duality and non-duality in theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Aloka
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:36 pm

There's a section on "Non-Dualism" in Ajahn Sumedho's little book "The Way it is" which was written in the 1980's :

NON-DUALISM

"The significant offering of the Buddhist teaching lies in what we call non-dualism. Its the 'neithernor' approach to philosophical questions. Monistic religion tends to talk about the One, the One God, or the Whole or the Buddha Nature, or the One Mind, and that's very inspiring. We turn to monistic doctrines for inspiration. But inspiration is only one level of religious experience, and you have to outgrow it. You have to let go of the desire for inspiration, or the belief in God or in the Oneness or in the One Mind or the all embracing benevolence or in the universal fairness.

I am not asking you to not disbelieve in those things either. But the non-dualistic practice is a way of letting go of all that, of seeing attachment to the views and opinions and perceptions, because the perception of one's mind is a perception, isn't it? The perception of a universal benevolence is perception which we can attach to. The Buddha-Nature is a perception. Buddha is a perception.

The one God and everything as being one universal system, global village, all is one and one is all and everything is fair and everything is kind, God loves us: these are perceptions which might be very nice, but still they are perceptions which arise and cease. Perceptions of monistic doctrines arise and cease. Now what does that do, as a practical experience, when you let things go and they cease? What's left, what's the remainder? This is what the Buddha is pointing to in teaching about the arising and cessation of conditions.

When the perception of self ceases and all the doctrines, all the inspired teaching, all the wise sayings cease, there is still the knower of the cessation. More views. And that leaves us blank mind. What is there to grasp? So the desire to know, to have something to grasp, comes up. We can see a kind of panic in our minds sometimes: we've got to believe in something! 'Tell me about the universal benevolence!' But that's fear and desire operating again, isn't it? 'I want to believe in something! I need something to believe in! I want to know that everything is all right. I want to attach and believe in the perceptions of oneness and wholeness.' And so there is still that desire operating which you may not notice and may still be attached to."

Continues at the link on page 65.

https://cdn.amaravati.org/wp-content/up ... umedho.pdf


:anjali:

markandeya
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by markandeya » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:36 pm

Hi Paul

I guess thats the problem with dualistic mind, it is habitually conditioned to see differences. I cant accept that access to insight has the last say on it. The language is far to aggressive and sets itself off firstly to make big distinctions. As far as I know its more of western concept and idea that makes these distinctions, rather than any insight to what is dharma.
Last edited by markandeya on Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

markandeya
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by markandeya » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:16 pm

2600htz wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:22 pm
Hello Dudette:

The thing is that non-duality is not a buddhist concept, its part of hinduism (vedanta).
And since the idea of Atman (or true self) is rejected by every school of buddism, because its "personality view".
Talking about the non-duality "of the atman with the Brahman" doesn´t stand a chance :).

Regards.
Hi 2600htz

I am not here to change your views. There are a couple of things which you mentioned that may not be exactly correct in regards to advaita vedanta. There are a few key issues that need time to go through but let us start off with personality view as Brahman or the Atma in Advaita Vedanta, or as an individual soul.

What does Vedanta consider as the personality. Its is not Brahman, which is beyond all conceptions and cannot be thought of or put into any idea, and its not Atma which is a term to mean ultimate unified consciousness, or even standing alone, standing apart, untouched, all encompassing, there is no direct English equivalent, and its not in the same context of teachings as atta and anatta, that is when Buddha is revealing the self~personality and aggregates and refuting that same thing as not self, he is not jumping from mundane to transcendent. There is no direct translations of Brahma or Atma, Self has a context, its not a soul, its not a God and its not an individual personality in the context of Vedanta, its turiya or transcendent, acintya~inconceivable, but knowable.

