SN 24.2: can a phrase 'when this happens... that happens' be used for a full-fledged modus ponens?

First of all, here is a proposed tentative copyright-free translation of the sutta:

SN 24.2
“kismiṃ nu kho, bhikkhave, sati, kiṃ upādāya, kiṃ abhinivissa evaṃ diṭṭhi uppajjati: ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti?

Bhikkhus, when what is there, by ‘taking up’ what, by being inclined to what, does such a view arise: ‘This is me, this is my self, this is what I am’?

“bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā, bhagavaṃnettikā, bhagavaṃpaṭisaraṇā. sādhu vata, bhante, bhagavantaṃyeva paṭibhātu etassa bhāsitassa attho. bhagavato sutvā bhikkhū dhāressantī”ti.

For us, Bhante, the teachings have the Bhagava as their root, their guide, & their arbitrator. It would be good if the Bhagava himself would explicate the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from the Bhagava, the bhikkhus will remember it.

rūpe kho, bhikkhave, sati, rūpaṃ upādāya, rūpaṃ abhinivissa evaṃ diṭṭhi uppajjati: ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti. vedanāya sati … pe … saññāya sati … saṅkhāresu sati… viññāṇe sati, viññāṇaṃ upādāya, viññāṇaṃ abhinivissa evaṃ diṭṭhi uppajjati — ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti.

When there is Form, by ‘taking up’ Form, by being inclined to Form, such a view arises: ‘This is me, this is my self, this is what I am’. When there is Feeling… When there is Perception… When there are Constructions… When there is Consciousness, by ‘taking up’ Consciousness, by being inclined to Consciousness, such a view arises: ‘This is me, this is my self, this is what I am’.

“taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā”ti?

What do you think, bhikkhus: is Form constant or inconstant?

“aniccaṃ, bhante”

Inconstant, Bhante.

“yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti?

And is that which is inconstant happiness or suffering?

“dukkhaṃ, bhante”.

Suffering, Bhante.

“yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, api nu taṃ anupādāya evaṃ diṭṭhi uppajjeyya: etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti?

But without ‘taking up’ what is inconstant, suffering, subject to change, could such a view arise: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?

“no hetaṃ, bhante”.

No, Bhante.

“vedanā… saññā… saṅkhārā… viññāṇaṃ… yampidaṃ diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ mutaṃ viññātaṃ pattaṃ pariyesitaṃ anuvicaritaṃ manasā tampi niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā”ti?

Is Feeling… Perception… Constructions… Consciousness… that which is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, or pondered by the intellect constant or inconstant?

“aniccaṃ, bhante”

Inconstant, Bhante.

“yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti?

And is that which is inconstant happiness or suffering?

“dukkhaṃ, bhante”.

Suffering, Bhante.

“yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, api nu taṃ anupādāya evaṃ diṭṭhi uppajjeyya: etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti?

But without ‘taking up’ what is inconstant, suffering, subject to change, could such a view arise: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?

“no hetaṃ, bhante”.

No, Bhante.

“yato kho, bhikkhave, ariyasāvakassa imesu chasu ṭhānesu kaṅkhā pahīnā hoti, dukkhepissa kaṅkhā pahīnā hoti, dukkhasamudayepissa kaṅkhā pahīnā hoti, dukkhanirodhepissa kaṅkhā pahīnā hoti, dukkhanirodhagāminiyā paṭipadāyapissa kaṅkhā pahīnā hoti, ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako sotāpanno avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyano”ti.

Bhikkhus, when a noble disciple has abandoned doubt regarding these six cases, has abandoned doubt regarding suffering, has abandoned doubt regarding the origin of suffering, has abandoned doubt regarding the cessation of suffering, has abandoned doubt regarding the path leading to the cessation of suffering, this is called, bhikkhus, a noble disciple who is a Stream-Enterer, by nature freed from states of woe, steadfast, headed for self-awakening.

