As is well known, the attā is specifically denied as a permanent entity in Theravāda Buddhism, although the word is of course widely used in Pāli [Abbreviations of title of Pāli texts are as in the Epilegomena to the Critical Pāli Dictionary, Vol. I, Copenhagen, 1924-48. References are to the editions of the Pali Text Society.] in the everyday sense of “oneself”. The question then arises: If there is no permenant attā, then what transmigrates in the course of rebirths in saṃsāra? In the Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhayasutta of the Majjhima-nikāya[M I 256-71.] we read of the bhikkhu Sāti, who so misunderstood the Buddha’s teaching that he thought it was viññāṇa “consciousness” which continued in saṃsāra (tad ev’ idaṃ viññāṇaṃ sandhāvati saṃsārati, anaññaṃ).[M I 256, 19-20.] This would appear to be a recollection by Sāti of some such statements found in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanṣad that vijñāna continues: “idam mahad bhūtam anatam apāram viñānaghana eva [II.4.12], “This great being, endless, unlimited, consisting of nothing but intelligence”; sa vijñāno bhavati, sa vijñānam evānvavakrāmati [IV.4.2], “He becomes one intelligence; what had intelligence departs with him”; sa vā eṣa mahān aja ātmā yo ’yaṃ vijñānamayaḥ prāṇeṣu [IV.4.22], “Verily, he is the great unborn Self who is this (person) consisting of knowledge amongst the senses.” Radhakrishan’s note on Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad IV.4.1 states that “the principle of intelligence (vijñāna), after having absorbed all functions of consciousness, proceeds to continue in a new life” [S. Radhakrishan, The principle Upaniṣads, London 1953, p. 270.]
When Sati’s view was made known to the Buddha, he refuted it by pointing out that he had frequently taught that aññartra paccayā n’ atthi viññāṇassa sambhavo [M I 258, 20.] “Apart from condition there is no origination of consciousness”. He rejected the idea of a permanent viññāṇa which could transmigrate, by stressing the place of viññāṇa in the twelve-fold chain of the paṭicca-samuppāda “dependant origination”, where viññāṇa is caused by saṅkhāras “compounded formations” or “conditioned things”, and is itself the cause of nāmarūpa “name and form”.
Buddhism denied the existence both of a permanent soul and a permanent individuality. An individual is merely a group of five “elements of existence” (khandha), [Cf. evaṃ khandhesu santesu, hoti satto ti sammuti, S I 135, 21.]] “form” (rūpa), “feeling” (vedanā), “perception” (saññā), “mental-formations” (saṅkhāra) and “consciousness” (viññāṇa). If the “compounded formations” (saṅkhāra), the second link in the chain of dependent origination, are destroyed because their “ignorance” (avijjā), is destroyed by vijjā, then all compounded formations, including the passive “mental formations” (saṅkhāra) and other khandhas which go to make up the individual are destroyed and we are left only with the “uncompounded” (asaṅkhata), i.e. nibbāna, which is outside saṃsāra.
In these circumstances it is not surprising that the condition of being nibbuta or in nibbāna cannot be defined. The word nibbuta is also used of a fire which has gone out. Schrader long ago pointed out the Indian belief that an expiring flame does not really go out: vahner yathā yonigatasya mūrtir na dṛśyate naiva ca liṅganāśaḥ [Śvetāṣvatara Upaniṣad I.13, quoted by F. Otto Schrader, “On the problem of nirvāṇa”, in JPTS 1904-1905, p. 167 n. 2.] “as the form of a fire … is not seen nor its seed destroyed”. So it is with an individual who has gained nibbāna. His state cannot be described any more than the state of a fire which has gone out can be described. The only thing that is certain is that, because nibbāna is “not-self” (anatta), it cannot be reconciled with the views of those who think that the object of religious exertion is to re-unite the individual soul with Brahman or Ātman.
...There are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that already have come to be and for the support of those seeking a new existence.
Cattārome, āvuso, āhārā bhūtānaṃ vā sattānaṃ ṭhitiyā, sambhavesīnaṃ vā anuggahāya.
What one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one has a tendency towards: this becomes a basis for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is a basis there is [a support for] the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is the production of future renewed existence. When there is the production of future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
Yañca, bhikkhave, ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti, ārammaṇametaṃ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā. Ārammaṇe sati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti. Tasmiṃ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe virūḷhe āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti. Āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbattiyā sati āyatiṃ jāti jarāmaraṇaṃ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
Sylvester wrote:Thanks Mike, for raising the nutriment/ahara point!
cooran wrote:Though I learn from all the threads in this section, I particularly appreciate this thread Mike, the method being used, and the effort you are putting into it.
mikenz66 wrote:"... Engaged as he is in favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels --- whether pleasant of painful or neither painful-nor-pleasent --- he [b]delights in that feeling, welcomes and remains holding onto it." [/b]
BB: MA explains that her delights in the painful feeling by clinging to it with thoughts of "I" and "mine". In confirmation of tht statement that a worldling may delight in painful feelings, one thinks not only of full-fledged masochism but also of the common tendency of people to put themselves into distressing situations in order to reinforce their sense of ego.
