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Anatta and amorality

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:13 am
by binocular
Greetings.

This has come up in another thread:
chownah wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:25 am
I'm not sure what you mean by this....I'll take a guess that you mean that remorse is an example of hiri and ottappa. If my guess is correct then my saying:
" if you feel remorse it is best to view that feeling as not mine, not self, etc."
could be modified to say:
" if you feel hiri or ottappa it is best to view that feeling as not mine, not self, etc."
In other words, remorse, hiri, and ottoppa are all feelings (which seem to be closely associated) and the buddhas has said that "any feeling whatsoever.....is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am." Is this where you are pointing?
This looks like a textbook example of amorality!

What do you think? Please discuss.

Thank you.

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:32 am
by SarathW
Hiri & Otappa are not feeling they wholesome mental factors hence come under the category of Sankara.

http://103.242.110.22/theravadins/Engli ... actice.pdf

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:37 am
by binocular
Chownah --

Is this what you had in mind --
SarathW wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:32 am
Hiri & Otappa are not feeling they wholesome mental factors hence come under the category of Sankara.
?

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:00 pm
by binocular
No takers?

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:28 pm
by Garrib
I think it might be helpful if you would explain why you think this is amorality.

I'd say that there are consequences for unwholesome behavior, and some of those consequences involve feeling (painful feeling). But since there is nothing to do to change the past, our task is to meet the present moment with as much wisdom as we possibly can, which entails recognizing that all these feelings/arisings are characterized by the three marks.

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 pm
by DooDoot
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:00 pm
No takers?
I think the statement: "if you feel remorse it is best to view that feeling as not mine, not self, etc" is O.K. however it seems obvious the specific action that resulted in the hiri-ottappa was not considered or performed under the view of 'not-self' because all immoral actions occur due to the view of self controlling the mind. Ultimately, the purpose of hiri-ottappa seems to be for the development of morality rather than to serve as an object of anatta. It is OK to view any hiri-ottappa as anatta but this does not negate the reality that hiri-ottappa is a reflection upon morality (effects of kamma).

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:03 pm
by binocular
Garrib wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:28 pm
I think it might be helpful if you would explain why you think this is amorality.
Generally, having a sense of morality means that one takes moral issuess personally, that one takes them to heart.
In contrast, a psychopath who is said to have no conscience doesn't take moral issues personally, doesn't take them to heart.
I'd say that there are consequences for unwholesome behavior, and some of those consequences involve feeling (painful feeling). But since there is nothing to do to change the past, our task is to meet the present moment with as much wisdom as we possibly can, which entails recognizing that all these feelings/arisings are characterized by the three marks.
In this case, doesn't this means that distancing oneself from hiri and ottappa like that, renders them powerless?

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:48 pm
by phil
It's good to consider the textual defintions of hiri , moral shame.

I quote from Nina Van Gorkom's book Cetasikas :
Moral shame, as the Attasaalini (a commentary) explains, can arise because of consideration of one's birth, one age, heroism (courage and strength) and wide experience. Moral shame arises from consideration of one's birth when someone of a respectable family does not want to act as someone who has not had a proper education. Moral shame arises from consideration of one's age when someone who is an adult does not want to behave like a child. Moral shame arises from consideration of heroism when someone does not want to act like a weakling but feels that he should have courage and strength. Moral shame arises from consideration of wide experience when one does not want to act like a fool who has not learnt anything.
I think we can find similar things in the suttanta, I often think of the passage in SN that says something like "this is a path for inferior people, not superior people, this is not for me."

The point is that if we want to think that having an understanding of anatta means not having an interest in our self-image we are going for the heartwood too fast, too hungry for the deepest, most penetrative wisdom. We can appreciation that mental factors such as hiri and otappa arise in an uncontrollable way even as we take wholesome pride in our self-image. That's the way I see it. Otherwise there is in my opinion a danger that people are so into appreciating anatta they develop a "well, that was a bad thing to do but understanding it as anatta is ultimately more valuable than having the wrong view that one can stop oneself from doing bad things" etc. That could creep into one's thinking as a justification for bad behaviour, I speak from experience here.

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:07 am
by L.N.
binocular wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:03 pm
Generally, having a sense of morality means that one takes moral issuess personally, that one takes them to heart. In contrast, a psychopath who is said to have no conscience doesn't take moral issues personally, doesn't take them to heart. ... doesn't this means that distancing oneself from hiri and ottappa like that, renders them powerless?
One can be mindful of hiri/ottappa without distancing oneself from hiri/ottappa.

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:11 am
by aflatun
binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:13 am


What do you think? Please discuss.

Thank you.
It depends on the person and their view I believe, and to what extent it approximates right view.

To paraphrase Ven. N. Nanamoli: Take responsibility for the thought, then not self.

I've heard Bhante Sujato say the same in a recorded talk.

Re: Anatta and amorality

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:18 am
by Garrib
aflatun wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:11 am
binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:13 am


What do you think? Please discuss.

Thank you.
It depends on the person and their view I believe, and to what extent it approximates right view.

To paraphrase Ven. N. Nanamoli: Take responsibility for the thought, then not self.

I've heard Bhante Sujato say the same in a recorded talk.
^ That sounds good.