Author Topic: Arhats & the Dharmakaya  (Read 548 times)

Offline Kodo308

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Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« on: May 17, 2017, 09:35:10 am »
In a recent Tibetan Gelug class, the Geshe instructing stated that in Theravada Buddhism it was believed that the mental continuum of an arhat ceased at the time of death. This was made in the context of discussion about the Dharmakaya, & its ability to take any form needed, that Buddha can appear to someone if that is what they need.

There was also talk of an arhat path & a bodhisattva path w/in Theravada, & that most practitioners took the arhat path. This seems rather strange to me. IN any case, could the Theravadans here w/heavy philosophical study & understanding illuminate what is held for the course of an arhat's mental continuum after death of the body?

Offline pureleaf

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2017, 01:18:42 pm »
Don't say that, friend Yamaka. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.'
Yamaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.085.than.html
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 01:31:06 pm by pureleaf »

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 01:52:08 pm »
Don't say that, friend Yamaka. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.'
Yamaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.085.than.html



A very succinct quote, thank you.  :namaste:

Am I correct in saying that the monk would cease, but not the mental continuum (however that is expressed)?

Offline pureleaf

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 03:39:41 pm »
A monk does exist after death.

(paraphrasing)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 03:51:25 pm by pureleaf »

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 03:42:19 pm »
Am I correct in saying that the monk would cease, but not the mental continuum (however that is expressed)?

Mental continuum is a Skandha and will disolve at the moment of physical death

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 07:29:47 am »
Am I correct in saying that the monk would cease, but not the mental continuum (however that is expressed)?

Mental continuum is a Skandha and will disolve at the moment of physical death

Mental consciousness is a skandha, mental continuum I understand differently.
What continues after death then? How is it expressed in Theravadan understanding?

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 07:35:30 am »
Am I correct in saying that the monk would cease, but not the mental continuum (however that is expressed)?

Mental continuum is a Skandha and will disolve at the moment of physical death

Mental consciousness is a skandha, mental continuum I understand differently.
What continues after death then? How is it expressed in Theravadan understanding?

I'm not a Theravadin.  Best let one of them address that.

To suggest that something "continues"  is eternalism.   The Buddha taught against that.

How does a Soto priest not know this?

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2017, 10:02:16 am »
Mental continuum is not an inherently existent, unitary, partless entity. It is more in the nature of a river, as in you can't put your foot in the same river twice.

I don't think my vows (or your vows) is particularly relevant to this discussion.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2017, 01:05:53 pm »
Am I correct in saying that the monk would cease, but not the mental continuum (however that is expressed)?

Mental continuum is a Skandha and will disolve at the moment of physical death

Mental consciousness is a skandha, mental continuum I understand differently.
What continues after death then? How is it expressed in Theravadan understanding?

I'm not a Theravadin.  Best let one of them address that.

To suggest that something "continues"  is eternalism.   The Buddha taught against that.

How does a Soto priest not know this?

I find the term mental continuum a more accurate way to refer to mind, which is too easily construed as something static, and unitary.

you might find this of interest...Berzin on how mental continuums perpetuate themselves.
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/lam-rim/impermanence-death/how-mental-continuums-perpetuate-themselves

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 08:23:49 am »


I find the term mental continuum a more accurate way to refer to mind, which is too easily construed as something static, and unitary.


I object to the term continuum although I agree that mind is not static or unitary.

"Dynamic" is a better term, I think.  It speaks of constant change.  Continuum speaks of eternalism - something continues.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 09:13:45 am »
That's fine. I'm using the terminology we use in our discussions.

How do you express reincarnation, what continues from incarnation to incarnation?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 10:26:51 am »
Quote
Kodo308:  "Mental consciousness is a skandha, mental continuum I understand differently.
What continues after death then? How is it expressed in Theravadan understanding?"

I am not aware that Buddha addressed this directly.  I don't recall any suttas, which ever spoke of a continuum.

In the commentaries I do recall they spoke of an "effect" moving on from one life-time to the next (Post Mortem Rebirth).  Generally, for example, if you or I died with some sort of an attitude towards this or that, that "attitude" is what would move on to the next life.  Specifically, if your parents were Buddhists, chances are that you would be a Buddhist, too.

The analogy, which is used is a flame being passed from one candle wick to the next.  The candles do not move on from one candle-service to the next, but the flame can be passed on.

Buddha taught egolessness, not rebirth, nor reincarnation:

Quote
In the Visuddhi Magga it is therefore said:


Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found.
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there,
Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.
The path is, but no traveller on it is seen.

