SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

Moderator: mikenz66

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:11 am

Retro, Mike,

Most of the time, it would seem to me, that the meaning of "the All" is a more restricted meaning, one that is confined just to what can be experienced by the senses. However, in the cited refutation, the Buddha seemed to be saying in being fully enlightened in regard to all things, "all things" here included things that are beyond the range of those who made the cited accusation. Would this be your understanding or would "the All" here be the one with the restricted meaning. Whichever is your understanding, I would like to know your reasons for it.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16460
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:15 am

Hi Sherab,

Is "all things" the same, or a related, Pali term as "the all"?

Mike

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20128
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:20 am

Greetings Sherab,

You'll note the sutta extract you provide says "in accordance with the Dhamma"...

Others could accuse him of not knowing various ontological, cosmological or metaphysical speculations, if that's the kind of thing you're getting at... but such papanca is not "in accordance with the Dhamma" as the statements or propositions they relate to are beyond range. The Buddha knows "the all", as it is in the Dhamma. In the Dhamma, such papanca is just intellect & ideas... and the Buddha knows intellect & ideas.

To wit, I think when people project god-like omniscience onto the Buddha, they do so without an appreciation for the qualifications the Buddha gave on that which could be directly known.

Comprehending the all as defined by the Buddha helps, in a very real and practical sense to not crave for "things", because all things, as experienced, as just more fodder vis-a-vis "the all", much like the examples I gave earlier of the tree, or the singing bird. The Buddha's instructions to Bahiya in the Bahiya Sutta explain how this ought be done.

All formed "things" (sankhata dhamma) are simply the product of ignorance. Referring once more to the Nanananda interview above...
“One has to ask: why did the Bud­dha say ‘manopubbaṇgamā dhammā, manoseṭṭhā manomayā’ (Mind pre­cedes all dham­mas. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought – Dhp 1)? One has to admit that the Dhamma is mano-mūlika. But again, the mind is just one of the senses. What we have here is just a self-created prob­lem. We dis­cussed how exis­tence is a per­ver­sion. The aris­ing of dham­mas is also the aris­ing of dukkha. Not real­iz­ing this, some go look­ing for the truth among ‘things’.

“The search goes on because of delu­sion, and it is fruit­less because they are chas­ing illu­sions. Dham­mas, things, are all fab­ri­cated. They are all rel­a­tive. They are all results of maññanā (ideation). Just as those who were entrenched in self-view saw the Bud­dha as a nihilist, those who are entrenched in mate­ri­al­ism can­not grasp the Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy
Speaking in relation to the classic Phena Sutta, but very much continuing this point, he says...
The sutta is a won­der­ful rev­e­la­tion about what we take as a ‘thing’. It is not some­thing exist­ing on its own in the world but a result of many psy­cho­log­i­cal causes. But when we say that, we are accused of being viññāṇavādins and suññatavādins
C'est la vie.

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)

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16460
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:14 pm

See also this discussion: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7345" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:34 pm

Ok great, thanks for this one Mike.

So is this sutta saying

1) "there isn't anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

2) "it isn't possible to experience anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

3) It isn't possible to describe anything beyond the six senses and their objects?

Just reading it as literally as possible, I see it saying #3, not the former. And if it is saying the former, then how does it not run head on into "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana? I mean, he certainly wasn't saying the six senses and their objects are eternal. And surely he wasn't saying it's not possible to experience "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20128
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:48 pm

Greetings Kirk,

Interesting thoughts.

Regarding "consciousness without feature", could this be intellect without object?

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)

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,
You'll note the sutta extract you provide says "in accordance with the Dhamma"...
Of course. But what does it mean? The Buddha couldn't be referring to those who subscribe to his Dhamma. If he did, he was merely preaching to the converted. If he was referring to those recluse etc. who don't subscribe to his Dhamma, then the Buddha was merely setting up the playing field to ensure that he could not lose. Do you think the Buddha intended this?
retrofuturist wrote: To wit, I think when people project god-like omniscience onto the Buddha, they do so without an appreciation for the qualifications the Buddha gave on that which could be directly known.
You may be interested to know that I consider omniscience to be like omnipotence - logically impossible.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20128
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:14 am

Greetings Sherab,
Sherab wrote:Of course. But what does it mean? The Buddha couldn't be referring to those who subscribe to his Dhamma. If he did, he was merely preaching to the converted. If he was referring to those recluse etc. who don't subscribe to his Dhamma, then the Buddha was merely setting up the playing field to ensure that he could not lose. Do you think the Buddha intended this?
I believe he was reframing it according to truth (Dhamma).

