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116890Nimitta (was [dsg] Re: Smell etc, inseparable rupas

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  • Robert E
    Aug 19, 2011
      Hi Ken O.

      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Ken O <ashkenn2k@...> wrote:
      > Dear Rob E
      > >Well that analogy begs a very interesting question - are the pixels on your
      > >television "more real" than the picture they form? I think they are two levels
      > >of perception, but I don't think one is more "actual" than the other.
      > >Conventional and ultimate view of realities are both valid in a different field
      > >of endeavor. We would think it was very strange if a scientist walked around
      > >outside of the lab with his microscope glued to his face so he could continue to
      > >
      > >see the molecules in "everyday life," yet the knowledge he has from seeing
      > >directly is very valuable.
      > >
      > >
      > >Even the arahant adopts the "conventional view" [but without any delusions] so
      > >that he can walk, eat, and talk to people. But he has access to the
      > >"microscopic" view, so he can go to the finer level of knowledge when it is
      > >appropriate. Also it will inform his view so that he doesn't cling to
      > >conventional objects.
      > KO:  The reasons for a conventional view of dhamma because the reality of what we
      > experience are conventional reality.  the text describe direct seeing is only
      > possible through constant reflection, investigating the nature of dhamma to
      > develop to purification of view level. 

      This is good to know in its own right. Constant reflection, in my view, is a form of meditation/contemplation that amounts to a "formal pracice."

      > The difference of conventional and
      > direct seeing is the level of our panna and not because this is conventional we
      > do not follow.  If it is, then listening of dhamma will be pointless since it is
      > conventional. 

      Good point too!

      > We should not be concern about two level of perception, it is the
      > conventional perception we should understand, only through a long process of
      > understanding the conventional perception, then the nama and rupa perception
      > could arise.

      I believe that too. There is a pathway between the mundane path and ultimate understanding, but many here do not see it that way. We are meant to live our conventional lives with the Dhamma in mind, not just think about namas and rupas while we are drinking, robbing and stealing. :-) [that was a joke]

      > >Maybe you can say a little bit more about how one can "understand the nature of
      > >dhammas" by perceiving the nimitta, and how the nimitta relates to the dhamma
      > >that it represents - is it a fine, exact replica of the dhamma and its activity?
      > >
      > >Is it a representation that is more general or that shows how the dhamma
      > >operates?
      > >
      > >In this sense, what level of "understanding" and what type of understanding
      > >qualifies as satipatthana?
      > >I see the value in this example, and I believe that the mundane path can develop
      > >
      > >through conventional understanding, leading to greater awareness. However, I am
      > >quite sure that many on dsg will say that this conventional example does not
      > >constitute true satipatthana - that at the very least it has to be a nimitta of
      > >a momentary dhamma to qualify for the knowledge of satipatthana.
      > KO:  The general description of understanding  of dhamma is understanding the
      > general characteristic of anatta, anicca and dukkha or specific characteristics
      > of dhamma.  Just like when we see a beautiful picture, craving arise.  It could
      > condition the arisen of panna which sees that craving of such object brings
      > dukkha, or such object is subject to destruction, since it is impermanent it
      > brings dukkha.  Or the craving itself as a danger, brings dukkha.   The text
      > clearly stipulates the difference between mundane and supramundane is one with
      > taints and one without.  It never say one with concept and one without
      > concept.   Or because of concept there is no development of panna. 

      This is an excellent rundown and I agree with you strongly. I think it is a big mistake to put the normal perception of life to the side and say that it is not eligible for applying the Dhamma, or to noticing the craving and clinging that arises in relation to conventional objects. This is what we really experience, and to ignore it and keep thinking about little individual dhammas that we can't see, is just an intellectual distraction. If we do take the time to contemplate namas and rupas and think about them on the paramatha level, that is a separate valuable practice in its own right. I am not saying that such a contemplative practice is not important. And I think it is a good contemplation to look at the things of everyday life and to understand that they really do break down into momentary namas and rupas. I think that is valuable contemplation of the Dhamma as well. But I think it's also most important, as you say, to include the conventional experiences we have that naturally arise all day and look at them in terms of the three marks that they show and the craving and clinging that arises. There is nothing wrong with thinking, when we have sadness because someone has left or because our rug got stained, "this is not my self, it is impermanent and can not bring real satisfaction because it is not self and temporary" and to see how that relates to the craving and clinging that arises. If we see someone who we are uncomfortable around and aversion arises, we should look at that aversion and see its nature and apply the Dhamma to that too.

      > >That is sensible. However, I am just trying to figure out whether our
      > >understanding of dhammas at this level can qualify as satipatthana and be a true
      > >
      > >contribution to development of the path. I think it can, but I think many here
      > >would disagree.
      > >
      > >I wonder if you think that the mundane path, as you describe, will lead
      > >eventually to development of the noble path with more direct seeing, or do you
      > >think they are two separate tracks as many here believe?
      > KO:  There are two bhavanas, samatha and vipassana which both end at
      > purification of view which develop further leads to enlightenment.    In the text
      > or in the commentaries, there is never a statement said that the object
      > of  mundane satipatthana must be a nama and rupa in order to qualify it as
      > satipatthana.   If it is, the text would have not mention about the meditation of
      > the foul or body parts. 

      Thanks, Ken, I think that is very good reasoning and I agree.

      Robert E.

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