Re: Never enough about knowing nama from rupa, (Ananda)

Author
Topic
#547

• Dear Howard,
You had a question about Ananda and how he was able to make it.

In the Digha Nikaya Atthakatha (Sunmagala-vilasini),in the section
elucidating the Mahididana sutta, it explains the basis for Ananda
attaining the first path of sotapanna, and why he was able to
comprehend dependent origination:

I use Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of Mahadidana sutta:

“””The Venerable Ananda had been endowed with the aspiration to become
a Buddha’s personal attendant for 100,000 aeons.
In the ocean there is a fish called Timirapingala, 500 yojannas
long…This fish might say “theey are always saying that this ocean is
deep. How can it be so deep? [At times] I can’t even find enough water
to cover my back. For the Timirapingala, with its vast body the ocean
might be shallow, but it cannot be called shallow for the smaller
fish. Similarly, for the elder Ananda, with his vast knowledge,
dependent arising might appear clear, but it cannot be called clear
for others. {then continues with more similes for two paragraphs]
….
Dependent arising, though deep, appeared clear to the Venrable Ananda
for four reasons:
1) Because he was endowed with decisive supporting conditions from the
past.
2)because of his digence in study.
3. Because he was already a stream enterer.
4. Because he was highly learned.

1: The venerable Ananda’s endowment with decisive supporting condition
(upannisaya paccaya) from the past began when the Buddha Padumuttara
was living in the world. This took place 100,000 aeons ago. At that
time Ananda was teh Buddhas younger half brother named Sumana. On one
occasion he supportted the Buddha Padumuttara and a Sangha of 100,000
bhikkhus during teh annual three months rain residence. At the end of
the period he offered food and robes to the Sangha and dedicated the
merit to becoming the personal attanedant of a future
Buddha. …Following this he continued to perform meritorius deeds
through the succeeding lifeteimes until in the present life, he went
forth under the Buddha Gotama and became established in stream
entry…..
2. Diligence in study refers to repeatedly studying [the texts]under
revered teachers, listening to [explanations of theri meaning],
questioning [about knotty points] and retaining in mind[the texts and
their meaning].
3..
4. For those who are highly learned, the delimitation of mentality-
materiality (nama rupa parichedda) becomes as evident as a bed and
chair in a small room illuminated by a lamp, and the venerable Anada
was chief in those who are highly learned. Because of his great
learning dependent arising, though deep apeared clear to him.”” end
quote.

Robertk
___________

• buddhatrue

Dear Howard,

“I’m writing now because Scott is relatively new to the Dhamma,
and I
care for him and for his not losing a full perspective on Dhamma
practice.”
Thank you very much for the kind sentiment, Howard. Very humbling.

Sincerely,

Scott.

Hi Scott (and Howard),

It will be for your benefit to listen to the input of Howard, and
then decide for yourself. If you become familiar with the suttas
you will see that Ken H. doesn’t have any basis for his
interpretation of the dhamma. Actually, if you become familiar with
the Abhidhamma as presented by scholars other than K. Sujin and
Nina, you will also fail to find a basis for Ken H’s assertions.

Put simply, satipatthana without jhana is too weak to rid the mind
of defilements, and jhana without satipatthana is too
sublime/ephemeral to rid the mind of defilements. One should
practice both to truly follow the Buddha’s path.

Metta,
James

_________________________________
Hi, Robert –

> Dependent arising, though deep, appeared clear to the Venrable Ananda
> for four reasons:
> 1) Because he was endowed with decisive supporting conditions from the
> past.
> 2)because of his digence in study.
> 3. Because he was already a stream enterer.
> 4. Because he was highly learned.
>
=======================
My memory might be faulty on this, Robert, but I seem to recall the
Buddha replying “Not so” to this, correcting Ananda, and saying that dependent
origination does not even *appear* clear. In any case, my mention of Ananda in
my post to Ken and Scott was a humorous aside, and not a major thrust of my
post.
The major thrust of my post was that if one starts out with the
attitude that Buddhist practice is beyond all but those already well advanced on the
path and that all we can do is study, then it becomes a self-fulfilling
prophecy that we will make no headway in this lifetime. But there is an urgency,
and we all will be foolish to take an attitude that aeons are required and so
all we can do is study. We should do *all* that we can do. At the bottom I copy
the Utthana Sutta in which the Buddha tries to shake us out of a do-nothing
attitude. It is a wake-up call that I think we should heed.

