Nāma-rūpa

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

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Ben
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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Ben » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:51 am

Yes Retro
I think you are right with that observation.
Sorry I can't be of any further assistance in this interesting line of enquiry.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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Learn this from the waters:
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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:32 pm

Hi Retro.

The classifications are for those of duller wit such as ourselves. For example, someone with highly developed panna will understand while meditating when there is kusala leading to calm and where there is lobha. Most of the time, people who meditate these days have lots of lobha during meditation, thus you hear so many stories of the mind not settling down. Lobha and dosa don't aid samatha, yet quite often, because of accumulated lobha, tanha, and self-view, we take lobha as an aid in meditation. In reality, it works against samatha. This is just one example.

Another example is when we think there is a "self" inside actions. If we understand the functions of moha, ditthi and other cetasikas, we can understand that though it appears that a decision is made by an individual that it is simply the funtion of conditioned nama, no doer around. Since we are of duller wit and our self-view is so deeply rooted, we tend to think there is a decision making doer inside actions, even though the Buddha taught abhidhamma and constantly said in the suttas things like, "form is not-self, perception, intention, is not-self", "these things should be understood as not mine, not my own", etc.

When we understand deeper aspects of Abhidhamma such as conditionality such as brought out in the seventh book of Abhidhamma, the Book of Conditioned Relations, we can understand better what actions lead to untanglement from the fetters, and which actions lead to entanglement. Things are so subtle and each citta influences the next. Subtle reaffirmation of self-view conditions it in the citta again and again even when we think we are walking the path.

It is all about refining ones view. Right View is what is needed. This helps us refine our Right View.

I hope this helps.

kevin

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by meindzai » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:16 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ben,

Yes, that's along the lines of what I'm trying to work out. That's why I mentioned the mula (roots), because that seems an easier classification method, with 6 roots (3 wholesome, 3 unwholesome)compared to the 52 cetasikas.

Is the point just to differentiate wholesome from unwholesome as it is in the case of mula, or is it also to dissolve the illusion of self? I assume there is some good reason why it's more elaborate... as you can probably see, my question is at least as much about the "why" as it is about the "what".

Metta,
Retro. :)
Really interesting line of inquiry. One of the ongoing debates with Nina's crew is whether one can actually practice mindfulness (the first factor of awakening) or not. The argument, as you know, being that one cannot practice it since it involves a wrong view of self "I am practicing mindfulness." Leaving aside those endless debates, we can turn to the second factor "investigation of dhammas" or "analysis of qualities." Which for some reason doesn't involve micca-ditthi to put it into practice? Indeed, why?

-M

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:38 pm

meindzai wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Ben,

Yes, that's along the lines of what I'm trying to work out. That's why I mentioned the mula (roots), because that seems an easier classification method, with 6 roots (3 wholesome, 3 unwholesome)compared to the 52 cetasikas.

Is the point just to differentiate wholesome from unwholesome as it is in the case of mula, or is it also to dissolve the illusion of self? I assume there is some good reason why it's more elaborate... as you can probably see, my question is at least as much about the "why" as it is about the "what".

Metta,
Retro. :)
Really interesting line of inquiry. One of the ongoing debates with Nina's crew is whether one can actually practice mindfulness (the first factor of awakening) or not. The argument, as you know, being that one cannot practice it since it involves a wrong view of self "I am practicing mindfulness." Leaving aside those endless debates, we can turn to the second factor "investigation of dhammas" or "analysis of qualities." Which for some reason doesn't involve micca-ditthi to put it into practice? Indeed, why?

-M
Miendzai,

I'm not sure what you mean by "practicing mindfulness". Mindfulness, as it is understood in Abhidhamma terms, it the cetasika of sati. It arises based on conditions, way too fast for us to bring it into being. There are conditions for it's arising, however. For example, if dhamma is heard and attention is payed to it wisely (two factors for the development of wisdom) then that may condition panna to arise which always arises with the cetasika sati. Thus, those are some conditions for sati to arise.

Likewise, if one meditates on a subject of samatha, there may be more conditions for sati to arise during and after the meditation. Nevertheless, it is an anatta dhamma that arises and falls away and should be understood as such.

In a day, sati arises naturally sometimes. It arises and we don't have to bring it into being. Even if we don't know it, sati can arise. In this regard it is like any other paramattha dhamma which arises based on conditions. Visible object, for example, is another paramattha dhamma that just arises without us willing it to. Can one choose which visible object will arise next, or stop the next visible object from arising? One cannot. These dhammas arise based on conditions only. There is no self in them. None of these dhammas are me or mine. They are anatta. When this is understood, it is Right View and the development of wisdom. It can lead to wisdom on the experiential level that penetrates the characteristic of dhammas during satipatthana.

