Posts Tagged ‘khandas’

I was drawn to Edward Muzika’s (Edji’s) “Awakening and Descent of Grace” because of the awakening aspect – I have not got far with it yet. But it is interesting.

I can’t as yet get beyond my criticisms so I am going to start with them. True Self. I came across this early on in my life (second childhood). For many years of following the path I wasn’t Buddhist, I saw the path as leading to the True Self – in search of the True Self. At that time I had a mistaken view, I always saw the True Self in some way as mine. It was a higher form of mine, an esoteric form of mine but it was mine. Mine at any level is not a right view. I have always been concerned about approaches which talk of Self even though as I understand it such views of Self are not “mine” – the terminology lends itself to a higher form of mine.

Akin to this criticism I have concerns about terms such as watcher, seer, knower. They are usually referred to as the watcher, the seer, the knower but these are terms which lend themselves to being entities – the knower and the known etc. “What is the knower?” is an obvious question, and the answer might well have an element of personification, and as it is an entity does that personification have an element of I? As such I have concerns about these terms.

As far as I understand advaita and Edji, these terms do not represent “I”. I have no dispute with that. When I used the term True Self and personified it as a higher I, it was because of ignorance. That was a mistake. But now when I hope I am not making such mistakes I become concerned by the terminology, I am not saying that Edji or advaita are saying there is an entity or I present.

This issue prevails throughout. Look at this meme which begins his satsang on consciousness:-

I am pure consciousness, universal consciousness. And later in the talk he says consciousness never dies. This reminds me of my ignorant mistake. I also had a belief at the time – reincarnation. So I developed some unsubstantiated proliferation (sankhara) that we were here to develop wisdom to improve our consciousness, and yet somehow within that proliferation there was a self with no ego.

Let’s examine the two terminologies. There is Buddhadasa’s Buddhism which talks of anatta. There are the 5 khandas with the three systems of body, psyche and self; please note this self is perceived differently to Edji and Advaita – it is the same word used very differently. The khandas are rupa – body, vedana – feelings, sanna – perceptions and memories, sankhara – mental operations and proliferations, and vinnana – consciousness. Here the word vinnana is used very differently to the words “pure consciousness” in Advaita. Here is how I understand how the khandas interact – I think my understanding is in accordance with Buddhadasa. There is consciousness that attaches to the body so that the body functions, this is not always a conscious interaction. When this attachment is more than required – such as through desire, then this attachment forms entities or egos, and if this attachment is held sufficiently these egos contribute to I which is self in Buddhadasa’s self system. Similarly consciousness attachments can form with the other 3 khandas and as that attachment develops becomes egos that contribute to I – self in Buddhadasa’s system. I is basically attachment to the 4 khandas that have occurred over time.

Buddhadasa has a fourth system – the emptiness system; note he uses the word system and I take that word as meaning process rather than being. We cannot be emptiness – sunnata. I use a visualisation to explain how the emptiness system works – this is my own I have no indication anywhere that this is what Buddhadasa would have accepted. The essential process is to remove attachment to the 5 khandas. Consciousness attaches to the 4 khandas through conditioning. Over time we learn to detach from this conditioning, and not to attach to any new conditioning – the visualisation is freeing oneself from the attachment using the mind internally in meditation. Being free from attachment there is freedom to experience emptiness – sunnata, sunnata that “wants to” experience but conditioning through the 5 khandas prevents this. In experiencing there is only experience, there is only emptiness, there is no I experiencing sunnata – emptiness.

The processes that I interpret from Advaita, Edji etc are similar. I am not the body – see meme. Once I go within I see that I am not the body, within there is emptiness that is pure consciousness. I am pure consciousness, pure consciousness is true self. For Buddhadasa there is no I experiencing emptiness, it is emptiness. There is no consciousness vinnana that is only associated with the body. The pure consciousness of Advaita is perhaps more akin to sunnata – the emptiness of Buddhadasa, but then Edji says I am pure consciousness. I as ego cannot be sunnata but the I that is pure consciousness is not ego so can be self. For Buddhadasa the self system is part of I, and is there to be detached from, for Advaita self is pure consciousness.

