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"Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB2

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"Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB2 Jim Smith 7/28/20 3:06 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jason Massie 7/28/20 6:19 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 7/29/20 4:48 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Daniel Slaney 7/29/20 8:10 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 7/29/20 8:55 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB T 7/29/20 9:32 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Daniel Slaney 7/29/20 11:37 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Martin 7/29/20 12:17 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 7/29/20 12:13 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Pepe 7/28/20 8:40 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 7/28/20 10:29 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 7/29/20 2:18 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB T 7/30/20 9:34 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 7/31/20 7:09 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 7/31/20 4:45 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 8/7/20 2:33 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB T DC 8/1/20 5:57 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 8/1/20 6:25 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 8/1/20 6:29 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB T DC 8/1/20 6:57 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 8/1/20 7:03 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Daniel M. Ingram 8/1/20 9:54 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB An Eternal Now 8/1/20 10:45 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB An Eternal Now 8/1/20 11:13 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 8/2/20 8:57 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Nick O 7/31/20 10:00 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 7/31/20 4:49 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Nick O 7/31/20 5:23 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 8/4/20 12:36 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 8/4/20 6:39 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Chris Marti 8/4/20 7:00 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 8/5/20 11:54 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Stirling Campbell 8/4/20 12:11 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 8/8/20 10:11 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 8/8/20 11:50 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Daniel M. Ingram 8/9/20 12:15 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 8/9/20 12:55 AM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ben Sulsky 8/4/20 12:23 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Jim Smith 8/5/20 5:40 PM
RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB Ni Nurta 8/5/20 10:37 PM
Can someone explain what is the difference between "fundamental suffering" and "conventional suffering"?

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-theravada-four-path-model/

It is important to note that arahants who are said to have eliminated “conceit” (in limited emotional range terms) can appear to us as arrogant and conceited, as well as restless or worried, etc. That there is no fundamental suffering in them while this is occurring is an utterly separate issue. That said, conceit in the conventional sense and the rest of life can cause all sorts of conventional suffering for arahants, just as it can for everyone else.

...
Here’s an example from one of my favorite, realized, arahant teachers who taught me a ton and to whom I am extremely grateful. Someone asked him, “Are you suffering?”

He answered, referring to himself, “This [name withheld] is not suffering!”

Except that I was aware of the details of this teacher’s life, and this teacher’s life involved all sorts of real, ordinary, straightforward misery and problems, the sort of suffering that is listed by the Buddha as being an integral part of the suffering of having been born into this life.


Thanks in advance,

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/28/20 6:19 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
He describes it here. https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/5-the-three-characteristics/

I
f this perceives that, there will be some tension. It becomes clear when you try to do this very inclusively especially in the 3rd nana.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/28/20 8:40 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
There's also an old thread where Daniel answers that topic:

Question of a fellow DhO member: "How can insight make an end to suffering if it doesn't erase attraction and aversion, which MCTB says it doesn't? This makes me confused about the 4 noble truths..."
Daniel Ingram:

Where does MCTB say that? It actually says the opposite. No sense of this side being somehow special, independent or stable means no split in perception at all, and no split means no sense of a this side that is trying to get to that side for nice sensations, trying to get away from that side for unpleasant sensations, and tuning out for the dull ones. Instead, everything is just where it is, doing what it does.

Thus, those tensions, both towards and away from, vanish. That is really nice and vastly better than the initial way of perceiving things. 

It doesn't fix everything about life. It doesn't eliminate all emotions or even just the "bad ones", but is does transform something in them, though this is hard to quantify. Perceptually, it is extremely satisfying in its straightworward "answer-ness".


RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/28/20 10:29 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
There is two basic types of fundamental suffering eliminated. Similar but still somewhat different.

Imagine company where you have many people that have different tasks. Then there is representative, let's call him mr. S who need to put seal on each major decision that whole organization does. Mr. S is represented with options and opinions of higher management who do discussions and ask him "what should we do now? this or that?". Decission needs to be made and the more delay the more pressure on mr. S. In the end even if mr. S chooses some option it isn't exactly what gets done because this is representative position. Any failures are of course because of mr. S bad performance. Even if retrospectively seeing he made good call but it was overridden then it was still his fault for not being strong enough in then overriding made decision.

Then imagine that in this company people are assigned to tasks and they do them and do them and do them. Doesn't matter if they are tired and would rather take time off because they do not feel well. They are the specialist and need to do their work. Also there is pressure to do something all the time. If task is performed badly they get reprimands.

When Arhat runs this company he makes these changes:
- removes ms. S from his position and terminate this position completely. Mr. S can do whatever he likes.
- let people decide for themselves, especially those which actually run things directly.
- all processes are carefully monitored. Not to find faults and persecute but to optimize process. If bad decisions are being made then people making them are instructed how to improve them.
- every task need to be able to be done by as many people as possible so when there is some allowance for worse performance then anyone who want to try themselves out doing the task can do it to gain experience and enjoy themselves.
- people work in short shifts to have enough rest and free time in which they can be creative or help with just monitoring because they might actually want to chime in and suggest better course of action before it is being made.
 input from anyone is considered based on arguments they use and not their position or experience. It is assumed that someone with no prior experience can in fact know something better if they make good arguments.
- everyone have from time to time holidays during which they just chill out with each other, get to know each-other without pressure to do anything.

Human body is like a company. People learn how to run it from people how had no idea how this should be done. No one even talks about it and language which is used reflect bad self management and even encourage it.

