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37923Re: Phil: intelligent act of dana

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  • Sukinderpal Singh Narula
    Nov 1, 2004
      Hello DN,

      Thanks for Mahasi Sayadaw's lecture.

      I agree with the Sayadaw regarding the superiority in some cases, of
      conventional expressions of dhamma. Though even in these cases, I
      would think that sometimes it depends on the listener, how much
      understanding he or she has about ultimate realities. It does seem
      however, that the Sayadaw acknowledges that ultimately whatever is
      said, paramattha dhamma are being referred to, no? But in any case,
      is this even an issue? Does anyone here deny the usefulness and
      application of the Teachings in conventional terms?

      I think the Sayadaw is addressing more the misapplication of the
      knowledge of Abhidhamma. And this may be a problem he faced directly
      in real life experience, perhaps in Myanmar? Or it may be rooted to
      some degree in his `doing' or `proactive' approach to dhamma? From
      my perspective the question of choice between stating in paramattha
      terms vs. conventional designation, should not even arise. Why does
      one have to `choose' between one way of saying things from the
      other. Is it a reflection of panna which stops to consider the
      better way of stating facts?

      Abhidhamma is about understanding the moment, not about *using* any
      knowledge and projecting that onto experiences. This is the world of
      a difference between seeing the Teachings as prescriptive on one
      hand and descriptive on another. The same difference between `doing'
      and `understanding', control and no control. In the one there is
      what I believe genuine `practice' conditioned from time to time, but
      the other, though they "believe" in practice, little positive seem
      to happen as far as understanding the moment is concerned.

      Now to the point of the original post, namely, did the Buddha in
      some particular case, specifically in his teachings on Dana, prefer
      ordinary kusala over vipassana? Here too it seems that the Venerable
      is making an unnecessary distinction in his lecture. It is part of
      correct Abhidhamma understanding that a moment of dana, metta,
      karuna for example, the object of citta is a being or person. It is
      also correct understanding that Dana and metta are parami and that
      without the accumulation of these, panna cannot be developed to the
      full, and all along the path, these help and support each other. On
      the other hand it would be wrong understanding to even think about
      trying to change the object of citta from `beings' to `the
      characteristic of dhammas'. This is from a wrong idea of `self and
      control' and the result would be neither the kusala of Dana nor any
      kusala thinking, but distorted view. However for the Venerable to go
      on and say to the effect, that one should *avoid* satipatthana in
      order so that Dana can be most effective is I think equally wrong. I
      think it is in the Dhammapadda where the Buddha states that "a
      hundred years of metta if not as good one single moment of insight".
      I know that this may be referred to vipassana and not ordinary
      satipatthana. However it does point to the superiority and
      preferability of knowing dhammas, no? The Venerable would in my
      opinion not see this problem had he not separated the practice of
      satipatthana from daily life into formalized practice. As Ken O has
      said, that Dana has arisen already and that it is conditioned and if
      there is any rejoice later, this too would be conditioned. The
      important thing is that *all this can happen interspersed with
      satipatthana if the attitude is correct*.

      Sorry for the abrupt ending, need to go out somewhere.


      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "dighanakha"
      <dighanakha@y...> wrote:
      > Hello All.
      > Here is a lengthier treatment of the same subject in Mahasi
      > Sayadaw's lectures on the Bhaara Sutta. Particularly worthy
      > of attention are his remarks at the end about the "semblance
      > of vipassanaa."
      > http://www.mahasi.org.mm/pdf/E04pdf.PDF
      > There are two methods of instruction in Buddha's teachings,
      > namely, the paramattha desanaa and the pa~n~nattha desanaa,
      > the former being concerned with abstract knowledge while the
      > latter with ordinary or conventional knowledge appealing to
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