[DhammaStudyGroup] Tanha(JIM ,sarah)


Robert Kirkpatrick
 

Dear Sarah and Jim,
The quote from the netti has puzzled me a little for years. I
checked the pali and the English translation looks right.
There are other examples scattered throughout the texts:
A'nguttara Nikaaya : 'he abandons
ta.nhaa by means of ta.nhaa'
And the commentary says "Based on the present craving [ta.nhaa]
(i. e., desire for
becoming an Arahant), he gives up previous craving that was the
root-cause of (one's involvement in) the cycle of rebirth. Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving (for Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? � It is
unwholesome. � Should it be pursued or not? � It SHOULD be
pursued [sevitabbaa]. � Does it drag one into rebirth
[pa.tisandhi.m aaka.d.dhati] or not? � It does not drag one into
rebirth." end quote


Nina wrote to me about Ang II,146,

<The question why not I> is
only thinking, paravitakka. I will not try to translate here,
it is better if a Pali expert continues a little more, what the
bhikkhuni is thinking. There is also a paralel: though dependent
on food he abnadons food, this body (mental body) is dependent
on pride, pride must be abandoned... "

And she also said: "sevitabba," this can also be translated as
<this can
be
pursued>, not necessarily an imperative, it must be pursued, ask
Jim.
The
monk is ripe for arahataship, and it is natural that there is
such a thought of, O, that I may attain it.
In the K. IV, 231, One hundred and eight, feelings are
classified and among the thirty-six there are feelings connected
with worldly life and feelings connected with nekkhamma, giving
up, even akusala feelings[thus even these akusala feelings are
related to nekkhamma].endquote

Anything you can give us on the commentary would be much
appreciated Jim.

We know that the vital conditions for the path
are Hearing deep Dhamma, considering it, testing it, applying
it.
Sometimes it is partly Tanha that brings us to listen? - but the
moments when there is understanding there is not tanha.
robert



--- Sarah Procter Abbott <sarahdhhk@...> wrote:
Dear Wyn & Rob,

I agree that this is a very interesting topic and I am
somewhat perplexed by the Netthi passage below. I'm
really thinking out loud, rather than suggesting I
have all the answers here (or any of them!). I
aplogise in advance for what is likely to be a rather
lengthy post.

--- Robert Kirkpatrick
<robertkirkpatrick@...> wrote: > Dear Wyn,
Tanha(akusala desire) can be upanissaya paccaya for
kusala and
thus even for the path. We have a ton of tanha - for
pretty well
everthing. It is possibly(and possibly is the
operative word)
preferable to have tanha towards things related to
Dhamma
because this can be upanissaya for later alobha. For
instance, I
am now thinking(quite often) about going to India or
Thailand to
listen to Dhamma. Much of this thinking is with
tanha ( some is
conditioned by wisdom). If I go and hear dhamma and
this
conditions some detachment and understanding(no
tanha at those
moments) then the tanha was upanissaya paccaya for
wisdom.
I'm not at all sure we can say that tanha for dhamma
is possibly preferable to tanha for other
objects..;-)
Reminds me of a discussion in Bkk last week when one
of jon's former colleagues was saying that she knows
there is tanha when she is meditating but she feels
that tanha to the peace and quiet and dhamma at that
time is better than tanha to sensuous objects now....I
would just suggest tanha is tanha, of whatever degree,
irrespective of the object and never conducive to
well-being...interesting and good for further
discussion, though.

--- wynn <wewynal@...> wrote:
Is all tanha unskilful?
I've certainly never heard anything before to suggest
it isn't. 'Tangle is a term for the network of
craving.' (Vis 1,2) Indeed the Visuddhimagga and
Vibhanga enumerate the 108 kinds of tanha without any
suggestion to the contrary.

One cause for confusion MAYBE as Rob, suggests, that
tanha can be upanissaya paccaya for kusala:
'Another thinks, 'I shall enjoy the delights of the
Brahma-world', and with sense-desire clinging as
condition he develops lovingkindness, compassion,
gladness and equanimity. Owing to the fulfilment of
the meditative development he is reborn in the
Brahma-world'. (Vis V11,18)

Still, the tanha is akusala.

