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Concepts as condition beyond our control (was Re: [dsg] Re: killing in a dream)

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  • plnao
    Hello Htoo and all Thank you for your feedback, Htoo. Ph: It s interesting though, that in my case at least, an action in a ... Htoo I don t think so. The
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 24, 2004
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      Hello Htoo and all

      Thank you for your feedback, Htoo.


      Ph: > It's interesting though, that in my case at least, an action in a
      > dream can - rarely-really reverberate the following day. That very
      > reverberation suggests that the dream has some kind of conditioning
      > power.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      :
      >
      Htoo> I don't think so. The dream itself is a concept and sannakkhanda
      > bring that concept.

      Ph: But cannot concepts also act as conditioning factors?
      I quote from Nina's "Conditions":

      "Not only realities but also concepts can be a natural decisive
      support-condition
      for phenomena. (snip) The concept of a person can then be a natural decisive
      support-condition for attachment or loving-kindness. (snip) We need to think
      of concepts
      in order to take care of ourselves or in order to understand the Dhmma, and
      thus,
      time and again in our daily life concepts condition different types of citta
      by way
      of natural decisive support-conditioning." (end quote)

      If a powerfully vivid concept arises in a dream, I would think it could
      condition
      cittas in the same way as if it were a concept fabricated in waking life. It
      would seem
      to me that this can be confirmed by experience. I mean, if I have a horrible
      dream,
      and feel aversion the next day, that dosa was conditioned by the dream,
      surely.



      Htoo> Actually, the power is in you. This sentence may be interpreted in
      > many different way. Philosophically, this is right. Socially, this is
      > also right. Morally, this again is right. From some other believers
      > point of view, this is also right.
      >
      > The power is inside of you. Not in the dreams. For those who
      > believe 'Buddha Nature', this is also right as 'Buddha Nature' is
      > inside of you. ( I include this because there are Mahayanists here ).
      > For those who believe kamma, this is also right. As at the point of
      > waking up the dream has given you past kamma but this should not lead
      > you to commiting new kamma. For not committing new ones, the power is
      > inside of you.

      Phil: I must say this puzzles me a bit, Htoo. There are conditions at work.
      There is the potential for right understanding in me that may gradually
      eradicate defilements, but the "power is in you" sounds like something
      I can grab hold on to at will, and I don't think that's right. It could be a
      matter of wording.

      The power is the potential to have right understanding of the dosa that
      arises
      because of the dream, to understand
      that the dosa is conditioned, and not-self, to see that and be detached from
      it.
      But the condition is still there at work, surely. I mean, if I feel aversion
      because
      of the dream, what else could it be except a condition at work?
      Again, I'm just beginning to learn about conditons.

      Htoo > Here, there is no you but the power is inside of you. You are the
      > master of your kamma even though there have never been you there. So
      > the dream should not at any moment lead you the whole day.

      Phil: Should not, ideally, if I have the right understanding to see the dosa
      for what it
      is. But that right understanding is not-self, not within my immediate
      control.

      Htoo> It has been far away to condition thinking as the dream has passed
      > away when you wake up. But what conditions your thinking is that your
      > thinking itself. This again is directed by yourself. Actually you are
      > the master of the day and the master is not the dream.

      Phil: Htoo! "Master of the day?!?" That sounds like a action movie title,
      not anatta! Have you been taking Dhamma steroids! (joke)
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > Phil:
      >
      > And there is unpleasant mental feeling as well.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > Htoo:
      >
      > This is cognition of vedana which is a reality. If this is done
      > properly, this is kusala citta and this will finally lead you to
      > enlightenment.

      Ph: Ah yes, as I learned from Nina, if there is dosa or lobha and I am
      mindful of it as anatta, the citta will then be kusala.

      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > Phil:
      >
      > I'm also interested in the way the first thought that pops into our
      > head as we wake in the morning can condition many thoughts during the
      > rest of the day.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > Htoo:
      >
      > Interesting. But it is not the only condition for the whole day. If
      > this is so, you have surrendered the mastery through out the day.
      > Should this happen? No. I would not allow such matter.

      Ph: I'm still interested in this. The way the thought stands out so clearly,
      sometimes, when we wake.
      But Htoo, how can you demand mastery when each lifetime is conditioned
      in an irreversible way by the patisandhi citta (spelling?) There is only so
      much we should expect to control. Yes, there is always the opportunity
      to have right understanding of realities, thus liberating us from creating
      fresh akusala kamma, but I think "surrendering the mastery" is part and
      parcel
      of the renunciation that is one of the Paramis. Of course it is all very
      subtle. We see that in the "crossing the flood" sutta. We don't press ahead
      too hard, but we don't stand still either.

