[Buddha-l] Prof. Guenther, may he RIP

jkirk jkirk at spro.net
Sun Apr 9 10:15:43 MDT 2006

Yes, in the case of "mood", it can also be generally (since mood is a general temperamental or emotionally loaded tone ) either positive or negative. 
Perhaps cetika could better be rendered as "general" rather than "abstract." 

I do not think that language recognizes the possibiity of an " indifferent mood." Mood has to be either positive or negative. Indifference describes an attitude more than a mood, since there presumably is no feeling (or emotion) with indifference.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dharmachari Mahabodhi 
  To: buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com 
  Sent: Saturday, April 08, 2006 3:27 PM
  Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Prof. Guenther, may he RIP

  When I saw the thread 'Prof. Guenther, may he RIP'  firstly I wasn't aware he had died, and secondly I thought I would come across a weighty eulogy from someone who could recognise his significance.  I was rather disappointed to see nothing of the sort.  I feel it is a good practice for us all to honour value where it is due, and I would have thought an academic discussion forum on buddhism was the place  to honour a dedicated buddhist academic of some standing.  I would really appreciate it should any of you feel genuinely moved to do so.  

  I have really appreciated Guenther's boldness.  For me he has attempted to bring out the practical significance in each buddhist term, with an eye on how it can be used by practitioners, rather than leaving it in the abstract and self referential realm of ideas.  I have been exploring the four satipatthanas, and was struggling to find a satisfactory explanation of what was in my experience, which was that pleasure and pain weren't just physical.  What about how we felt about things in the sense of our mood.  The only place I found any attempt to explain this was in Guenther's writing. 

  He says - 

  Feeling __ imparts to every conscious content __ a definite value in the sense of acceptance ("like") or rejection ("dislike") or indifference.  Mood, too, signifies a valuation, though not of a definite content but of the whole conscious situation at the moment.  The fact that feeling in the form of 'mood' may appear quite independently of the momentary sensations, although by some exiguous reasoning it may be causally related to some previous conscious content, is brought about in the buddhist texts by terming this kind of feeling cetasika vedana which may be translated as 'abstract feeling', inasmuch as it is raised above the different individual feeling values of concrete feeling.  It is clearly distinguished from kayika vedana or 'concrete feeling' which denotes that kind of feeling which is mixed up with and joins in with sensation.

  Herbert Guenther - Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma

  Seeing this confirmed my view that vedana could be a mood, so long as we were clear that that mood was a vipaka not a karma.  What happens next, how our mind moves in relation to that mood, is our karma, our creation..  So thank you Herbert for your clarification. 


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