Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Grigoris
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Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Poussin then discusses and compares the differences between the schools discussed in the Vibhasa.

Three points stand out for me that seem worthy of discussion:

The Sthavira view that "There is no ripening cause outside of the intention, no ripened effect outside of the sensation."

So basically only the intention (cetana) can be a cause.

Only sensation (vedana) can be an effect.

---

The Vibhajyanavadin view that "The person (pudgala) exists absolutely".

Something which comes up later in the Kosa.

---

The Yogacara view that "...there is an element of the mental faculty (manodhatu) distinct from the six consciousnesses (vijnana).

---

That is it for the Poussin introduction from me.

I think there is more than enough there to untangle.
"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."
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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I've only read a little of the introduction, so...
Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:12 am The Sthavira view that "There is no ripening cause outside of the intention, no ripened effect outside of the sensation."

So basically only the intention (cetana) can be a cause.

Only sensation (vedana) can be an effect.
Does this contrast with yogacara view in that intention, the moment it is born, imprints on the alayavijnana - even if it doesn't ripen into sensation? This would suggest intention is even more critical.

I was studying Abhidhamma a while back - didn't finish the text by Bhikku Bodhi yet, but I recall that it takes a series of 18 moments of consciousness for an object to appear to the mind consciousness. If the object is too weak, it kind of just sputters out before appearing, and if it doesn't appear to the mind, then there is no mind consciousness to arise. It would follow that an intention that does not ripen as a sensation would just kind of sputter out.

More recently, I've been working through Xuangzhang's commentary on Vasubandhu's 30 verses, and he points out that for the same school as the one identified as Sthavira, they come to a problem due to their strict need to sequence dharmas like dominos, at the moment of death, or other points where no objects appear to the senses. So they posit some connecting consciousness. Xuangzhang, if I understand correctly, argues that the connecting consciousness is a misapprehension of the Alayavijnana.
The Yogacara view that "...there is an element of the mental faculty (manodhatu) distinct from the six consciousnesses (vijnana).
Are you referring to the mind-element? Manodhatu, as in the sensory apparatus of the mind itself? Or the Manasvijnana - the Seventh Consciousness in Yogacara?

As I understand Manodhatu is one of the 18 dhatus - Eye-visual object-visual consciousness, Ear-sound-ear consciousness, Nose-smell-nose consciousness, Tongue-taste-tongue consciousness, Body-sensation-body consciousness, Mind (manodhatu)-mind object-mind consciousness. Manasvijnana is a distinct consciousness in which the alaya is taken as an object, which being marked by delusion, is taken as the self.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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It took me a while to get going on this but I’ve now finished the pruden and the poussin introductions.

On one level the question they started with is quite simple - what exactly is the abhidharma - and the answer to that, though inconclusive, was clearest when they presented the development of it as a category of literature, a systematization of the Dharma as opposed to the preservation of oral teachings in the other two pitakas.

What i wasn’t prepared for was the remarkable breadth of this literature. Pruden was fairly methodical in his presentation of it, and I suspect he decided to write a detailed introduction that covered the same ground as Poussin’s because the latter was so complicated. I think I will need to come back to the last part of Poussin’s introduction after I’ve actually read the Kosa properly and try to make sense of it again.

I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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PeterC wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:03 pm I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
:good:

Greg: :smile:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
Malcolm
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Malcolm »

PeterC wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:03 pm I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
You should keep in mind that these translators never practiced Abhidharma. And yes, it is a practice text.
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Queequeg wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:18 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:03 pm I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
:good:

Greg: :smile:
Been really busy this week.

My notes have been ready from two weeks ago but I did not see people engaging with the stuff I already posted, so I thought to give everybody the chance to "catch up".

Be warned: The next lot of notes is seriously extensive.
Last edited by Grigoris on Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:24 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:03 pm I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
You should keep in mind that these translators never practiced Abhidharma. And yes, it is a practice text.
This is much more explicit in Theravada Abhidhamma as the texts are even labeled as such: Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), Vimuttimagga (Path of Freedom), Patisambhidamagga (Path of Discrimination).

They are a step-by-step outline of how to get there and what to expect along the way.
Last edited by Grigoris on Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:59 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:24 pm
PeterC wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 5:03 pm I am looking forward to starting on chapter 1 properly after that academic prelude.
You should keep in mind that these translators never practiced Abhidharma. And yes, it is a practice text.
This is much more explicit in Theravada Abhidhamma as the texts are even labeled as such: Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), Vimuttimagga (Path of Freedom), Patisambhidamagga (Path of Discrimination).

They are a step-by-step outline of what how to get there and what to expect along the way.
Correct. Unfortunately, Abhidhamma (and the manuals developed around it like the ones you list above) developed outside the mainlines of development of Indian Buddhism, and therefore have no value in understanding Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna.
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:09 pm
Grigoris wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:59 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:24 pm

You should keep in mind that these translators never practiced Abhidharma. And yes, it is a practice text.
This is much more explicit in Theravada Abhidhamma as the texts are even labeled as such: Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), Vimuttimagga (Path of Freedom), Patisambhidamagga (Path of Discrimination).

They are a step-by-step outline of what how to get there and what to expect along the way.
Correct. Unfortunately, Abhidhamma (and the manuals developed around it like the ones you list above) developed outside the mainlines of development of Indian Buddhism, and therefore have no value in understanding Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna.
I wouldn't say they have "no value". There are many important insights and explanations that are applicable in the Mahayana and Vajrayana too.

Yes, the paths differ, but some of the landmarks are similar.
"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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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:47 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:09 pm
Grigoris wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:59 pm This is much more explicit in Theravada Abhidhamma as the texts are even labeled as such: Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), Vimuttimagga (Path of Freedom), Patisambhidamagga (Path of Discrimination).

They are a step-by-step outline of what how to get there and what to expect along the way.
Correct. Unfortunately, Abhidhamma (and the manuals developed around it like the ones you list above) developed outside the mainlines of development of Indian Buddhism, and therefore have no value in understanding Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna.
I wouldn't say they have "no value". There are many important insights and explanations that are applicable in the Mahayana and Vajrayana too.

Yes, the paths differ, but some of the landmarks are similar.
I have read extensively in Abhidhamma. While interesting, it never had any value for me in reading Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna texts. The Kośabhaṣyaṃ however sits on my desk, where it has sat, consulted almost daily, for thirty years. YMMV.
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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:00 pmI have read extensively in Abhidhamma. While interesting, it never had any value for me in reading Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna texts. The Kośabhaṣyaṃ however sits on my desk, where it has sat, consulted almost daily, for thirty years. YMMV.
The Abhdihammasangaha is one of my go-to texts. The diagramatic description of a sensory mind moment really helped my understanding of the almost mechanical nature of thought and experience. It helped me understand anatman (the lack of a independently existing subject).

The Patthanuddesa Dipani was also really informative in it's break down and analysis of how causes and conditions work.
Last edited by Grigoris on Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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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Re: Kosa Reading Group ii c: Introduction by Poussin

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:59 pm The Patthanuddesa Dipani was also really informative in it's break down and analysis of how causes and conditions work.
Yes, but it won't help you at all when you come to the six causes and four conditions discussed later in the Indriya chapter, chapter 2.

This is important, because the six causes and four conditions are treated in Mahāyāna sūtra and tantras, as well as in such diverse literatures as Tibetan Medicine and even explanations of delusion of sentient beings in Dzogchen teachings.

So, as I said, I never found Pali Abhidhamma tradition of any use in understanding Mahāyāna texts, despite its obvious value as a important intellectual tradition in Buddhism as a whole.
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