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Re: Phenomena (KEN)

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  • Ken H
    Hi Tony, ... what is spoken about in Classical Abhidhamma and Theravada then I think this would be an academic forum only. I think however, that its a forum
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 5, 2013
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      Hi Tony,


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      > T: As I said in a reply to Phil - If we're looking for ways to confirm or validate
      what is spoken about in Classical Abhidhamma and Theravada then I think this
      would be an academic forum only. I think however, that its a forum looking to
      debate and discuss reality in the light of Buddhism. If it is the former then I
      agree, any Prasangika angles I bring are inappropriate and I'll gently bow out
      of the discussions :)
      ---------

      KH: Personally, I am only interested in discussing Theravada. However, I don't mind who I discuss it with. (For example, I don't mind discussing it with Mahayana students.)

      I run out of patience, however, when people use DSG as a forum for other teachings, especially their own. :-)

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      > T: ...in the meantime.... I disagree in terms of separating illusion and reality.
      --------------

      KH: OK, but you should understand that is a major disagreement. I doubt there is anything more central to Dhamma study than knowing the difference between concepts and realities.

      The Buddha's teaching is *exclusively* about realities.

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      > T: Particularly the existence of 'form' as a separate entity to the mind. How can this be? The logic collapses on a fundamental level.
      -------------------

      KH: Are you sure it would be illogical to distinguish between mind and matter? I would have thought the opposite.

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      > T: So far as I can see everything is an imputation of mind. This experience is given a label and we then subscribe to its true (real) existence. This is pure delusion and can be demonstrated to be so with a logical analysis.
      ------------------------------------

      KH: Logic depends on its starting parameters. If you start with Nagarjuna's declaration that everything lacks "own being" then I suppose there is logically no difference between mind and matter, or between reality and illusion.

      I prefer to start with the Buddha's declaration that nama (mental phenomena) and rupa (material phenomena) exist in ultimate reality. I find the rest of his teaching flows logically from there.

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      > T: So long as there is a sense of an external world that is out there somehow waiting to be interpreted by our senses there will be Dukkha.
      ----------------------------------------------------------

      KH: The world of conditioned namas and rupas is inherently dukkha, and the extinction of dukkha occurs only at parinibana – the death of an arahant (when there are no more conditions for nama and rupa to arise).

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      > T: Maybe you can explain to me how "mental phenomena called namas and the physical phenomena called rupas" exist as irreducible? An example maybe?
      ------------------

      KH: I have been using the word `irreducible' to refute your contention that everything was 'infinitely reducible.'

      Conditioned dhammas exist for one moment during which they arise, perform their functions, and then cease. So they are ultimately real – they have "own being" (if you like that expression). They cannot be found to consist of something else. That is what I have been referring to as `irreducible'. I am sorry if I have been using the wrong terminology.

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      > T: If a 'thing' can exist as an independent phenomena that is born of itself (i.e.. not dependently originated) and exists without being experienced by a mind (dependent) and it has not aggregates (is a singularity utterly irreducible) then you will have established a permanent and inherently existent phenomena......I am really interested to know what this is? :-)
      ----------------------------

      KH: You seem to be saying that `existence' and `dependence on conditions' are mutually exclusive. That is not the case. Conditioned dhammas exist whenever conditions cause them to exist.

      Ken H
    • Tony H
      Hi Ken,this is a good debate! ... T: Agreed, but to use your logic below if we are ONLY discussing Theravada then this rules out any possibility of bringing
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 5, 2013
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        Hi Ken,this is a good debate!

        > KH: Personally, I am only interested in discussing Theravada. However, I don't mind who I discuss it with. (For example, I don't mind discussing it with Mahayana students.) I run out of patience, however, when people use DSG as a forum for other teachings, especially their own. :-)

        T: Agreed, but to use your logic below if we are ONLY discussing Theravada then this rules out any possibility of bringing answrs from other sources. Thats a massive limitation.

        > KH: OK, but you should understand that is a major disagreement. I doubt there is anything more central to Dhamma study than knowing the difference between concepts and realities.

        I don't contend the difference between concept and reality. My issue is with the assumption that realities are ultimately real. I disagree here as they're only relativley real and ultimately illusory.

        KH: Are you sure it would be illogical to distinguish between mind and matter? I would have thought the opposite.

        What matter? There is only an imputed experience, not any fundamental particle that is the source of form. Even if there was this too would be imputed by mind, labeled and a conglomoration of its parts and agregates.

        KH: Logic depends on its starting parameters. If you start with Nagarjuna's declaration that everything lacks "own being" then I suppose there is logically no difference between mind and matter, or between reality and illusion.

        T: I am suggesting the contrary actually. All I am saying is what my experience, using the logic I have been taught there are certain facts that when followed through reveal specific truths. If these truths contradict what the Pali Cannon purport then I am afraid thats out of my hands. Sticking to the Theravada at the expense of these facts is not (IMHO) in line with what He taught. I am not concerned whether they're called Mahayana or Hahayana :) only concerned if they're valid and irrefutable.

