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Questions for scholars of dependent origination

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I have been thinking about dependent origination - as I tend to do most days emoticon - and I have some questions that I thought might get a useful critique from the DhO. First, here is my transliteration of the traditional account of dependent origination, to accord with my own understanding as well as modern psychology.

First hexapod (description of the mind)

Aviija - Ignorance
Sankhara - Subconscious mental conditioning
Vijnana - Dualistic perception
Namarupa - Semantic (conceptual) memory
Salavatana - Sensory Input
Phassa - Recogition through application of semantic memory to sensory input 

Second Hexapod (response of the mind)

Vedana - Affect
Tanha - Desire
Upadana - Arousal
Bhava - Urges
Jati - Burning in new mental conditioning
Dukka - Suffering

First question - does this transliteration seems appropriate? I am particularly interested in whether Vedana - Tanha - Upadana is properly represented by Affect / Desire / Arousal (compared traditional translations of Feeling Tone / Thirst / Inflaming)

Second question, do Tanha and Upadana correspond exactly to the second noble truth? Most of the work I've seen concentrates on Tanha. But the suttas refer to the craving that leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust.  This very much sounds like desire accompanied by arousal, leading to absorption in urges and thus new mental conditioning.  But I can't find the original pali suttas to see whether they use both Tanha and Upadana, or at least synonyms for Upadana.  Does anybody know?  I'm thinking that we have understimated Upadana, for which the direct cure is partly tranquility and equinimity, but also clearly seeing its role in the second noble truth.

Third question. There seem to me to me to be two major types of dukka that arise from this. One is the misery of our ongoing unskilful cravings arising from the second hexapod. The second is the nagging unsatisfactoriness of our conceptual errors about self and reality, arising from the first hexapod. If so, these may have different cures - following the path steadily reduces the first type of dukkha, whereas the second type of dukkha requires insight, and eventually complete insight, to be extinguished. Thoughts?

Thanks for reading. Any comments very welcome.

Malcolm   

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/1/20 4:38 AM as a reply to curious.
Sankhara - Subconscious mental conditioning
Sankhara is not subconscious. Anything "subconscious" (called "anusaya"/"underlying tendencies") is part of ignorance. Sankhara are the subtle disturbing distracting thoughts that pop up when meditating. They are not unconscious. To the contrary, the sankhara cause consciousness to arise, that is. cause consciousness to land upon the sankharas. 

Vijnana - Dualistic perception
The above common Hindu idea has no basis in the original Buddhist scriptures. 

Namarupa - Semantic (conceptual) memory
The original Buddhist scriptures define namarupa as feeling, perception, intention, contact, attention and the form/body composed of the four elements of earth, wind, fire & water. 

What this means is the ignorant sankharas cause the body ("rupa") to become aroused and cause the mental faculties ("nama") to give inappropriate/unwise attention & intention towards the sankharas. 

Salayatana - Sensory Input
Salayanta = six sense bases. 

Phassa - Recogition through application of semantic memory to sensory input 
Phassa is defined as the meeting of sense organ, sense object & sense consciousness. The above makes it sound like phassa is "perception" ("sanna"), which the scriptures say arises after phassa. 

Upadana - Arousal
Upadana = attachment; grabbing onto. 

Bhava 
Bhava is the mind fixated upon or continuously established in ("patiṭṭhita") the sense object, which also starts creating a sense of self-identity with the sense object. 

Jati - Burning in new mental conditioning
Jati is completing a sense of self-identity. It is conceptually defining various manifestations or proliferations of aggregates as a category of beings. For example, defining or classifying various manifestations of aggregates as a "woman", "man", "child". "wife", "husband", "son", "daughter", "mother", "father", "doctor", "laywer", "potter", "farmer", "soldier", "friend", "enemy", etc. 

First question - does this transliteration seems appropriate?
Not really because the individual Pali words are extensively defined in the original scriptures. You are taking the individual words and defining them yourself. Worse, you are taking meanings from Hinduism and applying them to Buddhism. 

I am particularly interested in whether Vedana - Tanha - Upadana is properly represented by Affect / Desire / Arousal (compared traditional translations of Feeling Tone / Thirst / Inflaming)
"Affect" sounds too broad because "affect" can refer to emotional reactions that are more complex than the bare basic feelings of pleasantness & unpleasantness. Vedana are basic primal feelings of pleasantness & unpleasantness. 

"Desire" sounds too neutral for "tanha", which refers to a passionate desire. 

"Upadana" does not literally mean "arousal" even thought the scriptures do contain the phrase: "Delight in feelings is upadana". "Upadana" means to "take up" or "pick up" although the word "delight" ("nandi") is sometimes used synonymously. . 

Second question, do Tanha and Upadana correspond exactly to the second noble truth? Most of the work I've seen concentrates on Tanha.
The 2nd noble truth is about the "arising" or "origination" ("samudaya") of suffering therefore includes all twelve conditions of dependent origination, as explained in AN 3.61. The 1st sermon version of the four noble truths was only a summary. Regardless, craving alone cannot be the 2nd noble truth because the 2nd noble truth is about the "arising" of suffering therefore it must include suffering. "Becoming", born of upadana, is already suffering or stress. The 1st noble truth says attachment to the five aggregates is already suffering.  Merely the mental act of grasping (upadana) is suffering & bondage. For example, as soon as a husband sees his wife sexually embracing another man, the husband suffers (from jealously and betrayal). Then later, when his wife leaves him, he suffers further, from sorrow and despair. 

But the suttas refer to the craving that leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust.  This very much sounds like desire accompanied by arousal, leading to absorption in urges and thus new mental conditioning. 
Yes. Correct. For becoming to occur, upadana must have already occurred. As I previously said, the word "delight" ("nandi"), while having elements of craving, is often a synonym for upadana. Thus, as I already explained, the 2nd noble truth includes craving, delight/upadana and becoming. 

