Is Theravada "Realist"?

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:49 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta).
If this were so how could there ever be liberation from dukkha? It would be utterly impossible.
Kind regards
Nibbāna is not a thing and not dukkha, so liberation is possible. Also in that phrase I was careful to use "whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views".
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Phenomena are anicca and anatta regardless of whether there is perception of it or not.
So are you suggesting a difference between dukkha as a characteristic which is experienced, and anicca and anatta as characteristics which somehow exist outside of experience?
Spiny

Of course rocks do not experience dukkha, but still are anicca and anatta. Rocks that are not experienced in any way, are not experienced as dukkha either.


The world is impermanent regardless whether anyone perceives that or not. Without any consciousness, the physical world would still alter (anicca) and be anatta - there simply would not be anyone to know that.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Nori » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:44 am

I don't know what the case is but I think the Buddha has mentioned some ideas of some sort of interdependence of mental/citta phenomena (synonymous with consciousness?) and rupa/form phenomena. I don't understand it. It probably has to be experienced, no intellectualizing will make one understand.

Another idea comes from current science, which is the idea of quantum haze where again, 'physical' phenomena is interdependent upon mental phenomena.

---

SN 12.67
Nalakalapiyo Sutta: Sheaves of Reeds

"Now tell me, friend Sariputta: Is name-&-form self-made or other-made or both self-made & other-made, or — without self-making or other-making — does it arise spontaneously?"

"*It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that name-&-form is self-made*, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously. However, *from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form*."

"Now tell me, friend Sariputta: is consciousness self-made or other-made or both self-made & other-made, or — without self-making or other-making, does it arise spontaneously?"

"It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that consciousness is self-made, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously. However, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness."

"Just now, friend Sariputta, I understood your statement as, 'It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that name-&-form is self-made, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously. However, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form' But then I understood your statement as, 'It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that consciousness is self-made, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously.' However, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness.' Now how is the meaning of these statements to be understood?"

"Very well then, Kotthita my friend, I will give you an analogy; for there are cases where it is through the use of an analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said. It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name & form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes..."

---
SN 12.15
Kaccayanagotta Sutta

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. 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.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:45 am

Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:The world is impermanent regardless whether anyone perceives that or not. Without any consciousness, the physical world would still alter (anicca) and be anatta - there simply would not be anyone to know that.
Do you believe Theravada orthodoxy affirms the existence of a physical world (outside of loka, as defined by the Buddha) which is also possessed of (two or) three ti-lakkhana characteristics?

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)

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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:54 am

Hi Retro, all,
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,
Alex123 wrote:The world is impermanent regardless whether anyone perceives that or not. Without any consciousness, the physical world would still alter (anicca) and be anatta - there simply would not be anyone to know that.
Do you believe Theravada orthodoxy affirms the existence of a physical world (outside of loka, as defined by the Buddha) which is also possessed of (two or) three ti-lakkhana characteristics?

Metta,
Retro. :)
As I understand it, Abhidhamma (or at least CMA that I've read) does accept rūpa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality.

Same in VsM and suttas. If there is one-consituent existence, called asaññasatta, (made only of rūpa), then it proves the possibility of rūpa without consciousness. Also one's body can exist (until it turns to dust and merges with the elements) even when there is no more consciousness in it.

""When this body lacks these three qualities — vitality, heat, & consciousness — it lies discarded & forsaken like a senseless log.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Alex123 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Alex123
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:00 am

Hello Nori,
Nori wrote: "*It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that name-&-form is self-made*, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously. However, *from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form*."

"It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that consciousness is self-made, that it is other-made, that it is both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — it arises spontaneously. However, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness."

As I understand it, since D.O. starts with ignorance and ends with dukkha thus it deals more with experience than with ontological existence of the world. So it may not be the best choice for the ontological question about realism, existence of mind independent rūpa.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by ground » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:06 am

Alex123 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Alex123 wrote:My understanding is that phenomena are anicca, dukkha and anatta regardless of whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views (nicca, sukha, atta).
If this were so how could there ever be liberation from dukkha? It would be utterly impossible.
Kind regards
Nibbāna is not a thing and not dukkha, so liberation is possible. Also in that phrase I was careful to use "whether one knows about it or believes in wrong views".
"you should train yourself thus: In reference to the known, there will be only the known. In reference to the believed, only the believed."

