SuttaCentral

Readings for w/shop 3


#1

Dear all,

I just found a lecture by Bhikkhu Bodhi on MN 120 - Sankharupapatti Sutta (which I found quite inspiring). MN 120 is in the reading material for workshop 3, so I thought, this might be a good place to post the links for the benefit of however is interested:




If one goes to

https://www.youtube.com/user/venbodhi/videos

and expands the list of videos, one also finds lectures ranging from MN2 up to MN124 (unfortunatel - sometimes missing a few lectures inbetween). MN 60 (which is in the reading material) is also found in that list. Unfortunately, MN 135, MN136 have not yet been discussed and MN 57 must have been skipped - at least in this series…

Also, among the reading material is MN 41 - Sāleyyaka Sutta, on which I had already posted a link to a Sutta Class by Bhante Brahmali. (I just add the link here for completeness again.)

With much mettaa,
Robert


#2

Dear Bhantes, dear all,

I also wanted to share a question here regarding AN 6.63 - Nibbhedika. The discourse states the following:

“Contact is the cause of sensuality.” (why not perception or ignorance?)
“Contact is the cause of feeling.”
“Contact is the cause of perception.” (why not feeling?)
“Ignorance is the cause of defilements.”
“Contact is the cause of kamma.” (why not greed, aversion and ignorance?)
“Craving is the cause of suffering.”

I wonder that so much emphasis is given here to “contact” as the cause of so many things. As long as one has a body (even if this should be a ‘mental’ one), contact is unavoidable. The coming together of sense consciousness and the sense and a sense object, this is called contact. Hence, contact is only avoided, if rebirth is ended. I guess this presentation is deliberately designed, so that the eightfold noble path can be given as the cause for the cessation of all these things, because the eightfold noble path leads to the end of rebirth… but then again, why not state rebirth then as the cause for these things (or could this be geared towards renunciation and sense restraint - but even if one is sitting in deep meditation the mind consciousness still is in contact with the meditation object…)

  • Can one really say that contact is the cause of kamma? An Arahant also experiences contact, but he does not make new kamma (as we previously discussed). I would have said that greed, hatred and deslusion are the causes for kamma, or I would have mentioned wrong view (which is delusion).
  • Also in terms of sensual desire, is not the unskillfull perception of beauty (where there really is none) a reason for sensual desire, or the wrong view that sensual desire is fullfilling?
  • Or in the case of perception, is not feeling the cause for perception? Usually the sequence is -
    form + sense + sense consciousness -> feeling -> percetion -> mental state (sankhara) - right?

Does anyone have a suggestion, why the presentation is done in the way it is found here - stressing contact so much? Also, can one really say that contact is the ‘ultimate’ cause of kamma? Why was contact chosen as a cause for kamma in this discourse?

Many thanks and with much mettaa,
Robert


#3

Very interesting point Robert!

Hmmm… maybe the occurrence of contact followed by these (sensuality, feeling, perception and kamma) could be seen as simply the active manifestation of a defiled mind (still ablaze, still bound to its objects)… the perpetuation of this fire (and its fuel), through activity, actions, deeds, is what we label kamma itself.

If this proceeds, would it be correct to understand that a ‘nibbaned’ (or unbound, cooled) mind, just like fire that cools, would be in a situation it does not make contact in this way anymore?

I am looking forward to knowing what Bhantes have to say about this! :smile:


#4

Dear Robert and Gabriel,

I think the problem here is the translation. Kāma refers to two things: the subjectively experienced defilement of sensual desire and the general experience of the sensual world. Even the arahant experiences the latter, and as such it is simply a result of existence. You could say that birth is the cause, but it is not as immediate a cause as contact.

Feeling and perception co-exist and co-arise. One could in fact say that feeling is just an aspect of perception that is singled out by the Buddha because of its importance in sustaining the round of rebirth. Every moment of consciousness includes both feeling and perception, according to MN43.

Here I am stumped! Bhante Sujato, any suggestions?

With metta.


#5

Just continuing my previous post …

Kamma being caused by contact could be a reference to the almost universal presence of cetanā in one’s mind. For instance, you need to attend to something for it appear in your consciousness, and attention is just an aspect of cetanā.

