Nanamoli’s Dependent origination

Wouldn’t that be a wrong way to phrase it? :wink:

Abhidhamma, Commentaries, The Venerable Sujato, Nanamoli, etc, seems all to equally be interpretations of the EBTs. Surely, if you have read Nanamoli’s explanations, he is desperately attempting to explain Dependent Origination using the terminology from the EBTs.

Its quite obvious the questions put to you cannot be answered by you. In summary, there seems to be no such thing as “literal death” in Pali. Your ideas seem to be the imputation of Western Materialism onto Pali. Your ideas seem to be unrelated to the EBTs. Even the Venerable Buddhaghosa literally said there is no “literal jati” in Pali. If there is no “literal jati” then obviously there is no “literal marana”, as many many Suttas show.

Heedfulness is the deathless state;
heedlessness is the state of death.
The heedful do not die,
while the heedless are like the dead.

Dhp 21

These are all forms of identifying: ‘I am’, ‘I am this’, ‘I will be’, ‘I will not be’, ‘I will have form’, ‘I will be formless’, ‘I will be percipient’, ‘I will be non-percipient’, ‘I will be neither percipient nor non-percipient.’ Identification is a disease, a boil, a dart. Having gone beyond all identification, one is called a sage at peace. The sage at peace is not reborn, does not grow old, and does not die. They are not shaken, and do not yearn. For they have nothing which would cause them to be reborn. Not being reborn, how could they grow old? Not growing old, how could they die? Not dying, how could they be shaken? Not shaking, for what could they yearn?

MN 140

Possibly the most extreme utterance in the Suttas is from SN 12.66.

“Take a mendicant who performs inner self-examination: ‘The suffering that arises in the world starting with old age and death takes many and diverse forms. But what is the source of this suffering? When what exists do old age and death come to be? And when what does not exist do old age and death not come to be?’ While examining they know: ‘The suffering that arises in the world starting with old age and death takes many and diverse forms. The source of this suffering is attachment. When attachments exist old age and death come to be. And when attachments do not exist old age and death don’t come to be.’

Now, I do not claim to know the Lord Buddha’s mind above but it is obviously something worthy of consideration when it is written: “old age & death are born (jatika) from acquisition (upadhi)”.

If “marana” meant “literal death” in the Western materialistic sense, as you claim, then in Western hospitals, Western mortuaries and Western universities where the biological sciences are studied, it would be commonly said and written on death certificates that the cause of so & so person’s death was “acquisition”. :slightly_smiling_face:

I think this is where one would get stray , “here and now” approach to realise and know for yourself how the senses function and gives rise to desire or to end desire is one thing but to explain how the entire processes of cycles of birth and death as a continuation series of events in samsara per dependent origination is another thing .
Sure , one do not have to accept the notion of karma and rebirth in order to practice the dhamma and get benefitted from it but if one were to ponder on it or to take into consideration of all of the four nikayas and also the agamas as Buddha’s genuine teachings , then it does encompasses karma and rebirth . If one do not accept karma and rebirth as part of the teachings , the intention of renunciation becomes moot . The practice itself is just a hollow concept .

Why? Isn’t the renunciation of sensuality for the purpose of developing samadhi & jhana?

My impression is it is the opposite of what you said. While I am not here to deny ‘karma & rebirth’, surely accepting karma & rebirth is a hindrance to renunciation of ‘self-view’.

You are limiting renunciation to your own ideal .

No , it doesnt seems so .
You dont renounce “self view” by merely dont accepting karma & rebirth .

No. It is you doing the above. Renunciation is part of the 2nd factor of the Noble Path and its purpose here, per the Suttas, seems purely for the development of Samadhi, as follows:

Right view gives rise to right thought. Right thought [including renunciation] gives rise to right speech. Right speech gives rise to right action. Right action gives rise to right livelihood. Right livelihood gives rise to right effort. Right effort gives rise to right mindfulness. Right mindfulness gives rise to right immersion. Right immersion gives rise to right knowledge. Right knowledge gives rise to right freedom.

MN 117

Again from MN 19:

I understood: ‘This thought of renunciation has arisen in me. It doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It nourishes wisdom, it’s on the side of freedom from anguish, and it leads to extinguishment.’

MN 19

You yourself must quote the Suttas to show the Buddha taught renunciation is exclusively related to karma & rebirth. Don’t worry about it. You can’t. :slightly_smiling_face:

So what is right view ?

