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Re: On Primary Elements

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  • truth_aerator
    Dear Nina, Sarah and all, ... I believe that the Buddha meant literal hard & solid things when referred to Earth Element. The earth property can be either
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 1, 2009
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      Dear Nina, Sarah and all,

      >Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Alex,
      > The word abstract may have different meanings for different people.
      > I would say: Earth points to a charactreistic that can be directly
      > experienced now, without having to think of it: hardness or >softness.
      > I do not think it is abstract, it is to be experienced in daily life.
      > Nina.


      I believe that the Buddha meant literal hard & solid things when referred to Earth Element.



      "The earth property can be either internal or external. Which is the internal earth property? Whatever internal, within oneself, is hard, solid, & sustained [by craving]: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or whatever else internal, within oneself, is hard, solid, & sustained: This is called the internal earth property. Now both the internal earth property and the external earth property are simply earth property."
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.028.than.html

      While it is true that above objects are hard, harsh, solid, smooth, etc - The suttas do seem to imply literal primary Elements as the meaning of 4 primary elements.



      With metta,

      Alex
    • sarah abbott
      Dear Alex, ... A: I believe that the Buddha meant literal hard & solid things when referred to Earth Element. ... S: So referring to your list of 18 elements,
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 2, 2009
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        Dear Alex,

        --- On Fri, 2/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
        >N:> The word abstract may have different meanings for different people.
        > I would say: Earth points to a charactreistic that can be directly
        > experienced now, without having to think of it: hardness or >softness.
        > I do not think it is abstract, it is to be experienced in daily life.
        > Nina.

        A:>I believe that the Buddha meant literal hard & solid things when referred to Earth Element.
        ...
        S: So referring to your list of 18 elements, are you suggesting that "solid things" is included in phottabba-dhatu (element of tangible objects) which consists of earth element which is experienced as hardness/softness, fire element, experienced as heat/cold and wind element, experienced as motion/pressure? In other words, are you suggesting that what is touched is not hardness/softness but "solid things"? Isn't this exactly the kind of wrong view the Mulapariyaya Sutta points to in the ignorant, mad worldlings?

        The Buddha uses conventional examples, such as the hardness of the nails, but we need to understand what is said in the light of our understanding of elements.

        Ken O gave a good quote before:

        >K: The Dispeller of Delusion
        <<389. Furthermore "element" is a term for the soulless (nijjiva). And
        accordingly to the Blesed One taught the elements for the purpose of abolishing the perception of soul in [passages such as:] "This man, bhikkhus, has six elements" (M iii 239) etc. .... >>

        If we still have the same old ideas of solid things and people that we always had after studying the texts or contemplating on elements, what's the use of it?

        Metta

        Sarah
        =======
      • sarah abbott
        Dear Alex & all, I quoted some passages on pa.thavi dhaatu before from the Mulapariyaaya Sutta and commentaries which you might like to consider:
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 2, 2009
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          Dear Alex & all,

          I quoted some passages on pa.thavi dhaatu before from the Mulapariyaaya Sutta and commentaries which you might like to consider:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/73020
          >S: Firstly, what is meant by hardness? It is the characteristic of earth
          element (pa.thavi dhaatu), which along with temperature (tejo dhatu) and
          motion (vayo dhatu) can be experienced through the body-sense. These are
          the tangible objects.

          MN 1, The Mulapariyaaya Sutta (Bodhi transl with its commentary and
          subcommentaries, published by BPS under the title 'The Discourse on the
          Root of Existence')

          "Herein, bhikkhus, an uninstructed worldling, who is without regard for
          the ariyans, unskilled in the Dhamma of the ariyans, undisciplined in the
          Dhamma of the ariyans, who is without regard for the good men, unskilled
          in the Dhamma of the good men, undisciplined in the Dhamma of the good men
          - he perceives earth as earth (pa.thavi.m pa.thavito sa~njaanaati). Having
          perceived earth as earth(pa.thavi.m pa.thavito sa~n~natvaa), he conceives
          (himself as) earth (pa.thavi.m ma~n~nati); he conceives (himself) in
          earth (pa.thaviyaa ma~n~nati); he conceives (himself apart) from earth
          (pa.thavito ma~n~nati); he conceives 'earth is mine'(pa.thavi.m me'ti
          ma~n~nati); he delights in earth(pa.thavi.m abhinandati). What is the
          reason? Because it has not been fully understood by him (apari~n~naata.m
          tassaa), I declare."
          ....
          S: So here the text is also referring to pa.thavi. Although the tangible
          object is experienced through the body-sense for ignorant worldlings or
          ariyans alike, the difference is that the worldling wrongly takes such
          objects for 'atta', rather than rightly understanding them as transient
          elements not worth delighting in.