Another misunderstanding could be because as we know,
unless one has become an arahant, the anusaya (latent
tendency) of tanha is present even at moments of
kusala.

Someone wrote:

"Tannhaa gets a bad press in Buddhist literature,
but if one
looks at
bhava-ta.nhaa, one of the three ta.nhaas, then one
cannot but
involve
oneself in contradiction if bhava-ta.nhaa is
understood in an
essentially pejorative sense. For example, if
bhava-ta.nhaa
is
essentially akusala, then making merit for a
better rebirth
would be
essentially akusala. And where would the Buddhist
spiritual
life begin!"
I would agree that at moments of bhava-ta.nhaa, the
citta is akusala. There are bound to be so many
skilful and unskilful cittas involved that only the
development of awareness will be aware of which are
which. There can still be moments of generosity or
reflection on wholesome qualities or metta at these
times which are kusala.

In the suttas we do have the phrase 'he abandons
ta.nhaa by
means of
ta.nhaa' [ta.nhaa nissaaya ta.nhaa.m pajahati;
A.ii.146]
I think (and I'm no Pali scholar) that this can be
translated as 'though dependent on craving, he
abandons craving'.

It is clear to me, in the following (PTS translation,
same ref.), that it is wisdom and not craving that
abandons:

'Sister, as to the saying: "This body has come into
being through craving, is dependent on craving;
craving must be abandoned,"- it was said in this
connexion.

Herein, sister, a monk hears it said: "They say that
such and such a monk, by destroying the asavas,
himself in this very life thoroughly comprehending it,
realizes the heart's release, the release by wisdom,
that is free from the asavas, and having attained it
abides therein." then some time later, though
dependent on craving, he abandons craving. As to the
saying, sister, that body has come into being through
craving, is dependent on craving, craving must be
abandoned, - whatever was said thus was said in this
connexion.'

Then in the Nettipakara.na, we have:

'There are two kinds of ta.nhaa: skilful [kusala]
and
unskilful
[akusala]. Unskilful ta.nhaa leads to sa.msaara,
skilful
ta.nhaa is for
abandoning, which leads to diminishing [of
samsaric
activities].' [87]
Yes, this is a little puzzling and I've been following
other links (DN & Vibhanga) which also list and
describe tanha in detail as akusala. I can only think
that the meaning is similar to that in AN above: tanha
is for abandoning by skilful states.

Jim mentioned to me that in the Sangiti Sutta (DN
XXX111) there is mentioned a 'nirodha-ta.nhaa' which
at first he thought was kusala "but the commentary (in
Pali) implies a definite 'no' by connecting it with
'uccheda-di.t.thi'."

The point I suppose I'm trying to make is that
sometimes we can read a few lines in the Tipitaka
which don't seem to 'fit', but often there is a
problem with the translation or lack of commentary
notes. I could be wrong here!

Wyn, I appreciate this area for consideration. I
haven't had a chance to follow your other link so far,
but will do so when I have time. Pls let us know what
you think.

Best rgds,
Sarah


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Jim Anderson <jima@...>
 

Dear Robert,

While checking several versions of the commentary on A ii 146 I noticed a
possible error in the following translated section:

Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving (for Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? � It is
unwholesome.
The answer - unwholesome (akusalaa) is supported by the PTS and the
Burmese CSCD versions but not by the Thai Budsir version which has
'kusalaa' as the answer. The footnote in the PTS edition notes that a
Mandalay ms. and the Siamese ed. of 1920 reads 'kusalaa'. This is quite
interesting as it is a discrepancy that can easily go unnoticed. My gut
feeling is that 'kusalaa' is the correct answer. It is contrary to dhamma to
state that the unwholesome is to be pursued (sevitabba) as in the reading of
the PTS ed. (AA iii 136). We also know that 'ta.nhaa' can be either
wholesome or unwholesome from the Nettippakara.na passage (p. 87).

I suppose that most of us had been thinking that 'ta.nhaa' is 'lobha' in the
paramattha terminology but could it be something else -- 'chanda'??

