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The four noble truths - and craving. - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

The four noble truths - and craving.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:44 pm


vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:59 pm

Hi everyone,

On the question of whether or not there is a craving which is the cause of every wrong view of self, the Parileyya Sutta is interesting:

"That eternalist view is a formation. That formation what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises : thence that
formation is born."
"Thus, bhikkhus, that formation is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that craving is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that feeling is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that contact is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the asavas occurs."

Connected Discourses, Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 922. [ SN 22. 81] Parileyya Sutta.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:21 am

Hi acinteyyo,

acinteyyo : "The puthujjana craves for actual existence of an illusory self."

* 'Actual' from his POV, illusory from ours.
* 'illusory' from our POV, actual from his.

So from our POV he craves for the illusory existence of an illusory self.
From his POV he craves for the actual existence of an actual self.

What is this 'illusory self' ? - It can only be a 'view of an existing self'.
He takes this 'view of an existing self' to be 'a really existing self'.
So by perpetuating this view he 'continues in real existence' (from his POV).
Bhava tanha (existence-craving) is what produces bhava ditthi (existence-view).

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby ground » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:51 am

If we concede the self being the object designated depending on phenomena of experience ("aggregates") then the "self" is illusory or existent to the same extent a "car" is illusory or existent because "car" is the object designated depending on its parts wheels, roof, seats, etc. but it does not really exist.
So if "car" has some sort of existence the "self" has too and if "self" is said to be completely non-existent the same must be said of "car" which would be rather non-conventional.
So the "kind of truth" of existence asserted seems to be crucial.

In a similar context the view of the "four noble truths" can be an instance of craving for views if it is invested with "real" inherent truth as if it existed from its own side indepedent of the subject holding this view due to causes and conditions.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:47 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:04 am


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:38 am

Hi everyone,

I think that what I am trying to argue is that bhava tanha is the craving that produces, or results in, views of an existing self. So I need to explain my understanding of views. This is difficult because I am still working on this problem. But here is an outline of my present understanding of views:

"That eternalist view is a formation. That formation what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling ... is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises : thence that formation is born." Parileyya Sutta.

So the eternalist view is produced from a craving, that means that it belongs at the level of clinging in the D.O. formula. We know that one kind of clinging is 'view-clinging'.
My understanding in outline is this: When someone is clinging to an idea they are said to have a view. The idea itself is not a view. It is only when the mind becomes obsessed with the idea, and clings to it, that they speak of a view. This means that there is no view other than view-clinging. This should not be called 'clinging to views' - what is clung to is an idea. It's the clinging that makes it a view.
It follows that the craving that produces the view-clinging is not a 'craving for views' but a craving for ideas. The term 'view-craving' was used in some early discourses, but was later replaced by other terms. One of these is 'dhamma-tanha' or craving for mind-objects.

In MN 9. 38 craving (in D.O.) is said to be sixfold, craving for form, sounds, odours, flavours, tangibles and craving for mind-objects. The first five comprise the craving for sensual pleasures (kama-tanha). Which leaves one other kind of craving - craving for mind-objects. This is craving for ideas, and is the craving that produces view-clinging and therefore views.

This means that when talking about views we have to separate the 'conceptual content' aspect from the 'mental clinging' aspect. The content of the view is just an idea or a group of ideas. These are not, in themselves, a view. The mental clinging depends on craving, feeling, and contact with the idea. It is the mind becoming obsessed with that idea.
This is why I argue that 'views' are not 'normal beliefs' but what we would call delusions or obsessions.

I will argue that bhava tanha (existence craving) is the craving that produces views of an existing self. And that vibhava tanha (non-existence craving) produces views of a not-existing self. These are, therefore, special forms of dhamma tanha.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:56 am

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"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:41 am


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:39 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:26 am

Hi retro,

In my understanding bhava does not mean ordinary existence, as in the existence of things in the external world. Although I have been talking of bhava tanha as 'existence craving' or 'craving for existence', what is meant is the existence of a being or a self. So bhava tanha is 'craving for (self) existence'. Bhava tanha is the cause of 'rebirth'.

I normally use 'existence' for bhava, but many others prefer 'being' or 'becoming', these may be less liable to be mis-understood.
It is possible that the idea that vibhava tanha means a craving to get rid of something is just a modern mis-understanding. Do you know of any passages in the nikayas which support such an interpretation?

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:14 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:31 pm

Hi retro,

In the old PTS dictionary, under tanha (page 294) we find:

1. Systematizations; the three aims of tanha, kama * , bhava * , vibhava * , that is craving for sensuous pleasure, for rebirth (anywhere, but especially in heaven), or for no rebirth.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:24 pm

Hi retro,

In the discourse called 'The Burden' [SN 22. 22] these three cravings are mentioned. Bhikkhu Bodhi has an interesting note on this (page 1051, note 38) in which he quotes 'Spk', the main commentary, ascribed to Acariya Buddhaghosa.

Spk: Seeking delight here and there (tatratatrabhinandini): having the habit of seeking delight in the place of rebirth or among the various objects such as forms. Lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is 'craving for sensual pleasures' (kamatanha). Lust for form-sphere or formless-sphere existence, attachment to jhana, and lust accompanied by the eternalist view: this is called craving for existence (bhavatanha). Lust accompanied by the annihilationist view is craving for extermination (vibhavatanha).

Bodhi comments: This explanation of the last two kinds of craving seems to me too narrow. More likely, craving for existence should be understood as the primal desire to continue in existence (whether supported by a view or not), craving for extermination as the desire for a complete end to existence, based on the underlying assumption (not necessarily formulated as a view) that such extermination brings an end to a real "I".

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:50 pm

Greetings Vincent,

I'm not surprised the commentaries say that, and I think that Bhikkhu Bodhi is right to respectfully challenge them, though I personally don't think he goes far enough.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:15 am

Hi retro,

It was the widespread mis-representation of these three cravings at many websites, and also in many books by academics, which prompted me to start this thread. It is a serious mis-representation from my point of view, but I could be wrong, of course. It may be that these cravings are not explained in the nikaya's, which could make it difficult for either side to 'prove' their case.

Anyway, I have found another reference to bhava tanha:

"Monks, the extreme point of craving-to-become is not apparent, so that one may say: "Craving-to-become was not before; it has since come to be." And, monks, this statement is made. Nevertheless this thing is apparent: Craving-to-become is
conditioned by this or that.
I declare, monks, that craving-to-become has its nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment of craving-to-become? "Ignorance" should be the reply. (continued) [ A 10, 62 PTS AN v, 116 ]

This is the old PTS translation by F. L. Woodward, I will see if I can find a more modern translation.

The idea expressed here is that bhava tanha is the primary cause of continuation in samsara, the main craving which causes rebirth.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:24 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

vinasp
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:33 am

Hi everyone,

Perhaps we should look at the entire second truth, to provide a context for the three cravings:

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. [SN 56. 11, PTS: S v 420].

The craving mentioned first is 'the craving that makes for further becoming'. This is bhava tanha the craving that produces continuing self existence. The craving for sense pleasures is secondary to the main craving. Craving for non-becoming is a
modified form of bhava tanha, it is the craving for continuing self existence in one who believes that an existing self ends with the death of the body.

Of particular interest is the compound 'ponobbhavika' often translated as "giving rise to rebirth" or something similar. Thanissaro's "makes for further becoming" is, I think, closer to the intended meaning.

Best wishes, Vincent.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:54 am


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:03 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine


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