Tagged: "self" or "no-self", atta
- This topic has 7 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 7 months ago by Lal.
September 30, 2019 at 12:48 am #24990Johnny_LimParticipant
Is one’s gati a form of Vipāka Vēdanā? It seems to me that gati is the interplay between avijjā and sankhāra, thereby playing the role of modulating our kammic actions to facilitate Samphassa jā Vēdanā.
Cross-referenced to the post “Annantara and Samanantara Paccaya”, under bullet point #5…
“Kamma vipaka can be thought of bringing fruit via “instant communication” when the conditions become right. All kammic potentials are in “instant contact” with us via a concept similar to that described in quantum entanglement: see, “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected”. Thus all potential kamma seeds are waiting in annantara and can bring about instant results when right conditions (samanantara) appear.”
So, it appears that our gati is also influenced by annantara and samanantara. Is it then correct to deduce that our gati is also Vipāka Vēdanā? Of course when we act with unmindfulness and avijjā and tanhā get the better of us, we would be paving way for Samphassa jā Vēdanā to arise in our mind.
September 30, 2019 at 6:26 am #24993
Gati are not a form of vipaka vedana. But certainly, gati can influence what kind of vipaka vedana can materialize (or prevented).
Gati are habits/character qualities.
Your reference to “Annantara and Samanantara Paccaya” post is exactly right.
– Past kamma are waiting for the right conditions to bring vipaka.
– By acting wisely, one can avoid bad vipaka and also make it likely for good vipaka to happen.
– In the same way, if one is living foolishly, one can (without even knowing) setup conditions for bad past kamma to bring vipaka, and avoid receiving good kamma vipaka.
If one is eating junk food and not exercising, those are bad habits. They can make one get sick often. And the opposite lifestyle will avoid getting sick, injured etc.
If one is an alcoholic/drug addict, those are bad gati and can help set up conditions to get sick, get into fights, lose one’s job, etc.
– If one cultivates gati to engage in meritorious deeds, one is setting up conditions for good vipaka to materialize.
There are many ways to contemplate this.
– Of course, following the Noble Path is the guaranteed way to get rid of bad gati and to cultivate good gati.
September 30, 2019 at 4:20 pm #25010
y not has sent me the following comment to publish. Apparently, he ran into a problem getting it published at the forum. If anyone else has that problem, please let me know ([email protected]).
y not’s comment:
The Great Discourse on Causation
4. Regarding a Self
The whole section (as well as the whole sutta, for that matter) is worth reading and reflecting upon. With regard to Vedana, the highlight comes just past the half-way point:
“So those who say ‘feeling is my self’ regard as self that which is evidently impermanent, a mixture of pleasure and pain, and liable to rise and fall.”
(Iti so diṭṭheva dhamme aniccasukhadukkhavokiṇṇaṃ uppādavayadhammaṃ attānaṃ samanupassamāno samanupassati, yo so evamāha: ‘vedanā me attā’ti)
Here ‘vedanā me attā’ti’ is translated ‘feeling is my self’ in the sense of asmi mana’, I take it: ‘I’ cannot be other than these feelings; and not in the sense ‘these feelings are anatta’. Is that how it is?
“That’s why it’s not acceptable to regard feeling as self.”
(Tasmātihānanda, etena petaṃ nakkhamati: ‘vedanā me attā’ti samanupassituṃ).
Again, the same question here.
“Now, as to those who say:
‘Feeling is definitely not my self. My self does not experience feeling.’ You should say this to them
“But reverend, where there is nothing felt at all, would the thought “I am” occur there?’”
“That’s why it’s not acceptable to regard self as that which does not experience feeling.” *
(‘na heva kho me vedanā attā, appaṭisaṃvedano me attā’ti, so evamassa vacanīyo:
‘yattha panāvuso, sabbaso vedayitaṃ natthi api nu kho, tattha “ayamahamasmī”ti siyā’”ti?
“No hetaṃ, bhante”)
*This verse needs some clarification. It appears to say: that which does NOT experience feeling is anatta.(??)
So, does it follow that which experiences feeling be atta? That cannot be so either, as per the next verse:
“Now, as to those who say:
Feeling is definitely not my self. But it’s not that my self does not experience feeling. My self feels, for my self is liable to feel.’
You should say this to them,
‘Suppose feelings were to totally and utterly cease without anything left over
When there’s no feeling at all, with the cessation of feeling, would the thought “I AM THIS” occur there?’” (my capitals)
“That’s why it’s not acceptable to regard self as that which is liable to feel.”
(na heva kho me vedanā ATTA, nopi appaṭisaṃvedano me ATTA, ATTA me vediyati, vedanādhammo hi me ATTA’ti.
So evamassa vacanīyo—
vedanā ca hi, āvuso, sabbena sabbaṃ sabbathā sabbaṃ aparisesā nirujjheyyuṃ.
Sabbaso vedanāya asati vedanānirodhā api nu kho tattha ‘ayamahamasmī’ti siyā”ti?
