The Eye is Impermanent.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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DarwidHalim
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by DarwidHalim » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:22 am

It is easy to understand there is no eye when that "meaty ball" is not in front of you.

But, when your finger is touching this meaty ball, 99.9999% of people fail to understand there are no eyes.

When that critical point is failed to be understood all talks about Dhamma is actually just the talk of fairy tales.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Dmytro
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by Dmytro » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:32 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Dmytro wrote:The experience of Nibbana is beyond the six sense spheres, so during it six senses cease.
And we need to be careful here as to what is meant. There are a number of suttas which explicitly state that there is a perception of cessation, nirodhasaññā (AN 10.60), which is a samādhi (AN 10.6), and which is likely equivalent to the perception of "bhavanirodho nibbāna" (AN 10.7), and also related to aññāphala samādhi, which is a perception attainment as well (AN 9.37).
Thanks a lot! :namaste:

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:23 pm

Hi everyone,

On Arising and Ceasing.

"Monks, these three are fabricated characteristics of what is fabricated. Which three? Arising is discernible, passing away is discernible, alteration (literally, other-ness) of what stays is discernible. ..."

"Now these three are unfabricated characteristics of what is unfabricated. Which three? No arising is discernible, no passing away is discernible, no alteration of what stays is discernible. ..." [AN 3.47]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now, the process of seeing is constantly changing, everyone is aware of this.

But, the Buddha never says that seeing is impermanent, or suffering. Why?
Because seeing is not fabricated, it is not a sankhata. It does not cease while
one is alive. It does not need to cease. It is outside the scope of the teachings.

Nor are hearing, smelling, tasting, touching or cognizing fabricated things.

Only fabricated things are said to be impermanent, suffering and non-self.

Take, for example, "eye-consciousness", this is fabricated, it is something
which has been made, constructed. When it was first made, that is called its
arising. While it persists, that is called its staying. When it vanishes, that
is called its passing away.

It only arises once, for most of us this was many years in the past. It will
only pass away once, when we become enlightened. Between these events it
persists or stays.

When it is said that eye-consciousness is impermanent, this means that it can
pass away, or cease, that it is possible for it to vanish at any time.

And the same applies to all other fabricated things.

---------------------------------------------------------------

In the first passage above, where the Buddha speaks of fabricated things, he
is instructing his bhikkhus about what they should see in their own minds.
He is not speaking about his own mind, because, for him, all fabricated things
have passed away, and no new ones are being created.

In the second passage above, where the Buddha speaks of "what is unfabricated",
he is describing the absence of fabricated things, both in his own mind and in
the minds of other enlightened individuals.

Fabricated things are the "objects" that the mind is obsessed with. Therefore,
the absence of such obsessions implies the absence of any such objects. So the
enlightened mind is said to be "without any object."

But this only means without any object of obsession, there can still be sight
objects or cognized objects (thoughts).

Regards, Vincent.

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daverupa
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by daverupa » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:49 pm

vinasp wrote: Only fabricated things are said to be impermanent, suffering and non-self.
Well, sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha, sure, but sabbe dhamma anatta. Even the eye seeing forms without any conceiving is still anatta, even if it no longer functions to give rise to dukkha, yes?
  • "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]

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:16 pm

Hi daverupa,

dave said: "Well, sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha, sure, but sabbe dhamma anatta. Even the eye seeing forms without any conceiving is still anatta, even if it no longer functions to give rise to dukkha, yes?"

I have not yet come to a conclusion on that question, I am still investigating.

I understand "sankhara" to mean both the constructive activity, and the "thing"
made or constructed. This constructed thing can also be called sankhata.

As Gombrich explains, the term "samkhara" has a double meaning, much the same
as the words "building" or "construction" in English.

"So when [samkhara] denotes a 'construction' or 'formation' in the sense of the
result of a process of constructing or forming, it is synonymous with calling
that thing samkhata." [What the Buddha Thought, Richard Gombrich, 2009, p 148.]

Let us take those three lines one at a time, first:

1. sabbe sankhara anicca.

Do we understand sankhara to mean constructive activity or the thing constructed?
Do we take it to apply only to external things, only to mental things, or both?
Do we understand anicca to mean "constantly changing" or "will cease in the
future" or "can cease at any time, including now"?

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:16 pm

Hi everyone,

2. sabbe sankhara dukkha - All formations are suffering.

a) All external constructive activities are suffering - makes no sense.
b) All external constructed things are suffering - makes no sense either.

A bird building its nest, or a potter making a pot, cannot be said to be
suffering. Nor can the nest or the pot be said to be suffering.

c) All mental constructive activities are suffering, this is true.
d) All mental constructed things are suffering, this is also true.

Should we not understand sankhara in the same way for both lines? If so, then
we should reject the "external" option for line 1.

