I was surprised to see that I identify my thoughts as right. I was also startled to discover that others thought that their ideas too were right. Without any additional confirmation, I take my ideas to be self evident and right.
If I were to find evidence against it, I will immediately amend the ideas or even discard them. Other people seem to even retroactively change the events took occur to make it seem they had the newly corrected idea in the past. When they are finally presented with evidence, they grudgingly confirm that they had the previous idea.
If all my ideas were right how could I have made mistakes? What about ideas of others? All Ideas can not be right. But even as I type, ideas that arise seem to be right in and itself. Ideas seem to be self evident or logically self consistent.
Perhaps ideas are indeed logically self consistent. My opinion is that since ideas rise due to conditions, ideas are consistent with their conditions and therefor self consistent. If any additional information is provided, a idea may change to be consistent or discarded or a new idea may arise from all information.
Although ideas are logically consistent, this doesn’t mean that they are right. It’s my opinion that this is a delusion(moha). Are we to continue exploring each idea to verify it’s validity? But since ideas are self consistent even if we explore more , it doesn’t prove that ideas are right.
Perhaps an enlightened one can explore all of realty and come to the conclusion that the idea is right and valid. But for normal people this approach doesn’t seem to work.
Only approach seem to be to be aware that ideas are only self consistent and without any validity in and itself. They are only right in the given conditions and information.
How to solve this delusion?
Perhaps we should also consider lobha and dosha together with moha. I realized when I love someone, I seem to think they are perfect even with their imperfections. They are perfect and good in all aspects. Similarly when I hate something, I found fault in every facet of their existence. I found fault in even the fact that they exist.
Ideas - Right & self evident → Delusion (Moha)
Objects - Good & Perfect → Lobha
Objects - Fault & Wrong → Dosha
In Buddhism there is the cycle views> thoughts> perceptions. The only way perceptions can be changed is by studying dhamma and using the knowledge to investigate what happens when we begin to make right choices. Only through experience do views change- there is work to be done because when dealing with conventional reality there is ignorance.
See Anguttara Nikaya 4.49 plus translators note at Access to Insight.
I have the opposite approach. I identify my thoughts to be wrong, and my task to find out in what way and how to correct.
If I was right, I would already be enlightened and that in itself will confirm that I am right. Since I don’t think I am enlightened, therefore my ideas are wrong.
I find trying to understand ideas that are radically different from mine are useful in that it helps shakes me, and forces me to consider other perspectives. I must admit my ideas in the last few months or so have probably shifted radically, in some cases almost 180 degrees. I suspect they will continue to shift.
Deluded persons need many good friends to remove the moha by cultivating N8FP. See SN 3.18.
From good friend, one can hear true Dhamma and remove the moha completely.
Otherwise a blind one will remain blind.
… Then the mendicant Ānanda came to me, bowed, sat down to one side, and said: ‘Sir, good friends, companions, and associates are half the spiritual life.’
When he had spoken, I said to him: ‘Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! Good friends, companions, and associates are the whole of the spiritual life. A mendicant with good friends, companions, and associates can expect to develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path …
Example: Ven Maha Moggallana has Ven Sariputta to tell him a true dhamma upon hearing it from Ven Assajji before that. Both enter the stream after that.
Similarly for 4 factors of stream entry in SN 55.5
Sāriputta, they speak of a ‘factor of stream-entry’. What is a factor of stream-entry?”
“Sir, the factors of stream-entry are associating with true persons, listening to the true teaching, rational application of mind, and practicing in line with the teaching.”
What level of attainment does it take to fully understand? Well?
Moha is, i believe, being informed in an incorrect/distorted manner about whatever is sensed, experienced at a certain moment. Traditionally the simile is used of a person who thinks he sees a snake while it is a rope.
Most of the time we are informed about what is being sensed, experienced due to the proces of conceiving. That is always deluded. Often we conceive a self, me, mine, other etc. Our understanding is most of the time more based upon imagening and conceiving then upon direct knowlegde. Lost in conceiving, in ideas, impressions etc. At that moment we believe that all this is true. That is moha.
The Noble Path, the stream, is, i believe, not the stream of conceiving. It is not that kind of understanding. Conceiving is based upon defilements and defiles direct understanding. It distorts direct understanding. Conceiving is an obstacle to direct knowledge and the sutta’s say that it must be seen as an illness. The habit of conceiving is very strong.
I think you describe this proces of conceiving. What is conceived is felt as true. That is moha.
Moha (in the expression of raga-dosa-moha ‘desire-hatred-delusion’) is about not knowing and not seeing things as they really are.
What are the things that one has to know (janati) and see (passati) as they really are (yathabhutam) for the ending of dukkha ‘suffering’? The following SN/SA suttas may provide the answer:
What does it mean "to see things as they really are"? - #14 by thomaslaw
What are the things one has to know(janati) or/and see(passati)?
- origin/arising of aggregates
- cessation of aggregates
- flavor/pleasure of aggregates
- danger of aggregates
- giving up of aggregates
So the aggregate considered is ideas/thoughts/perceptions.
Arising : They arise due to contact between 6 senses. Either through outside objects or from mental objects.
Cessation: They cease when the contact cease.
Flavor/Pleasure: When thoughts arise, we label them as good, right or wrong or neutral. We start to as they have essence and we take it as our views. We derive joy from clinging to our views(i.e environmentalism) and thinking we are doing good(or work of god).
Danger: Due to clinging, we take actions to preserve our views. Due to clinging we take these ideas as ours. We feel sad/anger/hate/etc if our ideas/views are challenged or changed. We feel stress due to actions we take to maintain the views(i.e protests/posts/comments etc).
We tend to create more ideas/concepts around the clinging ideas. We tend to delve more deeply and there is danger of never escaping it.
Giving up: Instead of clinging, we stop the process before labeling or after labeling.
Path to giving up: We keep the nature of ideas/views and their origin/pleasure and danger when we experience new ideas. Thus we don’t give rise to clinging.
I think the most important conceiving of the khandha’s is as me, mine, my self. We do not know the aggregates as they are but conceived as me, mine, my self. I can feel this is the same as having a mentallity towards the khandha’s. Mentallity is not only based upon emotions as like and dislike and disregard but also upon conceiving them as me, mine and myself. Mentallity or attitude is like distancing.
I worked in the garden and afterwards had back pains. I noticed i was not able to sink in the pain, relax in it. All the time this mentallity towards the pain of dislike and also ‘mine’.
But i can see that vimutti is about the end of this distancing proces.
I also believe that conceiving the khandha’s as not me, not mine, not my self (or nor me, both etc) is also not knowing them correctly and as they are. Knowing the khandha’s directly is, i believe, without conceiving them.
But i believe, conceiving is not only about identity in relation to the khandha’s, but the result of conceiving is that one starts to confuse or mix up perception (awareness of something) and conception.
One starts to see/understand things that are only concepts as objects of the 5 senses. That is also a kind of delusion i believe.