What is liberated?

What is liberated? Not Tao 10/23/14 8:12 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/23/14 8:15 PM
RE: What is liberated? Rod 10/23/14 11:59 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/24/14 2:24 AM
RE: What is liberated? Chuck Kasmire 10/24/14 6:54 PM
RE: What is liberated? Teague 10/24/14 7:17 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/25/14 2:15 PM
RE: What is liberated? Nicky 10/25/14 7:23 PM
RE: What is liberated? Nicky 10/26/14 3:20 PM
RE: What is liberated? Chuck Kasmire 10/29/14 2:50 PM
RE: What is liberated? CJMacie 11/2/14 6:42 AM
RE: What is liberated? CJMacie 10/30/14 12:59 AM
RE: What is liberated? J C 10/26/14 2:22 PM
RE: What is liberated? Daniel M. Ingram 10/30/14 1:43 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/30/14 6:47 AM
RE: What is liberated? Chuck Kasmire 10/31/14 6:20 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 8:22 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/31/14 9:47 PM
RE: What is liberated? Chuck Kasmire 11/2/14 8:48 AM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 11/2/14 9:51 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 11/2/14 7:27 PM
RE: What is liberated? Alexander Entelechy 11/4/14 8:31 PM
RE: What is liberated? Psi 11/4/14 11:26 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 11/2/14 7:33 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/30/14 1:16 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/30/14 5:36 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/30/14 5:39 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/30/14 5:59 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/30/14 6:07 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/30/14 9:23 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/30/14 9:40 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/30/14 11:18 PM
RE: What is liberated? Nikolai . 10/31/14 12:48 AM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/31/14 10:25 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 10:37 AM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/31/14 10:52 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 12:16 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 10:03 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/30/14 9:46 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/30/14 11:19 PM
RE: What is liberated? . Jake . 10/31/14 2:09 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 2:22 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/31/14 3:51 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 8:24 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 9:35 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 9:10 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 9:12 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 9:19 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 9:24 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 9:32 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 9:39 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 9:41 PM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 10/31/14 9:43 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 10/31/14 10:19 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 11:19 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 11/1/14 12:41 AM
RE: What is liberated? Florian 11/1/14 2:24 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 11/1/14 3:23 AM
RE: What is liberated? Florian 11/1/14 8:11 AM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 11/1/14 9:52 AM
RE: What is liberated? Florian 11/1/14 5:07 PM
RE: What is liberated? Not Tao 11/1/14 9:59 PM
RE: What is liberated? Florian 11/2/14 7:43 AM
RE: What is liberated? Jeremy May 11/1/14 3:32 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 11/1/14 9:37 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/31/14 11:19 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 11:57 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 11:45 PM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/1/14 12:24 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 11/1/14 6:51 PM
RE: What is liberated? Banned For waht? 11/2/14 6:51 AM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/31/14 11:16 PM
RE: What is liberated? An Eternal Now 10/31/14 11:20 PM
RE: What is liberated? CJMacie 11/1/14 7:43 AM
RE: What is liberated? Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/1/14 12:32 PM
RE: What is liberated? CJMacie 11/2/14 7:15 AM
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 8:12 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 8:12 PM

What is liberated?

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
I was looking through Wikipedia at the translations of the aggregates (which are actually pretty in depth with great textual references!) and I was remembering a while back I was struggling to understand how consciousness could be included in the aggregates. I realized the problem I was having was that, if consciousness is not-self along with everything else (basically, the Buddha says that the All is not-self in the fire sermon), then what exactly is the point of it all.

Is it, maybe that the aggregates are, themselves, liberated from being tied together? Is the idea that the connection is what causes stress? If not, then what is identifying with the aggregates, and what is liberated?
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 8:15 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 8:15 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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You become: not an individual, but:  aggregates tied together.

Still you.

But not.

Seemingly aligned with the Purpose of Life.

Shhwweet!
Rod, modified 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 11:59 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/23/14 11:47 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 5/30/14 Recent Posts
Probably too simplistic an answer here but I would agree - its taking 'tying together' further to create the perception/view that you are a single seperate whole solid entity. That causes the suffering because, for one reason among many, it's an attempt to maintain a 'steady permament state' called 'You', in the midst of a reality of constant change. Like trying to isolate and preserve a water droplet in the ocean! emoticon As seperate aggregates, it is not 'You',and so there is liberation from suffering. 
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 2:24 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 2:24 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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*Bows to Rod*

Yes!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 6:54 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 6:54 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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There are aggregates and then there are clinging-aggregates. The nature of ones consciousness is what makes the difference. When consciousness is bound-up with any of the other 4 aggregates - this is what turns everyday aggregates into clinging-aggregates - this is the default mode of someone who is not yet awakened. When consciousness is not bound-up with any of the aggregates then that consciousness is said to be released - this is the experience of someone that is awakened.

As an analogy, consider a person that must - for whatever reason - be holding onto something continuously. If whatever they are holding onto disappears (like an ice cube) they must immediately pick up something else. The consciousness of a non-awakened person  is like that - and this is where all the suffering stuff comes in. Compare that to someone who is free to pick-up and hold something - or drop it and not hold onto anything at all - this is like the consciousness of an awakened person.

One interesting aspect of all this is that the arahant is still able to experience the clinging-aggregates:

An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, ..., not-self. Although, for an arahant, there is nothing further to do, and nothing to add to what has been done, still these things — when developed & pursued — lead both to a pleasant abiding in the here-&-now and to mindfulness & alertness. (source)

The difference between the arahant and non-arahant is that the arahant can drop them whereas the non-arahant is stuck holding the bag so to speak. And this ability is really the point of it all - and it makes a huge difference.

So what is liberated? - the arahant is liberated - but what that term is pointing to cannot be defined with words like what, who, self, not-self, etc. - which can only apply to the aggregates. This is why when Buddha defines things as not-self - it is in relation to the aggregates.

You have to keep in mind that what is getting translated as self or sometimes soul is referring to an unchanging-self which is not how we usually use the word self in contemporary language. So what he is saying is that if you are looking for an unchanging self - don't hold onto anything that can change on you.
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Teague, modified 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 7:17 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/24/14 7:17 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Very nice description.  Thank you.
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/25/14 2:15 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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I agree, that explained a lot, actually, so thank you!
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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 10/25/14 7:23 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/25/14 7:08 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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The mind (citta) is liberated. The thinking/emotional mind (citta) is liberated. Thus, in Pali, liberation of mind (citta-vimutti; cetovimmutti) is most often mentioned.

Although there is at least one sutta (SN 22.53) referring to the liberation of consciousness (vinanna), ultimately, it is the citta that must be liberated since it is the citta that is ignorant & it is the citta that generates craving & dukkha.

Consciousness itself is neutral. Consciousness will be in bondage only when the citta is in bondage.  

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House-builder, you are seen! You will not build this house again. For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered. My mind has reached the Unconditioned (Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ); I have attained the destruction of craving.

Dhammapada 154
~~Yā ca kho ayaṃ , brāhmaṇa, akuppā cetovimutti – etadatthamidaṃ, brāhmaṇa, brahmacariyaṃ, etaṃ sāraṃ etaṃ pariyosāna

 ~~Brahmin, it is for the unshakeable release of mind. This is the essence of the holy life, it is the heartwood and the end (culmination) of the holy life.

MN 29 & 30
~~‘‘Yā cāyaṃ, āvuso, appamāṇā cetovimutti, yā ca ākiñcaññā cetovimutti, yā ca suññatā cetovimutti, yā ca animittā cetovimutti – ime dhammā nānātthā ceva nānābyañjanā ca udāhu ekatthā byañjanameva nāna’’nti?

~~Friend, the limitless release of mind, the release of mind in no-thingness, the release of mind in voidity, and the release of mind in the no-sign element, are they different in meaning and different in words or are they the same in meaning and different in words?

MN 43
~~And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind as mind? Here a bhikkhu understands mind affected by lust as mind affected by lust, and mind unaffected by lust as mind unaffected by lust. He understands mind affected by hate as mind affected by hate, and mind unaffected by hate as mind unaffected by hate. He understands mind affected by delusion as mind affected by delusion, and mind unaffected by delusion as mind unaffected by delusion. He understands contracted mind as contracted mind, and distracted mind as distracted mind. He understands exalted mind as exalted mind, and unexalted mind as unexalted mind. He understands surpassed mind as surpassed mind, and unsurpassed mind as unsurpassed mind. He understands concentrated mind as concentrated mind, and unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated mind. He understands liberated mind as liberated mind, and unliberated mind as unliberated mind (‘vimuttaṃ citta’nti pajānāti, avimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ ‘avimuttaṃ citta’nti pajānāti).

MN 10
~~If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocting, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

SN 22.53
J C, modified 7 Years ago at 10/26/14 2:22 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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Nicky, modified 7 Years ago at 10/26/14 3:20 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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There are: (i) mere aggregates & (ii) aggregates subjects of clinging (SN 22.48). 

Only one of the aggregates (sankhara aggregate) 'clings'. The other aggregates do not cling. Therefore, the term 'clinging-aggregrates' is erroneous.

What is clinging? Clinging is to be obsessed with a sense object (fueled by craving) & clinging particularly is to regard a sense object as "I", "me" & "mine".

~~Now, any delight in feeling is clinging. MN 38

~~What is clinging? There are these four kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rituals and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. MN 9

What is consciousness? Consciousness is mere sense awareness, namely, mere seeing, mere hearing, mere knowing, etc. Consciousness does not cling. Consciousness does not think the thoughts "I", "me" & "mine". It is sankkhara aggregate or citta than thinks.

~~'Consciousness, consciousness': Thus is it said. To what extent, friend, is it said to be 'consciousness'? 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness. MN 43


~~And why do you call it 'fabricator' (sankhara khandha)? Because it fabricates fabrications, thus it is called 'fabricator.' What does it fabricate? For the sake of form-ness, it fabricates about form. For the sake of feeling-ness, it fabricates about feeling. For the sake of perception-hood... For the sake of fabrication-hood... For the sake of consciousness-hood, it fabricates about consciousness. Because it fabricates fabrications, it is called fabricator (sankhara khanda). SN 22.79

Alt: ~~ Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sankhara? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things (abhisankharonti), for this reason it is called "sankhara." What does it concoct? It concocts rupa as something concocted with "formness," it concocts vedana as something concocted with "feelingness," it concocts sanya as something concocted with "recognition-ness," it concocts sankhara as something concocted with "concoctingness," it concocts vinyana as something concocted with "cognition-ness." Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things, for this reason it is called "sankhara

Can consciousness function independent of the other aggregates? The scriptures say it cannot.

~~'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness. MN 38

~~Were someone to say, 'I will describe a coming, a going, a passing away, an arising, a growth, an increase, or a proliferation of consciousness apart from form, from feeling, from perception, from fabrications,' that would be impossible....SN 22.53

~~My friend, I will give you an analogy; for there are cases where it is through the use of an analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said. It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. SN 12.67

Can insight & liberation occur without the mind being conscious of the aggregates? The scriptures say it cannot.

~~And what is the development of [mind using] concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five aggregates (subjects of clingings): 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents. AN 4.41

~~There are these five clung-to-aggregates where a monk should stay, keeping track of arising & passing away (thus): 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' As he stays keeping track of arising & passing away with regard to these five clung-to-aggregates, he abandons any conceit that 'I am' with regard to these five clinging-aggregates. This being the case, he discerns, 'I have abandoned any conceit that "I am" with regard to these five clinging-aggregates.' In this way he is alert there. MN 122


~~And how is one afflicted in body but unafflicted in mind? (Kathañca, gahapati, āturakāyo hi kho hoti no ca āturacitto?) There is the case where a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is not seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is not seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, but he does not fall into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair over its change & alteration. SN 22.1

Can wisdom or the above insight occur without consciousness? The scriptures say it cannot.

~~Discernment & consciousness are conjoined, friend, not disjoined. It's not possible, having separated them one from the other, to delineate the difference between them. For what one discerns, that one cognizes. What one cognizes, that one discerns. MN 43

So what is liberated? As has been posted, the mind (citta) is liberated.

What is the mind (citta) liberated from? Craving, ignorance, attachment, suffering. 

The mind is not liberated from the aggregates. The aggregates will always exist & function, until the life force ends.

This is why the death of an arahant is referred to as the ending of the aggregates:

Then, friend Yamaka, how would you answer if you are thus asked: A monk, a worthy one, with no more mental effluents: what is he on the break-up of the body, after death?

Thus asked, I would answer, 'Form is inconstant... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is unsatisfactory/unreliable. That which is unsatisfactory/unreliable has ceased and gone to its end'.

Very good, my friend Yamaka. Very good

SN 22.85
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Chuck Kasmire, modified 7 Years ago at 10/29/14 2:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/29/14 2:47 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Nicky,  in the future if you find your self disagreeing with someone on the suttas it might be easier to just ask them to cite their sources.

sn22.3:
The form element, householder, is the home of consciousness; one whose consciousness is shackled by lust for the form element is called one who roams about in a home. (same for feelings, perceptions, and formations)
And how, householder, does one roam about homeless? The desire, lust, delight, and craving, the engagement and clinging, the mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies regarding the form element: these have been abandoned by the Tathagata...(similarly for feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness)
Here each of the first four aggregates is described as a home for consciousness but you don’t find that consciousness is a home for consciousness - that statement is not made. Though when release is mentioned it includes release of all 5 aggregates.

SN 22.56:
And what is consciousness? These six classes of consciousness — eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness: this is called consciousness. From the origination of name-&-form comes the origination of consciousness. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of consciousness. ..

This is the only aggregate that is listed as originating from name-&-form - name being a stand-in for feeling, perception, etc - the psychological aggregates.

 SN 12.65:
... from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media... Thus is the origination of this entire mass of stress.
So there in among the aggregates is that little engine cranking out samsara moment to moment - the first four aggregates are requisite condition for consciousness while consciousness is a requisite condition for the others.

Nicky:
The mind (citta) is liberated. The thinking/emotional mind (citta) is liberated. Thus, in Pali, liberation of mind (citta-vimutti; cetovimmutti) is most often mentioned.
Certainly frequency of use in the suttas does not correlate with accuracy or correctness. If anything, it may imply that one teaching was more commonly given than another - consider how basic math is more commonly taught than calculus.

Where is citta? From wikipedia:
"Citta" primarily represents one's mindset, or state of mind. Citta is the term used  to refer to the quality of mental processes as a whole. Citta is neither an entity nor a process; this likely accounts for its not being classified as a skandha....Viññāna provides awareness and continuity by which one knows one's moral condition, and citta is an abstraction representing that condition....Attaining a purified citta corresponds to the attaining of liberating insight. This indicates that a liberated one's state of mind reflects no ignorance or defilements. As these represent bondage, their absence is described in terms of freedom.
I think the reason that citta does not show up much in discussions on the aggregates is that it is on a more abstract level - something like how we can speak about water or H2O - same territory just that one is at a more granular level. Similarly, this may be why we tend to see terms like ‘he is released’ as opposed to ‘mind is liberated’ - in these particular suttas. Same territory - different perspective.
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 12:59 AM
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RE: What is liberated?

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re: Nicky (10/26/14 3:20 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire. )

"There are: (i) mere aggregates & (ii) aggregates subjects of clinging (SN 22.48). 

Only one of the aggregates (sankhara aggregate) 'clings'. The other aggregates do not cling. Therefore, the term 'clinging-aggregrates' is
erroneous."


Some traditional and modern commentaries refer to the aggregates as being subject to clinging, rather than the aggregates themselves clinging. In which case all five can be the object of clinging.

Nicky's further analysis of sankaraas the actual mechanism of clinging makes sense.

BTW: A tangential curiosity: There's at least one place in the Suttas that mentions "aggregates NOT subject to clinging" (found referenced in a footnote in Nanmoli's translation of the Visudhimagga):

SN 47.13 -- V. The Great Book (Mahaavagga) 47. Satipat.t.thaanasaym.utta – 13 (3) Cunda (Pali: CST 4.0; translation B. Bodhi)

‘‘Kiṃ nu kho te, ānanda, sāriputto sīlakkhandhaṃ
vā ādāya parinibbuto, samādhikkhandhaṃ
vā ādāya parinibbuto, paññākkhandhaṃ
vā ādāya parinibbuto, vimuttikkhandhaṃ
vā ādāya parinibbuto, vimuttiñāṇadassanakkhandhaṃ
vā ādāya parinibbuto’’ti? ‘‘Na ca kho me, bhante,…

BBodhi p.1642 [GB consoling Ananda on the death of Sariputta – ] "did Sariputta take away your aggregate of virtue, or your aggregate of concentration, or your aggregate of wisdom, or your aggregate of liberation, or your aggregate of the knowledge and vision of liberation? 160"
fn 160, p.1924 the "five aggregates of Dhamma" (dhammakkhandha), possesed in full only by Arahants."

‘‘Nanu taṃ, ānanda, mayā paṭikacceva [paṭigacceva (sī. pī.)] akkhātaṃ – ‘sabbehi piyehi manāpehi nānābhāvo vinābhāvo aññathābhāvo. Taṃ kutettha, ānanda, labbhā!

"But have I not already declared, Ananda, that we must be parted, separated, and severed from all who are dear and agreeable to us? How,  Ananda, is it to be obtained here?…"

Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.

"Therefore, Ananda, dwell with yourselves as your own island, with yourselves as your own refuge, with no other refuge; dwell with the Dhamma as your island, with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge."
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 1:43 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 1:43 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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Consciousness is implied by sensations, but really there are just sensations. You could say that they contain "consciousness" in them, or you could say something like, "In the seeing, just the seen," which is a lot cleaner, if you ask me.

It is on ignorance that there are volitional formations, and on volitional formations depend consciousness, etc.