        KH: The world of conditioned namas and rupas is inherently dukkha, and the extinction of dukkha occurs only at parinibana – the death of an arahant (when there are no more conditions for nama and rupa to arise).

        T: So no opportunity to experience liberation or enlightenment other than at death?

        KH: Conditioned dhammas exist for one moment during which they arise, perform their functions, and then cease. So they are ultimately real – they have "own being" (if you like that expression). They cannot be found to consist of something else. That is what I have been referring to as `irreducible'. I am sorry if I have been using the wrong terminology.

        T: You stated "They cannot be found to consist of something else". this is the absolute crux of our debate. I would again ask for one example of such a phenomena? One example of a phenomena that exists inherently from its own side without any dependence? do that and we're done :-)

        Tony...
      • Ken H
        Hi Tony, I am glad you are enjoying our discussion. So am I. ... KH: I think there would be a massive limitation if we couldn t bring in similes and metaphors
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 5, 2013
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          Hi Tony,

          I am glad you are enjoying our discussion. So am I.

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          > T: <. . .> to use your logic below if we are ONLY discussing Theravada then this rules out any possibility of bringing answers from other sources. Thats a massive limitation.
          -------------

          KH: I think there would be a massive limitation if we couldn't bring in similes and metaphors from other sources. Audiences in the suttas often asked for, and were given, similes. Ultimately, however, the *answers* we are interested in should be in the Dhamma we have chosen to study, shouldn't they?

          ----------------------
          > T: I don't contend the difference between concept and reality. My issue is with the assumption that realities are ultimately real. I disagree here as they're only relativley real and ultimately illusory.
          -----------------------

          KH: There is a sense in which ultimate realities can be called illusory, and that is in the way they always fail to satisfy.

          When experienced with ignorance, conditioned dhammas give the impression of having a lasting quality – something that can be satisfactory. Therefore, the suttas often talk about the falsity of conditioned dhammas. Just as people who claim to be our friends can prove to be false or unreal, so too dhammas that appear satisfactory can be called false or unreal.

          But that doesn't relate to their truth and reality *as physical and mental phenomena.*

          ----------------
          <. . .>
          > T: What matter? There is only an imputed experience,
          ----------------

          KH: In order for there to be an imputed experience (an idea) there must be something that does the imputing (the thinking), mustn't there? Or are you saying the imputer is just as unreal as the imputed?

          It can't be. We can't logically say everything is unreal. Logically there must be an ultimate reality of some kind.

          According to the Dhamma there are two kinds of conditioned ultimate realities, the mental and the physical. And there is one kind of unconditioned ultimate reality, nibbana.


          In addition, there is an infinite number of illusory realities. Illusory realities (concepts) are created - thought up - by some of the ultimate realities.

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          > T: not any fundamental particle that is the source of form.
          ------------------------

          KH: There may not be anything more fundamental than a conditioned dhamma, but that doesn't mean the dhamma itself is not fundamental. In the seen (the visible rupa) there is only the seen: in the heard (the audible rupa) there is only the heard. Physical dhammas and mental dhammas are fundamental realities. All else is illusory concept.

          ------------------------------
          <. . .>
          > T: All I am saying is what my experience, using the logic I have been taught there are certain facts that when followed through reveal specific truths. If these truths contradict what the Pali Cannon purport then I am afraid thats out of my hands. Sticking to the Theravada at the expense of these facts is not (IMHO) in line with what He taught.
          --------------------------------

          KH: Actually it *is* in line with what he taught. The Buddha said we should choose our teacher wisely, but after that there is no choosing. The teacher teaches, and the student learns.

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          > T: I am not concerned whether they're called Mahayana or Hahayana :) only concerned if they're valid and irrefutable.
          ---------------

          KH: As the saying goes, "a man cannot serve two masters." A true student cannot follow two teachers.

          There is only one way out of samsara. We have to choose which it is most likely to be.

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          >> KH: <. . .> the extinction of dukkha occurs only at parinibana – the death of an arahant (when there are no more conditions for nama and rupa to arise).

          > T: So no opportunity to experience liberation or enlightenment other than at death?
          --------------------

          KH: Nibbana (the final extinction of dukkha) can be experienced with right understanding, but nibbana itself is the extinction of experience.

          ----------------------------
          <. . .>
          > T: You stated "They cannot be found to consist of something else". this is the absolute crux of our debate. I would again ask for one example of such a phenomena? One example of a phenomena that exists inherently from its own side without any dependence? do that and we're done :-)
          ----------------------------

          KH: I asked you last time to explain why existence should be exclusive of dependence. Can you give a simile?

          I, on the other hand, have been saying that conditioned dhammas do exist. To give a simile, I can say a baby is dependent for its conception on mother and father, for nourishment it is dependent on its mother, and for protection it is dependent on mother, father, brothers and sisters, and so on.

          The point is a dependent baby exists. Doesn't it?

          Ken H
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