Is this clear? I don’t know whether it is clear to you. For me the use of a personalised word such as self creates a confusion. Emptiness is an experience that is not to be attached to. I presume Edji’s pure consciousness is not to be attached to yet the word self implies some attachment – maybe. But of course I am biassed as I have accepted Buddhadasa as my teacher/guide. In this I see no reason for using the word self in the way Advaita uses it so long as it is clear that it is pure consciousness only.

But I am going to take this further. Through my younger ignorance I accepted a notion of true self, and got attached to it. I fear such attachment now. Ego is such a risk. If you add further Edji’s approach that you are your own guide – an approach that I like – I often see meditation as my guide, then there is such a risk of ego because there is an I that is pure consciousness that could turn to ego.

I hope this dissection is not proliferation – sankhara, sankhara to be intellectual and different. Mostly I like what Edji says, and would encourage others to listen to him. Edji is much easier to get than Buddhadasa who in my view sees through dogma but is dogma-heavy. When you go through dogma you reach a point of simplicity but do you actually need to go through the confusions of the dogma proliferations in order to understand?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


Khandas and Senses

Posted: 05/12/2015 in Insight, Meditation
Tags: , ,

I have been guilty of flights of fancy for most of my life. The power of my experiences has placed an emphasis on those experiences, this is good, but has encouraged me to rate those experiences as religious (OK) but in a non-human realm. This has been a mistake. I have not touched God.

Having said that, my enemy, intellect, has gained control of the truth, and is trying to negate those experiences. This is far worse because that negation places emphasis on intellect and moves people away from experience. Those experiences are so important because they are the most defining aspect of human experience and if their value is to be reduced by intellect then the robots take over. At present I am in a discussion in which the word analysis comes up repeatedly, what is analysis? I suspect it means any kind of thinking anyone wants it to mean rather than a methodical approach based in reason.

In science early analytical methods have been rejected. When the atom is examined it cannot be broken into constituent parts, and we end up with the almost irrational complexity involving probabilities. Early on in this realisation books by Gary Zukav and Fritjof Capra pointed out many holes in their arguments, I presume science thinks the newer complexities have filled in these holes. I doubt it but cannot prove this. A scientific method that has proven fallible in science is being applied to religion.

On experience all people do not have the same experience, and I contend nor are they intended to. Life is the sum of all consciousnesses, and not all people experience consciousness the same way. In life’s journey we share experiences, we listen to others’ experiences and then form a collective consciousness based on this summative process. All experiences do not fit into our filter, we have to accept another’s experience as being valid. Reason is particularly guilty of filtering out all that is not reason. At the same time, when reason is applied outside its remit, its function, it negates experience there – basically if reason cannot experience it is not valid. Amusing I have just done definitions and reason and insight are mutually exclusive.

Different peoples’ experiences can be a warning to others, and the major warning I throw out is against the ego of reason or intellect. “Intellect – the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters.” It is this ego that made me hit bottom, and come out the other side. How? I was an arrogant maths student with limited awareness. My life was a focus on maths and drink – very limited. This worked at university – just, but when I started work all that was academic was questioned; I was not important – worse I was actually a failure at work. I had invested in the self that was academia and that was proving to be insubstantial. Drink became more and more important, and I hit bottom. After hitting bottom everything was not rosy but I had started on my Path. Erroneously I had seen this Path as being something “unmanifest” but it was not – it was consciousness. My ego was not blocking consciousness, that is Path which is now path. The paths of all people are part of their consciousness. Throughout life self gets in the way of that consciousness blocking it one way or another but not attaching to self is just consciousness coming through.