Another example of Buddha's teaching on egolessness :  The Chariot


Quote
"Whenever different parts, as axle, wheels, frame, pole, etc., are combined in a certain manner, we use the conventional designation 'chariot.' But if we examine one part after the other, we cannot, in the ultimate sense, discover anything that can be called a chariot." It is likewise with the five groups of existence (khandha). If they are present, one uses the conventional designation "being" or "personality," etc. But if we examine each phenomenon in its ultimate sense, there is nothing that can form a basis for such conceptions as "I am" and "I." Hence in the ultimate sense only mental and physical phenomena exist.

(Through sense-impression is conditioned feeling — thus it is said in the formula of Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppaada):
"But who, Venerable One, is it that feels?"

"This question is not proper," said the Exalted One. "I do not teach that there is one who feels. If however the question is put thus: 'Conditioned through what, does feeling arise?' then the answer will be: 'Through sense-impression is feeling conditioned... through feeling, craving; through craving, clinging...'"

— SN 12.12

Of Old Age and Death

Quote
But what are old age and death, and to whom do they belong? I do not teach that there is one thing called old age and death, and that there is someone to whom they belong. Verily if one holds the view that life (jiiva: life principle, soul, etc.) is identical with the body, in that case there can be no holy life. And if one holds the view that life is one thing but body another thing, also in that case a holy life is impossible. Avoiding both of these extremes (i.e., complete identity and complete otherness), the Perfect One has taught the doctrine that lies in the middle, namely: Through rebirth conditioned are old age and death;... Through the (karmical) process of becoming, rebirth;... through clinging the process of becoming;... through craving, clinging;... through feeling, craving; etc.

— SN 12.35

More from The Vissudi Magga

Quote
Visuddhi Magga quotes:


From woe and sorrow springs delusive thinking.
No first beginning of existence can be seen.
No doer can be found, nor one that reaps the fruits
And twelvefold empty is the cycle of rebirth,
And steadily the wheel of life rolls on and on.
Better it would be to consider the body as the "ego," rather than the mind. And why? Because this body may last for 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years, even for 100 years and more. But that which is called "mind," "consciousness," "thinking," arises continuously, during day and night, as one thing, and as something different again it vanishes. Now, here the learned and noble disciple considers thoroughly the Dependent Origination: If this is, then that becomes. Through the arising of this, that comes to arise; through the extinction of this, that becomes extinguished, namely: Through ignorance conditioned arise the karma-formations; through the karma-formations, consciousness (in next life); through consciousness, corporeality and mind;... through the extinction of ignorance, the karma-formations become extinguished; through the extinction of the karma-formations, consciousness... etc.

— SN 12.61

Corporeality... feeling... perception... mental formations... and consciousness are impermanent...woeful... egoless, be they of the past or the future, not to mention the present. Understanding thus, the learned and noble disciple does no longer cling to things past, and he enters the path leading to the turning away therefrom, to detachment and extinction.

— SN 22.9-11

The five groups of existence are impermanent, woeful, and egoless. And also the causes and conditions of the arising of these groups of existence are impermanent, woeful, and egoless. How could that which has arisen through something impermanent, woeful, and egoless as its root, be itself permanent, joyful, and an ego?

— SN 22.18-20

All those ascetics and priests, who again and again in manifold ways belief in an ego (attaa), they all do so with regard to the five groups of existence, or to one of them, namely:

There the ignorant worldling... considers one of the five groups as the ego; or the ego as the owner of that group, or that group as included in the ego, or the ego as included in that group.

— SN 22.47

Now, someone holds the view: This is my "ego," this is the world. After death I shall remain permanent, steady, eternal, and not be subject to any change. This eternity-view is one karma-formation.

(This is the second link in the formula of the Dependent Origination, and signifies here the unwholesome volitional action accompanied by wrong views and ignorance.)

But through what is this karma-formation conditioned? It is the craving which has arisen in the ignorant worldling while being impressed by a feeling conditioned through an infatuated sense-impression. It is through this craving (ta.nhaa) arisen hereby, that the karma-formulation has arisen. Hence that karma-formation is impermanent, created, and has conditionally arisen. In one who thus understands, thus sees, the immediate extinction of biases (aasava) takes place. Again, someone holds the view: "May I not be! May there nothing belong to me! I shall not be! Nothing will belong to me!" Also this annihilation-view is a karma-formation... is impermanent, created, and conditionally arisen. In one who thus understands, thus sees, the immediate extinction of biases takes place.

— SN 22.81

To the monk Yamaka once the following wrong view had arisen: "Thus do I understand the doctrine shown by the Blessed One that he in whom all Biases have vanished at the dissolution of the body after death, will become annihilated and will no longer exist after death."

[Sariputta:] "What do you think, Brother Yamaka, are corporeality... feeling... perception... mental formations... or consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, venerable sir."

"Now, do you consider corporeality etc., as the Perfect One?"

"No, venerable sir."

"Or do you consider the Perfect One as contained therein?"

"No, venerable sir."

"Or do you consider all these groups combined as the Perfect One?"

