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RE: [dsg] Re: Every Paramattha dhamma can be clearly observed from experience ?

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  • Herman Hofman
    Hi Rob and everyone, You wrote: The Mulapariyaya Sutta (Mn 1) describes the differences in how the thoughts of an uninstructed worldling (that s us) progress,
    Message 1 of 33 , Jul 2, 2004
      Hi Rob and everyone,

      You wrote:
      The Mulapariyaya Sutta (Mn 1) describes the differences in how the
      thoughts of an uninstructed worldling (that's us) progress, as
      compared to how the thoughts of a trainee (Sotapanna / Sakadagami /
      Anagami) progess, as compared to how the thoughts of an Arahant
      progress, as compared to how the thoughts of the Buddha progress.

      In this Sutta, the Buddha explains that the uninstructed worldling
      gets off track at the perception stage ("percieves" with
      sannavipallasa versus "directy knows"), but that the real problems
      occur at the conceptualization stage.

      WARNING: without a detailed commentary, the Mulapariyaya Sutta seems
      to make almost no sense. I have a 75-page book on this Sutta written
      by Bhikkhu Bodhi and it is still very tough reading.

      The following is part of the translators note (Thanissaro Bhikkhu) to
      the Mulapariyaya Sutta as found on ATI.

      "The Buddha taught that clinging to views is one of the four forms of
      clinging that tie the mind to the processes of suffering. He thus
      recommended that his followers relinquish their clinging, not only to
      views in their full-blown form as specific positions, but also in their
      rudimentary form as the categories & relationships that the mind reads
      into experience. This is a point he makes in the following discourse,
      which is apparently his response to a particular school of Brahmanical
      thought that was developing in his time -- the Samkhya, or
      classification school."

      If the above is a correct statement of the Buddha's position and its
      context, then mindful silence seems an appropriate Buddhist answer to
      the question as posed in the subject.

      Studying what X said about what Y said about what Z said about process P
      is quite a different program to studying P.

      The Nikayas suggest a steady stream of people attaining ever higher
      stages of emancipation. I see no such suggestion in the eras of the
      commentarial tradition and beyond. I make the obvious connection between
      the above and the fact that the nose immersed in a book is not studying
      P, it is studying what X said about etc etc.

      Kind regards


      Rob M :-)

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    • Jonothan Abbott
      Dear Tzungkuen I am just going through the posts in my inbox that came in while we were away. I hope you don t mind a late contribution on this thread! ...
      Message 33 of 33 , Jul 17, 2004
        Dear Tzungkuen

        I am just going through the posts in my inbox that came in while we were
        away. I hope you don't mind a late contribution on this thread!

        --- Mr Tzung-Kuen Wen <s4060239@...> wrote: >
        > Dear Dhamma friends
        > Since many members in this group study Abhidhamma, I have a question
        > to ask. Can every paramattha dhamma listed in Abhidhamma texts can be
        > observed by everyone?

        This is a very pertinent question, one that will have a considerable
        bearing on one's idea of the 'practice'.

        > Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Burma is a well-known meditation teacher and
        > very learned in both Pali commentaries and Abhidhamma. Actually, his
        > meditation teaching is completely combined with Abhidhamma.
        > According to him, every paramattha dhammas, every citta and cetasika
        > including the bhavanga-citta, patisandhi-citta should be ¡¥really¡¦
        > observed in meditation. (We only know the terms of Abhidhamma
        > intellectually.) He also teaches yogis to observe the namas and rupas in
        > the past and future existences in order to really understand the law of
        > Paticcasamupada.
        > I would like to know if anyone of you has any thoughts about this
        > question.

        I agree that in general we know the various dhammas only intellectually,
        not directly. However, I do not agree that all these dhammas can or
        should be known directly, by a person wishing to develop the path.

        To think that they should all be known directly would involve an idea of
        focussing on them all in turn at some stage or other. To my understanding
        of the teachings, it is not possible to come to know any dhamma directly
        by choosing to focus on it (I exclude here someone for whom insight has
        been developed to a high degree). Dhammas are not perceivable directly
        except by awareness or insight (the highest level of panna), and this
        means that they cannot be selected to be the object of (intended) insight.
        If this is attempted, then what seems like directly observing a chosen
        dhamma will not in fact be so. True awareness or insight is a high level
        of kusala that arises only by a complex and very occasional set of

        There is no suggestion in the teachings that enlightenment comes only when
        *all* dhammas have been directly known. According to the teachings,
        insight needs to be developed to the point that the fetters are broken
        (the fetters are the various kinds of akusala that bind us to continued
        existence). The overcoming of the fetters is achieved by seeing dhammas
        as they truly are, as anicca/dukkha/anatta, and this is the function of
        insight, but to my understanding this level is achieved without the need
        for *all* dhammas to be directly expereinced. That sort of knowlwedge is
        the province of a Buddha or the great disciples only.

        Of course, intellectual knowledge about all dhammas is useful and is a
        support for the development of understanding. But the arising of insight
        is not a self-directed kind of thinking, and both the time of its arising
        and the dhamma that is its object on any occasion are matters beyond our


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