Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

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tiltbillings
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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I suspect you guys are thinking of vittaka moreso than...

Image

Metta,
Retro. :)
Don't be shy. Explain, please (in 25 words or more).
>> 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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Sylvester » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Okay. Just to clarify. You are talking about thinking about the Dhamma teachings in a particular way in order to understand them?
Hmm, why do you say that?
It follows from these seven msgs starting with:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 42#p157961" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
tiltbillings wrote: Certainly, if we are talking about the process of insight practice, the breaking down of components of experience via insight is free of papanca.
Yes, that's how I understand it. Actually, perhaps "with papanca"/"without papanca" would be a more palatable to some than the common descriptions "conceptual" and "non-conceptual".
That is not unreasonable, though papanca is starting to sound like fingernails on a blackboard. It is getting overused.

I have to second that.

Everytime a practical common sense approach to reality is taken, I see the charge of "reification" bandied about. It's as if all reference to the external world are tarred by the Tri-temporal Materialism of the Sarvastivadins.

Charges of papanca are trotted out everytime a meaningful attempt is made to take the suttas at face value. I wonder if any of the anti-papanca brigade have bothered to check DN 15's discussion of the the "delineation" process described in MN 18, and what exactly it pertains to. "Delineation" has a much tinier sphere than it is made out to be, as DN 15 limits its power to "delineations of self".

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:55 am

Greetings Tilt,

Vitakka

Vitakka [vi+takka] reflection, thought, thinking; "initial application" (Cpd. 282). -- Defd as "vitakkanaŋ vitakko, ūhanan ti vuttaŋ hoti" at Vism 142 (with simile on p. 143, comparing vitakka with vicāra: kumbhakārassa daṇḍa -- ppahārena cakkaŋ bhamayitvā, bhājanaŋ karontassa uppīḷana -- hattho viya vitakko (like the hand holding the wheel tight), ito c' ito sañcaraṇahattho viya vicāro: giving vitakka the characteristic of fixity & steadiness, vicāra that of movement & display). -- D ii.277 ("pre -- occupation" trsln: see note Dial. ii.311); iii.104, 222, 287 (eight Mahāpurisa˚); M i.114 (dvidhā -- kato v.), 377; S i.39, 126, 186, 203; ii.153; iv.69, 216; A ii.36; iii.87 (dhamma˚); iv.229 (Mahāpurisa˚), 353 (˚upaccheda); Sn 7, 270 sq., 970, 1109; J i.407 (Buddha˚, Sangha˚, Nibbāna˚); Nd1 386, 493, 501 (nine); Nd2 s. v. takka; Ps i.36, 136, 178; Pv iii.58; Pug 59, 68; Vbh 86, 104 (rūpa˚, sadda˚ etc.), 228 (sa˚), 362 (akusala˚); Dhs 7, 160, 1268; Tikp 61, 333, 353; Vism 291 (˚upaccheda); Miln 82, 309; DhsA 142; DhA iv.68; VbhA 490; PvA 226, 230. -- kāma˚, vihiŋsā˚, vyāpāda˚ (sensual, malign, cruel thought): D iii.226; S ii.151 sq.; iii.93; A i.148, 274 sq.; ii.16, 117, 252; iii.390, 428. Opp. nekkhamma˚, avyāpāda˚, avihiŋsā˚ A i.275; ii.76; iii.429. -- vitakka is often combd with vicāra or "initial & sustained application" Mrs. Rh. D.; Cpd. 282; "reflection & investigation" Rh. D.; to denote the whole of the mental process of thinking (viz. fixing one's attention and reasoning out, or as Cpd. 17 expls it "vitakka is the directing of concomitant properties towards the object; vicāra is the continued exercise of the mind on that object." See also above defn at Vism 142). Both are properties of the first jhāna (called sa -- vitakka sa -- vicāra) but are discarded in the second jhāna (called a˚). See e. g. D. i.37; S iv.360 sq.; A iv.300; Vin iii.4; Vism 85; and formula of jhāna. The same of pīti & samādhi at Vbh 228, of paññā at Vbh 323. The same combn (vitakka+vicāra) at foll. passages: D iii.219 (of samādhi which is either sa˚, or a˚, or avitakka vicāra -- matta); S iv.193; v.111; A iv.409 sq., 450; Nett 16; Miln 60, 62; Vism 453. Cp. rūpa -- (sadda -- etc.) vitakka+rūpa<-> (sadda -- etc.) vicāra A iv.147; v.360; Vbh 103. -- On term (also with vicāra) see further: Cpd. 40, 56, 98, 238 sq., 282 (on difference between v. & manasikāra); Expos. i.188n; Kvu trsln 2381. -- Cp. pa˚, pari˚.
Note. Looking at the combn vitakka+vicāra in earlier and later works one comes to the conclusion that they were once used to denote one & the same thing: just thought, thinking, only in an emphatic way (as they are also semantically synonymous), and that one has to take them as one expression, like jānāti passati, without being able to state their difference. With the advance in the Sangha of intensive study of terminology they became distinguished mutually. Vitakka became the inception of mind, or attending, and was no longer applied, as in the Suttas, to thinking in general. The explns of Commentators are mostly of an edifying nature and based more on popular etymology than on natural psychological grounds.

