- Hi RobertK,
> Let me try again.If you are not tired with me...
> "Because the functions of the elements give rise to the concepts ofto
> continuity, collection and form, the ideas arise:
> 1)the initial effort that has to be exerted when a
> deed is about to be performed and
> 2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed
> its completion and this leads to the subsequent ideasbelief
> 3)"I can perform" and 4) "I can feel". Thus these four imaginary
> characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted
> in their existence.I do not understand how "conceit" and "personality belief" can be
called ideas. I know that "conceit" is a cetasika and not an idea. I
know that "personality belief" is a cetasika and not an idea. How
are "effort" and "care" imaginary characteristics? I don't think my
effort and care to write you this letter is an imaginery
characteristic. It is as real as the khandas as it can be. I don't
think the effort and care expended by the Buddha to teach his
Disciples is an imaginary characteristic.
> But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry outIn that case, the "conceit" cetasika and "personality belief"
> such functions" .endquote
cetasika cannot effect the phenomena called "conceit"
and "personality belief" respectively then.
> Cetana simply performs its function of coordinating without anyself
> doing anything. It is present for an infinitely short time andthen
> falls away and another arises which performs its function. Itcannot
> do anything other than perform its function.Is coordinating the only function of cetana? I hope I did not
> But because of continuity there is a belief, a vipallasa,perversion
> of perception, that believes there is somewhere , somehow acontroller
> of the whole complex.I do not understand how this continuity can result in "personality
belief". It it because of this continuity that magga and then phala
arises. It is because of this continuity that the Noble Eightfold
Path can be perfected. If it is because of this continuity that
there arises "personality belief", then there can be no escape from
samsara. The Buddha could not rightly proclaim his Lion's Roar.
What is the actual root cause of "personality belief"?
> there are only elements arising and ceasing and performing theirmany
> different functions which - like a brilliant puppet show - deludeone
> into thinking there is some special element behind it all.Is it the case that the arising and ceasing of the elements
performing their different functions the actual root cause of this
> He writes that in fact all elements, including cetana disapear soIf the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out
> fast: "The elements..arise and cease within a very short
> time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning the mental
> elements arise and cease a trillion times.`This is just an
> estimate . the subcommentary takes an even higher figure....."
the <ideas> "I can perform" or "I can feel", then I do not see how
these <ideas> can survive in the first place. For without the
elements, there cannot be the <ideas>.
> This is conventional language. In the Atthasalini it notes thatthe monks who
> are reciters of the suttanta (the second basket which includes the5nikayas)
> may come to wrong view because in the suttas they often talk aboutbeings
> and things. In reality there are simply dhammas arising andpassing,
> utterly conditioned.It seems that the Buddha liked to perform linguistic acrobatics...
really? Isn't the Buddha speaking in "conventional language" when he
said in Samyutta Nikaya XXII.59:
And it is not possible [to say] with regard to consciousness, 'Let
MY consciousness be thus. Let MY consciousness not be thus.'
The Buddha is basically performing linguistic acrobatics all over
the Suttas. What gives?
> You seem to believe that the sutta (Anatta lakkhana)... supportsyour idea that: > Control and directing of mind states is not a
I have already explained the context in which the statement 'Let my
consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.' was said.
It means 'Let my consciousness remain forever. Let my consciousness
not come to dissolution.'.
I have also explained the context in which the statement 'If
consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend
itself to dis-ease.'.
It means that 'This consciousness which is inconstant, stressful,
subject to change is not-self.'.
This is elucidated later on in the sutta.
"What do you think, monks -- Is consciousness constant or
"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"
"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject
to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"
I also provided another sutta quote to support the meaning of the
statement 'Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be
58. "Yet, Ananda, have I not taught from the very beginning that
with all that is dear and beloved there must be change, separation,
and severance? Of that which is born, come into being, is compounded
and subject to decay, how can one say: 'May it not come to
dissolution!' There can be no such state of things.
The five aggregates can never be willed not to dissolute. This is an
Yet, to suit your own agenda of "no control", you have perversed the
very meaning of this statement.
> The literal translation of the Anatta lakkhana sutta is "thecharacteristic
> of not-self" and that characteristic is no control.Sammohavinodani (whatever that is, I have not come across this funny
> ""The mode of insusceptibility to having power exercised over
> them is the characteristic of no-self.""Sammohavinodani
name) did not say "characteristic of no control". That is your own
The statement "the mode of insusceptibility to having power
exercised over them" must be understood in the context of what was
said. And what did Sarah say?
For the fully Englightened One, when teaching the characteristic of
no-self, teaches it by means of the impermanent, or by means of
suffering, or by means of (both) the impermanent and suffering."
This means that there can be no power that can be exercised over the
impermanent and dukkha elements such that they become permanent and
non-dukkha. This is an impossibility. In reference to this was this
statement uttered. This impossibility manifests the characterisitc
It dawns on me that our understanding of the Abhidhamma could be so
different. It feels so sad, but what can I expect?
NEO Swee Boon
- Hi RobertK,
I hope you are not annoyed with me.
Those things said by Thein Nyun are very unacceptable as I have
Continuity of the elements does not cause "personality belief". It
is not the direct cause of it.
I do think there is no <root> cause, but the Buddha did talk of
a "root" sequence of all phenomena though. See:
Let me use a "theoretical approach" to try to convey my message of
"control without a controller" to you.
Suppose you need to move your right hand from point A to point D.
Suppose it takes one abhidhammic moment at each points, A, B, C, D.
We know that at each of the points a single cetana arises,
coordinates the rest of the elements to do their jobs and then
ceases together with those elements.
We know that cetana is not-self. It arises, does its job and then
Yet, when we look at all four cetanas in sequence, did they perform
their job of coordinating your right hand from point A to point D
A single cetana by itself cannot do this. It's coordination is
microscopic. But with four cetanas, this is possible. The
coordination becomes macroscopic.
When this progression is viewed strictly from the point of view of
cetana A to cetana D, can it be rightly said that the cetanas,
working in sequence after one another, did not
control/direct/coordinate the right hand to move from point A
to point D?
A single cetana performs it's coordination at the microscopic level.
The aggregate of cetana performs it's coordination at the
When viewed at the macroscopic level, I do not see a self within or
without the four impermanent cetanas. Yet, there is
controlling/directing/coordinating of the hand from point A to
"Whatever (mental) fabrications are PAST, FUTURE, or PRESENT;
internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or
near: those are called the aggregate of fabrications.
It is this cetaná that is ALLUDED TO AS sankhára and (Kamma) bhava
in the Paticca Samuppáda. In the pañcakkhandha, by sankhárakkhandha
are meant the fifty mental states, excluding vedaná and saññá, with
cetaná AS THE FOREMOST.
I have put down what I have known for myself through insight into
theoretical form. If I do not have this insight, I would probably
have agreed with you about "no-control". But precisely because I
have this insight, I cannot agree with you. That would be a
falsehood for me.
NEO Swee Boon