The correct popular term for personality in Vedanta would be jiva, or individual being, living sentient being, who is a being made up of mind and the five senses. Mind consistents of four main features, ahamkara~ false identification of self. Chitta~ mind consciousness ( very loose translation) , Buddhi~ Intellect and Manas or faculty of measurements. This makes up the subtle jiva, who sees and experiences life through mind and the 5 senses and has an individual form. This would be the personality of Vedanta. Jiva is jagrat sense consciousness and Svapna~ MInd consciousness. In Abhidharma Sakkāya Ditthi is Karma loka and Rupa Loka combination with all its attachments. There is no disagreement on this.

Sushupti is when the jiva looses individual consciousness through mind and the five senses, i abhidharma this state is known as arupa jhana as you may know.

More subtle than this is Turiya, Transcedent , in Abhidharma its lokuttara world transcending.

There maybe different ways to say it and each dharma tradition may have its own design but the essence is the same.

This is the basics of Vedanta.

paul
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by paul » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:47 pm

In daily life the practitioner faces a stream of events where decisions lead either to deeper enmeshing in samsara on the one hand, or taking the liberating path towards nibbana on the other. That is the duality which must be navigated using wise attention (yoniso manasikara):

“Wise Attention in Removing the “Taints"
Now I would like to explain the Buddha's teaching on wise attention as given in the Sabbasava Sutta,“The Discourse on All the Taints" (MN 2). The theme of “The Discourse on All the Taints" is the application of wise attention to the task of eradicating the “taints" (asava), the fundamental defilements that keep us bound to samsara, the round of birth and death. It is by unwise attention that the unarisen taints arise and arisen taints increase, and thus unwise attention keeps us in bondage to samsara. On the other hand, it is by wise attention that unarisen taints do not arise and arisen taints are destroyed.

In the sutta, the Buddha explains how an “untaught ordinary person" attends unwisely and a well-taught noble disciple attends wisely. The untaught ordinary person does not know what is fit for attention and what is unfit for attention. Thus he attends unwisely to the past, present, and future, engages in speculations about his identity in the three periods of time, and becomes entangled in views concerning a truly existent self.
These speculative views, the Buddha says, are called “the fetter of views." And “fettered by the fetter of views, the untaught ordinary person is not freed from birth, aging, and death; he is not freed from suffering, I say."

In contrast to the deluded ordinary person, the well-taught noble disciple understands what things are fit for attention and what things are unfit for attention. He attends wisely to the things that should be attended to and these things turn out to be the Four Noble Truths: “He wisely attends: ‘This is suffering'; ‘This is the
origin of suffering'; ‘This is the cessation of suffering'; ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.'"
When he attends wisely in this way, he abandons the first three “fetters": the view of a
truly existent self, doubt about the Buddha and his teaching, and adherence to useless
rules and observances.”—-“Wise Attention”, Ven. Xin-xing


paul
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by paul » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:01 am

Samadhi is not complete in itself, it must be balanced by insight thereby completing a duality, otherwise the practitioner would be following a Hindu path.

markandeya
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by markandeya » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:57 pm

Hi paul

Do you have any experience of samadhi, can you teach samadhi, is insight separate from samadhi.

I notice your almost anti hindhu, what are you afraid of. You post a view against all views, but support a view.

Its a state, its neither buddhist or hindu

How important is reading and intellectual understanding, does it correlate to experience.

The post is asking about Theravadin non dual states, sama is non dual state, its not a theoretical concept, its balances the dualties. Are you familiar with sama as both a Sanskrit and pali term, its related to sound.

Could you share your personal insights on sa and vi please

:anjali:

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mikenz66
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:55 pm

2600htz wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:07 pm
Hello:

But what do you mean by duality and non-duality?