          The arahat 'directly knows earth as earth'. How? Only by knowing its
          characteristic of hardness/softness/roughness when it appears. When we
          touch the keyboard now as we read, what is experienced through the
          body-sense? Surely it is hardness, distinct from visible object or sound
          or other rupas.
          ....
          S:The commentary adds a lot more detail. I think you'll find it
          interesting!
          .....
          " 'He perceives earth as earth (pathavi.m pathavito sa~njaanaati)'

          Cy: Having thus described the worldling, the Master goes on to show his
          manner of conceiving the bases such as earth, etc., which is the
          generative source of all things included in personality.

          Therein, earth is fourfold: characteristic earth (lakkha.napathavii),
          composite earth (sasambhaarapathavii), objectified earth
          (aaramma.napathavii), and earth as conventional designation
          (sammutipathavi).

          (1) In the passage: 'What, friends, is the internal earth element? That
          which is internal, belonging to oneself, hard, solid" (M.28/I, 185) - this
          is characteristic earth.

          (2) In the passage: "If he should dig the earth, or cause the earth to be
          dug" (Vin.iv, 33) - this is composite earth. The twenty parts of the body
          beginning with head-hairs, etc., and the external elements such as iron
          and copper are also included in composite earth. For composite earth
          consists of earth together with its accompanying material dhammas, such as
          colour, etc.

          (3) "Someone perceives the earth-kasina" (D.33/iii, 268) - here the
          objectified earth is the earth-kasina, also called the earth-sign
          (nimittapathavii).

          (4) "Earth as conventional designation": somebody who attains jhaana with
          the earth-kasina as basis, and is reborn in the world of the gods, gains
          the name 'earth deity' after his means of arriving at such a state.

          "All these meanings of the word 'earth' are relevant to the present
          context. For whatsoever instance among these four kinds of earth the
          worldling perceives as earth, he perceives (with the notion) 'it is
          earth'; he perceives as a segment of earth (pathaviibhaagena); he
          perceives through a perversion of perception, seizing upon the
          conventional expression (and thinking) 'it is earth' (lokavohaara.m
          gahetvaa sa~n~naavipallaasena sa~njaanaati). Or, without releasing such a
          segment of earth, he perceives it as a being (satta) or as belonging to a
          being.

          Why does he perceive it in this way? He seizes upon anything he can in
          whatever way he can. Or else, the reason is that he has no regard for the
          ariyans, etc.; or, as the Exalted One will say later on, 'because it has
          not been fully understood by him.'......

          "Cy.: Having perceived earth thus with a perverted perception, the
          worldling afterwards conceives it, i.e. construes or discriminates it,
          through the strengthened proliferating tendencies of craving, conceit, and
          views, which are here called 'conceivings'. This accords with the
          statement: "Concepts due to proliferation are grounded upon
          perception"(Sn.v.874). He apprehends it in diverse ways contrary (to
          reality); hence it is said: 'He conceives earth.' "
          ....
          S: Lots more detail is given. In brief, at the moment of touch, only
          tangible object is experienced. Hardness or pathavi has a particular
          characteristic which can be known. We may think we touch a computer or
          person, but this is because of 'conceivings' or 'proliferations'.<

          *****
          S: I'd like to add one more extract from the commentary which I think is relevant to our discussions:

          "Objection: If the conventional expression is applied, what is the fault? Don't ariyans also make use of the conventional expression, as when they say: 'This, venerable sir, is the great earth,' etc.?

          "Reply: It is not the mere employment of the expression that is intended here, but the wrong adherence which occurs through the conventional expression. Thus he says: 'he perceives through a perversion of perception.' This is the meaning: He perceives it as beautiful, etc*., through a perverted perception springing from unwise reflection. By this, weak conceiving through craving, conceit, and views is shown."

          *"The 'etc.' implies the other three perverted marks: permanent (nicca), pleasurable (sukkha), and self (attaa)."

          Hope you find this interesting.