Normal suffering... most of it can be dealt by merely removing workers which do suffer from positions where they perform work, replacing them by those which doing the same task would not suffer. Those who suffer can then get support, if it is emotional issue then emotional support and if physical then physical support. So for example you hit yourself in the finger then all nerves which feel pain are out of work as soon as they report suffering. Or for example something which was liked got lost and suffering is reported then everyone who lost it gets out of work and can go to sleep, get support etc. and the same mental functions are performed by those who can do them without experiencing suffering. Even if maybe not as well in normal circumstances but still better than those who are emotionally hurt and suffer and who can in this state make really bad decision with loss to whole community.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 4:48 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Jason Massie:
He describes it here. https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/5-the-three-characteristics/

I
f this perceives that, there will be some tension. It becomes clear when you try to do this very inclusively especially in the 3rd nana.



https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/5-the-three-characteristics/
There are two major aspects to the Buddha’s teaching on dukkha, the first and most famous being the implications of having been born, which entails issues of having a body, and the ordinary facts of physical pain, sickness, aging, and death, as well as interpersonal conflicts, personal losses, fears, sorrows, grief, lamentation, and the like. These unfortunate aspects of having been born are clearly of great significance throughout our brief lives. However, the second aspect of dukkha is the key for insight practices, and that is the inherent painful tension that comes because we take the sensate data coming in and misinterpret those sensations in a way that causes us to habitually create the illusion of a permanent, separate, independently functioning (acausal), localized self.

Does anyone know if this distinction between suffering from being born and suffering from the misinterpretation of self made in the pali canon?  If so where?

The first thing beginners learn is that Buddhism is the path to the end of suffering and the examples of old age, sickness, and death are given. But Daniel seems to be saying Buddhism doesn't end this type of suffering it only ends the suffering caused by the misperception of a self. In the opening post I gave Daniel's quote of an arhat who is not suffering from misperception of self (fundamental sufering) but is suffering from having been born.


Thanks in advance,

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 8:10 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
...

Does anyone know if this distinction between suffering from being born and suffering from the misinterpretation of self made in the pali canon?  If so where?
...


I think the Sallatha Sutta and the metaphor of the two arrows is the classic place to look. Access to insight link here.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 8:55 AM as a reply to Daniel Slaney.
Daniel Slaney:
Jim Smith:
...

Does anyone know if this distinction between suffering from being born and suffering from the misinterpretation of self made in the pali canon?  If so where?
...


I think the Sallatha Sutta and the metaphor of the two arrows is the classic place to look. Access to insight link here.

It says a "well-instructed disciple" is "disjoined from birth, aging, & death" disjoined from suffering.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.006.than.html
...
This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person joined with birth, aging, & death; with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is joined, I tell you, with suffering & stress.
...
This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones disjoined from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is disjoined, I tell you, from suffering & stress.
...


I am not surprised. That seems to me to be Buddhism 101.

I wonder if Daniel Ingram has a reference when he writes "There are two major aspects to the Buddha’s teaching on dukkha ..."
How does he justify attributing it to Buddha?

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 9:32 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
It appears as though you spend a lot of time pondering how Daniel might be incorrect or at least off the mark, or perhaps spouting unfounded information. Maybe you just generally play the skeptical devil's advocate well; I don't know. 

However - would you get more benefit from simply exploring these topics directly in your experience, or if you must, challenging Daniel to some kind of clarifying debate or something? There is really only one place you can seek proof, and it isn't anywhere in writing. 

Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but it always appears as if you're being adversarial to the basic ideas out there on Buddhism and the kind of meditation done by many DhO members. 

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 11:37 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I think I can see the confusion here. In the quote from MCTB above there is the implicit assumption that most people would consider pain as inherently suffering. So the claim that the fruit of Buddhist practise leads to the end of suffering could lead someone to believe that they would experience no pain.

But as the Sallatha Sutta directly says a "well-instructed disciple of the noble ones" can still feel pain but their relationship to it is 'disjoined' rather than 'joined'. I would take this to mean lacking in aversion and clinging, it doesn;t imply that the pain isn't perceived or absent. I am pretty sure there is no claim in the Pali Canon that any stage of enlightenment directly relieves you of negative vedana (e.g. pain) but it does eventually free you from the aversion to the nagtive vedana.

So when it comes down to it the conventional, worldings experience of pain is composed of two parts one which enlightenment can remove one it doesn't. So Sallatha and MCTB are saying the same thing in different ways.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 12:13 PM as a reply to Daniel Slaney.
Daniel Slaney:

I think the Sallatha Sutta and the metaphor of the two arrows is the classic place to look. Access to insight link here.
Experientally understanding meaning of this sutta and being able to not generate second arrors and remove them is probably the most important accomplishement on the path.

Personally I call the second arrow as "relief from suffering" experience. It is close to pain/first arrow and provide some kind of low quality pleasure and because it is close it seems related to the pain, like it was the way to deal with it. In fact it stops pain for a moment and this makes mind take delight in it. It also light up pretty much to any pleasure even from any topic. Thus mind conditions itself naturally to use it all the time it experiences anything conditioning itself for seeking distractions.

It is unskillful but pretty normal that people are drawn to it. The issue is when they get attached to it to the point it itself is creating more suffering than the first arrow and it also has tendency to sustain itself... even indefinitely and this is what depression is or existential suffering that people can experience for decades at a time.


It is also very hard to condition yourself out of being drawn to it. Even the thought of not do it because it causes suffering creates another such experience and it draws mind toward itself pretending it is what it wants. Eventually mind just stops doing it. Though the first arrow, the pain, can be actually dealt with by moving awareness to some far away place which shows itself when mind is not participating with relief from suffering and which seems to be fueled by the same energy that pain is. Its technical interpretation is actually related to my previous post about changing workers at company and that is why this place is very far away in mind. All parts of the brain which are currently working are close, those which are not are far away.