With metta,
Howard

____________________________
Sn II.10
Utthana Sutta
Initiative

Translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Alternate translation: Ireland Thanissaro

PTS: Sn 331-334

Source: Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.

Copyright © 2000 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight edition © 2000
For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted,
and redistributed in any medium. It is the author’s wish, however, that any
such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free
and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be
clearly marked as such.

Get up!
Sit up!
What’s your need for sleep?
And what sleep is there for the afflicted,
pierced by the arrow,
oppressed?

Get up!
Sit up!
Train firmly for the sake of peace,
Don’t let the king of death,
— seeing you heedless —
deceive you,
bring you under his sway.

Cross over the attachment
to which human & heavenly beings,
remain desiring
tied.
Don’t let the moment pass by.
Those for whom the moment is past
grieve, consigned to hell.

Heedless is
dust, dust
comes from heedlessness
has heedlessness
on its heels.
Through heedfulness & clear knowing
you’d remove
your own sorrow.
________________________________

/Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)

nina van gorkom

25 Jan, 2006
Hi Howard,
thanks for the quote.
To me it is a good reminder not to be forgetful of the dhamma appearing at
this moment now. There always is some dhamma or other, sound, feeling,
thinking, whatever appears. Only one at a time through one doorway.
Nina.
op 25-01-2006 15:03 schreef upasaka@… op upasaka@…:

> Cross over the attachment
> to which human & heavenly beings,
> remain desiring
> tied.
> Don’t let the moment pass by.
> Those for whom the moment is past
> grieve, consigned to hell.

• kenhowardau

Message 7 of 8 , 26 Jan, 2006
Hi Howard,

Thanks for this message, and my apologies for the delay in replying.

In your final paragraph you write:

———————————–
> Ken we’ve had this out before – many times. I don’t actually have
any serious hope of getting you to reconsider. I’m writing now
because Scott is relatively new to the Dhamma, and I care for him and
for his not losing a full perspective on Dhamma practice. I am
writing here and now to express my opinion for Scott’s sake that your
take on the Dhamma is, well, let’s say “not the norm.” >
————————————-

You may have given up on me, but I have not given up on you. As I see
it, yours is a case of ‘so near and yet so far!’ 🙂

You say in this post, “Yep. That’s when everything happens – now,”
but I don’t think you quite believe it. If you did believe it, you
would be on my side – trying to coax fellow Dhamma students into a
dry, soulless world of presently arisen conditioned dhammas. 🙂

Back to near the beginning of your post:

———————————-
KH: > > I learned that >
> the things we think are practised by living beings are actually
> practised by fleeting, conditioned, impersonal namas and rupas.
———
Howard:
Okay, so?
———————————–

So everything has to be seen from an entirely new perspective.

———————————————-
H: > (Of course, the fleeting, conditioned, impersonal namas and
rupas don’t really practice anything. Saying that they do is to oddly
mix levels of speech.)
———————————————–

I would say yes and no to that. Yes, it would be odd to say, ‘It is
not I but dhammas that walk to the shop and buy a bottle of milk.’
But no, it is not odd to say, ‘It is not I but dhammas that condition
the arising, and perform the functions, of jhana.’

—————————-
KH: > > Jhana, like any other reality, will arise when the conditions
for its
> arising are present. It will not arise when “I” decide it should.
———-
Howard: >
Likewise, writing an email post won’t occur when “you” decide it
should, but only when trillions of specific conditions, including
acts of cetana in your mindstream.
—————————–

Is that strictly correct or is it a case of oddly mixing levels of
speech? Whenever, for the sake of convention, we accept the
existence of people and emails I think we must also accept the
existence of free will. Otherwise we might find ourselves saying, “I
would like to write an email but the trillions of specific conditions
are not present.”

————————
H: > But we *call* that “your deciding to write and your
doing so”.
————————-

Yes, and that is fine in the illusory world of people, emails and
free will, but we were talking about jhana-citta and the conditions
for its arising, which is very different.

—————————————-
KH: > >
> Learning a little more Abhidhamma (in particular from the
> Visuddhimagga) I found that the conditions for jhana were
> extraordinarily rare – about as rare as the conditions for
> enlightenment.
————-
Howard: >
Really! And the source for that is exactly what?
—————————————–

Sorry, I don’t have a reference for “about as rare as the conditions
for enlightenment.” That’s just a dim memory of something I’ve read
here. But you will have seen by now the Visuddhimagga reference I
gave to Scott. Do you have any comments on it?

