Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by nowheat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:32 pm

Old thread. But what the heck.

It would be wonderful to have the Jurewicz paper freely available but it is copyrighted, and scribd isn't a legitimate source (just sayin').

Meanwhile:
morning mist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: In the Rig Veda :

1. First there is nothing, not even existence or non-existence. This corresponds to ignorance.

2. A volitional impulse (kama - desire) initiates the process of creation.

3. Desire, 'the first seed of the mind', creates consciousness.
The term consciousness shouldn't be understood according to the Vedic definition. Consciousness is not the true self or atman in Buddhism, but merely a combination of many moments of awareness that happens very quickly to give the illusion of the observer.
Consciousness isn't atman in the Vedic system either. In the mythology, we don't get a completed atman until Prajapati/brahman creates a second (Agni in one variant, the multitude of creatures in another). Consciousness is what does the seeking for knowledge of self -- it isn't the self itself. This actually is the perfect model for what the Buddha is describing in DO. Which is why my hypothesis is that this is exactly the model he uses in the early part of DO.
The first link in Dependent Origination is Avijja. It is commonly translated as " ignorance". From the term " ignorance" we make the assumption that it means " nothing" or " nothingness " in Vedic cosmology. However, if we look at the Buddha's own explanation for what he meant by the term Avijja, it has nothing to do with " nothingness" . It has more to do with not seeing things the way they truly are while we are living , and not being able to penetrate the Four Noble Truths, which then lead to volitional formation. The Buddhist first link Avijja does not correspond with " 1. First there is nothing, not even existence or non-existence." of the Vedic teaching .
Avijja in DO corresponds to the pre-creative state in the Prajapati myth -- it is "the unknowable" -- which certainly sounds like "ignorance" to me. But what the Buddha is saying with avijja is more interesting than that. Using the model of the Vedic myth's part in the creation of self, the Vedic people would have said that the myth told them that they came into the world seeking knowledge of the self -- that life was, in fact, all about knowledge of the self. Putting avijja at the start has the Buddha saying "the way we live life it's all about ignorance of the self".
Note: Avijj is consistently explained as not fully understanding the Four Noble Truths.
Which is why this makes sense. Ignorance of dukkha, its origin, that it can cease, and the way to end it is answered by saying "What we are ignorant of is (what we mistake for) the self, its origin, that it can cease, and the way to end it."

:namaste:

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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by nowheat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:51 pm

Sylvester wrote:What I like about Hamilton's thesis of Namarupa is that it avoids Gombrich's proposition that the full DO presentation was the accidental hobbling together of "true Buddhist" DO and the Buddha's parody of Vedic cosmogeny.

What will be really interesting is how Jurewicz and Hamilton arrived at very different readings of Namarupa, Jurewicz' being a perspective of that which names, while Hamilton views it as that which is named.

I don't have the Upanishad handy for now, but I think there's one which attempts to explain Namarupa by the river simile - the rivers lose their nama and rupa, once they join the sea. This seems more in line with Hamilton's explanation, but I'm not sure if that Upanishad was one that pre- or post-dated the Buddha.
While humor might be expressed in parts of the DO (see my post above about avijja for one example), I don't think having humor in a presentation makes it "a humorous presentation", if you see what I mean. A few jokes amidst a serious treatise don't make it into comedy routine. DO isn't "a parody" but it does use the structure of Vedic conceptions about the self (aka "what everyone knows") to point out that those conceptions are mistaken ("what everyone knows is wrong") and to simultaneously point out what *is* going on ("here's what we should really be looking at). This is a very sophisticated structure, and one I can't recall ever having seen anyone use but the Buddha -- though maybe once the structure is more familiar people will come up with examples of others who have done something similar. It's a whole new method of discussion, to me, but now that I've seen how it's done in DO I have started noticing in other places in the canon the way the Buddha is pointing to the obvious (what everyone knows) while not-quite-saying that he's actually describing something else entirely. I would guess from the way he doesn't say "I'm talking, here, about fire and its fuel but what I *really* mean is 'consciousness'" -- that this form of speech that I am finding unusual was likely to have been common back then, and so was well understood. This is why we tend to fail to notice it -- it is not overtly stated because the audience didn't need it to be, but because it's not a way of speaking people use anymore, we don't quite get a grip on the underlying structure.

