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Re: [dsg] Re: A lump of foam.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Hi Howard, The debates about own being, without own being, and about what reality is, are mostly a matter of language. You write:
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 2, 2013
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      Hi Howard,
      The debates about own being, without own being, and about what reality is, are mostly a matter of language. You write: <For me, I take 'real' to mean that which exists ON ITS OWN, independent of *anything* else and not just as passing appearance, but as a reality entirely of its own>. I understand what you mean.
      When we talk about dhammas, realities, like seeing, visible object, we refer to realities that are conditioned by other factors, not realities that are independent and exist on their own. We refer to fleeting dhammas each with their own characteristic that can be object of sati and pa~n~naa, one at a time. Just as it is described in the satipa.t.thaana sutta.
      Indeed they have to be known as just dhammas, and this means, without self, non-self, beyond control. But I would not say: lack of reality, because this could lead to misunderstandings. One may think that there is no seeing, no visible object, no sound, no hearing. They appear, just for a moment, and when there are conditions for sati and pa~n~naa, their characteristics can be gradually penetrated.
      Seeing is a dhamma that experiences something, and visible object is a dhamma that does not know anything. This is the first step. If there are no seeing and visible object it would seem that nothing can be known.
      Nina.
      Op 1 sep 2013, om 16:31 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

      > HCW: Yes, they do arise, but not as separate entities with own being, not as "realities". I believe it is their emptiness of self/own-being, their very lack of reality, that needs to be grasped to reach the other shore.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • upasaka_howard
      Hi, Nina - ... HCW: Thank you, Nina! Yes, to some extent it may well be a matter of language! (But some extent to which it may NOT be so is the matter of my
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 2, 2013
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        Hi, Nina -

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Howard,
        > The debates about own being, without own being, and about what reality is, are mostly a matter of language.
        ----------------------------------
        HCW:
        Thank you, Nina! Yes, to some extent it may well be a matter of language! (But some extent to which it may NOT be so is the matter of my taking dhammas to be only elements of experience, for which I believe there is good sutta evidence.) That aside, though, what I am most uncomfortable with is the *emphasis* placed here (by many) on dhammas being referred to as separate "realities" as opposed to an emphasis on their being willow-the-wisps that are ungraspable and empty of self. We should zero in on going beyond what is conditioned and ephemeral to what is truly real, unconditioned, and with independent own being, namely nibbana.
        --------------------------------
        You write: <For me, I take 'real' to mean that which exists ON ITS OWN, independent of *anything* else and not just as passing appearance, but as a reality entirely of its own>. I understand what you mean.
        > When we talk about dhammas, realities, like seeing, visible object, we refer to realities that are conditioned by other factors, not realities that are independent and exist on their own. We refer to fleeting dhammas each with their own characteristic that can be object of sati and pa~n~naa, one at a time. Just as it is described in the satipa.t.thaana sutta.
        --------------------------------
        HCW: I don't think that such flashings in the void should be continually honored with the title "realities". They are fleeting phenomena to be seen through as empty and, *as the Buddha himself says*, "unreal".
        Are they nothing at all? No, I do not say that. That would be nihilism. But we need to adhere to the middle-way of thinking and speaking, avoiding substantialist terminology.
        ------------------------------
        > Indeed they have to be known as just dhammas, and this means, without self, non-self, beyond control. But I would not say: lack of reality, because this could lead to misunderstandings. One may think that there is no seeing, no visible object, no sound, no hearing.
        --------------------------------
        HCW: No, there certainly ARE these. But they are mere passing activities. They are experiencings - experiencing a dreamscape we take for real. That is the emphasis we should make, as in the Dvayatanpassanu Sutta.
        ------------------------------