———————————
H: > (It sure was silly, then, for the Buddha, in his suttas, to have
again and again and again urged his monks and nuns to practice jhana.
That silly Buddha! Or perhaps all those many references indicate that
the Sutta Pitaka is terribly corrupted, and thank God (I mean the
ancient commentators) that we have the Abhidhamma to give us
the straight Buddha word!
———————————–

Please quote a sutta where the Buddha tells everyone to practice
jhana – or, failing that, where he tells every monk and nun to
practise jhana.

Howard, in your efforts to paint the “strictly Abhidhamma
perspective” in a bad light – and save new members from being led
astray – I think you do other members an injustice. You give the
impression they have given no answers to your objections. But on the
many occasions on which you have raised these objections, someone has,
almost always, pointed out, for example, the two meanings of “jhana.”
In many cases the sutta term translated as “practise jhana” should
actually be translated as “develop the mind.”

Also, it has been pointed out that different suttas were directed at
different audiences. If the Buddha urged some audiences to practise
jhana, that doesn’t mean he urged every audience to do so.

And what about the lay disciples? Hasn’t it been repeatedly
explained – with references – that lay disciples (almost without
exception) were not advised to practice jhana? If bare vipassana was
suitable for them then it was suitable for various monks and nuns as
well (they were not a separate species).

——————————————–
KH: > > Basically, I think we can say jhana is possible for
> people who have “mastered” morality (and not even for all of them).

————-
Howard:
MASTERED it, you say! Complete mastery is required first?
So, no reciprocity?
(Man, one wonders how Ananda ever made it!)

It would seem that the jhanas are only for the likes of Superman
and other comic book heros! >
——————————————

Yes, I think the people suited to jhana were so extremely exceptional
that it is very hard think of anyone more exceptional. Superman
doesn’t come close! 🙂

Robert K’s reply to this post gave us an idea of just how exceptional
Ananda was.

————————–
KH: > > Strictly speaking, the Dhamma is practised only in moments of
> satipatthana (patipatti), but there is also <. .> a lesser degree
of
> practice – right intellectual understanding (pariyatti).
———-
Howard: >
And also meditating, guarding the senses, attending to what is
occurring at any moment, and turning the mind towards lovingkindness,
compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. The entire practice as
laid out by the Buddha.
—————————

There you go again, refusing to believe your own words: “Yep. That’s
when everything happens – now.”

I, and people who know a lot more than I do, continually tell you
that “meditation” and “guarding the senses,” as taught by the Buddha,
refer to a fleeting moment of consciousness.

We won’t give up on you, Howard! 🙂

Ken H

kenhowardau

Message 7 of 8 , 26 Jan, 2006
Hi Howard,

Thanks for this message, and my apologies for the delay in replying.

In your final paragraph you write:

———————————–
any serious hope of getting you to reconsider. I’m writing now
because Scott is relatively new to the Dhamma, and I care for him and
for his not losing a full perspective on Dhamma practice. I am
writing here and now to express my opinion for Scott’s sake that your
take on the Dhamma is, well, let’s say “not the norm.” >
————————————-

You may have given up on me, but I have not given up on you. As I see
it, yours is a case of ‘so near and yet so far!’ 🙂

You say in this post, “Yep. That’s when everything happens – now,”
but I don’t think you quite believe it. If you did believe it, you
would be on my side – trying to coax fellow Dhamma students into a
dry, soulless world of presently arisen conditioned dhammas. 🙂

Back to near the beginning of your post:

———————————-
KH: > > I learned that >
> the things we think are practised by living beings are actually
> practised by fleeting, conditioned, impersonal namas and rupas.
———
Howard:
Okay, so?
———————————–

So everything has to be seen from an entirely new perspective.

———————————————-
H: > (Of course, the fleeting, conditioned, impersonal namas and
rupas don’t really practice anything. Saying that they do is to oddly
mix levels of speech.)
———————————————–

I would say yes and no to that. Yes, it would be odd to say, ‘It is
not I but dhammas that walk to the shop and buy a bottle of milk.’
But no, it is not odd to say, ‘It is not I but dhammas that condition
the arising, and perform the functions, of jhana.’

—————————-
KH: > > Jhana, like any other reality, will arise when the conditions
for its

———-
Howard: >
Likewise, writing an email post won’t occur when “you” decide it
should, but only when trillions of specific conditions, including
acts of cetana in your mindstream.
—————————–

Is that strictly correct or is it a case of oddly mixing levels of
speech? Whenever, for the sake of convention, we accept the
existence of people and emails I think we must also accept the
existence of free will. Otherwise we might find ourselves saying, “I
would like to write an email but the trillions of specific conditions
are not present.”