As for namarupa, I believe it is both the named and the namer, because in the Prajapati myth, when the undivided Originator splits up into name-and-form, then atman is both any one individual, and all the other individuals in the world. So from the perspective of any one of us, atman is both "me" (the subject) and everything else (the objects). Namarupa is both the way we identify ourselves, and the way we identify everything in relation to ourselves. This means both Jurewicz and Hamilton are right.


:namaste:

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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by ancientbuddhism » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:41 pm

Nāmarūpa is one of the most misunderstood of pāḷi idioms, of which ‘name & form’ is a poor gloss. Its context is its arising with consciousness of sense-objects, and it functions as the thoughts and intentions (saṅkappavittakkā) of these as a ‘recognition (nāma) of sense-objects (rūpa)’. The puthujjana is not dividing up nāmarūpa to concoct a self, but rather is taking the ephemera of nāmarūpa as real.
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by suttametta » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi Folks, Take a look at Punnaji's charts

http://www.bhantepunnaji.com/ongoing.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

According to him, namarupa is name and image, and four great elements are the mental data of hardness, etc. I also want to stress that his explanations of how to put paticcasamuppada into practice provide a working model. Meaning, you can use his model and method to achieve the results he describes. In my opinion, this lends credence to his claims. Then, the claims of a parody, while possible, are just perhaps an inside joke, but not the main point. It would also render the alternative models cited in the suttas Dmytro posted as ancillary, explanatory of or subordinate to the 12-link model.

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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:22 am

Greetings,
ancientbuddhism wrote:Nāmarūpa is one of the most misunderstood of pāḷi idioms, of which ‘name & form’ is a poor gloss. Its context is its arising with consciousness of sense-objects, and it functions as the thoughts and intentions (saṅkappavittakkā) of these as a ‘recognition (nāma) of sense-objects (rūpa)’. The puthujjana is not dividing up nāmarūpa to concoct a self, but rather is taking the ephemera of nāmarūpa as real.
"Name and form" is fine as a couple of words used in place of a Pali compound, but your extended gloss is excellent.

What is not excellent, and is merely alright, is Gombrich's analysis of dependent origination. Whilst he does have some useful insights and goes some way towards exposing the needless over-complication of Buddhaghosa's model, I think Gombrich is a bit too hooked on the notion khandas as "processes" that explain "what we are" to see quite how radical paticcasamuppada is. I would love to point him towards the notion of upadana as appropriation and see where he could run with that.

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: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by Dmytro » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:00 am

ancientbuddhism wrote:Nāmarūpa is one of the most misunderstood of pāḷi idioms, of which ‘name & form’ is a poor gloss. Its context is its arising with consciousness of sense-objects, and it functions as the thoughts and intentions (saṅkappavittakkā) of these as a ‘recognition (nāma) of sense-objects (rūpa)’. The puthujjana is not dividing up nāmarūpa to concoct a self, but rather is taking the ephemera of nāmarūpa as real.
Would you please give references for such context?

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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:37 pm

retrofuturist wrote:"Name and form" is fine as a couple of words used in place of a Pali compound, but your extended gloss is excellent.

What is not excellent, and is merely alright, is Gombrich's analysis of dependent origination. Whilst he does have some useful insights and goes some way towards exposing the needless over-complication of Buddhaghosa's model, I think Gombrich is a bit too hooked on the notion khandas as "processes" that explain "what we are" to see quite how radical paticcasamuppada is. I would love to point him towards the notion of upadana as appropriation and see where he could run with that.
Yes, I also use ‘nama and form’ or ‘mind and body’ where the metre may be lost through a clunky ‘recognition of objects’. Radhakrishnan also uses ‘name and form’ for nāmarūpa where Brahman-ātman as ākāśa is said to be the ‘determined’ at Chāndogya Upaniṣad VIII. 14. Although the Buddha developed nāmarūpa more into a place and function in sentience (the khandhas as ‘processes’ as it were) not given by the Vedic thinkers, it may be that the thinkers of the Upaniṣads had a similar idea in mind, although less developed and with different aims.

