Anatta - a hindrance?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:33 pm

bharadwaja wrote:
No different from your own?
I believe I have found many people here who would agree with my understanding that Nibbana is impossible for self-deniers.
"Self-deniers" You mean the puthujjanas? And you know that "Nibbana is impossible for self-deniers" how?
>> 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: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Unrul3r » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Unrul3r wrote: In regards to the difference between those two, which I'd translate as "There is no self"\"self doesn't exist" (natthi attā) & "My self doesn't exist" (natthi me attā), I think the problem is not only the "my" in the second one, it is also the natthi in both. Existence & Non-existence of self or the world are to be avoided by seeing paṭiccasamuppāda as Kaccānagotta sutta & Channa sutta state. Experience should be viewed without reference to self, only causality. In other words, ontology should be substituted by phenomenology. And this shift only happens by asking appropriate questions. Paraphrasing, "There is no thing the does so much for a monk in training as appropriate attention". -Iti 1.16
The shift comes from vipassana, insight, not intellectual reasoning, though the intellectual reasoning can be a good guide/tool for practice to develop the insight. But then, that is my opinion, which need not share.
I agree, maybe I should've said "the shift starts by asking appropriate questions". The shift cannot happen without appropriate questions.They are the precursor of insight. Both are needed for the shift and I guess that was what you meant by "though the intellectual reasoning can be a good guide/tool for practice to develop the insight." Just for the sake of reference, notice the questions below:
AN 4.94 wrote:"The individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, should approach an individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment and ask him: 'How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.
After these appropriate questions, attention is focused in the right way & insight develops.

:anjali:

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tiltbillings
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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:43 pm

Unrul3r wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Unrul3r wrote: In regards to the difference between those two, which I'd translate as "There is no self"\"self doesn't exist" (natthi attā) & "My self doesn't exist" (natthi me attā), I think the problem is not only the "my" in the second one, it is also the natthi in both. Existence & Non-existence of self or the world are to be avoided by seeing paṭiccasamuppāda as Kaccānagotta sutta & Channa sutta state. Experience should be viewed without reference to self, only causality. In other words, ontology should be substituted by phenomenology. And this shift only happens by asking appropriate questions. Paraphrasing, "There is no thing the does so much for a monk in training as appropriate attention". -Iti 1.16
The shift comes from vipassana, insight, not intellectual reasoning, though the intellectual reasoning can be a good guide/tool for practice to develop the insight. But then, that is my opinion, which need not share.
I agree, maybe I should've said "the shift starts by asking appropriate questions". The shift cannot happen without appropriate questions.They are the precursor of insight. Both are needed for the shift and I guess that was what you meant by "though the intellectual reasoning can be a good guide/tool for practice to develop the insight." Just for the sake of reference, notice the questions below:
AN 4.94 wrote:"The individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, should approach an individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment and ask him: 'How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.
After these appropriate questions, attention is focused in the right way & insight develops.
Sounds good to me.
>> 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: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:31 pm

Sylvester wrote: I confess - I'm an adherent to the natthi attā (There is no self) camp, even if I don't have the direct vision into the Stream to explain continuity in terms of This-That Conditionality.

For one, I think the natthi attā (There is no self) view is very different from the natthi me attā (There is, for me, no self) view criticised in MN 2. I believe the Buddha's hesitance to be explicit in stating the first proposition (except perhaps in MN 22) must stem from the difficulty of accounting for continuity, which would give rise to the accusation of annihilationism so patently stated in SN 44.10. Annihilationism denies that continuity/continuum that gives ethical meaning to the search, not because it denies that there is a self - rather, it asserts that the self is destroyed.

This seems to be the setting also for the "no-self" teaching recorded in MA 62, where it was said of the auditor that 法 眼生 (Dharma-Eye arose), 得法 (attained the Dharma) and 斷疑 (destroyed doubt). Stream Entry? While MA 62 has no sutta parallel in Pali, the auditor was none other than King Bimbisāra. If this sutra really recorded the Stream Entry of the good king, then I have little doubt that his vision into This-That Conditionality would have furnished him with knowledge of how the continuity occurs, despite the absence of a self.
Indeed. And thank you for the comparison to the Āgamas.

