Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Bhikkhu Bodhi) – Grave Error on p. 164

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    • #13398
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I am opening this new topic based on a comment by Tobias G. on the topic:
      Could bodily pain be due causes other than kamma vipaka?
      on Dec.27, 2017.

      You may want to read that link to get an idea of how this discussion started. But I am pasting that comment below:

      “Hello Lal,
      I have checked your references mentioned in the forum: Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Bhikkhu Bodhi), page 52 and page 116. (Unfortunately the PDF is locked, so I cannot extract text. As I cannot manually type all these texts I thought to send it by email to you. Maybe you just comment them or you copy the text from your book (if unlocked).)

      The difference between bodily vedana and the rest is clear. But the cause for such vedana is not clear (kamma vipaka or more causes).

      I have scanned through the reference and found some places with hints:
      Page 191 describes the independent mind door process with more causes than just kamma (according to L.Sayadaw).
      Page 199 mentions only kamma, which “governs” the type of object experienced.
      Page 266 mentions kamma as “proximate cause” of eye-consciousness etc., made at the moment of conception of the body or jathi (also at patisandhi or rebirth-linking). In the summary at the end it is said, that material phenomena are caused by the four great essentials or maha bhuta (proximate cause again).

      I think it can be said that the rebirth-linking between bhavas is controlled by kamma.
      The bodily experience (also vedana) during a life time is something different. The texts on page 191 and 199 are opposed. The four great elements succumb to utu niyama. So it could be that some accidents, e.g. getting hit by a fallen stone, are due to other causes than kamma. Matter has four causes: kamma, citta, utu, ahara. Matter (rupa) is subject to other laws of nature, which generate circumstances that are not direct causes of kamma (wind, temperature, climate change …).”
      That is his comment. In an email Tobias sent me the link to get the pdf of the book:”Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Bhikkhu Bodhi)“.
      By the way, I see those quotes on pp. 164,172, and 239 (instead of pp. 191, 199, and 266 as he mentioned) in both the pdf and book that I had bought from Amazon.

      First of all, this book that Bhikkhu Bodhi has translated is a commentary to the Abhidhamma Pitaka in the Tipitaka, that was written by Acariya Anuruddha. The following is what had said about this book:
      “The other major work that influenced Thēravada teachings to date was Abhidhammattha Sangaha by Acariya Anuruddha, who was there around the same time as Acariya Buddhaghōsa. However, since not many people are knowledgeable in Abhidhamma, it has not impacted Thēravada to the same extent as Visuddhimagga”
      This is from the post “Incorrect Thēravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline”.

      The more I read this book, more problems I see, just like with the Visuddhimagga. These people who wrote these commentaries (Buddhaghosa and Anuruddha) have done significant damage (of course inadvertently).

      Most of the standard listings (like types of citta, types of rupa, etc) are correct. Problems arise when it comes to finer points like what we are discussing now (and also with incorrect interpretations of anicca, anatta, vinnana, and other key Pali words).

      Let me first lay out the background: We receive sense inputs from our five physical senses (which are analyzed by the mind in a citta vithi with 17 citta); this process is described on p.163 of the book under (1) towards the bottom of the page. Then on p. 164, a discussion is presented for the exclusive mind-door process (where none of the five physical senses are involved; this is what I discussed as “mananca paticca dhammeca uppaddati mano vinnanam” in several posts).

      Here is the quote from p. 164 (which Tobias G. referred to as p.191) about that mind-door process:
      “(2) An independent mind door process occurs when any of the six objects enters the range of cognition entirely on its own, not as a consequence of an immediately preceding sense-door process. The question may be raised how an object can enter the range of the mind door independently of a proximate sensory impingement. Ledi Sayadaw cites various sources: through what was directly perceived earlier, or by inference from what was learned by oral report; on account of belief, opinion, reasoning, or reflective acceptance of a view; by the power of kamma, psychic power, disturbance of the bodily humours, the influence of a deity, comprehension, realisation etc. He explains that if one has clearly experienced an object even once, at a later time – even after a hundred years or in a future life – dependent on that object a condition may be set for the vibration of the bhavanga. The mind that has been nurtured on such an input of prior experiences is extremely susceptible to their influence. When it encounters any sense subject, that object may trigger off in a single moment mental waves extending to many thousands of objects previously perceived..”

