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[dsg] Re: Vism XX, 'Knowledge of What is/is not the Path'

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  • Dan D.
    Hi Ken (cc: Larry, et al.), Someone was kind enough to point this post out to me and hoped I d respond. Fair enough. Discussion of what nama is... Let s
    Message 1 of 165 , Apr 1, 2008
      Hi Ken (cc: Larry, et al.),
      Someone was kind enough to point this post out to me and hoped I'd
      respond. Fair enough. Discussion of what 'nama' is... Let's see...we
      were discussing this very issue just a few years ago. Memories get
      fuzzy over the years, and it looks like a good time to refresh them,
      set straight any misunderstandings, and set aright any

      First: you write, "They [including Dan] will accept that nama is the
      experience (or he experiencing) of an object, but they will not
      accept that nama 'experiences' an object." Ken, you cut me to the
      quick! This is miles from what I said, meant, or believe. I do
      remember discussing three common ways of conceptualizing citta
      (#54662), viz. as agent ("that which cognizes an object [arammanam
      cinteti ti cittam]"), as instrument ("that by means of which the
      accompanying mental factors cognize the object [etena cintenti ti
      cittam]"), and as an activity "citta is itself nothing other than the
      process of cognizing the object [cintanamattam cittam]". Commenting
      on the three ways of thinking about citta, what I really wrote (and
      meant at the time) is: "None of the three
      models/formulations/definitions are perfect, but each highlights a
      different aspect. It is good to consider citta in each of the three
      ways" --a far cry from refusal to accept the nama-experiences-an-
      object model.

      I wrote several posts discussing the "activity" model because it
      seemed like it was being dismissed by some people. If one of the
      other models had been discounted by someone, I would surely have
      chimed in in defense of that model instead. However, our tendency to
      imagine a "core of self" within dhammas is so strong that I think
      the "citta is the experiencing" is often the best one to practice.
      Bhikkhu Bodhi apparently agrees (CMA I:3): "The third definition, in
      terms of sheer activity, is regarded as the most adequate of the
      three: that is, citta is fundamentally an activity or process of
      cognizing or knowing an object. It is not an agent or instrument
      possessing actual being in itself apart from the activity of
      cognizing. The definitions in terms of agent and instrument are
      proposed to refute the wrong view of those who hold that a permanent
      self or ego is the agent and instrument of cognition. ...This citta
      is nothing other than the act of cognizing, and that act is
      necessarily impermanent, marked by rise and fall."

      That is what I discussed and why I discussed it in the way that I
      did. After misconstruing what I wrote, you went on to some magical
      mind-reading and imagined a [false] motive for me to say what I
      didn't say.

      Second: "In real life, these are people who (IMHO) want to leave the
      door open just a little. Dan wanted to leave the door open to the
      possibility that other teachers and gods had found Nibbana (albeit by
      another name)..." Ken, I was very clear in stating that I did not
      (and do not) think there are other teachers or gods who have found
      Nibbana. I want to leave that door firmly closed. I do think that
      there is much wisdom to be found outside the dispensation but none
      reaches even close to the depth required for perception of nibbana.
      However, I do think that some practitioners in other traditions
      develop deeper insight and understanding of Dhamma than many who
      study and discuss cittas and rupas and anatta for years and years and
      sit in a corner with eyes closed and legs crossed for decades
      (#46842). They attain that wisdom without having heard a whisper of
      Buddha's teachings. Granted, their models of reality cannot take them
      all the way to Nibbana, but that does not mean they have nothing to
      offer. You don't need a PhD in mathematics to teach multiplication to
      a third grader.

      Third: Those teachers "taught different paths to [Nibbana]." This is
      complete misconstruing of what I have discussed at length. There is
      only one path to Nibbana, and it is a four-fold Noble one. Only the
      Buddha saw that path clearly enough to follow it all the way to
      Nibbana, and only his teachings describe it clearly enough to guide
      disciples all the way to Nibbana. But the Path is a reality, and not
      just words. We must take great care to distinguish clearly between
      the path itself and the words we use to describe the path. Outside
      the dispensation, people get fuzzy glimpses of the reality of the
      path, and then they describe what they see. The words are quite
      different from those that the Buddha used but they do describe a real
      vision of the real path. The vision is blurred, the description
      insufficient, and the guidance is limited, but a brief and fuzzy but
      true glimpse of reality is more valuable than memorizing the whole
      sutta pitaka with no understanding.

    • Nina van Gorkom
      Dear Ken and Larry, ... N: It is beneficial to know details about the many kinds of cittas, otherwise we think of one citta and take it for mine. Citta
      Message 165 of 165 , Sep 10, 2008
        Dear Ken and Larry,
        Op 9-sep-2008, om 2:38 heeft kenhowardau het volgende geschreven:

        > "The material" is categorised in four ways - (a) kamma-born, (b)
        > consciousness-born, (c) nutriment-born, and (d) temperature born. As I
        > said, we are up to (b), and we are considering the meaning of
        > "consciousness" in this regard. There are 89 types of consciousness.
        > Over to you Larry - or anyone else who has some thoughts or questions
        > to add. (Let's not make Nina and Sarah do all the work.)
        N: It is beneficial to know details about the many kinds of cittas,
        otherwise we think of one citta and take it for mine.
        Citta originates rupas, and an example is postures and speech
        intimation and bodily intimation (gestures). We learn that rupa
        originated by citta arises at the same time as citta. This cures us
        from the idea that citta 'orders' the arising of rupas. When walking,
        assuming postures, it is hard to get rid of the idea of I am walking,
        I am going to sit crosslegged. At the moment of its arising citta
        conditions the rupas we call walking or sitting. It originates them
        already, before we can think, I am going to do this or that.
        If we forget this, we merely read about anatta and repeat the word
        anatta, instead of beginning to understand its meaning. At the moment
        of enlightenment of the first stage, the wrong view of self is
        eradicated, but this cannot be achieved if there is no beginning of
        eliminating just a little of wrong view, day by day.
        Some people find details superfluous, even confusing. But we today do
        need many, many details.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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