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Re: New iPhone Application: iPuja Pro

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  • Robert E
    Ken H. ... I might believe that if you said there were no accumulations from citta to citta, but since you accept that progression, you understand as well as I
    Message 1 of 65 , Apr 2 7:05 PM
      Ken H.

      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Ken H" <kenhowardau@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hi Robert E,
      >
      > -------
      > <. . .>
      > > > KH: Stream-entry, for example, is a really, really
      > good one to practice. :-)
      >
      > > RE: You can't jump into the stream without a raft. That's why the Buddha bothered to turn up in the first place, for our benefit. He wasn't "just talk." He had a method.
      > -------
      >
      > KH: We see things differently. To my mind, the Dhamma tells me what is real now, in the present moment. I don't see it as a way of getting somewhere in the future.

      I might believe that if you said there were no accumulations from citta to citta, but since you accept that progression, you understand as well as I do that there is a systematic development of panna, etc., and that it does not simply happen in an isolated individual moment. Without accumulation from citta to citta - a progression, a development, which Buddha spoke about, there would be no release from samsara, and you have not accounted for that. A radical "one moment only" universe would not include any form of development or accumulation, so there is more than one moment; there is moment-to-moment development, and that is the lynchpin of the Dhamma.

      > ----------------
      > <. . .>
      > > RE: You believe that the only things that exist are
      > experiential dhammas and you clearly take the position in the sutta about "crossing the flood" of the person who refrains from action.
      > -----------------
      >
      > KH: What "person" would that be? I think the sutta was telling us there was no person of either kind.

      That's a red herring, Ken. Sure, that is true, but it's not what the sutta is about. The sutta is about right effort and what is the correct attitude to take towards the path, and it is neither one of passivity nor volition. If you take the point of view that there is nothing to do, you are taking one of the two wrong positions the Buddha outlines in that sutta. It is not the middle way.

      > ----------------------
      > <. . .>
      > >> KH: So why don't you enter the Stream? Why don't you experience nibbana? What have you got against that particular practice?
      >
      > > RE: I plan to do so this afternoon. After that I'm going to swim to the moon and toast marshmallows on the sun.
      > -----------------------
      >
      > KH: I think the point we are both making is that the conditions for Stream-entry are not presently in place.
      >
      > Similarly, in my opinion, the conditions for concentrating kusala consciousness by means of breath counting are not in place.
      >
      > We have a long way to go before breath counting becomes relevant.

      Seriously, Ken, by what means are you assessing the conditions that are necessary for "concentrating kusala consciousness by means of breathing counting?" Do you know the specific criteria, and do you have the wisdom to assess what is appropriate? I ask that sincerely, because your willingness to accept a possibility of such a practice under the right conditions gives me some hope that there might be a potential meeting ground, however distant it may appear.

      > ------------------------------------
      > <. . .>
      > > RE: How about all the specific sequences of practice, meditation, action and conduct that the Buddha taught, which is recorded in thousands of pages of teaching.
      > -------------------------------------
      >
      > KH: It all has to be understood in the context of anatta. And that doesn't mean just understanding it in the usual, ordinary, way and adding a few platitudes about no self.

      Yes, but even in light of anatta, the Buddha still said all that stuff, including many many things to do and not do. In the light of anatta, how do you interpret all of those admonitions, instructions and directives? What is their purpose in light of anatta?

      > ---------------------------------
      > <. . .>
      > > > KH: there are only dhammas – no self.
      >
      > > RE: But the question is, will you ever understand what that means or implies, and why the Buddha made a point of teaching meticulously worked-out rules of conduct, even despite the fact that there are "only dhammas?"
      > ---------------------------------
      >
      > KH: Good question; now we are getting somewhere! If there are only dhammas why should we care about anything? Why should we care about Dhamma study?
      >
      > I think the answer is we shouldn't. The caring is all done by conditions, "we" don't have a say in it. In the ultimately real world "we" don't exist.

      Even this conversation is taking place without any ultimate volition of a self. So why refrain from following the natural impulses to practice that may arise from our impersonal contact with the Dhamma? I would never have thought of meditating except for my conditions-based contact with Buddhism. So why resist that which has arisen selflessly?