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“Tasmātihānanda, etena petaṃ nakkhamati: ‘na heva kho me vedanā attā, nopi appaṭisaṃvedano me attā, attā me vediyati, vedanādhammo hi me attā’ti samanupassituṃ
…then follows the hurdle to surmount:
“Not regarding anything in this way, they don’t grasp at anything in the world.(So evaṃ na samanupassanto na ca kiñci loke upādiyati)
Not grasping, they’re not anxious. Not being anxious, they personally become extinguished.(anupādiyaṃ na paritassati, aparitassaṃ paccattaññeva parinibbāyati)
It is clear that vedana are of anatta nature, but in what sense is ‘atta’ intended here? For a person thinks:
‘if I am not my feelings, what else can I be (made of), what else is it worthwhile being made of’? ‘(vedanā me attā’ti samanupassituṃ)’
The hurdle is this: for all but Anagamis and Arahants, it is impossible to conceive of a state of being where sukkha can be (made of) anything else but somanassa vedana. One knows that this is not so in actual fact (for one sees that vedana are anicca), yet one still cannot help perceiving it otherwise. Or, it can be said, the ditthi about dukkha is correct but not the sanna: one still hopes for an existence where to experience those pleasant feelings, even taking occasional unpleasant feelings and the risk of upheaval due to unexpected change (viparinama dukkha) in the bargain, taking even the inevitability of the end of that existence, death, in the bargain.
I would be very grateful if Lal would provide the correct translations of ‘atta’ as the word occurs above, IF they be other than ‘atta’ in the sense of ‘beyond our control’ or ‘beyond our power to influence’, as well as anything that may have escaped my notice, for the full import of at least this section 4 of the sutta.
September 30, 2019 at 4:36 pm #25011
To answer y not’s question: This is the reason that I am writing the new series on the “Origin of Life.”
Our experiences are just a series of events.
– Our experiences are the results of past kamma. We need to remember that kamma can be good, bad, or neutral. Thus vipaka are also good, bad, and neutral.
– Therefore, our experiences are just the results of past causes.
– There is no need for the concept of a “self.”
However, we cannot say that there is “no-self” either since each person responds differently to sensory inputs. That is because each person has different temporary gati. So, this is related to Johnny’s question in the previous comment.
– Therefore, even though there is no “self” like a “soul”, there is a “self” who, based on those experiences starts doing NEW kamma (to enjoy more pleasurable experiences or to avoid unpleasurable ones.)
– Of course, those will bring vipaka in the future, and that is why the rebirth process continues.
Instead of debating whether there is a “self” or “no-self”, we can explain everything in terms of Paticca Samuppada. It may take a few more posts in this series to get there.
September 30, 2019 at 11:45 pm #25017y notParticipant
Thank you Lal
– and for redirecting my comment here.
– and also in anticipation for the upcoming posts
November 4, 2019 at 5:52 am #25391Johnny_LimParticipant
Pertaining to the section on Vipāka Vēdanā Arise With That Initial Vipāka Viññāna, under point #9 “At this stage, there is no sukha, dukkha, sōmanassa, or dōmanassa vēdanā generated. The mind receives the sensory event. All vēdanā associated with that initial sensory event is a neutral (upekkha) vēdanā.”
I opined the fact that we have a pair of eyes, we inherently have this expectation to be able to see. Expectation is attachment. Attachment brings suffering. Isn’t this expectation dukkha? While not obvious to someone who is not exposed to the dhamma, this expectation seems to form a default mental state of vexation in all normal beings. Isn’t craving for even a pure seeing event that yields only vipāka viññāna also subject a person to dukkha? It becomes very apparent especially when one were to suddenly go blind or enter a room with no source of light for prolonged period of time. Remember, we are not even talking about looking at something that we like here. Expectation runs in the background all the time.
Things we like to see and hope to own, of course kamma viññāna will be present. We are no longer interested in just seeing. We want to look (kamma). Which brings me to another question. If kamma is synonymous to sankhara and upadana, then is it correct to say that the associated suffering that one has bear at this stage is dukkha-dukkha, sankhara dukkha, and viparinama dukkha? Notice the stark difference in the above illustration when one is only craving for seeing. I am trying to see the correlations between the types of viññāna and dukkha experienced by a being at the tanhā and upādāna stages.
Food for thought from sutta reference MN 43:
(Ven. Mahakotthita) “Friend, how is renewed existence in the future produced?”
(Ven. Sariputta) “Renewed existence in the future is produced through the delighting in this and that on the part of beings who are hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.”
It appears tenable that kamma is a natural byproduct of craving. I think that’s why the second noble truth is tanhā and never upādāna. Because by the time one performs kamma/sankhara/upādāna, it’s already too late.
November 4, 2019 at 7:33 am #25393
Johnny wrote: “It appears tenable that kamma is a natural byproduct of craving. I think that’s why the second noble truth is tanhā and never upādāna. Because by the time one performs kamma/sankhara/upādāna, it’s already too late.”
Tanha is not craving: Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance
Tanha is removed via stopping upadana by getting rid of avijja:
Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna
These concepts require a lot of thinking. Please feel free to ask questions.
November 5, 2019 at 10:20 am #25405
Those two posts that I referred to above are very important. I hope everyone will take the time to read them carefully.
The first post explains that tanha is not craving: “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.”
It is a common mistake to translate “tanhā” as “craving.” The translation that Johnny referred to translates tanhā as craving.
– Tanhā means “getting attached to” sensory input and that happens within a FRACTION OF A SECOND.
– That is a key message of the Chachakka Sutta that we have been discussing recently: “Worldview of the Buddha.”
I have revised the second post mentioned above:
“Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna”
These are important concepts to understand. But it requires spending time to think, not merely to read.
P.S. The key point is that “tanhā” happens instantly, the moment you see, hear,..something. Then one thinks, speaks, and takes actions based on “craving” for it. That second step happens over time. That is the “upādāna” step.
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