With reference to upādāna as ‘appropriation’, yes indeed. This meets better with its function as ‘taking up’, and is far more fitting than ‘attachment’ or ‘clinging’.
Dmytro wrote:Would you please give references for such context?
The context of nāmarūpa arising (and falling) with sense-consciousness is found in the schedule of DO with the 4-NT of the khandhas e.g. SN. 3.1.6.4. (22.56) Upādānaparipavattasuttaṃ:
  • Katamañca, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṃ? Chayime, bhikkhave, viññāṇakāyā – cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, sotaviññāṇaṃ, ghānaviññāṇaṃ, jivhāviññāṇaṃ, kāyaviññāṇaṃ, manoviññāṇaṃ. Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṃ. Nāmarūpasamudayā viññāṇasamudayo; nāmarūpanirodhā viññāṇanirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo viññāṇanirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṃ – sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṃkappo sammāvācā sammā kammanto sammāājivo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati sammāsamādhi.

    “And what, bhikkhus, is consciousness? Bhikkhus, there are these six collectives of consciousness; consciousness of the eye, consciousness of the ear, consciousness of the nose, consciousness of the tongue, consciousness of the body and consciousness of the mind. This, bhikkhus, is called consciousness. With the arising of nāmarūpa is the arising of consciousness, with the cessation of nāmarūpa is the cessation of consciousness. Thus it is this Noble Eightfold Path that is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness as follows; Right view, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Exertion, Right Mindfulness and Right Development of Mind.
The function of nāmarūpa as ‘thoughts and intentions’ (saṅkappavittakkā) at the 18 dhātus (the range of sense-consciousness and the mind) is given in the Kiṃmūlaka Suttas of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, specifically AN. 9.1.2.4. (9.14) – Samiddhisuttaṃ.

As for the conceiving (maññati) of a self at nāmarūpa by the puthujjana, we find a concise example of this at Sn. 3.12 – Dvayatānupassanāsuttaṃ:
  • Anattani attamāniṃ, passa lokaṃ sadevakaṃ;
    Niviṭṭhaṃ nāmarūpasmiṃ, idaṃ saccanti maññati
    .

    “See this world with its gods, considering self in what is not-self.
    Immersed in this recognition of objects (nāmarūpa), they imagine this as real.

    Yena yena hi maññanti, tato taṃ hoti aññathā;
    Tañhi tassa musā hoti, mosadhammañhi ittaraṃ
    .

    “Whatever they can imagine only becomes something else.
    Therefore such is falsehood, its ever changing nature.
Which is interestingly contrasted in Chāndogya Upaniṣad VIII. 14 mentioned above:
  • Ākāśo vai nāma nāmarūpayor nirvahitā;
    Te yad antarā, tad brahma, tad amṛtam, sa ātmā
    .”

    “Of what is called air proceeds through nāmarūpa.
    That which is within; that is Brahma, that is the deathless, that is the Self.
Otherwise this is implied throughout the Nikāyas where the puthujjana takes up the corporeality of the khandhas as ‘self’ or ‘I am’, even though nāmarūpa is not mentioned.
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by Truth_Seeker1989 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:17 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:As for the conceiving (maññati) of a self at nāmarūpa by the puthujjana, we find a concise example of this at Sn. 3.12 – Dvayatānupassanāsuttaṃ:
  • Anattani attamāniṃ, passa lokaṃ sadevakaṃ;
    Niviṭṭhaṃ nāmarūpasmiṃ, idaṃ saccanti maññati
    .

