Abhidhamma Series, no 2. Paramattha dhamma and pa~n~natti.
- Dear friends,
Paramattha dhamma and pa~n~natti.
Through the Buddhist teachings we learn that what we take for �self�,
for �our mind� and for �our body�, consists of changing phenomena.
That part of the Buddhist teachings which is the �Abhidhamma�
enumerates and classifies all phenomena of our life: mental phenomena
or n�ma and physical phenomena or r�pa. Seeing is n�ma, it
experiences visible object through the eye-door. Visible object or
colour is r�pa, it does not experience anything. The eyesense, that
functions as the eye-door through which visible object is
experienced, is also r�pa. The r�pas that are sense objects, namely,
visible object, sound, smell, flavour and tangible object, and also
the r�pas that are the sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and
bodysense, are conditions for the n�mas to experience objects. N�ma
and r�pa are interrelated.
N�ma and r�pa are ultimate realities. We should know the difference
between ultimate truth ultimate truth, paramattha sacca, and
conventional truth, sammuttisacca.
Ultimate truth is not abstract. Ultimate realities, in P�li:
paramattha dhammas, have each their own characteristic which cannot
be changed. We may change the name, but the characteristic remains
the same. Seeing is an ultimate reality, it experiences visible
object which appears through the eyes; it is real for everyone, it
has its own unalterable characteristic. Anger has its own
characteristic, it is real for everyone, no matter how we name it.
Ultimate realities can be directly experienced when they appear
through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, bodysense or mind. They arise
because of their appropriate conditions.
Conventional truth is the world of concepts such as person, tree or
animal. Before we learnt about Buddhism, conventional truth, the
world of concepts, was the only truth we knew. It is useful to
examine the meaning of concept, in P�li: pa��atti. The word concept
can stand for the name or term that conveys an idea and it can also
stand for the idea itself conveyed by a term. Thus, the name �tree�
is a concept, and also the idea we form up of �tree� is a concept. We
can think of concepts, but they are not realities that can be
directly experienced, without having to name them.
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