Though there is another tricky part. When mind does notice this far away pleasure and it tries to move it via "relief from suffering" mode (not sure how to describe it) then the mind will just continue suffering as usual. The move of awareness must be made without even slightest "relief" intention. Then pain changes to bliss and this stabilizes and any movement in mind stop. Another part of nervous system takes the task of processing stuff and it can generate pleasure from it.

It also work for suffering of sense of self without need of any other realizations paths or changes. Of course using it gets you a path, 4th path to be exact. It works for literally all suffering types. It even makes it seems like suffering never existed in the first place. It makes sense because when brain switch which parts process stuff these new parts remember being well rested if anything and that is why these parts generate bliss. So eg. you lost dearest thing/person to your life... why the hell would it concern some random neuron that never really knew this thing/person because it was just resting or was doing some unrelated things before and is not the neuron which miss this thing/person and this one is now put to rest mode and thus cannot suffer. After long enough any parts of nervous system which generated suffering will generate pleasure, even when processing things which made them suffer. It will be certain type of pleasant melancholy usually and mind won't be drawn to relief from it, rather just experience it and move on. It is called healing. But this happens long time after the suffering was dealt with. There is also this gratitude felt for mind to not allow suffering to happen and instead let this hurt part of mind to be thrown in to endless ocean of non-experience bliss called Nibbana.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 12:17 PM as a reply to Daniel Slaney.
Daniel Slaney:


But as the Sallatha Sutta directly says a "well-instructed disciple of the noble ones" can still feel pain but their relationship to it is 'disjoined' rather than 'joined'. I would take this to mean lacking in aversion and clinging, it doesn;t imply that the pain isn't perceived or absent.

...

So Sallatha and MCTB are saying the same thing in different ways.

That's the way I read it. "Disjoined" from is quite different from "free" from. Funnily, I just Googled Buddha and back pain to find a sutta reference on that one and I found this DhO thread. https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5901056

Seems this is a popular topic. 

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/29/20 2:18 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.009.ntbb.html#nt4
MN 9 PTS: M i 46
Sammaditthi Sutta: The Discourse on Right View
translated from the Pali by
Ñanamoli Thera & Bhikkhu Bodhi

...

15. "And what is suffering, what is the origin of suffering, what is the cessation of suffering, what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; not to obtain what one wants is suffering; in short, the five aggregates affected by clinging are suffering. This is called suffering.

16. "And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being and craving for non-being. This is called the origin of suffering.

17. "And what is the cessation of suffering? It is the remainderless fading away and ceasing, the giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting of that same craving. This is called the cessation of suffering.

18. "And what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view... right concentration. This is called the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/30/20 9:34 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Have you heard the phrase "Mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter"? My dad used to say that to me. 

Anyway - the suffering of those things can no longer have a hold over you if you don't mind - or see through the conventional idea of them and no longer concern yourself with them. This would reduce the suffering to nil, or close. One would be free from that suffering.

Total acceptance of death (even if in pain) is freedom from suffering regarding death. 
Seeing death as a concept, because what is goes beyond that (birth, also) is freedom from the suffering of death (and birth). 

I don't suffer aging.
Trees age; I don't mind. I don't suffer.
The Earth ages; I don't mind. I don't suffer.
The house ages; I don't mind. I don't suffer. 
The dog ages; I don't mind. I don't suffer. 
The body ages; I don't mind. I don't suffer. 

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/31/20 7:09 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.

Are you saying Buddhism promises to end aging, illness, and death? I ask because it's quite obvious and clear that the "suffering" referred to in the Four Noble Truths is craving and aversion.


RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/31/20 10:00 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.


Try it this way: "The Four Noble Truths identify the SUFFERING DUE TO aging, sickness and death that is ended by the eight fold noble path."

The six realms are only open for business in this present moment. By ignorance we can cause ourselves to be born into any of which at any time. Like other religious texts, Dhamma language is metaphorical. It's code. We are born into and "die out of" each moment. This is "rebirth". The Noble Eightfold Path is the mindfulness tool to avoid being reborn into unfavorable "moments".  

Nick O:
Jim Smith:
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.


Try it this way: "The Four Noble Truths identify the SUFFERING DUE TO aging, sickness and death that is ended by the eight fold noble path."
...

Hi Nick,

I never heard of this before, and I am trying to understand why. I thought the eight fold path ends all the dukkha (mental anguish) caused by aging, sickness, and death. Is what you wrote the traditional Therevada interpretation? Are there any (on-line) references from different experts that agree with your interpretation?

Is it universally accepted? Is it unique to Daniel and his students? Or is it somewhere in between? Is it something that is usually only taught to advanced students?


Thanks

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/31/20 4:45 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.

Are you saying Buddhism promises to end aging, illness, and death? I ask because it's quite obvious and clear that the "suffering" referred to in the Four Noble Truths is craving and aversion.


Hi Chris,

I thought Buddhism promises to end the dukkha, the mental anguish, caused by aging, sickness, and death. 

I assume when Daniel writes "fundamental suffering" and "conventional suffering" he is talking about different kinds of dukkha. Dukkha from misperception of self and dukkha from being born.   Daniel seems to be saying Buddhsim does not end the dukka, the mental anguish, caused by aging, sickness, and death. It seems to me that he contradicts the 4 noble truths.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
7/31/20 5:23 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Nick O:
Jim Smith:
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.


Try it this way: "The Four Noble Truths identify the SUFFERING DUE TO aging, sickness and death that is ended by the eight fold noble path."
...

Hi Nick,

I never heard of this before, and I am trying to understand why. I thought the eight fold path ends all the dukkha (mental anguish) caused by aging, sickness, and death. Is what you wrote the traditional Therevada interpretation? Are there any (on-line) references from different experts that agree with your interpretation?

Is it universally accepted? Is it unique to Daniel and his students? Or is it somewhere in between? Is it something that is usually only taught to advanced students?


