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.