This is khandas:-

• Rupa – body
• Vedana – feelings
• Sanna – perception
• Sankhara – thought
• Vinnana – consciousness

Previously I had not addressed the importance of vinnana. Because of the power of the experiences I had always sought the personal or self in them. These experiences are rightly powerful but not to be attached to.

What is a jhana? I have avoided this word because I had an ambivalence to jhanas and a perceived jhana competition:-

“jhána: ‘absorption’ (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rúpa-jjhána or rúpávacara-jjhána; s. avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appaná, s. samádhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (s. nívarana). The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammatthána; s. bhávaná). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpáyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arúpa-jjhána orarúpávacara-jjhána). The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:

(1) “Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicára), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.

(2) “After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samádhi), and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha).

(3) “After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, ‘Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind’; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.

(4) “After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhá) and mindfulness.

(5) “Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, ‘Boundless is space’, he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ákásánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
[“By ‘perceptions of matter’ (rúpa-saññá) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves . . . ” (Vis.M. X, 1).

“By ‘perceptions of sense-reactions’ (patigha-saññá) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhána-Vibh . ): ‘What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.’ – Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it” (Vis.M. X, 16).

“Perceptions of variety (ñánatta-saññá) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions” (ib.). Hereby, according to Vis.M. X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]

(6) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea ‘Boundless is consciousness’, he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññánañcáyatana) and abides therein.

(7) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea ‘Nothing is there’, he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ákiñcaññáyatana) and abides therein.

(8) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññá-n’asaññáyatana) and abides therein.”

“Thus the 1st absorption is free from 5 things (i.e. the hindrances, nívarana, q.v.), and 5 things are present (i.e. the factors of absorption; jhánanga). Whenever the monk enters the 1st absorption, there have vanished sensuous desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and scruples, doubts; and there are present: thought-conception (vitakka), discursive thinking (vicára) rapture (píti), joy(sukha), and concentration (samádhi). In the 2nd absorption there are present: rapture, joy and concentration; in the 3rd: joy and concentration; in the 4th: equanimity (upekkhá) and concentration” (Vis.M. IV).

The 4 absorptions of the immaterial sphere (s. above 5-8) still belong, properly speaking, to the 4th absorption as they possess the same two constituents. The 4th fine-material absorption is also the base or starting point (pádaka-jhána, q.v.) for the attaining of the higher spiritual powers (abhiññá, q.v.).

In the Abhidhamma, generally a fivefold instead of a fourfold division of the fine-material absorptions is used: the 2nd absorption has still the constituent ‘discursive thinking’ (but without thought-conception), while the 3rd, 4th and 5th correspond to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, of the fourfold division (s. Tab. I, 9- 13) . This fivefold division is based on sutta texts like A . VIII, 63 .
For the 8 absorptions as objects for the development of insight (vipassaná), see samatha-vipassaná. – Full details in Vis.M. IV-X.

Jhána in its widest sense (e.g. as one of the 24 conditions; s. paccaya 17), denotes any, even momentary or weak absorption of mind, when directed on a single object.”

How does one understand all this? Is there any wonder why there is so much confusion? Somewhere within all of this exists the experiences of the muse, ecstatic erratic meditation, and so on – somewhere the tingling in the air of presence. The only word that truly helps (at the moment) is absorption.

What is clear? Jhana or absorption is a faculty of mind or consciousness, my experiences are khanda and do not require self.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

I am back reading the “Handbook of Mankind”, this was one of the first books I looked at after retiring. Reading the first chapter “Looking at Buddhism”, it strikes me more and more, how did this man arise in Thailand? Or perhaps more succinctly how is this man revered so in Thailand when even cursory reading has to be taken as criticism of practices of Buddhism in Thailand? Thailand’s Buddhist rituals and ceremonies are integral to their practise of Buddhism and yet in this first chapter such approaches are dismissed as not being Buddhism. There is a new Suan Mokh institute in Bangkok, it is ornate. And just recently Suthep has taken orders at Suan Mokh in Surat Thani. For me this was a kiss of death on Suan Mokh. This man was the leader of the populist (but minority) forces that paved the way for the current military dictatorship in Thailand – censorship prohibits saying more. For me it draws into question the relationship of religion and politics. However whilst I am critical of the ornate Bangkok structure, Suan Mokh itself is not ornate. It does have a hall dedicated to the writings of Tan Ajaan, and throughout the wat the kutis etc. are not ornate. A monk can open the door of his kuti and see only Nature.