"No, venerable sir."

"Or do you think that the Perfect One is without corporeality, or without feeling, without perception, without mental formations, without consciousness?"

"No, venerable sir."

"Now, since you cannot, even during life-time, make out the Perfect One according to truth and reality, how can you rightly maintain that the Perfect One will, at the dissolution at the body, become annihilated and no longer continue after death?

"Should someone asked me, what will become of the Holy One, I should answer thus: 'Corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness are impermanent; and what is impermanent, that is woeful; and what is woeful, that will become extinguished and annihilated.'"

— SN 22.85

(Hence, it is only these five groups of phenomena embracing all existence whatever, which are here to be considered, while the designations "Perfect One," "I," "ego," "self," "person," "man," "animal," etc. are merely conventional terms, not referring to any real entities. And the so-called pure ego is merely a metaphysical fiction or hypothesis.)

Five groups of existence forming the objects of attachment have been taught by the Blessed One: corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness.

With regard to these five groups I do not find any ego (attaa), or something "belonging to an ego" (attaniya), but still I am not yet a Holy One, not yet freed from biases. Also concerning these groups of existence liable to attachment, I am no longer subject to the thoughts of "I am," or "this I am."

— SN 22.89

The world, as a rule, is fettered by attachment and clinging to things, and is firmly adhering to them. But the learned and noble disciple does no longer attach himself, cling, and firmly adhere and incline to the thoughts: "I have an ego (attaa)," and he knows: "Merely woe is it that arises, merely woe that vanishes."

— SN 22.90

Suppose a man who is not blind beheld the many bubbles on the Ganges as they drive along; and he watched them, and carefully examined them. After carefully examining them, they will appear to him empty, unreal, and unsubstantial. In exactly the same way does the monk behold all corporeal phenomena, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and states of consciousness, whether past, present, or future; one's own or external; gross or subtle; lofty or low; far or near. And he watches them, and examines them carefully; and after examining them, they appear to him empty, unreal and unsubstantial...


The body's like a lump of foam,
The feeling like a water-bubble,
Perception like a void mirage,
Formations like a plantain tree,
And consciousness like jugglery.
— SN 22.95

There is no corporeality, no feeling, no perception, no mental formation, no consciousness that is permanent, enduring, and lasting, and that, not subject to any change, will eternally remain the same. If there existed such an ego that is permanent, enduring, and lasting and not subject to any change, then a holy life leading to complete extinction of suffering will not be possible.

— SN 22.96

Once the contemplation of impermanency has been developed and has attained full growth then it will overcome all craving for sensuous existence, all craving for fine-material existence, all craving for immaterial existence; it will overcome and uproot all conceit of "I am."

— SN 22.102

(Only on reaching perfect Holiness, all conceit of "I am" will disappear forever.)

The learned and noble disciple does not consider corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations or consciousness as the ego; nor the ego as the owner of one of these groups, nor this group as included within the ego, nor the ego as included within this group.

Of such a learned and noble disciple it is said that he is no longer fettered by any group of existence, his own or external:

Thus I say.

— SN 22.117

...It is possible that a virtuous man, while contemplating the five groups of existence as impermanent, woeful... empty, egoless, may realize the fruit of stream-entrance...

— SN 22.122

The noble disciple who out of faith has gone forth from home to the homeless life, has with regard to the five groups of existence, to fulfil the task of living in contemplation of their impermanency, woefulness, and egolessness. And while penetrating these things, he becomes freed therefrom, freed from rebirth, old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, grief, and despair, becomes freed from suffering: thus I say.

— SN 22.147f

"What must exist, and what must be the condition, that such views may arise as 'This is my ego, this the world. After death I shall continue, be everlasting, eternal, not subject to any change'?"

"The five groups of existence must exist... that such views may arise."

"What do you think: Are these five groups permanent or are they impermanent?"

"Impermanent, venerable sir."

"But what is impermanent, is that joyful or woeful?"

"Woeful, venerable sir."

"But based on that which is impermanent, woeful, and subject to change, may (rightly) arise such views as: 'This is my ego, this the world. After death I shall continue, be everlasting, eternal, not subject to any change'?"

"No, venerable sir."

— SN 22.151

(In SN 22.47 it was stated, in a more general way, that any kind of ego-illusion is necessarily based upon the five groups of existence. Here, however, the same is said with special reference to the eternity-views.)

The visible objects are egoless (anattaa); sounds, odors, tastes, bodily impressions, and mind-objects are egoless. But of that which is egoless, one has, according to reality and true wisdom to know thus: "That am I not, that does not belong to me, that is not my ego"...

— SN 35.6

What is the totality of things?

Eye and visible objects, ear and sounds, nose and odors, tongue and tastes, body and bodily impressions, mind and mind-objects: these are called the totality of things.