        They appear, just for a moment, and when there are conditions for sati and pa~n~naa, their characteristics can be gradually penetrated.
        > Seeing is a dhamma that experiences something, and visible object is a dhamma that does not know anything. This is the first step. If there are no seeing and visible object it would seem that nothing can be known.
        > Nina.
        > Op 1 sep 2013, om 16:31 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:
        >
        > > HCW: Yes, they do arise, but not as separate entities with own being, not as "realities". I believe it is their emptiness of self/own-being, their very lack of reality, that needs to be grasped to reach the other shore.
        ================================
        With metta,
        Howard

        /See how the world together with the devas has self-conceit for what is not-self. Enclosed by mind-and-body it imagines, 'This is real.' Whatever they imagine it to be, it is quite different from that. It is unreal, of a false nature and perishable. Nibbana, not false in nature, that the Noble Ones know as true. Indeed, by the penetration of the true, they are completely stilled and realize final deliverance./

        (From the Dvayatanupassana Sutta)
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Hi Howard, ... N: So, we circle around the term reality. You do not say that they are nothing at all. Clear. I think that we are dreaming when we believe that
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 3, 2013
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          Hi Howard,
          Op 2 sep 2013, om 17:12 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

          > HCW: I don't think that such flashings in the void should be continually honored with the title "realities". They are fleeting phenomena to be seen through as empty and, *as the Buddha himself says*, "unreal".
          > Are they nothing at all? No, I do not say that. That would be nihilism. But we need to adhere to the middle-way of thinking and speaking, avoiding substantialist terminology.
          ------
          N: So, we circle around the term reality. You do not say that they are nothing at all. Clear.
          I think that we are dreaming when we believe that we see persons. Then we are involved in the outward appearance and the details, as is stated in the suttas.
          What is seen is just a fleeting dhamma, visible object. A person is not a reality, whereas visible object is.
          You say: < We should zero in on going beyond what is conditioned and ephemeral to what is truly real, unconditioned, and with independent own being, namely nibbana.>
          Yes, but how to reach this goal? The unconditioned element we cannot yet grasp. We can only learn more about conditioned elements. The word conditioned implies <not an independant own being>. It is real, I mean, it has a characteristic that can be directly experienced, without having to use words.

          We read in the “Dhammapada” vs. 277-280 (“Minor Anthologies”) that the Buddha said:
          “ ‘All saṅkhāra dhammas are impermanent’, when one discerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.
          ‘All saṅkhāra dhammas are dukkha’, when one discerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.
          ‘All dhammas are non-self (anattā)’, when onediscerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.”
          -------
          Thus, conditioned dhammas have to be known as they are, no other way to nibbaana. The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
          If you find the term reality confusing you can replace it by element. In Pali: dhaatu. The same stem as dhamma.
          ------
          Nina.




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • upasaka_howard
          Hi, Nina - Thank you for continuing this conversation. I admire your imperturbability! :-) ... HCW: Good! :-) ... HCW: I agree! These alleged macro-entities
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 3, 2013
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            Hi, Nina -

            Thank you for continuing this conversation. I admire your imperturbability! :-)

            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Howard,
            > Op 2 sep 2013, om 17:12 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:
            >
            > > HCW: I don't think that such flashings in the void should be continually honored with the title "realities". They are fleeting phenomena to be seen through as empty and, *as the Buddha himself says*, "unreal".
            > > Are they nothing at all? No, I do not say that. That would be nihilism. But we need to adhere to the middle-way of thinking and speaking, avoiding substantialist terminology.
            > ------
            > N: So, we circle around the term reality. You do not say that they are nothing at all. Clear.
            ---------------------------
            HCW: Good! :-)
            ---------------------------
            > I think that we are dreaming when we believe that we see persons.
            --------------------------
            HCW: I agree! These alleged macro-entities are just conglomerations of 5-sense-door phenomena worked over by thinking.
            ----------------------------

