AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

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PeterC
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AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by PeterC »

This section is a little more complex. It starts off with a discussion of the avijnapti, which is a special form of rupa that contains (if I understand it correctly) non-manifest action. Then it goes into a discussion of the mahabhutas - the primary elements of earth, water, fire and wind. Avijnapti is formed by the elements. The discussion on the elements makes sense, but it's a little unclear why we need to have avijnapti in the theory at all.
11. There is a serial continuity also in a person whose mind is distracted, or who is without mind, pure or impure, in dependence on the primary elements: this is called the avijnapti.
(Footnote) …this can be translated as ‘non-information’ or ‘non-informative’. This is an action which does not cause anything to be known to another, and in this it resembles mental action; but it is matter (rupa), in that it resembles bodily and vocal action. We shall see that the Sautrantikas and Vasubandhu do not admit the existence of a specific dharma called the avijnapti.
(Commentary) “One whose mind is distracted” is one who has a mind different from the mind that provoked the avjnapti – for example, a bad mind when the avijnapti has been provoked by a good mind.
The definition is relatively clear. The clarification is not. The avijnapti is morally neutral, because it is produced by a non-conscious mind - ok. but what does the example about a bad mind vs. avijnapti provoked by a good mind mean?
(Commentary) ”One without mind” is one who has entered into one of the aborptions of non-consciousness called asamjnisamapatti and nirodhasamapatti”
“Also in a person…”: the word “also” indicates that avijnapti also exists in a person with a non-distracted mind, and in a person whose mind is not in the two absoptions.
If I recall correctly, vijnapti is actions of the body and the speech. Avijnapati is not perceived by others. (Doesn't that put it in a different category from all the other rupas?)
(Commentary) This serial continuity, while being by its nature matter and action – like vijnapti, bodily and vocal action – nevertheless does nothing by way of informing another as vijnapti does.
“Is called”, in order to show that the author here expresses the opinion of the Vaibhasikas, and not his own.
I’m still unclear as to why this definition is needed in the overall scheme. But since Vasubandhu doesn’t think it functions like this, let’s continue. This was an interesting section because it is, shall we say, a functional definition of the elements.
12a-b. The primary elements are the elementary substance “earth, and the elementary substances “water”, “fire” and wind”.
There is a long footnote explaining that the mahabhutas (the elements) are considered dhatu because they are the origin of all rupadharmas.
12c. They are proven to exist by the actions of support, etc.
The functions of the elements are support (earth), cohesion (water), ripening (fire) and expansion (wind). So the defining feature cited here, the proof of their existence, is their action.
12d. They are solidity, humidity, heat and motion.
Again the sequence here corresponds to the sequence of the elements above.
13a. In common usage, what is designated by the word “earth” is color and shape.
13b. The same for water and fire.
(Commentary) That is, when one sees earth, one sees its color and its shape.
So the basis of designation is the perceptible attributes, consistent with the preceding discussion. But this then becomes a problem for wind, which has no color or shape.
13c. Wind is either the wind element,
13d. Or else color and shape.
(Footnote) Two opinions…as to whether the wind is visible or not.
It would seem fairly obvious that one cannot see the wind, except in its actions on other objects. So this way of defining the elements in terms of perceptible qualities doesn’t appear to work. Perhaps this isn’t a major gap in the theory as he doesn’t appear to go into it any further.

I’m still a little unclear about the need for avijnapti-rupa in the theory. Is it essentially the function of unconscious thought? What need does it fill in the overall theory? It clearly doesn’t have the same characteristics or mechanism of action as the other rupas.

I’ll pause at this point. The discussion of the elements made sense, but the discussion of avijnapti-rupa didn’t, really.
Malcolm
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:13 pm This section is a little more complex. It starts off with a discussion of the avijnapti, which is a special form of rupa that contains (if I understand it correctly) non-manifest action. Then it goes into a discussion of the mahabhutas - the primary elements of earth, water, fire and wind. Avijnapti is formed by the elements. The discussion on the elements makes sense, but it's a little unclear why we need to have avijnapti in the theory at all.
Vows, that’s the only reason for the introduction of this type of matter. As I said, this is discussed more fully at the beginning of chapter 4.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother contributing to this discussion, even though I am the only person here who has actually received teachings on this text in its entirety.
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Losal Samten
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