Thus, with the dissolution of ignorance, sensations are just as they are.

Sensations are utterly transient, so there no substantial thing to awaken in ultimate terms.

Instead, a process of identification and delusion stops, such that no longer do empty, transient, simple sensations create a fundamental illusion of a permanent, continuous, separate, perceiving self that could be liberated.

So, the question is ill-formed: it is not right to ask, "What is liberated?", and it is better to say, "Liberation occurs when a process of delusion stops," or, "Liberation occurs when clear perception of the way sensations always were occurs."

This is also useful, as it points to method, the method being clear perception of sensations.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 6:47 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 6:47 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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This is definitely the method which many must emply in order to escape from suffering.  It works!  But it is not for everyone.

It is saying that there is no existence.  If we do not exist, how can anything exist?  It reduces all sensations to the same level of illusion.  

However, it is only half-true.  Something does exist.  If nothing else, the illusion exists.  If the illusion exists, in what way does it exist?  Why does there exist an illusion?  How does this illusion emerge and how does it persist?

There is another way for liberation.  It does not involve reducing all components of illusion the same level of unimportance.  Rather, the other method is employed to understand all sensations and their causes/significances. 

This method of liberation also destroys the notion of 'self' as it gradually reveals the aggregates to be non-individualistic, interdependent, and impermanent.  However, this method also reveals that there is a continuity in the illusion, a permanent structure, a Tao.

For those who must use this other method, they do not awaken into non-being.  They awaken to an allowance for their aggregates to arise, join their place in the grand structure shared by all awarenesses, and pass after merging with other illusions.  They are no-self, but they are also avatars.  

There is liberation of importance through acceptance of unimportance.  There is liberation of importance through acceptance of importance.
What is liberated?  The entire Universe!
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 1:16 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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These are some interesting ideas guys.  Daniel, I'd be really interested to hear what you think of Jeremy's post, here.  I know you are pretty traditional Theravada, but have you practiced with any Mahayana types and maybe heard about these other pathways?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:36 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:20 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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If anyone is interested, here is how Richard of AF fame understands what each of the aggregates are as a result of reading the Pali canon for half a year or so. At least, this is my understanding from what he told me, so I may be conveying it inaccurately, though I have notes from shortly after he told me.

rupa - sensory input
vedana - hedonic tone
sanna - pre-cognitive discernment / agnition
sankhara - (willful) conation
vinna - intoxicated consciousness

These provide a sequence, that is, rupa leads to vedana leads to sanna leads to sankhara leads to vinna.

First there is the bare sensory input.

Then there is the hedonic tone - an affective overlay of pleasant, unpleasant, or anywhere in-between. Note that the buddha says this does NOT disappear, that arahants still experience vedana.

'sanna' is like the things you see out of the corner of your eye - you notice they are there, but unless something moves, you don't take active note of it.

For "willful conations", consider "willful", as in, "a willful child", that is, a child who willingly disobeys his parents and their rules. In the case of sankhara, what you are "disobeying" is being together with the Absolute, which has nothing to do with the senses or anything of the physical realm. That is, you are willfully indulging and engaging in the senses, sort of equivalent to sinning in Christian terms, though not the meaning of doing something bad, but rather, doing something apart from God.

After willfulness you have the intoxicated consciousness, that is, consciousness that is taken up with (intoxicated by) the material world by, for example, enjoying the sensual pleasures of the world.

Note I think he also said "aggregates" was also a poor translation of skhanda, but he didn't provide me a better one as far as I can recall.

===

dukkha also has a particular meaning which is not just "unsatisfactoriness" as it is usually translated.

Etymologically it is 'du- + kha'. 'du' means apart, asunder from, away from (not together with), and 'kha' means 'akasha', which means either/both The Absolute and that which shines forth from the Absolute (I think depending on context).

Thus the 4 noble truths are not (paraphrasing):
1. Life is suffering
2. There is a reason that we suffer in life (craving & aversion)
3. Suffering does cease
4. The way to end all suffering is to follow my instructions

But rather (paraphrasing):
1. Life as it is is separate from the Absolute
2. There is a reason that we are separated from the Absolute (intoxication with the world)
3. There is a way to stop being separate from the Absolute (stop being intoxicated w/ the world)
4. The way to do so is to follow my instructions

===

Thus you train yourself to withdraw from sensuality (to no longer be willful/no longer "have" sankharas) and enter the meditative states - the jhanas - and from there move on to the arupa samapattis, which are NOT jhanas (others have pointed this out too). The goal is to no longer be intoxicated with the material/sensate world, but rather, turn your gaze to the Absolute, so there is no more dukkha - no more separation from the Absolute.

(And indeed the suttas say an Arahant has a pleasant abiding contemplating that all of the 5 aggregates are dukkha - as that most likely intensifies the experience of being the Absolute. The sutta in particular i'm referring to is one i can't find right now, where it says how each type of person: pre-stream enterer, stream enterer, sakadagami, anagami, arahant, should train themselves - all in the same way, regarding khandas as dukkha/anatta.)

===

I definitely find the above quite interesting!
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:39 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:39 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Beoman, I read that sutta you mentioned just recently actually.

I was curious for a second opinion on Richard's dukkha translation.  Here is an interesting article http://brightwayzen.org/not-misunderstanding-dukkha/
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:59 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 5:59 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Not Tao:
Beoman, I read that sutta you mentioned just recently actually.

I was curious for a second opinion on Richard's dukkha translation.  Here is an interesting article http://brightwayzen.org/not-misunderstanding-dukkha/
I'm not sure if that derivation is etymologically valid. Here's an excerpt from p324 of the Pali-English dictionary by T. W. Rhys Davids, William Stede (google books link, though it'll probably only work temporarily) which agrees with what Richard said:

Dukkha. formation fr. prefix duh (see du). Bdhgh (at Vism 494) expl' dukkha as du+kha where du=du(1) and kha=akasa.

du(1) on the same page is listed as "antithetic prefix [...] Ultimately identical with du(2) in sense of asunder, apart, away from = opposite or wrong"

The page on "akasa" isn't available in the preview but other sources confirm the meaning of aether, e.g. "Akasha (or Akash, Ākāśa, आकाश) is the Sanskrit word meaning "aether" in both its elemental and metaphysical senses." I guess that's Sanskrit and not Pali but I think the meaning of akasa is less disputed than the meaning of dukkha. 
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 6:07 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 6:06 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
These posts are wonderful!
I think I may be able to illustrate certain points in my own words best, though.

When one sits on a nail, there exists two ways to keep the situation from disturbing one's Bliss.

One may listen to the pain as one would a sound, seeing it as only sensation, without important meaning as 'this too shall pass'.  One may sit upon this nail for as long as one wishes.

Or, One may allow the body to react.  No thought is required.  No agency, decision, or reflection is required.

If something in you wants to save the world, it does not take thought, agency, decision, or reflection.  It takes allowance.

If your aggregate should desire something abstract (fame, power, wealth) one should sit on the nail.
If your aggragate should desire to hug a kitten, one should allow the body to get off the nail and hug the kitty.

This is all any of that actually means.
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:23 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:18 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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This is interesting, but I also wonder if it's not too technical.  In spanish the word "adios" (also, french adeu) literally means "to god."  Atheists still use it to say goodbye though, since the meaning is no longer religious.  Dukkha wasn't a specifically buddhist concept - many sources seem to say it was a common word used to refer to stress in everyday situations.

As a counter to my own theory - dukkha was commonly used specifically as a religious term during the buddha's time.  As was nibbana.  The whole point of "going forth" was to end dukkha by attaining nibbana...

EDIT: It also says dukkha and sukha are opposites.  Sukha is said to arise in jhana, so wouldn't that be liberation if the words were literal?
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:40 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:40 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Dukkha= what does not exist as it appears
Sukha= what exists as it appears

Nibbana- no more Dukkha
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:46 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 9:46 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Perfect, except:
Akasha- primordial aether/ eternal heaven/
Kasha- Observable aeither/ impermanent sky  as in Kaea or (hawaiin) Kea
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 11:18 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 11:17 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
This is interesting, but I also wonder if it's not too technical.  In spanish the word "adios" (also, french adeu) literally means "to god."  Atheists still use it to say goodbye though, since the meaning is no longer religious.  Dukkha wasn't a specifically buddhist concept - many sources seem to say it was a common word used to refer to stress in everyday situations.

As a counter to my own theory - dukkha was commonly used specifically as a religious term during the buddha's time.  As was nibbana.  The whole point of "going forth" was to end dukkha by attaining nibbana...

Right, so that was Richard's insight. You could understand dukkha to etymologically mean "apart from akasha" but used as a term to just mean generally something dissatisfying. Being apart from akasha is itself dissatisfying but maybe the term dukkha means something dissatisfying in general, without the religious overtones per se. But when Richard parsed the Pali canon he found that it matched his experience of enlightenment remarkably well if he took the word literally. That in and of itself doesn't mean he is right about it - people will argue he wasn't truly Fully Enlightened - but it is a supporting point in my book.

Not Tao:
EDIT: It also says dukkha and sukha are opposites.  Sukha is said to arise in jhana, so wouldn't that be liberation if the words were literal?

Right sukha would mean being together with the Absolute in that case. It wouldn't necessarily mean liberation - it could be a temporary experience of being with the Absolute without having fully eliminated dukkha, for example. In any case, Richard said that as he never meditated he never experienced any of the jhanas (meaning "rupa jhanas" in DhO terminology, since the formless attainments (called 5th-8th jhana here) are not actually jhanas), so he couldn't draw from his own experience to make sense of what the Buddha was talking about with reference to jhanas.

However, regarding akasha, the first arupa samapatti (which we call 5th jhana, but which I am pretty sure is different from what he experienced) is called "ākāsānañcāyatana" (i.e., ākāsa + ānañca + āyatana). He wrote recently that "it is not for nothing that the first arūpa samāpatti – the religieux’/ mystics’ contemplative/ meditative interface betwixt the physical world and the metaphysical world – is known in Pāli as ākāsānañcāyatana (i.e., ākāsa + ānañca + āyatana) as that is the region/ sphere/ realm/ dimension/ world/ etcetera where dukkha ceases."
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 11:19 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/30/14 11:19 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeremy May:
Dukkha= what does not exist as it appears
Sukha= what exists as it appears

Nibbana- no more Dukkha

Jeremy May:
Perfect, except:
Akasha- primordial aether/ eternal heaven/
Kasha- Observable aeither/ impermanent sky  as in Kaea or (hawaiin) Kea

Jeremy, just to put these two posts together:

Are you thus saying that as rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, and vinna are all dukkha, that none of them exist as it appears - that it is only akasha (primordial aether/eternal heaven) that exists as it appears?
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Nikolai , modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 12:48 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 12:20 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Right, so that was Richard's insight. You could understand dukkha to etymologically mean "apart from akasha" but used as a term to just mean generally something dissatisfying. 


According to Leigh brasington's research, you could, sticking with the relation to 'space', take 'dukkha' to means 'dirty hole' or 'bad space', supposedly coming from the notion of a wonky or greasy and dirty axle hole where the wheel of the cart went. 
Maybe instead of using the usual English words, what if we try working from the literal meaning of dukkha - "dirty hole". The hole originally refered to the axle hole in a cart wheel. In order for the wheel to turn smoothly, the hole needs greasing. But the grease can also cause dirt and pebbles to collect in the hole, thus giving an unsatisfactory ride. So a dirty hole produces unpleasantness.So let's try the literal meaning of dukkha:
    "Having the flu is dirty hole."
    "Losing your sunglasses is dirty hole."
Well, we need to insert the article "a" since Pali has no articles. But this is actually much less meaningful than anything above. So is there any English phrase that is close to "dirty hole" and means things are not quite right? How about "bad space"?
    "Having the flu is a bad space."
    "Losing your sunglasses is a bad space."
Well, I'd want to fix these up as
    "Having the flu put me in bad space."
    "Losing your sunglasses puts you bad space."
Well, this is a little better, but we've strayed rather far from the simple "Having the flu isdukkha."What other English phrases mean somthing like "put me in a bad space"? How about "bummed me out". Or even better, the shortened "bummer":

http://www.leighb.com/bummer.htm
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:03 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:03 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Akasha is known but not percieved.

It is Nonduality!

But the Universe is both nondual and a fractal.

Once percieved, Akasha is no longer Akasha, but Sukha.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:25 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:25 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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Nikolai .:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Right, so that was Richard's insight. You could understand dukkha to etymologically mean "apart from akasha" but used as a term to just mean generally something dissatisfying. 


According to Leigh brasington's research, you could, sticking with the relation to 'space', take 'dukkha' to means 'dirty hole' or 'bad space', supposedly coming from the notion of a wonky or greasy and dirty axle hole where the wheel of the cart went. 
Maybe instead of using the usual English words, what if we try working from the literal meaning of dukkha - "dirty hole". The hole originally refered to the axle hole in a cart wheel. In order for the wheel to turn smoothly, the hole needs greasing. But the grease can also cause dirt and pebbles to collect in the hole, thus giving an unsatisfactory ride. So a dirty hole produces unpleasantness.So let's try the literal meaning of dukkha:
    "Having the flu is dirty hole."
    "Losing your sunglasses is dirty hole."
Well, we need to insert the article "a" since Pali has no articles. But this is actually much less meaningful than anything above. So is there any English phrase that is close to "dirty hole" and means things are not quite right? How about "bad space"?
    "Having the flu is a bad space."
    "Losing your sunglasses is a bad space."
Well, I'd want to fix these up as
    "Having the flu put me in bad space."
    "Losing your sunglasses puts you bad space."
Well, this is a little better, but we've strayed rather far from the simple "Having the flu isdukkha."What other English phrases mean somthing like "put me in a bad space"? How about "bummed me out". Or even better, the shortened "bummer":

http://www.leighb.com/bummer.htm

Sure, but again Leigh proposes the same general meaning of something dissatisfying/bad etc. I thought it would be interesting to consider the alternative, that dukkha does mean "apart from akasha", and see how the understanding of the Pali canon would change as a result of that. You don't have to believe it's true, but I thought it'd at least be interesting to consider.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:37 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:37 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Not only interesting...
But Utterly Brilliant!!
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:52 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:52 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
This is what that other article said too - dukka reffering to a kind of space.

@Beoman: It's an interesting idea, but it's hard to know for sure what's correct. This is probably why so many western monks study pali.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 12:16 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 12:16 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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I liked what he posted, too.  A hole cannot be dirty!
When it becomes simply a hole, it implies the rest of existence.
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Jake , modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 2:09 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 2:09 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Hmm, the Wikipedia entry on the etymology of the word definitely supports the 'bad space' literal translation and points out that it could also mean 'bad hole' and specifically in reference to an axle hole; thus samsara is a 'bumpy ride'. Also, I've heard this etymology given for the word in various different groups both Tibetan and Southeast Asian which suggests this etymology may be the tradition's own etymology from an early time given its currency in widely disparate contemporary traditions.

Also, Richard's 'translation' seems like another example (and a particulalry clear one) of him reading his own experience into Buddhism. Seperation from the Absolute and merging with the Absolute don't jibe with many forms of Budhism I know of (if any) and certainly not Therevada! emoticon

It can be an interesting exercize to substitute one meaning for another in traditional texts like that I guess, but what does the exercize demonstrate beyond the fact that if you substitute one meaning for another you get a different meaning? The metaphor of a bumpy ride vs. a smooth ride resonates more with the whole culture of Buddhism, which is generally pretty oriented towarsd practice, rather than that of merging/falling away from the absolute, which is a totally different metaphor.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 2:22 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 2:22 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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The point is to understand the term better.

Otherwise everyone is just going to argue over what terms mean, which are appropriate, which are correct.

That wastes everyone's time.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 3:51 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 3:51 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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. Jake .:
Hmm, the Wikipedia entry on the etymology of the word definitely supports the 'bad space' literal translation and points out that it could also mean 'bad hole' and specifically in reference to an axle hole; thus samsara is a 'bumpy ride'. Also, I've heard this etymology given for the word in various different groups both Tibetan and Southeast Asian which suggests this etymology may be the tradition's own etymology from an early time given its currency in widely disparate contemporary traditions.

That may be. At least there is one authoritative source that does support the other etymology, though.

. Jake .:
Also, Richard's 'translation' seems like another example (and a particulalry clear one) of him reading his own experience into Buddhism. Seperation from the Absolute and merging with the Absolute don't jibe with many forms of Budhism I know of (if any) and certainly not Therevada! emoticon

It can be an interesting exercize to substitute one meaning for another in traditional texts like that I guess, but what does the exercize demonstrate beyond the fact that if you substitute one meaning for another you get a different meaning? The metaphor of a bumpy ride vs. a smooth ride resonates more with the whole culture of Buddhism, which is generally pretty oriented towarsd practice, rather than that of merging/falling away from the absolute, which is a totally different metaphor.

Right it's definitely completely contradictory to Theravada. I know he is not the only one to have this critique, though. For example, the critique that, while Theravada understands anatta to mean "No-Self", anatta actually means "not self", as in, the skhandas are not self. The Buddha never says there is no self, even in the Theravadan canon, as far as I can tell. He also says not to have views on whether there is a self or not.

It's also interesting to note that the Buddha gives specific criteria on what something would have to be in order to be considered self, e.g. in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. It would have to not lead to affliction, you would have to be able to have it of self that "let it be thus; let it not be thus". Maybe it would have to be permanent as well, though that isn't as obvious. Nothing in the suttas denies there is a self, though, it just points out what isn't a self - which is nothing but the neti-neti approach as far as I can tell.

