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Re: Phil: intelligent act of dana

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  • Sukinderpal Singh Narula
    Hello DN, Thanks for Mahasi Sayadaw s lecture. I agree with the Sayadaw regarding the superiority in some cases, of conventional expressions of dhamma. Though
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 1, 2004
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      Hello DN,

      Thanks for Mahasi Sayadaw's lecture.

      I agree with the Sayadaw regarding the superiority in some cases, of
      conventional expressions of dhamma. Though even in these cases, I
      would think that sometimes it depends on the listener, how much
      understanding he or she has about ultimate realities. It does seem
      however, that the Sayadaw acknowledges that ultimately whatever is
      said, paramattha dhamma are being referred to, no? But in any case,
      is this even an issue? Does anyone here deny the usefulness and
      application of the Teachings in conventional terms?

      I think the Sayadaw is addressing more the misapplication of the
      knowledge of Abhidhamma. And this may be a problem he faced directly
      in real life experience, perhaps in Myanmar? Or it may be rooted to
      some degree in his `doing' or `proactive' approach to dhamma? From
      my perspective the question of choice between stating in paramattha
      terms vs. conventional designation, should not even arise. Why does
      one have to `choose' between one way of saying things from the
      other. Is it a reflection of panna which stops to consider the
      better way of stating facts?

      Abhidhamma is about understanding the moment, not about *using* any
      knowledge and projecting that onto experiences. This is the world of
      a difference between seeing the Teachings as prescriptive on one
      hand and descriptive on another. The same difference between `doing'
      and `understanding', control and no control. In the one there is
      what I believe genuine `practice' conditioned from time to time, but
      the other, though they "believe" in practice, little positive seem
      to happen as far as understanding the moment is concerned.

      Now to the point of the original post, namely, did the Buddha in
      some particular case, specifically in his teachings on Dana, prefer
      ordinary kusala over vipassana? Here too it seems that the Venerable
      is making an unnecessary distinction in his lecture. It is part of
      correct Abhidhamma understanding that a moment of dana, metta,
      karuna for example, the object of citta is a being or person. It is
      also correct understanding that Dana and metta are parami and that
      without the accumulation of these, panna cannot be developed to the
      full, and all along the path, these help and support each other. On
      the other hand it would be wrong understanding to even think about
      trying to change the object of citta from `beings' to `the
      characteristic of dhammas'. This is from a wrong idea of `self and
      control' and the result would be neither the kusala of Dana nor any
      kusala thinking, but distorted view. However for the Venerable to go
      on and say to the effect, that one should *avoid* satipatthana in
      order so that Dana can be most effective is I think equally wrong. I
      think it is in the Dhammapadda where the Buddha states that "a
      hundred years of metta if not as good one single moment of insight".
      I know that this may be referred to vipassana and not ordinary
      satipatthana. However it does point to the superiority and
      preferability of knowing dhammas, no? The Venerable would in my
      opinion not see this problem had he not separated the practice of
      satipatthana from daily life into formalized practice. As Ken O has
      said, that Dana has arisen already and that it is conditioned and if
      there is any rejoice later, this too would be conditioned. The
      important thing is that *all this can happen interspersed with
      satipatthana if the attitude is correct*.

      Sorry for the abrupt ending, need to go out somewhere.

      Metta,
      Sukin.


      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "dighanakha"
      <dighanakha@y...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello All.
      >
      > Here is a lengthier treatment of the same subject in Mahasi
      > Sayadaw's lectures on the Bhaara Sutta. Particularly worthy
      > of attention are his remarks at the end about the "semblance
      > of vipassanaa."
      >
      > http://www.mahasi.org.mm/pdf/E04pdf.PDF
      >
      > PA~N~NATTA AND PARAMATTHA
      >
      > There are two methods of instruction in Buddha's teachings,
      > namely, the paramattha desanaa and the pa~n~nattha desanaa,
      > the former being concerned with abstract knowledge while the
      > latter with ordinary or conventional knowledge appealing to
    • kenhowardau
      Hi James, Thanks for your message, and my apologies for the delay, I ve had a few busy days. ... J: I believe that you are suffering from a distorted view.
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 1, 2004
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        Hi James,

        Thanks for your message, and my apologies for the delay, I've had a
        few busy days.