The natthi me attā is the delusion of the puthujjana, whereas the ontology of attā as non-existent (asat) [MN 22] is the knowledge of the arahant and the caution of the Tathāgata to the noble adherent.
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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by bharadwaja » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:"Self-deniers" You mean the puthujjanas? And you know that "Nibbana is impossible for self-deniers" how?
Use logic ruthlessly until you have exhausted all the impossibilities, all perplexities have to cease. Keep doing it until you reach nibbana. Then you will get the dibbacakkhu with which you will see things as they truly are and call yourself an arahant (others will not know that you're one unless they are arahants themselves, and whether others know it or not is anyways pointless, an arahant has no use proving that she is one). There is no short cut, what you have asked cannot be known until nibbana is attained.

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:01 pm

bharadwaja wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:"Self-deniers" You mean the puthujjanas? And you know that "Nibbana is impossible for self-deniers" how?
Use logic ruthlessly until you have exhausted all the impossibilities, all perplexities have to cease. Keep doing it until you reach nibbana. Then you will get the dibbacakkhu with which you will see things as they truly are and call yourself an arahant (others will not know that you're one unless they are arahants themselves, and whether others know it or not is anyways pointless, an arahant has no use proving that she is one). There is no short cut, what you have asked cannot be known until nibbana is attained.
That is interesting in that I have not seen any ruthless logic from you, though clueless "logic" has been standard from your keyboard as has been carefully shown by others here, as has been "avoid, deny, distort" anything and every thing with which you disagree, even the suttas.
whether others know it or not is anyways pointless, an arahant has no use proving that she is one
And of course that is why you had publish here that you are an arhat because it was pointless to tell us that you are an arhat who knows the teachings better than everyone else here, so you tell us you are an arhat who logically thought his way to becoming an arhat, though it is pointless for anyone to now know that you are an arhat because you cannot prove that you are an arhat who ruthlessly "logiced" himself to arhat status. Heavens to Betsy.
>> 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: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:40 pm

bharadwaja,

It's time to give up this farcical charade. I can't imagine what kind of bitter vipāka you're generating with this trying to dissuade people from practicing the Noble Eightfold Path. Seriously, stop now for the sake of your future well-being.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:39 pm

I am frankly flabbergasted that tiltbillings has been so patient and tolerant. I must admit, on an unrelated forum I am a member of, this flamer troll would have been Mincemeat and ejected long ago. Kudos to you tiltbillings for your dogged persistence with this member.

(And if that earns me a rap on the knuckles, I apologise... But I have the irritating tendency to say it as I see it.)
:namaste:

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Sylvester » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:44 am

Unrul3r wrote:
Sylvester wrote: Yoohoo :hello:

I confess - I'm an adherent to the natthi attā (There is no self) camp, even if I don't have the direct vision into the Stream to explain continuity in terms of This-That Conditionality.

For one, I think the natthi attā (There is no self) view is very different from the natthi me attā (There is, for me, no self) view criticised in MN 2. I believe the Buddha's hesitance to be explicit in stating the first proposition (except perhaps in MN 22) must stem from the difficulty of accounting for continuity, which would give rise to the accusation of annihilationism so patently stated in SN 44.10. Annihilationism denies that continuity/continuum that gives ethical meaning to the search, not because it denies that there is a self - rather, it asserts that the self is destroyed.

This seems to be the setting also for the "no-self" teaching recorded in MA 62, where it was said of the auditor that 法 眼生 (Dharma-Eye arose), 得法 (attained the Dharma) and 斷疑 (destroyed doubt). Stream Entry? While MA 62 has no sutta parallel in Pali, the auditor was none other than King Bimbisāra. If this sutra really recorded the Stream Entry of the good king, then I have little doubt that his vision into This-That Conditionality would have furnished him with knowledge of how the continuity occurs, despite the absence of a self.