I get what you're saying, essentially, there are two possibilities:
1) Richard was truly Fully Enlightened, and he has unlocked what the Pali Canon has really been saying for all these years
2) Richard was not Fully Enlightened, and he has modified the Pali Canon to match his experience

Now, how would we distinguish between the two? We need more than just his word on it. I think the above is a supporting point, namely that the canon never says there is no self. Another is to compare with previous religions. The Buddha himself said that he did not discover enlightenment, rather, he *re-discovered* it (this is supported by the canon), meaning there were enlightened people before him. So you can compare the enlightened people before him with what he is saying. If they were fully enlightened and they say that Self is to merge with the Absolute, then the Buddha can't have also been fully enlightened and said there is no Self.

Another is to look at the self-consistency argument. I think the canon is more consistent using Richard's understanding, but perhaps I am biased.

Another is to look at the efficacy of the current translations. Are there even any recognized Arahats in Theravadan Buddhism now? If not, then clearly their translation and understanding is failing to produce Arahats. Personally, I think they may have changed Buddha's words so much that it's impossible to be an Arahat now, by their criteria. Generally you would want Arahats to be responsible for translations since they could compare from their own experience and make sure everything is understood correctly. Absent Arahats doing the translations, they are susceptible to being wrong. In this case if Richard was indeed an Arahat then that's precisely what he would have done.

Another is to note similarities between Richard and the canon as is understood now. The Buddha declared that he knew, as a result of divine seeing or what-not, that he had re-discovered what others before him had. Richard had the same experience: that he was the latest in a long line of saviours, that he was the Maitreya, etc. This doesn't prove it... but if you would call Richard insane for believing that he was the next saviour, the next Buddha, Maitreya, etc., then you must needs call Buddha insane for having done the very same thing.

Another supporting point for me, personally, is that while talking with Richard about this, particularly about the Absolute and the first formless realm being the interface between this world and the Absolute, I felt that I had got a glimpse of the Absolute - or rather that interface - and I saw precisely how what he was saying made sense - that withdrawing from the sensual realm with that goal in mind would lead to becoming the Absolute, to there being nothing other than the Absolute, etc. The Buddha's words make way more sense, to me, if I read them while keeping that as the goal in mind - they seem to reliably point to that very goal. I suppose this wouldn't constitute objective proof - maybe I am being fooled in exactly the same way Richard is - but a) there's the supporting evidence of above (a particularly powerful point being the lack of Arahats today) and b) I'm not sure what even would constitute objective proof here.

But if Richard is right about this, then there are two inescapable conclusions that make it very unsettling indeed:
1) Most of Buddhism of today - at least Theravadan Buddhism - is broken, just a shadow of what Buddhism really is/was, and it's impossible to become Enlightened via that route
2) Everyone has missed out on having met one of the next Buddhas, as that Buddha has not long ago self-immolated
Chuck Kasmire, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 6:20 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 6:14 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
A reply to Daniel:
Just sensations? That description never worked for me. Maybe we just need to spend some time to look into exactly what you mean by that but with respect to my own experience - I know sensations - and that that knows - when all sensations, time, and space disappear - it still knows - you could say it knows itself - infinitely vast - but in any case, not a sensation to be found. And back here on planet earth - phenomena do exist - so I have to reject a notion that makes this all sound like some big pool of coagulated bits doing whatever it does for no particular reason - but I may just misunderstand you so apologies if that is the case.

Jeremy,
The universe? No - for me I have to reject that one. Because what I went through did not happen to my neighbor - it’s really quite obvious. You don’t know my neighbor but I assume you know yours - did they also become the universe?  Additionally, this that knows is quite capable of cradling the cosmos like a cat curled-up on my lap - as well as dropping all that - watch those claws  - and as noted already - know nothing save its own mysterious knowing - for lack of a better term. Yet when it is for whatever reason done doing that - it knows to come right back to this body - not yours or your neighbors. But of course, perhaps I just misunderstand what you are saying.

Huston Smith had a saying that went something like ‘it is not that the drop is absorbed by the sea but that each drop envelops the sea’ - not quite that but close enough I think. That fits better in my case. Sometimes I wonder if we are speaking of the same experience - can’t say as I don’t have any power to know what your experiences are. So I am not saying that either of you are wrong - I trust both of you are doing your best to describe your experience as well as you can - just saying that I don’t relate to your terminology.

Here’s a question for you two: is there just this amazing sense of ease, delight, wonderment, spaciousness and freedom for no particular reason? Because if that’s the case - no worries.

What is liberated? You are. You will still be you - just not the you that you think you are now - which is what the not-self teaching is about (imho)- but there is a continuity and you will absolutely not be unconscious nor anialated. It’s like breaking free from a prison that you never knew you were in until you are no longer in it.

A few relevant thoughts from my buddy Han Shan,

The objects of the material world are the props, sets and characters of a dream-drama. When one awakens, the stage vanishes. The players and the audience too, disappear. Waking up is not death. What lives in a dream can die in a dream; but the dreamer has a real existence that doesn’t perish with the dream. ...

Vast as the universe is, it fits inside the mind. Small as the body is, there is not enough in creation to satisfy it.

Though, in fact, the Dharma’s Truth cannot be expressed in words, teachers talk on and on, trying to explain it. I suppose it’s just human nature to say that something cannot be explained and then spend hours trying to explain it...

It’s a rainy day here in California - a rarity these past few years - plants are happy - chickens not so much.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 8:22 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 8:22 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Did you just try to argue with me while also saying you may have misunderstood me?
Why should I respond to that?

There is no individuality.  Choose a particle in the Universe.  I will show you that this particle is connected via universal forces to every other particle in the entire cosmos.

If this particle is connected to every other particle, it Is all other particles.   If it is liberated, the universe is liberated.

I am a Universe.  I am liberated.  I am the Universe Liberated.  

He is a Universe.  He is not liberated.  He is a Universe not Liberated.

Of course you won't understand this.  But at least now you won't try to comment until you prove me wrong.  That should take a while.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 8:24 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 8:24 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Brilliant!
I would answer these points... but you are doing too well of a job answering them yourself.
Keep going!!!
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:35 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 8:28 PM

RE: What is liberated?

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Right it's definitely completely contradictory to Theravada. I know he is not the only one to have this critique, though. For example, the critique that, while Theravada understands anatta to mean "No-Self", anatta actually means "not self", as in, the skhandas are not self. The Buddha never says there is no self, even in the Theravadan canon, as far as I can tell. He also says not to have views on whether there is a self or not.
To realize the emptiness of self is to realize that 'self' is merely conventionally imputed on the five aggregates and has no reality. The Buddha does not reject or argue with the conventional usage of self (which could otherwise lead to misunderstanding his teaching as 'nihilistic', life denying, etc etc) which is a mere label imputed on the aggregates, but an inherently existing self is rejected (a self that has its own existence, is changeless, could perceive or feel things, or control things, etc -- as rejected and defined in many suttas).

For example: the Buddha is not making nihilistic statements like "the car does not exist", nor does he say that "the car truly exists", but he is suggesting that apart (or even within) the assemblage of various components that make-up so called 'car', there is no inherently existing 'car' anywhere or the 'soul-ness' of a 'car'. Car is just a conventional label for the assemblage.

Another example: Water is not a "self" or "soul" or "agent" joining up two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecules like this:



- http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/eternalism-nihilism-and-middle-way.html

But rather, it is like this:



The point is not that the water "is not existent", nor is it right to say "water truly exists", but water is conventionally imputed, dependently originated, empty of substance.

Same goes to anything and everything else including so called 'self' and 'five aggregates'.

See: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/anatta-not-self-or-no-self.html

SN 5.10
PTS: S i 134
CDB i 229
Vajira Sutta: Vajira
translated from the Pali by
Bhikkhu Bodhi
© 1997
Alternate translation: Thanissaro

Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Vajira dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. When she had walked for alms in Savatthi [135] and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men's Grove for the day's abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men's Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Vajira, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:
By whom has this being been created? Where is the maker of the being? Where has the being arisen? Where does the being cease?

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Vajira: "Now who is this that recited the verse — a human being or a non-human being?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration."

Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses:
Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases.

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Vajira knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

..........

Buddha:

Saṃyutta Nikāya 1

Connected Discourses with Devatas
25. The Arahant

“If a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Would he still say, ‘I speak’?
And would he say, ‘They speak to me’?”

“If a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
He might still say, ‘I speak,’
And he might say, ‘They speak to me.’
Skilful, knowing the world’s parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.”

“When a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Is it because he has come upon conceit
That he would say, ‘I speak,’
That he would say, ‘They speak to me’?”

“No knots exist for one with conceit abandoned;
For him all knots of conceit are consumed.
Though the wise one has transcended the conceived,
He still might say, ‘I speak,’
He might say too, ‘They speak to me.’
Skilful, knowing the world’s parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.”

- http://suttacentral.net/en/sn1.25

In the Potthapada Sutta, the Buddha is stated,

"In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self... it's classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self... When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

"Citta, these are the world's designations, the world's expressions, the world's ways of speaking, the world's descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them." [10]

In the Dighanakha Sutta, the Buddha states, "A bhikkhu whose mind is liberated thus, Aggivessana, sides with none and disputes with none; he employs the speech currently used in the world without ahdering to it."
..........

‘’We should carefully heed the two reasons that the Buddha does not declare, ‘’There is no self’’: not because he recognizes a transcendent self of some kind (as some interpreters allege), or because he is concerned only with delineating ‘’a strategy of perception’’ devoid of ontological implications (as others hold), but (i) because such a mode of expression was used by the annihilationists, and the Buddha wanted to avoid aligning his teaching with theirs; and (ii) because he wished to avoid causing confusion in those already attached to the idea of self. The Buddha declares that ‘all phenomena are nonself’’ (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since ‘’all phenomena’’ includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self.
Part of Note 385 on Page 1457 of The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi).

..........

Buddha:

..."What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."...


(existence, non-existence, both, neither are all rejected as untenable positions)



"For example, with the first misinterpretation — that the Buddha is denying the cosmic self found in the Upanishads — it turns out that the Upanishads contain many different views of the self, and the Buddha himself gives an analysis of those different kinds [§11]. He finds four main varieties. One is that the self has a form and is finite — for example, that your self is your conscious body and will end when the body dies. The second type is that the self has a form and is infinite — for example, the view that the self is equal to the cosmos. The third type is that the self is formless and finite. This is similar to the Christian idea of the soul: It doesn't have a shape, and its range is limited. The fourth view is that the self is formless and infinite — for example, the belief that the self is the infinite spirit or energy that animates the cosmos.

The Buddha says that each of these four varieties of self-theory comes in three different modes as to when and how the self is that way. One is that the self already is that way. Another is that the self naturally changes to be that way — for example, when you fall asleep or when you die. The third is that the self is changeable through the will. In other words, through meditation and other practices you can change the nature of your self — for example, from being finite to being infinite."

- Ven Thanissaro


It's also interesting to note that the Buddha gives specific criteria on what something would have to be in order to be considered self, e.g. in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. It would have to not lead to affliction, you would have to be able to have it of self that "let it be thus; let it not be thus". Maybe it would have to be permanent as well, though that isn't as obvious. Nothing in the suttas denies there is a self, though, it just points out what isn't a self - which is nothing but the neti-neti approach as far as I can tell.
It rejects all forms of self that could exist inside or apart from the aggregates, it rejects any sort of Self as a knower and feeler of things, it states that all phenomena which includes nirvana to be empty of self, etc. What it does not argue with is the conventional/mere-parlance of 'self'. Just like it does not argue with people on 'water' and 'car' on a conventional level, only correcting people's vision of self and things as having some sort of intrinsic existence apart from the dependently originating assemblage.




Now, how would we distinguish between the two? We need more than just his word on it. I think the above is a supporting point, namely that the canon never says there is no self. Another is to compare with previous religions. The Buddha himself said that he did not discover enlightenment, rather, he *re-discovered* it (this is supported by the canon), meaning there were enlightened people before him. So you can compare the enlightened people before him with what he is saying. If they were fully enlightened and they say that Self is to merge with the Absolute, then the Buddha can't have also been fully enlightened and said there is no Self.

The Buddha has stated that there were previous Buddhas and Pratyekabuddhas -- however such beings did not exist at all in his times for very long.

There were many so called 'enlightened teachers' in his times that only reached Self-Realization -- realizing the Upanishadic Ultimate Self of the Samkhya school that treats Purusha -- Pure Consciousness, as the Ultimate Self. This includes his two meditation teachers before he left to work his own way. They did not realize anatta nor reach liberation.

He considers himself unique in that way:



61. And the Blessed One spoke, saying: "In whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, there is not found the Noble Eightfold Path, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of saintliness. But in whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline there is found the Noble Eightfold Path, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness.[54] Now in this Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, is found the Noble Eightfold Path; and in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the bhikkhus live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats.

........

He also defines the reason why other systems are different from his:

(taken from accesstoinsight): in Cula-sihanada Sutta (MN 11) -- The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar {M i 63} [Ñanamoli Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans.] - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.011.ntbb.html , the Buddha declares that only through practicing in accord with the Dhamma can Awakening be realized. His teaching is distinguished from those of other religions and philosophies through its unique rejection of all doctrines of self.

.............

He also rejects the Samkhya system at that time:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.001.than.html

Translator's Introduction

The Buddha taught that clinging to views is one of the four forms of clinging that tie the mind to the processes of suffering. He thus recommended that his followers relinquish their clinging, not only to views in their full-blown form as specific positions, but also in their rudimentary form as the categories & relationships that the mind reads into experience. This is a point he makes in the following discourse, which is apparently his response to a particular school of Brahmanical thought that was developing in his time — the Samkhya, or classification school.

This school had its beginnings in the thought of Uddalaka, a ninth-century B.C. philosopher who posited a "root": an abstract principle out of which all things emanated and which was immanent in all things. Philosophers who carried on this line of thinking offered a variety of theories, based on logic and meditative experience, about the nature of the ultimate root and about the hierarchy of the emanation. Many of their theories were recorded in the Upanishads and eventually developed into the classical Samkhya system around the time of the Buddha.

Although the present discourse says nothing about the background of the monks listening to it, the Commentary states that before their ordination they were brahmans, and that even after their ordination they continued to interpret the Buddha's teachings in light of their previous training, which may well have been proto-Samkhya. If this is so, then the Buddha's opening lines — "I will teach you the sequence of the root of all phenomena" — would have them prepared to hear his contribution to their line of thinking. And, in fact, the list of topics he covers reads like a Buddhist Samkhya. Paralleling the classical Samkhya, it contains 24 items, begins with the physical world (here, the four physical properties), and leads back through ever more refined & inclusive levels of being & experience, culminating with the ultimate Buddhist concept: Unbinding (nibbana). In the pattern of Samkhya thought, Unbinding would thus be the ultimate "root" or ground of being immanent in all things and out of which they all emanate.

However, instead of following this pattern of thinking, the Buddha attacks it at its very root: the notion of a principle in the abstract, the "in" (immanence) & "out of" (emanation) superimposed on experience. Only an uninstructed, run of the mill person, he says, would read experience in this way. In contrast, a person in training should look for a different kind of "root" — the root of suffering experienced in the present — and find it in the act of delight. Developing dispassion for that delight, the trainee can then comprehend the process of coming-into-being for what it is, drop all participation in it, and thus achieve true Awakening.

If the listeners present at this discourse were indeed interested in fitting Buddhist teachings into a Samkhyan mold, then it's small wonder that they were displeased — one of the few places where we read of a negative reaction to the Buddha's words. They had hoped to hear his contribution to their project, but instead they hear their whole pattern of thinking & theorizing attacked as ignorant & ill-informed. The Commentary tells us, though, they were later able to overcome their displeasure and eventually attain Awakening on listening to the discourse reported in AN 3.123.

Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.

Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.

- Ven Thanissaro,  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.001.than.html

.............

Therefore, this is why Buddhadharma is radical.

As Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm Smith wrote before:

"What you are suggesting is already found in Samkhya system. I.e. the twenty four tattvas are not the self aka purusha. Since this system was well known to the Buddha, if that's all his insight was, then his insight is pretty trivial. But Buddha's teachings were novel. Why where they novel? They were novel in the fifth century BCE because of his teaching of dependent origination and emptiness. The refutation of an ultimate self is just collateral damage."

And as Thusness wrote to me in 2005:

The Pristine awareness is often mistaken as the 'Self'. It is especially
difficult for one that has intuitively experience the 'Self' to accept
'No-Self'. As I have told you many times that there will come a time when u
will intuitively perceive the 'I' -- the pure sense of Existence but you
must be strong enough to go beyond this experience until the true meaning of
Emptiness becomes clear and thorough. The Pristine Awareness is the
so-called True-Self' but why we do not call it a 'Self' and why Buddhism has
placed so much emphasis on the Emptiness nature? This then is the true
essence of Buddhism. It is needless to stress anything about 'Self' in
Buddhism; there are enough of 'Logies' of the 'I" in Indian Philosophies.
If one wants to know about the experience of 'I AM', go for the Vedas and
Bhagavat Gita. We will not know what Buddha truly taught 2500 years ago if
we buried ourselves in words. Have no doubt that The Dharma Seal is
authentic and not to be confused.

When you have experienced the 'Self' and know that its nature is empty, you
will know why to include this idea of a 'Self' into Buddha-Nature is truly
unnecessary and meaningless. True Buddhism is not about eliminating the
'small Self' but cleansing this so called 'True Self' (Atman) with the
wisdom of Emptiness.

And as Thusness stated back in February 2006, "The different between hinduism and buddhism is they return to the "I AM" and clings to it. But in buddhism it is being replaced by "emptiness nature", (the sense that) there is a purest, an entity, a stage to be gained or achieved is an illusion. There is none. No self to be found. No identity to assumed. Nothing attained. So for a teaching that is so thorough and complete, why must it resort back to a "True Self"? For one that has experienced in full emptiness nature, does he/she need to create an extra "True Self"?"