        ----------------------
        J: > I believe that you are suffering from a distorted view. It is
        not true that there are "only dhammas" and that nothing else
        matters. >
        -----------------------

        That is not the view I was suffering from. I made no suggestion that
        people, politics, causes and ideas, didn't matter. In a moment when
        nama or rupa, is being wisely considered, there is no thought of
        something else. However, when consciousness does entertain a thought
        of something else (people or other concepts) it remains important
        that there is kindness rather than unkindness, detachment rather
        than attachment and wisdom rather than ignorance.

        -----------------------
        J: > I came across a relevant chapter in the Autobiography of Ajahn
        Tate that possibly points to the cause for such a view.
        Interestingly enough, it is meditation without the proper amount of
        wisdom
        ------------------------

        When you and A. Tate refer to 'meditation' are you referring
        exclusively to kusala consciousness? If so, I think you are wrong in
        seeing it as the cause of distorted view. It might be misinterpreted
        later in a distorted way, but that's another matter.

        ---------------------
        J: > (probably the birth chamber of the Abhidhamma as well?):
        ----------------------

        I think you are making a joke, but, sorry, I don't know what you
        mean.

        ------------
        J: > 20.1 A Distorted View Arises

        I exerted myself in meditation to the extreme limit of my ability,
        until a misguided and distorted view (Vipallaasa) arose:
        ------------

        As I suspected, A. Tate is talking about akusala meditation. Let
        that be a lesson to you! :-)

        ----------------------

        A.T: > 'There is no Lord Buddha, no Sangha. There is only the
        Dhamma. This is because the Lord Buddha or, in other words,
        the 'Prince Siddhatthakumaara' only became the Lord Buddha through
        knowing the Dhamma. Even the Lord Buddha himself was only ruupa-
        dhamma and naama-dhamma.[132] The Sangha is the same, for they all,
        whether enlightened noble disciples or unenlightened ordinary
        disciples, are sustained by Dhamma. Their physical form is but ruupa-
        dhamma and naama-dhamma'. >
        -----------------------

        Can you see anything wrong with that on an intellectual level? It
        sounds OK to me!

        --------------

        A.T: > This was my rock certain opinion. I was absolutely convinced
        it was true.

        --------------

        Hmm. Do you see the problem sneaking in? He saw it as "MY" rock
        certain opinion, not as "the Buddha's or the ariyans'" rock certain
        opinion. Who did he think he was kidding?

        -----------------
        A.T: > But <snip>
        Ven. Ajahn Sahn sent someone to invite me to come
        down to receive some offerings and gifts from the lay people. I was
        in two minds whether or not I should go. However, I then remembered
        the state of my lower robe. I had already been using it for three
        years and it might not last through the next Rains Retreat, so I
        decided to go. Accepting his invitation, I went to renew my robes so
        that my requisites would be complete and I could then return. On
        going down they offered me all the things I required and that
        distorted view seemed completely to disappear of itself."
        ---------------

        He had grasped the Dhamma in an unskilful way, which is like
        grasping a snake in an unskilful way. I'm glad he came to his senses
        before any serious harm was done.

