AKB, Ch. 1, V. 37: Dhatus of Fruition, Accumulation, and Outflowing

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AKB, Ch. 1, V. 37: Dhatus of Fruition, Accumulation, and Outflowing

Post by Queequeg »

This is a tough section to penetrate because these categories really don't seem to line up with my modern, secular materialist conditioning. Please help.

First the definitions.

1. Of Fruition - Vipakaja. Vasubandhu offers three explanations of the etymology of the term.

First, as a contraction of vipakahetuja - "arisen from the cause of fruition."

Alternatively, it is "arisen from vipaka," not a contraction. In this case, the emphasis is on the fruit of the ripened action. Vasubandhu points out that the action arrives at the time of the ripened fruit. Cause and Effect are simultaneous. This is a curious way to conceive it, but I have to keep in mind that for Sarvastivadins, these dharmas are irreducible. My personal inclination would be to see the ripened cause and ripened effect that arrive together are actually just different perspectives. I realize one needs to be careful in saying that since to even suggest alternative perspectives occurring simultaneously is nothing more than speculation. It seems similar to the well known problem with examining light - it either appears as waves or as particles. To say that the particles are simultaneously waves or vice versa is to lay speculation over the direct observation. The approach seems unassailable, though it also feels deliberate and awkward. It feels like trying to play billiards without kick and bank shots.

Alternatively again, Vipakaja is not a contraction - In this case, Vasubandhu explains, the effect implies the cause (hetu) so to mention it would be redundant.

The Princeton Dictionary translates vipaka: "In Sanscrit and Pali, lit. "ripening," thus "maturation, "fruition," or "result"; referring specifically to the "maturation" of past deeds (karman). VIpaka refers to any mental phenomenon that occurs as a result of a morally wholesome or unwholesome volitional action performed by body, speech, or mind, either in this or previous lives. Fruitions can be divided between those that occur during the lifetime in which the deed is performed, those that occur in the lifetime immediately following the lifetime in which the deed is performed , and those that occur two or more lifetimes later. Although the fruition is the result of a wholesome or unwholesome act, the vipaka itself is always morally neutral and manifests itself as something pleasant or painful that is either physical or metal..."

2. Of Accumulation - Aupacayika

Vasubandhu seems to describe this as the effect of certain actions that have the tendency of holding and reinforcing certain retribution. "That which is accumulated nearby." This appears to only apply to dhatu that is composed of matter.

There is no definition of this term in the Princeton Dictionary, and google is not particularly helpful. I suspect we'll be coming back to this topic in the future. That said, if anyone can contribute a working definition, maybe with some illustrative examples, that would be helpful.

3. Of Outflowing - Naisyandika

"That which is produced by a cause similar to its effect."

Vasubandhu offers even less explanation. No entry in the Princeton Dictionary. Google not particularly helpful.

I'll copy paste here: "I suspect we'll be coming back to this topic in the future. That said, if anyone can contribute a working definition, maybe with some illustrative examples, that would be helpful."

Five organs or internal dhatus - the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, are of fruition and accumulation. Fruition because they are the result (vipakaphala) of previous wholesome or unwholesome actions (vipakahetu). They are also of accumulation because it is sustained by certain causes, for instance, food. They are not outflowing, even though they do produce similar effects from moment to moment through life ie. one's eye appears continuously, moment to moment from birth until death, at death, though the form of the eye may continue, with the cessation of function it is no longer an eye but a clump of flesh.

Sound is accumulation and outflowing, but not fruition.

Sound is also not of retribution.

I can't figure this one out. I'm missing something about how sound is conceptualized in this system.

Malcolm, a little explanation?

The Eight Dhatus not capable of resistance, ie. not of form - the seven consciousnesses and the dharmadhatu, are outflowing and retribution depending on the nature of their causes, whether similar or universal (outflowing) or retributive (fruition). Since they are not material, they are not accumulation.

The remaining dhatus, visible matter, smells, tastes, and tangibles, can be retribution when they are "not separable from organic matter", as well as accumulation and outflowing.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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