When the sutta says “When there is Form, by ‘taking up’ Form, by being inclined to Form, such a view arises: ‘This is me, this is my self, this is what I am’.” let’s refer to “When there is Form, by ‘taking up’ Form, by being inclined to Form” as P and “such a view arises: ‘This is me, this is my self, this is what I am’.” as Q

  • The sutta means that P implies Q, and that therefore if P is true then Q is also necessarily true at all times, in all circumstances, as in the mathematical sense of implication
  • It can mean that in general, for people at large, when P is true, it is followed by Q, but there might be cases (for sotapannas, for example) where P is true while Q is not

0 voters

I think the P proposition in your new thread bears 2 element, namely X + Y, where -
X = If form exists, and
Y = Having appropriated form.
(I take the " having adhered" to be a synonym of “having appropriated”, where upādāya abhinivissa is a pair of synonyms in a waxing syllable sequence)

Once any of the 2 elements is not the case, it is already a not-P proposition. Neither option in your survey accomodates this not-P proposition, save for Modus Tollens in option 2, giving not-Q implies not-P.

Perhaps treat P as excluding the common denominator “if form exists”, thereby just leaving “having appropriated form”?

If so, I would go for option 2.

Edit - on 2nd thought, there ought to be an Option 3, to accomodate the Modus Tollens outcome of Option 1. Option 1 it is for me.

There are more, and more precise, ways of logically parsing the statement than you have listed.

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The question is to know what the text means in the first place, before trying to determine what might be inferred from it. So, no problem here as far as I am concerned.

Well, let’s see if they are relevant to the matter I am investigating. Could you give at least one example you think would be relevant?

Its not that straightforward:

taking up form + ignorance = self view (sakkayaditti)

but

taking up form + insight (ie as a stream entrant) = no self view + attchment

There are three components to this equation.

with metta

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I think I clicked on something when I was browsing this thread, sorry if it skews the vote. :slight_smile:

But, I don’t see how there can be just two options. The section covered by ‘P’ is not a single cohesive unit. It describes the mind of a person who is enamored of form and materiality. But, the arising of right view changes this. There will be form, but it will not be seen as alluring.

Cut down the forest of desire, not the forest of trees. From the forest of desire come danger & fear. Having cut down this forest & its underbrush, monks, be deforested.

A stream entrant still clings, even after right view. This is because the most clear part of her insight is into how the elements cannot constitute a self, rather than how it is not desirable and clingable.

with metta

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You can change or remove your vote any time you like.

I agree but I am not sure how this changes the way one should consider the title question in the OP.

I think some measure of disgust with one’s desire for form and other phenomena needs to arise. With the view that we have just this life to deal with, there is not much incentive to renounce all pleasures of the world. But, with right view, desire is seen as the cause for renewed birth and death, and then the danger in sensuality will be seen clearly. But I agree, insight into not-self would be the primary attainment for a stream-enterer.

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Hi Dan

If I may trouble you to audit my proposals for the 2 sets of propositions (abridged) from SN 24.2.

  1. The Arising of View proposition

Having appropriated form, having adhered to form, that view arises

Taking the bolded part as P, and the italicised part as Q, would the above proposition be rendered as -

P ⇒ Q

  1. The Non-arising of View proposition

Not appropriating form, not adhering to form, that view does not arise.”

Negating the P and Q, would the above be rendered as -

¬ P ⇒ ¬ Q
implying therefore Q ⇒ P

Given that SN 24.2 proposes that both propositions P ⇒ Q and Q ⇒ P are true of the relationships between P and Q, do you see a valid basis for inferring that there is a logical conjunction P ⇒ Q ∧ Q ⇒ P ?

Thanks in advance.

If I may emit an opinion:

There is no reason to believe the text is this categorical. In fact, it is most probably not.

Yes I believe this time the text is categorical enough to allow for this modus tollens

No, that would mean a sotapanna doesn’t cling to any of the 5Ag ever, since he doesn’t have any such view, ever.

I think the absurdity of this conclusion should be a sign that the text doesn’t mean strictly P ⇒ Q, and just makes a general statement without being mathematically categorical

The outcome of your opinion is that appropriation is not a sufficient cause for the arising of that view.

Is that your position?

If so, might you have a sutta which posits how there may be non-agitation through clinging? Perhaps a variant reading of SN 22.8 that countenances such a 3rd case?

Yes. A sotapanna doesn’t have that view, but s/he still ‘appropriates’ the 5Ag. Seems pretty obvious to me.

Again, you are making absolutist conclusions by taking statements out of their context. The agitation through clinging mentioned at SN 22.8 doesn’t mean that there can be no other form of agitation a sotapanna might be subject to. Otherwise, in addition to not ‘appropriating’ any of the 5Ag, he would be in constant 4th jhana-style non-agitation.

It’s a lot simpler to not always take statements from the suttas so absolutely.