Right view is explained in MN 117. :sunny:

Are you saying dependent origination teachings doesnt include notion of rebirth and karma ?

What did I write that gave you the above idea? :thinking: All I disagreed with was your idea renunciation is moot unless one believes in karma & rebirth. I already posted how the Suttas disagree with your idea. Its got nothing to do with me or my opinion. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nothing you posted supports your narrow idea. MN 117 explains the “right view” you posted from AN 10.176 is not related to the Noble Eightfold Path. MN 117 explains the “right view” in AN 10.176 is not “Noble Right View”. The “right view” in AN 10.176 is only a “right view” related to “merit”. Its not related to “Nibbana”. :sunny:

It seems the suttas does agree with what above mentioned by me .


"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve…right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right resolve."

— MN 117

"And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of others, thinking, ‘O, that what belongs to others would be mine!’ He bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] ‘May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!’ He has right view and is not warped in the way he sees things: ‘There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.’ This is how one is made pure in three ways by mental action."

— AN 10.176

@JoeL

Ven N. Nanamoli’s dependent orgination is entirely practical and I get the impression that all of the links are experienced simultaneously like a cascading falling house of cards, however I’ve never heard him explicitly state it like that, just that one moment of discerning Idappaccayatā is sufficient, which getting to that point requires a lot of ground work.

The focus seems to be getting to Idappaccayatā by grasping “the right order” via reflexion (what they call yoniso manasikara), rather than anything to do with the specifics of paticcasamuppada such as the 12 nidanas.

It’s rather obscure and not easily understood, but I think the gist of it is anything you observe/experience cannot be the way out of suffering, so one has to endure not acting on arisen phenomena, which is liable to Suffering, which then results in a build up of pressure and discontent, and one must endure this tension, which allows one to the discern craving unfold thus allowing one to glimpse idappaccayatā. Until this right order is established, any attempt at practicing the dhamma will be done wrongly and lead one away from the path. (This is my understanding of their theory, I may not be entirely on mark, and I’ve had similar ideas myself so there may be some cross contamination in beliefs).

They discuss it here

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Are you saying right view are not of 2 folds ? Discerning wrong view as wrong view is not related to noble eightfold path ? :sweat_smile:

The above is irrelevant. The ‘right view’ you are promoting is not related to the Noble Eightfold Path. Instead of laughing, its best to try to understand what the sutta literally says.

And what is right view? Right view is twofold, I say. There is right view that is accompanied by defilements, has the attributes of good deeds, and ripens in attachment. And there is right view that is noble, undefiled, transcendent, a factor of the path. MN 117

The ‘right view’ you are promoting is accompanied by defilements, has the attributes of good deeds, and ripens in attachment. As I previously advised you:

MN 117 literally says what I posted; that karma & rebirth is a hindrance to renunciation of ‘self-view’ because it is accompanied by defilements, has the attributes of good deeds, and ripens in attachment.

Therefore, returning to the error you made, as I already posted, renunciation is not moot when it results in Noble Samma Samadhi and the Here-&-Now Realisation of Nibbana.

Its similar a husband & father that has an alcohol habit. Even though this husband & father may not believe in karma & rebirth, if he gives up (renunciates) the alcohol, this is of benefit for him, for his wife, for his children & for his family. This renunciation is not moot. :sunny:

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How is it not relevant ? Are you exempted from doing any wrong deeds and without defilements ? If you are still not free from give rise to wrong deeds through the three doors , you are still affected by kamma , isnt it ? It is of course , anyone free to think there is no karma and rebirth but if there is karma and rebirth , that renunciation without accepting karma and rebirth becomes moot , in the sense , you dont have to practice in the first place . Because why do a person want to practice if s/he not believing in it and therefore the whole business is pointless . Sure , you can practice but the starting point is to ask , why ? What are your reasons ? Because , deep down you think probably karma and rebirth still exists ? No ? Because you are interested in practice , it gives you a sense of well being ? Or because the Buddha’s teachings says it isnt necessary to accept karma and rebirth teachings in order for one to achieve liberation ? As you said , one only needs to focus on the Noble criterions of the Path and not the mundane elements because it doesnt leads to liberation . And what is liberation ? Why do you need to liberate yourself ? Liberation from whats ? I really cannot think of any sensible reason to proceed with the ascetic kind of practice , this whole thing is just a joke , sorry to say that .

