Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:44 pm

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:To hold the view that there is no choice is fatalism.

I ask you again, how and why did Gotama become the Buddha? Was it by mere chance? Was it an accident?

:anjali:
It was due to impersonal causes & conditions. Fully conditioned, fully not-Self.
However, the Buddha made choices.
>> 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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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by Alex123 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:46 pm

tiltbillings wrote: But it is choice. If it were not choice, there would be no kamma nor awakening. As for the 100% thingie, You are assuming a mechanical universe, but the reality is, you don't know that.

You are sounding a bit like Makkhali Gosala. Well, actually, a lot like Makkhali Gosala.
But if there isn't any choice (sankhara khandha) that is unconditioned, then how can it be free? What about anattalakkhana sutta?


Who can choose with free will to do this or that? Isn't even this choice fully conditioned?
However, the Buddha made choices.
The choices the Buddha has made were fully conditioned. I hope you are not proposing a Self, a Free Agent that can choose.
"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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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:53 pm

Alex123 wrote: The choices the Buddha has made were fully conditioned. I hope you are not proposing a Self, a Free Agent that can choose.
Not at all, but there is choice. And I hope you are not advocating Makkhali Gosala's deterministic doctrine.
>> 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

5heaps
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by 5heaps » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:02 am

Alex123 wrote:This, btw, is one of the reasons for dukkha, the 1st NT. You can't control the aggregates so that only good stuff ever happens for ever and ever. Things happen due to impersonal causes & conditions and not due to Self Agency of the Agent standing behind 5 aggregates.
did the Ajahn teach that the observer is beyond causes and conditions? i find that hard to believe
Who can choose with free will to do this or that? Isn't even this choice fully conditioned?
youre onto something, but stick to an analysis of how the controller exists. is it just the mere collection of parts, or is it something more? in the end the fact that the observer is not a controller over the observed does not contradict that the mental factor of intention exists, functions, and is conditioned.
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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by Alex123 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:15 am

Note: contact -> kamma (or intention)
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play...

..."And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma;
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The six classes of contact should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Can one control contact? No. So one cannot control the Kamma that is being done. If that were the case, may I do only that Kamma which leads to awakening! May I never do bad kamma! Unfortunately these things cannot be controlled like that.
"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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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by bodom » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:47 am

Can one control contact? No.
Right. But one can choose to control the reactions by guarding the sense doors and not allowing greed or hatred to arise.
How does one guard the sense doors? Herein, a monk, having seen a form, does not seize upon its (delusive) appearance as a whole, nor on its details. If his sense of sight were uncontrolled, covetousness, grief and other evil, unwholesome states would flow into him. Therefore he practices for the sake of its control, he watches over the sense of sight, he enters upon its control. Having heard a sound... smelt an odor... tasted a taste... felt a touch... cognized a mental object, he does not seize upon its (delusive) appearance as a whole... he enters upon its control.
:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by Alex123 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:44 am

Hi Bodom, all,
bodom wrote:
Can one control contact? No.
Right. But one can choose to control the reactions by guarding the sense doors and not allowing greed or hatred to arise.
:anjali:

WHO can choose to control the reactions? They happen ultimately due to avijjā. Can one will and control "let me have no ignorance! Let me be wise and properly react to whatever happens! Let me not be carried away by delusive features!"

avijjā ->saṅkhāra
With the arising of ignorance [avijjā] there is the arising of formations [saṅkhāra]. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of formations. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
BTW, reactions belong to saṅkhāras.

"Bhikkhus, determinations [saṅkhārā] are not self. Were determinations self, then these determinations would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.' And since determinations are not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of determinations: 'Let my determinations be thus, let my determinations be not thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



You know, I've tried to control the thoughts and reactions. It doesn't work, there is no Self that is the ultimate and sole Controller of what happens.