      Thank you, Htoo. I teased you in a friendly way about "master of the day"
      but truly it is good to read stirring encouragement like that. I talk of
      having no
      control over things, but there *is* control arising, of course, thanks
      to wisdom we gain from the Buddha's teaching, and examination of our
      experience, and Dhamma discussion with good Dhamma friends.
      But it is control that we should be very wary of thinking we can
      exercise at will just because a friend tells us we can. It has to arise,
      or not arise, in a conditioned way, I think. Otherwise it can turn into
      a self-preservation exercise, especially for beginners like me.

      Metta,
      Phil
    • htootintnaing
      Dear Phil, More discussion here. With Metta, Htoo Naing PS: I know master of the day should be a tile for ?? :-) ... Phil: Hello Htoo and all Thank you for
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 24, 2004
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        Dear Phil,

        More discussion here.

        With Metta,

        Htoo Naing

        PS: I know 'master of the day' should be a tile for ?? :-)
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        Hello Htoo and all

        Thank you for your feedback, Htoo.

        Ph: But cannot concepts also act as conditioning factors?
        I quote from Nina's "Conditions": "Not only realities but also
        concepts can be a natural decisive support-condition for phenomena.
        (snip)

        The concept of a person can then be a natural decisive support-
        condition for attachment or loving-kindness. (snip) We need to think
        of concepts in order to take care of ourselves or in order to
        understand the Dhmma, and thus, time and again in our daily life
        concepts condition different types of citta by way of natural
        decisive support-conditioning." (end quote)
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        I agree Nina and your quote here. Patthana is complicated and complex
        dhamma. I have started writing on 'Patthana Dhamma' and it is still
        at 'arammana paccaya'. You can view it at
        http://www.geocities.com/htootintnaing/patthana1.html

        Citta, cetasika, rupa, nibbana, pannatti and their interconnection
        can be studied in patthana. Upanissaya paccaya is a condition that
        deals with many dhammas.

        But I would suggest you not to be led by your dreams.

        Dreams are your thought and you just felt during dreaming. In
        manodvara vithi there is no pancavinnana cittas. Manovinnana vithi
        starts with manodvaravajjana citta which is a kiriya citta. And if
        the dream is very clear then there are tadarammana cittas which are
        all vipaka cittas.

        If the dreams are not very clear then there may not be vipaka cittas
        and you may not remember them at all.

        It is vipakas which link javana cittas who create new and new kamma.

        Example in pancadvara vithi cittas

        pancadvaravajjana citta just arises because of conditions. This is
        followed by different vipaka cittas until arising of manodvaravajjana
        citta who is a kiriya citta determining what cittas should follow.

        So in pancadvara vithi there are 2 gates who screen the messages. The
        first is pancadvaravajjana citta and the 2nd is manodvaravajjana
        citta. Between these 2 gates are all vipaka cittas. They are
        pancavinnana citta, sampaticchana citta, santirana citta.

        After manodvaravajjana citta who works as a votthapana citta there
        follow 7 javana cittas. All these are kamma-generating as long as
        these javanas are not of arahats.

        So there is a link between vipaka and javana.

        There is a long block of vipaka ( bhavanga cittas ) before
        pancadvaravajjana citta. After javanas if there are 2 tadarammana,
        they follow javana and then a long block of vipaka follow again.

        Main link is between 3 vipakas and 7 javana cittas. in the middle is
        a kiriya citta.

        All foregoing conditions incoming cittas.

        In case of manodvara vithi, there are only 3 dhammas. They are
        manodvaravajjana which is abyakata dhamma of kiriya, 7 javana cittas
        which may be akusala or kusala dhamma in case of dreams. And if the
        dreams are clear 2 vipakas follow.

        The clarity is because of tadarammana and they are vipaka. Pannatti
        does not arise and does not falls away. But it does condition dhamma
        that follow it with upanissaya paccaya.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        If a powerfully vivid concept arises in a dream, I would think it
        could condition cittas in the same way as if it were a concept
        fabricated in waking life.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        Vividness is because of arising of vipaka cittas ( tadarammana
        cittas ). But I would suggest you not let the dreams lead you.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        It would seem to me that this can be confirmed by experience. I mean,
        if I have a horrible dream, and feel aversion the next day, that dosa
        was conditioned by the dream, surely.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        I dream less and less. I do not know why. I think because I am almost
        always thinking dhamma. Whenever I dream, I just view them as they
        are and then I am at my present. I do not let them lead my day.
        Because I am the 'master of the day' :-).
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        I must say this puzzles me a bit, Htoo. There are conditions at work.
        There is the potential for right understanding in me that may
        gradually eradicate defilements, but the "power is in you" sounds
        like something I can grab hold on to at will, and I don't think
        that's right. It could be a matter of wording.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        Well! It might be. I know there is no control. When Sukin controls
        his car steering wheel and when Sarah controls her arms, hands,
        thighs, calves and feet, there is no one actually controlling.
        Because there is no Sukin, no Sarah, no car, no steering wheel, no
        arm, no hand, no thigh, no calf, and no foot at all.