    “See this world with its gods, considering self in what is not-self.
    Immersed in this recognition of objects (nāmarūpa), they imagine this as real.

    Yena yena hi maññanti, tato taṃ hoti aññathā;
    Tañhi tassa musā hoti, mosadhammañhi ittaraṃ
    .

    “Whatever they can imagine only becomes something else.
    Therefore such is falsehood, its ever changing nature.
Which is interestingly contrasted in Chāndogya Upaniṣad VIII. 14 mentioned above:
  • Ākāśo vai nāma nāmarūpayor nirvahitā;
    Te yad antarā, tad brahma, tad amṛtam, sa ātmā
    .”

    “Of what is called air proceeds through nāmarūpa.
    That which is within; that is Brahma, that is the deathless, that is the Self.
Otherwise this is implied throughout the Nikāyas where the puthujjana takes up the corporeality of the khandhas as ‘self’ or ‘I am’, even though nāmarūpa is not mentioned.
Immersed in nāmarūpa sounds like attachment and imagining nāmarūpa to be real sounds like becoming, doesn't conceiving (maññati) of a self occur at attachment?
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by ancientbuddhism » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:46 pm

This paper may be of interest to this discussion, with reference to a 'moment to moment' interpretation of paṭiccasamuppāda, and possible origins of the DO theory in Vadic thought.

Burning Yourself: Paṭicca Samuppāda as a Description of the Arising of a False Sense of Self Modeled on Vedic Rituals, by Linda Blanchard
  • “The Teaching known as Dependent Arising is central to understanding what the Buddha taught. Current theories about its structure revolve around re-birth, or moment to moment experience in this life. This paper presents an entirely new theory for the structure underlying the lesson. This structure supports the deepest teachings on the causes of our suffering – that what-ever we relate to self is suffering – and its cure – that when we recognize this truth, and understand that what gets built as a result is impermanent, it is then within our control to change the conditions. Recognizing the structure also improves understanding of the finer points made within the suttas about Dependent Arising.”
Last edited by ancientbuddhism on Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by Truth_Seeker1989 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:07 am

Is there a reason why we must keep referring to contemporary Western scholars about Dependent Origination? Was there something deficient in the Buddha as a teacher that prompts us to do this?


With Metta :namaste:
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:24 am

Greetings,
Bodhisvasti wrote:Is there a reason why we must keep referring to contemporary Western scholars about Dependent Origination? Was there something deficient in the Buddha as a teacher that prompts us to do this?
The deficiencies weren't in what the Buddha actually taught.

In the context of this topic, it's deficiencies in understanding of the prevailing religious context in which dependent origination was taught, and the resultant tendency towards literalist interpretations in some quarters. Studies like this challenge the literalism that many people and traditions might otherwise take for granted.

If that's of no interest to you, the Early Buddhism sub-forum may not be your cup of tea.

:coffee:

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: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by Truth_Seeker1989 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:00 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Bodhisvasti wrote:Is there a reason why we must keep referring to contemporary Western scholars about Dependent Origination? Was there something deficient in the Buddha as a teacher that prompts us to do this?
The deficiencies weren't in what the Buddha actually taught.

In the context of this topic, it's deficiencies in understanding of the prevailing religious context in which dependent origination was taught, and the resultant tendency towards literalist interpretations in some quarters. Studies like this challenge the literalism that many people and traditions might otherwise take for granted.

If that's of no interest to you, the Early Buddhism sub-forum may not be your cup of tea.

:coffee:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Sorry Retro. I did not realise I was making an inappropriate remark. I recently joined another Buddhist forum where the administer is always telling us we are posting in the wrong way. Understanding the bureaucracy of Buddhist forums is not easy for me at all, lol. Still, your reply did not really appease my doubts. If so many people are making literalist interpretation the question remains: was Buddha not a literalist teacher (ie: taught esoterically) or is there is a problem in the transmission? Thank you, anyways.
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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:17 am

Greetings,
Bodhisvasti wrote:If so many people are making literalist interpretation the question remains: was Buddha not a literalist teacher (ie: taught esoterically) or is there is a problem in the transmission?
Literalism and esoteric are not the only two possibilities.