— SN 35.23

All things are egoless. All things one has to comprehend fully [first truth], all things one has to overcome [second truth], all things one has to know directly...

— SN 35.45-49

It is said that the world is empty. But why does one call the world empty?

Because the world is empty of an ego (attaa), and of something belonging to the ego (attaniya), therefore the world is called empty. But which are the things that are empty of an ego?

Empty of an ego are eye and visible objects, ear and sounds, nose and odors, tongue and tastes, body and bodily impressions, mind and mind-objects.

— SN 35.85

One should not imagine oneself of being identical with the eye, should not imagine oneself of being included within the eye, should not imagine oneself of being outside the eye, should not imagine oneself: "The eye belongs to me."

One should not imagine oneself of being identical with the visible objects, should not imagine oneself of being included within the visible objects, should not imagine oneself of being outside the visible objects, should not imagine: "The visible objects belong to me."

One should not imagine oneself of being identical with eye-consciousness, should not imagine oneself of being included within eye-consciousness, should not imagine oneself of being outside of eye-consciousness, should not imagine: "The eye-consciousness belongs to me."...

One should not imagine oneself of being identical with the totality of things...

Thus not imagining any more, the wise disciple clings no longer to anything in the world. Clinging no longer to anything he trembles not. Trembling no longer, he reaches in his own person the extinction of all vanity: "Exhausted is rebirth, lived the holy life; and no further existence have I to expect;" thus he knows.

— SN 35.90

Consciousness (mind) is egoless. Also the causes and conditions of the arising of consciousness, they likewise are egoless. Then, how could it be possible that consciousness, having arisen through something which is egoless, could ever be an ego?

— SN 35.141

Whoso understands and contemplates the mind as egoless, in him the ego-view disappears. Whoso understands and contemplates as egoless (anattaa) the mind-objects... mind-consciousness... mind-impression... and the agreeable, disagreeable, and indifferent feeling conditioned through mind-impression, in him the ego-view disappears...

— SN 35.163

... Just as this body has in various ways been revealed, disclosed and explained as egoless, in exactly the same way one should explain also mind as egoless...

— SN 35.193

... "Empty village" is the name for the six sense-organs. Thus whenever an experienced, learned, and wise man examines the six sense-organs, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind-organ, then all these things appear to him as delusive, empty and deceitful...

— SN 35.197

"I am" is a delusion. "This I am" is a delusion. "Corporeal shall I be" is a delusion. "Uncorporeal shall I be" is a delusion. "Endowed with perception shall I be" is a delusion. "Without perception shall I be" is a delusion. "Neither with nor without perception shall I be" is a delusion. Delusion is a sickness, an ulcer, a thorn.

— SN 35.207

... What is the mind-deliverance of emptiness (su~n~nataa)? There the monk repairs to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty hut. And he contemplates thus: "Empty is all this of an ego and of anything belonging to an ego"...

— SN 46.7

... If one develops the contemplation of impermanency... of egolessness due to woefulness, then all these contemplations are leading to higher blessing...

— SN 46.72

Do not think such evil, unwholesome thoughts as "Life and body are identical"; or "Life is one thing, but another is the body'; or 'Does the Perfect One live after death?"; "or not?";... and why should one not think such thoughts? Because such thoughts are not profitable, do not belong to the genuine holy life, do not lead to the turning away and detachment, not to extinction, appeasement, enlightenment, and Nirvana.

— SN 56.8








What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 10:49:26 am »
Thanks.

I've found other resources, so I thank you for your time.  :namaste:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 11:16:27 am »
That's fine. I'm using the terminology we use in our discussions.

How do you express reincarnation, what continues from incarnation to incarnation?

I don't believe in "reincarnation" and the Buddha didn't teach it either as it expresses eternalism.

Rebirth is another thing.

I always cite Trungpa Rinpoche on this.  He was asked by a student just what is reborn.  He responded "Our bad habits".

Offline Kodo308

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Re: Arhats & the Dharmakaya
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 12:07:36 pm »
I don't believe in "reincarnation" and the Buddha didn't teach it either as it expresses eternalism.

Rebirth is another thing.

I always cite Trungpa Rinpoche on this.  He was asked by a student just what is reborn.  He responded "Our bad habits".

OK, so what happens after the bad habits are purified, the monk becomes an arahant, & then dies? I think you do understand what I'm trying to get at here, semantics aside.

I ask because the other day in lamrim class the statement was made that the belief is once an arahant dies, that's it. The mental continuum (as we express it) is cut off, no arising as a bodhisattva or buddha possibility. And I thought that must be some kind of misunderstanding of the position of the Theravadans. So I came here to check.

Does the Theravadan tradition hold that the Buddha (dharmakaya)is still...aargh...available? This is where language becomes really annoying.

 


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