Ajaan Buddhadasa professed throughout that his work went back to “what the Buddha taught”, of course many claim this. One can simply say that this is only one man’s opinion of “what the Buddha taught” but I like what he writes because he cuts through the bullshit, and this opening chapter of the Handbook is the best example I have read.

Rereading such an erudite work it is interesting to see what grabs you this time around, with such books there is a depth that I cannot ever hope to reach and unlikely to be reached reading just one time. With Tan Ajaan this is particularly so as what he describes can so easily be understood on a more surface level and yet moves to depths I cannot understand. Typically “To attain liberation, we first have to examine things closely in order to come to know and understand their true nature. Then we have to behave in a way appropriate to that true nature” [p7]. From that paragraph underlies what I have said above “It sets no store by rites and ceremonies such as making libations of holy water, or any externals whatsoever, spirits and celestial being included. On the contrary, it depends on reason and insight. Buddhism does not demand conjecture or supposition; it demands that we act in accordance with what our own insight reveals and not take anyone else’s word for anything. If someone comes and tells us something, we must not believe him without question. We must listen to his statement and examine it. Then if we find it reasonable, we may accept it provisionally and set about trying to verify it for ourselves. This is a key feature of Buddhism, which distinguishes it sharply from other world religions” [p7].

I began thinking about Truth after reading this “Consequently, “the Truth” is not quite the same thing for different people” [p8]. At all appropriate levels learning what is what is what it is all about. If your enquiry is genuine then you unearth some of the truth, and if you are a genuine follower of the Path you unearth all the truth your Path could allow. But that truth you learn is only part of the whole truth as you are only part of a whole. To discuss Absolute Truth as attainable is a delusion. If Absolute Truth has any meaning it is the meaning of all the Truth, and if we can only attain part attaining Absolute Truth is a delusion. Tan Ajaan does not refer to Absolute Truth but different truths. But that needs to be considered, the Truth that we can discern can possibly be “conveyed” to others, we might be able to flag a bit of truth in such a way it can be conveyed to others. The raison d’etre is learning what is what, and with learning comes teaching. But essential for a legitimate teaching process is that the student is willing to accept that they are learning and are motivated to learn. In spiritual matters few are willing to accept that. Their egos get in the way and they assume they have learnt and are unwilling to learn from others. It might be true that they are willing to learn from teachers with labels such as orange robes but that is for those with the labels to answer. A teaching process does not follow from the knowledge of what is what it follows only when the student is prepared to listen. For those learning what is what it is their responsibility to be open to those with motivation but this is so hard to judge because it is almost a requirement of those on the spiritual path to claim they want to learn despite the innumerable barriers they put in learning’s path.

I would like to think the following is why I am restarting this blog. “Buddha-Dhamma will enrapture a mind that has developed a taste for it. It can be considered an indispensable form of nourishment too. True, a person still controlled by the defilements continues to desire nourishment by way of the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body and goes in search of it as suits his nature. But there is another part of him, something deeper, that does not demand that sort of nourishment. It is the free or pure element in his mind. It wishes the joy and delight of spiritual nourishment, starting with the delight that results from moral purity. It is the source of contentment for fully enlightened individuals, who possess such tranquillity of mind that defilements cannot disturb them, who possess clear insight into the true nature of all things and have no ambitions with regard to any of them. They are, so to speak, able to sit down without being obliged to run hither and yon like those people to whom the Buddha applied the simile “smoke by night, fire by day” [p17]. The truth is I am unsure. The hormones started to strike two years ago but with acupuncture and a change of diet the worst aspects of hormonal degradation were capped. But what suffers is my day. I know I want to get up at 06.00 but I go to sleep maybe 04.00, and doze during the day too much. This worsened 18 months ago when I damaged my wrist, what I intially thought was a bad sprain turned out to be a small fracture; my age means my wrist will only be 90% healed. Between the two what was pleasant days of meditation, study and the beach have become a shell.

