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RE: [dsg] Re: characteristics - formulation

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  • Michael Beisert
    Hello Herman, Herman: To me, the problem lies in the formulation. To say that rupa x has characteristic x is flawed. Rupa x = characteristic x. Michael: This
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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      Hello Herman,

      Herman:
      To me, the problem lies in the formulation. To say that rupa x has
      characteristic x is flawed. Rupa x = characteristic x.

      Michael:
      This is a difficult area because our mind is so deluded in assuming that
      objects own their characteristics. A characteristic is a distinctive feature
      that distinguishes the object but it is a flaw to assume that such a
      characteristic is part of the object or inherent in the object. To be
      absolutely coherent with dependent arising it has to be said that the
      characteristic arises and ceases subject to conditions the same way as the
      object. Our minds will not easily accept that but it is important to see it
      that way to avoid grasping at any form of existence. Everything is
      conditioned and nothing is truly existent.

      Metta
      Michael

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    • Kenneth Ong
      Hi Michael With regard to this statement to Herman, Everything is conditioned and nothing is truly existent. Firstly nothing truly exist will meant
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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        Hi Michael

        With regard to this statement to Herman, "Everything is conditioned
        and nothing is truly existent."

        Firstly nothing truly exist will meant everything is nil, zero,
        nothing so how does something that do not exist can be conditioned.

        Secondly in another way of dicussion, Can you denied the existence of
        ignorance, rupas, feelings that are conditioned. Can we say here
        this feeling of mine do not exist bc it is conditioned? Then you
        should not be feeling pleasant or unpleasant bc even thuogh it is
        conditioned but it does not exist.


        kind regards
        Ken O

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      • Michael Beisert
        Hello Ken, Ken: With regard to this statement to Herman, Everything is conditioned and nothing is truly existent. Firstly nothing truly exist will meant
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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          Hello Ken,

          Ken:
          With regard to this statement to Herman, "Everything is conditioned
          and nothing is truly existent."
          Firstly nothing truly exist will meant everything is nil, zero,
          nothing so how does something that do not exist can be conditioned

          Michael:
          Nothing truly exists means nothing exists by its own power, nothing has an
          intrinsic, inherent existence. But if you think about the table, the table
          is conditioned (I think we agreed on that) but it exists, it performs a
          number of functions, you can experience that, so therefore we say it exists
          as a conditioned phenomena.

          Metta
          Michael

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        • Kenneth Ong
          Hi Michael ... table, the table is conditioned (I think we agreed on that) but it exists, it performs a number of functions, you can experience that, so
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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            Hi Michael


            > Michael:
            > Nothing truly exists means nothing exists by its own power, nothing
            > has an intrinsic, inherent existence. But if you think about the
            table, the table is conditioned (I think we agreed on that) but it
            exists, it performs a number of functions, you can experience that,
            so therefore we say it exists as a conditioned phenomena.

            k: Ah Michael when you say a table perfroms a number of functions,
            doesn't these functions are characteristics of the table. Can we say
            a table exist without these functions vice versa can these functions
            exist without the table. Inherent can be define as existing as an
            essential constituent or characteristic. Ain't you just define that
            the table has intrinsic existence. Can you deny that if these
            functions are not of the table, then these characteristic should not
            be performed, then it should not a table at all. A table functions
            can only be manifested when there is table, so this is the same as
            what it is meant as intrinsic or inherent characteristics.


            kind regards
            Ken O

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          • Michael Beisert
            Hello Ken, Ken: A table functions can only be manifested when there is table, so this is the same as what it is meant as intrinsic or inherent characteristics.
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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              Hello Ken,

              Ken:
              A table functions
              can only be manifested when there is table, so this is the same as
              what it is meant as intrinsic or inherent characteristics.

              Michael:
              The functions of a table is a matter of convention. Someone may use it for
              eating while other who never saw a table before may think it is a bed and so
              on. Function has nothing to do with intrinsic characteristic.

              Metta
              Michael

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            • Kenneth Ong
              Hi Michael ... it is a bed and so on. Function has nothing to do with intrinsic characteristic. k: If they do not perform these functions, then dont you think
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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                Hi Michael

                > Michael:
                > The functions of a table is a matter of convention. Someone may use
                > it for eating while other who never saw a table before may think
                it is a bed and so on. Function has nothing to do with intrinsic
                characteristic.

                k: If they do not perform these functions, then dont you think a
                table is practically of no used. Then in the first place we also
                cannot say it is a table bc it does not have distinct functions to
                start with. All these functions as you mention that are a matter of
                convention like eating or bed or even making as an music instructment
                (if imaginations are good) are also manifested by the fact that there
                is a table there. A table got to have existence before any functions
                can be performed. Just like a feelings got to be existed before
                pain or not pain can be experience. And this also proved another
                point that table is a construct bc some pple may used it as a bed, so
                it should not a table.


                kind regards
                Ken O





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              • Michael Beisert
                Hello Ken, Ken, I rest my case. I don t think my arguments were good enough to convince you. It is my lack of skill. I wish you be happy and will talk again in
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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                  Hello Ken,

                  Ken, I rest my case. I don't think my arguments were good enough to convince
                  you. It is my lack of skill. I wish you be happy and will talk again in the
                  future.