It is interesting that this understanding of kamma would seem to make it almost universal, that is, we make kamma all the time. Normally I would consider kamma to refer to only ethically significant actions, but here we seem to broaden it out to include any state where intention/volition is present. Perhaps this sutta is veering towards the Abhidhamma method. It’s highly structured content already suggests this, and it’s apparent universalisation of the Dhamma could be another hint. It would be interesting to see a comparative study of this sutta with its two Chinese parallels to help establish it’s pedigree.

With metta.


#6

Thank you Robert, very helpful.


#7

Dear Bhante,
thanks so much for these clarifications!
With much mettaa,
Robert


#8

Dear Bhantes, dear all,

I just wanted to bring to your attention a potential translation-error in the one of the Suttas that are in the reading material for wk/shop 3:

AN10:47 Mahāli

“Mahāli, greed is a cause for doing good deeds; hatred is a cause for
doing good deeds; delusion is a cause for doing good deeds; focussing
the mind in the right way is a cause for doing good deeds; a rightly
directed mind is a cause for doing good deeds. Mahāli, this is the cause
and the reason for the doing of good deeds, for the performing of good
deeds." (quote from 2015-03-18, 21:30 CET)

I guess this is an error due to copy&paste and these should read “non-greed”, “non-hatred”, and “non-delusion”. The Pali-Version here on Suttacentral also reads “alobho”, “adoso”, and “amoho”, which is what I suspected…

With mettaa,
Robert


#9

Thanks, that’s fixed now. (It may take a little while for the changes to show up.)

Please let me know if you find any other mistakes.


#10

Dear all,

I just cannot resist to comment on MN135 and MN136. I was not aware, that these teachings - MN135 with the oversimplified (fortune cookie type of) outlook on Kamma and MN136 with a complex balanced outlook on Kamma - were placed right next to each other in the Majjhima Nikaaya. I guess that this was done on purpose by the authors of the Nikaaya: After reciting MN135 the reciters view on Kamma shall immediately be put into perspective with MN136.

Also, an amusing detail in MN135 seems to be, that the student’s name is “Subha” - which means “The pretty one” if I am not mistaken (just inferring this from the name of “asubha practice”). Maybe if his name had been “The wise one”, the Buddhas teaching would have been more complex… Who knows… :wink:

Ok, I made som fun of this now. However, in the end it is good to have a simple and a complex way to convey a teaching - depending on the audience. Of course a very simple and direct approach to Kamma cannot represent all intricacies of the subject. It is not the Buddha’s fault, if then, two and a half thousand years later, some people only pick out the simple teaching without looking at the full picture represented in the suttas.

With much mettaa,
Robert


#11

Dear Bhante,
thanks so much for maintaining the Suttas online!

Sorry, there seems to be a minor typo in a further sutta, which is on our reading list:

In SC18 it reads:
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering?
With the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes
cessation of volitional activities; with the cessation of volitional
activities, cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of
consciousness, cessation of name-andform; with the cessation of …"
(accessed 2015-03-19, 20:30 CET)

I guess, it should read “name-and-form”.

With much mettaa,
Robert


#12

… Sorry, I know the typo I mentioned is just a very minor thing, that will probably not lead to any confusion, but since you said I should mention “any other mistake”, I thought, I would flag this one up too. If it is inapropriate to flag up such minor details, please let me know.

Also, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all contributors of Suttacentral. I think it is amazing how many teachings (languages, versions of Suttas, etc.) are already included in the platform. I can hardly imagine, how much effort it must have been to make these teachings available with so few mistakes - not to speak of how much effort is already required to maintain such a platform even without answering all these questions on the “discourse” branch of the site.

So, thanks again and I offer my apologies if I am being too nit-picky,
Robert


#13

Please pick as many nits as possible! That’s the only way we can keep getting better.


#14

Hello Bhante and everyone,

I was wondering about Workshop 3 (at the Buddhist Library). Has it already happened? Are the videos available somewhere?

With metta,
Fabíola


#15

Tomorrow! Even our wonderful IT people are not fast enough to put things online before they happen!


#16

Sorry, Bhante! I think I got confused with the dates! I thought we were having Workshop 4 this Sunday :smile:

Thanks!


#17

Oops, no you are quite right, it is w/shop 4 this weekend. As for the availability of the previous session, as always, when it becomes available it will be on here. Our video person for Sydney, Damith, has been in Sri Lanka, and otherwise occupied with his most excellent new robot, Baxter. I’ll see where we are with this.