"In light of emptiness nature, "True Self" is not necessary. The so called "purest" is already understood, there is no clinging. There is hearing, no hearer...etc (This) is already beyond "True Self". Yet it exactly knows the stage of "True Self". If there is no hearing...then something is wrong. There is hearing but no hearer. Put your time into practice and understanding of no-self and emptiness. "


Another supporting point for me, personally, is that while talking with Richard about this, particularly about the Absolute and the first formless realm being the interface between this world and the Absolute, I felt that I had got a glimpse of the Absolute - or rather that interface - and I saw precisely how what he was saying made sense - that withdrawing from the sensual realm with that goal in mind would lead to becoming the Absolute, to there being nothing other than the Absolute, etc. The Buddha's words make way more sense, to me, if I read them while keeping that as the goal in mind - they seem to reliably point to that very goal. I suppose this wouldn't constitute objective proof - maybe I am being fooled in exactly the same way Richard is - but a) there's the supporting evidence of above (a particularly powerful point being the lack of Arahats today) and b) I'm not sure what even would constitute objective proof here.


There is no such thing as an 'Absolute' in pali suttas. Everything, including terms like 'death-free' (NOT 'the deathless'), simply is the non-implicative negation or the ending of dukkha or suffering, birth and rebirth. Buddha simply teaches suffering and the end of suffering. The Buddha simply defined terms like 'death-free' as the termination of passion, aggression and delusion again and again. It is 'cessation' and not the 'presence' of some sort of transcendent entity, and absolutely has nothing to with the Upanishadic Self or Absolute.

In other words, death-free only means the cessation of ignorance that could lead to the other links in the 12 links of dependent origination leading to more birth and old age and death (part of the 12 links).

This I have discussed with you before.

Therefore, it is my stance which I always held that Richard has fundamentally misunderstood the Buddha's teachings due to his reliance on faulty books and translations just to force-fit his view of what Buddha taught. (I don't know why he relied on Hindu's interpretation on suttas to affirm his views -- I have traced some of his quotations to those unreliable sources.)
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:10 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:10 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
You don't have many words of your own.

There is a permanent Self.  
It cannot be described.
But you can experience it when you understand what is impermanent.

Don't postulate absolutes that you haven't experienced yourself.  That is... like saying nothing.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:12 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:12 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Jeremy May:
You don't have many words of your own.

There is a permanent Self.  
It cannot be described.
But you can experience it when you understand what is impermanent.

Don't postulate absolutes that you haven't experienced yourself.  That is... like saying nothing.


I have experienced all of Thusness 7 stages http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

And I have written my experiences in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-e-booke-journal.html

I know exactly what the experiential realization of Ultimate Self is like, and the further stages of realization into anatta, emptiness, dependent origination.

My purpose of writing to Beoman however is not to express my own experience, but to show how Richard has fundamentally misunderstood the Buddha's teachings.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:19 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Some people have a penis.
Some people have a vagina.

There is no one Dhamma to give the world.  It is as individual as the 'beings' that exist in the world.

You will only understand your Dhamma.  

I like the quotes you have given.  I like you.

But emptiness takes its own form, depending on localized Karma, which itself is non-dual expressing itself in fractal.

Emptiness expressed by part of a fractal exists.  This can be called 'self'.  Negation would have one to belive there is no fractal.  Observance, itself, proves that this is not the case.

Can you begin to even accept the possibility that Karmic Forces, themselves, may be called 'self' and are permanent?
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:24 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:24 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
I wrote an article on Karmic Propensities last year. It is about seeing Karmic Propensities as moment of dependent origination in action, rather than seeing it as a 'self' hidden somewhere.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/total-exertion-of-karmic-tendencies.html



Karmic propensity is the whole of one's experiential reality. If one
feels like a changeless witness, that experience of feeling like a
changeless witness IS that propensity in action, in experience... if one
is seeing fully that there's only transience (the radiant flow of
sights/sounds/smells/taste/touch/thoughts), that is the actualization of
wisdom (of anatta).


If one sees manifestation but appears solid, that's also the view of
latent tendency, that view of inherent existence in action. That very
feeling of concreteness IS karmic tendency. If one sees this very
presence (of any experience - sight, sound, smell, etc) is empty of any
it-ness, concreteness, solidity, apparent yet empty, that very vision
itself is the actualization of wisdom, it is the total exertion of
wisdom, it IS wisdom. Or as Dzogchen puts it - those very five elements
(space, wind, fire, water, earth) are wisdoms by nature, so experienced
in its actual state, is that actualization of wisdom.


In a way, the view is the experience... every samsaric experience is the
total exertion of ignorance along with the 12 links in a single moment.
Occasionally ignorant view is forgotten in a peak experience, such a
cessation is however non-analytical and merely a passing state, as the
conditions for the re-emergence of ignorance and afflictions have not
been cut off from its roots. Only the analytical cessation resulting
from penetrative prajna wisdom of twofold emptiness can lead to a
permanent and quantum shift of perception away from ignorance, what
Lankavatara Sutra calls the "turning-about" in the deepest seat of
consciousness (but again this deepest seat is not somewhere else but
fully manifesting!).


So the karmic tendency, and wisdom, you've been searching for has never
been elsewhere but is staring right in your face as your experiential
reality all along! Funny how one doesn't see that. That very activity
that is mentally fabricated but appearing real as one's only
experiential reality at that given moment, just that is the spell of
karmic tendency. That activity that is (experienced/seen as) luminous
and empty as one's only experiential reality at that given moment is the
wisdom.


I remember when Ciaran (of Ruthless Truth) saw the real fiction of self
(a process of creative imagination brought into real life, a real
creation based on an imaginary character) he wrote that it was a "zen on
drugs" moment. Yeah, I can see why he said that!


Thusness commented, "Very good, so the dreams in dreams (http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/buddha-dharma-dream-in-dream.html). Otherwise you are seeing clarity as empty and tendencies as inherent... hiding somewhere."
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:32 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Well, friend, If we agree and have written similar explanations...
Why can you not see Richard as being exactly who he should be?
Not for everyone... but for himself.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:39 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:39 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Jeremy May:
Well, friend, If we agree and have written similar explanations...
Why can you not see Richard as being exactly who he should be?
Not for everyone... but for himself.
Apologetics aren't meant to change the opinion of the person in question (e.g. Richard) as it almost always doesn't work due to the strong views and opinions of said person, but to prevent people from falling into the misinformed views espoused by said person.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:41 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:41 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Well Dear Buddha...
I defer to that.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:43 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
I also had to say certain things.
Dragon is precious to me.
He must be allowed to see all Dhammas right now.
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 9:47 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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Chuck, what you're describing sounds like what I call the PCE. emoticon Is there some kind of self related phenomena I'm missing in that, apart from the "veil has dropped" type thing, that you would consider to be "anatta"?
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 10:19 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

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AEN, I take awareness to be my self.  I don't need to believe in anything perminant or seperate from the universe to take awareness as my self.  I can be a changing thing, and I can be something that will cease to exist.  I understand my awareness is emergent from my brain.  None of that really explains why this awareness isn't "me".  Daniel says this awareness doesn't exist apart from the arising of phenomena.  What makes it not a self?

In your example, you say that it's wrong to say water exists or doesn't exist, but water IS the molecule - the definition emerges from the molecule, which means water does exist.  The car emerges from it's parts.  The self emerges from the brain and the aggregates or whatever, that doesn't really change anything.

If these aggregates exist before and after enlightenment, what changes about them to be "liberated"?  Does the experience change in some way?  You are explaining some basic ideas but they don't really resonate with me.  I need a visceral experience-based explanation of anatta, not a philosophically based one.  See what I mean?  I understand the concepts well enough, but they don't explain why a person stops suffering.

It's like, if you break a water molecule apart it's no longer water, but rather atoms.  Is that what happens?  Probably not or the goal would be to get rid of the self, which is annihilationist.  You can call a water molecule something else, but unless it changes in some fundimental way, it's still just a water molecule.  This is what I see when people say suffering still exists but doesn't happen to anyone.  Well it's also true that there was no one there to begin with, so what's the deal?  It just sounds like nothing really changes.

P.s. I hope this doesn't sound rude, but your posts are often very long with lots of suttas, so I can't do more than skim them most of the time.  If you think you already answered this, maybe you can point out the part that was important for me?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:19 PM
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RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

Right it's definitely completely contradictory to Theravada. I know he is not the only one to have this critique, though. For example, the critique that, while Theravada understands anatta to mean "No-Self", anatta actually means "not self", as in, the skhandas are not self. The Buddha never says there is no self, even in the Theravadan canon, as far as I can tell. He also says not to have views on whether there is a self or not.
To realize the emptiness of self is to realize that 'self' is merely conventionally imputed on the five aggregates and has no reality. The Buddha does not reject or argue with the conventional usage of self (which could otherwise lead to misunderstanding his teaching as 'nihilistic', life denying, etc etc) which is a mere label imputed on the aggregates, but an inherently existing self is rejected (a self that has its own existence, is changeless, could perceive or feel things, or control things, etc -- as rejected and defined in many suttas).
Right I never argued that Buddha rejects the conventional use of 'self'. He does say "I do this and that" using I conventionally, as in the sutta you pointed out later.

So where exactly does he reject an inherently existing self? I don't think any of the suttas you quoted conclusively show this. I will go through it one at a time.

===
An Eternal Now:
For example: the Buddha is not making nihilistic statements like "the car does not exist", nor does he say that "the car truly exists", but he is suggesting that apart (or even within) the assemblage of various components that make-up so called 'car', there is no inherently existing 'car' anywhere or the 'soul-ness' of a 'car'. Car is just a conventional label for the assemblage.
Right, that's what you have to prove. In the Anatta-lakkhana sutta, he doesn't say there is no self, he just says none of the skhandas are self.

However he also doesn't say that the self is a conventional label for the aggregates. He says the aggregates are not self.
===
An Eternal Now:
Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Vajira dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. When she had walked for alms in Savatthi [135] and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Blind Men's Grove for the day's abiding. Having plunged into the Blind Men's Grove, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Vajira, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:
By whom has this being been created? Where is the maker of the being? Where has the being arisen? Where does the being cease?

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Vajira: "Now who is this that recited the verse — a human being or a non-human being?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited the verse desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in me, desiring to make me fall away from concentration."

Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses:
Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases.

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Vajira knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.
Mm so my question to you is, why is the word "being" here used, and not "self"? Surely if the suttas were meant to show that this applies to 'self', they would just use the term "self". An alternate translation uses "living being" instead of "being".
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An Eternal Now:
Saṃyutta Nikāya 1

Connected Discourses with Devatas
25. The Arahant

“If a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Would he still say, ‘I speak’?
And would he say, ‘They speak to me’?”

“If a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
He might still say, ‘I speak,’
And he might say, ‘They speak to me.’
Skilful, knowing the world’s parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.”

“When a bhikkhu is an arahant,
Consummate, with taints destroyed,
One who bears his final body,
Is it because he has come upon conceit
That he would say, ‘I speak,’
That he would say, ‘They speak to me’?”

“No knots exist for one with conceit abandoned;
For him all knots of conceit are consumed.
Though the wise one has transcended the conceived,
He still might say, ‘I speak,’
He might say too, ‘They speak to me.’
Skilful, knowing the world’s parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.”
Right, here he is saying, just because the bhikku says "I speak" referring to the aggregates, it doesn't mean that the bhikku thinks there is a self in the aggregates. We're in agreement on this. It doesn't counter my point, though.
===
An Eternal Now:
"In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self... it's classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self... When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it's not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It's classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

"Citta, these are the world's designations, the world's expressions, the world's ways of speaking, the world's descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them." [10]
I'm not sure of the relevance of this to be honest.
===
An Eternal Now:
‘’We should carefully heed the two reasons that the Buddha does not declare, ‘’There is no self’’: not because he recognizes a transcendent self of some kind (as some interpreters allege), or because he is concerned only with delineating ‘’a strategy of perception’’ devoid of ontological implications (as others hold), but (i) because such a mode of expression was used by the annihilationists, and the Buddha wanted to avoid aligning his teaching with theirs; and (ii) because he wished to avoid causing confusion in those already attached to the idea of self. The Buddha declares that ‘all phenomena are nonself’’ (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since ‘’all phenomena’’ includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self.
Part of Note 385 on Page 1457 of The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi).
Yes, as I mentioned, he didn't want people to either have a view that there is a self or a view that there is no self. This doesn't mean that he thought there is a self or that there is no self, though, just that one shouldn't have views, but one should see for oneself. It's irrelevant to the point I'm making as either position - yes self or no self - is equal in this regard.
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An Eternal Now:
Buddha:

..."What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha — when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life — is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata — the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment — being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."...


(existence, non-existence, both, neither are all rejected as untenable positions)
I would not say that they are rejected as untenable positions, but rather, that the Tathagata is stating that none of these positions apply to the Tathagata. The Tathagata cannot be pinned down at all. Nor can any Arahat, I would argue...
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An Eternal Now:
"For example, with the first misinterpretation — that the Buddha is denying the cosmic self found in the Upanishads — it turns out that the Upanishads contain many different views of the self, and the Buddha himself gives an analysis of those different kinds [§11]. He finds four main varieties. One is that the self has a form and is finite — for example, that your self is your conscious body and will end when the body dies. The second type is that the self has a form and is infinite — for example, the view that the self is equal to the cosmos. The third type is that the self is formless and finite. This is similar to the Christian idea of the soul: It doesn't have a shape, and its range is limited. The fourth view is that the self is formless and infinite — for example, the belief that the self is the infinite spirit or energy that animates the cosmos.

The Buddha says that each of these four varieties of self-theory comes in three different modes as to when and how the self is that way. One is that the self already is that way. Another is that the self naturally changes to be that way — for example, when you fall asleep or when you die. The third is that the self is changeable through the will. In other words, through meditation and other practices you can change the nature of your self — for example, from being finite to being infinite."

- Ven Thanissaro
Could we limit this to looking at suttas directly vs. others' interpretations of suttas?
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An Eternal Now:
It's also interesting to note that the Buddha gives specific criteria on what something would have to be in order to be considered self, e.g. in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. It would have to not lead to affliction, you would have to be able to have it of self that "let it be thus; let it not be thus". Maybe it would have to be permanent as well, though that isn't as obvious. Nothing in the suttas denies there is a self, though, it just points out what isn't a self - which is nothing but the neti-neti approach as far as I can tell.
It rejects all forms of self that could exist inside or apart from the aggregates [...]
No, if you read it carefully, Buddha points out that any sort of rupa/vedana/sanna/sankhara/vinnana - past/future/present, gross or subtle, in oneself or out, etc., are not self. It does not reject a form of self apart from the skhandas.
An Eternal Now:
[...] it rejects any sort of Self as a knower and feeler of things [...]
No, it deals strictly with the skhandas and points out that the skhandas are not self.
An Eternal Now:
[...] it states that all phenomena which includes nirvana to be empty of self, etc.
No, the sutta doesn't mention nirvana, nor does it say anything is empty of self, rather it points out that none of the skhandas are self.
An Eternal Now:
What it does not argue with is the conventional/mere-parlance of 'self'. Just like it does not argue with people on 'water' and 'car' on a conventional level, only correcting people's vision of self and things as having some sort of intrinsic existence apart from the dependently originating assemblage.
It doesn't say anything about whether self has any sort of intrinsic existence or not, it just points out that none of the skhandas are self.
===
An Eternal Now:
Now, how would we distinguish between the two? We need more than just his word on it. I think the above is a supporting point, namely that the canon never says there is no self. Another is to compare with previous religions. The Buddha himself said that he did not discover enlightenment, rather, he *re-discovered* it (this is supported by the canon), meaning there were enlightened people before him. So you can compare the enlightened people before him with what he is saying. If they were fully enlightened and they say that Self is to merge with the Absolute, then the Buddha can't have also been fully enlightened and said there is no Self.

The Buddha has stated that there were previous Buddhas and Pratyekabuddhas -- however such beings did not exist at all in his times for very long.

There were many so called 'enlightened teachers' in his times that only reached Self-Realization -- realizing the Upanishadic Ultimate Self of the Samkhya school that treats Purusha -- Pure Consciousness, as the Ultimate Self. This includes his two meditation teachers before he left to work his own way. They did not realize anatta nor reach liberation.
Right, I am not saying he thought he did. He said essentially that he was the latest in a long line. I don't think he was too historically accurate with the amount of years that the previous Buddhas lived, though, but yes he did say he rediscovered something that had been dead.
An Eternal Now:
He considers himself unique in that way:

61. And the Blessed One spoke, saying: "In whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, there is not found the Noble Eightfold Path, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of saintliness. But in whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline there is found the Noble Eightfold Path, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness.[54] Now in this Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, is found the Noble Eightfold Path; and in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the bhikkhus live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats.
Okay, you must realize it can't simultaneously be true that he has rediscovered something, and that there never existed anybody else whose Dhammas were true. If nobody else knew the Dhamma, then he can't possibly have rediscovered it, he would have been the first to discover it. But he never claimed to be the first. Here I will presume he was referring to other teachers of his time, not all teachers throughout history.
An Eternal Now:
He also defines the reason why other systems are different from his:

(taken from accesstoinsight): in Cula-sihanada Sutta (MN 11) -- The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar {M i 63} [Ñanamoli Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans.] - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.011.ntbb.html , the Buddha declares that only through practicing in accord with the Dhamma can Awakening be realized. His teaching is distinguished from those of other religions and philosophies through its unique rejection of all doctrines of self. [...] He also rejects the Samkhya system at that time:
Right he is saying he's the best in that time, that nobody else at that time was teaching the Dhamma, not that nobody before him ever taught the Dhamma. Also he rejects the view of being and the view of non-being, he doesn't say that there is no self or that there is a self.
An Eternal Now:
Therefore, this is why Buddhadharma is radical.
Well it can't be quite so radical if he himself admitted he was not the first to have been Enlightened.