        Kind regards,
        Ken H
      • rjkjp1
        Dear Sukin and Antony, You explain it well Sukin. The quote from@the sayadaw says Here, those who do not know Buddha s methodology in teaching the dhamma
        Message 3 of 16 , Nov 1, 2004
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          Dear Sukin and Antony,
          You explain it well Sukin.
          The quote from@the sayadaw says
          "Here, those who do not know Buddha's methodology in
          teaching the dhamma conceived that paramatta desanaa is
          better and therefore, send their good wishes not to the
          individual, but to the khandhas. It must be remembered that
          in practising Brahmacariya, not only the generic term, all
          beings or sabbe sattaa, is used but also the specific term,
          all men or sabbe purisaa, all women or sabbe itthiyo, etc.,
          is used. In sending love and kind regards to others one has
          to direct his mind or attention to recipients as
          individuals, and not to their mind and matter"
          This is certainly explained throughout the Abhidhamma. Metta takes
          as an object only a concpet of a being, not nama or rupa.
          I haven't heard of this idea of sending metta to the khandhas before
          but perhaps it occurs in Burma and the Sayadaw was pointing out the
          error.

          Then again of course, when giving or having a being as object of
          metta it does not mean that there should not also be understanding
          that teh object is a concept.
          The cariyapitaka attahkattha explains:
          http://abhidhamma.org/Paramis-%20perfections%20of%20insight.htm#,
          the bodhisattva-aspirant should reflect: Attachment to external
          objects is like the bathing of an elephant; therefore you should not
          be attached to anything. .. when I have undertaken to exert myself
          for the welfare of all the world, I should not arouse even the
          subtlest wrong thought over this wretched, ungrateful, impure body,
          which I have entrusted to the service of others. And besides, what
          distinction can be made between the internal material elements (of
          the body) and the external material elements (of the world)? They
          are both subject to inevitable breaking-up, dispersal, and
          dissolution. This is only confused prattle, the adherence to this
          body as `This is mine, this am I, this is my self.' I should have no
          more concern over my own hands, feet, eyes, and flesh than over
          external things.""
          Thus indeed understanding that there is only khandas arising and
          falling is a great support for giving and metta.

          Robertk



          In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Sukinderpal Singh Narula"
          <sukinder@k...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello DN,
          >
          > Thanks for Mahasi Sayadaw's lecture.
          >
          > I agree with the Sayadaw regarding the superiority in some cases,
          of
          > conventional expressions of dhamma. Though even in these cases, I
          > would think that sometimes it depends on the listener, how much
          > understanding he or she has about ultimate realities. It does seem
          > however, that the Sayadaw acknowledges that ultimately whatever is
          > said, paramattha dhamma are being referred to, no? But in any
          case,
          > is this even an issue? Does anyone here deny the usefulness and
          > application of the Teachings in conventional terms?
          >
          > I think the Sayadaw is addressing more the misapplication of the
          > knowledge of Abhidhamma. And this may be a problem he faced
          directly
          > in real life experience, perhaps in Myanmar? Or it may be rooted
          to
          > some degree in his `doing' or `proactive' approach to dhamma? From
          > my perspective the question of choice between stating in
          paramattha
          > terms vs. conventional designation, should not even arise. Why
          does
          > one have to `choose' between one way of saying things from the
          > other. Is it a reflection of panna which stops to consider the
          > better way of stating facts?
          >
          > Abhidhamma is about understanding the moment, not about *using*
          any
          > knowledge and projecting that onto experiences. This is the world
          of
          > a difference between seeing the Teachings as prescriptive on one
          > hand and descriptive on another. The same difference between
          `doing'
          > and `understanding', control and no control. In the one there is
          > what I believe genuine `practice' conditioned from time to time,
          but
          > the other, though they "believe" in practice, little positive seem
          > to happen as far as understanding the moment is concerned.
          >
          > Now to the point of the original post, namely, did the Buddha in
          > some particular case, specifically in his teachings on Dana,
          prefer
          > ordinary kusala over vipassana? Here too it seems that the
          Venerable
          > is making an unnecessary distinction in his lecture. It is part of
          > correct Abhidhamma understanding that a moment of dana, metta,
          > karuna for example, the object of citta is a being or person. It
          is
          > also correct understanding that Dana and metta are parami and that
          > without the accumulation of these, panna cannot be developed to
          the
          > full, and all along the path, these help and support each other.
          On
          > the other hand it would be wrong understanding to even think about
          > trying to change the object of citta from `beings' to `the
          > characteristic of dhammas'. This is from a wrong idea of `self and
          > control' and the result would be neither the kusala of Dana nor
          any
          > kusala thinking, but distorted view. However for the Venerable to
          go
          > on and say to the effect, that one should *avoid* satipatthana in
          > order so that Dana can be most effective is I think equally wrong.
          I
          > think it is in the Dhammapadda where the Buddha states that "a
          > hundred years of metta if not as good one single moment of
          insight".
          > I know that this may be referred to vipassana and not ordinary
          > satipatthana. However it does point to the superiority and
          > preferability of knowing dhammas, no? The Venerable would in my
          > opinion not see this problem had he not separated the practice of
          > satipatthana from daily life into formalized practice. As Ken O
          has
          > said, that Dana has arisen already and that it is conditioned and
          if
          > there is any rejoice later, this too would be conditioned. The
          > important thing is that *all this can happen interspersed with
          > satipatthana if the attitude is correct*.
          >
          > Sorry for the abrupt ending, need to go out somewhere.
          >
          > Metta,
          > Sukin.
          >
          >
          > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "dighanakha"
          > <dighanakha@y...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hello All.
          > >
          > > Here is a lengthier treatment of the same subject in Mahasi
          > > Sayadaw's lectures on the Bhaara Sutta. Particularly worthy
          > > of attention are his remarks at the end about the "semblance
          > > of vipassanaa."
          > >
          > > http://www.mahasi.org.mm/pdf/E04pdf.PDF
          > >
          > > PA~N~NATTA AND PARAMATTHA
          > >
          > > There are two methods of instruction in Buddha's teachings,
          > > namely, the paramattha desanaa and the pa~n~nattha desanaa,
          > > the former being concerned with abstract knowledge while the
          > > latter with ordinary or conventional knowledge appealing to
        • buddhatrue
          Friend Ken H., LOL! You missed the entire point of my post! You took it apart, examined little pieces, and then came to silly conclusions regarding those
          Message 4 of 16 , Nov 1, 2004
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            Friend Ken H.,