Thanks

What is the difference between what you say "the eight fold path ends all the dukkha (mental anguish) caused by aging, sickness and death." and what I say: "The eightfold path ends suffering DUE TO aging, sickness and death"?

Aging, sickness, pain, death is inevitable, right? Sickness and pain are not suffering. They are sensations. Aversion to them is suffering.

I recommend you have a few chats with Dhammarato! emoticon

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 5:57 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Are you saying Buddhism promises to end aging, illness, and death? I ask because it's quite obvious and clear that the "suffering" referred to in the Four Noble Truths is craving and aversion.


Chris, I'm not sure it's obvious at all, in fact it might be one the main issues with Buddhist practice today.  Taken at face value, the 4NT literally imply that life itself is suffering, and that the promise of enlightenment is a final end to reincarnation, thus an end to life itself.  

Craving and aversion appear to be a fine stand in for suffering, but they're really only two links in the nibbana chain, which is not a conciousness process.  Safer IMO to say ignorance is suffering, since it's the root issue. 

The hard mystical truth is that suffering, although seemingly obvious, is actually an esoteric concept.  Original Buddhist suffering represents the disconnect between the fundamental peace and perfect beauty of enlightened awareness, and our base state of ignorance (delusion and confusion).  Suffering represents the dichotomy of ignorance and enlightenment (the absence of ignorance).  Result: suffering can only be truly understood when viewed from an enlightened lens, or at least from a glimpse of enlightenment. 

So basically, it's exceedingly rare for anyone to actually understand Buddhist suffering because it would require a first hand look at enlightenment, the state whose absence produces our suffering.  In it's stead, we get all kinds of assumptions on what suffering is, including craving and aversion, which people interpret literally, and then end up trying to cut off their obvious manifest cravings such as for pleasure or life advancement.  Bit of a muddle. 

Summary: literaral interpretation is the root source of Buddhist's suffering. 

Chris, I'm not sure it's obvious at all, in fact it might be one the main issues with Buddhist practice today. 

If you read the quote that was posted, it's obvious. Your reply to me isn't in the context of the current conversation:

15. "And what is suffering, what is the origin of suffering, what is the cessation of suffering, what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; not to obtain what one wants is suffering; in short, the five aggregates affected by clinging are suffering. This is called suffering.

16. "And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being and craving for non-being. This is called the origin of suffering.

17. "And what is the cessation of suffering? It is the remainderless fading away and ceasing, the giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting of that same craving. This is called the cessation of suffering.


18. "And what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view... right concentration. This is called the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 6:29 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Now, that said, it is also obvious that people do get confused and think that Buddhism can cure old age, sickness, and death. I thought that's the misunderstanding Jim was suffering from.

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RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 6:57 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hmm thanks Chris, further reading reveals that craving is in fact held to be the origin of suffering across numerous Buddhist traditions.

I think the point I was making still stands though that a literal interpretation has very little functionality as far as actually understanding suffering. 

I think the point I was making still stands though that a literal interpretation has very little functionality as far as actually understanding suffering. 

Gee, ya think?

emoticon

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 9:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I quote from MN 121, from Access to Insight, of arahants:

"He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the effluent of sensuality... the effluent of becoming... the effluent of ignorance, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the effluent of sensuality... becoming... ignorance. And there is just this non-emptiness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition."

I quote from DN 16 from Access to Insight: 

"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, [19] that his body is more comfortable."

See also here at Access to Insight.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 10:45 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The Four Noble Truths identify aging, sickness, and death as the kind of suffering that is ended by the eight fold path.

Are you saying Buddhism promises to end aging, illness, and death? I ask because it's quite obvious and clear that the "suffering" referred to in the Four Noble Truths is craving and aversion.

Buddha did promise an end to aging, illness, and death, not in this life but in the sense of ending future rebirth. So if you don't believe in literal rebirth then this part may not make a lot of sense.

tiltbillings: "There is no "deathless." That is a bad translation leading to an objectification/reification of the idea of awakening. With awakening, there is no more rebirth, one is free from death. (31 words.)""
 
            Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm: “When you have eradicated all afflictions which cause rebirth, this is all the deathlessness you need. No more birth, BAM! no more death.”
 

Dhātuvibhanga Sutta: The Exposition of the Elements
 
https://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-length-discourses-buddha/selections/middle-length-discourses-140-dhatuvibhanga-sutta
 
    28. “Formerly, when he was ignorant, he experienced covetousness, desire, and lust; now he has abandoned them, cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, done away with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising. Formerly, when he was ignorant, he experienced anger, ill will, and hate; now he has abandoned them, cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, done away with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising. Formerly, when he was ignorant, he experienced ignorance and delusion; now he has abandoned them, cut them off [246] at the root, made them like a palm stump, done away with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing [this peace] possesses the supreme foundation of peace. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble peace, namely, the pacification of lust, hate, and delusion.
    29. “So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, should cultivate relinquishment, and should train for peace.’
    30. “‘The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these , and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?
    31. “Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and is not agitated. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he be agitated?
    32. “So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these , and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’ Bhikkhu, bear in mind this brief exposition of the six elements.”
 

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/1/20 11:13 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
I just posted something on my blog:

Appropriated Aggregates are Suffering

A common misunderstanding is that Buddha taught "life is  suffering". As Alan Smith pointed out, there is often an overemphasis on  suffering, but actually in Buddhism, there is only suffering when there  is appropriation and clinging. To be clear: Buddha has never said "life is suffering", however, he did teach right from the beginning in his first discourse on the four noble truths that "appropriated aggregates are suffering", and by appropriated I mean tainted with I-making and mine-making.