      The sentence in bold, “The question may be raised how an object can enter the range of the mind door independently of a proximate sensory impingement” is deeply troubling. This means that all three people involved (Acariya Anuruddha, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Ledi Sayadaw) had not understood how the mind-door gets sense inputs when no physical sense door is involved. By “priximate sensory impingement” they mean the five physical senses. So, they are not aware of how “dhamma” make contact with the mana indriya. This is explained in:
      What are rūpa? – Dhammā are rūpa too!

      This is a critical point. It is not my intent to put down anyone; we need to correct mistakes when we see them. So, let me make it crystal clear what we are talking about. We hear a sound when it comes through the ear-door. When we see something that sense input comes through the eye-door. In both cases, once the signal is received through the corresponding physical sense door, the mind analyzes it in a citta vithi with 17 citta. This is what is called a pancadvaravajjana citta vithi.

      In addition, we receive sense inputs exclusively through the mind-door. They come through the mana indriya in the brain (not known to modern science). For example, when a thought about an old friend comes to the mind, that obviously does not come through any physical sense door. Such thoughts come through the mana indriya and are analyzed in monaodvara citta vithi.
      Both types of citta vithi are discussed in:
      Citta Vithi – Processing of Sense Inputs“.
      How “dhamma” comes through the mana indriya (just like sounds come in through the sota indriya (ears) is discussed at:
      What are rūpa? – Dhammā are rūpa too!” and
      Brain – Interface between Mind and Body

      So, in the above quoted paragraph of the book, an incoherent discussion is presented to explain (by guessing) how this mind-door process takes place. There is no mention of a mana indriya. That is what is missing in the discussion and that is why the speculations about how those “signals” or “dhamma” come to the mind.

      It must be noted that one needs a background in Abhidhamma to fully understand what I am saying. So, please read the above background carefully (together with the relevant posts mentioned) and let me know what you think.

      I invite anyone interested to comment, so that no one is left behind as we continue this important discussion.

      Let me first know if anyone interested does not understand the problem that I just pointed out. We cannot proceed without understanding that there is a problem with the above paragraph from the book by Bhikkhu Bodhi. I hope Bhikkhu Bhodhi himself will be alerted and will be willing to take part in the discussion. Again, I respect his enormous effort and accomplishments, but this is a critical issue that needs to resolved for the benefit of all.

    • #13406
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Hi Lal,

      “In addition, we receive sense inputs exclusively through the mind-door. They come through the mana indriya in the brain (not known to modern science).”

      The dhamma that we perceived in our mind are actually kamma beeja stored in the Mano Loka that has ripen, having its energy unleashed in the form of random thoughts (vipaka) that impinged on our mana indriya, right?

      • #13411
        Lal
        Keymaster

        Yes, Johnny.
        But in addition, our memories (nama gotta) are also recalled with this mechanism (via mana indriya). The ability to recall memories from past lives comes with abhinna powers. Of course, some children (usually under 10 years or so) have the ability to recall the previous life. Then that ability goes away when the mind gets cluttered with worldly desires.

        • #13412
          Tobias G
          Participant

          Hello Lal,
          I just see that I have used the page numbers of the PDF, not the numbering in the book. Sorry for that.

          I agree with your statement, that the author seems not know the 6th input to the mind.

          You wrote: “…we receive sense inputs exclusively through the mind-door. They come through the mana indriya in the brain (not known to modern science). …”

          Here I have my problem with the mana indriya. The mana indriya is part of the body or located inside the body. Why is it needed to sense kamma (beeja)? As I understand kamma beeja are stored in the mano loka of each being. Why is kamma beeja not directly sensed by the mind or hadaya vatthu?

