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Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta) - Dhamma Wheel

Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Kenshou
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Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:33 pm

Lately I've been digesting ven. Ñanananda's The Magic of the Mind: An Exposition of the Kalakarama Sutta. and I tell you what, this is the most difficult dhamma book I've ever read and has dredged up a lot of good food for thought, but there is one in particular issue that I'm rather stuck on. The book itself is available in pdf form here and the Kalakarama sutta is translated on page 10: http://seeingthroughthenet.net/files/en ... e_mind.pdf

The sutta in question seems to be getting a sort of Buddhist phenomenalism; "Thus, monks, a Tathagata does not conceive of a visible thing as apart from sight; he does not conceive of an unseen; he does not conceive of a 'thing-worth-seeing'; he does not conceive about a seer." and so on for hearing, smell, taste, touch, and intellect.

I understand this to mean that the awakened individual does not conceive or assume anything either in the positive or negative about either a doer or thing to which something is done. That is, does not engage in forming a dichotomy of subject versus object, since such an assumption is through analysis shown to be unprovable. In other words he does not form views about experiential phenomena, because any statement of knowledge about the nature of phenomena, besides the fact that they are occurring, is speculation, not direct knowledge, merely "views", there is no direct knowledge of whatever "world" is outside of our experience.

What confuses me is that, this take seems to negate dependent origination, in a sense. The dependent origination of consciousness for example, eye + visible forms, ear + audible sound, and so on for the other pairs that make up the sense-spheres. But this formula itself assumes a "thing-able-to-be-sensed" apart from the bare "sensing" itself, does it not? Which is contradictory to the previous quote in question. It is by understanding the dependent origination of all phenomena (of experience) that we are able to grasp the depth of their unreliability (and by extension unsatisfactoriness and selflessness), at least in part, and so is quite important, is it not?

So the conflict is that dependent origination is both said to be an vital thing to grasp, but then in light of passages like this seems to be undermined and shown to be fundamentally improvable.

But then I also am aware that dependent origination (in the forward sequence/the 12 nidanas proper) is a description of ignorant cognition, of samsara, becoming and dukkha. So then could it be precisely the point that the end of the eightfold path (which is the end of ignorance) culminates in the negation of dependent origination? In the end it is self-contradicting? By understanding the true implications of our deluded cognition, delusion becomes negated and so dependent origination becomes irrelevant and inapplicable?

Am I on the right track at all here? All comments welcome, I'm feeling a little twisted up here.

Reductor
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Reductor » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:26 am


Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:58 am


alan
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby alan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:19 am

It's just you, Kenshou. You are taking your own ideas way too far.
You are doing exactly what Nanananda warns against. You are making a big deal about your own conceptualizations.

Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:28 am

The fact of the matter is, I know that regardless of the precise workings of all that jibber-jabber it all comes down to the ending of greed, aversion and delusion, so I'm not all that perturbed about it.

But regardless I'd like to learn what I can. It really isn't a "big deal" even thought a lot of words are involved. Feel free to criticize me on a specific point, that's mostly the reason I started this thread. If my attempt to get a better understanding of how dependent origination and awakening fit together is just a bunch of useless conceptualization, then hopefully I'll find that out for myself. But I have to start from where I am.

alan
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby alan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:46 am

Start from where you are. That is a good attitude.

alan
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby alan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:50 am

But get the point of the book. Read it again.

Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:58 am

Oh, I am. But I didn't really need you to tell me that! You seem to be implying that you read it and understood it. If that's true, mind giving me a hint?

alan
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby alan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:03 am

We can start by dropping the idea of Phenomenalism.

Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:14 am

I used that word mostly for the sake of convenience. I think I expressed what I was really trying to get at within the rest of that post. Which was, the apparent conflict between the statement that "a tathagata does not conceive of a visible thing as apart from sight" and the fact that the dependent origination of consciousness (as in, for example, the salayatana-vibhanga sutta,) seems to assume a visible thing apart from sight (and so on for the other senses), which is kind of contradictory.

Which is why I've been asking about it.

alan
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby alan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:21 am

That is nice. Read the book again, and then ask yourself why you really care.

Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:48 am

Okay, this stops here. You either do not actually know anything at all, or you simply aren't willing to share it for whatever reason. Either way it's no use talking to you, so I am done with you.

Sigh.

If anyone out there has any pointers or specific criticism, I'll gladly listen to it, that is what I would appreciate.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:37 am


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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:39 am


Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:46 am

Last edited by Kenshou on Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby ground » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:53 am


Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:59 am


Shonin
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Shonin » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:12 am


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beeblebrox
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:20 pm


Kenshou
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Re: Phenomenalism vs. Dependent origination? (Kalakarama sutta)

Postby Kenshou » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:22 pm



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