In the Pali suttas, clinging and appropriation is not equated with the sheer aggregates ( https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/MN/MN44.html
), and as Stian mentioned, he thinks aggregates are almost never
mentioned in the sense of 'sheer aggregates' in the Pali canon. I think
you get glimpses of how are 'sheer aggregates experienced by
Buddha/arahants' in scriptures like Bahiya Sutta and Kalaka Sutta. In
any case, the appropriation is what causes suffering, and the end of
appropriation is the end of suffering.

In Bahiya Sutta ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2008/01/ajahn-amaro-on-non-duality-and.html ), the end of appropriation is equated to the end of suffering, and the definition of Nirvana ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2012/09/great-resource-of-buddha-teachings.html
). The first discourse he taught was on the four noble truths and one
of his five students attained stream entry then, and the second
discourse ( https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-anatta-lakkhana-sutta.html ) he taught was on anatta and all the five monks became arahants.

Now
when we come to the Mahayana teachings, all aggregates are taught to be
primordially pure and luminous. Does this negate the Pali suttas which
says appropriated aggregates are suffering? No, it does not, if
understood correctly in context.

Here's some nice clarifications on Dhammawheel:


https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=28932
" Sobhana wrote: The Buddha sums up his definition of dukkha with: "aggregates subject to clinging are suffering" (pancu­padanak­khan­dha). What is the meaning and what are the implications?""Since "upadana" means "appropriation",(see -R&c[0]=AT2fYPYn2JBsVeZrTo81QZdkmnHLtecN3bmpYt5bcDjha7fUoCJxec6rXrL-drPT3SGMcZG5yU91UhJfGGMs8NNO_hIQANvuCsunbbIRmhvtafjDEZ7OrlHAzqt0FpRJsYVZKZ5nbWYyeRbH6-kgqrzLYSOdF8OJtSHvk3o6hiHJnWafOGVHPnoF0h480DV0HuuYKYh-Dw]http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5560 )more
accurate translation would be "appropriated aggregates are suffering".
This implies that suffering continues as long as the aggregates are
appropriated, identified with.Best wishes!Post by vinasp » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:10 amHi everyone,I intend to quote some discourses which speak of the cessation of the clinging aggregates, using the alternative term 'sakkaya.'One problem with this term is that every translator seems to use a different word for it.Bhikkhu Bodhi uses 'identity', Ven. Thanissaro uses 'identification'.However, I first need to show that 'identity' does indeed mean the five aggregates subject to clinging, this is stated in MN 44"Lady,'identity, identity' is said. What is called identity by the Blessed One?""Friend Visakha, these five aggregates affected by clinging are called identity by the Blessed One..."[Bhikkhu Bodhi, MLDB,- MN 44.2]When
I looked on suttacentral I found that they were not using BB's
translation for MN 44, but the one that they are using is very good, it
is by Anandajoti Bhikkhu.“ ‘Embodiment, embodiment,’ is said, Noble Lady. What, Noble Lady, is said to be embodiment by the Gracious One?”“These
five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment,
friend Visākha, are said to be embodiment by the Gracious One, as
follows:the
form constituent that provides fuel for attachment, the feelings
constituent that provides fuel for attachment, the perceptions
constituent that provides fuel for attachment, the (mental) processes
constituent that provides fuel for attachment, the consciousness
constituent that provides fuel for attachment...." [-R&c[0]=AT2fYPYn2JBsVeZrTo81QZdkmnHLtecN3bmpYt5bcDjha7fUoCJxec6rXrL-drPT3SGMcZG5yU91UhJfGGMs8NNO_hIQANvuCsunbbIRmhvtafjDEZ7OrlHAzqt0FpRJsYVZKZ5nbWYyeRbH6-kgqrzLYSOdF8OJtSHvk3o6hiHJnWafOGVHPnoF0h480DV0HuuYKYh-Dw]suttacentral.net - MN 44]Clinging
is a mistranslation of 'upadana', fuel or nutriment is much better, I
prefer 'sustain' because this sustaining is the cause of 'bhava'
(becoming or existence), the continuation of the existence of the
apparent self.“These five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment ..."Should be understood as: “These five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for becoming (bhava).."See
also SN 12.11 where the 'four nutriments' are said to have craving as
their source or origin. This is Dependent Origination with the four
nutriments replacing clinging (upadana).Regards, Vincent.

....
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=36826

“Yes, upadana-khandha means 'object of clinging' ('aggregate of clinging'). It does not mean a potential object of clinging but it means an object of actual clinging.Therefore, a lamp is not an upadanakhandha until there is attachment to the lamp as 'my lamp'. It follows the word compound 'upadanakhandha' can be translated as 'aggregates subject to clinging' or 'aggregates of clinging'.“
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|[11:32 AM, 8/2/2020] John Tan: Tsongkhapa spoke about appropriated aggregates in his lam-rim chen-mo.

[11:32 AM, 8/2/2020] John Tan: Mmk [Mūlamadhyamakakārikā] also

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/2/20 8:57 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Buddha did promise an end to aging, illness, and death, not in this life but in the sense of ending future rebirth. So if you don't believe in literal rebirth then this part may not make a lot of sense.

Can of worms!

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/4/20 12:36 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I am in favor of practical methods to accomplish clearly defined goals. 

And I agree the standards for the stages of awakening laid out in the Pali Canon are rarely achieved today, and teachers should be honest and realistic about what the results of their teachings are.

So I think Daniel gets these things right.

But I also think it is contradictory to title a book, "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", and then within the book reject the core teachings and teach your own version and justify it by saying it is "practical". 

The title takes advantage of the same "scary market driven propoganda" Daniel complains about (see quote below). It is like a bait and switch, which is similar to the criticisms of traditional Buddhism found in the book: promising something impractical and delivering much less. 