            LOL! You missed the entire point of my post! You took it apart,
            examined little pieces, and then came to silly conclusions regarding
            those pieces. Try looking at the whole post and don't automatically
            try to dissect it looking for ways to twist the meaning around. The
            point is that an `absolute reality' view of the world, while
            excluding conventional reality, is a distorted view.

            Ken H.: That is not the view I was suffering from. I made no
            suggestion that
            > people, politics, causes and ideas, didn't matter. In a moment
            when
            > nama or rupa, is being wisely considered, there is no thought of
            > something else. However, when consciousness does entertain a
            thought
            > of something else (people or other concepts) it remains important
            > that there is kindness rather than unkindness, detachment rather
            > than attachment and wisdom rather than ignorance.

            James: This is a very slippery, non-answer. I think I know what you
            are getting at but you seem to be hedging your bets.

            Ken H.: Hmm. Do you see the problem sneaking in? He saw it as "MY"
            rock certain opinion, not as "the Buddha's or the ariyans'" rock
            certain opinion. Who did he think he was kidding?

            James: LOL! That was not the problem! Geez! The problem was that
            he rejected conventional reality even though the Buddha usually
            taught in terms of conventional reality (BTW, the Buddha didn't
            teach the Abhidhamma…I suggest you repeat that to yourself every
            morning and night fifty times until you start to get it! ;-)

            Ken H.: He had grasped the Dhamma in an unskilful way, which is like
            grasping a snake in an unskilful way. I'm glad he came to his senses
            before any serious harm was done.

            James: Yes, I'm glad that he came to his sense also. Now, when are
            you going to?? Really, I only tell you this for your benefit. It
            pains me to see you trapped in this `Buddhist Twilight Zone' where
            you have put yourself.

            Metta, James
            ps. I predict that you are going to respond with another post
            twisting this one all around also. I won't respond to that one. I
            will let you have the last word.
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