      > ----------------------
      > > > KH: Breath counting is a practice that has been recommended in certain cases for beginner jhana practitioners. Anyone who can be called a jhana practitioner - of any kind - is a rare individual of great merit.
      >
      > > RE: Who said that? Who said it was only for jhana practitioners? It doesn't say that in the Vism. There it says that one beginning work with concentration on the breath.
      > ----------------------
      >
      > KH: I can't provide the relevant textual citations, so you'll just have to take my word for it. :-)

      Okay, no problem. :-)

      > ----------------
      > <. . .>
      > > RE: In any case, even if what you say is true, it still means that a specific
      > practice is being recommended for *someone* on the path, and it is a *formal
      > practice* at that. Jhana practitioner or no, highly established or no, how can
      > you possibly justify that person engaging in a recommended *formal practice,*
      > while saying other practices are bad or contain self-view? Please explain.
      > ----------------
      >
      > KH: There are no formal practices in the Dhamma. Instead, there are eight mental factors that work together in a moment of consciousness to put an end to dukkha.

      Your explanation bypasses, rather than explains, the above. You have dodged the question. Why not confront it and give a sensible answer?

      > ----------------------
      > > RE: In addition, the counting of the breath is just the beginning of an entire
      > series of planned and graded breathing exercises that lead to greater and
      > greater concentration. Assuming this is not for us, and only for advanced
      > jhanis, it is still a formal practice, which if followed, will give
      > thus-and-such a result. And so it opens the door to *all* formal practices that
      > the Buddha might recommend to have a kusala impact on anyone.
      >
      > If that is the case, the only question is what practices are right for what
      > particular individual, no longer a question of formal practices being inherently
      > akusala and subject to self-view.
      >
      > If you skirt around this and don't answer in a meaningful way, I will be very
      > cross and solemn. ;-(
      > ----------------------
      >
      > KH: And rightly so! :-) Every conventionally-worded part of the Tipitaka should be explainable in terms of anatta. And so we might well ask, "Given that there are no people (given that there are only namas and rupas ), in what way can it be said that a monk counts breath? In what way can it be said that *anybody* does *anything* towards samatha or vipassana?"
      >
      > That's the kind of question DSG discusses every day.

      Ha ha, well you've described the way to frame the answer very well, and yet you have avoided answering! What do you have to say?

      > -------------------------------
      > >> KH: If the cap fits wear it. Otherwise, don't indulge in lamentable parodies.
      >
      > > RE: You're in no position to know who wears what cap, and what is correct practice
      > for anyone. If "counting breaths" is so advanced that only the advanced jhani
      > can do it, then I am going to be very careful to get a "special expert" to help
      > me tie my shoes.
      > --------------------------------
      >
      > KH: :-) My point exactly! If you find shoelace tying to be helpful in the development of samatha, then do it. If counting breaths helps, then count them.
      >
      > If, however, you don't even know what samatha is – or if you can't tell the difference between samatha and lobha – then don't kid yourself.

      I do not share the opinion, however, that whether one can recognize samatha or not, or develop samatha or not, is dependent on whether one's intellectual understanding of samatha is refined enough. I have the "non-self" opinion that doing certain things will create certain results, not dependent on "oneself," but merely on the conditions that are set in motion. I think my view of that may be more "anatta-based" than yours. :-)

      > ---------------------
      > <. . .>
      > >> KH: Things that can be "noted" are concepts, not dhammas.
      >
      > > RE: The noting is not meant to identify, but to direct. It merely directs the awareness towards the object of attention, the rupas of the rising and falling breath, which are worthy of attention and not conceptual in nature.
      > -----------------------
      >
      > KH: Objects of satipatthana are experienced by right understanding. They are not experienced by looking, or by lying in wait for them.

      I don't think that right understanding can be developed in absentia. One has to experience dhammas more or less correctly or incorrectly until the understanding develops. It is an active, rather than an intellectual, process, that is fostered by experiencing dhammas and developing mindfulness, a gradual uncontrolled development. But you can't learn to drive by reading a book and never getting in a car.