" On seeing a form with the eye, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing, he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder."
MA: An immeasurable mind (appamanacetao) is a supramundane mind; this means that he possesses the path.
"Having thus abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neiether-painful-nor-pleasent, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding onto it."
BB: This statement reveals that the chain of dependent origination is broken at the link between feeling and craving. Feeling arises necessarily because the body acquired through past craving is subject to the maturation of past kamma. however, if one does not delight in feeling, craving will not have the opportunity to arise and set off reactions of like and dislike that provide further fuel for the round, and thus the round will come to an end.
Engaged thus in compliance & opposition, he relishes any feeling he feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — welcomes it, & remains fastened to it. As he relishes that feeling, welcomes it, & remains fastened to it, delight arises. Now, any delight in feeling is clinging/sustenance. From his clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. ...
So evaṃ anurodhavirodhaṃ samāpanno yaṃ kiñci vedanaṃ vedeti sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā, so taṃ vedanaṃ abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati. Tassa taṃ vedanaṃ abhinandato abhivadato ajjhosāya tiṭṭhato uppajjati nandī. Yā vedanāsu nandī tadupādānaṃ, tassupādānapaccayā bhavo,
The Blessed One said: "Not knowing, not seeing the eye as it actually is present; not knowing, not seeing forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye as they actually are present; not knowing, not seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — as it actually is present, one is infatuated with ( sārajjati) the eye... forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye... whatever arises conditioned by contact at the eye and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.
"For him — infatuated, attached, confused, not remaining focused on their drawbacks — the five clinging-aggregates head toward future accumulation. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that — grows within him. His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances grow. His bodily torments & mental torments grow. His bodily distresses & mental distresses grow. He is sensitive both to bodily stress & mental stress.
"Not knowing, not seeing the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... the mind...
However, knowing & seeing the eye as it actually is present, knowing & seeing forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye as they actually are present, knowing & seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the eye... forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye... whatever arises conditioned by contact at the eye and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.
For him — uninfatuated, unattached, unconfused, remaining focused on their drawbacks — the five clinging-aggregates head toward future diminution. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that — is abandoned by him. His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances are abandoned. His bodily torments & mental torments are abandoned. His bodily distresses & mental distresses are abandoned. He is sensitive both to ease of body & ease of awareness.
Cakkhuṃ, bhikkhave, ajānaṃ apassaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, rūpe ajānaṃ apassaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhuviññāṇaṃ ajānaṃ apassaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhusamphassaṃ ajānaṃ apassaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, yamidaṃ cakkhusamphassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā tampi ajānaṃ apassaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhusmiṃ sārajjati, rūpesu sārajjati, cakkhuviññāṇe sārajjati, cakkhusamphasse sārajjati, yamidaṃ cakkhusamphassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā tasmimpi sārajjati.
Tassa sārattassa saṃyuttassa sammūḷhassa assādānupassino viharato āyatiṃ pañcupādānakkhandhā upacayaṃ gacchanti. Taṇhā cassa ponobbhavikā nandīrāgasahagatā tatratatrābhinandinī, sā cassa pavaḍḍhati. Tassa kāyikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti; kāyikāpi santāpā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi santāpā pavaḍḍhanti; kāyikāpi pariḷāhā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi pariḷāhā pavaḍḍhanti. So kāyadukkhampi cetodukkhampi paṭisaṃvedeti.
Cakkhuñca kho, bhikkhave, jānaṃ passaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, rūpe jānaṃ passaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhuviññāṇaṃ jānaṃ passaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhusamphassaṃ jānaṃ passaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, yamidaṃ cakkhusamphassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā tampi jānaṃ passaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, cakkhusmiṃ na sārajjati, rūpesu na sārajjati, cakkhuviññāṇe na sārajjati, cakkhusamphasse na sārajjati, yamidaṃ cakkhusamphassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā tasmimpi na sārajjati.
Tassa asārattassa asaṃyuttassa asammūḷhassa ādīnavānupassino viharato āyatiṃ pañcupādānakkhandhā apacayaṃ gacchanti. Taṇhā cassa ponobbhavikā nandīrāgasahagatā tatratatrābhinandinī, sā cassa pahīyati. Tassa kāyikāpi darathā pahīyanti, cetasikāpi darathā pahīyanti; kāyikāpi santāpā pahīyanti, cetasikāpi santāpā pahīyanti; kāyikāpi pariḷāhā pahīyanti, cetasikāpi pariḷāhā pahīyanti. So kāyasukhampi cetosukhampi paṭisaṃvedeti.
And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.
Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkhasamudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ— yāyaṃ taṇhā ponobbhavikā nandirāgasahagatā tatratatrābhinandinī, seyyathidaṃ— kāmataṇhā, bhavataṇhā, vibhavataṇhā.
Sylvester wrote:Does one therefore need to be a masochist to delight in dukkha vedana, or is nandi simply that habitual tendency of the mind to linger with feelings over which we typically have little control?
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