I also glanced through three layers of commentary on the Nettippakara.na
passage regarding the twofold ta.nhaa which have quite a lot to say about
it. I didn't study them as there is just too much to take in (1 or 2 pages
altogether) without spending a lot of time. This is just to let you know
that the comments are there.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dear Sarah and Jim,
The quote from the netti has puzzled me a little for years. I
checked the pali and the English translation looks right.
There are other examples scattered throughout the texts:
A'nguttara Nikaaya : 'he abandons
ta.nhaa by means of ta.nhaa'
And the commentary says "Based on the present craving [ta.nhaa]
(i. e., desire for
becoming an Arahant), he gives up previous craving that was the
root-cause of (one's involvement in) the cycle of rebirth. Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving (for Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? � It is
unwholesome. � Should it be pursued or not? � It SHOULD be
pursued [sevitabbaa]. � Does it drag one into rebirth
[pa.tisandhi.m aaka.d.dhati] or not? � It does not drag one into
rebirth." end quote


Nina wrote to me about Ang II,146,

<The question why not I> is
only thinking, paravitakka. I will not try to translate here,
it is better if a Pali expert continues a little more, what the
bhikkhuni is thinking. There is also a paralel: though dependent
on food he abnadons food, this body (mental body) is dependent
on pride, pride must be abandoned... "

And she also said: "sevitabba," this can also be translated as
<this can
be
pursued>, not necessarily an imperative, it must be pursued, ask
Jim.
The
monk is ripe for arahataship, and it is natural that there is
such a thought of, O, that I may attain it.
In the K. IV, 231, One hundred and eight, feelings are
classified and among the thirty-six there are feelings connected
with worldly life and feelings connected with nekkhamma, giving
up, even akusala feelings[thus even these akusala feelings are
related to nekkhamma].endquote

Anything you can give us on the commentary would be much
appreciated Jim.

We know that the vital conditions for the path
are Hearing deep Dhamma, considering it, testing it, applying
it.
Sometimes it is partly Tanha that brings us to listen? - but the
moments when there is understanding there is not tanha.
robert


Robert Kirkpatrick
 

dear Jim.
Thanks for all this. As usual very helpful. But it still hasn't
resolved the question totally. Wyn posted this question on
another forum and a knowledgeable memeber said that he thought
that tanha in this case might not have the precise meaning that
it does in the abhidhamma and could mean effort or chanda. Could
be.
I would love to know what the commenatry and tika that you
mentioned to the netti say.(but don't feel compelled to look
into it - already you help much)
thanks
robert
--- Jim Anderson <jima@...> wrote:
Dear Robert,

While checking several versions of the commentary on A ii 146
I noticed a
possible error in the following translated section:

Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving (for
Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? � It is
unwholesome.
The answer - unwholesome (akusalaa) is supported by the PTS
and the
Burmese CSCD versions but not by the Thai Budsir version which
has
'kusalaa' as the answer. The footnote in the PTS edition notes
that a
Mandalay ms. and the Siamese ed. of 1920 reads 'kusalaa'. This
is quite
interesting as it is a discrepancy that can easily go
unnoticed. My gut
feeling is that 'kusalaa' is the correct answer. It is
contrary to dhamma to
state that the unwholesome is to be pursued (sevitabba) as in
the reading of
the PTS ed. (AA iii 136). We also know that 'ta.nhaa' can be
either
wholesome or unwholesome from the Nettippakara.na passage (p.
87).

I suppose that most of us had been thinking that 'ta.nhaa' is
'lobha' in the
paramattha terminology but could it be something else --
'chanda'??

I also glanced through three layers of commentary on the
Nettippakara.na
passage regarding the twofold ta.nhaa which have quite a lot
to say about
it. I didn't study them as there is just too much to take in
(1 or 2 pages
altogether) without spending a lot of time. This is just to
let you know
that the comments are there.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dear Sarah and Jim,
The quote from the netti has puzzled me a little for years. I
checked the pali and the English translation looks right.
There are other examples scattered throughout the texts:
A'nguttara Nikaaya : 'he abandons
ta.nhaa by means of ta.nhaa'
And the commentary says "Based on the present craving
[ta.nhaa]
(i. e., desire for
becoming an Arahant), he gives up previous craving that was
the
root-cause of (one's involvement in) the cycle of rebirth.
Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving (for
Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? � It is
unwholesome. � Should it be pursued or not? � It SHOULD be
pursued [sevitabbaa]. � Does it drag one into rebirth
[pa.tisandhi.m aaka.d.dhati] or not? � It does not drag one
into
rebirth." end quote