          The same question applies to the mechanism of recalling memories from nama gotta. A brahma in arupa loka has only the hadaya vatthu, no mana indriya, right? If so, how can a brahma sense nama gotta or kamma beeja?

    • #13414
      Lal
      Keymaster

      First of all, it seems if one hits the reply button, one can directly respond to a comment by that specific person (i.e., one’s comment will appear below that comment or that thread). The the reader need to scan to find the new comment (especially if there are newer threads at the bottom).

      If one just keep typing in the default window, then the comment will appear at the very end of the discussion, as a new thread. Anyone will be able to see that as the latest comment, but then needs to refer to the comment that he/she is responding to.
      I am going to try the second option here.
      It seems that it would have been better if Tobias typed his response not as a reply to Johnny’s, but to mine (or just typed in the default window to start a new thread and referred to part of my comment so that a reader can trace it). It could take us some time to sort out the best way. One needs to decide which way is better.

      Tobias G. said, “Here I have my problem with the mana indriya. The mana indriya is part of the body or located inside the body. Why is it needed to sense kamma (beeja)? As I understand kamma beeja are stored in the mano loka of each being. Why is kamma beeja not directly sensed by the mind or hadaya vatthu?
      The same question applies to the mechanism of recalling memories from nama gotta. A brahma in arupa loka has only the hadaya vatthu, no mana indriya, right? If so, how can a brahma sense nama gotta or kamma beeja?”

      My response: Bodies of living beings in different realms are formed by the corresponding kammic energies to be able to impart various types of kamma vipaka suitable for those realms.

      Since beings in kama loka are born there because of their cravings for pleasures through the five senses, their bodies are formed to be able to enjoy such pleasures, but then also subject to suffering through them. For example, one cannot enjoy sex without body touch (kaya indriya), and one cannot enjoy food without taste (jivha indriya), etc.

      But each of those indriya can “go bad” either with age or as results of previous strong kamma (like getting cancer in the body or in the tongue, etc). That is one mechanism of delivering kamma vipaka to beings in the kama loka.

      Rupavacara Brahmas are born there because they had lost their cravings (at least temporarily) for olarika (rough) sense pleasures. So, they do not need to sense body touch, smell, or taste and those indriya are missing; furthermore, they can receive rupa and sadda without physical senses.

      Arupavacara brahmas have lost cravings (at least temporarily) for even those rupa and sadda. That is why they just have the hadaya vatthu.

      These are discussed to some extent at:
      Body Types in 31 Realms – Importance of Manomaya Kaya
      Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body

    • #13416
      Tobias G
      Participant

      Yes, the above is understood.

      But kamma beeja are stored in the mano loka of each being. The mind is connected with the mano loka. Why is dhamma (e.g. kamma beeja) not directly sensed by the mind or hadaya vatthu?

      How can an arupa brahma sense dhamma without mana indriya?

      • #13417
        Lal
        Keymaster

        “But kamma beeja are stored in the mano loka of each being. The mind is connected with the mano loka. Why is dhamma (e.g. kamma beeja) not directly sensed by the mind or hadaya vatthu?”

        For the same reason that sound is detected through the ears. Mana indriya in the brain can suffer damage (or degrade as one gets old) and one can have memory problems. Alzeimers is possibly due to mana indriya being degraded. This is why the physical body is called “vipaka kaya”. It is capable of imparting kamma vipaka in so many ways.

        “How can an arupa brahma sense dhamma without mana indriya?”
        It is likely that even rupavacara brahmas do not have a mane indriya and the hadaya vatthu can directly detect signals (dhamma) from the mano loka. In fact, for human gandhabbas it is the same: They don’t have eyes but can see, don’t have ears but can hear. They just cannot touch and taste. Regarding smell, though, it seems that gandhabbas can inhale aroma. I am not sure what that mechanism is. We will never be able to figure out all the finer details, unless somewhere in the Tipitaka.