But I can't find the original pali suttas to see whether they use both Tanha and Upadana, or at least synonyms for Upadana. 
As I explained, in the short summarised version, "delight" ("nandi") is a synonym for "upadana". 

In the long version, all twelve conditions are the 2nd noble truth, per AN 3.61, here: https://suttacentral.net/an3.61/en/bodhi

Does anybody know?  I'm thinking that we have understimated Upadana, for which the direct cure is partly tranquility and equinimity, but also clearly seeing its role in the second noble truth

In the 1st noble truth, the Buddha summarised all suffering as "upadana". When the mind attaches to a sense object, this in itself is enslavement, constrictedness & stressful. Then when that attached-to sense object is lost via aging-&-death, there is even more suffering, called sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair. 

In the 2nd noble truth, the word "nandi" ("delight") represents upadana. In the 2nd noble truth, there are two conditions required for the arising of suffering: (i) craving; and (ii) ego-becoming. Craving alone is not the arising of suffering. There must be attachment and egoism/identity for suffering to occur/arise. 

Regards  emoticon

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 2:44 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Thanks for your input Nicky!

M.

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 8:18 AM as a reply to curious.
"Hexapod"

Aren't those the aliens from the movie "Arrival?"   emoticon

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 11:46 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
I have been thinking about dependent origination - as I tend to do most days emoticon -


Third question. There seem to me to me to be two major types of dukka that arise from this. One is the misery of our ongoing unskilful cravings arising from the second hexapod. The second is the nagging unsatisfactoriness of our conceptual errors about self and reality, arising from the first hexapod. If so, these may have different cures - following the path steadily reduces the first type of dukkha, whereas the second type of dukkha requires insight, and eventually complete insight, to be extinguished. Thoughts?

Thanks for reading. Any comments very welcome.

Malcolm   

aloha malcolm,

   I'm not a scholar and can't address the first two questions. To say something arises from a hexapod sort of spaces me out. But I have to wonder whether dukkha is ever extinguished. Things are nonself, they are impermanent, and they are inherently unsatisfactory. Things will always be so.

   Maybe we could extinguish things altogether, but we will never make them satisfactory. It is a fundamentally dualistic notion.


may all beings feel that things are satisfactory?
terry

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 11:51 AM as a reply to terry.
I agree with terry. Dukka is always with us, and the only way to extinguish it is to extinguish.

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 12:27 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:


aloha nicky,

   Great post.

   I have been looking for a sutta site like this for a very long time, thank you so much!

terry

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 12:30 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Nicky:


aloha nicky,

   Great post.

   I have been looking for a sutta site like this for a very long time, thank you so much!

terry

ya'll are probably going to get sick of me quoting suttas now...

t

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 1:18 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:

But I have to wonder whether dukkha is ever extinguished. Things are nonself, they are impermanent, and they are inherently unsatisfactory. Things will always be so.

   Maybe we could extinguish things altogether, but we will never make them satisfactory. It is a fundamentally dualistic notion.



”It is often thought that the Buddha’s doctrine teaches us that suffering will disappear if one has meditated long enough, or if one sees everything differently. It is not that at all.

Suffering isn’t going to go away; the one who suffers is going to go away.”

—Ayya Khema

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 3:08 PM as a reply to terry.
To bastardise John Donne:  Oh dukkha, where is thy sting?  

Great discussion from everyone. My motivation is to try to find ways to make dependent origination more accessible. I think there is a translation issue, but also an issue of the conceptual frameworks being employed. Some of our conceptual frameworks have advanced over the last 2500 years, so there may be better ways to describe what we all perceive than the descriptions we find in the suttas. Even the original doctrine is a bit incomplete, or inconsistent, or represents a slice through certain concepts from a certain perspective. So I ask myself, can we make the dharma more accessible?  Nicky's comments are a great spur for me to reflect on what could be better, and what is just worse.

Meanwhile, for you hexapod fans ... 




RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 3:18 PM as a reply to curious.
My motivation is to try to find ways to make dependent origination more accessible.

My personal version of this would be (is!) to tell everyone to meditate on the arising a passing away of phenomena and see the process at work in real-time. That engenders a fully grokked, deeply held and unshakable knowledge of dependent origination. The intellectual understanding of it pales in comparison.

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 3:23 PM as a reply to curious.
Meanwhile, for you hexapod fans ... 


RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/4/20 3:25 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Meanwhile, for you hexapod fans ... 


Dang, I've been trumped!

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/7/20 9:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
terry:

But I have to wonder whether dukkha is ever extinguished. Things are nonself, they are impermanent, and they are inherently unsatisfactory. Things will always be so.

   Maybe we could extinguish things altogether, but we will never make them satisfactory. It is a fundamentally dualistic notion.



”It is often thought that the Buddha’s doctrine teaches us that suffering will disappear if one has meditated long enough, or if one sees everything differently. It is not that at all.

Suffering isn’t going to go away; the one who suffers is going to go away.”

—Ayya Khema

nice!

RE: Questions for scholars of dependent origination
Answer
2/12/20 11:27 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Based on curious's great initial effort and Nicky's excellent comments, maybe we could revise the list to the following to be more comprehensible in natural English?

First hexapod (description of the mind)

Aviija - Ignorance, or unawareness
Sankhara - Rumination
Vijnana - Conscious awareness
Namarupa - Mind-&-body, or bodymind
Salayatana - Sense organs
Phassa - Sensory cognition

Second Hexapod (response of the mind)

Vedana - Valence
Tanha - Craving
Upadana - Grasping, or seeking
Bhava - Fixating, enacting, or becoming
Jati - Identifying-with, or birth
Dukka - Suffering