Kevin

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by meindzai » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:32 pm

Kevin - first of all you are a very patient person with folks such as me (and Retro :tongue: ) and I enjoy our discussions. You absolutely get points for khanti parami.
Virgo wrote: I'm not sure what you mean by "practicing mindfulness". Mindfulness, as it is understood in Abhidhamma terms, it the cetasika of sati. It arises based on conditions, way too fast for us to bring it into being.
Well, sati also means memory. For me it's remembering, or "keeping something in mind." Such as when the Buddha exhorts us to be mindful of the body:
"Therefore, monks, this is how you must train yourselves: 'We shall practice mindfulness as to body, develop it, make it our vehicle, our dwelling-place, our resort, we will build it up and undertake it thoroughly.' This, monks, is how you must train yourselves."
- Chappana Sutta

or
"Practice mindfulness of the body and continually develop dispassion (towards it). Avoid the sign of the beautiful connected with passion; by meditating on the foul 3 cultivate a mind that is concentrated and collected."
- Rahula Sutta

or
The cankers cease for those mindful and clearly comprehending ones who always earnestly practice mindfulness of the body, who do not resort to what should not be done, and steadfastly pursue what should be done.
- Dhp XXI

or the breath:
"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore."
- Anapanasati Sutta

The bolded statement clearly imples that we can do something with mindfulness - it can be aroused, developed, and practiced.
There are conditions for it's arising, however. For example, if dhamma is heard and attention is payed to it wisely (two factors for the development of wisdom) then that may condition panna to arise which always arises with the cetasika sati. Thus, those are some conditions for sati to arise.

Likewise, if one meditates on a subject of samatha, there may be more conditions for sati to arise during and after the meditation. Nevertheless, it is an anatta dhamma that arises and falls away and should be understood as such.

In a day, sati arises naturally sometimes. It arises and we don't have to bring it into being. Even if we don't know it, sati can arise. In this regard it is like any other paramattha dhamma which arises based on conditions. Visible object, for example, is another paramattha dhamma that just arises without us willing it to. Can one choose which visible object will arise next, or stop the next visible object from arising? One cannot. These dhammas arise based on conditions only. There is no self in them. None of these dhammas are me or mine. They are anatta. When this is understood, it is Right View and the development of wisdom. It can lead to wisdom on the experiential level that penetrates the characteristic of dhammas during satipatthana.

Kevin
Kind of amused that, out of your reverence for anatta, you tend to phrase things in passive voice, ie. "dhamma is heard and attention is payed to it wisely." Because you're trying to avoid saying "If we listen to dhamma and pay it wise attention." I get the sentiment, but to me there is still an element of intention present. We still have to listen, and we still have to pay wise attention. Until we are at least stream entrants, and even up until Arahantship, it is impossible to do anything - whether it's listen to dhamma or practice meditation, without some element of self view present.

-M

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi miendzai,
meindzai wrote:Kevin - first of all you are a very patient person with folks such as me (and Retro :tongue: ) and I enjoy our discussions. You absolutely get points for khanti parami.

Thanks.
Meindzai wrote: Well, sati also means memory. For me it's remembering, or "keeping something in mind." Such as when the Buddha exhorts us to be mindful of the body:
Absolutely. That is a more conventional use of the term. That is fine. But the distinction should also be understood, I feel, in order to dispel confusion.

Meindzai wrote:
Kind of amused that, out of your reverence for anatta, you tend to phrase things in passive voice, ie. "dhamma is heard and attention is payed to it wisely." Because you're trying to avoid saying "If we listen to dhamma and pay it wise attention." I get the sentiment, but to me there is still an element of intention present. We still have to listen, and we still have to pay wise attention. Until we are at least stream entrants, and even up until Arahantship, it is impossible to do anything - whether it's listen to dhamma or practice meditation, without some element of self view present.

-M
If it is simply self-view and dosa (towards suffering) that motivate us to study and understand dhamma, then more self-view and dosa are conditioned, and not wisdom at that time. Panna, the cetasika of wisdom, however, can motivate us to study. In that case panna would understand the drawbacks of seeing things as seen and become inquisitive about how things really are. This conditions panna to arise again later (and panna arising more leads to satipatthana, and subsequently the stages of insight, and eventually to the mind turning away from conditioned dhammas and instead taking the unconditioned dhamma, namely nibbana, as it's object). Studying dhamma does not have to be motivated with self-view. Self-view doesn't arise with every citta.

The mind is very complex. What is important to understand is conditionality. Defilements have fuel. When their fuel is removed, the candle can be put out.

All the best.