          Metta

          Sarah
          ========
        • truth_aerator
          ... Dear Sarah, Nina, all, I understand the Buddha s teaching and believe that there ARE external & internal objects such as hair, skin, bones, urine,
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 2, 2009
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            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, sarah abbott <sarahprocterabbott@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Alex,
            >
            > --- On Fri, 2/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
            > >N:> The word abstract may have different meanings for different people.
            > > I would say: Earth points to a charactreistic that can be directly
            > > experienced now, without having to think of it: hardness or >softness.
            > > I do not think it is abstract, it is to be experienced in daily life.
            > > Nina.
            >
            > A:>I believe that the Buddha meant literal hard & solid things when referred to Earth Element.
            > ...
            > S: So referring to your list of 18 elements, are you suggesting that "solid things" is included in phottabba-dhatu (element of tangible objects) which consists of earth element which is experienced as hardness/softness, fire element, experienced as heat/cold and wind element, experienced as motion/pressure? In other words, are you suggesting that what is touched is not hardness/softness but "solid things"? Isn't this exactly the kind of wrong view the Mulapariyaya Sutta points to in the ignorant, mad worldlings?
            >
            > The Buddha uses conventional examples, such as the hardness of the nails, but we need to understand what is said in the light of our understanding of elements.
            >
            > Ken O gave a good quote before:
            >
            > >K: The Dispeller of Delusion
            > <<389. Furthermore "element" is a term for the soulless (nijjiva). And
            > accordingly to the Blesed One taught the elements for the purpose of abolishing the perception of soul in [passages such as:] "This man, bhikkhus, has six elements" (M iii 239) etc. .... >>
            >
            > If we still have the same old ideas of solid things and people that we always had after studying the texts or contemplating on elements, what's the use of it?
            >
            > Metta
            >
            > Sarah
            > =======
            >

            Dear Sarah, Nina, all,


            I understand the Buddha's teaching and believe that there ARE external & internal objects such as hair, skin, bones, urine, excrement and so on. Sure that they have are percieved also as rough, harsh, solid, soft, etc etc.


            "what is touched is not hardness/softness but "solid things"

            Hardness & softness is a description of the feeling that "solid thing"
            has when it touches the body. Don't mistake the two.

            The teaching that reduces external objects to mere feelings, sensations, cognitions, concepts, seems to border idealism of some sort. That, IMHO, reduces the nibbida impact on a person. There is less disgust at unsanitary and disgusting filth if we consider it to be mere perception.



            With metta,

            Alex
          • truth_aerator
            Dear Sarah, All, RE: MN1 I believe that what MN1 talks about ignorant worldling a) Taking external object as Self or Self property. I was NOT arguing that
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 2, 2009
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              Dear Sarah, All,


              RE: MN1


              I believe that what MN1 talks about ignorant worldling
              a) Taking external object as Self or Self property.
              I was NOT arguing that external/interal elements are Self. They are Anatta.

              b) Taking grammatical inflexions too literally and presuposing a Self and Self's relation to them.

              I was NOT arguing that external/interal elements are Self. They are Anatta and language is just a convention.

              c) Speculation about various things, external elements, etc.



              The fact is that the suttas such as MN28 & MN62 make it clear what exists.






              May you all be happy for as long as possible!


              Alex
            • sarah abbott
              Dear Alex & all, ... ... S: Hair is which of the 18 elements we re discussing or are you saying that there are 18 elements plus an unlimited number of other
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                Dear Alex & all,

                --- On Fri, 2/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
                >I understand the Buddha's teaching and believe that there ARE external & internal objects such as hair, skin, bones, urine, excrement and so on. Sure that they have are percieved also as rough, harsh, solid, soft, etc etc.
                ...
                S: "Hair" is which of the 18 elements we're discussing or are you saying that there are 18 elements plus an unlimited number of other realities, starting with hair?
                ....

                >>A:"what is touched is not hardness/softness but "solid things"

                >Hardness & softness is a description of the feeling that "solid thing"
                has when it touches the body. Don't mistake the two.

                >The teaching that reduces external objects to mere feelings, sensations, cognitions, concepts, seems to border idealism of some sort. That, IMHO, reduces the nibbida impact on a person. There is less disgust at unsanitary and disgusting filth if we consider it to be mere perception.
                ...
                S: The vipallasas (perversions of perception) are only eradicated by understanding the the conditioned elements as anicca, dukkha, anatta, not 'solid in any way', and asubha in order to overcome the perceptions we have, when we have no understanding of elements, that what we experience is nicca, sukkha, atta and subha.

                From a quote in a post I wrote before #45957:

                Vism XX1,4:

                “However, when continuity is disrupted by discerning rise and fall, the
                characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent in its true nature.

                When the postures are exposed by attention to continuous oppression, the
                characteristic of pain becomes apparent in its true nature.

                When the resolution of the compact is effected by resolution into
                elements, the characteristic of not-self becomes apparent in its true
                nature.”
                *****
                S: On the last paragraph, "the resolution of the compact" refers to the understanding that it is not a 'solid' world. There are no finger nails, hair, books and computers. Only by the "resolution into elements", the understanding that there are only ever the elements we discussed, will the characteristic of anatta be apparent as the quote says.