————————
H: > But we *call* that “your deciding to write and your
doing so”.
————————-

Yes, and that is fine in the illusory world of people, emails and
free will, but we were talking about jhana-citta and the conditions
for its arising, which is very different.

—————————————-
KH: > >
> Learning a little more Abhidhamma (in particular from the
> Visuddhimagga) I found that the conditions for jhana were
> extraordinarily rare – about as rare as the conditions for
> enlightenment.
————-
Howard: >
Really! And the source for that is exactly what?
—————————————–

Sorry, I don’t have a reference for “about as rare as the conditions
for enlightenment.” That’s just a dim memory of something I’ve read
here. But you will have seen by now the Visuddhimagga reference I
gave to Scott. Do you have any comments on it?

———————————
H: > (It sure was silly, then, for the Buddha, in his suttas, to have
again and again and again urged his monks and nuns to practice jhana.
That silly Buddha! Or perhaps all those many references indicate that
the Sutta Pitaka is terribly corrupted, and thank God (I mean the
ancient commentators) that we have the Abhidhamma to give us
the straight Buddha word!
———————————–

Please quote a sutta where the Buddha tells everyone to practice
jhana – or, failing that, where he tells every monk and nun to
practise jhana.

Howard, in your efforts to paint the “strictly Abhidhamma
perspective” in a bad light – and save new members from being led
astray – I think you do other members an injustice. You give the
impression they have given no answers to your objections. But on the
many occasions on which you have raised these objections, someone has,
almost always, pointed out, for example, the two meanings of “jhana.”
In many cases the sutta term translated as “practise jhana” should
actually be translated as “develop the mind.”

Also, it has been pointed out that different suttas were directed at
different audiences. If the Buddha urged some audiences to practise
jhana, that doesn’t mean he urged every audience to do so.

And what about the lay disciples? Hasn’t it been repeatedly
explained – with references – that lay disciples (almost without
exception) were not advised to practice jhana? If bare vipassana was
suitable for them then it was suitable for various monks and nuns as
well (they were not a separate species).

——————————————–
KH: > > Basically, I think we can say jhana is possible for
> people who have “mastered” morality (and not even for all of them).

————-
Howard:
MASTERED it, you say! Complete mastery is required first?
So, no reciprocity?
(Man, one wonders how Ananda ever made it!)

It would seem that the jhanas are only for the likes of Superman
and other comic book heros! >
——————————————

Yes, I think the people suited to jhana were so extremely exceptional
that it is very hard think of anyone more exceptional. Superman
doesn’t come close! 🙂

Robert K’s reply to this post gave us an idea of just how exceptional
Ananda was.

————————–
KH: > > Strictly speaking, the Dhamma is practised only in moments of
> satipatthana (patipatti), but there is also <. .> a lesser degree
of
> practice – right intellectual understanding (pariyatti).
———-
Howard: >
And also meditating, guarding the senses, attending to what is
occurring at any moment, and turning the mind towards lovingkindness,
compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. The entire practice as
laid out by the Buddha.
—————————

There you go again, refusing to believe your own words: “Yep. That’s
when everything happens – now.”

I, and people who know a lot more than I do, continually tell you
that “meditation” and “guarding the senses,” as taught by the Buddha,
refer to a fleeting moment of consciousness.

We won’t give up on you, Howard! 🙂

Ken H
Hi, Ken –

> You say in this post, “Yep. That’s when everything happens – now,”
> but I don’t think you quite believe it. If you did believe it, you
> would be on my side – trying to coax fellow Dhamma students into a
> dry, soulless world of presently arisen conditioned dhammas. 🙂
>
======================
This ” … I don’t think you quite believe it. If you did believe it,
you
would be on my side … ” brought a smile to my face, Ken. It reminds me of
an offlist conversation I’ve been having with a certain monk who disbelieves in
“rebirth,” preferring (IMO) Buddhadasa to the Buddha! Whenever I insist that
the Buddha indeed taught of multiple “lifetimes” and, more precisely, that the
flow of experience continues beyond the death of the body, he insists that I
am an eternalist and substantialist who clings to “Hindu superstitions”! LOL!
Ken, I believe exactly what I say I believe.

With metta,
Howard

/Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

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