Citation pls. Not the texts citing other forms of appropriation but the ones dealing with appropriating the aggregate (s) as the Self.

In the meantime, how does ¬ P ⇒ ¬ Q allow you to infer from the consequent ¬ Q that P is true? That is after all what you are implying from the non-arising of view.

Indeed. It appears that the suttas in SN 24 exhaust all permutations of agitation. In that case, Q should not be limited to that one agitation of "This is my self " in SN 24.2 but simply cover all types of agitation.

It appears my “absolutist conclusion” is valid.

There might be hard evidence for this in the texts. But I don’t have the time to look for it. Perhaps you could do your own research, owing to the dissonance that the assumption P ⇒ Q entails?

It’s not a logical conclusion from SN 24.2, it’s an opinion based on general consistency with the rest of the suttas, which probably has hard textual evidence on its side. But I already know from past conversations that even that doesn’t count for you.

This is simply not true. Can you quote a single sutta from SN 24 that mentions agitation?

Can I roll my eyes?

Strange. The one who asserts that one can appropriate the Aggregates without Self-Views arising now demands that I locate the evidence for this? It’s fairly obvious that this ploy is nothing more than an attempt to shirk off your obligation to justify your declaration. I hold you beholden to the task of proving your case.

Saying that there is a “dissonance” does not a dissonance make. The fact that P ⇒ Q upsets your survey is not dissonant; it may mean that your survey assumptions are perhaps inconsistent with the textual position.

And while you are at it, pls don’t forget to address my earlier query -

Or are you happy to concede that -

As for this -

I’m all for a holistic/systematic reading of the suttas. Which again requires textual support for your proposition that one can appropriate the Aggregates without giving rise to Self Views. For a sample of the contrary position, we have -

In clinging to form, venerable sir, one is bound by Mara; by not clinging to it one is freed from the Evil One. In clinging to feeling … to perception … to volitional formations … to consciousness one is bound by Mara; by not clinging to it one is freed from the Evil One.
SN 22.63

Appropriation is never without its consequences…

Sigh. You overlooked the point that agitation is the result of Self-Views, which is itself the result of appropriating the Aggregates -

And how, bhikkhus, is there agitation through clinging? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling regards form thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’ That form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“He regards feeling thus … perception thus … volitional formations thus … consciousness thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’ That consciousness of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of consciousness, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.

“It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that there is agitation through clinging.
SN 22.8

Haven’t I cited this sutta in the previous thread?

Well, then, why don’t you start with addressing the topic of this thread and your obligation to justify your unsubstantiated assumption, that you issued first in this conversation:

Because you are pressuring me to justify why I don’t buy your claim above, without bothering justifying that very claim of yours in the first place, while this is the very topic of this thread. First things first. Thanks.

I already did. Your question is irrelevant. My opinion is not based on this particular type of logical deduction. Why should it have to?

Yes, it’s not based on any kind of formal logic in the mathematical style as you seem to cherish. It’s based on broader knowledge and considerations of general consistency.

Nope, that’s not any kind of evidence. I think there is a sutta where mara says even the arupajjhanas are still in his realm since there still is delusion associated with them. Also, Mara still has a good grip on sotapanna Ananda in DN 16.

Oh, alright. So… you can only agree that SN 24 says nothing about agitation per se, right? So now, can I remind you that SN 22.8 only speaks of ‘agitation through clinging’ to views, and that every single sutta of SN 24 is about views? While what you (falsely) claimed was:

It follows that for you ‘all types of agitation’ only means ‘agitation that arises from views’, negating the possibility for any other type of agitation. Speaking of unsubstantiated claims…

Then what it is based on? I’ve asked for the citations, and they are still not forthcoming.

What you are appealing to is not “broader knowledge and considerations of general consistency”, but really a licence to be illogical. You’ve made no attempt to justify the possibility that one can cling to the Aggregates without giving rise to Self-views, and instead relied on ex cathedras.

Am I asking too much in hoping for a reasoning, instead of a mere ex cathedra? In all other suttas that characterise a problem as Mara’s bondage ( baddho mārassa), there does not appear to be any wriggle room for that problem to not lead to its sequel. The problems are clinging (SN 22.63), when conceiving (SN 22.64), when one is delighting (SN 22.65), when one is agitated (SA 21). Is it your position that it is also possible to conceive and not be reborn?