        So does 'you' here. So, you may assume it as 'wording'.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        The power is the potential to have right understanding of the dosa
        that arises because of the dream, to understand that the dosa is
        conditioned, and not-self, to see that and be detached from
        it.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        Exactly.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        But the condition is still there at work, surely. I mean, if I feel
        aversion because of the dream, what else could it be except a
        condition at work?
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        This will depend on your practice of dhamma.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Phil:

        Again, I'm just beginning to learn about conditons.

        > Htoo > Here, there is no you but the power is inside of you. You
        are the
        > > master of your kamma even though there have never been you there.
        So
        > > the dream should not at any moment lead you the whole day.

        Phil: Should not, ideally, if I have the right understanding to see
        the dosa for what it is. But that right understanding is not-self,
        not within my immediate control.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo: Exactly right.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        > Htoo> It has been far away to condition thinking as the dream has
        passed
        > > away when you wake up. But what conditions your thinking is that
        your
        > > thinking itself. This again is directed by yourself. Actually you
        are
        > > the master of the day and the master is not the dream.

        Phil: Htoo! "Master of the day?!?" That sounds like a action movie
        title,not anatta! Have you been taking Dhamma steroids! (joke)
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        I used to give many titles to different writings. 'Tracing the mind
        track' is another action movies coming soon. Intro have been started.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Htoo:

        > This is cognition of vedana which is a reality. If this is done
        > properly, this is kusala citta and this will finally lead you to
        > enlightenment.

        Ph: Ah yes, as I learned from Nina, if there is dosa or lobha and I am
        mindful of it as anatta, the citta will then be kusala.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        Isn't that a good point?.
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Htoo:

        > Interesting. But it is not the only condition for the whole day. If
        > this is so, you have surrendered the mastery through out the day.
        > Should this happen? No. I would not allow such matter.

        Ph: I'm still interested in this. The way the thought stands out so
        clearly, sometimes, when we wake.

        But Htoo, how can you demand mastery when each lifetime is conditioned
        in an irreversible way by the patisandhi citta (spelling?) There is
        only so much we should expect to control. Yes, there is always the
        opportunity to have right understanding of realities, thus liberating
        us from creating fresh akusala kamma, but I think "surrendering the
        mastery" is part and parcel of the renunciation that is one of the
        Paramis.

        Of course it is all very subtle. We see that in the "crossing the
        flood" sutta. We don't press ahead too hard, but we don't stand still
        either.

        Thank you, Htoo. I teased you in a friendly way about "master of the
        day" but truly it is good to read stirring encouragement like that. I
        talk of having no control over things, but there *is* control
        arising, of course, thanks to wisdom we gain from the Buddha's
        teaching, and examination of our experience, and Dhamma discussion
        with good Dhamma friends.

        But it is control that we should be very wary of thinking we can
        exercise at will just because a friend tells us we can. It has to
        arise,or not arise, in a conditioned way, I think. Otherwise it can
        turn into a self-preservation exercise, especially for beginners like
        me.

        Metta,
        Phil
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Htoo:

        Dear Phil, there does exist control. I do not mean Atta. That control
        is conventional one.

        If there is no control, how can siila be practised? Control does
        exist.

        The Buddha encouraged to control strayed thought not to arise. The
        Buddha encourage people to control wanting to kill someone, to
        control wanting to steal things, to control wanting to have sex with
        other people's wives, to control wanting to self intoxication with
        alcohol or addictives.

        This is conventional control.

        As I said above, Sukin is controlling his car's steering wheel, Sarah
        is controlling her limbs while she is swimming.

        But all are anatta and there is in essence no control at all.

        With Unlimited Metta,

        Htoo Naing
      • plnao
        Hello Htoo Thank you for your long post. I really sense that you have a lot of enthusiasm about helping people to understand Dhamma. As for dreams - don t
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 26, 2004
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          Hello Htoo

          Thank you for your long post. I really sense that you have a lot of
          enthusiasm about helping
          people to understand Dhamma.