I will qualify that: perhaps he was the first to come up with this particular approach of teaching, that this approach was better than all the other approaches to get Enlightened. But the Enlightenment itself was *not* something he discovered - it's something he *re-discovered*.
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An Eternal Now:
As Loppon Namdrol/Malcolm Smith wrote before:

"What you are suggesting is already found in Samkhya system. I.e. the twenty four tattvas are not the self aka purusha. Since this system was well known to the Buddha, if that's all his insight was, then his insight is pretty trivial. But Buddha's teachings were novel. Why where they novel? They were novel in the fifth century BCE because of his teaching of dependent origination and emptiness. The refutation of an ultimate self is just collateral damage."
Well I will point out that sutta says " he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding", however it doesn't say "he does not conceive Unbinding as self". It also doesn't state that any of these things are not-self.
An Eternal Now:
Another supporting point for me, personally, is that while talking with Richard about this, particularly about the Absolute and the first formless realm being the interface between this world and the Absolute, I felt that I had got a glimpse of the Absolute - or rather that interface - and I saw precisely how what he was saying made sense - that withdrawing from the sensual realm with that goal in mind would lead to becoming the Absolute, to there being nothing other than the Absolute, etc. The Buddha's words make way more sense, to me, if I read them while keeping that as the goal in mind - they seem to reliably point to that very goal. I suppose this wouldn't constitute objective proof - maybe I am being fooled in exactly the same way Richard is - but a) there's the supporting evidence of above (a particularly powerful point being the lack of Arahats today) and b) I'm not sure what even would constitute objective proof here.


There is no such thing as an 'Absolute' in pali suttas. Everything, including terms like 'death-free' (NOT 'the deathless'), simply is the non-implicative negation or the ending of dukkha or suffering, birth and rebirth. Buddha simply teaches suffering and the end of suffering. The Buddha simply defined terms like 'death-free' as the termination of passion, aggression and delusion again and again. It is 'cessation' and not the 'presence' of some sort of transcendent entity, and absolutely has nothing to with the Upanishadic Self or Absolute.
Well that's what we're debating - whether any of what the Buddha said does have anything to do with the Absolute. My contention is that the Theravadan canon, translated as it is, has elided those parts, but it can be inferred from what is left e.g. that the Buddha never stated there is no self, just that the aggregates are not self, and that if something were self, it would have to have certain qualities, which coincidentally are the qualities that the Absolute has.
An Eternal Now:
In other words, death-free only means the cessation of ignorance that could lead to the other links in the 12 links of dependent origination leading to more birth and old age and death (part of the 12 links).

This I have discussed with you before.
Yes, no need to go into that again at this point I don't think.
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An Eternal Now:
Therefore, it is my stance which I always held that Richard has fundamentally misunderstood the Buddha's teachings due to his reliance on faulty books and translations just to force-fit his view of what Buddha taught.
Yea I get that. Though note that this new understanding that I am talking about didn't exist before 3 years ago, so if nothing has changed for you from 5 years ago to 3 years ago, you haven't taken into account any new information, e.g.:
RICHARD: [...] the vast majority of my on-line writings about Buddhism at that time – being mainly responses to queries and objections from non-Buddhist practitioners – were rather general; quite encyclopaedic in nature, in fact, and thus reflected the remarkably erroneous yet commonly-accepted English translations of key Buddhist words ... key words such as ‘mindful’/ ‘mindfulness’, for sati (instead of ‘rememorative’, ‘rememoration’); ‘heedless’/ ‘negligent’, for pamada (rather than ‘(worldly) intoxication’); ‘feeling’/ ‘sensation’, for vedāna (in lieu of ‘hedonic-tone’); ‘fabrications’/ ‘formations’, for saṅkhāra (instead of ‘(wilful) conations’); ‘defilements’/ ‘taints’/ ‘cankers’, for āsava (rather than ‘(worldly) intoxicants’); ‘sense’/ ‘perception’, for sāñña (in lieu of ‘agnise’, ‘agnition’); ‘suffering’/ ‘stress’/ ‘ill’, for dukkha (instead of ‘asunder, apart or away from ākāsa’); ‘space’/ ‘air’, for ākāsa (rather than ‘aether’, ‘etheric’, ‘ethereal’) and so on.

An Eternal Now:
(I don't know why he relied on Hindu's interpretation on suttas to affirm his views -- I have traced some of his quotations to those unreliable sources.)

Hmm isn't it begging the question to say that they are unreliable? It at least gives no new information. Richard thinks they are reliable because they match his experience of Enlightenment which he used to inform his understanding of Buddhism, you say they are unreliable because they don't match your understanding of Buddhism.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:19 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:13 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
AEN, I take awareness to be my self.  I don't need to believe in anything perminant or seperate from the universe to take awareness as my self.  I can be a changing thing, and I can be something that will cease to exist.  I understand my awareness is emergent from my brain.  None of that really explains why this awareness isn't "me".  Daniel says this awareness doesn't exist apart from the arising of phenomena.  What makes it not a self?
If you think there are two things -- Awareness is the self, the observer, and the object of observation are being observed by that Awareness, then you have not fundamentally understood 'in the seen just the seen', no seer/seeing apart from the self-luminous 'seen', sound, taste, touch in all its vivid intensity. Awareness is just the experience 'scenery', 'thoughts', 'sound', etc, Awareness is not a Subject (observer/agent/etc), and as scenery, thoughts, sound, arise and subsides according to conditions, how can 'Awareness' be said to be 'You' any more than the cat or the scenery or the sound be said to be 'You'? In fact, Awareness is not only not 'I' but also not 'mine'. In other words, when breathing, that breathing is not 'yours' -- it is all the causes and conditions, the body movement, the air, etc all coming together to form this self-luminous formation or moment of manifestation which you call 'awareness' or 'luminous clarity'. Why do you think breathing is more 'yours' than the air is 'yours'? Does the air belong to you or the wind belong to you or the heat in the body belong to you etc?

That breathing vividly expericned as crystal clarity is not anymore yours than is the wind blowing yours, etc, it is all part of nature (or rather, the play of Dharma, the play of dependent origination). Any attempt to pin down something as 'you' or 'yours' is fundamentally delusional. Everything is as intimately experienced and as the total exertion... for example, as I wrote in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/dharma-body.html , "all bodily sensations and movement are felt in crystal clarity and intimacy... Yet, no more intimate than the trees and the sky and the buildings, which are all the Dharma Body in action... all functioning together as much as two legs are functioning together in an activity called walking.

Yes... when I move this body (actually take the "I" out - body is just this movement without I), it is this whole hands swinging-legs moving-heads turning-scenery appearing and shifting all in one interconnected activity, and this "environment"/scenery is also the movement of body as much as moving legs are considered the movement of body"

In other words, manifestation (seen/heard/taste/etc) is emerging co-dependently, but there is no you as a seer, thinker, feeler apart from that, nor can anything be said to be 'mine'.
In your example, you say that it's wrong to say water exists or doesn't exist, but water IS the molecule - the definition emerges from the molecule, which means water does exist.  The car emerges from it's parts.  The self emerges from the brain and the aggregates or whatever, that doesn't really change anything.
The functionality which we conventionally label as 'car' emerges, there is no 'soul of the car' or 'inherent existence of the car' which emerges.

If these aggregates exist before and after enlightenment, what changes about them to be "liberated"?  Does the experience change in some way?  You are explaining some basic ideas but they don't really resonate with me.  I need a visceral experience-based explanation of anatta, not a philosophically based one.  See what I mean?  I understand the concepts well enough, but they don't explain why a person stops suffering.
The experience of anatta is very distinguishable and anyone who describes it will simply be describing the same stuff in slightly different phrasing. However it should be noted that the "Experience" must result from realization of anatta as dharma seal, otherwise it will remain as a mere peak experience.

1) experience becomes centerless, great expanse without boundaries, which is also experienced as a great sense of emancipation and release.
2) there is deep joy in the direct experiencing of the intense clarity that does not emanate from any centerpoint but is simply vividly present as whatever manifests (in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard, etc) without any sense of an observer. Sense of wonder and amazement at the richness of every ordinary experience, everything is alive, luminous.
3) grasping are liberated, thoughts sensations etc are spontaneous (happening on its own accord via conditions) without doer or agency, free, self-liberating without traces like drawing on water -- there is no chaining or succession of identities in self (the delusion that moment by moment I am still I) or phenomena (the delusion that moment by moment it is still it), and release is felt every moment due to release of that chaining
4) emotional afflictions are liberated (same as a few of my other friends who realized anatta): i no longer feel angry, sad, etc, even sexual lust is simply sort of not there in the way like before, but I'm careful of saying anything like "I am free from craving" because I still have habit of listening to music, eating chocolates etc.

As for "why" a person stops suffering in anatta, there is no need to intellectualize "why" -- sort of like when you carry a 30kg load for 30km and suddenly drop it, you experience that AHHH... release... there is no need to form theories on "why" dropping that load feels like such a release from suffering. That is analogous to 'release' from insight. It just is. The experience of anatta is freedom.

Also with regards to things like emotional afflictions:


I also wrote an article in http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/how-experiential-realization-helps-in.html

Excerpt:


(10:17 PM) Thusness: though anatta is a seal, it also requires one to arise the insight to feel liberated.
(10:18 PM) Thusness: when a practitioner realizes the anatta nature of manifestation, at that moment without the sense of observer, there is no negative emotions.
(10:19 PM) Thusness: there is only vivid sensation of the all arising as presence

(10:27 PM) Thusness: when u r angry, it is a split
(10:28 PM) Thusness: when u realized its anatta nature, there is just vivid clarity of all the bodily sensations
even when there is an arising thought of something bad, it dissolves with no involvement in the content
(10:29 PM) Thusness: to be angry, a 'someone' must come into the content
(10:29 PM) Thusness: when there is no involvement of the extra agent, there is only recoiling and self liberations
(10:33 PM) Thusness: one should differentiate arising thought from the active involvement of the content
(10:34 PM) Thusness: a practitioner that realizes anatta is only involved fully in the vivid presence of the action, phenomena but not getting lost in content


Kyle also informed me last year:

"...The anatta definitely severed many emotional afflictions, for the most part I don't have negative emotions anymore. And either the anatta or the strict shamatha training has resulted in stable shamatha where thoughts have little effect and are diminished by the force of clarity. I'm also able to control them, stopping them for any amount of desired time etc. but I understand that isn't what is important.
Can I fully open to whatever arises I would say yes. I understand that every instance of experience is fully appearing to itself as the radiance of clarity, yet timelessly disjointed and unsubstantiated.."

It's like, if you break a water molecule apart it's no longer water, but rather atoms.  Is that what happens?  Probably not or the goal would be to get rid of the self, which is annihilationist.  You can call a water molecule something else, but unless it changes in some fundimental way, it's still just a water molecule.  This is what I see when people say suffering still exists but doesn't happen to anyone.  Well it's also true that there was no one there to begin with, so what's the deal?  It just sounds like nothing really changes.

P.s. I hope this doesn't sound rude, but your posts are often very long with lots of suttas, so I can't do more than skim them most of the time.  If you think you already answered this, maybe you can point out the part that was important for me?

The idea that 'things' exists eternally is delusional. Water molecule is not some static thing but is everchanging, impermanent phenomena. Water molecule is just a convention.. just like 'self' is a convention for our everchanging conglomerate of aggregates. But the point is also not merely to see aggregates as impermanent, but to realize 'in the seen only the seen' with no 'you' in any form at all existing in terms of that.

"Well it's also true that there was no one there to begin with, so what's the deal? It just sounds like nothing really changes."

Nothing changes when one is living under the delusion that a self exists. Everything changes when anatta is realized as dharma seal.


Lastly: Annihilation only applies when there is a 'self' to begin with, but no 'self' can be pinned down as reality to begin with. The delusion and suffering ends, not an actual self.


Buddha:

"Speaking in this way, teaching in this way, I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by some brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' But as I am not that, as I do not say that, so I have been erroneously, vainly, falsely, unfactually misrepresented by those venerable brahmans and contemplatives [who say], 'Gotama the contemplative is one who misleads. He declares the annihilation, destruction, extermination of the existing being.' [13]

"Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress. [14] And if others insult, abuse, taunt, bother, & harass the Tathagata for that, he feels no hatred, no resentment, no dissatisfaction of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he feels no joy, no happiness, no elation of heart because of that. And if others honor, respect, revere, & venerate the Tathagata for that, he thinks, 'They do me such service at this that has already been comprehended.' [15] - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.022.than.html
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:16 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:16 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now:
[... snip very long post quoted ...]bump.

Could you please not bump quoting an entire very long post? It unnecessarily takes up space. Could you edit it out?
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:20 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:20 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Sure.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:57 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:43 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
§
Mm so my question to you is, why is the word "being" here used, and not "self"? Surely if the suttas were meant to show that this applies to 'self', they would just use the term "self". An alternate translation uses "living being" instead of "being".

Being is self.
relevance
It means the Buddha is clearly describing self as mere conventional parlance.
It does not reject a form of self apart from the skhandas.

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

....

"He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness."

(meaning also all notions of Self as underlying phenomena, possessing phenomena, or immanent within phenomena)
looking at the suttas directly

Sure.
§11. "To what extent, Ānanda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.' "Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will become possessed of form and finite [when asleep/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him. [Similarly with each of the other views.] — DN 15
{AEN: [...] it rejects any sort of Self as a knower and feeler of things [...]} No, it deals strictly with the skhandas and points out that the skhandas are not self.

...or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

- Sabbasava Sutta

"Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

"When hearing...

"When sensing...

"When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.

Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.

- Kalaka Sutta
Well it can't be quite so radical if he himself admitted he was not the first to have been Enlightened.
Radical in India at that time throughout all scriptures and teachers which are based on the view of an upanishadic Self.

Not radical if you're including long-forgotten teachings of previous Buddhas, Pratyekabuddhas, etc.
however it doesn't say "he does not conceive Unbinding as self". It also doesn't state that any of these things are not-self.

All dharmas are anatta, dharmas include Nirvana.

https://sites.google.com/site/rahulawhatthebuddha/the-doctrine-of-no-soul
Those who want to find a ‘Self’ in Buddhism argue as follows: It is true that the Buddha analyses being into matter, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness, and says that none of these things is self. But he does not say that there is no self at all in man or anywhere else, apart from these aggregates.
This position is untenable for two reasons:
One is that, according to the Buddha’s teaching, a being is composed only of these Five Aggregates, and nothing more. Nowhere has he said that there was anything more than these Five Aggregates in a being.
The second reason is that the Buddha denied categorically, in unequivocal terms, in more than one place, the existence of Ātman, Soul, Self, or Ego within man or without, or anywhere else in the universe. Let us take some examples.
In the Dhammapada there are three verses extremely important and essential in the Buddha’s teaching. They are nos. 5, 6 and 7 of chapter XX (or verses 277, 278, 279).
The first two verses say:
‘All conditioned things are impermanent’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ aniccā), and ‘All conditioned things are dukkha’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ dukkhā).
The third verse says:
‘All dhammas are without self’ (Sabbe DHAMMĀ anattā).[132]
Here it should be carefully observed that in the first two verses the word saṁkhārā ‘conditioned things’ is used. But in its place in the third verse the word dhammā is used. Why didn’t the third verse use the word saṃkhārā ‘conditioned things’ as the previous two verses, and why did it use the term dhammā instead? Here lies the crux of the whole matter.
The term saṃkhāra[133] denotes the Five Aggregates, all conditioned, interdependent, relative things and states, both physical and mental. If the third verse said: ‘All saṃkhārā (conditioned things) are without self’, then one might think that, although conditioned things are without self, yet there may be a Self outside conditioned things, outside the Five Aggregates. It is in order to avoid misunderstanding that the term dhammā is used in the third verse.
The term dhamma is much wider than saṃkhāra. There is no term in Buddhist terminology wider than dhamma. It includes not only the conditioned things and states, but also the non-conditioned, the Absolute, Nirvāṇa. There is nothing in the universe or outside, good or bad, conditioned or non-conditioned, relative or absolute, which is not included in this term. Therefore, it is quite clear that, according to this statement: ‘All dhammas are without Self’, there is no Self, no Ātman, not only in the Five Aggregates, but nowhere else too outside them or apart from them.[134]
This means, according to the Theravāda teaching, that there is no self either in the individual (puggala) or in dhammas. The Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy maintains exactly the same position, without the slightest difference, on this point, putting emphasis on dharma-nairātmya as well as on pudgala- nairātmya.
In the Alagaddūpama-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya, addressing his disciples, the Buddha said: ‘O bhikkhus, accept a soul-theory (Attavāda) in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation. But, do you see, O bhikkhus, such a soul-theory in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation?’
‘Certainly not, Sir.’
‘Good, O bhikkhus. I, too, O bhikkhus, do not see a soul-theory, in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation.’[135]
If there had been any soul-theory which the Buddha had accepted, he would certainly have explained it here, because he asked the bhikkhus to accept that soul-theory which did not produce suffering. But in the Buddha’s view, there is no such soul theory, and any soul-theory, whatever it may be, however subtle and sublime, is false and imaginary, creating all kinds of problems, producing in its train grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, tribulation and trouble.
Continuing the discourse the Buddha said in the same sutta:
‘O bhikkhus, when neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly and really be found, this speculative view: “The universe is that Ātman (Soul); I shall be that after death, permanent, abiding, ever-lasting, unchanging, and I shall exist as such for eternity” – is it not wholly and completely foolish?’[136]
Here the Buddha explicitly states that an Ātman, or Soul, or Self, is nowhere to be found in reality, and it is foolish to believe that there is such a thing.
Those who seek a self in the Buddha’s teaching quote a few examples which they first translate wrongly, and then misinterpret. One of them is the well-known line Attā hi attano nātho from the Dhammapada (XII, 4, or verse 160), which is translated as ‘Self is the lord of self’, and then interpreted to mean that the big Self is the lord of the small self.
First of all, this translation is incorrect. Attā here does not mean self in the sense of soul. In Pali the word attā is generally used as a reflexive or indefinite pronoun, except in a few cases where it specifically and philosophically refers to the soul-theory, as we have seen above. But in general usage, as in the XII chapter in the Dhammapada where this line occurs, and in many other places, it is used as a reflexive or indefinite pronoun meaning ‘myself’, ‘yourself’, ‘himself’, ‘one’, ‘oneself’, etc.[137]
Next, the word nātho does not mean ‘lord’, but ‘refuge’, ‘support’, ‘help’, ‘protection’.[138] Therefore, Attā hi attano nātho really means ‘One is one’s own refuge’ or ‘One is one’s own help’ or ‘support’. It has nothing to do with any metaphysical soul or self. It simply means that you have to rely on yourself, and not on others.
Another example of the attempt to introduce idea of self into the Buddha’s teaching is in the well-known words Attidīpā viharatha, attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, which are taken out of context in the Mahāparinibbāna-sutta.[139]This phrase literally means: ‘Dwell making yourselves your island (support), making yourselves your refuge, and not anyone else as your refuge.’[140] Those who wish to see a self in Buddhism interpret the words attadīpā and attasaraṇā ‘taking self as a lamp’, ‘taking self as a refuge’.[141]
We cannot understand the full meaning and significance of the advice of the Buddha to Ānanda, unless we take into consideration the background and the context in which these words were spoken.”
the Buddha never stated there is no self, just that the aggregates are not self, and that if something were self, it would have to have certain qualities, which coincidentally are the qualities that the Absolute has.
as above:
The first two verses say:
‘All conditioned things are impermanent’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ aniccā), and ‘All conditioned things are dukkha’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ dukkhā).
The third verse says:
‘All dhammas are without self’ (Sabbe DHAMMĀ anattā).[132]