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-theravada-four-path-model/
Since the Theravada four-path model explicitly states that realization is mostly about eliminating greed, hatred, restlessness, worry, etc., this suggests a limited emotional range model, and deserves some serious skepticism. In fact, this is a good time to go into what I love and despise about the Theravada. [For the societal growth process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis to take place, some poor fool has to be willing to state the antithesis part and trust the synthesis to the organic process that follows and, in this case, that poor fool is me, and the person in whom I am putting my trust to synthesize well is you.] I absolutely love its emphasis on the three characteristics, love the astounding power of its techniques, and am grateful beyond words for the maps it provided me with for the territory before second path, however incomplete and idealized. I am profoundly grateful, at times to the point of tears, and I mean that, for the monasteries I got to sit in, for its preservation of what has been true and useful in Buddhism for over 2,500 years, and for the chance to have sat with real, awakened teachers.

And yet, its maps of enlightenment still contain a hefty helping of scary market-driven propaganda and so much garbage that is life-denying, dangerously out of touch with what happens, and an impediment to practice for millions of people. That the enlightened lineage holders of the modern Theravada and their ex-monk and ex-nun Western counterparts don’t have the guts to stand up and say, “We are deeply sorry that for 2,500 years, many of our predecessors perpetuated this craziness to put food in their bowls and fool ignorant peasants so that they might be supported in their other useful work, and we vow to do better!” is a crying shame.

In the context of "practicality" it is fine.

People like to have goals defined in such a way that they promise some kind of end or closure... even if tendency to use that kind of thinking is itself a fetter which needs to be removed and person without these higher fetters won't ever choose to use relief based baits to lure people to practice. They will rather throw some nonsensically sounding concepts and talk about something which doesn't even sound like any practice and generally sound like someone batshit crazy which is best ignored. that is why people need only partially enlightened people, best saying they are 4th path emoticon Then however you have this issue of unrealisticly sounding path descriptions vs. realistic models which issues is itself completely virtual and originates from ignorance.

In context of Ten Fetter model once 2nd fetter is completely removed one cannot disbelieve fetter model anymore.

But I also think it is contradictory to title a book, "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", and then within the book reject the core teachings and teach your own version and justify it by saying it is "practical". 

I'd call it honesty. MCTB is about what actually happens, not about an idealized version written to entice novices to take up a practice, only to be disappointed.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/4/20 12:11 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

But I also think it is contradictory to title a book, "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", and then within the book reject the core teachings and teach your own version and justify it by saying it is "practical". 


I posted this on another thread, but I actually think it works here too. 

Buddhism is constantly being re-written by new Arhats and Buddhas, as well as charlatans. It's just what happens. 

There has never been a stable, stick-a-pin-in-the-map definition of Buddhism has there? If Buddhism disappears some new teaching will arise about no-self and non-duality because they are an experience everyone has even if few recognize it for what it is. Those that do will be compelled to talk about it as they always have been. 

Remember, the Buddha WASN'T a Buddhist. He was simply compelled to talk about his journey, just as our host and any number of those with insight have. Is any teachers work ONLY Buddhism, or ONLY in the words of the Buddha? Of course not. Buddhism aside, there are already a number of other religions, traditions and practices aiming to expose this simple misapprehension about reality, and there are always more. 

I personally think it is pointless to ring our hands over the purity of the Buddha's teachings. The first written accounts appear 500+ years after his death. How pure are even these teachings? If they have value it is because they are tested by us personally, not verified by some fictional set of values.

Daniel's teaching is HIS version of Buddhism, just as Kenneth Folk's is his, Culadasa's is his, Rob Burbea's is his, and the Buddha of every sutta or sutra is it's own version. There IS no solid or "reference-level" Buddhism. They are for you to evaluate in YOUR experience.

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/4/20 12:23 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I really like the 'unsatisfactoriness' translation Daniel uses.

Daniel also calls it a "vague nausea" which is also really good.  Sure seems like unsatisfactoriness mostly lives in the body and pulses and does its thing there, mostly in the abdomen I suppose.  

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/5/20 11:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

I'd call it honesty. MCTB is about what actually happens, not about an idealized version written to entice novices to take up a practice, only to be disappointed.
When aggregating data one gets to conclusions which are valid.
There is also good point in putting question marks of flags on data points which might not be valid because they are uncertain.

There is no need however to be arrogant and rude about it.
ps. Not talking about you Chris

Maybe someone could get the same results as is claimed in the Pali Canon if they lived the way the Buddha lived. He meditated most of the time except when he was teaching, or sleeping. He didn't have a job, or school, or the internet to cause mental turbulence. Now-a-days, some people would call that wallowing in bliss. 

Samatha meditation, jhanas, metta meditation do a lot to reduce "conventional" dukkha. If you are free from fundamental dukkha due to realization of anatta and are meditating all day reducing conventional dukkha, maybe you would get results more like what is recorded in the Pali Canon?

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/5/20 10:37 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Does having internet causes mental disturbances by itself? I am pretty sure Buddha had access to wireless networks, not only one... having computer/technology based global network is just one of many conveniences available today.

Just like is being able to make good living with 8h at work and having job is good for practice and mental health and it doesn't need to be at all that stressful. Even when current job is not all that great it is merely good for practice. I would even say that once certain level of calmness and tranquility of mind is reached things just tend to fall in to place. If you do not seek issues for yourself and always try your best to help others then making living in today's world is not an issue.

Outside work there is a lot of time to practice and you will know how to organize your life in such a way to have this time. Then if practice is just an after thought then you literally did not choose this path as your main goal in life and so can not expect everything being immediately optimal for practice. In this case take humbly what life gives you and in the mean time optimize this life to give you more what you need.

In any way I do not believe you need to be jobless or live in monastery having bunch of restrictions put on to you to get to Buddha level of attainments. There is better access to information today and life is more comfortable. It is tendency to constantly seek misery that makes people miserable. Not seek it in regards to your self and even if you do not realize Anatta you won't suffer. Realization that all things arise, change and pass away is not rocket science.