There was a reason why I cited earlier MN 38’s identification of delight with appropriation. It says -

Engaged as he is in favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—he delights in that feeling, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As he does so, delight arises in him. Now delight in feelings is clinging. With his clinging as condition, being comes to be; …

Is it your position that clinging is not a sufficient condition for Existence to arise?

Do the suttas demonstrate any significant interest in other types of agitation about identity that do not arise from Self-views?

Now, let’s take a look at your putative situation where one appropriates the Aggregates as self, but does not suffer the sequel of Self-views arising. Presumably, there will be some natural order underlying this special phenomenon. Taking again P = there is appropriation of the Aggregates as self, and Q = a Self-view arises, this order would be expressed as such -

P ⇒ ¬ Q

This in turn gives us -

Q ⇒ ¬ P

This implies that not-appropriating is a necessary condition for Self-view. Is this a reasonable outcome to allow, based on your opinion? How could such an oxymoron exist? The suttas are clear - Self-view has appropriation of the Aggregates as necessary condition, not non-appropriation.

I have given some reasons, but it was not direct, hard textual evidence. I will provide some when I can. You surely now those things are time consuming. So calm down, I will come back with better answers when I can. In the mean time, please do address the title question of this thread.

:roll_eyes:

I don’t know. I suppose it is. Not sure what this has to do with the title question of this thread or any of my points in the current discussion.

Nope.

Are we discussing ‘agitation about identity’ now? I thought we were discussing ‘all types of agitation’.

No. If you really want to use mathematical formalism, it’s actually just
P ∧ ¬ Q

Which is why this is a strawman

Okay, so I have started fishing a little and just stumbled again on a sutta which I believe I have quoted earlier, but I guess it bears repeating:

SN 22.89
pañcime, āvuso, upādānakkhandhā vuttā bhagavatā, seyyathidaṃ — rūpupādānakkhandho … pe … viññāṇupādānakkhandho. imesu khvāhaṃ, āvuso, pañcasu upādānakkhandhesu na kiñci attaṃ vā attaniyaṃ vā samanupassāmi, na camhi arahaṃ khīṇāsavo; api ca me, āvuso, pañcasu upādānakkhandhesu ‘asmī’ti adhigataṃ, ‘ayamahamasmī’ti na ca samanupassāmī”ti.

“These five aggregates subject to clinging have been spoken of by the Blessed One; that is, the form aggregate subject to clinging … the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging. I do not regard anything among these five aggregates subject to clinging as self or as belonging to self, yet I am not an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed. Friends, the notion ‘I am’ has not yet vanished in me in relation to these five aggregates subject to clinging, but I do not regard anything among them as ‘This I am.’”

So, what is the most likely here:

  • That someone might not ‘appropriate’ any of the 5 Ag while at the same time “the notion ‘I am’ has not yet vanished in [him] in relation to these five aggregates”?

Or

  • That someone in whom the notion ‘I am’ has not yet vanished in relation to the five aggregates still does ‘appropriate’ the 5 Ag?

Now compare SN 22.109

“Pañcime, bhikkhave, upādā­nak­khan­dhā. Katame pañca? Seyyathidaṃ—rūpupā­dā­nak­khan­dho … pe … viñ­ñāṇupā­dā­nak­khan­dho. Yato kho, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako imesaṃ pañcannaṃ upādā­nak­khan­dhā­naṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca assādañca ādīnavañca nissaraṇañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako sotāpanno avini­pāta­dhammo niyato sam­bodhi­parā­yano”ti.

With SN 22.110

“Pañcime, bhikkhave, upādā­nak­khan­dhā. Katame pañca? Seyyathidaṃ—rūpupā­dā­nak­khan­dho … pe … viñ­ñāṇupā­dā­nak­khan­dho. Yato kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu imesaṃ pañcannaṃ upādā­nak­khan­dhā­naṃ samudayañca atthaṅgamañca assādañca ādīnavañca nissaraṇañca yathābhūtaṃ viditvā anupādāvimutto hoti. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, bhikkhu arahaṃ khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anup­patta­sadat­tho parik­khī­ṇa­bhavasaṃ­yojano samma­dañ­ñā­vimutto”ti.

The difference between sotapanna and arahant is that a sotapanna understands those things as they really are, whereas an arahant, having known them as they really are, is liberated by non-‘appropriation’ (nonclinging, anupādāvimutto hoti).

Now, if the sotapanna already does not cling to/appropriate anything, why would he need to get liberated ‘by nonclinging’?