                ><.....>Commenting on this Vis. paragraph, Pm. says:

                "Resolution of the compact" is effected by resolving [what appears
                compact] in this way, "The earth element is one, the water element is
                another" etc., distinguishing each one; and in this way, "Contact is
                one, feeling is another" etc., distinguishing each one. "When the
                resolution of the compact is effected" means that what is compact as a
                mass and what is compact as a function or as an object has been
                analyzed. For when material and immaterial states have arisen mutually
                steadying each other, [mentality and materiality, for example,] then,
                owing to misinterpreting that as a unity, compactness of mass is assumed
                through failure to subject formations to pressure. And likewise
                compactness of function is assumed when, although definite differences
                exist in such and such states' functions, they are taken as one. And
                likewise compactness of object is assumed when, although differences
                exist in the ways in which states that take objects make them their
                objects, those objects are taken as one.

                But when they are seen after resolving them by means of knowledge into
                these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by
                the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and
                void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident'
                (Pm.824).”<

                Metta

                Sarah
                p.s [Looking forard to your response and any further discussion in the 18 elements, 12 bases thread]
                =========
              • sarah abbott
                Dear Alex & all, [All, I m just waiting for Jon to arrive back from Fiji tonight where he s been (again!) for the last week....and fortunately, my neck,
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                  Dear Alex & all,

                  [All, I'm just waiting for Jon to arrive back from Fiji tonight where he's been (again!) for the last week....and fortunately, my neck, shoulder has settled down a lot...anyway, hence the flurry of posts!]

                  --- On Fri, 2/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
                  >RE: MN1

                  >I believe that what MN1 talks about ignorant worldling
                  a) Taking external object as Self or Self property.
                  I was NOT arguing that external/interal elements are Self. They are Anatta.
                  ...
                  S: Whenever we take anything for a 'whole' or 'thing' in reality, such as a nail or a computer, then there's atta-view, no understanding of elements, such as pathavi-dhatu (earth element appearing as hardness/softness) at the moment of touch.
                  ...
                  >b) Taking grammatical inflexions too literally and presuposing a Self and Self's relation to them.

                  >I was NOT arguing that external/interal elements are Self. They are Anatta and language is just a convention.
                  ...
                  S: I thought you were talking about 'solid things' such as nails and hair as actually existing, even though you now agree that softness/hardness is felt through the body-sense? I look forward to your clarifications.
                  ...
                  >c) Speculation about various things, external elements, etc.

                  >The fact is that the suttas such as MN28 & MN62 make it clear what exists.
                  ...
                  S: What exists now? What is experienced now? Through which door-way? How do you match your interpretation of the MN suttas with your detailed list and careful study of elements and ayatanas?

                  I'm not trying to make your life difficult. I think these are important points to consider as you're doing. Always good to share understandings with you, Alex.

                  Metta

                  Sarah
                  =======
                • upasaka@aol.com
                  Hi, Sarah (and Alex) - In a message dated 10/3/2009 8:46:55 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, sarahprocterabbott@yahoo.co.uk writes: S: Whenever we take anything
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                    Hi, Sarah (and Alex) -

                    In a message dated 10/3/2009 8:46:55 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                    sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                    S: Whenever we take anything for a 'whole' or 'thing' in reality, such as
                    a nail or a computer, then there's atta-view, no understanding of elements,
                    such as pathavi-dhatu (earth element appearing as hardness/softness) at
                    the moment of touch.
                    ============================
                    Sarah, if you would enlarge the inventory of "things" conceived of
                    with atta-view to include the so called paramattha dhammas - heat(s),
                    hardness(es), sights, sounds, tastes, odors etc, you and I would be on *exactly*
                    the same page!
                    Alex had written "The teaching that reduces external objects to mere
                    feelings, sensations, cognitions, concepts, seems to border idealism of some
                    sort." I would sooner say that it is a phenomenalism or radical
                    empiricism, and it is very much my perspective. IMO, it *should* be yours as well.
                    Alex, OTOH, seems to be an objectivist who believes that we touch an actual
                    thing called hair and experience a quality of it called earth element. I
                    find that perspective to consist of a double dose of reification, reifying
                    complexes of perceived qualities, and reifying the perceived qualities,
                    whereas you only reify the perceived qualities.
                    My perspective seems to be different from both of yours, and more
                    radical (or "extreme," if you prefer). As I see it, even the
                    qualities/sensations of hardness, warmth, sights, sounds, etc are only conventional entities,
                    conceptually isolated aspects of the flow of experience erroneously viewed
                    as separate "realities" but that are actually the result of mental
                    construction that isolates mental snapshots of the gapless flow of experience and
                    identifies similar (and often contiguous) ones.