Hmm isn't it begging the question to say that they are unreliable? It at least gives no new information. Richard thinks they are reliable because they match his experience of Enlightenment which he used to inform his understanding of Buddhism, you say they are unreliable because they don't match your understanding of Buddhism.
He should not assume that all Enlightenments are the same (e.g. Upanishadic enlightenment, and the Buddhist form of awakening), nor assume that he must have realized what Buddha realized.
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:45 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/31/14 11:45 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
I'll be taking a leave from this thread for foreseeable future to focus on my exams.
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:41 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:41 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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If the delusion is "I am a self" and then the delusion is removed and suddenly I think "I am not a self," then wouldn't the delusion be the "self" in question - thus the self is removed and there is no self left, just a centerless experience?

I experienced awareness without an object a few times when I got pretty deep into the jhanas.  I'm not really sure how that could arise if awareness really was just the object of awareness itself.  I think I understand luminous presence, but it doesn't strike me as a union of awareness and object, but rather an absence of time, specifically.

Is anyone creative enough to explain anatta without relying on the concept of self?  I think that's what I need.
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Florian, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 2:24 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 2:24 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
I'm late to the fun...

Some "answers" in a playful spirit - don't take them too seriously.

Not Tao:
If the delusion is "I am a self" and then the delusion is removed and suddenly I think "I am not a self," then wouldn't the delusion be the "self" in question - thus the self is removed and there is no self left, just a centerless experience?


Like, scooping out the "self" would leave a hole to show where it once was? It never was there in the first place, so there's nothing to scoop out and no hole full of no-self to leave behind.

Just because we can talk about non-existing things doesn't mean they exist. It means we talk about them.

I experienced awareness without an object a few times when I got pretty deep into the jhanas.  I'm not really sure how that could arise if awareness really was just the object of awareness itself.  I think I understand luminous presence, but it doesn't strike me as a union of awareness and object, but rather an absence of time, specifically.


How does "awareness of absence" work, then? In your case, absence of time?

Is anyone creative enough to explain anatta without relying on the concept of self?  I think that's what I need.


"Self and not self" is like insisting to keep track of "right and left" on a Möbius Band.

Cheers,
Florian
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 3:23 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 3:23 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
What?
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Florian, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 8:11 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 7:20 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Jeremy May:
What?


In case you were asking about the Möbius Band analogy: left and right don't work on the Band. If you imagine yourself standing on such a band, red crayon in the left hand and green in the right, and start walking, marking the edges with the appropriate color, you'll eventually run into an edge already colored, but with the opposite color.

"Left and Right" don't make sense on the Möbius Band, because while there seem to be two edges, "left" and "right", actually there is only one. A technical word is that the Band is "non-orientable".



So that's my not-so-creative explanation or lame analogy of anatta without using "self": "There is a Self" and "There is not a Self" seem to be two opposing views, but they don't adequately describe the situation. In the Möbius analogy: Tracing down "True Self" ("left") long enough leds to "No Self" ("right"), and vice versa. Actually, these two words don't work very well, because they don't work or apply in "anatta" ("non-orientable") experience.

If you were asking about something other than the Möbius Band analogy: sorry for getting into lecture mode, can you get more specific?

Cheers,
Florian
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 7:43 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 7:22 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem (10/30/14 5:59 PM as a reply to Not Tao. )

"I was curious for a second opinion on Richard's dukkha translation.  Here is an interesting article
http://brightwayzen.org/not-misunderstanding-dukkha/I'm not sure if that derivation is etymologically valid. "

In that link, Domyo Burk apparently quotes from "Monier-Williams (1899, 1964), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, London: Oxford University Press":

"It is perhaps amusing to note the etymology of the words sukha (pleasure, comfort, bliss) and duḥkha (misery, unhappiness, pain). The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning "sky," "ether," or "space," was originally the word for "hole," particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan's vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, "having a good axle hole," while duhkha meant "having a poor axle hole," leading to discomfort."


I have heard that interpretation from other teachers. Who knows? But it does fit nicely with the images of the 'Wheel of Samsara', as a bumpy ride when the wheels don’t fit well to the axles, as distinct from the 'Dhamma-Wheel' where the going is smoother (sukha). 'Du-,' sometimes also appearing as 'do-' as in 'domanassa' ('mental grief' in the phrase 'grief and covetiveness'), probably is cousin of Greek 'dys-', as in our words like 'disfunctional'."

The page on "akasa" isn't available in the preview but
other sources confirm the meaning of aether, e.g. "Akasha (or Akash, Ākāśa, आकाश) is the Sanskrit word meaning "aether" in both its elemental and metaphysical senses." I guess that's Sanskrit and not Pali  but I think the meaning of akasa is less disputed than the meaning of dukkha."

To fill that in here, page 93 in the PTS Dictionary (Rhys David and Stede, from 1905 so, roughly contemporaneous with Monier-Williams) has:

"Aakaasa [Sk. aakaas'a fr.aa + kaas', lit. shining forth, i.e. the illuminated space] air, sky, atmosphere; space…."

Could relate to the space, as the center-hole in a wheel (that fits on the axle) – one can see light through the hole, and a hole in the wall lets light shine through, and one can see the sky through a ceiling hole. Again, who knows? (Later in this thread, Nikolai cites Leigh Brasington in a colorful elaboration of the wheel-hole idea.)

The interpretations by "Richard of AF fame" of the khandha-s, dukkha as 'asunder from the Absolute', and the 4 NT are highly imaginative, as is commonin contemporary commentators (often with limited background) presenting their own interpretations as "<the traditional interpretaion> NOT". (As also . Jake . discusses later here.)

Also interesting:
re: Not Tao (10/30/14 9:23 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu DragonEmu Fire Golem.)

" EDIT: It also says dukkha and sukha are opposites.  Sukha is said to arise in jhana, so wouldn't that be liberation if the words were literal?"

The opposition is clear, as also in 'domanassa' and 'somanassa' . (The 'du-' and 'su-' also appearing as 'do-' and 'so-'.) The' man-' part here must relate to 'mano' (mind, mental), so these two words are roughly unpleasant- and pleasant- mental conditions.

The sukha in jhana-s (1-3) also corresponds to sukha as one of the few positive terms used to characterize Nibbana (most descriptive terms for Nibanna express what it is not). This in the contextof the notion that jhana can be seen as a mini-preview of Nibbana-related experience. And the 'supra-mudane' jhana-s do, if I recall it right, take Nibbana as their object. A common idiom for jhana in the Sutta-s is 'liberation of the mind', but meaning a temporary form of liberation (seclusion, absorption), compared to the ultimate goal sort.

Further:
re: Not Tao (10/31/14 10:52 AM as a reply to Nikolai .. )
"This is what that other article said too - dukka reffering to a kind of space.

@Beoman: It's an interesting idea, but it's hard to know for sure what's correct. This is probably why so many western monks study pali. "


Interesting that a theme in the Pali Canon, post-Sutta-s, is consideration of etymologies, weighing multiple meanings and interpretations (Buddhagosa loves to go into this at every opportunity). And even in the Sutta-s, G.Buddha was certainly fond of word-play. Someone made the point (possibly Alexander Piatigorsky) that realizing the fabricated (sankara) nature of language is instrumental in higher path understandings. Certainly deciphering Pali (or Chinese or Tibetan), considerations of whether the Pali (et al) represents G.Buddhas teachings well, and particularly the highly problematical relationship of English translations to both the Pali and whatever G.Buddha may have meant – this whole arena is wrough twith dukkha.

And Later: @Beoman: " For example, the critique that, while Theravada understands anatta to mean "No-Self", anatta actually means "not self", as in, the skhandas are not self. The Buddha never says there is no self, even in the Theravadan canon, as far as I can tell. He also says not to have views on whether there is a self or not."

I'd offer my variant translation of the 'alpha-privitive' ('a-') in anatta as 'free-from free-of self' – privitive, deprived of self. That might mesh with G.Buddha's recommendation to 'just do without it' as any kind of fixation (to paraphrase Beoman's parphrase).

(And thanks to Beoman for the elaborate, Buddhagosa-esque, considerations of the pros and cons surrounding the significance of Richard's views and a lot more. And to An Eternal Now for such an amazingly thorough survey – and also helping me feel less awkward about producing this long post; and for "'death-free' " that resembles my rendition of the alpha-primitive. Will have to re-read that post a couple of times.)

Beoman, AEN, et al… use of color or more thorough explicit labeling of quotations (of nested quotations, etc.) might help readibility here.

AEN: I've seen those passages as "Sabbe sankhata anicca" – are there multiple sources?
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 9:52 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 9:52 AM

RE: What is liberated?

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So, florian, you seem to reject "no-self" as well - which makes more sense to me.  It isn't that there is really nothing here and we just have to realize it, right? Something that the mobius strip fails to address, though, is that there is a left and right, it's just that you eventually end up on the other side of the strip.  So while it may seem like right and left don't exists, what's really happening is that you're swaping your orientation each time you go around.  This implies that something fundimental has changed.

The problem with telling me there is no self in my experience, is that this just isn't true. There is one that I can point to. I can do specific things to make it feel less like I have a unifying center - like let go of the sense of control, question where awareness is arising, allow each sensation to express itself without interfeiring, etc - but this changes my experience from how it is now. Even if the center of a circle is empty, it still has a center. To get rid of the center, the circle has to stop being a circle somehow.

Is anatta just a different way of looking at phenomena, rather than a change in experience?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:24 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:07 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
I understand you won't reply but here's my rebutting arguments to what you said.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
Mm so my question to you is, why is the word "being" here used, and not "self"? Surely if the suttas were meant to show that this applies to 'self', they would just use the term "self". An alternate translation uses "living being" instead of "being".
Being is self.
In English, that can be a synonym, yes. But look, the Pali for this verse:
By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?
[link]
is
Kenāyaṃ pakato satto kuvaṃ2 sattassa kārako,
Kuvaṃ satto samuppanno kuvaṃ satto nirujjhatīti.
[link]
I was able to figure out that "satto" is the word that was translated as "living being" via looking it up at dictionary.sutta.org:
satto:A being creature,animal,sentient being,man
In this case it's clear that "living being" doesn't refer to a synonym of "self" - the verse would have used "atta" instead of "satto" in that case.

I will quote from "Self and Non-self in Early Buddhism" by Joaquin Perez Remon which I found by googling "satto atta" without the quotes:
Joaquin Perez Remon:
There remain two other texts quoted by K. N. Upadhyaya in order to prove the conventional use of atta in the Nikayas. But the texts do not refer directly to atta, the self, but to satto, being. This seems to imply that in the Nikayas the terms atta and satto are, for all practical purposes, synonyms, but such is not by any means the case. Let us take the second text brought forward, the famous verses of the nun Vajira:
Just as by the assemblage of parts there arises the term 'chariot',
Even so, when the khandas exist there arises the conventional term satto .
These lines obviously refer to the empirical man, who is a mere congeries [collection, jumble] of physical and psychical phenomena. We are often told in the Scriptures that these phenomena, the khandas, are not the self, do not beling to the self, the self is not in them, and they are not in the self. Mara, who has been introduced in this context as giving the empirical man the designation of "satto", is explicitly accused of holding the heretical view that identifies atta with the khandas in 'Mara ditthigatam nu te'. Mara is reputed to perceive only the empirical man as it becomes clear from a number of passages where we are told that he is unable to see the man that has put aside his empirical adjuncts. Hence the reality of atta is not challenged in this context. All this will become clearer in the second part of the book.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
relevance [of the Potthapada Sutta]
It means the Buddha is clearly describing self as mere conventional parlance.
I really disagree here. You'd have to explain to me how that is. In context the Buddha points out three incorrect acquisitions of self - three incorrect understandings of what the self is (e.g. gross acquisition is that the self is possessed of form, made up of the four great elements, etc.) and refutes them, and indicates that each one should be abandoned. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with conventional parlance at all.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
It [the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta] does not reject a form of self apart from the skhandas.
"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."
You're mixing contexts here - I was referring to the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta while you quoted the Anuradha Sutta. You said the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta rejects all forms of self inside or apart from the aggregates, while it doesn't. If you were referring to the Anuradha Sutta then that's something else.

As to the quote itself, that's actually potentially a good point. I don't have a good answer to that yet, except perhaps to say that the Buddha was saying something about the Tathagata, here, and not about self per se - so I would have to ask why he was describing the Tathagata as he was now when he didn't describe what self is/isn't in the same terms in other places (e.g. the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta says that form is not self, not that self is neither form nor without form etc.)
===
An Eternal Now:
"He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness."

(meaning also all notions of Self as underlying phenomena, possessing phenomena, or immanent within phenomena)
We're in agreement here with the understanding that "phenomena" refers to the skhandas.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
looking at the suttas directly
Sure.
§11. "To what extent, Ānanda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.' "Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will become possessed of form and finite [when asleep/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him. [Similarly with each of the other views.] — DN 15
Hmm alright. I suppose the closest view of self to self being the Absolute would be that it is formless and infinite. This might deny self as formless and infinite Absolute, but also potentially the Buddha is just saying not to have a fixed view of self formless and infinite. That is, don't have the view - just note that the skhandas are not-self - then when you are liberated you won't have a view of self formless and infinite, but you will understand it to be thus. This is the same argument as the Buddha refusing to answer whether there is a self or there is no self, as both would lead to views that would just confuse people.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
{AEN: [...] it [the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta] rejects any sort of Self as a knower and feeler of things [...]}
No, it deals strictly with the skhandas and points out that the skhandas are not self.
...or else he has a view like this:This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

- Sabbasava Sutta
Okay, to be precise you said that the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta rejects any sort of Self as a knower and feeler of things, which it doesn't - now you brought another sutta into it. But that's fine. I'll make the same argument here that the Buddha is referring to views, not to absolute truths. If you note the start of the paragraph includes the view "I have a self" and "I have no self" - both of these positions are also a thicket of views.
===
An Eternal Now:
"Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

"When hearing...

"When sensing...

"When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.

Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.

- Kalaka Sutta
Hmm okay, another potentially good point. Two points here:
1) My confusion here is - the sutta starts off by Buddha saying that whatever there is to be seen/heard/sensed etc., that the Buddha knows. Then he says when seeing what is to be seen, he doesn't construe a seen. What does that mean? What's the difference between seeing and knowing what is to be seen, yet not construing a seen? Clearly a difference between directly knowing a seen, and construing a seen. So if he doesn't even construe a seen, then of course he wouldn't construe a seer either. But not construing a seen apparently doesn't mean he doesn't know a seen, so not construing a seer also wouldn't necessarily mean he doesn't know a seer.
2) Since none the skhandas are Self, then even if there is a Self that is the Absolute, I'm not sure it would even make sense for that Self to be a "seer"/"cognizer" etc.
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
Well it can't be quite so radical if he himself admitted he was not the first to have been Enlightened.
Radical in India at that time throughout all scriptures and teachers which are based on the view of an upanishadic Self.