So sankhara has to be understood as mental.

Now, any object made by a mental constructive activity persists only as long
as the activity, and ceases when the activity ceases.

Therefore, it does not matter which meaning of sankhara we use in line 1.

1. sabbe sankhara anicca - All mental formations are impermanent.

This means: All mental constructive activities, and constructed objects, are
impermanent. [We still have to decide what impermanent means.]

2. sabbe sankhara dukkha - All mental formations are suffering.

This means: All mental constructive activities, and constructed objects, are
suffering.

Now, since those who are being instructed can become enlightened at any time,
and since enlightenment is the cessation of mental suffering...

And, since the formations are the same in lines 1 and 2, we now know what
impermanent means.

1. All mental constructive activities, and constructed objects, can cease at
any time - including now.

2. All mental constructive activities, and constructed objects, are mental
suffering.

Regards, Vincent.

Nyana
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by Nyana » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:44 pm

vinasp wrote: But, the Buddha never says that seeing is impermanent, or suffering. Why?
Because seeing is not fabricated, it is not a sankhata. It does not cease while
one is alive.
Seeing ceases every time one closes one's eyes or goes to sleep.
vinasp wrote: Take, for example, "eye-consciousness", this is fabricated, it is something
which has been made, constructed. When it was first made, that is called its
arising. While it persists, that is called its staying. When it vanishes, that
is called its passing away.
"Seeing" (passati, disvā, etc.) a form via the eye (e.g MN 38: cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā) is an occurrence of eye-consciousness.
vinasp wrote: It only arises once, for most of us this was many years in the past. It will
only pass away once, when we become enlightened. Between these events it
persists or stays.
This is quite untenable. Eye-consciousness arises and ceases many times during the course of one day.

I would suggest that it's far more beneficial (and less problematic) in the long run to simply learn the basics of Theravāda dhamma than engage in these kinds of unnecessary speculative interpretive cartwheels. I've yet to see any alternative modern interpretation that is as comprehensive and dynamic enough to account for the complete Suttapiṭaka as that which is developed in the Abhidhammapiṭaka.

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:38 am

Hi Nana,

If you can demonstrate that I am wrong on any points, I will be most grateful.
All I am attempting to do is to discover the truth about the Nikaya teachings.

Nana said: "Seeing ceases every time one closes one's eyes or goes to sleep."

Well, then it does not really cease, does it? Not if by ceasing we mean a
permanent and complete cessation.

Nana said: ""Seeing" (passati, disvā, etc.) a form via the eye (e.g MN 38: cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā) is an occurrence of eye-consciousness."

And can you cite a passage from the Nikaya's which shows that seeing and
eye-consciousness are the same thing?

Nana said: "This is quite untenable. Eye-consciousness arises and ceases many times during the course of one day."

Does it? Can you cite a passage which shows that?

And even if you can, this would not be the complete and permanent cessation
which would follow from the cessation of the six-spheres.

Kind regards, Vincent.

Nyana
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by Nyana » Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:11 am

vinasp wrote: All I am attempting to do is to discover the truth about the Nikaya teachings.
Then I would suggest studying a bit of the Abhidhammapiṭaka, primarily the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and the Vibhaṅga.
vinasp wrote: And can you cite a passage from the Nikaya's which shows that seeing and
eye-consciousness are the same thing?
I'd suggest that what should concern us here is how processes function moreso than what things are. The purpose is entirely soteriological, using provisional, conventional language throughout. In the context of the aggregates, what primarily needs to be understood is how seeing forms, hearing sounds, cognizing ideas, etc., gives rise to feeling, which in turn gives rise to craving, aversion, or numbing out. And then, after seeing this, how we can begin to let go of craving, aversion, etc.
vinasp wrote: Does it? Can you cite a passage which shows that?

And even if you can, this would not be the complete and permanent cessation
which would follow from the cessation of the six-spheres.
An arahant still experiences the six spheres. MN 121:
  • 'And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the effluent of sensuality... becoming... ignorance. And there is just this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, pure — superior & unsurpassed.

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:36 am

Hi Nana,

Nana said: "An arahant still experiences the six spheres. MN 121: ..."

MN 9 said:

"There would. When a disciple of the noble ones discerns the six sense media, the origination of the six sense media, the cessation of the six sense media, and the way of practice leading to the cessation of the six sense media, then he is a person of right view... who has arrived at this true Dhamma. ..."

Would you care to explain this apparent contradiction?

Kind regards, Vincent.

Sylvester
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by Sylvester » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:51 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote:What does "eye" mean here?
"Eye" here is a wrong traditional English translation.

Pali term "cakkhu" here means "sight".