                    With metta,
                    Howard

                    Seamless

                    /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                    (Anonymous)




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • truth_aerator
                    Dear Sarah, Howard and all, ... Do not conflate how the rupa is felt and how it is when it is not perceived. The thing which we label in English Hair exists
                    Message 9 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                      Dear Sarah, Howard and all,


                      >sarah abbott <sarahprocterabbott@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear Alex & all,
                      >
                      > [All, I'm just waiting for Jon to arrive back from Fiji tonight where he's been (again!) for the last week....and fortunately, my neck, shoulder has settled down a lot...anyway, hence the flurry of posts!]
                      >
                      > --- On Fri, 2/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
                      > >RE: MN1
                      >
                      > >I believe that what MN1 talks about ignorant worldling
                      > a) Taking external object as Self or Self property.
                      > I was NOT arguing that external/interal elements are Self. They are Anatta.
                      > ...
                      > S: Whenever we take anything for a 'whole' or 'thing' in reality, such as a nail or a computer, then there's atta-view, no understanding of elements, such as pathavi-dhatu (earth element appearing as hardness/softness) at the moment of touch.
                      > ...
                      > >b) Taking grammatical inflexions too literally and presuposing a Self and Self's relation to them.
                      >
                      > >I was NOT arguing that external/internal elements are Self. They are Anatta and language is just a convention.
                      > ...
                      >S: I thought you were talking about 'solid things' such as nails and >hair as actually existing, even though you now agree that >softness/hardness is felt through the body-sense?

                      Do not conflate how the rupa is felt and how it is when it is not perceived.

                      The thing which we label in English "Hair" exists whether there is awareness of it or not. It may be experienced as a certain colour, certain degree of hardness/softneness to the touch, etc etc.


                      I look forward to your clarifications.
                      > ...
                      > >c) Speculation about various things, external elements, etc.
                      >
                      > >The fact is that the suttas such as MN28 & MN62 make it clear what exists.
                      > ...
                      >S: What exists now? What is experienced now? Through which door-way? >How do you match your interpretation of the MN suttas with your >detailed list and careful study of elements and ayatanas?
                      >

                      I don't believe there is any difficulty to say that rupa kkhanda consists of great primary elements of earth, water, fire, and air located in space that can be cognized with consciousness. I understand that this is different from how you and some people view these things.


                      Consciousness is formed by coming together of internal & external matter. There is no such thing as pure consciousness without any object. Consciousness ALWAYS takes something as an object, even if the object is external mental idea. Pure consciousness cannot be, it would be unconsciousness.


                      There are number of suttas on the above.



                      35. 27 (5) Full Understanding (2)
                      ""The eye and forms and eye-consciousness and things to be cognized by eye-consciousness. The ear and sounds and ear-consciousness and things to be cognized by ear-consciousness…. The body and tactile objects and body-consciousness and things to be cognized by body-consciousness. The mind and mental phenomena and mind-consciousness and things to be cognized by mind-consciousness."


                      What are the "things to be cognized by eye-consciousness" and so on on?


                      "Bhikkhus, founded on whatever, consciousness arises, it is reckoned on that. On account of eye and forms arises consciousness, it's reckoned eye consciousness. On account of ear and sounds arises consciousness, it's reckoned ear consciousness. On account of nose and smells arises consciousness, it's reckoned nose consciousness. On account of tongue and tastes arises consciousness, it's reckoned tongue consciousness. On account of body and touches arises consciousness, it's reckoned body consciousness. On account of mind and ideas arises consciousness, it's reckoned mind consciousness. Bhikkhus, just as based on whatever fire burns, it is reckoned by that. Fire ablaze with sticks is stick fire. Ablaze with twigs is twig fire. Ablaze with grass is grass fire. Ablaze with cow dung is cow dung fire. Ablaze with grain thrash is grain thrash fire. Ablaze with dirt is dirt fire. In the same manner consciousness on account is eye and forms is eye consciousness. Consciousness on account of ear and sounds is ear consciousness. Consciousness on account of nose and smells is nose consciousness. Consciousness on account of tongue and tastes is taste consciousness. Consciousness on account of body and touches is body consciousness. Consciousness on account of mind and ideas is mind consciousness."
                      http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima1/038-mahatanhasankhaya-sutta-e1.html


                      Howard:
                      The more objective reality, the less subjective control there can be. That is because objective reality exists independent of anyone's wishes or cognitions. You can't create reality by wishing or imagining. If you can, please tell me how to materialize 100 billion dollars so I could give A LOT OF DANA.