Kevin

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Alex123 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:02 pm

Hello Meindzai, all,
meindzai wrote: Kind of amused that, out of your reverence for anatta, you tend to phrase things in passive voice, ie. "dhamma is heard and attention is payed to it wisely." Because you're trying to avoid saying "If we listen to dhamma and pay it wise attention." I get the sentiment, but to me there is still an element of intention present. We still have to listen, and we still have to pay wise attention. Until we are at least stream entrants, and even up until Arahantship, it is impossible to do anything - whether it's listen to dhamma or practice meditation, without some element of self view present.
-M
I too sometimes say that "just like practice can be done with wrong views, so can study (or anything) be done with wrong views ".


The possible position of KS-like teaching, with some of my ideas/insights, may go something like this. Whenever thought (of distraction, un-mindfulness, good or bad) arises it doesn't arise due to any Self, and whenever some thoughts/intentions do not arise, it was also not held in check by any Self. Mindfulness or concentration or path doesn't arise because it was controlled by Self (that doesn't exist), it arises due to causes and conditions. Maybe through PROPER study and contemplation wisdom grows and through that sati, samādhi, the path, etc will arise - all by itself and in due time. Maybe in this way there is less of self view (lets be mindful, concentrated, whatever) implied.


Having bare attention is very iffy thing as 4 perversions may be present in most/all cases of trying to be mindful. In D.O the avijja structurally underlies namarupa, so when one observes "mind&matter with mind", ignorance can already underly that act of observation and that which is observed. One is observing with perversions what has originated due to ignorance, kamma, craving and other factors.
(ignorance or craving or kamma or nutriment or birth) -> Materiality (rūpa)
(ignorance or craving or kamma or contact or birth ) -> Mentality (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra).
(ignorance or craving or kamma or Mentality or birth) -> consciousness (viññāṇa)
- Ptsm 55

ignorance contact -> feeling -> craving -> intentional construction [of wrong views, uncertainty]
SN22.81
According to AN 4.49 there are "four perversions (vipallāsā) of perception (saññā), perversions of mind (citta), perversions of view (diṭṭhi)" so there is no gurantee that in "bare" observation what one does and looks at isn't already twisted by the perversions of perception, mind and view. So it is like a person wearing pink glasses, no matter where s/he looks with "bare attention", everything looks pink.

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


IMHO,


With metta,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:52 pm

Greetings Virgo,
Virgo wrote:The classifications are for those of duller wit such as ourselves.
Is that a classical or modern view?
Virgo wrote:For example, someone with highly developed panna will understand while meditating when there is kusala leading to calm and where there is lobha. Most of the time, people who meditate these days have lots of lobha during meditation, thus you hear so many stories of the mind not settling down. Lobha and dosa don't aid samatha, yet quite often, because of accumulated lobha, tanha, and self-view, we take lobha as an aid in meditation. In reality, it works against samatha. This is just one example.
I'm confused as to why if it's for relative dullards, it's so gosh darn complicated - i.e. 52 cetasikas, versus the smaller lists found in the suttas e.g. 3 unwholesome roots, 5 aggregates, 6 sense bases, 5 aspects of nāma, 5 hindrances.
...self-view is so deeply rooted, we tend to think there is a decision making doer inside actions, even though the Buddha taught abhidhamma and constantly said in the suttas things like, "form is not-self, perception, intention, is not-self", "these things should be understood as not mine, not my own", etc.
Nice use of lower case abhidhamma. 8-)

I'm inclined to see the false perception of self as attributable to the presence of ignorance (avijja), rather than the absence of cetasika classifications.
When we understand deeper aspects of Abhidhamma such as conditionality such as brought out in the seventh book of Abhidhamma, the Book of Conditioned Relations, we can understand better what actions lead to untanglement from the fetters, and which actions lead to entanglement. Things are so subtle and each citta influences the next. Subtle reaffirmation of self-view conditions it in the citta again and again even when we think we are walking the path.

It is all about refining ones view. Right View is what is needed. This helps us refine our Right View.

I hope this helps.
It helps to show that the application of the Abhidhamma Pitaka and associated commentaries is the same as the application of (lower case) abhidhamma in the suttas... they're just different ways to cut and dice the constituent factors of experiential existence.

If you think that conclusion is erroneous, feel free to state why.

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: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:26 pm

Hi Retro.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,
Virgo wrote:The classifications are for those of duller wit such as ourselves.
Is that a classical or modern view?
I believe it is classical view based on the fact that it is understood clasically that the stronger the accumulation of wisdom, the less teaching needed in order to penetrate. Abhidhamma is a teaching with many details. It is simply not necessary for some people (those with mega-wisdom like some of the Buddhas disciples).
Retrofuturist wrote: I'm confused as to why if it's for relative dullards, it's so gosh darn complicated - i.e. 52 cetasikas, versus the smaller lists found in the suttas e.g. 3 unwholesome roots, 5 aggregates, 6 sense bases, 5 aspects of nāma, 5 hindrances.
Hi Retro. The reason is that the less wisdom we have, the more detailed explanation we need in order to understand it.