Nina wrote to me about Ang II,146,

<The question why not I> is
only thinking, paravitakka. I will not try to translate
here,
it is better if a Pali expert continues a little more, what
the
bhikkhuni is thinking. There is also a paralel: though
dependent
on food he abnadons food, this body (mental body) is
dependent
on pride, pride must be abandoned... "

And she also said: "sevitabba," this can also be translated
as
<this can
be
pursued>, not necessarily an imperative, it must be pursued,
ask
Jim.
The
monk is ripe for arahataship, and it is natural that there is
such a thought of, O, that I may attain it.
In the K. IV, 231, One hundred and eight, feelings are
classified and among the thirty-six there are feelings
connected
with worldly life and feelings connected with nekkhamma,
giving
up, even akusala feelings[thus even these akusala feelings
are
related to nekkhamma].endquote

Anything you can give us on the commentary would be much
appreciated Jim.

We know that the vital conditions for the path
are Hearing deep Dhamma, considering it, testing it, applying
it.
Sometimes it is partly Tanha that brings us to listen? - but
the
moments when there is understanding there is not tanha.
robert




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Sarah Procter Abbott <sarahdhhk@...>
 

Dear Jim, Rob and Wyn,

Just a real quickie which may be quite
off-track...Like Rob, I'm keen to pursue this tanha!

--- Jim Anderson <jima@...> wrote:
Dear Robert,

While checking several versions of the commentary
on A ii 146
I noticed a
possible error in the following translated
section:

Now
(it may be asked) whether such present craving
(for
Arahantship)
is wholesome [kusala] or unwholesome [akusala]? �
It is
unwholesome.
The answer - unwholesome (akusalaa) is supported
by the PTS
and the
Burmese CSCD versions but not by the Thai Budsir
version which
has
'kusalaa' as the answer. The footnote in the PTS
edition notes
that a
Mandalay ms. and the Siamese ed. of 1920 reads
'kusalaa'. This
is quite
interesting as it is a discrepancy that can easily
go
unnoticed. My gut
feeling is that 'kusalaa' is the correct answer.
It is
contrary to dhamma to
state that the unwholesome is to be pursued
(sevitabba) as in
the reading of
the PTS ed. (AA iii 136).
Just assuming for now that akusalaa is correct (my gut
feeling for now!). When it says in the commentary 'It
is unwholesome.-Should it be pursued or not? - it
SHOULD be pursued (sevitabbaa)...' ,is it possible
that sevitabbaa refers not to the tanha but to the
wisdom in the passage I quoted before:

'Sister, as to the saying: "This body has come into
being through craving, is dependent on craving;
craving must be abandoned,"- it was said in this
connexion.

Herein, sister, a monk hears it said: "They say that
such and such a monk, by destroying the asavas,
himself in this very life thoroughly comprehending it,
realizes the heart's release, the release by wisdom,
that is free from the asavas, and having attained it
abides therein." then some time later, though
dependent on craving, he abandons craving. As to the
saying, sister, that body has come into being through
craving, is dependent on craving, craving must be
abandoned, - whatever was said thus was said in this
connexion.'

We also know that
'ta.nhaa' can be
either
wholesome or unwholesome from the Nettippakara.na
passage (p.
87).

I suppose that most of us had been thinking that
'ta.nhaa' is
'lobha' in the
paramattha terminology but could it be something
else --
'chanda'??
If one looks at all the refs to tanha in the Vism and
Vibhanga, this still seems unlikely to me...eben if
they are related to nekkhamma, if they are akusala
they are akusala..

I also glanced through three layers of commentary
on the
Nettippakara.na
passage regarding the twofold ta.nhaa which have
quite a lot
to say about
it. I didn't study them as there is just too much
to take in
(1 or 2 pages
altogether) without spending a lot of time. This
is just to
let you know
that the comments are there.
slowly, slowly, Jim!

Thanks for your comments as always,

Sarah

(Joyce, pls note that apart from Jim and Teng Kee and
one or two others, none of us are Pali or Sanskrit
scholars....;-))


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