                      By trying to say that reality is what is percieved, that may imply that if one could alter one's perceptions, the reality (which is just a perceptions, according to that view) would alter as well. Subtle hope of Control!


                      With metta,

                      Alex
                    • upasaka@aol.com
                      Hi, Alex - In a message dated 10/3/2009 6:28:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, truth_aerator@yahoo.ca writes: Howard: The more objective reality, the less
                      Message 10 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                        Hi, Alex -

                        In a message dated 10/3/2009 6:28:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                        truth_aerator@... writes:

                        Howard:
                        The more objective reality, the less subjective control there can be. That
                        is because objective reality exists independent of anyone's wishes or
                        cognitions. You can't create reality by wishing or imagining. If you can,
                        please tell me how to materialize 100 billion dollars so I could give A LOT OF
                        DANA.
                        ------------------------------------------
                        Okay ... DONE!! ;-))
                        -----------------------------------------




                        By trying to say that reality is what is percieved, that may imply that if
                        one could alter one's perceptions, the reality (which is just a
                        perceptions, according to that view) would alter as well.
                        ------------------------------------------
                        It doesn't imply that to me. What experience comes to me is determined
                        by conditions of a variety of sorts, but largely by my kamma over long
                        periods of time.
                        ------------------------------------------

                        Subtle hope of Control!

                        --------------------------------------------------
                        Nope. Just being on DSG all these years teaches me the hopelessness of
                        control! LOLOL!
                        ===========================
                        With metta,
                        Howard


                        Seamless

                        /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                        (Anonymous)




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • truth_aerator
                        ... Hello Howard, It does seem to me that if we equate the world as being only a mental perception, than if one could imagine and concentrate hard enough to
                        Message 11 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@... wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi, Alex -
                          >
                          > In a message dated 10/3/2009 6:28:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                          > truth_aerator@... writes:
                          >
                          > Howard:
                          > The more objective reality, the less subjective control there can be. That
                          > is because objective reality exists independent of anyone's wishes or
                          > cognitions. You can't create reality by wishing or imagining. If you can,
                          > please tell me how to materialize 100 billion dollars so I could give A LOT OF
                          > DANA.
                          > ------------------------------------------
                          > Okay ... DONE!! ;-))
                          > -----------------------------------------
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > By trying to say that reality is what is percieved, that may imply that if
                          > one could alter one's perceptions, the reality (which is just a
                          > perceptions, according to that view) would alter as well.
                          > ------------------------------------------
                          > It doesn't imply that to me. What experience comes to me is determined
                          > by conditions of a variety of sorts, but largely by my kamma over long
                          > periods of time.
                          > ------------------------------------------
                          >
                          > Subtle hope of Control!
                          >
                          > --------------------------------------------------
                          > Nope. Just being on DSG all these years teaches me the hopelessness of
                          > control! LOLOL!
                          > ===========================
                          > With metta,
                          > Howard
                          >
                          >

                          Hello Howard,


                          It does seem to me that if we equate the world as being only a mental perception, than if one could imagine and concentrate hard enough to alter perception, the world would be altered. Of course this cannot be done (if it can, please tell me how).

                          Part of the objective reality teaching is the fact that things exists due to causes and conditions independent of any Self, Atman.

                          But in any case, we can agree to disagree.



                          Wishing all the best,


                          Alex
                        • upasaka@aol.com
                          Hi, Alex - In a message dated 10/3/2009 6:48:54 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, truth_aerator@yahoo.ca writes: Hello Howard, It does seem to me that if we equate
                          Message 12 of 18 , Oct 3, 2009
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                            Hi, Alex -

                            In a message dated 10/3/2009 6:48:54 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                            truth_aerator@... writes:

                            Hello Howard,


                            It does seem to me that if we equate the world as being only a mental
                            perception, than if one could imagine and concentrate hard enough to alter
                            perception, the world would be altered.
                            --------------------------------------------
                            I don't see it that way at all. For me, "whatever is" is content of
                            (some) consciousness. As I view the matter, there are no unseen sights,
                            untasted tastes, unsmelled smells, or uncognized concepts. (But to each his
                            own! ;-)
                            -----------------------------------------------

                            Of course this cannot be done (if it can, please tell me how).