            Then we are involved in the outward appearance and the details, as is stated in the suttas.
            > What is seen is just a fleeting dhamma, visible object. A person is not a reality, whereas visible object is.
            ---------------------------
            HCW: Viewing a visible object - what I would call "a sight" - as a separate entity is also a matter of thinking and reifying, In my view, whereas it is actually, as I believe the Buddha teaches, merely a fleeting element of experience, and not "a reality".
            ----------------------------
            > You say: < We should zero in on going beyond what is conditioned and ephemeral to what is truly real, unconditioned, and with independent own being, namely nibbana.>
            > Yes, but how to reach this goal? The unconditioned element we cannot yet grasp.
            ---------------------------
            HCW: By means of the noble 8-fold path which enables the *seeing through* of the empty, fleeting facets of samsara. (My understanding, in accord with that of most Buddhists - though that fact, of course, doesn't prove correctness - is that the noble 8-fold path is a tripartite path of intentional practice, consisting of the cultivation of sila, samadhi, and pa~n~na.
            -----------------------------
            We can only learn more about conditioned elements. The word conditioned implies <not an independant own being>. It is real, I mean, it has a characteristic that can be directly experienced, without having to use words.
            >
            > We read in the “Dhammapada” vs. 277-280 (“Minor Anthologies”) that the Buddha said:
            > “ ‘All saṅkhāra dhammas are impermanent’, when one discerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.
            > ‘All saṅkhāra dhammas are dukkha’, when one discerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.
            > ‘All dhammas are non-self (anattā)’, when onediscerns this with wisdom, one turns away from dukkha; this is the Path to purity.”
            > -------
            > Thus, conditioned dhammas have to be known as they are, no other way to nibbaana.
            -----------------------------
            HCW: And what is that nature we must come to know about these dhammas? I believe it is exactly the tilakkhana, not the alleged "reality" of these dhammas.
            --------------------------------
            The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
            ------------------------------
            HCW: The clinging to self is last to go, if I'm not mistaken.
            ------------------------------
            > If you find the term reality confusing you can replace it by element. In Pali: dhaatu. The same stem as dhamma.
            -------------------------------
            HCW: I prefer 'phenomena', but 'element' is certainly a term much less "loaded" than 'realities'.
            --------------------------------
            > ------
            > Nina.
            ==============================
            With metta,
            Howard

            Experience Only

            /"Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

            "When hearing...

            "When sensing...

            "When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer./

            (From the Kalaka Sutta)
          • Nina van Gorkom
            Hi Howard, Of course I like toconverse with you. Some delay, in the middle of a project I have to finish. Nina.
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 5, 2013
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              Hi Howard,
              Of course I like toconverse with you. Some delay, in the middle of a project I have to finish.
              Nina. 
              Op 3 sep 2013, om 23:24 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

              Thank you for continuing this conversation

            • upasaka_howard
              Hi, Nina - ... =============================== I so admire you! You are perhaps the most active person I know!! :-) With metta. Howard Seamless Interdependence
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 5, 2013
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                Hi, Nina -

                --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Howard,
                > Of course I like to converse with you. Some delay, in the middle of a project I have to finish.
                > Nina.
                ===============================
                I so admire you! You are perhaps the most active person I know!! :-)

                With metta.
                Howard

                Seamless Interdependence

                /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                (Anonymous)
              • Nina van Gorkom
                Hi Howard, ... N: Perhaps we have to go more into the meaning of conditioned. There is seeing now. This could not arise if there were no eyesense and colour or
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 7, 2013
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                  Hi Howard,
                  Op 3 sep 2013, om 23:24 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:


                  HCW: Viewing a visible object - what I would call "a sight" - as a separate entity is also a matter of thinking and reifying, In my view, whereas it is actually, as I believe the Buddha teaches, merely a fleeting element of experience, and not "a reality".
                  ----------------------------
                  -----------------------------
                  >N: We can only learn more about conditioned elements. The word conditioned implies <not an independant own being> as we agree. It is real, I mean, it has a characteristic that can be directly experienced, without having to use words.

                  > Thus, conditioned dhammas have to be known as they are, no other way to nibbaana.

                  -----------

                  The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.