Regards.
This is a key question. Bhikkhu K. Ñāṇananda, in the "Nibbana Sermons" [Nibbāna – The Mind Stilled. Library Edition (Sermons 1 – 33) http://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/] and other works discusses this in great detail.
P204: The discrimination between an ‘internal’ and an ‘external’ is the
outcome of the inability to penetrate name-and-form, to see through
it. There is an apparent duality: I, as one who sees, and name-and-
form, as the objects seen. Between them there is a dichotomy as in-
ternal and external. It is on this very dichotomy that the six sense-
bases are ‘based’. Feeling and all the rest of it come on top of those
six sense-bases. Craving and grasping follow suit, as a result of
which those dogmatists get caught up in the vicious cycle of depend-
ent arising and keep running round in sasāra as the Buddha has de-
clared.
P393: Let us now take up one more verse from the Uragasutta which has the
same refrain, because of its relevance to the understanding of the term
papa¤ca. The transcendence of relativity involves freedom from the
duality in worldly concepts such as `good' and `evil'. The concept of a
`farther shore' stands relative to the concept of a `hither shore'. The point
of these discourses is to indicate that there is a freedom from worldly
conceptual proliferations based on duality and relativity. The verse we
propose to bring up is:
"Who neither overreaches himself nor lags behind,
And has gone beyond all this proliferation,
That monk forsakes the hither and the thither,
Even as the snake its slough that doth wither".
Regarding samsara vs nibbana:
P391: Earlier we happened to mention that there is a wide gap between the
mundane and the supramundane. Some might think that this refers to a gap
in time or in space. In fact it is such a conception that often led to various
misinterpretations concerning Nibbana. The supramundane seems so far
away from the mundane, so it must be something attainable after death in
point of time. Or else it should be far far away in outer space. Such is the
impression made in general.

But if we go by the simile of the drop of water on the lotus leaf, the
distance between the mundane and the supramundane is the same as that
between the lotus leaf and the drop of water on it.
And here's some practical meditation advice from SEEING THROUGH - A Guide to Insight Meditation - http://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/ Page 7.
To take as real what is of a mirage-nature, is a delusion. It
is something that leads to a delusion. It is an illusion that leads to
a delusion. In order to understand deeply this mirage-nature in
sensory perception, there is a need for a more refined way of
mental attending. So the meditator, instead of attending to these
objects as ‘form’, ‘form’ or ‘sound’, ‘sound’, moves a step
further and notes them as ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’. Now he attends to
these sense-percepts even more briefly, not allowing the mind to
go far – as ‘seeing-seeing’, ‘hearing-hearing’, ‘feeling-feeling’,
‘thinking-thinking’.

n short, the attempt here, is to escape the net of ‘saññā’
or perception and to limit oneself to the bare awareness. To stop
short just at the awareness. This is an attempt to escape the net of
language, the net of logic and also to be free from the duality of
the two ends which involves a middle. Everywhere one is
confronted with a subject-object relationship. There is one who
grasps and something to be grasped. There is a seer and an object
seen. But this way of attending leaves room for delusion.

:heart:
Mike

cookiemonster
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by cookiemonster » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:03 am

dudette wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:22 am
None of the introductionS to theravada buddhism mention anything about "experiencing non-duality".
However, Some buddhists say that they meditate in order to experience non-duality, and it is an important part of buddhism and path to enlightenment.
How important is experiencing non-duality in theravada buddhism? Is it a necessity in theravada and path to enlightenment?
IMO, to my knowledge, there is nothing about non-duality in Theravada. This seems to be a Hindu & Mahayana concept.

Samsaric existence consists of dualities, and we are called to contemplate them (e.g. Sn 3:12: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/S ... p3_12.html). We contemplate duality not to attain a state of non-duality, but to obtain direct knowledge and wisdom regarding dependent origination and causality which dispels ignorance and delusion, and consequently, brings attainment of arahatta and nibbana.

Saengnapha
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:43 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:03 am
dudette wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:22 am
None of the introductionS to theravada buddhism mention anything about "experiencing non-duality".
However, Some buddhists say that they meditate in order to experience non-duality, and it is an important part of buddhism and path to enlightenment.
How important is experiencing non-duality in theravada buddhism? Is it a necessity in theravada and path to enlightenment?
IMO, to my knowledge, there is nothing about non-duality in Theravada. This seems to be a Hindu & Mahayana concept.