I use the word shell because I go through the motions of meditation, study and beach but I know they are routines because they lack heart. Why has the heart gone out of them? Firstly meditation is not daily, and that provides the backbone; I don’t get up wanting to meditate and this is significantly due to my hormonally-disrupted sleep patterns. The destruction of Gaza provides external demotivation. How can people do that to each other, how can the zionist government and their soldiers do that? There is no excusing the ineffective Palestinian bombing including suicides, but what kind of horrendous occupation means that some of the people are willing to do that. And in this world the majority are against what the zionists are doing. But the 1% have the power, and there is nothing education can do. As an educator I feel powerless, whatever I learn and then teach doesn’t have the desired impact.

The keyword in that last sentence is desire, I desire social change, and I have to detach from that desire but at the moment I cannot. I would like for this study to be a change in me, but it isn’t. It’s not learning for learning’s sake, the learning alone is not driving me – the learning is not enough. And when I am learning and writing I doze!!

“The word “religion” has a broader meaning than the word “morality.” Morality has to do with behavior and happiness, and is basically the same the world over. A religion is a system of practice of a high order. The ways of practice advocated by the various religions differ greatly” [p 20]. It is now late and I am wide awake – thank you hormones. The issue of morality and religion is so important. I can remember when much younger having infuriating rows with a friend, in retrospect I am not pleased with myself concerning the rage I felt with those rows but have now realised that whilst the discussions for me were concerning learning and actually using the discussions to determine a solution I have discovered that the friend was using them as intellectual debate and that a solution was not important. His approach meant that just as we were moving to a possible agreement that would transcend the intellect his approach meant that the intellect could jump in and avoid truth. Over time he might well have attained truth but it was never at the time in conversation with me because of this defence mechanism. I now see my rage as a more legitimate response because I was too young and vital to detach myself from the situation.

One of the frustrations was that when talking of matters of the soul he focussed on morality. At the beginning of my retirement I focussed greatly on sila as a prerequisite for the Path, and I tended to equate soul with sila. Now this was an error. Firstly soul for me is not concerning reincarnation and transmigration, as I cannot be certain I do not accept the existence of such – I cannot experience them. But it is worth discussing sila and soul, and examining the error I made and how it connects with these frustrating arguments. Sila is a Pali word sometimes translated as moral integrity. It is a collected term for 3 parts of magga – the 8-fold path:- Right honesty, Right Livelihood and Right Speech. A few years ago I identified this sila with soul, but this is not the case. The soul I am referring to is a whole lot more. The usage of soul I am describing is about creativity as well as moral integrity – my earliest times on the Path came through creativity hence my usage – transmigration of souls was an intellectual concept for me. What was this creativity? Insight. That description of soul was concerned with Insight which is so much more important than morality. My earlier understanding did not embrace insight the way I do now – I wasn’t meditating. The muse was insight, and the muse and sila are nowhere near the same thing. So why did I previously connect the two – early retirement. Because sila once practised becomes the core of one’s actions and this core could be considered part of insight.

I remember when I started teaching I realised that I was a Teacher – capitalised because teaching was my Path (that teaching and what passes for education in our system have limited connection). Teaching was at the core of my being. I taught in a difficult school, that difficulty being actuated there in the poor behaviour of the students. I was required to act without thinking because of that poor behaviour and I needed for those actions to have professional integrity. They did because I was a Teacher and Teaching was in my core, my soul. Together with the “muse” soul was very real to me, but not known as insight then. This aspect of my argument revolved around the notion that soul and morality were synonymous. No that is not fair. I didn’t understand his argument so it is fair of me to assess what the position was. Albeit my frustration was concerning a perceived failure on tge part of my friend to recognise these two aspects of soul – creativity and the Teaching core as being beyond morality.