                  -----------------------------
                  HCW: And what is that nature we must come to know about these dhammas? I believe it is exactly the tilakkhana, not the alleged "reality" of these dhammas.
                  --------------------------------

                  N: Perhaps we have to go more into the meaning of conditioned. There is seeing now. This could not arise if there were no eyesense and colour or visible object. Eyesense and visible object are among the conditions for seeing and they are fleeting elements, but still, not imaginary. 

                  We read in the “Kindred Sayings” (IV, Kindred sayings on Sense, Second Fifty, Ch IV, § 85, Void): 
                  Then the Venerable Ānanda came to see the Exalted One... Seated at one side the Venerable Ānanda said to the Exalted One: “ ‘Void is the world! Void is the world!’ is the saying, lord. Pray, lord, how far does this saying go?” 
                  “Because the world is void of the self, Ānanda, or of what belongs to the self, therefore is it said ‘Void is the world.’ And what, Ānanda, is void of the self or of what belongs to the self? 
                  The eye is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Visible object is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Seeing-consciousness is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Eye-contact is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling or indifferent feeling which arises owing to eye-contact is void of the self or of what belongs to the self.” (The same is said with regard to the other doorways.) “That is why, Ānanda, it is said ‘Void is the world.’ ” 

                  We read in Kh Sujin's Survey: <Voidness cannot be realized so long as there is ignorance of realities. One should know what voidness is and of what there is voidness. One should know the meaning of voidness of the self and of what belongs to the self, as it really is. The dhammas that can be experienced through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense and the mind-door arise and then fall away; they are void of the self and of what belongs to the self. >

                  N: Would the Buddha mention time and again visible object, sound, etc. as among the conditions for sense-cognitions if they were mere nothings?

                  As to knowing the tilakka.na, there are many degrees of penetrating these. They are characteristics of seeing, hearing, etc. They are not something we can talk of in general, in an abstract way. Thus, first we have to know more clearly the very elements which have the tilakka.na. What makes them dukkha? their arising and falling away. But, before their impermanence can be realized very precisely, a great deal of understanding of these elements has to be developed. Seeing is not thinking, seeing is not visible object, but we are very confused and ignorant. When seeing appears there must also be that which is seen, and they have different characteristics. Sati can be aware of only one of them at a time. But since we confuse thinking and sati it seems that they appear together. 

                  The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.

                  ------------------------------
                  HCW: The clinging to self is last to go, if I'm not mistaken.
                  ------------------------------

                  N: The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                  The sotaapanna eradicates clinging to the wrong view of self, but not attachment to sense objects. This is only eradicated at the thrird stage of enlightenment, the stage of the non-returner. 
                  This is very understandable. Detachment from objects grows very slowly, there are many degrees. As understanding develops, also detachment from the object develops.  

                  ------
                  Nina. 





                • upasaka_howard
                  Hi, Nina - ... HCW: My view: Not imaginary as the fleeting elements of experience they are. They are actually experienced. But they are imaginary when viewed
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 7, 2013
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                    Hi, Nina -

                    Just a comment or two inserted below in context:

