Kâma (sensual pleasures)

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Sylvester
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Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:54 am

Hi Geoff
In SN 36.19 Pañcakaṅga Sutta the Buddha tells Ven. Ānanda that whatever pleasure or happiness arises in dependence on the five strands of sensual pleasure is called sensual pleasure.
Do have a care with this proposition. Just because Bhikkhu Bodhi consistently translates the kamagunas to "sensual pleasure" does not mean that the 2nd "sensual pleasure" in SN 36.19 means kamaguna. The Pali says -
Yaṃ kho, ānanda, ime pañca kāmaguṇe paṭicca uppajjati sukhaṃ somanassaṃ— idaṃ vuccati kāmasukhaṃ.
I absolutely agree with the MN 66 proposition, but I don't see how the critique of kamasukha and its disappearance in Jhana is relevant to the issue of what the kamagunas mean. If you are suggesting that "kamagunas" mean only pleasurable forms etc and that it excludes painful and neutral forms etc, does this mean you assert, as before, that in Jhana one is also conscious of these painful and neutral forms etc? We've gone over this before in your earlier thread. The Mahanidana Sutta, DN 15 does not allow the other 2 types of feelings to intrude when a pleasant feeling is felt. When there is Jhana, there is only mental pleasure to the exclusion of any other types of feelings. Since feelings have to be sahagata with the particular consciousness (per MN 43), the absence of other feelings must necessitate the absence of consciousness of the other ayatanas.
And what, for a monk, is not his own range and is the domain of others? The five strands of sensual pleasure.... These, for a monk, are not his own range and are the domain of others.
As for your citation of SN 47.6 above, don't you think it's another petitio principii to cite this as proof that kamagunas mean only pleasurable material ayatanas? Again you're capitalising on the English translation's use of "sensual pleasure" to suggest to the reader that kamasukha is being imported. Had you not abridged the passage and given it in full, this is what the Pali says -
Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, mā agocare carittha paravisaye. Agocare, bhikkhave, carataṃ paravisaye lacchati māro otāraṃ, lacchati māro ārammaṇaṃ. Ko ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno agocaro paravisayo? Yadidaṃ— pañca kāmaguṇā. Katame pañca? Cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā, sotaviññeyyā saddā…pe… ghānaviññeyyā gandhā…pe… jivhāviññeyyā rasā…pe… kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā— ayaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno agocaro paravisayo.
It's highly misleading, the manner you chopped up the sutta. It may not be obvious to the casual reader of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, but when BB renders kamaguna as "sensual pleasure", he is not suggesting that we read it as a "feeling" but as the thing that gives rise to feeling. The way you're conflating the English translations of SN 36.19, MN 66 and SN 47.6 introduces misleading readings of "sensual pleasure", when the Pali draws a clear distinction between kamaguna and kamasukha.

And this brings us back full circle to your insistence that some other meaning is to be preferred to the plain grammatical construction of the kamaguna formula.

Nyana
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Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Nyana » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:10 am

Sylvester wrote:The way you're conflating the English translations of SN 36.19, MN 66 and SN 47.6 introduces misleading readings of "sensual pleasure", when the Pali draws a clear distinction between kamaguna and kamasukha.
As per usual, your qualms have nothing to do with what I posted. I have never once conflated "strands of sensual pleasure" with "sensual pleasure."

The Mahāniddesa clearly qualifies vatthukāmā with manāpika:
  • Katame vatthukāmā? Manāpikā rūpā manāpikā saddā manāpikā gandhā manāpikā rasā manāpikā phoṭṭhabbā; attharaṇā pāvuraṇā dāsidāsā ajeḷakā kukkuṭasūkarā hatthigavāssavaḷavā khettaṃ vatthu hiraññaṃ suvaṇṇaṃ gāmanigamarājadhāniyo raṭṭhañca janapado ca koso ca koṭṭhāgārañca, yaṃ kiñci rajanīyaṃ vatthu – vatthukāmā.
For your interpretation to be correct, there would be no need to qualify rūpa, etc., with manāpika. But if you want to think all forms, etc., are strands of sensual pleasure, then that's fine by me.