                            Part of the objective reality teaching is the fact that things exists due
                            to causes and conditions independent of any Self, Atman.
                            ----------------------------------------------
                            What arises certainly does so due to causes and conditions independent
                            of any alleged self, but volition and also what we call "human action,"
                            mental and physical, has nothing to do with any imagined self. Bringing in
                            "self" is a red herring as regards the nature of what is experienced. One
                            does not have to be an objectivist who believes that there is an external
                            reality called "hair" to understand that the no-self teaching is true. If
                            anything, a phenomenalist perspective conduces to a belief in anatta.
                            ----------------------------------------------



                            But in any case, we can agree to disagree.
                            ----------------------------------------------
                            Or we can disagree on agreeing! Hmm, is that the same or different?
                            ;-))
                            ---------------------------------------------





                            Wishing all the best,
                            -------------------------------------------------
                            Likewise, for sure!
                            -----------------------------------------------




                            Alex
                            ==============================
                            With metta,
                            Howard

                            Seamless

                            /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                            (Anonymous)





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • sarah abbott
                            Hi Howard (& Alex), ... ============ ========= ======= H: Sarah, if you would enlarge the inventory of things conceived of with atta-view to include the so
                            Message 13 of 18 , Oct 6, 2009
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                              Hi Howard (& Alex),

                              --- On Sat, 3/10/09, upasaka@... <upasaka@...> wrote:

                              >>S: Whenever we take anything for a 'whole' or 'thing' in reality, such as a nail or a computer, then there's atta-view, no understanding of elements, such as pathavi-dhatu (earth element appearing as hardness/softness) at the moment of touch.
                              ============ ========= =======
                              H:>Sarah, if you would enlarge the inventory of "things" conceived of
                              with atta-view to include the so called paramattha dhammas - heat(s),
                              hardness(es) , sights, sounds, tastes, odors etc, you and I would be on *exactly* the same page!
                              ....
                              S: Well, momentarily, be my guest "on *exactly* the same page:-)
                              It's true that that di.t.thi (wrong view) can even arise in a sense-door process, when the sense objects are experienced, just as pa~n~naa can.

                              However, leaving the "*exactly* the same page", pretty well all the atta-view that arises during the day and which we gradually become familiar with as such, arises in the mind-door processes with concepts as objects. So, especially all the gross di.t.thi, is with regard to taking ideas about sights, sounds and so on for 'something', for 'atta'. It is the "conceiving" (ma~n~nanaa), the grasping after signs and details with ignorance and wrong view which is the plight of the worldling as discussed in the Mulapariyaya Sutta.
                              ....

                              >Alex had written "The teaching that reduces external objects to mere
                              feelings, sensations, cognitions, concepts, seems to border idealism of some
                              sort." I would sooner say that it is a phenomenalism or radical
                              empiricism, and it is very much my perspective. IMO, it *should* be yours as well.
                              ....
                              S: While I see merits in your phenomenalist perspective, I think it misses the full picture given by the Buddha.
                              ...
                              >Alex, OTOH, seems to be an objectivist who believes that we touch an actual thing called hair and experience a quality of it called earth element. I find that perspective to consist of a double dose of reification, reifying complexes of perceived qualities, and reifying the perceived qualities, whereas you only reify the perceived qualities.
                              ...
                              S: We're on the same page in dismissing the "actual thing called hair" view.

                              But from now on, what you describe as my reifying "perceived qualities", seems to come down to the Nagarjuna wrong-turn "they're all concepts", no realities can therefore ever be directly known and we might as well be studying science or any other conventional subject because the development of satipatthana doesn't apply:-).
                              ...
                              >My perspective seems to be different from both of yours, and more
                              radical (or "extreme," if you prefer).
                              ...
                              S: I'd call it more "off-base" and lacking confidence in the truths about the realities which can be known as the Buddha taught us.
                              ...
                              >As I see it, even the qualities/sensation s of hardness, warmth, sights, sounds, etc are only conventional entities, conceptually isolated aspects of the flow of experience erroneously viewed as separate "realities" but that are actually the result of mental construction that isolates mental snapshots of the gapless flow of experience and identifies similar (and often contiguous) ones.
                              ...
                              S: Just my point....:-)) Do you have any textual support from the Tipitaka or Pali commentaries for the following:

                              "the qualities of hardness, warmth, sights, sounds, etc are only conventional entities"?

                              Hardness experienced at this moment of touching a 'conventional entity"?