Samsaric existence consists of dualities, and we are called to contemplate them (e.g. Sn 3:12: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/S ... p3_12.html). We contemplate duality not to attain a state of non-duality, but to obtain direct knowledge and wisdom regarding dependent origination and causality which dispels ignorance and delusion, and consequently, brings attainment of arahatta and nibbana.
What Nanananda talks about is a penetration, a seeing of duality, subject/object dichotomy. When this takes place, there is an absence of Viewer. The absence of viewer is non-duality, which is a quality of the nature of mind. Nanananda was not a traditional Theravadin and was considered somewhat heretical by the orthodoxy. But this does not make him incorrect. Those who don't let go of the analytical approach cannot experience the absence of duality and the emptiness of all phenomenon. There has to be a leap (figure of speech).

paul
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by paul » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:10 am

:goodpost:
cookiemonster wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:03 am
IMO, to my knowledge, there is nothing about non-duality in Theravada. This seems to be a Hindu & Mahayana concept.
Samsaric existence consists of dualities, and we are called to contemplate them (e.g. Sn 3:12:
"Spiritual seekers still exploring the different contemplative traditions commonly assume that the highest spiritual teaching must be one which posits a metaphysical unity as the philosophical foundation and final goal of the quest for enlightenment. Taking this assumption to be axiomatic, they may then conclude that the Pali Buddhist teaching, with its insistence on the sober assessment of dualities, is deficient or provisional, requiring fulfillment by a nondualistic realization. For those of such a bent, the dissolution of dualities in a final unity will always appear more profound and complete.

However, it is just this assumption that I would challenge. I would assert, by reference to the Buddha's own original teaching, that profundity and completeness need not be bought at the price of distinctions, that they can be achieved at the highest level while preserving intact the dualities and diversity so strikingly evident to mature reflection on the world. I would add, moreover, that the teaching which insists on recognizing real dualities as they are is finally more satisfactory. The reason it is more satisfactory, despite its denial of the mind's yearning for a comprehensive unity, is because it takes account of another factor which overrides in importance the quest for unity. This "something else" is the need to remain grounded in actuality."---"Dhamma and Non-duality", Bikkhu Bodhi.

Saengnapha
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:15 am

paul wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:10 am
:goodpost:
cookiemonster wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:03 am
IMO, to my knowledge, there is nothing about non-duality in Theravada. This seems to be a Hindu & Mahayana concept.
Samsaric existence consists of dualities, and we are called to contemplate them (e.g. Sn 3:12:
"Spiritual seekers still exploring the different contemplative traditions commonly assume that the highest spiritual teaching must be one which posits a metaphysical unity as the philosophical foundation and final goal of the quest for enlightenment. Taking this assumption to be axiomatic, they may then conclude that the Pali Buddhist teaching, with its insistence on the sober assessment of dualities, is deficient or provisional, requiring fulfillment by a nondualistic realization. For those of such a bent, the dissolution of dualities in a final unity will always appear more profound and complete.

However, it is just this assumption that I would challenge. I would assert, by reference to the Buddha's own original teaching, that profundity and completeness need not be bought at the price of distinctions, that they can be achieved at the highest level while preserving intact the dualities and diversity so strikingly evident to mature reflection on the world. I would add, moreover, that the teaching which insists on recognizing real dualities as they are is finally more satisfactory. The reason it is more satisfactory, despite its denial of the mind's yearning for a comprehensive unity, is because it takes account of another factor which overrides in importance the quest for unity. This "something else" is the need to remain grounded in actuality."---"Dhamma and Non-duality", Bikkhu Bodhi.
When the dialectics end, there is neither duality or non-duality, only what is.

cookiemonster
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by cookiemonster » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:43 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:43 am
cookiemonster wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:03 am
dudette wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:22 am
None of the introductionS to theravada buddhism mention anything about "experiencing non-duality".
However, Some buddhists say that they meditate in order to experience non-duality, and it is an important part of buddhism and path to enlightenment.
How important is experiencing non-duality in theravada buddhism? Is it a necessity in theravada and path to enlightenment?
IMO, to my knowledge, there is nothing about non-duality in Theravada. This seems to be a Hindu & Mahayana concept.