As if one could put peace or anger in the space between observer & the observed. As if one could set up in the min "let me never react with greed or aversion!" . If that could be done, I would have been an Arahant long ago.
"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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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by bodom » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:53 am

You know, I've tried to control the thoughts and reactions. It doesn't work..
You haven't attained mastery of mind:
"Master Gotama thinks whatever thought he wants to think, and doesn't think any thought he doesn't want to think. He wills any resolve he wants to will, and doesn't will any resolve he doesn't want to will. He has attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.
:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Alex123
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by Alex123 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:00 am

bodom wrote:
You know, I've tried to control the thoughts and reactions. It doesn't work..
You haven't attained mastery of mind:
Right. There is no Master, no Overlord who can control the mind. Neither mine, nor Self for the Buddha.


"Master Gotama thinks whatever thought he wants to think, and doesn't think any thought he doesn't want to think. He wills any resolve he wants to will, and doesn't will any resolve he doesn't want to will. He has attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.
The above talks about it conventionally from our perspective, just like in DN11 where the Buddha has said that "I feel horrified, humiliated, and disgusted with the miracle of psychic power." Obviously the Buddha, being an Arahant, cannot feel horrified, humiliated, and disgusted (aṭṭiyāmi harāyāmi jigucchāmi). It was said conventionally. Same is here.

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

Thought happens due to impersonal causes and conditions (mano + dhamma), and not due to some Self. It is all fully conditioned and happens because that is the only way it could happen.

Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect.
Manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I don't think that there is a provision for achieving a Self that can replace bare conditionality.
"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Not even the Buddha could have it 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' Same goes for other khandhas.
"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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bodom
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by bodom » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:08 am

Well then according to you were all screwed alex. None of us has the choice to follow and practice the Buddha's path. We are all bound to samsara forever.

I am sorry but I do not agree with your fatalistic views on the Dhamma.

Good luck with your practice, much metta to you and may you find happiness.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:11 am

Alex123 wrote: Can one control contact? No.
Depends. There is always going to be contact, but via the choice I make via the intention I bring to bear, I can alter the contact I have.
So one cannot control the Kamma that is being done.
Kamma is not a passive thing.
If that were the case, may I do only that Kamma which leads to awakening! May I never do bad kamma! Unfortunately these things cannot be controlled like that.
This is a distorted picture.
>> 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:16 am

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:
You know, I've tried to control the thoughts and reactions. It doesn't work..
You haven't attained mastery of mind:
Right. There is no Master, no Overlord who can control the mind. Neither mine, nor Self for the Buddha.
None of these things, but there is still choice, intention, will.
Thought happens due to impersonal causes and conditions (mano + dhamma), and not due to some Self. It is all fully conditioned and happens because that is the only way it could happen.
Don't need a "Self" for there to be willed action, choice.
Not even the Buddha could have it 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' Same goes for other khandhas.
Give us the full context of that, please.
>> 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:18 am

bodom wrote:Well then according to you were all screwed alex. None of us has the choice to follow and practice the Buddha's path. We are all bound to samsara forever.
He is giving us the Makkhali Gosala point of view and calling it the Buddha's teachings, and we know what the Buddha said about Makkhali Gosala.
>> 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: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by Viscid » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:39 am

bodom wrote: Right. There is choice, there is free will. This was my only point to begin with. Where is the problem and what do we disagree on?

:anjali:
Well if you define choice as the feeling that we have the capability to change our behaviour, then we have no disagreement. But that feeling of choice is an epiphenomenon of a deterministic (if a bit chaotic) system which self-regulates through a type of feedback loop, without any external agency involved.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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tiltbillings
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Re: Meditation, conditionality, and anatta

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:49 am

Viscid wrote:
bodom wrote: Right. There is choice, there is free will. This was my only point to begin with. Where is the problem and what do we disagree on?

:anjali:
Well if you define choice as the feeling that we have the capability to change our behaviour, then we have no disagreement. But that feeling of choice is an epiphenomenon of a deterministic (if a bit chaotic) system which self-regulates through a type of feedback loop, without any external agency involved.
And what does that mean in the real world? Are you saying, as Alex seems to saying, we have no choice, no will, no intention to act and no action dependent upon the intention?
>> 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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