Kind regards

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by pulga » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:40 am

I think the knotty point is that we conceive of rúpa by way of námarúpa. It's really a very nebulous concept. The Mahánidánasutta associates it with "resistance", so perhaps the only way we can get a sense of it is by abstracting it from the intractable nature of our experience and leaving it at that.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Akuma » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:13 am

As I understand it, Abhidhamma (or at least CMA that I've read) does accept rūpa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality.
Not really. Theravada is present-only and ksanikavada so rupas can only show up "now", with "now" being directly caused by the presence of a citta. On the other hand side rupas as vipaka are projected by citta which is also the quickfix Theravada uses for rupa-gods, to say that present rupa is caused by past citta.
As I said to retro already when u posit outside dharmas independent of mind you havet he problem of the base which has to be either permanent or impermanent or inexistent. If its permanent it contradicts the Buddhist anicca doctrine, if its inexistent then dharmas are not caused by anything and if its impermanent then you have to account for temporality apart from mentality which is a concept not existing in Buddhism since there is no temporality-dharma.

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:12 pm

Hello Akuma,


In CMA for every one moment of rūpa, 16-17 processes of citta occur. So they are not totally equivalent.

Five sense objects are object Pre-nascence-condition (ārammaṇa purejāta paccaya) condition for 5 sense consciousness. They exist prior to consciousness.

Five sense objects are also Dissociation-condition (vippayutta-paccaya) from five sense for consciousness.

So they are not one and the same.
To sum up only few points:
1) Citta and rūpa last for different amount of time 17 cittas for 1 rūpa.
2) rūpa is Pre-nascence and Dissociation-condition for five sense consciousness
3) rūpa can exist without consciousness happening at that time. Ex: asaññasatta, saññāvedayitanirodha, dead body.


And again you have not answered how body can exist without consciousness (when one dies, or achieves cessation of perception & feelings, or mindless beings rebirth).
Akuma wrote: As I said to retro already when u posit outside dharmas independent of mind you havet he problem of the base which has to be either permanent or impermanent or inexistent. If its permanent it contradicts the Buddhist anicca doctrine, if its inexistent then dharmas are not caused by anything and if its impermanent then you have to account for temporality apart from mentality which is a concept not existing in Buddhism since there is no temporality-dharma.
External rūpa is impermanent and conditioned regardless of whether anyone knows it or not. No problem here.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by chownah » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:12 pm

Alex123 wrote: As I understand it, Abhidhamma (or at least CMA that I've read) does accept rūpa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality.

Same in VsM and suttas. If there is one-consituent existence, called asaññasatta, (made only of rūpa), then it proves the possibility of rūpa without consciousness. Also one's body can exist (until it turns to dust and merges with the elements) even when there is no more consciousness in it.

""When this body lacks these three qualities — vitality, heat, & consciousness — it lies discarded & forsaken like a senseless log.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'm interested in your statement that the suttas accept rupa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality....can you provide a link to the reference(s) that show this?

Also you say that external rupa is conditioned...does this mean that when conditions are right it arises and it does not arise when conditions are not right?....if not this then what does it mean?...

chownah

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:35 pm

chownah wrote:
Alex123 wrote: As I understand it, Abhidhamma (or at least CMA that I've read) does accept rūpa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality.

Same in VsM and suttas. If there is one-consituent existence, called asaññasatta, (made only of rūpa), then it proves the possibility of rūpa without consciousness. Also one's body can exist (until it turns to dust and merges with the elements) even when there is no more consciousness in it.

""When this body lacks these three qualities — vitality, heat, & consciousness — it lies discarded & forsaken like a senseless log.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'm interested in your statement that the suttas accept rupa independent of consciousness, mind or mentality....can you provide a link to the reference(s) that show this?
I just did in that quote from MN43, for example.

""When this body lacks these three qualities — vitality, heat, & consciousness — it lies discarded & forsaken like a senseless log.""
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Body can lie discarded & forsaken like a senseless log even without consciousness.

Also ārammaṇa purejāta paccaya and vippayutta-paccaya are taken from CMA pg 314 and 321 in edition that I have, and it is common knowledge.

In

Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419 it says this about Asaññasattā:
1017.... Asaññasattānaṃ devānaṃ upapattikkhaṇe eko khandho pātubhavati – rūpakkhandho; dve āyatanāni pātubhavanti – rūpāyatanaṃ, dhammāyatanaṃ; dve dhātuyo pātubhavanti – rūpadhātu, dhammadhātu; ekaṃ saccaṃ pātubhavati – dukkhasaccaṃ; ekindriyaṃ pātubhavati – rūpajīvitindriyaṃ. Asaññasattā devā ahetukā anāhārā aphassakā avedanakā asaññakā acetanakā acittakā pātubhavanti.

Please note that rūpakkhandho is present even though there are no mental things such as: vedana, sañña, cetana, citta.

So rūpakkhandha can exist independent of mind.
chownah wrote: Also you say that external rupa is conditioned...does this mean that when conditions are right it arises and it does not arise when conditions are not right?....if not this then what does it mean?...
Right. When there are sufficient causes, rūpa is produced
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Travis » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:06 pm

Just my opinion, but after reading through everything a couple of times and thinking on the things that people have said, which are very insightful, it seems to me that the (perhaps unsatisfying) answer to the question of "Is Buddhism Realist?" is that questions of existence and non-existence are in the end tied up in speculative views. This seems to be something we have to get used to letting go of, and not fall into into dispute over. Questions of the reality of something outside of experience seems to be putting aside the question of the fantasy or lack of reality within our experience. Not trying to be "that guy" or anything, I've just been thinking about this since the thread started, and this is the conclusion I have reached. I thought that I would share with you since you shared with me, and say thanks to all of you for helping me remember this.