                    --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Howard,
                    > Op 3 sep 2013, om 23:24 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:
                    > >
                    > > HCW: Viewing a visible object - what I would call "a sight" - as a separate entity is also a matter of thinking and reifying, In my view, whereas it is actually, as I believe the Buddha teaches, merely a fleeting element of experience, and not "a reality".
                    > > ----------------------------
                    > > -----------------------------
                    > > >N: We can only learn more about conditioned elements. The word conditioned implies <not an independant own being> as we agree. It is real, I mean, it has a characteristic that can be directly experienced, without having to use words.
                    > >
                    > > > Thus, conditioned dhammas have to be known as they are, no other way to nibbaana.
                    > >
                    > -----------
                    > > The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                    > >
                    > > -----------------------------
                    > > HCW: And what is that nature we must come to know about these dhammas? I believe it is exactly the tilakkhana, not the alleged "reality" of these dhammas.
                    > > --------------------------------
                    > >
                    > N: Perhaps we have to go more into the meaning of conditioned. There is seeing now. This could not arise if there were no eyesense and colour or visible object. Eyesense and visible object are among the conditions for seeing and they are fleeting elements, but still, not imaginary.
                    -----------------------------------
                    HCW: My view: Not imaginary as the fleeting elements of experience they are. They are actually experienced. But they are imaginary when viewed as independent, separate realities.
                    ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > We read in the “Kindred Sayings” (IV, Kindred sayings on Sense, Second Fifty, Ch IV, § 85, Void):
                    > Then the Venerable Ānanda came to see the Exalted One... Seated at one side the Venerable Ānanda said to the Exalted One: “ ‘Void is the world! Void is the world!’ is the saying, lord. Pray, lord, how far does this saying go?”
                    > “Because the world is void of the self, Ānanda, or of what belongs to the self, therefore is it said ‘Void is the world.’ And what, Ānanda, is void of the self or of what belongs to the self?
                    > The eye is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Visible object is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Seeing-consciousness is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Eye-contact is void of the self or of what belongs to the self. Pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling or indifferent feeling which arises owing to eye-contact is void of the self or of what belongs to the self.” (The same is said with regard to the other doorways.) “That is why, Ānanda, it is said ‘Void is the world.’ ”
                    >
                    > We read in Kh Sujin's Survey: <Voidness cannot be realized so long as there is ignorance of realities. One should know what voidness is and of what there is voidness. One should know the meaning of voidness of the self and of what belongs to the self, as it really is. The dhammas that can be experienced through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense and the mind-door arise and then fall away; they are void of the self and of what belongs to the self. >
                    >
                    > N: Would the Buddha mention time and again visible object, sound, etc. as among the conditions for sense-cognitions if they were mere nothings?
                    -------------------------------
                    HCW: They are not mere nothings, because they are elements of experience. But that is all they are, and our viewing them as self-existent "realities" is where we go wrong, IMO. We indeed need to know their true nature as 1) conditions for suffering (when ignorance reifies them and craving for their appearing or disappearing arises), 2) as fleeting, and 3) as lacking in self.
                    Were direct awareness of this tripartite emptiness be already in effect, there would be no need for their frequent mention. When one truly knows that the "snake" is but a coiled rope, no further attention need be paid.
                    --------------------------------
                    >
                    > As to knowing the tilakka.na, there are many degrees of penetrating these. They are characteristics of seeing, hearing, etc. They are not something we can talk of in general, in an abstract way. Thus, first we have to know more clearly the very elements which have the tilakka.na. What makes them dukkha? their arising and falling away. But, before their impermanence can be realized very precisely, a great deal of understanding of these elements has to be developed. Seeing is not thinking, seeing is not visible object, but we are very confused and ignorant. When seeing appears there must also be that which is seen, and they have different characteristics. Sati can be aware of only one of them at a time. But since we confuse thinking and sati it seems that they appear together.
                    > > The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                    > >
                    > > ------------------------------
                    > > HCW: The clinging to self is last to go, if I'm not mistaken.
                    > > ------------------------------
                    > >
                    > N: The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                    > The sotaapanna eradicates clinging to the wrong view of self, but not attachment to sense objects. This is only eradicated at the thrird stage of enlightenment, the stage of the non-returner.
                    > This is very understandable. Detachment from objects grows very slowly, there are many degrees. As understanding develops, also detachment from the object develops.
                    >
                    > ------
                    > Nina.
                    ==================================
                    Nina, thank you very much for your kind post.