Not radical if you're including long-forgotten teachings of previous Buddhas, Pratyekabuddhas, etc.
Alright, fair point. So to make my case for it I would have to show that none of his contemporaries were correctly teaching the upanishadic Enlightenment (if that is what Richard understands as Enlightenment - I am not so terribly well versed in the upanishads).
===
An Eternal Now:
BCDEFG:
however it doesn't say "he does not conceive Unbinding as self". It also doesn't state that any of these things are not-self.
All dharmas are anatta, dharmas include Nirvana.
Walpola Rahula:
In the Dhammapada there are three verses extremely important and essential in the Buddha’s teaching. They are nos. 5, 6 and 7 of chapter XX (or verses 277, 278, 279).
The first two verses say:

‘All conditioned things are impermanent’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ aniccā), and ‘All conditioned things are dukkha’ (Sabbe SAṂKHĀRĀ dukkhā).
The third verse says:
‘All dhammas are without self’ (Sabbe DHAMMĀ anattā).[132]
Here it should be carefully observed that in the first two verses the word saṁkhārā ‘conditioned things’ is used. But in its place in the third verse the word dhammā is used. Why didn’t the third verse use the word saṃkhārā ‘conditioned things’ as the previous two verses, and why did it use the term dhammā instead? Here lies the crux of the whole matter.
The term saṃkhāra[133] denotes the Five Aggregates, all conditioned, interdependent, relative things and states, both physical and mental. If the third verse said: ‘All saṃkhārā (conditioned things) are without self’, then one might think that, although conditioned things are without self, yet there may be a Self outside conditioned things, outside the Five Aggregates. It is in order to avoid misunderstanding that the term dhammā is used in the third verse.
The term dhamma is much wider than saṃkhāra. There is no term in Buddhist terminology wider than dhamma. It includes not only the conditioned things and states, but also the non-conditioned, the Absolute, Nirvāṇa. There is nothing in the universe or outside, good or bad, conditioned or non-conditioned, relative or absolute, which is not included in this term. Therefore, it is quite clear that, according to this statement: ‘All dhammas are without Self’, there is no Self, no Ātman, not only in the Five Aggregates, but nowhere else too outside them or apart from them.[134] 
[link]

I will grant you that if the term "dhamma" in "sabbe dhamma anatta" includes Nirvana/the Absolute, then it's clear - the Buddha categorically stated thateven the Absolute is without Self. However, does dhamma include Nirvana? I am not so sure. I would have to ask you to point me to something that addresses this specifically. Here Rahula just says that it does but he doesn't give any evidence for it.
An Eternal Now:
Walpola Rahula:
One is that, according to the Buddha’s teaching, a being is composed only of these Five Aggregates, and nothing more. Nowhere has he said that there was anything more than these Five Aggregates in a being.
What about the citta? I don't think the citta is recognized as being categorized by any of the skhandas.
An Eternal Now:
Walpola Rahula:
In the Alagaddūpama-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya, addressing his disciples, the Buddha said: ‘O bhikkhus, accept a soul-theory (Attavāda) in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation. But, do you see, O bhikkhus, such a soul-theory in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation?’
‘Certainly not, Sir.’
‘Good, O bhikkhus. I, too, O bhikkhus, do not see a soul-theory, in the acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress and tribulation.’
[135]
If there had been any soul-theory which the Buddha had accepted, he would certainly have explained it here, because he asked the bhikkhus to accept that soul-theory which did not produce suffering. But in the Buddha’s view, there is no such soul theory, and any soul-theory, whatever it may be, however subtle and sublime, is false and imaginary, creating all kinds of problems, producing in its train grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, tribulation and trouble.
Same argument here - this pertains to views of the self, Buddha exhorting his followers not to have any views on the self. It doesn't necessarily mean he denied that there is a self.
An Eternal Now:
Walpola Rahula:
Continuing the discourse the Buddha said in the same sutta:
‘O bhikkhus, when neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly and really be found, this speculative view: “The universe is that Ātman (Soul); I shall be that after death, permanent, abiding, ever-lasting, unchanging, and I shall exist as such for eternity” – is it not wholly and completely foolish?’[136]
Here the Buddha explicitly states that an Ātman, or Soul, or Self, is nowhere to be found in reality, and it is foolish to believe that there is such a thing.
Actually he only says that "this cosmos is the self" is the foolish view to have, because self or what belongs to self cannot be found in the cosmos - which cosmos would be entirely comprised of the skhandas, I presume.
===
As to the parts about those particular mistranslations, I never brought up those points, and from reading what Walpola Rahula wrote I don't disagree with any of that.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 12:30 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Chris J Macie:
And Later: @Beoman: " For example, the critique that, while Theravada understands anatta to mean "No-Self", anatta actually means "not self", as in, the skhandas are not self. The Buddha never says there is no self, even in the Theravadan canon, as far as I can tell. He also says not to have views on whether there is a self or not."

I'd offer my variant translation of the 'alpha-privitive' ('a-') in anatta as 'free-from free-of self' – privitive, deprived of self. That might mesh with G.Buddha's recommendation to 'just do without it' as any kind of fixation (to paraphrase Beoman's parphrase).

(And thanks to Beoman for the elaborate, Buddhagosa-esque, considerations of the pros and cons surrounding the significance of Richard's views and a lot more. And to An Eternal Now for such an amazingly thorough survey – and also helping me feel less awkward about producing this long post; and for "'death-free' " that resembles my rendition of the alpha-primitive. Will have to re-read that post a couple of times.)

Beoman, AEN, et al… use of color or more thorough explicit labeling of quotations (of nested quotations, etc.) might help readibility here.
Glad you enjoyed it! Hope you enjoy the latest as well. I've attempted to be more thorough and clean with the formatting and with colors.
Chris JMacie:
AEN: I've seen those passages as "Sabbe sankhata anicca" – are there multiple sources?
Oh hah well that would certainly detonate his/Rahula's entire argument! Interestingly, tipaka.net has the Pali as:
"Sabbe sankhara anicca" ti
yada pannaya1 passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.

"Sabbe sankhara dukkha" ti
yada pannaya passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.

"Sabbe sankhara anatta" ti
yada pannaya passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.
However, it has the translation as:
Verse 277: "All conditioned phenomena are impermanent"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one becomes weary of dukkha (i.e., the khandhas). This is the Path to Purity.

Verse 278: "All conditioned phenomena are dukkha"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one becomes weary of dukkha (i.e., the khandhas). This is the Path to Purity.

Verse 279: "All phenomena (dhammas) are without Self"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one becomes weary of dukkha (i.e., the khandhas). This is the Path to Purity.
Note that the Pali has all three as "sankhara", yet the translation uses "conditioned phenomena" for the first two, and "phenomena (dhammas)" for the third one. This is highly suspect.

Another site, buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw, does have it as "sabbe dhamma anatta ti yada pabbaya passati" though.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 3:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 3:32 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
There is only Karma.  Nothing but Karma exists.  It is the Logos.  Everything in the entire cosmos in all past and future exist in that one word.

Karma is eternal, but not changeless.  It cannot be said that it changes, but that it holds within it all that changes.  It is Nothingness.

Karma fractals, like a Mandala.  It is ICHING.  When Karma Fractals, it does so into the tri-grams, triple gems.  The law for the pattern in this fractal can be found by studying The Map of The Yellow River.

The forces of karma can be divided into many trigrams and combinations of them.  The total combinations of all the forces interacting with each other can be shown by sacred geometry in its nature and laws.  There is a reason that a circle looks like a circle to us.  The shape we see depends on the 3-d perception of a platonic ideal.  When viewing the result of all the total combinations of combinations of combinations of all the forces of ICHING interacting with each other, you see the observable physical realm.  

But these forces, or energies, become entangled to each other by the network of this matrix.  When something arises, the awareness of itself arises.  Entangled forces create patterns that tend to self-perpetuate for long periods of time before becoming untangled.  In the physical realms we saw these patterns emerge as RNA and then DNA and then Unicellular life and on and on.  

What we are:  Dense, complex, fractals within the fractal.  We, beings, represent a height of the organization that can occur under the right conditions.  We are patterns that see our repetition and began to forget what we are.  We are aware of ourself but not aware that the Cosmos is aware of us.  All things that are aware of themselves feel the 4 forces, gravity, strong nuclear forces, weak nuclear forces, magnetism between themselves and all other things.  When we wake up to this reality, we see that our individuality is a delusion.  Drop in the Ocean.

So everyone is Karma.  Bodies are Karma.  Souls are Karma.  
Not everyone needs to know what they are.  In fact, people tend to differ in a spectrum of desire to know themselves as Drops.  That is why we do not try to Enlighten everyone.  But accepting everyone is, in reality, accepting ourselves.
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Florian, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 5:07 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 5:02 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
So, florian, you seem to reject "no-self" as well - which makes more sense to me.  It isn't that there is really nothing here and we just have to realize it, right? Something that the mobius strip fails to address, though, is that there is a left and right, it's just that you eventually end up on the other side of the strip.  So while it may seem like right and left don't exists, what's really happening is that you're swaping your orientation each time you go around.  This implies that something fundimental has changed.


Both "Self" and "No Self" are meaningless, neither can be found to describe experience accurately, they morph and become each other. The edge of the Möbius Band illustrates how "right" and "left" start out straightforward enough, but break down eventually, because the Band has the property of being non-orientable. Subjective experience has the property called "anatta", and because of that property, "True/No Self" simply don't work.

The problem with telling me there is no self in my experience, is that this just isn't true. There is one that I can point to. I can do specific things to make it feel less like I have a unifying center - like let go of the sense of control, question where awareness is arising, allow each sensation to express itself without interfeiring, etc - but this changes my experience from how it is now. Even if the center of a circle is empty, it still has a center. To get rid of the center, the circle has to stop being a circle somehow.


Yes, that's what my quip about scooping out the self, leaving behind a crater full of no-self, was about. emoticon

So when you look at the centerpoint, how is it special? If you compared it to any other point - how could you tell which was which, just by looking at the two points?

Is anatta just a different way of looking at phenomena, rather than a change in experience?


It is a property of subjective phenomena.

Maybe it was just your choice of words, but is "experience" not a phenomenon?

Cheers,
Florian
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 6:51 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 6:36 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
when you are liberated you won't have a view of self formless and infinite, but you will understand it to be thus.
Only to Richard and the Hindus trying to force fit their view Buddha's awakening as Vedanta's Self-Realization. Buddha never indicated, nor eluded to anything such as that.
I'll make the same argument here that the Buddha is referring to views, not to absolute truths. If you note the start of the paragraph includes the view "I have a self" and "I have no self" - both of these positions are also a thicket of views.

The Buddha constantly talks about discerning the three characteristics as an insight into dharmas, that is to "discern, as it actually is" all dharmas as inconstant, unsatisfactory, and non-self. In Bhaddhekaratta Sutta, in reference to anatta, instructs a practitioner "that which is present he discerns — With insight as and when it comes".

On the other hand, yes, so called 'Self' is merely a thicket of view. It is delusional and is dropped forever upon stream entry as defnied in suttas.
1) My confusion here is - the sutta starts off by Buddha saying that whatever there is to be seen/heard/sensed etc., that the Buddha knows. Then he says when seeing what is to be seen, he doesn't construe a seen. What does that mean? What's the difference between seeing and knowing what is to be seen, yet not construing a seen? Clearly a difference between directly knowing a seen, and construing a seen. So if he doesn't even construe a seen, then of course he wouldn't construe a seer either. But not construing a seen apparently doesn't mean he doesn't know a seen, so not construing a seer also wouldn't necessarily mean he doesn't know a seer.
2) Since none the skhandas are Self, then even if there is a Self that is the Absolute, I'm not sure it would even make sense for that Self to be a "seer"/"cognizer" etc.
===
1) If there is a knower, then Bahiya Sutta 'in the seen just the seen' with no 'you in reference to that' in any way (in here, there, in between) could not be realized.
2) If the skandhas are not Self, then the Advaita would say that the Self, the Absolute, is that which knows -- the unseen light which shines upon objects. All objects owe their temporal existence to the Uncaused Cause, the Great Light of Self. They are supported by Self, but Self is not supported by them.

Buddha would rejected all such notions of Self as 1) being equatable to the aggregates, 2) being completely separate from and impercipient of the aggregates, and 3) being completely separate from, yet being the Agent which feels or perceives the aggregates:

"To what extent, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming
feeling to be the self, one assumes that 'Feeling is my self'
'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling]'
'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but
rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now,
one who says, 'Feeling is my self,' should be addressed as follows:
'There are these three feelings, my friend — feelings of pleasure,
feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of
these three feelings do you assume to be the self?' At a moment when a
feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure
nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that
moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of
pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of
pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither
pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is
sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that
moment.

"Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, fabricated,
dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading,
and cessation. A feeling of pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on
conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and
cessation. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant,
fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away,
dissolution, fading, and cessation. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure
as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of
pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my
self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pain, 'my
self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain
as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of
neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished.

"Thus he
assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled
in pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away, he who says,
'Feeling is my self.' Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit
to assume feeling to be the self.

"As for the person who says,
'Feeling is not the self: My self is oblivious [to feeling],' he should
be addressed as follows: 'My friend, where nothing whatsoever is sensed
(experienced) at all, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling].'

"As
for the person who says, 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self
oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is
subject to feeling,' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend,
should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then
with feeling completely not existing, owing to the cessation of feeling,
would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus
in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Neither is
feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my
self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now,
Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor
the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is
subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained
by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he
is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He
discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done.
There is nothing further for this world.'

"If anyone were to say
with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that 'The Tathagata
exists after death,' is his view, that would be mistaken; that 'The
Tathagata does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata both exists
and does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata neither exists
nor does not exist after death' is his view, that would be mistaken.
Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of
the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of
the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of
the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of
the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves:
Having directly known that, the monk is released. [To say that,] 'The
monk released, having directly known that, does not see, does not know
is his opinion,' that would be mistaken. [1]

- DN 15
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 9:59 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 6:56 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Okay.

Maybe this is a good question.  What is the difference between a philosophical understanding of anatta and enlightenment?  If right now I can examine the experience of sight, and I can see that sight is just there as itself, is that all there is to it?  What about this stops suffering from happening?

Also, does this have a relationship to "presence" in your opinion? The PCE has a very direct quality to it, and I've noticed you can tap into this directness at any point. I can't tell if this is what people mean by non-dual though. It certainly feels like I am more part of the world, but I don't lose any feeling of being or existing.

So when you look at the centerpoint, how is it special? If you compared it to any other point - how could you tell which was which, just by looking at the two points?


The center point seems to be an anchor to help understand where sensations happen in space. This anchor point is the same as where the field of vision originates combined with where hearing originates. I am where seeing and hearing is coming from, essentially. From this anchor point, I am able to organize the sense of touch, smell, and taste, and I am a field of sensations with a distict boundary defined by nerve endings working together.

The self is emergent from this field, as in, the field itself is the self, no? Is the goal to pull apart that central knot?

EDIT: I did read the other posts you guys made, BTW.  Thank you for the discussion so far. emoticon

EDIT2: AEN, that sutta is interesting.  The point he seems to be making is not so much about the experience of existing, but rather the way to approach phenomena.  Anatta isn't about a center point, but rather about practicing a consistent "letting go" until it becomes automatic.  In a way, anatta is a negation of time - where each moment is meant to be seen as completely distinct and new...which I suppose would be imperminance.

But this explanation sees anatta as a strategy, or a practice.  How is it a property of phenomena?
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 9:37 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/1/14 7:04 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
If the delusion is "I am a self" and then the delusion is removed and suddenly I think "I am not a self," then wouldn't the delusion be the "self" in question - thus the self is removed and there is no self left, just a centerless experience?

I experienced awareness without an object a few times when I got pretty deep into the jhanas.  I'm not really sure how that could arise if awareness really was just the object of awareness itself.  I think I understand luminous presence, but it doesn't strike me as a union of awareness and object, but rather an absence of time, specifically.

Is anyone creative enough to explain anatta without relying on the concept of self?  I think that's what I need.
The sense of self is removed through realization, it does not imply removing an actual self. Just like a child may believe in and be infatuated with Santa Claus, until he realized there isn't any Santa Claus. No actual santa claus is removed, only a delusional belief (and the craving, infatuation, along with it). Even though self/santa claus is completely delusional, it appears as the whole experiential reality to the deluded person, it is blinding and hypnotic, like thoughts manifesting sights and sounds in hypnogogia.

Awareness without object is simply another manifestation -- Mind itself manifesting (correction: Mind IS that manifestation to be more precise, there is absolutely no such thing as 'A Mind' that 'gives forth manifestation') as formless awareness when freed from gross sensory objects and conceptual thoughts -- but at the I AM level it appears to be inherently existing as an ultimate objectless Self. Thusness calls it non-conceptual thought.

Also, there is no such thing as 'union of awareness and object' -- awareness IS manifestation, it is not the case that awareness 'merges' or 'unites' with manifestation. There is no subject nor object nor the union of the two.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/bodhidharma-on-awareness-and-conditions.html

"Here there are 2 important points to take note. First is that Buddha Nature is the transience. Second it is more of '应'. Means with the condition of the eye, forms arise. With ears, sound arises.

Awareness is not like a mirror reflecting but rather a manifestation. Luminosity is an arising luminous manifestation rather than a mirror reflecting. The center here is being replaced with Dependent Origination, the experience however is non-dual.

One must learn how to see Appearances as Awareness and all others as conditions. Example, sound is awareness. The person, the stick, the bell, hitting, air, ears...are conditions. One should learn to see in this way. All problems arise because we cannot experience Awareness this way.

Conventionally we experience in the form of subject and object interaction taking place in a space-time continuum. This is just an assumption. Experientially it is not so. One should learn to experience awareness as the manifestation. There is no subject, there is only and always manifestation, all else are conditions of arising. All these are just provisional explanations for one to understand.

Further comments:

What's seen is Awareness. What's heard is Awareness. All experiences are non-dual in nature. However this non-dual luminosity cannot be understood apart from the ‘causes and conditions’ of arising. Therefore do not see ‘yin’ as Awareness interacting with external conditions. If you see it as so, then it still falls in the category of mirror-reflecting. Rather see it as an instantaneous manifestation where nothing is excluded. As if the universe is giving its very best for this moment to arise. A moment is complete and non-dual. Vividly manifest and thoroughly gone leaving no traces."
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:42 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:25 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Chuck Kasmire:

Where is citta? From wikipedia:
"Citta" primarily represents one's mindset, or state of mind. Citta is the term used  to refer to the quality of mental processes as a whole. Citta is neither an entity nor a process; this likely accounts for its not being classified as a skandha....Viññāna provides awareness and continuity by which one knows one's moral condition, and citta is an abstraction representing that condition....
Chuck's survey is good. The issue's, though, quite complicated when considered in light of usages of terms for or related to 'mind' throughout the Pali Canon.