Metta,
Travis

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Akuma » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:07 pm

In CMA for every one moment of rūpa, 16-17 processes of citta occur. So they are not totally equivalent.
Correct and this actually strengthens my point. The Atthassalini says time is mind. So the change of rupa is imposed on it due to cittas activities, the same goes for the maturation of past actions in present forms. You have to see that rupa can neither change itself due to the absence of cetana, manasikara, vicara etc. but that its also not hetu and its ahetuka (see Kathavatthu XVI).
It might also be relevant to note here that in Theravada rupa is not vipaka. Eventho the sense-bases for example are said to be vipaka its actually not the bases but the cittas who reflect / project these bases. Thats a very important point imo. (Ibid.)
Take cohesion for example. Cohesion is a rupa but it can neither change in any way nor can it interact with any other rupa. How should it? It does not have a spatial location, does not have a temporal lcoation, it does not have a direction, it does not have the attribute of being able to take an object and so on and so forth.
It follows that rupas can never show up without being the objects of cittas.
Five sense objects are object Pre-nascence-condition (ārammaṇa purejāta paccaya) condition for 5 sense consciousness. They exist prior to consciousness.
As said above Theravada is ksanikavada and present-only. Every transformation of both citta and rupa has to be explained therefore as a sequential, singular appearance of entities which necessarily have to build a continuum (santati) with the death of the earlier dharma directly conditioning the birth of the next dharma. So followingly rupas have to be in a citta-santati to have apparent causal efficacy.
In addition as said above the sense-bases are karmically produced, so they do have a mental cause.

3) rūpa can exist without consciousness happening at that time. Ex: asaññasatta, saññāvedayitanirodha, dead body.
Actually for example the Yogacarins have argumented, that - since Theravada is a present-only school - that it is impossible for an Arahant in Nirodha to come back from it, because the continuum is cut off. As far as I know this is a hole in Theravada philosophy. A bit earlier Nagarjuna argumented in a similar way [from the Sarvastivada pov] explaining that a past cause is an inexistent cause and therefore a non-cause. I am unaware out of my head if Theravada answered to this in a more elaborate way.
And again you have not answered how body can exist without consciousness (when one dies, or achieves cessation of perception & feelings, or mindless beings rebirth).
The latter I have explained given the standard "quickfix" which is admittably not logical - but thats how it is.
The second one and first one are misunderstandings I think on your part. "Dead body" is a sequence of smells, visibles and so on in another mind-stream. There is no indication that there is a dead body apart from mentality anywhere - why? Because if there would not be any consciousness then there would be no temporality or locality and followingly also no "dead body".

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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by Alex123 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:22 pm

Akuma wrote:. You have to see that rupa can neither change itself due to the absence of cetana, manasikara, vicara etc. but that its also not hetu and its ahetuka (see Kathavatthu XVI).
Are we talking about rūpa as one's body, or external rūpa that sense organs can receive?

Are you saying that external events such as weather, existence of planets, etc, is due to cetana, manasikara, vicara etc? What about the time (~4.5 billion years ago) when there wasn't anyone on this planet?
Akuma wrote: As said above Theravada is ksanikavada and present-only.
And what and how much does each moment contain?

There is Pre-nascence-condition (ārammaṇa purejāta paccaya), and since 5 sense objects come before 5 sense consciousness, it tells us that five sense consciousness does not create 5 sense objects.
Akuma wrote: It follows that rupas can never show up without being the objects of cittas.
In Vibhaṅgapāḷi PTS 419 it does state that rūpakkhandho can exist without vedanā, saññā, cetanā and citta .

So aggregate of matter (rūpakkhandho) does not require mind to exist.
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Re: Is Theravada "Realist"?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:05 pm

Greetings,
Travis wrote:Just my opinion, but after reading through everything a couple of times and thinking on the things that people have said, which are very insightful, it seems to me that the (perhaps unsatisfying) answer to the question of "Is Buddhism Realist?" is that questions of existence and non-existence are in the end tied up in speculative views. This seems to be something we have to get used to letting go of, and not fall into into dispute over. Questions of the reality of something outside of experience seems to be putting aside the question of the fantasy or lack of reality within our experience. Not trying to be "that guy" or anything, I've just been thinking about this since the thread started, and this is the conclusion I have reached. I thought that I would share with you since you shared with me, and say thanks to all of you for helping me remember this.
:anjali:

Well said.

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)

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