So what is creativity and Teaching core now? Here anatta and insight come in. Both are parts of insight but in some ways that does not help understanding. Yes it does but the understanding can go beyond insight. For insight can be perceived as personal, my insight, but insight is not personal. Creativity is not personal, that Teaching core was not personal. Personal requires separation, it requires self but both the muse and the Teacher were beyond self because I was not thinking. In the Teacher the thinking did not happen – I didn’t have the time to think. So if I was not thinking What was acting? No self. When I was writing I tapped into the muse. It is not uncommon for artists to describe their inspiration as coming form outside – hence the term muse which in some ideologies has almost God-like status. But this muse just happened, the self did not think, the construction of the sentences was not an intellectual or logical process but far more. It was Insight or No-self. This is far more than sila.

Yet without sila there is no Insight, moral integrity is required to move beyond the mundane. Without that basic security of moral action then defilement can happen. My confusion was that the Teaching at the core was moral action – Right Livelihood, but it was not it was No-self. But of course No-self is the highest morality – excuse my arrogance!!!

This Muse and the Teacher, they were not self. How can they not be self when I was acting? This brings us to Unity, it is Unity or Being that is acting when there is no self. What does this mean? To understand this requires a level of understanding of Unity or Gaia, and a degree of questioning of separation. There appear separate human individuals because our bodies are separate, questioning this notion of separation appears absurd. But if we consider various unities that appear separate maybe it is not that absurd. the two examples I always use are ants and the sea. When you look at the separate bodies of ants there appears to be uncanny communication, a level of communication and understanding better understood as One Ant with innumerable separate ant bodies but functioning as One. Waves appear to be individual and could easily be thought of as separate from the sea but once a wave rises and falls we know it is just sea. Humanity is born and dies in the same way, apparently separate selves but in reality just One Being of human bodies. When there is no self there is only the One Being acting through separate bodies. This is the Nature of Being of which our apparent separate selves are a part.

So there is a clear question, if this is the reality why do we think we are separate? And the answer is in the question, what thinks we are separate? Our separate minds think we are separate, our minds create the illusion of self. So when we talk of anatta we are talking of no mind.

But that sounds absurd as well – no mind. Once the mind kicks into action in whatever way self is created. Our minds prevent Being from acting through us. This is explained in the doctrine of paticcasammupadha – somehow. Here is my current stab.

It is better not to think of mind as an entity because thinking of mind creates separation. If there is no mind what is there? Khandas. These khandas are translated as aggregates, in other words the aggregate of the khandas is the human. In other words there is no self but khandas. So why not have my khandas? The self’s khandas? Having the concept of khandas themselves we have not resolved separation.

At the basis of paticcasammupada is that everything arises through cause and effect – conditions. Cause acts on the khandas producing effects, this arises because of the cause and not because of a self. In thinking of no-self this intellectually makes sense but I don’t feel it as truth. This is how I feel about all the stages of dependent arising and khandas. It is intellectual dogma to me despite it being the truth. I need to move it beyond intellectal dogma to understanding.

5 khandas :- rupa – body, Vedana – Feelings, Sanna Perception, Sankhara Thoughts,Vinnana Consciousness

The twelve nidanas and their causal relationships can be expressed as follows:

Paticcasammupada – English terms (wikipedia)

With Ignorance as condition, Mental Formations arise
With Mental Formations as condition, Consciousness arises
With Consciousness as condition, Mind and Matter arise
With Mind and Matter as condition, Sense Gates arise
With Sense Gates as condition, Contact arises
With Contact as condition, Feeling arises
With Feeling as condition, Craving arises
With Craving as condition, Clinging arises
With Clinging as condition, Becoming arises
With Becoming as a condition, Birth arises
With Birth as condition, Aging and Dying arise

As an intellectual system the khandas and paticcasammupada can explain that there is no need for self. But it is only a belief or faith unless it is understood, and as far as I am concerned there is no faith.