          As for dreams - don't worry, I don't let them control me. Actually, like
          you, I rarely dream
          anymore. Or should I say I rarely remember my dreams. I've wondered about
          why. I think it could
          be that even basic right understanding of the truth revealed through the
          Buddha's teaching has lessened
          some of the strife at work in my mind. I don't know. In any case, I am more
          interested about how
          one concept can condition the arising of many factors, whether it's a
          concept in a dream or waking.

          I think metta meditation the way it is usually practiced is a method of
          generating a concept in the hope
          of conditioning wholesomeness. I know my opinion goes against the grain of
          the way most Buddhist
          practice metta, but I do not believe it is good practice to intentionally
          think of metta, because metta should
          arise, or not arise, due to conditions. I've stopped thinking about metta
          when I have my contemplation of the
          Noble Truths in the morning, but I am aware of metta when it arises in my
          busy day, as I'm aware when
          irritation or joy or restlessness or any other mental factors arise beyond
          my control.



          Htoo>>> there does exist control. I do not mean Atta. That control
          is conventional one. If there is no control, how can siila be practised?
          Control does
          exist. The Buddha encouraged to control strayed thought not to arise. The
          Buddha encourage people to control wanting to kill someone, to
          control wanting to steal things, to control wanting to have sex with
          other people's wives, to control wanting to self intoxication with
          alcohol or addictives.

          This is conventional control.

          Phil>>> "The Buddha encouraged people to control wanting to kill someone"
          etc.
          When I read the suttas in which the Buddha encourages people to tame the
          mind,
          such as in the Dhammapada when we read about mind flipping and flopping
          around
          like a fish, I wonder if there are not many people who might be led astray
          by such teaching,
          or should I say such translation. How on earth can we control the mind that
          is flipping and
          flopping. Isn't it better to watch it, and see where it goes, and know that
          the wholesomeness
          of moments in which we know these mental formations as anatta, annica and
          dukkha will
          condition less akusala and more akusala. Isn't that enough? Why do we need
          to wrest control
          of the mind now. If we try to control the mind we are setting ourselves up
          for great dissatisfaction
          when we learn that we *can't* control the mind. It's like when we try to
          control our physical health
          by eating well and exercising, and come to count on physical health, and
          then have to go through
          great dissatisfaction when we are reminded that there is no way around
          sickness, old age, and
          death. Of course eating well and exercising is good, but not if we do so in
          the expectation that we
          will always be healthy. Studying the workings of the mind is good, and
          trying to patiently cultivate
          ,mental wholesomeness, but not in the expectation that we will ever be able
          to prevent unwholesome
          factors from arising beyond our control.

          We can decrease the likelihood of transgressions, but I don't think we can
          say that they will never happen because
          of mental will power.

          You know, Htoo, I am the kind of person who has always written a long list
          of New Year's resolutions every year. In fact, in recent years, this process
          has taken up
          about a week, re-reading my journal for the year, examining the experience
          recorded there,
          and then drawing up a list of resolutions about how to be a better, more
          peaceful and productive
          person. Of course, these resolutions have always failed, because there has
          always been a
          complete lack of right understanding of the way things work. There has
          always been self
          at the center of the enterprise, trying to build an ideal character in which
          to hold reign.

          Now, since coming across Abhidhamma through Nina's books, there are no
          more resolutions. There
          is simply examination - at a very crude level - of what is rising and
          falling away in moments. And a lot
          of repeated reading and reflection and discussion. I *do* sense that I am
          far less prone to commit
          transgressions than I ever have been before, even though I am no longer
          making resolutions. But I somehow
          can't call it control. Panna controls what is going on, in some way, yes. I
          can sense that. Howard
          questions the idea of "panna" being some kind of autonomous force or
          energy, like a
          god figure. (Sorry if I've incorrectly paraphrased you there, Howard.) As
          always, I see why he doth
          protest. Who am I, as a mere beginner in Dhamma, to talk about "panna" doing
          anything in my life.
          And yet, and yet....

          So, for me, the conventional control, the will power, the reading about a
          precept and vowing to follow
          it has never worked. Now I sense the control is far subtler than that, but
          more deeply effective. It makes
          me feel very grateful to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.

          I'm not writing anything here that anyone hasn't read a thousand times
          before, of course.

          Thank you again, Htoo.
          Now I'm going to go and collect your Dhamma threads to study them and ask
          questions.

          Metta,
          Phil
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