                  Metta
                  Michael


                  >From: Kenneth Ong <ashkenn2k@...>
                  >Reply-To: dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com
                  >To: dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com
                  >Subject: RE: [dsg] Re: characteristics - formulation
                  >Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 15:02:18 +0000 (GMT)
                  >
                  >Hi Michael
                  >
                  >
                  > > Michael:
                  > > Nothing truly exists means nothing exists by its own power, nothing
                  > > has an intrinsic, inherent existence. But if you think about the
                  >table, the table is conditioned (I think we agreed on that) but it
                  >exists, it performs a number of functions, you can experience that,
                  >so therefore we say it exists as a conditioned phenomena.
                  >
                  >k: Ah Michael when you say a table perfroms a number of functions,
                  >doesn't these functions are characteristics of the table. Can we say
                  >a table exist without these functions vice versa can these functions
                  >exist without the table. Inherent can be define as existing as an
                  >essential constituent or characteristic. Ain't you just define that
                  >the table has intrinsic existence. Can you deny that if these
                  >functions are not of the table, then these characteristic should not
                  >be performed, then it should not a table at all. A table functions
                  >can only be manifested when there is table, so this is the same as
                  >what it is meant as intrinsic or inherent characteristics.
                  >
                  >
                  >kind regards
                  >Ken O
                  >
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                • Kenneth Ong
                  Hi Michael Everything that has a begining has an end [Quote from Matrix]. Regards to your post to Howard that you feel that paramatha dhammas can be
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 2, 2004
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                    Hi Michael

                    Everything that has a begining has an end [Quote from Matrix].

                    Regards to your post to Howard that you feel that paramatha dhammas
                    can be disintegrate to further smaller pieces, I am wondering when
                    will this disintegration stops. If basing on your conceptual model,
                    there will be an infinite disintegration. This puzzle me, how is
                    Buddha going to teach his disciples on such a theory. He would say
                    disciples following this feelings, there are sub-feelings, from these
                    sub-feeling there are sub-sub feelings... then on and on. Wouldn't
                    these be very confusing and hard to learn. I do not know how one
                    going to practise satipatthana, when feelings arise, there are sub
                    feeling, sub-sub feelings... no end. The person will be stuck with
                    feelings for an infinite sati-patthana momments. In such a case, I
                    think there is no need for Buddha to teach the other aspects of
                    satipatthana bc feelings will be enough to for one to practise.


                    Please feel free to start this interesting subject again and I like
                    to thank you bc this has been an eye opener for me in learning the
                    middle way


                    kind rgds
                    Ken O





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                  • abhidhammika
                    Dear Michael B, Ken O and all Happy New Year! How are you? Michael wrote: Ken, I rest my case. I don t think my arguments were good enough to convince you. It
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                      Dear Michael B, Ken O and all

                      Happy New Year! How are you?

                      Michael wrote:

                      "Ken, I rest my case. I don't think my arguments were good enough to
                      convince you. It is my lack of skill. I wish you be happy and will
                      talk again in the future."

                      I do not think that your main problem was lack of skill in arguments,
                      but lack of correct information on the use of the terms "paramattha"
                      and "sabhaava" in Abhidhamma and commentaries.

                      As Ken O pointed out in his reply to you, the conditionality in the
                      Dependent Origination is merely the conditionality of paramatthas
                      because Dependent Origination teaches how cetasikas, consciousness,
                      and matter condition each other.

                      Michael, in your reply to Ken, you made a mistake of saying
                      that "concepts" (in the sense of non-paramatthas) are conditioned.

                      You would see your mistake when you review the components in
                      Dependent Origination because there is no paññatti dhamma ("concept")
                      among the components of Dependent Origination.

                      Remeber well that there is neither conditionality nor Dependent
                      Origination without paramatthas.

                      To his credit, Ken merely pointed out contradictions in your
                      arguments by using his knowledge of Abhidhamma and commentaries.

                      So when you are ready to talk to him again, you should have done some
                      homework in the correct of use of the terms "paramattha" and
                      and "sabhaava" in Abhidhamma and commentaries. Then, perhaps, Ken O
                      would be more easily convinced of your points.

                      By the way, Kathaavatthu is a good place for you to familiarize
                      yourself with the correct use of the term "paramattha". It is
                      available in English as "Points Of Controversy" by Shew Zan Aung
                      published by Pali Text Society, in which you can also learn how to
                      argue like a Buddhist as the work is the first and oldest Indian
                      logic text as well.

                      Good luck!

                      With regards,

                      Suan Lu Zaw

                      http://www.bodhiology.org





                      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Beisert"
                      <mbeisert@h...> wrote:

                      Hello Ken,

                      Ken, I rest my case. I don't think my arguments were good enough to
                      convince
                      you. It is my lack of skill. I wish you be happy and will talk again
                      in the
                      future.

                      Metta
                      Michael
                    • Michael Beisert
                      Hello Ken, Ken: I am wondering when will this disintegration stops. If basing on your conceptual model, there will be an infinite disintegration. This puzzle
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                        Hello Ken,

                        Ken:
                        I am wondering when
                        will this disintegration stops. If basing on your conceptual model,
                        there will be an infinite disintegration. This puzzle me, how is
                        Buddha going to teach his disciples on such a theory

                        Michael:
                        I don't know where it stops and I don't think it is important to know. The
                        Buddha did not teach a theory, in fact he rejected all kinds of ideas, or
                        mental proliferations, as obstacles to the practice. He taught what was
                        necessary to break down our misconceptions to lift the veil of ignorance and
                        give an end to suffering. That's all. And for that purpose the aggregates
                        and the 3 characteristics is more than enough.

                        Ken:
                        I do not know how one
                        going to practise satipatthana, when feelings arise, there are sub
                        feeling, sub-sub feelings... no end

                        Michael:
                        That analysis is not necessary. If you realize the 3 characteristics of
                        feeling with insight that is more than enough. It is really not necessary to
                        try to understand what feelings are composed of. But in my view it is an
                        obstacle to view them as real in the sense of paramatha/sabhava.

                        Metta
                        Michael

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                      • Michael Beisert
                        Hello Suan, Thank you for your comments and I just want to say that I disagree with much of what you say. But I don’t think it would be profitable for both
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                          Hello Suan,

                          Thank you for your comments and I just want to say that I disagree with much
                          of what you say. But I don�t think it would be profitable for both of us to
                          start a discussion on this. Only one point I want to mention.

                          You wrote: �there is no pa��atti dhamma ("concept") among the components of
                          Dependent Origination.� Well, but there is sankhara in dependent
                          origination, and pa��ati is a sankhara.

                          Metta
                          Michael

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                        • Kenneth Ong
                          Hi Michael ... kinds of ideas, or mental proliferations, as obstacles to the practice. He taught what was necessary to break down our misconceptions to lift
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                            Hi Michael

                            > Michael:
                            > I don't know where it stops and I don't think it is important to
                            > know. The Buddha did not teach a theory, in fact he rejected all
                            kinds of ideas, or mental proliferations, as obstacles to the
                            practice. He taught what was necessary to break down our
                            misconceptions to lift the veil of ignorance and give an end to
                            suffering. That's all. And for that purpose the aggregates and the 3
                            characteristics is more than enough.

                            k: But Micheal it was Buddha who say this self made up of five
                            aggregates. I have not come across Buddha speaking of sub feelings or
                            sub perceptions. In fact, if you scan through the sutta basket, the
                            mentioned of the five aggregates are very impt for the practise.
                            Hence if Buddha feels there is a sub-feeling, he will have to include
                            it bc it affects the whole sutta basket, the whole practise. When
                            you said that the purpose of aggregates and the 3 characteristics
                            are more than enough, ain't all these you mention same as
                            Abhidhamma. Abhidhamma does not invented a new aggregate or a new
                            characteristic. It elaborated what Buddha taught but maybe the
                            problem is that its elaboration of the five aggregates and the 3
                            characteristics are too elaborated and they sound as if it is a whole
                            new paradigm of Buddha teachings. To me it is normal for pple to
                            reject the whole of Abhidhamma or part of it, I once was ;-).


                            > Michael:
                            > That analysis is not necessary. If you realize the 3
                            > characteristics of feeling with insight that is more than enough.
                            It is really not necessary to try to understand what feelings are
                            composed of. But in my view it is an obstacle to view them as real
                            in the sense of paramatha/sabhava.

                            k: I respect your point of view. Abhidhamma is not for everyone.
                            Neither should I convince you of anything. This discussion has been
                            beneficial for me and I have to thank you again for providing this
                            opportunity to explore many aspect of sabhava.



                            Kind regards
                            Ken O








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                          • upasaka@aol.com
                            Hi, Michael - In a message dated 1/3/04 11:18:23 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... ============================ Michael, there is a terminological discrepancy
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                              Hi, Michael -

                              In a message dated 1/3/04 11:18:23 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                              mbeisert@... writes:

                              > Hello Suan,
                              >
                              > Thank you for your comments and I just want to say that I disagree with much
                              >
                              > of what you say. But I don’t think it would be profitable for both of us to
                              > start a discussion on this. Only one point I want to mention.
                              >
                              > You wrote: “there is no paññatti dhamma ("concept") among the components of
                              > Dependent Origination.” Well, but there is sankhara in dependent
                              > origination, and paññati is a sankhara.
                              >
                              > Metta
                              > Michael
                              >
                              ============================
                              Michael, there is a terminological discrepancy involved here which you
                              may not be aware of. What I mean (and I suspect what you mean) by
                              'pa~n~natti' is an idea - a mental construct - a mental, sankharic construct that arises
                              via the mind door and which is intended to "point" to something (its alleged
                              referent). But what others here seem to mean by 'pa~n~natti' is that alleged
                              referent! (And since that alleged referent typically doesn't actually exist,
                              "it" never arises nor ceases,"it" has no characteristics, etc, etc.) When we say
                              "concept" (I believe you should be included in this "we"), we mean an actual
                              mental event, something that occurs in the mind, but others here don't mean
                              that at all, but mean the alleged referent of that.There is tremendous confusion
                              when some us mean different but related things by the same term!!

                              With metta,
                              Howard

                              /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                              in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                              phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Michael Beisert
                              Hello Howard, Howard: What I mean (and I suspect what you mean) by pa~n~natti is an idea - a mental construct - a mental, sankharic construct that arises via
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                                Hello Howard,

                                Howard:
                                What I mean (and I suspect what you mean) by
                                'pa~n~natti' is an idea - a mental construct - a mental, sankharic construct
                                that arises via the mind door and which is intended to "point" to something
                                (its alleged
                                referent). But what others here seem to mean by 'pa~n~natti' is that alleged
                                referent! (And since that alleged referent typically doesn't actually exist,
                                "it" never arises nor ceases,"it" has no characteristics, etc, etc.) When
                                we
                                say "concept" (I believe you should be included in this "we"), we mean an
                                actual
                                mental event, something that occurs in the mind, but others here don't mean
                                that at all, but mean the alleged referent of that.

                                Michael:
                                Thanks for the clarification. Yes I am considering pa��ati as a mental
                                fabrication. To say that the referent object really does not exist but only
                                exists in the mind is equivalent to an idealistic position. And this kind of
                                idea, that things do not exist, is one of the extremes rejected by the
                                Buddha. All things exist as compounded and conditioned phenomena, even that
                                referent is a compounded and conditioned phenomena, which has the same
                                nature as the mental fabrication which arises based on that referent which
                                is also compounded and conditioned.

                                I find it quite amazing that the most prevalent interpretation of the
                                abhidhamma stating that there are paramatha dhammas, which are true
                                existents, inevitably forces one to take this idealistic position of saying
                                that so called conventional realities, i.e., all the rest which are not
                                paramatha dhammas, do not exist. If paramatha dhammas are the only things
                                that truly exist then all the rest cannot exist. This is a very odd position
                                to be in because it is at the same time the two extremes rejected by the
                                Buddha, existence and non-existence.


                                Metta
                                Michael

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                              • upasaka@aol.com
                                Hi, Michael - In a message dated 1/3/04 3:47:51 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Howard: I don t think so. Idealism says that *all* objects are
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jan 3, 2004
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                                  Hi, Michael -

                                  In a message dated 1/3/04 3:47:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                                  mbeisert@... writes:

                                  > Michael:
                                  > Thanks for the clarification. Yes I am considering paññati as a mental
                                  > fabrication. To say that the referent object really does not exist but only
                                  > exists in the mind is equivalent to an idealistic position.
                                  >
                                  -----------------------------------------------------
                                  Howard:
                                  I don't think so. Idealism says that *all* objects are
                                  mind-constructed/projected. I do not say that hardness, for example, is constructed by the
                                  mind, but only that it's occurrence is as an object of awareness and not as
                                  something independent of awareness. The Buddha has said that vi~n~nana and
                                  namarupa are mutually dependent.
                                  ------------------------------------------------------
                                  And this kind of >
                                  > idea, that things do not exist, is one of the extremes rejected by the
                                  > Buddha.
                                  ----------------------------------------------------
                                  Howard:
                                  I do not maintain that nothing exists. Some things do, and some don't.
                                  And many of those that don't exist "truly", still do exist conventionally. It
                                  is a conventional truth that the tree in my garden exists, that you exist,
                                  and that I exist. I would be insane to deny this. But these are only
                                  conventional existents, not actualities. (In this regard, please look at my previous post
                                  entitled "Existence".
                                  ----------------------------------------------------
                                  All things exist as compounded and conditioned phenomena, even that >
                                  > referent is a compounded and conditioned phenomena, which has the same
                                  > nature as the mental fabrication which arises based on that referent which
                                  > is also compounded and conditioned.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > I find it quite amazing that the most prevalent interpretation of the
                                  > abhidhamma stating that there are paramatha dhammas, which are true
                                  > existents, inevitably forces one to take this idealistic position of saying
                                  > that so called conventional realities, i.e., all the rest which are not
                                  > paramatha dhammas, do not exist. If paramatha dhammas are the only things
                                  > that truly exist then all the rest cannot exist. This is a very odd position
                                  >
                                  > to be in because it is at the same time the two extremes rejected by the
                                  > Buddha, existence and non-existence.
                                  >
                                  ===========================
                                  Michael, let's take as an example one of my favorite conventional
                                  objects, the tree in my garden. I look out the window now and I "see" it. But do I
                                  really? What I actually see, I believe, is a visual object/sight (the entire
                                  objective content of the visual experience), and this is quickly followed by a
                                  series of mental operations which include, via sa~n~na, carving out a
                                  particular pattern that is matched to a mental construct passed along in the mental
                                  stream and marked as "tree". When I then "walk out back," the sight is an
                                  entirely different one, and yet I seem to see "that same tree". This is how our
                                  conceptual faculty operates. What actually corresponds to what I call "the tree
                                  in my garden" is an *incredibly* complex of complexes of multi-layered
                                  constructs built from a vast network of direct impressions through several sense
                                  doors, including level upon level of more elementary concepts, and all that
                                  superimposed on a particular occasion of seeing. The so called tree in my garden, a
                                  supposedly existing external "thing," is never encountered, but only seems to
                                  be. It is a well grounded, merely conventional existent. Just as Heraclitus
                                  said that one never steps twice in the same river, one never sees twice the same
                                  tree! And this is not because the tree is an existing thing that changes, but
                                  because the tree, itself, is never seen at all, even once, except
                                  conventionally. The immense multitude of interrelated conditions and phenomena underlying
                                  our mental tree-constructs have been truly and actually observed, but that is
                                  all.

                                  With metta,
                                  Howard

                                  /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                                  in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                                  phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • abhidhammika
                                  Dear Michael B and all How are you? Michael wrote: I just want to say that I disagree with much of what you say. In my original post, I wrote: So when you
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jan 4, 2004
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                                    Dear Michael B and all

                                    How are you?

                                    Michael wrote:

                                    "I just want to say that I disagree with much of what you say."

                                    In my original post, I wrote:

                                    "So when you are ready to talk to him (Ken O) again, you should have
                                    done some homework in the correct of use of the terms "paramattha"
                                    and "sabhaava" in Abhidhamma and commentaries. Then, perhaps, Ken O
                                    would be more easily convinced of your points."

                                    Michael, I never expected you to agree with what I said. That is one
                                    reason that I asked you to do your homework before you are ready to
                                    talk to Ken O again.

                                    Perhaps, when you have done your homework in the correct use of the
                                    terms "paramattha" and "sabhaava", you might even come to agree with
                                    what I wrote. You never know!

                                    As our understanding of things also depends on conditions, when
                                    conditions change by means of learning more, your understanding of
                                    what I wrote may also change from disagreement to agreement. This, of
                                    course, depends on your willingness to study more. Dependent
                                    Origination everywhere!

                                    By the way, understanding is a paññaa cetasika and, therefore, a
                                    paramattha. As understanding is always in the process of being
                                    developed by conditions such as learning, observing, experimenting,
                                    here we have an example of a paramattha undergoing change and being
                                    conditioned.

                                    As you have been insisting on following the Buddha's teachings, I
                                    trust that you will also be consistent in that insistence in terms of
                                    developing your understanding of things by learning more and more -
                                    in this case, by getting correct information on the use of the
                                    terms "paramattha" and "sabhaava" in Abhidhamma and commentaries.

                                    What I am getting at here is that genuine critical statements should
                                    be made only by making efforts to understand properly the things we
                                    want to criticize. We need to first do justice to the things we want
                                    to find fault with. In your case, if you want to criticize
                                    commentaries, then you ought to understand their language properly.
                                    Without making efforts to understand the language of commentaries
                                    such as "paramattha" or "sabhaava", any of your criticisms would
                                    become meaningless and become the wrong speech (micchaavaacaa).

                                    By doing so, you are asserting yourself to be better than Aacariya
                                    Buddhaghosa and unknown ancient Buddhist ascetics represented by him.
                                    As such, your behavior is amount to showing off your conceit and
                                    disrespect before the people who have great respect for Aacariya
                                    Buddhaghosa and his standard commentaries.

                                    You also wrote:

                                    " But I don't think it would be profitable for both of us to start a
                                    discussion on this."

                                    Do not worry, Michael. I never have any intention of starting a
                                    discussion on this with you. If I had, I could have done so long time
                                    ago. The reason I wrote my post was that I thought the thread between
                                    you and Ken O reached the end.

                                    You also wrote:

                                    "Well, but there is sankhara in dependent origination, and paññati is
                                    a sankhara."

                                    You must be joking! Where did you get that information?

                                    In the formula "Avijjaa paccayaa sankhaaraa ...", sankhaaraa is
                                    another term for "cetanaa" which is a cetasika and, therefore, a
                                    paramattha.

                                    Sankhaara in the above formula roughly means activations or
                                    deliberate or intentional actions. In the five aggregates,
                                    sankhaarakhandhaa refers to cetasikas with cetanaa as the head
                                    (cetanaasiisena).

                                    That is why I keep telling you to do your homework in the use of the
                                    terms of paramatthas.

                                    Please do not forget to read Kathaavatthu to familiarize yourself
                                    with the correct use of the term "paramattha". Kathaavatthu is the
                                    work of Arahant Mahaa Moggliputtatissa based on the Buddha's initial
                                    outlines.

                                    With regards,

                                    Suan Lu Zaw

                                    http://www.bodhiology.org




                                    --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Beisert"
                                    <mbeisert@h...> wrote:

                                    Hello Suan,

                                    Thank you for your comments and I just want to say that I disagree
                                    with much
                                    of what you say. But I don't think it would be profitable for both of
                                    us to
                                    start a discussion on this. Only one point I want to mention.

                                    You wrote: "there is no paññatti dhamma ("concept") among the
                                    components of
                                    Dependent Origination." Well, but there is sankhara in dependent
                                    origination, and paññati is a sankhara.

                                    Metta
                                    Michael
                                  • Michael Beisert
                                    Hello Suan, Suan: Well, but there is sankhara in dependent origination, and paññati is a sankhara. You must be joking! Where did you get that information?
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jan 4, 2004
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                                      Hello Suan,

                                      Suan:
                                      "Well, but there is sankhara in dependent origination, and pa��ati is
                                      a sankhara."
                                      You must be joking! Where did you get that information?
                                      In the formula "Avijjaa paccayaa sankhaaraa ...", sankhaaraa is
                                      another term for "cetanaa" which is a cetasika and, therefore, a
                                      paramattha.
                                      Sankhaara in the above formula roughly means activations or
                                      deliberate or intentional actions. In the five aggregates,
                                      sankhaarakhandhaa refers to cetasikas with cetanaa as the head
                                      (cetanaasiisena).
                                      That is why I keep telling you to do your homework in the use of the
                                      terms of paramatthas.

                                      Michael:
                                      Maybe you can help me with my homework and explain what is pannatti then. I
                                      remember in your previous post you said it is not part of dependent
                                      origination. What is it then? I would really apreciate.

                                      Suan:
                                      Please do not forget to read Kathaavatthu to familiarize yourself
                                      with the correct use of the term "paramattha". Kathaavatthu is the
                                      work of Arahant Mahaa Moggliputtatissa based on the Buddha's initial
                                      outlines

                                      Michael:
                                      I will try to get hold of a copy. But could you give me directions where in
                                      the book I can find relevant information to the understanding of
                                      paramatha/sabhava? It's a big book and it will be easier if I could have
                                      some directions.

                                      Suan:
                                      As such, your behavior is amount to showing off your conceit and
                                      disrespect before the people who have great respect for Aacariya
                                      Buddhaghosa and his standard commentaries.

                                      Michael:
                                      In the book 'Wings to Awakening' (Part III: The Basic Factors; F.
                                      Concentration and Discernment) Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote the following:

                                      "Some Theravadins insist that questioning the commentaries is a sign of
                                      disrespect for the tradition, but it seems to be a sign of greater
                                      disrespect for the Buddha -- or the compilers of the Canon -- to assume that
                                      he or they would have left out something absolutely essential to the
                                      practice."

                                      He is writing about the Jhanas but the same commentary could be made about
                                      paramatha/sabhava which, as you well know, do not appear in the suttas. So,
                                      between showing more respect to Buddhaghosa or the Buddha, I stay with the
                                      Buddha.

                                      Metta
                                      Michael

                                      _________________________________________________________________
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                                    • Sarah
                                      Hi Michael (& Suan), Whilst agreeing with all Suan’s comments in your discussion, I’m sure that none of us could fail to be impressed by your courtesy,
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jan 5, 2004
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                                        Hi Michael (& Suan),

                                        Whilst agreeing with all Suan’s comments in your discussion, I’m sure that
                                        none of us could fail to be impressed by your courtesy, restraint and open
                                        attitude;-) I appreciate and respect these qualities and your
                                        contributions very much.

                                        --- Michael Beisert <mbeisert@...> wrote:
                                        > Suan:
                                        > Please do not forget to read Kathaavatthu to familiarize yourself
                                        > with the correct use of the term "paramattha". Kathaavatthu is the
                                        > work of Arahant Mahaa Moggliputtatissa based on the Buddha's initial
                                        > outlines
                                        >
                                        > Michael:
                                        > I will try to get hold of a copy. But could you give me directions where
                                        > in
                                        > the book I can find relevant information to the understanding of
                                        > paramatha/sabhava? It's a big book and it will be easier if I could have
                                        >
                                        > some directions.
                                        ....
                                        Here is the summary of the very first discussion to see if it interests
                                        you:

                                        “1. Of the Existence of a Personal Entity.

                                        Controverted Point. That the ‘person’ is known in the sense of a real and
                                        ultimate fact. (S:paramattha dhamma).

                                        From the commentary-
                                        The Theravadin questions a Puggalavadin (one who believes in the existence
                                        of a personal entity, soul, or perduring immortal essence in man)
                                        concerning his position. Who among the eighteen schools of thought were
                                        Puggalavadins? In the Saasana the Vajjiputtakas and Sammitiyas, and many
                                        other teachers besides, not belonging to the Saasana. ‘Person’(puggala)
                                        means soul, being, vital principle. ‘Is known’: is approached and got at
                                        by the understanding, is cognized. ‘Real’: not taken as an effect of magic
                                        or mirage, actual. ‘Ultimate’(paramattho): highest sense, not taken from
                                        tradition, or hearsay. ‘Known’ as one of the fifty-seven ultimates of our
                                        conscious experience (i.e 5 aggregates, 12 sense organs and objects, 18
                                        elements, 22 controlling powers).
                                        *****
                                        Actually, it’s not such a big book and very compelling reading,I find. I
                                        think most DSG members would enjoy it as the discussions are really so
                                        similar to ours here;-) It’s quite incredible given the time difference,
                                        but then the knotty points during the Buddha’s time are the same today.