I continue slipping into the old patterns of writing for teaching as if the purpose of the writing is to teach. Teaching is a consequitor of learning and occurs only when the learner wants the teacher; writing only has a learning purpose. This is particularly true of blogging, the meat on the bones of insight.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

I have been working through my blogs to try to make my writings more accessible (discussed here).

There is an issue of separation that is causing me concern. To me understanding anatta is completely important, I both believe in anatta and am beginning to understand it – the first not being important.

So somehow I am looking for no-self, an apparently infeasible notion. This means I am trying to get rid of self (a sentence with a language problem already). So self arises because I become attached to various experiences that in Buddhism would be described as khandas, as a result I build up I – self. So I try not to attach but attachment occurs – attachment that could be called clinging. In about I could have given these as separate tags – anatta attachment and clinging, but I have called it anatta; as anatta was something I began to understand through Ajaan Buddhadasa this is discussed a great deal on the Tan Ajaan page as well as at the tag anatta.

But then everything on my Path is anatta, so is that my only tag for everything? An important area for me in blogging is the ego’s misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes. This arises from an establishment education process that focuses on presenting information or ideas, and not on the importance of creativity – mainly insight. There is an Insight page. Note my description as misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes arising from miseducation, I am not dismissing the processes of reason etc. out of hand but stating that the emphasis is misplaced. This lack of balance is common-place amongst those whose ego dominates – especially in western education. I was in discussions with one person in academia who was trying to seek insight. I noticed an inability to delineate between insight and intellect processes, and in his case he was unwilling to stop clinging to his descriptions of the academic intellect despite his desire to understand insight. But I will always remember an observation he made, he said my blogs were intellectual. Because my blogs often develop from an insight in meditation, I was initially emotionally offended but then I realised how helpful that comment was. Once you write the blogs (express the insight) they become ideas, they become static. The learning has moved beyond insight into ideation, and at that point need to be let go. Academia develops a process of clinging to ideas. It is the ideas that they write about, it is the ideas of the professor that the climbers adhere to to keep their jobs.

There are other academic processes such as dialogue. Dialogue is a wonderful means to an end, it is the way we learn from each other. But there has to be a purpose to this dialogue, and that is a mutual desire for learning from each other – it helps with enquiry. I prefer to think of dialogue as a genuine enquiry to reach a mutual conclusion. There are several ways that ego interrupts this process. Firstly the dialogue is entered with a view of imparting ideas, the person clings to their ideas and measures the quality of the dialogue by the way in whch the ideas are imparted to the other. It is a one-way process where the ideas are intractable; is this enquiry? I noticed one such intellectual process in which a dialogue would start and then halted on one side, nothing mutual about the dialogue; this was very frustrating and to this day I can see only limited value to this process. Fear can prevent this genuine enquiry through dialogue, a fear of losing the ideas that are being clung to, an intellectual fear. With insight such a fear does not exist because the ideas are not important, not being clung to, the enquiry and insight are all that matter.

In our society a significant group of ideas are our belief systems, and clinging to our belief systems as religion is a major cause of contention. Religious discussions become heated because one belief is considered superior to another and some are prepared to fight wars accordingly. It is necessary to move beyond the ideas of the belief system through genuine enquiry into the real understanding that is at the esotoric core of all religions but few of the religious establishment are willing to do that. Nor do they encourage their practitioners to do the same, so a religion becomes a belief system that is entrenched and a cause of violence. It is amazing to see in history religion being used as an excuse for war when at the core of all religions is peace, such practices are a clear demonstration of the dangers of clinging to ideas.