:anjali:
:hello:

Thank you for your honesty & assessment, Sylvester.

In regards to the difference between those two, which I'd translate as "There is no self"\"self doesn't exist" (natthi attā) & "My self doesn't exist" (natthi me attā), I think the problem is not only the "my" in the second one, it is also the natthi in both. Existence & Non-existence of self or the world are to be avoided by seeing paṭiccasamuppāda as Kaccānagotta sutta & Channa sutta state. Experience should be viewed without reference to self, only causality. In other words, ontology should be substituted by phenomenology. And this shift only happens by asking appropriate questions. Paraphrasing, "There is no thing the does so much for a monk in training as appropriate attention". -Iti 1.16

Edit: Added the word "Paraphrasing" for clarity.

:anjali:

Hee hee. And I was wondering when SN 12.15 would pop up.

I think there is an alternative way to interpret SN 12.15 that does not need to be influenced by Nagarjuna post-Buddha, but to look to the pre-Buddhist past. Firstly, the translation -
Sabbamatthī'ti kho kaccāna, ayameko anto. Sabbaṃ natthī'ti ayaṃ dutiyo anto.

'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme.

trans Ven Thanissaro

‘All exists’: Kaccana, this is one extreme. ‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme.

trans BB
Contrast these translations against that of sabbaṃ in SN 35.23, where both translators translate it as "the all", with Ven T capitalising "All".

I suggest that when SN 12.15 was uttered, the Buddha was not thinking about the Buddhist sabbaṃ listed as the internal and external bases in SN 35.23, or the Aggregates in SN 35.24. I think the Buddha was directing His critique directly against the Upanishadic sarvaṃ. This is variously translated as "the All" or "the Whole", but there is no mistaking what this is in pre-Buddhist literature. I wish I could cite all the instances of the Whole in the Upanishads, but I'd probably crash the DW site if I did so. :tongue: In brief, it is the Noumenal aspect of existence, realisation of which Brahman also became the All - BAU 1.4.10. It is the source of personal selfhood - BAU 4.5.15, which selfhood arises with distinguishing name-&-form (nāma-rūpa) - CU 6.3.2. A synonym for the All is "world", where each "world" holds a secret correspondence (upanisad) to each of the bodies of speech, breath and mind pranas of an individual - BAU 1.4.1; BAU 1.4.17; BAU 1.5.4.

Now, where in the Upanishads does this enquiry into existence and non-existence crop up? We have this telling record of the debate in the Chandogya -
In the beginning, son, this world was simply what is existent (Sat) —one only,
without a second. Now, on this point some do say: 'In the beginning this world
was simply what is nonexistent (Asat) —one only, without a second. And from what is
nonexistent was born what is existent.'

CU 6.2.1, trans Olivelle
Even in the Taittriya Upanishad, the debate over Existence versus Non-existence continued to rage : TU 2.6 & 2.7, bringing the Buddha very close the metaphysical debates of His times.

Compare the Sat/Asat dichotomy that troubled the Chandogya thinkers with the atthitaṃ/natthitaṃ dichotomy in SN 12.15. Which seems to be a more probable an explanation for SN 12.15? Nagarjuna's polemic against Sarvastivadin notions of svabhāva (which does not appear in its sutras, except as back-formations from its Abhidharma) or the Upanisadic debates that pre-dated the Buddha and for which a specific identification for the Upanisadic Sarvaṃ can be made as the sabbaṃ mentioned in SN 12.15 and SN 35.23?

Secondly, I don't think the Buddha was against ontic commitments, even if His focus was phenomenological. You have a very clear indication of this wherever you see santa/asanta (the present participles of atthī and natthī respectively) appear, coupled with the recommendation in the Satipatthana suttas to "know" that various dhammas either atthī or natthī, as the case may be, whenever those dhammas santa or asanta.