Source: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1489.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Still occurring in the first jhana, according to the boilerplate...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
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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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by nathan » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:41 am

mikenz66 wrote:In what sense is the concept: "one plus one is two" subject to the characteristics? Every time I check that, via mental and physical processes that do seem to be subject to the characteristics, it stays the same.

And what about the concept "my self"? Is that an "object of mind-conciousness". Kind of, but it's built from complex interactions analysable into all khandhas or sense bases.
Assuming this is a serious question I'll attempt an answer. The arising, appearance and passing of the concept: "one plus one is two" is subject to the perception of the three characteristics in manifold ways. A concept is composed of a mind object(s) which arises in co-dependence together with the supporting mental qualities which are also arising together and compounded so as to support cognizance of mind objects and these mental qualities are also co-dependent with the compounded elements which are arising together as the appearances of bodily forms. The arising of a particular concept or mind object is also co-dependent with the specific conditions for either the initial fabrication of a specific mentally fabricated image(s) or sound(s), etc. which symbolize that to which the mind object otherwise refers or else co-dependent with the re-collection of and the re-fabrication of the particular mentally fabricated image(s) or sound(s), etc. which symbolize that to which the mind object otherwise refers.

Each discretely discernible aggregate aspect of the co-dependent phenomena which support the fabrication of, arising of, appearance of, cognizance of, and subsequent disappearance of the given mind objects which necessarily compound to give rise to the appearance of the 'concept' "one plus one is two" can be perceived and discerned to carry the three characteristic marks of all co-dependently compounded phenomena.

The concept "one plus one is two" would not appear to be subject to the perception of the three characteristics of all phenomenal appearances if and when one is unable to attend to the three characteristics as these are discerned in relation to the mind objects and mental qualities, etc. which arise in co-dependence with the appearance of this specific concept or together with the arising of concepts in general.

Similarly with the concept "my self", as 'a concept'. It would be consistent to consider this to also be a dependently co-arising mind object(s) insofar as the specific referent is to a mind object which is representative of a self view regardless of what other basis in one, several or all of the clinging aggregates apart from mind objects there may also be for the appearance of the mental representation of a given self view.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by dhamma follower » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:49 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings DF,
dhamma follower wrote:One's reading into the same quote can be different from another person.
Indeed - it appears your reading is rooted in Abhidhamma, whereas mine is not.

:broke:

This being the Mental Cultivation in the Sutta Pitaka forum, I'll leave it there.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Dear Retro,

There's not yet an agreement that the content of Abhidhamma contradicts the sutta. Therefore, any reading of the sutta is a personal one.

Whether it is Sutta or Abhidhamma, they are only a tool for practitioners on the Path, not to be clung to. The only authority on understanding the sutta is the Buddha, who is no longer there, so we are all on equal footing. We need to constantly check and re-check our understanding of them based on our experiences and insights. I think you agree with me on this.

As my experience so far has confirmed what is explained in the Abhidhamma, and has seen no contradiction between the two, I am sharing it, since it is also the topic of this discussion.

Ok, now, come back to the points raised. Since concepts are considered unreal (think again about the gestalt points), they don't need to be included in sankhara khanda (mental formation) in order to be in loka sphere.

The distinction between paramatha and pannati is relevant on a practical point of view, not rhetorical. What does panna knows?

It knows about the four elements, the six bases, the five khandas... This is explained both in the sutta and the Abhidhamma
It knows about dependent originations;This is explained both in the sutta and the Abhidhamma
It knows about anicca, dukkha, anatta;This is explained both in the sutta and the Abhidhamma.

Does it know about persons, trees, animals... as being anicca, dukkha, anatta as insight leading to liberation ? Not in the sutta nor the Abhidhamma (that I know of).

Why ?

I believe it is because only the realization of reality in terms of paramatha dhamma leads to the arising of panna about the three characteristics, leading to abandonment of the defilements leading to realization of Nibanna.

Again, the key point is to see that concepts come as a result of a sequence of processes, they are not object of panna, they are object (or content) of sanna. Panna is not concerned with the content of sanna, it is concerned with its individual characteristics (sabhava) and general characteristics (tilakkhana). That's why the distinction between the two are necessary, so that yonisso manasikara can arise.

