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Re: Nina's comments on my paper

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  • ashinpan@gmail.com
    Dear Nina, ... Anyone who has been trained in Abhidhammic studies would tend to agree with me. I know that. However, I have chosen not to refer to Abhidhamma
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 12, 2011
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      Dear Nina,

      You wrote:

      > Thank you for the file. I am with you that kusala is kusala and akusala
      > is akusala and that these are absolute values. One cannot change kusala
      > into akusala and they arise at different moments. They each have their
      > own characteristic and even if we change their names, their
      > characteristics are unalterable.

      > It would help Collins to realize that there are so many different cittas
      > each arising because of their own conditions. Abhidhamma can help us to
      > have a deeper understanding of realities, including kamma and vipaaka. It
      > is not theory but pertains to our life now. Then one can begin to know
      > that what seems one moment of kusala that lasts is in fact many different
      > moments, arising and falling away extremely rapidly. For instance what
      > seems a lasting moment of metta may be moments of metta and selfish
      > affection alternating so fast.

      Anyone who has been trained in Abhidhammic studies would tend to agree with
      me. I know that. However, I have chosen not to refer to Abhidhamma in my
      paper on account of two reasons:

      (1) An ordinary Buddhist should be able to understand and practice the
      Buddhist morality without delving into the Abhidhammic psychology.

      (2) I don't want to get into the nightmare of a historical controversy over
      the authenticity of Abhidhamma as part of the Buddha's teaching.


      > Kamma is cetanaa cetasika, and it is kusala citta with kusala cetanaa
      > that counts. Not the outward appearance of deeds.

      You are absolutely right. If we just look at the outward appearance of
      deeds, we will find it difficult to appreciate Vessantara's sacrifice of
      his children as slaves.

      with metta,

      Ven. Pandita


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    • Nina van Gorkom
      Venerable Bhikkhu Pandita, Thank you for your reply. Op 12-okt-2011, om 12:30 heeft ashinpan@gmail.com het volgende ... N: I understand your point of view,
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 12, 2011
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        Venerable Bhikkhu Pandita,
        Thank you for your reply.
        Op 12-okt-2011, om 12:30 heeft ashinpan@... het volgende
        geschreven:

        > (2) I don't want to get into the nightmare of a historical
        > controversy over
        > the authenticity of Abhidhamma as part of the Buddha's teaching.
        -----
        N: I understand your point of view, such endless debates!
        As to point 1, this would need some explanation that Abhidhamma is
        not what many people think it is. But I feel no need to go into this
        now, avoiding again some discussions.
        with respect,
        Nina.



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      • ashinpan
        Dear Nina, ... If I understand correctly what you mean here, I must agree again. Abhidhamma is not only for theoretical studies. It is applicable to every
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 12, 2011
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          Dear Nina,


          You wrote:

          > As to point 1, this would need some explanation that Abhidhamma is
          > not what many people think it is. But I feel no need to go into this
          > now, avoiding again some discussions.

          If I understand correctly what you mean here, I must agree again. Abhidhamma is not only for theoretical studies. It is applicable to every moral scenario in real life. It is possible to live an Abhidhammic life, so to speak.

          However, I really do not know how to explain this to someone not yet initiated into Abhidhammic studies. Perhaps this is a cultural handicap.

          In Burma, we are supposed to learn Abhidhamma to preserve it. That is, we can say Abhidhamma exists only when there are persons who really understand it. The mere presence of books won't do.

          Therefore, the first years of intensive Abhidhammic studies are spent with analytical methods similar to maths or logic. The psychological/ethical concepts come only at a later stage when we have to study the commentarial literature. The practical knowledge of Abhidhamma comes much later only.

          Having passed through such training, I simply don't know how to begin with the last stage. However, the practical knowledge is more important for most people, whom I think people like you are much more qualified to teach.

          Anyhow, thanks a lot for your interest in, and comments on, my paper.

          with metta,

          Ven. Pandita
        • Nina van Gorkom
          Venerable Bhikkhu Pandita, ... N: I really appreciate your kind and well considered mail. In Thailand I learnt Abhidhamma from Acharn Sujin beginning with the
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 13, 2011
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            Venerable Bhikkhu Pandita,
            Op 12-okt-2011, om 17:26 heeft ashinpan het volgende geschreven:

            > Therefore, the first years of intensive Abhidhammic studies are
            > spent with analytical methods similar to maths or logic. The
            > psychological/ethical concepts come only at a later stage when we
            > have to study the commentarial literature. The practical knowledge
            > of Abhidhamma comes much later only.
            >
            > Having passed through such training, I simply don't know how to
            > begin with the last stage. However, the practical knowledge is more
            > important for most people, whom I think people like you are much
            > more qualified to teach.
            -------
            N: I really appreciate your kind and well considered mail. In
            Thailand I learnt Abhidhamma from Acharn Sujin beginning with the
            "last stage". I learnt: Abhidhamma is not "in the book".
            The suttas are full of Abhidhamma, where the Buddha speaks about
            seeing, hearing, attachment that arises on account of the object that
            is experienced and guarding the sense-doors. Abhidhamma pertains to
            seeing at this moment, hearing at this moment and our reactions to
            it, being kusala or akusala. Abhidhamma and mindfulness of dhammas
            appearing now, which is satipa.t.thaana, go together. We know so
            little about seeing, we think of it as my seeing and confuse it with
            perceiving persons and things that seem to exist. There is seeing
            now, it experiences just what appears through eyesense. Its
            characteristic can be "studied" with mindfulness. This is not easy,
            but at least we can begin, very gradually. And this is the study of
            the Abhidhamma. A lifelong study, and for even more than one life.
            I think that we do not have to consider all of the classifications
            and all details, but the general principles such as different
            processes of cittas and conditions for the phenomena can be of great
            help in our daily life.
            with appreciation and respect,
            Nina.





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