Based on a review of the suttas it is evident that the Buddha often either rejected questions because they were incorrectly framed, or provided Dhammic meanings or twists to words which may have had slightly different meanings in general society or in other contempory religions.

The Sabba Sutta is such an instance of the Buddha rephrasing a term "sabba" (all) used by other religionists so that it accorded with Dhamma.

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)

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:23 am

retrofuturist wrote: The Sabba Sutta is such an instance of the Buddha rephrasing a term "sabba" (all) used by other religionists so that it accorded with Dhamma.
How was "sabba" (all) used by other religionists?

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Kirk,

Interesting thoughts.

Regarding "consciousness without feature", could this be intellect without object?

Metta,
Retro. :)
Hi Retro

Well, I'm not going to be able to shed much light on "consciousness without feature" myself, not having "experienced" it, and certainly not being a scholarly expert on that. But, what would "intellect without object" be? Eye without object would just occur in total darkness. So I suppose the parallel for intellect would just be no thoughts?

As regards this sutta "The All" all I know is that the Buddha did talk about this "consciousness without feature" a little bit here and there, and so it would seem to present a difficulty in interpreting "The All" as meaning - there is nothing else besides the 6 sense and their objects. Or so it seems to me, but I'm always open to having misunderstood :smile:

Wouldn't that fit with what Sariputta says in the Kotthita Sutta?
[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
beeblebrox
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:04 am

kirk5a wrote:As regards this sutta "The All" all I know is that the Buddha did talk about this "consciousness without feature" a little bit here and there, and so it would seem to present a difficulty in interpreting "The All" as meaning - there is nothing else besides the 6 sense and their objects. Or so it seems to me, but I'm always open to having misunderstood :smile:

Wouldn't that fit with what Sariputta says in the Kotthita Sutta?
[Maha Kotthita:] "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And then the venerable Sāriputta goes on to say:
The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. The statement, '... is it the case that there is not anything else ... is it the case that there both is & is not anything else ... is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.
This so-called "consciousness without feature" (as it is translated in here) is just a state where no one would be able to find any description for... since there are no objects that we can "stick" onto it, so to speak. That is why no one can ever measure a Tathāgata... even not another Tathāgata can.

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:15 am

Sounds good beeblebrox (are u related to Zaphod?) :smile:

So then what's the right way to read this sutta "The All" as you see it? Which of my 3 earlier interpretations? Or another one.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
beeblebrox
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:37 am

kirk5a wrote:Sounds good beeblebrox (are u related to Zaphod?) :smile:
Very distantly related. :tongue: This is Greg.
So then what's the right way to read this sutta "The All" as you see it? Which of my 3 earlier interpretations? Or another one.
At first, I thought it was likely the third one:
kirk5a wrote: So is this sutta saying

1) "there isn't anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

2) "it isn't possible to experience anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

3) It isn't possible to describe anything beyond the six senses and their objects?

Just reading it as literally as possible, I see it saying #3, not the former. And if it is saying the former, then how does it not run head on into "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana? I mean, he certainly wasn't saying the six senses and their objects are eternal. And surely he wasn't saying it's not possible to experience "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana.
And then it occurred to me: it's really none of the above... and not even this, since this would be objectifying too, leading to dukkha. The mind boggles... truly.

:anjali:

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:55 am

beeblebrox wrote:
And then it occurred to me: it's really none of the above... and not even this, since this would be objectifying too. The mind boggles... truly.

:anjali:
:smile: Ok. So then, what might be the practical application of this sutta for us mere mortals? Does it help our practice somehow? Or is it just another thing to put on the "mind boggling" shelf sigh... lol
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
beeblebrox
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:08 am

kirk5a wrote:So then, what might be the practical application of this sutta for us mere mortals? Does it help our practice somehow? Or is it just another thing to put on the "mind boggling" shelf sigh... lol
My mind hasn't recovered from the boggling yet... so might be a while before I can come up with an answer. :tongue:

:anjali:

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests