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Re: [dsg] D.O. Formations.

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  • Sarah
    Dear Nina & All, Many Happy Returns and in appreciation for your clarifications on this thread! ... reminder of D.O. asking me: 3Do you want to ... .... S:
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2004
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      Dear Nina & All,

      Many Happy Returns and in appreciation for your clarifications on this

      --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote: > A. Sujin gave me a short
      reminder of D.O. asking me: 3Do you want to
      > accumulate or do you want to eradicate?
      S: Hmmmm.....We see how important sacca parami (truth) is...
      > This time when we were in Bgk A. Sujin asked us several times: 3Do you
      > perform kusala for your own sake?2 I answered at first that when helping
      > others, I think of other people. But she kept on saying, it is for your
      > own
      > sake. I came, after more reflection, to the conclusion that deep in
      > ourselves there is such a notion. We cannot yet let go of self-love, it
      > is
      > deep-seated and we do not like to see it. Ignorance cannot see it, only
      > right understanding can. It is urgent to develop right understanding of
      > akusala, of kusala, of all realities.
      S: Good reminders. We can see from our questions and concerns what the
      answer is: We ask how can there be more understanding, more metta, less
      anger, attachment etc. We can also see how affected we are by the worldly
      conditions. Even when we think we’re just thinking of other people, we’re
      also wondering if the gift, the comments or the writing are appreciated
      and care about the impression or impact. Self-love comes in all the time,
      even whilst reading a dhamma text and not wishing to be disturbed. I find
      these discussions very helpful.

      On sankhaara (formations) in D.O. I think we need to keep stressing that
      this only applies to kamma, i.e cetana (intention or volitional activity)
      whereas in other contexts it refers to all cetasikas (mental factors)
      except for feeling and perception in sankhara khandha and to all
      conditioned realities when ‘sabbe sankhara anicca’ etc is said. It can be

      RobM clarified:

      >The definition of "sankhara" in Nyanatiloka's "Manual of Buddhist
      Terms and Doctrines" starts, "This term has, according to its
      context, different shades of meaning, which should be carefully
      distinguished...." It then proceeds to give multiple definitions.

      You are probably familiar with the term "sankhara" as applied as one
      of the five aggregates. In this case, it means all of the cetasikas
      minus feeling and perception.

      The definition of "sankhara" when used as part of dependent
      origination is quite different. In dependent origination, "sankhara"
      is the 29 rebirth-producing cetana which fall into three classes:
      - Formations of merit (punnabhisankhara): cetana in the 8 maha
      kusala cittas
      [S: 4 with wisdom, 4 without, prompted and unprompted, with pleasant
      feeling and indifferent feeling]

      and cetana in the 5 rupavacara cittas
      - Formations of demerit (apunnabhisankhara): cetana in the 12
      akusala cittas
      [S: the 8 cittas rooted in lobha, 2 in dosa and 2 in moha]

      - Formations of the imperturbable (anenjabhisankhara): cetana in the
      4 arupavacara cittas

      In short, sankhara represents the 29 types of kamma (kamma = cetana)
      associated with the 17 lokiya kusala cittas and the 12 akusala

      Just as sankhara has a unique definition when used as part of
      dependent origination, so too does consciousness (vinnana) have a
      unique definition when used as part of dependent origination. As
      part of dependent orgination, consciousness means the 32 lokiya
      vipaka cittas.<

      S: I’d also like to quote from an old post of Num’s on the meaning of
      sankhara and abhisankhara (as used in D.O.):

      >“Abhisankrara is cetana cetasika and here is the explanation.

      <The meaning of sankhara-dhamma is more comprehensive than
      sankhara-khandha because citta, cetasika and rupa are all sankhara-dhamma
      while only the 50 cetasika are sankhara-khandha. And out of the 50
      cetasika, which are sankhara-khandha, only cetana-cetasika is
      abhisankhara. In the paticcasamuppada, avijja is paccaya for sankhara,
      sankhara is paccaya for vinnana etc. Sankhara in the
      paticcasamuppada means cetana-cetasika, which is abhisankhara, the supreme
      composing reality, or kusala-kamma, or akusala-kamma which would result in
      vipaka-citta and -cetasika. Even though othercetasika also condition
      citta to arise such as phassa-cetasika.
      Without phassa-cetasika, which is a reality that comes into contactwith
      arammana, there can be no citta that sees, hears, smells,tastes, knows
      bodysense contact or thinks. But phassa-cetasika is still not abhisankhara
      because it only comes into contact with arammana and
      then is gone...>”
      S: Let me add one more quote from the Samohavinodani 648:

      (On the kinds of abhisankhara (formations))
      “...It is permissible to say that it is taken in accordance with the
      method of the Sammaditthisutta (M i 54)too. For therein it is said:
      ‘Three, bhikkhus, are the formations. Which three? The bodily formation,
      the verbal formation and the mental formation.

      ‘But why are these taken in accordance with these suttas? This Abhidhamma
      is not newly made; nor is it spoken by sages outside (the dispensation),
      nor by disciples, nor by deities. But this is spoken by the Omniscient
      Conqueror. It is in order to illustrate this meaning that a single
      textual passage is set forth in like manner in the Abhidhamma and in the

      <Obviously, the Theravada Buddhists living at the time of Buddhaghosa and
      the other great Commentators (and in the following centuries) accepted
      these statements without difficulty as they were very widely accepted and
      acclaimed as I understand.>



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    • nina van gorkom
      Hi Larry, ... N: There are three ways of clinging to ourselves: this is mine, this am I, this is myself, as we read in many suttas. Explained in the Vibhanga
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2004
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        Hi Larry,
        op 01-04-2004 01:42 schreef LBIDD@... op LBIDD@...:

        > Vism.XVII 62: "How can it be known that these formations have ignorance
        > as their condition? -- By the fact that they exist when ignorance
        > exists..."

        > Another way to understand this is that wholesome and unwholesome
        > volitional consciousnesses only make sense as "me" and "my"
        > consciousnesses. Desire and generosity only make sense as an
        > appropriation of self view.
        N: There are three ways of clinging to ourselves: this is mine, this am I,
        this is myself, as we read in many suttas. Explained in the Vibhanga and Co
        as: clinging with lobha (without wrong view), with wrong view and with
        conceit (then there is no wrong view). There is not wrong view all the time,
        for example when enjoying food or music, there may not be any wrong
        interpretation of reality, no special view.
        We have to keep in mind who eradicates what at which stage of enlightenment.
        The streamwinner has eradicated wrong view, but not clinging with lobha or
        conceit. He has to continue being aware of lobha and conceit when they
        appear. When akusala appears, it does not matter, he has to know it. It has
        arisen already because of conditions, and thus, it is a suitable object of

        L: "Clinging" (upadana) is precisely self view,
        > aka ignorance.
        N: Ignorance is different from wrong view. But it conditions it, true. There
        are four kinds of clinging, upadana: sensuous clinging, this is clinging
        without wrong view. Then there are three more that are forms of wrong view:
        clinging to views, to rules and rituals (wrong practice) and to personality
        belief (20 kinds).
        L:There is no desire or generosity without self view.
        > Desire and generosity are both clinging ("intensified desire").
        N: Kusala is kusala, it cannot be changed into akusala. But, cittas arise
        and fall away very fast, and that is why for us worldlings, wrong vieuw or
        lobha can arise in between all the time. But it is important to distinguish
        different dhammas.
        L: When desire arises it is "I" who desires. Find this "I"! Look! Look!
        N: Very good! Good reminder! We have to learn about clinging to self. It is
        the latent tendency of wrong view, ignorance, lobha, etc. that is so strong
        and conditions the arising of akusala cittas.
        In the Vis. we shall come to study all the different cetasikas. They each
        have a different characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate
        cause. We should profit from the study in full, because it is the soil for
        direct understanding of dhammas. Soil is the transl of bhumi, it means also
        foundation. As we read in Vis. XIV, 32: <Now the things classified as
        aggregates, bases, elements, faculties, truths, dependent origination, etc.
        are the soil (or foundation) of this understanding...>
        The more we investigate what we learn, the more we shall see that the
        Vinaya, the Suttanta and the Abhidhamma are one Dhamma, they are directed to
        what is exclusively the Buddha's teaching, namely satipatthana or vipassana.
        In the Abhidhamma there are many details and it depends on the individual to
        what extent he wants to study them. There is no need to study all if one is
        not inclined to it, but one may appreciate the main principles and find out
        whether the Abhidhamma is beneficial for the understanding of one's life. We
        should not stumble over words and terms but rather see in how far the
        Abhidhamma can be applied just now. We shall also appreciate the Vinaya: to
        learn to see danger in the slightest faults. The rules for the monks are
        instructive for us. Why did the Buddha put these down? They make us see the
        disadvantage of akusala, even when it is more subtle and hard to detect.
        We learn now about different dhammas, we learn to distinguish ignorance from
        wrong view, attachment from generosity, but, when understanding is developed
        and it becomes direct understanding it will be far more precise. It will
        penetrate the different characteristics of the dhammas at the moment they
        appear. Then there will be no more doubt. Realities are the same, the same
        old defilements, but understanding of them grows.
      • nina van gorkom
        Hi Larry, ... N: As the Vis explains, sorrw etc. goes together with ignorance, and then when sorrow arises again and again there is also more ignorance
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 2, 2004
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          Hi Larry,
          op 01-04-2004 06:36 schreef LBIDD@... op LBIDD@...:

          > Vism.XVII 275: "Sorrow, grief, and despair are inseparable from
          > ignorance; and lamentation is found in one who is deluded. So, firstly,
          > when these three are established, ignorance is established..."
          > L: A sense of loss and neediness is part of the basic ground of
          > ignorance that conditions emotional reactions (formations).
          N: As the Vis explains, sorrw etc. goes together with ignorance, and then
          when sorrow arises again and again there is also more ignorance accumulated.
          The Vis explains that clinging to sense objects causes sorrow when one is
          separated form them. After that the Vis explains about the other cankers:
          wrong view . On takes the khandhas for self and when these change sorrow
          etc. arises. The canker of becoming: even devas have dukkha when their
          lifespan is about to finish.
          You say: ignorance that conditions emotional reactions (formations). Quite
          true, but here, in the D.O. it is more than emotional reactions, we have to
          think of cetana, or kamma. The three kinds of abhisankhara. These will bring
          result in the form of vipakacitta (vi~n~naa.na).
          I like the reminder in the verse (273) :
          <Becoming's Wheel reveals no known beginning;
          no maker no experiencer there;
          Void with a twelvefold voidness, and nowhere
          It ever halts; for ever it is spinning.>
          Thus we should not see a person in the Dependent Origination, only
          conditioned phenomena. Twelvefold refers to the twelve links.
          L: Desire always fails. Once we learn this, understanding (panna) has an
          N: Yes. Lobha always gives the wrong advice, it is the wrong teacher. We
          still will have to put up with it for a long, long time. But, we can learn
          its true nature. Understanding can grow.
          Last night I heard A. Sujin about the D.O. and I want to share it:
          People speak about it too easily that they want to be released from the
          cycle. But they should be very honest with themselves. Otherwise one lives
          like in a dream. Understanding should be developed more so that it can see
          the benefit of release from the cycle. We should listen, study, investigate
          more, learn more, and then panna can perform its function. Seeing the
          benefit of release from the cycle is the function of panna, not of lobha.
          N: Is it not motivated by lobha when we say: enough of it all, I do not want
          anymore of all this dukkha? When we are sincere, we know that we are not
          ready to be released from the cycle, we still cling too much to all the
          pleasant sense objects, people and things, we cling to life. Actually only
          the panna of the arahat has become perfected and he is free from rebirth.
          However, once the arahat had to begin, just like us now. The lesson I always
          get is developing understanding now of the reality that is right at hand.
          Seeing, for example. Is this not right at hand?
          This morning I heard more about seeing. When there is seeing, there is not
          thinking at the same time. It is very difficult to let go of clinging to the
          image of a person or thing. From childhood and countless lives before that
          we believe that we see images. We can develop more understanding so that we
          know that there is a reality that appears and that can be seen when it
          impinges on the eyesense. The eyesense arises and falls away and it is a
          condition for seeing.
          We should often recap what we learnt in the Vis. and we can see that
          understanding of all these rupas can gain in depth when we reflect more on
          The Tiika about eyesense clarifies the impact of visible object on the
          eyesense. We should not think of anatomy, eyenerves, brain, etc. It shows
          conditions, knowing about these leads to detachment:
          <As to the expression, with the seize of a louse head, this was said with
          regard to its procedure at a point that has only the seize of a louse head.
          Its nature is being a base for seeing-consciousness by way of being its
          dependence, and being a doorway (also) for the adverting-consciousness, the
          receiving-consciousness and so on, and the retention that dwell (on the
          object) in the sense of association.>
          This reminds us that it is absurd that a person can impinge on that
          lousehead and also that thinking is completely different from just seeing.
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