SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:16 am

Here's some notes from Bhikkhu Bodhi and the Commentary (Spk) that Thanissaro Bhikhu comments on in the first post. Which does indeed seem rather convoluted.

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you the all."

Spk: The all (sabba) is fourfold:
(i) the all-inclusive all (sabbasabba), i.e. everything knowable, all of thiwhc comes into the range of the Buddha's knowledge of omniscience;
(ii) the all of the sense bases (ayatanasabba), i.e., the phenomena of the four plandes;
(iii) the all of personal identidy (sakkayasabba), i.e., the phenomena of the three planes; and
(iv) the partial all (padesasabba), i.e. the five physical sense objects. Each of these, from (i) to (iv), has a successively narrower range than it's predecessor. In this sutta the all of the sense bases is intended.

The four planes are the three mundane planes (sensuous, form, formless) and teh supramundane plane (the four paths, their fruits, and Nibbana).


"If anyone, bhikkhus, should speak thus: 'Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all' --- that would be a mere empty boast on his part."

Spk: It would be just a mere utterance. But if one passes over the twelve sense bases, one cannot point out any real phenomenon.

"If he were questioned he could not be able to reply and, further, he would meet with vexation. For what reason? Because, Bhikkhus, that would not be within his domain."

Spk: People become vexed when they go outside their domain. just as it is outside one's domain to cross a deep body of water while carrying a stone palace on one's head, or to drag the sun and moon off their course, and one would only meet with vexation if one makes the attempt, so too in this case.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:46 pm

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
I think it's important to keep in mind that the Buddha's primary focus was on dukkha, and then pointing out its cessation. Attempting to go into "beyond the range," clinging to this idea, or trying to explain it is just another source of dukkha, of which we'll have to observe the cessation... which is especially painful if we didn't realize that it was dukkha in the first place (i.e., clung to it).

As long as there are six sense bases and their objects, the best that we can do really is to just pay attention to their rising, and then falling away. As soon as we think about Nibbāna, it instantly becomes an object... of the mind, and then we'll have to see this fall away also. We become distressed only if we think that it was actually Nibbāna itself, and that we lost our hold on it. It's only the object that we lost, not the actual Nibbāna.

If we try to see what's "beyond the range," it gets pulled into the sphere of our six sense bases and then stops being "beyond the range," and then we get vexed when it falls away (i.e., after thinking that we've successfully found it, and then explained it to others). I think that this was Buddha's point with the "All." If we just keep focused on the six sense bases and their objects, then it's one less dukkha, in a major way, for us to worry about.

:anjali:

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by daverupa » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:45 pm

I had a number of discussions with a self-described Mormon mystic (!) a while ago who was convinced that there was such a thing as the Holy Ghost which had a 'sense' different than the other senses. I described to him the idea of six senses, as opposed to five, and asked whether we might agree that his sense of their being such an indwelling spirit might fall under this mental category - he was okay with that idea, somewhat, although it made him uncomfortable...

I expect brahmins were similar conversation partners, where instead of Holy Ghost the phrase Atman or Brahma would be used. It seems to me that the All properly limits human claims to knowledge, and prevents such claims as "It wasn't a sight, smell, taste, touch, or sound, nor was it a mere mental impression, but it was something else and I knew that such a something else was God's Voice" from being given consideration in the Dhamma.

Such a stratagem might be seen by a theist as playing a bit fast and loose, but to my way of thinking the point seems to be that since such mysticisms (to be as broad as possible) can be subsumed under the mental category, the Dhamma remains unfazed by such "evidence of permanence" as mystics experiencing union with Brahma, visions of the Virgin Mary, etc.

In short, it guards against certain types of Wrong View which were almost universal in the Buddha's day, and which are still very prevalent. I think the Buddha remarked that in cases where such Dhamma teaching was not going to be taken well, teaching instead the brahmaviharas was the best one could do.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:07 pm

Bebblebrox, Dave,

Thanks for the interesting observations. Always good to consider the possible audience of a discourse...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:41 pm

Klaus Klostermaier's A SURVEY OF HINDUISM, pgs: 137-8 wrote:"In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad we read a dialogue in which Yajnavalkya is asked the crucial question: Kati devah, how many are the devas [gods]? His [Yajnavalkya's] first answer is a quotation from a Vedic text:

'Three hundred and three and three thousand and three." Pressed on, he reduces the number first to thirty-three, then to six, then to three, to two, to one-and-a-half and finally to One.

'Which is the one deva [god]?' And he answers: "The prana (breath, life). The Brahman. He is called tyat(that).' Though the devas still figure in sacrificial practice and religious debate, the question 'Who is God?' is here answered in terms that has remained the Hindu answer ever since.
10. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman. It knew only itself (atmanam): "I am Brahman!" Therefore it became the All. Whoever of the gods became awakened to this, he indeed became it; likewise in the case of seers (rsi), likewise in the case of men. Seeing this, indeed, the seer Vamadeva began:-

I was Manu and the sun (surya)!

This is so now also. Whoever thus knows "I am Brahman!" becomes this All; even the gods have not power to prevent his becoming thus, for he becomes their self (atman).

So whoever worships another divinity [than his Self], thinking "He is one and I another," he knows not. He is like a sacrificial animal for the gods. Verily, indeed, as many animals would be of service to a man, even so each single person is of service to the gods. If even one animal is taken away, it is not pleasant. What, then, if many? Therefore it is not pleasing to those [gods] that men should know this.

11. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman, one only. [ -- Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 1.4.10-11 trans R.C. Zaehner Hindu Scriptures pgs 40-1]
The Buddha responds (SN IV 15):

"Monks, I will teach you the all. And what is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and touch, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all. If anyone, monks, should speak thus: ' Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all' --that would be a mere empty boast."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:07 pm

What is the Pali word that is being translated as "mind" by Ireland and "intellect" by Thanissaro? Thanks.
"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

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:19 pm

kirk5a wrote:What is the Pali word that is being translated as "mind" by Ireland and "intellect" by Thanissaro? Thanks.
Mano.

It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worlding to take as self this body… rather than the mind. For what reason? The body … is seen standing for one year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, for twenty, thirty, forty, or fify, for a hundred years, or even longer. But that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grans still another, so too that which is called 'mind [citta],' 'mentality [mano],' or 'consciousness [vi~n~naana]' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this that arises…. SN II 94-5

Always frightened is this mind [citta.m],
The mind [mano] is always agitated.
SN I 53
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:34 pm

Thanks. Ok help me understand this please. I'm working my way through "Samana - Luangta Maha Boowa" (awesome) and in it he says

"I understood clearly that nothing dies. The mind certainly doesn’t die; in
fact, it becomes more pronounced. The more fully we investigate the four elements,
breaking them down into their original properties, the more distinctly
pronounced the mind appears. So where is death to be found? And what is it
that dies? The four elements – earth, water, wind and fire – they don’t die. As
for the mind, how can it die? It becomes more conspicuous, more aware and
more insightful. The mind’s awareness never dies, so why is it so afraid of death?
Because it deceives itself. For eons and eons, it has fooled itself into believing
in death when actually nothing ever dies."
p.193

So which part of "the all" is this "mind's awareness" which never dies?
"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

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:58 pm

kirk5a wrote:Thanks. Ok help me understand this please. I'm working my way through "Samana - Luangta Maha Boowa" (awesome) and in it he says

"I understood clearly that nothing dies. The mind certainly doesn’t die; in
fact, it becomes more pronounced. The more fully we investigate the four elements,
breaking them down into their original properties, the more distinctly
pronounced the mind appears. So where is death to be found? And what is it
that dies? The four elements – earth, water, wind and fire – they don’t die. As
for the mind, how can it die? It becomes more conspicuous, more aware and
more insightful. The mind’s awareness never dies, so why is it so afraid of death?
Because it deceives itself. For eons and eons, it has fooled itself into believing
in death when actually nothing ever dies."
p.193

So which part of "the all" is this "mind's awareness" which never dies?
It's not.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
So which part of "the all" is this "mind's awareness" which never dies?
It's not.
Like consciousness which "does not land" of SN 12.64? "It's not" part of "the all" in that sense?
"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

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:30 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
So which part of "the all" is this "mind's awareness" which never dies?
It's not.
Like consciousness which "does not land" of SN 12.64? "It's not" part of "the all" in that sense?
If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by kirk5a » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.
That's what I was asking you. :smile: You said "it isn't" in the "all" so therefore... what. Doesn't exist? Must be a figment of the imagination?
"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

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sylvester » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:58 am

beeblebrox wrote:
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:
Hi, I thought that I should just mention that the "objectifies" offered by Ven Thanissaro's translation is simply "papañceti", the verbal form of papanca. "Non-objectification" is just "appapañcaṃ". The problem was papancizing "appapañca".

Maybe the venerable has chosen to translate papanca as "objectification" in a subtle attempt to distance himself from the Abhidhammic "dhamma-s" theory. That may be legitimate, but when the scope of papanca in MN 18 is considered, it seems to me that we need not foist an anti-ontological intent for Ven Sariputta's discussion in AN 4.174.

So, the problem with Ven Kotthita's approach seems to have been that he was papacizing a "thing-ness" of "un-papancizability" to the tetralemma of the six contact media going into "asesavirāganirodhā ". This tetralemma occurs in many other places, such as Vacchagotta's questions to the Buddha in SN 44.10. In MN 18, Ven Thanissaro offers another translation option for papanca, ie reification, and I think this best describes Ven Sariputta's instructions in AN 4.174.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by beeblebrox » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:53 am

Sylvester wrote:Hi, I thought that I should just mention that the "objectifies" offered by Ven Thanissaro's translation is simply "papañceti", the verbal form of papanca. "Non-objectification" is just "appapañcaṃ". The problem was papancizing "appapañca".
Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realize that they were papañca related words, and of course, I think it really makes a lot of sense. I think papañca is like a diffusion of ideas upon other ideas, and different objects layered upon other objects, among other objects... obscuring themselves even further, like a spiral of delusions.

Seems like when we try to papañcize what lies "beyond the range," we basically only obscure it even further, which would only vex us even more (of course). Objectification (and reification) is a type of papañca I think... but they don't seem to have the same depth of definition that the word papañca would have.

This is what PED have to say about papañca: [meaning uncertain whether identical with Sanskrit prapañca (pra+pañc), to spread out; meaning "expansion, diffuseness, manifoldedness"]; 1. obstacle, impediment, a burden which causes delay hindrance, delay; 2. illusion, obsession, hindrance to spiritual progress.

And papañceti: 1. to have illusions, to imagine, to be obsessed; 2. to be profuse, to talk much, to delay on.

I think "papañca" is one of the important words to know. Ven. Ñāṇananda talks about it in his "Concepts and Reality" book. "Concepts" are papañca.

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by ground » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:54 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:If it is not in the "all" where is it? Also, that would make the Buddha wrong.
That's what I was asking you. :smile: You said "it isn't" in the "all" so therefore... what. Doesn't exist? Must be a figment of the imagination?
But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Kind regards

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