                    With metta,
                    Howard

                    /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)
                  • Nina van Gorkom
                    Hi Howard, ... N: It is always the tilakkhana of conditioned dhammas. So, we have to know what these conditioned dhammas are. When do they appear? How can
                    Message 9 of 17 , Sep 10, 2013
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                      Hi Howard, 
                      Op 7 sep 2013, om 15:00 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:


                      > -----------
                      > > The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                      > >
                      > > -----------------------------
                      > > HCW: And what is that nature we must come to know about these dhammas? I believe it is exactly the tilakkhana, not the alleged "reality" of these dhammas.
                      > > --------------------------------

                      N: It is always the tilakkhana "of" conditioned dhammas. So, we have to know what these conditioned dhammas are. When do they appear? How can they be known? These are important questions.
                      --------

                      > >
                      > N: Perhaps we have to go more into the meaning of conditioned. There is seeing now. This could not arise if there were no eyesense and colour or visible object. Eyesense and visible object are among the conditions for seeing and they are fleeting elements, but still, not imaginary.
                      -----------------------------------
                      HCW: My view: Not imaginary as the fleeting elements of experience they are. They are actually experienced. But they are imaginary when viewed as independent, separate realities.
                      ------------------------------------

                      N: Right, exactly. That is why I repeat: conditioned dhammas. As you say, not imaginary. Seeing arises and this is not something imaginary. IT must experience an object, namely visible object. Otherwise it would not be seeing. It is only there for an extremely short moment and then gone, never to return. Understanding can develop so that it becomes keen and sharp, so that it can penetrate the nature of such a fleeting dhamma. Otherwise the Buddha would not have taught the development of the eightfold Path.
                      ----------

                      >
                      > We read in the ╲Kindred Sayings╡ (IV, Kindred sayings on Sense, Second Fifty, Ch IV, § 85, Void):

                      > N: Would the Buddha mention time and again visible object, sound, etc. as among the conditions for sense-cognitions if they were mere nothings?
                      -------------------------------
                      HCW: They are not mere nothings, because they are elements of experience. But that is all they are, and our viewing them as self-existent "realities" is where we go wrong, IMO. We indeed need to know their true nature as 1) conditions for suffering (when ignorance reifies them and craving for their appearing or disappearing arises), 2) as fleeting, and 3) as lacking in self.
                      Were direct awareness of this tripartite emptiness be already in effect, there would be no need for their frequent mention. When one truly knows that the "snake" is but a coiled rope, no further attention need be paid.
                      --------------------------------
                      N: Now let us look at your quote  at the end:

                      /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)

                      ------
                      N: <However you observe them, appropriately examine them, they're empty, void to whoever sees them appropriately.>
                      They have to be observed, examined by pa~n~naa that is a cetasika, mental factor, not self. 

                      The three general characteristics cannot be known immediately, first the reality appearing at this moment (it always has to be this moment) has to be understood as just a conditioned dhamma. There is atta-sa~n~naa, wrong remembrance of self very often. It is deeply rooted and it can only be lessened stage by stage. At the first stage of insight, distinguishing the difference between naama and ruupa, there is anattaa sa~n~naa, but attaa sa~n~naa has not been eradicated. Only at the moment of enlightenment one of the three characteristics is clearly realized. This means, the dhamma that was object of the cittas arising shortly before the lokuttara cittas that experience nibbaana, was either seen as impermanent, or as dukkha or as anattaa. This depends on accumulated inclinations. 
                      Thus, this helps us to see that the tilakkhana are not taught in general, not in abstracto. They always pertain to this moment now. 
                      Nina. 

                    • upasaka_howard
                      Hi, Nina - Thanks very much for this detailed and instructive post of yours! :-) I m not sure my view differs radically from your understanding. I think our
                      Message 10 of 17 , Sep 10, 2013
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                        Hi, Nina -

                        Thanks very much for this detailed and instructive post of yours! :-)
                        I'm not sure my view differs radically from your understanding. I think our differences lie largely in where we put emphasis and in terminology, and much less so in substance.
                        In any case, I applaud your depth of knowledge, your devotion to the Dhamma, and your so very kindly approach to all of us!