What is rocket science is how some people tend to not remove this tendency for misery and practice solely in order to break their own mind to not even see things as they are when they are but already as if they were gone. This is an option and can cause mind to not suffer but it is also perhaps the biggest tragedy that this is what contemporary dharma usually amounts to emoticon

Jim Smith:

Hi Chris,
...
I thought Buddhism promises to end the dukkha, the mental anguish, caused by aging, sickness, and death. 
...

I once injured my shoulder and it was very painful. It caused me lot of mental angusih. But when I meditated, the meditation calmed my mind and elevated my mood. It reduced the mental anguish and when the mental anguish was reduced, the pain was much much easier to bear. (This was before I learned the jhanas, I meditated by breathing in a relaxing way and observing or counting the breath.)

That is why I think Buddhism is in part about ending the mental anguish that comes from being born, from aging, sicknes, and death.

Maybe thoretically, you could relate this to misperception of self, but experientally it had nothing to do with self.

I don't expect perfection from myself and I am not surprised if most serious students never experience the perfect absence of mental anguish.

However I think someone like the Buddha who meditated every spare minute might be able to, or might come close to,  perfecting it. 

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/8/20 10:11 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment
A Stream-enterer (Sotāpanna) is free from:

1. Identity view (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi), the belief that there is an unchanging self or soul in the five impermanent skandhas[4][5]
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings


https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21568710
Jim Smith:

...

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-theravada-four-path-model/
...

And yet, its maps of enlightenment still contain a hefty helping of scary market-driven propaganda and so much garbage that is life-denying, dangerously out of touch with what happens, and an impediment to practice for millions of people. That the enlightened lineage holders of the modern Theravada and their ex-monk and ex-nun Western counterparts don’t have the guts to stand up and say, “We are deeply sorry that for 2,500 years, many of our predecessors perpetuated this craziness to put food in their bowls and fool ignorant peasants so that they might be supported in their other useful work, and we vow to do better!” is a crying shame.

I can't tell if Daniel is criticizing Buddha himself - accusing him of deliberately lying (fooling peasants to get food and other support) - or if he is only criticizing Buddha's followers.

But it is one thing to say modern Buddhists are misunderstanding ancient writings, and it is another to say Buddhists had it wrong from the beginning.

Even if the interpretation of Buddhism Daniel advocates is an improvement, I don't see how "contradicting" can be construed as "mastering".

The title of the book should be "Correcting the Core Teachings of the Buddha"

And if Daniel is going to attribute ulterior motives to people with different opinions on the subject, there should be no objection if he is treated with the same irreverence

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/8/20 11:50 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
All the fallacies that Daniel describes are fallacies not because these things are not true but because nothing is always true at 100%.

If brain was percent device and just having realization would transform it immediately 100% and it would work at its optimal capacity 100% of the time then yeah, they would work as expected. In reality you can know something very well, even experience it as you should for years and there might come moment when you get it wrong, make a mistake or even the realization might need to be had again in the new context because it was never considered in different contexts that just doesn't come up very often. Brain is a big place with lots of branches and some are almost never used but when they are in some specific circumstances they might work "the old way" and one should always expect this to happen instead of assuming that once path moment happens and realization is being had then it automatically apply in all contexts and situations.

Thus, my distinct preference when practicing and when motivation and discipline are sufficient to motivate real practice is to assume that “enlightenment” is completely impractical, produces changes that are very limited in scope, carefully defined, and circumscribed, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the scopes of the other two trainings of morality and concentration. This means that I take it as a working hypothesis that it will not make me a better person in any way, create any beneficial mental qualities, produce any states of happiness or peace, and provide no additional clarity into any of the issues concerning how to live my ordinary life.

And I would say that this approach is no good either and would rather say that if enlightenment does not make you automatically better person then it is no good time to claim it.

There is zero point in patting yourself in the back and claiming fake paths if they do not make you better person. It of course does not mean you can not react in certain situations in certain unskillful way but that is due to what I mentioned earlier. Some times reaction might be by parts of the brain which were dormant during whole transformative process and had no chance to "update". Once they are awakened one should not make big fuss about it and rather make the best effort to update these and investigate what else is there that was missed so that no such mistake happens again.

On the other hand Daniel's approach is good exactly because when realization happen at first then its scope is so limited that it does not apply that much to everything else besides parts of mind which did have this realization. It always takes a lot of time for things to sink in. Especially when having charged up practice and rather quick progress it might be that mind is so focuses on what it does its other parts are lagging behind in how they would work not by one change but several.

One thing to note here is contexts in which these models which Daniel critique are used: monastic vs. context of lay practitioner that Daniel is aiming his books at. In monastic tradition you have teachers with years of practice and they will be the one which will guide monks and validate them. If one attains eg. 1th path realization insight then teacher won't organize him an Stream Enterer attainment party immediately but will wait until the realization has firmly set in. In lay world people after getting fruition will make SE attainment party for themselves, with cake, champagne, fireworks and all... and it is in this context it is important to be real about what this actually changes that Daniel mention and not expecting much is better approach.