Sorry but for me your post is veering off-topic; I just religious theory; full of self-views; exhorting practice yet clinging to a ‘self’ that will be liberated. The higher (supramundane) practice of the Buddha is giving up self-views. Take care. All the best. Back to topic of Nanamoli. :thought_balloon:

I think it is you whom started the conversation , saying :

Okay now that is cleared , lets get back to the topic .

According to Ven Nanamoli, regarding dependent arising, «To the question: “What are these sets of terms intended to describe?”

we may answer tentatively that they are intended to describe experience of any possible kind where ignorance (that is lack of personal realization of the Truths) is present. »

“The Buddha’s purpose is to describe enough of the world to be able to show how suffering can be ended, not to produce full and detailed elaborations, which would be endless and arrive nowhere.”

For him, one can equalise suffering and conceit “I am”, nibbana is the cessation of asmimāna (AN 9:1O one who perceives non-self eradicates the conceit ‘I am,’ [which is] nibbāna here and now.”) Since Suttas define also nibbana as the cessation of bhava (… I know this, I see this: ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of bhava.’” (bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ) SN 12: 68) Ven Nanamoli emphasis the necessity to translate bhava as being:

I argue, to translate (even to interpret to oneself) bhava by ‘becoming’ is an opiate that leaves the illusion of ‘being’ untreated.

According to Ven Nanamoli dependent arising «is not a logical proposition, nor is it a temporal cause-result chain. Such an approach makes an understanding of it impossible.»

As I understand him, he sees dependent arising as a kind of mirror where one can see one’s own ignorance, namely that what was previously taken for granted: one’s own being ( “I am” ) as impermanent, suffering, and dependently arisen upon ignorance. When paticcasamuppada is seen as a process, immediate dependence of one’s own being on ignorance disappears from the vision, so he says: “Such an approach makes an understanding of it impossible”.

As to details he suggests that the Buddha, by the way, has solved seemingly unsolvable philosophical problem:

«But this particular description (dependent arising) is aimed at including everything.

And here a difficulty arises. A description must be made in terms of something other than what it describes, or it is not a description. It has to reproduce in other material certain structures that are in what it describes. This fact makes it impossible for a description to be a description and complete at the same time. How is the D/O complete, then? Or is it not a description after all?
It is in fact both, but it attains that in a rather peculiar way. (…)

The right way of treating this fact is to take the D/O, not as an individual description, but as an integrated set of descriptions. Each member provides in fact a set of terms to describe the rest of the world. Together they cover the whole subjective/objective, positive/negative world.»

According to Ven Nanamoli the relationship between these descriptive items is that of sine qua non.

So for example “with feeling as a condition craving” is not description of temporal process where something is first felt, and than it leads to craving -at least as far as dependent arising goes- but that of dependence, structurally craving can arise only when feeling is present, without feeling there is no possibility of craving to arise. Such vision, unlike cause and effect interpretation makes possible to see now and here one’s own death as impermanent and dependently arisen: as unborn, I cannot die, and to see the body as “this is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self” should undermine one’s own certainty of being born.

In other words, Ven Nanamoli regards the death as merely certain event in the field of consciousness, which can be observed objectively, but not experienced subjectively. More or less in the same way as I cannot imagine my own death, however well I exercise my imagination, observing funeral, “my own” dead body and so on, I will always survive as the observer. So he says using so called indirect communication:

In a syllogism (1. All men are mortal. 2. Socrates is a man. 3.Therefore Socrates is mortal), the generalization (all men are mortal) must have been arrived at by induction. No inductive process is ever absolutely certain. There is always the leap, the assumption, of generalizing and therefore one of the premises of a syllogism must have an element of uncertainty. So it cannot prove anything with certainty.

A syllogism is therefore a signpost pointing where to look for direct experience, but can inherently never give information that is 100% certain. But a syllogism (on metaphysical subjects) can also point to what can, inherently, never be experienced; then it is an anomaly.

In other place he says: All the questions asked about death are wrongly put.

All informations provided here can be found in the Thinker’s Notebook, perhaps except an idea of sine qua non relationship between the items of dependent arising, which as far as I remember can be found somewhere in his translation of the Neti

I think you’ve got the wrong Ñānamoli. The thread is about the living monk Ven Ninoslav Ñānamoli, from somewhere in the Balkans, but your post is about the deceased English monk of that name, né “Osbert Moore”.

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Yeah he seems to be talking about the wrong Nanamoli but still a good write up, and afaik there’s still overlap between the two Nanamolis as Osbert Moore shared ideas with Nanavira, which Ninoslav was inspired by.

Yep, you can’t know death.