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Re: [Pali] Pali - ignorance

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  • Michael Beisert
    Nina, (and RobertK), As a principle I can fully understand that ignorance leads to suffering and further rebirth, and that the forerunner of the way to
    Message 1 of 14 , Nov 2, 2003
      Nina, (and RobertK),

      As a principle I can fully understand that ignorance leads to suffering and
      further rebirth, and that the forerunner of the way to liberation is right
      understanding. So within that framework the answer by Nagasena makes perfect
      sense. The same applies to the passages quoted by RobertK from the
      commentaries.

      But I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
      deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your quotes
      from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
      (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
      unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she is
      still a putujana) and an ignorant person. So, if the mental constituents are
      exactly the same what would make the vipaka stronger for one and not the
      other? My logic is that the feelings of guilt/remorse will explain the
      different intensity of vipaka. And the dhamma practitioner will likely have
      stronger feelings of guilt/remorse that the ignorant person. Over time the
      story could be different because the ignorant person due to his/her
      ignorance might develop that deed into a habit and this will bring far
      greater harm.

      Metta
      Michael
      orkom <nilo@...>
      >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      >To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
      >Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - ignorance
      >Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 16:17:02 +0100
      >
      >Dear Michael,
      >to recapitulate: from Milinda's questions: >>> The king said: "Venerable
      >Nagasena, for whom is the greater demerit, one who knowingly does evil, or
      >one who does evil unknowingly?>
      >Nagasena's answer was one who does evil unknowingly.
      >
      >op 01-11-2003 17:45 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:
      > >
      > > On the surface this seems like a very easy question but in fact it is
      >very
      > > complex. ..... the answer to your question is no, someone who has not
      >heard
      >the
      > > Dhamma and commits an akusala deed is in a better position than someone
      >who
      > > knows the Dhamma....
      >N: It is complex. Let us go to the roots of all akusala. There are three
      >akusala hetus or roots which are the foundation of akusala citta. I do not
      >know the Portuguese word for root, in French it is racine. In Pali the
      >tersm
      >hetu and muula are used. The three are: lobha (greed) dosa (aversion or
      >hate) and moha (ignorance or delusion). Another word for moha is avijjaa.
      >There are akusala cittas rooted in moha and lobha, rooted in moha and dosa
      >and rooted in moha alone. But all akusala cittas have moha as their root.
      >Dhammapada vs 251: <...there is no net like delusion>, and in the Ch on
      >taints, vs. 243:... <and a worse taint than these is ignorance, the
      >greatest
      >taint.>
      >We become entangled in ignorance, it is like a net.
      >Ignorance is not knowing realities as they are, not knowing what is kusala,
      >what is akusala, not knowing the four noble Truths. It is like blindness,
      >like darkness.
      >There are different intensities, degrees of the akusala hetus. When the
      >degree of moha is stronger, there is a higher degree of akusala. The
      >akusala hetu that arises together with the citta conditions the
      >accompanying
      >mental factors (cetasikas) and the citta. It motivates different degrees of
      >unwholesome deeds.
      >I could recommend the Wheel, no 251-253, by Ven. Nyanaponika: "the Roots of
      >Good and Evil ".
      >
      >M: we should remember
      > > that the workings of kamma can be very complex and just as a reminder
      >look
      > > at the Lonaphala Sutta (AN III.99).
      >N: Yes, only a Buddha thoroughly penetrates the workings of kamma and
      >result.
      >This sutta is very complex, but does not contradict the fact that more
      >ignorance conditions the akusala to be more intense. Decisive here is
      >leading the holy life. The Buddha teaches here about being in the cycle and
      >going out of the cycle, the commentary states.
      >M: Now the question becomes really complex when you throw in the skilful
      > > means� so highly praised in the Mahayana tradition. And using a skilful
      > > means interpretation of a certain deed, what apparently would be an
      >akusala
      > > deed could be regarded as kusala. And this really opens the door for any
      > > actions to be interpreted anyway you want and to atribute any kamma
      > > consequences you want.
      >N: Then there is more and more ignorance, as I see it. Metta is always
      >kusala, violence is always akusala. Nobody in the world can change akusala
      >into kusala. The three beautiful roots are: alobha, adosa and amoha or
      >pa~n~naa.
      >Nina.
      >
      >

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    • nina van gorkom
      Dear Michael, As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda s questions was whether akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not
      Message 2 of 14 , Nov 3, 2003
        Dear Michael,
        As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda's questions was whether
        akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not whether
        there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. Kamma produces vipaka, but
        there are other conditions necessary for kamma to produce vipaka. In the Co.
        to the Vibhanga, the Dispeller of Delusion, ch 16, Classification of
        Knowledge, 2198 there is mentioned: destiny, gati, substratum, upadhi, one's
        means or conduct, payoga, kaala, time. These can be favorable, sampatti or
        unfavorable, vipatti. For example when you are born in time of war or in a
        country where there is hunger, there is more opportunity for akusala kamma
        to produce akusala vipaaka and less opportunity for kusala vipaaka. This
        subject is complex, many condiitons play their part.
        There were countless past lives and we do not know which kamma will produce
        result at which time. But so long as there is ignorance we are in the cycle
        and we have to receive vipakaa.
        Nina.
        op 02-11-2003 18:04 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:

        > I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
        > deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your quotes
        > from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
        > (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
        > unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she is
        > still a putujana) and an ignorant person.
      • Michael Beisert
        Nina, “The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.” Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question … What was the
        Message 3 of 14 , Nov 3, 2003
          Nina,

          �The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.�

          Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question � What was the question
          again? I am lost now.

          I am not sure about �akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance�
          either ignorance is present as a mental factor or it is not present. I don�t
          see this �relative strength of ignorance� in the texts. Where do you find
          this?