Belief systems occur around religions as well. On the alternative scene people are asked to have faith in all kinds of things – angels, elves, tree spirits and many such. There is belief in ghosts, after-life and so on with all kinds of consequences that come from clinging to such ideas. If you have experienced such then it is real, if there is no such experience then it is not. Theosophy is one such example. Madame Blavatsky, through automatic writing, wrote much in The Secret Doctrine, Leadbetter says that he sees chakras and we should have faith in his sight. Why? Why should we believe any of that? More importantly what is the point in studying such? It is just a bunch of ideas, they may be true for Madame Blavatsky and Leadbetter but does that make them true for others? I strongly recommend anyone to come to terms with their own experience of chakras, that experience has been beneficial for me. But it is up to you, your insight your experience.

Idea systems occur in other ways. In the 4 Agreements we are encouraged to recognise that our education is but a dream, a set of ideas that our upbringings encourage us to fall in line with – agree with. This dream includes mores, customs, delusions, beliefs, idea systems etc. Our education, instead of equipping us with insight, fills us with ideas and an acceptance of the status quo. In one way this is useful as mutually accepting ideas and status quo can produce stability. But on the other hand if we accept a system that is harmful to others then that is dangerous. Our education has been hijacked so that the status quo that we are taught to accept is in fact the corporate paradigm, in other words we are taught to accept that we will be wage-slaves in order to increase the phenomenal wealth of a few individuals. Further in accepting the paradigm we ultimately accept that wars will be fought in order to help increase the wealth of those individuals. By accepting the dream we agree to war. Through enquiry we can learn to see what that dream is and reject it.

But here is an important rub. What happens to those people who begin to reject the dream? Where do they go? They run to alternative belief systems, and replace the dream they have from their upbringing with another dream. This new dream, one such description might be rejecting the corporate paradigm, might well be a more accurate description of what is happening, but it is so important for such people to see that they are replacing one dream with another, one set of ideas with another, one belief system with another. And one worse characteristic of such replacements is vehemence. The Trots replace their indoctrinated acceptance of capitalism with vehement diatribes about socialism. You must, you must, you must. Others who have rejected the system’s dream replace it with other idea systems and then say “you must, you must, you must”. I have a you must “Insight and Enquiry through Meditation”. To me it feels imperative that people replace their dream with these three yet by insisting on them I am also creating idea systems so from me there is no “you must”. There is a dream we grow up with, there are alternative dreams that we can accept but what if there was a state of being in which there is constant enquiry, not clinging to any ideas? What if through meditation or otherwise we could develop minds in which continuous insight was a way of perceiving all the idea systems that we come in contact with?

Clinging to ideas is what an intellectual does. People who believe in belief systems do the same, some of those belief systems are religions. But it is the intellectual adherence to a set of ideas that is common throughout. All of this on intellect, religion and belief systems I have tagged as “intellectual”, yet this intellect is part of clinging and this clinging starts to disappear if we start to understand anatta.

Here is an image. There is an inner world and an outer world, at the boundary between the inner and outer are sets of ideas. We cling to this surface of ideas because we are afraid to make the journey inner. It is comfortable to do what we are told, to live our lives as others do, to conform, to live on the surface. But that comfort has been rocked because accepting the way things are means accepting war and hurting others. An inner journey will hopefully put an end to such acceptance; all of this is summarised in tags – anatta, intellectual and coorporatocracy. Anatta – inner, intellectual – surface, corporatocracy – outer.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.


Posted: 14/09/2013 in Buddhadasa, Insight
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Online there was a discussion about sankhara – I call sankhara mental formations, it is one of the 5 khandas. The discussion concerned whether there were sankhara without self.
….more on Buddhadasa page

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Discussing the 5th agreement and anatta ….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Looking at kamma

Posted: 07/07/2013 in Buddhadasa, ONE planet
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Looking at kamma ….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Instinct creates self….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.


Posted: 20/06/2013 in Insight
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Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Where is I?

Posted: 10/06/2013 in Buddhadasa
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Where is I? ….more on Buddhadasa page