Regards,

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi Nathan,

Thank you for your input.
nathan wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: And what about the concept "my self"? Is that an "object of mind-conciousness". Kind of, but it's built from complex interactions analysable into all khandhas or sense bases.
Assuming this is a serious question I'll attempt an answer. The arising, appearance and passing of the concept: "one plus one is two" is subject to the perception of the three characteristics in manifold ways. A concept is composed of a mind object(s) which arises in co-dependence together with the supporting mental qualities ...
I agree, and that's how I understand it. The concept is "processed" by a complicated stream of mind objects, it's not a "single object". As dhamma follower points out, the suttas are quite clear that it's the examination of those simpler objects that leads to wisdom, not the pondering of complicated concepts like "one plus one is two".
dhamma follower wrote: Again, the key point is to see that concepts come as a result of a sequence of processes, they are not object of panna, they are object (or content) of sanna. Panna is not concerned with the content of sanna, it is concerned with its individual characteristics (sabhava) and general characteristics (tilakkhana). That's why the distinction between the two are necessary, so that yonisso manasikara can arise.
:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:03 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Vitakka. . .
The dictionary meaning I know. What I was asking for is what you were actually meaning by your above statement, why you thought we were talking about one thing rather than another, not the dictionary meaning.
>> 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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:47 pm

Greetings DF,
dhamma follower wrote:There's not yet an agreement that the content of Abhidhamma contradicts the sutta.
For you maybe (if you don't see all the implicit philosophical baggage it drags to the table) but it doesn't matter because simply, that's not what this niche sub-forum is about.

If you wish to explore things from an Abhidhammic perspective you've got many sub-forums here in which it would be appropriate. This, is not one of them.

If you wish to explore the Abhidhammic concept of concepts please do so in an appropriate sub-forum - you may also link to it from this topic for the benefit of those who might be interested in it. There's a time and a place for everything.

See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10222" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Until then...

:focus:

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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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:10 pm

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:I agree, and that's how I understand it. The concept is "processed" by a complicated stream of mind objects, it's not a "single object".
Indeed, no one said that mind-consciousness arises without cause. Likewise, no one said the operation of the mind was simple - if it was, there would probably be little need for Buddhism. :P

Now that you've articulated neatly (in the second sentence quoted above) what the basis of bifurcation is between a simple and complex object, are you able explain to me what you see to be the practical benefit of the distinction? It's obviously an important distinction to you and I'd like to understand how distinguishing/classifying objects (regardless of whether using the 6Cs or 5As) as "simple" and "complex" (or another similar set of terms) assists with discernment, and whether you're aware of the Buddha classifying objects of consciousness along similar lines.

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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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Kenshou » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:06 am

Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it. A hypothetical person with "little dust in their eyes" might do with just "everything is anicca", I figure, though for the rest of us, breaking it down into smaller pieces is helpful.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Alex123 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:10 am

Kenshou wrote:Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it..
Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.

A tree is whole when compared to its leaves, branches, bark, heartwood, etc. A tree is a part when compared to ecosystem. So is it whole or part? It depends on point of view which is thought of by the mind.

Is 100 a large number? It depends if we compare it to 1 or 1,000,000 . What measures? The mind.

Are parts or wholes given in 5 sense experience? No.
"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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:39 am

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:Dividing things into smaller bits is probably more useful as a basis for discerning anicca. Though I doubt that the more detailed designations are more "ultimate" than the vaguer ones, all being just labels when you get down to it..
Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Are parts or wholes given in 5 sense experience? No.
6 sense experience. The answer to that question is dependent upon what is actually involved in the sense experience.
>> 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: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by Kenshou » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:43 am

I didn't deny that it is conceptualization. The question is which conceptual designations are most useful in the pursuit of liberation. 5 aggregates, 6 ayatanas, 18 elements, all fabricated categories that form a foundation for our discernment. Because "Hey, everything is anicca" doesn't tend to be quite enough to get through our skulls.

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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:44 am

Greetings Tilt,
Alex123 wrote:Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
tiltbillings wrote:As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Not inadmissible though until the second jhana...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
Does abiding in the first jhana qualify as "meditation practice"?

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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Re: Two "truths"/"descriptions" and meditation in the suttas

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:50 am

Of course, it always depends upon what is meant by jhana, but I am not necessarily talking about jhana practice.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
Alex123 wrote:Division (analysis) is a mental activity just as much as synthesis (making wholes out of parts). It is conceptual. Wholes and parts is mental division.
tiltbillings wrote:As an an intellectual practice, but not necessarily as a meditative practice.
Not inadmissible though until the second jhana...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
Does abiding in the first jhana qualify as "meditation practice"?

Metta,
Retro. :)
>> 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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