All the best,

Geoff

Sylvester
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:43 pm

Well, Geoff, would you care to explain what the Mahaniddesa was discussing in relation to the extract you set out above? You've pulled out only a tiny snippet. The context of the exegesis, as shown in the full passage is -
Kāmaṃkāmayamānassa, tassa ce taṃ samijjhati;
Addhā pītimano hoti, laddhā macco yadicchati.

Kāmaṃ kāmayamānassāti kāmāti uddānato dve kāmā – vatthukāmā ca kilesakāmā ca.

Katame vatthukāmā? Manāpikā rūpā manāpikā saddā manāpikā gandhā manāpikā rasā manāpikā phoṭṭhabbā; attharaṇā pāvuraṇā dāsidāsā ajeḷakā kukkuṭasūkarā hatthigavāssavaḷavā khettaṃ vatthu hiraññaṃ suvaṇṇaṃ gāmanigamarājadhāniyo raṭṭhañca janapado ca koso ca koṭṭhāgārañca, yaṃ kiñci rajanīyaṃ vatthu – vatthukāmā.

Api ca atītā kāmā anāgatā kāmā paccuppannā kāmā; ajjhattā kāmā bahiddhā kāmā ajjhattabahiddhā kāmā; hīnā kāmā majjhimā kāmā paṇītā kāmā; āpāyikā kāmā mānusikā kāmā dibbā kāmā paccupaṭṭhitā kāmā; nimmitā kāmā animmitā kāmā paranimmitā kāmā; pariggahitā kāmā, apariggahitā kāmā, mamāyitā kāmā, amamāyitā kāmā; sabbepi kāmāvacarā dhammā, sabbepi rūpāvacarā dhammā, sabbepi arūpāvacarā dhammā, taṇhāvatthukā taṇhārammaṇā kāmanīyaṭṭhena rajanīyaṭṭhena madanīyaṭṭhena kāmā – ime vuccanti vatthukāmā.

Katame kilesakāmā? Chando kāmo rāgo kāmo chandarāgo kāmo; saṅkappo kāmo rāgo kāmo saṅkapparāgo kāmo; yo kāmesu kāmacchando kāmarāgo kāmanandī kāmataṇhā kāmasneho kāmapariḷāho kāmamucchā kāmajjhosānaṃ kāmogho kāmayogo kāmupādānaṃ kāmacchandanīvaraṇaṃ.

‘‘Addasaṃ kāma te mūlaṃ, saṅkappā kāma jāyasi;

Na taṃ saṅkappayissāmi, evaṃ kāma na hohisī’’ti –

Ime vuccanti kilesakāmā. Kāmayamānassāti kāmayamānassa icchamānassa sādiyamānassa patthayamānassa pihayamānassa abhijappamānassāti – kāmaṃ kāmayamānassa.
If you choose to ignore the Commentarial usage of kama (plural) versus the Sutta usage, that's fine, but even this passage indicates that the explanation of "vatthukāmā" is not a discussion of the kamagunas, but a discussion of all things that are subject to desire. The fact that the next passage can identify "sabbepi kāmāvacarā dhammā" as a "vatthukāmā" should give you a good indication of what the redactors thought about the universal potential of ANYTHING to provoke desire, and not just the pleasing ones.

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Nyana » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:12 pm

Sylvester wrote:Well, Geoff, would you care to explain what the Mahaniddesa was discussing in relation to the extract you set out above? You've pulled out only a tiny snippet.
I quoted the passage explaining the commentarial vatthukāma-s which pertain to the kāmaguna-s.
Sylvester wrote:The fact that the next passage can identify "sabbepi kāmāvacarā dhammā" as a "vatthukāmā" should give you a good indication of what the redactors thought about the universal potential of ANYTHING to provoke desire, and not just the pleasing ones.
That passage is also qualified by "taṇhāvatthukā taṇhārammaṇā kāmanīyaṭṭhena rajanīyaṭṭhena madanīyaṭṭhena kāmā ime vuccanti vatthukāmā."