          I understand your considerations about how vipaka can be produced. But I
          thought we should take a sort of scientific approach and simplify the
          variables otherwise it is impossible to get any answer.

          Metta
          Michael



          >From: nina van gorkom <nilo@...>
          >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
          >To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
          >Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - ignorance
          >Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 19:06:08 +0100
          >
          >Dear Michael,
          >As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda's questions was whether
          >akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not whether
          >there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. Kamma produces vipaka, but
          >there are other conditions necessary for kamma to produce vipaka. In the
          >Co.
          >to the Vibhanga, the Dispeller of Delusion, ch 16, Classification of
          >Knowledge, 2198 there is mentioned: destiny, gati, substratum, upadhi,
          >one's
          >means or conduct, payoga, kaala, time. These can be favorable, sampatti or
          >unfavorable, vipatti. For example when you are born in time of war or in a
          >country where there is hunger, there is more opportunity for akusala kamma
          >to produce akusala vipaaka and less opportunity for kusala vipaaka. This
          >subject is complex, many condiitons play their part.
          >There were countless past lives and we do not know which kamma will produce
          >result at which time. But so long as there is ignorance we are in the cycle
          >and we have to receive vipakaa.
          >Nina.
          >op 02-11-2003 18:04 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:
          >
          > > I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
          > > deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your
          >quotes
          > > from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
          > > (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
          > > unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she
          >is
          > > still a putujana) and an ignorant person.
          >

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        • nina van gorkom
          Dear Michael, ... akusala citta. When ignorance is strong you burn yourself more:
          Message 4 of 14 , Nov 4, 2003
            Dear Michael,
            op 03-11-2003 20:08 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:

            > “The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.
            >
            > Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question … What was the question
            > again? I am lost now.
            >N: The quote from the Milinda questions did not deal with vipaka. It dealt with
            akusala citta. When ignorance is strong you burn yourself more:< ,"Indeed,
            great king, in the same way the greater demerit is for him who does evil not
            knowing.> Ignorance arises with each akusala citta, but it can be of
            different degrees. When you have no notion of what is akusala the evil you
            commit is of a higher degree.
            M: I am not sure about akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance’
            > either ignorance is present as a mental factor or it is not present. I don’t
            > see this relative strength of ignorance’ in the texts. Where do you find
            > this?
            N: There are different degrees of akusala which is always accompanied by
            ignorance: ignorance of what is kusala, what is akusala, ignorance of the
            danger of akusala and of the benefit of kusala. Ignorance is gradually worn
            away by those who develop understanding and attain stages of enlightenment,
            a long process, taking aeons. Only the arahat has completely eradicated
            ignorance.
            In your own life you can notice that dosa sometimes is a slight uneasiness,
            and sometimes a stronger aversion such as anger. Ignorance is very coarse
            when one does not see that akusala is harmful, for instance if one at all
            costs is after one's own pleasure and sees this as one's goal. A person
            might even kill other beings, lie and steal all for his own sake. Ignorance
            conditions wrong view which may be very dangerous, such as the views of
            Makkhali Gosaala, Puura.na Kassapa and Ajita Kesakambali. If one propagates
            that akusala kamma does not bring any result it is most harmful for society.
            See the Brahmajaalasutta for different kinds of wrong view conditioned by
            coarse ignorance.
            We do not advocate such theories, but there are other forms of ignorance,
            less coarse, but I would not call them subtle. In the Kindred Sayings IV,
            Second Fifty, Ch I, §53 we read that a monk said:
            <'By how knowing, lord, by how seeing does ignorance vanish and knowledge
            arise?'
            'In him that knows and sees the eye as impermanent... that knows and sees
            objects... as impermanent, ignorance vanishes and knowledge arises.'
            The same is said with regard to the other doorways.
            Ignorance is not seeing the presently arisen dhamma as impermanent, dukkha
            and anattaa.
            The sotaapanna has realized the four noble Truths, but there are many
            degrees of realizing this. He still has akusala, but no longer to the degree
            of conditioning akusala kamma that can produce an unhappy rebirth. Gradually
            the three roots are worn away until one reaches arahatship.

            M: I understand your considerations about how vipaka can be produced. But I
            > thought we should take a sort of scientific approach and simplify the
            > variables otherwise it is impossible to get any answer.
            N: Science has another approach and another goal, it is quite different from
            the Buddha's teachings which have as the aim to develop understanding so
            that defilements are gradually eradicated. Kamma and vipaka belong to the
            "unthinkables", people would become mad when they try to find out which
            kamma produces which vipaka. We cannot simplify what is the domain of the
            Buddhas.
            For us it is more fruitful to begin to understand whether the citta at this
            moment is kusala or akusala. There is enough ignorance that has to be worn
            away.
            Nina.
          • John Kelly
            Michael, ... Yes! Guilt & remorse WILL be stronger for the dhamma practitioner - but hiri/otappa (guilt/remorse) is a GOOD thing, thus unwholesome kamma would
            Message 5 of 14 , Nov 4, 2003
              Michael,
              You said:
              >My logic is that the feelings of guilt/remorse will
              >explain the
              >different intensity of vipaka. And the dhamma
              >practitioner
              >will likely have
              >stronger feelings of guilt/remorse that the ignorant
              >person. Over time the
              >story could be different because the ignorant person
              >due to
              >his/her
              >ignorance might develop that deed into a habit and
              >this
              >will bring far
              >greater harm.

              Yes! Guilt & remorse WILL be stronger for the dhamma
              practitioner - but hiri/otappa (guilt/remorse) is a
              GOOD thing, thus unwholesome kamma would be mitigated
              somewhat for this person.
              John




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