    • #13658
      vilaskadival
      Participant

      I feel that apart from Kamma and Kamma vipaka, the body pain or pleasure (dukkha vedana and sukha vedana) are conditioned by niyama as under:

      Chitta Niyama
      Kamma Niyama
      Dhamma Niyama
      Bija Niyama
      Utu Niyama

      Eventhough the pains or pleasure encountered seemed to be arising out of Kamma done in the past moment or coming from earlier lives, the other niyama’s certainly have role to play.

      From my own personal experience, seem to see all these 5 different niyamas dictating bodily experiences that one undergo moment after moment.

      The only thing which is in control of a person as gati is to either react or not to react thus not adding mental inputs which Lal has excellently explained.

      As an example, I had a muscle cramp / catch at the knee which had not surfaced for 27 years. Had an accident 27 years ago and this got automatically manifested on 24th December out of nowhere.

      From the outset, it seems like past Kamma vipaka which did not have an opportunity to express and my cross legged sitting and a sharp movement of getting up created that vipaka to show its occurrence.

      However, upon careful examination I felt that this was not only Kamma vipaka but also due to Dhamma and Utu Niyama which triggered the Vipaka to manifest as physical pain.

      After 25th Dec to 7th Jan, did not have any pain at all and it came back as a pain due to again sitting in the same position and getting up carelessly which is Kamma Vipaka.

      Thus, I feel it is combination of Niyama which causes the body pain / suffering or pleasure and not just Kamma Vipaka.

      Would be glad to hear your views.

    • #13663
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Vilaskadival said: “I feel that apart from Kamma and Kamma vipaka, the body pain or pleasure (dukkha vedana and sukha vedana) are conditioned by niyama as under…..”.

      I know this a well-established concept. However, the problem lies at the incorrect explanations of the five niyama. I have briefly discussed this under #2 in the post,”What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?“.

      Basically, all other four niyama (or principles or unchanging universal laws) help enforce the kamma niyama.

      Kamma (what is done with the mind), while not deterministic (otherwise Nibbana will be impossible to attain), is a pre-requisite for anything to happen. For example, dhamma niyama is basically, Tilakkhana, Paticca Samuppada, etc. Citta niyama deals with fundamentals of how citta vithi operate (17 cittas in a pancadvara vithi, sobhana and asobhana cetasika, etc). Bija niyama is how kamma bija bring results under suitable conditions (which involves dhamma niyama with Pattana Dhamma). Utu niayama deals with the viparinama nature of a sankata. These are all inter-related.

      I am looking for relevant suttas, but found only this one on dhamma niyama: “Uppādā Sutta (AN 3.136)” so far. It starts with “Uppādā vā, bhikkhave, tathāgatānaṃ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā. Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā..”.
      Translated: “Bhikkhus, whether there is a Tathagata (Buddha) is present in this world or not, all sankhara always have anicca nature (that is a dhamma niyama)…”.

      It is always: “Mano pubbangma dhamma…”. Nothing happens without mind being a precursor. Kamma or sankhara are what we do with our minds. Also see the recent post: “Does Bodily Pain Arise Only Due to Kamma Vipāka?“.

    • #20475
      Yeos
      Participant

      Hi

      @Lal “For example, when a thought about an old friend comes to the mind, that obviously does not come through any physical sense door.”

      it can also happen that when walking in the street and looking at a specific place where i was once with him/her, at the very moment that i look at that place I’ll think about him/her – then such thought would be triggered by the sense of sight plus the respective aggregates ?

    • #20476
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “it can also happen that when walking in the street and looking at a specific place where i was once with him/her, at the very moment that i look at that place I’ll think about him/her – then such thought would be triggered by the sense of sight plus the respective aggregates ?”

      Yes. In this particular case, the initial “trigger” is seeing that specific place.

      But there are times when thoughts come directly to the mind, without the involvement of the five physical senses.

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