                              Metta

                              Sarah
                              =========
                            • sarah abbott
                              Dear Alex, ... A: Do not conflate how the rupa is felt and how it is when it is not perceived. ... S: Hair is not a rupa. Softness/hardness is a rupa.
                              Message 14 of 18 , Oct 6, 2009
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                                Dear Alex,

                                --- On Sun, 4/10/09, truth_aerator <truth_aerator@...> wrote:
                                >>S: I thought you were talking about 'solid things' such as nails and >hair as actually existing, even though you now agree that >softness/hardness is felt through the body-sense?

                                A:> Do not conflate how the rupa is felt and how it is when it is not perceived.
                                ...
                                S: 'Hair' is not a rupa. Softness/hardness is a rupa. Whether it is experienced or not, that same rupa arises and falls away in a kalapa of rupas. There is no hair - there are just groups (kalapas) of rupas, separated by space. The rest is just our thinking.
                                ....
                                >The thing which we label in English "Hair" exists whether there is awareness of it or not. It may be experienced as a certain colour, certain degree of hardness/softneness to the touch, etc etc.
                                ...
                                S: Yes, colour, degree of hardness/softness and so on are experienced as you suggest. These are the realities. That's all there is in the material world, Alex - just groups of rupas arising and falling away regardless of what we call them or think about them.
                                ...
                                >I don't believe there is any difficulty to say that rupa kkhanda consists of great primary elements of earth, water, fire, and air located in space that can be cognized with consciousness. I understand that this is different from how you and some people view these things.
                                ...
                                S: Let's put it this way - all 28 rupas are rupa khandha. There is no 'whole' or 'basket' or 'solid thing/self' other than such rupas or physical elements.
                                ...
                                >Consciousness is formed by coming together of internal & external matter. There is no such thing as pure consciousness without any object.
                                ...
                                S: OK, seeing consciousness arises on account of the impact of visible object on the eye-sense. Every citta has an object. I don't know how this relates to the topic above, but it's fine:-)
                                ...

                                >Consciousness ALWAYS takes something as an object, even if the object is external mental idea. Pure consciousness cannot be, it would be unconsciousness.
                                ...
                                S: Has anyone suggested that consciousness ever arises without an object? Not me! Even when we refer to 'unconsciousness', consciousness is arising and experiencing an object.

                                So, at least we finish on the same page, as Howard would say:-)

                                Metta

                                Sarah
                                ======
                              • upasaka@aol.com
                                Hi, Sarah - In a message dated 10/6/2009 7:13:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, ... radical (or extreme, if you prefer). ... S: I d call it more off-base and
                                Message 15 of 18 , Oct 6, 2009
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                                  Hi, Sarah -

                                  In a message dated 10/6/2009 7:13:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                  sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                                  >My perspective seems to be different from both of yours, and more
                                  radical (or "extreme," if you prefer).
                                  ...
                                  S: I'd call it more "off-base" and lacking confidence in the truths about
                                  the realities which can be known as the Buddha taught us.
                                  --------------------------------------------------
                                  LOLOL! ;-))
                                  ============================
                                  With metta,
                                  Howard


                                  Seamless

                                  /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                                  (Anonymous)




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • upasaka@aol.com
                                  Hi, Sarah - In a message dated 10/6/2009 7:13:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, sarahprocterabbott@yahoo.co.uk writes: S: Just my point....:-)) Do you have any
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Oct 6, 2009
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                                    Hi, Sarah -

                                    In a message dated 10/6/2009 7:13:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                    sarahprocterabbott@... writes:

                                    S: Just my point....:-)) Do you have any textual support from the Tipitaka
                                    or Pali commentaries for the following:

                                    "the qualities of hardness, warmth, sights, sounds, etc are only
                                    conventional entities"?
                                    ---------------------------------------------
                                    No. Nor do I have any sutta support for impermanence being a staccato
                                    sequence of discrete freeze-frames. I view impermanence as nothing
                                    remaining as-is for any time at all. I view it as a constantly changing stream,
                                    with nothing graspable at all. I view namas and rupas as conceptually
                                    separated-off elements of that flow, with only conventional status as "things".
                                    ----------------------------------------------



                                    Hardness experienced at this moment of touching a 'conventional entity"?
                                    --------------------------------------------------------
                                    Huh?
                                    ==========================
                                    With metta,
                                    Howard



                                    Impermanence

                                    /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a
                                    bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                                    phantom and a dream/

                                    (From the Diamond Sutra)


                                    The Aggregates are Void

                                    /Form is like a glob of foam; feeling, a bubble; perception, a mirage;
                                    fabrications, a banana tree; consciousness, a magic trick — this has been
                                    taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. However you observe them, appropriately
                                    examine them, they're empty, void to whoever sees them appropriately./

                                    (From the Phena Sutta)



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