There's simile, there's metaphor, there's words which had pre-existing meanings that the Buddha tweaked (but did the tweaks always survive are his death?), there's pre-existing context, often since lost ... etc.

Perhaps read this if you're interested - http://www.scribd.com/doc/97015372/Burn ... chard-2012" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by Sylvester » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:29 am

ancientbuddhism wrote: The function of nāmarūpa as ‘thoughts and intentions’ (saṅkappavittakkā) at the 18 dhātus (the range of sense-consciousness and the mind) is given in the Kiṃmūlaka Suttas of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, specifically AN. 9.1.2.4. (9.14) – Samiddhisuttaṃ.

As for the conceiving (maññati) of a self at nāmarūpa by the puthujjana, we find a concise example of this at Sn. 3.12 – Dvayatānupassanāsuttaṃ:
  • Anattani attamāniṃ, passa lokaṃ sadevakaṃ;
    Niviṭṭhaṃ nāmarūpasmiṃ, idaṃ saccanti maññati
    .

    “See this world with its gods, considering self in what is not-self.
    Immersed in this recognition of objects (nāmarūpa), they imagine this as real.
Hi ancientbuddhism

Hope you won't mind my curiosity, but are the linked translations of AN 9.14 and Sn.3.12 yours? They are very beautifully rendered.

Anyway, I could not help noticing that nāmarūpa in both suttas have been treated as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the standard dvanda compound interpretation. But, would you not agree that for "recognition of objects" to work, the tappurisa would originally needed to have been rūpanāma?

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Re: Dependent Origination and the Vedas

Post by ancientbuddhism » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:20 pm

Sylvester wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote: The function of nāmarūpa as ‘thoughts and intentions’ (saṅkappavittakkā) at the 18 dhātus (the range of sense-consciousness and the mind) is given in the Kiṃmūlaka Suttas of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, specifically AN. 9.1.2.4. (9.14) – Samiddhisuttaṃ.

As for the conceiving (maññati) of a self at nāmarūpa by the puthujjana, we find a concise example of this at Sn. 3.12 – Dvayatānupassanāsuttaṃ:
  • Anattani attamāniṃ, passa lokaṃ sadevakaṃ;
    Niviṭṭhaṃ nāmarūpasmiṃ, idaṃ saccanti maññati
    .

    “See this world with its gods, considering self in what is not-self.
    Immersed in this recognition of objects (nāmarūpa), they imagine this as real.
Hi ancientbuddhism

Hope you won't mind my curiosity, but are the linked translations of AN 9.14 and Sn.3.12 yours? They are very beautifully rendered.

Anyway, I could not help noticing that nāmarūpa in both suttas have been treated as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the standard dvanda compound interpretation. But, would you not agree that for "recognition of objects" to work, the tappurisa would originally needed to have been rūpanāma?
Yes, this is not a strict translation, but rather is intended to unpack the meaning of nāmarūpa where ‘name and form’ leaves many puzzled. For this reason a rendering of ‘recognition of objects’ or even a more radical ‘recognition of embodiment' to represent thought processes and the range of sense-gates and objects (viz. 18 dhātus) for nāmarūpa, is less following the strict grammar than an attempt to give an interpretive meaning for the function of nāmarūpa within the context of experience, and how it is pivotal to a false reification of 'self' in ignorance.

With reference to the Kiṃmūlaka theme suttas, they are helpful with an analysis of sensate processes, and in the case of the Samiddhi Sutta, the place of nāmarūpa in this. Also, the pathway of liberation is given which overall provides a Jacob’s Ladder to the entire theme.

Here is a chart for the Kiṃmūlaka suttas which may be helpful as an overview:

http://ahandfulofleaves.files.wordpress ... chart1.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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