to what we would call free will and hard determinism, but what is framed here as kamma, both in the sense of kamma that is action and kamma that was generated before. From reading some different translators opinions as to what attakáro and parakáro might refer to, and by the explanation of a few that seem more informed, the question being posed pertains to whether we truly "act/do" and generate kamma or if we are eternally pulled along by kammic causalities like puppets with no volition at all, for in such an instance all conditions and causes are determined by an "other-doer" solely, no kamma is believed to be generated in the last case.

The "certain Brahmin" proposes two sort-of extreme idiosyncratic positions in this regard, both of which the Buddha labels as such ("I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view.")

That is just what I gleaned from some of the translators I read though.

But that interpretation also agrees with what you say. If the certain Brahmin thought that there was absolute kammic determinism from kamma originating from anything "other", and that there was no kamma generated at all by anything presently or dynamically acting/doing, then it would follow that liberation through own-effort would be futile and one should just lie down and whatever happens was fated to be from the beginning. That's just one take though.

That interpretation is based on the belief of some translators who say that the verb káro in attakáro and parakáro doesn't just mean the exact same thing as the English verb "to do" or its noun-form "doer". It is also said to mean "maker (of action)" as in "maker (of kamma)" or "generator (of kamma)". So "self-doer" and "other-doer" could also be equally correctly rendered as "self/other-actioner" or "self/other-maker (of kamma/causes)".

To the user "theY", is the above explanation what you were trying to communicate by saying:
theY wrote:In Attakārī Sutta:

Brahman concept is "Cause does not has any effect".

But buddha concept is "every cause have many effects".
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

theY
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby theY » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:23 am

I'm sorry. It is my mistake.

In Attakārī Sutta:

Brahman concept is "Don't have any trying to do, by self, or by the other person".

But buddha concept is "Every one can try to walk forward, try to walk backward, etc. So no one can say like Brahman concept".
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/2016/09/tipitaka-memorization-is-rule-of-monks.html

CecilN
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby CecilN » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:41 am

My guess is AN 6.38 is not about selfhood.

There are no hidden & different teachings found in obscure & unimportant suttas, like this one. When a sutta like this is difficult to understand the problem or issue is generally with the translation.

The 1st step in unraveling a sutta like this is to identify which party established the definitions or parameters. In AN 6.38, as expected, it was the Brahman that established the definitions, with his terms: attakāro & parakāro. In other words, we should not assume that these terms reflect the same understanding of 'atta' as held by the Buddha. It is not the Buddha using these terms but the Brahman using these terms.

This is exactly the same as the unimportant SN 44.10, which so many people get stuck on in a wrong way. In SN 44.10, it was the wanderer Vacchagotta that established the definitions when asking: "Does a self exist (atthattā); does a self not exist (natthattā) ". The reply of the Buddha in SN 44.10 is completely unrelated to the Buddha's teachings of anatta & sunnata. The reply is the same as when a small child asks: "When will Santa Clause come?" and the parents answer: "At midnight, dear" (despite Santa Claus not even existing).

Therefore, in AN 6.38, the term 'selfhood' is probably used as the Brahman understands selfhood. The word "atta" is probably understood & used by the Buddha in conventional language, such as found in the Attavagga of the Dhammapada, which states: "self is the refuge of self". In the Attavagga, the "atta" is just conventional usage (rather than a real self).

The 2nd step in unraveling is examination the core issue or message, which is about the elements of initiating, exertion, effort, steadfastness, persistence, endeavoring, moving forward & moving back.

Therefore, the original statement is probably about the word "kāro" (rather than about the word "atta"). The Brahman was probably saying: "There is no kāro in onself or in others" and the Buddha replies: "There is kāro".

Regards.

theY
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Re: Is AN 6.38 about selfhood at all?

Postby theY » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:36 pm

Commentary refer "kāro" as "viriya".

Why?

"ārabbhadhātu, parakkamadhātu, upakkamadhātuyā" are words, that buddha is always used to declare "viriyasambojjaṅga". These words are use in this sutta, too. So commentary refer "kāro" as "viriya".

sn. māhāvagga sīlasutta wrote:‘‘ko ca, bhikkhave, āhāro anuppannassa vā vīriyasambojjhaṅgassa uppādāya, uppannassa vā vīriyasambojjhaṅgassa bhāvanāya pāripūriyā? atthi, bhikkhave, ārambhadhātu [ārabbhadhātu (syā. ka.)] nikkamadhātu parakkamadhātuฯ tattha yonisomanasikārabahulīkāro – ayamāhāro anuppannassa vā vīriyasambojjhaṅgassa uppādāya, uppannassa vā vīriyasambojjhaṅgassa bhāvanāya pāripūriyāฯ


This is the declaration of viriya in abhidhammatthasangaha chapter 2.

12. Viriya -

Derived from Ö aj, to go + īr. Vī is substituted for aj. Vīra is one who strenuously carries on his work uninterruptedly.

It is defined as the state or action of energetic persons (Vīrānam bhāvo, kammam). Or, it is that which is effected or carried out methodically (Vidhinā īrayitabbam pavattetabbam vā).

It has the characteristic of supporting (upatthambana upholding (paggahana), sustaining (ussahana).

As an old house is supported by new pillars even so concomitants are aided and supported by Viriya.

Just as a strong reinforcement would help an army to hold on instead of retreating, even so viriya upholds or uplifts its concomitants.

Viriya is regarded as a controlling factor (indriya) because it overcomes idleness. It is also regarded as one of the five powers (bala) because it cannot be shaken by its opposite idleness. Viriya serves as one of the four means of accomplishing one's ends (iddhi-pāda). It is this viriya that appears as Four Modes of Supreme Efforts (samma-ppadhāna). Viriya is sublimated as one of the seven factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga). Finally it has been elevated to one of the eight members of the Noble Path (atthangika-magga) as sammā vāyāma (Right-Effort).



Atthasālini states that viriya should be regarded as the root of all achievements.

Effort, exertion, energy are suggested as best equivalents.
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/2016/09/tipitaka-memorization-is-rule-of-monks.html


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