                        With much metta,
                        Howard

                        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi Howard,
                        > Op 7 sep 2013, om 15:00 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:
                        > >
                        > > > -----------
                        > > > > The clinging to self has to be eradicated first. What do we take for self? Seeing, hearing, visible object, any reality that appears. Lobha is real, we cannot say that it is not real. It has to be known as a conditioned dhamma, not self.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > -----------------------------
                        > > > > HCW: And what is that nature we must come to know about these dhammas? I believe it is exactly the tilakkhana, not the alleged "reality" of these dhammas.
                        > > > > --------------------------------
                        > >
                        > N: It is always the tilakkhana "of" conditioned dhammas. So, we have to know what these conditioned dhammas are. When do they appear? How can they be known? These are important questions.
                        > --------
                        > > > >
                        > > > N: Perhaps we have to go more into the meaning of conditioned. There is seeing now. This could not arise if there were no eyesense and colour or visible object. Eyesense and visible object are among the conditions for seeing and they are fleeting elements, but still, not imaginary.
                        > > -----------------------------------
                        > > HCW: My view: Not imaginary as the fleeting elements of experience they are. They are actually experienced. But they are imaginary when viewed as independent, separate realities.
                        > > ------------------------------------
                        > >
                        > N: Right, exactly. That is why I repeat: conditioned dhammas. As you say, not imaginary. Seeing arises and this is not something imaginary. IT must experience an object, namely visible object. Otherwise it would not be seeing. It is only there for an extremely short moment and then gone, never to return. Understanding can develop so that it becomes keen and sharp, so that it can penetrate the nature of such a fleeting dhamma. Otherwise the Buddha would not have taught the development of the eightfold Path.
                        > ----------
                        > > >
                        > > > We read in the ╲Kindred Sayings╡ (IV, Kindred sayings on Sense, Second Fifty, Ch IV, § 85, Void):
                        > > >
                        > > > N: Would the Buddha mention time and again visible object, sound, etc. as among the conditions for sense-cognitions if they were mere nothings?
                        > > -------------------------------
                        > > HCW: They are not mere nothings, because they are elements of experience. But that is all they are, and our viewing them as self-existent "realities" is where we go wrong, IMO. We indeed need to know their true nature as 1) conditions for suffering (when ignorance reifies them and craving for their appearing or disappearing arises), 2) as fleeting, and 3) as lacking in self.
                        > > Were direct awareness of this tripartite emptiness be already in effect, there would be no need for their frequent mention. When one truly knows that the "snake" is but a coiled rope, no further attention need be paid.
                        > > --------------------------------
                        > > N: Now let us look at your quote at the end:
                        > >
                        > > /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)
                        > >
                        > ------
                        > N: <However you observe them, appropriately examine them, they're empty, void to whoever sees them appropriately.>
                        > They have to be observed, examined by pa~n~naa that is a cetasika, mental factor, not self.
                        >
                        >
                        > The three general characteristics cannot be known immediately, first the reality appearing at this moment (it always has to be this moment) has to be understood as just a conditioned dhamma. There is atta-sa~n~naa, wrong remembrance of self very often. It is deeply rooted and it can only be lessened stage by stage. At the first stage of insight, distinguishing the difference between naama and ruupa, there is anattaa sa~n~naa, but attaa sa~n~naa has not been eradicated. Only at the moment of enlightenment one of the three characteristics is clearly realized. This means, the dhamma that was object of the cittas arising shortly before the lokuttara cittas that experience nibbaana, was either seen as impermanent, or as dukkha or as anattaa. This depends on accumulated inclinations.
                        > Thus, this helps us to see that the tilakkhana are not taught in general, not in abstracto. They always pertain to this moment now.
                        > Nina.
                        >
                      • Nina van Gorkom
                        Hi Howard, thanks for your kind words. ... N: Acharn Sujin always puts the emphasis on the reality appearing now. This refers to each part of the teachings and
                        Message 11 of 17 , Sep 14, 2013
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                          Hi Howard,
                          thanks for your kind words.
                          Op 10 sep 2013, om 16:19 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                          I'm not sure my view differs radically from your understanding. I think our differences lie largely in where we put emphasis and in terminology, and much less so in substance. 
                          -------
                          N: Acharn Sujin always puts the emphasis on the reality appearing now. This refers to each part of the teachings and I have not met this approach somewhere else. But we are still learning and before we realize it, we think of seeing or visible object as if it were already there for some time. We have accumulated so much ignorance. As you always say: <our viewing them as self-existent "realities" is where we go wrong>. This is certainly a reminder. We understand this in theory, but understanding is still very weak. It has to be developed on and on. By listening, discussing, considering. 
                          Realities is actually a translation of paramattha dhammas. These are different from concepts such as persons, trees, we can think of. As Kh Sujin said, we are mostly living in the sea of concepts instead of getting to know paramattha dhammas. I appreciate the constant reminders of the present moment and the details of the naama and ruupa to be understood. "Not in the book, not in the book" as she often says. Before we know it we get lost in abstractions. 
                          Nina.  
                        • upasaka_howard
                          Hi, Nina - ... HCW: Yes, that is our ignorance-tainted inclination. ... We have accumulated so much ignorance. As you always say:
                          Message 12 of 17 , Sep 14, 2013
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                            Hi, Nina -