I suppose the Buddha was very wary of the no-self proposition, since it appears by inference only once in the Pali suttas (MN 22) (leaving aside the Agamas). As a view, it creates many problems with worldlings troubled by the question of continuity and ethical responsibility. As a realisation, however, it should pose no problem for the Noble Ones, since they now frame the issue of continuity and cessation in terms of idappaccayatā.

:anjali:

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Unrul3r » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:47 am

Sylvester wrote:...
I see. Again, thank you for your detailed assessment.

So, as you've said before, you hold "There is no self". I won't argue with it since I don't hold that it exists (nor that it doesn't). So, with that said, I can only hope you don't get tied up in argumentation due to that view. It would be tiring for you and the opposing debater.

:anjali:

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by daverupa » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:02 am

Sylvester wrote:...
Very nice; it's good to have more material for discussing how Buddhism isn't that guy saying "I don't say it exists, I don't say it doesn't exist, I don't say..."...
  • "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]

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Unrul3r » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:08 am

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:...
Very nice; it's good to have more material for discussing how Buddhism isn't that guy saying "I don't say it exists, I don't say it doesn't exist, I don't say..."...
Indeed. It's good that you mention that, so that others don't think otherwise.

:anjali:

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:35 pm

Sylvester wrote:I suppose the Buddha was very wary of the no-self proposition, since it appears by inference only once in the Pali suttas (MN 22) (leaving aside the Agamas). As a view, it creates many problems with worldlings troubled by the question of continuity and ethical responsibility. As a realisation, however, it should pose no problem for the Noble Ones, since they now frame the issue of continuity and cessation in terms of idappaccayatā.
Yes, anattā would easily be inferred by the puthujjana as a view or dogma. Whereas the realisation of anattā for the noble adherent is through the perception of it (anattasaññā) – “with perception of non-self one comes to the removal of the notion ‘I am’ and knows the state of Nibbāna.” (anattasaññī asmimānasamugghātaṃ pāpuṇāti diṭṭheva dhamme nibbāna”nti.) (Udāna 4.1 Meghiya Sutta).

The “notion ‘I am’” (asmimāna) – or the ‘viewpoint of self’ (attato samanupassati) – refer to the presumption of a substantial support of the khandhas (also referred to as sabbaṃ [Sk. sarvaṃ]), and refer directly to the ontology of the Ātman of the Upaniṣads where asmi is claimed as the earliest epithet of Ātman.

Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad I. 4.1 (translation – S. Radhakrishnan):
  • THE CREATION OF THE WORLD FROM THE SELF

    I. ātmaivedam agra āsīt puruṣavidhaḥ, so’nuvīkṣya nānyad ātmano’paśyat, so’ham asmīty agre vyāharat; tato’haṃ nāmābhavat, tasmād apy etarhy āmantritaḥ; aham ayam ity evāgra uktvā, athānyan nāma prabrūte yad asyabhavati. sa yat pūrvo’smāt sarvasmāt sarvān pāpmana auṣat, tasmāt puruṣah; oṣati ha vai sa tam, yo’smāt pūrvo bubhūṣati, ya evaṃ veda.

    I. In the beginning this (world) was only the self, in the shape of a person. Looking around he saw nothing else than the self. He first said, ‘I am.’ Therefore arose the name of I. Therefore, even to this day when one is addressed he says first ‘This is I’ and then speaks whatever other name he may have. Because before all this, he burnt all evils, therefore he is a person. He who knows this, verily, burns up him who wishes to be before him.
And with reference to the micro-topic within this thread, equating Nibbāna to Ātman, notice how anattasaññā clearly separates nibbāna from attā, with reference to the above given that asmi = ātman in the Upaniṣads? e.g. “with perception of non-self one comes to the removal of the notion ‘I am’ and knows the state of Nibbāna.”
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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:34 pm

Sylvester & ancientbuddhism,

:goodpost:

You guys are great.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Anatta - a hindrance?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:36 pm

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:...
Very nice; it's good to have more material for discussing how Buddhism isn't that guy saying "I don't say it exists, I don't say it doesn't exist, I don't say..."...
One of these guys?

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:tongue:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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