But then again realizations are about understanding and not merely changes. It might be that brain reconfigures its working parts to new configuration that lacks certain bad qualities and have new good qualities but the nature of this change is not yet even understood by practitioner. Just because now it seems we got it doesn't mean we got it. When situation arise when we use different part of the brain which has old unskillful qualities and we go with it "as is" then this is not what I would call an attainment but merely preview because no attainment of real knowledge has happened yet. Now what to do with believing enlightenment is completely impractical vs believing it should be completely practical? Which one is better? I would rather go with belief it should completely practical and for this to to be the case own realizations need also to be completely practical. Any situation where something is happening and we do not know what is happening and what to do with it is a good indicator that perhaps we are not as enlightened as we used to believe and more practice and realizations are needed. By believing enlightenment is impractical we leave ourselves a loophole to unskillful behavior. Mind can have ridiculously strong tendency to cling to certain unskillful behaviors. So much so that even leaving such loopholes is not skillful. They will then be used by mind to make excuses of the "yeah, but after all just because I was supposed to be enlightened I am still allowed to some times feel this way..." variety which should never be the case as it doesn't lead to skillful outcomes. Unskillful mind states are unskillful and that is that. Once realization is made then it should be followed and it is better to adopt model which will from time to time make you realize your enlightenment is not yet 100% sinked in than adopting model that leaves loopholes for unskillful behavior.

Though Daniel has perhaps more experience with working with actual people and perhaps after deliberate consideration of the topic this is his choice of wording things and I am not so much arguing here he made wrong decision as much as presenting my own point of view. Not everyone after all must go so deep in to this kind of deliberations as to understand pitfalls of each view. Especially since Daniel books are not so much aimed at Arhats as they are aimed at normal people. I would just suggest that anyone which does think he/she is 4th path to drop "enlightenment is impractical" and start adopting "enlightenment is practical" but not as in "everything I do is as perfect as it should be" but in "everything not perfect which I am still doing should be corrected as soon as possible as to not hurt other sentient beings" and "I should not allow myself to ever act in unskillful ways because it is my responsibility to act skillfully", also because Arhats should be an example for others.

From MCTB2, Part I, which apparently people don't bother to pay much attention to:

"The third training, called wisdom, as understood within the Theravada framework, has limits, in that you can only take it so far, and it can be fully mastered. Interestingly, this cannot be said of the first two trainings of morality and concentration. There is no limit to the degree of skill that can be brought to how we conduct ourselves in the world. There are so many ways we can develop, and no obvious ways to define what one hundred percent mastery of even one of these might be.

Thus, morality is also the last training in the sense of being the training we need to cultivate throughout our lives. We may be able to attain to extraordinary states of consciousness and understand many aspects of the actual nature of sensate reality, but what people see and what is causal are the ways that these abilities and understandings translate into how we live in the world. Some folks who read MCTB1 , for reasons I am unsure of, came away with the mistaken impression that I somehow consider morality as unimportant. Let me now be completely clear on this: morality cultivated throughout our entire lives is critical for everyone, and particularly for those who want to train in concentration and wisdom!"

"The gold standard for training in morality is how consciously harmless, kind, skillful, and compassionate our intentions, words, and actions are and how well we lead a useful and moral life.

The gold standard for training in concentration is how quickly we can enter into specific, skillful, altered states of consciousness on our own meditative power, how long we can stay in them, and how refined, complete, and stable we can make those states.

The gold standard for training in wisdom with insight practices is that we can quickly and consistently perceive the true nature of the countless quick sensations that make up our whole reality, regardless of what those sensations are, allowing us to cut to a level of understanding that goes utterly beyond specific conditions but includes them all."

I assert from long experience that those with the highest ideals of perfection will have the hardest time with the "regardless of what those sensations are" part.

"A point that will be repeated in this book is that success in one of these areas doesn’t guarantee success in the others, and what one person considers success, someone else might not. For example, an aid worker in some war-torn refugee camp and a politics-renouncing solitary hermit might hold different opinions on how best to use their time to help save all beings.

This is an essential concept when it comes to all these trainings and axes of development that is often not well understood; just because you may be strong in one developmental skillset doesn’t necessarily translate into being strong in the others. Just because you have developed one to a degree and in a way that suits your ideals doesn’t mean anyone else will hold that view. Too often, models of spirituality assume that just because you have one practice or skill down that you will necessarily have some others, what I call the 'package models'. While there are some examples of people who do get packages of benefits that arrive together, there are just as many exceptions to those rules."

RE: "Conventional Suffering" vs "Fundamental Suffering" referred to in MCTB
Answer
8/9/20 12:55 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yes, if you split this whole thing in to three trainings it then makes sense.
Personally I am not making this split because for me the distinction between eg. insight and concentration and morality makes little sense. If I train myself to instantly change jhanas then it is as much requiring training concentration, mental stability and fortitude, etc. as it is requiring me to know what actually happens in my mind and which unskillful qualities prevent me from being able to do it and this I consider training in insight. Also because unskillful qualities are removed and mind gets better at instantly detecting them and suppressing these unskillful mind states it makes me less prone to these unskillful mind states and resulting unskillful actions. this in turns improves my external behavior thus makes me act in more morally adequate ways.

It all however comes to exact definitions. If by "insight" we define some scope of knowledge which can be attained and training completed then it then any additional knowledge about how nervous system works and insight shifts to other training. I do not assume either training can be completed. If I will be able to use telekinesis, walk on water, make copies of the bread and shoot lasers from my eyes then I will perhaps then consider training of insight completed. Until I do I won't because for now I cannot do simple things like telekinesis and I have no idea how to even approach the topic thus I clearly lack insight emoticon

And it doesn't even matter if these things are possible or not and it is imho unskillful to decide right away if they are because either choice might be wrong. There is imho little gain from considering insight training completed. After certain threshold is reached tendency to restlessness which drive desire for being unsatisfied with own realization level dies out anyway and so tendency to need to go to these powered up meditation sessions which in itself waste so much time which time could be used for just living.

But then again I do understand why in your textual work you made these choices. It is skillful thing to do to not feed people imagination with silly unproven ideas and just relying on "you will know when to slow down your horses" which by itself could be greatly misinterpreted. There is always delicate balance between how things are and how they should be presented, especially to wider audiences.