Samsaric existence consists of dualities, and we are called to contemplate them (e.g. Sn 3:12: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/S ... p3_12.html). We contemplate duality not to attain a state of non-duality, but to obtain direct knowledge and wisdom regarding dependent origination and causality which dispels ignorance and delusion, and consequently, brings attainment of arahatta and nibbana.
What Nanananda talks about is a penetration, a seeing of duality, subject/object dichotomy. When this takes place, there is an absence of Viewer. The absence of viewer is non-duality, which is a quality of the nature of mind. Nanananda was not a traditional Theravadin and was considered somewhat heretical by the orthodoxy. But this does not make him incorrect. Those who don't let go of the analytical approach cannot experience the absence of duality and the emptiness of all phenomenon. There has to be a leap (figure of speech).
I'm sorry, I don't follow - who is Nanananda? (no sarcasm intended)

I can't say that my goal is either absence of duality or emptiness (both seem to involve the conceptual realm), but nibbana (the phenomenological realm).

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mikenz66
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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:12 am

cookiemonster wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:43 am
I'm sorry, I don't follow - who is Nanananda? (no sarcasm intended)
I provided several quotes from Ven Nananda a few posts ago:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=31750&start=15#p479851

:heart:
Mike

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Re: duality and non-duality in theravada

Post by justindesilva » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:47 pm

paul wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:01 am
Samadhi is not complete in itself, it must be balanced by insight thereby completing a duality, otherwise the practitioner would be following a Hindu path.
Samadhi is often misunderstood. Why?
Samadhi is often referred to as concentration only. Concentration of what. Concentration means focussing the mind on a single object, which is not the idea of meditation. A scientist can concentrate on solving a chemical formula. A teacher can concentrate on a lesson for tomorrow. A tennis player concentrates on playing the ball against the other. and so on.
But the term samadhi at its closest is one pointedness of a single thought from the mind. A billion thoughts are leaving the mind in a split second. Yet focussing on a single thought out of them seems just impossible because all such thoughts leaving the mind is connected to vingnana and pancendriya, which is conditioned by loba , dosa & moha. Our thoughts from our untrained mind are out of control ( as well explained by dammapada 1st gathas).
Yet lord budda selected the breath for anapana sati meditarion because breathing does not create greed or lust in us and contact of breathing on and in the nose makes neutral feelings. Therefore breath in and breath out makes a good object of meditation and as time spent with concentration of feeling on the breath calms the mind from lustful emotions. Like tuning a radio the mind settles on the feeling of breathing which slowly gets in to a rythm where the mind settles from lustful feelings as water gets cleared from mud mixed water. As the lust settles down like the mud mixed with water the mind settles from defiled thoughts. This way we can settle on a single thought of the bresathing towards
'one pointed of a single thought' which consoles the mind.
In the same manner metta thoughts towards all beings also can be used for samatha meditation.
In sinhalese , the language closest to pali, samatha means consolation or making peace. This is why IMO anapana sathi meditatiln and metta meditation are called samatha bhavana.
Before I finish I wish to add that only with one pointedness of the mind ( samadhi) that we can apply our thoughts on vipassana ( insight) meditation to understand darma ( the nature of pancendriya and vingnana) and its cosmic nature.( reasoning out that the earth and we beings are apo, tejo, vayo , patavi in common as properties)
Again samadhi in meditation is not complete until and unless we rest on samma samadhi. If samadhi is one pointedness of mind then samma samadhi means one pointedness of mind without defilements.

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