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In our world the belief is that matter is only made of materiality not mentality. What I heard from a Buddhit monk is that materiality is actually mental. Can I hear both the Thervada view and the Mahayana view on this topic. Is it true that both of the paths say that there is only our experience nothing outside it exist.

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The Pali scriptures refer to materiality (rupa). While materiality can only be known/experienced with mentality; this does not make materiality something mental.

Whatever, Rāhula, is hard, solid, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, that is to say: the hair of the head, the hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow of the bones, kidney, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, excrement, or whatever other thing is hard, solid, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, this, Rāhula, is called the internal element of extension. Whatever is an internal element of extension and whatever is an external element of extension, just these are the element of extension (earth).

And what, Rāhula, is the liquid element? The liquid element may be internal, it may be external. And what, Rāhula, is the internal liquid element? Whatever is liquid, fluid, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, that is to say: bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, serum, saliva, mucus, synovial fluid, urine or whatever other thing is liquid, fluid, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, this, Rāhula, is called the internal liquid element. Whatever is an internal liquid element and whatever is an external liquid element, just these are the liquid element.

And what, Rāhula, is the element of heat? The heat element may be internal, it may be external. And what, Rāhula, is the internal heat element? Whatever is heat, warmth, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, such as by whatever one is vitalised, by whatever one is consumed, by whatever one is burnt up, and by whatever one has munched, drunk, eaten and tasted that is properly transformed (in digestion), or whatever other thing is heat, warmth, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, this, Rāhula, is called the internal heat element. Whatever is an internal element of heat and whatever is an external element of heat, just these are the element of heat.

And what, Rāhula, is the element of motion? The element of motion may be internal, it may be external. And what, Rāhula, is the internal element of motion? Whatever is motion, wind, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, such as winds going upwards, winds going downwards, winds in the abdomen, winds in the belly, winds that shoot across the several limbs, in-breathing, out-breathing, or whatever other thing is motion, wind, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom, this, Rāhula, is called the internal element of motion. Whatever is an internal element of motion and whatever is an external element of motion, just these are the element of motion.

Mahārāhulovāda Sutta

Suttas AN 3.136 and SN 12.20 say Dhamma Law exists outside of experience of it. Therefore, Buddhism does not say the only things that exist are those things that are experienced.

If only things in mental experience existed then, based on the experience of the puthujjana (unenlightened person), Nibbana/Nirvana would not exist.

Udana 1.1 says:

When things [previously unexperienced] become manifest to the ardent meditating brahman; all his doubts then vanish since he understands each thing along with its cause.

Since enlightenment is knowing/experiencing things that were previously unknown/unexperienced, it is illogical to say Buddhism only says what is experienced is what exists. If Buddhism actually said this then Buddhism would be giving priority to the existence of unenlightened experiences, which is obviously not the case. Since Buddhism gives priority to teaching about things, such as jhana & Nirvana, which are not experienced by most people, then Buddhism is obviously teaching mostly about things that do not exist in the experience of most people.

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  • Great answer, btw I listened a bit more from him and I think what he is saying is that material phenomena are both mental and physical but as it is said in dhammapada the mind is the forerunner from all things, what exists is only the 5 aggregates which would suggest that its only our experience? – makingprogressinBuddhism Oct 26 '19 at 3:55
  • This interpretation of the dhammapada is incorrect. You can ask a new question about the meaning of Dhammapada 1 & 2 on the forum. Regards – Dhammadhatu Oct 26 '19 at 9:16
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From what I've read the Pali suttas in translation (which are part of the Theravada canon), I gather that Buddhist phenomenology describes:

So I guess that matter might be best described as neither "materiality" not "mentality", but "sensuality" or "a sense-object" -- i.e. it's what people "sense" via the five or six sense-consciousnesses.

I think that not incompatible with saying "there is only our experience nothing outside it exist" -- except that sounds sollipsistic which I suppose might defined as one of the very many possible "wrong views", along with "materialism" and "eternalism" and so on.

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In Theravada Rupa (materiality) means earth, air, fire, and water. Conventional sense of what we called earth means the physical earth but we can't see it. We can only feel the softness and the hardness of the earth. Rupa also independently arisen and earth, air, fire, and water are not independent of each other. For instance water can be ice (patavi), cold/heat (tejo) gas (vayo) water (apo) This analysis is mainly found in Abhidhamma.

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Mind precedes all phenomena. Mind is their chief; they are mind-made. (Dhp1)

Dhammapada 1 makes it very explicit and you can look at the various translations; http://nanda.online-dhamma.net/tipitaka/sutta/khuddaka/dhammapada/dhp-contrast-reading/dhp-contrast-reading-en-chap01/

But don't go of one passage, there are more texts to provide context;

World itself is compared to a mirage

Just as a bubble may be seen, just as a faint mirage, so should the world be viewed that the Death-king sees one not. (Dhp 170)

And what is the world that is to be seen as a mirage?

Whatever in the world through which you perceive the world and conceive the world is called the world in the training of the noble one. And through what in the world do you perceive the world and conceive the world?

Through the eye in the world you perceive the world and conceive the world. Through the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind in the world you perceive the world and conceive the world. (SN 35.116)

And it is all encompassing

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." (SN 35.23)

Phenomena are mind made, perceived and conceived by mind and are therefore comprehensible(!). The element of synthesis is itself conditioned and must be included in the All otherwise it wouldn't be an All, therefore the world is self-directing and the elements creating phenomena are included in the Allness of the All which is the World.

Consider the nature of this phenomena called Intellect, Mind or Consciousness;

'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey, swinging through a forest wilderness, grabs a branch. Letting go of it, it grabs another branch. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. In the same way, what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. (SN12.61)

Or this analogy;

"Very well then, Kotthita my friend, I will give you an analogy; for there are cases where it is through the use of an analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said. It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name & form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. (SN12.67)

The nature of these phenomena is comprehensible exactly because they are mind made, as a matter of fact you can't do anything with this Consciousness phenomena other than understanding it and as it actually is it must be understood, MN43;

"Discernment & consciousness, friend: Of these qualities that are conjoined, not disjoined, discernment is to be developed, consciousness is to be fully comprehended."[1]

These phenomena are mind-made elements, complete as to their unique principles, these principles coming into play are thus conceived as requisite conditions for the conception and the perception of the infinite variety of circumstances being expressed and thought about.

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