      > -------------------------------------
      > >> KH: An important topic of Dhamma discussion is, "What is the Path, and what is
      > not the Path?" That's all I'm talking about here. I am not interested in
      > personal attacks.
      >
      > > RE I see. So it is not an attack if you accuse people of being caught in
      > non-Buddhist rituals, or engaging in a parody of Buddhism, or spitting in the
      > Buddha's face?
      > --------------------------------------
      >
      > KH: I knew I shouldn't have mentioned the spitting! I was making a joke at Phil's expense. He made that comment about social drinkers, and I thought that was a bit OTT. (Especially as I am one of those drinkers!)

      Yeah, I have a little wine with dinner "for the heart" as my doctor tells me to, so I am within the Buddha's prohibition that alcohol should only be taken medicinally. :-)

      I should have attributed that one to Phil, but since you repeated it I figured I'd include in your list of bad sayings. :-)

      > I think if anyone is insultingly unappreciative of the Buddha, it is a person who regards the Dhamma as ordinary or easy.

      If you think I am saying that following the Dhamma or anything associated with it is easy, you have me confused with another Rob E., if there is one.

      What we're really arguing about is not ordinariness or difficulty, but what right understanding of the path consists of.

      > --------------------------
      > > RE: I will try to keep that in mind, Ken H., since you have
      > established such a high standard in that regard.
      >
      > Note to self: Don't insult Ken H., and don't mind if he regularly insults you.
      > Okay, got it!
      > ---------------------------
      >
      > KH: Allow me to repeat myself: I am interested in talking about "what is the Path and what is not the path." I don't want to talk about people who follow paths.
      >
      > If someone feels insulted by what I say about their path, that's a risk I am prepared to take – up to a point. We are all adults here, aren't we? :-)

      I agree. Just checking. :-) This last round was fun.

      Best,
      Robert E.

      = = = = = = = = = = =
    • Robert E
      Hi Howard. ... My view of only dhammas is a little bit different than Ken H. s. There is a view of only dhammas that concludes that everything we
      Message 65 of 65 , Apr 10 10:47 PM
        Hi Howard.

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@... wrote:
        >
        > Hi, Ken -
        >
        > In a message dated 4/10/2011 7:47:04 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
        > kenhowardau@... writes:
        >
        > KH: Now that you have agreed there are only dhammas, I am sure you will
        > agree with everything the commentaries say. You and I will have nothing to
        > argue about.
        > ============================
        > You realize, the, I presume, that there is, thus, no Buddha, no
        > Dhamma, and no Sangha. Also no this world, no next world. Also no ariyans, no
        > DSG, no Khun Sujin. No, ..., well, perhaps you get the point. And yet once
        > again: NO BUDDHA, NO DHAMMA, AND NO SANGHA!

        My view of "only dhammas" is a little bit different than Ken H.'s. There is a view of "only dhammas" that concludes that everything we experience in life is a separately produced full-on holographic 3-D hallucination, with no relation to presently arising dhammas. I disagree with this view, as it does not make sense of the dependently arisen quality and logical sequentiality that is exhibited by the "conventional" flow of events, and the stability of the local environment and world of objects.

        For instance, Ken H. concluded that it was true that the sequence of birth, aging and death was a full-on hallucination with no relation to actual dhammas. So then why don't we experience these "concepts" in a more random order? Is it only because of an exquisitely orchestrated logic of micro-concepts that we seem to get older skin and bones and eventually die, or does it make more sense to say that the cells stop replicating as we age and that our appearance thus changes. In other words, is it more sensible to say that there is some logical actuality to the world of rupas or objects.

        If that is the case, that we experience conventional life in a kind of ordered, sequential way that seems to follow logical laws, then maybe there is more in common between conventional reality and momentary dhammas.

        A dhamma is a unit of experience. It does not denote the reality or unreality of that which is the object of perception. My contention is that the events of life do actually take place, but we do not perceive the way in which they actually occur. The view of individual dhammas shows how the actual moments of experience occur when the distortions are removed. Until the time when there is no more movement of consciousness and no more experience occurs, that is the reality that exists for consciousness.

        Best,
        Robert E.

        = = = = = = = =
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