To be clear I am NOT saying any of the following is true, or even my opinion! I am just presenting an argument for the sake of discussion. Also please forgive me if any of this comes off as rude in any way. That is not my intent.
vinasp wrote:Hi zan,
Quote: "... However in this sutta it is listed as constructing and conditioning all of the other aggregates and itself as well, so all aggregates are listed separately and singly and then volitional formations contains all aggregates at once...."
Volitional formations, in the present, construct all five aggregates in the future.
The 'future' here, can be the next life in a literal sense, or the next moment.
On another point: remember that the form aggregate is defined as ' whatever form, past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle ...'
So the form aggregate is not just one's own body, but also includes all 'external' forms.
The aggregates should be understood as 'self-and-world', both of which are constructed.
This is why the world ceases at the time of awakening.
If the world ceases at the time of awakening that means that The Buddha never reached awakening, nor did any of his followers or anyone else, ever, because the world is still here. In such a scenario there would be no reason to practice Buddhism as it shows itself to be invalid.
If anyone reaches awakening, the world ends. The world exists, no one has reached awakening.
Buddhism must be false as there are claims of many people reaching awakening, yet there is still the world and so there is no logical reason to assume that I or anyone else could reach awakening.
Unless you mean the world ceases for the being who reached awakening specifically but goes on for each other individual being who is their own "world"? Other than that, if we are to use one strict definition of "world" as denoting one being only, then Buddhism is flatly proven as ineffective and all faith in The Buddha and others awakening is completely illogical and invalid since, using that definition only, it is impossible that they reached awakening.
For example if "world" means only you, Vincent, and that is the strict definition, there is no other "world", and you have not ceased, then the "world" has not ceased. So that means no one has ever reached awakening in which the world ceases, ever, and practicing Buddhism makes no sense as it has never worked for anyone else, why would it work for you?
For example imagine you know a real wizard. He, on one occasion, says to you "When I say 'the world' I mean 'you, Vincent'."
On another occasion he tells you "All is one is not something I teach."
On another occasion he says to you "Vincent, I am going to cast a spell on the world that will allow the world to immediately fly away." He casts a spell on himself and he flies away. You remain standing.
You now have three options:
1. Assume that all is one and so by him flying you flew.
2. Assume his magic does not work.
3. Assume "world" in that case did not mean "You, Vincent" and so the word "world" does not always mean "You, Vincent".
Likewise when The Buddha said that "the world" ends with awakening (having also said that he does not teach oneness) and then it ended for him, since you are still here you have the same three options:
1. Assume that all is one so by the world ending for the Buddha it ended for you too.
2. Assume Buddhism does not work.
3. Assume that "the world" does not always denote "you, Vincent"
My opinion is that it is option 3 and this is the position of the orthodox Theravada school as well: "world" does not alway denote strictly "a being" or strictly "the six senses" but rather has several meanings related through the fact that they are all disintegrating (sharing a Pali word root meaning disintegrating).
If one were to take it completely literally and in all cases that "world" only means oneself, ones own six senses, or one's own being, then Buddhism proves itself ineffective.
However if one takes "world" to mean one's own oneself, one's six senses or one's own being in some cases and others six senses or other beings in other cases and just the "world" in the usual sense (a planet, realm, etc.) in still other cases then Buddhism is not proven to be ineffective.
And so I do not think the aggregates are literally and always denoting everything in existence in every instance that they are used.
Sometimes they are, other times they must denote one being and other times what is meant is one being's body included within the larger category of the aggregates yet still ultimately delineated from the beings because all is not one and "world" cannot always denote one singular being's six senses or one singular being.
Because if they strictly denote literally everything in existence always, in all usages, then that would mean that no Arahant or Buddha has ever entered Parinibbana and had the five aggregates cease since the aggregates clearly have not ceased in totality. That would mean that every time the suttas say that the aggregates have ceased for someone they have really not.
So instead there must be a personal definition and and a broader definiton.
So sometimes they mean a being, like when an Arahant enters skhandhaparinibbana (cessation of the skhandhas) sometimes they mean everything in existence (like in SN 22.79).
Otherwise, we have the same thing as the wizard example above: a self falsifying statement.
1. The aggregates always denote literally everything in existence.
2.The aggregates are said to have ceased at the death of the Buddha.
3.The aggregates (everything in existence) clearly have not ceased.
4.The aggregates then, did not cease at the death of the Buddha. And so there is no reason to assume that they (everything in existence) would cease with the parinibbana of me or anyone else at parinibbana.
Clearly this is incorrect.
So we must assume that the aggregates include a personal, singular definition where they can denote one being and cease only for that being at Parinibbana as they certainly did at the time of the Buddhas death and that they can denote everything all at once as used in SN 22.79 and other suttas.
If they always are personal and singular, yet still all encompassing, like the world could be defined as, then there would be absolutely zero reason to believe any suttas or people who speak about them ceasing since their experience proves that the practice does not work because your singular, personal experience that is all encompassing, which would include them has not ceased, unless there is some kind of "oneness" invoked which is flatly denied by the Buddha.