Re: The Twin Miracle (Yamaka Patihara)
- Hi Rob E,
> But you also have a very restricted view of what constitutes the Dhamma. It doesn't occur to you that the Dhamma might be multi-level and multi-purpose. It handles everything from 'the right way to live' to 'the nature of ultimate reality,' 'the path of understanding,' and everything in between, from a wise perspective that unifies all of the above.Are you implying here that there are times when understanding the present moment reality is not called for, but that something else needs to be done instead?
- Hi Rob E,
--- In email@example.com, "Robert E" <epsteinrob@...> wrote:
> > S: Without panna, right understanding, how will there be any knowing whether it is right or wrong concentration, right or wrong mindfulness that is being developed?
>R: So you are saying that none of the other factors arise without right understanding being present? If there are conditions for right concentration to arise, it can arise and lead to the results of right concentration, even if it is not known that it is correct. Does knowing have to accompany a factor in order for it to be "right?"
S: For it to be a factor of the eightfold path, it has to arise with right understanding.
At any moment of path development, five factors always have to arise together - samma ditthi, samma sankappa, samma vayama, samma sati and samma samadhi.
> > S: Without right understanding of dhammas, there is no path, there is no knowing about any reality, any truth.
> > ...
>R: What I was asking was whether panna will remove the defilements caused by other transgressions. I would say that it cannot, unless it of course puts an end to those wrong actions. If one experienced right understanding and continued to kill chickens at the butcher shop, what would that situation represent? Or perhaps that is impossible - to have right understanding while continuing transgressions in such a definite way?
S: Remember that the path factors including panna, right understanding, arise for a moment and fall away. Afterwards there can be the arising of any defilements not yet eradicated.
At the stage of becoming a sotapanna, the tendency to kill is eradicated completely, so after this, there'd never be an inclination to kill chickens again.
So it depends on the strength of the panna and other factors that have been accumulated.
> > S: Yes - over aeons and aeons.....
> > ...
>R: That is why I have an equal interest in how accumulation and development take place, which involves the progression across many moments, in addition to the structure of the single citta in the moment.
S: It is the understanding of the reality now, such as the citta now, which leads to the understanding of how accumulations and development take place. Just as understanding which may arise now doesn't last for an instant, so too with other tendencies and accumulations.
> > S: One would assume that sila, morality and good behaviour, would be so firm that this would be so. However, we also know that cittas arise and fall away very quickly and accumulations are such that we can never make rules about situations. Think of Angulimala, killing until just before enlightenment. Always exceptions that only a Buddha could thoroughly comprehend the possibilities. Better to think in terms of dhammas - cittas, cetasikas and rupas - rather than in terms of "chicken-killing jobs".
> > ...
>R: The reason the chicken-killing issue arises is because some folks seem convinced that completely dismissing the "ordinary" dictates of Buddhism is just fine; that negative conventional behavior has nothing to do with Buddhism. I just find that to be a kind of disconnect.
S: I think that what the Buddha taught us to understand is about realities. When we talk about a situation, such as chicken-killing, there are many different cittas involved. So, it's not that it has nothing to do with Buddhism, but we can learn to be more and more precise.
For example, someone makes a donation to a charity. Is it always kusala? Which moments are kusala? Doesn't it depend on the cittas at the time?
>R: To me that makes the idea of panna kind of intellectual and detached from reality, not closer to it. If your life is as full of defilements as anyone else, are you really following the path? To me that doesn't make sense. I don't speak from any position of judgment, I have little discipline in these areas, but I still think it should be taken into account.
S: What I think is more interesting is not the comparing of defilements in various lives, but the understanding of these and all other dhammas as anatta - not belonging to anyone. These dhammas (realities) are all conditioned to arise and fall away instantly. I think that understanding definitely leads to being less judgmental, more understanding of tendencies.
> > S: Panna understands the value of all kinds of kusala and the importance of sila. With regard to the path, these are the 3 viratis (abstentions). If there is no abstaining from akusala, there is no development of right effort and other path factors. It is only panna which understands what is right and what is wrong at such moments, like now.
> Okay, well thanks for the good explanation. I will read through this a few more times.
S: Good to chat again!
Hope you and your family are all well, Rob.