(Discussion of terminology can distract from dealing with actual practice, but also can help reduce misunderstandings that proliferate into even larger distractions. Being clear about terms (or about disagreement) helps wend a way through the thicket of views, disagreements, perceived misconceptions, that result from discrepancies between translationsfrom Pali words, that have multiple meanings by context, into English words, that also have multiple meanings by context; and the fact that the English words evoke worlds of native meanings and associations that may or may not be accurate renditions of the Pali. Words – a playground of approximation – GB liked to play with words, to show that words are like a mental game, and that understanding this can help cut through to liberation – cessation of 'origination' and 'signing' (nimtta - using words, symbols as stand-in for sensations), as in the concluding passages of the Visudhimagga

Viññāna is said to refer to consciousness of an object. In explanations of it's usage in the '12 links of conditioned co-arising' (paticcasamuppaada), it refers to consciousness intertwined with kamma, for instance from 'past lives'. This usage does, conceivably, resonate with the wikipedia definition above, and is spelled-out in the BPS-Dictionary definition below. (I think I got this sense of it primarily from Thanissaro Bhikku's book: The Shape of Suffering, about the paticcasamuppaada)

citta is afoundational technical term in the Abhidhamma, which roughly correspondends to the wikipedia meaning above.

It should be pointed out, however, that the Pali terms relating to what ends up in English as 'mind' are varied and inconsistently used through the Canon, and particularly the Sutta-s, where usage is overall much less formal and precise than in the Abhidhamma texts, and even in the latter, and in the commentaries, one doesn't find total consistency. Translators of Pali texts often discuss the ins-and-outs of this problem in their introductions.

The terms that I've been able to isolate are: mano, citta, ceto, nāma, andviññāna.

(from BPS Dictionary – ' Manual o fBuddhist Terms and Doctrines by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA')

mano -- 'mind', is in the Abhidhamma used as synonym of viññāna (consciousness) and citta (state of consciousness, mind). According to the Com. to Vis.M., it sometimes means sub-consciousness (s. bhavanga-sota).

citta -- 'mind', 'consciousness', 'state of consciousness', is a synonym of mano (q.v.) and viññāna (s. khandha and Tab. 1). Dhs. [Dhammasangani – the 1st book of the Abhidhamma] divides all phenomena into consciousness (citta), mental concomitants (cetasika, q.v.) and corporeality  (rūpa)….

(these next two definitions are from the 'METTANET-LANKA Pali-English Dictionary')

ceto
-- is the form that ceta takes in cpds .
ceta
-- m.; nt. (mano-group), thought; intention; purpose.
['Ceta' and 'citta' are related, and 'ceta' is interpreted often as 'heart' by the Victorian (PTS) translators.]

ceto
-vimutti --'deliverance of mind'. In the highest sense it signifies the fruition of Arahatship (s. ariya-puggala), and in particular, the concentration associated with it. It is often linked with the 'deliverance through wisdom' (paññā-vimutti, q.v.), e.g. in the ten powers of a Perfect One (s. dasa-bala). See vimokkha I. …

nāma -- (lit. 'name'): 'mind', mentality. This term is generally used as a collective name for the 4 mental groups (arūpino khandha), viz. feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), mental formations (sankhāra) and consciousness (viññāna). Within the 4th link (nāma-rūpa) in the formula of the paticcasamuppāda (q.v.), however, it applies only to karma-resultant (vipāka) feeling and perception and a few karma-resultant mental functions inseparable from any consciousness. …

viññāna
--'consciousness', is one of the 5 groups of existence (aggregates; khandha, q.v.); one of the 4 nutriments (āhāra, q.v.); the 3rd
link of the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda, q.v.); the 5th in the sixfold division of elements (dhātu, q.v.). Viewed as one of the 5 groups (khandha), it is inseparably linked with the 3 other mental groups (feeling, perception and formations) and furnishes the bare cognition of the object, while the other 3 contribute more specific functions. Its ethical and karmic character,and its greater or lesser degree of intensity and clarity, are chiefly determined by the mental formations associated with it….

P.S.
The two dictionaries cited above (the 'BPS Dictionary' and the 'METTANET-LANKA Pali-English Dictionary') I got in a software packagefrom Leigh Brasington's website. They run, however, only under Microsoft Windows operating systems. That software package also includes a 'A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist terms' -- "created from the Glossary at the Access to Insight website."
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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:15 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:48 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: Beoman(11/1/14 12:32 PM as a reply to Chris J Macie.)

First an easy clarification (
sanhkata vs sankhara):

I originally asked "I've seen those passages as "Sabbe sankhata anicca" – are there multiple sources?" As also for the second: 'Sabbe sankhata dukkha'.

I first heard this set of phrases, using 'sanhkata', from a teacher, Noa Ronkin, who has a PhD from Oxford for a dissertation published as Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition . She happens to live around here (Silicon Valley, California), and gave some talks and a series of workshops -- introduction to the Abhidhamma -- at the meditation group I attend (Shaila Catherine's group). So that's the way I memorized the passage. Seeing 'sankhara' was a surprise, so I asked. Actually the difference is trivial, as follows:

BPS Dictionary:
sa.nkaara
-- m. essential condition; a thing conditioned, mental coefficients.
sa.nkhata
-- pp. [verb form, also as adjective] of sa.nkharoti : conditioned; prepared; produced by a cause.
(sa.nkaroti -- saṃ + kar + o : restores; prepares; puts together.)

Given a tradition of recitation and/or writing-and-copying spanning centuries, recited / scribed by human individuals, at times incompetent, or rushed, or forgetful…, wordings and spellings get varied.
"Sabbe sanhkata anicca "means "all things conditioned (verbal past participle as adjective) inconstant."
"Sabbe sanhkara anicca "means "all conditioned-things (noun) inconstant."

No substantive difference. No big deal.

The third phrase, however (sanhkata vs dhamma), … 

re: Beoman
(11/1/14 12:32 PM as a reply to Chris J Macie.)
" Note that the Pali has all three as "sankhara", yet the translation uses "conditioned phenomena" for the first two, and "phenomena (dhammas)" for the third one.This is highly suspect."

Indeed it is suspect. "Sabbe sankhara anatta" in this textis obviously an error. There's no doubt that "sabbe dhamma anatta" is correct (and appears so in many other locations), because Nibbana is, unequivicably, a Dhamma.


The four overall sub-types of dhamma in the Abhidhamma are: rupa, citta, cetasika, and Nibbana. (p.25 in the 'Abhidhammamattha Sangahe', aka "Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma", trans & commented by B.Bodhi).

B.Bodhi, explaining further (p. 25): in Abhidhamma, there are two kinds of 'reality' – 'conventional reality' including people, husbands, wives,… animals, pigs, dogs,…things,… "the apparently stable persisting objects that constitute our unanalyzed picture of the world." … "the objects which they signify do not exist in their own right as irreducible realities. Their mode of being is conceptual, not actual…products of mental construction…" On the other hand, "utimate realities", phenomenologically, or according to G.Buddha'sanalysis of experience, "are the dhammas:… the final, irreducible components… which result from a correctly performed analysis of experience."

Dhammas
in the categories of Rupa, citta and cetasika are all conditioned (sankhata or sanhkara), and reflect anicca and dukkha. Nibbana is unconditioned (asankhata). ALL FOUR OF THEM are anatta.

rupa (analyzed into 28 or so different sub-categories) means phenomena relating to (external)'materiality';

citta
(in 80+ sub-categories) refers to identifiably distinct kinds of 'mental states', or 'momentary mental processes';

cetasika (50+ sub-categories) are discernable individual qualities of mental states, which, when present in various combinations and degrees of intensity, distinguish the different categories of citta from each other.

Nibbana
is a category of one; aka the Unconditioned.

So, to relate this to real practice (which was, purportedly, the fundamental motivation of the Abhidhammikers, in imitation of the analytical skills of Sariputta, and of G. Buddha himself), using hardcore vipassana, one can learn to recognize the separate cetasika-s at work – how mental states (citta-s) are (vertically or spatially) made up of the various qualites; and observe how moment-to-moment alterations in the presence / absence and intentisities of particular cetasika-s or groups of them (horizontally or in time) constitute the changes of mental states (citta-s), in accordance with cause-and-effect, that make-up experience. Then one can learn to recognize in utmost detail how unskilful (akusala) states come about, what they're made up of, and how to tweek cetasika-s to morph those citta-s/ states into skilfull (kusala) states. When the mind 'sees and knows' all phenomena (perhaps 'sensations' in MCTB-speak) exhaustively in this way, in their cause-and-effect conditionality, THEN the mind is in a position to grasp the UNCONDITIONED.

So, that's a 400-word summary of the Abhidhamma. Now you know. 

And it relates to the whole thing about 'self': not-, no-, Absolute- etc., about which I have a couple of thoughts – to follow in a separate posting.

One more question here:

re: AEN (11/1/14 6:51 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.)
"The Buddha constantly talks about discerning the three characteristics as an insight into dharmas, that is to "discern, as it actually is" all dharmas as inconstant, unsatisfactory, and non-self. In Bhaddhekaratta Sutta, in reference to anatta, instructs a practitioner "that which is present he discerns — With insight as and when it comes"."

Is that a literal quatation from a Sutta – "…all dharmas as inconstant, unsatisfactory, and non-self…"? Quite possibly so – though a use of 'dhamma' different from the Abhidhamma convention outlined above. If you can supply the reference I'd like to look at it. Nanamoli, in his translation of the Visudhimagga, supplies a two-page footnote (fn 1 in Chapter VII, p age 204 in my edition) going through the umptine ways 'dhamma' is used throughout the Pali Canon, and the problem of trying to translate these different senses.

Van. Analayo, in his 1st Satipatthana book, also deals with the various senses of 'dhamma'. There's a lovely paragraph where he plays with this (from page 186; here adding emphasis and, in square brackets, a possible qualification to the first appearance of 'dhamma'):

"Thus contemplation of dhammas [as a satipatthana method] skilfully applies dhammas (classificatory categories) as taught in the Dhamma (the teaching of the Buddha) during contemplation in order to bring about an understanding of the dhamma (principle) of conditionality and lead to the realization of the highest of all dhammas (phenomena): Nibbaana."

The second 'dhamma' there refers to the Abhidhamma sense of the word.
Banned For waht?, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:51 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:51 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
"in the seen just the seen"
it says that the knower or witness or awareness is beyond the object what is being seen. If there is even tiny attachment to the object then aggregates what constitute the self(delusional self) arise.
and
attachments were there already when human body became self-conscious, that would say the delusional self is becoming more and more delusional gradually and that also mean that within delusional self is less delusional self what is called real self because tracing it one can retrace back step by step to purer self.

the maximum level of purity of mundane body is its dissolution to light.

same way in the pain just the pain. There is pain but no attachment to it, one can bear any pain as no pain. One could burn to death without any attachment to it, there won't be any emotions.
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Florian, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:43 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:39 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
What is the difference between a philosophical understanding of anatta and enlightenment?


To put it simply: I think it's like the difference between understanding how a physical skill is done in principle and actually being able to perform it. So, like knowing what a chin-up is in principle, and being able to talk about them and appreciate them on video - and really doing a few chin-ups with your own body in the gym.

But I'd like to add that it is not that clear-cut: it *is* possible to explore and realize anatta in philosophical thoughts. After all, the philosophical understanding itself exhibits the anatta property - the thought about anatta is not me, it doesn't belong to me, it is not a place to put myself.

However, philosophical thoughts are not the easiest objects for insight practice - it's so natural and enticing to buy into them. But it is possible to use them like anything else.

If right now I can examine the experience of sight, and I can see that sight is just there as itself, is that all there is to it?  What about this stops suffering from happening?


Hmmm... to make a quick, superficial comment on this: "I can see" is what there is to it. If in the seen is only the seen, how can you see this from outside, as it were?

But like I said, that's just something that stood out to me. I know nothing about your practice, so don't take this as any kind of instruction or teaching or anything - just my totally limited perspective on a few words on a computer screen here on my coffee table.

The self is emergent from this field, as in, the field itself is the self, no? Is the goal to pull apart that central knot?


If I go there, I'll be writing daft-sounding (or profound-sounding, depending on my mood) things like "The central knot is in the goal of trying to pull apart the central knot, it *is* the central knot" and so on.

From my memory: I got angry at this whole charade, challenged everything, the central knot, the centerpoint, the field, the self, the emergent self - all these shifty shady ... things: if they wanted anything from me, they could just come and present themselves, show me their three characteristics like everything else. I have no idea if this stance is useful to anyone else; for me, it was very empowering and fuelled my practice for a long time. Depends if you are the angry type, I guess. So much for the "strategy" angle to anatta.

Cheers,
Florian
Chuck Kasmire, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 8:48 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 8:26 AM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
Chuck, what you're describing sounds like what I call the PCE. emoticon Is there some kind of self related phenomena I'm missing in that, apart from the "veil has dropped" type thing, that you would consider to be "anatta"?


Keep in mind that anatta (as a teaching) is saying if you don't have control of something - if it can change on you - then you should not think of this as your permanent unchanging self because if you do this it will cause you stress.

Pleasurable as the pce is - it doesn’t last. It comes and goes. So there is the anatta teaching - something is going to come along and knock you out of it. In that sense it is unreliable with regard to your long term happiness and ease. With reference to a pce - it seems kind of stupid because it is so obvious - we don’t expect it to last in the first place. But this is what is meant by anatta - as a teaching - which is how Buddha used it. The intended audience for this teaching were those searching for something free from suffering - something that was permanent and reliable.

Actual Freedom is just a natural state. It is unshakable. People or events may be a bit annoying at times but when those pass - one naturally returns to peace and ease - no effort need be made to reestablish it. The difference between the pce and actual freedom is like the difference between jhana and the awakened state - the former offers a temporary partial freedom from stress while the latter is permanent.

Anatta these days is treated like something that needs to be weeded out of experience and smashed to bits. I see Buddha as having used it like stepping stones - and don't discard the stone until after you have made use of it on your path. Now days we just look around for stones and smash them. I am trying to counter this modern interpretation as I find it an impediment to practice.
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 9:51 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 6:18 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Haha, whenever I have these conversations I just end up more confused than before.

I guess the best thing to do at this point is just give up. emoticon If anatta ever becomes something important to my practice I'll have to come back and write someting about it.

EDIT: In spite of this, thanks for all the postings guys.  You've all given me stuff to think about. emoticon
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:27 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:27 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
I gave a simple answer.  How can you be confused?

There is only energy.  I described exactly how that energy creates beings.

What is a being?  I told you.

There is no despair in this.  If there is only Karma, yet I am spiritual, then Karma is spiritual.  

Soul = fathom long body

Just because we are pieces does not mean we are not also the Whole pouring through but pieces. 
Oh what Joy there is in knowing that we are the essence of Joy and Love already!  There needs no change!!
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:33 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/2/14 7:33 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
I too, take up this task.  I guess I can leave this site, though, as someone equally capable is already working.  You will have to understand everything to the degree that you desire, but you do not have to wait for that point to continue to point out wrong views.  It amazes me how we tend to know by instinct that which has not yet been learned...
Alexander Entelechy, modified 7 Years ago at 11/4/14 8:31 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/4/14 8:30 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 4/7/11 Recent Posts
An Eternal Now's ideas are loopy in the same way Richards are loopy. They think the specific set of realisations that liberated them are universally applicable. Here's my attempt to translate AEN's philosophy into an analytical stance. If I'm massively off he can feel free to correct me. 
 
Suffering is caused by misunderstanding the truth of the situation. So let's say that we're afraid of snakes in a dark room and then turn the light on, we see the snakes are ropes. The fear we were feeling goes away.
 
Now one might be pretty happy and talk about how they no longer feel this fear. Life's great. AEN is shaking his head. 'You've misunderstood. What's important is that you turned the light on. Like what if you saw snakes again? You'd be fucked and still feel fear, the important thing wasn't the feeling of joy or the release of fear but the recognition that there were no snakes.'
 
Which is pretty smart.
 
Now where it goes awry is this.
 
AEN thinks that EVERYONE is scared of snakes. (and by AEN I mean the branch of Buddhism he adheres to). Snake fear is a default cognitive state for humans. So If I say I'm feeling great he's like, 'but you didn't mention the snakes., what if the snakes come back?'
 
I mean it's not a totally crazy argument. As human beings we might have all a tendency to a certain type of cognitive distortion. It's just that it really hasn't been empirically proved.  I mean to my mind it looks like people are doing fine (reaching ataraxia, perpetual pce, freedom from suffering) without ever thinking about snakes. Which is really a problem with the whole field of liberation from suffering. It's still primarily dogmatic and hence the pedagogy sucks. 
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 11/4/14 11:26 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 11/4/14 11:22 PM

RE: What is liberated?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Well, eventually the realization may occur that it is not the snakes or the rope that causes fear or relief.

 The fear or relief arises from within.  

The snakes or ropes were just snakes or ropes all along.

The fear or relief need not happen, but the mind has to be independent of external phenomenon for this to happen.

Wouldn't that be a hoot?  To be aware of the snake as a snake, before the fear instinct arose, and actually to not have fear arise?


Pssssssssiiiiii

Edit:  Just saw you were saying not everyone has a fear of snakes, I read it all as a metaphor for aversion... Not literal snakes... Oh well.

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