                            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hi Howard,
                            > thanks for your kind words.
                            > Op 10 sep 2013, om 16:19 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:
                            >
                            > > I'm not sure my view differs radically from your understanding. I think our differences lie largely in where we put emphasis and in terminology, and much less so in substance.
                            > -------
                            > N: Acharn Sujin always puts the emphasis on the reality appearing now. This refers to each part of the teachings and I have not met this approach somewhere else. But we are still learning and before we realize it, we think of seeing or visible object as if it were already there for some time.
                            -------------------------------
                            HCW: Yes, that is our ignorance-tainted inclination.
                            ------------------------------
                            We have accumulated so much ignorance. As you always say: <our viewing them as self-existent "realities" is where we go wrong>. This is certainly a reminder. We understand this in theory, but understanding is still very weak. It has to be developed on and on. By listening, discussing, considering.
                            ---------------------------
                            HCW: Yes, by that and by really "looking" without concocting.
                            ------------------------------
                            > Realities is actually a translation of paramattha dhammas. These are different from concepts such as persons, trees, we can think of.
                            -------------------------------
                            HCW: I agree. They are NOT the same.
                            -----------------------------
                            As Kh Sujin said, we are mostly living in the sea of concepts instead of getting to know paramattha dhammas. I appreciate the constant reminders of the present moment and the details of the naama and ruupa to be understood. "Not in the book, not in the book" as she often says. Before we know it we get lost in abstractions.
                            ------------------------------
                            HCW: Yes, I completely agree: What actually occurs is not in the book and is not a matter of thinking. But sometimes even our perception of "realities" is poisoned by subtle, i.e., subliminal, thinking.
                            ------------------------------
                            > Nina.
                            >
                            ===============================
                            With metta,
                            Howard

                            Seamless Interdependence

                            /A change in anything is a change in everything/

                            (Anonymous)
                          • Nina van Gorkom
                            Hi Howard, ... N: Sa~n~naa remembers realities and concepts. It may be right remembrance or wrong remembrance. In the latter case it is perversity of sa~n~naa,
                            Message 13 of 17 , Sep 18, 2013
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                              Hi Howard,
                              Op 15 sep 2013, om 02:49 heeft Upasaka@... het volgende geschreven:

                              HCW: Yes, I completely agree: What actually occurs is not in the book and is not a matter of thinking. But sometimes even our perception of "realities" is poisoned by subtle, i.e., subliminal, thinking.
                              ------------------------------
                              N: Sa~n~naa remembers realities and concepts. It may be right remembrance or wrong remembrance. In the latter case it is perversity of sa~n~naa, sa~n~naa vipallaasa. It remembers phenomena as permamence or as self. Yes, it is like poison, but we do not see it as poison.
                              ------
                              Nina. 

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