Recently published Margaret Cone's Pali-English dictionary gives in the "cakkhu" article following meanings:

cakkhu, 1. the eye; the organ of sight; the faculty of seeing, sight;...

Here the last meaning applies.

As for "cakkhu" (eye)", etc., Sue Hamilton discusses this issue at length in Identity and Experience: The Constitution of the Human Being According to Early Buddhism (pp. 7-35). She concludes that these six do not refer to the physical organs.
This is really one of the most sensible posts I've read in this thread. The internal ayatanas/spheres and indriyas/faculties of vision, hearing, olfaction, tasting, touch and "mentation" are really meant by the standard list of the so-called six sense "organs". MN 43 gives an almost abstract/conceptual picture of the 5 faculties - the objects cognisable by each faculty are described as its visaya and gocara, both words which tie in with the concept of ayatana (sphere).

The concept of the 5 internal ayatanas/faculties being physical organs is not a sutta concept, but can be traced to the Vibhanga. See Dmytro's post here -

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=12799" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nyana
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by Nyana » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:24 am

vinasp wrote: Nana said: "An arahant still experiences the six spheres. MN 121: ..."

MN 9 said:

"There would. When a disciple of the noble ones discerns the six sense media, the origination of the six sense media, the cessation of the six sense media, and the way of practice leading to the cessation of the six sense media, then he is a person of right view... who has arrived at this true Dhamma. ..."

Would you care to explain this apparent contradiction?
In this instance the distinction is between the nibbānadhātu with fuel remaining (saupādisesa nibbānadhātu) and the nibbānadhātu with no more fuel remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu). Cf. Itivuttaka 44. The full development of the noble eightfold path leads to the realization of the former, which then culminates in the latter.

vinasp
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by vinasp » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:36 am

Hi Nana,

Your explanation makes no sense to me. Does what you call "the full development
of the noble eightfold path", result in the cessation of ignorance - or not?

Kind regards, Vincent.

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mikenz66
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:37 am

Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote: Would you care to explain this apparent contradiction?
This has been discussed in numerous threads on this this Forum. Like Geoff, I would encourage you to learn a bit more about Theravada Buddhism in it's own terms, as a way of describing practical experience. That consciousness arises and ceases, that contact leads to feeling, and so on, is rather obvious to anyone with a little experience of meditation practice.

If you want to read a modern interpretation that differs in a few areas from the Classical Theravada understanding I would recommend Bhikkhu Nananada's lectures on Nibbana:
Nibbana - The Mind Stilled (Vols. I-VI): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katukurund ... ished_work" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here are some places I've referred to his analysis:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 60#p101215" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 300#p94936" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I can't find a specific discussion of the extract you quote, but I'm sure it's in there somewhere...

:anjali:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: The Eye is Impermanent.

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:48 am

OK, here is a specific discussion.

From Nibbana Sermon 09:
Nanananda wrote:The medley of wrong views, current among those of other
sects, is the product of the six sense-bases dependent on con-
tact. The Buddha's vision, on the other hand, seems to be an
all-encompassing lustre of wisdom, born of the cessation of the
six sense-bases, which in effect, is the vision of Nibbāna. This
fact is further clarified in the sutta by the statement of the Bud-
dha that those who cling to those wrong views, based on name-
and-form, keep on whirling within the saṃsāric round because
of those very views.
  • D I 45, Brahmajālasutta.
    "They all continue to
    experience feeling coming into contact again and again with the
    six sense-bases, and to them dependent on contact there is feel-
    ing, dependent on feeling there is craving, dependent on craving
    there is grasping, dependent on grasping there is becoming, de-
    pendent on becoming there is birth, and dependent on birth, de-
    cay, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair come to
    be. But when, monks, a monk knows, as they truly are, the aris-
    ing, the going down, the satisfaction, the peril and the stepping
    out concerning the six sense-bases, that monk has a knowledge
    which is far superior to that of all those dogmatists."
This paragraph clearly brings out the distinction between
those who held on to such speculative views and the one who
wins to the vision made known by the Buddha. The former were
dependent on contact, that is, sensory contact, even if they pos-
sessed worldly higher knowledges. Because of contact orig-
inating from the six sense-bases there is feeling. Because of
feeling they are lured into craving and grasping which make
them go round and round in saṃsāra.

The emancipated monk who keeps to the right path, on the
other hand, wins to that synoptic vision of the six sense-bases,
replete in its five aspects. That is what is known as the light of
wisdom. To him, all five aspects of the six sense-bases become
clear, namely the arising, the going down, the satisfaction, the
peril and the stepping out. That light of wisdom is considered
the highest knowledge, precisely

The reference to the formula of dependent arising in the
above passage is highly significant. It is clear proof of the fact
that the law of dependent arising is not something to be ex-
plained with reference to a past existence. It is a law relevant
to the present moment.
...

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