Nice use of lower case abhidhamma. 8-
:p Thanks.
I'm inclined to see the false perception of self as attributable to the presence of ignorance (avijja), rather than the absence of cetasika classifications.
After the explanation about cetasikas, panna can understand about them. Panna is amoha or goes against moha, delusion. Of course, moha, or delusion, is synonymous with avijja, or ignorance.
When we understand deeper aspects of Abhidhamma such as conditionality such as brought out in the seventh book of Abhidhamma, the Book of Conditioned Relations, we can understand better what actions lead to untanglement from the fetters, and which actions lead to entanglement. Things are so subtle and each citta influences the next. Subtle reaffirmation of self-view conditions it in the citta again and again even when we think we are walking the path.
It is all about refining ones view. Right View is what is needed. This helps us refine our Right View.

I hope this helps.[/quote]
It helps to show that the application of the Abhidhamma Pitaka and associated commentaries is the same as the application of (lower case) abhidhamma in the suttas... they're just different ways to cut and dice the constituent factors of experiential existence.

If you think that conclusion is erroneous, feel free to state why.

Metta,
Retro. :)
I think all abhidhamma is for the purpose of dispelling ignorance.

K

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Ben » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:31 pm

Hi Kevin
Virgo wrote:Hi Retro.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,
Virgo wrote:The classifications are for those of duller wit such as ourselves.
Is that a classical or modern view?
I believe it is classical view based on the fact that it is understood clasically that the stronger the accumulation of wisdom, the less teaching needed in order to penetrate. Abhidhamma is a teaching with many details. It is simply not necessary for some people (those with mega-wisdom like some of the Buddhas disciples).
You need to support this and other statements with references and/or material from the ancient literature or from latter-day scholars who are representative of the Classical POV as per the special rules for the Classical Theravada sub-forum.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:02 am

Hi Ben.

You wrote:

Hi Kevin
Virgo wrote:The classifications are for those of duller wit such as ourselves.
Retro wrote:Is that a classical or modern view?
virgo wrote:I believe it is classical view based on the fact that it is understood clasically that the stronger the accumulation of wisdom, the less teaching needed in order to penetrate. Abhidhamma is a teaching with many details. It is simply not necessary for some people (those with mega-wisdom like some of the Buddhas disciples).
Ben: You need to support this and other statements with references and/or material from the ancient literature or from latter-day scholars who are representative of the Classical POV as per the special rules for the Classical Theravada sub-forum.
kind regards

Ben


Kevin: Hi Ben.

Here is an old post from Robert2K:

"We see the differences in beings also explained in the suttas

Anguttara nikaya, Book of 4s, X1V, iii(133) Quick-Witted (PTS) wrote:
"Monks, these four persons are found existing in the world. What four?

He who learns by taking hints [uggha.tita~n~nu= (brief-learner)= sankhepa~n~nu]: he who learns by full details [vipa~ncit~n~nu (diffuse-learner)= vitthaarita~n~nu]: he who has to be led on (by instruction)[neyyo=netabba]: he who has just the word (of the text) at most [padaparamo=vya~njana- padam eva parama.n assa, one who learns by heart, is word-perfect but without understanding it]. These are the four."

At this time (acording to the texts) there are only padaparama and neyya. The extremely wise types with high accumulations of parami called Ugghatitannu and Vipancitannu are now extinct. Padaparama cannot attain in this life, although they can in future lives.. We, at this time, - so the Theravada commentaries say- are either padaparama or neyya and we need many details so we have to study and consider a great deal as a condition for understanding. From Ledi sayadaw
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/individu.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ledi sayadaw wrote:.""(1) A Ugghatitannu : an individual whoキ encounters a Buddha in person, and who is capable of attaining the Holy Paths and the Holy Fruits through the mere hearing of a short concise discourse.

(2) A Vipancitannu: an individual who キ encounters a Buddha in person, but キ who is capable of attaining the Paths and the Fruits only when the short discourse is expounded to him at some length.

At the present day, only the following Neyya and Padaparama classes of individuals remain.

(3) A Neyya : an individual who needs キ to study the sermon and the exposition, and then キ to practise the provisions contained therein for 7 days to 60 years, to attain the Paths and the Fruits during this lifetime if he tries hard with guidance from the right teacher.

(4) A Padaparama : is an individual who cannot attain the Paths and the Fruits within this lifetime can attain release from worldly ills in his next existence if he dies while practising samatha or vipassana and attains rebirth either as a human being or a deva within the present Buddha Sasana. "" --
Robert"
----

K

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:54 am

Thanks

B
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Nāma-rūpa

Post by Virgo » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:58 am

Ben wrote:Thanks

B
No problem.

Thanks Ben.

Kevin

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