The problem with universals is that they are abstractions. An individual mind-stream only ever experiences unique clusters of phenomena at any given time. And even within the same mental continuum, no two experiences are exactly the same.

And quite specifically, it is entirely contingent upon a cognition being accompanied by lobha (kāma, raga, abhijjhā, tanhā) that its particular object can meaningfully be designated as vatthukāma.

All the best,

Geoff

Sylvester
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:51 am

That passage is also qualified by "taṇhāvatthukā taṇhārammaṇā kāmanīyaṭṭhena rajanīyaṭṭhena madanīyaṭṭhena kāmā ime vuccanti vatthukāmā."
Indeed. And what do the grammars say about this sequence, where the adjectives follow the nouns? It is again the non-restrictive predication, where all the nouns will have these qualities. I am sure the redactors of the Mahaniddesa elected this grammatical form, simply to give effect to the Kim Mulaka Sutta, AN 8.83. The key lies in the answers given by the Buddha to certain existential questions posed by the wanderers -
(1) In what are all things rooted? kiṁ mūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā,
(2) In what are all things born? kiṁ sambhavā sabbe dhammā,
(3) In what do all things arise? kiṁ samudayā sabbe dhammā,
(4) In what do all things converge? kiṁ samosaraṇā sabbe dhammā,
(5) What is the leader of all things? kiṁ pamukhā sabbe dhammā,
(6) What is the supreme lord of all things? kiṁ adhipateyyā sabbe dhammā,
(7) What is the highest of all things? kiṁ uttarā sabbe dhammā,
(8) What is the essence of all things? kiṁ sārā sabbe dhammā,
(9) What is the firm footing for all things? kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā,
(10) What is the complete ending for all things? kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti,

(1) Rooted in desire are all things, chanda,mūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā,
(2) Born in attention are all things, manasikāra,sambhavā sabbe dhammā,
(3) Arisen through contact are all things, phassa,samudayā sabbe dhammā,
(4) Converging in feeling are all things, vedanā,samosaraṇā sabbe dhammā,
(5) Concentration is the leader of all things, samādhi-p,pamukhā sabbe dhammā,
(6) Mindfulness is the lord of all things, sat’ādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā,
(7) Wisdom is the highest of all things, paññ’uttarā sabbe dhammā,
(8) Liberation is its essence of all things, vimutti,sārā sabbe dhammā.
(9) All things find a firm footing in the death-free, amat’ogadhā sabbe dhammā,
(10) All things have nirvana as their complete ending. nibbāna,pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.
You may object that answer #1 cannot be universal, in the light of aversion/patigha. But aversion and lust, as the Salla Sutta instructs, are "cetasika vedana", what Ven Analayo calls emotional responses. It should be clear from the answers to #1 and #2, that the Buddha was not addressing the sequel to kayika vedana, but the things that give rise to contact (#3). It's "corresponding engagement" (tajjo samannāhāro per MN 28) which is covered by #2, and #1 is what initiates the function of tajjo samannāhāro to establish phassa. The Buddha was simply setting out the mechanisms by which phassa of any type is established, not just phassa with pleasant things. "Chanda" is that inclination of the mental function to always seek phassa, be it phassa based on pleasant things, painful things or neutral things.

It would appear that the Mahaniddesa doing no more than to give full effect to the implication of the Kim Mulaka Sutta, even if the Commentaries read this sutta much more restrictively. As to which, see Ven Nanananda's critique at pages 190 to 192 of "Nibbana - The Mind Stilled" Vol II.

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Kâma (sensual pleasures)

Post by Nyana » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:13 am

Sylvester wrote:"Chanda" is that inclination of the mental function to always seek phassa, be it phassa based on pleasant things, painful things or neutral things.
Chanda can be either skillful or unskillful. Kāma is never regarded as skillful.

All the best,

Geoff

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