                                        I typed out another short refutation the other day. I’d be happy to type
                                        out the first one which follows this introduction and summary, if anyone
                                        would like it. It’s quite short again.
                                        .....
                                        > Michael:
                                        > In the book 'Wings to Awakening' (Part III: The Basic Factors; F.
                                        > Concentration and Discernment) Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote the following:
                                        >
                                        > "Some Theravadins insist that questioning the commentaries is a sign of
                                        > disrespect for the tradition, but it seems to be a sign of greater
                                        > disrespect for the Buddha -- or the compilers of the Canon -- to assume
                                        > that
                                        > he or they would have left out something absolutely essential to the
                                        > practice."
                                        ....
                                        And yet we read many examples where the Buddha encourages his disciples to
                                        elaborate on his teachings. This is how the entire suttanta became the
                                        ‘word of the Buddha’. We see many examples of Mahakaccayana, Sariputta,
                                        Ananda, Mahakassapa and others giving detailed explanations to brief
                                        summaries given by the Buddha, such as MN18, Madhupindika sutta. Some of
                                        these elaborations are contained in the Tipitaka itself and some are
                                        contained in the ancient commentaries compiled and preserved by these
                                        first disciples or those that followed, such as Mahinda, the great arahant
                                        who took the entire teachings and commentaries to Sri Lanka with him,
                                        resulting in the Sinhala versions (closed to further additions after the
                                        first century I believe) which Buddhaghosa, Dhammapala and others relied
                                        on.

                                        Btw, we read in various ancient commentaries about how the Abhidhamma (for
                                        the most part) was rehearsed at the First Council. I was recently told me
                                        that according to the comy to the DN, the Abhidhamma pitaka was rehearsed
                                        after AN at this time.

                                        Metta and appreciation,

                                        Metta,

                                        Sarah
                                        ====


                                        _______________________________________________________________________
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                                      • abhidhammika
                                        Dear Michael, Sarah and all How are you? Happy New Year to Sarah. Michael wrote: Maybe you can help me with my homework and explain what is pannatti then. I
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jan 5, 2004
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                                          Dear Michael, Sarah and all

                                          How are you? Happy New Year to Sarah.

                                          Michael wrote:

                                          "Maybe you can help me with my homework and explain what is pannatti
                                          then. I remember in your previous post you said it is not part of
                                          dependent origination. What is it then? I would really apreciate."

                                          Paññatti is a subject one can look at from many angles, but I will
                                          only touch on the subject without consulting the Buddha's own Suttams
                                          and other traditional Pali texts.

                                          We have two truths conveyed by the terms "sammuti saccaa"
                                          and "paramattha saccaa". Sammuti saccaa is conventional truth while
                                          paramattha saccaa is real or actual truth.

                                          Coventional truth is truth by convention, or truth through the
                                          processes of naming or labeling.

                                          Real or actual truth is truth by observation, experience, or
                                          experiment.

                                          Paññatti belongs to conventional truth.

                                          As an example, the term "anger" is a paññatti because it is a name of
                                          a phenomenon that can arise in us. It is a conventional truth because
                                          the native speakers of English understand what it is whenever they
                                          hear the sound "anger" or read the word "anger". And they can also
                                          look it up in an English dictionary.

                                          However, the phenomenon anger is a paramattha because it can actually
                                          arise in us when we are provoked, for example. Here, please remember
                                          that anger is an emergent phenomenon that can arise only when there
                                          are relevant conditions such as provocations or insult and injury.

                                          And when those relevant conditions disappear, anger also DISAPPEARS.

                                          Our minds do not carry anger around like we carry our credit cards
                                          around when shopping at the supermarket or on the Internet.

                                          Now, paññatti or conventional truths are regarded as the most
                                          important things in any society. Every human being is required to
                                          learn conventional truths ever since they can recognize the first
                                          sound or learn the first word. The world's education systems are
                                          entirely based on conventional truths or paññatti.

                                          Some individuals go even extra lengths to master languages other than
                                          their native ones. For example, I studied English as a degree subject
                                          with the British lecturers at the university for four years. And to
                                          get that priviledge, I needed to have already understood English
                                          well. Otherwise, no admission to enrol in the English degree course
                                          at the university. I mentioned these to stress the importance of
                                          paññatti or conventional truths in human societies in the secular
                                          worldly context.

                                          On the othe hand, paramattha saccaaa or the real or actual truths are
                                          mainly the preserve of the scientific circles and real-life Buddhist
                                          scholars and practitioners. I used the expression "real-life Buddhist
                                          scholars and practitioners" to keep out speculative academics who
                                          study Buddhism in the departments of religious studies for personal
                                          gains such as a doctorate degree and employment. Professors David
                                          Kalupahana and Peter Harvey, Dr Peter Masefield and the like belong
                                          to speculative academics for personal secular gains. They are also
                                          what I call "Neo-Rhys-Davidsites" who think it fashinable to
                                          criticize Aacariya Buddhaghosa and standard Theravada commentaries.

                                          While it is easier to speculate on and talk about paññatti or
                                          conventional truths, if because of constant exposure, it is far more
                                          difficult to take to the practice of observing, experiencing and
                                          experimenting paramattha dhammas, the real or actual phenomena. That
                                          is why I often write that the filed of Buddhist studies is currently
                                          in the wrong hands represented by the likes of Professor David
                                          Kalupahana and other neo-Ryhs-Davidsites from the speculative
                                          religious departments.

                                          Scientists must expand their interest and eventually take over the
                                          field of genuine Buddhist studies so that paramattha dhammaa, the
                                          real phenomena, can be studied with the advantage of latest available
                                          technologies and scientific practices - in addition to traditional
                                          training mehtods, of course.

                                          Recap: the term "anger" is a paññatti while anger as a cetasika is a
                                          paramattha.

                                          While the term "anger" in English will change to different sounds or
                                          letters from language to language, the paramattha anger as a cetasika
                                          will not change between different humans or human societies or
                                          nations or even among different life-forms. Next time you hear a dog
                                          bark, please also remember to observe it displaying anger. The
                                          characteristic of anger in the dog would be barkning in an
                                          threatening infriendly manner, for example. Can you observe other
                                          characteristics of the dog showing anger?

                                          I hope the above brief exposition of paññatti helps.

                                          As for the directions regarding Kathaavatthu, please read Sarah's
                                          kind posting of excerpts of translation.

                                          Sarah, please continue posting of those translations for all to read.

                                          Michael also quoted the following from Sayadaw Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

                                          ""Some Theravadins insist that questioning the commentaries is a sign
                                          of disrespect for the tradition, but it seems to be a sign of greater
                                          disrespect for the Buddha -- or the compilers of the Canon -- to
                                          assume that he or they would have left out something absolutely
                                          essential to the practice."

                                          Sarah has also answered in that regard as well. Please read it.

                                          I will only add the following.

                                          I am a scientist as well as a Pali scholar, and my scientific
                                          background forced me to experiment the methods found in Aacariya
                                          Buddhaghosa's commentaries. They work!

                                          What I am getting at is that instead of speculative questioning, it
                                          is far more fruitful to experiment the instructions found in the
                                          commentaries.

                                          I am aware of the fact that speculative scholars and academics tend
                                          to resent Theravada commentaries, but it is usually because the
                                          commentaries do not fit in with their own personal preconceptions,
                                          usually Veda-leaning prejudices in particular as prevalent among neo-
                                          Rhys-Davidsites, notably, Dr Peter Masefiled, and Professor Peter
                                          Harvey. And those neo-Rhys-Davidsites got away only by translating
                                          Suttam Pali passages inaccurately, which can, of course, be due to
                                          their honest immature Pali scholarship as well.

                                          By the way, Pali commentaries are formidable and very unsuitable for
                                          those with immature Pali scholarship, so resentment of them is very
                                          understandable.

                                          With regards,

                                          Suan Lu Zaw

                                          http://www.bodhiology.org






                                          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Beisert"
                                          <mbeisert@h...> wrote:

                                          Hello Suan,

                                          Suan:
                                          "Well, but there is sankhara in dependent origination, and paññati is
                                          a sankhara."
                                          You must be joking! Where did you get that information?
                                          In the formula "Avijjaa paccayaa sankhaaraa ...", sankhaaraa is
                                          another term for "cetanaa" which is a cetasika and, therefore, a
                                          paramattha.
                                          Sankhaara in the above formula roughly means activations or
                                          deliberate or intentional actions. In the five aggregates,
                                          sankhaarakhandhaa refers to cetasikas with cetanaa as the head
                                          (cetanaasiisena).
                                          That is why I keep telling you to do your homework in the use of the
                                          terms of paramatthas.

                                          Michael:
                                          Maybe you can help me with my homework and explain what is pannatti
                                          then. I
                                          remember in your previous post you said it is not part of dependent
                                          origination. What is it then? I would really apreciate.

                                          .
                                          .
                                          < snip>


                                          Metta
                                          Michael
                                        • nina van gorkom
                                          Dear Suan, you are full of humor and good cheer. ... N: And you are very wise, serious and patient. No wonder since you have your psychiatrics practice,
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jan 5, 2004
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                                            Dear Suan,
                                            you are full of humor and good cheer.

                                            op 05-01-2004 16:41 schreef abhidhammika op suanluzaw@...:

                                            > By the way, Pali commentaries are formidable and very unsuitable for
                                            > those with immature Pali scholarship, so resentment of them is very
                                            > understandable.
                                            N: And you are very wise, serious and patient. No wonder since you have your
                                            psychiatrics practice, applying the Dhamma. I was so impressed by your post
                                            on study, and how understanding develops:<As our understanding of things
                                            also depends on conditions, when
                                            conditions change by means of learning more, your understanding of
                                            what I wrote may also change from disagreement to agreement. This, of
                                            course, depends on your willingness to study more. Dependent
                                            Origination everywhere! >
                                            N: How deep. Worth considering. You indicate some sound principles that are
                                            beneficial to apply in any situation where there is dialogue on Dhamma.
                                            S:<By the way, understanding is a paññaa cetasika and, therefore, a
                                            paramattha. As understanding is always in the process of being
                                            developed by conditions such as learning, observing, experimenting,
                                            here we have an example of a paramattha undergoing change and being
                                            conditioned.>
                                            N:Both parties of a dialogue need so much patience. I can learn from you,
                                            you do not have any expectations from others. Understanding that it is
                                            Dependent Origination everywhere! Wonderful. It is always special when you
                                            write something, thank you and with appreciation,
                                            Nina.
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