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Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:00 pmSometimes I think I shouldn’t bother contributing to this discussion, even though I am the only person here who has actually received teachings on this text in its entirety.
Chin up, bro! Your Dharma posts are always appreciated, even if people don't express it enough!.
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PeterC
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

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Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:00 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:13 pm This section is a little more complex. It starts off with a discussion of the avijnapti, which is a special form of rupa that contains (if I understand it correctly) non-manifest action. Then it goes into a discussion of the mahabhutas - the primary elements of earth, water, fire and wind. Avijnapti is formed by the elements. The discussion on the elements makes sense, but it's a little unclear why we need to have avijnapti in the theory at all.
Vows, that’s the only reason for the introduction of this type of matter. As I said, this is discussed more fully at the beginning of chapter 4.
Thanks - that makes sense. So it’s the formation of karma from intent?
Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother contributing to this discussion, even though I am the only person here who has actually received teachings on this text in its entirety.
That is exactly why we need you to contribute to this - for those of us going through it for the first time, it’s not all easy
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Caoimhghín »

Could the wind that is seen refer to smoke, fog, or mist?
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
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PeterC
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by PeterC »

Caoimhghín wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:58 pm Could the wind that is seen refer to smoke, fog, or mist?
Fog, smoke and mist would have been covered within the twenty-fold classification of visible matter in 10a - ie as visible forms. So I guess yes?
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

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Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:00 pmVows, that’s the only reason for the introduction of this type of matter. As I said, this is discussed more fully at the beginning of chapter 4.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother contributing to this discussion, even though I am the only person here who has actually received teachings on this text in its entirety.
I thoroughly appreciate your input. Please stick around for us dummies.

Truth is that you have already answered to this question in the sections I had commented on.

So you believe we should just power through these sections since they are explained more fully in other chapters?

Up to which section/chapter/verse?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Grigoris
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Grigoris »

PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:21 pmThanks - that makes sense. So it’s the formation of karma from intent?
Vasubandhu made it clear earlier that intent is basically EVERYTHING.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Malcolm
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:21 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:00 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:13 pm This section is a little more complex. It starts off with a discussion of the avijnapti, which is a special form of rupa that contains (if I understand it correctly) non-manifest action. Then it goes into a discussion of the mahabhutas - the primary elements of earth, water, fire and wind. Avijnapti is formed by the elements. The discussion on the elements makes sense, but it's a little unclear why we need to have avijnapti in the theory at all.
Vows, that’s the only reason for the introduction of this type of matter. As I said, this is discussed more fully at the beginning of chapter 4.
Thanks - that makes sense. So it’s the formation of karma from intent?
The way the Sarvāstivādin's conceive it, taking vows causes a material change of state of the material aggregate. One cannot perceive it, hence it is called avijñāpti-rūpa, imperceptible matter. When the vow is broken or relinquished, this causes another change of the state of one's material aggregate.

Sautrantikas reject this idea in toto. They say, simply, vows are intents, until they are disrupted by another intent. This is actually the basis for the Tibetan Buddhist position that the five upāsaka vows cannot all be broken if one is broken, and one can keep one, two, three or all, depending on ones situation.
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:41 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:00 pmVows, that’s the only reason for the introduction of this type of matter. As I said, this is discussed more fully at the beginning of chapter 4.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother contributing to this discussion, even though I am the only person here who has actually received teachings on this text in its entirety.
I thoroughly appreciate your input. Please stick around for us dummies.

Truth is that you have already answered to this question in the sections I had commented on.

So you believe we should just power through these sections since they are explained more fully in other chapters?

Up to which section/chapter/verse?

I would recommend you not get too bogged down in the Talmudic details. They can always be revisited later, and should be, but not on the first go through.
Malcolm
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 11-13d: Avijnapti-rupa

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:25 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:58 pm Could the wind that is seen refer to smoke, fog, or mist?
Fog, smoke and mist would have been covered within the twenty-fold classification of visible matter in 10a - ie as visible forms. So I guess yes?
No, they are forms, which means they are essentially colored matter. as you may recall, Sarvastivadins try to distinguish visual shape and color; Sautrantikas reject this and assert visual shape is defined by color.

It is also useful to understand that these definitions of matter are being defined from the point of view of the sense organ they serve as objects for.
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